outside groups

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

O’Rourke More Than Doubles Cruz’s Fundraising in Second Quarter
Democrat challenger raised $10.4 million compared to incumbent’s $4 million

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, announced he raised $10.4 million in the most recent fundraising quarter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz’s Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised more than double the amount the Republican incumbent raised in the second quarter of 2018.

O’Rourke’s campaign announced he raised $10.4 million in the most recent fundraising quarter from 215,714 individual contributions. 

GOP Senate Candidate Returns Contributions From Conservative PAC
FEC has questions for Club for Conservatives PAC

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter to Club for Conservatives PAC last month with questions about its previously filed reports. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn is locked in a competitive and expensive race for Senate. But the Tennessee Republican’s campaign decided to return a sizable contribution from a political action committee that’s facing scrutiny from campaign finance regulators.

“Club for Conservatives PAC did not meet our standards for transparency,” Blackburn campaign spokeswoman Abbi Sigler said. 

Kavanaugh Confirmation Fight Promises to Be Intense — and Expensive
Outside advocacy groups on both sides are already coming out swinging

President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy at an announcement ceremony in the White House on Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Outside advocacy groups began making hefty down payments overnight in the multimillion-dollar fight over President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, but the cash is unlikely to determine the fate of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The fierce fundraising appeals and grass-roots mobilization from both sides, including advertising buys in pivotal states, show the high stakes as senators prepare to weigh the potential successor to retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Trump Taps Brett Kavanaugh For Supreme Court, Rightward Shift in Mind
Schumer: Nominee should disclose personal views on abortion, other issues

President Donald Trump introduces Supreme Court pick Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his family on Monday night at the White House East Room. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump, seeking a rightward shift on the Supreme Court and to force vulnerable Senate Democrats into a tough vote, tapped D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Should Kavanaugh be confirmed by the Senate, it would give the president an early legacy with two high court appointments. Notably, while much about this presidency has been unconventional, how Trump has selected Supreme Court nominees has been routine — aside from the reality television-like flair in announcing them.

Abortion Not Focus of Trump’s SCOTUS Search, Key Adviser Says
Leo breaks with McConnell, says all four finalists would be confirmed by Senate

Pro-life protesters outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2016. A key adviser to President Donald Trump says that abortion rights have not been the focus of interviews with Supreme Court candidates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Abortion rights have not been the focus of interviews with Supreme Court candidates or internal White House debates about whom to nominate, says a key adviser to President Donald Trump who claims each of the four finalists would be confirmed by the Senate.

On the latter point, Leonard Leo, an executive with the conservative Federalist Society who is advising Trump on his second high court pick, broke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky Republican reportedly told Trump and White House counsel Donald McGahn last week that Judges Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge could be confirmed more easily than Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Outside Groups Ready for Supreme Court Fight
Organizations from both sides are already rallying supporters, hitting the airwaves

Liberal groups, worried about the future of federal abortion rights, have already begun piling on the pressure on Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, left, and Susan Collins of Maine.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The outside advertising deluge began well before President Donald Trump formally named his choice to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

With federal abortion rights potentially in the balance, television viewers in Alaska and Maine were already seeing commercials from the liberal group Demand Justice featuring a March 30, 2016, exchange between candidate Trump and MSNBC host Chris Matthews at an event in Wisconsin.

Analysis: Top Brow-Furrowing Moments From Trump’s Tax Bash
‘The economy is indeed doing well,’ president says before addressing newsroom murders

President Donald Trump on Friday asked invited guests if they were aware that the U.S. economy is the world’s largest. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

This might be remembered as the week President Donald Trump, back in campaign mode, got his sharp-tongued rhetorical groove back. And he kept it up Friday, even while making his first public remarks about a shooting at a Maryland newsroom that occurred roughly 30 miles from the White House and left five dead.

The president came to the White House’s East Room for a long-scheduled event on the six-month-anniversary of a GOP tax law he signed in late December with a prepared statement about the Annapolis shooting at the Capital Gazette office.

Public Sector Union Clout May Suffer After Janus Case
As fee requirement falls, unions’ political influence could follow

Illinois state employee Mark Janus stands outside the Supreme Court after hearing the decision in Janus v. AFSCME. The court ruled in his favor, throwing doubt on the future of public sector unions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Public sector unions, a backbone of organized labor’s political and policy influence, likely will face serious belt-tightening that could ultimately diminish their staffing and clout after one of the most consequential decisions of the Supreme Court’s term held that unions can no longer impose fees on nonmembers.

Representatives for unions and their conservative foes alike say they plan to take up new publicity campaigns in the aftermath of the court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Unions will promote the benefits of union membership while their opponents will highlight to workers that they need not pay the collective-bargaining fees any longer.

Crowley’s Defeat Spotlights Rising Anti-Corporate Money Message
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of dozens of Democratic candidates rejecting corporate PAC money

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley lost his primary in New York’s 14th District on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made rejecting corporate donations a centerpiece of her winning campaign to unseat a top House Democrat. But the message isn’t just resonating in liberal areas like New York City — it also worked for Conor Lamb

The Pennsylvania Democrat highlighted his pledge to reject corporate PAC money in his first television ad in the special election earlier this year, where he pulled off an upset in a district President Donald Trump carried by 20 points in 2016.