TPM News

In a further sign that Republican candidate Tom Emmer is going to put up a serious fight in the Minnesota gubernatorial recount, the state GOP has announced the hiring of a very important name for his legal team: Former state Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson, who previously served on the state Canvassing Board in the 2008 Senate recount, and will now serve in the role of chief litigator on Team Emmer.

As the Star Tribune notes, Magnuson played a special role within the Canvassing Board itself, keeping detailed notes on the sorts of disputed markings on ballots that the board would encounter, and the "precedents" on how they would count them. (For example, he helped to establish a rule that the state's law against a person signing their ballot would not apply in cases where a person had crossed out a previous choice, then signed the alteration in the manner in which people are accustomed to marking up legal documents.)

Read More →

There will be no compromise on the Bush tax cuts in the lame duck session if House Minority Whip Eric Cantor has anything to say about it. Appearing on Fox News' On The Record last night, Cantor made it clear that he will not be supporting any efforts to compromise on extending the cuts set to expire next year. Cantor told Greta Van Susteren that last Tuesday's election gave the still-minority GOP the mandate to vote only to extend all the cuts, not a compromise package of cuts that Democrats say lessen the long-term fiscal impact of extending the massive tax cuts created by the Republican Congress and President Bush back in 2001.

"Between now and January 1st," Van Susteren asked, "is there any compromise you can make on taxes?"

"No," Cantor said. "Taxes shouldn't be going up on anybody right now."

Read More →

Bryan Fischer really hates it when animals attack. Like, hates it so much that he thinks we'd be better off without them.

Which is why Fischer, who is the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the conservative Christian group the American Family Association, wrote a blog post today called "A hot dog on two legs - time for open season on Yellowstone grizzlies," in which he refers to Grizzly Bears as a "curse" and says that "it's time" for the grizzlies to go.

Does Stephen Colbert know about this guy?

Read More →

In an interview with Politico, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) touted her qualifications in her underdog bid for House GOP Conference Chair. As she pitched it, she helped to mobilize so many Tea Party activists for the Republican Party, with such events as her large-scale Tea Party event at the Capitol a year ago. And as such, she played a key role in delivering the House to the Republicans.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: The Year of Michele Bachmann]

"I have been able to bring a voice and motivate people to, in effect, put that gavel in John Boehner's hands, so that Republicans can lead going forward."

Read More →

Freshman Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) has narrowly won re-election, and his Republican opponent Keith Fimian has conceded the race.

The most recent figures show Connolly winning by 981 votes, or a margin of 0.43% out of about 225,000 total ballots. Connolly was first elected in 2008, defeating Fimian to pick up an open GOP-held seat, and has now survived a Republican wave year that took out three other Virginia Democrats: Fellow freshmen Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye, plus longtime Rep. Rick Boucher.

"A recount only seeks to arrive at an accurate tally of all votes cast. In our race, we have not seen any obvious errors in the results," Fimian said in a press release. "And while we believe that there are a small number of ballots containing votes that have not yet been counted, we are confident based on the canvass that it is not enough to change the outcome of this contest."

Federal prosecutors will not file criminal charges against anyone for destroying CIA videotapes that depicted the harsh interrogation of terrorism detainees during the Bush administration, the Justice Department confirmed on Tuesday.

A Justice Department spokesman said in a statement that after an "exhaustive investigation into the matter," a federal prosecutor "has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes."

The news was first reported by NPR's Carrie Johnson. NPR's report cites two sources close to the investigation who said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham has concluded there is not enough evidence to bring an indictment.

Read More →

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is not sharing information with other federal agencies, is not properly communicating with Mexican officials and is focusing too much of their effort on low-level gun traffickers while ignoring the bigger cases, according to a report by the Justice Department Inspector General released Tuesday.

DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine's report focuses on ATF's implementation of "Project Gunrunner," which became a national initiative in 2006 to combat illegal gun trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border. Fine found "significant weaknesses in ATF's implementation of Project Gunrunner undermine its effectiveness."

The agency "does not systematically and consistently exchange intelligence with its Mexican and some U.S. partner agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection," the report found.

Read More →

During an interview last night on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) floated a possible plan to mobilize around health care repeal in the 2012 campaign cycle.

"At American Solutions we're looking very closely at launching petition drives in every state that has a Democrat up for reelection in 2012," said Gingrich, further listing states with key Senate seats up for election in two years: "You start looking at Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Florida, Virginia. There are a lot of states out there where you have an absolute majority in favor of repealing Obamacare.

Read More →

Fresh off their election day sweep, top Republicans in Congress are already threatening a high-stakes gambit to block what has traditionally been a fairly routine move: changing the law to increase the total amount of debt the federal government is allowed take on.

If the debt ceiling is not raised before the federal government uses up its current borrowing authority, then sometime in February the U.S. government will no longer be able to issue more debt -- at which point all hell will break loose.

Read More →

A Florida political consultant who often delivered contribution checks for alleged fake charity scammer Bobby Thompson said no one would have guessed that the U.S. Navy Veterans Association was a scam.

"At the time, everybody thought he was a generous guy, a big donor,'' the consultant, Barry Edwards, told the St. Petersburg Times. "It looked like he ran a huge enterprise for veterans."

The Times yesterday talked to some former associates of "Bobby Thompson," the fake charity scammer who allegedly used ostensible donations for Navy veterans to fill his pockets and contribute money to Republican political campaigns.

Read More →