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The Republican National Committee late Monday night announced that RNC Chairman Michael Steele has fired a staffer who went to a bondage-themed club with topless dancers in Los Angeles using $2,000 in committee funds. (TPM's coverage of the issue is here and here.)

Here is a statement from RNC communications director Doug Heye.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has a new fundraising e-mail out, making light of the Tea Party rally that was held this past weekend in his small hometown of Searchlight, Nevada. In particular, Reid challenges the Tea Partiers basic political knowledge, insofar as they call Democrats "socialists."

"I double checked the definition of 'socialism,' and it's defined as a political philosophy that advocates for government ownership of private industry. Absolutely needless to say, not a view I agree with in the least," Reid writes.

"My first thought was that we could hold a fundraising drive to buy dictionaries for all these folks and mail them out lickity split. But my campaign manager rightly pointed out that with the first quarter coming to an end, we should raise money for the campaign in dictionary-sized increments instead."

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Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in California, has a new TV ad touting her businesswoman sensibilities.

"So we have no choice but to make California far more efficient and effective than it is, by running this thing a little bit more like a business," says Whitman. "Government will never be a business, it shouldn't be a business. But it does need a dose of 'How do we do more for less?'"

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We've been writing about Jon Scott Ashjian, the official Tea Party of Nevada Senate candidate aiming to beat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) this fall.

Ashjian has been taking heat from groups that make up the tea party movement who say he's just been set up to siphon votes from Republican candidates, and he's also facing a felony charge of writing a bad check to a business consultant for his asphalt company. He's also had his contractor's license revoked and other business woes.

Geraldo Rivera asked Ashjian in a recent appearance on Fox News if he was a Democratic plant, a few days after the Tea Party Express group produced an Internet ad suggesting Ashjian is a fraud. Rivera also asked about the legal troubles.

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March 27, 2010: Tea Partiers gather for the 'Showdown in Searchlight' Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, Nevada. The event, described as a "conservative Woodstock," took place in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) hometown, and kicked off the group's national tour.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spoke at the event.

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Photo by Mike Hickey

U.S. Marshals in Michigan have released mugshots of eight Hutaree militia members charged with seditious conspiracy and other crimes in an alleged plot to kill police.

Pictured here, clockwise from top-left: David Stone, Sr., Tina Stone, David Stone, Jr., Jacob Ward, Joshua Clough, Michael Meeks, Kristopher Sickles and Thomas Piatek. A ninth man, Joshua Stone, is described by authorities as a fugitive.

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Alaska Democratic Party officials think hot rhetoric over health care led to someone trying to break the windows at the entrance to their headquarters in Anchorage. After logging some threatening phone calls last week, staffers on Sunday found that someone attempted to shatter one of the floor-to-ceiling windows at their prominently labeled office.

"We are on heightened alert and will be taking extra precaution," Patti Higgins, chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party, told me in an interview today. "I'm not going to say I think it was tea partiers or Republicans, but I think the heightened rhetoric out there will encourage people will go out and think it's okay to 'send a message' and be angry."

Higgins said it seemed "coincidental" the incident happened over the weekend, as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was declaring that Republicans should be the party of "Hell no" at a political rally in Nevada. "These are violent words: 'Fire 'em all, take 'em out,' and put together they fit into a pretty cohesive running theme that is fairly violent," Higgins said.

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Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced today on his Facebook page that he will be holding his first "Facebook Town Hall" on Wednesday night.

The online invitation to the event said that Pawlenty will "make a major announcement" through Facebook and will ask for input from Facebook users on how to help the "Republicans win the 2010 elections and stop runaway Washington spending."

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