TPM News

Could Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shake off powerful opponents of his proposal to audit the Federal Reserve? It looks like he's about to do just that. By making a few changes to his financial reform amendment, Sanders has won support from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, and seems more poised than ever to prevail. The Senate should vote on his amendment later today.

In order to allay some of the White House's and the Fed's concerns, Sanders has agreed to limit the scope of what the Government Accountability Office would be allowed to audit--but his plan will still require thorough review of all the Fed's emergency lending, beginning December 1, 2007.

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln still can't raise the money Lt. Gov. Bill Halter can in the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary. The AP reports that in the final fundraising reporting period before the May 18 election, Halter outraised Lincoln by nearly two-to-one.

Halter raised nearly $580,000 between Apr. 1-28, his campaign told the AP. Lincoln's camp reported it raised just over $300,000 in the same period. That continues a trend that's seen Halter crush Lincoln in fundraising since he declared his candidacy on March 1.

When it comes to cash on hand, it's a different story. Lincoln reported $3.1 million in the bank as of Apr. 28, which dwarfs the around $558,000 Halter's camp has to spend in the final weeks of the primary. Lincoln used her cash advantage to outspend Halter in the past month -- where he spent around $1 million to campaign against her, she poured almost $1.5 million into stopping him.

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Sarah Palin has now endorsed a candidate in the California Senate Republican primary, coming out in favor of former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina -- the same Carly Fiorina who infamously said during the 2008 campaign that Palin couldn't run a major company.

Palin pitches Fiorina as the best shot in the primary to stop former Rep. Tom Campbell, who currently leads in the polls: "Please consider that Carly is the conservative who has the potential to beat California's liberal senator, Barbara Boxer, in November. I'm a huge proponent of contested primaries, so I'm glad to see the contest in California's GOP, but I support Carly as she fights through a tough primary against a liberal member of the GOP who seems to bear almost no difference to Boxer, one of the most leftwing members of the Senate."

The TPM Poll Average gives Campbell a lead of 28.7%, followed by Fiorina at 20.2%, and the even more conservative state Rep. Chuck DeVore with 12.4%.

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The male escort who accompanied George Rekers, a leader of the ex-gay movement, on a European vacation now says the two did engage in sex acts.

The escort, dubbed "Lucien" by the Miami New Times, told the paper that Rekers paid him to provide daily massages, in the nude. The massages included Rekers' favorite move, Lucien said, which he dubbed "the long stroke."

"Rekers liked to be rubbed down there," he said. He originally said the two did not have sex.

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Since news broke that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is conducting a fraud investigation into the work of a former UVA climate scientist who was caught up in the "Climate-Gate" controversy, reactions have been pouring in -- with even some climate skeptics slamming the probe as a threat to academic freedom.

But one interested observer has been noticeably mum: Governor Bob McDonnell.

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Of the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said it best on Tuesday: "In the Bush administration, these were the guys that were having sex orgies and pot parties and weren't showing up for work."

As the government agency that regulates offshore drilling, MMS is already under scrutiny for its handling of the rig that exploded and caused the oil spill. It's not yet clear whether there were missteps by the agency, though the Washington Post reported earlier this week that MMS' environmental impact assessments of the Deepwater Horizon rig had not considered the possibility of a major spill.

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In a letter released today, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to wait a year before implementing the state's recently-passed immigration law, saying he wants to give Congress a chance to enact comprehensive legislation of its own.

In the letter, Schumer calls into question the constitutionality of the law -- which some argue will encourage racial profiling -- and doubts its effectiveness as a tool to reduce illegal immigration.

"I cannot agree more that urgent federal action is necessary this year to address our broken immigration system," he writes. "But I simply do not believe the remedy Arizona has enacted will succeed in resolving the problem it is designed to address. I oppose SB 1070, not only because it is wrong-hearted and is likely unconstitutional, but also because it will almost certainly fail to reduce illegal immigration into Arizona."

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The Democrat who's challenging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer this fall, Attorney General Terry Goddard, has been vocal in his opposition to Brewer's immigration law, calling it "a tragic mistake." It made us wonder -- where are the calls for repeal?

Neither Goddard nor his campaign manager have returned repeated calls for comment on whether the attorney general would, as governor, to try to repeal the law.

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