The Delegation for 8.02.17 — Insights from the Beltway to the Sunshine State
The US Capitol in Washington D.C.

The US Capitol

Some in delegation call for harsher sanctions against Nicolas Maduro

Despite the threat of harsh sanctions from the U.S. government, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro went ahead with what many called “sham” elections. The diplomatic term was “contentious.”

President Donald Trump and his administration moved swiftly to impose sanctions on Maduro by freezing his assets in the United States. The Trump administration is now labeling Maduro a “dictator.”

“By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela who seek to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Maduro was quick with a comeback: “In the U.S., it’s possible to win the presidency after getting three million fewer votes than the other candidate. Tremendous democracy.”

Both of Florida’s U.S. senators, as well as South Florida congressional Republicans, weighed in strongly, understanding all have Venezuelan-American constituents. And many of those constituents have family members still in the struggling country.

“The U.S. should not recognize the Maduro regime’s fraudulent Constituent Assembly, established against the will of the Venezuelan people and contrary to Venezuela’s constitution,” said Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Before the vote, Rubio and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez wrote to Trump urging sanctions against allies of Maduro. Trump quickly sanctioned more than a dozen individuals.

A pedestrian walks next to a message on a wall formed with Venezuelan currency that reads in Spanish: “The Constituent Assembly is a fraud”, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 31, 2017. Electoral authorities said more than 8 million people voted Sunday to create a constitutional assembly endowing President Nicolas Maduro’s ruling party with virtually unlimited powers – a figure widely disputed by independent analysts. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

“When he issued sanctions last week against 13 operatives of the Maduro regime, President Trump warned: should the Maduro regime move forward with the illegal Constituent Assembly, there would be grave consequences,” said Miami Republican Mario Diaz-Balart.

“This is the first in what I hope are the strongest possible economic sanctions to stop Maduro from instituting a Cuban-style regime,” said Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. “The United States should consider cutting off imports of Venezuelan oil.”

Miami Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen shared Nelson’s call to go after Venezuelan oil imports. Kendall Republican Carlos Curbelo noted before the vote the “bipartisan consensus” in Congress to deal with Maduro and added, “all options are on the table.”

The “consensus” may be genuine, but 24 hours after sanctions were announced only one Democratic member of the delegation had either issued a statement or put out a tweet regarding Venezuela. Boca Raton Democrat Ted Deutch tweeted “We cannot turn a blind eye as Maduro uses a sham election to continue human rights abuses & destruction of democracy.

On Tuesday, the crisis deepened with the arrests of two prominent opposition leaders. Rubio called the arrests “a direct challenge to President Trump” and remains confident Trump will keep his promise for “strong and swift economic sanctions.”

Sanctions against Venezuelan oil may not be far away. Perhaps Maduro won a Pyrrhic victory.



Meanwhile, here are this week’s insights from the Beltway to the Sunshine State.

— Editors’ note: In the July 27 edition of The Delegation, we incorrectly identified Rep. Diaz-Balart‘s chief of staff. Diaz-Balart’s chief of staff is Cesar Gonzalez. We regret this error.

Proposed budget gives KSC a boost toward Mars

A NASA spending bill making its way through the Senate would provide Kennedy Space Center in Florida with $640 million to update infrastructure that is key to sending astronauts to Mars, reports Ledyard King with USA TODAY.

The money, which was approved last week by the Senate Appropriations Committee as part of a $19.5 billion appropriations bill for NASA in 2018, represents a $210 million increase in funding compared to the current year. The amount includes $545 million that Sen. Nelson requested for Exploration Ground Systems and $95 million for related constructions.

Using the waters off the coast of Galveston, a NASA and Department of Defense team tested Orion exit procedures in July 2017. A NASA spending bill making its way through the Senate would set aside $640 million to upgrade infrastructure used for the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, which are being built to send humans to Mars. (Photo via NASA.)

“Getting this additional money for the launchpad is a big win for KSC and the effort to land humans on Mars,” said Nelson.

Sen. Rubio is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Among the many things funded by the appropriation would be a necessary upgrade to launchpad 39B and related facilities necessary to further the mission to send humans to the Red Planet.

The budget includes other spending priorities, plus $100 million for the education programs targeted for elimination by the budget submitted by President Trump.

