Archives for News

A Weiner returns to politics to run for New York City Mayor

Two years after resigning from Congress in a lewd photo scandal, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner announced in a video message early on Wednesday he is running for New York City mayor. “I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons,” Weiner said in the video. “I’m running because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life.” The announcement promises to shake up the race to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg nearly four months before the September 10 Democratic primary,
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Senior White House aides knew about IRS targeting

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior advisers knew in late April that an impending report was likely to say the IRS had inappropriately targeted conservative groups, President Barack Obama’s spokesman disclosed Monday, expanding the circle of top officials who knew of the audit beyond those named earlier. But McDonough and the other advisers did not tell Obama, leaving him to learn about the politically perilous results of the internal investigation from news reports more than two weeks later, officials said. The Treasury Department also told the White House twice in the weeks leading up to the
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Former IRS chief set for grilling on Capitol Hill

Lawmakers are getting their first chance to question the former head of the Internal Revenue Service, the man who ran the agency when agents were improperly targeting tea party groups. Some of the questions on Tuesday will be direct: What did you know, and when did you know it? They also want to know why former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman didn’t tell Congress that agents had been singling out conservative political groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status — even after he was briefed. Shulman, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, left the IRS in
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A muddled history of media probes by government

It was a rare moment in relations between the media and the government: In 2008, FBI Director Robert Mueller called the top editors at The New York Times and The Washington Post to apologize because the bureau had improperly obtained reporters’ telephone records four years earlier. The extraordinary call was an admission that the FBI’s actions violated Justice Department policy about seeking journalists’ phone records. But nothing about what the FBI did in 2004 appeared to run afoul of any law. The Justice Department’s latest effort to examine whom journalists are talking to — the secret subpoena of Associated Press
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Final decisions near on immigration bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee hopes to nail down an elusive compromise on high-tech visas and may punt a controversy over gay marriage to the full Senate as it makes final drafting decisions on immigration legislation that grants a shot at citizenship to millions living in the country illegally. The high-tech issue involves a negotiation at arm’s length between industry, which relies on ever-increasing numbers of skilled foreigners, and organized labor, which represents American workers, according to lawmakers and officials close to the talks. As drafted, the bill would raise the current cap on so-called H-1B visas from 65,000 annually to
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Military sexual abuse victims seek help from VA

More than 85,000 veterans were treated last year for injuries or illness stemming from sexual abuse in the military, and 4,000 sought disability benefits, underscoring the staggering long-term impact of a crisis that has roiled the Pentagon and been condemned by President Barack Obama as “”shameful and disgraceful.” A Department of Veterans Affairs accounting released in response to inquiries from The Associated Press shows a heavy financial and emotional cost involving vets from Iraq, Afghanistan and even back to Vietnam, and lasting long after a victim leaves the service. Sexual assault or repeated sexual harassment can trigger a variety of
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Immigration vote set for Senate committee this week

The Senate Judiciary Committee is aiming this week to pass a landmark immigration bill to secure the border and offer citizenship to millions, setting up a high-stakes debate on the Senate floor. First, the committee must resolve a few remaining disputes. One involves amendments over high-skilled immigrant visas sought by the high-tech industry but opposed by labor unions. The bill as written increases the availability of these visas, but includes restrictions aimed at ensuring U.S. workers get the first crack at jobs. Silicon Valley companies view some of the restrictions as too onerous and are lobbying to soften them. Sen.
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Lowered deficit forecasts also lowers drive for budget deal

The chances of a deal between Democratic and Republican lawmakers that would overhaul the tax system, trim government spending and reform safety net spending programs appear to be fading. A sudden improvement in the outlook for the government deficit over the next decade has alleviated some of the pressure on lawmakers to act. And a spate of scandals, involving the Internal Revenue Service, security for the U.S. mission in Benghazi and the seizure of phone records from the Associated Press news agency, has distracted Congress and the White House. For those who believe there needs to be radical reform to
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Tea Party hopes IRS debacle will give a needed boost

Is the tea party getting its groove back? Shouts of vindication from around the country suggest the movement’s leaders certainly think so. They say the IRS acknowledgement that it had targeted their groups for extra scrutiny — a claim that tea party activists had made for years — is helping pump new energy into the coalition. And they are trying to use that development, along with the ongoing controversy over the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attacks and the Justice Department’s secret seizure of journalists’ phone records, to recruit new activists incensed about government overreach. “This is the defining moment to say
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Marines screw the pooch by failing to report water threat

A simple test could have alerted officials that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated, long before authorities determined that as many as a million Marines and their families were exposed to a witch’s brew of cancer-causing chemicals. But no one responsible for the lab at the base can recall that the procedure — mandated by the Navy — was ever conducted. The U.S. Marine Corps maintains that the carbon chloroform extract (CCE) test would not have uncovered the carcinogens that fouled the southeastern North Carolina base’s water system from at least the mid-1950s until wells were capped in
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