HUFFPOST HILL - Rove-Linked Group Attacking Republicans

03/25/2011 06:38 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Eliot Nelson Eliot Nelson is a politics reporter and editor in the Huffington Post's D.C.bue=reau

Reporters took a break from chronicling the last stand of the labor movement and the erosion of women's rights to mark the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. K Street donors apparently won't write checks unless some senior staffer compromises their professional standards in the process. And somewhere in Arlington, Jim VandeHei is clutching the still-beating heart of whichever Politico reporter mistakenly implied that Rep. Connie Mack would run for Senate. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 25th, 2011

Are you kidding me?

ROVE-LINKED GROUP ATTACKING REPUBLICANS - Partisanship is good, but money is better. Americans for Job Security is blasting Republican lawmakers for opposing swipe-fee reform, putting the Rove-linked group in the mercenary position of attacking the GOP in defense of a Democratic initiative. Americans for Job Security is a (supposedly) GOP firm founded by Mike Dubke and Dave Carney, which operates out of the same office as Crossroads Media, which is now run by Mike Dubke and Dave Carney, who no longer officially run AJS. A major "client" of Crossroads Media is Karl Rove's American Crossroads, along with the national GOP and the Republican Governors Association. We haven't forensically examined the paperwork, so we're not sure if Rove's fingerprints are literally on it, but AJS is a decidedly Republican outfit and its work on behalf of Dick Durbin's swipe-fee reform -- which pits retailers against big banks in a competition for debit card fees -- is ticking off folks in the Republican community who want their battle-lines to be drawn a bit cleaner. The Rove ads -- and that's what they are -- are running against Republicans Roger Wicker, David Vitter and Shelley Moore Capito, who's leading the charge in the House. Their crime? Defending Wall Street. [The radio ads]

If all of this is confusing, that's because they want it that way. But it's simple: A firm founded and run by Republicans is running ads against Republicans because somebody paid them to.

A source with the Merchants Payments Coalition denied the group was funding the ads. Crossroads Media and AJS didn't return calls.

Heads up, Pentagon. Rolling Stone has a blockbuster story posting Sunday night.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR PUBLIC FINANCING CASE NEXT WEEK - It must be hard for wealthy people, what with all of the distractions, pressures and challenges they endure on a daily basis. There are the donations to be sent to that pre-school, lest their toddlers get rejected for hurling a Tonka truck at the administrator's face during the family interview. Their accountants are constantly haranguing them about the need to dock their yachts in New Jersey (New Jersey!) for tax-sheltering purposes. Untold numbers of Jamaican nannies -- potentially responsible for raising their children -- need to be vetted. Do they touch up the wood paneling in their studies after the extension is complete or scrap it all together and go with a distinguished forest green? IT'S AIN'T EASY OUT THERE, FOR CHRISSAKE. As Richard Hasen notes in Slate, the High Court might make things easier for the oppressed by striking down public financing of campaigns. "On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in McComish v. Bennett, a case from Arizona in which those wealthy opponents and outside groups have complained that this additional spending violates their First Amendment rights. And once again, just a year after the court in Citizens United turned on the corporate-money spigot by allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections (and the FEC allowed corporations to hide much of their donations), the court appears poised to side with the wealthy in a campaign finance case." [Slate]

After years of aggregating stories of oppression from the mouths of the disenfranchised, Bob Herbert is stepping down from the New York Times. Herbert, who has been with the paper for 18 years, told his colleagues in an email that he has "grown eager to move beyond the constriction of the column format, with its rigid 800-word limit, in favor of broader and more versatile efforts." He added that he hopes to write "more expansively and more aggressively about the injustices visited on working people, the poor and the many others in our society who find themselves on the wrong side of power." Herbert also said that he will work on a new book and will soon unveil an initiative aimed at promoting progressive journalism. Herbert's work on behalf of marginalized Americans is irreplaceable, which is why the Times will probably replace him with an up-and-coming staffer for the Weekly Standard who still totally gets it. [HuffPost]

Katie Couric is likely leaving CBS News in June, reports Howard Kurtz.