Paulson’s Principles: A brief review of Florida’s rapidly growing power in Congress

America is divided into 435 congressional districts, and each state is awarded districts based on its overall population. Based on Florida’s population after the 2010 census, Florida was awarded 27 congressional districts with each district containing just under 700,000 residents.

After becoming a state in 1845, Florida had a single at-large member of Congress for the next 28 years. After the 1870 census, Florida received a second seat in Congress. The 1900 census led to a third seat, and the 1910 census created the fourth seat. The 1930 census added a fifth seat, and the 1940 census added a sixth seat for Florida. The first 100 years of Florida brought a slow, but steady growth in Florida’s power in Congress.

Real population growth exploded in Florida following World War II. Along with that population growth came a large expansion in the number of Congressional seats held by Florida, as well as Florida’s growing political clout in national politics.

Florida gained two seats after the 1950 census due to technological innovations such as air conditioning and the expansion of the interstate highway system, and also due to the relocation of hundreds of thousands of retirees and military personnel who trained in Florida during World War II.

The eight members after the 1950 census jumped by two more seats and ten members total after the 1960 census. Three seats were added after the 1970 census (15 total), and four additional seats were gained after both the 1980 and 1990 census. The delegation increased to 19 in 1980 and 23 in 1990. Two more seats were added after both the 2000 and 2010 census, increasing the size of the Florida delegation to 25 in 2000 and 27 in 2010. Current projections indicate Florida will add two additional seats after the 2020 census.

Since World War II, Florida jumped from six seats in the House of Representatives to its current 27 seats. Because the number of House seats remains constant at 435, every gain by Florida is at the expense of other states who have lost congressional representation due to their slower than average population growth.

We know that most congressional seats are safe. Very few members of Congress lose their seats every two years. Larry Sabato estimates that 276 or 63% of congressional seats are safe and 159 or 37% are competitive.

159 competitive seats may seem like a lot considering that Democrats need to pick up only 24 seats to regain control of the House. Republicans hold 100 of the 159 competitive seats, meaning Democrats should have an excellent chance of picking up the needed seats.

We also know that 226 of the 241 Republican victories in 2016 were by 10 or more points. This means Democrats must not only pick up seats in close districts, but they must win some seats that Republicans won by a comfortable margin.

One of those seats was Florida District 27, won by Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen by 10 points in 2016. She has announced she will not run again in 2018, leaving an open seat opportunity for Democrats in the most Democratic district in the country currently held by a Republican.

Democrats must win District 27, or they are toast.

(Next week: Why some congressional elections are more important than others)

Gaetz pushes hard for special counsel to investigate Comey, others

Rep. Matt Gaetz wants to double the special counsels investigating issues surrounding the 2016 election.

While Robert Mueller is looking into Russian activity in the 2016 cycle — and any “collusion” with the Trump campaign — Gaetz and conservative Republicans believe other players should receive equal scrutiny.

The Fort Walton Beach Republican last week brought a bill under discussion before the House Judiciary Committee asking the committee to seek documents from President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.”

Instead of piling on, Gaetz and the House Freedom Caucus want to learn more from Comey. The Republican members are interested in Comey’s interactions with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the investigation into Clinton Foundation, and what brought Comey to “pre-emptively pardon Hillary Clinton’s IT staff,” among other things.

“The rule of law still matters,” Gaetz said. “It’s past time to appoint a special counsel to investigate the real crimes and the real criminals. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I will continue to call for justice and robust oversight.”

Fellow Florida Republicans Ron DeSantis and John Rutherford are also members of the committee along with Ted Deutch.

The committee reported the bill, including the Gaetz amendment, favorably to the full House on a 19-11 vote. All Republicans voted in favor, and all voting Democrats cast “nay” votes. Five Democrats, including Deutch, did not vote.

Dunn joins with Florida colleagues to gain $30 million for defense projects

Rep. Neal Dunn has successfully convinced his House colleagues to insert $30 million into the defense appropriations bill to “fast-track needed improvements to the military training range in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.”

The funds will go toward constructing a data collection and monitoring site in Carrabelle and fiber connections to an existing facility at Eglin Air Force Base.

