• Iran hostages locked in struggle for compensation, tell their story of “colossal injustice”

    Politics Confidential

    Hollywood portrays the Iran hostage crisis as a thriller story with a triumphant ending in the film “Argo.” But the real story of the 52 hostages who were held in captivity for 444 days, 39 of whom are still alive today, didn’t end with their homecoming to the U.S.

    Thirty-two years after their release, two former hostages tell Politics Confidential about their harrowing tales of captivity and their subsequent legal battle to receive compensation for the ordeal they endured.

    One of the hostages, Rick Kupke, describes their 17-year-long legal struggle, saying “it’s almost as if our noses have been rubbed in the dirt.”

    “It's a colossal injustice, what happened to us,” says Kupke, who is now retired from the State Department and was repeatedly tortured at the hands of the Iranian captors. “People ask me, do you have nightmares, did you come out of this normal...my nightmare is the Algiers Accord.”

    The Algiers Accord is the agreement that led to the hostages’ release,

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  • Fmr. Sen. Jim DeMint: $6.3 trillion immigration price tag ‘irrefutable’

    The Fine Print

    Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R – S.C.) is standing by the controversial Heritage Foundation study that put a $6.3 trillion price tag on the Senate immigration bill, saying: “There’s no doubt that these numbers are real.”

    He also says he has no regrets about leaving the Senate to become president of the Heritage Foundation, recalling his recent years in the Senate as similar to “being on a treadmill going nowhere.”

    “I’m at a place now at Heritage where I can have more impact on public policy than I could as a United States senator,” says DeMint.

    As the Senate debates an immigration bill, DeMint is at the center of a dispute at Heritage. The conservative policy group released a report last week citing the $6.3 trillion cost of the bill over 50 years, which many on both sides of the aisle have rebuked as overblown. The report faced further scrutiny after it was discovered that its co-author, Jason Richwine, has previously made controversial arguments based on race.

    While

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  • Bringing beauty to a cause, Charlize Theron lobbies for an AIDS-free generation

    Top Line

    When Charlize Theron came to Capitol Hill recently, she undoubtedly turned a few heads. But the Academy Award-winning actress didn’t come to be seen; she came to be heard.

    Ten years after President Bush began an emergency AIDS relief program, known as PEPFAR, Theron is calling on the United States to renew its commitment in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

    “We're looking at our first AIDS-free generation being born in 2015,” Theron tells Top Line. “We can't stop now.”

    Theron runs an AIDS support program for youth from her home country of South Africa, Africa Outreach Project, where 10 percent of the population has the disease, and met with members of Congress to talk about her work. Her advocacy for continued monetary assistance comes at a time when lawmakers have little appetite for increased spending, but the South African actress says the U.S.’s contributions to foreign aid efforts are more modest than some think.

    “A lot of Americans have this misperception that foreign

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