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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

One bill in a series of proposed laws that would devastate public unions in Arizona has come back to life and is set to be debated later today on the floor of the state Senate.

The measure was on life support two weeks ago after Republicans said they didn't have enough votes to pass it. But it was given a second chance and could quickly get a formal Senate vote if it moves past the debate.

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Former billionaire Allen Stanford may testify later today in federal court in Texas in his trial on accusations that he ran a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, the Houston Chronicle reports.

TPM detailed earlier today how Stanford's defense team said it is getting stiffed out of as much as $1.9 million by the federal court system while they help the former cricket mogul fight the charges.

The Chronicle's T.L. Langford is tweeting live from the courtroom.

Updated: February 24, 2012, 8:15 PM

A white supremacist who once claimed to be a serial bomber was convicted Friday in federal court in Phoenix for a 2004 Arizona bombing while his twin brother was acquitted in the same trial.

Dennis Mahon was convicted of three felonies related to the mail bombing of a city diversity office that injured its director and two other employees.

His twin brother, Daniel Mahon, was acquitted of a felony count of conspiring in the bombing plot. The judge ordered him to be set free.

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Federal investigators are looking into whether the No. 2 man in Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu's office broke the law by politicking while on duty, according to the Arizona Republic.

Since November, Chief Deputy Steve Henry has been exploring the possibility of running for the sheriff's seat because his boss plans to leave the office at the end of the year. Babeu is running for Congress, hoping to turn his national profile as a conservative border hawk into a role in the federal government.

The investigation, being conducted by the US Office of Special Counsel, has been going on since December and does not appear to be related to the sex scandal that Babeu has been facing since last week, the newspaper reported.

As he deals with fallout from a scandal involving a campaign volunteer who turned out to be his secret boyfriend, conservative Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu has insisted time and again that whatever work the man did for his campaign was strictly unpaid.

While Babeu's campaign finance reports initially appear to back up his claims, TPM has uncovered an unusual entry on a 2010 disclosure that deserves more explanation but which so far the sheriff has declined to discuss.

The entry is bound to raise eyebrows in light of revelations that Babeu's own brother, who is also a politician in Arizona, paid the man with campaign funds from his own account during the same time frame in early 2010.

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The largest newspaper in Arizona on Thursday night endorsed Mitt Romney in the state's upcoming Republican presidential primary.

In an editorial published on the paper's website and set to appear in Friday's newspaper, the Arizona Republic described Romney as an imperfect politician yet someone with a good track record in business:

There are better orators in American politics. Indeed, the Democrats appear to have one. And certainly there are Republicans who better project the passion for the office they seek. Steady, unflappable Romney would not a "passion president" make.

But there is eloquence in achievement. And, for the task at hand, as defined by Republicans themselves, the real-world achievements of Mitt Romney far surpass those of virtually all the lifelong politicians against whom he is competing.

In an unusual letter to two of his fellow local law enforcers this week, conservative Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu laid out a list of crimes alleged to have been committed by him or his former lover in the wake of their romance that soured last year.

The list was seven items long: "human rights violations, threatening and intimidating, misuse of public resources, theft of property, theft of identity, fraud and impersonation."

But now one prominent attorney tells TPM that the sheriff, who has made a name for himself as one of the nation's top hawks in the border debate, should be worried about one more: harboring an illegal immigrant.

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Hours after saying he would investigate Sheriff Paul Babeu's ongoing sex scandal, Arizona's top prosecutor recused himself from the inquiry and passed it off to somebody else.

Attorney General Tom Horne told the Arizona Republic newspaper that he decided he had a conflict because he and Babeu have supported each other politically in the past. Both are Republicans and the sheriff endorsed Horne during the 2010 election.

Babeu became embroiled in scandal in recent days after his ex-boyfriend accused the sheriff of threatening to deport him if their romance ever became public.

Babeu asked the sheriff and county attorney in nearby Gila County to investigate the matter. But they said they didn't have the resources in their tiny county to handle it. That's when Horne offered to take the investigation.

Now, according to the Republic, Horne said he has asked the state's solicitor general to take over.

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