TUNISIANS: DON'T CASH THAT CHECK TILL, LIKE, NEXT FRIDAY - Because it's Friday, five Tunisian labor leaders stopped by HuffPost's office to recount their experience of the revolution and talk about where they saw it going. Of critical importance, they said, international lenders should institute a debt moratorium while the fragile economy finds its footing. For the international community that funded decades of tyranny and oppression, we think it's fair they wait a few months to get paid back for that.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Daniel Ytterock of Redford, Mich. wrote HuffPost to say he's been out of work since July 2009. "When I was laid off from my publishing sales position, I thought, 'Hey. I've got a Masters. I've been in sales and management for years. This won't be bad.' Months, now years went by. Day after day, sending out resume upon resume. Hopes rising with emails or calls from 'employers,' only to find out that the jobs were scams." Ytterock said he applied for the state's job retraining program, but a month-long course in production management hasn't led to a job. "I'm on the last tier of unemployment payments," he wrote. "So now what?"

DOUBLE DOWNER - Congress deadlocked several times last year over renewals of federally-funded unemployment insurance for the long term jobless, twice interrupting benefits for millions. Now the battle has moved to the states. Michigan lawmakers this week became the first in the country to cut the standard 26 weeks of state-funded unemployment insurance down to 20 weeks, and opponents of the cut are worried other states may follow Michigan's example. "I think it's really important," said Rep. Sandy Levin, "that Michigan not become the state on unemployment insurance like Wisconsin has become on collective bargaining." [HuffPost]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

CONNIE MACK PULLS A FULL GINGRICH: ISN'T RUNNING FOR SENATE - Yesterday we mentioned that Rep. Connie Mack was expected to announce his Senate candidacy today. Turns out that was a giant piece of FAIL that was bought and paid for in five easy installments of FAIL. Mack told the St. Petersburg Times this morning that he is not, in fact, running for the Republican nomination to challenge Bill Nelson. Whoops. "I've got two small children and it's hard enough to get to spend a lot of good quality time now. I have a wife. They are all very important to me and at the end of the day family has to be number one,'' Mack said. [St. Petersburg Times]

#DAILYPITCHES - Find me the bustiest firearm-toting beauty queen in Florida!

LOBBYISTS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED THAT SENIOR STAFFERS AREN'T COMPROMISING THEMSELVES TO BEG FOR MONEY - Sometimes Washington types become so thoroughly cocooned in the D.C. way of doing things that the idea of broaching conversation by discussing the current cinema and not someone's latest consulting project seems odd, tucked-in polo shirts become an acceptable fashion statement and Chris CIllizza's jokes are suddenly funny. When that happens, this ends up occupying column inches: "Senate chiefs of staff this week are soliciting K Street for their annual spring fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Only problem is: Some of the chiefs aren't making the ask themselves -- a move that has discouraged many lobbyists from giving. Several lobbyists questioned, privately, whether the event -- similar to ones hosted by other chiefs of staff from both parties and chambers -- would be a successful moneymaker since professional fundraisers have been making the pitch for cash...A second Democratic lobbyist said the event was losing some of its buzz downtown." You know what? Screw off, Washington. [Roll Call's Kate Ackley and Anna Palmer]

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire that killed 146 mostly immigrant and female garment workers in lower Manhattan. The disaster is cited by many historians as one of the primary catalysts of the modern labor movement and as a galvanizing event in the campaign for women's suffrage (Frances Perkins famously called March 25th, 1911 "The day the New Deal began"). "Labor organizing," for those of you that are unfamiliar, is something that used to ... uh ... um ... er ... exist. Kind of like the middle class. [Feet in 2 Worlds]

KUCINICH WON'T TRY TO IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT - *COUGH* *COUGH* WUSS!!! *COUGH* *COUGH*. The Ohio representative says he does not plan on pursuing articles of impeachment against President Obama over the bombing campaign in Libya. Kucinich recently remarked that the president's decision to involve U.S. forces without congressional approval constitutes an "impeachable offense." However yesterday Kucinich backed away from that sentiment, telling Fox Business Network that he did not technically call for the impeachment. "I asked the question as to whether that was an impeachable offense; that's different than actually calling for an impeachment or introducing a resolution, which I am not intending to do," Kucinich said. "I am speaking to the limits of executive power." That's the thing about the olive branch: you gotta contend with a whole lot of olive pits. [The Hill]

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you enjoyed the end of your five-day, 40-ish hour workweek!

