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E-mails show State, Clinton Foundation links

WASHINGTON — A new batch of State Department e-mails released Tuesday showed the close and sometimes overlapping interests between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

The documents raised new questions about whether the charitable foundation worked to reward its donors with access and influence at the State Department, a charge that Clinton has faced in the past and has always denied.

In one e-mail exchange, for instance, an executive at the Clinton Foundation in 2009 sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the US ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there.

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In another e-mail, the foundation appeared to push aides to Clinton to help find a job for a foundation associate. Her aides indicated that the department was working on the request.

Clinton’s presidential campaign, which has been shadowed for 17 months by the controversy over the private e-mail server she used exclusively while at the State Department, had no immediate comment on the documents.

The State Department turned the new e-mails over to a conservative advocacy group, Judicial Watch, as part of a lawsuit that the group brought under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents included 44 e-mails that were not among some 55,000 pages of e-mails that Clinton had previously given to the State Department, which she said represented all her “work-related” e-mails.

The document release centers on discussions between Clinton’s aides and Clinton Foundation executives about a number of donors and associates with interests before the State Department.

Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, charged that Clinton “hid” the documents from the public because they appeared to contradict her official pledge in 2009 to remove herself from Clinton Foundation business while leading the State Department.

New York Times

Appeals court stays ruling on voter ID in Wisconsin

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court Wednesday blocked a lower court from allowing voters in Wisconsin to cast ballots without photo identification, stating that the lower court had been too lenient in loosening a state voter ID law that had already been declared discriminatory.

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The injunction, issued by a three-judge panel of the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, adds a new measure of confusion into a fierce battle over the 2011 law in a battleground state, three months before the presidential election.

But it did not affect a second federal court ruling in July that loosened Wisconsin’s photo ID law in a different manner: allowing any registered voter struggling to get one of the accepted forms of ID to obtain voting credentials at any state motor vehicle office. The July ruling also broadened the types of ID that college students can present at polling places.

The second ruling, which additionally struck down a host of other voting prerequisites as discriminatory, is also being appealed to the Seventh Circuit. It was unclear when the court would rule on that challenge.

Nor was it clear whether the lower court judge, Lynn Adelman of the US District Court in Milwaukee, would be able to fashion a change in the photo ID law that would meet the appeals court’s objection in time for the election in November.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican, called the appeals court injunction “a step in the right direction.” “Our administration will continue to work to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” he said.

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But an official with the American Civil Liberties Union, which was a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said that there was still time to overturn an appeals court injunction that he called an “outlier” among recent voting-rights decisions.

Wednesday’s injunction was a setback for voting rights advocates after a series of federal court rulings in recent weeks had effectively invalidated similar voter ID laws in Texas, North Carolina, and North Dakota.

New York Times

Activist could become first Somali-American legislator

MINNEAPOLIS — A Somali activist could become the first Somali-American lawmaker in the nation after unseating one of the Minnesota Legislature’s longest-serving members in a Democratic primary.

Ilhan Omar defeated 22-term Representative Phyllis Kahn in Tuesday’s nominating contest in the heavily Democratic Minneapolis district.

The district spans the University of Minnesota and is home to a large population of immigrants from Somalia and other East African countries. Omar argued that the district needs a fresher face that better represents the diversity and needs of the area.

Omar is a political activist and former aide to the Minneapolis City Council.

Associated Press