A report detailed how aides to Andrew Cuomo have been using private emails despite statements to the contrary — a scandalous development that could be a boon to Pataki 2016. The District is pondering whether to fine the House for using foam products in its cafeterias, which is a kind of weak retaliation for it not letting Washingtonians smoke weed. And an Alabama congressman claims the President is abetting a “war on whites." Perhaps Obama has forgotten the classic poem, “At first they came for the artisanal pickle makers, but I said nothing, because I was not an artisanal pickle maker..." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 4th, 2014:
TROUBLES MOUNTING FOR CUOMO - Justin Elliott: "In a previously unreported response to a public records request, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo claims staff do not use private email accounts for official business. Yet as we've reported, aides to the governor have done just that. The Cuomo administration's assertion came after the New York Times requested emails related to official business from the personal email accounts of several top Cuomo aides. In its response this past March, Cuomo's office issued a blanket denial: Staffers 'do not use their personal email accounts for government business.' We obtained the Times' request, and the response of the governor's office, through our own public records request. Using personal email accounts can help officials hide communications that are supposed to be available to the public. It also violates New York state's technology policy unless it is explicitly authorized. As we detailed in May, I was the recipient of an email regarding state business from the personal account of Cuomo aide Howard Glaser. Several people who communicate with the governor's office on media or policy matters told me at the time they, too, had gotten emails from personal accounts of Cuomo aides. Others told me the same thing after the publication of our story. None wanted to be named." [HuffPost]
Speaking of which: "Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) further hinted in a Monday interview with Fusion's Jorge Ramos that he would run for president in 2016. Ramos asked O'Malley if he would endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as he did in her last presidential bid, if she decided to run for president in 2016. 'I am seriously considering running in 2016, but the most important politics of all is to govern well and to govern truthfully in the trust that you have,' O'Malley replied." [HuffPost]
RAND PAUL BUSTED AGAIN - Is this guy just stretched too thin or what? So cranky about getting called out for past positions, plagiarism, etc. Chris Moody: "Kentucky Sen. Rand Paulon Monday denied that he once supported ending federal aid to Israel — an idea he proposed as recently as 2011. 'I haven’t really proposed that in the past,' Paul told Yahoo News when asked if he still thought the U.S. should phase out aid to Israel, which has been battling Hamas in Gaza for weeks. 'We’ve never had a legislative proposal to do that. You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question.'" [Yahoo.com]
FORMER GOP REP CALLS OUT TEA PARTY GRIFTERS - Steve LaTourette, himself a guy who profits from campaigns, on the phonies getting rich posing as Washington outsiders: "Over the last few years we have seen the rise of a new grifter—the political grifter. And the most important battle being waged today isn’t the one about which party controls the House or the Senate, it’s about who controls the Republican Party: the grifting wing or the governing wing.... Political grifting is a lucrative business. Groups like the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots are run by men and women who have made millions by playing on the fears and anger about the dysfunction in Washington." [Politico Magazine]
Samantha Lachman has a must-read rundown of this week's primaries.
ROBERT GIBBS, BEN LABOLT SPLIT WITH LIBERAL FIRM OVER ILLIBERAL CLIENTS - Don't judge. You'd pick Campbell Brown over a clatch of liberals, too. When White House alums Gibbs and LaBolt launched The Incite Agency -- get it? -- in 2013, they did so with New Partners, a liberal consulting firm. His progressive colleagues (and their friends at the AFT) reacted angrily when they learned of Incite's new business, working on behalf of Brown's anti-teachers-union campaign, and the issue came to a head as it must in Washington -- with a tense conference call. "On Friday, June 27th, the principals at New Partners had a conference call to discuss the situation," Gibbs said in an email to HuffPost Hill. "Only a couple of minutes into the call, I said I believed that there were only two paths forward -- either Incite dropped the client or Incite left New Partners. I announced I had no intention of dropping the client and that I had decided to leave New Partners, effective at the end of the day on June 30th." Incite has not lost any revenue or clients as a result of the decision to leave, Gibbs said. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Democratic super lawyer David Boies is also working for Brown. "This shouldn’t be about liberals or conservatives. Instead, it must be about fairness and opportunity which is why I am proud to be part of this effort," Gibbs communicates.
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST NOT PLEASED WITH DAVID GREGORY'S SHOES, DAVID GREGORY - More reports emerged today that David Gregory might be out at Meet the Press, and even though HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist still thinks Alex Jones should take over, he has some other possible candidates, too. "Deborah Turness should fire David Gregory for wearing those rich white guy loafers on 'Meet the Press' yesterday," PSLGOPL writes. "Their new camera angle highlighted them. They looked like something Bob McDonnell would've worn. I support a minority or Ryan Grim for the job." Thanks, PSLGOPL!
Haircuts: Tyler Lykins, Phillip Thompson, Preston Maddock (h/t Preston Maddock).
