TPM News

Following a judge's order in response to media requests, prosecutors in the corruption case of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have released their full case against him.

Read it in full after the jump. See anything good in there? Leave a comment or send us an email.

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In her weekly radio address today, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said that she "absolutely" empathizes with tea party members and respects their "ability to protest and complain."

When asked what she thought was the cause of the tea party movement, McCaskill said:

First of all, people in Missouri don't trust the government. It's in our DNA. I'm very respectful of that. There's nothing wrong with that.

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A Republican candidate for the House in Tennessee is the beneficiary of a novel campaign fundraising setup: his own brother is running an independent expenditure effort -- not subject to giving limits -- that is raising the eyebrows of some campaign finance experts, Roll Call reports.

Robert Kirkland, the brother of Ron Kirkland, who is running in the GOP primary for an open House seat in western Tennessee, has so far spent $135,000 on Ron's candidacy effort.

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How can you identify a Republican moderate in the U.S. Senate? They are the ones who seem to have trouble hearing Mitch McConnell when he goes off on a particularly over-the-top anti-regulation rant.

Over the last two days I've asked three different Republicans about the Senate Minority Leader's remarks yesterday (both on the Senate floor and at his weekly press conference) where he claimed the Democrats' financial regulatory reform bill "not only allows for taxpayer funded bailouts for Wall Street banks--it actually institutionalizes them."

The responses were strangely similar.

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Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) had a very strong first quarter fundraising total, bringing in $1.34 million. The campaign also has $4.26 million on hand.

One of Feingold's announced Republican opponents, businessman Terrence Wall, announced that he has more than $1 million cash on hand -- though it should be noted that he self-financed his campaign $1.2 million during the quarter.

The big question is whether former Gov. Tommy Thompson will get into the race, a decision that is expected to be announced tomorrow. The TPM Poll Average shows Thompson ahead of Feingold by 45.3%-41.9%. Feingold is ahead of Wall by 50.7%-37.0%, and leads businessman Dave Westlake by 49.4%-34.2%.

Organizers of the Cincinnati tax day tea party, which will host Fox' Sean Hannity as the guest of honor, has published a list of suggested sign messages on their website for tea partiers to use as they prepare for their day in front of the cameras.

Tea party signs have become the trademark of the movement, often getting tea partiers in hot water thanks to insensitive imagery. As the movement grows more aware of how it's perceived by the mainstream, groups are offering all sorts of advice on how to be an inoffensive tea partier, including what to write on signs.

After the jump, read the whole list of suggested signs for tomorrow's big Ohio tea party rally.

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Michael Steele's chairmanship of the RNC has been under scrutiny after revelations of problematic spending (like that staffer who spent $2,000 at a bondage-themed club) -- but Steele thinks it's the Democrats that need to account for themselves.

Steele sent out a fundraising e-mail today encouraging supporters to send President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid a "Taxpayers' Audit."

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Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor and ex-Bush administration Secretary of Health and Human Services, is set to announce tomorrow just whether or not he will run for Senate against incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold, his spokesman confirms to TPM.

It was reported this morning by WTMJ radio in Milwaukee that Thompson had decided against a run -- but then Thompson himself denied it, saying he had not made any decision. Thompson spokesman Jason Denby told TPMDC: "The accurate report is that he had a call last night with his close confidantes. And at the time, at the end of the call, he was undecided completely. He is going to give a speech tomorrow at this rally, this Tea party rally in Madison. And by the end of the speech, he'll have laid out his decision. So he's kind of finalizing everything in his head, whichever way he's leaning today."

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