Hunter Walker

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Hunter

A racially charged tweet directed at Cory Booker, the Democratic frontrunner in the New Jersey Senate race, was quickly deleted from the campaign account of Republican candidate Steve Lonegan on Monday.

Politico posted a screengrab of the Tweet, which said, "#breaking just leaked - Cory Booker’s foreign policy debate prep notes" and included a picture of a map of Newark covered with annotations describing various locations as West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil, Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Trinidad. 

The tweet was sent from the @LoneganForNJ campaign account during a Democratic Senate debate. Prior to the debate, Lonegan posted on his personal @Lonegan account encouraging readers to watch the campaign account for debate updates from his staff. Lonegan's advisor, Rick Shaftan, told Politico the tweet was removed at Lonegan's request.

"Steve didn't find it funny or reflective of the way he thinks and asked that it be taken down immediately. And, as you know, it was," Shaftan said.

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Two friends of accused Boston bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev were indicted Thursday on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice for allegedly trying to throw away a backpack full of fireworks and a laptopfrom Tsarnaev's room before it was searched by the police, but a lawyer for one of the men insists his client is innocen.

Robert G. Stahl, who is representing Dias Kadyrbayev, issued a statement after the indictment that said his client is a "typical young, foreign college student who loves America" and "did not obstruct justice and did not knowingly or intentionally take evidence from Dzohkhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room."

Read Stahl's full statement below:

"While Dias's Indictment was not unexpected, it was certainly disappointing.  As I said in the beginning of this case, Dias Kadyrbayev did not obstruct justice and did not knowingly or intentionally take evidence from Dzohkhar Tsarnaev's dorm room.  

My young client, like all of Dzokhar's friends at U-Mass, Dartmouth, was shocked and horrified to learn that someone he knew was involved in the terrible Marathon bombing.  Even though he was literally stunned and in fear, and even though he is from a country where the police are routinely distrusted, from the moment the authorities approached him he has fully cooperated.

Dias is a typical young, foreign college student who loves America and has worked hard to be accepted in the community.  He cooperated fully with the FBI and answered their questions for almost 12 hours over two days without an attorney or Consular official present.  Dias and the others voluntarily turned over the computer from Tsarnaev’s room and told the FBI where they could find the backpack that contained a packet of fireworks.  The FBI recovered all of the items because of Dias’s complete cooperation with their investigation.

Dias and his family are deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred and their thoughts and prayers continue to be with those injured and killed, and their families.

Despite the rush to judgment and, now, the present charges, Dias trusts the American justice system and looks forward to proving his innocence at trial."

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A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police told TPM on Thursday morning that Rockne Newell, the man charged with killing three people and injuring three others when he allegedly opened fire on a municipal meeting in Ross Township, Pa., used a 30-round magazine in his rifle. 

State police Capt. Edward Hoke confirmed that Newell used a Ruger Mini-14 .223 caliber rifle and a six shot .44 Magnum revolver in the shooting. According to investigators, Newell fired over 20 shots with the rifle before returning to his car to get the handgun.

Newell reportedly made statements indicating he was motivated by a lengthy property dispute he was engaged in with local officials. 


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The gunman who killed three people and injured three others after opening fire on a municipal meeting in Ross Township, Pa. used a Ruger Mini-14 .223 caliber rifle and a .44 Magnum handgun, Pennsylvania State Police said at a press conference Tuesday.

According to the police, the gunman fired over 20 shots from the rifle before returning to his car to get the handgun to continue shooting.

Ruger advertises its Mini-14 line of rifles as "the choice for applications ranging from the farm and ranch, to the deep woods, to personal defense."

"Their short barrels and overall short length make them favorites in any application where maneuverability and ease of handling are priorities," the Ruger site says.

Rockne Newell, a man who had been engaged in a lengthy property dispute with local officials, has been charged with the shooting. Witnesses said Newell was stopped when a man tackled him, causing Newell to be shot in the leg with his own gun. According to the Pocono Record, police said Newell was shouting about wanting to shoot more people as he was taken away in an ambulance. 

"I wish I killed more of them!" Newell reportedly said. 


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Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Donald Trump's golf game on Tuesday was apparently a high-powered threesome. On Wednesday, Trump told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that he and Boehner were joined by Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel when they played at Trump's course in Bedminster, N.J. 

"We all played well and we played with Ari Emanuel. He played well. We all had a good time," Trump said. Cavuto then asked him who had the lowest score. "I had the lower score. ... I had a nice score. He did -- everybody did well. We had a lot of fun."