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Anita Wadhwani: "A controversial new Tennessee law to drug-test applicants for public benefits has already resulted in the Department of Human Services disqualifying people seeking aid since the rules went into effect July 1. Four people were turned down because they refused to participate in any part of the drug screening process. Six other people willingly submitted to a drug test, and one tested positive. Officials with the Department of Human Services say they are making contact with that applicant for further action — which could include referral to a drug treatment program as a condition of receiving benefits or disqualification if the person refuses. The 10 people affected by the new rules are a small fraction of the 812 people who applied for Tennessee Families First cash assistance program since the measure took effect. The vast majority — 802 — passed the initial written drug screening." And yet the guy who wrote the law is ridiculously claiming on his website that his drug testing law has yielded an 18 percent failure rate. [Tennessean.com]
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JAMES BRADY DEAD AT 73 - Paige Lavender: "Former White House Press Secretary James Brady has died at the age of 73, according to a statement from his family. 'We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Jim 'Bear' Brady has passed away after a series of health issues,' the statement said. 'His wife, Sarah, son, Scott, and daughter, Missy, are so thankful to have had the opportunity to say their farewells.' Brady served as press secretary under President Ronald Reagan. In an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981, Brady was shot and left permanently disabled. Brady became an advocate for gun control after he was shot, spending years pushing for the Brady Bill, which requires a five-day waiting period and a background check before a prospective buyer can purchase a handgun. That bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993....Brady's legacy lives on in the nonprofit organization the Brady Campaign -- made up of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence -- that pushes for gun control. Brady's wife Sarah serves as Chair of the Brady Campaign and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence." [HuffPost]
President Obama statement: "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former White House Press Secretary James Brady on his passing. Jim is a legend at the White House for his warmth and professionalism as press secretary for President Reagan; for the strength he brought to bear in recovering from the shooting that nearly killed him 33 years ago; and for turning the events of that terrible afternoon into a remarkable legacy of service through the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Since 1993, the law that bears Jim’s name has kept guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. An untold number of people are alive today who otherwise wouldn’t be, thanks to Jim."
REPUBLICANS FORCED TO EXPLAIN WHY TORTURE ISN'T COOL - Mike McAuliff: "[A]nticipating the possible release of a declassified version of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report of 600-plus pages on CIA abuses... [John McCain and Lindsey Graham] felt compelled to speak out because several Republican members of the committee are believed to have written a dissenting section of the report that contends that torture helped save American lives. McCain, a former member of the Intelligence Committee who knows the report's outline, and Graham, a military lawyer, dispute that the torture of terrorism suspects helped prevent attacks. But even if it did, they argue, any benefit was far outweighed by the damage done to America's reputation and the resulting boost to terrorists' ability to recruit new members....McCain summed up his argument simply: 'It is a stain on America's honor.' McCain, who was held captive for more than five years during the Vietnam War and tortured to the point that he can no longer raise his arms, also brought up a practical issue about inflicting pain on a person to get information -- most of the information is wrong." [HuffPost]
WAR DECLARED ON WHITES! BUY WAR BONDS! WHITE WAR BONDS!!! - It's okay, white people have a way of shutting that whole thing down. Sam Levine: "Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) doesn't think that the hardline stance Republicans have taken on immigration could hurt the party’s standing with Hispanic voters. Instead, he thinks Democrats are hurting their prospects with white voters. 'This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else,” he said during an interview Monday with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. 'It's part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true.' Brooks was responding to comments made by National Journal's Ron Fournier, who told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that 'the fastest growing voting bloc in this country thinks the Republican Party hates them. This party, your party, cannot be the party of the future beyond November if you’re seen as the party of white people.' Brooks responded by saying that all demographic groups in America support securing the nation’s border and a wide range of Americans would be affected by an influx of undocumented immigration." [HuffPost]
ALABAMA ABORTION CLINIC RESTRICTION RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL - Laura Bassett: "A federal judge ruled on Monday that an Alabama law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said the new law, which evidence shows would have closed three out of Alabama's five abortion clinics, imposes an 'undue burden' on women's ability to seek an abortion. 'A significant number of the women would be prevented from obtaining an abortion; others would be delayed in obtaining abortions, exposing them to greater risks of complications; and even the women who are able to obtain abortions would suffer significant harms in terms of time, financial cost, and invasion of privacy,' Thompson wrote in the opinion. The law also increases the risk that women who could not access legal abortion would take matters into their own hands, Thompson said. One abortion provider 'testified that she has already begun to see a few patients a month who had attempted to self-abort using illegally obtained medications, because the medications were less expensive than a supervised abortion,' Thompson wrote. 'At the worst, there is a danger that women would attempt surgical abortions on themselves.'" [HuffPost]
