Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
* The New York Times reports on A1 that John Edwards' nonprofit organization, the Center for Promise and Opportunity, "raised $1.3 million in 2005, and – unlike a sister charity he created to raise scholarship money for poor students – the main beneficiary of the center's fund-raising was Mr. Edwards himself, tax filings show."
"The organization became a big part of a shadow political apparatus for Mr. Edwards after his defeat as the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004 and before the start of his presidential bid this time around. Its officers were members of his political staff, and it helped pay for his nearly constant travel, including to early primary states." (New York Times)
Also, while "it would not be unheard of for a campaign to try and lowball its fundraising expectations," Edwards "is expecting a significant drop-off in campaign contributions for the second quarter that might look like a pittance compared to the dollar amounts Democratic rivals Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) and Barack Obama (IL) are expected to raise." (The Hill)
* "New Yorkers salivating over 'subway election'" (Politico headline)
* Michael Moore's SiCKO "is creating an awkward situation for the leading Democratic presidential candidates. Rejecting Moore's prescription on healthcare could alienate liberal activists." (Los Angeles Times)
Moore said Harvey Weinstein, "a personal friend and supporter of the Clintons whose company financed the film, 'begged' him to remove a scene exposing Hillary Clinton as the second-highest recipient of campaign donations from the health-care industry." (Washington Post)
* And why is a top Mitt Romney aide being investigated for allegedly impersonating a Massachusetts state trooper? Find out in Hot Topics below!
* The president meets with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet in the Oval Office at 11 am ET.
At 3 pm ET, Bush makes remarks at a celebration of Black Music Month in the East Room.
Also on the Political Radar:
* Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) gives a 9:45 am ET address on government reform at New Hampshire Community Technical College.
From advanced excerpts of his speech:
"We need to clean up both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. I believe that the responsibility for a people's politics begins with the person who sits in the Oval Office. That is why on my very first day as President, I will launch the most sweeping ethics reform in history to make the White House the people's house and send the Washington lobbyists back to K Street."
Tonight, the candidate attends a Generation Barack Obama event at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Doors 8:30 pm ET.
* Mitt Romney speaks to the Montana Republican Party Convention in Helena, MT, at 10 am ET. He'll speak to reporters at 11 am ET.
* Bill Richardson participates in the IowaPolitics.com "Cookies and Conversation" Presidential Forum at Drake U. in Des Moines at 12:30 pm ET.
He later holds a 6 pm ET grand opening of the Richardson for President Iowa Headquarters in Des Moines and an 8 pm ET Polk County "Job Interview" Event in Ankeny, IA.
* Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) addresses a 3 pm ET session of the 75th Annual Conference of Mayors in Los Angeles.
* John Edwards holds a 5 pm ET "Small Change for Big Change" event at Strata in New York City.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
WH CANCELS GITMO MEETING AFTER AP REPORT: A White House meeting planned for Friday about the future of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility has been canceled after The Associated Press reported the Bush administration was "nearing a decision" to close the center. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said there would be no meeting Friday, but he would not comment on the reasons for the cancellation. Earlier Thursday, AP reported that officials were close to a decision to shut down the facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that the administration had scheduled a meeting to discuss a proposal to transfer the detainees to other military prisons. Officials from the White House, the Pentagon and the Justice and State departments denied the AP report. "The administration is not 'nearing a decision' on changing our long-held policy to shut down Gitmo in a responsible way," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "There is no meeting tomorrow." CNN.com: Guantanamo meeting canceled after report closure is near
SENATE: 35 MPG BY 2020: The Senate passed an energy bill late Thursday that includes an increase in automobile fuel economy, new laws against energy price-gouging and a requirement for huge increases in the production of ethanol. In an eleventh-hour compromise fashioned after two days of closed-door meetings, an agreement was reached to increase average fuel economy by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon for cars, SUVs and pickup trucks by 2020. But the fuel economy issue threatened to topple the legislation up to the last minute. Majority Leader Harry Reid held off the vote until late into the evening so several senators could be called back to Capitol Hill to provide the 60-vote margin needed to overcome a threatened filibuster from pro-auto industry senators. AP via CNN.com: Senate passes energy bill, boosting mileage standards
