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Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has a history of illegal behavior and controversial comments — facts that were left out of mainstream print reporting on GOP candidates trying to win his favor last week.

The Republican Jewish Coalition met March 27-29 in Las Vegas, and the event was dubbed the “Adelson Primary" as GOP presidential hopefuls used the meeting to fawn over magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a casino and resort operating firm, who reportedly spent nearly $150 million attempting to buy the 2012 election with donations to a super PAC aligned with Mitt Romney and other outside groups (including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads). Before switching allegiance to Romney, Adelson had donated millions to Newt Gingrich. He has also given generously in the past to super PACs associated with a variety of Republican politicians, including Scott Walker, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, George W. Bush, and Eric Cantor.

Hoping to benefit from Adelson’s largesse, potential 2016 Republican candidates including Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush gathered at Adelson’s casino to “kiss the ring.”

While Republicans’ efforts to court Adelson made big news in print media over the past week, none of the articles mentioning Adelson in The New York Times, Washington PostPolitico, or The Wall Street Journal mentioned that he has come under investigation for illegal business practices, including bribery, or his history of extreme remarks.

A search of the Nexis and Factiva databases from March 24 to March 31 turned up several articles in the papers ­mentioning the billionaire, none of which mentioned Adelson’s checkered past. The New York Times called Adelson “one of the Republican Party’s most coveted and fearsome moneymen” and detailed his current fight against online gambling, while The Washington Post's March 25 preview of the event simply reported that Adelson was “driven by what he has said he sees as Obama’s socialist agenda. He is a fierce opponent of organized labor and is currently embroiled in a fight to ban online gambling.”

In 2012, Adelson’s corporation came under three different investigations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an anti-bribery statute. Additionally, the Times reported at the time that several of the company’s subsidiaries also “came under investigation by Chinese regulators.”

Adelson allegedly attempted to bribe the Chief Executive of Macau, where a substantial portion of his casino business was located, and reportedly instructed Sands Corp. to bribe a Macau legislator with about $700,000 in “legal fees.” (ProPublica reported that “several Las Vegas Sands executives resigned or were fired after expressing concerns” about the fee.) A former Sands Corp. executive also alleged that Adelson fired him after he refused to engage in illegal activity and protested the presence of Chinese organized crime syndicates in Sands’ Macau casinos.

Adelson initially insisted that he was being unfairly targeted, but Sands Corp.’s own audit committee ultimatelyadmitted there were “likely violations” of the anti-bribery law. And in August 2013, Sands Corp. agreed to pay the federal government more than $47 million in a settlement to resolve a separate money-laundering investigation, in which the casinos were accused of “accepting millions from high-rolling gamblers accused of drug trafficking and embezzlement.”

Adelson has been described as a “fervent Zionist” for his opposition to any Palestinian state, and his hatred of Islam goes so far that he has said ”You don’t have to worry about using the word ‘Islamo-fascism’ or ‘Islamo-terrorist,’ when that’s what they are. Not all Islamists are terrorists, but all the terrorists are Islamists.” He has suggested that all Palestinians “teach their children that Jews are descended from swine and apes, pigs and monkeys,” and said that “all they want to do is kill” Jews.

As Rick Perlstein has noted in Rolling Stone, Adelson is also vociferously opposed to unions. In 1999, when Adelson built a new casino, he failed to pay so many of his contractors that they filed a whopping 366 liens against the property, in addition to filing complaints with stage agencies and the FBI. When the new casino eventually opened, union workers protested outside — and Adelson twice demanded that police arrest the peaceful protestors (emphasis added):

Adelson told the cops to start making arrests; the cops refused. Glen Arnodo, an official at the union at the time, relates what happened next: “I was standing on the sidewalk and they had two security guards say I was on private property, and if I didn’t move they’d have to put me under ‘citizen’s arrest.’ I ignored them.” The guards once again told the police to arrest Arnodo and again, he says, they refused. The Civil Rights hero Rep. John Lewis, in town to support the rally, said the whole thing reminded him of living in the South during Jim Crow.

