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Obama makes a deal, Congress goes to constituents on Iran

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on July 17, 2015

As President Barack Obama begins his sales pitch to Congress on this week's nuclear deal, members on both sides are hosting town halls related to Iran and the agreement.

LegiStorm tracked three town halls this year before Tuesday explicitly mentioning Iran in either the announcement before the event or update afterward. Since, three Republicans have scheduled telephone town halls on the subject and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) has a forum on the nuclear agreement set for Sunday in West Hartford.

Larson said the agreement is "historic" and he will be reviewing the deal in the coming days.

"This is a tremendous step towards peace in the region, but it does not diminish the need for vigilance in the coming days. Iran still retains a troubling human rights record and remains a major destabilizing force in the Middle East," the event announcement said. "While this agreement is an extraordinary accomplishment, the United States must continue to push for wider reforms on a variety of issues."

In April, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) scheduled a town hall in Norwalk focused on the negotiations, followed by two Republican telephone halls. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) held one on immigration, Iran and national debt issues April 30 and Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) hosted a telephone town hall May 7 from Jerusalem.

"I have been on the ground to discuss the threat of Iran's nuclear program first-hand with Israeli leaders and senior military officials, and I would like to share the important work I am doing on your behalf, as well as get your feedback," he said in the event's description.

Since the agreement, Reps. Steve Russell (R-Okla.), Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) and Mark Walker (R-N.C.) have also hosted telephone town halls, according to LegiStorm data. They discussed a variety of issues, including the Iran deal, health care, the debt, international trade, tax reform and BP oil spill settlement.

LegiStorm monitors a variety of sources for town hall information, and only tracks town halls where the member is a direct participant online, on the phone or in person.

Senate Budget staffer takes appropriations knowledge to lobbying world

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on July 16, 2015

A Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) legislative staffer and budget analyst on the Senate Budget Committee has picked up her first lobbying clients after leaving the Hill earlier this year.

Lauren Overman served for seven years for Murray and gained extensive knowledge on appropriations and budgeting, taking it with her to lobby now for her clients on similar issues. She has registered to lobby for cities and city departments in her home state of Washington as well as on other issues for the Student Assistance Foundation and Voith Hydro Inc. as part of her job as senior federal relations associate for Strategies 360.

In addition to appropriations, Overman worked on foreign affairs, immigration, transportation, housing and banking issues, according to her S360 profile. She has a bachelor's in international affairs and political science from George Washington University.

Lobbyist for coastal towns switches to Cartwright's office

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on July 15, 2015

A lobbyist on coastal and environmental issues for local municipalities across several states has started in legislative work for Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.).

Daniel Greene first registered to lobby in 2014 for Marlowe and Co. LLC as a public policy fellow and has lobbied this year as senior public affairs adviser with Warwick Group Consultants LLC. He has joined Cartwright's office as legislative fellow.

Greene lobbied this year for communities in Florida, California, New Jersey and North and South Carolina, including Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as well as the Grand Strand Coastal Alliance. He is from Georgia and also has experience in disaster response after Iowa's 2008 flood and with Habitat for Humanity.

Greene has a bachelor's in political science and public policy and an MPP in budget and finance from George Washington University.


House Foreign Affairs staffer finds new home at AIPAC

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on July 14, 2015

He's studied abroad in Haifa, Israel, reported on the impact of international issues on the Jewish community and worked on Middle Eastern policy in the House.

Now, staffer Robert Lattin has moved again, this time into the pro-Israel advocacy arena.

Lattin got his congressional start in 2013 with the House Foreign Affairs Committee as a staff assistant, rising to policy analyst and deputy communications director. He switched to the AIPAC this month to serve as assistant director of communications.

While with the House, Lattin wrote remarks for ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), worked with reporters and covered a range of policy areas, according to his LinkedIn page. His new job takes him to an organization with a long-powerful presence on Capitol Hill that has sponsored several trips to Israel for Engel and his staff.



Republican lawmakers double Democrats in town halls in the first half of 2015

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on July 13, 2015

Republican members of Congress continue to trounce Democrats in the contest to host the most town hall meetings, more than doubling Democratic numbers in the first six months of this year.

Lawmakers have hosted 1,335 town halls so far this year, including 945 by Republican members through the end of June and 385 by Democrats, according to LegiStorm data. The figure includes town halls tracked on social media, websites and news articles where the member was a direct participant, either in person, on the phone or online.

Senate Republicans have hosted an average of 3.4 town halls to Democrats' 1.7 during the first six months of 2015. The ratio is similar in the House, with 3.1 town halls on average per Republican and 1.6 per Democrat.

Republican lawmakers also took eight of the top 10 slots for most town halls hosted in the first half of the year. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) leads with 62 town halls, followed by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) with 41, according to LegiStorm tracking.

This year's score for Republicans versus Democrats so far mirrors a past trend; Republicans hosted 1,751 town halls to Democrats' 990 last year.


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.