Celebrate Memorial Day by signing up for Read In, the only morning political tip sheet you need!
A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- President Obama today will announce his intention to nominate HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan as OMB director and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as Donovan's replacement this afternoon, a White House official said Thursday evening. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has filed cloture on current OMB director Sylvia Mathews Burwell's nomination to become HHS Secretary, meaning a vote could come soon after the Memorial Day recess.
-- The House on Thursday voted to prohibit the NSA's collection of bulk data by a 303-121 vote, but the measure was softened after lobbying from U.S. intelligence agencies who say the spying programs are key to national security. The legislation still gives the NSA the authority to ask for batches of bulk data from phone companies. A provision to create a public advocate to challenge the government before the FISA court was removed from the bill. (Associated Press)
-- Ukrainian officials have asked for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting after violent outbursts in the country's restive east, just days before national elections. Voters are scheduled to go to the polls on Sunday. Pro-Russian separatists are trying to halt the vote in Donetsk and other eastern cities. (Washington Post)
-- The FBI and other law enforcement officials working in intelligence-sharing offices known as "fusion centers" kept a close eye on Occupy protests when they broke out three years ago, monitoring activists who intended to sing holiday carols and who talked about protesting in Congressional offices. A Boston fusion center sent a bulletin that included news of a 2011 appearance by liberal author Noam Chomsky. (New York Times)
-- By the end of June, Obama will have headlined 30 fundraisers for Democratic campaign committees, and he's committed to fundraisers for House and Senate super PACs, too. Obama has allowed the DNC, the DCCC and the DSCC access to his campaign's databank for volunteer recruitment. Obama has committed to 8 fundraisers for the DSCC, 7 for the DCCC, 2 joint events, 20 for the DNC and one for the DGA. (Washington Post)
-- Las Vegas and Cincinnati have withdrawn their bids to host the 2016 Republican National Convention amid concerns over whether host committees could raise enough money and whether they would have venues that could fit the delegates, alternates and guests. Kansas City, Dallas, Cleveland and Denver remain in contention. (Washington Post) Our sources say Dallas is the front-runner, with Kansas City a close second.
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with the coup in Thailand. NYT kicks off with a glimpse into China's hacker army. WSJ highlights top military officials who want to defend the U.S. drone program. USA Today interviews former Sen. Bob Dole, who calls the VA a "disaster." And the L.A. Times leads with the NSA bill, though of course Donald Sterling gets three more columns on the front.
-- Something to outrage everybody: We're off Monday. Happy Memorial Day.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- Mississippi: Three more men have been charged in connection with a Tea Party activist who took photos of Sen. Thad Cochran's (R) bedridden wife in her nursing home. Police arrested attorney Mark Mayfield and P.E. teacher Richard Sager and charged John Beachman Mary with felony conspiracy charges. Authorities said they have no evidence at this point connecting the conspiracy to state Sen. Chris McDaniels' (R) campaign. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
-- Massachusetts: Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) leads the Democratic primary field with 51 percent of the vote, with state Treasurer Steve Grossman (D) trailing at a distant 7 percent. In a general election, Coakley leads businessman Charlie Baker (R) by a 39 percent to 30 percent margin, according to a new MassINC poll conducted for WBUR. (WBUR)
-- Michigan: The state House on Thursday voted to send $195 million to Detroit to avert pension cuts to retirees and to save the city museum's art collection. Conservative groups criticized what they called a "state bailout." The measure still has to make it through the state Senate, but Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has been lobbying for the bill's passage. (New York Times, MLive.com)
-- California: Talk about lopsided. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has $20 million in the bank. Former TARP administrator Neel Kashkari (R) has $1.4 million lying around. And Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R), who leads Kashkari in the polls, has just $70,000 on hand. Kashkari has given himself $2 million. (San Francisco Chronicle)
-- Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is likely to sign legislation that would shutter four of the state's five abortion clinics. The bill is based on a similar measure that passed the Texas legislature last year, which resulted in several clinics shutting down. It requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and imposes new restrictions on certain kinds of abortions. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
-- Oregon: A group gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana has received two $100,000 contributions from Drug Policy Action and the Drug Policy Alliance, two New York-based groups with close ties to George Soros. Soros has spent $80 million (!!!) on legalization efforts over the last two decades. (The Oregonian) Worth the click for the photo of Soros talking to Sen. John McCain.
