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In brief: Democratic senator won’t seek new term

Tue., March 26, 2013

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota plans to retire at the end of his term, party officials said Monday – a departure that gives Republicans a prime opportunity to pick up a seat as they attempt to win back control of the chamber in 2014.

Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2006 but later returned to the Senate and won re-election in 2008. He has recovered significantly, though sometimes uses a motorized scooter.

The Democratic officials who described Johnson’s plans spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. They said they were not authorized to pre-empt a formal announcement expected today.

Johnson’s retirement announcement is the fifth by Senate Democrats. Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey also say they won’t run for re-election in 2014. Two Republican senators have also said they plan to retire.

Ethics office probes Bachmann campaign

WASHINGTON – Rep. Michele Bachmann and her short-lived campaign last year for the GOP presidential nomination are being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

A lawyer for the Minnesota Republican said Monday that Bachmann is cooperating with the investigation. The Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent investigative body established by the House five years ago to conduct preliminary investigations into allegations of misconduct by House members or their aides. The panel can dismiss cases or refer them to the House Ethics Committee.

“There are no allegations that the congresswoman engaged in any wrongdoing,” lawyer William McGinley, of Patton Boggs, said. “We are constructively engaged with the OCE and are confident that at the end of their review the OCE Board will conclude that congresswoman Bachmann did not do anything inappropriate.”

Donors help buy EMS units, police cars

DETROIT – Several businesses have pledged a total of $8 million to help cash-strapped Detroit pay for a new fleet of emergency vehicles, including 23 EMS units and 100 police cars, to boost public safety and reduce response times, Mayor Dave Bing announced Monday.

Racing team owner Roger Penske, who leads Penske Automotive Group and whose Penske Corp. is among the donors, joined Bing at City Hall to announce the donation. The other donors are Quicken Loans Inc., General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

National monuments include San Juan site

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has designated five new national monuments, using executive authority to protect historic or ecologically significant sites.

Vice President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined Obama on Monday in the Oval Office as he signed five proclamations designating the sites under the Antiquities Act. The sites are San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state; Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio.


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