Afterwards, Adelson went so far as to allegedly attempt to pay off a hospital when it announced it would honor the head of the Vegas hotel workers union.

Adelson told The Wall Street Journal that the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill which would allow workers to unionize a workplace with majority sign-up, was “one of the two fundamental threats to society.” The other was radical Islam.

If print outlets are going to devote space to the fight among Republicans to win Adelson’s favor (and money), they owe it to readers to give a more accurate picture of the man holding the wallet.  


H/T: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health


Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich is busy running for reelection, but that hasn’t stopped his former Fox News colleagues from promoting him as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. Fox News has praised Kasich’s tenure as governor, and touted him as “a serious potential candidate for president” with a record that gives progressives “reason to fear.”

Kasich is the quintessential Fox News candidate, having used a perch at the network to profitably stay in the public eye between runs for public office. He joined Fox in 2001 after serving nine terms in Congress and left in 2009 to run for Ohio governor. He was a frequent presence on the network as a guest host for The O’Reilly Factor, and the host of the programs From The Heartland and Heroes.

Fox News treated Kasich to numerous softball interviews during his successful 2010 run. Sean Hannity told Kasich during one such interview: “You do me a favor. Go get elected governor” and “You can help us. Win the state of Ohio.” During an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, Kasich asked for donations while Fox News put his website address on-screen (which drew a complaint from the Democratic Governors Association).

Kasich’s gubernatorial campaign also received fundraising support from Fox News. Sean Hannity headlined a "high-dollar fund-raiser" for Kasich in October 2009. Mike Huckabee appeared at a 2009 Kasich campaign event. Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch and his then-wife contributed $20,000 to the campaign, and then-Fox News parent company News Corporation gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which helped elect Kasich.

Kasich has claimed he’s not interested in running for president in 2016, telling an Ohio reporter that he “tried to run for president back at the end of the ’90s and 2000 and no one was interested … Now, I’m not interested.” In his gubernatorial campaign, Kasich will likely face Democrat Ed FitzGerald, who has unsuccessfully askedKasich to sign a pledge promising to serve a full term if reelected.

A 2016 Kasich campaign has been a popular topic of conversation for Fox News. While the network frequently applauds Ohio’s economic performance during Kasich’s tenure, the state’s "rate of job growth was below the national average." 

Fox News Sunday Anchor Chris Wallace: Kasich A “Serious Potential Candidate For President.”During his March 23 show, Wallace previewed Kasich’s segment by stating, “as the 2016 race for the White House heats up, one potential GOP candidate is counting his states’ economic turnaround.” Wallace later introduced Kasich by focusing on his presidential prospects:

WALLACE: With two years until the 2016 presidential election, there’s a lot of talk the strongest GOP nominee would be a governor from the Midwest. One possibility from the key electoral state of Ohio is making his state’s economic turnaround the basis for his re- election bid in November. Joining us now from Columbus, Ohio, Governor John Kasich and, governor, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.

Wallace’s first question to Kasich was about his tenure as Ohio governor, asking: “What is the secret to your success?” Wallace later asked Kasich about criticism from FitzGerald, including about whether he would pledge to serve his entire term (Kasich dodged the question).

While previewing his show on the March 20 broadcast of Fox News Radio’s Kilmeade & Friends, Wallace said Kasich has led a “big turnaround in the economy of Ohio” and he “really is a serious potential candidate for president in 2016 even though at this point he’s saying, ‘not interested.’”’s promotion of Kasich’s interview focused on Kasich and 2016:

Fox News Sunday exclusive

Fox VP Cavuto: George Soros “Has Reason To Fear You” In 2016. Fox News host and vice president Neil Cavuto told Kasich on the March 18 edition of Your World that he’s heard “reports” that financier (and Media Matters donor) George Soros “fears you the most of any prospective candidate.” Cavuto then listed Kasich’s “success” as governor, and said Soros “has reason to fear you.” At the end of the interview, Kasich told Cavuto, “you’re the best.” Op-Ed: “Why Progressive, George Soros Crowd Fears Run By Ohio Governor.” Republican strategist and lobbyist Van Hipp wrote a March 7 piece touting Kasich’s tenure as governor as a “shining example” of “why the free enterprise system works.” Hipp added: “The more I thought about it, the more I realized why the George Soros crowd fears Kasich the most. They can’t demonize him and use the same old worn out liberal playbook they’ve used against national GOP contenders in recent years.”

