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

Scott Brown's campaign has threatened Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, whose MayDay PAC is supporting one of Brown's opponents in the New Hampshire Senate GOP primary, with legal action for calling him a "lobbyist."

Lessig posted Sunday on his blog a cease-and-desist letter that he said he received from the Brown campaign. The letter referred to a direct-mail piece being sent by MayDay PAC, which advocates for campaign finance reform and is supporting Jim Rubens in the Republican primary, that called Brown "a Washington lobbyist."

The letter from the Brown campaign demanded that Lessig stop sending the mailer and retract the statement in a media appearance. "If you fail to immediately cease the mailer in question, we are leaving all our legal options on the table," Colin Reed, Brown's campaign manager, wrote to conclude the letter.

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Obamacare's premiums are going down on average in 2015, according to a report released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and that's good news overall and particularly good news for the federal government that helps pay the premiums for more than 80 percent of enrollees.

But, as always, there is a bit of a catch. Premiums are changing in a way that consumers need to be aware of. The benchmark being used to determine their subsidies under the law is changing in some places -- meaning some people will need to switch to a new plan to keep paying the same premium or they might have to pay more to keep the plan they currently have.

After the keep-your-plan fiasco of last fall, the Obama administration has set up an auto-renew feature for Obamacare enrollees in 2015. The administration has also issued guidance that insurance companies should notify customers that they can shop on the insurance marketplaces for other deals. But the big unknown is: Will they? If enrollees go the auto-renew route without exploring the market, they could be stuck paying more for their coverage.

While this all could create some hiccups during the upcoming enrollment period, it's not a bug. It's part of the law's structure. The government needed some baseline for its subsidies. And that does put a bit of the onus on consumers to make sure they aren't left with a bigger bill. Here's how it works:

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When Cornell University professor Ed Baptist read The Economist review of his book on slavery, he knew that it would be a big deal. The review dismissed his work as "advocacy" because "all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains."

That characterization of his work, which attracted the most backlash from journalists and academics, was not entirely a surprise to Baptist, he told TPM on Friday. It is something he has heard in history circles before the reaction to his new book, "The Half Has Never Been Told."

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A top Obama White House official met in July with the people informally planning to assist a 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Politico's Maggie Haberman reported Thursday.

John Podesta, currently counselor to President Barack Obama and formerly chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, attended a meeting at the Washington, D.C., offices of the Messina Group, founded by Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina.

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In the wacky world of Kansas politics, the big question is whether the GOP secretary of state's decision to keep the Democratic nominee on the Senate ballot is ultimately a bad thing for Democrats. Go figure.

The (allegedly) well-laid plans of Democrats in the Kansas Senate race were seemingly undone Thursday when Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) declared that Chad Taylor, the Democratic nominee who said he was withdrawing from the race, would remain on the ballot in November.

Democrats' apparent gambit was to get Taylor to clear the field for independent candidate Greg Orman, who flirted with running for Senate as a Democrat in 2008, to challenge incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). Democratic voters would presumably line up against anybody-but-Roberts, who would now be Orman with no Taylor to vote for, and a Republican incumbent would unexpectedly lose re-election in a national landscape where control of the Senate could come down to a single seat.

Taylor has said he will challenge the decision by Kobach, a member of Roberts' honorary campaign committee. But if the countermove stands, would it undo the Democratic gambit? Maybe, according to a local political scientist. At best, it would leave Orman with an exceedingly narrow path to victory.

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The Democratic Senate nominee in Kansas will not take being left on the ballot sitting down.

Chad Taylor said Thursday evening that he would challenge Secretary of State Kris Kobach's decision to keep his name on the ballot in November after Taylor filed paperwork Wednesday to withdraw from the race.

"I am planning to challenge the ruling of the Kansas Secretary of State," Taylor said in a statement emailed to reporters. He invoked Kobach's membership on incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts' honorary campaign committee and reiterated that he had consulted with a member of Kobach's office before filing his paperwork while announcing the challenge.

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In another huge twist in the Kansas Senate race, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) said Thursday that Democratic Senate candidate Chad Taylor must remain on the ballot despite his declaration that he would withdraw from the race.

Taylor announced Wednesday that he would drop out of the race and he filed paperwork with Kobach's office to officially withdraw. That would have pitted independent candidate Greg Orman against incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). Taylor's withdrawal was seen as a maneuver by Democrats because Orman, who was once a Democrat, had been shown polling ahead of Roberts and said he was open to caucusing with either party.

During a televised press conference Thursday afternoon, Kobach read from the relevant Kansas law, specifically the provision that states a candidate must declare "they are incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected." He said that Taylor had not made such a declaration.

"We now have no choice but to keep his name on the ballot," Kobach said.

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The National Republican Senatorial Campaign is moving to take charge of the troubled re-election campaign of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), deploying one of its campaign fixers to Kansas, the New York Times reported Thursday. The move comes after the state's U.S. Senate race was upended when the Democratic nominee announced Wednesday that he was dropping out.

The Times reported that Chris LaCivita, a longtime GOP operative known as "a political troubleshooter in past Republican campaigns," would be in Kansas by the weekend to assist Roberts.

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