TPM News

The Chamber of Commerce, as a non-profit "business league" in the eyes of the IRS, is legally allowed to withhold the names of its donors from public filings. So it does.

The names of Chamber donors, and the amount they donate, are so secret that when the New York Times set out to find out who they were, it didn't find much. But what it did find provided a window into the kind of legislation companies are willing to spend millions to defeat.

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Former NPR new analyst Juan Williams joined the call in a Fox News appearance today to defund NPR in the wake of his firing, saying "if they want to compete in the marketplace, they should compete in the marketplace. They don't need public funds."

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Today's Muhlenberg tracking poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race shows a tie between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak, at 43%-43%.

The survey of likely voters has a ±5% margin of error. In yesterday's tracking poll -- which overlaps today's numbers by three days of sampling, out of four days each -- the two were also tied at 43%-43%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Toomey a lead of 46.2%-44.2%. As we noted this morning, Sestak trailed for months, but is quickly catching up in the home stretch.

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Bill Clinton On Mission To Rescue Democratic Party The Washington Post reports: "Bill Clinton is baffled. The former president's friends say he is in disbelief that in the closing weeks of the midterm campaigns Democrats have failed to articulate a coherent message on the economy and, worse, have allowed themselves to become 'human pinatas.' So Clinton is deploying himself on a last-ditch, dawn-to-dusk sprint to rescue his beleaguered party. And as the only president in modern times who has balanced the federal budget, he is leveraging his credibility to become one of the most fierce defenders of President Obama's economic policies."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will depart form San Francisco at 1:15 p.m. ET, arriving at 2:20 p.m. ET in Los Angeles. He will deliver remarks at a 3:45 p.m. ET event for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and speak at a 4:55 p.m. ET DNC rally. He will depart from Los Angeles at 5:50 p.m. ET, and tape an interview at 6:25 p.m. ET for the Piolin Show in Glendale. He will depart form Glendale at 7:05 p.m. ET, and depart from Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. ET, arriving at 8:30 p.m. ET in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will deliver remarks at a 9:10 p.m. ET DNC rally, and attend a dinner at 10:45 p.m. ET for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

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In a new television ad blitz, the liberal grassroots group Political Action is releasing 28 new TV spots in various toss up Senate and House races across the country. The ads take aim at Republican candidates who have benefited from "corporate front-group spending," as the organization has stepped up its fight against corporate money in politics following the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The ads, which use a single template for all 28 races, are titled "Our ad." They feature pictures of MoveOn members holding up signs, reiterating the narrator's script: "This ad is not paid for by the corporate front groups and oil billionaires who are trying to buy this election. This is our ad made by hard working Americans who live right here in [name of contest's state] and we have one simple message. [Name of Republican candidate] is backed by one of those front groups, and if he's on their side, then he's sure not on ours. Vote [name of Democratic candidate]."

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Something very odd is happening in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Just two weeks ago or so, Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey seemed the odds-on favorite to pick up the open seat of Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter, who had lost his Dem primary to Rep. Joe Sestak in a revolt against Specter's party-switch. This would have quickly returned the seat to GOP hands, after Specter's nearly 30 years as a Republican Senator were interrupted by his party switch. But suddenly, there's a real race again.

Right after the Democratic primary, Sestak enjoyed an initial bump, and took the lead against Toomey. But then various factors set in -- notably the general Republican gains in the polls around the country, and Sestak having to awkwardly deal with questions about an attempted job offer from the White House to get him out of his Dem primary challenge against Specter.

Soon Sestak and Toomey began to tie, and then tie some more. Soon enough, Toomey took a definite lead, and held it throughout much of the summer and early fall.

But now that's all beginning to change.

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We've been telling you a lot about the Republican National Lawyers Association and the election law seminars they hold throughout the country. We had an idea of what the seminars were about, pieced together from who the featured speakers were. But now we have a much, much better idea.

Thanks to the Florida Bar, TPMMuckraker took a look at the agenda for an election law seminar put on by the RNLA on Sept. 10 at a Disney resort. The agenda, which is part of the RNLA's application to have the seminar count for Continuing Legal Education credit for attending lawyers, includes bios of all the speakers, and a list of the lessons given.

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Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is now firing back at his Republican opponent Sharron Angle, after she's made a series of attacks on him for living at the Ritz Carlton in Washington. As he points out, Angle often refers to it as a "penthouse" -- when it's actually on the second floor.

From a friendly interview with Ed Schultz on MSNBC:

SCHULTZ: You grew up in a shack.

REID: Well, it...

SCHULTZ: No plumbing, right? Now she's saying that you're a rich man. How do you feel about that?

REID: Yes, as I -- Ed, I live in Searchlight, Nevada. I have a home in Searchlight, Nevada. I stay in Washington, D.C. in a one bedroom apartment and my penthouse is on the second floor, how do you like that? A penthouse on the second floor.

The TPM Poll Average gives Angle a lead of 48.5%-47.4%.

If there's one outcome of the Juan Williams firing that should surprise no one, it's that the right has jumped to his defense and condemned the desecration of his first amendment rights by the evil left-wing NPR, (which, by the way, should be investigated for something or other, and who even cares what he said about Muslims because everyone was thinking it anyway).

But what many of these conservative pundits have forgotten is how they sang a slightly different tune when certain other journalists were let go for making comments that offended the right.

Let's take a look back...

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