In it, but not of it. TPM DC

A few years ago, Lawrence Lessig, a professional troublemaker and Harvard University professor, asked some political consultants how much it would cost to rid American politics of money's influence. That would mean not only electing enough members of Congress who would vote for legislation to rein in campaign finance, but also a president who would appoint new Supreme Court justices who would uphold it.

"If you had all the money in the world, how much would it take?" he asked.

They told him $700 million. So this June, Lessig and Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to President George W. Bush who is now an independent consultant, launched Mayday PAC to formalize the mission. Their stated goal is by 2017 to have a Congress that would introduce fundamental reform, defined as some kind of publicly financed campaign system.

The plan, which has drawn plenty of skeptics, even sympathetic ones, starts with a pilot program in 2014. They have selected eight candidates who they want to elect this fall, a way of proving their bonafides and the viability of the concept before expanding the map, so to speak, in 2016. The price for that initial venture is $12 million.

And last week, they got their first win. With Mayday PAC's backing, Ruben Gallego, a former state legislator, won the Democratic primary in Arizona's 7th congressional district. The super PAC that wants to destroy super PAC's is now officially in the game.

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Medicaid expansion is making progress. As TPM reported yesterday, even states as conservative as Wyoming are coming around. Others like Indiana and Pennsylvania are making progress as well. But a handful remain hardened in their opposition. They are largely contained to the South, and that means that the people being left out of Obamacare's safety-net expansion are disproportionately poor blacks.

Nelson Lichtnestein, director of the University of California-Santa-Barbara's Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy, flagged the ongoing disparity in an email to TPM on Monday, responding to the Wyoming story. "There is a large elephant that escapes your notice," he said. "Republican governors in North and West are indeed climbing aboard, but not those in the South."

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Few states are as conservative as Wyoming. Nearly 70 percent of its voters went for Mitt Romney in 2012. Out of 90 legislative seats, 78 are held by Republicans. A Republican governor. It also epitomizes the independent streak found in the West, defined by a deep distrust of the federal government.

But even there, state officials are starting to open up to the idea of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. The legislature requested earlier this year that Gov. Matt Mead (R) meet with the Obama administration to discuss the state's options. Mead's office told TPM that the governor met with staff from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the first time in July. Mead said recently that he would present expansion options to the legislature early next year.

"At the end of the day, the expansion failed the first time because of that federal distrust and general disdain for the current administration," state Sen. Chris Rothfuss (D), who has been a leading proponent of the expansion, told TPM. "It doesn't matter who's in the White House. The state of Wyoming is not fond of the federal government. But right now, it's probably even worse."

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President Barack Obama is considering delaying some or all of his promised executive actions on immigration until after the election, according to the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

Publicly the White House has maintained for weeks he intends to act by the end of this summer.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest wouldn't confirm or deny the reports when asked on Friday, saying, "I don't have an update on timing." Several White House officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

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