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Friday, Apr 18th

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Pensiongate? Christie Campaign Donors Won Huge Contracts

Chris ChristieFour months into his first term, Governor Chris Christie stood at the podium of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, and laid out what was billed as the “Christie Reform Agenda.” To enthusiastic applause, the New Jersey governor railed against what he described as an out-of-control state public pension system. “Our benefits are too rich, and our employees aren’t contributing enough, either,” he said. “We are careening our way toward becoming Greece.”

Christie had just won his first statewide election with the help of Paul Singer, the hedge fund manager who chairs the Manhattan Institute. The month before Christie’s election victory in November 2009, Singer had given $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA), which aired a barrage of advertisements in Christie’s favor.

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Mitch McConnell denies liberal writer access to campaign event

Mitch MConnel bars journalistMitch McConnell’s campaign shrugged off an accusation by a Kentucky reporter who claimed he was barred from a campaign event and threatened with police action if he asked a question.

Joe Sonka, an editor for Louisville alternative paper LEO Weekly, claimed on Twitter several times on Monday afternoon that the Senate minority leader’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, had barred him from a news conference held by McConnell.

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Koch Brothers Group Abandons Anti-Obamacare Ads After Fact-Checkers Prove Them False

David KochThe Koch brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity are still railing against Obamacare.  But their new ads are toned down, which could be a result of the backlash against their older, misleading ads slamming President Obama’s healthcare legislation.

Americans For Prosperity is a leading conservative group that spends millions of dollars attacking liberals.  They’ve taken up the fight against Obamacare, and have funded TV advertisements against Democratic senators.

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Military courts struggle with unlawful command influence

US Navy CourtThe specter of unlawful command influence continues to haunt military courts, particularly with regard to charges of sexual assault.

Marine Corps trial judges are still dealing with the consequences of the commandant’s imprudent rhetoric, as spelled out in a new-ish U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals decision. The Army, meanwhile, is struggling through the troubled prosecution of a star general, as a detailed New York Times account spells out.

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Big business takes on tea party over Common Core

Common Core standardsTea party activists have been waging war for months against the Common Core academic standards. Now, in a coordinated show of muscle, Big Business is fighting back — and notching wins.

The urgent effort stems from a sense among supporters that this is a make-or-break moment for the Common Core, which is under siege all over the country.

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Oregon GOP vote backs gay marriage

Seaside OregonYoung Republican activists implored their party to support gay marriage Saturday, saying the GOP is destined to continue losing elections in Oregon if it doesn’t get behind an issue that’s gaining traction around the country.

Hoping to claw their way back to relevance, Republican activists and elected officials gathered at their annual three-day Dorchester Conference in Seaside to debate issues that divide the party. Gay marriage took center stage Saturday afternoon.

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Conservative group Alec trains sights on city and local government

ALEC targeting towns and citiesThe rightwing group Alec is preparing to launch a new nationwide network that will seek to replicate its current influence within state legislatures in city councils and municipalities.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, founded in 1973, has become one of the most pervasive advocacy operations in the nation. It brings elected officials together with representatives of major corporations, giving those companies a direct channel into legislation in the form of Alec “model bills”.

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