David Doud, a former local and state candidate in Washington state, has started a candidate verification firm in the Seattle area that is looking to offer the political version of the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.
CandidateCheck would allow a candidate to tell voters that an independent, nonpartisan third party verified that they are who they say they are. The process includes a self-verification of their credentials, including education, military records and professional certifications, as well as a voluntary criminal- and civil-records check.
"That's the distinguishing feature because everybody right now that participates in that endorsement, credentialing process has a stake in the outcome of the election," Doud said in an interview. "But we are just in the business of information, so there is no agenda and no stake in the outcome."
The firm, started late in the 2010 cycle, also offers its services to organizations that want to ensure the candidate they support has nothing to hide, as well as to candidates looking for research on an opposing candidate. It also does a social media scrubbing for candidates to see what results from a Google search.
"This is a proven private-sector practice," Doud said. "Even my kids' Boys & Girls Club soccer coach has to go through a background check. ... The time has come in the political process."
Obama Adds Adviser; DNC Does Faith Outreach
President Barack Obama's campaign announced Monday that Broderick Johnson is joining the campaign as a senior adviser, national surrogate and representative in meetings with leaders, communities and organizations.
"Broderick joins the campaign with the insight of many years of experience in public service and on campaigns, including the 2008 campaign," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement.
Johnson was an informal adviser to the Obama campaign in 2008 and a senior adviser for Congressional affairs on Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign, and he served in senior roles in the White House late in President Bill Clinton's administration.
Meanwhile, NPR's Michele Norris, Johnson's wife, announced she will step down as host of "All Things Considered" until after the 2012 elections. Norris said she would remain with NPR to work on features and reporting projects not related to election coverage.
Also, the Democratic National Committee announced last week the hire of the Rev. Derrick Harkins as director of faith outreach.
"In 2008, President Obama built an unprecedented religious outreach operation. We saw gains with Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants and other communities of faith," DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard said in a statement. "The hire of Rev. Harkins to lead our efforts here at the DNC should be a clear sign to everyone that Democrats will be making our case to voters motivated by their faith and values in 2012."
FP1 Plus One
FP1 Strategies announced last week the hiring of Alex Johnson as senior vice president.
Johnson is a former partner at Avalanche Advisors, a state affairs firm, and previously was founding executive director of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee and the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association.
At FP1 — based in Washington, D.C., and led by GOP consultants Terry Nelson, Jon Downs and Danny Diaz — Johnson will continue state public affairs work and perform general consulting, communications strategy and media consulting for campaigns.
"We are incredibly pleased to have Alex join the team. His knowledge of the state politics and policymaking process will be invaluable to our clients," Nelson said in a statement.
There was some big news in the presidential campaigns over the weekend. Time magazine's Mark Halperin reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry was for the first time bringing in campaign consultants from outside his Austin circle with the hires of Nelson Warfield and Curt Anderson.
The publication reported that they would focus on work for the message and media team, joining Perry's longtime media consultant David Weeks to produce ads.
Politico also reported that the campaign added Tony Fabrizio, the chief strategist and pollster for former Sen. Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign.
Warfield was a top spokesman for Dole in 1996, and all three of the new Perry hires worked on Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) 2010 campaign.
The Texas Tribune also reported Monday that Joe Allbaugh, who ran President George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, will be named a senior adviser to the campaign, sharing duties with longtime Perry adviser Dave Carney.
The Perry campaign confirmed those reports in a Monday press release, which also stated that Jim Innocenzi will serve as a media consultant and Fred Maas as a senior adviser.
Granite State Drama
Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) campaign took a hit late last week when WMUR-TV, an ABC affiliate in New Hampshire, reported the departure of all five of her paid staffers in the state.
According to ABC News, the departures included state campaign manager Jeff Chidester, Nicole Yurek, Tom Lukacz, Matt LeDuc and Caroline Gigler. Team Bachmann denied knowledge of any resignations Friday, but several news outlets reported that the five released a letter Monday confirming that they had indeed quit en masse. The staffers said they remained loyal to Bachmann but "no longer have faith in the national team."
Meanwhile, the Bachmann campaign announced Monday the addition of business executive James Pollack as national finance chairman.
"Jim's years of experience in the business and financial industry, as well as his strong Midwestern roots makes him an optimum choice as we expand our campaign in preparation for the upcoming caucuses," Bachmann said in a statement.
Amy Tarkanian Gets Full Term
Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian was elected to a full two-year term Saturday, the same day the party voted to push back its presidential caucuses by three weeks to Feb. 4.
As the Associated Press reported, Tarkanian, who took over the committee in June from Rep. Mark Amodei when he resigned to run in a special election, ran unopposed for the post. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday that she had earned the support of the state's top two Republicans, Gov. Brian Sandoval and Sen. Dean Heller.
At the party's state central committee meeting Saturday, it also opposed a measure to allow same-day voter registration, the AP reported.
Fisching For Nelson
Deb Fischer, one of several Republicans challenging Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), recently announced her campaign consulting team.
Fischer, a state Senator, has brought on Rob Autry, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, as pollster; Doug McAuliffe as media strategist; Brandon Winfrey to handle PAC and national fundraising; and Aaron Trost as campaign manager.
Nelson, who has not yet said for sure whether he's running for re-election, is one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the Senate. Other top GOP challengers include state Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg.
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From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.