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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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House holds attorney general in contempt

WASHINGTON — The House has approved a precedent-setting resolution to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress. It was the first time a sitting Cabinet member has been held in contempt.

Attorney general candidates debate

Two candidates for state attorney general agreed on a few things in their first debate. Both support same-sex marriage. Both oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use but support it for medical use. Both would press the federal government to keep to the schedule of cleaning up the waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Washington Supreme Court to rule on executive privilege

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire believes she can keep some documents from the public because of executive privilege. The Freedom Foundation believes she can’t because no such exemption exists in state law. This week the state Supreme Court accepted a case that will decide who’s right.

Idaho House approves $200,000 fund to hire outside lawyers

BOISE – The Idaho House has backed a new $200,000 fund for the Legislature to hire its own outside lawyers, despite protests that lawmakers already have the attorney general and that they’d be creating a political “slush fund.” The vote was 53-16; all House Democrats and three House Republicans, including Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, opposed the bill.

Caldwell: Consumers cashing in despite cutbacks

Washington Consumer Resource Centers manned by fewer than one dozen staff members put $4.8 million back in consumer pockets last year. That’s a significant drop from 2009, when almost $7.2 million was recovered, but the volume of consumer complaints also subsided, said Doug Walsh, head of consumer protection in the attorney general’s office.

DirecTV offers refunds for viewers rejoining the service

Customers of DirecTV who paid hundreds of dollars to terminate their contracts are being given full refunds if they rejoin, the company announced recently. The action follows a recent ceasefire announced by DirecTV and Spokane TV station KAYU, a Fox Network affiliate. Since Jan. 1, Fox shows have been pulled off the air for regional customers of DirecTV. If the parties resolve a dispute over how much DirecTV will pay KAYU’s parent firm, the shows will resume on the satellite service.

Rep. Hart logged state land for home

BOISE – Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart stole timber from state land to build his log home in Athol in 1996, according to court documents, and still hasn’t paid a judgment against him for the theft. What’s more, the property Hart illegally logged is school endowment land, meaning the timber there is supposed to benefit Idaho’s public schools. Hart contended then – and still does today – that a loophole in state law allowed him, as a citizen, to cut and take the logs, totaling nearly 8,000 board feet of timber. But three court rulings found that argument not only wrong but unreasonable and “frivolous.”