Koch Brothers May Support Multiple Candidates

“David Koch let it slip that the roughly $900 million that he and his brother, Charles, plan to lavish on the 2016 presidential race could find its way into the hands of more than one GOP contender,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Koch: “We are thinking of supporting several Republicans. If we’re happy with the policies that these individuals are supporting, we’ll finance their campaigns.”

“And the Kochs aren’t the only ones trying to do this winnowing. Fox News, which always keeps the long-term interests of the Republican Party in mind, recently announced that in the first debate of the season, it will be refusing admittance to all but 10 candidates. The excluded ones will in all likelihood find themselves caught in a vicious cycle where they can’t get coverage because they aren’t being taken seriously, and the can’t get taken seriously because they aren’t getting coverage.”

The Carly Fiorina Boomlet

Two new articles suggest Carly Fiorina (R) is impressing GOP voters in the early states.

New York Times: “Iowa voters are known to fall in love with firebrand candidates and underfunded outsiders, from Pat Buchanan in 1996 to Howard Dean in 2004. And this cycle, Republicans here are starting to swoon over Ms. Fiorina, who is so unknown in national polls that she may not even be included in the first presidential debate in August… Whether Ms. Fiorina, the only woman in the Republican race, can build from her status as a crowd-pleasing speaker and curiosity into a serious competitor is not clear. But something is happening on the ground here.”

Sacramento Bee: “Fiorina has gained an uncommon degree of attention in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire. She has endeared herself to conservatives who – while not considering Fiorina their first choice – relish her status as the Republican field’s only woman and most strident critic of the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

NSA Skirmish Tests Political Ties of McConnell and Paul

Sen. Mithc McConnell (R-KY) “has studied Senate procedure firsthand over five decades, and there is not much that can leave him flummoxed, even momentarily. But here he stood — thanks to, of all people, his fellow Republican, fellow Kentuckian, close political ally and the man he has endorsed for president — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY),” the Washington Post reports.

“With a dramatic series of procedural maneuvers, Paul had just dashed McConnell’s public pledge to extend a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program beyond a June 1 deadline before the Senate left for a week-long holiday break. The program allows the government agency to collect vast troves of call data from telephone companies as part of the fight against international terrorism. Paul sees it as a violation of individual privacy.”

Shapiro Declines Senate Bid in Pennsylvania

Josh Shapiro (D) has told national Democratic Party leaders that he will not run for the nomination to challenge Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) next year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“Senior Democrats had been encouraging Shapiro to jump into the primary against Joe Sestak, a retired Navy rear admiral and former Delaware County congressman who lost a close race to Toomey in 2010 but who also has a strained relationship with members of the party establishment.”

Which Speeches Were for Charity?

Politico: “The Clintons earned more than $25 million in 2014 from speech income, but a second list released this week from the Clinton Foundation showed that an additional at least $12 million was directed to the family charity since 2001 from 97 speeches made by Bill, Hillary or Chelsea Clinton to various universities, businesses and foreign entities. The Clintons have offered no explanation for how they decided which speeches to donate to their charity and which to take as income.”

GOP Candidates Have Few Answers on Islamic State

New York Times: “As President Obama grapples with the unnerving territorial gains of the Islamic State last week, the Republicans eyeing the White House are struggling to put forward strategies of their own. The most detailed ideas have come from Mr. Graham, a United States senator from South Carolina who is on the Armed Services Committee, yet he ranks so low in polls that it is unclear if he will qualify to participate in the coming candidate debates. Mr. Bush, a former governor of Florida, and Mr. Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, draw more support from voters at this point, yet seem less sure of their war footing, saying they would rely on guidance from military advisers.”

Clinton Emails Highlight Problem with Private Server

Associated Press: “The prospect for political complication in Clinton’s choice to use a personal email account, rather than one issued by the government, was evident in the messages released Friday. They included several that were deemed sensitive but unclassified, contained details about her daily schedule and held information — censored in the documents as released — about the CIA that the government is barred from publicly disclosing.”

“Taken together, the correspondence provides examples of material considered to be sensitive that Clinton received on the account run out of her home. She has said the private server had ‘numerous safeguards.'”

 

McConnell’s Senate in Disarray

New York Times: “As senators raced for the airport on Saturday after a six-week session that ended in disarray, they left behind a wreck of promises made by Mr. McConnell on how a renewed Senate would operate. Mr. McConnell has found himself vexed by Democratic delaying tactics he honed in the minority, five presidential aspirants with their own agendas and a new crop of conservative firebrands demanding their say.”

“Mr. McConnell promised that his party would instill more discipline, avoiding the last-minute legislative cliffhangers that have long marked Congress and left government workers and the capital markets in a state of constant unease. Instead, he allowed the Senate to depart with a key national security program dangling on the precipice of extinction. Senators also failed again to find a long-term solution for fixing the nation’s crumbling roads.”

Hoax Election Email Results in Felony Charge

A New Hampshire man “who confessed to creating a hoax email leading voters to believe a candidate for state representative was dropping out of a special election has been charged with two crimes, including a felony, by the state’s attorney general,” the Concord Monitor reports.

Carl Gibson said he “probably had one too many beers” before sending out the email, which he considered to be a “prank,” not to be taken seriously. Gibson’s identity was quickly uncovered after his name was found to be embedded in the electronic properties of an attachment to the email.

McCain Criticizes University Donation to Clinton Foundation

“Arizona State University gave $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation last year, money school officials say represents its investment in the Clinton Global Initiative University event it hosted in 2014,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“While ASU maintains the event provided big benefits for students, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said it wasn’t worth the university spending half a million dollars. McCain participated in a panel discussion moderated by Bill Clinton as part of the event.”

Said McCain: “Frankly, if I had known that that was the situation, that they were being paid $500,000, I would have spoken up at the time that I thought it was outrageous.”

Oklahoma GOP Wants Chairman Out

“Behind the scenes of a major GOP conference, top Oklahoma Republicans have been plotting to oust their state party’s political director and, if necessary, the chairman of the party for protecting him,” National Journal reports.

“Thomas Clint ‘T.C.’ Ryan, the political director, pleaded guilty in 2012 to domestic-assault charges. Earlier this month, Oklahoma GOP Chairman Randy Brogdon refused calls for Ryan’s resignation, instead shifting him from his newly appointed position of executive director to political director to quiet the critics.”

Ireland Appears Set to Legalize Gay Marriage

“Ireland appeared poised to become the world’s first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote on Saturday, with early vote counts showing strong and broad support for a measure that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago in what had traditionally been a Roman Catholic stronghold,” the New York Times reports.

London Telegragh: “Votes still being counted but opponents of same sex marriage admit ‘disappointing’ results so far.”

Senate Blocks Compromise NSA Surveillance Bill

“After vigorous debate and intense last-minute pressure by Republican leaders, the Senate on Saturday rejected legislation that would end the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records,” the New York Times reports.

“With the death of that measure — passed overwhelmingly in the House earlier this month — senators then scrambled to hastily pass a short-term measure to keep the program from going dark when it expires June 1 but failed. The disarray in Congress appeared to significantly increase the chances that the government will lose systematic access to newly created calling records by Americans, at least temporarily, after June 1.”

Politico: “Mitch McConnell tried to use a time-tested tactic to break his fellow senators’ will and get what he wants: the threat of missing their vacation after a grueling, six-week work period. It didn’t work.”