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Posted at 4:56 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Afternoon Fix: Reid's son set up shell PACs to get around election law

By Chris Cillizza

Rory Reid set up shell PACs to funnel money to his campaign, three top Republican presidential contenders are talking to the Club for Growth, and Newt Gingrich is reaching out to a controversial pastor.

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*In what veteran political reporter Jon Ralston calls "one of the most brazen schemes in Nevada history," failed gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid  (son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) formed 91 shell political action committees during the 2010 election that were used to funnel more than $750,000 into his campaign -- 75 times the legal limit from one PAC.

*Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) is fighting back against primary challenger Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer. In an email blast, Lugar's campaign calls Mourdock's attacks "so demonstrably false as to be slander."  Then it gets a little defensive; the missive explains point-by-point the four votes on which Lugar diverged from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

* Former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is moving to Florida. Healey lost the 2006 race for governor, and worked on Mitt Romney's 2008 campaign. It's not yet clear what the move means for her voting status or her future political career.

* The latest redistricting news: Pennsylvania's Republican delegation is headed to Harrisburg on Monday to talk map-making with state legislators. They're trying not to repeat their mistakes from 2001, when Harrisburg Republicans drew the map without much outside input and overreached.


* The Club for Growth is holding its winter conference this weekend in Palm Beach. Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney will all be there to say something to the fiscal conservative group. We won't know what, because the event is closed to press. Nineteen members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, are also planning to attend.

Jared Lee Loughner, who now faces 49 federal charges, will be arraigned on March 9 in Tucson before U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns. Employing a novel legal argument, the superseding indictment adds 46 additional federal charges to the case against Loughner on the theory that the crime at the Safeway where Giffords was meeting with constituents occurred on protected federal ground.

* Tomorrow night, Romney will deliver the keynote address at the Carroll County Republican Committee Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Bartlett, N.H. It's his first public event in the state this year. If Romney runs for president, New Hampshire will be critical to his campaign. Tea party activists are on the rise there, which could be problematic for an establishment guy like Mitt. But a recent straw poll suggests party insiders are still on his side.

* Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a recent convert to Catholicism, is continuing his courtship of evangelical leaders on an upcoming trip to Iowa, where he'll meet with controversial pastor John Hagee. During the 2008 election, the pastor's past controversial statements on Catholics and Jews came to light, leading the conservative Catholic League to denounce him as a "bigot." Hagee reached out to that group and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and they have reconciled.

Ben Affleck is coming to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to appear before the House Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Subcommittee on behalf of the Eastern Congo Initiative, a non-profit organization that he founded in 2010.. This panel will surely get a lot of press, because the media always obsesses over the humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo. 


This is so, so awkward.

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | March 4, 2011; 4:56 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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