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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

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a benefit for sexual assault victims in which he is expected to address his ongoing sexual harassment scandal, KGTV reported Wednesday.

The National Military Women Veterans Association of America confirmed to KGTV that the embattled mayor is scheduled to appear at its event. The group had planned to present Filner with a lifetime achievement award at the benefit on August 30-31, but stripped him of the honor -- though not the speaking role -- once news of the scandal broke.

"We do not tolerate sexual discrimination at any level within our society," the women's veterans group said, as quoted by KGTV. "He is now the keynote speaker on these injustices."

Filner's office did not respond to KGTV's request for comment.

This post has been updated.

A congressional probe into Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) campaign finances has been referred to the House Ethics Committee, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Wednesday.

An Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) report issued Tuesday did not name Bachmann but said all seven cases before it had been referred to the committee, according to the Star-Tribune. The Bachmann case had reportedly been one of those under investigation by the office. It focused on whistleblower allegations of campaign finance violations and accusations that she used campaign staff to help promote her 2011 book "Core of Conviction."

An attorney for the Bachmann campaign dismissed the OCE report.

"Today’s OCE disclosure not only is factually inaccurate, but is a shameful publicity stunt that undermines the confidentiality provisions designed to protect members of Congress from undue prejudice,” William McGinley, a Washington lawyer for Bachmann, told the Star-Tribune. “We are grateful that this matter is finally in the hands of the fair-minded and capable professionals at the House Committee on Ethics who we are confident will dismiss all allegations in this matter.”

Since Bachmann will be leaving the House at the conclusion of her fourth term in office, it's unclear what action the House Ethics Committee will pursue. 

On Wednesday afternoon, OCE spokeswoman Kelly Brewington told TPM that the office stood by the report and that it "in no way deviates from any other quarterly report" put out by the office.

Clarification: This post has been updated to clarify that the OCE report did not mention Bachmann by name.

Update: This post has been updated to include comments by Brewington.

Four George Zimmerman trial jurors released a joint statement Tuesday distancing themselves from outspoken Juror B37, CNN reported.

After the second segment of Juror B37's interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper aired Tuesday night, the four jurors, identified by their jury pool numbers, released a written statement reacting to her comments on the case.

"We, the undersigned jurors, understand there is a great deal of interest in this case. But we ask you to remember that we are not public officials and we did not invite this type of attention into our lives," the statement read, as quoted by CNN.

"We also wish to point out that the opinions of Juror B37, expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were her own, and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below," the statement continued.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) ridiculed Liz Cheney's Senate campaign announcement by calling into question her Wyoming residency, Politico reported Tuesday.

"When I heard Liz Cheney was running for Senate I wondered if she was running in her home state of Virginia,” Paul said, as quoted by Politico. 

Paul told Politico last week that he believes Cheney's competition, incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), is a "solid conservative."

Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear Wednesday that he holds his country's relationship with the United States in higher esteem than he does former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Reuters reported.

When a reporter asked if the Snowden case would negatively affect a September summit between the U.S. and Russia in Moscow, Putin responded that "bilateral relations, in my opinion, are far more important than squabbles about the activities of the secret services," according to Reuters.

"We warned Mr. Snowden that any action by him that could cause damage to Russian-American relations is unacceptable for us," he added, as quoted by Reuters.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) dismissed the allegations of sexual harassment plaguing him since last week in a one-on-one interview Monday with TV station KUSI, arguing that he's just an expressive personality and "a hugger."

"I'm a hugger, of both men and women," Filner said. "As it turns out that those are taken in an offensive manner, I need to have a greater sense of awareness of what I am doing and we will correct that, and I am taking those steps."

Filner slammed recent anonymous accusations against him, pointing out that there have been no formal complaints or charges filed against him. He told the television station that he will not resign.

Watch Filner's full interview with KUSI here:

KUSI.com - KUSI News - San Diego CA - News, Weather, PPR

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday that the only way to hold Director of National Intelligence James Clapper accountable for his testimony on National Security Agency data collection would be for President Obama to potentially "fire him," The Hill reported.

"How do you hold him accountable?" Levin said at an event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, as quoted by The Hill. "I guess the only way to do that would be for the president to, somehow or other, fire him. I think he’s made it clear that he regrets saying what he said. I don’t want to call on the president to fire him, although I’m troubled by this.”

Clapper acknowledged in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee dated June 21 that his response to the committee at a March hearing was "erroneous." Clapper had told the committee that his agency wasn't collecting data on millions of Americans. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took to Twitter on Tuesday in praise of the Senate's vote to advance Richard Cordray's nomination to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, calling it a "historic day for working families."

San Diego attorney Marco Gonzalez said in a Monday press conference that Mayor Bob Filner told a female staffer his women employees would do better "if they worked without their panties on," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Gonzalez added that women who work for Filner call him a "dirty old man" and describe his advances as "the Filner headlock" and "the Filner dance," according to the Times.

Gonzalez's accusations came just hours after Filner reiterated his innocence and confirmed he would not resign.

At least one conservative blogger was paid to repeat talking points provided by a proxy group for the Ukrainian government, Buzzfeed reported Tuesday.

Articles appearing on RedState, Breitbart, and Pajamas Media during the lead-up to Ukrainian parliamentary elections last year closely reflected talking points from Ukraine's ruling Party of Regions, according to documents obtained by Buzzfeed. Libertarian media strategist George Scoville disseminated those talking points amongst at least five or six bloggers, according to an anonymous writer that leaked the documents to Buzzfeed.

The blogger who spoke with Buzzfeed, on condition of anonymity because of "lingering qualms about the arrangement," admitted to being offered $500 to write a blog post lauding the pro-Russian Party of Regions. He told the website that Scoville's name was on that check.

Scoville also invited the writers to participate in a conference call with an official from the Ukraine's Central Election Commission, according to an email obtained by Buzzfeed.

Read the full text of the talking points sent to conservative bloggers over at Buzzfeed.

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