Term-limited Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) nomination to an ambassadorship “is returning to the White House because of U.S. Senate Rule 31, which requires that senators agree unanimously to continue considering nominees as a year ends. It wasn’t immediately clear which senator or senators objected to keeping Brownback’s nomination alive. Democrats have questioned his record on gay rights.”
Brownback “faces mounting pressure to clarify whether he or Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) will be in charge when the Kansas Legislature gets back to work in early January — even if that means Brownback’s early resignation.”
“The Legislature reconvenes Jan. 8, and the governor is expected to deliver the State of the State address and a budget proposal soon after.” (Kansas City Star)
The Kansas City Star editorial board called on Brownback to resign.
“Kansas needs new leadership as much as oppressed religious minorities around the world need your passion for their situation. We do wish you the best in that capacity, or in anything else you choose to do. But as a fictional victim of religious persecution in pre-revolutionary Russia — yes, in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ — asked God to ‘bless and keep the tsar, far away from us,’ we wish you well, too, far from Topeka.” (Kansas City Star)
WEAVING A NARRATIVE. Republican consultant John Weaver, who “does not work for the Greg Orman campaign,” penned an op-ed praising the potential independent candidate.
Weaver: “What’s quickly become clear is that both political parties are threatened by Orman’s candidacy. They rightly view him as a disruptor of the status quo and their attacks demonstrate that they know he can win. And while the people of Kansas would be the winners under a Gov. Orman — a governor who would put the people ahead of partisanship — the political establishment would be the losers, and they don’t want that.” (Kansas City Star)
What We're Following See More »
"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."