CHENEY OFFICE NONCOMPLIANT, "DEFIANT" ON RECORDS: Vice President Cheney's office has refused to comply with an executive order governing the handling of classified information for the past four years and recently tried to abolish the office that sought to enforce those rules, according to documents released by a congressional committee yesterday. Since 2003, the vice president's staff has not cooperated with an office at the National Archives and Records Administration charged with making sure the executive branch protects classified information. Cheney aides have not filed reports on their possession of classified data and at one point blocked an inspection of their office. After the Archives office pressed the matter, the documents say, Cheney's staff this year proposed eliminating it. Washington Post: Cheney Defiant on Classified Material
McNULTY SAYS HE DIDN'T KNOW EXTENT OF WH ROLE IN ATTORNEY DISMISSALS: The No. 2 official in the Justice Department said Thursday that he told the truth in February when he testified at a Senate hearing that the White House had limited involvement in the dismissal of federal prosecutors, an assertion that proved incorrect. The official, Paul J. McNulty, who is stepping down as deputy attorney general this summer, told a House Judiciary subcommittee that when he testified on Feb. 6 he did not know the extent of the White House role in the ousters, but conceded that his testimony was incomplete. Justice Department documents disclosed since then show that White House officials first suggested removals after the 2004 elections. In addition, the documents indicate that officials like Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and Karl Rove, the senior political adviser, were informed of the process. New York Times: Official Says He Told Truth on Dismissals
CONTEMPT MOTIONS FOR BOLTEN, MIERS, TAYLOR? House Judiciary Committee Democrats warned yesterday they would pursue a contempt of Congress motion if the White House fails respond to subpoenas for testimony and documents related to the firings of U.S. attorneys last year. The deadline for a response is Thursday, June 28. If the White House does not comply, it opens the possibility of a constitutional showdown between the two branches. In an ironic twist, the Department of Justice (DoJ) would be called on to enforce the contempt motion... One of the contempt motions would likely be directed at Presidential Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, to whom the subpoena for documents was addressed, according to a Democratic aide. Others who could face contempt motions include ex-White House Counsel Harriet Miers and former White House political director Sara Taylor. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted to subpoena testimony from Miers, while the Senate Judiciary panel voted to subpoena testimony from Taylor. The Hill: White House contempt
CIA TO DECLASSIFY "UNFLATTERING" RECORDS OF AGENCY ABUSES: The CIA will declassify hundreds of pages of long-secret records detailing some of the intelligence agency's worst illegal abuses - the so-called "family jewels" documenting a quarter-century of overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying, kidnapping and infiltration of leftist groups from the 1950s to the 1970s, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday. The documents, to be publicly released next week, also include accounts of break-ins and theft, the agency's opening of private mail to and from China and the Soviet Union, wiretaps and surveillance of journalists, and a series of "unwitting" tests on U.S. civilians, including the use of drugs. Washington Post: CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry
WILL DEM MAJORITY BE "SHORT-LIVED?" In the heat of their successful campaign last year to retake the House and Senate, Democrats made voters promise after promise. They promised to end the war in Iraq. They promised to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. They promised to lower prescription drug prices for seniors and raise the minimum wage. But six months after taking over Congress, Democrats find they have accomplished little of their agenda. Perhaps not coincidentally, Congress' job approval rating has reached a dramatic low, tumbling 13 points since February to 24 percent, according to the Gallup Poll... If they can't reverse the trend, some Democrats are starting to worry, their majority could be short-lived. Chicago Tribune: Democrats promised way more than they've delivered so far
