TPM News

The Office of Congressional Ethics has sent letters to several residents of the C Street Christian fellowship house informing them that there is no "probable cause" to believe legislators are getting improper gifts in the form of below-market rent, Roll Call reports.

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This Tuesday's South Carolina Republican gubernatorial runoff is shaping up to be a major battle for the GOP -- and a sneak peek at what the 2012 Republican presidential primaries could be like, as the party's wings do battle in this major early primary state.

Assuming that the GOP keeps the governorship of this red state, the new governor will be highly influential with the party's base and various organizations -- and somebody that a national candidate will want to have supporting them. Already, some of the GOP's potential presidential candidates have been involved in the race. Sarah Palin strongly endorsed state Rep. Nikki Haley during the first round, backing her up in the face of scandals when Haley was accused of having extra-marital affairs.

Mitt Romney also supported Haley in the first round, after Haley had supported him during the 2008 primaries. Romney returned to the state today to campaign for Haley again -- and also, as the Politico reports, he's donated $42,000 to Haley's campaign, taking advantage of a loophole that allows him to donate from his national PAC and various statewide PACs.

During the first round, Mike Huckabee endorsed and recorded a commercial for Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who had supported Huckabee in 2008 -- and unfortunately for Huck, Bauer came in fourth place with 12%.

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After news reports today that BP CEO Tony Hayward was no longer handling day-to-day operations in the Gulf oil response, a spokesman for the company told CNN that Hayward is still in his current position in the Gulf.

The reports, including TPM's, were based on an interview BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg gave to Sky News today, in which he said Hayward is handing over Gulf operations to BP's managing director Bob Dudley.

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A second Republican Congressman has asked Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to resign as ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee after Barton apologized to BP yesterday.

Rep. Jo Bonner, who represents an Alabama coastal district, said in a statement that Barton should step down.

"We all make mistakes and I don't know anyone who hasn't said something at one time or another that he wished he hadn't said," the statement begins. Bonner said that Barton called him this morning to personally apologize.

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A bemused Laura Ingraham talked to Alvin Greene today in perhaps the most gratuitously mean Greene interview to date.

The conservative radio show host opened the interview by asking if President Obama, or Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi had called to congratulate him. (No, Greene answered, again and again.) Ingraham then asked Greene his stance on the threat of stagflation.

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May-June, 2010: As oil continues to leak following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, more pictures are emerging of the clean up efforts in the Gulf Coast.

Here, a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle is recovered for clean up.


A public beach in Gulf Shores, AL.


An oil-stained egret in Grand Isle, LA.


Jeff Phillips, Environmental Contaminants Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, rescues a Brown Pelican from the Barataria Bay in Grand Isle, LA.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ann Marie Gorden.

A Coast Guard crew member looks out at Perdido Pass from the back of a AC-141A plane in Orange Beach, Alabama.


Members of a Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) follow a trail of oil debris on the shoreline of Raccoon Island, LA.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/SW) Jonathen E. Davis

A brown pelican flies passed workers replacing oil soaked boom around Cat Island in Barataria Bay near Grand Isle, LA.


A Kemp's Ridley turtle swims out from under an oil patch.


A pelican gets cleaned off by a member of the Louisiana State Wildlife Response Team.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Stumberg/Released

Two brown pelicans swim in gulf waters near St. Petersburg, FL, after being released at the Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen.

Brown pelicans await cleaning in a wildlife rehabilitation center in Buras, LA.


Orange Beach, AL.


Dolphins surface for air near a shrimp boat skimming for oil in Grand Isle, LA.


Sea turtle experts clean a small Kemp's Ridley turtle with a toothbrush.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by University of California, Davis

The controlled burn of oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Petty Officer First Class John Masson

Members of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepare to net an oiled pelican in Barataria Bay, LA.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John Miller.

A helicopter flies over shrimp boats skimming for oil in in Grand Isle, LA.


Oil washed up on the beaches of Ft. Morgan, AL.


Dr. Sharon Taylor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases a northern gannet at the Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge near St. Petersburg, FL.


A team of sea turtle experts work to recover oiled and endangered turtles in the Gulf.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen.

Marine science technicians examine a previously identified oil impact zone during a shoreline assessment on Grand Terre Island 2, in Grand Isle, LA.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Caleb Critchfield.

A Containment boom and sorbent boom block a patch of oil from reaching an island populated by brown and white pelicans in Barataria Bay, LA.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Caleb Critchfield.

Oil damage on the beach at Gulf Islands National Seashore.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Tami A. Heilmann-DOI

The oil slick, one mile south of Perdido Key, FL.

cc: Deepwater Horizon Response/Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tasha Tully.

In the wake of a massive loss to Carly Fiorina, conservative Senate candidate Chuck DeVore is asking supporters to help him retire campaign debt, making no mention in fundraising emails of the former rival whom he once called a "long, slow trainwreck." Now that Fiorina (R-CA) is transitioning to the general election against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), TPMDC caught up with DeVore to ask if he still foresees a trainwreck down the tracks.

"That's up to the candidate and the press. These things unfold," DeVore told TPMDC in an interview today. "Can she execute a sharply run campaign or not?" DeVore did say that from what he's seen in the days since Fiorina won the nomination, she's kept to conservative principles and "didn't wobble."

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) took $55,000 in campaign contributions from the U.S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA) founder Bobby Thompson before it was revealed that the USNVA was quite possibly a scam that existed solely for the personal enrichment of one Bobby Thompson. After his fellow state Republicans discovered it, they hastily turned around and gave the tainted donations to actual non-profits that help individual veterans. Not Cuccinelli, though: he insisted on keeping them even as he told reporters that he also would not be initiating any investigation into Thompson or USNVA.

Responding to pressure today, Cuccinelli announced a slight change of plans. Taking a page from BP, he deposited $55,000 of his campaign war chest into an escrow account pending the outcome of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' investigation into the charity.

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Minnesota state Sen. Tarryl Clark, the Democratic candidate to go up against Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, is looking to get an ad on the air going after Bachmann for having bashed the the BP escrow fund as "extortion" by the Obama administration.

The ad is not yet up on TV, but the Clark campaign is conducting a fundraising drive among supporters to get it on the air.

"It's BP's fault. And they should pay. But Michelle Bachmann calls making BP pay for the clean up 'extortion,'" the announcer says. "And said 'If I was the head of BP, I would let the signal get out there - 'We're not going to be chumps.'"

"If Bachmann lets BP off the hook, guess who's paying? Us," the announcer says. "Michele Bachmann: standing up for BP. Not us."

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Tony Hayward is out -- at least in his role as BP's Gulf oil spill frontman.

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in an interview with Sky News that the embattled BP CEO, who's come under fire for saying all sorts of insensitive-sounding things over the last two months, is handing over daily operations in the Gulf to BP Managing Director Bob Dudley. Hayward will go back to the UK.

"He is now handing over the operations, the daily operations to Bob Dudley," Svanberg said.

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