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Responding to a report that NPR was closer to accepting a $5 million donation from a phony Muslim group than previously acknowledged, NPR released e-mails to TPM backing up their claim that they had refused the money.

In their initial statement after hidden camera footage of their executives lunching with the fake foundation, NPR said that "The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept." The Daily Caller reported Thursday evening on emails in which NPR executives said they were "awaiting a draft agreement" from their legal counsel on the donation, raising the question of how far down the line negotiations had proceeded.

NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher told TPM via e-mail that the agreement "never got beyond the internal drafting stage - and was never sent. Period." To back up her claim, Christopher provided TPM with four pages pages of emails in which CEO Vivan Schiller, who resigned Wednesday, and her staff discuss a potential donation from MEAC, the fake Muslim group created by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas to infiltrate NPR.

In an e-mail dated March 3, sent by the recently resigned Schiller to Betsy Liley, who appears in the two O'Keefe tapes, and two other staffers, Schiller suggests that MEAC is behaving oddly and that she can't accept a donation without further information -- despite pressure from the group to take the money immediately. She also correctly notes that MEAC's information would have to be provided to the IRS, resolving an issue that Lilely appears to have left unclear in a conversation with a phony Muslim donor depicted in the most recently released video.

"I spoke to Ibrahim," she writes. "He says they ARE a 501c3. And then he added... "I think". I told him we would need to know for sure AND we would need to look at the 990 as we do for any first time donor. He stressed that they want confidentially and I told him what Joyce told me - that it would not need to be reported in the public part of the 990 but it would need to be reported to the IRS, including the name of the donating institution. He had questions on all of the above which I said I simply don't have the expertise to answer but that one of our lawyers could. He repeated again that they want to deliver the check. I said that's very generous but we really need to sort out these issues first. He said is there a problem - and I said I don't know till we can see the 990. He seemed a bit worried that there was some subtext to our hesitation."

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Update: NPR has released emails corroborating its claims in this story.

James O'Keefe has posted to his Project Veritas website a second recording of conversations between his group of pranksters posing as Muslim potential NPR donors and NPR executive Betsy Lilely, NPR's director of institutional giving.

In a recorded phone call uploaded as a YouTube video, Liley, already on administrative leave over her comments in the first O'Keefe video, discusses with a member of O'Keefe's gang how he might proceed in making a donation of $5 million. The video -- dubbed with audio of the phone call -- repeats for emphasis the portions of the call in which Liley seems to suggest that NPR can keep the group's donations anonymous from the government.

"It sounded like you're saying that NPR would be able to shield us from a government audit, is that correct?" the actor, posing as "Ibrahim Kasaam" of the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center, says at one point.

"I think that is the case, especially if you were anonymous and I can inquire about that."

The two discuss the process behind anonymous donations in detail over the course of the phone call, with Liley assuring that such donations are only known by a handful of top NPR executives.

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The Director of National Intelligence is a thankless job. Little wonder why the key administration position, which oversees coordination among the nation's 16 intelligence agencies, has turned over four times in its five-year existence.

On Thursday, President Obama's DNI James Clapper had a particularly rough day of it.

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The Wisconsin state Assembly has passed Gov. Scott Walker's bill to roll back the rights of public employee unions, capping off a month of protest and controversy that has gripped the state. The bill now heads to Walker for his signature.

The final vote count was 53-42. It followed Wednesday night's passage in the Senate, and the surprise maneuver that Republicans had undertaken to move ahead on the anti-union provisions on their own. The GOP prepared a new bill that stripped out clearly fiscal elements, allowing them to move ahead without need for a three-fifths quorum required to vote on budget bills -- though Democrats have argued that the bill still contains fiscal elements, and they could potentially challenge it on that basis.

In Thursday's Assembly session -- which was delayed due to a security lockdown of the Capitol -- the Democrats, clad in specially printed orange T-shirts that declared their labor solidarity, delivered many speeches and lodged many motions, in part to register their protest and in part to delay the vote. By contrast, only a few Republicans spoke, speaking of their concerns about maintaining the state's finances, making hard choices and avoiding layoffs by relieving the financial pressures on local governments.

A new series of battles in the state now seems all but assured. Democrats have pledged to recall the Republican members of the state Senate who are eligible, under the state law requiring at least one year of a term to be completed, and then to go after Walker next year.

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A truck carrying 8,000 gallons of printer ink flipped over on an interstate in Peabody, Massachusetts this morning, resulting in what must be the most colorful car crash in history. No one was injured, so feel free to enjoy the aftermath with child-like glee.

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Six senators, led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), are pushing for sweeping changes to the nation's laws governing detainees and the war on terror, including one that would strip Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department as a whole of the power to make decisions about where to try suspected terrorists.

The group of senators, which includes Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Scott Brown (R-MA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), are working with Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee on a bill that would usher in comprehensive detainee policy changes and would, among other things, affirm the military's right to detain, hold and interrogate detains at its discretion without the involvement of the Department of Justice or Holder.

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One hallmark of the protests in Wisconsin has been how, well, benign they've been. Other than a semi-serious discussion about tape residue left by the pro-union activists who filled the state capitol, there have been few arrests and even fewer reports of violence. Following the state Senate GOP's unilateral passage of the bill taking away collective bargaining rights from thousands of state workers, however, things may have taken a turn for the darker.

The AP reports the Wisconsin Dept. Of Justice "is investigating an e-mail threatening the lives" of several Republican lawmakers, including Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald. From the text of the emails first published by WTMJ-AM:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes [sic] will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks.

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