Daily Media Links 7/30: House Republicans may widen IRS inquiry; lawmakers to focus on audits of conservative nonprofits, IRS Chief Counsel Continues to Draw Critical Fire, and more…

Independent Groups
Washington Times: House Republicans may widen IRS inquiry; lawmakers to focus on audits of conservative nonprofits 
By Seth McLaughlin
House Republicans are weighing a major expansion of their investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives by looking into the audits of nonprofit groups, potentially opening another front in the scandal. 
Several leaders of 501(c)(3) groups find it fishy that they were audited by the IRS about the same time the agency increased scrutiny of applications from tea party and conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.   
Corporate Counsel: IRS Chief Counsel Continues to Draw Critical Fire
By Sue Reisinger
“In my seven years of working at a general counsel’s office, I have never once heard of our general counsel meeting with the President. OLC [White House Office of Legal Counsel] would go crazy if he did. I have worked on a couple of legal opinions that did go to the White House. And each time they were staffed through OLC,” the unidentified attorney wrote.  
The attorney went on, “So I can’t for the life of me come up with any kind of innocent explanation for why Obama would have met with the chief counsel of the IRS. That meeting shouldn’t ever happen, and especially not without the commissioner of the IRS being there.” 

Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

Washington Post: Congressional aide’s e-mail shows overture from drug lobby 
By Matea Gold
A senior aide to Rep. Colleen W. Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) told his colleagues late last month that the nation’s top drug lobby had agreed to run a campaign supporting the congresswoman’s challenge to Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and wanted to coordinate it with her strategists.  
Such an effort, described in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post, could run afoul of campaign finance laws, which prohibit candidates and their staff from substantial discussions with interest groups about their independent political activities.
Washington Post: Congress spends too much time fundraising. But it’s less time than you think. 
By Ezra Klein
It’s a snippet from a PowerPoint presentation to incoming freshmen by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that the Huffington Post got its hands on, and that caused lots of handwringing around Washington. 
And it is, indeed, a bummer: It implies that members of Congress should be spending the biggest chunk of their day fundraising (“call time” = fundraising, and “strategic outreach” can also = fundraising).

Lobbying and Ethics

Daily Mail: Huma Abedin made $355,000 by working for consulting firms while still employed by the State Department   
By Meghan Keneally
The discrepancy between her work for the government and the private sector first appeared in May as Weiner began to plot his campaign to become New York City’s next mayor. 
She did not disclose her work with Teneo as part of her financial report, which is a standard filing for government employees in order to make known any possible conflicts of interest.  


FEC: Background Information Regarding Proposed Enforcement Manual
By Don McGahn
The issue that ties together both points of our disagreement with OGC concerns the internal relationship between FEC Commissioners and their staff. FEC staff has functioned under what they have themselves called an “organic” process (meaning evolving and ad hoc), and as they recently admitted, staff practice has “not been uniform.”13 Several Commissioners, myself included, find this unacceptable, and believe that there must be written, Commission-approved policies that governs staff conduct, so as to assure the public that staff are operating under a set policy, and are not tempted to act in either a partisan or political manner. One need look no further than recent revelations regarding the Internal Revenue Service to appreciate what can occur in the absence of such standards.
State and Local
New York –– NY Daily News: NYC Campaign Finance Board Wallops Eric Gioia With $72K In Fines For 2009 Public Advocate Run
Gioia also took a nearly $13,000 hit for accepting over-limit contributions and a separate $10,850 fine for violating rules on donations from entities doing business with the city.  
“We disagree with the CFB’s interpretation of the law and their accounting,” said Gioia’s lawyer, Mark Sattinger. “In fact, Mr. Gioia’s campaign is owed over $30,000 in matching funds.”  
Virginia –– Washington Post: Va. first lady McDonnell spent thousands from husband’s PAC on clothes, other items 
By Laura Vozzella
Bob McDonnell won the 2009 governor’s race as several properties that he and his family bought for a combined $3.84 million at the height of the real estate boom had lost value. Maureen McDonnell complained to officials at Opportunity Virginia PAC that she didn’t have the wardrobe or resources necessary for her new role as first lady, according to a person familiar with the PAC’s operations, who spoke on condition of anonymity to maintain a relationship with the McDonnells.  

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