(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie opted for a special election to fill a newly vacant Senate seat through 2014 instead of appointing a replacement through that time, saying the decision was about giving voters "a choice and a voice in the process" and was not driven by political self-interest.
While the Republican's decision for a special October ballot could help him avoid stronger Democratic turnout in his re-election bid a month later, it also opens him up to criticism from his own party that is on the short end of the balance of power in the Senate.
(CNN) – Erika Harold, who won the 2003 Miss America pageant, announced Tuesday she's mounting a Republican primary challenge to Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois.
She's the second former holder of the Miss America crown to publicly eye a spot on Capitol Hill – in May, the 2000 winner Heather French Henry said she was considering jumping into the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky, which could see her pitted against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
New York (CNNMoney) - The Obama administration issued a stern rebuke of so-called "patent trolls" Tuesday, in an attempt to stop those whom the White House says manipulate the patent system for undue financial gain.
The White House directed the United States Patent and Trade Office to take five new actions that would help stem the rising tide of patent-related lawsuits tying up the court system. Many patent-holding companies with no intention of ever releasing products have made an entire business model out of suing other companies for patent infringement.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - Like a partisan version of the proverbial blind men touching the elephant, members of Congress have starkly differing views of the scope and magnitude of the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status that dominates headlines and committee hearings.
Depending on their party, legislators offer particular takes on the controversy based on which part of the IRS elephant they are describing.FULL STORY
(CNN) - It may be one of the most highly watched news conferences held in Trenton, New Jersey in a long time.
With the national political spotlight firmly focused on Chris Christie as he mulls whom he'll name to replace his state's longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died Monday at age 89, the Garden State's Republican governor Tuesday morning announced he'd go before cameras and reporters in the afternoon.
Updated 3:44 p.m. ET Tuesday 6/4
(CNN) - The Internal Revenue Service spent millions of taxpayer dollars on everything from event planners' commissions to speakers' fees to guest prizes to parody videos at a 2010 conference, an audit of the agency shows.
The beleaguered agency - already snared in controversy over its targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status - spent $4.1 million on a 2010 conference in Anaheim, California, with "questionable expenses" comprising much of the budget, according to the report released Tuesday by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.
(CNN) - Calling sexual assault in the military "an enemy to morale and readiness," Sen. James Inhofe urged his colleagues on the Senate Armed Services committee to tread carefully in tackling the issue.
Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, said he is opposed to any legislation "removing commanders from their indispensable roles" in the military justice system and noted that military and civilian courts are different animals because members of the military do not enjoy the same rights as civilians.FULL STORY
(CNN) - The man who helped uncover Watergate says the Internal Revenue Service controversy doesn't rise to the same level of the Nixon scandal–but could be on its way.
Longtime Washington Post reporter and editor said he suspects the White House had a deeper knowledge of the IRS' targeting of conservative groups than officials are letting on. The public, he added, needs more answers.
CNN: Missouri residents told to evacuate after levee breach
Hundreds of people were being evacuated from their homes in Missouri after a levee was breached Monday night. Officials in St. Charles County near St. Louis activated warning sirens after the levee broke, a statement from the county said. Earlier Monday, a bridge connecting West Alton, Missouri, and Alton, Illinois, was shutdown after a temporary flood barricade gave way. Forecasters say there could be major flooding Tuesday. The Mississippi River at St. Louis was 10.1 feet above flood stage Monday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. Flood warnings and advisories were in effect from counties in northern Illinois down to Louisiana.
CNN: Bill would let Sandy Hook families withhold crime-scene photos, documents
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is considering legislation that would let families of victims in the Sandy Hook school shooting block release of some crime-scene documents. The governor's office sent CNN a working draft of the bill. If enacted, it would require written consent of those who survived the shooting or family members of those who died for officials to release photos, video, audio recordings or 911 calls "depicting the physical condition of any victim." The bill also would allow officials to redact the identity of any minor. It would exempt the release of death certificates as public records, and would limit the release of 911 call recordings. Only transcript portions not containing descriptions of the victims would be made available.