The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

READ IN: Friday, May 16, 2014: No earmarks in WRRDA, Ernst leads Iowa field, Crossroads lands in Alaska, White House has ‘commitment’ from Boehner, and Biden’s book royalties

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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.

-- Stay safe on your way to work: A flash flood warning is in effect for D.C., parts of Fairfax, Montgomery and Arlington Counties. More than 4 inches of rain has fallen in Purcelville, nearly 3.9 inches at Dulles and 1.9 inches at DCA overnight. (Capital Weather Gang)

-- Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party and its opposition coalition appeared headed for a comfortable win in India's national elections over the ruling Congress Party and incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Two-thirds of the country's 814 million registered voters went to the polls. (Washington Post)

-- The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released their conference report on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act on Thursday. House and Senate negotiators expect a very low CBO score; the bill deauthorizes $18 billion in old or obsolete programs, more than the cost of new programs authorized. House GOP aides stressed, repeatedly, that the bill contains no earmarks.

-- The House is scheduled to vote on the conference report on Tuesday, with the Senate following soon after. Department of Bad Timing: Tuesday is the same day House T&I chairman Bill Shuster (R) faces voters in the Pennsylvania primary. He'll drive to D.C. to cast his vote, then high-tail it back to the district to woo voters.

-- The FCC on Thursday voted to advance a proposal to allow internet service providers to charge websites for higher-quality content delivery. The 3-2 party-line vote isn't the last step in the process; the public will be allowed to comment for 120 days, and final rules could be adopted by the end of the year. (Washington Post)

-- A group of top conservatives met Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton in Tyson's Corner to vent frustrations over the resurgence of the Republican establishment. The group, which included Brent Bozell, Heritage's Michael Needham, Ed Meese, Grover Norquist, Tea Party leader Jenny Beth Martin and former Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.), drafted a list of demands calling on GOP lawmakers to stick to bedrock principles like opposing illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, abortion. (Washington Post) Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) spoke at the gathering.

-- Robert Costa opens his notebook for us: Koch brothers operative Nancy Pfotenhauer attended the meeting as well. RNC chairman Reince Priebus spoke at a dinner after the summit and urged the group to stick with the GOP. Longtime activist Richard Viguerie asked Priebus about disparaging remarks some GOP leaders made about the Tea Party.

-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday. NYT leads with setbacks for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. WSJ and USA Today spotlight the debate over net neutrality. The L.A. Times fronts California wildfires and leads with the unprecedented pace of auto recalls.

National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.

-- WH'16: Former Chris Christie (R) campaign manager Bill Stepien says he told the governor about plans to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge in December, a day before Christie told reporters his staff didn't know about the closings. Stepien's lawyer Kevin Marino on Wednesday demanded Chrstie lawyers retract "false and misleading statements" about Stepien in the report released earlier this year. (New York Daily News)

-- Iowa: A Loras College poll of Republican primary voters showed state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) leading the Senate field with 31 percent, compared with 19 percent for businessman Mark Jacobs ®. Radio host Sam Clovis (R) took 10 percent, and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker (R) took 7 percent. Jacobs has the highest name identification, but Ernst's favorable rating shot from 24 percent in early April to 51 percent now. (Loras College) Survey dates: May 12-13. 600 likely primary voters, 20 percent contacted by cell phones. Go Duhawks!

-- Indiana: Gov. Mike Pence (R) says he's "cautiously optimistic" he has found a way to accept federal dollars to offer health care to low-income Hoosiers, but he's clear it's not a traditional Medicaid expansion, and that he still opposes ObamaCare. HHS has yet to say whether they will approve Pence's alternative proposal. The plan would expand coverage to as many as 350,000 Indiana residents without insurance. (Indianapolis Star) 2016 Scorecard: New Jersey, Ohio and Indiana went for the expansion. Wisconsin, Louisiana and Texas did not.

-- West Virginia: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) says she would emulate Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the Senate. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) has campaigned with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). Despite the Democratic voter registration edge, almost everyone thinks Capito will become the first Republican to hold a West Virginia Senate seat since 1965. (Washington Post) Fast facts: The state has 613,518 registered Democrats and 352,858 registered Republicans. Mitt Romney won 417,655 votes in 2012. President Obama won 238,269 votes.

-- California: Former Gov. Pete Wilson (R) said Thursday Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) isn't fit for office after Donnelly tried to tie rival Neel Kashkari (R) to fundamentalist Islam. Meanwhile, Donnelly mocked Kashkari's latest ad, in which the former TARP administrator says he'll take an axe to wasteful spending. Donnelly thinks it's funny that Kashkari is using a wood splitter, not an axe. (Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle) True story: Most California Republicans we talk to think Donnelly will finish second behind Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in the June 3 top-two primary.

-- Oregon: Physician and U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby (R) was accused of "stalking" her ex-boyfriend last year, according to a Portland police report. Wehby was questioned by an officer after she was seen near her ex-boyfriend's home, but she was not arrested. Still, the former boyfriend has funded a super PAC that's attacked one of Wehby's primary rivals. (Politico)

-- South Dakota: Don't forget that former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) has a primary to get through before he can call himself a senator-in-waiting. Physician Annette Bosworth (R) on Tuesday launched an attack ad criticizing Rounds for commuting the life sentence of a man convicted of killing his pregnant girlfriend in 1994. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader) Bosworth hasn't actually paid to put the ad on TV yet. She spent a whopping $9,000 on ads introducing herself to voters back in February.

