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- Politicians Aren't More Corrupt Than Usual
- Axelrod Says Democrats Were Wrong About Bush Vacations
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Posts by Meredith Shiner
March 14, 2014
House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., is scheduled to hold a high-dollar fundraiser in Silicon Valley next week — but frustrated tech donors are already grumbling about the event, disappointed by the lack of progress from House Republicans on one of their top policy priorities: immigration legislation.
According to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call, the Goodlatte fundraiser is organized by TechNet, which bills itself as the “preeminent bipartisan political network of CEOs and Seniors Executives that promotes the growth of technology-led innovation.” Suggested contribution levels for Wednesday’s round table and reception with the powerful chairman range between $10,000 and $40,000 for the Goodlatte Victory Committee.
Not every big-time tech donor, however, is ready to cut a check, because Goodlatte’s Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over immigration legislation.
March 12, 2014
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he supports legislation passed by a Kentucky Senate committee Wednesday to change the state’s election law to allow one candidate to run in multiple federal races on the same ballot.
The law would potentially benefit current Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is up for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016 but has his eye on a potential White House run.
“I favor that,” McConnell told CQ Roll Call in the Capitol basement Wednesday afternoon. “Did they approve that? Yeah. I think that’s a good idea.”
McConnell’s support is not a surprise given his political alliance with Paul, whose early endorsement in this year’s Senate GOP primary in the Bluegrass State has helped gird the leader against a potential primary upset from the right. Full story
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., said Wednesday that she believes flood insurance legislation was the deciding factor in Tuesday’s special election in Florida, not health care.
Landrieu has championed the legislation in the Senate and, as CQ Roll Call reported previously, has her own political motivations for doing so, given her own tough re-election bid in 2014. But the Louisiana Democrat said Wednesday that House GOP leaders saw the importance of the issue in the Florida gulf district and pushed through a bill, which the Senate could take up as soon as this week, to its own political benefit. Full story
March 10, 2014
Thirty Senate Democrats are scheduled to stage an all-night talkathon to address climate change and its deniers, but notably missing from the extensive roster of speakers are moderate Democrats, especially those who are up for re-election in 2014.
According to a list of participating senators provided by Democrats, the most politically vulnerable among them will not speak: Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and John Walsh of Montana. Interviews with several moderate Democrats on Monday suggested they were not invited to contribute to the event, while GOP campaigns hit Senate Democrats generally for staging such a stand on the floor.
“I will not be [speaking],” Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee, said before votes Monday. “I will not be, but I think what they’re doing is helpful.”
March 6, 2014
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made what appeared to be a politically savvy move Thursday, voting to advance a measure from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to remove the prosecution of serious crime, including sexual assault, from the military chain of command.
McConnell was one of 11 Republicans to vote to break a filibuster of the bill, which had the support of conservative firebrands Rand Paul, also of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz. Though the measure failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to proceed, McConnell’s vote could potentially inoculate him from attacks on both his left and right flank.
McConnell, who has the endorsement of Paul, has been careful this Congress especially to vote with the junior senator on as many measures as possible. The veteran Kentucky lawmaker is facing a challenge from conservative Matt Bevin, who likely would have attacked McConnell for breaking with Paul and Cruz.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is headlining a fundraiser in Lexington, Ky., Thursday for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a spokesperson for the campaign confirmed.
The event, which will also feature McConnell’s wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, is scheduled to be held in the locker room at Rupp Arena, where the University of Kentucky plays basketball.
March 5, 2014
Likely fearful of attack ads, seven Senate Democrats joined Republicans on Wednesday to block the nomination of Debo P. Adegbile to be the next assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Three of those Democrats — Chris Coons of Delaware, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and John Walsh of Montana — are on the ballot this fall. The others either had regional ties to the controversy dogging Adegbile or are from red states. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa. voted against cloture, as did Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.
February 27, 2014
Now faced with a top-tier Republican challenger, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign on Thursday painted the GOP’s swap of candidates between races as a partisan backroom deal unfit for the state’s independent nature.
GOP Rep. Cory Gardner dropped his House bid Wednesday in favor of the Senate race, which immediately put Udall’s seat in more danger. Meanwhile, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, an unsuccessful Senate candidate in 2010 and a long-shot to defeat Udall, dropped out of the Senate race to run for Gardner’s seat.
“It’s no surprise that a Washington ideologue like Congressman Cory Gardner worked with party bosses to cook up the ‘Centennial State Swap,’ the shady scheme hatched behind closed doors that enabled him to swoop into the Senate race,” Udall spokesman Chris Harris said in a statement. “Rather than bring Colorado’s independence to Congress, Gardner is bringing Washington-style backroom deals to Colorado.”
