Austan Goolsbee / AP

Austan Goolsbee / AP

The Obama administration must acknowledge the existence of an independent investigation into former White House senior economics adviser Austan Goolsbee’s alleged unauthorized access to the Koch brother’s tax returns, a court ruled Tuesday.

Watchdogs Slam President’s Perez Power Play

Tom Perez / AP

Rumors that President Barack Obama may tap controversial Labor Secretary Tom Perez to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder are drawing fire from government and labor watchdogs.

The White House is considering naming Perez to be the nation’s top law enforcement official, according to a report published Monday by Politico. Perez, a two-time Obama appointee at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the Department of Labor, would succeed Holder, whose tenure was marred by controversy, scandal, and calls for his resignation.

Stage Production for 18-Minute Obama Speech Cost $94,360

AP

The stage, drapes, and sound system for an 18-minute speech by President Barack Obama cost taxpayers nearly $100,000.

“Elite Productions,” the go-to company for prominent Democratic politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, put on the set for Obama’s speech to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Sept. 17. The company provided “stage, drapery, and audio/visual equipment,” according to a contract document made public by the Air Force last week.

Hamas Calls for More Abductions

Palestinian students walking next to destroyed houses in Al-Shejaeiya neighbourhood in the east of Gaza City

JERUSALEM—Barely a month after the end of a bloody confrontation with Israel in Gaza, which was touched off by the kidnapping of three Israeli youths, Hamas officials this week called for further abductions in order to leverage prisoner exchanges with Israel.

The officials said they were seeking to repeat the successful abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006, which led five years later to the release by Israel of 1,027 prisoners.