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North County GOP congressman Darrell Issa became a hero to those opposed to the $700 billion bad-mortgage bailout that was muscled through Congress two weeks ago by the Bush administration and establishment politicians from both parties. Fluent in the ways of cable television, Issa has been turning up as a semiregular guest on HBO’s liberal-leaning Real Time with Bill Maher. One appearance was documented by a disclosure statement the congressman filed last February: “A chauffeured sedan will drive him from his home in Vista, CA to our studio in L.A.,” notes a declaration from the show’s “talent supervisor.” Total expenses of that appearance, picked up by HBO, were reported to be $852. … The Center on Policy Initiatives, a labor-backed think tank that has lobbied for a so-called living wage, among other causes, is throwing a gala for itself tonight at the San Diego Convention Center. Honorees include termed-out San Diego city councilwoman Toni Atkins. Tickets cost $125, and sponsors include the San Diego Police Officers Association and the San Diego Community College District, the chairman of which is South Bay Democratic assembly candidate Marty Block. … Last week Scott Peters gave $6000 to the gubernatorial campaign of Democratic state attorney general Jerry Brown. Attorney Patrick Coughlin of Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins, successor to the firm of now-imprisoned superlawyer Bill Lerach, gave the same.

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