Nancy Pelosi danced to "It's Raining Men" at Barney Frank's wedding, but Steny Hoyer's refusal to do the Bernie rendered the event a total failure. We all know that Congress is full of hot air but if a Senate office building isn't updated to meet fire safety standards, that might literally be so. And a Washington lobbying shop is hosting a "white trash reception," which probably means prosecco will be served in lieu of champagne. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 9th. 2012:
FEARSOME HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE LOOKING INTO SHELLEY BERKLEY - The House Ethics Committee today announced it's looking into whether Rep. Shelley Berkley did something bad "with respect to alleged communications and activities with or on behalf of entities in which Representative Berkley's husband had a financial interest." Run for your life. [Ethics Committee]
KARL ROVE CAMPAIGNS WITH MITT ROMNEY... BUT NOT - This is basically the political version of those southern casinos that are allowed to exist because they sit on a manmade lake the size of the casino. Peter Stone: "Karl Rove was the featured speaker at a previously unreported luncheon held just outside the Mitt Romney campaign's recent retreat for high-dollar donors, according to three Republican fundraisers who attended the event. Rove's luncheon speech did not appear on the retreat's official agenda because Romney's campaign didn't host it. Instead, the event was hosted by Solamere Capital, a private equity firm founded by Tagg Romney, the candidate's eldest son, and Spencer Zwick, the Romney campaign's chief fundraiser who is often described as Romney's 'sixth son.'... Rove's links to independent political groups make it illegal for him to coordinate certain activities with campaigns." [HuffPost]
LAST REMAINING POPULAR POLITICIAN WON'T SPREAD THE LOVE - Running tomorrow in Roll Call from Shira Toeplitz: "Many vulnerable Congressional Democrats hope popular first lady Michelle Obama will campaign for them before November -- but they're not banking on a rally or visit. 'I've put in lots of requests,' Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said in late June. 'So far, we haven't made the cut. But I've asked. I've repeatedly asked, and I'll keep asking.' So far this cycle, the popular first lady has fervently campaigned for her husband's re-election, holding events every week across the country. She's proved to be a political asset of ever-increasing value in her husband's first term -- wooing donors and swing voters alike. But Michelle Obama has not hit the campaign trail for any Congressional candidates yet this cycle, despite frequent visits to states with competitive races like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois. 'She's a very popular figure,' said former Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman in 2000 and 2002. 'She could go into some of these blue dog districts. She doesn't attract the same animosity as him.' The Obama campaign could not yet comment on the first lady's fall campaign schedule. But Michelle Obama has previously indicated she will limit her campaign activities to three days a week in order to spend time with her children in Washington, D.C."
Charlie Rangel was declared the winner of his primary... again. Politico: "New York Democrat Adriano Espaillat conceded to Rep. Charles Rangel on Monday, ending a nearly two-week-long drama that threw outcome of the the closely-watched primary into doubt. With the New York City Board of Elections completing a count of all valid ballots cast in the June 26 election, Rangel, an 82-year-old congressman, held a nearly 1,000-vote lead over Espaillat, a state senator who gave Rangel the toughest reelection fight of his 42-year House career." [Politico]
BARNEY FRANK'S WEDDING WAS ADORABLY AWKWARD - All you need to know is this: "Senator John Kerry and Gov. Deval L. Patrick left early. But Representative Nancy Pelosi stayed late -- and swayed on the dance floor to 'It's Raining Men.'" [NYT]
So much for the honeymoon: Frank will appear on Bill Press' show, which also airs on Current TV, tomorrow morning at 8:30.
