Weaverbird + corruption   205

How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian
That Spiked magazine’s US funding arm received $300,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation suggests a hidden agenda
2018-12  uk  money  power  koch  corruption 
4 hours ago by Weaverbird
Mueller Is Telling Us: He’s Got Trump on Collusion
Mueller is coming. And he is clearly coming for Trump. Not simply for obstructing justice but for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to win an election. This is a scandal unlike any America has ever seen.
2018-12  corruption  politics  russian  law 
2 days ago by Weaverbird
Republicans Are Clinging to Power in Wisconsin. Expect to See More GOP Power Grabs.
If the U.S. political commentariat saw this happening in another country, they would call it what it is: a coup.
2018-12  politics  gop  power  corruption  government  constitution  shenanigans 
2 days ago by Weaverbird
Jeffrey Epstein: About the sex trafficking case & accusations | Miami Herald
How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime
2018-11  rapeculture  law  sex  corruption  politics  money  power 
4 days ago by Weaverbird
Whitaker fielded early fraud complaints from customers at patent company even as he championed it, records show - The Washington Post
Months after joining the advisory board of a Miami-based patent company in 2014, Matthew G. Whitaker began fielding angry complaints from customers that they were being defrauded, including from a client who showed up at his Iowa office to appeal to him personally for help, records show.

Yet Whitaker, now the acting attorney general, remained an active champion of World Patent Marketing for three years — even expressing willingness to star in national television ads promoting the firm, the records show.
2018-11  corruption  politics 
4 days ago by Weaverbird
EPA Watchdog Closes the Books on Former Administrator Scott Pruitt - Oversight - GovExec.com
Citing a spike in congressional requests and a declining budget, the inspector general for the Environmental Protection Agency informed Congress on Friday that he has ended the office’s multiple investigations into reports of misconduct by former Administrator Scott Pruitt, who resigned in July under a cloud.
2018-11  government  oversight  corruption 
4 days ago by Weaverbird
Republicans Brazenly Gut Voting Rights in Lame Duck Before They Lose Power – Mother Jones
Four states are taking unprecedented steps to strip power from Democrats and make it harder to vote.
2018-12  politics  gop  corruption  constitution  coup 
4 days ago by Weaverbird
North Carolina election-fraud investigation centers on operative with criminal history who worked for GOP congressional candidate - The Washington Post
The possibility that November’s vote will be tossed out has prompted an eruption of partisan accusations. The case is politically fraught for Republicans, who in North Carolina and across the country have pushed for voter-identification laws and other restrictions while warning without evidence about the threat of rampant voter fraud, particularly by immigrants in the country illegally.

Now, amid Democratic calls for investigations of a different kind of election fraud — one that allegedly benefited the GOP — Republicans have stayed largely silent about the allegations, instead accusing the state elections board of trying to steal the race.
2018-11  election  shenanigans  corruption 
4 days ago by Weaverbird
Facebook chief's emails exposed by MPs - BBC News
The UK parliament's fake news inquiry has published a cache of seized Facebook documents.

The correspondence includes internal emails sent between Mark Zuckerberg and the social network's staff. The emails were obtained from the chief of a software firm that is suing the tech giant.

About 250 pages have been published, some of which are marked "highly confidential".
2018-12  facebook  corruption  evil  privacy  security  tech  surveillance 
4 days ago by Weaverbird
Monumental Disaster at the Department of the Interior - Scientific American Blog Network
A new report documents suppression of science, denial of climate change, the silencing and intimidation of staff
2018-11  anti-science  government  corruption  politics 
4 days ago by Weaverbird
Matthew Whitaker is steeped in time travel and Bigfoot. He’s the right man for the job. - The Washington Post
Some think Whitaker’s association with the company (he did legal work for World Patent Marketing in addition to lending his name and hawking its wares) makes him patently unfit to serve. To the contrary, it is patently obvious he is the right man for this moment.

