- - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

LABOR

Three weeks before the Democratic National Convention this summer, union leaders plan to hold their own “shadow convention” to promote labor issues they think too many elected officials are ignoring.

The union gathering in Philadelphia on Aug. 11 is inspired by the anger many labor officials felt after Democrats decided to stage their nominating convention in North Carolina, a right-to-work state that is the least unionized in the country.

Most unions are still planning to attend the Charlotte, N.C., convention, but more than a dozen are boycotting it. Other unions are not spending big money on the convention as they have in the past.

“Having the convention in Charlotte was kind of a wake-up call to that fact that really no one’s paying attention to the middle class and to working people in this country,” said Ed Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The Philadelphia rally will feature thousands of union members and a “union bill of rights” that officials hope will become a talking point at both the Democratic and Republican party conventions.

Some Democrats see the event as an unwanted distraction that highlights divisions among traditional political allies, but Mr. Hill says unions remain committed to re-electing President Obama.

About a quarter of Democratic convention delegates come from unions.

COLORADO

Romney visits food bank in fire-stricken state

COLORADO SPRINGS — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is visiting a food bank in southern Colorado that’s working to help victims of the region’s wildfires.

Mr. Romney on Tuesday stopped by Care and Share in Colorado Springs to help box up food for firefighters and people displaced by the fires that have wracked the state this summer.

He urged Americans to visit Colorado despite the fires to keep its tourism industry thriving. He toured the food bank and met behind closed doors with victims of the fires.

Mr. Romney was set to fly to Houston Tuesday evening ahead of a planned speech to the NAACP annual convention on Wednesday morning.

HOUSE

Veteran House Democrats gear up for tough races

For Rep. Lois Capps of California and other vulnerable House Democrats, a string of successful re-election bids and double-digit margins of victory may mean little this year.

Ms. Capps’ Santa Barbara-area district has been redrawn in the wake of the latest census, turning it from a Democratic-leaning district to one evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. She has responded by spending more time than ever raising money, hiring campaign staff and meeting voters.

That’s almost unheard of for a six-term congresswoman who routinely defeats her Republican opponents by double digits.

At least seven other veteran House Democrats — in California, Iowa, Utah, Massachusetts, New York, Georgia and North Carolina — have become top GOP targets because of new district boundaries.

HOUSE

Ethics committee: No action against Buchanan

The House Ethics Committee says Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida omitted information on his financial disclosure forms over four years. The committee said Tuesday that no action will be taken because the congressman corrected the errors.

The committee did not announce its vote, but Mr. Buchanan’s office said it was 9-0 to end the case.

The committee said less substantial errors and omissions occur in 30 percent to 50 percent of all financial disclosure statements reviewed each year. No action is typically taken unless there is evidence the errors or omissions were knowing or willful or are related to other violations.

In his disclosure statements for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, Mr. Buchanan did not report all of his positions or ownership interests in six entities and income received from the entities.

NEVADA

Biden faults Romney for not releasing tax returns

LAS VEGAS — Vice President Joseph R. Biden denounced Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday as a candidate with something to hide.

Mr. Biden, campaigning for President Obama in the battleground of Nevada, told Hispanic leaders Mr. Romney doesn’t live up to the openness his father represented when he ran for president 44 years ago. The vice president said Mr. Romney’s father, George Romney, released 12 years of tax returns when he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in 1968.

In excerpts of Mr. Biden’s remarks released by the Obama campaign, Mr. Biden told the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza that Mr. Romney has released only one year of his tax returns and added, “making a lie of the old adage: Like father, like son.”

The remarks underscored the Obama campaign’s latest effort to portray Mr. Romney as secretive.

WISCONSIN

Lawmaker won’t challenge his Senate recall loss

RACINE — Wisconsin state Sen. Van Wanggaard has decided not to challenge his loss in last month’s recall election and is conceding the race to his Democratic rival.

Mr. Wanggaard, a Republican, lost to John Lehman by 819 votes, or about 1 percent of the nearly 72,000 ballots cast June 5. Mr. Wanggaard demanded a recount, which affirmed his loss.

He had until Tuesday to file a challenge. His campaign chose not to do so, clearing the way for state election officials to certify the race Wednesday morning and make the outcome official.

With the win, Democrats will have a 17-16 edge in the state Senate. Their majority may be short-lived, however.

Sixteen senators are up for election this fall. Those races will determine which party has control over the next two years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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