From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
The Federal Election Commission essentially hit the reset button on funding for the never-ending Minnesota Senate race.
On Day 140, the FEC ruled that both Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken can go back to the well and re-tap maxed out donors. Both sides lobbied for this.
"For instance, a person who gave the maximum contribution of $30,400 to a national Democratic or Republican party organization this year can now give the same maximum to a party recount and trial fund for one of the candidates," the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. "The party organization can use the fund to help the candidate pay his expenses. Similarly, a political committee could give another $15,000 to such a fund even if it gave the maximum amount during the campaign."
And get this: "[T]he candidates are believed to have raised at least $11 million combined since the November election to pay for the recount and trial. That's about one-fourth of what they raised and spent during the entire 2007-08 election cycle. Election law experts estimate that each of the six or more lawyers actively working on the case made about $500 an hour while in the courtroom."
Specter to vote against card check?
Accentuating why Democrats want that 60th senator (and Republicans want to delay, delay, delay), there are a couple of reports that say Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter "will vote against a cloture motion to limit debate on the Employee Free Choice Act," Congress Daily writes, citing business sources.
What that essentially means is that he would filibuster card check as it is currently written. This could be a big blow to advocates of the legislation that would, in part, make it easier for workers to form a union.