Only a man steeped in time travel and Bigfoot could successfully sell the notion that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s inquiry is a “hoax” that should be shut down. In tapping, as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, a man with experience with hucksterism and conspiracy theories, President Trump has embraced his inner crackpot.
2018-11  batshitcrazy  corruption  government  atty_genl 
21 days ago by Weaverbird
Matthew Whitaker, Mueller’s New Boss, Said There Was ‘No Collusion’ With Russia
A year-and-a-half before he took responsibility for overseeing the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Matthew Whitaker, now the acting attorney general, had already reached a conclusion.
2018-11  batshitcrazy  corruption  government  atty_genl 
21 days ago by Weaverbird
Matthew Whitaker, Acting Attorney General, Once Used His Justice Bona Fides to Tout ‘Scam’ Business
He said that 'as a former US Attorney, I would only align myself with a first class' business. The FTC said it took customers for over $25 million, with some losing 'life savings.'
2018-11  batshitcrazy  corruption  government  atty_genl 
21 days ago by Weaverbird
Matthew Whitaker is a crackpot - The Washington Post
Marbury was wrong. Religious tests for judges. If you thought the big worry about Whitaker was how he would handle special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, that might be just the beginning.
2018-11  batshitcrazy  corruption  government  atty_genl 
21 days ago by Weaverbird
Before he led the Justice Department, Matthew G. Whitaker promoted company accused of deceiving clients - The Washington Post
In the end, the FTC filed a complaint against Miami-based World Patent Marketing, accusing it of misleading investors and falsely promising that it would help them patent and profit from their inventions, according to court filings.

In May of this year, a federal court in Florida ordered the company to pay a settlement of more than $25 million and close up shop, records show. The company did not admit or deny wrongdoing.
2018-11  batshitcrazy  corruption  government  atty_genl 
21 days ago by Weaverbird
Dark Money Paid New Trump Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s Salary for 3 Years | DeSmogBlog
Whitaker was appointed as Session’s chief of staff on September 22, 2017. Before that, he served for three years as the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which describes itself as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.”

FACT has come under fire for its own lack of transparency, with the Center for Responsive Politics calling attention to FACT’s funding, which in some years came entirely from DonorsTrust, an organization also known as the “Dark Money ATM of the Conservative Movement” and whose own donors include the notorious funders of climate denial, Charles and David Koch.
2018-11  batshitcrazy  corruption  government  atty_genl 
21 days ago by Weaverbird
Inside the Crazy Cabal Trying to Smear Robert Mueller
A Seth Rich conspiracy pusher and fringe online figures appear to be working behind the scenes.
2018-11  politics  shenanigans  batshitcrazy  rightwingnutjobs  corruption 
4 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Rudy Giuliani’s Mystery Trips to Russia, Armenia and… — ProPublica
We spent weeks investigating his work and clients in the former Soviet Union. We have so many questions.
2018-11  politics  russian  corruption  money  power  trump 
4 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Wells Fargo says internal error caused more home foreclosures than expected | Reuters
The bank said in a filing with regulators that an expanded review found that 870 customers were incorrectly denied mortgage changes, leading to 545 of them losing their homes.

This comes after the bank in August had for the first time disclosed a calculation error in an internal underwriting software had caused 625 borrowers to be incorrectly denied mortgage loan modifications under a federal assistance program, 400 of whom had their homes foreclosed upon.
money  power  corruption  housing  inequality 
4 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Border Patrol cancels El Paso crowd-control exercise amid concerns about voter suppression - The Washington Post
U.S. Customs and Border Protection abruptly canceled a crowd-control exercise it had planned near a Hispanic neighborhood in El Paso on Tuesday after critics raised concerns that the presence of so many armed border agents could discourage voting.

The agency had planned to stage a “mobile field force demonstration” Tuesday morning at the Paso del Norte border crossing, in an area adjacent to a neighborhood known as Chihuahuita with about 100 modest homes.

After lawmakers, activists and the American Civil Liberties Union questioned the decision to conduct the exercise on Election Day, Border Patrol agents said it had been postponed.
campaign2018  election  voter-suppression  politics  corruption 
4 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Georgia Officials Quietly Patched Security Holes They… — ProPublica
A ProPublica analysis found that the state was busily fixing problems in its voter registration hours after the office of Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, had insisted the system was secure.
voter-suppression  election  security  corruption  politics 
4 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Georgia's Kemp Purged 340,134 Voters, Falsely Asserting They Had Moved
Last year, Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state canceled the registrations of over half a million Georgians because they left the state or moved to another county. Except they didn’t. The nation’s top experts in address location reviewed Kemp’s list of purged voters — and returned the names and addresses of 340,134 who never moved at all.

