US Politics in Trump era Public date: 03.10.2019 13:07:34

Publisher: NYTimes

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14 Aug 2019

How a Trump Ally Tested the Boundaries of Washington’s Influence Game

Elliott Broidy had the kind of past that might have given a more traditional White House reason to keep him at a distance: A wealthy businessman, he had pleaded guilty in 2009 to giving nearly $1 million in illegal gifts to New York State officials to help land a $250 million investment from the state’s pension fund.
Elliott Broidy had the kind of past that might have given a more traditional White House reason to keep him at a...
25 Jul 2019

Coal CEO hosts Trump fundraiser as industry’s hurdles mount and workers are left behind

President Donald Trump will head to West Virginia on Wednesday to deliver remarks at a fundraiser hosted by coal baron Bob Murray, underscoring the close relationship the coal industry has with the White House even as the industry steadily declines. The fundraiser comes in the middle of another turbulent month for coal, with Blackhawk Mining the latest company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
President Donald Trump will head to West Virginia on Wednesday to deliver remarks at a fundraiser hosted by coal baron...
23 Jul 2019

EPA’s watchdog is scrutinizing ethics practices of agency’s former air policy chief

A key architect of the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken federal climate rules is under scrutiny by a federal watchdog for his dealings with industry players who lobbied the government to ease carbon pollution limits. It is the third inquiry into whether Bill Wehrum, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency’s air policy division from November 2017 until last month, violated federal ethics rules.
A key architect of the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken federal climate rules is under scrutiny by a federal...
11 Jun 2019

Homeland Security watchdog retires early after his office was forced to retract ‘feel-good’ audits of disaster response

John V. Kelly, the acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, announced his retirement Monday following revelations that he directed his staff to whitewash audits of the agency’s performance after federal disasters.
John V. Kelly, the acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, announced his retirement Monday...
24 May 2019

Chicago bank CEO Stephen Calk accused of bribing Manafort for administration job

Stephen Calk, a former economic adviser to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was indicted Thursday for allegedly approving $16 million in loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in exchange for his help seeking a top post in the administration.
Stephen Calk, a former economic adviser to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was indicted Thursday for...
24 May 2019

Kushner Cos. Gets $800 Million Federally Backed Apartment Loan

Kushner Cos., the real estate firm owned by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, has received about $800 million in federally backed debt to buy apartments in Maryland and Virginia -- the company’s biggest purchase in a decade.
Kushner Cos., the real estate firm owned by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, has...

Publisher: Fortune

Author:

9 May 2019

Trump Used the Same Tax Breaks as Amazon to Drastically Reduce His Own IRS Bill

President Donald Trump complains that large corporations, such as Amazon.com Inc., are shirking their tax responsibilities. Yet for at least a decade, Trump paid none or very little in federal income taxes by exploiting some of the same generous tax breaks that the online retail giant and others have used to reduce IRS bills.
President Donald Trump complains that large corporations, such as Amazon.com Inc., are shirking their tax...
3 May 2019

‘Sick, Dystopian Stuff’: Former Trump Adviser Kelly Joins Board of Company Running Immigrant Detention Centers

In what one critic deemed a "nauseating example of the revolving door" through which powerful political players often move in and out of the private sector, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly joined the board of a company which owns some of the largest detention centers for unaccompanied children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
In what one critic deemed a "nauseating example of the revolving door" through which powerful political players often...

Publisher: NBC News

Author:

3 May 2019

State Dept. allowed foreign govts to lease luxury condos at Trump World Tower without Congress OK

The U.S. State Department allowed at least seven foreign governments to rent luxury condominiums in New York's Trump World Tower in 2017 without approval from Congress, according to documents and people familiar with the leases, a potential violation of the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clause.
The U.S. State Department allowed at least seven foreign governments to rent luxury condominiums in New York's Trump...

Publisher: Beacon

Author:

12 Apr 2019

Collins took more money from the billionaire behind Breitbart than from all of Maine

Yesterday, the Maine People’s Alliance called on Sen. Susan Collins to return thousands of dollars she received from Robert Mercer, the billionaire backer of Breitbart, the racist, misogynist and bigoted website proud to position itself as the “platform of the alt-right.” Mainers for Accountable Leadership has launched a petition demanding the same.
Yesterday, the Maine People’s Alliance called on Sen. Susan Collins to return thousands of dollars she received from...
11 Apr 2019

Trump hotels exempted from ban on foreign payments under new stance

The Department of Justice has adopted a narrow interpretation of a law meant to bar foreign interests from corrupting federal officials, giving Saudi Arabia, China and other countries leeway to curry favor with Donald Trump via deals with his hotels, condos, trademarks and golf courses, legal and national security experts say.
The Department of Justice has adopted a narrow interpretation of a law meant to bar foreign interests from corrupting...
15 Mar 2019

Republicans Laugh Off Concerns About Corporations Putting Money In Trump’s Pocket

Republicans on the House antitrust panel laughed off Democrats’ questions over T-Mobile’s spending at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. immediately after the company announced a mega-merger with Sprint. One day after the merger announcement, nine T-Mobile executives checked in to Trump’s D.C. hotel, The Washington Post reported in January. The company ultimately spent $195,000 on 38 nights at the hotel as T-Mobile executives descended on Washington to meet with regulators about the proposed merger.
Republicans on the House antitrust panel laughed off Democrats’ questions over T-Mobile’s spending at the Trump...

