TPM News

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) is pushing back against Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) investigation into whether the Obama administration is politicizing Freedom of Information Act requests.

It's not that Welch opposes the general thrust of Issa's probe. He's just worried about what could turn out to be some pretty serious unintended consequences -- squelching interest in filing FOIA requests by revealing the identities of the private citizens making them.

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Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, has let loose his criticisms of a recent ruling by a federal judge to keep the gray wolf on the endangered species list -- saying he would like to put "some of these judicial activists" on the endangered list.

Rehberg spoke Monday before the state legislature. As the Helena Independent Record reports. "When I first heard his decision, like many of you I wanted to take action immediately," Rehberg said. "I asked: How can we put some of these judicial activists on the Endangered Species list?"

Rehberg was then quickly denounced by the executive director of the state Democratic Party, Ted Dick: "Congressman Rehberg's veiled threat against federal judges he disagrees with is in light of the murder of a federal judge in Tucson less than a month ago."

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Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams dropped his reelection bid on Monday, and fired some parting shots at the Tea Party and the hard-line conservatives he thinks are hurting the party's electoral success.

"I have tired of those who are obsessed with seeing conspiracies around every corner and who have terribly misguided notions of what the role of the state party is while saying 'uniting conservatives' is all that is needed to win competitive races across the state," Wadhams wrote in a memo to the Colorado Republican State Central Committee obtained by The Denver Post.

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Lawyers for Michael Scanlon -- one of the central figures in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal set to be sentenced on Friday -- say their client deserves less than the two years in jail the federal government requested since he "believed he was literally risking his life" by cooperating with the feds.

Scanlon's attorneys throw in everything but the kitchen sink while pointing out reasons why Scanlon shouldn't serve a full two years. One of them: an actor's portray of him in the recent flick "Casino Jack" starring Kevin Spacey has already soiled his reputation.

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), a potential presidential candidate, is joining the list of Republicans who are blasting the Obama administration's handling of the situation in Egypt.

CNN's John King caught up with Gingrich at the Reagan Centennial in Simi Valley, California -- as King noted, he can't really get a regular sit-down interview, because Gingrich and other possible candidates are Fox News contributors.

"Look, I think the fact that they appointed a very able diplomat, Frank Wisner, and within two days, were publicly contradicting him, is, you know, it's so amateurish," said Gingrich, referring to the administration having backed away from its envoy saying that Mubarak should stay in power while political reforms are carried out.

"I was with John Bolton last night, he said it's inconceivable that they would be this clumsy and this out of sync with -- I mean, just with themselves, forget the Arab world. They can't even get the White House and their special envoy to be on the same page."

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Add Georgia and Tennessee to the list of Republican leaning states that President Obama could win if Sarah Palin emerges as the GOP presidential nominee.

Two recent polls have found Obama leading Palin in hypothetical 2012 match-ups in those states, both of which went for John McCain in the 2008 election. Vanderbilt's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions released a poll this week showing Obama ahead of Palin 42% to 37% in Tennessee, a state Obama lost by 15 points in the last election. And in Georgia, an Insight poll found Obama with a four point lead over Palin, 47% to 43%.

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If you're a reader of World Net Daily, a fan of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) or a regular reader of anti-Muslim columnist Frank Gaffney, you know all about the controversies surrounding the attendance of gay Republicans and Muslim conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference later this week.

But anti-gay and anti-Muslim CPAC attendees, take heart! There are still plenty of scheduled non-official CPAC events for the Islamo- and homophobic conservatives in your family.

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Without a whimper, Democrats have allowed Republicans to build the reality that, in the current economic environment, government spending costs jobs, while austerity creates jobs. While Republicans tout a "cut and grow" Congress, most Democrats are running away from the idea that spending can do any good at all.

Not all of them though. In a "Dear Colleague" letter, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is trying to build opposition among his colleagues to the Republican Study Committee's call for dramatic spending cuts on the grounds that they will lead to major job losses.

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Progressive groups are again targeting Republicans in competitive districts for voting to repeal health care reform while accepting federally financed insurance.

Americans United for Change, Daily Kos, and Blue America have aligned to run radio ads in the districts of Reps. Charlie Bass (R-NH), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Sandy Adams (R-FL), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ).

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