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Thursday, Apr 19th

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Michele Bachmann benefited personally from federal funds and federal farm subsidies

Michele BachmannRep. Michele Bachmann has been propelled into the 2012 presidential contest in part by her insistent calls to reduce federal spending, a pitch in tune with the big-government antipathy gripping many conservatives.

But the Minnesota Republican and her family have benefited personally from government aid, an examination of her record and finances shows. A counseling clinic run by her husband has received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, money that in part came from the federal government. A family farm in Wisconsin, in which the congresswoman is a partner, received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.

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How states are rigging the 2012 election

Election fraudThe laws are being passed in the name of preventing “voter fraud.” But study after study has shown that fraud by voters is not a major problem — and is less of a problem than how hard many states make it for people to vote in the first place. Some of the new laws, notably those limiting the number of days for early voting, have little plausible connection to battling fraud.

These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments.

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Aides To GOP Governor Indicted For Trying To Suppress Black Voter Turnout In 2010 Campaign

Ehrlich aides indicted in Election Day robocalls caseTwo longtime political operatives who worked last year on Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s gubernatorial return campaign were indicted today for ordering what the state prosecutor called deceptive robocalls intended to suppress votes on the night of the election.

Julius Henson and Paul Schurick each face three counts of conspiracy to violate Maryland election laws, one count of attempting to influence a voter's decision and one count of failing to provide an authority line (on campaign material). Schurick also is charged with one count of obstruction of justice.

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Report: Paul Ryan May Personally Benefit From Preserving Billions In Taxpayer Oil Subsidies

Paul RyanThe Daily Beast’s Daniel Stone is reporting that Ryan’s protection of billions in wasteful oil subsidies may relate to his own personal fortune. Newly released personal finance disclosures reveal that Ryan and his wife “own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan.” Stone reports that those companies are among his most valuable assets:

Ryan’s father-in-law, Daniel Little, who runs the companies, told Newsweek and The Daily Beast that the family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon, and XTO Energy, a recently acquired subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

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Ex-Spy Alleges Bush White House Sought to Discredit Critic

Juan ColeA former senior C.I.A. official says that officials in the Bush White House sought damaging personal information on a prominent American critic of the Iraq war in order to discredit him.

Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war.

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House ready to slash funding for key oil-market regulator

House ready to slash funds for reguklatory agencyThe Republican-led House of Representatives is poised to pass, as early as Wednesday, a sweeping spending bill that would slash funding for the regulatory agency responsible for policing against excessive speculation and price manipulation in oil markets.

House members are expected to approve an agriculture spending bill that would deeply cut the annual bill that funds the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates trading in oil, grains and other commodities.

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John Birch Society Celebrates Koch Family For Their Role In Founding The Hate Group

Koch familyBillionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have been dominant financiers for conservative front groups and nonprofits for nearly three decades. Their money has flowed to organizations dedicated to lobbying for corporate and upper income tax cuts, as well as to groups responsible for mobilizing Tea Party rallies against President Obama.

But the Koch family’s association with fringe right-wing groups began a generation earlier with Fred Koch, the patriarch of the clan.

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