Thursday, April 10


POLITICS 1 Time is reporting that lobbyists and developer Lanny Young -- the man who claimed he gave illegal campaign contributions to former Governor Don Siegelman (D) -- also gave sworn statements to federal prosecutors that also have illegal campaign contributions and gifts to several prominent Alabama Republicans. Young's testimony formed the basis of half of the 32 felony counts the feds filed against Siegelman during his failed 2006 campaign to recapture the Governor's Mansion. According to the magazine, Young testified that other recipients of his illegal contributions included US Senator Jeff Sessions (R) and then-Attorney General Bill Pryor (R), who is now a federal judge. Young's testimony -- now that it has come to light -- seems to lend credence to Siegelman's claim that the Bush Administration selectively prosecuted only him on the charges due to political considerations purportedly advanced at the time behind the scenes by then-White House political advisor Karl Rove. Sessions is facing re-election this year, but is heavily favored over State Senator Vivian Davis Figures (D).

DEUTSCHE WELLE, GERMANY - Germany's Green Party is setting up a branch in the United States. The bottom-up initiative aims to bring a more international perspective to the party's work and combat anti-Americanism among some members back home. The chapter is due to be officially founded in Washington DC. It hopes to tap into the experiences of the growing number of Germans working in the US capital in international organizations, foundations and think tanks, as well as in the media, the culture industry and higher education. "We've discovered that there are a lot of Germans in town who are young, tolerant and cosmopolitan and who share Green values or are active in the Green party," said chapter co-founder Arne Jungjohann. "We want to offer them a platform.". . . It is the Greens' second branch abroad. The party also has a group based in Brussels, the headquarters of the European Commission.

PR WATCH For Mark Penn, who recently resigned as Hillary Clinton's chief campaign strategist, the campaign "has been about as effective an economic stimulus program for himself as anything his clients have ever proposed for the nation," reports Mike Madden. Penn's polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, has billed the campaign $14 million for polling, direct mail, and consulting services -- nearly 9 percent of her entire campaign expenditures. "Getting rich off free-spending campaigns is, of course, a time-honored tradition in politics, and it isn't just Mark Penn who does it," Madden adds, noting that campaign consultants to Barack Obama and John Kerry have also raked in millions of dollars. "Campaign finance experts say most people who give to candidates figure it's being spent on TV ads. What few of them know is how much of the 'TV ad' budget winds up paying for a consultant's beach house."

JOSH GOODMAN, GOVERNING A candidate for lieutenant governor in Missouri says he might not accept the office's full salary if elected. You can call that an act of generosity or a political gimmick. But the State of Missouri may call it a crime. . . It's against state elections law to promise to take a lower salary or pledge a portion of a public official's paycheck to charity to attract votes. The penalty is one year in jail or a fine of less than $2,500.

POLITICAL PUNCH, ABC NEWS - At a Michelle Obama event, reporters from the Carnegie-Mellon University student newspaper "observed one event coordinator say to another, 'Get me more white people, we need more white people.' To an Asian girl sitting in the back row, one coordinator said, 'We're moving you, sorry. It's going to look so pretty, though.' "'I didn't know they would say, "We need a white person here,"' said attendee and senior psychology major Shayna Watson, who sat in the crowd behind Mrs. Obama. 'I understood they would want a show of diversity, but to pick up people and to reseat them, I didn't know it would be so outright.'" . . . In any case, that Michelle Obama advance staffer just summed up the candidate's issues in Pennsylvania. They do, indeed, need more white people.

CBS - As polls continue to show Barack Obama maintaining a double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton in the May 6 North Carolina primary, The Associated Press reports that voter registration among blacks is soaring in the Tar Heel State. . . The AP reports that over 45,000 blacks registered to vote in the first three months of this year, while about 106,000 whites signed up to vote during the same period. Those numbers are both way up from 2004, when just over 11,000 blacks and 47,000 whites registered during the first quarter of that year, but the percentage increase of new black registrants was much higher than new whites.