TPM News

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) has confirmed that state Department of Justice staff are not participating in the apparent investigation of former aides to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), from Walker's time as Milwaukee County Executive -- but says it was by the "mutual agreement" of both his office and the Milwaukee District Attorney's office.

Van Hollen's comments follow a report that his office had declined a request for assistance from the Milwaukee District Attorney's office.

"The actual decision came down to very legitimate legal and logistical ones," Van Hollen told ABC affiliate in Madison. "Once this is all completed and the information comes out, it'll be very clear why our decision was made."

When the station's reporter asked whether the fact that both Van Hollen and Walker are Republicans played into his decision, Van Hollen responded: "Politics never plays a role in any of the decisions we make at the Department of Justice."

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Keith Olbermann, Bill O'Reilly and Countdown's "Worst Persons" segment: it's almost too easy. But that doesn't mean it's not fun.

Olbermann on Wednesday pounced on Bill O'Reilly's threat to hang up the towel if taxes get too high. O'Reilly recently said if taxes become too "oppressive" under President Obama, he doesn't know how long he'll keep doing the show.

To which Olbermann responded: Do it!

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By John Voelcker

Yesterday, auto dealers met with their members of Congress to try to delay new rules that would stiffen the gas-mileage requirements for cars sold in model years 2017 to 2025.

The National Auto Dealers Association made the rounds to pitch a proposal that would amend spending legislation for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the 2012 fiscal year.

The amendment would forbid the EPA from taking any actions to implement fuel economy standards for those years. It is sponsored by Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH).

The new standards, which would raise corporate average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for 2025 (or less than 50 mpg in the real world), were agreed to earlier this year by the Obama administration, the EPA, the NHTSA, the California Air Resources Board, and most automakers.

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As expected, the embattled technology company Hewlett-Packard has named former eBay CEO and Republican candidate for California governor Meg Whitman as its CEO.

To avoid a government shutdown -- and he wants to avoid a government shutdown -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) -- has three options. He can move in the Democrats' direction, and scrap a requirement that disaster relief funds be offset with a partisan budget cut; he can move in the direction of House conservatives and cut more deeply into federal programs -- which would violate a July deal he struck with Democrats; or he can convince those wary conservatives to hold their noses and vote for the federal funding legislation that failed on Wednesday evening.

At a Thursday press conference in the Capitol, Boehner made his preference clear.

House conservatives, he said, "can vote 'no' but what they're in essence doing is they're voting to spend more money. Because that's exactly what will happen."

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Larry Flynt has long made something of a habit of offering million dollar rewards for people who can prove they’ve had illicit sexual encounters with politicians he dislikes. Now, TMZ reports, he’s turned his attention to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

He’s taken out an ad for a cool million dollars in several newspapers. It reads: “Have you had a gay or straight sexual encounter with Governor Rick Perry?”

Although Tim Pawlenty was recently given a role in the Romney campaign, the former Minnesota Governor has taken on another job as well: he’ll be an election monitor in Tunisia.

The Wall Street Journal reports the former GOP Presidential contender as saying, “I wish I were still in the race, but now I’m going off to Tunisia instead."

Illegal contributions by the sister of former Republican National Committee Chairman and current MSNBC contibutor Michael Steele got his former Senate campaign fined $54,000 by the Federal Elections Committee, the agency disclosed this week.

It all started back in 2006, when Steele's sister Monica Turner hosted two fundraisers at her home in Bethesda, Md.

Invitations to the event said they were paid for by Steele for Maryland, Inc. But because the campaign was apparently low on funds, Turner paid $6,578.35 in catering, security and valet expenses for a July event and $7,850 in expenses for an October event.

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There’s another millionaire supporter of the so-called Buffett Tax. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban came out in favor of President Obama’s proposed deficit reduction plan on his blog, shooting down the argument that taxes are a disincentive for economic growth.

“So be Patriotic. Go out there and get rich,” he writes. “Get so obnoxiously rich that when that tax bill comes, your first thought will be to choke on how big a check you have to write. Your 2nd thought will be ‘what a great problem to have,’ and your 3rd should be a recognition that in paying your taxes you are helping to support millions of Americans that are not as fortunate as you.”