FOR THE RECORD. Wagner’s campaign countered that its purported 109 missed votes “is a comparably lower 99 votes,” and that 83 “of those votes took place when Wagner was attending a three-day conference.” (PennLive)
LOOKING AHEAD. “For the four Republicans who hope to challenge” Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) reelection “bid next year, the first playoff game before the May 15 primary election will be the state party’s endorsement. That endorsement vote, scheduled for Feb. 10, could determine who stays in the primary race and who gets to brag that they won the endorsement while drawing upon the financial benefits of the party’s backing. Should the party be unable or unwilling to endorse, it would be the first time in 40 years.”
“A looming four-way contest puts the 347 state Republican Party committee members in the sticky position of choosing between two people — … Wagner and state House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) … — who have played outsized roles in helping elect Republican lawmakers.”
“Starting Jan. 6, the state party’s regional caucuses will begin meeting with the candidates and holding straw votes ahead of a formal state committee vote. Regional caucus meetings will wrap up Feb. 3, a week before committee members meet in Hershey to decide party endorsements.” (AP)
CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED. The Human Rights Campaign “released new polling data conducted by Hart Research Associates, … showing that likely voters across Pennsylvania overwhelmingly support LGBTQ-inclusive policies and are less likely to vote for a candidate who does not.” (release)
THE OTHER CLINTONS. Clinton County Commissioners Jeff Snyder and Pete Smeltz are backing former health care consultant Paul Mango (R). (Lock Haven Express)
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"The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump. The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there." The DNC is seeking "millions of dollars in compensation to offset damage it claims the party suffered from the hacks," and is arguing the cyberattack" undermined its ability to communicate with voters, collect donations and operate effectively as its employees faced personal harassment and, in some cases, death threats."
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have fined Wells Fargo $1 billion dollars for convincing customers to buy insurance they did not need, and could not afford. "In October, the bank revealed that some mortgage borrowers were inappropriately charged for missing a deadline to lock in promised interest rates, even though the delays were Wells Fargo's fault." The bank has also apologized for . "charging as many as 570,000 clients for car insurance they didn't need," and found that about 20,000 of those customers "may have defaulted on their car loans and had their vehicles repossessed in part because of those unnecessary insurance costs."
"Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to introduce legislation on Friday to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, adding a high-profile advocate in the effort to decriminalize, legalize and normalize marijuana use in America." The bill would "remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances," establish funding sources for businesses and research, and establish regulations akin to those for tobacco and alcohol. "'If smoking marijuana doesn't hurt anybody else, why shouldn't we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?' Schumer told HBO's Vice News in a Thursday interview previewing his bill."
Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee are considering "refusing to vote to discharge" President Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in order pressure Sen. McConnell to take up a "sense-of-the-Senate resolution" that Special Counsel Mueller should be allowed to continue his investigation. If the Democratic Senators move forward with the plan, Republicans say McConnell "could simply trigger the so-called nuclear option" by declaring the move out-of-order, and bring Pompeo's nomination to the floor through a majority vote. The move is politically risky, as it would likely "heighten partisan tensions and play into President Trump’s arguments that Democrats are actively obstructing him."