"Two Americas" John Edwards Indicted

John Edwards - Rielle Hunter
L.A. Times - The indictment says that Edwards conspired with two of his wealthy contributors to send checks to his girlfriend, and that the checks were secret campaign contributions. A contribution is defined broadly in the law as “anything of value” given “for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office.” Prosecutors allege the former senator was in fact accepting “contributions” to his own campaign when he arranged to have money sent to his girlfriend. One charge accuses him of making “false statements” — not by lying to the FBI or under oath, but instead by not reporting the secret contributions in the reports his campaign filed with the FEC. Trevor Potter, a former FEC chairman who represented Sen. John McCain in his presidential campaign, said election laws are complicated and that criminal charges are rare. “By statute, a matter is not criminal unless there is intent—evidence of a ‘knowing and willful violation’ of the law,” he said. These lawyers questioned how Edwards could be charged with a “knowing” violation of this law when it was not clear that the secret payments to a girlfriend qualified as “campaign contributions.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Is Weiner Being Frank?

Jonah Goldberg
Townhall - Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York is a very busy man. He sits on several important committees. He's newly married to a high-powered wife. He's planning a run for mayor of New York City, which they call "the city that never sleeps" for a reason. In fact, he's so busy that from 2007 to 2010, he reportedly racked up more than $2,000 in unpaid parking tickets in Washington, D.C., partly due to his penchant for parking his car --WeinerMobile, if you prefer -- with expired tags at a taxi stand. So when the busy Mr. Weiner was asked on Wednesday if he was the guy pictured in the photo of a man in tight gray briefs in a state of readiness the folks at NORAD might describe as "Defcon 1," the congressman responded that he just couldn't say for sure. "I don't know what photographs are out there in the world of me," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. And, really, who can blame him? I mean, how can we expect him to be able to keep track of all his groin shots, either in his personal archives or out there "in the world"? Read full column here: News New Mexico

Obama War in Libya Draws Stinging Rebuke

Washington Times - Crossing party lines to deliver a stunning rebuke to the commander in chief, the vast majority of the House voted Friday for resolutions telling President Obama he has broken the constitutional chain of authority by committing U.S. troops to the international military mission in Libya. In two votes — on competing resolutions that amounted to legislative lectures of Mr. Obama — Congress escalated the brewing constitutional clash over whether he ignored the founding document’s grant of war powers by sending U.S. troops to aid in enforcing a no-fly zone and naval blockade of Libya. The resolutions were non-binding, and only one of them passed, but taken together, roughly three-quarters of the House voted to put Mr. Obama on notice that he must explain himself or else face future consequences, possibly including having funds for the war cut off. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Bloomberg Still Calling Malaise "Unexpected"

Bloomberg - Payrolls grew at the slowest pace in eight months and the U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly climbed to 9.1 percent in May, reinforcing signs that a slowdown in the world’s largest economy is persisting into the second quarter. Employers added a less-than-projected 54,000 jobs last month, after a revised 232,000 gain in April that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for payrolls to rise 165,000. The jobless rate climbed to the highest level this year from 9 percent a month earlier. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Illegal drugs and terrorists create an American police state

Michael and Conrad
NMPolitics - What bothers me most about illegal drugs and terrorists is they are causing the American police state. With these perceived needs, the police authorities can abuse citizens with impunity. Example: Leaving Boston’s Logan International several years ago I went problem-free through the screening until I handed my itinerary to the last agent, who said, “Your itinerary is incorrect. Go back and correct it.”
“What do I need to correct?”
His eyes narrowed. “Your itinerary is incorrect. Go back and correct it.” At the airline’s counter the agent looked carefully at my itinerary and ticket. “No, this is correct. Go back and tell that TSA guy he is full of crap.” I blurted, “Not in this lifetime or the next am I telling a TSA official he is full of crap.” So I wandered back to the security checkpoint. The official who screened me was busy with someone else so I presented my itinerary to another screener. “Go ahead,” he said. Read full column Here: News New Mexico

Giffords & Pearce Request Border Security Hearing

Gabrielle Giffords
Washington, DC (June 2, 2011) On Tuesday, Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-02) and the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08) requested a field hearing on border security concerns from the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security. Pearce and Giffords’ office sent letters to Candice Miller, Chairman of the subcommittee, and Henry Cuellar, the subcommittee’s ranking member, requesting a field hearing on the southern border in Arizona or New Mexico. “The situation at our southern border is perilous,” said Pearce. “Constituents in southern New Mexico live in constant fear of drug smugglers and gangsters crossing onto their land, and putting their lives in jeopardy. Just last year, a prominent rancher near Douglas, Arizona, was murdered on his own land by suspected drug runners. Earlier this year, the mayor and police chief of Columbus, New Mexico, were arrested on suspicion of weapons trafficking. Despite sweeping declarations from Washington, our border, especially in rural areas, is not secure, and it is jeopardizing the safety of our citizens.” Pia Carusone, chief of staff for Giffords, agreed that a Congressional field hearing on this critical public policy issue is warranted.
Steve Pearce
“Congresswoman Giffords has long believed that border security is national security,” she said. “An essential step in strengthening both is for Washington decision-makers to see the border for themselves and hear directly from the people who live and work in our communities. A hearing on the border – not 3,000 miles away on Capitol Hill – will help us achieve these goals.” Pearce and Carusone added that the field hearing would give members of the committee the opportunity to view firsthand the porous conditions of our southern border, and also allow citizens of New Mexico and Arizona to tell their own personal stories.


GOP Brings Out the "Robo" Callers

Martin Heinrich
Ben Ray Lujan
According to the Albuquerque Journal, households in New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District will be receiving automated calls paid for by the National Republican Committee starting today. The calls will be critical of Rep. Ben Ray Luján for his vote on Wednesday to raise the country’s debt ceiling without requiring any entitlement reforms, spending cuts, or any other form of fiscal discipline. Luján and fellow Representative Martin Heinrich joined 96 House Democrats in a vote raise the national debt limit.


Lawyers Make Claims and Counter Claims

Gary King
Capitol Report New Mexico - Taxpayers angry and alarmed at allegations of “pay to play” schemes at the State Investment Council (SIC) that cost the agency — which handles more than $15 billion in state assets — millions of dollars are anxious to find out what really happened. But on Thursday (June 2), the attorney and client who have spent three years pursuing roughly the same case called a news conference claiming the state’s attorney general, Gary King, should step aside from the case because they say he has a number of conflicts of interest. And they made similar charges against the SIC’s chief investment officer and the SIC board’s vice-chairman. King responded by saying he sees no reason why he should recuse himself and fired back at the attorney’s charge, saying lawyer Victor Marshall “doesn’t seem to have the best interest of the state at heart.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

EIB Rejects EPA Effort to Shackle Power Plant

Capitol Report New Mexico - In a quicker than expected decision, the state’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) unanimously voted Thursday (June 2) to reject a measure backed by the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aimed at reducing regional haze from the San Juan power plant outside Farmington and chose to adopt a statewide plan that is less costly. The San Juan facility is operated by New Mexico’s largest utility, PNM, and is coal-fired. Conservation groups wanted the EIB to adopt measures suggested by the EPA aimed at reducing particulate matter emitted from the plant. But PNM officials said implementing the EPA measures at San Juan could cost close to a billion dollars, which would be passed on to PNM customers around the state. Instead, the utility company recommended a less expensive procedure — estimated at $77 million — although it would not improve air quality as much as the EPA plan. The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) sided with PNM during testimony in front of the EIB in Santa Fe Wednesday. Read full story here: News New Mexico