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

Hackers on Wednesday morning apparently took over the Twitter account for the anti-gay National Organization For Marriage and turned it into a feed promoting gay rights.

By noon, the stream for @NOMTweets was filled with a dozen messages linking to gay rights organizations and apologizing for the organization's past.

It wasn't yet clear who was behind the hack. Here's a screenshot of one such tweet and the reactions by others on Twitter:

National Organization For Marriage Twitter account hacked

Updated: April 10, 2012, 4:02 PM

In a Phoenix courtroom filled with fellow lawyers and some of his biggest critics on Tuesday, the former Arizona prosecutor who served for years as Sheriff Joe Arpaio's right-hand man was stripped of his license to practice law.

A three-member state disciplinary panel ruled that ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas abused his powers as a prosecutor to target his political enemies. Because of that, they ruled he would be disbarred.

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Latino groups on Tuesday called for authorities to zero in on Sheriff Joe Arpaio after his former right-hand man and longtime political ally was stripped of his license to practice law as part of a wide-ranging investigation that raised questions about whether the two of them had abused their law enforcement powers.

Ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas was disbarred after a lengthy investigation by the State Bar of Arizona. A three-member panel ruled that Thomas misused his power as a prosecutor to target people who were seen as political enemies of him and Arpaio. The investigation showed that Arpaio was heavily involved in the conduct.

"Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Arpaio worked together to intimidate anyone who may have been able to stop the sheriff's heinous crimes," said Sandra Castro of Puente Arizona, an immigrant rights group that has long been critical of Arpaio. "Restoring justice in Maricopa County won't be complete until the sheriff himself is brought to justice."

Similarly, members of a Republican Latino group said the disbarment was only the first step in the path to justice.

"We look forward to justice for Joe Arpaio, who has not yet been indicted or charged in this scandal, though clearly he is a central figure in this repugnant behavior," said a statement released by Cafe Con Leche Republicans. "This ugly chapter in Arizona history will not be closed until Joe Arpaio is also held accountable for his utterly disgraceful conduct."

Arpaio and his spokesmen declined to answer specific questions about the calls from the Latino groups. Instead, he released only a brief written statement about his longtime ally.

"Today's decision no doubt is a disappointment to Andrew Thomas, his family and his colleagues," Arpaio said. "He was a hard working professional who served the people of this county for many years."

If things went differently, Andrew Thomas might have had a bright career in Arizona politics.

In six years as the top prosecutor in Maricopa County, he stood side-by-side with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and earned a reputation as an aggressive and ambitious politician. A pair of conservative warriors in a Republican stronghold, the two teamed up to push for tougher treatment of illegal immigrants and to pursue what they saw as widespread corruption by local government officials.

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Scandal-plagued Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu opened a new 30-second ad this week to promote his run for Congress by acknowledging "a lot has been said about me lately."

It's about all the sheriff said about the problems that have rocked his career. The rest of the spot focused on the one-time rising Republican star's conservative credentials, from border security to tax cuts to his pro-life stance, with no mention of the various scandals.

Babeu and his Pinal County Sheriff's Office are the focus of three investigations, including one looking into allegations that he threatened to deport his immigrant ex-boyfriend if their relationship ever became public.

See the ad here:

(h/t @BrahmResnik)

Arizona state Rep. Daniel Patterson took to a Phoenix radio station on Wednesday night to defend his angry outbursts in the statehouse, which have reportedly made one of his colleagues so afraid of him that she has taken to sleeping with a weapon at her bedside.

Patterson, who left the Democratic Party this week to become an independent amid a barrage of ethics allegations against him, admitted to KFYI's Mike Broomhead that he gets pretty angry sometimes. But he insisted it's nothing his fellow lawmakers should fear.

"Voters have a right to decide if they want to elect somebody that represents them at the Capitol who may take a strong stance, who may be a little bit more aggressive," Patterson said. "And there's probably been a few times at the Capitol where maybe I've pushed it a little bit too hard. But simply having a strong approach is not unethical and it's not illegal and it's nothing I would ever resign for or should be expelled from the House for."

Patterson's response comes as the state House of Representatives considers throwing him out of office after an ethics report released this week detailed a number of major allegations, including that he once offered to trade his vote for sex with a lobbyist. TPM detailed many of those allegations in a story on Wednesday.

Listen to the whole interview below. Patterson defends his outbursts at the 10:25 mark.

The man accused of bombing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin said on Wednesday that he did it "because they're killing babies there."

Francis Grady, 50, spoke to reporters who were covering his first appearance in federal court since the Sunday night attack. The Green Bay Press-Gazette posted video of him walking through the courthouse followed by a short clip of him speaking to reporters outside.

"There was no bomb," Grady said. "It was gasoline."

A reporter asked why Grady attacked the clinic.

"Because they're killing babies there," he responded.

The newspaper also got more from inside the federal courtroom, where Grady reportedly interrupted the judge to ask, "“Do you even care at all about the 1,000 babies that died screaming?"

Grady was charged with two felonies in the attack. No one was hurt and there was only minor damage to the clinic.

Watch the video of Grady: