They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Plenty of people "file" to run for Congress and won't receive, or really warrant, any press attention. But even among that group, Reed McCandless seems to be a special case.

McCandless is challenging Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), one of the more conservative members of Congress, for the Republican nomination. It isn't the first time. He ran against Labrador in 2012 and lost by more than 60 points.

But despite having been on the campaign trail twice in the last two election cycles, McCandless appears to made his position known on only one issue: He believes that the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks included a controlled demolition.

Read More →

The idea behind Operation American Spring is simple: the restoration of constitutional government, the rule of law, freedom, and liberty. The plan calls for the removal from office of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Attorney General Eric Holder. And that's just to start.

Read More →

Gov. Chris Christie's (R) top spokesperson, Michael Drewniak, testified on Tuesday before the New Jersey legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures, and told lawmakers about a conversation he had with Christie in early December, during which the two men discussed David Wildstein. At that time, Wildstein was still an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. But one day later, Wildstein announced his resignation. And he has since been named as the person who orchestrated the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Read More →

In the heat of his standoff last month with the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy wanted to take the movement national. While he was still a favorite of Fox News, he called on "every county sheriff in the United States" to "disarm the federal bureaucrats."

Bundy's star has since faded after he made his views on "the Negro" known. High-profile conservative supporters have abandoned him. But Bundy and his closest allies haven't given up the fight. They still seem to believe that a war is on the horizon and they are trying to rally forces to their side.

Read More →

There are two things to know about the federal court decision this week that put a halt to an investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) 2012 recall election.

The first thing to know is that the ruling threw a huge roadblock in front of Wisconsin state prosecutors, who were looking at alleged coordination between Walker's campaign and outside conservative groups. The second thing to know is that the ruling, written by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, contained far-reaching opinions about campaign finance laws, and what outside spending groups are and aren't allowed to do. (Randa was appointed to the bench in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush.)

TPM spoke Thursday with Ann Ravel, a commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, to get her thoughts on Randa's ruling. Ravel, who was nominated to the FEC last year by President Obama, stressed that the ruling was just the first step in the legal process. (The state prosecutors have already appealed Randa's decision.)

Still, Ravel said she found the language of Randa's decision "very broad" and "troubling," and she thought that the decision itself goes "far beyond" what the Supreme Court has ruled in its 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision and the more recent McCutcheon v. FEC. Those cases did away with various limits on political donations and spending, and the Citizens United case in particular has been seen as the decision that ushered in the super PAC and "dark money" era.

Below is a transcript of TPM's interview with Ravel, which has been edited for length and clarity.

Read More →