- Star witness to stay mum for House hearing on IRS
WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee taking Congress' latest look at the Internal Revenue Service's mistreatment of tea party groups will apparently have to do so without input from the star witness.IRS official Lois Lerner will invoke her constitutional right to not answer questions on Wednesday at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, her lawyer told the panel in a letter.
- GOP questions IRS scrutiny of anti-abortion groups
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — When a small anti-abortion group in Iowa sought nonprofit status, the IRS asked its board to promise not to organize protests outside Planned Parenthood and demanded to know how its prayer meetings and protest signs were educational.Although the Coalition for Life of Iowa's application was ultimately approved in 2009, the tax collection agency's treatment of that and other anti-abortion groups has gotten new attention in the wake of an ongoing scandal over the alleged targeting of conservative groups.
- Anthony Weiner launches bid to become NYC mayor
NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Weiner's run for a renaissance is officially on.The ex-congressman whose career imploded in a rash of raunchy tweets two years ago said in a YouTube video announcement late Tuesday that he's in the New York City mayoral race. He'd said last month he was considering it.
- Republican divisions may hinder party's momentum
WASHINGTON (AP) — A string of unrelated events is highlighting divisions among Republicans just when they'd like to show a united front and take full advantage of President Barack Obama's latest political problems.Tensions between libertarian-leaning and more mainstream Republicans were on vivid display Tuesday as Sens. Rand Paul and John McCain clashed over Apple Inc.'s tax-avoidance strategies. Paul, a tea party favorite and son of a libertarian hero, had feuded earlier with McCain — the party's 2008 presidential nominee — over the use of unmanned aircraft to kill suspected terrorists.
- Gov't dysfunction may be baked into the system
WASHINGTON (AP) — The works do seem to be "gummed up" on Capitol Hill. And President Barack Obama isn't the only one to say so.Yet despite years of hand-wringing in both parties, little progress has been made toward changing congressional rules on filibusters, senatorial "holds" on presidential nominees and other stalling ploys.
- Immigration bill heads to full Senate
WASHINGTON (AP) — A far-reaching bill to remake the nation's immigration system is headed to the full Senate, where tough battles are brewing on gay marriage, border security and other contentious issues, with the outcome impossible to predict.The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure 13-5 Tuesday night, setting up an epic showdown on the Senate floor after Congress' Memorial Day recess. The legislation is one of President Barack Obama's top domestic priorities — yet it also gives the Republican Party a chance to recast itself as more appealing to minorities.
- Garcetti builds growing lead as LA picks new mayor
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Councilman Eric Garcetti, who jammed with pop star Moby and fashioned himself as a voice for a new generation of city leaders, has opened a growing lead in the race for Los Angeles mayor with the pool of uncounted ballots steadily shrinking.Garcetti, 42, who made a mark helping resuscitate neighborhoods from the gritty edge of downtown to Hollywood, held a 53 percent to 46 percent margin over city Controller Wendy Greuel, with about 60 percent of the precincts reporting and tens of thousands of mail-in ballots tallied. Both are Democrats.
- Will Senate bid lure Rogers from his House seat?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Rep. Mike Rogers has pulled off a rare feat in a bitterly divided Congress — a working, productive relationship with Democrats in overseeing the nation's 16 spy agencies.The question now is whether the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee sticks around the House or fulfills GOP hopes and launches a bid for the U.S. Senate seat from Michigan.
- House panel seeks to curb military sexual assaults
WASHINGTON (AP) — Determined to check the growing epidemic of sexual assaults in the armed forces, a House panel is poised to approve a series of revisions to longstanding military law. They include stripping commanding officers of their unilateral authority to change or dismiss a court-martial conviction and requiring that service members found guilty of sexual offenses be dismissed or dishonorably discharged.The House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the changes, which are supported by Republicans and Democrats and reflect congressional outrage over the poor results that military leaders have achieved in their drive to change the culture within the ranks to combat sexual assault.
- Officials say Benghazi suspects under surveillance
WASHINGTON (AP) — Five men are under round-the-clock U.S. surveillance in Libya, wanted for questioning in the attack last year on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. The White House believes there is enough proof for a military force to seize them as terrorist suspects, officials say, but prefers to wait until investigators have enough evidence to try them in a U.S. civilian courtroom.The decision not to seize the men militarily underscores the White House aim to move away from hunting terrorists as enemy combatants and toward a process in which most are apprehended and tried by the countries where they are living, or arrested by the U.S. with the host country's cooperation and tried in the U.S. criminal justice system. Using military force to detain the men might also harm fledgling relations with Libya and other post-Arab Spring governments with which the U.S. is trying to build partnerships to hunt al-Qaida as the organization expands throughout the region.