Publisher: The Intercept

Author:

10 Mar 2019

Defense Tech Startup Founded by Trump’s Most Prominent Silicon Valley Supporters Wins Secretive Military AI Contract

A startup founded by a young and outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump is among the latest tech companies to quietly win a contract with the Pentagon as part of Project Maven, the secretive initiative to rapidly leverage artificial intelligence technology from the private sector for military purposes.
A startup founded by a young and outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump is among the latest tech companies to...
6 Mar 2019

N.Y. regulators subpoena Trump’s insurance broker as probes of his campaign, White House and businesses multiply

New York state regulators have subpoenaed President Trump’s insurance broker, following testimony from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that Trump exaggerated his wealth to insurance companies. That subpoena — acknowledged Tuesday by broker Aon PLC — signaled another line of inquiry into Trump’s private business, this time by New York’s Department of Financial Services.
New York state regulators have subpoenaed President Trump’s insurance broker, following testimony from former Trump...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

20 Feb 2019

Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him

As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.
As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women...

Publisher: Rolling Stone

Author:

10 Feb 2019

Who Makes Money Off the Trump Administration?

At 3:45 p.m. on October 6th, 2017, an unassuming man in his early sixties with a low, raspy voice and a thin, wide smile arrived at the White House. He had been here before, in the George W. Bush years, when he was one of the most sought-after fundraisers in the Republican Party. But a scandal had derailed his life, and afterward he had disappeared from politics. In early 2016, the opportunity arose to make his return. The man had helped Donald J. Trump’s long-shot campaign raise millions of dollars, and he could rightly say he played a role in the most improbable presidential victory in American history.
At 3:45 p.m. on October 6th, 2017, an unassuming man in his early sixties with a low, raspy voice and a thin, wide smile...
9 Feb 2019

New Bank Law Is Already Making Banks Bigger

The proposed $28 billion merger announced Thursday between large regional banks SunTrust and BB&T is the biggest banking tie-up since the financial crisis, creating what would become the nation’s sixth-largest bank. And it’s a direct result of actions taken by the Trump administration and the bipartisan group of lawmakers who passed a bank deregulation bill in 2018.
The proposed $28 billion merger announced Thursday between large regional banks SunTrust and BB&T is the biggest...
21 Jan 2019

China Grants Ivanka Trump 5 More Trademarks Ahead Of Trade Negotiations

China has granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval for another five trademarks this month, as her father’s administration pushes ahead on trade negotiations with China, Time Magazine reported Monday.
China has granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval for another five trademarks this month, as her...
16 Jan 2019

A Coal Baron’s Takeover of the EPA Is Nearly Complete

A few weeks after President Donald Trump moved into the White House, he received a memo from one of his biggest campaign donors: Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, America’s largest private coal company. Emblazoned with the words “Action Plan,” it was essentially a wish list of all the environmental regulations Murray wanted Trump to get rid of.
A few weeks after President Donald Trump moved into the White House, he received a memo from one of his biggest campaign...
18 Dec 2018

Trump Demands Stop To Emoluments Case As State AGs Subpoena 38 Witnesses

President Trump’s Justice Department is scrambling to stop two state attorneys general from procuring evidence about whether the President is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by filing an emergency appeal in the Fourth Circuit court.
President Trump’s Justice Department is scrambling to stop two state attorneys general from procuring evidence about...
14 Dec 2018

Feds Open Criminal Investigation Into Trump Inauguration Committee

Trump’s inaugural committee is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York over whether donors handed over cash in exchange for access to government officials and into whether funds were misallocated, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump’s inaugural committee is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New...

Publisher: Mother Jones

Author:

13 Dec 2018

Disgraced Trump Fundraiser Tried to Use GOP Contacts to Score “Billions” in Africa

In late 2016, as Donald Trump was readying to move into the White House, Elliott Broidy, then one of the Republican Party’s top fundraisers, was working on a deal to gain control of what a business partner called “billions of dollars in oil & gas, and mining assets” in Angola. And while he was trying to pull together this gigantic venture—as well as mounting another project to provide intelligence services to the Angolan government—Broidy used his clout to hook up top Angolan government officials with members of the US Congress and the Trump administration.
In late 2016, as Donald Trump was readying to move into the White House, Elliott Broidy, then one of the Republican...

Publisher: Forbes

Author:

8 Dec 2018

How Donald Trump Shifted $1.1M Of Campaign-Donor Money Into His Business

On the day Donald Trump became president of the United States, while inauguration festivities were still in full swing, he officially launched his 2020 reelection campaign. Donations poured in from more than 50,000 people across the country. But according to the latest federal filings, Trump still has not donated a penny of his own, while his businesses continued to charge the campaign for hotels, food, rent and legal consulting. That means the richest president in American history has turned $1.1 million from donors across the country into revenue for himself.
On the day Donald Trump became president of the United States, while inauguration festivities were still in full swing,...

