Soros Reining in Spending?

Some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

TIME to Explain

TIME magazine's latest cover may be more than meets the eye for a story on extreme militia. If you look just below the "M" in TIME, it is possible to make out what appears to be the U.S. Marine insignia.

We asked TIME magazine about its cover. Here was its response, "TIME's cover photo is of a member of the Ohio Defense Force, a private militia that features heavily in the story during a summer training exercise in his own uniform. The story is an investigation into the world of extreme militias; it is in no way about the Marines or any of the U.S. Armed Forces."

The Marines had this reaction saying, "The Marine Corps has nothing to do with that militia."

All in the Family

Missouri Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan is defending a stimulus grant that sent $107 million to his brother Tom's company -- Wind Capital Group of St. Louis -- for a wind farm project.

Republican critics argue the grant was inappropriate because of the family's political connections. Media reports say Congressman Carnahan maintains the attacks, particularly from Republican challenger Ed Martin, are due to critics' support for oil companies over renewable resources.

Wind Capital reportedly had a rocky first four years and the wind farm was put on hold until the stimulus bill passed. Owner Tom Carnahan admitted in 2009, "We never really liked to say it out loud. A few months ago the banks were closed. The stimulus changed everything."

Say Goodbye

And at least one major Democratic donor is funneling his millions elsewhere this election.

The New York Times reports billionaire George Soros, who gave more than $20 million to Democratic-oriented groups in 2004, is holding back so far this year. An adviser told the Times, "Mr. Soros believes that he can be most effective by funding groups that promote progressive policy outcomes in areas such as health care, the environment and foreign policy. So he has opted to fund those activities."

The paper suggests losing big donors like Soros has contributed to a spending gap this year between pro-Republican and pro-Democratic groups.