“The Gulf Range is a national treasure, one-of-a-kind resource essential to our national security,” the Panama City Republican said in a statement. “This funding will help us to make sure the military has the cutting-edge test and training area that it needs.”

The Joint Gulf Range is used for high-level air combat training and enables hypersonic weapons testing, among other things, at both Eglin and Tyndall Air Force Base.

“Although these places are often overlooked, our investments in the military’s test and training ranges are returned many times over to the nation in the projection of American military supremacy around the globe, protecting the homeland, and preserving international order,” Dunn said on the House floor.

Joining Dunn as co-sponsors of the amendment were fellow Republicans Matt GaetzTom Rooney of Okeechobee and Francis Rooney of Naples.

Rutherford, Lawson tout funding for veterans’ care choices, outpatient clinic

Two North Florida congressmen touted passage of a bill that extends the life of the VA’s Choice Program. Along with the extension, which allows veterans also to seek medical care with community providers, the bill also authorizes $18.6 million for a replacement outpatient clinic in Jacksonville.

“I have been encouraged by the progress being made at the VA; however, too many veterans face long lines and receive inadequate care,” said Republican Rep. Rutherford in a statement. “That is why extending funding for the VA Choice Program at this time is essential to ensure that our veterans receive the care that they require and deserve.”

Rutherford thanked the Veterans Affairs Committee chair, Republican Phil Roe of Tennessee, for supporting the funding for the clinic. Palm Harbor Republican Gus Bilirakis is the committee’s vice chairman, while Panama City Republican Neal Dunn also serves on the committee with Rutherford.

“I am pleased that this bill included authorization for a replacement VA outpatient clinic for the city of Jacksonville,” said Lawson, whose district includes a portion of Jacksonville. “I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Rutherford to guarantee that the veterans have the resources they need and deserve.”

The bill now heads to the desk of President Trump for signature.

Lawson focuses on student debt

Rep. Lawson wants to provide some help to folks with student loans.

The Tallahassee Democrat recently introduced the Student Opportunity Act, which would make it possible for people with higher federal student loan debt to refinance their loans at a lower rate.

“Education is a fundamental facet of the American dream. Across the country, students attend colleges and universities with the hopes of climbing the economic ladder, providing for their families, and working to meet new challenges with ingenuity and expertise,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the cost of college has increased significantly in the last decade, and for many Americans, this avenue to a brighter future has become unaffordable. Reducing student debt will help increase economic activity and provide our nation’s students with the relief and opportunity they deserve.”

The measure — which has 12 co-sponsors, including Rep. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat — would also ensure future students could afford loan financing and would eliminate the tax penalty for loan balance forgiveness.

Lawson isn’t the only Florida lawmaker honing in on ways to help students with debt. In July, Sen. Nelson filed legislation to cut student loan interest rates and allow borrowers to refinance existing loans.


Crist part of a congressional delegation traveling to Israel — Rep. Charlie Crist is spending a week in Israel, traveling to the region with the goal of learning more about the United States’ strategic relationship with Israel.

The weeklong trip — which kicked off on Aug. 1 and runs through Aug. 9 — is sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with AIPAC. The foundation, according to Crist’s office, works to inform the public about Israel, the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and other issues impacting the Middle East.

Crist and other House members are expected to meet with key Israeli and Palestinian leaders, including government officials, Knesset members, military leaders, defense experts, journalists, and entrepreneurs.

Rep. Charlie Crist is part of a congressional delegation traveling to Israel. And fret not Florida: He made sure to pack a letter asking God to protect Florida from storms.

They’ll also visit several key strategic sites, including defense and technology projects; the Gaza, Syrian, and Lebanon borders; the Golan Heights; Jewish, Christian and Islamic Holy sites; and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum.

The trip couldn’t come soon enough: The Sunshine State was soaked this by Tropical Storm Emily, one of the first storms of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season to impact Florida.

For nearly a decade, Crist had a prayer note delivered to the Western Wall before each hurricane season. In it, Crist asked God to protect “Florida from storms and other difficulties.” He started sending up the prayers in 2007 and did it every year until last year when he was unable to send his request before the start of the 2016 hurricane season.

Crist didn’t send a note this year, but a spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg Democrat said he was “bringing one with him” on the trip to Israel.

With four months left until the end of hurricane season, it’s never too late for a prayer.

