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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

The FBI created a fake version of the Seattle Times to catch a suspect in a series of bomb threats to a local school, the Times reported on Tuesday, and the newspaper's editor is "outraged."

According to documents published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the FBI spoofed the Times website in 2007 with a fake Associated Press article about a series of bomb threats to Lacey’s Timberline High School. The agency then sent a link to the fake article to the suspect's MySpace account.

When the suspect opened the link, FBI software buried in the link sent the person's location and other information to the bureau's agents. A suspect was eventually arrested, according to the Times.

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With a week to go before the election and polls showing the race slipping away from him, the Democratic nominee for Senate in South Dakota unleashed a tirade against national Democrats Monday, claiming that they had intentionally sabotaged his campaign in favor of the independent in the race, former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler.

"I can't attribute this to (DSCC executive director) Guy Cecil or (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid or any of those other folks, but I know the chatter out there was they didn't care if Weiland or Pressler won, and I think they felt like Pressler had a better path to victory," Rick Weiland told TPM in a phone interview following a press conference in South Dakota where he unloaded on the DSCC. "They had a disclaimer, bought and paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Who do you think that's going to affect?"

Weiland's theory is that the DSCC is running negative TV ads against Republican nominee Mike Rounds in order to hurt Rounds and Weiland's images and therefore boost Pressler, who has said he is open to caucusing with either party.

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Rick Weiland, the Democratic Senate candidate in South Dakota, effectively accused the national party Monday of sabotaging his campaign.

During a Monday press conference, Weiland charged that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee became involved in the South Dakota Senate race only to help the independent candidate, former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler -- and that the DSCC ran negative TV ads against Republican Mike Rounds in order to damage South Dakotan opinions of Weiland himself.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants the record to be clear: He did not reverse his decision to keep a nurse who recently treated Ebola patients in West Africa in quarantine amid public pressure, though she had been allowed to go home on Monday after significant public backlash.

"I didn’t reverse any decision," Christie told reporters Monday, in an video that his office uploaded to YouTube. "Why are you saying I reversed a decision?"

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If anything is clear from the reporting of the nurse who was quarantined in a New Jersey hospital over Ebola fears, it's that the actual quarantine itself was handled miserably.

Nurse Kaci Hickox, who returned to the U.S. via Newark airport Friday after treating Ebola patients for Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone, described her treatment as "a frenzy of disorganization." She was so flustered that a forehead reading showed her with a fever -- which was then used as reason to quarantine her. Later, they took her temperature again and no fever registered. She was kept in quarantine anyway.

Further reported details of Hickox's predicament made clear that, although New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo were anxious to show resolve and order the quarantine, their local health officials weren't ready to carry out the order in any way that resembled humane treatment.

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An Oct. 7 poll threw the South Dakota Senate race, at least momentarily, into the forefront of the national political conversation. Former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler, running as an independent, was polling at 32 percent, making it an almost even three-way race between Pressler, Republican Mike Rounds and Democrat Rick Weiland.

Democrats and allied outside groups started pouring money into what was supposed to be an easy GOP pick-up, and national Republicans got involved, too, a sign they were actually concerned. But now, some three weeks later, Pressler is fading and with him, hopes of Democrats stealing a seat they were never expected to compete for.

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Political scientists from two of the nation's most highly respected universities, usually impartial observers of political firestorms, now find themselves at the center of an electoral drama with tens of thousands of dollars and the election of two state supreme court justices at stake.

Their research experiment, which involved sending official-looking flyers to 100,000 Montana voters just weeks before Election Day, is now the subject of an official state inquiry that could lead to substantial fines against them or their schools. Their peers in the field have ripped their social science experiment as a "misjudgment" or -- stronger still -- "malpractice."

What went so wrong?

Last Thursday, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices started receiving complaints from voters who had received an election mailer (see below) bearing the state seal and describing the ideological standing of non-partisan candidates for the Montana Supreme Court. The fine print said that it had been sent by researchers from Dartmouth College and Stanford University, part of their research into voter participation. But that wasn't satisfactory for the voters who received the flyers or the state officials to whom they complained.

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Some polling earlier this month suggested that the South Dakota Senate race might be unexpectedly competitive, but a new poll shows Republican candidate Mike Rounds with a significant lead 10 days before the election.

Rounds is taking 43 percent of the vote, according to the NBC/Marist poll released Sunday. Democratic candidate Rick Weiland is at 29 percent and former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler, now running as an independent, is polling at 16 percent.

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