POLITICS
08/02/2012 06:10 pm ET Updated Oct 02, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Pimp Accusations: The New Political Third Rail

"So," Harry Reid said, "the word's out" that Mitt Romney hasn't paid his taxes in ten years, a subtle reference to when Harry Reid let the word out. Steve King doesn't believe that variety is the spice of life, but instead thinks it's some kind of nutritionless flour product. And Steve LaTourette says Congress is a boozehound who needs to hit rock bottom before it can fix America's finances. So when your congressperson wakes up in a pool of his or her own vomit in the middle of a Fuddruckers, breathe a sigh of relief, because everything will be OK. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, August 2nd, 2012:

MITT ROMNEY CALLS OUT HARRY REID FOR TAX CLAIMS - The Republican presidential candidate and owner of a mountainous pile of tax documents that he refuses to release said Harry Reid needs to "put up or shut up" about his claim that Romney didn't pay taxes for ten years. "Well, it's time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry's going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because of course that's totally and completely wrong," he said. "It's untrue, dishonest, and inaccurate. It's wrong. So I'm looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we'll probably find out it's the White House. Look, the Obama campaign is going to do everything in its power to try and talk about anything besides the president's record. Home prices, median American incomes, gasoline prices, 23 million underemployed or unemployed."

Reid this morning double triple-downed on his claim about Mitt Romney not paying taxes for ten years. "So, the word's out that he hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn't," he said on the Senate floor. "We already know from one partial tax return that he gave us, he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and a Swiss banking account. Mitt Romney makes more money in a single day than the average middle-class family makes in two years or more." [Roll Call]

SHELDON ADELSON DID NOT PAY HIS PIMP TAXES FOR TEN YEARS... BECAUSE HE IS NOT A PIMP You don't see this every day: "In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused." Adelson's lawyer had demanded a retraction from the DCCC for "maliciously branding Mr. Adelson as a pimp," referring to claims rated pants on fire by Politifact.

HOUSES PASSES FARM BILL LITE - The Hill: "The House approved a hastily assembled bill on Thursday that would provide $383 million in drought aid to livestock and other agricultural producers, after a debate in which many Democrats criticized the bill for not providing aid to all farmers and cutting conservation programs. Members passed the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act, H.R. 6233, in a 223-197 vote that also revealed Republican opposition to the bill. Forty-six Republicans voted with most Democrats in opposing it, although 35 Democrats supported the measure. Republicans settled for the one-year disaster relief bill after they were unable to bring up a multi-year farm bill before the August break, in part due to some GOP opposition to the cost of a longer-term bill. But Republicans also had trouble calling up the drought aid bill -- they originally hoped to consider it under a suspension of the rules, but when it became clear that a two-thirds majority was not possible, they called it up under regular order." [The Hill]

The Senate Finance Committee was busy saving the American motocross industry today. Included in the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act, which the panel passed 19 to 5, are funds for a "Seven-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes," according to a committee memo. Also in the measure, a "temporary increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax revenues (from $10.50 to $13.25 per proof gallon) to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands." A great day for drunk people in monster trucks.

BILL YOUNG'S SHAME TORCH - Zach Carter and Cole Stangler, with the weirdest story ever: "After the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Mitt Romney met with a few Republican politicians in the nation's capital, where he distributed replica Olympic torches to commemorate the event. Some of these gifts made conventional political sense -- both Republican Senators from Utah received one -- but others are curious. One Romney torch recipient, Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), hails from the other side of the country and has never been known on Capitol Hill as a particularly avid Olympics enthusiast. More curious still: Young's shifting, highly technical account of the exchange, including his refusal to acknowledge that Romney had presented him with 'a gift.' When asked by HuffPost whether Mitt Romney had given him an Olympic torch for his office, Young replied, 'Yeah.' When asked whether he still had the torch, Young said, "Yep." Commemorative torches for the 2002 Olympics currently can go for thousands of dollars on eBay. But when HuffPost pointed out that House rules restrict members of Congress from accepting gifts worth more than $50.00, Young changed his story. 'It wasn't a gift,' Young said. 'It was to have in the possession of the Congress. It wasn't a gift, wasn't a gift to me. I don't even know where it is.'" [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The unemployment claims news this week sets the stage for a "meh" jobs report tomorrow morning. "In the week ending July 28 the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 365,000, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 357,000," the Labor Department said today. "The 4-week moving average was 365,500, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 368,250." Meh. [PUBLICATION]

DDD bets $10,000 the unemployment rate will stay the same.