Publisher: Forbes

Author:

8 Aug 2018

New Details About Wilbur Ross’ Business Point To Pattern Of Grifting

A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been quietly making its way through the New York State court system over the last three years, pitting a private equity manager named David Storper against his former boss: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The pair worked side by side for more than a decade, eventually at the firm, WL Ross & Co.—where, Storper later alleged, Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork.
A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been quietly making its way through the New York State court system over the last...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

8 Aug 2018

New York Congressman Chris Collins Is Charged With Insider Trading

The charges against Mr. Collins, a New York Republican who was one of President Trump’s earliest and most ardent supporters, stem from his involvement with Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, a small drug maker based in Australia, which had no approved drugs but several well-placed allies in the capital.Within minutes of learning about the company’s unsuccessful test, Mr. Collins frantically called his son, Cameron Collins, who, in the days that followed, sold off his stock, avoiding losses of more than $570,000, prosecutors said.
The charges against Mr. Collins, a New York Republican who was one of President Trump’s earliest and most ardent...
11 Jul 2018

Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump’s attorney

Rudolph W. Giuliani continues to work on behalf of foreign clients both personally and through his namesake security firm while serving as President Trump’s personal attorney — an arrangement experts say raises  conflict-of-interest concerns and could run afoul of federal ethics  laws.
Rudolph W. Giuliani continues to work on behalf of foreign clients both personally...
30 Jun 2018

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son led Deutsche Bank as it loaned Trump over $1 billion

The son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy  was leading a real-estate division of Deutsche Bank as it gave President Donald Trump over $1 billion in loans to finance his real-estate projects when other banks wouldn't, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy  was leading a real-estate division of Deutsche Bank as it...
27 Jun 2018

Is another ex-Trump staffer selling access to corporations with business before the administration?

Priebus joins a long list of former Trump administration officials and staffers who have found lucrative work providing “strategic advice” to clients looking to make good with the administration. While President Trump promised to “drain the swamp” by prohibiting former administration officials from “lobbying activities,” many have found creative work-arounds.
Priebus joins a long list of former Trump administration officials and staffers who have found lucrative work providing...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

20 Jun 2018

Commerce Secretary Shorted Stock as Negative Coverage Loomed

Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. shorted stock in a shipping firm — an investment tactic for profiting if share prices fall — days after learning that reporters were preparing a potentially negative story about his dealings with the Kremlin-linked company.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. shorted stock in a shipping firm — an investment tactic for profiting if...

Publisher: Forbes

Author:

20 Jun 2018

Wilbur Ross Confirms He Made False Statement

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told federal ethics officials last November that he had gotten rid of all assets that he promised to divest. But he admitted that was not true in a new filing released Monday afternoon.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told federal ethics officials last November that he had gotten rid of all assets that...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

15 Jun 2018

N.Y. Attorney General Sues Trump Foundation After 2-Year Investigation

The New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded  lawsuit on Thursday taking aim at the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the charity and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.
The New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded  lawsuit on Thursday taking aim at...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

12 Jun 2018

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Benefited From Busy 2017 in Investing, Filing Shows

Even after they ascended to top White House positions, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner continued to benefit from an extraordinary number of  investment deals carried out by the companies they once ran, ethics  filings released Monday evening showed.
Even after they ascended to top White House positions, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner continued to benefit...
7 Jun 2018

Republicans stop Democrats from helping EPA investigate Scott Pruitt’s ever-growing scandals

House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon blocked an effort by Democrats to increase funding for the agency’s watchdog, which is tasked with investigating the many scandals surrounding agency administrator Scott Pruitt. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has in recent months seen an increased workload due to the more than a dozen investigations launched into Pruitt’s spending and management decisions during his first year as administrator.
House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon blocked an effort by Democrats to increase funding for the agency’s watchdog,...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

2 Jun 2018

A Courtside View of Scott Pruitt’s Cozy Ties With a Billionaire Coal Baron

The E.P.A. chief, who has reversed Obama-era rules on coal mining, enjoyed a superfan experience at a University of Kentucky basketball game — courtesy of an industry executive. But there was more to the game last December than a superfan experience for Mr. Pruitt and his son, who joined him. They sat in seats belonging to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive who has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. Mr. Craft and his wife donated more than $2 million to support President Trump’s candidacy and inauguration.
The E.P.A. chief, who has reversed Obama-era rules on coal mining, enjoyed a superfan experience at a University of...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

28 May 2018

Ivanka Trump Wins China Trademarks, Then Her Father Vows to Save ZTE

China this month awarded Ivanka Trump seven new trademarks across a broad collection of businesses, including books, housewares and cushions. At around the same time, President Trump vowed to find a way to prevent a major Chinese telecommunications company from going bust,  even though the company has a history of violating American limits on doing business with countries like Iran and North Korea.
China this month awarded Ivanka Trump seven new trademarks across a broad collection of businesses,...
3 May 2018

Richard Smotkin helped arrange Scott Pruitt?s $100,000 trip to Morocco

Richard Smotkin, a former Comcast lobbyist who has known the EPA administrator for years, worked for months with Pruitt’s aides to hammer  out logistics, according to four individuals familiar with those preparations. In April, Smotkin won a $40,000-a-month contract, retroactive to Jan. 1, with the Moroccan government to promote the kingdom’s cultural and economic interests. He recently registered as a foreign agent representing that government.
Richard Smotkin, a former Comcast lobbyist who has known the EPA administrator for years, worked for months with...

