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

Georgene Mortimer, who runs a winery and lives in Hilton Head, S.C., was recently having trouble accessing the online health insurance exchange. So she decided to check in with the local insurance agent who in 2010 had sold her an individual health insurance policy from a company named USHealth Group. It didn't take long for Mortimer to realize something was off.

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Colorado's Parks and Wildlife Commission is expected to begin the process of approving a ban "prohibiting the use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) as an aid in scouting, hunting and taking of wildlife" in a meeting Thursday.

The ban was initially suggested to the commission by the coordinator of a local hunting group who was alarmed after stumbling upon YouTube videos posted by a group called "Louisiana Hog Control" who use a drone dubbed the "Dehogaflier" to kill wild pigs.

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When California's campaign finance watchdog agency announced a $1 million settlement last month against two groups that were behind a massive, anonymous donation in 2012, it was not only big news in the political world -- it was also agency Chair Ann Ravel's last act.

The next day, Oct. 25, Ravel was sworn in as one of President Obama's appointed commissioners to the Federal Election Commission.

Ravel, who before her time with California's Fair Political Practices Commission served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's civil division, moves from an agency that has been among the most active of the state-level actors enforcing campaign finance rules to one, the FEC, which has been criticized for moving too slowly in the post-Citizens United era of campaign spending. TPM spoke by phone this week with Ravel about her past work and her new job.

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There seems to be at least one in every state. A local with a blog and an aggressive interest in state politics and muck. Publishing what the local papers wouldn't touch. Walking the line between rumor and news. Conversant with the key issues, and familiar with the key names. Unafraid or indifferent to pissing people off.

In Alabama, Roger Shuler is one of those guys. And as a result of an ongoing fight about what he's written on his blog, Shuler is currently in jail.

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Updated: October 31, 2013, 1:09 PM

This week was an important one for opponents of an Arizona election law designed to throw voters off the rolls and make it harder for third parties to get elected.

On Tuesday, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R) certified that a referendum on the law, known as HB 2305, will be on the ballot in next year's general election.

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California is fighting dark money with fines.

The state's attorney general and its campaign finance watchdog on Thursday announced what they billed as a "record settlement" against two Arizona dark money groups, the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) and Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL), that were behind a $11 million donation to 2012 ballot initiative efforts in the Golden State.

According to The Washington Post, the $1 million fine ranks as the third-highest campaign finance fine ever levied.

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