DAYBREAK DAILY: O'Malley's PAC contributions raise questions

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs in the mid 80s. { }

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Cleaning of the vandalized monuments and Cathedral are almost complete; American embassies and consulates throughout the world will be closed this weekend because of what officials are saying is an unspecified threat; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m M-F.

O’MALLEY’S PAC: Of raised eyebrows, per the Baltimore Sun, “Gov. Martin O'Malley's federal political action committee accepted more than $73,000 in contributions during this year's General Assembly session — donations that would have been unlawful if they had been directed to a state campaign. Because the money was sent to a campaign account set up under federal law, the governor's O' Say Can You See PAC could accept the money.

“Nevertheless, the public might wonder whether the federal account was intended as a "runaround on the prohibition on raising funds during the session," said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Maryland executive director of the watchdog group Common Cause. "There's no obvious outrage, [but] it does raise questions," she said. Reports released this week showed the PAC received roughly $500,000 in donations during the first six months of this year.”

MEANWHILE: Of a potential O’Malley’s successor, per the Washington Post, “A year and a half from now, Heather R. Mizeur will either be the first female governor of Maryland and the first openly gay candidate elected governor in the nation, or she’ll be growing organic herbs on the Eastern Shore. Or working on a novel. Or maybe both. If she doesn’t prevail in her upstart run for governor, what she will not be anymore is a politician. “I’ll be done with politics,” the 40-year-old Takoma Park Democrat said. “I won’t run for elected office again.”

“Last year, Mizeur, a junior member of the House of Delegates, bucked her party’s leadership by opposing the expansion of casino gambling in Maryland. Now she is the one rolling the dice, betting a promising political career on a single brash bid for the state’s top job.”

DRILL BABY, DRILL: At Virginia Beach, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Fresh from his first visit to an oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell vowed this week to redouble efforts to establish a drilling operation off Virginia's coast. The Virginia Beach Republican said after a two-day trip to Louisiana that he's "more excited" and has a "stronger resolve" to push for opening the coastal waters to petroleum production as a way to create well-paying jobs and diversify Hampton Roads' economy.

“Acknowledging that under the most optimistic scenario, no rig would be installed in Virginia waters for at least 10 years, Rigell said Gulf residents, oil rig workers and business executives have convinced him it's time to make a push.”

STAR SCIENTIFIC: Hmmm, never heard of it, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “The Democratic candidate for attorney general is calling on the state’s watchdog agency to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Virginia Retirement System’s investment in Star Scientific stock last year.

“The fact that our state’s pension fund would decide to invest in Star Scientific, a company that has suffered tens of millions of dollars in losses over the past decade, raises the possibility of serious flaws in the processes by which investment professionals within the Virginia Retirement System choose investments on behalf of our state employees,” state Sen. Mark R. Herring, D-Loudoun, writes in a letter to Del. John M. O’Bannon III, R-Henrico, and Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan.”

HEY, NO FAIR: Show us what you have, per City Paper, “D.C. Inspector General Charles Willoughby is refusing to share evidence from investigations with the Board of Ethic and Government Accountability, board members complained at their meeting Thursday. The bureaucratic turf war has gotten so bad that the board authorized its staff to subpoena the inspector general if he won't hand over documents.

“BEGA is supposed to be able to initiate enforcement proceedings against city employees and political candidates caught violating ethics rules as a result of inspector general investigations. But the board's proceedings that concern targets of IG investigations—most recently, a Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs employee who allegedly abused a handicap parking placard—have foundered because, the board claims, it can't offer defendants reasonable discovery without the IG documents that caught the board's attention in the first place.”

LOCK OF GRID: Sigh, per the New York Times, “Hours before leaving on summer recess, Congress on Thursday hit a seemingly intractable impasse on government spending, increasing the prospects of a government shutdown in the fall and adding new urgency to fiscal negotiations between the White House and a bloc of Senate Republicans.

“The group of eight lawmakers headed to the White House to find a way forward after Senate Republicans filibustered a housing and transportation spending measure, saying it violated a spending deal struck two years ago. The blockade of the Senate bill came after House Republican leaders on Wednesday gave up on a more austere version of the bill when moderate Republicans balked and said the cuts in the House measure were too deep.”

GO TO THE HEAD OF THE CLASS: In this case, the IRS, per The Hill, “President Obama is nominating John Koskinen, a former official at Freddie Mac and a corporate turnaround specialist, as the next commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the White House said Thursday. . . Koskinen would replace acting commissioner Danny Werfel, who was appointed in May after revelations about political targeting at the agency forced the resignation of Stephen Miller, the acting IRS commissioner at the time.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Lawmakers and staff can breathe easy — their health care tab is not going to soar next year. The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources. A White House official confirmed the deal and said the proposed regulations will be issued next week.” { }

SAILING HOSPITAL: That was the plan, anyway, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Since the day it arrived in Norfolk, making this town its new home base, the Navy hospital ship Comfort has been sitting pierside at Norfolk Naval Station - ready to go, but stripped of its humanitarian mission. The ship arrived March 1, the same day sequestration took effect, and became one of the earliest victims of across-the-board budget cuts.

“This week, instead of being in the Caribbean as part of a planned four-month humanitarian mission to South and Central America, a skeleton crew gave hundreds of students a tour of the vessel's empty hospital wards, describing for them what the waterborne, state-of-the-art medical facility is capable of doing, given the chance.”

D.C.’S LIVING WAGE: Back and forth they go, per the Washington Times, “Whether it’s political strategy or part of the bureaucratic process, the wait for a possible veto fight over D.C. legislation that raises minimum hourly wages at large retail stores could stretch to summer’s end.

“D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Thursday that the bill — which requires his signature before the mayor can officially endorse or veto the legislation — still has not yet reached his desk. There are no guidelines that determine when a bill passed by the council must be sent to the mayor, but the chairman hinted in an interview with WJLA (NewsChannel 8) that a lengthy process could be a strategic advantage.”

GREEN GONE: Almost, per ABC7—WJLA, “Cleanup continues at the National Cathedral after two chapels were vandalised by green paint Monday. Cathedral staff say most of the paint was removed from the Children's Chapel within 24 hours of the vandalism. Gold Leaf Studios planned to complete the cleaning by Thursday evening.

“The Children's Chapel could possibly re-open Friday. Crews are having a harder time removing the paint from the Bethlehem Chapel. Paint has been removed from the slate flooring and the organ pipes, as well as the organ console keys.”

THEY’RE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT: Jobs and more jobs, per Gazette.Net, “Despite dealing with federal sequester budget cuts, Montgomery and Frederick counties continue to build their job base beyond pre-recession levels. The counties added almost 6,000 jobs in June alone, according to the latest figures from the federal labor department.

“The counties’ combined employment level of 590,500 in June was more than 7,000 jobs higher than any previous June in the past two decades. The previous high of 583,200 was reached in June 2006. That level dove to 541,900 in early 2010 following the recession, but job numbers have risen steadily since then.”

DISTRICT SCHOOLS: Of an interesting trend, per Greater Greater Washington, “Recently released test scores show that extended school day programs work, says Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson. Whether she'll be able to expand them to more schools may depend on the newly elected president of the Washington Teachers Union. Last year 8 DCPS schools experimented with an extended school day, and 7 of them showed gains on the 2013 DC CAS in both reading and math.”

HUH?: Just the facts, per DCist, “A D.C. couple wants to raise $1 million for Oxfam to help alleviate extreme poverty. What will they do if they reach that goal by the end of the year? Change their last name to Van Squigglebottoms, naturally.

“Jessica and Jeff, a married couple with different last names who live in Dupont Circle, launched the campaign through Oxfam America this week. Jessica said they are keeping their last names secret until the campaign reaches $500,000, but added, "Neither last name is nearly as cool as Van Squigglebottoms."

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “House Republicans are preparing legislation that would cut food stamps by as much as $4 billion annually. According to conservatives, the program has become "too bloated in recent years." The bill will undoubtedly be opposed by President Obama, who has said that such drastic cuts could make it worse for millions of Americans who are struggling from the Great Recession.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s issues (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- Virginia’s legislature has approved billions in new road and transit funds. Where will the money go? We’ll ask Marty Nohe, head of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

--Skip Wood