John Lenser, CEO of CohereOne of San Rafael, California, led the team analyzing the purge list. He concluded, “340,000 of those voters remained at their original address. They should have never been removed from the voter registration rolls.”

This is the story of the mass exodus from Georgia that never happened, and the mass purge of voters by Kemp, GOP candidate for governor, through methods guaranteed to disproportionately take away the vote from the young, the poor and voters of color.
voter-suppression  politics  corruption  racism  inequality 
4 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Apparently, You Can Still Cheat Your Way to a Win in Georgia
Brian Kemp is showing the U.S., and anyone thinking about running in 2020, that as long as you’re ruthless enough you can still cheat your way to a win in America.
Brian Kemp unapologetically—and loudly—suppressed, lied to, and discriminated against Georgian voters. His tactics worked so well, even he himself had trouble voting. Given his position as Secretary of State, everyone knew he had the power to tamper with the election, but few thought he’d dare cross his constituents with such outlandish bravado.
campaign2018  election  voter-suppression  corruption  politics 
4 weeks ago by Weaverbird
How Don McGahn helped break the US election system — Quartz
Before McGahn joined the Trump White House in January 2017—after serving as Trump’s campaign lawyer—he was appointed by George W. Bush to the Federal Election Commission from 2008 to 2013. While there, critics say McGahn single-handedly presided over the destruction of one of the two US agencies responsible for insuring that the US’s elections remain truly democratic.

(The other agency, the FBI, is currently enmeshed in an examination of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to impact the 2016 election. Ironically, information provided by McGahn may become a key part of that investigation.)

McGahn was handpicked by then Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell for the FEC, recalls Ann M. Ravel, who served on the commission from 2013 to 2017. Once there, he quickly whipped Republicans into a solid voting bloc that nearly always opposed additional regulation, oversight, or even investigation. Because the FEC needs four of six commissioner votes to take any action, the net result was a completely broken agency, incapable of enforcing any election laws.
2018-10  politics  gop  corruption  government  regulation 
6 weeks ago by Weaverbird
"Far from an honest mistake": Facebook accused of inflating ad data - CBS News
Advertisers in a class action lawsuit against Facebook say the social media giant committed fraud, knowingly inflating the amount of time users viewed videos by as much as 900 percent for more than a year, causing businesses to spend more on ads than they otherwise would have.
2018-10  facebook  corruption 
6 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Ryan Zinke Is in a Real Mess | The New Republic
The Interior Department denied plans to replace the agency's independent watchdog with a Trump loyalist—and then the watchdog released a damning report.
2018-10  corruption  regulation  government  politics 
6 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Donald Trump Has a Serious Saudi Arabian Conflict of Interest – Mother Jones
“They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them?”
2018-10  corruption 
7 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Pump and Trump
Donald Trump claims he only licensed his name for real estate projects developed by others. But an investigation of a dozen Trump deals shows deep family involvement in projects that often involved deceptive practices.
2018-10  corruption 
7 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Adil Baguirov, Curt Weldon, and the Azerbaijani Laundromat
This Ohio political candidate took dirty money and is best known as Baku’s man in Washington.
2018-09  politics  corruption 
10 weeks ago by Weaverbird
White House limits scope of the FBI's investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh
The FBI has not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, a White House official confirmed to NBC News.
2018-09  SCOTUS  law  politics  corruption 
10 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Hillary Clinton: American Democracy Is in Crisis - The Atlantic
There is a tendency, when talking about these things, to wring our hands about “both sides.” But the truth is that this is not a symmetrical problem. We should be clear about this: The increasing radicalism and irresponsibility of the Republican Party, including decades of demeaning government, demonizing Democrats, and debasing norms, is what gave us Donald Trump. Whether it was abusing the filibuster and stealing a Supreme Court seat, gerrymandering congressional districts to disenfranchise African Americans, or muzzling government climate scientists, Republicans were undermining American democracy long before Trump made it to the Oval Office.