GRIMES HOPES TO 'BUBBA IT UP' IN KENTUCKY - If Bill Clinton also had played basketball at Kentucky, he would likely be declared Chieftain of the state. Howard Fineman: "It's a good thing for embattled Democrats here in Kentucky that Bill Clinton loves to play golf. Because he does, and because his foundation supports wellness programs, the Professional Golfers' Association is giving him an award at the all-star PGA tournament that begins in Louisville this week at the Valhalla Golf Club. When the award was announced last month, Clinton called the U.S. Senate campaign of Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and volunteered to do an event. So on Wednesday, the former president and 35-year-old Grimes will travel to the town of Hazard, in the hard-hit Eastern Kentucky coalfields, to explain why she -- and not 72-year-old incumbent GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell -- is a friend of coal. Clinton and Grimes will talk about how to spur the economy in Southern Appalachia, and how to revive, but also move beyond, its carbon-based industries. Along with the substantive discussion, Clinton will 'bubba it up,' predicts Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway. 'He is the best there is.' Kentuckians can expect to see Clinton in Grimes' TV spots, Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst told The Huffington Post. And the campaign expects the former president to be back in person in the fall, perhaps more than once." [HuffPost]
HuffPost Hill attended this year's Fancy Farm. Things got weird. "And after a rambling speech blasting McConnell’s fundraising in California, longshot Democratic House candidate Charles Hatchett tried to highlight Grimes’ Bluegrass authenticity by asking if she, in a supposed contrast to McConnell, had ever been to Hollywood or California. Audible snickers emanated from the press pen while Grimes sat frozen, an uncomfortable smile stapled onto her face. The secretary had, in fact, attended fundraisers in California. When it was his turn to speak, Paul highlighted Grimes’ West Coast events with a poem: 'There once was a woman from Kentucky, Who’d thought in politics she’d be lucky, So she flew to L.A. for a Hollywood bash, She came home in a flash with a bucket of cash.'' [HuffPost]
JOHN WALSH URGED TO STEP DOWN - If he steps down, someone should hire the actor who played the Native American narrator in "Legends of the Fall" to record "It was a good resignation." Sorry. Alex Lazar: "Two Montana newspapers, the Missoulian and The Billings Gazette, are calling on Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) to drop out of his U.S. Senate race because of allegations of plagiarism being levied against him. The New York Times first reported that Walsh copied and pasted sections from scholarly articles without proper attribution into a 2007 paper required for him to earn his master's degree at the U.S. Army War College. Since the initial allegations were made public, Walsh has received criticism from some Montana veterans for connecting the lack of attribution in the paper to post-traumatic stress disorder. 'Ultimately, it won’t matter if Walsh plagiarized by mistake because he was grappling with grief over a fellow veteran’s suicide. It won’t matter that he has served in the Montana National Guard for more than three decades, or that he spent nearly a year in Iraq fighting on behalf of his country,' the Missoulian editorial board wrote on Sunday. 'Since Montanans deserve a true choice between candidates this November, Walsh should bow out of the Senate race immediately. With each passing day that Walsh remains in the race, Montana Democrats lose time to replace him with a more viable candidate,' the board adds."
Kiss and make up *Smile in front of rich people and don't call each other names*: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is getting some fundraising help from the man who once called him "pufferfish," made fun of his weight and passed him over for the vice-presidential spot on the Republican national ticket. According to CNN, two-time presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (R) will appear at a September fundraiser with Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a possible 2016 presidential contender." [HuffPost's Samuel Levine]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a baby.
FOAM RULE - Maybe D.C. can cut a deal and let Congress keep its foam if Congress lets the District ban guns. Hannah Hess: "Plastic foam food containers will be banned from use in the District of Columbia beginning in 2016, but the material still reigns supreme in House cafeterias. Democrats who chided Republicans for reinstituting Styrofoam when they took control of the House in 2011 want to see the old standard replaced with an environmentally friendly alternative, as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did when she was speaker. Pelosi’s 'Green the Capitol' initiative included compostable utensils and takeout trays, but it was nixed after financial criticism and was folded into existing sustainability efforts managed by the Architect of the Capitol. Though the local Styrofoam ban, signed into law by Mayor Vincent Gray in late July, is not applicable to the Capitol grounds, some Democrats hope it could reopen the dialogue about how House cafeterias are stocked." [Roll Call]
- Princeton Review has released its rankings of the top party schools. Once again, Bob Jones misses the cut. [http://huff.to/1kA89ZP]
- Pugs try to stay awake. [http://huff.to/1pzks7b]
- Clickhole's latest video proves that dogs and babies locked in hot cars are TOTAL WIMPS. [http://bit.ly/1s6olRd]
- The Chrome extension that replaces any mention of "cloud" with "butts." [http://bit.ly/1xYmsaO]
- Baby seal tries to surf. [http://bit.ly/1omgHxV]
- A tremendously helpful video of how to pack a day's worth of clothes into [http://bit.ly/1o7ChLw]
@daveweigel: Cheer up, America! We’re all going to die from cancer or heart disease, not Ebola.
@jbouie: WHO SHALL FIRE THE FIRST SHOT IN THE WAR ON WHITES? *runs over to a farmer’s market and knocks down the artisanal cheese stand*
@pourmecoffee: 53 years ago today, Saul Alinsky gave Barack Obama life when lightnting struck the redistributor pole in his underground lair. #tcot
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