Morning Briefing: January 26, 2012

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will introduce Super PAC Transparency Legislation. This updated version of last year’s proposed DISCLOSE Act is “designed to bring an increased level of transparency to campaign-related expenditures.”

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) are both working to change the controversial language on detainees in a defense reauthorization bill recently signed by President Obama. The rare bipartisan effort illustrates that strong opposition to the bill continues. Landry, a member of the Tea Party Caucus who has introduced a bill in the House to clarify the law, said, “Any statute that could possibly be interpreted to allow a president to detain American citizens without charge or trial is incredibly alarming.”

According to a Bloomberg survey, two-thirds of international investors say “a tax break allowing private equity and hedge-fund executives to pay lower tax rates than many average Americans isn’t warranted.” Mitt Romney has benefited from such tax rates.

A new poll finds that Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-TX) approval rating is at a new low in Texas after his failed, five-month bid for the presidency. In the first survey to gauge the impact of Perry’s run, nearly half of respondents say his campaign “hurt the state’s image, and a majority voiced disapproval for a possible Perry re-election bid.”


When President Obama arrived in Phoenix yesterday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) claims Obama confronted her about how Brewer characterized him in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast. “He was a little disturbed about my book,” Brewer said. In response, the White House put out its own statement saying that the governor invited Obama to meet with her, but the president told her she did not accurately describe their last meeting in her book.

President Obama has asked the Justice Department to create a mortgage crimes task force to investigate and prosecute those responsible for abusive lending and mortgage practices during the housing boom. New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman, who has led investigations into such practices as AG, will head the task force.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) pulled President Obama aside after his Tuesday State of the Union Address to solicit support for his bill that would ban Capitol Hill lawmakers and their staffs from insider trading. President Obama said he would ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to “get it done.”

And finally: In honor of the Kentucky legislature’s nod to the Newport Aquarium, Paula the penguin decided to christen the state Senate floor — with poop. A state senator was presenting her resolution to recognize the aquarium’s work when the Senate President David Williams asked, “Are we talking about the penguin that just defecated on the floor?” Williams added, “Well let’s see if Miss Kentucky can top that!”

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