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Inside Politics

- - Monday, June 6, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Economic adviser Goolsbee to return to academia

President Obama's chief economist, Austan Goolsbee, will step down later this year to resume his teaching post at the University of Chicago in time for the fall semester, the White House announced Monday night.

Mr. Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), has played a central role in crafting Mr. Obama's economic policies over the past 2 1/2 years, and is a regular fixture on political talk shows and the White House website.

His resignation follows the departures of several other members of Mr. Obama's top economic team who have returned to academia. Former CEA Chairman Christina Romer and former senior economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers both left the White House last year.

"Since I first ran for the U.S. Senate, Austan has been a close friend and one of my most trusted advisers," Mr. Obama said in a statement. "Over the past several years, he has helped steer our country out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and although there is still much work ahead, his insights and counsel have helped lead us toward an economy that is growing and creating millions of jobs. He is one of America's great economic thinkers."

SUPREME COURT

Justices spurn challenge to state's tuition law

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to a California law that gives illegal immigrants the same in-state college tuition rates as legal state residents, another contentious issue in the nation's immigration-policy debate.

The justices refused to hear an appeal by a group of out-of-state U.S. citizens after the California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the law and dismissed their lawsuit.

The 2001 law provides that any student who attends a California high school for three years and graduates can get in-state college tuition.

Illegal immigrants who qualify must swear they will seek to become U.S. citizens.

Nine other states, including New York, Texas and Illinois, have adopted similar laws. Opponents said California unlawfully discriminated against U.S. citizens in favor of illegal immigrants and that the case involved a question of great national importance.

CONSERVATIVES

ACU ex-director pleads guilty to embezzling

ALEXANDRIA The former administrative director at one of the nation's most prominent conservative organizations has pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the group.

Diana Carr had kept the books at the Alexandria-based American Conservative Union. On Monday, she pleaded to a count of mail fraud in federal court in Alexandria.

She is the ex-wife of David Keene, who until this year had been the ACU's longtime chairman. He is now National Rifle Association president.

Court documents say she took from $120,000 to $400,000 over a period of several years.

The ACU is probably best known for hosting the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which regularly draws leading presidential candidates and other top conservative speakers.

GAY REPUBLICANS

GOProud wants ex-governor in debate

A conservative gay-rights group wants the sponsors of the first Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire to reconsider its decision to leave out former New Mexico Gov. Gary E. Johnson.

"Gary Johnson is a former two-term governor and a committed limited-government advocate," said Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud. "He has certainly earned the right to participate in this debate."

Mr. Johnson, who announced his presidential bid in April, learned late last week that he had not been invited to take part in the June 13 debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester - hosted by CNN, TV station WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader.

"What will be missing is the voice of those who hold an undiluted view of individual liberty - those who believe that individual rights extend to women who face choices about abortion, Americans who happen to be gay, and those who don't place other asterisks on freedom," Mr. Johnson said after he received the news.

SENATE

Democrats tell Biden to reject GOP plan

Five Democratic senators are calling on Vice President Joseph R. Biden to reaffirm his commitment to keeping major Medicare changes out of budget and deficit negotiations.

Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, and Bill Nelson of Florida expressed their concerns in a letter sent Monday to Mr. Biden. A copy of the letter was obtained by the Associated Press.

The senators note that Mr. Biden has made progress in negotiations and insist that significant changes to Medicare be off the table.

All five senators, from states with significant elderly populations, are up for re-election in 2012.

ALASKA

State to release emails from Palin's first months

ANCHORAGE The state of Alaska on Friday will release more than 24,000 pages of emails sent and received by Sarah Palin during her first 21 months as governor.

Media organizations and individuals made records requests for the emails in an effort to learn more about Mrs. Palin and her dealings shortly after she was named the GOP vice-presidential candidate in September 2008.

The emails are from December 2006, when Mrs. Palin took office, through September 2008. The emails from her last 10 months in office will be released later.

Mrs. Palin says she isn't worried about the release.

She told Fox News Sunday that "every rock" that could be kicked over to uncover things already has been.