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Biden trolls Taylor Swift-NFL conspiracy theorists after Super Bowl: 'Just like we drew it up'

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Biden trolls Taylor Swift-NFL conspiracy theorists after Super Bowl: 'Just like we drew it up'

President Biden doesn’t really have lasers coming out of his eyes.

But if he did, they might be pointed squarely at anyone who claims that he, Taylor Swift and the NFL are conspiring in an elaborate plot to defeat former President Trump in the election this November.

Biden tweeted the spooky image of himself with glowing orbs emitting red beams with the caption, “Just like we drew it up,” following the Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.

Earlier in the day, Biden’s campaign used the same image in a TikTok video. During a lighthearted, rapid-fire questioning session, the president was given the choice between “deviously plotting to rig the season so the Chiefs would make the Super Bowl or the Chiefs just being a good football team.”

Biden answered matter-of-factly, “I’d get in trouble if I told you,” as the screen cut to the sinister, laser-eyed image.

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Swift is a pop music icon with an enormous and extremely devoted fan base. Swift endorsed Biden in the 2020 election, and the president is said to be actively seeding her support again this time around.

The “Shake It Off” singer also is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and has become a fixture at his games — and on TV’s coverage of those games. Unfounded theories have been abounding in some right-wing circles recently that the Chiefs’ latest run to the Super Bowl — this year’s title is their third in five years — was somehow predetermined by the NFL in an effort that will in some way assist Biden’s reelection campaign.

So the president’s postgame tweet was merely a joke at the expense of folks who bought into such theories.

Or was it?

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California lawmakers can’t take lobbyist donations — unless they’re running for Congress

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California lawmakers can’t take lobbyist donations — unless they’re running for Congress

State Sen. Susan Rubio has a powerful position in Sacramento. As chair of the Insurance Committee, the Baldwin Park Democrat can help pass or kill any legislation affecting that industry.

Due to a law meant to prevent corruption, Rubio can’t accept campaign donations from insurance lobbyists — or any other lobbyists — as she raises money for her 2026 reelection to the Legislature. State law forbids California lobbyists from donating to the campaigns of state lawmakers.

But there are no such restrictions on lobbyists donating to campaigns for federal office, even when the candidate is a state lawmaker. So as Rubio runs for Congress this year, she can take donations for her federal campaign from lobbyists who may seek to influence her votes in Sacramento.

And she is.

Rubio has received nearly $43,300 in contributions from registered state lobbyists in her campaign to replace retiring Rep. Grace F. Napolitano in California’s 31st Congressional District. It’s a sliver of her overall fundraising as of Feb. 14, but the most lobbyist money of any California lawmaker who is running for federal office. Many of those who donated to Rubio’s congressional campaign represent companies that lobby bills that are heard before committees she sits on as a state legislator, including the Insurance Committee and those that oversee policy related to healthcare, alcohol regulations and energy and utilities.

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Eight state legislators are running for Congress this year. Six have received lobbyist donations, in amounts that vary widely, adding up to $96,090.

The donations are legal and make up a small portion of the candidates’ overall fundraising. Still, some watchdogs say they should be prohibited because of the risk that lobbyists’ money could shape lawmakers’ decisions in the work they are doing at the state level.

“It doesn’t mean they’ll vote in their favor, but the possibility that could happen exists,” said Sean McMorris, a program manager at the government watchdog group Common Cause.

His organization was part of the coalition that 50 years ago introduced California’s Political Reform Act, the law that bans lobbyist donations to state lawmakers.

Bob Stern, co-author of the law, said the state prohibition was put in place because “legislators were receiving huge amounts from people who were lobbying them, and we thought there should be a disconnect between lobbying and campaign contributions.”

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In practice, Stern said, the prohibition’s impacts were limited, since the companies hiring lobbyists could still give directly to candidates, as can affiliated political action committees. But there was “symbolism” to the separation, he said.

