This week is the time to give thanks. What are folks in politics thankful for this year?
— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is thankful for former Sen. Scott Brown‘s (R-MA) indecision. Brown has been publicly flirting with a NH SEN run for months, and other Republicans have been passing on the race left and right. Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) should be thankful for Democrat Rick Weiland, who hasn’t united his party behind his candidacy, despite being the only real candidate. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is thankful for Matt Hoskins and Senate Conservatives Fund for playing the role of chief antagonists to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
— Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is thankful that potential Dem rivals Bill Daley and Lisa Madigan passed, effectively granting him renomination. Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is thankful that 2010 candidate Eliot Cutler (I) wants to give it another go next year, improving LePage’s chances at winning a 3-way race. The DCCC is thankful for the government shutdown, while the NRSC is thankful for the botched Obamacare rollout. Both committees are fighting uphill battles this cycle to win back majorities in their respective chambers (the DCCC much more so than the NRSC, per Tuesday’s new CNN generic ballot poll), but they both end the year with more potent cases to make against the other side than they started with.
— On the lighter side, members of Congress should be thankful for the wealth of extra-curricular activities D.C. has to offer! Plenty of pols complain that Washington is a horrible place, but Trey Radel and Mike Crapo have demonstrated there’s plenty to do around here besides legislating and fundraising. And Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) is thankful that he no longer has to go without towel service at the House gym, now that the government has reopened.
And we are forever thankful for you, our readers, for your support over the years. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you back here on Monday.
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"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."
"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."
"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.
"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."