Fox News Contributors Tout Kasich As Contender. Kasich has been mentioned by Fox News personalities during discussions about 2016 presidential candidates. Sean Hannity said on January 21 that he wants a president big field with Kasich, among others. Contributor George Will said on February 16’s Fox News Sunday that the race will be decided in the Midwest and said “you have to get three more presidential candidates out of those states — Governors Kasich in Ohio, Snyder in Michigan and Walker in Wisconsin.” And contributor Karl Rove also mentioned Kasich as a potential candidate on the January 13 edition of The O’Reilly Factor.

h/t: Eric Hananoki at MMFA


Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) had a sharp message Thursday for congressional Republicans, including those from his home state, opposed to Obamacare: “get over it.”

Writing in an op-ed published in the New York Times, Beshear acknowledged that Kentucky is a red state claiming two prominent Republican members of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul. But Beshear argued even Republican governors like Arizona’s Jan Brewer, Ohio’s John Kasich and Michigan’s Rick Snyder have been able to accept Obamacare as “a tool for historic change” rather than “a referendum on President Obama.” 

"So, to those more worried about political power than Kentucky’s families, I say, ‘Get over it,’" he wrote. "The Affordable Care Act was approved by Congress and sanctioned by the Supreme Court. It is the law of the land."

"Get over it … and get out of the way so I can help my people."

Gov. Beshear hits the nose on this quote “Get Over It.”

h/t: Catherine Thompson at TPM


[Article excerpt]

The five provisions that Governor Kasich signed into law today will:

  • Create a new consent process for women seeking abortion care that forces a doctor to perform medically unnecessary tests and give medically ambiguous information about the viability of the pregnancy.
  • Require that all ambulatory surgical centers have transfer agreements with hospitals and grant authority to the anti-choice director of the Ohio Department of Health to cherry-pick what constitutes a valid transfer agreement, or variance, for any reason. The budget also singles out and blocks public hospitals from having transfer agreements or allowing their doctors to use their admitting privileges to contract with abortion clinics.
  • Reprioritize family planning funding to defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning experts, many of whom serve the poor in rural counties. This will wreak havoc on tens of thousands of patients that rely on these facilities for cancer screenings, birth control and other basic health care, and could result in eleven counties losing access to subsidized family planning services entirely.
  • Divert federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds intended to be used for cash support for mothers and their children to unregulated crisis pregnancy centers. A year-long investigation conducted by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation into crisis pregnancy centers revealed widespread use of biased and medically inaccurate information.
  • Ban rape crisis programs funded by state dollars from counseling rape victims about all their medical options if they get pregnant from the assault.

Ohio lawmakers are currently trying to pass a state budget, but many of the debates over the legislation have nothing to do with the state’s financial policies whatsoever. Abortion opponents have hijacked the budget negotiations to launch several attacks on women’s health, tacking on provisions that would defund Planned Parenthood, shut down abortion clinics, and redirect state funding to right-wing “crisis pregnancy centers.” And the budget only continues to get worse for Ohio women.

On Tuesday, anti-abortion Republicans in the state added yet another budget provision related to reproductive health. The new amendment would require doctors to look for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion, presumably with an unnecessary ultrasound procedure, and then “notify the woman about the presence of the heartbeat.” Abortion doctors would also be required to tell women about the fetus’ likelihood of “surviving to full term.”