Crist, Johnson talk civility — Rep. Crist and Rep. Mike Johnson are continuing their calls for civility.

The Florida Democrat and the Louisiana Republican recently joined Tim Farley on Sirius/XM’s POTUS Channel Midday Briefing to chat about their push for a National Day of Civility. The two men also talked about the need to return to civility in political discourse.

The two men, along with Democrat Nanette Diaz Barragan, filed a resolution to establish July 12 as a National Day of Civility.

It came on the heels of a report, according to Crist’s office, which showed 9 out of 10 Americans agreed that increased incivility leads to intimidation, threats, harassment, discrimination, violence and cyberbullying. The report also found a majority of Americans believe incivility in politics encourages general incivility in society and deters citizens from engaging in public service.

“In this freshman class in the U.S. House, we are committed to civility and trying to treat each other well,” said Crist in the segment.

Ross submits accountability bill for low-income housing landlords

Rep. Dennis Ross has joined with Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen to reintroduce a bill to hold landlords of low-income housing accountable for poor living conditions.

If passed and signed by the President, the bill — dubbed the Housing Accountability Act — would require the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to survey tenants twice each year. Owners who repeatedly fail the surveys would face penalties.

“No matter someone’s income or socioeconomic status, no one deserves to live in squalor,” said Ross in a joint statement. “Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and to live in a safe, clean home.”

Both Ross and Cohen provided examples of property owners neglecting tenants who were living with either no lights, crumbling staircases, rats, exposed electrical wiring and other problems. Meanwhile, a particular owner with properties in both Florida and Tennessee continued to collect $8.6 million in subsidies from HUD over the span of just one year.

“Congress must step in to prevent this from happening again in Memphis or anywhere else,” said Cohen.

Sens. Nelson and Rubio joined forces to submit similar legislation in the Senate in January.

“I am proud to join Rep. Cohen and Sens. Rubio and Nelson in putting forth bipartisan legislation that will help families improve their living conditions, and give them the ability and strength to ensure their homes are up-to-code and well-kept,” said Ross.

T. Rooney, Diaz-Balart announce VA clinics will remain open

Two Republican members of the Florida congressional delegation have successfully persuaded Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin to keep two South Florida clinics that serve veterans open.

Reps. Tom Rooney and Diaz-Balart made their case in a letter to Shulkin, after learning clinics in Clewiston and Moore Haven was targeted for closure.

“The decision to close these facilities undermines the VA’s duty to provide quality care to veterans in all reaches of the country,” they wrote in their June 13 letter.

Shulkin responded on July 25 with an acceptable compromise. He noted in separate letters to the congressmen the West Palm Beach VA facility would handle the bulk of the care for the region’s veterans, but kept the convenience of veterans in mind.

Shulkin wrote that leadership “re-examined access data and developed a staffing plan to continue providing services at both locations.” The facilities will be open one to two days per week.

“Our men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line have a hard enough time receiving care as it is without the VA closing the clinics that are closest to their homes,” said Rooney in a joint statement. “By keeping these clinics open, the VA is showing their commitment to our veterans and ensuring they receive the best and most convenient care.”

Diaz-Balart thanked Shulkin for working with them and expressed the desire to continue “working with Congressman Rooney and Secretary Shulkin to ensure we continue our commitment to Florida’s veterans.”

F. Rooney, MDB highlight Everglades funding

Everglades restoration projects might have received a nice chunk of change in the most recent appropriations process, but some lawmakers would like to see more money to restore the River of Grass.

Rep. Francis Rooney said Florida received everything it asked for and everything President Trump asked for in his budget. The House has set aside $82 million for Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation projects; $76.5 million for Everglades restoration; $8 million for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan; $10 million for planning and interagency coordination in support of Everglades restoration; and $153 million for ecosystem programs under the U.S. Geological Survey, including those in the Everglades, in fiscal 2018.

“We got 100 percent of what the Office of Management and Budget set over for the Herbert Hoover Dike, for CERP and for the Department of Interior. We did better than most, given the very tight budget” said the Naples Republican. “I think it’s because we’ve had a unified, consistent message.”

The delegation has unified behind Everglades funding, sending a letter to Trump earlier to encourage him to fund projects. Rooney has also given tours of the Everglades to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Ken Calvert, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Interior and the Environment.

