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

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Thursday called for the approval of a new immigration reform amendment he called "a dramatic improvement on border security, unlike anything proposed in the past."

Rubio stressed the importance of the new measure hammered out by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), billed as a more palatable alternative to Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) border security proposal. He argued that if adequate border security and programs like E-verify don't make it into the language of the bill, then undocumented immigrants may be given permanent residency while the borders remain insecure and those security programs languish.

"If you don't say that all those things have to happen before permanent legal residency happens," he said in an appearance on Fox News, "if you don't say that, then these things may not happen."

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is prepared to vote yes on comprehensive immigration reform if a deal to strengthen border security pulls through, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday.

“The decision is should the border security amendment pass, I will be able to support the final legislation because then I will be able to assure the people of Illinois that the border is well covered with 21,000 border agents added, one every thousand feet, I think we got the border covered,” Kirk told the Sun-Times.

The Illinois senator voted against filing cloture on the bill because Senate Democrats tabled Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)'s border security amendment. "I urge Democratic leaders to rethink a strategy that castigates those who seek true immigration reform and also consider border security a top national security priority," Kirk wrote on his blog.

Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to set the record straight Wednesday on what some have called a "contradiction" in his testimony before Congress in May regarding the Department of Justice's issue of a search warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen's records.

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Holder maintained that his department had never prosecuted a journalist for publishing top secret information. He suggests the committee misinterpreted his statements "to mean that the Department also has not taken certain investigative steps—such as seeking a search warrant for a reporter's emails from an internet service provider—during an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information."

One of Goodlatte's questions took issue with Holder's statement in testimony that he had never "been involved with" or "heard of" "potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material."

Here's Holder's response:

As I have explained, the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter was an investigative step that is separate from charging decisions. When I testified before the Committee, I stated that I was unaware of the Department ever charging a reporter with a crime simply for publishing material, and that remains my understanding today. In the matter of the unauthorized disclosure of information that appeared in a June 2009 article, while I was aware of and approved the government’s investigative step to seek a search warrant, prosecutors never sought my approval to charge a reporter. I do not agree that characterizations establishing probable cause for a search warrant for materials from a member of the news media during an ongoing investigation constitute an intent to prosecute that member of the news media. I do believe that a thorough investigation of the disclosure of classified information that threatened national security was necessary and appropriate.

Holder declared in the letter that he would not testify further in the matter or provide additional details to Congress. Read the full letter below. 

Holder Responds To House Judiciary Committee Written Questions

Exodus International, a Christian group that claimed to be able to "cure" homosexuality though therapy, announced Wednesday that it is shutting down after more than three decades of work following an apology it issued to the LGBT community.

“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” board member Tony Moore said in a press release posted to the Exodus International website. 

Just a day earlier, Exodus International's president, Alan Chambers, wrote a lengthy apology published on the group's website that lamented his organization's and the church's approach to the LGBT community without renouncing his "biblical beliefs" regarding sexuality.

"Please know that I am deeply sorry," Chambers said in the apology. "I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents."

Read the full apology here.

A GOP county chairman in Illinois called a black female congressional candidate a "street walker" and the "love child" of the Democratic party -- and he was referring to a fellow Republican, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Montgomery County GOP Chairman Jim Allen emailed the website Republican News Watch with his remarks about former Miss America Erika Harold, who will challenge incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) in the Republican primary for Illinois' 13th congressional district.

"Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires," he wrote. "... Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS."

Republican News Watch republished Allen's email, which was sent in response to a column about Harold's campaign launch, on its website Wednesday. 

Read the full email here.

Partisan politics have compelled one Virginia newspaper to announce that it would drop the word "Democrat" from its name.

An editorial published Wednesday in the Warrington, Va.-based Faquier Times-Democrat assured that at least while under the ownership of one area family, the newspaper "had nothing to do with Democratic Party politics." The last presidential candidate the newspaper endorsed was Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008.

"But in an age which is, perhaps, more shaped and informed by political identity than any other in our history, having a word in our banner that is so associated with a political party is no longer a very astute business decision," executive editor Bill Walsh wrote in the editorial. "The same could be said if, for the last 24-plus years, we had been the Fauquier Times-Republican."

[h/t Huffington Post]

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control group issued an apology Wednesday for including one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects on a list of shooting victims' names read during a demonstration in Concord, N.H.

The New Hampshire Union-Leader reported that Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign held the rally Tuesday where volunteers, family members of shooting victims and survivors of gun violence read out names on a list of people killed by guns since December's school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev's name was included on that list, which had been compiled by Slate.com.

Tsarnaev "was absolutely not a victim, his name should have been deleted before the list was provided to a family member for reading and his name should never have been read," said the group's apology, released to TPM. "It was a mistake, it should not have happened and we sincerely apologize."

This post has been updated.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Wednesday that the GOP doesn't need to support comprehensive immigration reform that he believes amounts to amnesty in order to win over Hispanic voters.

The freshman senator railed against the so-called gang of eight legislation in the Senate on Rush Limbaugh's talk radio show, arguing that Hispanic Texans who were polled actually preferred a plan for work permits without citizenship over blanket legalization of undocumented immigrants.

"This is a crock being sold to Republican politicians so they can just buy off hispanic voters," Cruz said.

Cruz also argued that Senate Democrats are pushing comprehensive immigration reform to benefit their own vote-getting agenda.

"They hope to get a lot more Democratic voters or they hope it gets voted down and they can use it as a political issue in 2014," he said.

The Karl Rove-backed activist group Crossroads GPS launched a new ad Wednesday urging Americans to "tell Congress to fix the immigration mess." 

Stirring up conservative sentiment, the ad alleges that millions of Americans live in "de facto amnesty" as Congress "does nothing" to address the immigration issue. The ad also echoes an argument that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has made in suggesting the nation's "porous border" threatens security. 

Last week, the group kicked off a $100,000 ad blitz supporting the overhaul of immigration laws with a full-page print ad.

"The Senate immigration bill needs an 'extreme makeover' before we can say it really protects our borders and our workers, but it's important that Congress move forward on it and not just throw up its hands," Crossroads GPS' CEO Steven Law said in a statement, as quoted by Yahoo News.

Watch the ad below: 

PTR Industries will be the first Connecticut-based gun manufacturer to relocate its operations, the Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported Tuesday night.

The Bristol, Conn. company will announce its move to Horry Counry, S.C. next Monday with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony. Gov. Nikki Haley (R), Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) and other state legislators will be in attendance, according to Horry County Council chairman Mark Lazarus.

PTR's CEO Josh Fiorini told the Sun News that the company will relocate many of its 140 employees over the course of the three-year move, which was prompted by gun control laws passed in the state of Connecticut.