TPM News

The solicitor general of the Obama Administration is arguing against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's appeal of his controversial bribery conviction to the Supreme Court.

The Friday development, first reported by the Birmingham News, hinges on the argument by Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy, former CEO of HealthSouth Corp., that their case throws into doubt standards for determining whether bribery has occurred.

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The Senate this afternoon defeated an amendment aimed at the Obama administration's efforts to transfer detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay to the United States.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) had tried to attach an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act that would have blocked money for building or modifying prisons to hold Gitmo detainees.

The Senate killed the Inhofe amendment in a 57-43 vote hailed by the ACLU. All 40 Republicans were joined by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, both Democrats from Arkansas.

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Editor and Publisher reports that a newspaper in Michigan received a threat last week from a 60-year-old woman who said she would "do what they did at Fort Hood" because she was angry over an anti-tea party editorial.

The editorial in the Port Huron Times-Herald criticized a Republican congresswoman from the area, Rep. Candice Miller, for attending Michele Bachmann's Capitol Hill tea party, which the paper called a "GOP festival of hate."

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is taking sides in two key open-seat Republican primaries for Senate, Chris Cillizza reports, with an upcoming fundraiser for Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte.

Both of these candidates are in primary races. Grayson is being opposed by Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), with similar small-government libertarian positions. Ayotte is running against businessmen Jim Bender and William Binnie, and former state Board of Education chairman Ovide Lamontagne.

In the Kentucky race, Rand Paul recently had a gaffe in which he failed to fully commit to supporting McConnell for Republican leader -- not the best move to make in McConnell's own state, where he is the biggest name in the state GOP.

Late Update: The Rand Paul campaign has given us this statement from the candidate:

After the primary, I will want to work with Senator McConnell. We will need each other. He and I agree on many issues such as the unconstitutionality of McCain-Feingold.

Until then, it would be unfair of me to to ask Grayson to compete on his own merits, all by himself. I think the only way we can be evenly matched is for him to have significant help from DC insiders, PACs, and special interest money.

Even then, it will likely not be enough. 2010 will be the year of the outsider. The Tea Party movement wants reform of government and they are embracing our message of Term Limits, Balanced Budgets, and the Read the Bills Act.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not present his caucus with a CBO analysis of his health care bill at a weekly lunch meeting this afternoon. And though that report may still come in later this afternoon, according to his spokesman, Jim Manley, Reid is unlikely to unveil his bill until tomorrow at the earliest.

"He didn't go into any of the numbers...nothing yet. He said he would have that information for us soon, soon meaning not giving us a particular time to come here and announce it. He'll announce it." said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) as he emerged from the meeting.

Once the numbers are in and the bill has distributed to Democrats, Reid will likely old one or two more meetings with the caucus, to answer any questions, and allay any concerns, before holding the first procedural vote--on the motion to proceed to debate--later this week, or possibly this weekend. "We're going to hold it as soon as we can," Reid told reporters today.

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Residents of the C Street Christian fellowship house will no longer benefit from a loophole that had allowed the house's owners to avoid paying property taxes.

Previously, the house -- despite being home to numerous lawmakers -- had been tax exempt, because it was classified as a church. That arrangement had allowed the building's owner, the secretive international Christian organization The Family, to charge significantly below market rents to its residents. In recent year, Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Reps. Zach Wamp (R-TN), Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) have all reportedly called C Street home.

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