TPM News

Two former federal prosecutors who were suspended from the House ethics committee -- both of whom previously worked for Republican appointed judges -- reportedly kept probing allegations against Rep. Maxine Waters even after the subcommittee recommended the California Democrat be tried for ethics violations.

Cindy Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign apparently ruffled feathers by continuing to investigate Waters after the investigative subcommittee made its recommendations in August, several Republican sources on Capitol Hill told the Washington Post.

"They were pushing too hard" to broaden the investigation, one Republican staff aide told the newspaper. Kim and Sovereign circulated a memo supporting the postponement of the trial and imploring the committee to investigate further, the source said.

Read More →

The state of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Justice have refused to defend former District Attorney Kenneth Kratz, who is facing a lawsuit from a woman who alleges Kratz sent her sexually suggestive text messages while he was handling her domestic abuse case.

State Justice Department spokesman William Cosh confirmed to TPM that the DOJ declined to represent Kratz, who is also under criminal investigation by the Wisconsin DOJ, which Cosh said "remains an open and ongoing investigation."

Cosh noted that it would be up to the Governor to decide whether the state should provide a defense for Kratz, which Chief Legal Counsel Susan Crawford declined to do yesterday evening.

Read More →

Adrian Parsons -- the artist whose video montage depicting an ant-swarmed Jesus Christ was removed from the National Portrait Gallery after the conservative noise machine screamed sacrilege -- is staging a solo protest.

At 7 p.m. yesterday, artist Adrian Parsons stood alone in front of the National Portrait Gallery with no gloves in 38-degree weather. A McDonalds coffee keeps one hand warm, and a box being used as a sign keeps the other covered up. On one side of that box, Parsons has written "National Censor Gallery." The other side says, "Support Censor the Arts." He's been in front of the gallery since 2 p.m., which is less than 24 hours after director Martin Sullivan bowed to conservative pressure and removed a work of art by David Wojnarowicz that politicians had deemed offensive.

Censure Almost Certain As Rangel Ethics Case Ends The Associated Press reports: "Rep. Charles Rangel faces an almost certain censure by the House, a devastating defeat for a 40-year veteran who insisted to the end that he never meant to violate House rules. If the House votes for censure Thursday as expected, the New York Democrat will have to humbly walk to the front of the chamber to receive his punishment. He'll stand in front of his colleagues while Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- in one of her most solemn duties -- reads him a resolution condemning his ethical misbehavior."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:45 a.m. ET. Obama will meet at 10:15 a.m. ET with Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH), who was defeated for re-election this past November, and he will meet with senior advisers at 10:35 a.m. ET. Obama and Biden will meet for lunch at 12 p.m. ET. The two will meet with newly elected governors at 1 p.m. ET, and will meet at 3 p.m. ET with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The President and First Lady will host a Hanukkah reception at 6:35 p.m. ET.

Read More →

Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), who recently fired his Chief of Staff Robert Dechine after Dechine was arrested for soliciting sex from a minor, is in the market for a new one--one with the highest personal integrity.

Via Ryan Reilly, the job listing:

From: Cevasco, Marc Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 12:24 PM To: Dem CoS All Subject: Senior Democratic House Appropriator seeks professional Chief of Staff Senior Democratic House Appropriator seeks professional Chief of Staff with good character, outstanding leadership qualities, extensive House or Senate senior staff experience and great ability. Must be likeable, possess excellent political instincts, a keen understanding of the media, be an effective manager, and have some familiarity with the appropriations process. Needs to be innovative, considerate person with the highest personal integrity, with excellent management, organizational and interpersonal skills to effectively coordinate and lead established, outstanding DC and NJ team. Campaign and fundraising knowledge important. Understanding of local, state and federal agencies needed. Knowledge of New Jersey preferred. Willing to work as partner with Member, and have ability to serve as his primary policy and political advisor. Excellent salary and work environment. Please e-mail resume and cover letter to Acting Chief of Staff, Marc Cevasco.

Aqua Buddhists need not apply: Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) on Wednesday unveiled some interesting tourism plans for his state, announcing a plan to construct a "creationist theme park."

A joint project between Beshear and Answers in Genesis -- a Christian organization that also built a similar attraction, the Creation Museum -- the park will reportedly cost at least $150 million and create 900 jobs, according to the news release.

Read More →

Michael Steele's Republican National Committee is leaking frustrated officials like a sieve. For the second time since the Republican Party's epic wins on Nov. 2, one of the professionals at the RNC has bailed on the committee while offering a behind-the-scenes view of a total fiscal collapse.

The Washington Post reports Boyd Rutherford, chief administrative officer, sent a letter to RNC political staffer Derek Flowers today warning him that the "that many of those who provided political services to [the RNC] during the 2010 election would not be paid this week as originally planned."

The reason, according to the letter, is a "cashflow challenge" at the committee. Now Flowers, who the Post reports had planned on staying at the RNC until the many vendors that served the party this year were paid, will "in fact be leaving the RNC today."

The RNC told the Post that all the debts will be "paid in a timely manner," but Steele's growing chorus of detractors will likely point to the letter as yet another example of the committee's gaffe-prone chairman failing to properly manage the less exciting aspects of his job -- like fundraising.

Read More →

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) doesn't know why two of the ethics committee lawyers who had been working on the ethics case against her were placed on administrative leave. But she does know that something "has gone wrong in the ethics process." And she's got plenty of questions.

Waters said in a statement late Wednesday that the House ethics committee has yet to inform her directly that two of the lawyers working on the ethics case against her had been suspended. She said the "integrity of the Committee and its investigative process have been compromised" and called on the panel to clarify why the disciplinary action had been taken.

Read More →

In what amounts to an epic constitutionality #fail, Senate Democrats may have blown their chances to see their food safety bill signed into law.

The U.S. constitution requires that any revenue-raising bill must originate in the House of Representatives. To honor this provision, the Senate often finds a discarded old House bill, strips it bare, and uses it as a "shell" and passes it back to the House.

They somehow forgot to do that this time.

Read More →

Early this week, after hacker attacks on its site, Wikileaks moved its operation, including all those diplomatic cables, to the greener pastures of's cloud servers. But today, it was down again and mid-afternoon we found out the reason: Amazon had axed Wikileaks from its servers.

The announcement came from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Lieberman said in a statement that Amazon's "decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material."

Read More →