Related: Letterman says Palin joke 'in poor taste'
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House Ethics committee announced Thursday it is looking into allegations of possible misconduct by members of Congress regarding The PMA Group, a now-defunct lobbying firm.
PMA, which was raided by the FBI last year, lobbied primarily on behalf of defense-industry clients seeking earmarks. The company and its clients donated campaign contributions to senior members of the House Appropriations Committee, including Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, and Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Indiana.
The Ethics Committee did not disclose which specific lawmakers were under review.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate and House negotiators tasked with finalizing a compromise on a $105 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rejected a provision Thursday night that would have prohibited the release of detainee abuse photos.
The provision was dropped after President Barack Obama raised objections in a letter addressed to the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
"I'm writing to urge you to oppose the McConnell Amendment," the president wrote, referring to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's attempt to block the photos from being made public.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday dismissed the idea of health-insurance cooperatives as an alternative to a government-sponsored health-care plan.
Asked at her weekly news conference whether she could support non-profit co-ops, Pelosi said, "No, not instead of a public option."
A proposal to create health-insurance cooperatives that could compete with private insurance companies has become the focus of bipartisan talks in the Senate. Republicans have made it clear that a government-run plan is a non-starter for them.
The co-op model was floated earlier this week by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, as a way to get bipartisan support for health-care reform. The co-ops - modeled on electricity and agricultural cooperatives in rural states - would be run and paid for by their members.
(Updated at 12:00 p.m. ET with Palin response)
(CNN) – Late night comedian David Letterman, responding to criticism his recent joke about a member of Sarah Palin's family crossed the line, said on his show Wednesday night he is guilty of "poor taste."
But Letterman, who has been a critic of the Alaska governor, said the recent joke - that Palin's "daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez" at a recent Yankees game - was in reference to 18-year-old Bristol Palin, not 14-year-old Willow who actually attended the baseball game with her mother last week.
"We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter [Bristol]... and now they're upset with me," Letterman said. "These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl.
"Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."
iReport.com: Share your thoughts on Palin/Letterman flap
Letterman's comments come a day after the former Republican vice presidential candidate called the joke "inappropriate" and "sexually perverted."
(CNN) – The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is looking to calm this week's firestorm over remarks termed anti-Semitic by critics, saying Thursday he meant to say "Zionists" instead of "them Jews" when referring to people in Washington who do not want President Obama speaking with him.
"Let me say, like Hillary, I misspoke. Let me just say 'Zionists,'" Wright told SIRIUS radio host Mark Thompson.
Earlier this week, the former Chicago pastor told Virginia newspaper The Daily Press he no longer speaks with Obama - a former congregant of his Trinity United Church - because "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."
"I'm not talking about all Jews, all people of the Jewish faith, I'm talking about Zionists," Wright said Thursday, adding that his comments were in reference to "historical facts."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Ah, summer: Time to enjoy a quiet vacation. Kick back with a good book. Walk on the beach.
Not Douglas Elmendorf. He'll spend the next two months suffering voodoo-eyes from powerful people on Capitol Hill.
Elmendorf is director of the Congressional Budget Office, the ordinarily low-profile federal agency that will estimate how much money health reform will cost or save.
The CBO's estimates, the first set of which are due next week, carry a lot of weight because Congress uses them in making legislative decisions.http://cnnpoliticalticker.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?preview=true
In an age of trillion-dollar budget deficits, the numbers will carry even more weight than usual.
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (CNN) - How do you get away with skipping classes on your last day of school?
Make sure you get your hands on a presidential pardon.
President Barack Obama held a town hall meeting on Thursday in Green Bay, Wisconsin to discuss his health care agenda - but he also took a little time to write an all-important "get out of school" note.
A young girl named Kennedy attended the town hall with her father, who was called on to ask a question.
Her father, John Corpus, started his query saying he hoped his daughter wouldn't get into trouble for missing the last day of school.
"Do you need me to write a note?" Obama asked.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A bill that increases the power of the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products cleared the Senate on Thursday.
The Senate voted 79-17 for the measure, which is similar to a bill already passed by the House of Representatives.
An aide to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the chamber will vote Friday on accepting the Senate bill, which would send the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Most Senate opposition came from tobacco-producing states including Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. In a break from
tradition, the two senators from Virginia - another tobacco state - supported the measure, indicating a moderate shift in the state's politics.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The 88-year-old white supremacist charged with killing a guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum left a note proclaiming President Barack Obama a tool of "Jew owners," according to court records released Thursday.
James von Brunn remained in critical condition in a Washington hospital after being shot by other security guards at the museum Wednesday. A notebook found in his car after the shooting declared, "You want my weapons - this is how you'll get them," according to investigators.
"The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media. The 1st Amendment is abrogated –henceforth," von Brunn wrote, according to an FBI agent's affidavit.