Nick R. Martin

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Nick

The CIA has launched an investigation into whether one of its own internal boards designed to screen books by former agents for national security concerns has instead been censoring them for political reasons, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper reported the investigation came after complaints about how the agency's Publicans Review Board dealt with books about subjects like waterboarding and other harsh interrogation measures.

A U.S. Secret Service agent was put on leave this week after being caught on video driving erratically at 80 mph on a North Carolina freeway and then briefly pulling over a fellow driver before speeding away in what appears to be a case of road rage.

Investigative reporter Stuart Watson at television station WCNC in Charlotte got the video from a tipster who recorded the incident while driving down the freeway. A spokesman for the Secret Service told WCNC that the agent, whose name was not released, had been put on paid leave while the situation is investigated.

Watch the video:

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Tony Rezko, the corrupt former Illinois political fixer, finally broke his silence this week, dishing from prison about what he described as former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's role in schemes to hand out coveted seats in state government in exchange for mountains of campaign cash.

Serving a 10 ½ year bit in federal prison in central Illinois, Rezko refused to talk about his connections to President Barack Obama, but spoke freely about Blagojevich in what the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper on Wednesday called a "wide-ranging telephone interview."

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The Orlando suburb of Sanford, Fla., has hired a marketing firm to help it try to repair its image following the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, the Orlando Sentinel reported late Tuesday.

The city set aside $15,000 for advertising and spent $10,000 to hire a local firm to help it return to its reputation as "The Friendly City" after it became the focus of international attention over the case.

Update: May 24, 2012, 5:35 PM

The ghost of Alabama's segregationist former Gov. George Wallace brought trouble to the conservative stronghold of Orange County, Calif., this month and an anti-Muslim Republican is paying a political price for it.

It started last week when people complained about letters a local businessman sent out in support of Deborah Pauly, a local councilwoman and a leader in the Orange County GOP who drew nationwide attention last year when she helped lead an angry protest against Muslims with chants like "terrorists go home." Pauly is now running for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

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This is what Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett has to show for two months of writing emails and nearly a week of nationwide ridicule in his investigation of President Obama's birth certificate: a single sheet of paper.

Hawaii officials sent the man in charge of Arizona's elections a one-page verification late Tuesday that President Obama was indeed born in their state in 1961.

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Chances are, unless he lives to 102, a white supremacist who bragged about being a serial bomber will die in prison for his role in the 2004 mail bombing of a city office in Arizona.

Dennis Mahon, 61, was sentenced by a federal judge on Tuesday in Phoenix to spend the next 40 years in prison for the bombing, which injured three employees of the Scottsdale city government, including its diversity director.

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A Hawaii official announced late Tuesday that the state gave Arizona's top elections official the verification he wanted showing President Barack Obama was indeed born there in 1961.

The announcement came just hours after Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett backed away from his threats to keep Obama off the November ballot and apologized for embarrassing his own state with a conspiracy theory-fueled investigation into whether the president was really a natural born U.S. citizen.

It also followed weeks of back and forth between Hawaii and Arizona, with Hawaii officials saying they weren't sure Bennett was qualified to be investigating the matter.

Here's the full statement Joshua Wisch, the special assistant to the Hawaii attorney general, released at 11:35 p.m. ET:

Regarding the inquiry from the Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, requesting a verification of birth for President Obama from the State of Hawaii, Department of Health, the matter has been resolved.  We have received information from Secretary Bennett that satisfied our requirements, and have therefore provided his office with a verification of birth for President Obama.


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Updated: May 22, 2012, 7:01 PM

After days of ridicule for launching a conspiracy theory-fueled investigation into Barack Obama's birth certificate, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett on Tuesday backed off his threat to keep the president off the ballot in November and apologized to his state.

"If I embarrassed the state, I apologize, but that certainly wasn't my intent," Bennett said in an interview with Phoenix radio station KTAR. "He'll be on the ballot as long as he fills out the same paperwork and does the same things that everybody else has."

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In case there was any doubt about it before: The man in charge of running Arizona's elections has no plans to investigate Mitt Romney's birth certificate the way he's been looking into President Obama's.

"No, we haven't contacted Michigan," a spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Bennett told TPM in an email on Tuesday. "I don't know if Michigan has the same statute that Hawaii has."

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