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Notebook: Mayor Lightfoot travel and Bad News Babes beat Congress

Almost all of the tab for Lightfoot recent travel to New York and California was paid for by her Lightfoot for Chicago campaign fund.

Lynn Sweet
Lynn Sweet at bat. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Jeff Malet

WASHINGTON — From my notebook: on Mayor Lori Lightfoot travel and how my softball team crushed members of Congress in a 10-3 conquest on Wednesday night.


For the record, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign fund is picking up almost all of the costs connected with her New York swing this week and for a visit earlier this month to Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Oprah Winfrey’s home in southern California, including for the people traveling with her.

The only taxpayer money involved in both trips was for Lightfoot’s Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett, who made a day trip to New York on Monday for meetings related to city finances.

David Mellet, chief of Lightfoot’s political operation told me Lightfoot for Chicago paid the New York and California tabs for the air fare, hotel, and incidental expenses for the mayor; her wife, Amy; aide Kelsey Nulp and security chief James Smith.

The campaign will be partially reimbursed for the California trip by former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s PAC for a Change.

Lightfoot for Chicago also paid the travel expenses for two fundraising consultants, Christina Nowinski Wurst to New York and Tracy Mayfield to California. Both women are principals at New Chicago Consulting.

The New York Police Department provided the driver and the Chevy Suburban Lightfoot and her team used in New York; the campaign paid for California surface transportation.


The segment Lightfoot taped on Monday in New York for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” is now scheduled for Friday night. It was originally set for Thursday.




For the fourth year in a row, the reporters on my team, the Bad News Babes crushed the members of Congress team, with a 10-3 win on Wednesday night.

I grew up playing Chicago-style 16-inch softball with finger breaking clinchers because no one wears a mitt. I switched to the smaller ball game with mitts when I joined the Bad News Babes here.

The team is made up of female DC journalists, and we exist to play a benefit each year against female members of Congress — from the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans. The Congressional Women’s Softball Game, which marked its 11th year on Wednesday, benefits the Young Survival Coalition, which helps women with breast cancer.

Two senators long associated with the game are running for president.

That’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, who pitched for Congress — she’s also the team captain — and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. one of the announcers.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., a standout athlete, pulled a hamstring running around a base and ended up with a big wrapped leg and on crutches after the game. On Thursday, she was able to get around without the crutches, her spokesman told me.

“Our team may have come up short last night, but we hold our heads up high today knowing that we helped raise $365,000,” Bustos said in a tweet. That’s a record.

Illinois Democratic Reps. Robin Kelly and Lauren Underwood were spotted at the game cheering on Congress. Underwood’s roommate, Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., was one of the rookies on the Congress team.

I was at bat twice. I made two infield hits which unfortunately were caught.

The rival Californians, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy came to the game and hung around the congressional dugout.


I find myself writing stories from all sorts of places all the time, which is why I lug my laptop around in my backpack — and try to always keep my equipment charged.

That’s what happened on Wednesday, at the game. I thought my story about freshman Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., coming out for a Trump impeachment inquiry was all done before I headed to the diamond — a field in a DC elementary school.

During the game, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., announced her backing for an impeachment inquiry, notable because she is on Pelosi’s leadership team.

I needed to file the Schakowsky stuff.

Lynn Sweet writes part of her column in the dugout Photo by Frank Thorp V

If you read my column about impeachment, I wrote the part about Schakowsky in the dugout, sitting on the bench with my laptop on my knee. I used my iPhone to access wireless.

No big deal. There is no crying in baseball, even when the news intrudes on the game.


The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced to the full Senate the nominations of Martha Pacold, Mary Rowland and Steven Seeger to serve as federal judges in the Chicago-based U.S. District Court. That there is no controversy is a result of cooperation between the Trump White House and Illinois Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, a member of the Committee and Sen.Tammy Duckworth.