TPM News

Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs executive named in an SEC civil fraud suit that charges that the firm knowingly sold a mortgage-related security that was designed to fail, said during a governmental affairs hearing moments ago that he deeply regrets sending a series of emails released by Goldman Sachs. In one, he boasted about selling shoddy products to a "widow and orphans."

"These emails were personal emails that I deeply regret," Tourre said.

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The shady anti-financial reform group Stop Too Big To Fail today announced a new TV advertising push in three key states that features an out-of-context quote from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich to bolster its case to kill financial reform.

As TPMmuckraker has reported, Stop Too Big To Fail is the project of a veteran astroturf operation called Consumers for Competitive Choice, and it's using the services of an ad agency that worked with the Swift Boat Vets For Truth in 2004. It has already spent $1.6 million on anti-reform ads and won't say who's funding the group's efforts.

Stop Too Big To Fail previously featured progressive economist Simon Johnson on one of its media conference calls before he realized the goals of the outfit and demanded it stop using his name. Now, Stop Too Big To Fail has turned to using Reich to add credibility to a message designed to sound progressive, while in fact advocating to kill the financial reform legislation.

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A day after Republicans voted in lockstep to block debate on financial reform, Dem-friendly interest groups are beginning, slowly, to target GOP members--highlighting their obstruction, and pushing them to break the filibuster. But though it would be a stretch to call these actions an onslaught, the filibuster itself is earning the GOP plenty of negative attention, with or without a coordinated messaging strategy.

The Service Employees International Union is asking members and supporters to pressure several Republicans, including Richard Burr (R-NC), Kit Bond (R-MO), David Vitter (R-LA), George LeMieux (R-FL), Bob Corker (R-TN), George Voinovich (R-OH), Scott Brown (R-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), via phone call and online petition.

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The outrage over that RNC "Census" fundraising mailer -- sent just weeks after Congress passed a law to ban such mailers -- has gone bipartisan.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a co-sponsor of the legislation passed last month, told The PlumLine's Greg Sargent that the mailer is intended to "deceive people," and added that he and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) will send a letter to RNC chair Michael Steele urging him to put a stop to the missives.

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Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) today commented on the new Arizona law that targets illegal immigrants by requiring law enforcement officers to ask for the papers of anyone they have a "reasonable suspicion" is in the country illegally.

Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, said he has some "concerns" about the law.

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Let the expletives fly.

Moments ago, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) had a swear-laced exchange with former Goldman Sachs partner Daniel Sparks during today's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing. The subcommittee is part of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

"Boy," Levin said, reading from an internal June 22, 2007 Goldman email, "that Timberwolf was one shitty deal."

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The Republican consultant behind the RNC's misleading fundraising mailers marked "Census" proudly touts the mailers on his firm's website. And he's dismissing the bipartisan outrage over the missives as "the ankle biting of the political process," adding that the Virgin Mary "had to go to Bethlehem to be part of a census."

The website for The Lukens Company, run by GOP consultant Walter Lukens and boasting a list of big-name clients, includes "Republican National Committee Census" as an example of the firm's work. The mailer is said to be the "most successful prospecting package for [the] RNC," and to have "generated hundreds of thousands of new donors to the RNC file."

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A new Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by the Salt Lake Tribune suggests that Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) could be doomed to defeat at his state GOP's convention in May -- which would defeat him for renomination without even having a primary.

The poll of convention delegates gave attorney Mike Lee 37%, followed by businessman Tim Bridgewater with 20%, the incumbent Bennett at only 16%, and businesswoman Cherilyn Eagar with 11%. In addition, a whopping 61% of delegates view Bennett unfavorably, with only 28% giving him a favorable rating.

Under the rules of the Utah GOP, a candidate with 60% of the convention vote will be nominated outright, with no primary. If the super-majority is not reached, then the final two contenders will have a primary -- meaning that a candidate must receive at least 40% of the convention vote in order to make it to the primary. With the incumbent Bennett at only 16%, it is seems highly unlikely that he could make it out of the convention.

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Following up on Sen. Carl Levin's (D-MI) dismantling of Goldman Sachs at this morning's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) slammed the investment bank in her opening statement.

Saying that Goldman hides behind complicated jargon to mask financial moves and products that aren't quite above board, McCaskill offered some definitions.

"Let me just explain in very simple terms what synthetic CDOs are," she said. "They are instruments that are created so that people can bet on them."

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