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Eric Lach

Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Eric

The controversy surrounding the alleged shooting of two Pakistani men by an American man in Lahore, Pakistan quickly begot a diplomatic war of words. Now, with officials from both countries holding fast to their version of events and to their positions, the fallout is threatening to push an already uneasy alliance towards a full scale crisis.

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The Miami-Dade Republican Party paid Esther Nuhfer, a political consultant with close ties to freshman Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), $150,000 in the weeks before Election Day last fall. That much it knows for sure. What party officials don't know, exactly, is what she did with the money.

When the payments were made, Rivera was still serving as the party's chairman, though his campaign told The Miami Herald he recused himself from day-to-day oversight and decision-making after winning his primary in August. Rivera is currently under investigation by state and local officials for his personal and campaign expenses, and the Herald reports that investigators are also looking into his relationship with Nuhfer. When asked about Nuhfer by TPM, both Rivera and his office refused to answer questions directly, referring us instead to a comcast.net campaign email address.

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Election fraud alert!

An employee of the Nassau County Board of Elections has been accused of writing eight fake addresses on campaign forms in 2009, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office announced Tuesday. Imtiaz Insanally, 27, of Valley Stream, is alleged to have used the fake addresses on a petition to add Republican Christian Browne to the ballot on the Tax Revolt Party line. Browne was running for County Legislator in the Fifth Legislative District.

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Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams dropped his reelection bid on Monday, and fired some parting shots at the Tea Party and the hard-line conservatives he thinks are hurting the party's electoral success.

"I have tired of those who are obsessed with seeing conspiracies around every corner and who have terribly misguided notions of what the role of the state party is while saying 'uniting conservatives' is all that is needed to win competitive races across the state," Wadhams wrote in a memo to the Colorado Republican State Central Committee obtained by The Denver Post.

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Support for the Iranian exile group Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, among some former U.S. government officials is a product of their "own illusions," an Iranian studies expert tells TPM.

"I think part of it is wishful thinking, and [the MEK's] very active PR campaign to represent themselves," Ahmad Sadri, a professor of Islamic World Studies and Sociology at Lake Forest College in Illinois, said in a phone interview. "They are saying to the world 'we are whatever you want us to be.'"

As TPM has reported, the MEK has a history of support in Washington, and a number of prominent U.S. national security experts and former government officials have recently taken up the MEK cause, which includes getting the MEK removed from the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. The MEK was put on the terror list in 1997, in a move that has been described as a nod to Iran's then reformist president.

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