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“The committee did not have the funds prior to the 2010 primary in September 2010 to retain professional compliance vendors and counsel,” Ms. Mitchell wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 21. Since the election, however, the campaign’s compliance team “has undertaken the task of going back to the beginning of the election cycle to reconcile all entries in the bank account to the FEC reports.”


Center being formed to target militants

Current and former U.S. officials say the Obama administration has opened a new top-secret military command center near the Pentagon to target militants in hot spots around the world.

Run by the military’s elite Joint Special Operations Command at a classified address near the Pentagon, the new center brings military, intelligence analysts and legal experts under one roof to target al Qaeda. Two current and two former U.S. officials insisted on anonymity to discuss the classified matters.

The officials said the new center would be a significant step in streamlining targeting operations previously scattered between the U.S. and overseas battlefields and giving the elite military officials closer access to Washington decision-makers and counterterrorism experts.


Ex-Hill aide gets halfway house, home detention

A former aide to Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi was sentenced Wednesday to 75 days in a halfway house and 75 days of home detention in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal after swapping legislative favors for more than $25,000 in event tickets and other gifts.

U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts told Ann Copland that “for two years, you corrupted the solemn trust” placed in her as a public employee and “you ingratiated yourself with lobbyists,” conduct the judge said warranted a sentence serving as a deterrent to others in government.

Copland had asked to be placed on probation while prosecutors recommended a sentence of 10 to 16 months behind bars, a range set under federal guidelines. The judge sentenced Copland to two years of probation as well as the time in a halfway house and home detention.

Lobbyists working with Abramoff asked for several favors from Copland, including having Mr. Cochran sign a letter to the Small Business Administration on behalf of a Mississippi Indian tribe and helping to get legislative language passed that would benefit the tribe.

Copland pleaded guilty to conspiring with Abramoff and his associates to commit honest-services fraud. At the time of her plea in February 2009, Copland signed a document admitting that Abramoff’s lobbying team provided her with gifts in order to influence her in the performance of her official actions.


White House warns GOP on debt-limit fight

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