TPM News

When Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) announced he would vote against health care reform, several unions suggested they would find someone else to endorse come November.

That someone may be Mac D'Alessandro, the regional political director for an SEIU local in Massachusetts. D'Alessandro announced this weekend that he will challenge Lynch for the Democratic nomination. He must get 2,000 signatures by May 4 in order to get on the primary ballot.

D'Alessandro has worked for the SEIU since 2001, according to the Boston Globe, but he has never held public office.

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Erik Lawrence Pidrman, 66, of Spring Hill, Florida, was charged today for allegedly making a threat via phone against Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's (R-FL), the United States Attorney's Office for Middle District of Florida announced this afternoon.

Pidrman, who was arrested Sunday, allegedly called Brown-Waite's Brooksville, Florida, office early in the morning on March 25 and left a voicemail saying: "Just wanna let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this b**** does not live to see her next term."

That was just a few days after Brown-Waite voted no on the health care bill.

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A tough statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's spokesman Jim Manley sets the tone for a flank of Senate Democrats' messaging this week:

"Senators McConnell and Cornyn should immediately reveal what they discussed earlier this month during secret, closed-door meeting with Wall Street executives in New York City," Manley said, adding:

Years of greed and excess on Wall Street cost 8 million jobs and trillions in wealth for middle-class families and small businesses. Since Republicans appear to be conducting backroom negotiations with these same people who took our economy to the brink of collapse, the public deserves to know what secret deals and carve-outs Republicans are offering Wall Street executives in exchange for their support.

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In an effort to win business from the Jordanian government, Blackwater execs gifted Glocks, an M4 rifle, and a shotgun, among other weapons, to the King of Jordan, according to prosecutors. But, say the Feds, the execs then realized they couldn't account for the weapons -- so they falsely told the government that they had bought them as individuals.

In an indictment filed Friday against Blackwater's former president, Gary Jackson, and four other former Blackwater staffers, prosecutors write that in 2005, the company -- now known as Xe Services -- was seeking to gain favor with the government of Jordan, in order to boost its chances of doing business there.

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The new inspector general report on the SEC's handling of the Allen Stanford alleged Ponzi scheme case paints a devastating picture of the agency's repeated failures to pursue the billionaire banker, despite a widespread belief within the SEC's Fort Worth office that he was a fraud.

At the center of the story is Spencer Barasch, the chief of enforcement at the SEC's Fort Worth office, who declined to pursue Stanford multiple times, only to later jump ship to become a partner at a big private law firm where he proceeded to represent none other than 'Sir' Allen Stanford.

The inspector general has referred Barasch to the bars of Washington and Texas, where he is licensed, for potential violation of conflict of interest rules.

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In the wake of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) botched Confederate History Month declaration, a new group of Democrats has gone on the air to tell African Americans in the state their new Governor is not the big-tent leader he promised to be.

Though Virginia's one-term limit means McDonnell can't run again, the new PAC sponsoring the ads says stoking frustration over the slavery flap will help boost Democratic turnout in the state closer to the levels that helped President Obama win Virgina in 2008.

The ad, currently running on African American radio in Virgina, makes no bones about targeting the tentative ties to the black community McDonnell's supporters claimed he forged during his all-moderate-all-the-time 2009 campaign.

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Bob Jewell, managing partner at the firm Andrews Kurth, released the following statement today in response to a report by the SEC Inspector General:

"Friday's report by the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Inspector General is disappointing.

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Ever since Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) vetoed a major Republican-backed education bill, the signs have been piling up that he's going to make the leap to running for Senate as an independent -- if national Republicans don't push him out of the race first.

"I've heard that there's enormous chatter among staff in the Crist campaign. They're all looking for jobs right now," a Republican source in Florida told TPMDC. "They're looking for jobs not because they think he's going to quit, but because they think he's going to run as an independent. And in my business you work on one team."

Crist has reportedly pulled his ads in Tampa and Orlando against his rival in the Republican primary, Marco Rubio, suggesting that some major decision could be on the way. Meanwhile, the Hotline reported that GOP insiders are giving up on Crist staying in the race as a Republican, and that Crist is not returning calls from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who had endorsed Crist a year ago. Erick Erickson -- who is of course a long-time Crist foe and Rubio-backer -- is floating chatter of Crist quitting the race entirely. And now NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer is gearing up to back Rubio, in a private e-mail asking political operatives to urge Crist to drop out and not go independent.

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