Seaborn campaign "looking closely" at Senate for VP nominee
Friday, January 28th, 2022
Senator Nicole Kershaw (D-CA), the senior senator from California and a major supporter of President Sam Seaborn, told an interview with NBS that she and fellow California senator Gabe Tillman (D) were "just about the only Democratic senators not being looked at" as potential running mates for the president later this year.
Kershaw, who developed a close working relationship with Seaborn during the nearly eight years the president spent as her colleague in the Senate, said that the campaign was "looking closely" at various members of the party's Senate caucus for the vice presidential nomination. Kershaw says she has been privy to discussions with the president and his top political advisors over who Seaborn should select, owing both to her relationship with the president and the constitutional difficulties that would make selecting her unnecessarily risky.
"The Constitution is pretty clear that California's 54 electors couldn't vote for both President Seaborn, a proud Californian, and a vice presidential nominee also from California," Kershaw explained. "They would have to find a different candidate to support for vice president, which would mean there would almost certainly be another contingent vote [for vice president] when the president wins a second term. I don't think I have to explain why the party and the campaign aren't anxious to repeat that experience."
Kershaw declined to name candidates who have been discussed, but other individuals aware of the discussions have listed several familiar names, including Alicia DeSantos (FL), Ben Newell (CO), Rudi Robinson (IN) and Andrew Howard (WA), while also listing dark horse candidates like Dante Jenkins (NJ) and Andy Ritter (NM).
Seaborn campaign manager Marc Chorley confirmed that "several senators" have been floated internally within the campaign as potential running mates, but declined to name specific senators as under consideration. Chorley also said that the selection of a running mate was "still in the early stages" and that the campaign has not yet begun to vet candidates.
DOJ expands criminal investigation of veterans' charity to include KY governor
Friday, January 28th, 2022
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has expanded its criminal investigation of the Operation Healing Honor veterans charity to include Governor Ed Barrie (R) of Kentucky. A statement from the Department of Justice confirmed news reports that leaked late Thursday night that Barrie was now a "person of interest" in the investigation that has already seen six current and former directors of the charity, including Barrie's son, charged.
"New information obtained by investigators has resulted in an expansion of the investigation to include Governor Barrie as a person of interest," said Winfield Hawkins Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Eastern Kentucky. "Further investigation will be required before a decision can be made [on whether to charge Barrie with a crime]."
Court filings from the six defendants in the Operation Healing Honor scandal allege that the Kentucky-based veterans group defrauded investors and veterans out of an estimated $2.3 million between 2011 and 2021. A lawyer for Barrie says that he was unaware of the fraud perpetrated at the charity, which he co-founded and served on the board of before becoming governor in 2015 and that the investigation targeting him was a "political witch hunt."
Between the scandal over Operation Healing Honor and the testimony of his former aide-de-camp that Barrie had ordered him to falsify military records to be awarded a military medal he was not entitled to, the former Army Chief of Staff has become one of the most unpopular governors in the country, with his approval rating fall to 23 percent of Kentuckians in the last NBS poll. In addition to the DOJ investigation, an impeachment committee in the state House of Representatives has been scheduled to convene next week.
Friday, January 28 2022
Italian parliament struggles to elect president in blow to Boschetti
— The Parliament of Italy failed in its fifth round of voting to elect a new president, with its most recent vote taking place today. The failure to elect a successor to outgoing president Pietro Pannunzio thus far has come as a major blow to the government of longtime prime minister Manuele Boschetti, who had openly pushed for the governing center-left coalition's candidate, former cabinet minister Giovanni Sacco.
As expected the center-right and other opposition parties voted for their own nominees on the first two ballots, with no candidate coming close to the three-fifths supermajority required to win. But negotiations between the government and opposing members of both the Chamber of Deputies and Senate failed to lead to any breakthrough in the next two rounds, the last held where a supermajority is required to elect. Further ballots, including the failed fifth ballot held today, only require a majority of the 730 members of parliament to vote in favor of one candidate. The process has been marked by higher than expected abstentions from members; since the election is by secret ballot, there is no way of telling which members voted to abstain, but the results show a significant underperformance for Sacco compared to the number of center-left senators and deputies.
Another ballot will be held today, and it is likely that two will be held each day until a new president is elected. Pannunzio's term expires February 3rd, although should a successor fail to be elected within that time frame, his term may be extended or an acting president appointed.