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House ethics panel will continue harassment inquiry

July 16, 2011

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WASHINGTON - The House ethics panel has decided to continue its inquiry into whether top Democrats covered up information that former representative Eric Massa sexually harassed male staffers.

The committee said yesterday that it had voted to reauthorize an investigative subcommittee for the investigation, which began in April 2010.

The New York congressman resigned in March 2010 after the sexual harassment allegations surfaced.

Republicans eager to make ethical misdeeds a campaign issue have pressed for information about what Democratic leaders knew about the allegations against Massa and what actions they took.

The ethics panel cannot investigate former members, but it can look into what others did - or did not do - with knowledge of Massa’s conduct.

— Associated Press

Wealthy fund-raisers help bolster Obama campaign WASHINGTON - President Obama’s campaign team has signed up an early wave of elite fund-raisers who have collected at least $34.95 million since April, to help bankroll the president’s reelection bid.

The Obama campaign disclosed its list of 244 individuals and couples yesterday who serve as “bundlers,’’ often wealthy, well-connected donors who raise campaign cash from friends and business associates.

The campaign has emphasized that it has more than 550,000 donors and notes that Obama does not take money from political action committees or Washington lobbyists. But the list underscores the role of high-dollar bundlers who helped Obama raise $86 million through the campaign and the Democratic National Committee from April through June.

Obama’s top fund-raisers include leading lawyers, business executives, and film industry leaders, including former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, and Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg. The three have already raised at least $500,000 apiece for the campaign. About two dozen others have each raised that much.

The fund-raisers have staked Obama, who does not face a primary opponent, to a large money advantage over the Republican field. The top GOP fund-raiser, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, collected more than $18 million.

Obama’s top Wall Street bundlers include Orin Kramer of Boston Provident and Charles Myers of Evercore Partners.

— Associated Press

Republican donors waiting on the sidelines to decide WASHINGTON - As expected, Mitt Romney leads all Republicans in campaign cash, cementing a front-runner status among contenders hoping to go against President Obama in 2012.

While Romney’s $12.6 million in the bank far outdistanced a spread-out GOP field, dollars do not always translate to votes. The chasm between Romney and his rivals suggested many Republican donors are waiting, watching the topsy-turvy campaign foment and the candidates finally start to engage one another.

“It’s a little unsettling that people have so underperformed expectations,’’ said Dave Carney, an adviser to Governor Rick Perry of Texas who is weighing joining the race. “There’s some . concern about either economics or about the candidates.’’

Romney, a ferocious fund-raiser who spent weeks on the road, collected more than $18 million during the April-to-June fund-raising period, outpacing his closest rival to announce numbers so far, Representative Michele Bachmann, by a 3-to-1 ratio in banked cash. Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite, has about $3.6 million in cash.

— Associated Press

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