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Congress

‘Bama Payback: Moore’s win keeps Rove client Judge Pryor off SCOTUS

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If former judge Roy S. Moore defeats Sen. Luther J. Strange III in the Sept. 26 Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff and then goes on to win the seat against Democrat G. Douglas Jones, he will not only kick a Karl Rove client out of the Senate, he also blocks another Rove client from joining the Supreme Court.

First, here is some political reality. Both Moore and Strange are locks to defeat Jones, who served as President William J. Clinton’s U.S. Attorney for the northern region of the state.

Another reality is that both Moore and Strange would have nearly identical voting records in the Senate—with the only exception being that Moore will finally pay back federal Judge William G. Pryor for kicking him off the Alabama Supreme Court by blocking him from the highest court in the land.

Pryor was on President Donald J. Trump’s short list to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, losing out at the last days to Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. Smart money has Pryor as the next pick, especially if he remains the top pick of the Federalist Society.

Trending: Judge Who Jailed Manafort Also Cleared Hillary Clinton In Benghazi Case

If Strange, like Pryor a former Rove client, keeps his seat, nothing and no one stops Pryor from getting the bump up to the high court. In 1998 and 2002, “Big Luther” was Pryor’s campaign chairman for his runs for attorney general–campaigns that also hired Rove as a consultant.

Expect Strange to be the campaign manager in the Senate cloakrooms for putting Pryor on the Supreme Court.

For most people, the only thing they know about Moore is that in 2003, as the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he installed a nearly 3-ton display of the 10 Commandments in the rotunda of the Supreme Court building and that he lost his job when he refused a court order to remove the display.

Few people remember that the federal court challenge to the display was brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center and that when the court ruled against Moore, it was Pryor, as the attorney general, who convened the nine-judge panel that had Moore removed from office.

Pryor said at the time that he was upholding the rule of law.

Yet, what he was really doing settling an old score for Rove.

In the 1990s, Rove developed a strong line of business as a campaign consultant for elected judgeships in Texas and Alabama, urging his clients to rail against trial lawyers. However, Moore, who then and now a political force unto himself, took the opposite tack. Instead of taking on trial lawyers, Moore stood up for them as champions of the little people against entrenched interests.

In short, Moore was bad for business.

Returning to the situation in 2017, the harsh reality for Strange, Pryor, Rove—along with Rove’s acolyte Kristin Davidson, who just joined the Strange campaign—is the Moore is on the glide path to winning the runoff.

According to Montgomery-based Southeast Research poll conducted Aug 29 through Aug. 31, Strange is the choice of 31 percent of Republicans with Moore the choice of 52 percent.

President Donald J. Trump shocked Capitol Hill conservatives when he endorsed Strange Aug. 8, a week before the Aug. 15 regular primary. In that primary, nine Republicans vied for the party nod, including House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Morris J. “Mo” Brooks.

In the Aug. 15 vote, no one garnered 50 percent of the vote, which triggered the run-off between the two top candidates, Moore and Strange.

Trump’s endorsement meant the president overlooked Strange’s tenure as an oil industry lobbyist in Washington and as a Birmingham power broker.

It could be that Trump was acting out of courtesy to Majority Leader A. Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell (R.-Ky.), which may turn out to be the last such ticket the majority leader had left.

The Atlanta Falcons would tell you that no lead is safe, but a sure sign that the Strange campaign has given up the ghost is the endorsements coming in for Moore.

Tuesday, the Senate Conservative Fund, founded by former senator and Heritage Foundation president James DeMint, endorsed Moore. Then, Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Rep. Mark Meadows (R.-N.C.) threw his support behind Moore Wednesday.

“The people of Alabama are seeing millions of dollars in false advertising flow into their state.  From what I know about the people of Alabama, their vote is not for sale. They want a strong man–a principled conservative–to send a clear message to Washington,” Meadows said. “I look forward to working with him to advance conservative principles by repealing ObamaCare, passing real tax reform and securing our borders.”

Perhaps more important than either of those endorsements was the private meeting Moore and his wife had with Stephen K. Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News Thursday night at his Capitol Hill residence.

It is interesting, too, that Meadows would name-check the advertising pouring into Alabama on behalf of Strange. A lot of the advertising was paid for McConnell.

In July, McConnell’s camp told Politico the leader’s PAC was prepared to spend $8 million to keep Strange in the Senate, in addition to hosting a $10,000-per-plate fundraiser for the incumbent.

McConnell’s sway and swag on Capitol Hill is rooted in both his success reaching into primaries to keep conservatives out of his caucus and his reputation as a master political strategist.

After pitching shutouts in the 2014 and 2016, a Moore victory would signal that McConnell’s dice have cooled down.

As for McConnell’s reputation as a master political strategist?

C’mon? Who believes that anymore?

Neil W. McCabe is a Washington-based political journalist and editor. Before joining Big League Politics, he was the Capitol Hill correspondent for Breitbart News, where he also led Breitbart's political polling operation and wrote up the Breitbart-Gravis polls. McCabe's other positions include the One America News DC Bureau Chief, a senior reporter at Human Events and a staff reporter at The Pilot, Boston's Catholic paper. McCabe also was the editor of The Somerville News, The (North Cambridge, Mass.) Alewife and served as an Army combat historian in Iraq. His 2013 e-book The Unfriendly Skies examined how the American airline industry went from deregulation in the late 1970s to come full circle to the highly-regulated, highly-taxed industry it is today.