HAS ANYONE WRITTEN LATELY ABOUT TONY AND HEATHER PODESTA'S PATRONAGE OF THE ARTS? Oh hi there, National Journal.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The U.S. government paid out $14 billion more in unemployment insurance than it should have last year, according to the Labor Department. That's 11 percent of the $125 billion worth of benefits paid in 2011 and a slight decline from 2010, but still pretty grim. Most improper payments either went to people who had returned to work, weren't meeting work search requirements, or had voluntarily quit their jobs or been fired. The data are great grist for politicians looking to badmouth benefits. [Labor Department]
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PRESIDENT PROPOSING EXTENSION OF NOT-TALKING-ABOUT-JOBS - To be precise, the president today called for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning less than $250,000-a-year, thereby forcing Americans earning $250,000-a-year to suffer the indignities of being relegated to the "Dean's List" of their alma mater's contributor circles (as opposed to the far more rarified "President's Table"). Jen Bendery: "'Pass a bill extending the tax cuts for the middle class, I will sign it tomorrow,' Obama said during remarks at the White House. 'Pass it next week, I'll sign it next week.' Flanked by about a dozen Americans who would benefit from the middle-class tax cut extension, Obama said the tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 are "a major contributor to our deficit,' costing $1 trillion over the next decade. They are also the least likely to create economic growth, he said... The president didn't make much news at his event; he's been pressing Congress to extend the middle-class cuts for months, and Monday's event seemed partially designed to draw attention away from the nation's sluggish job market." [HuffPost]
And with the tax cut, the gentleman who introduced President Obama can start to pay back the $500,000 he owes his employer. CBS News: "Court records show that Daniel Potkanowicz and a business partner in the Youngstown area were ordered to pay $500,000 to Clearview Window & Door after a judge ruled in 2009 that they had violated trade secrets. The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown reports that the two partners have not paid back the money. Potkanowicz told the newspaper that he didn't want to talk about his past." [CBS News]
Speaker John Boehner responded negatively, insisting that the president is "still asleep at the switch when it comes to our economy and jobs." Obviously we need to locate a candidate who would take upon him or herself to awake the president from his slumber and switch on this job-giving lever. Boehner's statement continued: "In the wake of another weak jobs report, the president is doubling down on his quixotic call for the same small businesses tax hikes that have been routinely rejected by the House and Senate. How will these small business tax hikes create jobs?" [ABC News]
ROMNEY IN FINAL STAGES OF VEEP SEARCH - So they're probably done with the talent portion and -- seeing as how this is Mitt Romney we're talking about -- are moving on to the "loose-fitting non-descript polo shirt modeling" portion. WaPo: "With the prospective vice presidential candidates fanning out as campaign-trail surrogates, Romney and his closest counselors have entered the final stages of selecting the ultimate surrogate -- a running mate. There are seven weeks remaining until the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and Romney has a few important strategic decisions to make before then: not only who to name as a vice presidential nominee, but also when and how to do so... At Romney headquarters in Boston, top staffers are readying for an announcement. A senior staff for the eventual nominee is beginning to be assembled, while the digital team is planning a swift rollout designed to maximize engagement and fundraising from supporters online. The goal, advisers said, is to have an infrastructure ready once Romney makes the decision." [WaPo]
ROMNEY TO ACCUSE PRESIDENT OF LYING ABOUT BAIN - It's telling that accusing one's opponent of "lying" represents a seismic shift in the tenor of the campaign but accusing one's opponent of purposefully bankrupting the economy and creating a moral climate akin to that deleted scene from Eyes Wide Shut means it's ... Tuesday. BuzzFeed: "In a conference call Monday morning, senior staff said Romney's surrogates would stop shying away from the word 'lie' in responding to Democrats' attacks on his business record, and plan to go on TV to call Obama a 'liar,' the source said. 'They are very fed up with these attacks,' said the source. The pushback comes after a week of hand-wringing among GOP elite, who worry that Romney is letting Obama's attacks -- which seek to undermine the very rationale for the Republican's candidacy, his private sector experience -- gain traction without any serious effort to rebut them. Some Republican strategists have said Romney should be spending serious money to respond to the attacks." [BuzzFeed]
One of President Obama's campaign co-chairs is also a financial backer of Paul Ryan. Yeah, that's a bit like driving home from the Sox game at Fenway and then immediately plastering a Derek Jeter Fathead poster on your living room wall but, hey, free country. Bloomberg: "Marc Benioff, chief executive officer of Salesforce.com, the largest maker of online customer-management software, has raised more than $500,000 for the president's campaign and hosted a fundraiser for him in April 2011. Yet Benioff, who became an Obama campaign co-chairman in February, donated $10,000 last month to a political committee aiding Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who may merit consideration by Romney as a vice-presidential running mate... Benioffdonated to Romney's unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign in February 2007, then gave money to Obama the next month. Benioff donated to George W. Bush and Al Gore in 1999, a year before they ran against one another." [Bloomberg]
RICK PERRY OPTS OUT OF MEDICARE EXPANSION - The Texas governor is taking the laser-sighted pistol out of his office and firing it at the rabid coyote that is the Affordable Care Act. "If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government," he said in a statement released today. Luke Johnson: "The Medicaid expansion would reduce the number of uninsured in Texas. The state has the highest rate of uninsured in the country, at 25 percent, or 6.2 million people. It also has the worst health care services and delivery in the nation according to the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. A Kaiser Family Foundation report estimated that by 2019, Texas' Medicaid rolls would increase by 45 percent -- almost 1.4 million people who previously did not have insurance -- and state spending would only increase by 3 percent from baseline. The federal government would pay for 95 percent of the costs from 2014-2019." [HuffPost]
A DC lobbying firm is hosting a "White Trash Reception" --- sadly it's not the Glover Park Group.
