independents

Bank Group Plans Midterm Ads, Starting With Tester, Budd
Six-figure ad buys on the way in Montana and North Carolina

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will get a helping hand from the American Bankers Association in his re-election bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The American Bankers Association said Wednesday it would weigh into midterm congressional campaigns for the first time with independent expenditure TV ads, beginning with “six-figure” buys in Montana and North Carolina.

“These ads are a concrete example of our stepped-up political engagement efforts,” American Bankers Association President Rob Nichols told hundreds of bankers at the association’s government relations conference in Washington Wednesday.

Hunter Trying to Set Up Legal Defense Fund
Comes as he faces federal investigation over use of campaign funds

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., faces a challenge from two other Republicans, three Democrats and an independent in his bid for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Embattled California Rep. Duncan Hunter is trying to set up a legal expense fund as he faces a federal criminal investigation for misuse of campaign dollars.

The legal defense fund would allow people to contribute more than the limits set for campaign contributions, the San Diego-Union Tribune reported.

White House Uses Obama to Try to Salvage Jackson Nomination
Trump opens door to let VA nominee see himself out, Democrats question White House vetting

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House is trying to salvage Ronny Jackson’s nomination for Veterans’ Affairs secretary by citing former President Barack Obama, even after President Donald Trump publicly advised him to step aside.

Hours after Trump told reporters he would not continue as the nominee if he were in the White House physician’s shoes, a senior official shared information touting Jackson’s record. The information included praise from Obama, including the 44th president’s recommendation that Jackson, a Navy officer, be promoted ahead of his peers.

Supreme Court to Weigh Legality of Trump’s Travel Ban
Not even the Supreme Court can escape hearing about Trump’s Twitter feed

Trump's travel ban sparked protests when it was announced in January 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a challenge to the Trump administration’s travel ban, the first major high court test of one of President Donald Trump’s signature campaign issues and a key piece of his tough-on-immigration efforts.

The showdown is shaping up to be among the highest-profile cases of the court’s current term, with a line forming along First Street NE on Sunday for seats in the courtroom.

Health Groups Voice Concerns Over Short-Term Plan Proposal
Industry frets that premiums will rise, choice will go down

People shop for health insurance in Miami during the open enrollment period last November. Advocacy groups are concerned an expansion of short-term plans could push up premiums for plans sold on health exchanges. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

The health care industry is largely united in its opposition to the Trump administration’s proposal to expand how long people can be covered by short-term health plans.

Health care and advocacy groups raised concerns about allowing consumers to maintain a short-term insurance policy for just under 12 months rather than the current 90 days, providing an alternative type of coverage to that sold on the marketplaces set up under the 2010 health care law. Their comment letters to the administration predicted that the proposal would drive up premiums and decrease consumers’ choices for plans sold on the exchanges.

Republican Debbie Lesko Wins Arizona Special Election
Victory keeps seat in GOP hands but margin could give Democrats hope

Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko is heading to Congress after winning the special election in Arizona’s 8th District. (Courtesy Debbie Lesko/Flickr)

Updated Wednesday, 12:04 a.m. | Former Republican state Sen. Debbie Lesko won the special election in Arizona’s 8th District on Tuesday night, but her victory margin for a seat that President Donald Trump easily carried in 2016 appeared to be relatively slim.

The Associated Press called the race with Lesko leading Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, 53 percent to 47 percent in early ballots, which accounted for an estimated 75 percent of the total votes cast, according to the Arizona secretary of state’s office. The seat opened up after former GOP Rep. Trent Franks resigned in December amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Warren Challenger Sues to Keep ‘Fake Indian’ Signs Up
Shiva Ayyadurai calls city’s order to remove signs a ‘political vendetta’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren challenger Shiva Ayyandurai is suing to keep these signs on a school bus in front of his office. (Shiva Ayyadurai via Facebook)

An independent Senate candidate in Massachusetts is suing to keep his sign calling Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren a “fake Indian” in place.

Shiva Ayyadurai is suing the city of Cambridge after he was told to remove two signs with Warren wearing an Indian headdress, the Washington Times reported.

Here’s What Tonight’s Arizona 8th Special Election Means for 2018
Race to replace Rep. Trent Franks in the 8th District is Tuesday

Voters in Arizona’s 8th District will choose between Republican Debbie Lesko and Democrat Hiral Tipirneni on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The special election in Arizona’s 8th District will set the stage for a hotly contested Senate race and a handful of competitive House races in the Grand Canyon State. And both parties are watching for indications of what’s to come in November.

More than 150,000 people have already voted in the contest to replace Republican Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned in December amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Democrats are hopeful they can make the race close even though President Donald Trump carried the suburban Phoenix-based district by 21 points in 2016. And Republicans know analysts will be looking at the outcome for signs of a potential blue wave.

After Coons Demonstrates Comity, Pompeo Avoids Dubious Distinction
Old Senate traditions on display as Delaware Democrat pairs with Georgia Republican

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., confer Monday before a tense committee markup on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of State. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo narrowly avoided historical ignominy on Monday when the Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination to be secretary of State.

It took more steps to advance President Donald Trump’s nominee than anyone might have anticipated going into the meeting, including what in the modern Senate was a magnanimous gesture from Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.

Intern Success Story: How to Get Hired Right Away
‘I tried to add value to whatever I did,’ former Perdue intern Jenni Sweat says

Jenni Sweat, from the office of Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., took online classes and independent studies to finish college. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Jenni Sweat was such a stellar intern that she stayed in Sen. David Perdue’s office instead of returning to school for her last semester of college.

Sweat started her unpaid internship in the Georgia Republican’s office in January 2017. She was a 20-year-old junior at the University of Georgia and received a scholarship to be part of her college’s internship program.