Now we must do all we can to save our democracy and heal our body politic.
2018-09  corruption  politics 
11 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings | Benjamin Franta | Environment | The Guardian
Newly found documents from the 1980s show that fossil fuel companies privately predicted the global damage that would be caused by their products.
2018-09  BigOil  climate_change  science  corruption  evil  environment  pollution 
11 weeks ago by Weaverbird
Kavanaugh Accrued Thousands in Debt on Baseball Tickets - The Atlantic
How did the nominee for the Supreme Court spend $60,000 to $200,000 on Washington Nationals seats—and how did he pay it off so quickly?
2018-09  SCOTUS  gop  congress  corruption 
september 2018 by Weaverbird
Leahy Trips Kavanaugh Up With Questions About Allegedly Stolen Emails – Talking Points Memo
At Wednesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) threw Brett Kavanaugh off his flow of so far providing steady and confident answers to senators’ questions with a line of inquiry about allegations that emails were stolen from Leahy’s office during the confirmation wars of the George W. Bush administration.
2018-09  SCOTUS  gop  congress  corruption 
september 2018 by Weaverbird
Trump Was Involved in Planning the New FBI Headquarters, Report Says | Fortune
President Donald Trump was directly involved in decisions concerning the construction of a new FBI building, according to a government report released Monday. Trump’s involvement in this decision is notable due to a potential conflict of interest: the Trump International Hotel is essentially across the street from the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover headquarters.
2018-08  corruption  money  government 
september 2018 by Weaverbird
Congressional investigations into Trump: Republicans have a list - Vox
Republicans on the Hill have again and again claimed that there is no Donald Trump scandal worth investigating. But in a sign that maybe they aren’t operating totally on the level, Jonathan Swan at Axios reports that a “senior House Republicans office” has compiled a spreadsheet of all the things they believe House Democrats will investigate if they win a majority in November — and they are terrified of what these inquiries might turn up.
2018-08  politics  corruption  gop  congress 
september 2018 by Weaverbird
Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America
Suppressing voting, changing legislative processes so that a normal majority could no longer prevail, sowing public distrust of government institutions— all these were tactics toward the goal. But the Holy Grail was the Constitution: alter it and you could increase and secure the power of the wealthy in a way that no politician could ever challenge.
money  power  economics  politics  society  koch  corruption 
september 2018 by Weaverbird
Why Manafort and Cohen Thought They’d Get Away With It — ProPublica
Beginning with a charge to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, special counsel Robert Mueller has fallen upon a rash of other crimes. In doing so, he has exposed how widespread and serious our white-collar fraud problem really is, and how lax enforcement has been for years.

At least he is also showing a way out of the problem. He and his team are demonstrating that the proper attention, resources, technique and experience can go a long way to rectify the white-collar prosecution crisis.
2018-08  money  power  corruption 
august 2018 by Weaverbird
Ryan Zinke’s old football buddy is reviewing climate research at Interior. Seriously. - Vox
It turns out that, since the beginning of 2018, all scientific research is being funneled through a political review process. Specifically, the Department of the Interior is reviewing all scientific funding requests above $50,000 to ensure that grants “better align with the administration’s priorities.”

Why not leave reviews to DOI staff, as has traditionally been done? Because Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke views career staff, many hired under President Barack Obama, untrustworthy.

“I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag,” he told an oil industry group in 2017. Career staff may view themselves as public servants, loyal to principles that transcend partisanship, but that’s not the kind of loyalty Zinke wants.
2018-08  gop  politics  science  anti-science  corruption  climate 
august 2018 by Weaverbird
Georgia County Can't Back Up Its Excuse For Plan To Disenfranchise Black Voters | HuffPost
Officials in majority-black Randolph County lack the data to back a proposal to shutter most voting spots.
2018-08  politics  corruption  voting-rights  racism  gop 
august 2018 by Weaverbird
Top Republican on Tax Subcommittee Received Yacht Loan From Foreign Bank Lobbying on 2017 Tax Bill | Capital & Main
Federal records show that one of Rep. Vern Buchanan’s LLCs financed foreign bank loans to purchase a yacht and a private luxury jet.
2018-08  politics  money  power  congress  corruption 
august 2018 by Weaverbird
New Details About Wilbur Ross’ Business Point To Pattern Of Grifting
There are bigger allegations. Over several months, in speaking with 21 people who know Ross, Forbes uncovered a pattern: Many of those who worked directly with him claim that Ross wrongly siphoned or outright stole a few million here and a few million there, huge amounts for most but not necessarily for the commerce secretary. At least if you consider them individually. But all told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine—come to more than $120 million. If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.
2018-08  corruption  politics 
august 2018 by Weaverbird
Why Does Betsy DeVos’s Family Yacht Fly a Foreign Flag? Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ Administration and the Cayman Islands
We already know that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family shipping consortium routes its business through the Marshall Islands—a notoriously secretive tax haven. Federal records detail how Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton and Federal Reserve board appointee Randal Quarles held parts of their personal fortunes in investments based in the Cayman Islands, which are not necessarily required to adhere to America’s domestic financial regulations.