KOCH PRANK CALLER RUNNING FOR HOUSE - Is your refrigerator running? Well so is he! Ian Murphy, the dude who prank called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker while pretending to be billionaire Tea Party benefactor David Koch, is officially running for Congress. Murphy will carry the Green Party banner in the special election to fill the New York-26 seat that was vacated by Chris Lee after Gawker published those shirtless Craigslist photos. "I am pro-Craigslist transsexuals. Unlike your last Congressman, however, I am not a terrible hypocrite," Murphy says on his platform page. "And unlike my Republican opponent, I am not a discriminating jerk." Awesome. [Salon]

Speaking of political satirists cashing in, the genius behind @MayorEmanuel will publish his profane alter-ego's tweets in book form. Columbia College journalism professor Dan Sinker has inked a deal with Scribner to have his legendary micro-blog entries about Rahm, Quaxelrod, Carl the Intern and the rest live through the centuries in print. HuffPost's Chicago Editor Jen Sabella interviewed Sinker about the deal. "Hemingway, Annie Proulx, Don Delillo, and @MayorEmanuel--Hey wait a second...," Sinker emailed when asked about Scribner publishing his feed. [HuffPost]

With all these political humorists making bank off of their work, we should note that our fragrance, "Optics, By HuffPost Hill," still needs investors.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Child cries at "Happy Birthday," nation fawns.

JOHN STOSSEL IS TIRED OF STUPID, CODDLED NATIVE-AMERICANS - And who among us can forget that iconic advertisement where a single tear runs down the cheek of that Presbyterian dude surveying all the pollution that Americans have unleashed on his ancestor's land? In an appearance on Fox & Friends yesterday, the Fox journalists nearly submerged the studio with his trail of tears. "Why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs?" he asked. "There is no Bureau of Puerto Rican Affairs or Black Affairs or Irish Affairs. And no group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians, because we have the treaties, we stole their land. But 200 years later, no group does worse." Never change, John! [TPM]

BROWNS FAN SUES NFL FOR LOCKOUT - A rich Browns fan is pissed that NFL owners are locking out next season in an effort to extract more money from the players. [ESPN]

Reminder: Taxpayers have forked over more than $5 billion over the past 20 years to subsidize NFL stadiums.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Some cold air is moving in for the weekend. And by weekend, I mean entire weekend. It starts tonight, with temperatures reaching the 40s. It'll stay there through Saturday, and the worst is Sunday. With temperatures in the thirties -- yes, thirties -- we can easily see some snow, possibly mixed in with some rain. By the way, it's still spring. What did they say about March going out like a lamb? Thanks, JB!


- "What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Poot. "To-day?" replied Bodie. "Why, Re-Up Day!" - The Wire as a Victorian novel. []

- The person who thought Truck Nutz are too offensive thought it was a good idea to develop headlight eyelashes. []

- "Ten Awesome Animals That Look Like Yoda." Truth in advertising. []

- The Fuck Yeah Ugly '90s Clothes Tumblr makes us want to play with our Home Alone cassette recorder and make some Creepy Crawlers. []

- It's probably safe to assume that if you're the type of person who purchases a USB flash drive shaped like a condom wrapper, you probably don't have much use for an ACTUAL condom. []

- We know, we know. "But HuffPost Hill, I've heard Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 on every wind instrument-piano hybrid imaginable!" But have you heard it played this well???[]

- Playing with toys is OK if you have them act out weird scenes and photograph them for artsy Flickr feeds. []

- While this guy was away in India for six months, his roommates threw the most epic party ever...and recorded it. []


@HankStaffers: MSNBC was just talking about Trump/Bachmann 2012. Manna from heaven for @HuffPostHill. #TrumpBachmannYesPlease

@thegarance: Don't tell Julie Taymor. RT @chashomans Spider-Man apparently fighting in Libya now:

@DaveWeigel: Marion Barry pledges to "stop gentrification" in DC. Step 1: Remind people that Marion Barry lives here.


Tonight, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: HuffPost's Amanda Terkel! Live! Amanda joins Amy Austin, Latoya Peterson and Melinda Wittstock for a CAP-hosted panel discussion titled "New Models in Media and Activism." The four will chat about how to use new and old tech to broadcast their messages. [Center for American Progress, 1333 H St NW, 10th Floor].

Tonight, 7:15 pm: Donald Payne scored some tickets to two Sweet Sixteen games tonight. Doesn't paying $1,500 to go qualify as scalping? [Prudential Center, 165 Mulberry Street, Newark].

Today - Sunday: Mike Ross takes his donors on a weekend retreat to the Oaklawn Racing and Gaming complex in Hot Springs. Why any sensible politician would want to have his donors unload their cash at the race track or on at the poker table is beyond us. [Oaklawn Racing and Gaming, 2705 Central Avenue, Hot Springs].

Tonight - Sunday: Sometimes, you just want to hang with your bros, watch the game and have them write your campaign committee a $1,000 check. Are we right? Right? Ed Pastor treats his benefactors to an "All Sports Weekend." [Phoenix, AZ].

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