Machalagh Carr took over as Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) chief of staff in June after several years as his general counsel.
McCarthy’s office operates with a lot of staff members involved in daily decision-making, so she says the new job overlaps with the old.
But for Carr, a self-described “oversight geek,” a major thrill of the job is helping to ensure the longevity of the Congress itself.
“One of my favorite things about working on the Hill is being able to protect the institution,” Carr said.
A highlight of her time working for the Speaker, she said, was a particular amicus brief that got unanimous, 5-0 approval from the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) — a group made of the Speaker and House leaders that approves official positions the House takes in court.
The Department of Justice seized Rep. Scott Perry’s (R-Pa.) cellphone in connection with its investigation of the 2020 election. The BLAG brief, approved shortly after McCarthy became Speaker, detailed the House’s view of the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause and how it could immunize legislators from liability for activities that are part of their legislative duties.
“That was really, really fun, from like a geeky legal sense,” Carr said.
“You’ve got to step back and think about the institution — not just this year and the 118th Congress and these members, but to survive well beyond this generation.”
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