Inside Politics: Obama strengthens law protecting whistleblowers

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Christie: Campaign also about rebuilding state

MIDDLETOWN — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to spend the next year leading efforts to rebuild his home state after Superstorm Sandy — and running for re-election.

The 50-year-old governor announced his intention to seek a second term Monday after telling his campaign treasurer to file papers so he can begin hiring campaign staff, selecting a headquarters and raising money toward his re-election. A formal announcement is expected in January.

Mr. Christie is riding an unprecedented wave of popularity because of how he handled the storm, which he said Friday had caused more than $29 billion in damage in New Jersey.

He carried the Democratic-leaning state by 86,000 votes in 2009, an upset win over Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine.

SENATE

Lawmakers want more info on gas price spikes

Six Democratic senators representing states along the Pacific Coast are asking the Justice Department to investigate the role of oil refineries in gas spikes that occurred in May and October even as crude oil prices were declining.

Gas prices jumped last month in California to more than $5 a gallon. Analysts said a web of refinery problems were to blame. But the senators say a review of California refinery emissions data revealed inconsistencies between the time refineries were actually producing petroleum products and when maintenance shutdowns were publicly reported. They said misleading reports of shutdowns could create a perceived shortage of gasoline.

The letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was sent by the senators from Washington, Oregon and California.

MONTANA

Salazar: Settlement a step toward reconciliation

HELENA — Attorneys representing hundreds of thousands of American Indians say they should start seeing the first payments of a $3.4 billion settlement with the U.S. government by year’s end.

The settlement between American Indians across the nation and the government over more than a century’s worth of squandered and mismanaged land trust royalties became final Friday.

The lawsuit was started by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont., in 1996 after the Blackfeet woman saw no accounting of the money held in trust by the government.

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