TPM News

The Secret Service announced today that a third person who wasn't on the guest list attended the White House State Dinner in November, in addition to the now-infamous Tareq and Michaele Salahi. Here is the full text of the release:

The Secret Service's investigation into the security events surrounding the Indian State Dinner on November 24, 2009, has revealed that a third individual, who was not on the White House guest list, entered the State Dinner.

It appears at this point that the subject traveled from a local hotel, where the official Indian delegation was staying, and arrived at the dinner with the group, which was under the responsibility of the Department of State. This individual went through all required security measures along with the rest of the official delegation at the hotel, and boarded a bus/van with the delegation guests en route to the White House.

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Lawmakers who want to extend health coverage to illegal immigrants will not block the passage of the final health care reform bill so long as the White House offers a substantive promise to start pushing comprehensive immigration legislation this year.

Democrats who want a comprehensive bill that reforms immigration law but also offers a pathway to citizenship have threatened to vote against health care if illegal immigrants aren't included in the new system, making immigration one of the sticking points as Democratic leaders negotiate the final details.

Democratic leadership aides believe that a firm White House promise of a comprehensive immigration bill will be enough to quell any House dissent.

TPMDC sources have been telling us that members won't admit it publicly but they are ready to concede on immigration in the health care bill. Political aides in the White House have told key parties in Congress that President Obama wants to see a bill this year, and negotiations are under way for how it would be written.

A source familiar with the negotiations between Congress and the White House told TPMDC the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will demand an agreement from Obama that health care coverage for illegals who earn a path to citizenship will be addressed in an immigration bill.

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Allen Quist, a Republican candidate seeking the nomination to go up against Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), has made a serious pronouncement: That the political battle against the Democrats is the defining fight of this generation, even greater than the fight against terrorism.

"Now why am I doing this? I don't need to be in lights, I don't need to speak, I don't need to be before a TV camera, I don't need to be in the paper. I have been there, I have done all that. I don't need to be there," said Quist, a former state Representative who ran for governor twice in the 1990's, and even won the state party convention's endorsement in the 1994 primary against the incumbent moderate GOP governor.

"It's because I, like you, have seen that our country is being destroyed. I mean, this is -- every generation has had to fight the fight for freedom. This is our fight. And this is our time. This is it. Terrorism, yes -- but that's not the big battle. The big battle is in D.C., with the radicals. They aren't liberals, they're radicals. Obama, Pelosi, Walz -- they're not liberals, they're radicals. They are destroying our country. And people all over are figuring that out."

Quist does not have a clear road to the nomination, as he faces a convention/primary battle with state Rep. Randy Demmer. It will be interesting to see whether this stark Tea Party-style rhetoric will be an aid or hindrance to Quist's chances.

Quist's remarks can be found at the 3:10 mark here:

Months after he announced he was dropping a 2010 bid for U.S. Senate, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told Fox Business today that he may still yet run.

King was considered a viable challenger to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) until he announced in August that he would not run for her seat. At the time, King said the 3-million-voter edge Democrats have in New York would require him to raise at least $30 million to run.

But today, King told Don Imus, "I am looking at the statewide race."

"Actually, I am looking at it -- you know, a lot of people have come to me," he said.

In May, a Marist poll showed that King trailed Gillibrand, 42%-31%, closing the 49%-23% Gillibrand had just two months earlier.

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In a statement to TPMmuckraker, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) elaborates on his position that the Bush Administration made a mistake in not classifying shoebomber Richard Reid as an "enemy combatant" -- and that President Obama is now repeating that mistake in handling Umar Abdulmutallab.

But Bond, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, does not explain why he did not speak out against Bush's handling of Reid at the time.

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The state of Minnesota could be on the verge of losing a House seat after 2010 -- and interestingly enough, it's been a while since we heard Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) talk about refusing to participate in the Census.

Last year, Bachmann repeatedly said she would defy the Census by not completely filling out the information on the forms, but would instead only give the number of people in her household. She said that Census data was used to conduct the 1940's Japanese-American internment, and warned that the government was seeking to gather information about people's mental health. But as far as we can tell, her last anti-Census public statement was in August.

The largest newspaper in Minnesota, the Star-Tribune, is calling on the state's citizens to vigorously participate in the Census. The key issue here is that according to current population estimates, Minnesota is right on the cusp of losing one of its eight seats in Congress, and will be in a close competition with Missouri, Texas and California for that district. The Strib points out that "Minnesota traditionally has had one big advantage -- the cooperation of its civic-minded citizens."

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With time running out, New Jersey state legislators continue to bat a gay marriage bill between the assembly and senate.

The last time TPM checked in with the Garden State, a Senate committee had passed the bill. But its sponsors, Sens. Ray Lesniak and Loretta Weinberg, requested that the full Senate delay its vote until an Assembly committee could also hold a hearing, presumably over concerns that the bill did not yet have the votes for passage.

That hearing was reportedly scheduled for today. But Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts announced on New Year's Eve that he would not hold the hearing. Instead, he said the full Assembly will vote on the bill -- but only after the Senate passes it.

The problem for gay marriage supporters is that both houses must pass the bill before Jan. 19, the day Gov.-elect Chris Christie takes office. And legislature only has two voting sessions before that date -- this Thursday and the following Monday. (Christie has vowed to veto such a bill, while current Gov. Jon Corzine has promised to sign it.)

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We told you earlier today about Yolanda Suarez, the Florida lawyer who forged ties with members of Congress and ran interference with journalists on behalf of Allen Stanford. But it's also worth paying attention to another Florida lawyer and key Stanford ally, who appears to have played an equally crucial role in allowing the Texas banker -- who was charged in June with orchestrating a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme -- to stay a step ahead of the government for so long.

As Stanford's lawyer of choice, Carlos Loumiet helped set up the unusual regulatory arrangement that allowed the Stanford Financial Group (SFG) to move hundreds of millions of dollars from Florida to Antigua with little scrutiny. Soon afterwards, he served on a Stanford-funded task-force to rewrite Antigua's banking laws -- an effort that U.S. regulators have said left major loopholes and hindered efforts to crack down on fraud. And the court-appointed receiver seeking to unravel Stanford's far-flung financial empire has demanded that the two law firms that have employed Loumiet -- who hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing -- hand over records of their work on behalf of Stanford.

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