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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

Base Connect already has a longstanding reputation for raising big dollars for congressional candidates with little chance to win and then keeping most of the money, as TPM has reported before. But Fox 2 Detroit discovered a new twist in a report last week: Now the firm seems to be fundraising for candidates who aren't even running.

It is the same model, just extended now to non-existent candidates, Fox 2 reported. In the past, Base Connect would bring in six figures sums and then most of that money would be paid back to the firm. TPM recounted in 2010 one instance where the group raised $895,000 for a House candidate in Pennsylvania and the campaign then paid Base Connect and associated groups $719,000 of it.

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A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a Florida law that discourages physicians from asking patients about guns is constitutional, despite doctor warnings that such questions are vital to their work.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that invalidated the 2011 law, advocated by guns rights groups. The law says that "unless information is relevant to patient's medical care or safety or safety of others, inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession should not be made." It allows for disciplinary action against doctors who violate it.

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Some states are publicly clarifying that they consider their health insurance marketplace created under Obamacare to be state-based, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That would prevent their residents from losing their tax credits under the law if the Supreme Court were to decide that tax credits were not available through the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov. Two federal appeals court ruled differently on the issue last week -- one upheld the subsidies; the other struck them down -- and the issue could be heading to the high court.

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Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor and one of the top outside experts who helped draft Obamacare, caused quite a stir last week when a video surfaced in which he appeared to take the same stance as the law's opponents on a key issue currently before the courts.

In the video, which was originally shot in January 2012, and in an audio tape from a separate event that same year, Gruber seemed to endorse the view that the law's tax credits would not be available to Americans shopping on HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange. The site has been the fallback option for the 36 states that don't set up their own.

The fervor was so great that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about Gruber's video at Friday's press briefing. He said there was "ample evidence ... that (Gruber) supports the administration's view."

And that appears to be true. In numerous other occasions, Gruber adopted the administration's reading of the law. It took place in both his own analysis during Obamacare's development and then again in a court brief filed to support the White House's argument in the current lawsuit. It was also apparent in several other public statements.

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An online video has surfaced in which MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the top outside experts consulted during Obamacare's drafting, appears to endorse the view advanced by conservatives that the law's tax credits would not be available for people using HealthCare.gov.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, published the video on Thursday evening. The organization said it was shot at a January 2012 event hosted by Noblis, a non-profit research group, at which Gruber spoke.

During a Q&A session, Gruber was asked in the video about Obamacare's health insurance exchanges. He said he thought the federal government "wants to squeeze the states" to set up their own exchanges by being slow to develop the federal website, which would be the back-stop for any state that didn't establish one. He then moved onto the tax-credit issue.

"What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits. But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill," he said in the video. "So you’re essentially saying to your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that's a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges and that they'll do it. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this."

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A Chris McDaniel spokesman seemed to lose his temper a bit when he was confronted about possibly improper campaign coordination related to the ongoing effort to overturn McDaniel's loss in the Mississippi GOP Senate primary.

"Off the record, when did you stop beating your wife?" McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch told the Clarion Ledger's Sam Hall, invoking a well-known rhetorical device of presupposed guilt.

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As condemned Arizona killer Joseph Rudolph Wood III lay dying for nearly two hours on the execution table in state prison, his lawyer frantically pleaded over the phone with a federal judge to halt the botched lethal injection.

A transcript released Thursday of the call reveals a 30-minute conversation in which public defender Robin Konrad sought a stay of execution for Wood after the execution had already begun and appeared to be going wrong. Konrad spoke on the phone with federal district Judge Neil Wake and Assistant Arizona Attorney General Jeff Zick.

The execution was supposed to last 10 minutes, but about 10 minutes after it began, Konrad said, Wood began to breathe and opened his mouth. "He has been gasping and snorting for over an hour," she said, citing an attorney at the scene.

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Conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court might have already tipped their hand on the latest substantial legal threat to Obamacare, according to one Yale law professor. And if they did, it would be good news for the Obama administration.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that Obamacare's language did not allow people shopping on HealthCare.gov to access tax credits if they purchase insurance through the federal website. If that decision were to become law, affecting the 36 states served by the federal exchange, it would strip subsidies from nearly 5 million people and send their premiums skyrocketing. Without some sort of administrative rescue from the Obama administration, it would significantly gut the law.

Another federal appeals court in Virginia ruled the opposite way on the same day. Legal analysts have said it is at least possible that the case will end up in front of the Supreme Court, which largely upheld Obamacare in 2012. But the court's conservative streak has struck down some of the law's other provisions.

Abbe Gluck, a law professor at Yale University, highlighted some passages this week for a piece for Politico that showed how the court's conservative justices seemed to have already interpreted the issue in the 2012 ruling.

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