Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Kansas Republican state Rep. Steve Brunk this month accepted a job with a nonprofit group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. But Brunk is planning on keeping his legislative seat, and he has been pretty open about his ability to act as an incredibly effective advocate for his new employer while continuing as a state representative.

The group, the Kansas Family Policy Council, has announced Brunk's hire, even though the lawmaker himself claims he has yet to make a decision. But he was very candid with the Wichita Eagle about the amount of influence he could have as a representative of the Family Policy Council and as a lawmaker, even though state law does not allow elected representatives to also work as lobbyists.

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This post has been updated.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia on Friday condemned the state's refusal to process the food stamp application for a Syrian refugee family that arrived in Georgia this month, questioning whether the move is constitutional.

"The ACLU of Georgia has consistently maintained that our constitution grants basic protections of the law to citizens and individuals who are legally in the United States. Any action to limit those protections based on nationality -- including Governor Deal's failure to process service benefits for lawfully present families in Georgia -- raise serious constitutional questions," Nora Benavidez, staff attorney at the ACLU of Georgia, said in a statement to TPM. "We are concerned for those families that have arrived and we are committed to advocating with our partner organizations to ensure the rights accorded to them."

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Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on Thursday suggested that the national debate about the Islamic State and terrorism has likely strengthened the Republican party recently.

During an interview on Bloomberg's "With All Due Respect," Portman was asked about the state of the GOP.

"I think the party is strong for a couple reasons. One, we’re in a period in our country’s history, sadly, where we have a threat from abroad again. And people tend to look to Republicans to help protect the country," Portman said in response.

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The state of Georgia won't process the application for food stamps and other state benefits filed by a newly arrived Syrian refugee family last week, the state Department of Human Services confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

The Department of Human Services sent a memo in November ordering employees not to process the applications of Syrian refugees after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) issued an executive order telling all state agencies to stop any involvement with the resettlement of refugees from Syria.

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One day after a report that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) questioned Donald Trump's "judgment" in a private event, Trump called out Cruz for criticizing him behind closed doors but refraining from negative comments in public.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie surged to second place among New Hampshire Republicans in a poll released by Boston radio station WBUR on Friday, while Donald Trump maintained his lead in the key primary state.

Among Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, 27 percent support Donald Trump, 12 percent support Christie, 11 percent support Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), and 10 percent support Sen. Ted Cruz (TX).

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Donald Trump on Thursday night said that if he is elected president, he will sign an executive order mandating that anybody who kills a police officer gets the death penalty.

"One of the first things I do, in terms of executive order if I win, will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country -- out to the world -- that anybody killing a policeman, policewoman, a police officer -- anybody killing a police officer, the death penalty," Trump said at an event with the New England Police Benevolent Association, a police union, according to CNN. "It's going to happen, OK?"

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A real estate firm in Dubai working with Donald Trump on a golf course removed the Republican presidential candidate's name from the property on Thursday, just a few days after Trump proposed banning Muslims from visiting or immigrating to the United States, Reuters reported.

DAMAC Properties initially issued a statement on Tuesday indicating that the firm would continue to work with Trump on the $6 billion course.

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on Thursday morning said that while he does not think it is American to condemn specific religions, he said that it's "appropriate" for lawmakers to discuss Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslims visiting the United States.

"He’s treading on dangerous ground because Americans are so deeply committed to freedom of religion. That is a major part of who we are," Sessions told host Steve Bannon on Breitbart News' SiriusXM radio show, referring to Trump's plan. "But at the same time, we’re in an age that’s very dangerous and we’re seeing more and more persons enter and lots of them have done terrorist acts and a lot of them believe it’s commanded by their religion."

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A federal judge on Wednesday rejected another request filed by the state of Texas asking for a temporary restraining order against nine Syrian refugees set to arrive in the state on Thursday.

The state on Wednesday sought to block refugees from Syria who will arrive on Thursday, claiming that the federal government did not properly consult with the state on the refugees' arrival. In its brief, the state writes that the arrival of refugees poses a "substantial threat" to the state, arguing that the vetting process for refugees has significant gaps and terrorists will try to enter the U.S. through the refugee program.

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