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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:

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  • 19 new trips to our privately funded travel database
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  • 51791 new tweets
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Democrats still shying away from town hall events

by Washington Free Beacon on 04/11/2016

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 J. Todd Foster on March 23, 2016

Owen Dodd, the nephew of former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), has joined Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) as his legislative correspondent.

Dodd was a government affairs associate at Capitol Strategies Group for one year before joining Larson and interned for former Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in 2011-12.

He earned his master's in international relations and affairs from New School in 2013 and a bachelor's in U.S. history and anthropology from the University of Montana in 2005.

Owen Dodd's great uncle was the late Sen. Thomas J. Dodd, Chris Dodd's father and a Connecticut Democrat who served from 1959-71. His aunt, Jackie Clegg Dodd, the wife of former Sen. Chris Dodd, worked briefly as a legislative aide last year for the Senate Democratic Conference Committee. Owen Dodd's cousin, Abbey Dodd, is a former lobbyist for Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand and is now a senior manager at Campbell Soup Co. 

Posted by LegiStorm on March 22, 2016

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has hired a decorated fighter pilot to be his new military legislative assistant.

Air Force Maj. Beau Diers, an F-16 fighter pilot, served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Libya and South Korea and in 2013 received the Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault Award for outstanding aerial warfare tacticians.

A third-generation pilot (Diers' grandfather flew as a civilian and his father still does), Diers graduated from Fremont (Neb.) High School in 1999 and then Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2003. He was a weapons instructor at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., before joining Cotton's staff recently.

Cotton currently chairs the Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee.

Posted by J. Todd Foster on March 21, 2016

A congressman's daughter has been hired by the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Taylor Trott, daughter of freshman Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.), is the newest legislative assistant on the committee's Health Subcommittee. She is not a novice to the political world. She previously interned with the same subcommittee under former Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and current Chairman Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio). The Birmingham, Mich., native also volunteered on her father's campaign in 2014.

Rep. Trott is not a member of the Ways and Means Committee or any of its subcommittees.

Emily Schillinger, committee communications director, emailed LegiStorm that Taylor Trott was the most qualified applicant. 

"From August of 2015 to February 2016, Taylor Trott served as an unpaid intern for the Health Subcommittee and proved to be a valuable member of our team," Schillinger said. "Throughout her internship, Taylor demonstrated her strong work ethic, wonderful attitude and impressive understanding of policies handled by the Health Subcommittee. When the subcommittee decided to hire a full-time legislative assistant (an entry level position at our committee), Taylor was interviewed along with several other candidates. Taylor's experience, positive attitude, strong skills, and proven ability to work well with our team made her by far the best qualified candidate. We are now thrilled to have her on our team on a permanent basis."

Trott earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and studied abroad in Paris.

Posted by J. Todd Foster on March 18, 2016

Hillary Clinton is slated to speak at AIPAC's annual policy conference, which begins this weekend. Her Democratic opponent, Bernie Sanders, is not.

That relative level of interest in the country is shown in privately financed travel records. During her eight-year tenure as a New York senator, Clinton approved nine trips to Israel, including two for herself, for a grand total of $57,569.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) has approved 49 trips but none to Israel, according to records publicly available for the past 16 years of his Senate tenure.

Sanders, who is the only Jewish candidate for president, lived on a kibbutz for several months in 1964 and in his own words, has visited Israel on "a couple of occasions." Sanders is still the only candidate to not be confirmed as a speaker for the conference. A petition urges him not to attend in the interest of an Israel-Palestinian peace deal.

Clinton is a more natural ally to AIPAC. One of Clinton's approved trips for her senior defense and foreign policy adviser, Andrew Shapiro, was paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation. The AIEF is the 501(c)3 charity foundation for AIPAC, which has spent nearly $98 million on 41,367 trips since January 2000.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went on one trip personally and approved two others for staffers. The trips all were sponsored by Secure America Now and cost $56,124. The Texas junior senator also traveled to Helsinki, Kiev, Tallinn and Warsaw during that trip.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump made headlines when he announced his plan to skip a planned Fox News debate on Monday to address the conference. The move prompted Ohio Gov. John Kasich to also withdraw and eventually forced Fox News to cancel the event.

The AIPAC Policy Conference is billed as the largest gathering of America's pro-Israel community, with more than 15,000 pro-Israel Americans and more than two-thirds of Congress expected to attend. Tablet Magazine calls the conference "the Jewish equivalent to the Oscars or the Grammys - the big, buzzy annual event everyone talks about before it happens and gossips about afterward."


Posted by Nate Hoffman on March 17, 2016

The Hill was all atwitter after President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by Judge Antonin Scalia's passing. Garland is the chief judge on the D.C. Circuit's U.S. Court of Appeals. 

Here's a sampling of what the politicos had to say on Twitter:

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.)

"It's time 4 @SenateMajLdr & his @GOP colleagues 2 stop taking orders from @reaDonaldTrump & debate merits of Judge Garland's career #SCOTUS"

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)

"While President has the right to nominate a #SCOTUS candidate, the Senate has an equally important right to confirm/not confirm the nominee."

Dan Riffle, senior legislative assistant, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)

"Awful. SCOTUS doesn't decide guilt or innocence. What it does do is ensure the Constitution is followed. Technically"

Jessica Seale, digital director, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)

"WaPo gives Dem claims on SCOTUS 3 Pinocchios"

Neel Pender, field and business outreach director, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

"The fallacy of McConnell's logic is hiding behind campaign season. Well no, you have 8 months: do your job or stop drawing a salary. #scotus"

Alex Siciliano, communications director, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

"Biden in 1992: Delay SCOTUS nominee until after election #copolitics"

Caroline Behringer, Democratic communications director, House Ways and Means Committee

"Do people who say that the American people should have a say in the #SCOTUS choice believe that Obama wasn't democratically elected?"

Nathan Cox, constituent services representative, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.)

"@Aaron_RS @NathanWurtzel trading a 4-year presidential term for a 45 year old conservative lifetime appt to SCOTUS isn't a bad deal for us"

Adam Jentleson, deputy chief of staff for communications, Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center

"Supreme Court nomination fight: Republican blockade showing cracks - POLITICO"

Drew Brandewie, communications director, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)

"Question for the White House today: was Judge Garland the first person the President offered the appointment to?"


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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.