Stephanie Mencimer

Stephanie Mencimer

Reporter

Stephanie works in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. A Utah native and graduate of a crappy public university not worth mentioning, she has spent several years hanging out with angry white people who occasionally don tricorne hats and come to lunch meetings heavily armed.

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Stephanie covers legal affairs and domestic policy in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. She is the author of Blocking the Courthouse Door: How the Republican Party and Its Corporate Allies Are Taking Away Your Right to Sue. A contributing editor of the Washington Monthly, a former investigative reporter at the Washington Post, and a senior writer at the Washington City Paper, she was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2004 for a Washington Monthly article about myths surrounding the medical malpractice system. In 2000, she won the Harry Chapin Media award for reporting on poverty and hunger, and her 2010 story in Mother Jones of the collapse of the welfare system in Georgia and elsewhere won a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.

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GOP Candidate Fred Karger Raises a Few Bucks

| Tue Jul. 19, 2011 7:01 AM EDT
Fred Karger is the first openly gay Republican to run for president.

Upstart GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger, the first gay Republican ever to run for the nomination, is not exactly raising the big bucks. Gay Republicans are either few and far between, or they're putting their money on, well, Barack Obama. But given his unusual niche, Karger isn't doing all that badly either. Lost in all the news coverage of presidential fundraising is this little tidbit: Karger reported raising $264,000 in the last quarter, more than pot-promoter and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who raised $180,000, and not that far behind former Pennsylvania senator and arch anti-gay candidate Rick Santorum, who raised $581,000. Of course, $230,000 of Karger's haul came from a single donor: Fred Karger.

Still, Karger seems highly skilled at getting his media coverage for free. He's made good use of all the indignities heaped on him by anti-gay Republican gatekeepers, who've refused to let him participate in any major televised debates. He's used his years of experience in the opposition research field to win coverage for his attacks on fellow candidate Mitt Romney. Then, last week, he made headlines after he challenged Rep. Michele Bachmann's husband to a debate over his support of "reparative therapy," a discredited form of psychological counseling that supposedly helps gays become straight. Karger urged Bachmann to "come out of the closet" to defend his Christian counseling clinics, which reportedly offer the therapy. Karger used the ensuing media coverage to take a few shots at Michele Bachmann as well, calling her a bigot for her anti-gay views.

Karger is certainly adding some extra color to GOP primary this year. This week, he'll campaign in New Hampshire for a few days before traveling to San Francisco, where "Real World" hottie Mike Manning will headline a big fundraiser on Thursday that could bring in a few more donors to keep Karger's show on the road.

A Tea Party Debt Ceiling Ad

| Fri Jul. 15, 2011 11:34 AM EDT

Amy Kremer, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express and co-founder of the American Grassroots Coalition, wants to take the fight over raising the debt ceiling directly to the people. Her coalition has been secretly cooking up a new TV ad designed to simplify the debate into tea party terms any school kid could understand. In an email Thursday promoting the "big reveal," Kremer says that the ad is the first the fledgling group has done. Of course, the ad hasn't actually made it on to TV. Kremer's group needs a lot more money to move the ad from YouTube to your tube, and she's asking for donations to make that happen.

The ad plays on the tea party movement's favorite theme, which is that, by failing to rein in the national debt and radically cut spending, we are pushing the burden onto future generations. It's a pretty slick production for a group with no money, but so far, it doesn't seem to have hit the viral sweet spot. (Kremer got a lot more attention—and criticism—after she declared on Fox News that the tea party would back whichever candidate the GOP nominated, including Mitt Romney.) The video had only been viewed 364 times by Friday shortly before noon. Check it out here:

Investigate Murdoch's News Corp.? Nah.

| Thu Jul. 14, 2011 6:00 AM EDT

On Wednesday, the nonprofit watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) upped the ante in the ongoing furor over Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and the widening British phone-hacking scandal. Democratic members of Congress, including West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, have called on various federal agencies to investigate allegations that reporters working for News Corp.'s News of the World may have hacked the voicemail of 9/11 victims and also attempted to bribe a New York City police officer for their phone records. But CREW has suggested that Congress itself should take up the cause and launch hearings on the brewing scandal. CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan said in a statement:

While it is encouraging that Sen. Rockefeller shares CREW’s concern about whether American 9/11 victims had their voicemails hacked, there is no need to cede all investigative authority to the executive branch. Just as the British Parliament has held hearings and heard the testimony of witnesses, Congress has the ability to subpoena News Corp. employees and require them to explain themselves. The idea that News Corp. may have sought to exploit the victims of one of the darkest days in US history for financial gain is grotesque. Even in these hyper-partisan days, Congress should be able to put the privacy of terrorist victims and their families above politics. Mr. Murdoch and his acolytes must be held accountable here as well as in Great Britain.

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Tue Sep. 9, 2014 6:30 AM EDT | Updated Tue Dec. 16, 2014 10:10 AM EDT