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Monday, Mar 02nd

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Grand jury investigating loans to Kansas governor's campaign

Sam BrownbeckA federal grand jury is looking into loans made to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign and has ordered the state's ethics chief to testify next week as part of its investigation, according to a subpoena obtained by The Associated Press.

Carol Williams, the executive director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, was summoned to appear before the grand jury Wednesday in Topeka, according to documents the AP obtained through an open records request. She also was ordered to provide documents pertaining to loans Brownback's campaign received in 2013 and 2014.

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The Largest, Most Disastrous Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of

Disastrous trade deal comingRepublicans who now run Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to the administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster.

If you haven't heard much about the TPP, that's part of the problem right there. It would be the largest trade deal in history -- involving countries stretching from Chile to Japan, representing 792 million people and accounting for 40 percent of the world economy -- yet it's been devised in secret.

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Ex-Va. gov McDonnell sentenced to 2 years in prison

Bob McDonnellFormer Virginia governor Bob McDonnell will spend two years in federal prison after asking for mercy Tuesday at his own sentencing hearing on public corruption convictions.

Judge James R. Spencer revealed McDonnell's punishment after McDonnell was found guilty Sept. 4. on 11 of 13 federal charges filed against him. The former governor, indicted 10 days after leaving office, was convicted of trading access to the power of the governor's office for more than $165,000 in loans and high-end gifts, and prosecutors wanted him to spend more than 10 years in federal prison.

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The 100 Rich People Who Run America

100 rich people who run AmricaA hundred ultra-wealthy liberal and conservative donors have taken over the political system. Do we have the guts to take it back?

We are well past the point that anyone will be shocked or even surprised by how distorted our system of funding campaigns has become, but thanks to some excellent reporting by Ken Vogel at Politico, we now have some interesting new perspective.

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Did Chris Christie Go Easy on a Human Trafficker to Bust a Small-Time Pol?

Chris ChristieBeginning in 2003, members of a smuggling ring in Honduras approached girls, some just 14 years of age, and talked them into illegally entering the United States with the promise of waitressing jobs.

After making it over the border, during which time the smugglers allegedly raped some of the girls, they landed in Houston, Texas. They were temporarily held there before making the rest of their journey north to Hudson County, New Jersey.

That’s when the girls learned the truth. They were never going to be waitresses.

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The Senate's 46 Democrats got 20 million more votes than its 54 Republicans

US SenateOn Tuesday, 33 US senators elected in November will be sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden — including 12 who are new to the chamber. The class includes 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats, a big reason why the GOP has a 54-46 majority in the Senate overall.

But here's a crazy fact: those 46 Democrats got more votes than the 54 Republicans across the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections. According to Nathan Nicholson, a researcher at the voting reform advocacy group FairVote, "the 46 Democratic caucus members in the 114th Congress received a total of 67.8 million votes in winning their seats, while the 54 Republican caucus members received 47.1 million votes."

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City emerges as new battleground on voting rights

Votoing rights testedWhen the movie "Urban Cowboy" made this refinery town famous in 1980, the honkytonk Gilley's was booming and wannabe cowpokes from the white Houston suburbs flocked here to drink and dance. Houston was the big city, but Pasadena was for kicks.

Today Pasadena is a mostly working-class Hispanic suburb that looks as hard-ridden in some pockets as the mechanical bull that bucked John Travolta. Gilley's burned down years ago. Now a federal lawsuit accuses the town's white councilmembers of leading a discriminatory plan to turn back the clock.

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