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

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 →

There is a subplot in the ongoing saga of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his alleged racism, one that involves his much-younger girlfriend as well as his wife of more than 50 years.

It's sordid and ugly, but it helps to reveal the other side of Sterling: Not only does he appear to hold racially backward views, but he is also apparently something of a sexual libertine with extremely unpleasant thoughts to share about women.

Sterling's attitude about the women in his life made an appearance in the audio recording that exploded over the weekend. He allegedly instructed V. Stiviano, his younger girlfriend, to avoid appearing in public and at Clippers' games with black people. In a more extensive version of the tape published by Deadspin, the voice alleged to be Sterling also let Stiviano know exactly how much she means to him.

Read More →

For years, the NAACP's Los Angeles chapter maintained a mutually beneficial but head-scratching relationship with Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

But the civil rights organization was finally forced to confront Sterling's alleged transgressions this weekend when reports of racially charged remarks exploded from the gossip website TMZ.

Leon Jenkins, president of the chapter, gave a statement and fielded questions Monday at a press conference in California, attempting to explain why his branch of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had been planning to give Sterling a lifetime achievement award, despite the basketball team owner's history of alleged racist behavior.

Jenkins' tone was strikingly defensive, asserting that he didn't know whether it was really Sterling whose voice could be heard making racist statements on audio recordings that became public on Saturday. Jenkins also left the door open for future collaborations with the Clippers owner if Sterling proved penitent.

"There is a personal, economical and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn on racial relations," Jenkins said in his opening statement.

The chapter also plans to return Sterling's recent donations to the group, Jenkins said, though he declined to disclose how much the owner had given, saying only that it was "not a significant amount."

Read More →

TPMLivewire