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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.

Facebook snags Democratic subcommittee director

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on March 6, 2018

A subcommittee minority director is finishing up her last week with the House Homeland Security Committee before joining Facebook's public-policy team.

Erica Woods has served as the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee's Democratic director since 2016. The Tennessee native soon joins Facebook as a public policy associate manager.

The social-networking giant disclosed more than $13 million spent last year to lobby the federal government on a host of issues, from immigration reform to data security to North American Free Trade Agreement.

In Rep. Hastings' office, his girlfriend is the big breadwinner

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on March 5, 2018

In almost all Capitol Hill offices, the chief of staff is the highest paid staffer. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) has two chiefs of staff, but neither one is his highest paid. Instead, it's his girlfriend, who for a decade has made at or near the maximum allowable salary in his Broward County office as a district deputy director, a title that often is paid a fraction of that amount.

The girlfriend, Patricia Williams, who the office says has recently been promoted to a district director, is the only member of Hastings' staff to receive the maximum salary of $168,411. His district chief of staff, Art Kennedy, made $167,910, while D.C. chief of staff Lale Morrison made $150,800 for her work both in the congressman's personal office and on the House Rules Committee. 

House Ethics rules, based on federal law, "generally" prohibit members from hiring and promoting legal relatives but do not extend the prohibition to non-married partners. Williams would be able to continue her employment with Hastings' office if the two were to marry. Ethics rules "prohibit a Member from retaining a spouse in a paid position" except "in the case of a spouse whose pertinent employment predates the [107th] Congress," which ran from 2001 to 2003. 

Williams has worked for the congressman since 1993.

Rep. Adam Smith adds Monument lobbyist

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on March 2, 2018

A Monument Policy Group lobbyist starts next week as Rep. Adam Smith's (D-Wash.) newest legislative assistant.

Connor Stubbs most recently worked as Monument's director of government relations. He joined the firm in 2015 and lobbied on behalf of heavy-hitting clients including Shell, Microsoft and Amazon.

Stubbs will handle Smith's family, education, energy, Native American and health portfolios.

Ex-Rep. Boustany registers as Chinese and Turkish agent

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on March 1, 2018

Former Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) has begun his first work as an agent on behalf of two foreign governments: China and Turkey.

As a partner at Capitol Counsel, Boustany is helping the U.S.-China Transpacific Foundation with a program, sponsored by the Chinese government, that will pay for travel to China by congressional members and staff, according to a recent Justice Department disclosure. The UCTPF is a non-profit group that aims to strengthen U.S.-Chinese business relationships.

Boustany is also working on behalf of the government of Turkey, via Capitol Counsel and Greenberg Traurig, to "provide counsel in connection with strengthening the Turkish-American relationship, including facilitating discussion on legislation of interest to Turkey, and educating government officials on issues of importance to Turkey," according to a separate DOJ filing.

Rep. Costa adds First Amendment advocate

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Feb. 28, 2018

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has lost an advocate to the office of Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.).

Jared Feldman now works as Costa's legislative counsel handling a wide range of legislative issues for the congressman, including taxes, education and Judiciary issues.

He was most recently special counsel on state legislation and advocacy at Americans United and previously worked as vice president and Washington director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. He did not register as a federal lobbyist during his tenure at either nonprofit.

Americans United last year disclosed more than $440,000 spent lobbying the federal government mainly on issues of education, health care and taxation.

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.