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

Following more than two years of investigation, federal prosecutors in New York on Monday unsealed their case against Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY). In a lengthy indictment, the government charged the second-term Staten Island congressman with wire and mail fraud, helping prepare false tax returns, perjury, and over a dozen other counts.

Here's a quick guide to the case.

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Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is a registered Republican, as the New York Times reported alongside his inflammatory remarks on slavery. Many prominent conservatives had voiced sympathy for his cause as Bundy battled the Bureau of Land Management.

Potential 2016 presidential contenders Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) criticized the federal authorities opposing Bundy. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) drove up to the Bundy ranch to stand alongside him. Republican state lawmakers gave impassioned defenses of the armed militia that backed the 67-year-old rancher. Fox News personalities vigorously covered the proceedings and brought Bundy on their shows.

But now that Bundy's racial sentiments have been exposed, forcing the right to ostracize him as best they can, Republicans have re-directed their anger at those who might point out that the man who openly wondered if blacks had been "better off slaves" is one of their own.

They fumed that it had become just another excuse to denigrate conservatives.

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For about 20 minutes Thursday afternoon, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy restated his views on race in America.

The press conference, originally expected to announce legal action against the Bureau of Land Management, instead featured Bundy offering a sort of stream-of-conscience take on the reaction to his comments about black people and slavery. He made no apology, and instead used part of his time to scold the media for its coverage of him.

He stood on a makeshift outdoor stage decked with American flags, with supporters occasionally shouting their approval of him. At the end of the event, a few supporters cursed and yelled at the reporters. Bundy, meanwhile, continued sharing thoughts on "the Negro community" in comments that tracked with the attempted clarification Bundy had given to conservative radio hosts throughout the day.

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After building himself up as a symbol of the anti-government sentiment that burns hot among conservatives, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy took things to another level: He wondered aloud whether blacks had been "better off as slaves."

And almost immediately, conservatives started hedging. They argued that the showdown was never really about Bundy. His racial sentiments were immaterial to his standoff with the federal government. Government overreach was still the issue here.

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This is a story about a little political front group that maybe wasn't.

When fliers paid for by a group called Progressive Choice Florida arrived in mailboxes around the state late last month, the local press started asking questions. The fliers aggressively attacked the record of former Gov. Charlie Crist, the erstwhile Republican now running for his old office as a Democrat. The fliers were so aggressive, some wondered whether they hadn't been paid for by Republicans looking to hurt Crist in his primary fight against Democrat Nan Rich.

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Glenn Spencer has a long history of incendiary and often conspiratorial comments about Mexicans, Mexican immigrants, Mexican-Americans and Jews. He is widely credited with popularizing the conspiracy theory that holds that Mexican immigrants plan to take over the southwestern United States, reunite it with Mexico and perhaps even rename it Aztlan, a name from Mexico's pre-Conquest past. He's also the chairman of an anti-immigrant border activist group called American Border Patrol (ABP), which is widely considered an anti-immigrant hate group. But as we learned last week, Spencer does not like being called a member of a "hate group."

Last week, TPM received a so-called "demand letter" penned by Spencer's lawyer, John Munger, demanding a retraction and apology for an article about the group and further claiming that the respected Southern Poverty Law Center, which was the primary source for the article, is an organization whose "credibility ... is in tatters." ”The [American Border Patrol] is neither a 'hate group' nor 'anti-immigrant,' and characterizing it as such is an insult to the over 30,000 men and women who are proud supporters of the [American Border Patrol's] work to support law enforcement and border security," the letter said.

A review by TPM's legal team concluded that American Border Patrol's threat of a suit was without merit both as to the facts and the law. Further reporting by the TPM news team suggests that Spencer's concern went far beyond TPM - sending similar letters to the Huffington Post and Phoenix television station KTVK, according to the ABP website. The Southern Poverty Law Center confirmed this week it received one, too. And Spencer's chief concern about the prevalence of the label appears to be that it is proving an obstacle to his efforts to sell new border-related technology to the U.S. government.

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