LEADERS WANT TO CUT CONGRESSIONAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION: Democratic congressional leaders are trying to convince Americans they are serious about combating global warming, creating a cleaner environment and fostering energy independence by starting at home. They are pushing ahead with their "Green the Capitol Initiative," which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said Thursday means the House will operate in a carbon-neutral manner by the end of 2008 and cut energy consumption by 50 percent in 10 years. Senate leaders vowed to enact their own energy-saving measures on their side of the Capitol, where about 10,000 people work directly for the two houses of Congress, its 535 members, their committees and support bodies. San Francisco Chronicle: Dems open campaign to 'Green the Capitol'
"SUBWAY ELECTION" A "POLITICAL PERFECT STORM": What a time to be a New York pol. Three of the leading presidential candidates – judging, at least, by column inches in the largely New York-dominated national media – are New Yorkers: Its junior senator and its current and former mayors. Gregg Birnbaum, political editor of the New York Post, calls the idea of a three-way White House race pitting Sen. Hillary Clinton against former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg "a political perfect storm" – for his newspaper, at least. The Politico: New Yorkers salivating over 'subway election'
EDWARDS' POVERTY CENTER FINANCED TRAVELS, POLITICAL STAFF: John Edwards ended 2004 with a problem: how to keep alive his public profile without the benefit of a presidential campaign that could finance his travels and pay for his political staff. Mr. Edwards, who reported this year that he had assets of nearly $30 million, came up with a novel solution, creating a nonprofit organization with the stated mission of fighting poverty. The organization, the Center for Promise and Opportunity, raised $1.3 million in 2005, and — unlike a sister charity he created to raise scholarship money for poor students — the main beneficiary of the center's fund-raising was Mr. Edwards himself, tax filings show. A spokesman for Mr. Edwards defended the center yesterday as a legitimate tool against poverty. New York Times: In Aiding Poor, Edwards Built Bridge to 2008
JUST REGULAR EXPECTATION-LOWERING? Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is expecting a significant drop-off in campaign contributions for the second quarter that might look like a pittance compared to the dollar amounts Democratic rivals Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) are expected to raise. Though it would not be unheard of for a campaign to try and lowball its fundraising expectations, an e-mail to supporters from senior adviser Joe Trippi, of Gov. Howard Dean's 2004 campaign, tells Edwards's fans the campaign is two-thirds of the way to its goal of $9 million for the quarter. That would give Edwards a $6 million rake with nine days to go. And even then, the campaign would realize $5 million less than it did in the first quarter. The Hill: Edwards predicting big second-quarter drop-off
GIULIANI RAISES BIG $$$ FROM WALL STREET, "AN INDUSTRY HE ONCE TARGETED": As U.S. regulators confront a new wave of insider-trading cases on Wall Street, one presidential candidate is uniquely positioned to tout his background fighting white-collar crime: Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani made a name for himself two decades ago as a U.S. attorney by cracking down on corporate crime, nabbing financier Ivan Boesky and junk-bond trader Michael Milken and forcing other executives to parade before the cameras in handcuffs. Nowadays, he rarely mentions those headline-making moves when stumping for the Republican Party nomination, highlighting instead his national-security credentials and role in reviving New York's economy during his eight years as mayor. At the same time, Giuliani, 63, has emerged as a top recipient of campaign contributions from the industry he once targeted. Bloomberg: Giuliani, Once a White-Collar Crime Fighter, Courts Wall Street
TOP ROMNEY AIDE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR TROOPER IMPERSONATION: State Police are investigating one of Mitt Romney's top campaign aides for allegedly impersonating a trooper by calling a Wilmington company and threatening to cite the driver of a company van for erratic driving, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the probe. Jay Garrity, who is director of operations on Romney's presidential campaign and a constant presence at his side, became the primary target of the investigation, according to one of the sources, after authorities traced the cellphone used to make the call back to him. The investigation comes three years after Garrity, while working for Romney in the State House, was cited for having flashing lights and other police equipment in his car without proper permits. The New Hampshire attorney general, according to the Associated Press, has also opened an investigation into a report that a Romney aide, later identified as Garrity, pulled over a New York Times reporter in New Hampshire and said he had run his license plate. Boston Globe: Romney aide is the focus of probe
