TPM News

The campaign of Sen. Mary Landrieu violated campaign-finance rules by making an unexplained donation of over $25,000 to the US Treasury, a good-government group is alleging. The campaign calls the payment routine, but one expert says that's "bullshit."

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington plans to file a complaint with the FEC, charging that the $25,300 donation, made in August 2008, ran afoul of the agency's regulations governing the handling of contributions of questionable legality, the group's executive director, Melanie Sloan, told TPMmuckraker.

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Just hours before the University of Florida Gators administered a 51-21 trouncing of LSU last year, Gov. Bobby Jindal was rubbing elbows with well-heeled Florida supporters at a fundraiser-cum-tailgate party held in a private home north of Gainesville.

One of the co-chairs of the October 2008 reception was none other than Scott Rothstein, then a prominent Fort Lauderdale attorney, now accused of a fraud worth $1 billion.

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In yet another Barbara Walters interview excerpt released today, Sarah Palin gave her views on Israeli settlement expansion: "I believe the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is going to grow---more and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead..."

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Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) said today that the Obama administration is "bribing" economically suffering towns across the country as it attempts to relieve itself of the political problem of closing Guantanamo Bay.

"They're going into communities that are hard-pressed economically and holding out a pot of gold," he told reporters. Hoekstra was referring to the White House plan to bring terror suspects to prisons across the country. He said that the administration was taking advantage of hard-hit towns across the country by promoting the jobs that would be created by adding Guantanamo Bay detainees to their prison populations.

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Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), one of the most prominent liberals in his state, is now raising money for state Sen. Tarryl Clark, the leading Democratic candidate to challenge one of Minnesota's most prominent conservatives, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Interestingly, Franken shies away from directly attacking Bachmann in a new fundraising letter, but instead praises Clark's record in public service. The closest he gets to a direct attack on Bachmann is this:

P.S. The eyes of the nation - and Michele Bachmann's right-wing allies - will be on this race. You can make sure Tarryl gets off to a strong start by joining Franni and me in supporting her today.

Franken's wife Franni has already been involved in fundraising for Clark's campaign. Clark has an opponent for the nomination, Maureen Reed, a former state university regent and the 2006 Independence Party nominee for Lt. Governor.

I just spoke with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, who insisted that the findings of a new George Washington University study confirm many of her suspicions about the Stupak abortion amendment.

"Certainly if it doesn't confirm my suspicions about the intent, it concerns my suspicions about the effect the Stupak amendment would have," DeGette said. "What the findings show are that women who want to purchase policies with their own money--with their own premiums--will not be able to buy insurance policies.... That's frankly the intention of the anti-choice movement now."

DeGette says she's spoken in private to many of the pro-life Democrats who voted for the Stupak amendment, some of whom have acknowledged that they didn't realize what they were voting for.

"I will say that I have spoken privately with several pro-life members about the Stupak amendment, and they acknowledged that the Stupak amendment goes far beyond where they thought it did," she told me.

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In yet another interview excerpt released today, Sarah Palin was asked by Barbara Walters whether she believed the President was a liar for claiming that there were no death panels in the health care reform bill.

Palin replied, "He's not lying, in the sense that those two words will not be found in any of those thousands of pages of the different variations of the health care bill...No, death panel isn't there. But he's incorrect."

She then made an interesting comparison.

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In an interview with CBS, President Obama was asked about Sarah Palin's 4-out-of-10 rating of administration thus far.

President Obama replied that Palin is "probably not the person that I look to for measuring how our Administration's doing."

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That long-awaited report on the Justice Department's role in the Bush administration's torture program could finally be ready to see the light of day.

During his testimony before Congress today, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the report, by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, is "in its last stages," and that he expects it will be released by the end of the month.

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