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LegiStorm is constantly adding new information on the people, places and reports in our database. In the past week, LegiStorm added:

  • 54 new people
  • 108 new organizations
  • 70 new photos
  • 324 job history records for people in our database
  • 108 education records for people in our database
  • 158 contact addresses, emails and URLs (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
  • 13 new people through the revolving door
  • 130 new policy reports
  • 19 new trips to our privately funded travel database
  • 40 new personal financial disclosures
  • 36882 new tweets
  • 2654 new press releases
  • 52 new town halls
  • 8 new hearings


Caught Our Eye items are posted daily. LegiStorm Pro subscribers have access to all posts a few hours before other users, and are also able to search the full Caught Our Eye archive. Log in as a LegiStorm Pro user or learn more about subscribing.

Posted by Steve Shapiro on Oct. 13, 2015
It must feel like Groundhog Day in the office of Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas). She just brought on a new chief of staff making him the fifth person to hold that title this year.

Bill Zito has replaced Darin Gardner, who left the office one month after replacing Steve Ruhlen. Ruhlen, in turn, also left after a several-week stint from July to August. Overall, Granger has had three chiefs of staff since July and five since the start of 2015. Matt Leffingwell had served as her chief of staff since 2012 but departed in January of this year. His position was filled by Shannon Meade who stayed until July when she was replaced by Ruhlen.

Bill Zito joins Granger after serving for two years as the deputy chief of staff for Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) since late 2013. He began his Hill career as an U.S. Army congressional fellow in 2012.

The turnover rate for other top office positions is not much better. Granger's current legislative director, Corey Inglee, took over from Jonathan Blyth in September who had only held the position for six months.

Granger has also gone through four schedulers this year. Her current scheduler, Nathan Zapf, has held the position for less than a month, taking over from Laura Kennedy who was onboard from June until August. She in turn took over from Brenan Tjelmeland when he left after six months. Since 2014, Granger's office has had eight schedulers.

Communications directors also come and go with some frequency. Ted Monoson left as Granger's communication director this month after joining in June. His departure marks the third this year after Steven Dutton and Todd Winer.

Posted by LegiStorm on Oct. 12, 2015
Caught our Eye is taking a break for Columbus Day. We will return Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Posted by Steve Shapiro on Oct. 9, 2015

Rep. Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) decision to drop out of the speakership race moments before the GOP vote shocked political observers and Congress alike. Twitter did not take kindly.

Throughout the day, tweets from congressional staffers gradually shifted from initial surprise to tolerant cynicism, eventually culminating in House of Cards references and nominations for Brett Favre and Don Rickles as the next speaker.

Spencer Pederson, legislative assistant, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)

"WHAT THE ACTUAL FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF is going on in the House right now?"

Nicole Hager, staff assistant, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)

"It's days like today that I'm sad I don't work on the house side."

Jason Botelho, media relations coordinator, Senate Sergeant at Arms - Capitol Division

"Wait, so Kevin McCarthy met with the Pope yesterday???"  

Natalie Krings, communications director, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

"Safe to assume productivity has dropped significantly on Capitol Hill in the last 30 minutes. #McCarthy #House #speakersrace"

J.P. Freire, communications director, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)

"Man, House Republicans won't even let Speaker Boehner resign."

Kim Conrad, legislative correspondent, Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.)

"McCarthy: 'I don't want to get 220 votes...We've got to be 100% united.' Good. F---ing. Luck."

Dante Atkins, press secretary, Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.)

"Everyone thought McCarthy was unbeatable. But then we created the Benghazi Select Committee, and look where his Speaker chances are now"

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)

"Music blaring in House gym "Another one bites the dust" as some of my GOP colleagues exercise. I suggested they consider another song."

Jason Galanes, deputy chief of staff/communications director, Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.)

"Surprise of McCarthy dropping out of Speaker race on level of @HouseofCards metro scene with Zoe. Hopefully not as equally foreshadowing"

Aaron S. Fritschner, staff assistant, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.)

"Urgent alert: there were other artistic portrayals of political machinations before Game of Thrones and House of Cards. Some are... better?"

Matt Wainwright, district representative, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.)

"@HouseGOP can't find anyone to be Speaker. Sounds like a job for an immigrant... #SpeakerSchwarzenegger #hellbeback"  

Jason Gagnon, communications director, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.)

"We need a constitutional amendment clarifying the Speaker MUST be a member of the House. It would eliminate half the nonsense in my feed."

Brian Rell, chief of staff, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.)

"Political irony: the only thing standing between a new Speaker vs continuation of Boehner as Speaker is House Freedom Caucus" 

Ric Andersen, second assistant superintendent, House Press Gallery

"Anything new going on in the House?"




Posted by Steve Shapiro on Oct. 8, 2015

Rep. Jan Schakowsky's (D-Ill.) search for a new staffer this month has led her down J Street.

Schakowsky hired former J Street lobbyist Shannon Kellman to be her legislative assistant. Kellman had been working for J Street since late last year. During her time at the self-described "pro-Israel pro-peace" group, she lobbied Congress on issues relating to the Iran nuclear deal, boycott and divestment movement against Israel and American aid to Israel and Palestine. J Street has recently come out in favor of the Iran deal while their less reconciliatory counterpart, AIPAC, has been staunchly opposed.

Kellman joined J Street after leaving the office of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) shortly before his retirement in January 2015. She had been with Levin since 2013, first working as a staff assistant and then as a legislative correspondent. Kellman had also previously served as an intern for the House Democratic Caucus in 2006.

Schakowsky has received support from J Street in recent years and even caused a minor fracas in March when she addressed a conference hosted by the firm. She was criticized for remarks that some commenters interpreted as negative towards Orthodox Jews. Both she and Levin have come out in support of the Iran deal.

Posted by LegiStorm on Oct. 7, 2015

An aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) left his office last month to work for an organization looking after millions of cases ... of beer.

Zuzy Zvarova joined the National Beer Wholesalers Association last month as a federal affairs assistant. She had been working for Leahy as an assistant to his chief of staff, John Dowd, since 2014 and served as a staff assistant in the office for the year prior. Zvarova also started her Hill career as an intern with Leahy in 2011 before rejoining the office after graduating from the University of Vermont in 2013.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association serves as an advocacy and lobbying organization for independent beer distributors. The Alexandria, Va.-based trade association most recently lobbied on a variety of alcohol regulation issues, including the Small BREW Act. The senior Vermont senator is a co-sponsor of the bill, which was referred to the Senate Finance Committee in February, would reduce the rate of the excise tax for certain qualified domestic brewers.

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About Caught Our Eye:

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.