Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 5:13 PM
Chaka Fattah Jr is suing the IRS agents, seeking nearly $1 million in damages. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

WASHINGTON – Chaka Fattah Jr., the son of Philadelphia U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), has amended his lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service to include the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice and now seeks punitive damages of $9.1 million, in addition to the nearly $1 million in damages he sought when he first filed his suit last week.

Fattah Jr. filed the amended suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, turning an 18-page filing into a sprawling 51-page compilation of allegations, harms and personal observations, sometimes in first person.

His suit details how Google now suggests damaging search terms in relation to his name after raids on his home and office appeared in news reports; his admiration for the way Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, once fought federal authorities; negative publicity that has hounded him, including a disparaging Tweet from the popular Philadelphia-based Web site Philebrity, and questions whether federal agents put him in danger by making his home address widely known when they visited his home at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton in 2012, with journalists waiting outside.

POSTED: Saturday, March 22, 2014, 10:44 AM
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Saturday that Western nations' “policies toward Russia require an urgent reexamination."

WASHINGTON – New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Saturday that Western nations' “policies toward Russia require an urgent reexamination” and again called for the U.S. and European Union to “seriously consider” economic sanctions.

Delivering the keynote speech to EU and NATO leaders in Brussels at the German Marshall Fund, the Democrat said there is “no greater and potentially transformational challenge than Russia’s aggression in Ukraine” and that the West’s reaction will have “world-shaping consequences.”

The fund is a think tank that promotes transatlantic cooperation. Menendez opened with another reference to the Russian sanctions that have banned Menendez and other U.S. officials and lawmakers from traveling to the country.

POSTED: Thursday, March 20, 2014, 2:16 PM

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bob Menendez has been banned from Russia.

The New Jersey Democrat, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an outspoken critic of Russia's annexation of Crimea, is one of six lawmakers and three top Obama administration aides who have been barred from visiting the country. The Russian government issued the bans in response to new U.S. economic sanctions.

Menendez, who is scheduled to deliver a keynote address in Brussels Saturday at a meeting of European Union and NATO leaders, took pride in the ban and even began a hashtag on Twitter: #SanctionedByPutin. It quickly took off with fellow lawmakers.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:35 PM

WASHINGTON – Tom MacArthur, a former insurance company executive now running for Congress in South Jersey, won the backing of the Ocean County Republican organization Wednesday night, consolidating support among the region's GOP leaders, but he'll face a primary against fiery conservative Steve Lonegan.

MacArthur had previously won support from the Burlington County GOP in his bid to replace U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.). Runyan is not seeking re-election in a district split between the two counties.

The endorsements mean Republicans are getting behind an ex-mayor with a more temperate message who can raise and spend significant amounts of money (MacArthur made millions in the insurance business). He and Lonegan, a proud and unbending conservative, will face off in a moderate district that is expected to draw national attention. National Democrats have named the race as one of their top 19 targets for flipping seats from Republican to Democratic control.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 11:41 AM

WASHINGTON -- Malvern businessman Mike Parrish has dropped out of the race to replace U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), leaving Manan Trivedi with a clear path to the Democratic nomination.

Trivedi, a physician, has twice run for the seat but lost both times to Gerlach. The incumbent, however, is not running for re-election this year, an opening that Trivedi hopes will change his fortunes. He and Parrish were expected to have a primary battle for the nomination.

Instead, the race for the Chester County-based seat has now crystallized into a contest between Trivedi and Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello, who has support from the Republican establishment.

POSTED: Friday, March 14, 2014, 10:10 AM
Democrat Cory Booker won a special election into the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

WASHINGTON – Cory Booker promised to be a new kind of senator, and he gave a glimpse of what he meant during Democrats' recent push to restore benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Booker, a New Jersey Democrat elected in October, emphasized his social media outreach as talked about his efforts to build pressure for a deal that could reinstate emergency unemployment benefits. He was one of 10 senators involved in negotiations that culminated in a bipartisan agreement Thursday.

“We had over 1.8 million contacts over social media, direct engaging over 100,000 people,” Booker said in a telephone interview, sounding like the young tech executives he counts as friends and supporters. “All of this going on kept the issue at the forefront.”

POSTED: Thursday, March 13, 2014, 5:11 PM

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat, hopes to spark international progress on brain research by helping create a formal partnership between U.S. and European researchers.

Fattah on Wednesday night announced plans that he said would create “the most significant scientific collaboration ever on brain research.”

Fattah said he had been asked to develop a memorandum of understanding to link researchers from the U.S. BRAIN Initiative and the European Union’s Human Brain Project.

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.

Reach Jonathan at jtamari@phillynews.com.

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