In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The most notorious moment of Representative Steve King's career was cleverly calculated.

The immigration debate had undergone a sea change in favor of reform, with bipartisan Senate passage of a sweeping bill in the months after Hispanics carried President Obama to a resounding reelection victory. The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, kept up the pressure on the House by delivering speeches arguing that young undocumented "Dreamers" were some of the finest in society — high school valedictorians, even, who deserved the same opportunities as native-born children.

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Whether they'll admit it or not, Democrats have put all their eggs in Greg Orman's basket. The Kansas independent was polling so well against incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts that the Democratic nominee, Chad Taylor, was pressured to drop out of the race, and the state Democratic party has expressed no interest in filling his slot unless forced to do so by a court.

Democrats are making a bet. Orman has been publicly insistent that he hasn't decided which party to caucus with yet, though Republicans have repeatedly pointed out that he toyed with a 2008 Senate run as a Democrat. "Both Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have been too partisan for far too long to earn my vote for Majority Leader," he says on his website. If no party holds a clear majority and he and the other independents (currently Sens. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont) dictate control of the Senate, Orman says that he will "caucus with the party that is most willing to face our country’s difficult problems head on and advance our problem-solving, non-partisan agenda."

And what exactly are Democrats getting in Orman? A review of his policy statements and known history reveals an interesting mix. His background -- an investor with up to $86 million in private wealth and links to a jailed Wall Street figure -- seems superficially at odds with the message Democrats have been delivering since the economic collapse. But on policy, while Orman is always careful to straddle partisan lines, he seems to come down closer to the Democratic side than the Republican on high-profile issues like health care, guns and immigration.

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Updated: Sept. 26, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT

Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza's ex-wife alleged in a letter sent this week to the federal court that heard his criminal case that D'Souza was abusive, that he lied in his defense against the criminal charges, and implied D'Souza had manipulated the couple's daughter into making positive public statements about him.

D'Souza pleaded guilty in May to violating federal campaign finance law, admitting that he used straw donors to funnel money to New York Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long. He had also been accused of making campaign contributions in the name of other people -- namely, his ex-wife Dixie.

On Tuesday, he was sentenced to five years probation starting with eight months in a community confinement center. But he faced no prison time, despite prosecutors reportedly seeking at least a 10-month prison sentence.

On the day before D'Souza was sentenced, Dixie sent a letter to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman and, after outlining allegations of lies and abuse, urged him to "impose a just sentence." The letter was published by the Smoking Gun.

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