Lobbyists on the floor

Lobbyists at the DNC; Romney's tax returns hacked; and other top Thursday stories

Topics: Democratic National Convention, 2012 Elections,

Lobbyists on the floor

Lobbyists on the floor: Despite a ban on corporate money for the convention, and President Obama’s harsh words for influence peddlers, lobbyists will be on the convention floor as delegates in Charlotte when he is nominated for a second term tonight. Lobbyists have been subjected to unprecedented restrictions under Obama, “but lobbyists remain a vital cog in the Democratic Party machine, and a number of them are serving as delegates at this week’s convention,” the Hill reports.

Hacked returns: The Secret Service is investigating the reported theft of copies of Mitt Romney’s tax returns during a break-in at an accounting office in Tennessee. An anonymous letter sent to Romney’s accounting firm and political offices in Tennessee and published online sought $1 million to prevent the disclosure of his tax filings. Of course, Romney has refused to release more than two years of returns thus far. Romney’s accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said “there is no evidence that our systems have been compromised or that there was any unauthorized access to the data in question.” But the Secret Service is investigating nonetheless.

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Israel flap mysterious: Democrats are struggling to explain why their platform excised language mentioning God and affirming that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The language was reinserted yesterday in a controversial floor vote, sparking one of the only unscripted moments of the convention. On CNN this morning, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schwartz said it was a “technical omission,” and that there was never any discussion or debate about it in the Rules Committee. She did not explain how the change did happen.

“Papers, please” pleas: A federal judge on Wednesday virtually cleared the way for Arizona to implement the most important part of the stata’s SB-1070 immigration law, requiring police to question suspected illegal immigrants’ immigration status. In a 12-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton rejected pleas by various civil rights groups for a new injunction to bar enforcement of what has been dubbed the “Papers, please” provision of Arizona’s SB-1070. That section spells out that if police have stopped someone for any reason, they must inquire about their immigration status if there is reason to believe they are in this country illegally. Challengers argued there was no way to enforce Subsection 2(b) without engaging in racial profiling.

Waterboarded again: “Days after the Justice Department closed out its criminal investigation of the deaths of two detainees while in the custody of the C.I.A., new information has surfaced calling into question official accounts of the extent of waterboarding by American interrogators. A new report by the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch, based on documents and interviews in Libya after the fall of its dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, includes a detailed description of what appears to be a previously unknown instance of waterboarding by the C.I.A. in Afghanistan nine years ago.” The claim, which clashes with statements of agency officials, says three high-level terrorism suspects were waterboarded and sent to Libya to be interrogated, the New York Times reports.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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