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News Friday, Oct 21 2011

Billings Gazette: Rehbergs: Suit against city 'not about the money'

On October 21, The Billings Gazette reported:

A lawyer for U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg and his wife has offered to settle a lawsuit against the city of Billings "without monetary compensation" for a 2008 wildfire that threatened the couple's subdivision. In exchange, the Rehbergs want the city to adopt "specific wildland firefighting standards" that may prevent future property loss or damage, according to a letter provided to The Billings Gazette by Jan Rehberg. After sitting idle for more than a year, the lawsuit has been the subject of a recent flurry of activity, including an official response from the city to the lawsuit that was never formally served and the settlement offer from the Rehbergs.

News Tuesday, Oct 18 2011

AP: Rehberg Bashes Lobbyists as Son Works for One

On October 18, 2011 the Associated Press reported: U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg has made a point of criticizing Democratic Sen.…

News Climate Change Energy Saturday, Sep 24 2011

Washington Post: Records illuminate Senate hopeful Allen’s energy connections

On September 24 the Washington Post reported:

George Allen, Virginia’s leading Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has made no secret of his interest in energy policy during his more than two decades in public office. But financial disclosure forms, campaign records and Allen’s staff show how close the former governor and senator has become to the energy industry since he lost his Senate seat in 2006. Allen earned nearly $350,000 from his consulting business that lists energy as one of its top priorities, and was paid at least $10,000 in consulting fees from a pair of the nation’s largest coal companies — Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy. A separate nonprofit organization he formed after leaving the Senate tries to influence the public debate about energy in part with contributions from the industry. Since joining the race in January, Allen has received more than $150,000 in campaign donations from the energy and natural-resources industries — more than all but fourother 2012 Senate candidates in the nation.
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AB Leadership Health Care Wednesday, Sep 14 2011

Bloomberg: Perry’s Merck Donations Raise Questions About Vaccine Mandate

"Texas Governor Rick Perry ‘s decision to require pre-teen girls to be vaccinated against a virus that causes cervical cancer has ignited debate over whether the presidential hopeful used his office to do favors for political allies. Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, received at least $23,500 in campaign contributions from drug-maker Merck & Co., including $5,000 in 2006, the year before he ordered girls throughout the state to take a new Merck vaccine. The drug-maker also has donated about $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association, a group which Perry headed twice and has been among his most generous campaign donors...
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News Foreign Policy Jobs Taxes Wednesday, Sep 7 2011

MEMO: Questions For The Republican Debate

Last month, the Republican Presidential candidates met on a debate stage about a week after the resolution of the debt ceiling debacle. In their attempts to top one another in their pandering to the Tea Party, their political brinksmanship outlined a vision for America that would have assured default and advocated dangerous economic policies that would push our economy over the edge. Tonight, the candidates meet while jobs are at the forefront of national attention. The American people want to see if these Republicans can offer something other than the failed policy prescriptions that got us into this mess. While Republicans want to talk about cutting taxes for corporations with record profits at the expense of the middle class, the American people expect answers to these questions...

AB Leadership Wednesday, Aug 31 2011

Bloomberg: Perry’s Texas Friends Find Donations Dovetail With Contracts

"When Texas billionaire Harold Simmons wanted to build a radioactive waste dump, one data point that would loom large in the permitting process wasn’t required on the application: He is a major donor to Governor Rick Perry. [...] Simmons, who has donated more than $1.2 million to Perry’s campaigns, was granted the permit over the objections of some TCEQ staffers concerned the site threatened the Ogallala Aquifer, a water source for much of the plains. [...] The permit process for the site, run by Simmons’s company Waste Control Specialists LLC, a subsidiary of the publicly traded Valhi Inc. (VHI), is one example of how Perry’s donors’ close ties to the governor can influence government grants, appointments and permits. [...] “As Americans look past his swagger, they’ll see he represents more of the same lobbyist-run politics as usual that they despise,” said Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge 21st Century, a Washington-based Democratic opposition research group.

News Sunday, Aug 28 2011

Omaha World-Herald: Bruning owns lake house with 2 Nelnet officials

On August 28, 2011, the Omaha World-Herald reported: In the summer of 2007, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning waived a…

News Friday, Aug 26 2011

Huffington Post: Another Rick Perry Staffer Ensnared In Teacher Death Bond Scheme

On August 26, 2011, the Huffington Post reported:

"Texas Governor Rick Perry's ties to Swiss banking giant UBS go beyond his relationship with former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas). Perry's current chief of staff and top press person for his campaign, Ray Sullivan, spent five years as a lobbyist for UBS in Texas -- a tenure that began the same year Gramm made his macabre pitch for Perry to enable Wall Street gambling on the deaths of Texas teachers. Sullivan reaped between $300,000 and $600,000 lobbying for UBS between 2003 and 2008, according to data compiled by Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan government transparency group. Disclosure forms only require lobbyists to indicate a salary range, not a specific salary. Sullivan had several other lobbying clients during those same years. He has been described in the local Texas press as a member of Perry's trusted inner circle. Sullivan worked for Perry both in the governor's mansion and in the late 1990s when Perry was then lieutenant governor. Sullivan started working for UBS in May 2003. That November, Perry aggressively pushed the Texas teacher pension fund and state teacher associations to sign off on a UBS plan to take out life insurance policies and annuities on retired Texas teachers -- an elaborate scheme in which the state of Texas would serve as a something of a bookie, setting up Wall Street bets on how long those teachers would live..."

News Friday, Aug 26 2011

Omaha World-Herald: Bruning attained wealth in office

On August 25, 2011, the Omaha World-Herald reported:

In a little over a decade, Attorney General Jon Bruning has amassed a burgeoning business portfolio that puts him squarely in the multimillionaires' club. He has done it all while serving in office and earning $95,000 a year.

News Energy Wednesday, Aug 24 2011

Washington Times: Ties to coal industry rise as issue for Allen

On August 24, 2011 The Washington Times reported:   When the Environmental Protection Agency announced new smokestack standards for coal-burning…

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