Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

Earlier this month, a white South Carolina Highway Patrol officer shot an unarmed black man during a traffic stop at a gas station in the city of Columbia. While the incident at the time was enough to catch the attention of local investigators, it exploded into the wider consciousness on Wednesday when dash cam video of the shooting became public and the officer was charged with aggravated assault.

The case against officer Sean Groubert, 31, highlights how rare it is for a law enforcement officer to be charged in a shooting and also shows the vital role that video cameras can play in these types of altercations.

If convicted, Groubert could face up to 20 years in prison, according to The State newspaper in Columbia. He had already been fired from the highway patrol last week, the newspaper reported, after the Department of Public Safety reviewed the evidence.

The incident began on Sept. 4 when Groubert pulled over a sport utility vehicle being driven by 35-year-old Levar Jones. A camera mounted on the officer's vehicle captured the shocking and frantic moments that followed. The video was posted online by The State on Wednesday.

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These people recycle. They have tattoos. They read the New York Times in public.

Your typical coastal liberal elite? No, these people are Republicans, as a video from a veteran of Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign seeks to remind viewers. They drive hybrid cars. They use Apple products. They have feelings.

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Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is taking great offense to a new ad from his GOP challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner. The ad leads off with Gardner calling Udall "a real nice guy" before, all smiles, pointing to the Udall family's history of political service as a reason to oust him.

While the spot sounds as superficially congenial as any political attack ad that you're ever likely to see, Democrats are lambasting it as "disgusting" and "just low."

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Could peer pressure from other Republicans be the secret ingredient in the Obama administration's push to get the 20-plus states that have not expanded Medicaid under Obamacare to change their minds?

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell suggested to TPM on Wednesday that it might be. Some staunch conservatives like Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (above right) have entered into negotiations with HHS to craft their own Medicaid expansion plan; but others like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (above left) have steadfastly refused to even consider it.

Perhaps more than any argument from the Obama White House, the former group could help convince the latter that Medicaid expansion makes sense, Burwell told reporters at a Wednesday briefing in response to a question from TPM.

"People are influenced by people who are like them," Burwell said. "I think the more that we are able to attract conservative Republican governors, the more that those who have very strong feelings will perhaps listen. They all talk to each other."

The Obama administration is also putting out new estimates to make the case for Medicaid expansion. HHS is projecting that in 2014, hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid will save up to $4.2 billion on uncompensated care as more people are covered through Obamacare. Hospitals in non-expanding states, by comparison, are saving $1.5 billion.

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A representative for social media giant Facebook said Wednesday that the company would likely end its relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council next year.

The expected move follows Google and Microsoft, two other name-brand technology companies that have dropped their ALEC ties in the last month. The conservative advocacy group's position on climate change led to those departures, with Google chairman Eric Schmidt saying that ALEC was "literally lying" about the issue.

A Facebook representative didn't specify an issue in its message to the San Francisco Chronicle, but said they would likely end their membership in 2015.

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They wear camouflaged uniforms, bearing military-style insignia. They ride helicopters over the forests of Mendocino County, Calif., on the state's north coast, equipped with firearms, where they cut down illegal marijuana. But they aren't the army. They aren't even the police. They are Lear Asset Management, a private security firm that is attracting a lot of attention for the work it's doing -- and even perhaps some work it hasn't done

KCBS in San Francisco described them as "mysterious men dropping from helicopters to chop down" pot plants. Rumors swirl in the area's marijuana community about heavily armed men choppering onto their private land and cutting down their marijuana plants without identifying themselves or answering questions about who they are. Lear has become a boogeyman of sorts for a certain population in northern California.

But they aren't hiding. Paul Trouette, Lear Asset Management's 55-year-old founder, spoke with TPM for more than 30 minutes earlier this week to describe what his company does and why they do it. They see themselves filling a void that law enforcement cannot. Trouette at one point invoked the Pinkertons -- the private detective agency notorious for, among other things, violently busting unions and chasing Wild West outlaws -- to demonstrate the historical precedent for what they're now doing in this county of 88,000 on the edge of the California Redwoods.

"Law enforcement just doesn't have the means to take care of it any longer," Trouette told TPM. The 2011 murder of Fort Bragg, Calif. city councilman Jere Melo by an illegal trespasser tending poppy plants as Melo patrolled private land for a timber company made a big impression on Trouette, he said. Lear was incorporated the same year, and the company has worked with a non-profit founded in Melo's memory.

"That's when the hole began to be filled in my understanding of how to put together a cohesive, legal, organized private security firm that is now dealing with these types of issues," Trouette said, explaining that he sees Lear "on the cutting edge of citizens becoming involved in their communities and utilizing their legal rights to affect positive change in their communities."

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The Koch brothers are coming home, as one of their political advocacy groups launches a new TV ad against independent Kansas Senate candidate Greg Orman.

Freedom Partners Action Fund -- which, as Politico reported, is a new super PAC in the conservative titans' political network that plans to spend $15 million during the midterm campaigns -- is going up with the TV ad. The group told the Associated Press that it was spending "six figures" on the spot.

Koch Industries, the corporation that has helped make the brothers billionaires, is based in Wichita.

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Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), who is locked in a tight re-election race, appeals directly to Hispanic women in a new Spanish-language TV ad shared exclusively with TPM.

The ad is the second spot in a $500,000 TV ad buy by Udall's campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Spanish-language channels that will run through Election Day.

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