Monday Morning Must-Reads
PRESS-REGISTER: This week in Alabama politics (Political Skinny)
Former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis continued to draw headlines for his conversion from a Birmingham Democrat to a Virginia Republican. The GOP announced that Davis will be a featured speaker at its national convention later this month in Tampa. It’s a remarkable evolution for Davis, who just four years ago spoke on behalf of Barack Obama at the Democratic convention in Denver.
The Alabama Democratic Party booted Harry Lyon off the ballot in the race for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Lyon was disqualified because of critical comments he made about homosexuals, supporters of same sex marriage and the state’s Republican justices. The party was expected to recruit a candidate to replace Lyon on the ticket against Republican Roy Moore.
BIRMINGHAM NEWS: $216,000 raised by Rep. Spencer Bachus for his legal defense
The biggest names in Birmingham business donated more than $216,000 to help Rep. Spencer Bachus pay his lawyers for work during a five-month ethics investigation, new documents show.
Seventy individuals, companies, associations and political action committees — most of them from Alabama — gave up to $5,000 each to Bachus’ legal defense fund between April and July, according to the disclosure forms Bachus filed with the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bachus in late April was cleared by the Office of Congressional Ethics of allegations that he used his official position to inform his personal investment decisions. The investigation, which began late last year, forced Bachus to hire attorneys and compile financial documents for the office to review.
Most of the money raised by the legal defense fund — $207,000 of it — went to two law firms in June and July; Bachus already had reported to the Federal Election Commission that he paid $422,000 in legal fees between December and April from his campaign account.
The legal defense fund was created in February and the August report was its first disclosure of any financial activity. Bachus now has three separate accounts that he raises money for: the legal defense fund, his own campaign account and a leadership PAC that he uses to support the campaigns ofÂ other Republican candidates.
Many of the donors to the legal defense fund are regular supporters of Bachus, who is running for an 11th term and is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
National & International Politics
POLITICO: Exclusive: FBI probed GOP trip with drinking, nudity in Israel
The FBI probed a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that involved drinking, numerous GOP freshmen lawmakers, top leadership staff — and one nude member of Congress, according to more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses.
During a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel, the sources told POLITICO. Other participants, including the daughter of another congressman, swam fully clothed, while some lawmakers partially disrobed. More than 20 people took part in the late-night dip in the sea, according to sources who were participants in the trip.
POLITICO: Todd Akin’s rape remark has GOP fretting
Rep. Todd Akin’s damning statement that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant is just the latest in a string of unforced errors by the GOP Senate candidate that has Republicans fretting about his chances of beating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
And a loss in Missouri would almost certainly quash the party’s hopes of reclaiming the Senate majority.
In just over a week since securing the GOP nomination, Akin has doubled-down on likening student loans to socialism, questioned the value of voting rights laws, called for the end of the federal school lunch program and then — in an interview that made national headlines — openly speculated about the consequences of “legitimate rape.”
It’s no wonder why McCaskill was more than happy to assist Akin’s primary campaign with an ad hailing him as “the true conservative.”
In a span of 12 short days, the six-term congressman’s performance has confirmed the worst fears of Republicans while breathing a burst of fresh hope into McCaskill’s underdog bid.
THE BLAZE: Newsweek’s latest cover may surprise you
Now, we all know Newsweek isn’t shy when it comes to controversial cover photos and headline stories. Indeed, on more than a few occasions, Newsweek Editor Tina Brown has had to defend the magazine’s less-than-flattering photos and oftentimes incendiary articles.
Everyone’s also familiar with the publication’s left-leaning tendencies, right? Right.
Well, that’s precisely why Newsweek’s latest cover may surprise you:
NATIONAL REVIEW: My Brother, Paul Ryan
Tobin Ryan reflects on his brother’s ascent.
By Robert Costa
About 30 minutes into our conversation about his brother, Tobin Ryan pauses and tells me that he can remember the details of that August day, 26 years ago, almost to the minute.
That morning, Tobin, then days away from starting his senior year at Notre Dame, woke up early. After a quick shower, he stepped quietly out of his family’s home in Janesville, Wis.
Tobin headed to a nearby restaurant. For an hour, he and one of his favorite high-school teachers reminisced and laughed. They talked about Fighting Irish football and old friends.
After coffee, Tobin and his former teacher shook hands and Tobin turned toward home. As he neared his house, he spotted an ambulance and strange men on his driveway.
“The paramedics were already there,” Tobin recalls, and their grave faces signaled what they would soon tell him.
His father, Paul M. Ryan, age 55, was dead.