Good morning, Early Birds. Rep. Louie Gohmert is the latest Republican to leap into the crowded primary taking on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. State Land Commissioner George P. Bush, state Rep. Matt Krause and Eva Guzman, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, are also running against Paxton, who's been endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

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🚨: Eighty-five House Democrats led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Lou Correa (Calif.), Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), Jesús “Chuy” García (Ill.) and Grace Meng (N.Y.) have asked the Senate to reinstate a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act after Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled against the measure. They call the parliamentarian’s role “an advisory one” and her opinion, “not binding.” 

🚨: “The federal government has reached a tentative $127.5 million settlement with the families of victims of a 2018 mass shooting at a Florida high school, who sued over the FBI’s failure to act on warnings that the gunman was planning an attack,” a person familiar with the agreement told our colleagues Mark Berman and Devlin Barrett.

In the agencies

Speed bumps aren't likely to stop Powell's Fed nomination

When President Biden announced he’d renominated Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for another term, he addressed criticism of Powell’s climate record head on.

“Jay and I have had a chance to discuss his views on priorities for the Federal Reserve in the years ahead,” Biden said. “He’s made clear to me: A top priority will be to accelerate the Fed’s effort to address and mitigate the risk that climate change poses to our financial system and economy.”

Biden’s words were, in effect, a rebuttal to the smattering of Democratic senators and environmental groups that have expressed misgivings about what they view as Powell’s inadequate record on fighting global warming.

Left unaddressed in Biden’s remarks was another potential speed bump for Powell: A scandal involving two top Fed officials’ stock trading during the pandemic that’s roiled the central bank in recent months.

The scandal led two of the Fed's regional bank presidents, Robert Kaplan and Eric Rosengren, to retire in September “amid intense scrutiny over their stock-trading behavior during the pandemic,” our colleagues Rachel Siegel and Jeff Stein report.

“Those activities spurred an independent investigation by the Fed’s inspector general over whether the actions violated ethics rules and the law,” Rachel and Jeff write. “the Fed’s public perception also took a massive blow, with Powell saying the Fed’s guidelines on financial activity were 'now clearly seen as not adequate to the task of really sustaining the public’s trust in us.' Powell said in September that 'no one' on the Fed’s policy committee is 'happy' to 'be in this situation.'”

‘We’re at the middle of this scandal'

The episode is unlikely to derail Powell’s confirmation.

Lawmakers in both parties — including Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.) Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) —  applauded Powell’s renomination on Monday. And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who said he was “disappointed in the president’s choice,” cited Powell’s record on climate rather than the ethics imbroglio.

“President Biden has the utmost confidence in Chair Powell’s ability to lead the Federal Reserve in a manner that is independent and beyond ethical reproach,” a White House official said in a statement.

Still, there are signs the issue at least will come up in Powell’s confirmation hearing.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who last month asked the Fed to release more details about its ethics advice to officials in the pandemic's early months, cited “Powell’s failures on regulation, climate and ethics” in a statement explaining why she planned to vote against Powell. Warren is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, which will hold Powell’s confirmation hearing.

The committee has also had preliminary discussions about holding an oversight hearing looking into the Fed’s ethics issues, according to a person familiar with the matter. And Powell is set to testify at a House Financial Services Committee hearing next week on the Treasury Department and the Fed’s pandemic response at which the issue could surface.

Jeff Hauser, the executive director of the Revolving Door Project and a progressive critic of some of Biden’s nominees, said his group had made Freedom of Information Act requests seeking records relevant to the stock-trading episode and got an initial response last week. “There's a decent chance” his group will get more records back before Powell’s confirmation hearing, he said.

“We’re at the middle of this scandal,” Hauser said in an interview. “We’re not at the end of it. And the guy with whom the buck is supposed to stop has just been renominated.” 

Still, Hauser said, “unless the public record changes dramatically, Powell will be confirmed with near unanimous Democratic support.”

Original foe

Powell's biggest critic, though, is the man who appointed him.

Former president Donald Trump, who once ruminated on whether Powell or Chinese President Xi Jinping was “our bigger enemy,” still appears to be fuming, Rachel and Jeff report.

“At lunch at the Trump International Beach Resort in Florida about two weeks ago, Trump told others that Powell damaged him in the 2020 election, according to Stephen Moore, a conservative policy analyst who was one of a handful of people at the meeting."

"‘He was really railing against Powell and said he had undermined everything he was trying to do with tight monetary policy in the last few years of his presidency,’ said Moore, who was appointed by Trump to the central bank board but withdrew amid scrutiny of his past remarks about women.

On the Hill

Jan 6. House committee subpoenas Roger Stone and Alex Jones

“The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued subpoenas Monday to more people involved with the Stop the Steal rally, including conspiracy theorist and right-wing media figure Alex Jones and longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone,” Jackie and Tom Hamburger report.

Remember: The roles that the high-profile right-wing figures played in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach — and their potential ties to those who committed violence in the riot — are also being investigated by the Justice Department and the FBI. The investigation is ongoing.

All in all, the committee has issued 40 subpoenas thus far. 

Also on the list: conservative activists Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Budowich, a current spokesperson for Trump. 

“Budowich was a senior adviser for the Trump 2020 campaign, specifically working with Donald Trump, Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle,” CNN’s Zachary Cohen, Ryan Nobles, Annie Grayer, and Whitney Wild report. “He is a longtime right-wing political operative, working as senior communications adviser for Ron DeSantis during his successful campaign for governor of Florida in 2018 and once served as executive director of the Tea Party Express.”

The campaign

Pro-Trump lawyers who filed 2020 election fraud lawsuit ordered to pay defendant's legal fees

Annals of election litigation: “A federal judge has ordered two Colorado lawyers who filed a lawsuit late last year challenging the 2020 election results to pay nearly $187,000 to defray the legal fees of groups they sued, arguing that the hefty penalty was proper to deter others from using frivolous suits to undermine the democratic system,” our colleague Rosalind Helderman reports.

  • The lawyers, “Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker, filed the case in December 2020 as a class action on behalf of 160 million American voters, alleging there was a complicated plot to steal the election from” Trump and hand victory to Biden.
  • “The two argued that a scheme was engineered by the voting machine vendor Dominion Voting Systems; the tech company Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan; and elected officials in four states. They had sought $160 billion in damages.”
  • The case was dismissed in April. Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter later “ruled that the attorneys had violated their ethical obligations by filing it in the first place, arguing that the duo had run afoul of legal rules that prohibit clogging the courts with frivolous motions and lodging information in court that is not true.”

The Data

The disappearance of competitive House districts, visualized: “From Texas to Oregon, competitive congressional districts are disappearing,” our colleagues Ashlyn Still, Harry Stevens and Kevin Uhrmacher report. “As states finalize new borders ahead of the 2022 midterms, state legislatures are approving maps they hope will advantage one party in the coming struggle to control the narrowly held U.S. House.”

  • The result? “Congress will have an even more partisan makeup, and likely more rancor, than the already polarized House today.”

The Media

What we’re reading: 


🚨Calling all millennials: Today's a special day.

Twenty-five: “For nineties children, the Tamagotchi is a little slice of nostalgic heaven. As iconic as Pokémon and as ubiquitous as the legendary hairstyle ‘The Rachel,’ this humble digital pet found itself a special place in the hearts of a generation,” RD News Now reports.

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