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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.
A onetime chief counsel on the House Budget Committee and longtime lobbyist has registered to lobby for a charitable organization that has come under fire for connections to terrorist groups.
Wendell Belew worked in the House in 1976-1986 and his firm represents a variety of organizations, lobbying in the past decade for the Friends of Charities Association, Association of O&C Counties and Niitek Inc. He has now registered to lobby for the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammed al-Thani Charitable Foundation in Doha, Qatar, on NGO regulations and charity best practices.
The foundation has been linked with Hamas and was one of 36 funds declared as banned by Israel in 2008. U.S. officials have also accused one of its founding members of funneling millions of dollars to al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.
Belew has recently provided counsel to groups "unfairly accused of connections to extremism and terrorism," according to one biography.
The lobbying filing describes the foundation as an "international NGO providing relief and development assistance." The Peninsula in Qatar has reported on the organization's humanitarian aid to Gaza and the Gulf Times wrote this year on the group's Food Savings Bank that helps feed the needy.
"Currently, we are trying to reach all the needy people who live in Qatar through various ways. We are doing our best to provide them support," Eid Social Centre Manager Yousof al-Lawadi told the Gulf Times.
Rep. Mark Meadows' (R-N.C.) has hired a new chief of staff with a long background at the Family Research Council.
Paul Fitzpatrick is slated to come to the Hill next week in Meadows' office after about a year working as director of development at Freedom Partners, a free-markets association affiliated with the Koch brothers. But he built his career over two decades at FRC, where he served in various positions including vice president of strategic initiatives.
The Christian-right organization promotes family values issues and lobbies against abortion and gay marriage. FRC suffered a major blow this year when "19 Kids and Counting" star Josh Duggar resigned as executive director of the organization's lobbying arm following allegations of child molestation.
Fitzpatrick was not a registered lobbyist for the council, but FRC wrote that Fitzpatrick and his wife would be "sorely missed" when he left in 2014.
"Together, the Fitzpatricks have poured their hearts into building FRC (literally!) into one of the clearest voices for faith, family, and freedom in America."
The organization has also defended Meadows after he was stripped of his subcommittee chairmanship when he voted against a trade bill rule vote in June.
"Only in Congress can being a leader cost you a leadership job," FRC wrote.
Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) reversed course on the decision several days later.
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.