Orlando Sentinel: Ex-Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer got $125,000 from fundraising deal, party lawyer says

Republican Party of Florida general counsel Jason Gonzalez said Wednesday ousted Chairman Jim Greer received at least $125,000 through the secret fundraising contract he and Delmar Johnson, the man he named the party’s executive director, signed with each other. Gonzalez is at the center of the civil suit Greer has filed in Seminole County Circuit Court, alleging that party leaders are trying to disgrace him for taking sides in the Charlie Crist-Marco Rubio U.S. Senate race and not paying him an agreed-to $123,000 in severance.

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The Hill: Senate Dems will move campaign finance legislation before July 4

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has pledged to bring new campaign finance legislation to the Senate floor before July 4, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday. Schumer said the new Disclose Act was designed to affect this fall’s midterm elections as much as possible. “Leader Reid has pledged this bill will be on the floor before July 4,” Schumer said Thursday, setting a timeline for the bill’s movement through the Senate. The legislation is a response to a Supreme Court decision earlier this year that lifted restrictions on corporate and union ads. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce had vowed to fight the legislation even before it was introduced.

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St. Petersburg Times: Charlie Crist will run for Senate with no party affiliation

Gov. Charlie Crist, a pariah in the Republican Party that has been vital to his success, will launch a risky political career today as a “people’s candidate” for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation. Wednesday, Crist began telling campaign donors of his decision, which he will announce at 5 p.m. at Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg, surrounded by family members, friends, local supporters and an army of media personnel. It will be an extraordinary event in Florida’s colorful political history, as a one-term governor who blew a 30-point lead in the Republican Senate primary is forced to run an unconventional race.

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Politico: The Wall Street-Washington divide

For all the money that has moved back and forth between Wall Street and Washington in recent years, what’s most striking is how little each understands, still, about the other. When young executives from Goldman Sachs appeared before a Senate panel Tuesday, members were taken aback by what they viewed as an arrogant and condescending tone; “smart asses,” said one conservative Republican. Yet by afternoon, there were flashes of sympathy for Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein as he tried to get senators to appreciate his pride in making the markets work — not just in profiting from “short” and “long” bets on derivatives. All this comes to bear now in a few lines in the giant bill that would force major banks to spin off their swaps operations or lose all federal aid, including access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window.

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The Hill: Senators call on Pentagon to better detect and prevent counterfeit parts

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) said the Pentagon needs to establish a uniform system to detect and prevent counterfeit parts from ending up in weapons. “This problem must be addressed now,” said Brown, the chairman of the Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy. “The people committing this fraud should be held accountable for endangering lives and threatening critical missions.” Apart from disrupting supply chains and delaying missions, counterfeit parts have the potential to seriously affect weapons’ performance.

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WSJ: Obama Administration Escalates Response to Gulf Oil Spill

The Obama administration Thursday escalated its response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as administration officials said for the first time that the disaster could prompt a rethink of President Barack Obama’s recently announced plan to allow expanded offshore oil and gas drilling. Administration officials outlined their stepped up response to the oil spill as a giant oil slick headed for a landfall as early as Friday evening

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WSJ: Finance Bill Hits Impasse

Republicans closed ranks Monday to block Democrats’ overhaul of financial regulation, a standoff that throws the sweeping legislation into a period of uncertainty. On a 57-41 vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes they needed to begin debate, even losing one of their own. The vote dramatized how politicized the debate has become on an issue once thought to be a ripe for cross-party cooperation. The legislation is intended to help prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, both the heavy speculation and lax supervision that led up to it, and the series of taxpayer-funded bailouts that followed.

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