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama wakes up in his own bed in Chicago today before heading back to D.C. This afternoon, Obama will sign acts awarding Congressional Gold Medals to members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and to American fighter aces. At 3:35 p.m., he will formally announce Donovan and Castro and their new roles. Vice President Biden, just back from Cyprus, is attending meetings at the White House.
-- The House and Senate are gone for Memorial Day.
-- Happy three-day weekend! Okay, let's be realistic, four-day weekend. Just remember to get a jump on traffic early. Or, if you're staying in town, check out the Going Out Guide's 9 things to do in the D.C. area this weekend.
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.
-- Kentucky: Senate Majority PAC is going to take a big old whack at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell starting next Wednesday. The group has reserved about $525,000 on cable and broadcast television across the state. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) is just finishing up her first significant buy; her campaign spent $117,000 on ads in Lexington and Louisville that began May 21.
-- New Hampshire: Republicans have outspent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and her allies here, but Democrats are dominating May. This month, Shaheen's campaign and Senate Majority PAC have spent just about $1 million on broadcast and cable spots, compared with just $280,000 in ads from Americans for Prosperity. Former Sen. Scott Brown (R) returns to the airwaves next week with a $32,000 buy on Boston, Portland and Burlington cable.
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- Dozens of members of Congress who are finished seeking office are sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars in idle campaign accounts. In total, former congressional candidates have almost $100 million in the bank, money that could go to charities or other political causes. Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) alone has $9.8 million on hand. (Center for Public Integrity)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- A new initiative to promote transparency in polling methodology from the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers will roll out by this summer, the group's president said. It comes after allegations of fraud against pollsters like Research 2000 and Strategic Vision; pollsters will pledge to abide by AAPOR's Standards for Minimal Disclosures and submit data from recent surveys to become certified as transparent. (Huffington Post) The poll geek's lament: But will the media care? Of course not. They'll still publish bad robo-polls.
-- Markets are trading fractionally higher before the bell. The Dow gained 10 points on Thursday. Most international markets are up today, though London's FTSE 100 is down slightly. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- Linda McMahon's life as a candidate didn't work out so well. But how about life as a mega-donor? McMahon and husband Vince have already dished out about $1 million to federal candidates, party committees and super PACs like American Crossroads, Ending Spending and America Rising this year. McMahon isn't going to be the next Koch brothers or Tom Steyer, but she appears to have found a niche in the community of big donors associated with New York hedge fund manager Paul Singer. (Politico)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- The incredibly expensive presidential campaign of 1964, when Lyndon Johnson won re-election, cost almost $184 million in today's dollars. How quaint. President Obama and Mitt Romney spent $2.35 billion in 2012. (New York Times)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- Yesterday we spotlighted Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) basically accusing opponents of the Affordable Care Act of being racist. Then Rockefeller expanded on his thoughts: "It's only a part," Rockefeller said of racial elements to opposition to the ACA. "But it is a part of life, and it is a part of American life and world life, and it's a part of -- just a part -- of why they oppose absolutely everything that this president does." Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in particular got angry at Rockefeller's remarks, accusing him of playing the race card. (Washington Post)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- Pastor and talk radio host Jody Hice (R), who won a spot in the runoff to replace Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), says in a 2012 book that gays have a secret plan to recruit and sodomize children. Meanwhile, he adds, "the technical reasons for the [Civil] War are still being debated." (Mother Jones)
-- The House Science, Space and Technology Committee has held three hearings that involve the search for extraterrestrial life, and two hearings on climate change. (National Journal)