In it, but not of it. TPM DC

With less than two months to go until Election Day, newly surfaced allegations that a Republican congressman from Louisiana slept with prostitutes who were later murdered in a series of unsolved killings are making a splash in a crowded U.S. Senate race.

The outlandish charges against Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) received national press attention this week, after Boustany's campaign released a denial from his wife that prompted his opponents in the Senate race to play up those allegations in their own statements that denied having had any hand in the prostitution story.

The strident denials from Boustany's wife and his campaign prompt the question of whether there is actually anything to the claims outlined in “Murder in the Bayou,” a book published Tuesday by Simon & Schuster imprint Scribner. Journalist Ethan Brown reported in the book that multiple anonymous sources told him Boustany had sexual relationships with several of the eight sex workers who were found murdered in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana between 2005-2009.

Brown also confirmed that a longtime Boustany aide, Martin Guillory, co-leased an inn in the city of Jennings that was known to police as a hotbed of prostitution and had met “one or two” of the victims before their deaths. Boustany’s staffers said that Guillory concealed his involvement in the motel from them and that he left his post as a field representative for the campaign last week.

Read More →

Risqué photographic evidence that cast doubt on Melania Trump's account of immigrating to the United States was based on a faulty report, according to the French photographer who shot the nude pics. Photos taken of Trump in Manhattan in the mid-1990s for the French magazine Max were printed in a February 1997 issue of the magazine, not the January 1996 issue, as the New York Post reported in July, the photographer confirmed to TPM Wednesday.

The dates of the issue and the photoshoot were important, because they were used as evidence that Trump was living and working in the United States as early as 1995, which contradicted her account of when she immigrated to America.

Read More →

Debt limit crises are so 2013. House Republican hardliners have found a new outlet to express their frustration with President Obama’s tyrannical rule -- and with the GOP leadership's foot-dragging -- in the form an impeachment vote against a mid-level figure in the administration.

The move, deemed unprecedented by some congressional scholars, comes as Republicans had sought to keep their members in line ahead of what has been an already treacherous election for the GOP. Caught in the crosshairs is IRS Commissioner John Koskinen (pictured), the bureaucrat who was brought in to clean up a controversy at the tax agency and who now faces an impeachment vote this week. GOP leaders gave their rank-and-file plenty of venues to vent about what they have deemed a botched investigation into allegations that the IRS was targeting conservative groups. Their efforts to tamp down the rebellion were rebuffed by procedural moves led by House Freedom Caucus members Tuesday.

Read More →

There was a collective sigh of relief coming from Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Finally, they got to chat with Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, a man who seemed to understand politics as they did.

After months of awkward meetings with Trump and surrogates, and being asked repeatedly by the Washington press corps about Trump's controversy de jour, Republican lawmakers welcomed the opportunity to talk to someone they finally were optimistic about, one of their own, Pence.

Read More →

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence won't call former KKK leader David Duke deplorable. Instead, he said he just doesn't want Duke's support.

"I have no idea why this man keeps coming up," Pence said during a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning. "Donald Trump and I have denounced David Duke repeatedly. We have said that we do not want his support and we do not want the support of people who think like him."

Read More →

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) thinks about what he would say about Donald Trump if he were in the throes of his own re-election, if in 2016, he had had a primary challenger back home to contend with and a tight general election to stare down.

He likes to believe he'd still have called Trump's attacks on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel "very disturbing" and continued to raise alarm bells after Trump sought to ban Muslims from entering the country.

But, in a candid, Capitol Hill interview with TPM, Flake offered what he has all campaign season, honesty and insight into what it is like to be one of the few elected Republicans in Washington willing to call out his own party's nominee for president.

"I am in a position to do it," Flake said. "I'm not up for re-election. ... I'm the first to wonder if I would do the same thing if I were up for re-election. I'd like to think I would, but I don't know."

Read More →

Following a months-long standoff between the House Science Committee and state attorneys general conducting an investigation into Exxon over climate change denialism, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has called a hearing to affirm his right to subpoena the state officials overseeing criminal investigations.

Smith, a noted climate change denier, has made repeated demands that the attorneys general and several environmental groups turn over their communications about Exxon, accusing them of embarking on an "unprecedented effort against those who have questioned the causes, magnitude, or best ways to address climate change." The attorneys general, as well as the activist groups, have refused to comply with the committee's requests, setting up a battle over subpoena power.

In a June statement, the committee's ranking member, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), said that Smith's demands were "not about legitimate oversight," but that the committee was "harassing" attorneys general investigating Exxon.

Read More →

Donald Trump’s speech Friday to evangelicals at the Values Voter Summit was greeted with hooting and hollering and a standing ovation. But throughout the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington, D.C. where the social conservatives’ conference was being held were signs of anxiety that the movement wasn’t fully behind the GOP nominee.

"I’d like to elect a godly man, but we don’t have that choice,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) could be heard saying in the hallway to another attendee, before giving a speech urging voters to rally around Trump.

Read More →