Opening Act: Srinivasan

The interior of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The text of the Manchin-Toomey gun compromise, the stuff that’ll form the basis of the final bill (via amendment), is released: Here.

Jeffrey Toobin introduces the next Supreme Court justice … if he can ever get confirmed.

CREW tries manfully to find a scandal in the McConnell/Progress Kentucky eavesdropping tape.

In the recording, an unnamed presenter thanked the individuals who conducted the research, including “LAs,” an acronym for legislative assistant or legislative aide.  The presenter specifically names Phil Maxson, who has been employed as a legislative aide in Sen. McConnell’s office since early 2011, and appears to refer to the senator’s chief of staff, Josh Holmes.  Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show neither man has been paid by Sen. McConnell’s campaign committee or leadership PAC.

When first questioned by reporters about the misuse of official resources, Sen. McConnell’s office refused to comment.  Days later, apparently recognizing the legal violations, Sen. McConnell’s campaign manager claimed the staffers were thanked for conducting the research on their free time.

It’s really not unheard of for staffers to do campaign work on their own time—during the long recesses, for example—in the time before a campaign has really staffed up.

Dylan Matthews explains why it’s so hard to compare the various political budgets released every year:

[S]eemingly simple questions about the budget, like “Does Obama or Ryan cut the Medicare budget more over 10 years?” are rather hard to answer honestly. And that’s leaving out dumb mistakes that get made when you’re trying to get the data out fast. For example, when I was entering numbers for Social Security yesterday, I took care to subtract out the $130 billion in cuts due to chained CPI. Only I cut them from the baseline, not the actual program spending. So what is actually a cut looked like a spending increase.