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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- The White House is scrambling to contain public anger over delays in treatment and secret wait lists at VA hospitals. Press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday President Obama still has confidence in Secretary Eric Shinseki, but he acknowledged the administration has to do more to address problems at the government-run medical centers. Obama still has not publicly addressed the scandal. (Washington Post)
-- A federal judge on Monday struck down Oregon's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage, the 13th straight win for same-sex marriage advocates in federal court after last year's Supreme Court decision striking down a part of the Defense of Marriage Act. State officials anticipated the ruling, and the first marriage licenses were issued less than two hours after the order was made public. (Oregonian, Washington Post)
-- Credit Suisse has pleaded guilty to criminal wrongdoing for helping thousands of Americans hide their wealth and avoid taxes through secret bank accounts. The bank will pay $2.6 billion in penalties and agree to independent monitoring for up to two years. BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, is likely to plead guilty to similar charges in coming weeks. (New York Times)
-- The CIA says it will no longer use immunization campaigns as cover for operations in foreign countries. White House counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco told the deans of public health schools last week that CIA Director John Brennan had changed agency policy last August. The deans had written to the White House warning that mixing intelligence and public health has created suspicion in countries where health emergencies have occurred. (Washington Post)
-- NRCC chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will tell colleagues this morning Republicans can win up to 245 House seats this year, a net gain of 12 seats, two seats more than the party held after the 2010 landslide and the highest number of seats the GOP has held since 1947-1948. (Politico)
-- Organizing for Action, the advocacy group created out of the remnants of President Obama's re-election campaign, will scale back fundraising efforts and cut staffing levels in half. By the end of this month, OFA will no longer solicit high-dollar contributions. At the peak of its ObamaCare enrollment push, OFA had about 1,700 participants in a fellowship program aimed at signing people up for health care. (Associated Press)
-- Voters head to the polls in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania today. The Post's Sean Sullivan has eight story lines to watch as results roll in.
-- Our bold prediction: While the establishment-vs.-tea-party trope is grossly oversimplified, it's hard to find a candidate in these states that those who hate the establishment will love. But they're trying: We couldn't help but notice Georgia Senate candidates David Perdue (R) and Karen Handel (R) -- the relative moderates! -- said they wouldn't back Mitch McConnell for Republican leader next year. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
-- Front Pages: For the second time in two days, the country's major papers are on the same page. WaPo, NYT, WSJ, USA Today and the L.A. Times all lead with Chinese hacking charges. (Here's the Washington Post story, posted early yesterday) NYT, WSJ and USA Today also fronted the Credit Suisse story.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) pitched his proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion at AEI yesterday. He faced a friendly audience, but some conservatives say the only difference between his plan and standard Medicaid expansion is the name. (Indianapolis Star) In an appearance on the Diane Rehm Show, former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said he is considering running for president in 2016. Webb appeared at a veterans event in New Hampshire on Saturday. (Washington Post) Right. Webb would love the presidency just about as much as he loved the Senate.
-- Mississippi: Sen. Thad Cochran's (R) campaign knew that a conservative blogger had allegedly taken photos and video of the senator's bed-ridden wife for two weeks before alerting the Madison, Miss., police department last Thursday. A spokesman said the campaign conducted its own investigation before alerting Cochran. (The Hill) Weird story, getting weirder.
-- Kansas: Sen. Pat Roberts (R) traveled back home 26 times and spent 97 days in the state between July 2011 and August 2013, according to Senate records. Over the same period, Sen. Jerry Moran (R) spent about 475 days back home. Roberts rival Milton Wolf (R) has made the senator's residency in Washington a pillar of his campaign. (USA Today)
-- Michigan: Rep. Kerry Bentivolio's (R) campaign manager has quit, just a few months after joining the freshman congressman's campaign. It's the latest in a string of problems Bentivolio has run into since coming to Congress; he faces wealthy attorney David Trott (R) in the Aug. 5 primary, and he's raised barely a tenth of Trott's total. Bentivolio's 2012 campaign manager sued him earlier this year over money he said he was owed. (Washington Post)
-- Nevada: State health care exchange officials meet today to consider their options after a bumpy, glitch-filled rollout plagued by technical problems. Officials can decide to keep the current system and their contractor, Xerox; switch to another state's online exchange; or join the federal exchange. Any of the three options will cost the state tens of millions of dollars. (Las Vegas Sun)
-- More Nevada: The Silver State's race for attorney general is going to be one of the most expensive down-ballot contests of the year. Secretary of State Ross Miller (D) reported raising $1.25 million since jumping in the race, while attorney Adam Laxalt (R) said his campaign raised $543,000 -- no shabby performance either. Big-name Republicans including Donald Rumsfeld, Craig Shirley and T. Boone Pickens cut checks for Laxalt. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama will drop by a meeting of business leaders in the Roosevelt Room this morning. In the afternoon, he and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meet in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden is in Bucharest, where he tours a joint U.S.-Romanian military exercise before heading to the U.S. Embassy.
-- The House takes up the Water Resources Reform and Development Act conference report today, with a vote expected around 1 p.m. The initial House version of the bill passed 417-3. Later, they'll start debate on the National Defense Authorization Act.
-- The Senate meets at 10 a.m. for morning business, followed by a vote on confirming Fifth Circuit Court nominee Gregg Costa and a cloture vote on Stanley Fischer's Federal Reserve nomination. The White House is still scrambling to round up votes for David Barron, the First Circuit nominee whose memos on the use of drones angered some Democrats; a cloture vote on his nomination is expected tomorrow.