Publisher: Reuters

Author:

1 May 2018

U.S. EPA grants biofuels waiver to billionaire Icahn’s oil refinery

The waiver enables Icahn’s CVR Energy Inc (CVI.N) to avoid tens of millions of dollars in costs related to the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The regulation is meant to cut air pollution, reduce petroleum imports and support corn farmers by requiring refiners to mix billions of gallons of biofuels into the  nation’s gasoline and diesel each year.
The waiver enables Icahn’s CVR Energy Inc (CVI.N) to avoid tens of millions of...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

22 Apr 2018

Scott Pruitt Before the E.P.A.: Fancy Homes, a Shell Company and Friends With Money

At the E.P.A., Mr. Pruitt is under investigation for allegations of unchecked spending, ethics lapses and other issues, including his interactions with  lobbyists. An examination of Mr. Pruitt’s political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have  echoes in his past.
At the E.P.A., Mr. Pruitt is under investigation for allegations of unchecked spending, ethics lapses and other...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

14 Apr 2018

R.N.C. Official Who Agreed to Pay Playboy Model $1.6 Million Resigns

A  major donor with close ties to the White House resigned on Friday as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the revelation that he had agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy  model who became pregnant during an affair. The deal was arranged by President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen.
A  major donor with close ties to the White House resigned on Friday as deputy finance chairman of...

Publisher: ThinkProgress

Author:

10 Apr 2018

Someone is doing Jared Kushner a huge favor. But we don’t know who.

Upon entering the White House, Jared Kushner divested the property only in the most technical sense. He “sold” the assets to his brother and a trust controlled by his mother. A lawyer described the transaction to the New York Times as a “shell game.” Now, with Kushner ensconced as a senior adviser in the White House, someone has emerged to bail him and his family out of this mess. The identity of Kushner’s white knight is a mystery.
Upon entering the White House, Jared Kushner divested the property only in the most technical sense. He “sold” the...

Publisher: Dallas News

Author:

6 Apr 2018

How Putin’s oligarchs funneled millions into GOP campaigns

Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are some  troubling connections between a group of wealthy donors with ties to Russia and their political contributions to President Donald Trump and a number of top Republican leaders. And thanks to changes in campaign finance laws, the political contributions are legal. We have allowed our campaign finance laws to become a strategic threat to our country.
Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are some  troubling connections...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

31 Mar 2018

Scott Pruitt, E.P.A. Chief, Rented Residence From Wife of Energy Lobbyist

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, rented a residence in Washington in 2017 that was partly owned by the wife of a top energy lobbyist whose firm, according to disclosure forms, conducted business before the E.P.A. that same year.
Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, rented a residence in Washington in 2017 that...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

26 Mar 2018

Fund-Raiser Held Out Access to Trump as a Prize for Prospective Clients

For Elliott Broidy, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign represented an unparalleled political and business opportunity. An  investor and defense contractor, Mr. Broidy became a top fund-raiser for Mr. Trump’s campaign when most elite Republican donors were keeping  their distance, and Mr. Trump in turn overlooked the lingering whiff of scandal from Mr. Broidy’s 2009 guilty plea in a pension fund bribery case.
For Elliott Broidy, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign represented an unparalleled political and...
17 Mar 2018

How McConnell and Chao used political power to make their family rich

As Schweizer tells it, the Chao family fortune derives from the Foremost Group, a shipping company that Chinese native James Chao, a classmate of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin at Jiao Tong University, founded in New York in 1964.
As Schweizer tells it, the Chao family fortune derives from the Foremost Group, a shipping company that Chinese native...

Publisher: Vox

Author:

17 Mar 2018

James Mattis is linked to Theranos’s massive corporate fraud and nobody wants to talk about it

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is implicated in one of the largest  business scandals of the past decades, described by the Securities and Exchange Commission as an “elaborate, years-long fraud” through which Theranos, led by CEO Elizabeth Holmes and president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, “exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis is implicated in one of the largest  business scandals of the past...
6 Mar 2018

Senior EPA press official has a side job as an outside media consultant

Two senior Environmental Protection Agency political appointees — including one who personally supervises every grant the agency awards to  or solicits from outside groups — got approval from the agency’s ethics office to continue to collect outside income while working for the Trump administration.
Two senior Environmental Protection Agency political appointees — including one who personally supervises...
13 Jan 2018

Education Dept. awards debt-collection contract to company with ties to DeVos

A company that once had financial ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was one of two firms selected Thursday by the Education Department to help the agency collect overdue student loans. The deal could be  worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
A company that once had financial ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was one of two firms selected Thursday by the...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

6 Dec 2017

Tax Plan Crowns a Big Winner: Trump’s Industry

House and Senate  Republicans, in their divergent bills, both offered steeply reduced rates to corporate giants, partnerships and family-owned firms across the board. But when it came time to eliminate special breaks or impose tighter standards, real estate was generally excused from the room.
House and Senate  Republicans, in their divergent bills, both offered steeply reduced...
29 Nov 2017

President Trump Hired Undocumented Immigrants for $4 An Hour for Demolition Project: Court Docs