Emanuel is one of the heads of the powerful William Morris Endeavor talent agency. He is also the brother of Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago mayor and former chief of staff to President Barack Obama. Ari Emanuel is a major Democratic donor who bundled over $300,000 for Obama's re-election effort last year.

Representatives of Emanuel's company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Beth Finkel, the state director of AARP New York, released a statement Wednesday morning criticizing New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner for calling his Republican rival George McDonald "grandpa" in a heated exchange at the AARP-Univision News Mayoral Town Hall Tuesday morning.

"AARP found some of yesterday's comments regarding age unfortunate, especially at a time when, according to a new AARP survey, nearly one quarter of New York's 50+ voters say they or a family member have experienced unwelcome comments about their age and nearly half are concerned about age discrimination. A person’s age should not be a factor in politics, or anything else."

Weiner and McDonald, a 69-year-old entrepreneur, got into it prior to the forum, and local news station NY1 captured footage of a portion of their exchange. 

"Don't put your hands on me ever again," said McDonald.

"Really? What's going to happen if I do? You're a tough guy now?" Weiner asked.

"I am. I can defend myself," McDonald responded. 

Weiner then told McDonald to get his "anger issues under control."

"I don't have any anger issues," McDonald said. 

"But you do, grandpa," said Weiner. 

Afterwards, McDonald told NY1 the incident began when Weiner aggressively touched him on the chest. Weiner and his campaign did not respond to a request for comment about AARP's statement or McDonald's claim that Weiner started the spat. 

McDonald has been aggressive in attacking Weiner for his sexting scandals. After the AARP forum, McDonald argued with Weiner supporters who were gathered outside the event.

"How do you explain to a 10-year-old granddaughter how he tweets out pictures of his penis to people?" McDonald asked. 

McDonald is currently polling in third place in the GOP primary behind former Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota and billionaire John Catsimatidis. All of the leading Republican candidates are far behind any of the major Democrats in polling of hypothetical general election matchups. 

Watch video of Weiner and McDonald's exchange below. 


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Rockne Newell, the Pennsylvania man accused of killing three people by opening fire on a municipal meeting in Ross Township, had a long history of fighting with local officials. He also seems to have had an extensive archive of online political commentary, including discussions of gun rights, drugs, and the President.

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T.J. Brewer, a former sheriff's deputy in Grand County, Utah, was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $826 Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemneanor assault charges stemming from a July 11 incident where he told authorities he beat his father after finding him having sex with his wife. 

Brewer's claims about his father sleeping his wife were detailed in a 13-page police report that was released after TPM and other local news outlets filed requests under the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act, known as GRAMA. According to the police report, Brewer's father, Wesley "Corky" Brewer, later stabbed himself twice after he was discovered and attacked by his son.

T.J. resigned from the Grand County Sheriff's Office last month. Corky, who was the fire chief in Moab, Utah, and director of emergency management for Grand County, retired following the incident. Because of both men's ties to local agencies, the Utah attorney general was brought in to try the case, which was investigated by the sheriff of a different country. 

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Updated 2:21 PM

Kristin Davis, the perennial political candidate and so-called Manhattan Madam who claimed former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was among the clients at a high-end escort ring she ran was arrested Monday for selling prescription drugs. 

"As alleged, Kristin Davis sold prescription pills not once, but rather four different times in four months to an FBI cooperating  witness. This type of criminal activity is illegal for citizens, and is especially unbecoming for a person seeking public office in the City of New York," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said in a statement. "The FBI and our partners in law enforcement remain committed to investigate and bring to justice those individuals who illegally distribute prescription medicines for their own financial gain.”

Davis first gained notoriety after being arrested in the sweeps that followed revelations Spitzer had patronized an escort service. She has since mounted multiple political campaigns. Spitzer is also running for comptroller this year, his first attempt to return to political life since he resigned from office in 2008 following the prostitution scandal. 

According to sworn testimony given by FBI special agent Liam McElearney in support of the criminal complaint against Davis, she came to the attention of authorities after another person was arrested for selling drugs in December 2012. That person plead guilty and became an informant in an effort to get a reduced sentence. McElearney said the informant told the FBI their business relationship with Davis began in 2009. Originally, McElearney said the informant claimed they sold drugs "including ecstasy pills, Adderall pills, and Xanax pills" to Davis. McElearney said the informant claimed Davis began selling them pills "in or about fall 2011."

Based on the information provided by the informant, the FBI set up multiple stings where they monitored four alleged transactions between Davis and the informant that occurred between January 7 and April 24 of this year. McElearney said Davis was observed entering the informant's home and recorded selling them over 500 pills on the first three occasions. The pills allegedly sold by Davis included Adderall, Xanax, Ambien, and Soma. On April 24, McElearney said Davis brought another person to the informant's apartment. This person was allegedly recorded selling the informant 180 Oxycodone pills for $3,600. 

