TPM News

After failing to push through their motion to proceed on financial reform, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called an open quorum on the Senate floor tonight, forcing Republicans to return, briefly, to the Capitol--a move designed to draw attention to their filibuster.

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Senate Republicans followed through on their threat today to block debate on a financial regulatory reform bill authored by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). The final tally on the vote to break the filibuster was 57 to 41, with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) joining the Republicans, but failed to meet the 60 vote threshold required to end debate and bring the bill to the Senate floor. (Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted no -- a procedural move he had to make in order to hold a swift revote.)

The move ratchets up a political food fight between Democrats and Republicans, with Dems on the offense, charging that the GOP's decision to block progress on the legislation puts them on the side of Wall Street.

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James Dobson, the founder and former head of Focus on the Family, has endorsed Trey Grayson in the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky, involving himself in a key primary that is pitting the GOP establishment against Grayson's Tea Party-courting opponent, Rand Paul.

"Trey Grayson is the only candidate with the conviction to lead on the issues that matter to Kentucky families," Dobson said in a statement. "His unwavering commitment to the sanctity of human life and the family resonates with me. I know that he will be a leader on these issues, not just another Senator who checks the box."

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It sure sounds like Goldman Sachs bond trader Fabrice Tourre knew exactly what he was doing.

In a series of 2007 emails released over the weekend by Goldman Sachs, Tourre, who was charged earlier this month in the SEC's civil fraud case against Goldman, comes across as a sly dealer of financial products that he seemed to know were ticking time bombs -- bragging about selling them to a "widow and orphans" -- but also as someone ethically conflicted about doing so.

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The immigration debate is suddenly front and center, and there are signals that the Senate might take up immigration reform in the relatively near future (even at the expense of an anticipated bipartisan deal on energy).

But that doesn't mean you should count House Dems in on this one.

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April 25, 2010: Thousands of protesters gather outside the Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix to oppose a recently passed immigration law. The law, Senate Bill 1070, was signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) on April 23. It requires law enforcement officials to demand immigration papers from those they "reasonably" suspect to be in the country illegally.

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Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a longtime advocate of immigration reform, speaks to reporters at the protest. Gutierrez, who addressed the protesters in Spanish, pointed out the the law does not take effect for 90 days: "In these 90 days, we will demonstrate our solidarity. That's why we are here."

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A protester holds a sign that roughly translates to "Attention! Your Papers Please!! Now!!"

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Arizona State Police officers watch the demonstrators.

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Picking up on TPMmuckraker's report from this morning, the Democratic National Committee is slamming its Republican counterpart for sending out a misleading fundraising mailer marked "Census Document", even after Congress last month passed a law aimed at banning such mailers.

DNC chair Tim Kaine accused Michael Steele and co. of "flouting a law passed by Congress unanimously, and signed by the President, as a direct result of the RNC's previous efforts to confuse people on this very issue."

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The Senate campaign of Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO and current candidate for the Republican nomination in Connecticut, has backed off from a controversial voter-registration plan that would have provided bonuses for every Republican voter registration.

The Stamford Advocate reported on the plan Friday, comparing it to the voter-registration fraud scandal that ensnared ACORN when paid canvassers were found to have filled in forms with names like "Mickey Mouse" -- acts that did not lead to actual voter fraud, since there is no evidence that "Mickey Mouse" showed up to vote. The McMahon campaign was going to pay college students $10 per hour to sign up voters -- with a $5 bonus for each Republican registration. Connecticut has a closed primary system, in which only registered Republicans and Democrats can vote in their respective primaries.

McMahon spokesman Ed Patru told TPMDC that the bonus structure was cancelled late Friday or early Saturday, shortly after the newspaper article was published. "I'll say that it's important to Linda that everything this campaign does be above board and legal," said Patru. "While this voter registration plan for university campuses was 100 percent in compliance with the law, we want to be sensitive to perceptions as well. Because of that, the bonus structure was dropped."

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"I am friends with and helped promote two of the guys who signed the Complaint against Mark. Someone should tell Mark to look at my profile on my firm website, my SEC press releases, and advise Mark to add me to his defense team."

Those are the words of former SEC Fort Worth enforcement chief Spencer Barasch, in a 2008 email pitching his services to a person close to Mark Cuban, the billionaire Texas businessman then facing an SEC insider trading complaint, the Dallas Morning News reports.

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One big winner in Arizona's draconian new immigration law? Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Since the law was signed last week, the hard-line Maricopa County lawman has been making the media rounds to praise it, as well as to thumb his nose at the federal investigation into his own controversial immigration enforcement tactics. And lately he's even been talking up a possible run for governor.

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