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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:

  • 48 new people
  • 14 new organizations
  • 132 new photos
  • 463 job history records for people in our database
  • 100 education records for people in our database
  • 307 contact addresses, emails and URLs (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
  • 4 new people through the revolving door
  • 16863 new policy reports
  • 19 new trips to our privately funded travel database
  • 19 new personal financial disclosures
  • 64645 new tweets
  • 3141 new press releases
  • 105 new town halls
  • 23 new hearings
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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 Sean Myers on Feb. 12, 2016

A new staffer for Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) has a distinguished military background, which she shared with her identical twin sister.

Vanessa Hicks-Callaway and sister Jennifer Hicks-McGowan joined the Army in 1987 after graduating from Victoria High School in Texas. They intended to take advantage of the GI Bill and go to college but ended up staying in the Army and serving in the Middle East.

Hicks-Callaway served 23 of her 26 years in the Army on active duty and earned a litany of awards and decorations, including a Bronze Star, and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. She served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Following her ambitions to one day run for political office, Hicks-Callaway starts in Congress as Farenthood's constituent liaison in his Victoria district office. Her sister, who also retired as a lieutenant colonel, is a professor of military science at Jackson State University.

Posted by Sean Myers on Feb. 11, 2016

The staff of Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) has added another member to its military-centered roster.

Kurt Freshley, a four-year veteran of the Marine Corps, will be the 11th member of Daines' staff with a military bent. With Freshley's hire, one-quarter of Daines' staff of 44 has a military-based role or experience in the armed forces.

Freshley will join fellow Marine Nate Adams, a former captain and Operation Enduring Freedom veteran; Army veterans Denny Lenoir, Bill Hilshey and Robin Baker; U.S. Air Force Congressional Fellow Ben Johnson; Cari Kent, a chief master sergeant with more than 30 years in the Air Force; and Jim Korth, a Navy submarine hunter in the 1970s. Daines' office also has several civilians who focus on military issues. They include veterans liaison Gilda Clancy as well as Meghan Marino, senior policy adviser, and Spenser Merwin, field representative, both of whom focus on military, defense and veterans issues.

Daines does not himself have a military background but is a member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that handles defense.

Posted by Sean Myers on Feb. 10, 2016

A longtime staff member for retired Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Col.) has returned — again — to the Hill from a prolonged hiatus.

MacArthur "Mac" Zimmerman is the new chief of staff for Rep. Ken Buck (R-Col.) following a seven-year absence from Congress.

The story of Zimmerman's exodus from politics is like a soap opera. After Zimmerman climbed the ranks of Tancredo's staff over nine years, the congressman retired. Zimmerman returned home to Colorado and joined the campaign of Republican candidate Scott McInnis in the 2010 Colorado gubernatorial election. Tancredo, however, came out of retirement to run against McInnis and publicly demanded his opponent drop out amid a plagiarism scandal. With only weeks before the Republican primary, Zimmerman and two other staffers jumped from McInnis' doomed campaign. Tancredo, having missed the filing deadline to join the Republicans, ran as a Constitutional Party candidate and eventually lost to the Democratic challenger and now Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Zimmerman waited until 2014 to return to politics, this time as a lobbyist for Americans for Prosperity.

After a stint on K Street, Zimmerman passed through the revolving door this month, returning to Capitol Hill to become Buck's chief of staff, resuming his old role in the office of a Colorado representative.

Posted by Sean Myers on Feb. 9, 2016

A political mystery man with an unfathomable portfolio of super PACs is now lobbying Congress against MetLife's business practices — and to be installed as president of Haiti.

Floridian Josue Larose stormed onto the political scene in 2009 when he formed the American Federal Lobbying Firm and registered 60 previously unheard-of clients as super PACs across nearly every business and industrial sector.

Larose's latest filings urge Congress to take action against MetLife for alleged business fraud surrounding the lack of payment of death benefits and to make him Haiti's president.

Larose's recent lobbying filings are as diverse and odd as his history in political fundraising. Larose's super PACs have raised very little money — most of them have made none — yet Larose continues to file quarterly reports, keep up with paperwork and respond to Federal Election Commission queries. Larose also constantly changes the super PACs' names without regard to their messages: One PAC alone has changed from the United States Civil Engineers Federal PAC to the Federal PAC of the Gubernatorial Candidate Josue Larose, to the United States Presidential Dinners Fund Committee, to the White House Federal PAC, to the Obama Biden 2012 Presidential Reelection Fund Committee, to the Bank of America Customers Super PAC.

The intention behind all these machinations remains unclear because Larose avoids the spotlight. No one seems to know where he derives his self-proclaimed "billionaire" status. He did tell the Fort Lauderdale newspaper Sun Sentinel in 2009, "I just want to give everybody a voice."

He has filed to run in several federal elections, including as a Republican for president in 2016. His super PACs include the names Billionaire Josue Larose's Female Catholic Priests Committee, Billionaire Josue Larose's Misses of Beauty Committee and the Florida Intellectual Elites Political Committee.

In 2012, MetLife agreed to pay nearly half a billion dollars for its alleged failure to pay death benefits to heirs. Haiti is in turmoil following President Michel Martelly's recent resignation amid corruption charges. An interim president will be installed until new elections can be held April 24.

One of Larose's latest filings, on Feb. 2, stated: "American Federal Lobbying Firm will lobby the White House, United States Department of State, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and State Secretary John Kerry in favor of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce of America President Josue Larose to put him as the President of Haiti on February 07, 2016 for a period of one year to organize the next Presidential Election of Haiti during the Month of December 2016."

 

Posted by Sean Myers on Feb. 8, 2016

The number of former congressional staff members filing as new lobbyists during 2015 was the highest since 2011.

The most recent lobbying filings show that 471 congressional staffers made the trip through the revolving door over the course of 2015. Of them, 207 worked on the Democratic side of the aisle, and 256 for Republicans. The final eight worked for independents or worked in unaffiliated or bipartisan roles.

In 2011, when the Democratic Party lost control of the Hill, 586 staffers become lobbyists. Since LegiStorm started recording revolving door numbers in 2002, the record for congressional staffers leaving for K Street is 763, which happened in 2007, when Democrats took control of the House.

Revolving door numbers tend to spike in off-election years. The number of congressional staffers becoming lobbyists has averaged 545 in off-election years and drops to an average of 393 in election years. 

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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.