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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

The Swiss government said on Wednesday that it will authorize its banks under U.S. scrutiny, including Credit Suisse and the Swiss arm of HSBC, to settle inquires into tax evasion in order to avoid further criminal investigations.

The Department of Justice began cracking down on citizens using Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes back in 2009, when it compelled UBS to release the names of 4,000 account holders and pay a fine of $780 million. The investigations have already prompted one bank, Wegelin & Co., to announce its closure after pleading guilty to helping Americans evade taxes.

NBC News reported on Tuesday that an attorney for a number of conservative groups said his clients received extra scrutiny from Internal Revenue Service offices other than the Cincinnati unit, which has been embroiled in the agency's recent scandal.

The attorney, Jay Sekulow, provided NBC News with letters requesting extra information that the IRS sent to his clients, including one that was signed by the head of the agency's Exempt Organizations Department, Lois Lerner.

Lerner was suspended in the wake of the scandal, in which the agency admitted staffers in the Cincinnati office improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups. It is unclear specifically which groups were targeted and whether Sekulow's clients were among them. Lerner's signature appeared on a letter sent to Ohio Liberty Council Corp requesting additional information for its tax-exempt status application.

Sekulow said that he has dealt with 15 agents from four different offices, including the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., "so the idea that this is a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati is not correct.” Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported on similar accusations from some of Sekulow's clients.

Correction: This post has been updated to show that it's unclear whether Sekulow's clients are among the groups targeted by the IRS. It has also been updated to correct the spelling of Cincinnati.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) issued a subpoena Tuesday in order to obtain documents related to talking points the administration used in the aftermath of the Benghazi, Libya attacks, which he writes the State Department has refused to provide upon his previous requests.

In his letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Issa states that the "State Department has not lived up to the Administration’s broad and unambiguous promises of cooperation with Congress. Therefore, I am left with no alternative but to compel the State Department to produce relevant documents through a subpoena."

The subpoena requests that by June 7 "all documents and communications referring or relating to the Benghazi talking points, to or from the following current and former state department personnel:" 

1. William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State;
2. Elizabeth Dibble, Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs;
3. Beth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs;
4. Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management;
5. Cheryl Mills, Counselor and Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton;
6. Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary for Management;
7. Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson;
8. Philippe Reines, Deputy Assistant Secretary;
9. Jake Sullivan, Director of Policy Planning; and,
10. David Adams, Assistant Secretary for State for Legislative Affairs. 

Whether U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may have lied about his involvement in "potential prosecution of the press" for disclosure of classified materials is now the subject of a House Judiciary Committee investigation, an unnamed aide told The Hill.

The investigation is looking into whether Holder's congressional testimony about the Department of Justice's seizure of reporters' emails and phone records is inconsistent with NBC News' report that Holder personally signed off on a search warrant for Fox News correspondent James Rosen. The warrant named the journalist as a 'co-conspirator' in a national security leak.

Here are Holder's exact words from his May 15 testimony:

“In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material -- this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.”

Unnamed aides told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Holder felt "a creeping sense of personal remorse" upon reading the Washington Post's story on the DOJ subpoena of a Fox News reporter.

At least a hundred employees at retail heavyweight Walmart pledged to join "prolonged strikes" across three states on Tuesday led by OUR Walmart, a labor group backed by the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, the Nation reports.

OUR Walmart has accused the retailer of retaliation and intimidation of striking workers, including the firing of two employees who are active in the labor group.

Employees stopped work in Miami, Massachusetts, and the San Franciso Bay area. Some workers will continue their walkout until Walmart's annual shareholders meeting on June 7, where OUR Walmart will drum up awareness for its cause with caravans stopping in 36 cities before converging on Bentonville, Ark.

UFCW official Dan Schlademan said "This represents the first time in Walmart history that workers have made the decision to go on prolonged strikes."

OUR Walmart also carried out strikes on Black Friday, claiming that 1,000 protests were staged in 46 states even as the company reported its largest Black Friday sales haul ever.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) denied on Tuesday that climate change was a factor in the devastating tornado that recently ripped through the suburbs of the state's capital.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax Inhofe took a shot at the liberal media that he sees "trying to exploit a tragedy to advance and expand its own agenda." 

Last week Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took to the Senate floor to criticize his Republican colleagues for their denial of climate change, linking the Oklahama tornado among other natural disasters to the hot button issue. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) later also linked Oklahoma 'cyclones' to climate change in her own speech. Whitehouse later apologized for the timing of his remarks.

Inhofe said tornadoes have simply been a reality for the state over the years.

"We were being hit by tornadoes long before anyone talked about climate change, and even before it was called 'global cooling,' before it became 'global warming,' and then 'climate change,'" Inhofe said. "The same thing that happened last week happened 14 years ago, 25 years ago, and 30 years ago."

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