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• House members push for IRS Clinton probe
• Stephanopoulos gave $50K to Clinton Foundation
• O’Malley tees up announcement
• Fox News poll: Carson to the top, Jeb takes back Rubio’s bounce
• How about Peecee Way?
HOUSE MEMBERS PUSH FOR IRS CLINTON PROBE
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is circulating a letter among her colleagues asking IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to review the tax-exempt status of the Clinton Foundation. In the letter, a draft of which was obtained by Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel, Blackburn says, “recent media reports have revealed that the Foundation failed to report millions of dollars in grants from foreign governments that it accepted while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and that it facilitated private business transactions between foreign entities” and as such, “given the substantial public interest involved, we feel a prompt review of the Foundation’s tax-exempt status is appropriate to determine whether it is acting within the scope of its charitable mission.”
Stephanopoulos gave $50K to Clinton Foundation - Fox News: “ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos never disclosed to his network -- or viewers -- $50,000 in contributions he made to the Clinton Foundation in recent years, even as he waded into covering Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and foundation controversies. Stephanopoulos apologized Thursday, Fox News has learned, and said he should have revealed the contributions. The anchor is a former Bill Clinton spokesman and aide, and his ties to the former first family are well-known. However, as first reported by Politico, he made a $25,000 donation to the foundation in 2013 and 2014 -- and while the donations can be found in the organization's records, Stephanopoulos did not disclose them…”
Clinton Foundation donor flails in interview - WashEx: “A major Clinton Foundation donor who stood to profit immensely from the highly scrutinized takeover of Uranium One by the Russian government struggled to explain his involvement with the charity under questioning Tuesday. Frank Holmes, one of several investors cited in a New York Times article about the deal, attempted to dismiss allegations that he had donated to the Clinton Foundation in an effort to secure Hillary Clinton's approval for the 2010 transaction during an interview on CNBC's ‘Squawk Box.’ Several of his claims directly contradicted statements that flashed on the screen while he was speaking. A fact box on the screen indicated U.S. Global Investors, of which Holmes is CEO, held $4.7 million in shares of Uranium during the first quarter of 2011. But Holmes said his company was ‘long gone before 2008.’”
[Ed Henry reports candidate Hillary Clinton will make her second trip to Iowa on May 18 and 19. The Democratic frontrunner’s first trip to the state consisted of carefully crafted small events that limited her exposure to reporters. With the campaign billing the May sojourn as part of the candidate’s “Ramp Up” period, expect more of the same.]
O’MALLEY TEES UP ANNOUNCEMENT
Fox News: “Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will make an official announcement about whether he will enter the 2016 Democratic presidential race May 30 in Baltimore, Fox News has learned…. Aides also confirmed to Fox that O'Malley will tell donors and supporters about his Baltimore announcement in a conference call Thursday night….Later this week, O'Malley will attend meetings with longtime supporters in the Washington D.C. suburbs, some of Maryland's most solidly Democratic areas. In a closed-door meeting with top liberal activists and academics in New York on Monday, O’Malley pitched himself as the best shot they have at taking on Clinton in the primaries, a source tells Fox News.”
O’Malley knocks Clinton’s silence on trade - NYT: “‘I’m opposed to T.P.P.,’ Mr. O’Malley said. ‘I don’t know where she stands on that.’ … [O’Malley] also used the opportunity to tweak Mrs. Clinton over her previous support of North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, which some critics have said was bad for the economy. ‘There are many that had high hopes for Nafta back when we did that,’ he said. ‘Instead it caused a lot of dislocation.’”
[Senate to break trade logjam today - After a Tuesday implosion and a Wednesday bargain, the Senate is expected to advance the measure granting President Obama “fast-track” authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.]
The Judge’s Ruling - Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano looks at the controversy over extension of the NSA’s bulk telephone collection program and the positions of presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul on the issue. Read here.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
The Twitter handle @_Florida Man has drawn the attention of the NYT for its tales of Iguana barter, axe-wielding strippers and other insane antics that hilariously prove something most Americans already know: Florida is a weird place. But how we know that is what makes Florida the opposite of weird, and actually makes it pretty great. The Miami New Times points out Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Act, which allows people access to all kinds of public records with few exceptions is what leads to easy access to mug shots, police reports, and direct knowledge of government happenings not available to reporters in most other states. It’s also why there is an abundance of ‘weird Florida news’ on the internet. Maybe the next installment ought to be “Florida man enjoys nation’s best government accountability.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.8 percent//Disapprove – 49.5 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.6 percent//Wrong Track – 62.0 percent
[Watch Fox: Results of the latest Fox News poll on President Obama’s job approval and the administration’s competency will be released on “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 6 p.m. ET]
FOX NEWS POLL: CARSON TO THE TOP, JEB TAKES BACK RUBIO’S BOUNCE
The latest Fox News poll shows Ben Carson getting a surge in support from Republican primary voters, more than doubling his share of the hypothetical vote. Carson, who clocked in at 6 percent last month, now stands tied with Jeb Bush at 13 percent. Bush made gains as well, climbing 4 points since the previous survey. Close behind Bush and Carson: Scott Walker at 11 points and Mike Huckabee at 10 points. Marco Rubio saw his post-announcement gains largely evaporate. He slipped 4 points to 9 percent and fifth place overall. Also losing ground were Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Paul lost 3 points and Cruz lost 2 points. Bush fared best among potential rivals to Hillary Clinton, with 45 percent to her 44 percent. Others in striking distance of the presumptive Democratic nominee included Huckabee who trailed Clinton by 3 points and Walker, Carson and Rubio who trailed her by 4 points.