President Donald Trump hired hundreds of undocumented Polish immigrants to demolish a New York City building in 1980 and paid them as  little as $4 an hour without providing proper safety equipment to do the job, court documents show. The workers and their contractor, William Kaszycki of Kaszycki & Sons, sued Trump for unfair labor practices in 1983. After litigation dragged on for 15 years, Trump  ultimately paid $1.375 million to settle the case.
President Donald Trump hired hundreds of undocumented Polish immigrants to demolish a New York City...
8 Nov 2017

GOPer On Tax Cuts: Donors Are Saying ‘Get It Done Or Don’t Ever Call Me Again’

Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) got points for honesty Tuesday while  advocating for Republicans’ tax bill to slash the corporate tax rate and eliminate the estate tax, among other things. “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” Collins said. According to the Hill, Collins made the comment while speaking to reporters after a House GOP conference meeting.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) got points for honesty Tuesday while  advocating for Republicans’ tax bill to slash the...
8 Nov 2017

The seven Republican super-donors who keep money in tax havens

Seven Republican super-donors helped bankroll the conservative push for power in the 2016 election cycle, between them pumping more than $350m (£264m) into federal and state races. The seven have their divisions, especially over Donald Trump. Warren Stephens was a major backer of the Stop Trump movement last year, while Geoff Palmer was among the then Republican nominee’s biggest financial backers.
Seven Republican super-donors helped bankroll the conservative push for power in the 2016 election cycle,...

Publisher: The Guardian

Author:

6 Nov 2017

Trump commerce secretary’s business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files

Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia. Leaked documents and public filings show that Ross holds a stake in a shipping company, Navigator, through a chain of offshore investments. Navigator operates a lucrative partnership with Sibur, a Russian gas company part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, the husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.
Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law...

Publisher: The Intercept

Author:

28 Oct 2017

Trump’s IRS Chief Snuck Through With a Unanimous Vote in a Private Room Just off the Senate Floor

President Donald Trump on Thursday named former Ernst & Young LLP executive David Kautter to serve as the  interim head of the Internal Revenue Service after the current chief, John Koskinen, finishes his term on November 12. During his three decades of work at Ernst & Young, Kautter served  as the director of national tax practices at a time when his firm  was engaged in a massive effort to assist wealthy clients with tax  avoidance schemes.
President Donald Trump on Thursday named former Ernst & Young LLP executive David Kautter to serve as the...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

21 Oct 2017

Why Has the E.P.A. Shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Helps Call the Shots

The E.P.A.’s abrupt new direction on legacy chemicals is part of a broad initiative by the Trump administration to change the way the federal government evaluates health and environmental risks associated with  hazardous chemicals, making it more aligned with the industry’s wishes.
The E.P.A.’s abrupt new direction on legacy chemicals is part of a broad initiative by the...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

3 Oct 2017

E.P.A. Chief’s Calendar: A Stream of Industry Meetings and Trips Home

Since taking office in February, Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. chief has held back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with  environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates, according to a 320-page accounting of his daily schedule from February through May, the most detailed look yet at what Mr. Pruitt has been up to since he took over the agency.
Since taking office in February, Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. chief has held...
2 Oct 2017

Trump’s Treasury Department Deleted Research That Contradicts Republicans on Tax Reform

In an interview on Fox News  last month, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made a sales pitch for the  GOP’s tax reform plan—specifically, its plan to cut corporate taxes.  “Most economists believe that over 70 percent of corporate taxes are  paid for by the workers,” he said. His implication, in laymen’s terms: Regular workers would get 70 percent of the benefit of corporate tax cuts. Five years ago, the Obama-era Treasury department found the exact opposite
In an interview on Fox News  last month, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made a sales pitch for the  GOP’s...

Publisher: Market Place

Author:

30 Sep 2017

Elaine Chao, champion of Trump’s infrastructure plan, chose to keep stock in a building company

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, a leader in the Trump administration's effort to inject $1 trillion into America's crumbling infrastructure, chose to hold on to more than $300,000 of deferred stock awards in a transportation construction company after resigning from its board when she was confirmed to the Cabinet position.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, a leader in the Trump administration's effort to...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

30 Sep 2017

Health Secretary Tom Price Resigns After Drawing Ire for Chartered Flights

Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned under pressure on Friday after racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights and undermining President Trump’s promise to drain the swamp of a corrupt and entitled capital.
Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned under pressure on Friday after racking up at least $400,000...
30 Sep 2017

VA chief took in Wimbledon, river cruise on European work trip; wife’s expenses covered by taxpayers

Shulkin and his wife spent about half their time sightseeing on his 10-day visit for meetings with Danish and British officials. The federal government paid for the flights for Shulkin and his wife, Merle Bari, and provided a per-diem reimbursement for their meals and other expenses, VA said Friday. An agency spokesman did not respond to questions about why Bari qualified for the reimbursements and taxpayer-funded airfare, other than to say she was traveling on “approved invitational orders” and had “temporary duty” travel expenses.
Shulkin and his wife spent about half their time sightseeing on his 10-day visit for meetings with Danish and British...