Rooney and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart highlighted fiscal 2018 funding during an event at the Merritt Pump Station in the Picayune Strand State Forest this week. While both men applauded Congress’ commitment to funding, they also acknowledged they were dealing with less money than in previous years, reports Alexandra Glorioso with the Naples Daily News.

According to the Naples Daily News, the budget allocations could be used for several projects, including The Picayune Strand Restoration Project, the Indian River Lagoon, the Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir, and Kissimmee River Restoration.

“Everglades restoration has always been a key issue for me in Congress,” said Diaz-Balart in a statement last week. “I remain committed to continue working with Congressman Rooney, the Florida delegation, and our Congressional colleagues to advocate for the restoration process that will preserve this natural treasure for years to come.”

Deutch co-sponsors bipartisan legislation to allow Canadian snowbirds to stay longer

Late last week, Rep. Deutch teamed up with two Republicans from opposite ends of the country to try to make it easier for Canadian visitors to travel to the United States.

The Boca Raton Democrat — along with New York Republican Elise Stefanik and California Republican Duncan Hunter — introduced the Canadian Snowbird Visa Act, which would allow our neighbors to the north who own or lease homes in the U.S. two extra months to travel in the country.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers is working to amend U.S. law to increase the number of days a Canadian visitor may spend in the country. Current law allows 182 days, and the proposal would permit Canadians over the age of 50 who own or lease to qualify for an extension.

“If our chilly neighbors to the north want to spend more time on our warm Florida beaches, we should welcome them with open arms,” Deutch said in a joint statement. “Canadians contribute over $4 billion to Florida’s economy every year, helping to create jobs and support businesses in our communities.”

Canadians spent nearly $20 billion in the United States in 2016 and purchase “on average $13.1 billion of residential real estate” each year, according to Deutch’s office.

“In the North Country, we know how important Canadian visitors are to our small business owners and our tourism economy,” said Stefanik. “Providing them with an extra two months to engage in (tourist) activities will support many small businesses, grow jobs, and foster an even closer relationship with our neighbors to the north.”

Ethics group wants DWS investigated over IT staffer

A right-leaning watchdog group has filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz because she continued to employ an IT staffer after he became the subject of a criminal investigation.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust on Monday asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch an inquiry into “Wasserman Schultz’s apparent breach of House Ethics Rules.” According to the conservative ethics organization, Wasserman Schultz violated ethics rules by continuing to employ Imran Awan even after he was blocked from using the House IT system.

“There is something quite amiss as to why Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz continued to use taxpayer funds to employ former technology staff member, Imran Awan, even months after he was barred from accessing the House’s computer systems and a number of her colleagues severed ties with Awan,” said Matthew Whitaker, the organization’s executive director, in a statement.

Wasserman Schultz fired Awan last week after he was arrested on one count of bank fraud while attempting to leave the United States for Pakistan. Awan and several family members, who also previously served as House staffers, have been at the center of a months-long House investigation.

The complaint says that since Awan was barred from accessing House computer system, he would have been prevented from “performing any reasonable IT work.”

“After Awan was barred from accessing the House computer system, Wasserman Schultz continued to pay Awan with taxpayer funds for IT consulting — a position that he could not reasonably perform,” wrote Whitaker in the complaint.

David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, told Heather Caygle of POLITICO, the complaint was baseless and meant to undermine Wasserman Schultz.

New AAN radio ad highlights Mast, Curbelo position on tax reform

Voters in two Florida congressional districts could soon be hearing more about the tax code.

The American Action Network’s Middle-Class Growth Initiative began airing radio advertisements in 34 congressional districts — including the districts of Reps. Brian Mast and Carlos Curbelo — that highlights the failures of the current tax code and calls for tax cuts for American families and small businesses.

“Nothing is more important than fixing our outdated tax code and cutting taxes for working families and small businesses,” said Corry Bliss, the executive director of the American Action Network. “As leaders in Congress debate our broken code, AAN will spearhead an aggressive advertising effort across key congressional districts nationwide to ensure lawmakers make reform a priority and American gets a tax code that puts middle-class families and job creators first. This is an opportunity for Americans across the country to unify behind prosperity and growth for all and we look forward to being part of that conversation.

