The Process is Political: Chris Christie & the Koch Brothers

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Our daily look at the details that can change everything. 

"You Will Lead Us Back to Greatness," Christie Tells Koch Gathering: Audio recordings from a private fundraising gathering held by big-spending GOP donors Charles and David Koch are creating some political heat for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. In part of his remarks, Christie described his deal-making with Democrats that led to a bipartisan deal on pension reform. Christie told the crowd that Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver asked him for help to secure Republican support to hold on to her leadership position.

Oliver called that account a "blatant lie" and suggested Christie is "mentally deranged." The recordings are part of a two-part Mother Jones investigation this week into the Koch Brothers gathering, which was part strategy session, part fundraising haul.

"There is anonymity that we can protect," Mother Jones quotes the emcee named Kevin as saying as he encouraged the 300 or so assembled guests to give generously. And there was no doubt how they money would be used, as Charles Koch told the crowd that the 2012 election will be "the mother of all wars."

Christie delivered his own call to action to the crowd, saying plainly, "All of you are the people who are going to lead us back to American greatness. If you care enough to do it." (Mother Jones) 

Reviewing Recall Rules in Wisconsin: In another sign that Wisconsin politics have entered unfamiliar territory, the director of the state's Government Accountability Board said it's not clear if one set of petitions is sufficient to also put the lieutenant governor up to recall challenge. He wants to the attorney general to weigh in on how the rules apply as Democrats prepare to launch a recall effort to oust Gov. Scott Walker. In Wisconsin, the governor and lieutenant governor run separately in the primary, but on the same ticket in the general.

In recall elections this summer, Democrats only turned out two Republican incumbents in the state Senate and fell one seat short of capturing control of the chamber. (Milwaukee Journal) 

Partisan Lock in MD and VA Redistricted Maps: Democrats are dominating the redistricting process in Maryland, writes Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney, so much so that some party officials are admitting the way competition is not too tough at the polls.

"In some respects, the current congressional districts have made my job as a Democratic precinct chair too easy," a Bethesda Democratic official told a redistricting hearing last month. "My candidates always win — at least in the general election." The story is reversed in Virginia, where Republicans are looking to solidify their advantage in Congressional seats in this presidential swing state.

McCartney doesn't like it, but doesn't hold out hope for any de-politicizing this time around. "The public should start now to demand a fairer, more neutral method after the 2020 Census." (Washington Post)