Publisher: The Intercept

Author:

23 Sep 2017

How Exxon Mobil May Soon Have Greater Sway Over Science Used in EPA Policies

The list of potential candidates for the EPA's scientific advisory boards includes many oil and gas industry representatives and consultants. While industry has always had a voice on those panels, comments from the Trump administration and the potential new appointees suggest the balance may soon change in favor of greater power for regulated companies, particularly the oil and gas industries.
The list of potential candidates for the EPA's scientific advisory boards includes many oil and gas industry...

Publisher: Politico

Author:

20 Sep 2017

Price’s private-jet travel breaks precedent

As Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price calls for drastic cuts to Medicaid, including programs that provide care for children and people with disabilities, he's billing taxpayers thousands of dollars to  fly around in private jets. Just last week, Price racked up a $60,000 bill for five chartered flights. One trip between Washington and Philadelphia (less than 150 miles apart) cost taxpayers an estimated $25,000. Past secretaries flew commercial. Even Price himself, a self-proclaimed deficit-hawk, once called the use of government planes,  "fiscal irresponsibility run amok." Trump and his enablers continue to serve their own interests, while doing nothing to improve the lives of the American people.
As Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price calls for drastic cuts to Medicaid, including programs that...
16 Sep 2017

Gary Cohn Is Giving Goldman Sachs Everything It Ever Wanted From the Trump Administration

On the campaign trail, Trump had spoken often about the importance of investing in infrastructure. Yet the president-elect had apparently failed to appreciate that the government would need to come up with  hundreds of billions of dollars to fund his plans. Cohn, brash and bold, wired to attack any moneymaking opportunity, pitched a fix that would put Wall Street firms at the center: Private-industry partners could help infrastructure get fixed, saving the federal government from going deeper into debt.
On the campaign trail, Trump had spoken often about the importance of investing in infrastructure. Yet...
2 Aug 2017

Stinger Missiles And Shady Deals: Ex-Biz Partner To Trump Has A Tall Tale To Tell

In December 2015, an Associated Press reporter asked Donald Trump why he had appointed Felix Sater, a man who’d been convicted for stock raud, his senior advisor. “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” Trump told the AP. “I’m not that familiar with him.” The feeling is not mutual.
In December 2015, an Associated Press reporter asked Donald Trump why he had appointed Felix Sater, a man...

Publisher: The Intercept

Author:

29 Jul 2017

Newt Gingrich, While Helping Shape Health Reform Repeal, Consults for Blue Cross Blue Shield

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich appears regularly in the media to talk about his ideas for the future of health care in America without mentioning one very important fact: His consulting company advises a health insurance company.
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich appears regularly in the media to talk about his ideas for the future...
28 Jul 2017

The $180 million conflict that kept Scaramucci out of the White House in January has only gotten shadier

Let's not be naive. If I told you that a firm with ties to a sometimes adversarial foreign power was trying to overpay a Trump administration official for their now struggling business, you might say, "Gee, that seems like a conflict the White House doesn't need right now." But here we are.
Let's not be naive. If I told you that a firm with ties to a sometimes adversarial foreign power was trying to...
21 Jul 2017

Trump lifted the cap on H-2B worker visas. Then his businesses asked for 76 of them.

This week, the Trump administration defied its “America First” rhetoric with a policy change that would make it easier for companies to hire guest workers from foreign countries. The Trump Organization is already poised to benefit from it. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security raised the cap on H-2B visas for foreign guest workersfrom 66,000 visas per year to 81,000. On Thursday — just three days later — Trump’s properties told the Department of Labor that they wanted approval to hire 76 guest workers using those visas. 
This week, the Trump administration defied its “America First” rhetoric with a policy change that would make it...
6 Jun 2017

Trump Hotel Received $270,000 From Lobbying Campaign Tied to Saudis

President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel received roughly $270,000 in payments linked to  Saudi Arabia as part of a lobbying campaign by the Gulf kingdom against a  controversial piece of terrorism legislation last year. The payments—for catering, lodging and parking—were disclosed by the public relations firm MSLGroup last week in paperwork filed with the Justice Department documenting foreign lobbying work on behalf of Saudi Arabia and other clients. 
President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel received roughly $270,000 in payments linked to  Saudi Arabia...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

1 Jun 2017

White House Details Ethics Waivers for Ex-Lobbyists and Corporate Lawyers

President Trump has given at least 16 White House staff members dispensation to work on policy matters they handled while employed as lobbyists or to interact with their former colleagues in private-sector jobs, according to records released late Wednesday. Among those receiving waivers were former lobbyists for the insurance and fossil fuel industries, the White House counsel and key advisers including Reince Priebus.
President Trump has given at least 16 White House staff members dispensation to work on policy matters they handled...
1 Jun 2017

White House grants ethics waivers to 17 appointees, including four former lobbyists

The waivers exempt the appointees from certain portions of ethics rules aimed at barring potential conflicts of interest. In letters posted on the White House website, the White House counsel's office wrote that the waivers were in the public interest because the administration had a need for the appointees' expertise on certain issues.
The waivers exempt the appointees from certain portions of ethics rules aimed at barring potential...
13 May 2017

Sealed indictment issued against Donald Trump

When it comes to political pundits who claim to have inside sources, I judge them by track record. Liberal pundit Claude Taylor’s sources have recently been proven right about Donald Trump grand juries. Conservative pundit Louise Mensch’s sources have long been proven right on Trump-Russia FISA warrants. So when the two of them say they each have  different inside sources telling them the same thing, I listen. And what they’re jointly saying tonight is that a sealed indictment has been delivered against Donald Trump.
When it comes to political pundits who claim to have inside sources, I judge them by track record. Liberal pundit Claude...

