TPM News

Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul, who has been pilloried in the press in the weeks since he won the Republican primary, has long benefited from the kind of energetic online donor base that his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), helped pioneer in 2007 and 2008. But could it be that things are starting to slow down for Rand?

Paul's campaign announced earlier this week that an online moneybomb fundraiser campaign had brought in $172,000 in 24 hours. "Rand Paul continues to set online fundraising records in Kentucky," said campaign manager Jesse Benton. Of course, the catch here is that the $172,000 is not a record for online fundraising in Kentucky -- as the Associated Press noted, Paul himself had previously raised $400,000 in a one-day moneybomb last August, when his insurgent campaign in the Republican primary was starting to pick up.

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Via Greg Sargent, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos has now sued polling firm Research 2000 for allegedly "fraudulently manufacturing phony results."

Kos' lawyer, Adam Bonin, confirmed to TPMmuckraker that the suit was filed late yesterday. Del Ali of Research 2000, who has vehemently denied Kos' claims, told us this morning that he has not yet seen the suit. (For more on the backstory, check out our past coverage.)

The suit, which you can read below, alleges breach of contract, unfair business practices, breach of implied warranty, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, constructive fraud, and conversion.

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By definition, the 11 eleven alleged secret agents arrested this week were clearly not the best that Russian intelligence has to offer: they got caught.

But perhaps the most striking thread running through the two complaints filed by federal prosecutors this week is the sheer incompetence of the alleged espionage operation. It was, in fact, so incompetent that the American government couldn't even charge the alleged spies with espionage, having to rely solely on charges that the spies acted as unregistered foreign agents and laundered money in order to hold them.

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Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman explained last night what the U.S. has to do to get Americans more interested in the World Cup: "Eliminate socialized medicine."

He pointed out that when players are injured on the field, they get "on the spot, world-class medical attention."

"I'm just saying," Hodgman said, "we should do it the way we do it in America. If a player is injured on the field, he goes bankrupt and loses his house. The free market never blows a call."

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Rep. Charle Melancon (D-LA) is stepping up his attacks on Sen. David Vitter (R) in the Louisiana Senate race this week, using the recent revelations about a Vitter staffer allegedly assaulting his girlfriend with a knife to slam the incumbent Senator on women's issues.

"What does he have on you?" a new web ad asks Vitter, referring to Brent Furer, a legislative aide Vitter continued to employ to work on women's issues after he was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend while drunk. (Vitter has said he wasn't aware of the assault charges, just the DUIs.) Furer resigned last week after the assault allegations came to light in an ABC News report. But if Vitter hoped that getting rid of Furer would make the story go away, it's clear the Democrats aren't going to oblige him.

Melancon, trailing Vitter badly in polls, is clearly trying to connect this new flap to Vitter's scandalous past when it comes to women.

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Stephen Colbert had some advice last night for the FBI, after a ring of Russian spies was discovered posing as suburban parents. According to Colbert, the FBI now needs to start profiling "white, suburban middle-class parents. Basically the only people you're not already profiling."

He explained that the spies were tasked with making "ties in policy-making circles. Apparently they wanted to know our government's policies, but CSPAN was too boring."

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The Republican Governors Association has announced a very strong fundraising quarter, taking in $19 million from April through June -- their largest fundraising quarter ever -- with $40 million in cash on hand for this year's statehouse races.

From the RGA's press release: "The RGA's previous largest fundraising quarter occurred in the 4th quarter of 2009, when it raised $11.9 million. This quarter RGA raised $18.9 million. The RGA's former mid-year fundraising record was $15.1 million. RGA is at $28 million this year - almost double the earlier record. In 2006, the last comparable election year, the RGA raised $28 million for the entire year." (Emphasis in the original.)

Keep in mind that governorships covering a huge majority of the country's population are up for election this year, in addition to the high-profile races for Congress. And this year's gubernatorial races are even more important than they were four years ago, for a simple reason -- the governors elected this year will play a direct role in the redistricting that will come after this year's Census.

Right-wing youth will gather in D.C. at 12:30 today to call on the Senate not to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. The event, hosted by the conservative Young Americans for Freedom, will include speeches by leaders from the libertarian CATO Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the tea party movement.

The event, coming four days into the Kagan hearings and after the end of Kagan's public testimony before Congress, is the first organized demonstration for or against Kagan this week. So far, the hearings have been relatively controversy-free (outside the hearing room that is), with only Capitol Hill mainstay Randall Terry and his followers showing up each day to attack Kagan over abortion rights.

Today's protest also includes talk of abortion, but will focus on other conservative attacks on Kagan as well.

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) last night prevented his fellow Democrats from finally passing legislation to extend needed unemployment insurance benefits to out of work Americans. It was the third time the legislation, which has been repeatedly pared down and reshaped in the hunt for votes, has failed to overcome a filibuster. But it was the first time that success or failure rested on a single deciding vote. And because Nelson, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, joined Republicans and blocked the bill, it will likely not pass until mid-July, after the Senate returns from Independence Day recess. By then Robert Byrd's replacement will be seated, and Dems will have the votes they need to pass their jobs bill.

Here's what happened.

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