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Former U.S. House Speaker Hastert indicted on federal charges

File photo of House Speaker Dennis Hastert speaking during a news conference in Batavia Illinois(Reuters) - Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted on Thursday on federal charges, including for lying to the FBI, relating to an alleged effort to hide $3.5 million in payments to a person to conceal past misconduct. The Illinois Republican, who left office in 2007, was charged with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the FBI about his withdrawals, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said. Hastert, 73, was not available for comment, according to his office at the Dickstein Shapiro law firm in Washington where he is listed as a senior adviser.


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New Jersey Gov. Christie’s shifting position on Common Core

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's position on the Common Core education standards has shifted as he has positioned himself for an expected presidential run. Here's a look at how the Republican's statements on the topic have evolved in recent months.

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N.C. governor to veto opt-out measure for officials opposed to gay marriage

RALEIGH, N.C. (Reuters) - North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said on Thursday he would veto legislation allowing government officials to refuse to perform marriages by citing religious objections. The measure, passed by the state's Republican-led Hous...

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Donald Trump, potential 2016 hopeful, to make announcement June 16: TV station

Donald Trump (L) speaks as golfer Jack Nicklaus looks on at the Trump Links at Ferry Point golf course in the Bronx borough of New York(Reuters) - Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump, who has been considering a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, will make a major announcement on June 16 in New York, New Hampshire television station WMUR reported on Thursday. The station said a source close to Trump confirmed the date of the event at New York's Trump Tower but stopped short of saying Trump would announce his candidacy then. Trump, 68, told Reuters in March that he had formed an exploratory committee to determine whether to run and had hired staff in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.


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Nebraska ends ban on driver’s licenses for immigrant youths

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska ended the nation's last ban on driving privileges for young people brought into the United States illegally as children, after the Legislature voted Thursday to override a veto from the state's new Republican governor.

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Santorum says ‘sickened’ by molestation in TV’s Duggar family

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Santorum salutes while announcing candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during event in Cabot, PennsylvaniaRepublican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said he was "sickened" by revelations of molestation by the eldest son of the Duggars, the Christian family that features in television hit "19 Kids and Counting" and helped the conservative in his last campaign. Santorum's comments, aired on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday, suggest he is distancing himself from Josh Duggar, who actively campaigned for the former senator from Pennsylvania in 2012 and is alleged to have molested several underage girls as a teen 12 years ago. "I was sickened by it, just sickened by it," Santorum told ABC's George Stephanopoulos after launching his campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination on Wednesday.


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North Carolina governor to veto opt-out bill for officials opposing gay marriage

Pat McCrory, governor of North Carolina, attends a news conference at Reynolds American in TobaccovilleBy Marti Maguire RALEIGH, N.C. (Reuters) - North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said on Thursday he would veto legislation allowing government officials to refuse to perform marriages by citing religious objections. The measure, passed by the state's Republican-led House of Representatives earlier in the day, would protect those who oppose same-sex weddings from losing their jobs. The Republican governor said no public officials who swore to defend the Constitution and perform their duties of office should be exempt from upholding their oath.


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Maine governor calls for public defenders on state payroll

LePage departs after testifying before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing to review draft legislation on hydropower, on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Dave Sherwood BRUNSWICK, Me. (Reuters) - Governor Paul LePage this week proposed overhauling Maine's system for providing the poor with legal representation, a move that would bring the only U.S. state without government-employed public defenders in line with the rest of the country. LePage, a Republican, on Tuesday introduced legislation that would revamp the existing system, which relies on independent lawyers who work on individual contracts. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants all citizens accused of a crime the right to legal counsel, but it does not require attorneys be public servants.


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Where They Stand: George Pataki on issues of 2016 campaign

Former New York Gov. George Pataki announces his plans to seek the Republican nomination for president, Thursday, May 28, 2015, at the historic town hall in Exeter, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Former New York Gov. George Pataki has entered the contest for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Here's a look at where the three-term governor stands on various issues that will be debated in the GOP primaries:


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U.S. judge grills lawyer defending Obama’s healthcare law changes

Obama delivers remarks on the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act on the White House campus in WashingtonBy Lindsay Dunsmuir WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday blasted the Obama administration's motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives over the implementation of the Democratic president's signature healthcare law. Republicans in the House filed a lawsuit in November, saying administration officials unlawfully bypassed Congress. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, appointed by Obama's predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, repeatedly interrupted U.S. Justice Department lawyer Joel McElvain during the hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.


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