TPM News

The new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), has funneled more than $236 million in federal funds to nonprofit groups he created since 2000, according to a new report by an ethics watchdog group.

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On Monday night, Stephen Colbert announced that he was ready to endorse Donald Trump's potential presidential candidacy, in part because he said he'd finally been convinced that Trump's big publicity stunt could actually vault him into the White House.

For one thing, Colbert said he was impressed with Trump's unique business strategy of running companies into financial ruin.

"Can you name one other candidate who could make a casino go bankrupt?" Colbert asked.

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Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) appeared Monday night on CNN's John King, USA to discuss her recent veto of a "birther bill" -- a piece of legislation requiring candidates for public office to submit proof of U.S. citizenship to the state Secretary of State before they could appear on the state's ballot. And despite the issue's appeal to the GOP's Tea Party base, Brewer had nothing good to say about the bill.

"Well, you know, it seems to me that we have talked about this issue now going on probably two years, and that I believe that most people have reached out and they did their investigations, and it's become such a huge distraction," said Brewer. "I for one, I believe that what I have seen, and after speaking with governor -- or the prior governor of Hawaii -- that indeed he [Obama] was born in Hawaii.

"It's just something that I think is leading our country down a path of destruction, and it just is not serving any good purpose.

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A few Democrats might be vulnerable to attack ads based on their recent budget votes. But just about every Republican is stuck -- even one who isn't in Congress.

"Jane Corwin said she would vote for the 2012 Republican budget that would essentially end Medicare. Seniors would have to pay $6,400 more for the same coverage," the below ad says. "But the plan Jane Corwin supports would cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans."

Corwin is running against Kathy Hochul in the NY-26 special election to fill the seat vacated by former congressman and Craigslist philanderer Chris Lee. It's the first GOP budget ad paid for by a Democrat this cycle. The election's less than a month away, and will now be a barometer for the effectiveness of this line of attack

Now that Republicans have proposed a health care overhaul of their own, we should start seeing more raucous town hall meetings like the ones that erupted in 2009 over the Democrats health care bill, right?

On The Daily Show Monday night, Jon Stewart said that's what he assumed would be the case.

"A lot of those people were very upset because they thought health care reform might result in some modifications to their Medicare benefits," Stewart said. "Now that Republicans have proposed actual modifications to Medicare benefits, well, I imagine that Republican town halls will be even more contentious."

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Just before the House adjourned, Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) voted against the Congressional Black Caucus budget, the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget, the House Democratic budget, the Republican Study Committee Budget, and the House GOP Budget -- the only one of the five options on the table that passed.

That gives Republicans an opening to attack him for refusing to cut spending without mentioning that their own budget does extremely unpopular things -- like reducing deficits over the course of decades by unloading health care costs on to seniors.

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With Barbour Out, New Questions For 2012 Republican Field The Washington Post reports: "Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's surprise decision on Monday not to run for president set off a scramble inside the Republican Party for pieces of his financial and political network. It also raised questions about the challenges the party may face in trying to unseat President Obama. So far, the GOP race has been notable for its slow start and the absence of a front-runner. It has been marked by unhappiness among potential voters. The most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that barely four in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they are satisfied with the current field of candidates -- about 20 percentage points lower than at this time four years ago."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and receive the economic daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Then at 11:25 a.m. ET, he will be interviewed by WSB Atlanta, WKYC Cleveland, WTKR Hampton Roads, Virginia, and WXYZ Detroit. He will hold a bilateral meeting at 1:40 p.m. ET with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, with an expanded bilateral meeting at 2:30 p.m. ET. Obama will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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A Florida woman is suing the police department in West Memphis, Arkansas for the deaths of her husband and stepson, who were killed in a shootout after opening fire on two police officers last year.

Donna Lee Wray-Kane filed a lawsuit in Florida District Court over what she calls "torture killings and civil rights violations," and is asking for damages of at least $75,000 each for the deaths of her husband and stepson -- to be paid in gold "at $38 per troy ounce," according to the complaint.

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