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Capitol Briefing: March 9, 2008 - March 15, 2008

Player of the Week: Michael Conaway

When Michael Conaway was elected to Congress from Texas in 2004, he figured he could use his background as a certified public accountant to advance the Republican cause on big-picture policy issues like the federal budget and the national debt. Little did he know then that he might end up...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 14, 2008; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , House , Player of the Week  
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Rep.Young of Alaska Gets Tough Primary Challenge

Embattled Alaska Rep. Don Young's road to re-election just got significantly more difficult, as Lt. Gov Sean Parnell told attendees of the state's Republican convention today that he would challenge the incumbent in the GOP primary. Young had already drawn one challenger in the Aug. 26 primary, state Rep. Gabrielle...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 14, 2008; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Cramer Move Gives GOP a Ray of Hope

Alabama Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer announced Thursday that he would not run for re-election in November, giving House Republicans a ray of hope on a day of otherwise bad news. Currently in his 9th term in the House, Cramer represents a seat that leans strongly to the GOP. The Hunstville-based...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 14, 2008; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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NRCC Scandal: How Did It Happen?

Greg Walden had a problem. The Oregon Republican lawmaker was serving as the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee's audit committee, and he had been badgering the NRCC's treasurer, Christopher Ward, to set up a meeting with the committee's accounting firm. "I sought for several years to meet with...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 14, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules , GOP Leaders  
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Carson Becomes Second Muslim to Serve in Congress

On Tuesday, Andre Carson (D) won a special election to replace his grandmother -- the late Rep. Julia Carson (D) -- in Indiana's 7th district. The younger Carson is the second Muslim in U.S. history to serve in Congress, following the trail blazed by current Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)....

By Ben Pershing  |  March 13, 2008; 7:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  House  
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NRCC Suspects 'Several Hundred Thousand Dollars' Stolen

National Republican Congressional Committee officials acknowledged publicly today that they have found discrepancies in their books of more than a million dollars and evidence that the NRCC's former treasurer, Christopher Ward, made "several hundred thousand dollars" worth of unauthorized wire transfers out of the committee that appear to have ended...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 13, 2008; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules , GOP Leaders , House  
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House Holds Rare 'Closed Session'

UPDATE 4:12 PM ET: House Democratic leaders have agreed to the GOP's request that the chamber go into secret session today to discuss terrorist surveillance legislation. The session will last one hour, with the time equally divided between the majority and the minority. ORIGINAL POST: House Republicans plan to call...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 13, 2008; 2:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Agenda , House  
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On FISA, No Endgame in Sight

The House is slated to vote later today on Democrats' latest version of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act bill, and the measure should pass, despite the solid opposition of the GOP and even some Democrats. But the bill, which does not contain immunity for telecommunications companies, differs significantly from what...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 13, 2008; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Agenda , Branch vs. Branch , Dem. Leaders  
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House Defeats First Ethics Vote Protest

The House just beat back the first formal protest against last night's controversial votes to create a new Office of Congressional Ethics. The chamber voted along party lines, 215-193, to table a Republican resolution calling for yesterday's votes to be scuttled and for at least two full-scale investigations of the...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 12, 2008; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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House Passes Ethics Bill Amid Squabbling

After several halting attempts in recent weeks, House Democratic leaders were finally able to get an ethics reform bill through the chamber tonight, passing the measure by a misleadingly wide margin, 229-182. In the end, 196 Democrats and 33 Republicans voted in favor of the measure, while 159 Republicans and...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 11, 2008; 11:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , House  
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Ethics Panel Staff: Reform Bill 'a Bad Idea'

With the House theoretically set to vote later today on an ethics reform proposal, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct's top Republican, Rep. Doc Hastings (Wash.), has informed his fellow members that the panel's staff has "serious concerns" about the bill. The reform bill would create a new Office...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 11, 2008; 5:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Spitzer Mulls Resignation While Craig Fights On

While the political world is riveted by the Eliot Spitzer drama and the question of whether he will resign his governorship, similarly scandal-tarred Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho.) is still in Congress, still doing his work and still fighting to overturn his guilty plea. Craig's attorneys filed papers today with the...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 11, 2008; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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FISA, Budget Headline Busy Week

Deadlines are usually the best medicine for congressional lethargy, and it's standard practice for House and Senate leaders to load up the last week before a break with must-pass items. So with a recess looming and several key pieces of legislation awaiting action, this week in Congress is shaping up...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 11, 2008; 1:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , Purse Strings  
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On the Hill, Stunned Silence on Spitzer

New York's congressional delegation is usually on the talkative side, but lawmakers from the Empire State appear to have been stunned into silence by the bombshell news that their governor, Eliot Spitzer (D), has been linked to a prostitution ring. At least a dozen New York members either didn't return...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 10, 2008; 6:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules  
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Suit Escalates Battle Between Branches

Escalating the years-long battle between the branches over the scope of executive power, the House Judiciary Committee filed suit today in federal court to force two White House officials to comply with subpoenas seeking documents and testimony on the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year. The lawsuit could prove...

By Ben Pershing  |  March 10, 2008; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch  
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