Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Hiring: DC Reporter

TPM is hiring a DC based reporter to aggressively pursue iterative, investigative journalism in the TPM tradition. This new reporting position is part of a planned general expansion of our editorial team in NY and DC.

Applicants should have 5 and 10 years reporting experience, be hungry to break big stories and be ready to mix good old fashioned reporting skills and digital native tools to identify stories, grab hold of them and not let go until there's no more news left in them to report.

Our model is iterative journalism, which means we strive not to be captive to any single format but rather let the story and news of the moment dictate the format we use to cover it.

Competitive salary, health insurance coverage (TPM pays 100% of premium), 401k, three weeks paid vacation per year. To apply, send a resume and cover letter to jobs (at) talkingpointsmemo.com. Include the subject line: "Job App: DC Reporter”. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Chauncey Trump

The AMA, which has been rather comically pro-Trump to date, came out today and told Republicans that they shouldn't repeal Obamacare without a clear replacement. Notably, even two of the most conservative health care economists at AEI, came out yesterday and said that 'repeal and delay' would be a disaster. The truth is that "repeal and delay" is the policy equivalent of taking off from JFK to Heathrow with 2,000 miles worth of gas and saying you're going to figure it out en route. No one who knows anything about health care economics, even people who are staunch free marketeers and hate Obamacare, think that makes any sense.

Read More →

Ethics Office Victimized Rep Over Rabbit Travel

When House Republicans met in a closed door caucus meeting Monday night to vote on reining in the Office of Congressional Ethics, aggrieved members of the House stood up to recount stories of being victimized by the out-of-control oversight office. In the aftermath of the ethics vote debacle, the spokesman for one member of Congress, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), discussed his boss's victimization with the local paper, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Hunter, who inherited his seat from his father and voted in favor of gutting the oversight office, was victimized when the Office questioned tens of thousands of dollars worth of campaign spending. Spokesman Joe Kasper noted one particularly egregious case of investigative overreach in which the Office questioned Hunter's use of $600 of campaign funds for airline tickets for the family rabbit.

Read More →

It Gets Better!

We've now updated the Ethics Office Meltdown vote list with a new category - Dodgers: Reps who earlier refused to say how they voted and are now sending out press releases saying they're glad the terrible rule change is being yanked.

Here's Your List

And here's the first edition of our House Ethics Vote checklist. Constituents are calling their Reps and asking how they voted in the secret GOP caucus vote. We've got the Yeses, Noes, It's Private I won't tell you, We'll get back to you and my plane was late. Here it is.

It Still Counts

Even though the House Republicans caved, we're still very interested in how people voted. We have our first vote count list coming shortly. But if you want to call your member of Congress, we're still compiling answers. No less important to know just because they later caved.

A Clarifying Lesson

This should be a clarifying lesson: most of the establishment press will reflexively credit Trump for things he has nothing to do with. We've seen that with the repeated claims of credit for saving or creating jobs which were usually announced months before. It's classic Lucy's football. There's always news a day or two later about how it's not true. But they run with it each time. Now we see the same with the House GOP caving and CNN, WaPo, Politico, AP and all the bigs saying they gave in when Trump tweeted his equivocal disapproval. That is pretty clearly not the case.

Read More →

CNN Manages to Blow the House Ethics Story

This is turning out to be an embarrassing morning for CNN. They are falling over themselves to press the idea that Donald Trump made last night's House ethics blow up as a story. Trump tweeted this morning, seemingly criticizing the House GOP's decision to essentially abolish by Office of Congressional Ethics. But it's important to note the 'criticism' was highly circumscribed. He criticized the timing, while agreeing that that independent oversight was "unfair". But the bigger point is that this started blowing up last night and was full firestorm before Trump said anything.

Late Update: WaPo too: GOP caved after Trump stepped in.

This is a good example that much of the press will reflexively rush to praise Trump for things he had little or nothing to do with: faux jobs, ethics leadership and so much more.

Read More →

Help Us Count the Vote!

As I noted last night, the House GOP caucus just voted to kill the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (it loses its independence and now needs Congress's permission to investigate anyone or report anything it finds). The vote is secret. But you can find out! Yes, you can! If you live in a district represented by a Republican member of Congress you can call their office and ask how they voted on the Goodlatte proposal. Here are the details of what happened. And here's an example of how we did this the last time something like this happened back in 2004.

Call your Republican Rep. and ask how the member voted on the Goodlatte proposal. Remember, always be polite and courteous. You're not speaking to the member. You're more than likely speaking to a junior staffer who is just there to do their job. Being polite but firm is not only more effective it's just the right thing to do.

Read More →

Back to The Auction House

In the latter days of the Bush Administration, the House of Representatives was rocked by a long, slow burn corruption scandal known mainly by the name of Jack Abramoff, a GOP operative whose lobbying operation was at the center of much of it. But there were actually a group of scandals which collectively grew out of the system of technically legal organized corruption that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had built to run and permanently dominate the House with an iron system of money and favors. The first major blow-up was the case of disgraced ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham (after whom the Golden Dukes are named), the comically iconic Bush/DeLay Era corruption scandal. He literally produced a 'menu' for things crooked contractors could buy from him and at what cost. There was the Cunningham scandal and various sub-scandals that grew from it; there was the bigger and more wide-ranging Abramoff scandal and various sub-scandals that grew from it. But what really set the stage was something that happened in November 2004, just after President Bush's reelection and the dawn of the GOP's 'permanent majority.' That was when DeLay, then under indictment in Texas, got the GOP House caucus to push through a rules change (the 'DeLay Rule') to allow an indicted member of the leadership to remain in office.

Just tonight, at what I suspect is a historically similar moment, we have a replay in the again-GOP-run House.

Read More →