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The Democratic Governors Association is refusing to say whether it has been subpoenaed in connection to the federal probe of pay-to-play allegations in New Mexico which derailed Bill Richardson's bid to be Commerce Secretary.

Asked whether the DGA had received a subpoena, spokesman Brian Namey responded in an email:

The DGA fully cooperates with any state or federal agency that makes legitimate requests for information. The DGA does not make statements concerning any particular investigation.

Four investment firms contributed to the DGA in 2004, around the same time those firms won lucrative contracts to manage the state's bonds, according to a report in the Albuquerque Journal today. Richardson at the time served as vice chair of the DGA, and would become chair the following year.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that investigators had subpoenaed Richardson's office for its correspondence with the DGA, in connection with the probe*.

The DGA, which has served as a key stepping-stone to national prominence for some Democrats, is currently chaired by Montana governor Brian Schweitzer. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Richardson's office has largely declined to comment on the investigation. According to reports, a former aide to Richardson, as well as a Richardson political adviser, have received subpoenas in connection with the probe.

* This sentence has been edited from an earlier version.

John McCain is now adding his voice to the Republican activism against the stimulus bill, sending out an e-mail to his supporter list that asks recipients to sign a petition opposing it.

McCain's e-mail complains that there is too much government spending in the bill that won't create jobs, and that instead there should be payroll tax cuts and a clear "end game" to the stimulus to guarantee that the spending stops after the recessions is over. McCain also complains that the White House has behaved in a partisan manner, as evidenced by the House Republicans' unanimous vote against the bill:

But as of yet, Republicans have not been given the opportunity to be involved. The House of Representatives passed a stimulus bill without a single Republican supporting it. In the Senate, the Democrat leadership is trying to jam the existing proposal through regardless of reservations from a number of members. With so much at stake, the last thing we need is partisanship driving our attempts to turn the economy around.

The Republican position here is now clear: They say that government spending during an economic crisis does not prop up the economy. The question is whether they will maintain just enough strength in the Senate to put this theory into practice, by making sure that whatever bill does eventually pass would be more to their liking.

The full McCain e-mail is available after the jump.

Read More →

The Democrats now have a top-tier candidate in the wings for the 2010 New Hampshire Senate race, the Union Leader reports, with sources telling them that second-term Congressman Paul Hodes will announced his campaign for Judd Gregg's seat within the week.

Republican Bonnie Newman is expected to be appointed to the seat, but it's believed that she won't be running for a full term in 2010.

The Republicans were until just recently the long-dominant party in New Hampshire. But in recent years the Dems have taken over pretty much everything: Both House seats, the other Senate seat, both houses of the state legislature, the governorship, and Barack Obama beat John McCain by nine points.

Democrats could have possibly made a real race against Judd Gregg had he been running again, but he probably would have still started out as the favorite. On the other hand, taking Gregg off the political stage entirely leaves the race now subject to the political lay of the land in New Hampshire as it now stands -- meaning that this now has be considered as leaning towards a Dem takeover.

Republicans truly did consider Sen. Judd Gregg (NH) one of their most effective strategists, both on policy and politics, and they'll miss him in leadership meetings now that Gregg has accepted the Commerce Secretary nod. As Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) acknowledged this morning on CNBC's "Kudlow & Cramer":

ENSIGN: To me, I told Judd this. I think Judd's one of our best strategists. He's a great thinker. And I think it's a mistake for him to leave the U.S. Senate.

REPORTER: I was afraid of that. ... Come on, Senator, rally the troops. Unified bill. The time is now. Profiles in courage.

Here's a challenge: Can anyone name a substantive similarity between Obama's first choice for Commerce Secretary and his second one?

Some news out of the Minnesota trial: The Coleman legal team has now dropped another complaint from their lawsuit against the election results.

The Coleman campaign has let go of a complaint alleging that some of the 933 previously-rejected absentee ballots that were opened up on January 3 -- after both campaigns sorted through the envelopes and agreed that they were legally cast, and had been improperly tossed because of clerical errors -- were not in fact legally cast, and shouldn't have been counted.

To be blunt, this was perhaps the single worst gambit that Coleman was trying to make. Remember that all of these envelopes were declared by his own campaign to have been legally cast -- but once they were opened and revealed to have gone for Al Franken by a 176-vote margin, they suddenly became illegal and had to be picked through for potential rejection.

The Coleman team probably realized two important things. First, this complaint had no chance of winning. And second, having this claim still out there was undercutting their current drive to open up even more rejected absentees, even in cases where a lighter standard would be needed to forgive obvious voter errors. So they're now stipulating that the votes were legit.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has now announced her candidacy for the 2010 Senate race, running for the seat that has been opened up by the retirement announcement of four-term Republican Kit Bond:

Carnahan, the daughter of the late Governor Mel Carnahan and former Senator Jean Carnahan, was essentially coronated by the state Democrats right after Bond announced his retirement a few weeks ago, but this makes it official. The GOP is still sorting out a wide field of potential candidates, none of whom have officially gotten in yet.

Missouri is widely expected be a top-tier race for 2010 -- after all, most of the campaigns here are very close. John McCain enjoyed a super-thin victory here over Barack Obama, but Democrats won almost all the other statewide races, and both parties have strong campaign infrastructures in place.

The Politico advances the underlying story of Tom Daschle's relationship with media entrepreneur Leo Hindery - a relationship that may have helped jeopardize Daschle's bid to become HHS Secretary, after it was revealed that Daschle failed to pay taxes on the use of a car and driver that Hindery provided him.

Politico has two interesting nuggets:

First, that Daschle backed Hindery, who had run unsuccessfully for DNC chair in 2000, for a job in the Obama administration. Hindery had been mentioned as a possible Commerce Secretary or US Trade Rep. "Tom was pushing for him," says a source.

Ultimately, Hindery "waited for the phone to ring," but it never did.

The website also has a bit more detail on what Daschle might have done for Hindery's firm, InterMedia, to earn the $1 million-a-year he received as a consultant.

It reports:

An industry source said that, more specifically, Daschle's political ties could open doors to labor and state pension funds, major investors in such equity vehicles. The firm controls a fund, Intermedia Partners VII, which has $700 million under management, according to a Thomson Reuters estimate.

Yesterday, we noted Hindery's interesting background, including the fact that he walked away from his tenure as CEO of Global Crossing with at least $250 million, just over a year before the telecom went belly up.

President Obama has just officially nominated Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) to take the reins at the Commerce Department. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sure (D-NV) sounds pleased:

I commend President Obama for selecting an outstanding Senate leader to guide our nation's commerce at a critical time for our economy. And I applaud his willingness to include another Republican in his bipartisan Cabinet. Senator Gregg is respected on both sides of the aisle for his impressive intellect and strong commitment to public service.

And why shouldn't Reid be psyched? Gregg may be a Republican who has consistently opposed much of the Democrats' economic agenda, but nominating him was Reid's idea, "at least in part," according to today's New York Times:

The idea of offering the job to Mr. Gregg came, at least in part, from the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada. (The two senators are close, aides to both men said.) Mr. Reid mentioned the idea to Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's chief of staff, who passed it on to the president-elect.

Gregg and President Obama, the Times explains, "barely knew each other, aside from occasional chats in the Senate gym."