TPM News

The head of the Target Corporation is now taking the amazing step of apologizing for the company's financial support of Tom Emmer, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor in the company's home state of Minnesota, after coming under fire from gay rights activists.

And in a further sign of how tricky corporate political spending can actually be in practice in the post-Citizens United world, the company will also set up a review process for any future political donations.

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1||On August 4, a federal judge ruled that Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, was unconstitutional. Following the ruling, gay rights supporters across California came out to celebrate...||Newscom/Zuma&&

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10||Rob Reiner and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa at a rally in Hollywood. ||Newscom/PacificPhotos&&

11||A cantor, center, at the marriage ceremony of Amber Weiss, left, and Sharon Papo, right, in front of a crowd celebrating the ruling. ||Newscom/UPI&&

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Republicans would like you to think that Democrats have sinister plans for the post-election lame duck session of Congress, and Democrats are at pains to insist otherwise. But the one winter initiative progressives fear most is being crafted off the Hill by the White House's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Though most of the commission's work occurs behind closed doors in small working groups, early reports indicate that the GOP's unwillingness to support any significant tax increases are pushing the group toward proposed entitlement slashes and larger budget cuts.

And while Americans might expect that the commission would look at all spending, some members are seemingly using their positions to advance professional interests. A source familiar with the proceedings of the working group on discretionary spending tells TPM that some commissioners, including one military contractor, would prefer to save money by freezing military pay and scaling back benefits, rather than by eliminating waste in defense contracting.

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Paul Magliocchetti, the founder of the now-defunct lobbying group PMA, has been indicted on eight federal charges for making illegal campaign contributions and false statements.

PMA, which closed down last year, was an influential defense lobbying group at the center of a scandal that threatened to take down at least seven Democratic lawmakers, including the late Rep. John Murtha, chair of the defense appropriations subcommittee. The House ethics committee last year cleared all the members of wrongdoing, and today's indictment does not implicate any lawmakers.

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Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes has never run for office before. He's a Tea Party-friendly guy, running in part on his business experience. And he's found himself suddenly seriously competing for the party's nomination, thanks in part to his opponent's struggles with a plagiarism scandal.

At the same time, reports have poked holes in Maes' self-styled image of executive experience. Tax returns show Maes as more dud than whiz. Today, the Denver Post compiled a list of fines and infractions Maes has accrued in both his political and personal life.

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Joel Demos, the Republican candidate running against Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison in a very safe Dem district in Minnesota, has a truly great Web video as part of his fundraising effort.

Demos's video provides a metaphor for just how difficult his campaign is: By showing the candidate attempting to drag a monster truck across a finish line -- and receiving help from supporters to get it across. "Joel Demos is running against Keith Ellison in Minneapolis. You could say that's a big challenge," the announcer says. "In fact, it's monstrous."

The district voted for Barack Obama by a 74%-24% margin in 2008, and before that it voted for John Kerry by 71%-28% in 2004. The latest FEC filings, covering the dates up to July 21, show Ellison with $209,464 on hand, compared to only $1,289 for Demos.

It's safe to say that Demos doesn't stand much of a chance in November. But nevertheless, monster trucks are awesome.

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In Roseto, Pa., a carnival company closed down a shooter game called "Alien Attack," after complaints and news stories that President Obama was one of the targets.

The black "alien leader" is holding a scroll titled "Health Bill" and wearing a presidential seal belt buckle. He also has antennae and a troll doll with a KISS T-shirt on his shoulder.

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Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) will vote against Elena Kagan's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court this afternoon, the freshman announced in a statement. Brown said he does not believe Kagan has enough experience since she hasn't served on the bench.

Brown said Kagan lacks "both" practical courtroom experience and having served on the bench, which he said was his main concern.

Brown has been a sometimes-vote for the Democrats, and as recently as yesterday aides said they believed he would be backing Obama's nominee. As we've written, Brown has crossed party lines several times.

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The Department of Justice today unsealed indictments against 14 people, a number of them U.S. citizens, accused of "providing money, personnel and services" to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. Ten are accused of leaving the country to join the group. According to the DOJ release, seven of the defendants had been previously charged. Two of the suspects were arrested today.

"The indictments unsealed today shed further light on a deadly pipeline that has routed funding and fighters to the al-Shabaab terror organization from cities across the United States," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

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