As the policy group Innovation Ohio notes, this language is borrowed from the controversial “heartbeat” ban that Ohio Republicans tried to push through last year. That radical legislation would have criminalized abortion after a fetal heartbeat could first be detected — which typically occurs around six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant. Despite the fact that Republicans ultimately gave up on that measure at the end of last session, acknowledging it was too controversial to win support even among anti-choice groups, far-right abortion opponents vowed to keep trying.


Ohio’s budget bill passed out of committee on Tuesday night, and now heads to full votes in the House and Senate on Thursday. Both chambers are expected to approve it. At this point, Gov. John Kasich (R) is the only lawmaker who will be able to edit the budget bill — and, if he chooses, remove some of the abortion-related provisions. But so far, he hasn’t indicated that he’s willing to make any changes once the legislation lands on his desk.

“I think the legislature has a right to stick things in budgets and put policy in budgets… There’s nothing out of the ordinary here in the way in which they’ve decided this,” Kasich said on Wednesday when asked about the fetal heartbeat provision. He said he would make a decision about the bill when it gets closer to the July 1 deadline for its passage. “I’ll look at the language, keeping in mind that I’m pro-life,” the governor added.

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

Ohio Republicans are already attempting to hijack the state’s budget process to push for abortion restrictions, advancing a version of Gov. John Kasich’s budget bill that includes amendments to defund Planned Parenthood and shut down abortion clinics. But they’re not stopping there. Now, a group of 35 Republican lawmakers in the House have introduced an omnibus anti-abortion bill that combines some of the worst attacks on women’s reproductive health into a single measure.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has joined the growing list of Republican governors pushing income tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens of his state, and like those other governors, his plan would raise taxes on the poor to pay for it.

Kasich’s plan would cut income tax rates by 20 percent and some business tax rates in half, and it would pay for the plan by levying sales taxes on goods and services that were previously exempt. Since sales taxes are inherently regressive, Kasich’s plan would raise taxes on the poorest 60 percent of the state’s residents by as much as $77. The top 1 percent, though, would see an average tax cut of $10,369, according to an analysis by Policy Matters Ohio.

The poor in Ohio already pay more of their income in taxes than do the rich. The bottom fifth of Ohio taxpayers pay 11.6 percent of their income in taxes, while the top 1 percent pays an effective rate of 8.1 percent, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. That disparity exists because of sales taxes: the bottom 20 percent pay 6.7 percent of their income in sales taxes compared to just 1 percent for the wealthiest taxpayers.

h/t: Travis Waldron at Think Progress Economy

Late last week more than a dozen Republican governors declared that they will not build the insurance market exchanges called for by the Affordable Care Act, including prominent names like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Perry of Texas.

On Monday, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma joined them, declaring in a statementthat it “does not benefit Oklahoma taxpayers to actively support and fund a new government program that will ultimately be under the control of the federal government.”

The original deadline for states to notify the Department of Health and Human Services on whether they intend to build their own exchange was last Friday, but the administration extended it to Dec. 14. About a dozen Republican governors are weighing their options, including Chris Christie of New Jersey, Rick Scott of Florida and Terry Branstad of Iowa.

The decisions carry important implications for the long-term arc of Obamacare, which supporters and opponents alike agree is here to stay now that President Obama has been re-elected. The Obama administration wants states to build the exchanges so they have an incentive to make the law work. If the federal government takes over, state-level Republicans have a scapegoat in case things go wrong.

The more states stonewall the exchanges, the more it complicates the task of the federal government. One challenge is that the law lacks an automatic funding mechanism for HHS to set up state exchanges. Enrollment is slated to begin next October, and the exchanges are scheduled to start functioning by January 2014.

Twenty-three states, mostly Democratic, and Washington, D.C. have said they’ll move forwardwith the exchanges, either on their own or in partnership with the feds.

Propelling the GOP governors’ stance is a desire to protect themselves politically from accusations of abetting a law that conservatives fervently oppose. Some governors argue that the regulations are too stifling and provide little flexibility for them to construct the marketplaces in accordance with their states’ needs.

h/t: Sahil Kapur at TPM

Here is my recap of the RNC for the 1st night.

