GOING TO JOSEPH. After more than a decade in public service, it was time for Chani Wiggins to jump ship. Wiggins, most recently assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, has been named a principal with the Joseph Group LLC, a lobbying firm specializing in telecommunications, energy and homeland security issues. “Working for the Obama administration was an incredible experience, but I was ready to get back to my roots,” she said. Before her appointment at DHS, Wiggins spent more than a decade working for members in both chambers, culminating in a stint as legislative director for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. She also was deputy chief of staff to former Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.; legislative and communications director for Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; a senior aide to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; and a legislative assistant on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. During her tenure on the Hill, Wiggins also launched the first Bipartisan Legislative Directors Group to strengthen relationships across the aisle. Wiggins’ position with the Joseph Group will be her first job in the private sector since her days as a reporter for Florida newspapers in the early 1990s. The University of Florida journalism student moved to Washington nearly 15 years ago, after working as an opposition researcher on the 1996 Senate campaign of former Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Harvey Gantt, who was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat the late Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C.
EXPANDING CYPRESS. The Cypress Group has made two hires in its advocacy division: former Treasury official King Mueller and former congressional staffer Robert Bailey. Mueller, who has been named managing director of Cypress Advisory, was former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s deputy liaison to Congress during the maelstrom immediately following the credit and housing crisis of late 2008. He was instrumental in crafting the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and the Emergency Economic Stability Act of that year. Previously, Mueller had been a policy aide and tax counsel for former Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. Mueller received law and business degrees from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston. Bailey joins Cypress Advisory as an associate. He is a former aide to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. He is pursuing a master’s degree at Georgetown University.
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Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.
"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.
"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."