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Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) has brought on a seasoned reproductive health lobbyist and analyst as a new legislative assistant.
M.A. Keifer - who goes by her last name - joined Lee this month from the organization Advocates for Youth, where she was a registered lobbyist from 2013 until her departure. Keifer held the position of international policy analyst at the organization which has the self-stated mission to "advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people's rights to honest sexual health information." During her time, she lobbied on issues such as contraception access, teen pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS and comprehensive sexuality education among others.
Before joining Advocates for Youth, Keifer briefly worked for Ipas, an organization advocating for an end to unsafe abortion practices. She also worked for Public Health Institute for two years, first as an intern, and then as a policy assistant.
Keifer received her MPH from George Washington University in 2012. She will cover HIV/AIDS, health, family planning, LGBTQ, immigration, medical marijuana and civil rights issues for Lee.
Lawmakers and their staff took two separate group trips to not-so-glamorous Sudan and South Sudan at the beginning of the month, according to disclosures filed in the past week.
The first group, with filings from Reps. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and two staff departed Nov. 5 for Khartoum and returned Nov. 10. The trip was sponsored by the Humpty Dumpty Institute, an organization with a self-described mission of tackling global problems to "put the pieces back together again." The Institute received funding from the CTC Group, a Sudanese company focused on agrochemicals, engineering and electronics, and from the American Global Institute, a D.C.-based nonprofit focused on trade. The president of AGI, A.I. Khalafalla, was named chair of the Humpty Dumpty Institute in September.
The filings so far show the trip to Khartoum costing a little more than $45,000 for the five travelers, the vast majority of which came from transportation expenses for the 13,000-mile round trip. The itinerary for the trip included touring CTC Group facilities as well as meeting with various Sudanese officials and business leaders.
The second group visited Juba and Bentiu, South Sudan from Nov. 8-13. Thus far, Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) have filed for the trip, which was sponsored by the United Nations Foundation. The group met with the South Sudanese president, UN peacekeepers and aid workers. The filings for both members show a combined cost of just over $20,000, mostly for transportation.
House members and their staff are required to disclose privately funded trips within 15 days of their return date.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan following a 2011 referendum but has since been plagued by internal strife.
Sen. Tom Cotton's (R-Ark.) bench just got a little deeper with the addition of a Major League Lacrosse player to his staff.
Cotton picked up Jake Bailey for his team this month from the Ohio Machine, a pro lacrosse franchise based out of Delaware, Ohio. Bailey had been playing for the Ohio Machine since June after the team claimed him from an undrafted collegiate player pool. Before joining the team, Bailey was playing for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while earning his bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications. In 2012 and 2014 he was named to the All-ACC Academic Men's Lacrosse Team.
Despite being the top tier of the sport, league players only average between $10,000 and $20,000 in yearly salary. Rookies may only make around $7,000, and most players are forced to take a second job. The staff assistant position with Cotton will probably pay substantially more, although staff assistants are among the lowest paid employees on Capitol Hill.
Before joining Cotton, Bailey also held an internship with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
A former Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) staffer has turned back to Congress this month after a two-and-a-half year stint in the private sector.
Don Bergin has joined the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as policy director and counsel. He will be serving under Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who chairs the subcommittee. This new position marks Bergin's return to the Hill after serving as a military legislative assistant and director of military, intelligence and foreign affairs for Turner from late 2010 until June 2013.
Bergin served with the U.S. Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom and became a congressional liaison for the Marine Corps in 2007. He left the Marine Corps in 2010 to take a brief role with Punaro Group as a national security consultant before joining Turner's office.
Bergin joins the Senate from North Carolina-based consulting firm, North Highland, where he worked as a senior consultant since early 2014. He also served as co-chair of the political organization Veterans for Tillis to support Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in his 2014 election bid.
A six-year congressional veteran has left Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) to take up residence with the Federation of American Hospitals.
Katie Wise had served as Buchanan's legislative director since late 2014 before taking a job with the FAH, an organization that lobbies the government on behalf of for-profit hospitals. Wise joined the organization this month as vice president of legislation.
Wise started her congressional career in mid-2009 as a staff assistant to former Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.). She became a legislative correspondent for Fallin in 2010 and moved to the office of Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) at the start of 2011 to become a legislative assistant. Wise became a senior legislative assistant for Fitzpatrick a year later, and graduated to his legislative director a year after that. She joined Buchanan's staff in early 2014 as policy director.
In her most recent role, Wise covered health care issues for Buchanan, who sits on the Health Subcommittee on the House Ways and Means Committee. According to their Facebook page, FAH hosted Buchanan in October to discuss issues facing hospitals.
We spend a large part of our days looking at data. Documents often come in by the dozens and hundreds. And while most are boring - how interesting can staring at a phone directory or salary records be, for example? - we find daily reasons for interest, amusement or even concern packed in the documents. So we are launching a new running feature that we call "Caught our Eye."
Longer than tweets but shorter than most blog posts, Caught our Eye items will bring back the interest in reviewing documents and researching people. Some items might bring hard, breaking news. Others will raise eyebrows and lead some into further inquiry. Others might be good for a joke or two around the water cooler. All will enlighten about the people or workings of Capitol Hill.
Caught our Eye items will be published each morning for LegiStorm Pro subscribers. Non-Pro site users will be able to receive the news items a few hours later. In addition to having immediate access to the news, LegiStorm Pro users will have a handy way to search and browse all past items.