Afternoon Session:

Evening Session:

Worst Persons: B: Ann Romney. S: Chris Christie. G: Nikki Haley

WASHINGTON — A trio of female firsts and three former GOP presidential contenders are among the first speakers disclosed for August’s Republican National Convention.

The GOP convention schedule is packed with high-profile names to fire up divergent wings of the Republican Party, from social conservatives to fiscal hawks. They will speak ahead of Mitt Romney’s formal acceptance of his party’s presidential nomination.

Convention leaders were not ready to announce the keynote speaker, a prime speaking slot that has the potential to catapult a rising member of the party to national prominence.

The schedule’s outlines were first reported by The Tampa Bay Times late Sunday and were confirmed to The Associated Press by Republican officials with direct knowledge of the plan. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because convention officials had not yet announced the schedule.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the first female governors of their states, are among party leaders slated to address the gathering that begins Aug. 27. Martinez has the additional distinction of being the first female Hispanic governor in the country.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the first black female to hold that job, is also scheduled to speak.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona was set to speak, as well as a one-time rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The two, along with Romney, vied for the 2008 presidential nomination, with McCain outlasting both Romney and the former Baptist pastor in the primary campaign.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin are both big names in the party believed to be among those Romney is weighing for the vice presidential slot or for the keynote address. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio also were noticeably absent from the slate of announced speakers and may be contenders for running mate.

If passed over for the vice presidential pick, there is a very good chance they would earn speaking slots – if not the keynote.

The speakers already announced suggest where Romney is looking to make progress as voters start to pay attention to the fall campaign.

Martinez, who made history in her state and nationally when she was elected, could appeal to Hispanic women, a sizable demographic that broke for Obama four years ago. She can also address voters who feel securing the nation’s Southern border is a top concern.

Among tea party supporters, Romney will get a boost from Kasich. His home state of Ohio is a linchpin of Romney’s strategy and no Republican has won the White House without carrying the perennial Midwestern battleground. No Democrat has won without winning Ohio since John F. Kennedy won the presidency in 1960.

Florida is another key state for both campaigns’ path to the White House. Florida’s Gov. Scott will address the convention, customary when the incumbent governor’s party hosts the convention.

Democrats have rolled out their own convention schedule in recent weeks. Marking a first for Hispanics, the Democrats chose the mayor of San Antonio to deliver the keynote address in Charlotte, N.C.

h/t: HuffPo

Across the country, Republican governors, many of them elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, have undermined women’s health, crushed workers’ right to negotiate collectively, made it tougher to vote and imposed ideologically informed slash-and-burn policies on their populations, often with little attention from the mainstream media. Where are they now? Culling voter rolls, beating up on unions, trying to sneakily ban abortion—but also, in some cases, having their power checked by a determined opposition and being forced to concede some defeats. And in a couple of cases, they’re under investigation. Here’s our 2012 list of the worst GOP governors.

10. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania

Corbett didn’t make our list last time around, but this year, the Pennsylvania governor has made up for lost time. His attacks on public education alone make him worthy of our Hall of Shame, but coupled with a massive tax break for Shell Oil—$1.7 billion in subsidies for the oil giant—his comments about taking responsibility for future generations ring awfully hollow.

"The governor’s proposal violates his own belief that the free market, and not government, should pick winners and losers," George Jugovic Jr., president of PennFuture, told The Morning Call. “

9. Nikki Haley, South Carolina

Fresh from campaigning in Wisconsin for her fellow union-buster Scott Walker, Nikki Haley is headed home, triumphant—to an ethics investigation.

Corey Hutchins at the Columbia Free Times writes:

Subpoenas could be fluttering all over Columbia this week as an ethics panel investigating whether Gov. Nikki Haley illegally lobbied as a lawmaker decides who to call as witnesses in the case.

