Francis "Frank" Underwood is an ambitious Democratic congressman and the House Majority Whip. Frank helped ensure the election of President Garrett Walker, who promised to appoint him as Secretary of State. However, before Walker is sworn in, Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez announces that Walker will instead nominate Senator Michael Kern. Linda informs Frank that their administration requires his help from within the House of Representatives, starting with working on an education reform bill with Representative Donald Blythe. Furious at Walker's betrayal, Frank and his wife Claire (an environmental activist) make a pact to destroy Walker, starting with Kern. Frank starts seeking out pawns in his war against Walker. When the troubled Representative Peter Russo (who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse) is arrested for driving drunk with Rachel Posner, a prostitute, in the car with him, Frank offers him a reprieve in exchange for his loyalty, covering up the incident by bribing the police commissioner. Frank also encounters Zoe Barnes, a young political reporter for the Washington Herald newspaper. The two come to an agreement in which Frank will leak inside information to incriminate his political opponents, while Zoe advances her career by publishing it. Frank leaks a copy of the first draft of Donald Blythe's education bill, which proposes massive increases in government control of education, promptly causing a scandal the very first day after the Presidential inauguration.