[Bush will tour Four Peaks Brewing Company and participate in a town hall hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tempe, Ariz., today. Later, Bush delivers the keynote address at the RNC Spring meeting’s evening reception in Scottsdale, Ariz.]
RUBIO ROCKS IN SPEECH TO HAWKS
Miami Herald: “Marco Rubio … on Wednesday addressed one of the key questions facing many candidates this election. Would he have gone to war in Iraq, given what we know now? Rubio, a freshman Republican senator, said no. After giving his first major policy speech since announcing his candidacy a month ago, Rubio was asked the question that rival and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was recently asked. Bush has said he misunderstood the question and backed away from his response, which initially was to say he would have authorized the war — even knowing what we know now. … Rubio said no. “Not only would I not have been in favor of it, President [George W. Bush] would not have been in favor of it. And he said so.”
[Did Rubio reverse himself on Iraq? Depends on who you ask.]
Welcome home, Walker - Prosecutors dig in against Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., on allegations that his campaign illegally coordinated with the conservative group Club for Growth. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel outlines the expensive, rocky legal road Walker’s foes continue to climb in their bid to topple the governor. This comes as Walker returns home from Israel to face a budget fight in Madison and a looming presidential launch in June.
Christie offers Romney’s tax plan plus tweaks - WaPo: “[Chris Christie’s] plan is less dramatic than those proposed by other contenders for the GOP presidential nomination…One strategy for Christie to compete with them would be to convince Republicans that his platform will be more palatable to moderate and persuadable voters in the general election. Yet resurrecting a plan from an unsuccessful campaign three years ago may not answer Republicans’ questions about Christie’s chances of success.”
[Christie has a fundraiser tonight at the McLean, Va. home of Bobbie and Bill Kilberg.]
Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton will announce his 2016 plans at noon ET today.
Carly Fiorina participates in the Weekly Standard’s speaker series event in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, takes part in a public forum followed by Blue Jeans and Boot Barbecue in St. Augustine, Fla., hosted by the St. John’s County GOP.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., joins Jeb Bush as featured speakers for day two of the RNC’s spring meeting today in Scottsdale, Ariz.
POLITICIANS TURN TRAGEDY INTO TALKING POINTS
First responders still scouring the wreckage for bodies didn’t stop politicians like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., from immediately laying blame for the crash on Congress and a lack of infrastructure funding. The opportunistic rush to judgment prompted a lively exchange on the Wednesday’s “The Kelly File.” You can watch the conversation between Megyn Kelly and Chris Stirewalt right here.
[National Review’s Ian Tuttle reviews the rush by establishment media outlets to blame the Amtrak crash on Republican thrift.]
REMATCH: FEINGOLD MAKES IT OFFICIAL
AP: “Democrat Russ Feingold has decided to run for his old Senate seat in Wisconsin against Republican Ron Johnson, who defeated him in 2010. Associated Press obtained Feingold’s announcement Thursday before it was to be sent in a video message to supporters. He was widely expected to get into the race, and no other Democrat has publicly expressed interest.”
Um, that doesn’t sound like a very good robot - “Are are you some kind of sh-----g robot? You go around sh----g on on people?” – Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., in response to a Tampa Bay Times reporter's question about the potential Senate candidate’s work setting up offshore tax havens.
STAND FOR SOMETHING
Members of the wounded warrior support group SoldierSocks were in Washington to drum up backers for their initiative to buy and donate exoskeleton devices (at more than $100,000 a copy) that help paralyzed service members stand and walk again. The demonstration, held in Honeywell’s D.C. office, hushed the gabby crowd and ended in applause. The group says there are more than 125 already in use in VAs and other hospitals around the country for therapy. But the near-term goal is to develop a device that helps users live beyond the bounds of a wheelchair. Co-founder Chris Meek led the presentation for a crowd that included Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and area badass Katie Pavlich. Stranded in New York, but there in spirit, was the munificent Martha MacCallum, who serves on the group’s advisory board.
HOW ABOUT PEECEE WAY?
(London) Telegraph: “An MP has complained to a council on behalf of a gay couple outraged at a ‘homophobic’ road named Bangays Way. The street sign was erected in the village of Borough Green, near Sevenoaks, Kent last month - and the row centres on adding the letter ‘s’ to the Bangay name. The cul de sac in a new residential development was named in memory of well-known villager Frank Bangay who died in 1999. But a married gay couple, who have lived in the village for almost seven years and have asked not to be named, want it changed. One of them said: ‘My husband and I went to look round the new development. Having got over the initial humour, we reflected that this street name was actually pretty offensive.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“What I think is impressive is that when you poll Democrats there is very little erosion because no alternative [to Hillary Clinton]. There’s nobody on the bench. They got one hitter. She’s up at bat and they have to put all their hope in her because there’s no one behind her.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.