On May 30, the House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to reopen an investigation into the governor. The six-member panel had previously voted that there was probable cause to investigate, but then immediately dismissed the charges. After further consideration, and new information from GOP activist John Rainey, who filed the complaint, they’re giving it a deeper look. 

She’s also been rebuked by her state’s Supreme Court chief justice over a plan, approved by her appointees at the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, to dredge the Savannah River to make it bigger for bigger ships.

8. Jan Brewer, Arizona

Jan Brewer made her name attacking immigrants, but she’s got plenty of other moves under her belt. In recent months, she cheerfully signed a bill cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood, and topped that off with possibly the worst anti-abortion bill in the country. Opponents call it the “Life Begins at Menstruation” bill because it bans abortions after 20 weeks, but claims that those 20 weeks start at the woman’s last menstrual period.

Brewer also joined the club of GOP governors who like kicking around public employees. She moved to offer public workers their first raise in years—but only if they agreed to trade in all their job security and let her fire them on a whim. She also signed a bill expanding school vouchers for Arizona students, giving public funds to parents to pay for private schools.

In a bit of good news, a judge did reject Brewer’s bid to dismiss legal challenges to the state’s infamous anti-immigrant law.

Oh, and she wants a third term.

7. Paul LePage, Maine

"To all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job," Maine Governor Paul LePage told the Republican State Convention in May.

The governor wants to impose his own form of welfare “reform” on the state in the middle of an ongoing jobs crisis—and he’s even willing to make up stories and fudge numbers to get his way. And what does he consider “welfare”? Everything from disability benefits to MaineCare (the state’s version of Medicaid — healthcare for low-income people). His Medicaid cuts alone could hit 65,000 people.

6. Chris Christie, New Jersey

Chris Christie likes to bluster and swagger – it’s sort of his calling card. He’s frequently caught saying awful things—like a comment he made this winter on a marriage equality referendum. Christie said, “The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.”

But what’s he really up to? Well, he’s getting sued, for one thing, for unilaterally pulling New Jersey out of a 10-state initiative aimed at curbing air pollution from power plants. The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey filed a lawsuit, claiming the move violates a state law that required Christie to notify the public of his intent to pull out and allow for a public comment period

And teachers, who Christie famously called “political thugs,” are still on his hit list, though so far, his education agenda has been stalled. He’s trying to get rid of teacher tenure, making it easier to fire teachers and cut down on state aid for public schools, as well as push charter schools.

One teacher, however, has taken her fight to another level—Marie Corfield, the teacher in the famous YouTube video sparring with Christie over his education policies, just won a Democratic primary for a state assembly seat. Should she win, she’ll have a lot more opportunities to fight Christie’s attacks on teachers.

5. Rick Perry, Texas

Everyone knows where Rick Perry was for most of the last year, right? Failing in his attempt to capture the GOP presidential nomination. At least he provided us with some much-needed comic relief.

But a few things he got up to– when he wasn’t making headlines with ridiculous statements – flew somewhat under the national media’s radar.

Last year, Perry slashed $4 billion from schools, and protests against continued education cuts are ongoing. A Texas schoolteacher told AlterNet that after budget cuts, more kids are being squeezed into classrooms: “Pre-K is up to 26 now that they can have in a classroom, it went up from 22. It’s a different ratio for different grade levels. It’s 30-something for high school, it’s approaching 30 at the elementary level, which is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous to be expected to teach that many little people.”

4. John Kasich, Ohio

Governor Kasich took a big hit when voters decisively overturned his signature piece of legislation, an anti-public-union bill even nastier than Scott Walker’s, by 313,000 more votes than the governor himself had gotten the year before. And now there are investigations underway into whether he’s misused his power to consolidate control over his state’s Republican party.

But what else has Kasich been up to?

He also backed down on a contentious voter suppression law that would have narrowed early voting and made it harder for voters to get absentee ballots, signing a repeal of the law in an attempt to prevent it becoming a ballot measure that could drive progressive voters in November.

