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Patrick Morrisey Using New York City Fundraiser to Help Retire Primary Debt
West Virginia GOP Senate candidate lags in cash on hand for general election

West Virginia Republican Patrick Morrisey is having a fundraiser with Donald Trump Jr. in New York City on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

West Virginia Republican Patrick Morrisey is having a fundraiser Monday in New York City with Donald Trump Jr. to help retire the campaign debt from his successful Senate primary run. 

Morrisey, the state’s attorney general, is challenging Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III, who’s led in recent polling and had a significant cash on hand advantage at the end of the second quarter. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Democratic

Charlie Palmer Steak, Men’s Wearhouse – When PACs Pick Up Lawmaker Tabs
Report: Congress members and Candidates spend megabucks in predictable places

Charlie Palmer’s, a white-tablecloth steakhouse steps from the Senate office building, was the favorite D.C. dining destination for politicians using money from leadership PACs, according to a watchdog report. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Want to know how to live like a Washington insider? You could do worse than peruse the latest report on improper spending in Congress. 

One takeaway: From dining to hotels to shopping, D.C. politicians do not opt for adventure, at least when someone else is paying the tab. 

Democrats Push Senate to Take Legal Action Backing Pre-existing Condition Protections
McCaskill and Manchin among leaders of the effort

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., shakes hands with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is also running for U.S. Senate, before the start of the Ripley 4th of July Grand Parade in Ripley, West Virginia on July 4. The two men are on opposite sides of a debate over pre-existing conditions that could become a part of their campaigns. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | In a possible preview of Senate Democrats’ midterm political messaging, Democratic senators want the chamber to go to court to defend health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Two of the Democrats leading the effort face Republican challengers in 2018 who have signed on to the legal effort that could undermine the regulations from the 2010 health care law: state attorneys general in Missouri, Josh Hawley, and West Virginia, Patrick Morrisey.

Democrats Keep Raking In the Cash After Costly Primaries
Challengers in key races have on average twice as much money in the bank

California Democrat Katie Porter reported a significant boost in her cash on hand since the pre-primary reporting period in her race against GOP Rep. Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The surge in Democratic candidates running for the House raised a critical question at the start of the cycle: Would crowded and costly primaries weaken the eventual nominees by draining their campaign cash? So far the answer appears to be “no.”

On average, Democrats in competitive races who faced expensive primaries have more than doubled their cash on hand from shortly before their primary elections to the end of the most recent fundraising quarter, campaign finance reports show. 

IRS Ruling on Political Donation Reporting Sets Off Campaign Finance Fight
McConnell cheers, but Democrats blast decision, arguing it reduces transparency

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the new IRS policy in a Tuesday morning speech. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Monday’s announcement by the Treasury Department that it will no longer collect information about donors to some political nonprofits was met with applause from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, perhaps the leading advocate for unrestricted campaign donations. At the same time, it ignited a campaign finance fight with the midterm elections less than four months away.

“It’s bad enough to wield government power to chill political speech and invite harassment of citizens — based on what an angry mob might assume their opinions are, based on their private financial records,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor Monday. “It’s even more egregious to pursue that nakedly political goal while calling it ‘good government.’ In this country, good government means protecting citizens’ First Amendment rights to participate in the competition of ideas — not trying to shut down that competition.”

Bilirakis Campaign Accused of Inflating Local Donor Support
Said 90 percent of contributions came from Floridians

The campaign of Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., is accused of inflating the percentage of campaign contributions he said came from Floridians. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis’ campaign  is being accused of inflating the percentage of campaign contributions he’s touting as from Floridians.

In a news release, Bilirakis said almost 90 percent of support he received during the second quarter, from April through June, came from Floridians.

MJ Hegar Outraises Carter in Longshot Bid in Texas
Attributes much of it to introduction video that went viral

The Democratic challenger to Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, out raised him in the most recent fundraising quarter. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MJ Hegar, who is challenging Texas Rep. John Carter, outraised the incumbent nearly 4-1 in the most recent fundraising quarter, according to Federal Election Commission documents.

Hegar, a U.S. Air Force veteran, announced her campaign raised $1.1 million in the last fundraising quarter while Carter raised $265,725.

Foreign Relations Panel Shows Bipartisan Scorn for Administration Trade Agenda
Tough questions from both sides of aisle, liberal, conservative witnesses

Josh Bolten, right, CEO of the Business Roundtable, talks with Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., after a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Tariffs: Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy and the International Economy," on July 12, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker was candid with the State Department witness that appeared before his committee at a hearing on Trump administration trade policy Thursday morning.

“You are going to be cannon fodder this morning, and I don’t think you are really prepared to defend the policies in an appropriate manner,” the Tennessee Republican told Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh.

O’Rourke More Than Doubles Cruz’s Fundraising in Second Quarter
Democrat challenger raised $10.4 million compared to incumbent’s $4 million

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, announced he raised $10.4 million in the most recent fundraising quarter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz’s Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised more than double the amount the Republican incumbent raised in the second quarter of 2018.

O’Rourke’s campaign announced he raised $10.4 million in the most recent fundraising quarter from 215,714 individual contributions. 

GOP Senate Candidate Returns Contributions From Conservative PAC
FEC has questions for Club for Conservatives PAC

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter to Club for Conservatives PAC last month with questions about its previously filed reports. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn is locked in a competitive and expensive race for Senate. But the Tennessee Republican’s campaign decided to return a sizable contribution from a political action committee that’s facing scrutiny from campaign finance regulators.

“Club for Conservatives PAC did not meet our standards for transparency,” Blackburn campaign spokeswoman Abbi Sigler said.