TPM News

The Federal Election Commission is set to tell Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a member of the Tea Party Caucus, that he can't become the first politician in the country to form his very own "super PAC" during their public meeting next week.

A draft ruling posted by the FEC on Wednesday in response to a request for an advisory opinion Lee filed last month would deny the Utah Republican and his leadership PAC, the Constitutional Conservatives Fund PAC, the ability to create a separate account for unlimited contributions -- or "soft money" -- used to fuel independent expenditure ads.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is out with his second TV ad against the effort by state Democrats to recall him, featuring a teacher seeking to persuade the state's voters to stick with Walker and not sign recall petitions.

This follows Walker's first ad, which was released last week just as the Dems were officially kicking off the petition campaign. The key for Walker in these ads is that there is no such thing as a petition to not hold a recall election.

Thus, there is no base of his own supporters to get out at this stage -- instead, he must seek to persuade people in the middle who are unhappy with him, to not sign up for a recall.

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As the candidates' talking points become more and more familiar, the seemingly numberless GOP debates are becoming tougher to mine for substance. However, that doesn't mean we can't get our kicks elsewhere, and in Tuesday night's debate, much of the fun came from Ron Paul's facial expressions. His reaction shots are particularly golden. Watch for yourself below:

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The Yahoo acquisition rumor mill has been sent buzzing again with the news that Microsoft signed a non-disclosure agreement with Yahoo, which would allow Microsoft to gain more detail on Yahoo's assets but prevent Microsoft from talking to other potential bidders, according to the New York Times Dealbook.

Not only that, but in a savvy move, before it signed the non-disclosure agreement, Microsoft in October held talks with other potential bidders, including Silver Lake and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, about teaming up to buy part or all of the struggling Yahoo, Dealbook reported.

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A group of hackers claiming to represent Anonymous's Antisec movement hijacked two Gmail accounts belonging to a retired California Department of Justice cybercrimes investigator, now a private investigator, and on November 18 published 38,000 private emails and identifying contact information online.

Among the data published by the hackers in a torrent file were two versions of what appears to be Facebook's guidelines for law enforcement agencies, according to Public Intelligence, a collaborative research website dedicated to the freedom of information.

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President Obama hasn't used his recess appointment power very often. But he didn't hesitate to install Donald Berwick as the administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services without Senate confirmation over a year ago, to lead the implementation of the new health care law. Berwick's has, without a doubt, been Obama's most important recess appointment, and his most effective. But he will step down early next month -- a few weeks before his term expires -- because filibustering Republicans continue to deny him an up or down vote.

The GOP claims its opposition is rooted in Berwick's past praise of Britain's state-run National Health Service. But his powers as CMS administrator obviously stop well short of socializing the United States health care system. So what gives?

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The Obama campaign is keeping its sights aimed at Mitt Romney, with a conference call with reporters Wednesday slamming Romney for attacking Newt Gingrich's positions on immigration reform in the debate Tuesday night.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) said: "I think we're all profoundly disappointed by Mitt Romney's comments in the debate, where he chastised former Speaker Newt Gingrich about his statement that this country should have a humane immigration policy, and that we ought to have the policy that takes into consideration not separating families, not discriminating against children by not educating them.

"And he was taken to task, I thought pretty severely by Mitt Romney - the same individual that has had multiple positions throughout his different campaigns.

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