Now there’s DeVos, one of the heirs of Amway’s multilevel marketing empire. When the family’s 164-foot yacht was untethered from a Huron, Ohio, dock, it was flying a flag of the Cayman Islands, where the yacht is registered, according to VesselTracker. According to federal records, the yacht is owned by RDV International Marine, which is an affiliate of the company that controls the DeVos family’s fortune.
2018-08  corruption  hypocrisy  politics 
august 2018 by Weaverbird
'I Will Call The AG': Trump Officials Pushed For Census Citizenship Question : NPR
These internal emails and a June memo released by Ross contradict the sequence of events that Ross has shared with lawmakers.

Ross has testified in Congress that the Justice Department "initiated" the request for the question in December 2017. The department says it needs responses to the question to better enforce the Voting Rights Act's provisions against racial discrimination.
2018-07  racism  bigotry  corruption  government 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Voter purge frenzy after federal protections lifted, new report says
Nine states with a history of racial discrimination are aggressively removing voters from the rolls, the Brennan Center for Justice says.
2018-07  voting-rights  racism  corruption  gop 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Treasury Department Policy Change Protects Privacy Of Wealthy 'Dark Money' Donors | HuffPost
The Treasury will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations, including the NRA, to identify their financial donors to U.S. tax authorities.
2018-07  money  power  corruption  government  regulation  NRA  russian 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Ted Cruz Was Just Found Unanimously Guilty Of Violating U.S. Election Law
The Federal Election Commission has issued a rare unanimous decision against Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). The agency has found that Cruz violated federal election law in his campaign for Senate in 2012.

The FEC determined that Cruz improperly handled $1.1 million in campaign loans from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. The Senator claimed it was his own money that fueled his campaign, and not that of either investment bank.
2018-05  schadenfreude  politics  corruption 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags – Locus Online
But while the acknowledgment of the problem of Big Tech is most welcome, I am worried that the diagnosis is wrong.

The problem is that we’re confusing automated persuasion with automated targeting. Laughable lies about Brexit, Mexican rapists, and creeping Sharia law didn’t convince otherwise sensible people that up was down and the sky was green.

Rather, the sophisticated targeting systems available through Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other Big Tech ad platforms made it easy to find the racist, xenophobic, fearful, angry people who wanted to believe that foreigners were destroying their country while being bankrolled by George Soros.
socialmedia  data  corruption  privacy  security  surveillance  politics  society  facebook 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Buyers tied to Russia, Soviet republics made 86 all cash sales | McClatchy Washington Bureau
“The size and scope of these cash purchases are deeply troubling as they can often signal money laundering activity," said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and a former federal prosecutor. "There have long been credible allegations of money laundering by the Trump Organization which, if true, would pose a real threat to the United States in the event that Russia were able to leverage evidence of illicit financial transactions against the president."

There's nothing illegal about accepting cash for real estate. But transactions that do not involve mortgages — which account for one in four residential purchases in the country — raise red flags for law enforcement officials as it could be a way to commit fraud or launder money.
2018-06  money  power  corruption 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Elon Musk drawn into farting unicorn dispute with potter | Technology | The Guardian
But the use of Edwards’ work without compensation highlights what artists say is the kind of corporate theft and copyright infringement that has become rampant – forcing independent artists to engage in expensive legal battles to get credited and paid.
art  copyright  money  power  corruption 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Supreme Court is now Trump’s, and so we grieve for America.
The country I believed in, which aspired to true equality of opportunity, and welcomed immigrants, and strove to make the American dream available to everyone, failed often. The ideal was never the reality, but at least there was an agreed-upon goal, one worth working toward in common. Even that is gone. The most vital trust that our government, as a whole, will protect the interests of the people has been violated.
2018-06  SCOTUS  government  corruption  democracy  politics 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Judge to EPA: you are legally required to turn over Pruitt's documentary evidence for climate denial / Boing Boing
Instead of complying, the EPA refused, so PEER sued. In court, the EPA argued that complying with the request would be unduly burdensome, consuming "countless hours researching and analyzing a vast trove of material on the effect of human activity on climate change" which is “a subjective assessment upon which reasonable minds can differ.”