Rubio’s campaign manager, Giovanni Ruiz, said all contributions she had received from individuals were “solely based on mutually respectful relationships,” and she has opposed issues that donors lobbied for in the past.

Ruiz also noted that Rubio was being massively outspent by her opponent Gil Cisneros, who has put $4 million of his own money into his campaign.

Silicon Valley congressional candidate Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) received $21,650 from lobbyists, making up 2% of his fundraising. He joined the late-breaking race to replace retiring Rep. Anna G. Eshoo in early December, just months before the March primary.

State Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine), who is running to replace Rep. Katie Porter in an Orange County seat, received about $16,500 in lobbyist donations, accounting for 1% of total fundraising since he launched his campaign at the beginning of 2023.

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Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), who is vying to replace Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Los Angeles), received $4,000, and her opponent state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank) received $6,500 from lobbyists. Those totals account for less than 1% of each of their fundraising.

Portantino and Friedman have both been running for the Los Angeles congressional seat for more than a year.

Central Valley congressional candidate State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) received about $4,000 from lobbyists — a sum that accounted for 6.1% of her fundraising since she launched her campaign in August 2023.

Hurtado told The Times that lawmakers should be able to receive those donations but acknowledged that “money has the ability to corrupt people, it’s plain and simple.”

Since August, Hurtado has raised less than $100,000; she said she is in debt from putting her own money into the race. The only money she doesn’t accept is from the cannabis industry, she told The Times.

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Friedman went further, saying she sees the potential issues and would support a law that prevents federal campaigns from accepting money from state lobbyists.

Friedman noted that her campaign was turning down all corporate PAC money and described that as a far more salient issue in races like hers. She characterized the lobbyist contributions she and her colleagues had received as small compared with the “avalanche of money out there” from clients of the lobbyists.

Portantino, Low and Min did not respond to requests for comment.

Two state legislators running for Congress have not received any lobbyist donations: Sen. Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), who is also running for Napolitano’s San Gabriel Valley seat and launched his campaign last summer, and Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), who is running for former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s vacant Bakersfield seat. Fong launched his campaign in December.

Because of the limited disclosures required by the state, lobbyists are not required to publicly report which lawmakers they have attempted to influence on various bills, making it difficult to draw direct lines between their lobbying efforts and their donations. But campaign finance and lobbying records show that several of the candidates have received donations from lobbyists who work with companies seeking to influence policy in the areas in which they have power, based on committee positions.

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Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) is one of several state lawmakers running for Congress.

(Robert Gourley / Los Angeles Times)

Sacramento lobbyist Mandy Lee gave $3,300, the maximum allowable donation, to Rubio. Her firm represents the American Property Casualty Insurance Assn., a major trade group for home, auto and business insurers. The association lobbied on bills heard in the Rubio-chaired Senate Insurance Committee. Lee also donated $500 to Min.

Rubio’s spokesperson noted that the senator’s relationship with Lee long predated her election to the Legislature.

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Rubio also received $2,000 from lobbyist Paul Gladfelty, whose firm represents the Travelers insurance company.

“It is not uncommon for state lobbyists to make personal contributions to congressional candidates we know and believe in, which state law allows. Prior to the Senator running for Legislative office, I had the opportunity to establish a personal friendship,” Gladfelty said by text message, adding that his friendship with Rubio “exists regardless of her committee assignments.”

Lobbyists Soyla Fernández and Kirk Kimmelshue, owners of Fernández Jensen Kimmelshue Government Affairs, both donated to the campaigns of Min and Rubio. Their firm’s client list includes the Regional Water Authority and Northern California Water Assn., which both lobbied on bills that were heard in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water that Min chairs.

Their firm also represents Southern California Edison, which routinely lobbies on bills in the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee that Min and Rubio both sit on; the Anheuser-Busch beer company, which lobbies the committee that regulates alcohol, of which Rubio is a member; and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which lobbies the health committee that Rubio sits on.

