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INSIDE POLITICS

The Washington Times' political blog.

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**FILE** Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican (Associated Press)

McCain rejects Holder's leak probe, calls for outside counsel

Sen. John McCain, the leading critic of the recent spate of national security leaks, rejected Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s appointment on Friday of two U.S. attorneys to investigate the breaches, arguing that only an outside counsel would be independent enough for such a task.

**FILE** Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, speaks Feb. 8, 2011, during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)

Ethics stiff-arms House Dems' demands in Waters case

The House Ethics Committee shot down a request by 68 House Democrats to explain its decision to move forward with its two-year-old case against Rep. Maxine Waters after dismissing the California Democrat's argument that her due-process rights were violated.

**FILE** Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat (Associated Press)

After $800K probe, Dems want answers in Waters case

A contingent of 68 House Democrats is demanding more answers from the Ethics committee about its decisions to move forward with the 2-year-old case against Rep. Maxine Waters and to dismiss the California Democrat's argument that her due process rights were violated.

**FILE** The entrance to the Sears Holdings Corp. Prairie Stone campus area in Hoffman Estates, Ill., is seen here May 4, 2011. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has made use of a corporate tax break program over the past 18 months to cut high-profile deals with companies such as Sears Holdings Corp., CME Group Inc. and CBOE Holdings Inc., that threatened to leave Illinois. (Associated Press/Daily Herald)

Tax payments signal slowing economy

In another sign of the slowing economy, corporate tax payments to the federal government have slowed dramatically, according to the latest estimate Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office.

Holder

Holder says no effort to shut down all medical marijuana

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday that the administration is only targeting marijuana operations that have exceeded state laws, countering claims of marijuana advocates that President Obama is breaking his campaign promise not to go after operations in states that have legalized the drug's use for medical purposes.

** FILE ** Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks May 29, 2012, during a campaign event at the Somers Furniture warehouse in Las Vegas. (Associated Press)

Romney gaining on Obama in Virginia poll

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is closing the gap with President Obama in Virginia but still trails the incumbent by 5 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.