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Ex-Senate ethics lawyer takes clients in Senate probes

Posted by LegiStorm on June 3, 2016

A staff counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Ethics has left government for private practice where she is now representing clients in investigations by her former employer, the U.S. Senate.

Anna Carole Stolarz left Capitol Hill for Nossaman LLP's Public Policy Practice Group in May. Her law firm bio indicates that she "represents clients in investigations conducted by the U.S. Senate and state attorneys general on a variety of matters." In addition to providing counsel for clients ensnared in Senate investigations, the law firm's new associate will also be advising officeholders, corporations, organizations and advocacy groups on matters of campaign finance, administrative laws and a range of government ethics issues.

Stolarz brings nearly four years of experience as committee counsel, where she advised members and Senate employees on aspects of the Senate Code of Official Conduct, Ethics in Government Act, Honest Leadership and Open Government Act and the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. 

She received her law degree from Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and her B.A. from University of North Texas.  

Mikulski staffer heads for defense giant

Posted by LegiStorm on June 2, 2016

A legislative assistant to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has left Capitol Hill for defense contractor Harris Corp.

Kelley Powell managed a portfolio of various defense policy and appropriations issues for the senior senator. Her new title is manager of government relations for Harris, the communications company and defense contractor. Harris is the maker of controversial wireless surveillance technology, including the StingRay, which has been the subject of multiple court battles in the past few years over the legality and warrant requirements governing its use.

Powell held a variety of positions in the senator's office including legislative correspondent, since her start as an intern for Mikulski in 2008. Prior to joining Mikulski's office, Kelley worked for the Obama campaign. In 2008, she was deputy field organizer for West Philadelphia and St. Joseph's University, where she graduated in 2011. Powell is now pursuing a law degree from Catholic University.

Ex-staffer back on Hill after a decade absence

Posted by LegiStorm on June 1, 2016

Laura McAleer is back on Capitol Hill working for Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) as senior defense adviser after a decade away as a lobbyist and in the military.

McAleer has more than 15 years experience in defense programming and national security policy working on the Hill and in the Pentagon. She was lead strategic planner and policy adviser to Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) in Germany. She's also worked in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy and was a visiting scholar at the U.S. Army War College. In 2013, she did a short stint at G2G Consulting LLC, where she lobbied for a dozen clients.

Prior to the defense work, she was a staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was foreign policy and national security adviser to Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) on the Senate Appropriations and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Before that she worked for Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Aurora theater shooting victim staffs gun-bill sponsor Schumer

Posted by LegiStorm on May 31, 2016

As Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pushes new legislation on universal background checks, he has a fierce advocate in his office who happened to be a victim of the Aurora theater shooting.

After graduating from Syracuse in 2012, Stephen Barton and his best friend embarked on a cross-country bicycling trip. On June 20 they were in Aurora, Colo., attending the midnight premier of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises".

Barton, then 22, was shot in the head when James Holmes opened fire in the crowded theater killing 12 and injuring more than 70 others.

"I was hit in the head and torso by a shotgun blast before I had fully realized what was happening. I fell forward into the aisle and listened to the steady report of a semi-automatic rifle as warm blood rushed out of my neck and through my fingers," Barton detailed in a 2013 article in Syracuse University Magazine.

"I thought I was going to die, but I didn't feel ready at all."

Barton deferred his Fulbright scholarship to focus on his recovery and then began reaching out to gun violence advocacy groups including New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

"I began to place my brush with death in greater context by reading about the staggering amount of gun violence in America. What was once a totally peripheral issue to me had suddenly become the focus of my waking hours," he wrote in the 2013 article.

Barton began working for New York City Mayor Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns advocacy group.

"My job has since taken me many places, including New York City Hall, the White House, Congress, and various state capitols", he wrote. "I have met hundreds of survivors and family members of victims of gun violence from all walks of life, and we have worked together to transform our tragedy into advocacy."

Barton joined Schumer's staff in January as a special assistant. The senator has enlisted his comedian cousin Amy Schumer to help fight for legislation strengthening gun control laws.

Rep. Harris jazzes it up, hires recording artist

Posted by LegiStorm on May 26, 2016
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) has brought on a new staff assistant last month: professional jazz guitarist Drew Davidsen.

Davidsen has spent the last eight years touring and recording original contemporary smooth jazz. The Towson, Md. native has received a slew of musical awards and nominations. He was named Honoree at the 2011 Baltimore Jazz Awards and named one of the "Top 10 Hottest New Guitarists June 2008" by Guitar Player Magazine.

Rep. Harris appears to be a fan.

"Driving in a car with Congressman Andy Harris down 95 south listening to my song 95 south," Davidsen posted on social media earlier this week.

Of course, this new jazz man on the Hill has more to offer than just his musical chops. His repertoire includes years of working as a health, wellness and life coach and transformation specialist. He says after losing more than 120 pounds he became devoted to helping others "achieve all they can with their own creativity/health/wellness."

Davidsen has been especially interested in helping touring musicians like himself overcome the many challenges of life on the road.

He also serves on the board for Ghanian Mothers' Hope, a non-profit organization devoted to empowering future African leaders through the building and implementation of education and health programs and infrastructure.

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.