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Earlier this month an outfit called "Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia" claimed on its Facebook page that it planned to show up at polling places this November — while armed — and intimidate Democratic voters who had signed the petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker back in 2012. Media outlets, including TPM, picked up on the claims, and a local prosecutor reportedly began looking into the matter. But there are now claims that the whole thing was a hoax, leaving a murky picture of cautious election officials, skeptical observers, and weird Internet subcultures.

A Sept. 18 post on Politicus USA captured screenshots of a Facebook page titled "Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia." The group said that members planned to show up at polling locations armed and ready to target Democrats in the "worst areas" of a few cities in southeastern Wisconsin who had signed Walker's recall petition or had outstanding warrants. They would follow those people from the polls and report them to the police. TPM picked up local newspaper reports on the Facebook group on Monday.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and his office stymied investigations into political allies and associates being undertaken by an independent commission that Cuomo created to stop public corruption, the New York Times reported on Wednesday after a three-month investigation by the newspaper.

The most obvious interference, according to the Times, came when the commission sent a subpoena to Buying Time, a media company through which Cuomo had spent $20 million on ads since 2002. The commission was looking into the company's relationship with the New York Democratic Party, and it did not know of the firm's ties to Cuomo when it issued the subpoena.

A top Cuomo aide, Lawrence Schwartz, quickly scuttled the order. "This is wrong," he told a commission chairman, according to the Times. "Pull it back."

The episode was, according to the newspaper's investigation, part of a broader pattern of behavior by the governor's office. Cuomo disbanded the commission a full eight months before it was supposed to finish its work, claiming a legislative reform package that many criticized as watered down was the culmination of its duties.

In a 13-page statement to the Times, Cuomo's office dismissed the premise of the newspaper's investigation as "legally, ethically and practically false."

"Your fundamental assertion is that the Commission was independent. It wasn't," the office wrote. The statement also said that many of the companies for which Cuomo's staff had reportedly interfered did eventually receive subpoenas. That included Buying Time, according to the Times.

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Jeremy Johnson's name appears 80 times in the charging documents against former Utah attorneys general Mark Shurtlef and John Swallow.

The pair of former officials were accused last week on multiple felony counts of bribery and obstruction of justice in what local media have described as the largest corruption case in Utah's history. Prosecutors allege that Johnson, a wealthy businessman who was trying to get the state to approve of online poker, was at the center of much of it.

Shurtleff and Swallow took advantage of Johnson's private jet, and Swallow and his family spent nights aboard Johnson's luxury houseboat, according to the indictments. In exchange, the former attorneys general allegedly helped Johnson propel his online poker ambitions as well as navigate a Federal Trade Commission probe into his business, I Works. Swallow allegedly offered, with the help of another associate, to connect Johnson with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to address the federal inquiry. (Reid's office has dismissed any connections to the case, saying the senator has not even been questioned by authorities.)

Now, as Johnson simultaneously faces that FTC investigation and a related federal criminal case alleging more than 80 counts of conspiracy and fraud, he has reportedly turned over evidence on Shurtleff and Swallow to local prosecutors in the probe that resulted in last week's charges.

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The ex-wife of a Florida cop who was fired last week for allegedly being a member of the Ku Klux Klan offered a surprising explanation for the ordeal when she was approached by state investigators earlier this year.

Ann Hunnewell reportedly told the investigators she and her ex-husband, Cpl. George Hunnewell, had joined the hate group in 2008 or 2009, while they were still married, as part of a covert operation to root out a crooked cop. Even though she was working at the time as a secretary for the police department, her undercover work was approved by the chief, she told the investigators.

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If not for this India-born Democratic district attorney, working for the largely Republican and Mormon Salt Lake County, the case that local press are calling Utah's "biggest-ever political-corruption scandal" might never have fully come to light.

Sim Gill, the county's DA, was the force behind the investigation that led to two former Utah attorneys general, Mark Shurtleff (R) and John Swallow (R), being arrested Tuesday and charged with two dozen felony counts, including bribery and obstruction of justice. He pressed on with the probe after federal prosecutors dropped it last year.

"We have filed what we think are appropriate and minimal charges," Gill said while announcing the charges, per the Salt Like Tribune. "We could have filed more, but we chose at this time to just file what we did."

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In public statements following their Tuesday arrests, former Utah attorneys general John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff's lawyer remained confident that they would be found innocent on the various bribery and obstruction of justice charges they were hit with.

The Salt Lake Tribune described it as "the most sweeping political scandal in Utah history." Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) called it "a black eye for our state." But though they now face a litany of allegations of criminal activity, including the acceptance of gifts and wielding the power of their office to aid associates, the two men asserted their innocence.

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Former Utah attorneys general Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow were accused Tuesday of numerous bribery and obstruction of justice charges, most of them felonies. The charging documents from the Salt Lake City district attorney allege a decadent lifestyle of private jets, all-expense-paid vacations and veiled threats of violence for those who caused trouble.

Shurtleff, a Republican, served as the state's top legal official from 2001 to 2013. He was succeeded by Swallow, also a Republican, who had been one of his top deputies. Swallow resigned less than a year after taking office, as federal and state investigations into his and Shurtleff's alleged improprieties intensified. Both men had also pursued failed bids for Congress (Shurtleff for a U.S. Senate seat in 2009; Swallow for a House seat in 2002 and 2004.)

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An activist who is rallying a Bundy Ranch-style militia to the Texas border to address the ongoing crisis there reportedly released a YouTube video in which he said those crossing illegally would be warned: "Get back across the border or you will be shot."

Operation Secure Our Border, with its own Facebook page, is being organized by members of the "Patriot" movement along with Oathkeepers and Three-Percenters, according to the San Antonio Express News. Those are some of the same militia groups that came to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's defense earlier this year.

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A saga over prostitution allegations against a powerful U.S. senator and the media outlet that first reported them just got another major twist.

The Washington Post reported Monday night that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has asked the Justice Department to investigate intelligence indicating that the Cuban government planted the allegations in U.S. and Latin American media outlets, bringing the scandal back into the spotlight more than a year after it appeared to have burned out.

Understandably, it can be difficult to keep all of it straight. So here’s a guide to the players involved in the debunked allegations that Menendez paid underage women for sex in the Dominican Republic, a story first published by the Daily Caller just days ahead of the New Jersey Democrat’s 2012 reelection.

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