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Political Scene

- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 3, 2010

ARIZONA

NRA endorses McCain in primary

PHOENIX | The National Rifle Association has endorsed John McCain in Arizona's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.

The organization announced its endorsement in a letter to Mr. McCain dated Thursday.

The endorsement is a significant boost for Mr. McCain. It provides high-profile support for his conservative credentials as he tries to shake a primary challenge by former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

Mr. Hayworth has attacked Mr. McCain's record on gun rights, saying the four-term senator has supported restrictive legislation.

Mr. Hayworth touts an endorsement from Gun Owners of America, a smaller gun rights lobbying group.

NEVADA

Governor trails in campaign funds

CARSON CITY | Campaign finance reports show Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is working with a slim campaign budget in his uphill re-election effort.

Mr. Gibbons reported $179,000 in contributions and $184,000 in paid expenses since January, according to the report filed late Wednesday with the secretary of state's office.

His contributions fall far short of the total reported by Republican front-runner Brian Sandoval, whose campaign says it raised nearly $1 million in the same period.

Mr. Sandoval is a former federal judge who resigned his lifetime appointment to run for Nevada's highest office.

Democratic front-runner Rory Reid raised almost $1 million during the latest reporting period.

The primary is set for Tuesday.

SENATE

Ensign establishes legal-defense fund

Sen. John Ensign of Nevada has set up a defense fund to help pay some of the legal expenses stemming from two government investigations.

The investigations by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics and the Justice Department began after Mr. Ensign acknowledged having an affair with a former campaign staffer and helping the woman's husband find lobbying work.

The documents were filed last week and spell out rules for the donations. For example, the trust cannot accept more than $10,000 from any one donor per year. Nor can it accept money from lobbyists, lobbying firms, members of the Senate and their employees, or from unions or corporations.

The first $10 for the trust came from Mr. Ensign himself.

KENTUCKY

Rock band takes issue with Paul

LOUISVILLE | The Canadian rock band Rush has sent a letter to U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul in Kentucky, saying his campaign is violating copyright laws by playing its music without permission.

The Courier-Journal of Louisville reported that Rush's attorney, Robert Farmer of Toronto, had sent the letter to the Paul campaign. Mr. Farmer told the newspaper that his objection is not political.

The Paul campaign used one song by Rush, which was founded in the late 1960s, at a rally in Kentucky and another song as background in a fundraising video.

Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton said Wednesday that he had received the letter. He called it a nonissue.

Such flaps between politicians and professional musicians are not uncommon.

NEW YORK

Two in GOP vie to challenge Gillibrand

NEW YORK | New York Republicans are backing a former Long Island lawmaker to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, but an economist has won enough support from party leaders to force a primary.

Bruce Blakeman, a former member of the Nassau County Legislature, will face a challenge from David Malpass, a former Bear Stearns chief economist. A third candidate, former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, didn't get enough votes at the state Republican convention Thursday to get onto the Sept. 14 primary ballot.

Mrs. Gillibrand was appointed last year to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was named U.S. secretary of state.

SENATE

Pentagon asked for Kagan files

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee wants answers from the Pentagon about its recruitment efforts at Harvard University while Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was dean of the law school.

The request is an indication that Republicans are continuing to hammer away at President Obama's nominee for her decision to bar recruiters in protest of the military's prohibition against openly gay soldiers.

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is asking the Defense Department to turn over eight years' worth of records, including communications with Harvard about access to its campus and about a law denying federal money to institutions that wouldn't allow military recruiters.

In a letter to the Pentagon's top attorney, Mr. Sessions asks to see the papers by June 11.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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