February 26, 2014
“The Koch Brothers are ‘un-American’” is the new “Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years” in the Senate, per a series of floor speeches given Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Reid, who has picked up the habit of making political floor statements, took the conservative mega-donors to task as part of an emerging narrative from Senate Democrats that such massive campaign spending — and the negative ads that come with it — are destroying the political process.
The Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity already has poured tens of millions of dollars into the 2014 cycle in an attempt to knock out vulnerable incumbent Democrats, and it appears Democrats are trying to discredit the effort knowing they might never be able to match it financially.
“You see, when you make billions of dollars a year, you can be as immoral and dishonest as your money will allow you to be,” Reid said in his second floor speech of the day on the Kochs. “It’s too bad they’re trying to buy America, and it’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.”
Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., will travel to Anchorage this weekend to campaign for Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska., according to multiple sources in both camps familiar with the trip.
Manchin will appear at two fundraisers at the home of former Democratic Gov. Bill Sheffield, each with a different suggested contribution level. Sources would not confirm the specific, suggested dollar amounts. The events are co-hosted by Sheffield and Wally Hickel Jr., son of former Gov. Wally Hickel.
Manchin, who has a penchant for state fairs, also will appear at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 2014 Anchorage Fur Rendezvous (aka “Fur Rondy”), the annual 10-day festival kicking off the famous Iditarod race.
“Senator Manchin will be in Alaska to support Senator Begich because he believes he is the independent-minded Senator who always fights for Alaska and will help move our country forward,” a Manchin campaign spokesman said in an email.
February 25, 2014
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that former President Bill Clinton can stump in Kentucky whenever he wants, characterizing the Democratic icon as his election good-luck charm.
Clinton campaigned in Louisville earlier Tuesday for McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has put the Republican-leaning state in play for Democrats. Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, is a longtime Democratic operative and ally of the powerful Clinton family.
McConnell, who faces opposition from Grimes on his left and tea-party-backed Matt Bevin on his right, seemed unfazed by the political activity at home.
“I welcome him back,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol.
“The last time he ran in 1996 he eked out a narrow victory in Kentucky, while I beat the current governor by 160,000 votes, 10 points,” McConnell said. “In 2008, both Bill and Hillary Clinton came to town, including the day before the election, and I won by 100,000 votes. So I welcome President Clinton back to Kentucky. Every time he’s come its been really good for me.”
February 24, 2014
Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, were the only two senators to receive perfect scores from the Club for Growth for their 2013 voting records, according to the conservative group’s annual scorecards released Monday.
Four House Republicans, including three from Arizona — Matt Salmon, Trent Franks and David Schweikert — also had 100 percent rankings.
Scorecards like those released by Club for Growth and other groups like Heritage Action have played a significant role since the Republican takeover of the House in 2010 in pressuring lawmakers to hold the conservative line on votes the groups deem key. The club’s political action arm also financially supports primary challenges to low-scoring Republican incumbents, including Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who was one of the lowest-scoring Republicans last year. Full story
February 14, 2014
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to mind his own “damn business” when the Nevada Democrat phoned him last year in an effort to influence his appointment to succeed Max Baucus in the Senate.
According to an account in the Helena Independent Record, Bullock told Montana reporters about his terse words with Reid. The phone call occurred before the administration’s announcement that Baucus would be nominated to be ambassador to China.
The Nevada Democrat had a big stake in the electability of Bullock’s pick. Reid’s party can lose no more than five Senate races to maintain his majority leader status, and the open-seat contest in Montana is one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities in November. Full story
February 12, 2014
Senate Republican leaders Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas on Wednesday voted to advance legislation that would increase the nation’s borrowing capacity — but not before they spent 40 minutes of the open vote trying to get others to do it for them, likely out of fear of the conservative blowback that came almost immediately.
Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, demanded the 60-vote procedural move, which put McConnell and Cornyn in the uncomfortable position of having to find five Republicans to join Democrats in supporting the debt ceiling measure. By doing so, Cruz gave perfect fodder to tea party groups and candidates, like the Senate Conservatives Fund and McConnell opponent Matt Bevin, against in-cycle Republicans who would need to vote for the bill as opposed to just letting Democrats do it themselves with a simple majority.
Within minutes, the two leaders were getting hit on social media by their opponents.
February 11, 2014
An internal poll conducted for Sen. Lamar Alexander’s campaign shows the Tennessee Republican with a 45-point lead over his highest-tracking primary opponent, according to a memo obtained by CQ Roll Call.
The poll, conducted by North Star Opinion Research, surveyed 600 likely GOP primary voters and found that Alexander enjoys a 67-percent-to-26-percent favorable-to-unfavorable rating.
Meanwhile, tea-party-backed state Rep. Joe Carr is struggling to gain name recognition in the state. Seventy percent of likely Republican voters said they have never heard of Carr, up only 3 points from an August poll. Full story