Davis is being charged with four counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. 

Read the full criminal complaint below:

U.S. v. Kristin Davis Complaint

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Jimmy McMillan, the New York man who is perhaps best known for declaring "the rent is too damn high" during a 2010 gubernatorial debate, is endorsing Anthony Weiner in the city's Democratic primary.

In an email sent to the Huffington Post's Michael McLaughlin and other reporters late Monday night, McMillan accused other mayoral candidates of being too focused on Weiner's sexting scandal and suggested that, although Weiner "clearly has some personal issues he needs to address right now ... he’s more focused on the issues."

"I said it once and I'll say it again: We're all freaky, Mr. McLaughlin, and Weiner just exposed his freaky-ism in the wrong way," McMillan wrote. "The Democratic and Republican candidates have chosen to waste their energy condemning Weiner for his personal problems, and in doing so have managed to draw attention away from what's really at stake: the issues of the people and the problems affecting ordinary citizens of New York City."

McMillan specifically criticized the other candidates and city officials for not doing enough about the CBS blackout on Time Warner Cable.

"I’m not here to prioritize Carlos Danger over issues like soaring rent prices, and I seriously question the integrity of any candidate who would," McMillan wrote. "How come our elected officials aren't standing up to say 'enough is enough.' Under no circumstances is it acceptable for petty disputes between monopolistic media giants to continue at the expense of ordinary citizens."

McMillan, who is something of a perennial candidate, has said he is running for mayor on his own "Rent Is Too Damn High" party line and could end up on the ballot against the winner of next month's Democratic primary in November's general election.

After McMillan initially expressed support for Weiner earlier this month, RNN-TV reporter Dominic Carter asked Weiner for a reaction to the endorsement. Weiner seemed less than enthused. 

"Are you being serious?" Weiner asked. "My reaction to Jimmy McMillan's quote? I don't have one."

Read McMillan's full Weiner endorsement email below:

From: James McMillan 

Date: August 5, 2013 10:37:20 PM EDT

To: [Redacted]

Subject: Why I Would Endorse Weiner



I said it once and I'll say it again: We're all freaky, Mr.

McLaughlin, and Weiner just exposed his freaky-ism in the wrong way.


My endorsement of Weiner in the Democratic Primaries for New York City

mayor is a simple matter. The Democratic and Republican candidates

have chosen to waste their energy condemning Weiner for his personal

problems, and in doing so have managed to draw attention away from

what's really at stake: the issues of the people and the problems

affecting ordinary citizens of New York City. Again, the Democratic

and Republican candidates are not focusing on the issues; they're

wasting time and money focusing on Anthony Weiner's personal life.

They're busy using any means necessary to destroy him when they ought

to be addressing the people directly; they ought to be listening to

the people’s concerns. I’m here as an independent candidate trying to

do just that.


Now, Weiner’s obviously not completely focused on the issues either –

he clearly has some personal issues he needs to address right now. But

I imagine he’s more focused on the issues, just in trying to minimize

the "scandal," than any of the other candidates trying to use Weiner's

personal mistakes to sway voters.


I’m tired of the manipulation that has gone on between candidates

–they’re playing the silly game. It’s politics as usual and it’s got

to stop.


As Teddy might say, the people want and need someone who’s “straight

and honest.” I’m not here to prioritize Carlos Danger over issues like

soaring rent prices, and I seriously question the integrity of any

candidate who would.


It's nonsense. Someone needs to advocate for the people of New York

because our elected officials, who have had four years in office,

certainly aren’t. What are they doing about this?



New York State, or if not New York State then New York City, as a

center of media, has an opportunity here to show independence and

leadership and to set an example for the rest of the nation. The

greed-driven disputes exist at the expense of the people and it's

unacceptable. How come our elected officials aren't standing up to say

"enough is enough." Under no circumstances is it acceptable for petty

disputes between monopolistic media giants to continue at the expense

of ordinary citizens, some of whom have been left not just without TV

but phone and Internet access, too. New York State ought to have the

courage to take a stand on behalf of its people. Elected officials are

standing aside and watching. Clean up your backyard before you clean

up someone else’s. That's all I've got to say.


And, as for Anthony Weiner, my fellow mayoral candidates ought to

remember two things: there are matters of greater concern in the

mayoral race than Weiner’s weenie and his pathological sexting – let

his psychiatrist deal with that because this election is farcical

enough. They were calling me New York's Aristotle just last week, so

hear me: let he who is without sin cast the first stones.


I hope that answers your question.

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