Gowdy Launches Oversight Investigation Into Rob Porter Scandal

The following article by Griffin Connolly was posted on the Roll Call website February 14, 2018:

‘How in the hell was he still employed?’ House Oversight Committee chairman asks

Rep Gowdy, R-SC, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, launched an investigation into the Rob Porter scandal Tuesday evening. Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has launched an investigation into the White House’s handling of senior aide Rob Porter, who was not issued a permanent security clearance due to allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives.

“Who knew what, when, and to what extent? Those are the questions that I think ought to be asked,” the committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, said Wednesday on CNN. Read More

Trump’s military parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million, White House budget director says

The following article by Erica Werner was posted on the Washington Post website February 14, 2018:

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Feb. 14 that President Trump’s desired military parade would cost “between $10 million and $30 million.” (House Budget Committee)

Trump’s military parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Wednesday.

Mulvaney offered the estimate during questioning at the House Budget Committee. He said the White House hasn’t yet budgeted for the parade and would either rely on Congress to appropriate funds or use money that already has been approved. Read More

Veterans Affairs chief Shulkin, staff misled ethics officials about European trip, report finds

The following article by Lisa Rein was posted on the Washington Post website February 14, 2018:

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) on Feb. 15 asked Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin about his taxpayer-funded travel to Europe in 2017. (House Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin’s chief of staff doctored an email and made false statements to create a pretext for taxpayers to cover expenses for the secretary’s wife on a 10-day trip to Europe last summer, the agency’s inspector general has found.

Vivieca Wright Simpson, VA’s third-most-senior official, altered language in an email from an aide coordinating the trip to make it appear that Shulkin was receiving an award from the Danish government, then used the award to justify paying for his wife’s travel, Inspector General Michael J. Missal said in a reportreleased Wednesday. VA paid more than $4,300 for her airfare. Read More

Wall Street might not like this: Inflation rises 2.1 percent, faster than expected

Heather Long authored the above article, which was posted on the Washington Post website February 14, 2018:

“The consumer price index, which measures how quickly prices are going up in the U.S. economy, rose at a faster than anticipated 2.1 percent in January, compared with a year ago, triggering fears of another rocky run on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 100 points at the open, but traders ultimately dismissed the news and the Dow closed up over 250 points.

Inflation around 2 percent is still very low, but Wall Street traders worry that this could be the beginning of a quick run up in wages and prices. There’s a big reassessment going on about what the future holds for the U.S. markets and economy.”

View the rest of the article here.

EPA’s Scott Pruitt got waiver to fly business class on foreign carrier from Italy to U.S.

The following article by Julia Goldman was posted on the CBS News website February 13, 2018:

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

WASHINGTON — EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been under fire for frequently flying in first and business class at taxpayer expense. CBS News has learned more about one of those flights, while Pruitt defended his expensive flights in an interview with a New Hampshire newspaper Tuesday.

In early June, Pruitt traveled to Italy for meetings at the Vatican and to attend a summit with international energy ministers. Taxpayers picked up the tab for his round-trip business-class flight, which cost at least $7,000, several times the cost of what was paid for other staffers who accompanied him on the trip. Read More

2018 CD3 and State DFL Convention Information

Interested in Becoming a Delegate?

The next step in the endorsement process after caucus night election of delegates is for those delegates to move on to the senate district conventions.

At the senate district conventions, delegates will be elected to participate in the endorsement process at the 3rd Congressional District DFL convention.  Endorsement of the state constitutional officers will happen at the State DFL convention.

To help in planning, here are the dates of these conventions. (Check with your senate district for your district’s convention. If we are able to, we will post this information, but your best source is your local senate district.)

CD3 DFL Convention:  April 14, 2018, Maple Grove Senior High School, 9800 Fernbrook Ln, Maple Grove, MN 55369. More specifics as they become available.

State DFL Convention:  June 1 through 3, 2018, Mayo Civic Center, 30 Civic Center Dr SE, Rochester, MN 55904. More specifics as they become available, or check the State DFL website.

The U.S.’s top spies issue a challenge to Trump’s agenda

The following article by Ishaan Tharoor was posted on the Washington Post website February 14, 2018:

Credit: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg, Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE

On Tuesday, the top intelligence officials in the United States briefed senators on their annual assessments of the threats facing the country in the year ahead. Although most of these principals were Trump appointees, their testimony reflected the consensus of what some Trump supporters would probably tar as the “deep state,” the shadowy world of Washington bureaucrats and spooks operating at a remove from the public.

The headline concern of their report was something that exasperates the president: the role of Russian meddling in U.S. politics, whether in the form of direct attempts to interfere with the electoral system or the proliferation of Kremlin-sponsored social media bots and “news” websites. Read More

Longtime Trump attorney says he made $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels with his money

The following article by Mark Berman was posted on the Washington Post website February 14, 2018:

Here is what we know about the allegation that an adult-film star reportedly was paid to remain silent about a sexual relationship with Donald Trump. (The Washington Post)

A longtime personal attorney for President Trump said Tuesday that he paid $130,000 to an adult-film star who had told people she had an affair with Trump a decade before he won the presidency.

Michael Cohen, who had previously dismissed reports about the payment, said he paid Stormy Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — using his own money, rather than involving the Trump Organization or the Trump presidential campaign. His comments came after a watchdog group argued that the payout should be viewed as an unreported campaign expense, which Cohen denied. Read More

Trump’s ‘Harvest Box’ Isn’t Viable in SNAP Overhaul, Officials Say

The following article by Glenn Thrush was posted on the New York Times website February 13, 2018:

People paid for fresh produce using federal assistance at a farmers market in Lake Orion, Mich., in 2013. Credit Lauren Abdel-Razzaq/The Detroit News, via AP

WASHINGTON — The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers about 46 million low-income Americans both sustenance and economic choice by providing an allowance to buy the fruit, meat, fresh vegetables, soda, ice cream and kind of bread they want to eat.

But on Monday, the Trump administration sprung a surprise: Under a proposal in the president’s budget many participants in the program would be given half their benefits in the form of a “Harvest Box” full of food preselected for nutritional value and economic benefit to American farmers. The cache of cheaper peanut butter, canned goods, pasta, cereal, “shelf stable” milk and other products would now be selected by the federal government, not by the people actually eating it. Read More

A case of disrespect and incivility

I was struck by the rich irony of the news that my Congressman Erik Paulsen was selected as a member of the recently created Congressional Civility and Respect Caucus. The caucus states its mission is to “encourage all members of Congress to act with civility and respect in their political discourse in their congressional districts and in Washington.”

Congressman Paulsen doesn’t respect his constituents enough to talk with them in a public town hall setting and, in a recent letter to donors, called his constituent detractors “trolls.” Read More