SENATE OFFICE BUILDING A VERITABLE TINDERBOX - The Architect of the Capitol reports that the Russell Senate Office Building is in violation of a number of fire codes, just as it has been for the last decade. The building must be shut down for renovations immediately, if only because the thought of senators having to work out of makeshift offices in a Days Inn or whatnot makes us laugh. Roll Call: "Without any changes to the current fire safety scheme, the Office of Compliance said in a report released Monday, 'the chance that [Russell] will survive a significant fire without substantial damage to the building and its contents is ... greatly diminished.' Russell, the report continues, 'is the only facility of Capitol Hill that has no protected means of egress for Members, staff, employees and visitors to use to evacuate the building safely in the event of an emergency.'" [Roll Call]
CHRIS CHRISTIE RAILS AGAINST DRUG WAR - During a speech at the Brookings Institution today, New Jersey Governor called the war on drugs a "failure"
and proceeded to take a massive bong hit, stare at his microphone for a few seconds, remark how it looks like the moon and finally insist you haven't heard Springsteen until you've played "Backstreets" on 1/2 speed. Alex Becker: "Christie stressed the merits of legislation recently passed by New Jersey state lawmakers that institutes a year of mandatory treatment for first-time, nonviolent drug offenders instead of jail time. The mandatory treatment program, slated to be put in place in at least three counties during its first year, will eventually expand statewide over the next five years. Christie, one of the few Republican lawmakers to actively speak out against the effects of America's drug war policies, sought to put a conservative moral spin on his position." [HuffPost]
COPS LOOKING @ UR CELL TXTS - The Hill: "Wireless carriers responded in 2011 to 1.3 million law enforcement requests for people's cellphone information, including text messages, location data, call logs and 'cell tower dumps,' in which the wireless carriers provide police with all of the phone numbers that connected to a particular cell tower in a period of time. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who released the information on Monday, described the volume and scope of the requests as 'startling.'... Nine carriers provided reports to Markey after he questioned them in May about their compliance with police requests for data. It is the most complete account yet of how police collect cellphone information for investigations." [The Hill]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby polar bears don't care about your heatwave.
SYMBOL OF AMERICA'S MIGHT CLOSED -
- This 13-minute featurette on The Dark Knight Rises should tide you over until opening weekend. [http://bit.ly/Mdws91]
- Kitten is startled by sneeze. Kittens! What won't they do?! [http://bit.ly/LC9my4]
- Real or fake, this rejection letter from Playgirl from the 1970s is hilarious. [http://bit.ly/Nfa8i9]
- A supercut of Chewbacca growling. That's right, Chewbacca growling for two-and-a-half minutes. That is what this is. [http://bit.ly/PASxDU]
- Guy makes a wig out of his own hair, pranks ensue. [http://bit.ly/McJOaO]
- Attaching a psychotic photograph of Nic Cage to your cover letter probably won't get you hired... and if it does, don't work there. [http://bit.ly/Nby2cc]
- When will dogs and mirrors set aside their differences (or similarities?) and live in peace? [http://bit.ly/N9W0HD]
@FakeAPStyleBook: The correct plural of ocelot is oceshitload. Ocefuckton is vulgar and should be avoided.
@brianbeutler: Free HuffPo slideshow idea. RT @quasimado Sideboob sunburns are the worst.
@dcbigjohn: BECAUSE YOU WON'T GET OFF HIS LAWN RT @AntDeRosa Why is Jack Cafferty always so grumpy?
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Tim Kaine has been trying to shed his reputation as a Democratic Party insider. His ritzy fundraiser at Bistro Bis with Max Baucus will no doubt do the trick. [Bistro Bis, 15 E Street NW]
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: George Allen benefits from the Chamber of Commerce's largess at its "Margaritas and Cocktails Reception." If you ask us, the party necessitates that Allen wears shorts with little martini glasses imprinted on them -- that feels like his speed. [419 Jersey Ave SE]
7:30 pm: Allyson Schwartz welcomes Democratic donors (and Steny Hoyer) to a fundraiser benefiting her We The People PAC. The event is being held at Sonoma wine bar, harkening back to that great day in Philadelphia when the framers first declared "We the people..." in a wine bar. [Sonoma, 223 Pennsylvania Ave SE]
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