The judge ruled against the EPA and slammed them in his decision, calling the EPA's response an "epistemological smokescreen" that was "both misplaced and troubling."

Pruitt is a trumpist and thus a subscriber to Norman Vincent Peale's fake it till you make it doctrine in which you just insist that you are right until you are either revealed to be right or you get bored and start claiming you're right about something else, or possibly until you die.
2018-06  government  environment  climate_change  corruption  law 
june 2018 by Weaverbird
Trump White House quietly cancels NASA research verifying greenhouse gas cuts | Science | AAAS
You can't manage what you don't measure. The adage is especially relevant for climate-warming greenhouse gases, which are crucial to manage—and challenging to measure. In recent years, though, satellite and aircraft instruments have begun monitoring carbon dioxide and methane remotely, and NASA's Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10-million-a-year research line, has helped stitch together observations of sources and sinks into high-resolution models of the planet's flows of carbon. Now, President Donald Trump's administration has quietly killed the CMS, Science has learned.
2018-05  science  climate_change  environment  research  politics  evil  corruption  NASA 
may 2018 by Weaverbird
New emails reveal Trump’s EPA buried major toxic drinking water study
The White House and the EPA suppressed a report showing dangerous levels of toxic chemicals in the U.S. water supply because they feared it would cause a 'public relations nightmare,' according to newly revealed emails.
2018-05  pollution  politics  corruption  environment  water 
may 2018 by Weaverbird
Ryan-linked group raised $24.6M from anonymous donor - POLITICO
American Action Network, the nonprofit group closely aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, raised a record $41.9 million amid the GOP push to repeal Obamacare and restructure the tax code — more than half of which came from one donor, according to a tax filing obtained by POLITICO.

The money raised includes $24.6 million from a single anonymous donor, according to AAN’s 2017 tax return, which covers July 2016 to June 2017 and was filed this week. As a “social welfare” group organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, AAN can raise money in unlimited amounts, but it is not required to disclose its donors, unlike a super PAC.
2018-05  corruption  money  power  politics 
may 2018 by Weaverbird
Trump Only Has One Scandal - The Atlantic
The preceding wall of text may appear to some as an abridged list of the Trump administration’s scandals, but this is an illusion created by the perception that these are all separate affairs. Viewed as such, the various Trump scandals can seem multifarious and overpowering, and difficult to fathom.

There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability.
2018-05  corruption  politics 
may 2018 by Weaverbird
GOP Rigs Elections: Gerrymandering, Voter-ID Laws, Dark Money - Rolling Stone
With a combination of gerrymandering, voter-ID laws and dark money, Republicans have tipped the political scales in their favor. Will it be enough to keep Democrats from claiming victory in 2018?
politics  voting-rights  gop  shenanigans  corruption  money  power  campaign2018 
april 2018 by Weaverbird
EXCLUSIVE: Robert Mercer backed a secretive group that worked with Facebook, Google to target anti-Muslim ads at swing voters
Most Americans have never heard of the far-right neoconservative nonprofit that ran the ads. It has no employees and no volunteers, and it’s run out of the offices of a Washington, D.C. law firm. More importantly, most voters never saw the ads.

And that was by design.

The group, a social welfare organization called Secure America Now, worked hand in hand with Facebook and Google to target their message at voters in swing states who were most likely to be receptive to them.

And new tax documents obtained by OpenSecrets show that the money fueling the group came mostly from just three donors, including the secretive multimillionaire donor Robert Mercer.
Mercer  money  power  politics  corruption  shenanigans  campaign2016 
april 2018 by Weaverbird
AP sources: EPA chief spent millions on security and travel
Altogether, the agency spent millions of dollars for a 20-member full-time detail that is more than three times the size of his predecessor’s part-time security contingent.

New details in Pruitt’s expansive spending for security and travel emerged from agency sources and documents reviewed by The Associated Press. They come as the embattled EPA leader fends off allegations of profligate spending and ethical missteps that have imperiled his job.