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

LAURA RICHARDSON REPRIMANDED BY THE HOUSE - We're guessing the high fives she receives at next year's Congressional Softball Game won't exactly be heartfelt. Jen Bendery: "In an embarrassment for Democrats, the House on Thursday reprimanded Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) -- and slapped her with a $10,000 fine -- for ethics violations relating to inappropriate use of her official staff for campaign and personal needs. The House quietly adopted the resolution by voice vote, making Richardson the ninth lawmaker in history to be formally reprimanded by Congress. She agreed to all seven charges brought against her, ranging from improper use of House resources to 'attempting to intimidate' official staff into doing campaign work to obstructing the committee's investigation...House Ethics Committee Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) read aloud comments made by one of Richardson's former staffers, a disabled veteran, who had told the committee that she 'would rather be at war in Afghanistan than work under people who are morally corrupt.'" [HuffPost]

TREND WATCH: DELICATELY IMPLYING OPPONENT'S CRIMINALITY - First Stephanie Cutter dropped the F-bomb (....."felony") while discussing Romney's SEC filings and whether they misrepresented his employment situation at Bain -- but didn't directly accuse the former governor of violating the law. Today, Eric Fehrnstrom implied that Jim Messina's exchanges with pharmaceutical lobbyist through his personal email account were in possible violation of the law. The revelations about Messina were revealed in a report from House Republicans, a report that also detailed meetings with lobbyists outside the White House meant to skirt its visitor logs. "When he was serving in the White House as a senior aide, he made promises to a lobbyist about obtaining billions of dollars in public funds," Fehrnstrom said, "and he did it using his personal email, which suggests he wanted to hide the conversation. On its face, it appears to be a violation of the law." Jay Carney addressed the issue yesterday, saying Messina's correspondences were forwarded to his White House email account to become part of the presidential record. At this rate, by the end of the campaign, the candidates will be openly accusing one another of financing human trafficking rings and/or pilfering children's UNICEF boxes." [HuffPost]

Mike Bloomberg is none-too-happy with the president's barely-there gun control platform, which exists somewhere between shaking his head and lamenting how bad guns are to reminding folks to keep the safety on. "I don't think there's anybody, any rational person, that seriously could argue that what we have and the way we enforce it prohibits carnage," he told Sam Stein in an interview. "There's 34 people killed every single day [nationwide]. We've killed more than 400,000 Americans since 1968, when RFK and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. That is more Americans than died during WWII. So the argument that we can do with existing laws and stop this is just preposterous. It isn't worth having a discussion about." [HuffPost]

LOBBYISTS WANT GOVERNMENT RELATIONS WITH MITT ROMNEY - In the coming months workers in downtown D.C. will likely spot an increasing number of pale and saggy men and women sporting "Government Didn't Build My Business, I DID" t-shirts while on the elliptical in their building's gym. Why? Contributions to the former Massachusetts governor from K Streeters jumped in the first six months of 2012. Paul Blumenthal: "Seven-hundred forty-eight Washington lobbyists and dozens of corporate and lobbying firm PACs have already given $1.87 million to benefit Romney through his campaign or through the victory committee sending funds to the Republican National Committee and a host of state parties, according to records filed with the Secretary of the Senate. The majority of that -- $1.32 million -- was raised in the past six months and disclosed in the last few days of July. These lobbyists have also been central to his campaign's finance operation, raising $5.25 million from their friends, family and clients." The Obama campaign -- perhaps because it has never tasted the delectable selections of deli meats and spreads at a Navigators Global meeting -- does not accept contributions from registered lobbyists. [HuffPost]

A leading scientist is deeply concerned about Mitt Romney's reading comprehension skills. In a Times op-ed published today, Jared Diamond, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies," criticizes Mitt Romney for misrepresenting his book's central thesis. "It is not true that my book 'Guns, Germs and Steel,' as Mr. Romney described it in a speech in Jerusalem, 'basically says the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there. There is iron ore on the land and so forth,'" Diamond writes. "That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it." If the Obama campaign had a sense of humor, they'd mail bomb Romney headquarters with crayons and grade-school reading activity booklets ("Why was Bobby Bear angry at Robin Rabbit at Jaloo Junction?"). [NYT]

