TPM News

In an effort to win business from the Jordanian government, Blackwater execs gifted Glocks, an M4 rifle, and a shotgun, among other weapons, to the King of Jordan, according to prosecutors. But, say the Feds, the execs then realized they couldn't account for the weapons -- so they falsely told the government that they had bought them as individuals.

In an indictment filed Friday against Blackwater's former president, Gary Jackson, and four other former Blackwater staffers, prosecutors write that in 2005, the company -- now known as Xe Services -- was seeking to gain favor with the government of Jordan, in order to boost its chances of doing business there.

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The new inspector general report on the SEC's handling of the Allen Stanford alleged Ponzi scheme case paints a devastating picture of the agency's repeated failures to pursue the billionaire banker, despite a widespread belief within the SEC's Fort Worth office that he was a fraud.

At the center of the story is Spencer Barasch, the chief of enforcement at the SEC's Fort Worth office, who declined to pursue Stanford multiple times, only to later jump ship to become a partner at a big private law firm where he proceeded to represent none other than 'Sir' Allen Stanford.

The inspector general has referred Barasch to the bars of Washington and Texas, where he is licensed, for potential violation of conflict of interest rules.

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In the wake of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) botched Confederate History Month declaration, a new group of Democrats has gone on the air to tell African Americans in the state their new Governor is not the big-tent leader he promised to be.

Though Virginia's one-term limit means McDonnell can't run again, the new PAC sponsoring the ads says stoking frustration over the slavery flap will help boost Democratic turnout in the state closer to the levels that helped President Obama win Virgina in 2008.

The ad, currently running on African American radio in Virgina, makes no bones about targeting the tentative ties to the black community McDonnell's supporters claimed he forged during his all-moderate-all-the-time 2009 campaign.

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Bob Jewell, managing partner at the firm Andrews Kurth, released the following statement today in response to a report by the SEC Inspector General:

"Friday's report by the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Inspector General is disappointing.

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Ever since Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) vetoed a major Republican-backed education bill, the signs have been piling up that he's going to make the leap to running for Senate as an independent -- if national Republicans don't push him out of the race first.

"I've heard that there's enormous chatter among staff in the Crist campaign. They're all looking for jobs right now," a Republican source in Florida told TPMDC. "They're looking for jobs not because they think he's going to quit, but because they think he's going to run as an independent. And in my business you work on one team."

Crist has reportedly pulled his ads in Tampa and Orlando against his rival in the Republican primary, Marco Rubio, suggesting that some major decision could be on the way. Meanwhile, the Hotline reported that GOP insiders are giving up on Crist staying in the race as a Republican, and that Crist is not returning calls from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who had endorsed Crist a year ago. Erick Erickson -- who is of course a long-time Crist foe and Rubio-backer -- is floating chatter of Crist quitting the race entirely. And now NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer is gearing up to back Rubio, in a private e-mail asking political operatives to urge Crist to drop out and not go independent.

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Looking for a quick and easy way to impress people without actually doing any work? Take a lesson from Jim Greer.

Near the end of a profile of the former Florida GOP chair and Charlie Crist buddy -- who recently stepped down amid a spending scandal, and now is the subject of a criminal investigation for a contract awarded to himself and his executive director -- the Orlando Sentinel reports:

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Senate Democrats' financial reform point man predicted today that Republicans will not stand by their pledge to block debate on a major financial regulatory reform bill.

"I don't really believe Republican members want to be with their leaders when they're talking about filibustering a bill that would allow us to address [Wall Street reform]," said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd at a press conference this morning. "So I'm going to work on the assumption that the glass is half full, that when we bring this bill up later this week that we'll have the votes across the allow us to debate this legislation, consider amendments, and move forward."

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Note to President Obama's future Supreme Court nominee: get ready for questions about whether it's legal to mandate health insurance coverage. Conservatives geared up for a fight on the confirmation of Obama's choice to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens are increasingly saying they want to make health care the big issue.

There is agitation on the far-right to push these state lawsuits challenging health care reform as the next litmus test for a nominee, especially given the looming midterm elections that are likely to be fought over the sweeping health care overhaul Democrats passed this spring.

"This is the new blood for this public policy battle," Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told me in a recent interview.

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