TPM News

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct announced late Monday that they have agreed to "continue to defer taking action into whether Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., or an agent of Representative Jackson, may have offered to raise funds for then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in return for the appointment of Representative Jackson to the Illinois Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama."

But Jackson hadn't heard about their decision when asked about it by TPM on Tuesday.

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A day before House Democrats are expected to vote current Majority Whip Jim Clyburn into a newly-created position in the leadership of their new minority, no one can really say what the new job will entail.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- expected to be elected Minority Leader in the next Congress at tomorrow's Democratic Caucus meeting -- averted a potentially nasty leadership fight between Clyburn and currently Majority Leader Steny Hoyer over the number two slot in the minority by creating a new number three job called "Assistant Leader" in the next Congress. Hoyer is expected to be elected the Democrats' number two -- also known as Minority Whip -- and Clyburn the caucus' Assistant Leader.

A Democratic caucus aide said today that the Assistant Leader slot will be created by renaming the current Assistant To The Leader position when the caucus meets tomorrow. The current job is occupied by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who is not expected to challenge Clyburn's bid for the position.

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Rep. Charlie Rangel believes that the House ethics committee's findings, that he has committed 11 ethics violations, are "unfair."

In a statement released this afternoon, Rangel excoriated the committee once again.

"How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the Ethics Subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room?" he said. "I am disappointed by the unfortunate findings of the Ethics Subcommittee. The Committee's actions are unprecedented in view of the fact that they arrived at without rebuttal or counter evidence on my behalf."

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Republicans from across the conservative spectrum are swatting down a proposal from Democrat Chuck Schumer to resolve the tax cut dispute by ending tax cuts to millionaires only.

"The answer is no," said Sen. John Thune (R-SC) -- the fourth ranking Republican in the Senate -- on Fox News last night. "What you want to do if you believe the best ways to grow jobs and to grow the economy in this country is to keep taxes low and to allow small get out and do that, then the worst thing you can do is raise taxes on them, which, if you raise them on those higher-income levels is what happens.

Thune is a contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, and his position is reflective of the fact that he'll be guarding his right flank for the next many months.

Moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), however, agrees with Thune.

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A member of the White House's fiscal commission has released her own progressive plan for deficit reduction, after the commission's chairmen unveiled recommendations she vehemently opposes.

"Their proposal would have serious consequences for lower and middle class Americans, and that is why I cannot support it," says Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in a statement. "I am releasing my own plan today because I believe that there is a better way to achieve our goal - one that protects the poor and the middle-class."

Her plan, which she claims would achieve fiscal balance by 2015, includes a host of ideas that were not included in the report released last week by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. It makes provision for another $200 billion worth of stimulus to take the form of unemployment insurance extensions and additional aid to states.

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