And he’s looking forward to a new law that would allow fracking in Ohio—one that might be the nation’s worst.

3. Rick Snyder, Michigan

Rick Snyder may be facing his own recall election—or at least, a group of determined voters who’d like to challenge the Michigan governor. Perhaps that’s why he’s allowed a tiny increase in the state’s education budget this year. But there’s a catch: those budget increases are tied to performance.

Snyder is best known for his state’s “emergency manager” law, which grants him the power to appoint a manager over towns he deems in need of an overhaul. Revamped under Snyder, the law gives the managers unilateral authority to fire officials, close schools, void union contracts (an apparent violation of the Constitution’s Contracts Clause), and hand schools over to private charter companies.

He’s still defending the law—and almost brought it to bear on Detroit. (The city’s public school system has been under emergency management for a while, but not the city itself.)

2. Scott Walker, Wisconsin

We know you’re sick of hearing about Scott Walker. Yes, he won his recall election and gets to stay in power—though it appears he won’t have the state senate to do his bidding anymore, if election results in Racine hold.

1. Rick Scott, Florida

Governor Scott, who reigns over the state synonymous with voter suppression and rigged elections in the minds of many Americans, is doing his best to live up to Florida tradition.

AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld explained:

Progressive voting rights groups and even county election supervisors from Scott’s own party are saying the businessman-turned-governor’s latest gambit—claiming there are as many as 182,000 non-citizens among the state’s 11.2 million registered voters and having his appointed Secretary of State send out an initial list of 2,600 names to be purged—has crossed a line in the Florida sand, topping previous voter suppression efforts, and may violate two federal voting right laws.

The Justice Department told Scott to stop purging voters, and several voters have been reinstated, but the GOP has no plans to actually give up its purge — Steve Rosenfeld reports that Florida is making all sorts of bizarre accusations against DoJ officials who are simply trying to uphold the law.

h/t: Sarah Jaffe at AlterNet

Ohio Governor John Kasich on Saturday rejected an offer of federal aid for his tornado-stricken state that could have amounted to millions of dollars in payments and loans. Neighboring Kentucky and Indiana have already expressed their gratitude for the aid and have welcomed the arrival of FEMA teams for an initial evaluation of damage.

“I believe that we can handle this,” Kasich told Clermont County storm victims who had taken shelter in a local high school.

Clermont County officials did not share Kasich’s confidence. County Commissioner Bob Proud suggested that the state could probably handle the cleanup but that federal aid might be needed to provide temporary housing for residents who have lost their homes.

County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Lane was considerably blunter, suggesting that the Republican governor was simply trying to score political points. “I question his judgment,” Lane stated. “It would appear at first blush that he’s probably playing politics.”

h/t: Muriel Kane at Raw Story 

Not content to let Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and Ohio’s John Kasich get all the fame (and recall elections, and ballot referenda) for their attempts to curtail union workers’ rights, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators have jumped into the fray and proposed their own anti-union bills in recent weeks.

Along with South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, Arizona’s Jan Brewer, not content with making her state the least friendly to immigrants and people of color, has decided to get in on the union-busting action as well, introducing a bill that makes Walker’s and Kasich’s attacks on public workers look mild.

Brewer, the Republican left in charge of the state after President Obama tapped Janet Napolitano to be his Secretary of Homeland Security, has been planninganti-union moves since last spring with the backing of the Goldwater Institute. (Named for Barry Goldwater, the think tank pushes for “freedom” and “prosperity”—as long as it’s not the freedom or prosperity of state workers.)

It’s not just Arizona’s right-wingers who are pushing Brewer to beat up on unions—John Nichols at The Nationnotes that Walker may have had a hand in helping push an anti-labor agenda, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is involved. In a speech to the right-wing policy shop behind many of these anti-union bills last year, Brewer complained about her inability to fire government employees and supervisors’ difficulty “disciplining” workers.

This week, the Republicans in the state legislature introduced moves that would make collective bargaining for public workers completely illegal. Here, we break down what you need to know about Brewer and the GOP’s anti-worker agenda.

