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268 posts
  • California in Congress

California Republicans have been largely united on the House tax bill, but with pressure building through ads by a host of concerned groups, two conservative political action committees went up Monday with new ads encouraging them to back the plan.

The $1.5 million in television and online ads from American Action Network, a super PAC connected with House Speaker Paul Ryan, target 23 Republicans in California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The California members are Reps. Jeff Denham of Turlock, David Valadao of Hanford, Steve Knight of Palmdale, Mimi Walters of Irvine and Darrell Issa of Vista.

The ads target some Republicans in high tax states who have said they have concerns about ending certain deductions, like the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction. Issa is the only California Republican who has said he cannot back the bill unless changes are made.

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  • California in Congress
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race

"Saturday Night Live" over the weekend teased the "fresh new faces" of the Democratic Party: longtime California members of Congress Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, making fun of the party leaders' reactions after Democrats won in elections across the country last week.

"You love our fresh new ideas delivered by fresh new faces, like me, Nancy Pelosi," the Pelosi character says in a skit billed as a commercial for the Democratic National Committee. "And me, Dianne Feinstein," the Feinstein character says.

The skit, which also pokes fun at Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and others, capitalizes on complaints from within the party that older members have stayed in power too long, blocking ideas from a new generation of Democrats.

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  • 2018 election
State Controller Betty Yee
State Controller Betty Yee (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Emily’s List, an influential Democratic organization that promotes women running for office, on Monday endorsed three candidates running for statewide office in California.

The group backed Eleni Kounalakis for lieutenant governor, Fiona Ma for state treasurer and Betty Yee, who is running for reelection as state controller.

Kounalakis of San Francisco, a former U.S. ambassador to Hungary and fundraiser for former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is in a race for lieutenant governor that is shaping up to be one of 2018’s most competitive down-ballot contests in California.

  • Congressional races
  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election

With a floor vote expected soon on the proposed GOP tax overhaul, California's House Republicans are the target of several ad campaigns highlighting the changes that could hit Californians hardest.

Red to Blue California, a PAC seeking to unseat seven vulnerable GOP lawmakers, began running digital ads Monday casting the tax bill as "billionaire tax cuts" and urging voters to on call their members of Congress to oppose the plan.

The group said the ads will reach about 250,000 people in each of the seven GOP-held districts where Hillary Clinton won last year.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

In the wake of new allegations against a California state senator and criticism of a "pervasive" culture of sexual harassment, the leader of California's Senate said Sunday that all abuse complaints will now be handled by independent investigators and more information will be released to the public.

“The people who work here and the public we serve must have complete confidence that no public official is above the law or our strict zero-tolerance harassment policies," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). "Those who violate these policies will be held to account — swiftly and justly."

De León announced on Sunday that the state Senate Rules Committee, the governing body that also handles human resources for the upper house's employees, will transfer "any and all allegations" of sexual harassment to an independent legal team with the power to discipline those who are found responsible.

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Five of the state's GOP members of Congress are being targeted in television advertisements that began airing Saturday about the Republican tax reform plan that would disproportionately impact residents of high-tax states such as California.

The ads, which urge constituents to order their representatives in Congress to oppose the plan, are airing on cable and network stations in districts represented by Darrell Issa of Vista, Steve Knight of Palmdale, Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, Ed Royce of Fullerton and Mimi Walters of Irvine.

“The Republican tax plan will raise taxes on California families by eliminating middle-class tax deductions to pay for a massive tax break for the super wealthy and big corporations,” a narrator says during the 30-second ad. “Tell your member of Congress to vote ‘no’ on the Republican tax plan. California families can’t afford it.”

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Courtesy of Freeman Michaels for Congress)

Freeman Michaels says he's never paid much attention to party labels. A registered Democrat at the moment, he said he's previously been a Green Party member and an independent. 

He's running for Congress in 2018 as an independent, challenging three-term Democratic Rep. Scott Peters of San Diego. 

"I feel like it's my race to lose. I don't think he's doing anything special," Michaels said of Peters, who has built a reputation as moderate and business-minded. "He's just kind of a middle-of-the-road guy, exactly what the Democrats want. I feel like the divide is so strong in this country."

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(Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

As part of his investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential campaign, FBI special counsel Robert Mueller is questioning witnesses about a meeting that allegedly took place shortly before the election between Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and former Trump advisor Michael Flynn, NBC is reporting.

Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) has long advocated for a friendlier relationship between the United States and Russia. His name has tangentially come up in relation to the investigation, but this is the first direct mention that the FBI is looking at a meeting in which Rohrabacher participated.

The congressman's staff did not immediately return a request for comment Friday, a federal holiday.

  • California Legislature
  • 2018 election
  • 2018 governor's race

“I think he has been magnificent. I want to build off his legacy. He’s proven you don’t have to be profligate to be progressive.”