Rep. Bill Shuster (R) announced he will retire after nine terms, leaving open a safe, Republican seat in western Pennsylvania. The term-limited chairman of the House Transportation committee, who “has held the seat since 2001, said he does not want campaigning or anything else to get in the way of helping Trump” pass an infrastructure bill. (Washington Examiner)
THE FIELD. Shuster’s 2016 primary challenger Art Halvorson (R), whom Shuster narrowly beat in 2016, announced another campaign on Tuesday with a promise to serve only six terms. State Sen. Rich Alloway (R) is considering a run. (Chambersburg Public Opinion)
“Shuster, 56, appeared to be ready for a re-election campaign just a month ago. He had weathered a tough campaign in 2016 when he came under fire for dating Shelley Rubino, a vice president of Airlines for America. A4A, the leading trade group for the U.S. airline industry, lobbies the transportation committee.” (Chambersburg Public Opinion)
State Sen. John Eichelberger (R) “has expressed interest in running, a GOP source said. Two GOP sources cited” state House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R), “who lives in the district, as another potential contender.”
“Shuster narrowly won his most recent primary in April 2016, defeating … Halvorson by about 1,000 votes. Running as a tea-party candidate, Halvorson tried to paint the congressman as a Washington insider, pointing to his relationship with Rubino. Halvorson came up short, but he won enough write-in votes from Democrats that he was able to run on the Democratic ticket in the general election. He lost to Shuster by 27 points.” (Roll Call)
DEMOGRAPHICS. The district backed President Trump by 43 points, his largest victory margin of any of the state’s congressional districts. “PA-09 is a solidly red district and we look forward to electing the next Republican leader to represent it,” NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement.
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The bipartisan legislation, known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, means taxpayers will "no longer foot the bill" for sexual harassment settlements involving members of Congress." The legislation "would require members to pay such settlements themselves." It also reforms the "cumbersome and degrading" complaint process by giving victims "more rights and resources," and by simplifying and clarifying the complaint process. The legislation is the first major transformation of the sexual harassment complaint system since it was created in 1995.
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."