• What is it like to be Muslim in Congress?

    The Fine Print

    Keith Ellison stands out on Capitol Hill.

    The Minnesota Democrat is the first Muslim elected to Congress, and now is only one of two. He leads a progressive caucus in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. And he’s not afraid to break out the guitar that he keeps in his office, even playing a few chords of a song for his interview with “The Fine Print.”

    When it comes to his religion, Ellison says his fellow members of Congress have generally been respectful but that there have been “a few crazy incidents.”

    “Recently, you know, a member said Muslim Americans are not condemning terrorism enough,” Ellison says, referring to a comment made by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R–Kan., that implied that Muslims were being “potentially complicit” in acts of terror if they did not speak out against them.

    “And I said, 'well, let me guarantee you, Muslims are condemning terrorism every day all the time ...' and I gave him a whole list, and he said, 'Thanks for telling me, I didn't

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  • What the heck is Ted Cruz doing in Iowa?

    Politics Confidential

    Sen. Ted Cruz had never won an election before Texans elected him to the Senate last year, but already the Republican’s travel schedule looks more like that of a presidential candidate than one for a freshman lawmaker, with stops in key battleground states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida.

    Politics Confidential joined Cruz on a recent trip to Iowa — his first visit to the state, in fact— where he insisted that he isn’t looking ahead to the next presidential election in 2016.

    “The politics of it, I'm not going to focus on right now,” Cruz said.

    Cruz said the reason behind his busy travel schedule is to argue in favor of “constitutional liberties” and “free-market principles” around the country.

    “I am working very hard to win the argument, to make the argument to the American people that we need to change course, that the direction this country is on isn't working,” Cruz said.

    Cruz has established himself as an uncompromising conservative voice on Capitol

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  • Consumer cop: How Richard Cordray says the consumer bureau is laying down the law

    Power Players

    It only took Richard Cordray a matter of days to become a five-time "Jeopardy" champion in 1987, but it has taken him two years to be confirmed as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    Following Senate confirmation this week, Cordray tells Power Players his title feels more solid now, allowing him to move forward—in the words of President Obama—as a “cop on the beat” for consumers.

    “A cop on the beat is looking out for all kinds of problems in their neighborhoods,” Cordray says. “If you stop watching any of the industries, that's where problems begin to arise.”

    President Obama first nominated Cordray to head the CFPB in 2011 after it was created by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, but Senate Republicans refused to approve his nomination because of the controversial nature of the bureau’s creation and the new federal authorities it was given. The president then recess-appointed Cordray to lead the CFPB last year.

    Despite the uncertainty of the

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