Publisher: CNBC

Author:

27 Apr 2017

Trump has a plan to change the tax code to make himself much, much richer

President Trump is planning to include a massive cut in the top tax rate on "pass-through" companies, from its current level of 39.6 percent to a mere 15 percent, the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender and Richard Rubin report. This will be sold as a boost for small businesses, and it is, but it is mostly a huge giveaway to the rich — including the president himself.
President Trump is planning to include a massive cut in the top tax rate on "pass-through" companies, from its current...

Publisher: Vanity Fair

Author:

22 Apr 2017

Dow Chemical Donates $1 Million to Trump, Asks Administration to Ignore Pesticide Study

Chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are a group of pesticides that are a big money-maker for Dow Chemical, with the company selling approximately 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos in the U.S. each year. Studies  by federal scientists have found that chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are harmful to almost 1,800 “critically threatened or endangered species.” Luckily for Dow, the E.P.A. is now run by climate-change skeptic and general enemy of living things Scott Pruitt, who last month said he would reverse “an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains.” Plus, Dow Chemical C.E.O. Andrew Liveris is good buddies with President Donald Trump.
Chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are a group of pesticides that are a big money-maker for Dow Chemical, with the...
19 Apr 2017

Betsy DeVos is wasting no time screwing over student borrowers.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been sending some chilling signals lately about how she plans to deal with America’s $1.3 trillion  student debt burden. On at least two separate ocassions now, her department has scrapped Obama-era reforms that were designed to protect borrowers from being gouged or misled by the companies responsible for collecting their loans. All told, DeVos seems less interested in protecting former students than in protecting the predators that have fleeced them for profit.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been sending some chilling signals lately about how she plans to deal with...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

19 Apr 2017

Ivanka Trump’s Global Reach, Undeterred by a White House Job

The president’s daughter, now a White House adviser, has filed 173 foreign trademarks in 21 countries, as well as in Hong Kong and the European Union. Even though many of her trademark applications were filed long before she took her government job, they could be decided on by foreign governments while she works in the White House, creating ethical issues with little precedent. While trademarks do not directly confer financial gains, they protect the use of logos and other intellectual property, making them valuable tools for companies looking to build new ventures or expand existing operations.
The president’s daughter, now a White House adviser, has filed 173 foreign trademarks in 21 countries, as well as in...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

16 Apr 2017

With Trump Appointees, a Raft of Potential Conflicts and ‘No Transparency’

President Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with  former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck.
President Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with  former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants...
15 Apr 2017

Trump to discontinue Obama policy of voluntarily releasing White House visitor logs

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would discontinue former president Barack Obama's policy of voluntarily disclosing the names of most visitors to the White House complex, citing “grave national security risks and privacy concerns.” Watchdog groups sued the Trump administration in a bid to continue the practices of the previous White House.
The Trump administration announced Friday that it would discontinue former president Barack Obama's policy of...
13 Apr 2017

Foreign intel gives tape to FBI of Donald Trump’s kids engaging in criminal behavior

On a day in which reliable sources are pointing to the Trump-Russia investigation being so far along that arrests could come as soon as next week (link) and that Rudy Giuliani’s offer to flip is no longer even needed (link), another piece of the puzzle is now coming from an insider who has a tendency to be proven right about these things. The upshot: one or more of Donald Trump’s kids is about to go down.
On a day in which reliable sources are pointing to the Trump-Russia investigation being so far along that arrests could...

Publisher: The Intercept

Author:

6 Apr 2017

Koch Brothers’ Operatives Fill Top White House Positions, Ethics Forms Reveal

If the billionaire Koch brothers turn to the White House for favors, they will see many familiar faces. Newly disclosed ethics forms reveal that a significant number of senior Trump staffers were previously employed by the sprawling network of hard-right and libertarian advocacy groups financed and controlled by Charles and David Koch, the conservative duo hyper-focused on entrenching Republican power, eliminating taxes, and slashing environmental and labor regulations.
If the billionaire Koch brothers turn to the White House for favors, they will see many familiar faces. Newly...
5 Apr 2017

Trump Can Pull Money From His Businesses Whenever He Wants — Without Ever Telling Us

In an interview with ProPublica, Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten confirmed that President Trump can withdraw profits and underlying assets from his trust at any time.He also said the president has been able to withdraw money since Trump took office on Jan. 20. That language was not included in a Jan. 26 summary of the trust — what’s known as a trust certification — but was included in a Feb. 10 version of the document.
In an interview with ProPublica, Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten confirmed that President Trump can withdraw...
9 Mar 2017

China approves Donald Trump-branded spas, escort services, hotels and massage parlours without US Congress permission

Chinese authorities have granted preliminary approval for dozens of  Trump-branded businesses, expanding his commercial empire and raising  further conflicts of interest, say lawyers. The 38 trademarks include new hotels, spas, escort and  concierge services, massage parlors, personal security services and  insurance, according to public documents
Chinese authorities have granted preliminary approval for dozens of  Trump-branded businesses, expanding his...
6 Mar 2017

Donald and Ivanka Trump’s phony Baku Azerbaijan hotel was front for Iranian money laundering

Shortly after taking office, Donald Trump abandoned a bizarre hotel  project in Azerbaijan which never made any sense to begin with. It was built in an industrial part of town where a hotel wouldn’t be needed. The roads being built to the hotel didn’t even lead to it. And now it turns out the entire hotel project appears to have been little more than an excuse to illegally launder money coming from the Iranian  Revolutionary Guard.
Shortly after taking office, Donald Trump abandoned a bizarre hotel  project in Azerbaijan which never made any...

