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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.

Advocacy group lobbies to reverse DEA classification

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Sept. 22, 2016

An advocacy group wants to (legally) unleash the kratom — a previously legal herbal drug just days away from being banned.

While the American Kratom Association claims the plant provides "increased energy, minor pain relief and many find relief from a variety of other mental and physical ailments," the DEA finds that the drug has "currently no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."

The herb is currently regulated as a supplement by the Food and Drug Administration, but, come Sept. 30, the Drug Enforcement Administration will classify the substance as a Schedule I drug, the same class as other illegal drugs.

The group is working with Upstream Consulting under brothers Mac Haddow, who served as a Utah state representative in the 1980s and a campaign manager to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and CEO John Haddow, who was legislative director to Hatch and health policy director of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee from the 1970s to 1990s.

Housing lobbyist returns to Hill as legislative director

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Sept. 21, 2016

Former lobbyist Hilary Gawrilow has made her first roundtrip through the revolving doors, now taking on the job of legislative director to Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.).

She was previously director of federal policy at the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the National Housing Trust and a legislative specialist at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Bethesda, Md. native started her Hill career in 2005, as a staff assistant for former Rep. Julia May Carson (D-Ind.), before becoming a legislative assistant to former Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)

Rep. McCollum scheduler/dog lover moves to NEA

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Sept. 20, 2016

After spending her entire post-undergraduate career working for Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Meredith Raimondi has been named director in the office of the chairman at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Raimondi's Hill career began upon graduation from George Washington University in 2009, when she picked up an internship with McCollum before quickly becoming the congresswoman's legislative correspondent. She had served as McCollum's scheduler since 2013.

When named to the Hill's 50 Most Beautiful list in 2014, the Minnesota native took the opportunity to share about her love of rescue dogs and her then-position as a director of Washington-based City Dogs Rescue.

Son of Rep. Meehan joins House Transportation

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Sept. 19, 2016

Jack Meehan has no excuses for not spending time with his father. The son of Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) recently joined the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as a Republican staff assistant.

The congressman served on the committee until joining the Ways and Means Committee last year. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), a fellow Pennsylvania Republican, currently chairs the Transportation Committee.

Jack graduated with a BA in political science from Wake Forest University this year.

Rep. Connolly LD moves to healthcare advocacy

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Sept. 16, 2016

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) has lost his top legislative aide of 10 years — longer than Connolly's been in Congress.

Connolly legislative director Dominic Bonaiuto has joined Inova Health System, a multibillion-dollar health organization on the outskirts of Washington, as director of advocacy and community outreach.

Connolly, then chair of the Fairfax County, Va. Board of Supervisors, recruited Bonaiuto, then an editor at the Fairfax County (Va.) Times, as his chief of staff in 2006. After, Bonaiuto served as the congressman's legislative director since his 2009 inauguration. 

Collin Davenport, previously Connolly's legislative assistant, replaces Bonaiuto as the office's legislative director. 

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.