SiCKO CREATES "AWKWARD SITUATION" FOR CANDIDATES: With the release of Michael Moore's "Sicko," a movie once again is adding sizzle to an issue that's a high priority for liberal politicians — this time comprehensive health insurance for all. But unlike Al Gore's film on global warming, which helped rally support on an equally controversial problem, "Sicko" is creating an awkward situation for the leading Democratic presidential candidates. Rejecting Moore's prescription on healthcare could alienate liberal activists, who will play a big role in choosing the party's next standard-bearer. However, his proposal — wiping out private health insurance and replacing it with a massive federal program — could be political poison with the larger electorate. Los Angeles Times: 'Sicko' leaves top Democrats ill at ease
MOORE SAYS HARVEY WEINSTEIN "BEGGED" TO REMOVE CLINTON SCENE: Michael Moore is getting a lot of mileage out of the hit he takes on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in his provocative new movie "Sicko," which made its Washington premiere Wednesday night at the Uptown theater. Moore said after the premiere that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a personal friend and supporter of the Clintons whose company financed the film, "begged" him to remove a scene exposing Hillary Clinton as the second-highest recipient of campaign donations from the health-care industry. Moore said he didn't know whether the Clintons asked Weinstein to make the call. Washington Post: Moore Says Weinstein Wanted Clinton Scene Cut
OBAMA RELEASES EARMARK REQUESTS; DETAILS "LARGELY BENIGN ITEMS": Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) decision to release the earmark requests he has submitted this year has been met largely with the sound of crickets from his fellow Congressional candidates for the White House, almost none of whom as of press time had taken up the challenge and released their own. On Wednesday morning Obama released a list of roughly 100 proposed earmarks that he had submitted to the Appropriations Committee this year. As would be expected, the requests are for largely benign items, ranging from funding for AIDS programs to Army Corps of Engineers projects in the Chicagoland area. With the exception of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), all of Obama's opponents for the presidency currently serving in Congress also make requests for earmarks during the annual appropriations process. Roll Call: Obama Releases Earmarks, Other White House Candidates Decline to Follow
OBAMA TO TAKE 4 DONORS OUT TO DINNER: They are not wealthy. Their home states are politically symbolic. Their occupations or their circumstances suggest salt of the earth. Four contributors to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, chosen from among thousands of donors, will sit down for dinner with the Illinois senator next month at a Washington, D.C., restaurant. The two men and two women were announced as winners of a small donor solicitation campaign that was as much about raising money as it was about building a vast network of supporters from across the country who supplied biographical data and gave reasons for their support. There's Michael Griffith, a miner from Nevada; Margaret Thomas-Jordan, a Louisiana mother of two whose husband is serving a 15-month tour in Iraq; Haile Rivera, a community activist and mentor from the Bronx in New York; and Jennifer Lasko, a Florida firefighter and paramedic who was a registered Republican until 2000. AP via Yahoo! News: Obama campaign picks donors for dinner
BROWNBACK VOWS TO NAME JUSTICE TO OVERTURN ROE: U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback vowed Thursday to appoint a U.S. Supreme Court justice who would overturn the court's Roe vs. Wade abortion-rights ruling, should he win the presidency. "We can get it done," Brownback told about 100 supporters in Ames. "We're one justice away, and if we lose this we're going to be two or three judges away from overturning this thing that is wrong." The Kansas Republican likened the national abortion arguments to the debate over slavery centuries earlier, when the Constitution considered a slave to be three-fifths of a person. "Everything on this Earth is one of two things: a person or property," he said. Des Moines Register: Brownback: I'll appoint justice to reverse Roe vs. Wade ruling
WHERE ARE ALL THE GORE 2000 PLAYERS? Most members of Al Gore's inner political circle have not yet signed up with any presidential campaign, triggering speculation that the 2000 Democratic nominee will jump into the race for the White House later this year. But Gore's ex-aides and advisers say they do not think their former boss will enter the presidential fray. Democratic political experts who played significant roles in Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, expressed strong skepticism that Gore would challenge Democratic frontrunners Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.). Ex-campaign manager Donna Brazile, former policy director Elaine Kamarck, former media strategist Tad Devine, ex-traveling chief of staff Michael Feldman and former spokesmen Chris Lehane and Jano Cabrera shared their views with The Hill. None of these former advisers are helping a Democratic presidential campaign. The Hill: Gore's 2000 team stays on sidelines