The Note

Bob Novak looks at Speaker Dennis Hastert's efforts to lobby on behalf of United Airlines. LINK

The New York Times business section has a less breathless take on the same matter. LINK

Rep. Chris Bell was barred from distributing two letters to colleagues concerning his ethics charges against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay or from discussing the charges at a weekly whip meeting, according to Roll Call's Damon Chappie.

Big casino budget politics:

"In the wake of a long-running series of scandals and controversies involving charities and nonprofits, Congress's tax-writing committees are launching an effort this week to crack down on fraudulent activities and tighten laws governing tax exemptions for those groups," reports the Washington Post's Albert Crenshaw. LINK

From the outside:

Michael Crowley sits down with Harold Ickes and Jim Jordan in a look at the "shadow Democratic Party" -- i.e., the Media Fund, et al, for New York magazine, and explains how, despite the lack of formal coordination, Kerry's campaign would be in a far different place without the influence of the 527 groups. LINK

Judicial politics:

The Washington Post's Carl Leonnig reports an incident in the career of Thomas B. Griffith, President Bush's nominee for the federal appeals court in Washington, that might prove a snag in his confirmation process: he has been practicing law in Utah for the past four years without a state law license. LINK

"Most lawyers arriving in Utah are allowed to get reciprocal state licenses, but Griffith did not meet the Utah State Bar requirement that he be a lawyer in good standing in his previous state for three of the previous four years."

Reproductive politics:

The Bush Administration has the United Nations Population Fund in its sights for its perceived support of abortions in China and is looking to isolate it from working with other UN agencies, reports the New York Times' Marquis. LINK

The politics of same-sex marriage:

The Wall Street Journal's Avery Johnson writes that social conservatives hope the gay marriage will cause a rebirth of a moribund Christian Coalition and other evangelical political movements.

"At the coalition's headquarters in Washington, national field director Bill Thomson says he wants to broaden the organization's traditional base beyond issues affecting the family to tax cuts and the defense budget. But conservative ire over gay marriage is lending fresh energy. Some 30 new directors have been appointed to coalition chapters. The group is devoting attention to electoral battlegrounds with large numbers of evangelicals such as Missouri, Florida, Oregon, Iowa and Ohio. In the Buckeye State, director Chris Long plans a briefing for pastors this month and a statewide "citizenship Sunday" on July 4 to register voters."

Civil rights activists Saturday called for Democrats to take an explicit stand in their 2004 party platform against the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment and for "equal recognition of same-sex relationships." LINK

Ralph Nader:

Today, Ralph Nader announces his running mate at noon ET at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The Congressional Black Caucus will meet with Nader this Tuesday to tell him "in no uncertain terms" that they want him to withdraw his name from the presidential race, according to Roll Call's Erin Billings.

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