-- Community activist Elissa Silverman will run for an at-large seat on the D.C. City Council as an independent, a year after finishing five points behind council member Anita Bonds (D). Councilman Tommy Wells (D), who had considered an at-large bid, said Monday he won't run. (Washington Post)
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where
-- Bookmark Alert: Who's spending where? Bookmark our handy new interactive map, where we'll keep running track of how much each side is spending in key Senate battleground states.
-- Mississippi: State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) is laying down his last ad buys before the June 3 primary. McDaniels will spend about $130,000 on broadcast and $15,000 on cable between May 20 and June 2. The Club for Growth, which backs McDaniel, has reserved $238,000 in time over the next two weeks.
-- Crossroads: The Crossroads groups will drop $9 million this summer on ads, including about $1.7 million in Arkansas, $1.8 million in Alaska, $3.6 million in North Carolina and $2.3 million in Colorado. About $1.8 million is coming from American Crossroads, the super PAC that discloses donors, with the rest coming from GPS, the non-profit that doesn't have to report contributors. (Politico)
-- Alaska: Speaking of Crossroads, their involvement in Alaska goes far beyond that initial $1.8 million investment. The group will spend an incredible $5.58 million on broadcast and cable ads in Alaska between September 8 and October 26. Friendly advice to any other groups thinking about playing up north: Get in now, there's not much inventory left.
-- Virginia: Attorney Mark Levine (D) is the second candidate to hit the airwaves in his bid to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D). Levine said Monday he will spend "a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars" in the next three weeks on TV time. Former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer (D) is the only other candidate to air ads. (Washington Post)
-- Oklahoma: Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, the outside group backing former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R), is spending $293,000 on a new ad flight boosting his bid to replace retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R). The group will also spend $101,000 on direct mail, according to FEC reports the group filed Monday.
-- Kentucky: Two pro-Mitch McConnell groups have plunked down $5.2 million in ads slated to begin running immediately after today's primary elections. The ads are paid for by Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a super PAC, and the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a 501(c)(4) group. KSL will run $575,000 in ads beginning tomorrow and running through June 2, while KOC will spend $4.7 million from June 5 through August 27. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- Sen. Bob Corker's hometown paper takes a long look at the man in line to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee if Republicans take back the upper chamber. Corker has held NRSC fundraisers at his Chattanooga home, and this weekend he's headed to New York for another party fundraiser (he's also on the Banking Committee). Corker has been to 55 countries as he's established himself as a leading GOP voice on foreign policy.
-- And of course they asked if he'll run for president. "You haven't seen me in New Hampshire, you haven't seen me in Iowa," he said. Later: "We'll just see what happens down the road." (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Democracy Alliance, the group of liberal donors who help fund allied organizations across the country, will give up to $40 million this year, including at least $3.5 million to America Votes, $3.2 million to the Center for American Progress and $2.4 million to Media Matters for America, according to documents. The 20 organizations Democracy Alliance donors will fund will aim to spend more than $175 million this year alone. (Washington Free Beacon)
-- Want to reach active social media users when they're engaged with friends? Nielsen can help. The ratings company says 36 million Americans tweeted about television in 2013. Almost four-fifths of those who tweet about sports are male, while 65 percent of those who tweet about reality shows are female. Get their attention and your message goes wider: The number of people who read tweets about television is 50 times greater than the number of people who write tweets. (Nielsen)
-- Markets are trading higher this morning after posting small gains Monday. Most world markets are up. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- The evolution of Congress, in one family: Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) plays "finesse" politics. His father, Bud Shuster, played "power" politics. The way the two men, both chairmen of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, approach big spending bills hints at just how much Congress has changed. When Bud ran the committee in the late 1990s, he inserted so many earmarks in a $218 billion highway bill that even freshmen Democrats got earmarks. Two federal roads are named for him.
-- Now, The water bill likely to pass this week authorizes $10 billion in new funds, but it deauthorizes $18 billion in funding for old, inactive projects. Even with the fiscally prudent approach, the younger Shuster faces a challenge in today's primary from a retired Coast Guard official who says Congress spends too much. (Washington Post)
-- Fun historical note: Bud Shuster's allies scrutinized the signatures his Democratic opponent submitted in 1998 and got the opponent kicked off the ballot. They both ran write-in campaigns in the Democratic primary; Shuster, the life-long Republican, won with 60 percent of the vote. Shuster won both the Republican and Democratic nominations at least eight times in his career. (1998 Herald-Mail article here)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Fertilizer King of Russia, has reached a divorce settlement with his ex-wife that will cost him $4.5 billion -- likely the most expensive divorce in history. No word on whether Dmitry or Elena Rybolovlev get the rights to the $100 million yacht, the subpar Palm Beach mansion Donald Trump sold them or the Greek island of Skorpios (where Aristotle Onassis married Jackie Kennedy in 1968). (Washington Post)
-- Headline of the day: "Rep. Michele Bachmann muses on foster parenting, napkin skills" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- Add guac, hold the Glock. Chipotle is asking customers not to bring firearms into their restaurants after gun rights advocates brought assault rifles into one of the chain's Texas locations. "The display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers," the company said in a statement. (Associated Press)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- Florida state Rep. Charles Van Zant (R) thinks Common Core is totally going to make your kids gay. "These people … will promote double-mindedness in state education and attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can. I'm sorry to report that to you," Van Zant said at a conservative education conference in Orlando. (Think Progress) Well, kids, if you're going to do something, might as well go all out.