Shortly after arriving in Washington, Pruitt demoted the career staff member heading his security detail and replaced him with EPA Senior Special Agent Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta, a former Secret Service agent who operates a private security company.

An EPA official with direct knowledge of Pruitt’s security spending says Perrotta oversaw a rapid expansion of the EPA chief’s security detail to accommodate guarding him day and night, even on family vacations and when Pruitt was home in Oklahoma. The EPA official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
2018-04  corruption 
april 2018 by Weaverbird
Scott Pruitt embodies the very worst of the Trump administration - The Washington Post
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, who is in a neck-and-neck race with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to see which Trump Cabinet member can do the most harm to the United States of America before his eventual firing, still has his job.

But maybe not for long.

Pruitt is in many ways the perfect embodiment of the Trump administration, combining blatant personal corruption with an appalling policy agenda utterly inimical to the interests of the country. Until now, he had managed to keep his transgressions within certain limits of public attention, enough so that he could keep pursuing the agenda to which he is obviously passionately committed. His agenda is, generally speaking, that corporations should be able to do pretty much whatever they want without any pesky oversight or regulation from the government, and while pollution of the air, land and water may not be literally desirable, it also isn’t something we should get too concerned about.
2018-04  government  corruption 
april 2018 by Weaverbird
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Lobbyist-Owned Pad Was GOP Fundraising Hub
While Pruitt wasn’t in town for all of the events, the cross-pollination of Pruitt’s lobbyist-owned accommodations and the apparently common fundraising activity raises another round of questions over how the EPA chief conducted himself upon arriving in Washington.

“Nothing says ‘the swamp’ like corporate lobbyists holding high-dollar fundraisers in a luxury Capitol Hill condo,” said Brendan Fischer, the director of federal reform programs at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit ethics group. “The fact that a senior member of the administration is staying in a lobbyist’s fundraiser den when he isn’t flying first class on the taxpayer dime might say something about President Trump’s commitment to his ‘Drain the Swamp’ pledge.”
2018-04  corruption  gop  politics  government 
april 2018 by Weaverbird
Etowah sheriff pockets $750k in jail food funds, buys $740k beach house | AL.com
Some Etowah County residents question how a county sheriff making a five-figure annual salary can afford to own multiple houses, including one worth nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.

But ethics disclosure forms Entrekin filed with the state reveal that over the past three years he has received more than $750,000 worth of additional "compensation" from a source he identified as "Food Provisions."
2018-03  corruption 
march 2018 by Weaverbird
The Koch Brothers vs. God
The fossil fuel lobby preached its gospel in Virginia. Now, black churches are fighting back.
2018-03  koch  BigOil  money  power  corruption  longform 
march 2018 by Weaverbird
AP Exclusive: Kushner Cos. filed false NYC housing paperwork
Now a clue has emerged as to how President Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s firm was able to move so fast: The Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds.

While none of the documents during a three-year period when Kushner was CEO bore his personal signature, they provide a window into the ethics of the business empire he ran before he went on to become one of the most trusted advisers to the president of the United States.
2018-03  corruption 
march 2018 by Weaverbird
Michael Osgood Is Determined to Bust Harvey Weinstein
To Catch a Predator
The NYPD’s top sex-crimes investigator tried to bust Harvey Weinstein three years ago. Then the DA stepped in.
#MeToo  law  corruption 
march 2018 by Weaverbird
The Great Online School Scam
Students are performing worse than ever, but private companies are making millions.
2018-02  education  corruption  longform 
february 2018 by Weaverbird
Exclusive: U.S. consumer protection official puts Equifax probe on ice - sources
Mick Mulvaney, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has pulled back from a full-scale probe of how Equifax Inc failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers, according to people familiar with the matter.
2018-02  corruption 
february 2018 by Weaverbird
Internal FCC Report Shows Republican Net Neutrality Narrative Is False - Motherboard
The story of net neutrality as an Obama-led takeover of the internet was refuted by an Inspector General investigation whose findings were not made public prior to Thursday’s vote.
2017-12  internet  shenanigans  corruption 
december 2017 by Weaverbird
Ready for Trump TV? Inside Sinclair Broadcasting’s Plot to Take Over Your Local News – Mother Jones
Its mix of terrorism alerts, right-wing commentary, and “classic propaganda” could soon reach three-quarters of US households.
2017-11  propaganda  rightwingnutjobs  politics  journalism  corruption 
november 2017 by Weaverbird
APNewsBreak: Georgia election server wiped after suit filed
A computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials was quietly wiped clean by its custodians just after the suit was filed, The Associated Press has learned.

