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Monday, Jul 28th

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Powerful Republican state senator in New York charged with lying to the FBI

Thomas LibousA powerful New York State lawmaker, Sen. Thomas Libous, was charged Tuesday with lying to FBI agents investigating whether he used his influence to get his son a job.

Libous' son, Matthew, was charged in a separate indictment with filing false tax returns and obstructing a tax investigation. Father and son appeared separately before a federal judge in White Plains for arraignment.

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Tea Party leader in Mississipii scandal commits suicide

Mark MayfieldMark Mayfield, a lawyer and Tea Party leader under indictment for his role in a break-in at the nursing home of Sen. Thad Cochran's wife, killed himself Friday morning.

The bizarre Republican Senate primary in Mississippi has taken yet another twist, this time for tragedy.

Less than three days after six-term incumbent Senator Thad Cochran pulled off a win in a runoff against Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel, a bit player in the campaign has taken his own life.

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US Special Envoy to Middle East resigns

Martin IndykThe U.S. special envoy to the Middle East is resigning after a breakdown in new efforts to make a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, officials said Friday.

Martin Indyk, brought on nearly a year ago as Mideast envoy, will return to his previous job with the Brookings Institution think tank, tweeted State Department spokesperson Marie Harf.

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New Jersey grants $1.25bn in public funds to firms that back Republicans

Chris ChristieCorporations that contributed millions of dollars to the Chris Christie-led Republican Governors Association and other GOP campaigns have received public funding deals worth almost $1.25bn from his New Jersey administration in less than two years.

A review of the 30 biggest corporate subsidies awarded by the state of New Jersey since Christie appointed one of his closest allies as head of the state’s “bank for business” found that 21 went to ventures involving firms that made significant donations to Republicans, or had senior executives who did.

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Thad Cochran Defeats the Tea Party—and So Does Everyone Else

Thad CochranWell, the Great Tea Party Comeback of 2014 lasted no longer than the Great Tea Party Implosion of 2014. Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran has narrowly won renomination over challenger Chris McDaniel, in a vanishingly rare case of an incumbent winning a runoff after losing round one of a primary—and in an even rarer case of turnout surging from the primary to the runoff.

Oklahoma Senate candidate T.W. Shannon has been defeated by a member of the House GOP leadership. A crew of Tea Party challengers to congressmen have gone down in flames across all time zones.

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Bridgegate II: Investigators reportedly looking into Christie's funding plans for Pulaski Skyway

Chris ChristieNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is facing what could be Bridgegate II -- an investigation into his plans to fund repairs to the Pulaski Skyway, the New York Times reports.

The problem is that the skyway, a dramatic 3.5-mile bridge-causeway over the Passaic and Hackensack rivers between Newark and Jersey City, belongs to the state. Christie got a 2011 agreement to use $1.8 billion in Port Authority of New York and New Jersey money to pay for a much-needed rehab.

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People who are making sense about Iraq

Iraq punditsYou can listen to the people who started the Iraq war. Or you can listen to people who've devoted their lives to studying war and the region.

There has been a lot of writing about Iraq's crisis, much of it awful. This is an attempt to shout out some people and pieces that can help you get behind the headlines.

Let's start with Marc Lynch, the George Washington University political science professor who writes at the Washington Post's Monkey Cage. Today, he points out that helping Iraq's Nouri al-Maliki fight the Sunni Arab uprising against him would in effect be fighting on the side of Bashar al-Assad. Should the United States actually intervene militarily in support of the Iraqi government, it will also find itself on the opposite side of many of the Arab networks that support the Syrian uprising," he writes.

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