The $1 million radio campaign will air for five weeks and is part of the American Action Network’s ongoing effort to reform the country’s tax code.

The Middle-Class Growth Initiative will begin its full-scale campaign during the month of August with a $5 million investment to ensure Congress passes pro-growth tax policies. The initiative will include a targeted advertising effort across several platforms, which include television, digital, radio and mail.

Spotted — At California Republican Rep. Jeff Denham‘s 50th birthday fundraiser in D.C.’s Penn Quarter: Brian Mast and Carlos Curbelo.

2 South Florida Congressional seats draw additional challengers

The candidate pool in two South Florida congressional elections grew by this week with the addition of two Democrats to the 2018 field.

Matt Haggman will join nine other candidates to run for the seat held by retiring Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinenwhile Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a strategic planning consultant from Pinecrest, will mount a challenge against Kendall Republican Carlos Curbelo.

Haggman is the former director of Miami’s Knight Foundation. He will run a full-time campaign and try to appeal to “pragmatic progressive voters” as a political newcomer.

“Our biggest challenges continue to go unmet,” Haggman told the Miami Herald. “We’re not building for the future. Sea-level rise is being ignored. Many of the jobs today will be dramatically different in a very, very short time. We’re doing very little on that — and that has to change.”

Matt Haggman, the former director of Miami’s Knight Foundation, is the latest Democrat to throw his hat in the race to replace Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Others vying for the Democratic nomination are former Judge Mary Barzee Flores, state Rep. David Richardson, state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, University of Miami academic adviser Michael Hepburn, and Mark Anthony Person.

Three Republicans have announced bids. Those include former school board member Racquel Regalado, former state Representative and current County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, and Maria Peiro.

Mucarsel-Powell, who currently lives outside the district, points out to the Miami Herald that Curbelo “voted more than 86 percent of the time with Trump.” She also pledged her campaign will not focus entirely “on what’s happening with the president.”

While Democrats hold a 6 percent voter registration edge in the district and national Democrats are targeting Curbelo, Mucarsel-Powell is only the second to step up and run against him. Music producer Steven Lachat is the other Democrat in the race. Hillary Clinton won the district by 15 points over Trump.

By comparison, Clinton won Ros-Lehtinen’s district by 19 points and has 7 Democratic challengers, but an open seat is the best chance for a relative unknown.

As of the last FEC financial report, Curbelo had $1.1 million in the bank. While Mucarsel-Powell pledges to raise “at least $4 million to compete.”

Miller snags three more clients

Former Rep. Jeff Miller, now a lobbyist with McDermott Will & Emery, has added three more clients.

POLITICO reports the former House Veterans Affairs Committee chair who retired from the House in January, will now lobby for Ambrosia Treatment Centers, Lumina Analytics, and Veterans Evaluation Services in the executive branch.

Jeff Miller, who retired from Congress in January, is growing his client roster at McDermott Will & Emery, recently adding three more clients.

Miller is also registered to lobby on veterans issues for billionaire financier Steve Cohen.

Among Miller’s colleagues at McDermott Will & Emery include former Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran, who also served along with the eight-term congressman for more than a decade.

Abramoff to be featured in new reality TV show

Jack Abramoff could soon be heading to the small screen, reports Emily Heil with The Washington Post.

The one-time lobbyist who served time in time in federal prison is set to be featured in a new reality show called “Capitol Makeover: Bitcoin Brigade.” The show will follow Abramoff as he takes a group from AML Bitcoin through a boot camp meant to transform them “from techies to lobbyists ready to take on Capitol Hill,” reports The Washington Post.

Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, shown here in Washington in 2012, is set to participate in a reality television show about Bitcoin. (Photo via The Associated Press)

The Post reports that producing the series is Blockchain Entertainment, a new production company devoted to projects about digital currency, and Ignition Creative. Filming is set to begin in 2018, and it is currently unclear where the show will air.

In 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty in Miami to conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges stemming from his lobbying work on behalf of Native American tribes. He later pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud that arose from a deal to buy SunCruz Casinos. He served six years in prison.

This won’t be Abramoff’s first time in front of the camera. In 2010, he was featured in a documentary called “Casino Jack and the United States of Money.”

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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