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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Senate Republicans continue to block Obama nominations - President Obama’s latest cabinet-level nominees are running into deep resistance in the Senate, pitching Democrats and Republicans into another tense standoff over White House appointments.

Republicans have objected to the nomination of Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, citing what they said were her insufficient responses to their questions. They have also sought to block the labor secretary nominee, Thomas E. Perez, a lawyer in the Justice Department, on the grounds that he is too political.

A third nominee, Penny Pritzker, a wealthy hotel heiress and a top Obama fund-raiser, has run into resistance since Mr. Obama put her name forward this month to be the next commerce secretary. Republicans are promising to scrutinize her family’s financial dealings, including their use of offshore accounts to reduce their taxes.
Nominees at all levels of Washington’s bureaucracy — 117 of them in all, including cabinet secretaries, judges and members of obscure oversight boards — are facing delays.  The NY Times has more here.


Watchdog report: IRS knew  in 2011of "tea Party" targeting - A senior Internal Revenue Service official knew in 2011 that IRS agents were giving extra scrutiny to conservative Tea Party groups, according to documents from a watchdog office obtained by Reuters on Saturday.

In a scandal that has already embarrassed the IRS and become a distraction for the Obama administration, a report from the Treasury Department's Inspector General For Tax Administration (TIGTA) was expected to be issued publicly next week on the IRS practice, who knew about it and when.

As more information emerged over the weekend, the White House said President Barack Obama was concerned about the conduct of a few IRS employees. has more here.


Richwine resigns from Heritage Foundation - Jason Richwine, the co-author of a study by the Heritage Foundation claiming immigration reform would add $6.3 trillion to the deficit, has resigned from his position at the conservative think tank.
Heritage had already sought to distance itself from Richwine amid reports that he suggested in a Harvard thesis and a panel at the American Enterprise Institute that the United States discourage various non-white groups from immigrating because they have lower IQs. He also wrote articles on Hispanic incarceration rates for a white nationalist website.

"Race is different in all sorts of ways, and probably the most important way is in IQ," Richwine said at the 2008 AEI panel. "Decades of psychometric testing has indicated that at least in America, you have Jews with the highest average IQ, usually followed by East Asians, then you have non-Jewish whites, Hispanics, and then blacks. These are real differences, and they're not going to go away tomorrow, and for that reason we have to address them in our immigration discussions and our debates."

A spokesman for Heritage, Mike Gonzalez, confirmed his departure to The Washington Examiner shortly after Slate's Dave Weigel first reported he was leaving. has more here.


Sharif claims victory in Pakistan election - For the first time in the country's 65-year history, a civilian government will complete a full term, and hand over power in democratic fashion. The voting is taking place despite recent attacks by the Taliban that killed more than 130 people, including many secular candidates.

Nawaz Sharif, a wealthy businessman who twice served as Pakistan’s prime minister in the 1990s and brought the country into the world’s nuclear club, appeared Saturday night to be headed to an unprecedented third term in the post.

Sharif, 63, who was toppled in a coup in 1999, had been widely favored to emerge as premier, but no party appeared to have won enough votes to claim a simple majority of the 272 directly elected National Assembly seats. Analysts projected that PML-N would win at least 100 seats.

Brokering a coalition government could take weeks. The Washington Post has more here.


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