TPM News

Washington's insurance commissioner stepped in today to force Regent Blue Shield -- the state's largest provider of insurance to children -- to keep selling children-only health care plans.

"Regence is in clear violation of state law that prohibits insurers from denying insurance to people on the basis of age," reads a statement from Mike Kreidler. "I was shocked and deeply disappointed when Regence announced its decision last week to stop selling insurance to kids."

One of the earliest-implemented -- and most popular -- provisions of the new health care law forbids insurance companies from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. Rebelling against the policy, insurance companies have threatened or attempted to stop selling children-only plans. New Hampshire's insurance commissioner likewise stepped in to block the maneuver.

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Former Wisconsin DA Kenneth Kratz has been sued by Stephanie Van Groll, who Kratz admitted to sending sexually suggestive text messages while he was handling her domestic abuse case. The Washington Post reports that the civil suit claims Van Groll's constitutional rights were violated because "under Wisconsin law, witnesses have the right to be protected from harm arising out of their cooperation with law enforcement." The damages sought are unspecified.

The suit was filed just hours after the Wisconsin Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation into Kratz's actions.

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Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias has a new ad in the hard-fought Illinois Senate race, and it pulls no punches in presenting Republican candidate Mark Kirk as an out-of-touch Washington politician who lied about his military service.

"Mark Kirk lied about going to war, opposed middle-class tax cuts,and said unemployment's not that big an issue," the announcer says. "What do you say?"

Clips of various folks, depicted as average people on the street, are shown talking to the camera and saying such things as: "I don't think he has a clue about unemployment," "He's been in Washington too long," and "His whole political career is probably a lie," and more.

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Just days after Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino attacked his Democratic opponent Andrew Cuomo for attending a gay pride parade, his campaign sent out a campaign e-mail that that calls into question Cuomo's own support for gay rights.

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Every election year, the Republican National Lawyers' Association spends months training lawyers across the country on poll-watching, focusing largely on stemming "voter fraud" that would benefit Democrats. This year is no different, and many of the seminars count as Continuing Legal Education, a requirement for attorneys under most state bars.

In addition to their role as educational seminars, some of the meetings have a political bent. Take an event in Florida this September, billed as a "Florida Election Law Seminar" and held at a Disney World resort. According to a listing for the event, attendees could expect to hear from "noted Florida election law experts" on such topics as election law, campaign finance law, poll watching and electioneering.

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Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential presidential candidate, has taped a new ad for the Minnesota Republican Party in the state's open gubernatorial race, promoting GOP nominee Tom Emmer in the race to succeed him.

In the ad, Pawlenty touts his record in Minnesota, while also supporting Emmer and attacking Democrat Mark Dayton and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner.

"Making tough decisions. That's what being governor is all about. I stood my ground on taxes, and now Minnesota is positioned to lead the nation in job growth," says Pawlenty. "Only Tom Emmer has promised not to raise job-killing taxes. Mark Dayton's plan: raise income taxes. Tom Horner's plan: expand the sales tax to clothes. Only Tom Emmer's plan will grow jobs by cutting wasteful government spending and holding the line on taxes. The choice is clear. Minnesota needs Tom Emmer."

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The Republican National Lawyers Association is running election training events in several states around the country. So where did they get their money?

Well, for one, by fundraising from Newsmax readers off the controversy over the Justice Department's handling of the voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party.

And who brought that case? J. Christian Adams, the former Justice Department lawyer who was hired by Bradley Schlozman, a former top official in the Bush administration's Civil Rights Division who was found to have politicized the hiring process.

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Election law seminars that a Republican lawyers group held in Illinois -- which happened to coincide with GOP senate candidate Mark Kirk being secretly recorded saying his campaign would be running voter integrity squads in predominately black neighborhoods of Chicago -- are actually part of a series of seminars the group is holding for Republican lawyers in several states around the country

According to the Republican National Lawyers Association's Facebook page, they have held events in Illinois, Nevada, Wisconsin, California, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida. Earlier this month, the Washington D.C. Chapter held a lunch with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

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