-- Washington State candidates, get those papers in order. Today's the filing deadline.

DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.

-- President Obama has only one meeting, a sit-down with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, on his public schedule today. Vice President Biden addresses the National STEM Summit of Change the Equation, a non-profit education group, in Crystal City. He'll sit in on the meeting with Lew, then Biden attends the ceremonial swearing in of newly confirmed Federal Trade Commissioner Terrell McSweeny.

-- First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to high schoolers in Topeka, Kan., tonight, a day before the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling. FLOTUS had been scheduled to give a commencement address tomorrow, but she cancelled it after some parents complained. (Washington Post)

-- The Obamas are worth as much as $7 million, according to new financial disclosure forms filed Thursday. The First Couple's most valuable assets are Treasury notes valued between $1 million and $5 million. The Obamas made $481,098 in adjusted gross income and paid $98,169 in federal taxes. The Bidens paid $96,378 on $407,009 in total income. (New York Times) Joe Biden made less than $201 in royalties last year on his 2007 book, "Promises to Keep." Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #720,224.

-- The House and Senate are out today. Capitol Hill is going to look like a polo shirt factory exploded.

-- Expect to see a lot of "Democrats for David" signs around the city. D.C. city councilman David Catania (I) plans to focus on persuading Democrats he's more in tune with their ideology than rival Muriel Bowser (D). Given that 75 percent of D.C. voters are registered Democrats, that's basically his only path to victory. (Washington Post) Bonus "Democrats for Agnew" mention.

TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where

-- Alaska: We've heard of confidence, but how about this: Former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (R) has begun purchasing advertising during the final pre-election sprint, even though the GOP primary isn't until August. Sullivan bought about $480,000 in ads set to run September 23 through November 4, almost matching final-week ad buys laid down by Sen. Mark Begich (D). Sullivan is the favorite, though not yet overwhelmingly, in the August 19 primary.

-- More Alaska: Here comes American Crossroads. The group just bought almost $700,000 in cable ads set to run during September, their first big fall buy. Crossroads spent about $117,000 on broadcast ads in March.

-- Michigan: The Senate Majority PAC is about to take another whack at former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R). The group reported buying $263,000 in ads, bringing their total spending on the race to $1.8 million.

-- Mississippi: The race between Sen. Thad Cochran (R) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) has quietly become an expensive contest. The Club for Growth just threw down another $111,000 for McDaniel, bringing their investment in the state up to almost $1.5 million. McDaniel himself has spent nearly $300,000 on television (he's running between 300 and 400 points in the Biloxi, Hattiesburg and Jackson markets this week), while Cochran has spent a whopping $1.6 million on airtime. That includes $170,000 this week alone, worth between 500 and 700 points in Biloxi, Columbus, Hattiesburg, Jackson and Meridian broadcast.

The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.

-- The White House expects House Speaker John Boehner to allow a comprehensive immigration reform bill or a package of bills to come up for votes after primary election season ends, senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said Thursday at a conference in Las Vegas. "I think we have a window this summer, between now and August, to get something done," Jarrett said. "We have a commitment from Speaker Boehner, who's very frustrated with his caucus." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

-- Boehner spokesman Michael Steel tells us: "Republicans are committed to reforming our immigration system, but as the speaker has said repeatedly, it’s difficult to see how we make progress until the American people have faith that President Obama will enforce the law as written.”

B1: Business, politics and the business of politics

-- Charlotte and Tampa host committees mishandled tens of thousands of federal dollars meant for the 2012 Democratic and Republican conventions, according to the Justice Department's Inspector General. The IG found $132,000 in misspent money in Charlotte and $25,192 in misused funds in Tampa. (McClatchy) Still, with about $100 million in security grants between the two cities, that's a pretty low waste/fraud/abuse rate.

-- Stock futures are down slightly in pre-market trading a day after the Dow lost just over 1 percent. The Nikkei lost 1.4 percent on Friday, and European markets are trading lower. (CNN)

C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.

-- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is going to beat businessman Matt Bevin (R) in next week's Republican primary. That wasn't always guaranteed. Bevin gave himself $950,000 over the course of the campaign and once had the attention of conservative outside groups, but through a combination of McConnell's attacks and his own flubs, any momentum Bevin once enjoyed is long gone. A good overview of the race that was from the Lexington Herald-Leader.

C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work

-- Tweet of the day, from @SeanLansing: "@SenatorHagan, call your office. You're holding up flight 3534 to Raleigh and the gate agent is not amused. cc @TheFix" (Twitter) Tweet went out at 10:04 a.m., a minute before AA 3534 was supposed to push back from the gate. (

-- "Roommates buy lumpy used couch, find $40K in cash" (Associated Press)

Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.

-- Drudge's headline on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's push for a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform: "Harry Reid seeks to strip First Amendment." Links to this Washington Times story.

Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today

-- Supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy registered crowd-funding campaigns on, in hopes of raising cash for expenses related to sticking around the rural Clark County farm. One of the two guys who asked for money made a point to say he was the one who brought the black volunteer to the ranch. (Las Vegas Sun)