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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus on Monday called on both NBC and CNN to drop their planned film productions of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or face losing their partnerships with the RNC for 2016 presidential primary debates.

In letters to the chairman of NBC Entertainment, Robert Greenblatt, and CNN President Jeff Zucker, Priebus slammed the networks' "thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election" as unfair to other potential candidates from both parties.

NBC announced last month it was planning a miniseries starring Diane Lane that would follow Clinton's trajectory beginning in 1998, the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The series was to air before Clinton could launch a hypothetical White House run. Days later CNN also announced it would produce a documentary to be released in 2014, according to the New York Times

"If you have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC's Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote of the RNC stating that the committee will neither partner with you in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates which you sponsor," Preibus wrote to the networks.

NBC Hillary Clinton Letter

President Barack Obama will take questions Wednesday at an online roundtable on housing policy with users from the home-buying website Zillow.com. 

"With more than 56 million monthly Zillow users, and nearly 700,000 followers on its social media channels, Zillow will offer the President a unique opportunity to engage directly with homeowners and Americans seeking to own a home,” a White House official told Yahoo! News.

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff will moderate the discussion. Users can submit questions for the president on Zillow's Facebook page, via Twitter or by submitting a video on Youtube, Instagram or Vine and sharing with the hashtag #AskObamaHousing. The event will live stream at 1 p.m. ET on Zillow's website.

People who were listed on federal campaign records as "deceased" contributed almost $600,000 to political campaigns since 2009, according to a USA Today analysis published Monday. 

Thirty-two deceased individuals donated a total of $586,000 to federal candidates and political parties since Jan. 1 2009, according to Federal Election Commission filings reviewed by USA Today. Under federal election law, an individual can make a political candidate or party the beneficiary of his or her estate, although contribution limits apply.

A deceased day trader named Raymond Groves Burrington left over $217,000 to the Libertarian National Committee in 2007, according to USA Today, making him the top deceased donor since Jan. 1, 2009. A lawsuit filed by the Libertarian Party before a Washington, D.C. federal appeals court was seeking to throw out those limits for deceased donors (in the case of a donation to a political party, $32,400 per individual), allowing the party to receive Burrington's donation in a lump sum instead of yearly installments.

"This is pure free speech," Alan Gura, an attorney for the Libertarian Party, told USA Today. "A dead person can't corrupt someone."

A tenth woman came forward Sunday to accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of making an unwanted advance when he asked her for a "private song."

Renee Estill-Sombright, a bank employee and professional singer, told TV station KGTV that she had met Filner once before and so decided to re-introduce herself in June at a La Jolla neighborhood church benefit. 

"We were standing face-to-face and he held on to me and he was like, 'You are so beautiful,'" she said. "'You are so beautiful and I cannot take my eyes off of you.'"

Estill-Sombright told KGTV she was taken aback when Filner grabbed and held onto her hands before asking if she was married. He then said to her "'Well, you know this is a personal invitation. I would like to take you out sometime.'"

The singer later told U-T San Diego that after she sang the national anthem at the benefit, Filner had asked if she "could give him a private song."

Filner announced in July that he would begin two weeks of counseling on Monday at an undisclosed clinic. It was unclear Monday morning whether the counseling had started.

Watch an interview with Estill-Sombright below, courtesy of KGTV

Clarification: This post has been updated to show that Filner's counseling was scheduled to begin on Monday.

Police said a man was shot Saturday night in Cleveland when he attempted to take another man's keys to prevent him from driving drunk.

The suspect shot the victim in the chest before fleeing the residence, according to TV station WJW. Police located and arrested the suspect after recovering the weapon from the back yard of the residence and obtaining his name from witnesses. 

The suspect was awaiting charges, according to WJW.

[Image from Varlanov Anatoly / Shutterstock]

Over a month after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford firmly denied the existence of a video that allegedly showed him smoking crack cocaine, the Toronto Star reported on Friday that one of the men who tried to sell the alleged video was being kept in segregation and had been stabbed in jail following his arrest in a police raid.

Mohamed Siad, an alleged drug and gun dealer, showed two Star reporters the video in the back of a car in May. Siad was arrested in his home during a raid on the Dixon City Bloods gang on June 13 known as Project Traveller, according to the Star, and it's unclear whether police could have recovered the alleged video in the raid.

The Star reporters recognized Siad in court, where he appeared on a video link-up and complained about being held in segregation at the jail. Siad had been stabbed multiple times a few days after his arrival, according to the newspaper.

A Ministry of Corrections spokesman confirmed to the Star that an inmate was injured in an incident that took place in the jail on June 15, but would not release the victim's name pending an ongoing investigation.

UPDATE: The Toronto Sun, citing anonymous sources, reported that Siad was attempting to cut a deal with the prosecution to turn in the tape in exchange for a plea bargain. According to the sources, the prosecution refused the deal because they felt they couldn’t corroborate that Ford was actually smoking crack in the video. It isn’t clear if the video still exists, or who has possession of it.

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating an electric car company co-founded by Democratic Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe, the Washington Post reported Friday.

The SEC subpoenaed documents from the car company, GreenTech Automotive, as well as bank records from a sister company called Gulf Coast Funds Management, according to the Post. Gulf Coast is run by Anthony Rodham, the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The report said that the full focus of the investigation was unknown but that documents show it is at least partly focused on allegations the company "guarantees returns" to its investors.

The Post also noted that GreenTech had used a federal program that grants special visas to overseas investors who contribute at least $500,000 toward creating U.S. jobs. The program has come under extra scrutiny by the SEC recently over concerns that investors of companies are being misled or defrauded.

A spokesman for McAuliffe's campaign told the Post that the candidate "has no knowledge of any investigation."

Representatives from both GreenTech and Gulf Coast confirmed to the Post on Thursday that they had received subpoenas from the SEC and planned to cooperate with the investigation.

McAuliffe resigned as GreenTech's chairman last year as he ramped up his campaign for governor, although his exit was not publicly disclosed until April.

Two men who were shopping around dueling recall petitions for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced Friday that they're uniting to oust the embattled mayor after he refused to resign his office following several sexual harassment allegations.

Stampp Corbin, the publisher of San Diego's LGBT Weekly, and land use consultant Michael Pallamary plan to unite their efforts behind Pallamary's petition, according to San Diego TV station KSWB. Pallamary's statement lists over half a dozen grievances against the mayor, including that he "sexually harassed female employees and consituents" and "created a divisive and abusive environment at City Hall."

The City Attorney's office clarified Thursday in a memo that the two petitions could collect signatures separately although only one could be certified for the ballot, according to KSWB. A majority vote would remove Filner from office in a recall election.

The mayor is due to enter a behavioral counseling clinic for two weeks starting Monday.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that the United States will immediately begin to grant the same consideration to visa applications from same-sex spouses as opposite-sex spouses.

“If you’re the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you’re the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally,” Kerry said at the U.S. Embassy in London, as quoted by the Washington Post.

“As long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it, so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws, and every married couple will be treated exactly the same,” he added.

The policy change allows a foreign citizen legally married to a U.S. citizen of the same sex to more easily obtain an entry visa, and allows visa applications from foreign same-sex spouses to be considered jointly, according to the Post.

The Smithsonian took to Twitter on Friday to dismiss reports that it was seeking to acquire Trayvon Martin's symbolic hoodie for its collection. 

Lonnie Bunch, the director of the National Museum of African American History And Culture, had told the Washington Post that because the hoodie became the symbol of the Trayvon Martin case, the artifact could allow the museum "to talk about race in the age of Obama.” 

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