Wednesday, November 25, 2015

POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2015, 3:20 PM
Rep. Chaka Fattah (Ed Hille / Staff Photographer)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Chaka Fattah’s campaign fund is nearly empty and his leadership PAC is in the red. Now, a new filing shows that his legal defense fund spent $100,000 on lawyers in its first month of operation, while raising $19,000 from the congressman’s allies.

Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat fighting federal corruption charges, kept the fund afloat by loaning it $85,000 from his own pocket and giving it $5,000 from his political leadership PAC, leaving a $9,000 balance as of Sept. 30, the date of the fund’s first public filing with the IRS.

The report adds to the picture of mounting costs for a lawmaker whose charges stem from difficulties raising money. The accusations center on Fattah's alleged scheme to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan when he ran for mayor. Fattah has said he is innocent.

POSTED: Monday, October 19, 2015, 11:32 AM
Vice President Joe Biden attends a meeting between President Barack Obama and President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea in the Oval Office on Oct. 16, 2015, in Washington. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Did a freshman Philadelphia congressman just break major political news?

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter this morning to his 2,650 followers that Vice President Joe Biden will run for president.

POSTED: Thursday, October 15, 2015, 12:50 PM
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. (MARK WILSON / Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) continues to far outpace his potential Democratic rivals in the push for campaign money ahead of the 2016 Senate race.

Toomey raised nearly $2 million from July through September, his campaign said Thursday. His figures indicate that Toomey is also gearing up his campaign spending: his cash on hand increased by only around $300,000 in that same period, to $8.6 million as of September 30.

Toomey’s campaign said 85 percent of his donations were under $200. “We’re seeing strong support from every corner of the commonwealth for Pat’s common sense, principled, approach to creating jobs, cleaning up the fiscal mess in Washington, and keeping our communities safe,” said Toomey spokesman Steve Kelly.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 1:08 PM

WASHINGTON -- Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Philadelphia Thursday afternoon to raise money for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, according to two Pennsylvania Democratic sources.

The former president is due in Center City around mid-day in a state where much of the political establishment has lined up behind his wife's campaign. The sources spoke about the trip on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity around the former's president's schedule.

Bill Clinton has kept a relatively low profile in the campaign so far, but in the past month has stepped up his fund-raising efforts, according to one of the sources. This is believed to be his first visit to Pennsylvania for the 2016 campaign.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 10:48 AM
Democrat Katie McGinty. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)

UPDATED below with comments from Sestak.

WASHINGTON – A nurse’s union endorsed Democrat Katie McGinty in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race Wednesday – two years after first backing one of her party rivals, Joe Sestak.

The executive director of the union, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, said Sestak had failed to support with the nurses, prompting them to pull their endorsement.

POSTED: Thursday, October 8, 2015, 9:50 AM
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. (MARK WILSON / Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats plan to introduce a package of bills today to tighten gun laws – and pile pressure on vulnerable Republicans -- but Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, who in 2013 was a key Republican on the issue and faces re-election next year, said Thursday he was worried about the “partisan” effort now being advanced.

“While I welcome the renewed interest of my senate colleagues in this critical issue, I worry that a partisan and unbalanced approach will receive even less support than the 54-vote majority the Manchin-Toomey amendment received,” Toomey said in a statement Thursday morning, ahead of a Democratic news conference. He was referring to the bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) that would have expanded background checks in the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook School hooting. 

A spokeswoman said Toomey was not consulted on the new Democratic-led push.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 12:01 PM
Democrat Katie McGinty raised slightly more than $1 million in her first two months since entering the Pennsylvania Senate race, her campaign said Wednesday in its first show of financial strength since she joined the contest. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON – Democrat Katie McGinty raised slightly more than $1 million in her first two months since entering the Pennsylvania Senate race, her campaign said Wednesday in its first show of financial strength since she joined the contest.

McGinty’s total, with the help of some of Pennsylvania’s most prominent Democratic voices, tops the best quarter rival Democrat Joe Sestak has posted to date: $728,000 from April through June.

Democratic insiders had been eyeing McGinty’s haul as a first test of whether she could mount a credible campaign to win the Democratic nomination against Sestak, a former Delaware County Congressman, and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman. They are competing to take on incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey next year.

POSTED: Thursday, October 1, 2015, 10:07 AM
Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) at the NAACP conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on July 13, 2015. (MICHAEL PRONZATO / Staff Photographer, file)

WASHINGTON – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is part of a broad coalition of lawmakers introducing a sweeping criminal justice reform package this morning, hoping to cut mandatory minimum sentences, better prepare inmates for life after prison time and improve the chances for those leaving incarceration.

“After years of the justice system being broken, we’re announcing a solid step forward toward reform,” Booker, a Democrat, said in an interview ahead of a 10 a.m. news conference. He called the bill, negotiated with Democrats and Republicans, “a number of really good strides on a much longer journey.”

Criminal justice reform has been Booker’s top priority since joining the Senate. At a press conference with four other Democrats and four Republicans, he said that even though it's not senatorial he wished he could hug the rest of the group on stage.

About this blog

Jonathan Tamari is the Inquirer’s Washington correspondent. He writes about the lawmakers, politics and policy that affect Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Tamari previously covered the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL. Before that he worked in Trenton, reporting on the characters and color of New Jersey state government. He lives in Washington.

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