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POLITICS DIGEST

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ETHICS

In S.C., Sanford faces 37 charges

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) faces 37 ethics charges alleging that he broke state laws on campaign money and the official use of airplanes.

The details were released Monday by the State Ethics Commission, five days after the panel charged the governor without offering any specifics.

Sanford's attorneys have said the charges involve minor and technical aspects of the law.

The charges followed an investigation into whether Sanford used state aircraft for personal and political trips, used pricey airline seats despite low-cost travel requirements and reimbursed himself with campaign cash.

Sanford has been under scrutiny since he vanished for five days over the summer, reappearing to tearfully admit to an extramarital affair with a woman he later called his "soul mate."

-- Associated Press

FORT BRAGG

Palin holds event at N.C. base

Sarah Palin brought her book-signing tour to North Carolina's Fort Bragg on Monday, and hundreds greeted the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate in a campaign-like gathering.

Palin's appearance tested Defense Department regulations, which prohibit politicians from using military installations as a platform. Palin didn't give a speech and individually thanked soldiers, and a base spokesman said she was not campaigning. But the bus parked nearby encouraged donations to her political action committee, and supporters made it clear they think she should run for president.

Army officials initially barred the news media from the event, fearing that coverage would lead Palin's backers to lob negative comments at President Obama. The military later reversed course.

Col. Billy Buckner, a spokesman for Fort Bragg, said the Army agreed to let Palin on the base because she fell into a gray area. "She's not a political figure per se, but she certainly carries a tremendous amount of interest and influence across the country," he said.

The former Alaska governor began a nationwide tour last week to promote her new memoir, "Going Rogue."

-- Associated Press

KANSAS

Democrat Moore to leave Congress

Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) will not seek reelection in 2010, a decision that gives Republicans a golden opportunity to pick up a seat.

In a statement, Moore said that after his six terms in Congress, "it is time for a new generation of leadership to step forward."

Moore's departure makes his eastern Kansas seat a major Republican target next year. President Obama narrowly won the district with 51 percent in 2008, and then-President George W. Bush carried it by 11 points in 2004.

Republicans, surprised by the announcement, were unsure what the GOP field in the district would look like, although the first name mentioned was former state senator Nick Jordan, who took 40 percent of the vote against the incumbent in 2008. Jordan is seen as a unifying figure in a party that has seen battles between its moderate and conservative wings cost them the Kansas governorship, Moore's seat and several other races over the past decade.

-- Chris Cillizza

RNC

Resolution would enforce unity

The vice chairman of the Republican National Committee began circulating a draft resolution Monday calling on the RNC to end funding and endorsements for any candidate who deviates from three or more of its 10 planks.

Ten other committee members signed on to the call to arms by James Bopp Jr., a conservative who is a lawyer in Indiana.

"I think we have a very urgent task as Republicans, and that is to reclaim our conservative bona fides, and supporting liberal Republican party-splitters is very damaging to that task," Bopp said.

Bopp said he has not talked to RNC Chairman Michael Steele about the resolution, which Bopp said could come up for a vote at the committee's winter meeting in January in Hawaii. He also said he hadn't checked to see whether any candidates currently seeking RNC funds violate more than two of the document's principles.

"All we're requiring is that somebody agree with us most of the time," Bopp said.

-- Perry Bacon Jr.

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