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A national law firm that lobbies on issues ranging from defense to banking has hired a former Hill scheduler and director of operations as a legislative analyst.
Ivana Brancaccio has two years of experience in Congress with Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) and most recently Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.). She joined Kutak Rock LLP, which has lobbied for years for clients such as West Gate Bank, cities and townships in several states and Satellite Communications for Learning Inc.
Brancaccio also has experience interning for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and as a media monitor and researcher for the Nevada State Democratic Party. She has a 2012 bachelor's in international relations and affairs from American University.
With at least 12 telephone town hall events scheduled in the upcoming days and months, members of Congress expressed concern during a Tuesday hearing that the Federal Communications Commission was limiting their ability to reach constituents with telephone town halls.
A misunderstanding about existing robocall restrictions to cell phones sparked questions from lawmakers Tuesday. LegiStorm has tracked 310 telephone town halls in the last year alone, which represented 11.4 percent of a total 2,718 events.
In-person town halls make up the vast majority of the events - 79 percent in the last year - though telephone town halls can be difficult to track when they are announced only by robocall to constituents. LegiStorm monitors thousands of sources - tweets, press releases, newsletters, legislator web sites and unofficial sources - to collect town hall data.
Roll Call reported after the hearing that telephone town halls were effectively banned. But at least one vendor, Tele-Town Hall LLC, clarified Wednesday that the rule against auto-dialing cell phone numbers is long-standing and the company dials cell numbers only if a constituent opts into the call.
FCC spokesman Will Wiquist said Wednesday the restrictions are not new and have been in place since 1991. Although Wiquist said the FCC can't speak to the practices of companies managing the calls, he said many likely scrub their lists to ensure they are calling only landlines.
"As long as vendors for tele-town halls continue to adhere to the decades-old rules, use of these services should pose no issue," he said by email.
Members of Congress are marking town hall milestones and making plans at restaurants, libraries and churches with constituents ahead of the August recess.
During the August recess, Republicans will continue their more than 2-to-1 dominance in town hall meetings this year, with 452 scheduled for Democrats and 1,221 for Republicans in 2015. House Republicans have scheduled 56 town halls through early September compared to Democrats' 18, according to LegiStorm tracking so far. Many more town halls are expected to be announced over the coming weeks.
LegiStorm monitors thousands of sources for town hall information and tracks events in which the member of Congress is a direct participant in person, online, on the phone or on the radio.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) marks a special occasion Aug. 5 at a noon town hall in Larned - it will be his 300th town hall event. Other members plan to discuss the Iran nuclear deal, federal budget, economy and security as well as veterans' issues at town halls across the country.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) also has unusual plans for a week after recess, with a light rail town hall scheduled on the W Line in Lakewood for Sept. 14. He plans to discuss transportation and infrastructure issues during the "commuting with your congressman" event.
As billionaire Donald Trump surges in the 2016 presidential polls, Capitol Hill is obsessed, at least as measured by the tweets about him.
Trump has garnered 903 Twitter mentions from the Hill this month as he questioned Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) war hero status and took the lead in national polls. Only Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton comes close to his congressional Twitter numbers, with 574 mentions so far in July and no other candidate breaking 200.
These are the candidates, in order of Hill Twitter mentions:
1. Donald Trump: 903
2. Hillary Clinton: 574
3. Ted Cruz: 187
4. Bernie Sanders: 182
5. Scott Walker: 179
6. Lindsey Graham: 150
7. Jeb Bush: 147
8. Marco Rubio: 127
9. Rand Paul: 52
10. John Kasich: 39
11. Rick Perry: 32
12. Mike Huckabee: 29
13. Chris Christie: 26
14. Martin O'Malley: 23
15. Ben Carson: 19
16. Jim Webb: 13
16. Bobby Jindal: 13
18. Carly Fiorina: 12
19. Rick Santorum: 11
20: George Pataki: 4
21. Lincoln Chafee: 3
These are the top tweets on Twitter favorite Trump so far this month:
"Campaign manager to Donald Trump: 'Wait. You spent how much on that hat?' Trump: 'A million dollars' Camp.mgr: 'How much.' Trump: 'A dollar'"
"Anyone have Donald Trump's cell #? Asking for a friend."
"I've been referring to Donald Trump as future God Emperor. I think that's the AP Style."
"John McCain and Donald Trump is really a tale of two very different hotels."
"Look, if Trump doesn't send me a single email asking for money, I may just have to vote for him."
Lyft Inc. has made another pick-up on Capitol Hill in its challenge to competing ride-sharing service Uber and confrontation with traditional taxi companies.
Lauren Belive started as federal government relations manager in June after leaving the House Rules Committee, where she served as Democratic policy director. Lyft earlier this year hired a staffer with the Senate Legislative Counsel and has at least one other former congressional staffer on its team, Chelsea Wilson who started last year after working for Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.).
The company has lobbied this year on issues including removing barriers to ride-sharing and insurance requirements, data security and privacy. None of the three former staffers has yet filed lobbying registrations for Lyft.
Belive, whose husband Jeff Zubricki works as a director at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. after leaving the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, got her first job in Congress with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2007. She has worked since 2012 with the Rules Committee.
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.