The server’s data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system. The data wipe was revealed in an email sent last week from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case that was later obtained by the AP. More emails obtained in a public records request confirmed the wipe.
2017-10  campaign2016  corruption  shenanigans  gop  law  election  voter-suppression 
november 2017 by Weaverbird
Behind New Obamacare Repeal Vote: ‘Furious’ G.O.P. Donors - The New York Times
As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.

Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.
2017-09  healthcare  money  power  corruption  congress 
september 2017 by Weaverbird
Who’s Been Seeding the Alt-Right? Follow the Money to Robert Mercer
Jane Mayer profiles hedge fund manager, alt-right supporter, and political funder Robert Mercer in the New Yorker. He’s the man who brought us Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, and eventually, Donald Trump, and his worldview may sound particularly familiar to anyone who’s been reading up on Bannon.
2017-08  money  power  politics  corruption 
august 2017 by Weaverbird
How a Conservative TV Giant Is Ridding Itself of Regulation - The New York Times
Within days of their meeting, Mr. Pai was named chairman of the F.C.C. And during his first 10 days on the job, he relaxed a restriction on television stations’ sharing of advertising revenue and other resources — the exact topic that Mr. Pai discussed with Mr. Smith and one of his business partners, according to records examined by The New York Times.

“These are invaluable and effective tools, which were taken away by the commission,” according to a summary of their meeting filed with the F.C.C.

It was only the beginning. Since becoming chairman in January, Mr. Pai has undertaken a deregulatory blitz, enacting or proposing a wish list of fundamental policy changes advocated by Mr. Smith and his company. Hundreds of pages of emails and other documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal a rush of regulatory actions has been carefully aligned with Sinclair’s business objectives.
money  power  media  regulation  government  corruption  politics 
august 2017 by Weaverbird
Businessman Paints A Terrifying And Complex Picture Of Vladimir Putin's Russia : NPR
Browder made a fortune in Russia, in the process uncovering, he says, incredible amounts of fraud and corruption. When he tried to report it to authorities, the government kicked him out of the country and, he alleges, tortured and killed the lawyer he was working with.

In what one senator called one of the Senate Judiciary Committee's "most important" hearings, Browder, a wealthy businessman-turned-activist-turned Putin-adversary shed a chilling new light on a Russian system of government that operates ruthlessly in the shadows — as Browder described it for lawmakers: a "kleptocracy" sustained by corruption, blackmail, torture and murder with Putin at its center.

"Effectively the moment that you enter into their world," Browder told senators investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, "you become theirs."
2017-08  kleptocracy  corruption 
august 2017 by Weaverbird
E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board - NYTimes.com
The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire.
2017-05  corruption  government  regulation 
may 2017 by Weaverbird
For Alabama Christians, Governor Bentley’s Downfall Is a Bitter Blow - The New York Times
“The idea that moral hypocrisy hurts you among evangelical voters is not true, if you’re sound on all of the fundamentals,” said Wayne Flynt, an ordained Baptist minister and one of Alabama’s pre-eminent historians. “Being sound on the fundamentals depends on what the evangelical community has decided the fundamentals have become. At this time, what is fundamental is hating liberals, hating Obama, hating abortion and hating same-sex marriage.”
2017-04  religion  politics  hypocrisy  batshitcrazy  corruption 
april 2017 by Weaverbird
Outcry after Republicans vote to dismantle independent ethics body | US news | The Guardian
House Republicans have gutted an independent ethics watchdog, putting it under their own control, in a secret ballot hours before the new Congress convened for the first time.

The unheralded vote severely weakens the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which was set up after a lobbying scandal in 2008 to investigate corruption allegations against members of Congress. The move, led by the head of the House judiciary committee, defied the Republican congressional leadership and was reportedly supported by several legislators currently under OCE scrutiny.
2017  politics  ethics  congress  corruption  shenanigans  oversight 
january 2017 by Weaverbird
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