- - Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is preparing to open some fundraisers to the media.

Two Romney campaign officials with direct knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press that the shift from closed to open fundraisers could happen as soon as next week. The officials were granted anonymity to speak freely about internal discussions.

The decision comes fewer than 10 days after reporters outside a Palm Beach, Fla., fundraiser overheard Mr. Romney sharing previously undisclosed details about his tax plan. Mr. Romney has been facing intensifying pressure for transparency in his role as the GOP’s presumptive candidate against President Obama.

One official says Mr. Romney will open larger events, in which he delivers remarks. That’s the same policy Mr. Obama has followed since becoming his party’s presumptive nominee in June 2008.

AGRICULTURE

New case of mad cow disease in California

The first new case of mad cow disease in the U.S. since 2006 has been discovered in a dairy cow in California, but health authorities said Tuesday the animal never was a threat to the nation’s food supply.

The infected cow, the fourth ever discovered in the U.S., was found as part of an Agriculture Department surveillance program that tests about 40,000 cows a year for the fatal brain disease.

No meat from the cow was bound for the food supply, said John Clifford, the department’s chief veterinary officer.

“There is really no cause for alarm here with regard to this animal,” Mr. Clifford told reporters at a hastily convened press conference.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is fatal to cows and can cause a fatal human brain disease in people who eat tainted beef. The World Health Organization has said that tests show that humans cannot be infected by drinking milk from BSE-infected animals.

OHIO

Justice won’t reopen Kent State shooting case

CLEVELAND — The U.S. Justice Department won’t reopen its investigation into the deadly 1970 shootings by Ohio National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest at Kent State University.

A letter from an assistant attorney general says there are multiple legal hurdles to further prosecuting the case.

The letter was addressed to Alan Canfora, who requested that the investigation be reopened. He was among the wounded students and now directs the Kent May 4 Center.

The letter says a government review was inconclusive in determining whether a newly enhanced audio recording of the shooting provided evidence of extra gunfire and someone ordering people to fire on students.

Four Kent State students died, and nine were hurt.

Mr. Canfora told the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland that the government’s decision is disappointing, but not surprising.

PENNSYLVANIA

Convicted ex-rep gets prison, stays on ballot

HARRISBURG — Former longtime Pennsylvania House Democratic leader Bill DeWeese has been sentenced to 2½ to 5 years in prison on corruption charges, but his constituents could still vote for him in Tuesday’s primary.

DeWeese was convicted in February on charges stemming from the illegal use of state employees and other public resources for political campaigns between 2001 and 2006.

Tuesday’s sentencing came after DeWeese resigned from the House. The state constitution bars felons from serving in the legislature.

But DeWeese is also unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the primary election. His name will stay on the general election ballot unless he withdraws it by Aug. 13.

If DeWeese wins re-election in November, he wouldn’t be able to return to the legislature unless an appellate court overturns his conviction.

STATE DEPARTMENT

Clinton welcomes Aussie minister out of retirement

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has welcomed Australia’s new foreign minister to Washington with kind words: Retirees have a lot to contribute.

Veteran politician Bob Carr came out retirement last month to replace Kevin Rudd, who resigned after a failed challenge for the leadership of Australia’s ruling party.

Asked about the change, Mrs. Clinton said she would pick up where she left off with Mr. Rudd to strengthen enduring U.S.-Australia relations.

She told a joint press conference, to laughter: “I’m partial to political people and those who are retired certainly have a lot still to do in their lives.” Mrs. Clinton recounted how Mr. Carr, former state premier of New South Wales, had welcomed her to Sydney as first lady in 1996, and her daughter, Chelsea, to the 2000 Olympics.

From wire dispatches and staff reports