Lobbyist RJ Cervantes, whose clients include trade associations for cryptocurrency and electronic payment companies, gave $3,300 to Low, who serves as co-chair of the Legislative Technology & Innovation Caucus, a group of lawmakers who want to foster a tech-friendly climate in California.

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Cervantes, Kimmelshue, Fernández and Lee did not respond to requests for comment.

Jessica Levinson, an election law professor at Loyola Law School and former president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, sees the situation as less clear-cut than Common Cause’s McMorris does. She said she doesn’t think it is unethical for state lawmakers to accept lobbyist donations to their congressional campaigns, since there is “a very real opening in the law” that allows them.

“It’s up to the voters to determine if this is something that bothers them,” Levinson said. “My guess is that for most voters, it’s pretty far down on the list.”

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NFL team owner appears on stage with Trump during South Carolina victory speech

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NFL team owner appears on stage with Trump during South Carolina victory speech

New York Jets owner and billionaire businessman Woody Johnson stood in support behind former President Trump in South Carolina on Saturday night after Trump was quickly projected the winner of the state’s primary.

Johnson, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom during the Trump administration, was on stage alongside his wife Suzanne behind Trump as the former president delivered a speech after his quick victory in the Palmetto State primary on Saturday.

Johnson, a member of the founding family of Johnson & Johnson, has previously expressed support for the former president during the 2024 campaign. 

“Americans remember how good it was or how much better it was on the border, and inflation, and gas prices, and grocery prices, all that, during the Trump administration, and they want to get back there,” Johnson told News’ Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo earlier this month. 

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Former US Presidential hopeful and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump (C) gestures at an “Election Night Watch Party” in Columbia, South Carolina ( TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

“So I think the most important thing is getting the former president back in the White House, which looks like it’s happening.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Johnson’s representatives but did not immediately receive a response.

WATCH: TRUMP RALLYGOERS REVEAL WHOM THEY WANT AS VICE PRESIDENT

Trump Woody Johnson

Trump delivers victory speech in South Carolina (Fox News)

Trump’s rapidly-called victory on Saturday over former U.N. ambassador and former two-term South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in her home state moves the former president another step closer to clinching the 2024 GOP nomination. 

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“It’s an early evening and a fantastic evening,” Trump told a crowd of supporters gathered at the South Carolina state fairgrounds in Columbia, the state capitol, just minutes after polls closed and he was declared the victor.

Jets' owner Woody Johnson

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson looks on before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on October 2, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

“Celebrate for 15 minutes, but then we have to get back to work,” he added, referencing next week’s Michigan primary, and Super Tuesday the following week.

Fox News Digital’s Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

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Authorities name mother's boyfriend as person of interest in slaying of 3-year-old boy

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Authorities name mother's boyfriend as person of interest in slaying of 3-year-old boy

Authorities have released the identity of a 3-year-old boy who was killed in his Lancaster home on Tuesday night and described his mother’s boyfriend as a person of interest in the brutal slaying.

The toddler, David Hernandez, was found with his throat cut in the 43400 block of 57th Street W when deputies arrived around 10:55 p.m., officials said. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner reported his manner of death as homicide and cause as “an incised wound of the neck.”

The Sheriff’s Department said in a news release that Rena Naulls, 39, of Lancaster, was transported to the hospital after allegedly attempting to take his own life at the scene.

Investigators said Naulls is the live-in boyfriend of the victim’s mother and named him “a person of interest” in the case. Naulls was admitted to the hospital and listed in stable condition, police said.

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The Times previously reported that a source with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak publicly said a family friend went to the house at the behest of one of the boy’s relatives, found the child with his throat slit in a bathtub and called 911.

Three of the child’s older siblings, ages 9, 11 and 14, were unharmed and taken into protective custody by the Department of Children and Family Services, according to the source and the Sheriff’s Department. The Times reported that the family had no prior contacts with the Department of Children and Family Services.

No arrests have been made.

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