 

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Congress

Oversized: Rosie O’Donnell Makes Potentially Illegal Campaign Donations

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According to a New York Post analysis of campaign filings, Rosie O’Donnell made illegally oversized donations to five federal Democrat candidates.

“Nothing nefarious,” the washed up comedian and Donald Trump critic said. “I was not choosing to over donate.”

But O’Donnell regularly broke the Federal Election Commission’s rules that limit donations to $2,700 per candidate per election campaign. The limit is applies separately to primaries, run-offs, and general elections, with each considered a new race.

“If 2700 is the cut off — [candidates] should refund the money,” she said. “I don’t look to see who I can donate most to … I just donate assuming they do not accept what is over the limit.”

But intent is not an element of the crime, and O’Donnell’s blind faith that politicians would simply return her money if she over-donated is either pathetically naive or a lie to cover for herself.

O’Donnell donated $4,700 to Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in his race against Judge Roy Moore. Jones won the race by

She also gave $3,700 to Rep. Conor Lamb, (D-PA), $2,950 to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), $4,200 to Lauren Underwood, a current Illinois congressional candidate, and $3,450 to Omar Vaid, an outsider congressional candidate from Staten Island, NY.

“My anxiety is quelled by donating to those opposing Trump [and] his agenda — especially at night — when most of these were placed,” she said.

Don’t worry plebeians, O’Donnell quells her anxiety by throwing bundles of cash at Democrats and breaking the law. Perhaps someone at the FEC can alert her that there’s medicine for that. And people still wonder why the political left is so out of touch with the average American.

According to campaign finance lawyer Jan Witold Baran, donors are rarely fined for excess contributions and then only if they are hiding the donations from the recipients. She said that campaigns generally are not penalized for isolated contributions over a limit.

Candidates who receive excess donations are allowed simply to roll the excess funds over to their next campaign.

In effect, the law is useless as it is seldom enforced. Leave it to the D.C. swamp.

“I also maxed out to Cynthia Nixon,” O’Donnell told the Post. “And I loathe Jeannine Pirro.”

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Congress

Justin Amash Put Paul Ryan In Power, Now He Claims Boehner Was Better

His vote put the gavel in Paul Ryan’s hand

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While speaking to Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) stated that former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was better than current House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Amash made this statement despite having voted for Paul Ryan’s Speaker-ship twice, both the initial vote, and for his re-election. The only Republican Congressman currently in office who has never voted for Ryan is Congressman Thomas Massie.

As a founder of the Freedom Caucus, Amash was influential in the deal that was cut with the most conservative wing of the GOP. It was widely reported that Amash’s decision to support Ryan is practically the only reason he was able to secure the gavel.

But the entire Freedom Caucus didn’t join in the deal. Amash could have chose not to vote for Ryan, but his vote ensured that Paul Ryan would be Boehner’s predecessor.

Not only did Justin Amash push Ryan to power, but gave Ryan a pass on a disastrous budget deal. Immediately before the vote for Speaker in the fall of 2015, Ryan had been the chief negotiator of the bill.

Amash has been critical of both Boehner and Ryan, getting into public spats with them both, but only voting for Ryan for Speaker.

But according to Amash, despite the fact that Boehner was more confrontational, he felt that it was preferable to being ignored, like he is under Speaker Ryan, stating:

“I would rather have the guy swearing at me and letting me have a vote than not considering me at all…Under [Ryan’s] speakership, we’ve had the fewest open amendments of any speakership. We’ve had zero….Everything has to be pre-approved by the Speaker…. Under Boehner, you could walk up…and offer an amendment as long as it was germane to the bill, you got to vote on it.”

While Amash’s statement may well be true, it is very hypocritical for him to continually vote for Speaker Ryan, likely to attempt to get on his good side, and then attack him for being worse than John Boehner was.

You can’t have it both ways, Justin.

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2018 Midterms

Indiana Senate Candidate Wears MAGA Hat in Campaign Ad

He’s not afraid to MAGA.

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Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Indiana, and current Congressmen Todd Rokita went into attack mode on his two primary opponents in a new ad. He pointed out the fact that his main opponent, Rep. Luke Messer, has a history of anti-Trump statements, and how his other opponent, Mike Braun, voted Democrat until 2012.

At the end of the ad, Rokita put on Donald Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hat as he pledged to stand with both the President and Vice President to “drain the swamp.”

Rep. Luke Messer has been described as the “longtime nemesis” of Rep. Todd Rokita, and if that’s the case, Rokita has definitely come out on top so far.

While Rep. Messer was opposing President Donald Trump’s agenda, Rep. Rokita was standing with the President, from his Presidential campaign until now. Another ad put out by Rokita shows just a few of the anti-Trump attacks that have been propagated by Messer.

Indiana Republicans are very pro-Trump. These attacks on Messer are likely to make a big impact on his perception to voters.

 

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