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Jun 6, 2013

Obama administration defends massive phone record collection

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Thursday defended its collection of the telephone records of millions of Americans as part of U.S. counterterrorism efforts, re-igniting a fierce debate over privacy even as it called the program critical to warding off an attack.

The admission came after Britain’s Guardian newspaper published on Wednesday a secret court order authorizing the collection of phone records generated by millions of Verizon Communications customers.

Jun 4, 2013

Gallup to alter polling methods after misfire on 2012 U.S. election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Gallup, one of the world’s most prominent polling groups, said on Tuesday it would adjust some of its survey methods after drawing criticism for inaccurately forecasting that Republican Mitt Romney would win the 2012 presidential election.

Gallup officials said a review found four factors that contributed to a final 2012 pre-election poll that badly underestimated support for President Barack Obama, who won the popular vote by almost 4 percentage points. The final Gallup poll, taken just before the November 6 election, showed Romney with a 1-point lead.

Jun 3, 2013

New IRS chief tells Congress he will clean up U.S. tax agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The new chief of the Internal Revenue Service told Congress on Monday the tax-collecting agency would fully investigate and repair the problems that led to the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, appearing before Congress for the first time since moving into the top job two weeks ago, said the agency would make a public accounting of the practices that have led to multiple investigations and a political firestorm.

May 29, 2013

Under fire, conservative Bachmann calls it quits in U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party firebrand and 2012 presidential contender, announced on Wednesday she will not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives but said her surprise decision had nothing to do with multiple investigations into her campaign finances.

Bachmann, a conservative Minnesota Republican whose outspoken style and sharp criticism of President Barack Obama made her a prominent and polarizing national figure, did not give a specific reason for stepping down. But she said she was not ducking the likelihood of a difficult re-election fight in her suburban Minneapolis district.

May 21, 2013

IRS officials back on Capitol Hill hot seat over targeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Senate panel will try on Tuesday to pry more details out of current and former officials of the Internal Revenue Service about the agency’s targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they sought tax-exempt status.

Lawmakers are also expected to demand answers about why officials did not earlier share with lawmakers evidence that IRS workers in Cincinnati, Ohio, had inappropriately focused on search criteria that included “Tea Party” and “patriots.”

May 17, 2013

Political storm over IRS targetting scandal shifts to U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives panel on Friday opens the first in a series of investigative hearings in Congress on the Internal Revenue Service’s targetting of conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny, as the political storm over the scandal shifts to Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers from both parties are expected to grill the outgoing acting head of the agency, Steven Miller, and the Treasury Department inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, about the growing scandal that threatens to eclipse President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda.

May 17, 2013

Political storm over IRS targeting scandal shifts to Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives panel on Friday opens the first in a series of investigative hearings in Congress on the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny, as the political storm over the scandal shifts to Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers from both parties are expected to grill the outgoing acting head of the agency, Steven Miller, and the Treasury Department inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, about the growing scandal that threatens to eclipse President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda.

May 16, 2013

As scandals mount, White House springs into damage control

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With no sign of an end to three mushrooming scandals, the White House acknowledged the rising political dangers on Wednesday by launching a concerted effort at damage control.

In a whirlwind few hours, the administration moved forcefully to counter criticism of its handling of the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, the seizure of reporters’ phone records in a Justice Department leak investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

May 16, 2013

Analysis: As scandals mount, White House springs into damage control

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With no sign of an end to three mushrooming scandals, the White House acknowledged the rising political dangers on Wednesday by launching a concerted effort at damage control.

In a whirlwind few hours, the administration moved forcefully to counter criticism of its handling of the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, the seizure of reporters’ phone records in a Justice Department leak investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

May 8, 2013

Comeback complete, Republican Sanford could be wild card in Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Fresh off a redemptive win in South Carolina’s special election, former Governor Mark Sanford’s return to Congress will make him a prominent wild card in an already fractious Republican caucus.

Sanford, whose political career was short-circuited in 2009 by an extramarital affair that marred his last 18 months as governor, earned a political rebirth along with a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday by defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

    • About John

      "John Whitesides has covered U.S. politics, elections and Congress for 13 years, based in Washington. He joined Reuters in Asia, where he worked as an editor and correspondent in Hong Kong."
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