Publisher: Independent

Author:

18 Feb 2017

Trump family trips cost taxpayers $11.3m in one month – almost as much as Obama’s cost in a year

Donald Trump’s family’s trips have cost taxpayers nearly as much in a month as Barack Obama’s cost in an entire year. The US President’s three visits to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida since his presidential inauguration, combined with his sons’ business trips, reportedly cost $11.3m (£9.1m).
Donald Trump’s family’s trips have cost taxpayers nearly as much in a month as Barack...

Publisher: The Guardian

Author:

12 Feb 2017

Instead of draining the swamp, Trump has become Wall Street’s best buddy

Trump would drain the swamp, he claimed, and reinstate a “21st-century” version of the law separating main street banking from Wall Street – Roosevelt’s Glass-Steagall Act – which was scrapped by President Bill Clinton, in one of his worst decisions. Trump would throw the money men out of the temple, he said. He would reshape finance for the “little guy”. His audiences roared him on.But, in office, Trump has proved to be a great deal friendlier to the titans of Wall Street and their interests than he suggested he would be as a candidate, although a close reading of his speeches foretells some of what is now happening. Far from draining the swamp, he is opening the sluicegates; the money men are not so much being hurled out as in full occupation of the economic citadel.
Trump would drain the swamp, he claimed, and reinstate a “21st-century” version of the law separating main street...

Eric Trump’s business trip to Uruguay cost taxpayers $97,830 in hotel bills

When the president-elect’s son Eric Trump jetted to Uruguay in early January for a Trump Organization promotional trip, U.S. taxpayers were left footing a bill of nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff. “This is an example of the blurring of the line between the personal interest in the family business and the government,” said Kathleen Clark, an expert on government ethics and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
When the president-elect’s son Eric Trump jetted to Uruguay in early January for a Trump Organization...
4 Feb 2017

Trump Moves to Roll Back Obama-Era Financial Regulations

President Trump on Friday moved to chisel away at the Obama administration’s legacy on financial reform, announcing a series of steps to revisit the rules enacted after the 2008 financial crisis and setting the stage for a showdown with Democrats over the future of Wall  Street regulation. The rule’s supporters, including Democratic lawmakers and consumer groups, describe it as a basic consumer protection that can prevent brokers from taking advantage of vulnerable clients.
President Trump on Friday moved to chisel away at the Obama administration’s legacy on financial reform, announcing a...

Publisher: Vox

Author:

1 Feb 2017

After meeting with pharma lobbyists, Trump drops promise to negotiate drug prices

A lot happened in the 2016 campaign, but one of the things Donald Trump did to win the election was shift to the left on a number of key issues — promising to avoid cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits and adopting a longstanding Democratic pledge to let Medicare negotiate bulk discounts in the price it pays for prescription drugs.
A lot happened in the 2016 campaign, but one of the things Donald Trump did to win the election was shift to...

Publisher: The Guardian

Author:

29 Jan 2017

Trump gives National Security Council seat to ex-Breitbart chief Steve Bannon

The president named Bannon to the council in a reorganization of the NSC. He also said his chief-of-staff Reince Priebus would have a seat in the meetings. During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington, which he depicted as a city rife with unscrupulous lobbyists and corrupt career politicians. Since election day he has drawn criticism, however, by relying on lobbyists to advise his transition team, by stocking the government with potentialconflicts of interest, and by refusing to divest or publicly account for his own ethics risks.
The president named Bannon to the council in a reorganization of the NSC. He also said his...
25 Jan 2017

Rob Reich Explains the ‘Scam’ Behind the Trump Infrastructure Plan

Reich explains that rather than coming up with the necessary money to  fund these massive infrastructure plans by making the wealthy pay their  fair share, Trump’s plan offers tax breaks for the rich to encourage them to invest. “Which means that for every dollar they put into a project, they are actually paying only 18 cents – and we are paying the other 82 cents through our tax dollars.”
Reich explains that rather than coming up with the necessary money to  fund these massive infrastructure plans by...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

20 Jan 2017

Donald Trump Is Sworn In as President, Capping His Swift Ascent

Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States after one of the most divisive election campaigns in modern times. This is a record of his inauguration address. He declared that the state of the country is afflicted by gangs and drugs and the US congress and Washington DC have ignored the people for too long. He says US has been enriching foreign industries to the detriment of the US industry.
Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States after one of the most divisive election...
19 Jan 2017

Trump Budget Nominee Did Not Pay Taxes for Employee

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney failed to pay more than $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household employee, he admitted in a statement to the Senate Budget Committee, the sort of tax compliance issue that has derailed cabinet nominees in the past.
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney failed to pay more than...
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