1. The bill would go further than Wisconsin’s, making collective bargaining completely illegal for government workers.

SB 1485, the first of the bills to take on union rights, declares that no state agency can recognize any union as a bargaining agent for any public officer or worker, collectively bargain with any union, or meet and confer with any union for the purpose of discussing bargaining.

While Wisconsin’s law bans public employees from bargaining over everything but very small wage increases, Arizona’s bill bans collective bargaining outright and refuses to recognize any union as a bargaining unit. Existing contracts with unions will be honored, but not be renewed if this bill passes.

2. Arizona includes police and firefighters in its ban.

Scott Walker famously exempted public safety workers—police officers and firefighters—from his attacks on union workers, but many of them joined the protests anyway. In Ohio, John Kasich’s bill, overturned by his constituents this past November, included the police and firefighters in its elimination of bargaining rights. Now Brewer and her legislative compatriots have decided that police and firefighters should lose their bargaining rights as well.

Arizona, as Dave Dayen at FireDogLake noted, “is changing to a purple state because of an extreme legislature which first demonized immigrants, in what could start a backlash among the Hispanic community. Now, flush with that success, the legislature will demonize police and firefighters. It’s not exactly a textbook strategy for a lasting majority.”

Walker’s attempt to divide and conquer public sector unions by attacking some and not others didn’t work; perhaps that’s why later attempts at similar bills didn’t bother giving special treatment to public safety workers. But as we saw in Ohio, the support of the traditionally conservative police and firefighters’ unions helped unite the state’s voters and bring out record numbers to vote down the bill. Arizona seems to be asking for trouble by targeting police and firefighters with this bill.

3. The state would ban government employers from deducting union dues automatically from a worker’s paycheck.

Not content with banning bargaining, the Arizona legislature is also out to make sure unions can’t collect any money for the work they do. SB 1487 inserts language into existing law that says “This state and any county, municipality, school district or other political subdivision of this state may not withhold or divert any portion of an employee’s wages to pay for labor organization dues.”

This move obviously is aimed to hit unions right in their wallets—taking away the funding they need in order to do more organizing, and carry out political activity.

5. Brewer also wants to eliminate any job protections for workers, buying them off with pay raises.

Brewer plans to offer public workers their first pay raise in years, a 5 percent increase. The tradeoff? They have to opt out of job protections some of them currently enjoy, including the right to appeal demotions and protection from being fired without cause – they have to become at-will employees.

Like most “merit pay” arrangements, this one sounds good at first—hard-working people will get raises!—but workers see right through it. Odalys Hinds, who works in the state health lab, told the Arizona Republic, “No way will I do it. I won’t take it — it basically would take away our rights. My retirement’s gone up. My insurance has gone up. There’s going to come a day when I’m going to have to pay the state to work.”

6. Arizona is already a “right-to-work” state

The kicker to all this? Arizona workers already enjoy fewer protections than those in Ohio and Wisconsin. Arizona is a so-called “right-to-work” state, where unions cannot collect a fair share of the direct costs of representation from workers who opt out of joining the union—even though the union is compelled to represent all workers.

This means that unlike the midwestern states, Arizona has few union members already and that means there are fewer people who are likely to be outraged and moved to protest by attacks on collective bargaining. Yet Brewer, the Goldwater Institute and the Republicans in the legislature aren’t content with what they have and are moving to make public sector unions all but irrelevant, by making it nearly impossible for them to do their jobs.

Arizona now has a strong Republican majority in the legislature, and so barring a change of heart by a handful of GOPers, the anti-union measures are likely to pass. But if Brewer continues to antagonize working people in her state, John Nichols notes, Arizona does have something else in common with Wisconsin—provisions that allow for the recall of the governor and state legislators, provisions that were used just last year to remove Russell Pearce, the state senator responsible for the state’s hideous anti-immigrant law, from office. 

h/t: Sarah Jaffe at Alternet