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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has worn his promises that the House Select Committee on Benghazi's investigation is nonpartisan and "fact-centric" like armor ever since he took up the mantle of leadership on the panel.

But chinks in that armor are showing just days before Gowdy is set to grill Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a high-profile, public hearing. Ramped-up pressure from Democratic members of the panel in addition to GOPers' assertions that the investigation targeted Clinton have made Gowdy appear to be the lone voice still crying out for the "truth" behind the Benghazi attacks. The House GOP hasn't exactly sent in reinforcements for Gowdy, either, as its members continue to preoccupy themselves with finding a replacement for outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) who can satisfy both the establishment and insurgent wings of the bitterly divided chamber.

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Here's another sign of how radioactive Benghazi is becoming.

Benghazi committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is now returning $6,000 in political donations that are indirectly tied to a PAC that ran a nasty anti-Hillary Clinton ad showing the grave of the U.S. ambassador killed in the 2012 attacks, the Washington Post reported Monday.

Gowdy is coughing up the money after the paper inquired about ties between Gowdy and Dan Backer, who used to serve as treasurer for Gowdy's now-defunct leadership PAC. Backer is now the treasurer of the The Stop Hillary PAC, which aired the ad that flashed images of all four Americans killed in the Benghazi attacks in addition to Ambassador Chris Stevens' grave, during the first Democratic presidential primary debate last week.

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With Hilary Clinton scheduled to testify later this week, partisan infighting on the House Select Committee on Benghazi has reached a fever pitch. The ranking Democratic member called out Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on Sunday for mischaracterizing Clinton's handling of classified information on her private email account, and Gowdy spent the day again defending the committee's work against charges of political gamesmanship. On Monday, Democrats on the committee ratcheted up the pressure on Gowdy again, releasing a report that aimed to debunk "wild Republican conspiracy theories" about Clinton's response to the 2012 attacks.

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) filed his first criminal charges last week since being given the authority to prosecute voting crimes earlier this year.

Kobach's office filed three cases on Oct. 9 that he said were alleged instances of double-voting. After Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed legislation in June giving Kobach the authority to prosecute such cases, the secretary of state said his office had already identified 100 instances of potential double voting in the Sunflower State; he signaled in a Tuesday interview with The Wichita Eagle that he'd file more cases in the coming months.

The arch-conservative Kobach has long warned about the danger voter fraud poses to the integrity of elections in Kansas even though voter fraud is incredibly rare. The secretary of state even admitted in an interview last month with local TV station KWCH that instances of double-voting were "a small percentage of the number of votes cast. Less than 1% of the votes in any given election." But he justified prosecuting those cases on the grounds that even a small number of double-voters could have an impact on an election.

"The question is do we have close elections in Kansas that sometimes come down to one or two or five votes," Kobach said, as quoted by KWCH. "And the answer is, yes, we have them all the time."

Here's what you need to know about first voting crimes allegations being prosecuted by the only secretary of state in the nation to have that power.

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