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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

Allegations of email hacking and impersonation. A defamation lawsuit. New Mexico Republicans don't have much hope for stealing a U.S. Senate seat away from Democratic incumbent Tom Udall this November, but they sure are having a lot of fun in the meantime.

Allen Weh, a 71-year-old former state party chair and 2010 gubernatorial candidate, should have coasted to the GOP nomination to challenge Udall. But then a virtual unknown, attorney David Clements, surprisingly scored nearly half the delegates at the state party's preprimary convention earlier this month. There was suddenly a real race, even if Weh still holds every structural advantage.

That might help explain the heightened sniping between the campaigns, which have traded harsh allegations in recent weeks. The first was from Clements, who said that Weh's campaign manager hacked his campaign email, which resulted in a formal investigation. Then came a counter lawsuit by Weh's campaign manger, alleging defamation by Clements.

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The Georgia state legislature passed a bill on Tuesday to prohibit abortion coverage from being included in insurance sold under Obamacare within its borders. It is now the 22nd state, almost all of them with statehouses controlled by Republicans, to pass such a bill since the federal law took effect in March 2010.

GOP lawmakers are taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act's approach to abortion coverage, a hotly contested issue when the bill was being debated, but pro-choice advocates have no illusions about what's happening: Conservatives are using the hated health care reform law to further the effort to restrict abortion coverage.

"This has been a big trend in state legislatures since as soon as the ink was dry on the ACA," Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice advocacy organization, told TPM.

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Minnesota Republicans who support gay marriage could be getting some electoral cover from a new conservative group if they face backlash from the right.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Tuesday that a former chair of the Minnesota Republican Party was co-founding the new group, Minnesotans for Conservative Leadership. It'll spend money in the state's legislative elections, and the paper noted that its co-founders have national connections that could yield significant donations.

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Engaged in all-out war with the liberal group MoveOn.org over a pro-Obamacare billboard, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has accused the organization -- and liberals in general -- of endorsing discrimination against the disabled through their support of the federal health care reform law and its Medicaid expansion.

"Liberal groups like MoveOn.org won’t say one word about caring for individuals with disabilities, or how Obamacare prioritizes coverage of childless adults ahead of the most vulnerable," Jindal wrote in an op-ed in the Shreveport Times last Thursday. "They just want to intimidate states into accepting Obamacare’s massive new spending programs."

The Louisiana state government and MoveOn have been feuding over a pro-Medicaid expansion billboard that the organization put up. After the group refused to take it down, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) sued MoveOn last Friday. The Medicaid expansion has become a hot issue in the state: MoveOn attacking Jindal, Jindal attacking MoveOn; Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) attacking Jindal, and Jindal giving it right back. About 242,000 Louisianans have been left without health coverage under Obamacare because the state didn't expand Medicaid.

Of Landrieu, who's facing a tough re-election race in the state, Jindal inquired in the Times op-ed: "Why did she support -- and provide the critical 60th vote to enact -- legislation that discriminates against individuals with disabilities, by prioritizing coverage for childless adults over the needs of the most vulnerable?"

There's only one problem: According to health policy experts, Obamacare does no such thing. Furthermore, it actually sets up new demonstrations to help improve care for the disabled enrolled in Medicaid -- and Jindal should know that because his state has participated in several of them.

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The strange saga of a Louisiana school district and the Buddhist student its officials allegedly drove away in the name of Christianity came to an end last Friday. A federal court's order set new rules about how the school district must conduct itself and provided some financial relief for the student's family.

The tale's outlandish details -- a teacher telling her class that a student's religious beliefs were "stupid," the same teacher instructing her students that scientists advancing the theory of evolution were "stupid," pictures of Jesus hanging from the school walls -- caught national attention in January when the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the student and his family.

But at its end, the district has admitted no culpability and the student is still attending a school 25 miles from his home. The district has pledged, though, to pay $4,000 for the family's past costs of driving their son to his new school -- and to provide bus service from now until he graduates from high school.

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More than five million people have now enrolled in private health coverage through Obamacare, the Obama administration announced Monday.

The figure, announced via a blog post, provided another data point as the law's open enrollment comes to a close at the end of March. The administration said 4.2 million people had enrolled by the end of February, which means about 800,000 have signed up in March.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to release a list of U.S. officials who will be sanctioned, which likely means a freeze on their assets in Russia and a prohibition on travel there, the Daily Beast reported Monday.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) really hopes that he's one of them.

“You think I’m not going to be on it?” McCain told the news outlet. “I would be honored to be on that list.”

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For a supposed government takeover of health care, there is some serious evidence that Obamacare is actually making the individual health insurance market even more competitive than it was before the law.

The empirical results are mixed thus far, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, but one of the authors told TPM on Monday that his takeaway from the law's opening act is that it's been a net positive on price competition.

"The bottom line in my view is that this is now a much more price competitive market," Larry Levitt, vice president at the non-profit, non-partisan foundation, said via email. "It will be hard for insurers to be much more expensive than their competitors and maintain market share."

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Have we heard the last Obamacare "horror" story? If new ads from the Koch Brothers-backed group are any indication, we might have.

Americans for Prosperity, the well-funded conservative group that has been attacking Democrats in battleground states over the health care reform law, put out TV ads Monday against Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Udall (D-CO).

But what's notable about the ads is what they aren't: A personalized story of someone who's been negatively affected by Obamacare, the kind of verifiable set of facts that can be checked -- and rebutted, as happened with a recent AFP ad that led to significant backlash from the fact-checking community.

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Facing the very real possibility of a GOP-controlled Senate in 2015, health industry insiders are working up a wish list -- the changes they'd like made to the Affordable Care Act under a fully Republican Congress.

But they're also a little unsettled by the prospect of GOP control in Congress: Nobody is sure what exactly the Republicans would do if they had the opportunity to legislate however it wanted on the health care reform law.

It's plausible that Republicans would simply continue their absolutist opposition to President Barack Obama's signature legislation, especially if they view capturing the Senate as a vindication of their anti-Obamacare messaging. In that scenario, expect more symbolic repeal votes that the House has taken over the last few years. That would force Obama to pull out his veto pen again and again to defend the law.

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