New York Times’ Fitzsimmons/Zeleny report that “a leader of the church” where Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10) “claims he worked as a nursery school teacher” said 6/18 “that he had overstated his role there.” Forest Home Chapel council member Sally Grubb said “Kirk had a limited role while working part-time in a work-study program while he was a student” at Cornell Univ. nearly three decades ago.
Grubb: “He was never, ever considered a teacher. He was just an additional pair of hands to help a primary teaching person.”
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“Eight longtime members of the church,” including two ex-pastors, said “that they did not recall having a male nursery school teacher” in ‘81. Ex-pastor Thomas Wolfe: “I don’t remember any men who worked there. It was a team of women. I used to go over every morning and have coffee with them.”
A review of public comments by Kirk “over the last decade shows that he has often referred to himself in speeches, campaign commercials and interviews as a former nursery, middle and high school teacher.” Kirk spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski: “Congressman Kirk believes his time working in a nursery school and middle school provided valuable life experience.”
“Grubb said that she had told a representative of the Kirk campaign of her concerns when the campaign contacted her” to try to verify Kirk’s time at the nursery. “She said she had spoken to the teacher who led what was then a play group that met in the church basement.” The teacher had a “vague recollection” of having him as a work-study student, “but she did not remember his name.” She added that Kirk “did not have major responsibilities at the play group, like creating lesson plans, and he was assistant who played with the children” (6/18).
MSNBC’s “First Read” asks “when is this going to end for Kirk?” Treas. Alexi Giannoulias (D) “may be a flawed candidate,” but his camp’s ability “to cut Kirk as many times as it has” shows the Dem “has a first-rate campaign” (6/21).
“Capitol Fax“‘s Miller reports that “a top labor official said he approached last week” for a 5K donation to help the Constitution Party pay petition gatherers to get on the ballot. “The advantages are many to getting that party on” the ticket, especially with Kirk’s “voting record and his veracity troubles” (6/21).
NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I) hosted a fundraiser for Kirk in NYC 6/19 (Haberman, Politico, 6/18). Giannoulias proposed “creating a huge construction fund to help modernize” the nation’s transportation systems 6/20. He said he would end “some tax breaks for oil and natural gas companies” to pay for the $45B fund (Wills, AP, 6/20).
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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
The bipartisan legislation, known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, means taxpayers will "no longer foot the bill" for sexual harassment settlements involving members of Congress." The legislation "would require members to pay such settlements themselves." It also reforms the "cumbersome and degrading" complaint process by giving victims "more rights and resources," and by simplifying and clarifying the complaint process. The legislation is the first major transformation of the sexual harassment complaint system since it was created in 1995.
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.