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Capitol Briefing: June 22, 2008 - June 28, 2008

Player of the Week: Paul Hodes

For a politician, living in New Hampshire can have its privileges. It's particularly advantageous in presidential election years, when candidates come to your state, hat in hand, and are more than happy to share the stage with you. So life has been good this year for freshman Rep. Paul Hodes...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 27, 2008; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Player of the Week  
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Trouble Ahead for Sen. Coleman

Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman's (R) reelection prospects have brightened in recent weeks, as the press has been busy digging around in the tax records and controversial writings of his Democratic challenger, humorist Al Franken. But the tide may be about to turn. National Journal is out today with a terrific...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 27, 2008; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules  
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On Energy, Democrats' Tank Is Only Half Full

House Democrats began this week determined to pass several measures to address the spiraling costs of gasoline. While Republicans claimed none of the majority's bills would really do much to bring prices down, Democrats hoped they would be able to go home for the July 4 recess able to point...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 27, 2008; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Agenda , House  
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'Millionaire' Decision Leaves Races in Limbo

The Supreme Court today struck down a portion of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act known as the "millionaire's amendment," which was designed to give a financial leg-up to congressional candidates facing opponents who funnel more than $350,000 into their own campaigns. The fact that the ruling comes in the...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 26, 2008; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules , Fundraising Circuit  
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The Speaker, Voiceless but not Speechless

This morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) weekly press conference was moved from its usual room in the Capitol, which can accomodate banks of television cameras, to a smaller conference room with no cameras allowed. Before the session began, an aide warned reporters that they could record audio of the session...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 26, 2008; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Dem. Leaders  
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Another Twist in Embezzlement Case

Capitol Briefing would like to revise and extend his post from yesterday on alleged embezzler Christoper Ward's apparent theft from LUISPAC, the political action committee of Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño (R). It turns out that Ward actually gave some of the money he took back to LUISPAC already,...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 25, 2008; 5:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Democrats Avoiding Votes on Drilling

House Republicans sometimes lament that the minority has few "tools" in its "toolbox" to steer debate in the chamber. That may be the case, but in recent days the GOP has been using what few tools it does have -- and public anger over rising gas prices -- to put...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 25, 2008; 3:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Agenda  
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Rep. Cannon Ousted in Utah GOP Primary

Veteran Rep. Chris Cannon won't be serving a seventh term in the House, after voters decisively ousted him Tuesday in Utah's Republican primary. Jason Chaffetz, the former chief of staff to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R), beat Cannon by 20 points after a hard-fought campaign during which Chaffetz nearly...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 25, 2008; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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GOP Embezzler Claims Another Victim

We were given a pretty good idea of how much money Christopher Ward allegedly embezzled from the National Republican Congressional Committee, after the committee released an audit two weeks ago showing the former treasurer appears to have taken $725,000 from its coffers over a six-year span. The audit further revealed...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 24, 2008; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , Fundraising Circuit  
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Clinton Returns to Senate, Doesn't Vote

It's "Hillary Clinton Returns to the Senate Day" here in the Capitol, and the press corps and accompanying cameras responded accordingly by eagerly tracking her into the Senate Democrats' weekly luncheon. Then everyone waited for her to come out. Did she speak? Did she eat? Where did she sit? So...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 24, 2008; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Senate  
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Cornyn Calls for Senators to Disclose Mortgages

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is filing an amendment to the housing bill currently being debated on the Senate floor that would require all members of the chamber to include information about their residential mortgages on their annual financial disclosure reports. Cornyn is the top Republican on the Senate Ethics Committee,...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 24, 2008; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Tough Times for Capitol Police

Today's front-page Washington Post story on the U.S. Capitol Police recounts the department's recent move to dismiss 15 recruits after revelations that they had failed criminal background checks or other employment hurdles. The setback is only the latest in a series of growing pains for a force that, as the...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 24, 2008; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Week Ahead: Pre-Recess Message War

Last week was the time for making deals. This week is the time for getting those deals passed and sent to President Bush's desk. After agreements last week on the supplemental spending bill, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act update and a housing rescue measure, all three bills will be on...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 23, 2008; 5:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agenda  
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Obama Pitches in for DSCC

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) today began his effort to help increase his party's majority in the chamber he hopes to soon be leaving, penning a fundraising pitch on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In the missive, Obama avers that American voters want a new direction from the next...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 23, 2008; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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From Bad to Worse in Staten Island

Barely a month after Rep. Vito Fossella (R) announced he would not run for reelection following a drunk-driving arrest and revelations of an extramarital affair, the situation in New York's 13th district has gotten even worse for Republicans following a tragic turn this weekend. On Sunday, Frank Powers, the retired...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 23, 2008; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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