- - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Perry guests asked to prove citizenship

MANCHESTER — People attending a Rick Perry presidential campaign event Wednesday were asked to prove they are American citizens.

The town-hall-style meeting at Granite State Manufacturing, the first of two events Mr. Perry was holding in New Hampshire, was open to the public.

But campaign officials said federal regulations required proof of citizenship because the company handles defense contracts. A Granite State employee sat beside a Perry campaign staffer at the door and asked attendees whether they were citizens.

The employee, who refused to give her name, said noncitizens wouldn’t be admitted.

Although Mr. Perry’s rivals faced similar restrictions when they held events on the premises of federal defense contractors, the issue Wednesday brought unwanted attention to Mr. Perry’s complicated immigration record at a critical point in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination.

Some of his rivals privately seized on his decision to hold an event with such restrictions. The leader of a regional immigration advocacy group was more vocal.

“It’s disturbing, especially given his record on immigration,” said Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

MEMOIR

Bachmann plays up past political rebounds

ST. PAUL, Minn.GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann describes in her new memoir previous near-ends to her political career.

The stories end with a sudden rebound. That is something the congresswoman from Minnesota could use now as she fights to rescue her once-soaring campaign. Mrs. Bachmann has gone from a top GOP contender as recently as August to a blip in the race.

“Core of Conviction” is set for official release Monday, six weeks before Iowa voters open the presidential nominating contest.

She writes that after a 1999 school board loss, she resolved “not to risk embarrassing myself” with more political runs. But she ran for a different office the next year and won.

In her closing chapter, Mrs. Bachmann says her key to victory this time is to stick by her conservative principles.

ENERGY

Chu says loan portfolio is sound despite Solyndra

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is planning to tell Congress on Thursday that while he is disappointed in the failure of solar panel company Solyndra LLC, the department’s overall loan portfolio is sound.

“We appreciate the support the loan programs have received from many members of Congress - including nearly 500 letters to the Department - who have urged us to accelerate our efforts and to fund worthy projects in their states,” Mr. Chu will testify, according to prepared remarks released Wednesday.

Mr. Chu is expected to face sharp questioning from Republicans before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce about whether the department missed signs of the company’s troubled finances or broke the law when restructuring its loan.

Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September two years after it won more than a half-billion dollars in loan guarantees.

CONSULTING CASH

Gingrich received Freddie Mac money

URBANDALE, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has acknowledged receiving personal compensation from Freddie Mac, the federally backed housing agency, but says he doesn’t know exactly how much he was paid.

The former House speaker left open the possibility that his consulting firm received between $1.6 million and $1.8 million. Mr. Gingrich said he received a portion of that for providing “strategic advice for a long period of time” after he left Congress.

That amount is significantly higher than the $300,000 figure Mr. Gingrich was questioned about last week.

Mr. Gingrich spoke with reporters in Iowa on Wednesday. He defended Freddie Mac’s role and said every American should be interested in expanding housing opportunities. The federally backed mortgage lender has become a focal point of anti-government sentiment because of the housing crisis.

ENDORSEMENT

Service employees union to boost Obama efforts

The Service Employees International Union endorsed President Obama’s re-election bid Wednesday, saying it would deploy its formidable political machine earlier and on a wider scale than it did four years ago.

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said the union plans to reach out to all 2.1 million members by Labor Day and focus on getting more Hispanic and black voters to the polls.

“We’re trying to do it on a scale that we’ve never done before,” she said.

The politically powerful union is the latest labor organization to jump in with an early endorsement of the president, following the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the National Education Association. It could signal even broader campaign spending by labor groups, which poured about $400 million to help elect Mr. Obama in 2008.

CALIFORNIA

Feds shut down mortgage scame with ads on Google

SAN FRANCISCO | The federal government has shut down dozens of Internet scam artists who had been paying Google to run ads making bogus promises to help desperate homeowners scrambling to avoid foreclosures.

The crackdown announced Wednesday renews questions about the role that Google’s massive advertising network plays in enabling online misconduct. It may also increase the pressure on the company to be more vigilant about screening the marketing pitches that appear alongside its Internet search results and other Web content.

The criminal investigation into alleged mortgage swindlers comes three months after Google agreed to pay $500 million to avoid prosecution in Rhode Island for profiting from online ads from Canadian pharmacies that illegally sold drugs in the U.S.

A spokesman for the U.S. Treasury Department division overseeing the probe into online mortgage scams declined to comment on its scope other to say it’s still ongoing.

Google Inc. also declined to comment Wednesday.

NEW JERSEY

Cain accuser keeps quiet post-settlement

TRENTON — One of the women who settled a sexual harassment complaint against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain in the 1990s is showing no interest in going public.

The New Jersey woman is steering clear of efforts by other Cain accusers to appear at a joint news conference. She has stayed away from her home, her job and reporters to avoid any publicity.

The woman works at one of the state’s largest lobbying firms as a behind-the-scenes researcher, but even her colleagues who often are quoted by the media aren’t commenting.

She was the first of two women to settle a harassment claim against Mr. Cain in 1998 while he headed the National Restaurant Association. Mr. Cain has denied the allegations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports