Politics and Government

It's All Politics
6:03 am
Sun May 18, 2014

How A Conservative Darling Could Lose His Conservative State

With his wife Mary by his side, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback addresses supporters before formally filing for reelection on Thursday at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback's reelection might have been a slam dunk, but he's managed to anger enough constituency groups that now he faces a real race.
John Milburn AP

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 11:39 am

There's been nothing but bad news lately for Gov. Sam Brownback.

The FBI is investigating close associates of the Kansas Republican, including his former chief of staff, for possible lobbying and fundraising improprieties, as well as sweetheart deals involving state business.

Brownback dismisses it as a "smear" campaign. Nothing may come of it, but it's certainly made for some bad press.

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It's All Politics
1:12 pm
Sat May 17, 2014

High On Tea Party Hit List, Idaho Congressman Looks To Hold On

Idaho Republican House candidate Bryan Smith is trying to unseat eight-term GOP Rep. Mike Simpson. The May 20 primary is viewed as a contest of Tea Party vs. establishment.
Kim Raff AP

Originally published on Sun May 18, 2014 10:51 am

Mike Simpson has been atop the Tea Party hit list for much of this election year.

And Tuesday's primary contest between the Idaho Republican congressman and Tea Party challenger Bryan Smith had been billed as a big one in a string of GOP primary mashups that would signal the sway of the Tea Party faction — or the ability of traditional conservatives like Simpson to fight back in a deep red state.

"It's been a real-deal campaign here in Idaho," says Skip Smyser, the conservative founder of Boise-based government relations firm Lobby Idaho.

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Politics and Government
10:21 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Reactions To Negotiated Oklahoma State Budget for FY15

Reactions so far to the announced budget deal between the Governor's office the the Oklahoma House and Senate leaders are focusing on different aspects of the plan that require cuts for 52 state agencies, increases to others and flat spending to seven more.

State Republican leaders are generally positive about the negotiated agreement while reactions from the Oklahoma Policy Institute and the Oklahoma Sierra Club describe their concerns.

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Oklahoma Legislative Budget
9:02 am
Sat May 17, 2014

FY15 Oklahoma Legislative Appropriation Deal A Mixture of Cuts and Increases

Governor Mary Fallin yesterday released details of the appropriations agreement between her office and the Oklahoma legislative branches for Fiscal Year 2015.

The information from the Governor’s office said the agreement would set a FY 15 appropriated budget of $7,121,723,873, which is $102.1 million, or 1.4 percent, less than the FY 2014 appropriated budget, which is $7,223,824,517 with supplemental funding included.

The budget agreement uses targeted spending cuts, increases to others, flat appropriations to several, and a reconciliation of several state agency accounts to close a $188 million shortfall in funds certified for appropriations.

The details include:

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Indian Times
7:08 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Review: News Affecting Indian Country

Credit Susan Shannon

Tobacco Tax Compact Negotiated

A new tobacco tax compact between the Kialegee Tribal Town and the state of Oklahoma is now in effect. Each of the state's 38 federally recognized Indian tribes can negotiate a compact with the state that determines how much of the $1.03-per-pack tax is distributed between the state and the tribe.  The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma will collect 30 percent of all Kialegee compact taxes - or all applicable state taxes - on the sale of any cigarette or other tobacco product that is subject to the compact from Feb. 1 of this year through the end of 2015. That amount increases to 40 percent in 2016, 45 percent in 2017 and 50 percent in 2018. The compact expires at the end of 2018.

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House Republicans Oppose The Project
3:50 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Unfinished Museum May Remain Unfinished

Credit American Indian Cultural Center And Museum

Gov. Mary Fallin's chief budget negotiator says a plan to spend $40 million to complete an unfinished Indian museum near downtown Oklahoma City is apparently dead for this session.

Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said Friday the proposal "is dead for now."

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Commentary
3:01 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Week In Politics: Karl Rove, Eric Shinseki And A Slew Of Primaries

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 7:00 pm

Regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and David Brooks of The New York Times, discuss the kerfuffle over Karl Rove's remarks on Hillary Clinton's health, the upcoming primaries in six states, the death of Watergate conspirator Jeb Magruder and the continuing tensions surrounding Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The Two-Way
2:45 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Watergate Conspirator Jeb Stuart Magruder Dies At 79

Jeb Stuart Magruder, then a Presbyterian minister, in 1995. Magruder, a top Nixon campaign official who went to prison for his role in Watergate, died on Sunday in Danbury, Conn.
Breck Smither AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 3:41 pm

Jeb Stuart Magruder, a former Nixon campaign official who pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in the Watergate break in and coverup, has died at 79.

Magruder, who became a Presbyterian minister after serving seven months in federal prison over the Watergate affair, died on Sunday of complications from a stroke, according to a death notice published by a Connecticut funeral home.

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It's All Politics
2:39 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

A Role Reversal In Pennsylvania's Race For Governor

Tom Wolf, who leads in polls for Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial nomination, shakes hands with a customer at a Mount Lebanon, Pa., hardware store on Thursday.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 3:56 pm

If the polls are correct, the Pennsylvania governor's race is poised to see the usual political script flipped.

The Republican incumbent, Gov. Tom Corbett, is using a populist attack against the challenger who is leading the Democratic primary field — accusing Tom Wolf of being an opportunistic businessman who profited at the expense of taxpayers and workers.

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The Two-Way
2:14 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Top VA Health Official Resigns Amid Scandal Over Treatment Delays

Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Robert Petzel testifies Thursday on Capitol Hill. Petzel tendered his resignation from the VA on Friday.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 4:49 pm

This post was updated at 5:45 p.m. ET.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki says he has accepted the resignation of the department's undersecretary for health, a day after both men testified before Congress about a growing controversy over delays in treatment.

"Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs," Shinseki said in a statement cited by Reuters.

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