STEVE LATOURETTE DELIVERS STELLAR OUTGOING 'I HATE CONGRESS' PRESS CONFERENCE - The Ohio congressman, who announced this week that he will not serve another term, told reporters today that when it comes to fiscal matters, Congress is "a little bit like an alcoholic in my mind," which obviously means the White House and Supreme Court need to invite it to the Smithsonian's living room and stage an intervention. But seriously... Mike McAuliff: "[H]e reserved his harshest words for [Grover] Norquist, from whom LaTourette recalled receiving a phone call after he and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) proposed legislation that would enact the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan. That plan aimed to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years through budget cuts and tax reforms, which would set taxes at 21 percent of the gross domestic product. 'Grover Norquist called me and said, 'You're raising taxes $2 trillion,'' LaTourette said, adding that he wondered why Norquist didn't also label the budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) a tax hike, since it would raise taxes from 15 percent to 19 percent of GDP. The congressman was even less impressed with Norquist's reasoning when it came to closing tax loopholes, thereby raising the effective rates of corporations, such as General Electric, to 25 percent. GE has reportedly paid no net federal income taxes in recent years." [HuffPost]

YOU STAY GAY, MARYLAND - A new poll finds a majority of Marylanders support same-sex marriage, meaning a referendum to overturn that state's adoption of marriage equality will fail worse than the Orioles last night. Amanda Terkel: "Support has also gone up amongst African-American likely voters statewide. Hart additionally surveyed 515 of these individuals, who went from opposing the referendum to uphold same-sex marriage (40 percent to 49 percent) to being evenly divided between support and opposition in March (44 percent to 45 percent)." [HuffPost]

STEVE KING SHOCKINGLY AMBIVALENT ABOUT DIVERSITY - Just a guess here, but is Steve King's Rosebud a United Colors Benetton poster? Jen Bendery: "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that diversity has never been America's strong suit, so lawmakers should pass his bill to make English the official U.S. language in the name of unifying the nation...King talked to reporters just after the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on his measure, which would require all federal government communications, including voter and ballot materials, to be conducted in English...'The argument that diversity is our strength has really never been backed up by logic,' King said. 'Its unity is where our strength is. Our Founding Fathers understood that. Modern-day multiculturalists are defying that.'" [HuffPost]

Bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah I'm Lovin' It! You're sued: "An Americans for Prosperity-backed candidate for the Kansas state Senate is being accused of violating McDonald's copyright over use of the term "Happy Meal" in a new ad. State Rep. Joe Patton (R) uses the popular children's meal term in a new radio ad to describe the fiscal policies of his opponent, Sen. Vicki Schmidt (R), in next Tuesday's Republican primary, the Topeka Capitol-Journal reports." [HuffPost's John Celock]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Corgi withdrawal? Suffer no more with the CorgiCam.

FABRICATOR: THERE IS LIFE BEYOND FABRICATING: - HuffPost DC: "What happens to a bright young reporter who is caught making up stories? Jayson Blair, the fabulist-cum-life coach in Northern Virginia, has some insight." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- A video about the creator of the popular Tumblr, "Humans of New York." [http://vimeo.com/45485454]

- Cat Spanx... what more can we say? [http://bit.ly/Qzvt7B]

- Even professional photographers forget that the cap is on. [http://bit.ly/NLNUH7]

- Baby hedgehog straddles the fine line of cuteness and grotesqueness. [http://bit.ly/QAJgL5]

- Language, that thing you use almost as much as Facebook, is being preserved by the Rosetta Project. Here's a short film about the endeavor. [http://bit.ly/MT1mch]

- Although "Orphaned Wombat and Baby Kangaroo" probably won't be an ABC sitcom anytime soon (but then again...) it *is* an adorable blog post.[http://bit.ly/Otgeg5]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: Given how Mitt's treated underperforming assets before, if I were Rafalca today I'd keep an ear out for whispers of "ue-glay actory-fay."

@pourmecoffee: Rafalca Romney: I have a plan to win Dressage, I just can't give details but it's definitely better than the other horses.

@elisefoley: It would be kind of a bummer to get into your first Olympics and then have everyone mock you bc your horse is co-owned by a Romney

ON TAP

TONIGHT

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: If "Giving California Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman $1,000 dollars" is on your bucket list, then you're in luck. [Townhouse, 437 New Jersey Ave SE]

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Mike Quigley's fundraiser features the 19th Street Band -- a D.C.-based bluegrass trio. The song that autoplays on their website features the refrain "don't give a damn 'bout the money," however that sentiment is probably not shared by Quigley. [Democratic Club, 40 Ivy Street SE]

TOMORROW

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Is there anything more wholesome than a barbeque? Is there anything less wholesome than Joe Walsh? Try and survive this discord at the Illinois lawmaker's district fundraiser. [Busse Woods, Elk Grove Township, IL]

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