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Carl Paladino, a contentious New York Republican running for Congress, is violating federal law by not disclosing his personal finances

Paladino, who's self-funded 99% of his campaign's coffer, has yet to file a financial disclosure detailing his personal finances as required by law. Carl Paladino speaks before a rally for then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at JetSmart Aviation Services on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Rochester, New York.Mike Groll/AP GOP congressional candidate Carl Paladino hasn't filed a mandatory personal financial disclosure. Paladino is wealthy Western New York real estate developer who's routinely courted controversy. Early voting for the NY-23 primary election began on August 13. Election Day is August 23. Carl Paladino, a Donald Trump-boosting Republican running to represent New York's 23rd Congressional District, is violating a federal conflict-of-interest and transparency law by not disclosing details about his own finances, an Insider review of congressional financial filings indicates.Paladino — endorsed by third-ranking House Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York — is running against the chair of the New York Republican Party, Nick Langworthy, in the district's open GOP primary. His late disclosure means that voters cannot review details about the ostensibly wealthy real estate developer's income, investments, employment, and debts.A congressional candidate could face an investigation or fine if he or she "knowingly and willfully falsifies a statement or fails to file a statement" in accordance with US House guidance, although officials rarely pursue such investigations.Paladino's campaign did not respond to Insider's repeated requests for comment.The campaign did, however, tell the Buffalo News earlier this month that Paladino hasn't filed his financial disclosures because the Clerk of the House of Representatives "failed to supply this campaign with login credentials." The campaign further noted that the clerk extended the filing period and that the disclosure was "in the process of being filed."Records maintained by the Clerk of the House of Representatives do not, however, indicate Paladino officially requested an extension or received one. (Representatives for the clerk's office did not respond to an inquiry.) Federal law, meanwhile, requires all candidates to submit their personal financial disclosures within 30 days of an election no matter what.And in the event a candidate cannot or does not want to use Congress' electronic filing system, they have the option to mail paper disclosures to the US House — there are also no congressional records of Paladino doing so.Now with less than a week until Election Day, Paladino has still yet to file his disclosure and early voting has already begun — voters were allowed to begin casting their ballots on August 13.'Suspicious'Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, the government affairs manager at the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, told Insider that it's "unfair to the potential future constituents and the voters to not have that information before they're casting their vote."It's a little bit suspicious," Hedtler-Gaudette added, "that the one thing that could potentially contain some interesting information is the one thing that they seem to not be able to do."The House Ethics Committee, the party that would be tasked with investigating Paladino's violation, frequently overlooks STOCK Act infractions.The committee is even more handicapped as of late after ranking member Rep. Jackie Walorski died in a car accident on August 3. The committee typically does not vote without having a full committee of 10 members.Langworthy, Paladino's opponent, submitted his 2021 annual personal financial disclosure in July. The disclosure shows that he invests in several mutual funds and the SPDR S&P 500.Candidates running for a House office are required to file financial disclosures with the House after raising or spending $5,000 in cash, according to federal law and guidelines from the House Ethics Committee. Paladino crossed that threshold weeks ago.Paladino formally declared his run for office in June 2022, shortly after Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs announced he would not seek re-election.Paladino's turbulent career in politics includes a 2010 run for New York state governor that he badly lost in the general election.In 2016, while serving on the Buffalo School Board, he made sexist and racist remarks about then-first lady Michelle Obama. He later apologized. Fellow board members pressured him to resign, but he refused.New York's education commissioner ultimately removed Paladino from office in 2017 for, as the New York Times reported at the time, revealing confidential information about collective bargaining negotiations with the city's teachers union. Paladino is primarily self-funding his congressional campaign. The chairman of a real estate development company, Paladino has loaned his campaign $1.5 million, or 99% of the campaign's total money raised.Paladino is a long-time supporter of Trump, although Trump has not yet endorsed a candidate in New York's 23rd District — a decidedly red district that will almost certainly elect the winner of Paladino-Langworthy in November's general election.A push to ban congressional stock tradingMembers of Congress and congressional candidates — Republicans and Democrats alike — have routinely violated Insider's "Conflicted Congress" project found 70 members of Congress in violation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 with late or missing disclosures.In the wake of the investigation, Congress has begun debating whether to ban lawmakers and their spouses from buying, selling, or holding individual stocks. House Democrats have suggested they'll hold a vote on the issue in September, though a vote has yet to be scheduled.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 19th, 2022

New York congressional candidate Carl Paladino revealed his personal finances after Insider reported that he was violating a federal law

Republican congressional candidate Carl Paladino says he owns more than 70 rental properties, has up to $11 million in debt, and some stock. Carl Paladino listens during a media briefing, Oct. 31, 2010, in Old Bethpage, New York.AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek, File GOP congressional candidate Carl Paladino finally revealed his personal finances. Paladino filed documents after Insider's report that he was violating federal law by not disclosing his finances. His disclosure reveals he owns more than 70 rental properties and has up to $11 million in debt. Republican congressional candidate Carl Paladino, a real estate executive who's running to represent New York's 23rd Congressional District, finally disclosed one-and-a-half years worth of his personal financial activity following an Insider report that he was violating federal law for a lack of disclosure. The certified disclosure, which Paladino submitted to the US House of Representatives on August 19 and that congressional officials made public today, reveals that Paladino owns more than 70 rental properties varying in value with one worth as much as $25,000,000.In addition to his real estate investments, Paladino's also invested in several stocks including Tesla, vaccine maker Moderna, and GameStop. He's also invested up to $50,000 in a bitcoin trust.Paladino's finances also indicate that he has at least $2.5 million — and potentially up to $11 million — in debt. (Federal lawmakers and candidates are only required to report their assets and debts in broad ranges.)If elected, Paladino, who's almost entirely self-funded his campaign effort, will have one of the more complex set financial holdings in Congress because of his various investments, income streams, debt load, and corporate leadership positions.He'll also join the ranks of the more than 230 members of Congress who are landlords, according to an Insider review of each member of Congress' financial disclosure.For weeks, Paladino has failed to disclosure his personal finances, as mandated by federal law. Earlier this month, Paladino's campaign told The Buffalo News that the Clerk of the US House of Representatives "failed to supply this campaign with login credentials," which prevented Paladino from filing.The campaign further asserted that the House clerk extended Paladino's filing period and that the disclosure was "in the process of being filed" — a point the campaign reiterated last week to Insider, although there is no public record of Paladino ever formally requesting or filing an extension.Federal law, meanwhile, requires candidates to place a certified personal financial disclosure on the public record 30 days or more before an election.Election Day in New York is August 23, meaning Paladino has given voters less than a day to review his disclosure. Paladino's is running against Nick Langworthy in the GOP primary, and the winner will face off against Democrat Max Della Pia in November in New York's conservative 23rd Congressional District.Paladino could face an investigation and fine for his late filing, although federal officials rarely pursue such matters.Carl Paladino speaks before a rally for then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at JetSmart Aviation Services on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Rochester, New York.Mike Groll/APPaladino's turbulent political historyIn 2010, Paladino ran in New York's gubernatorial election but lost badly in the general election.In 2016, while sitting on the Buffalo School Board, Paladino — a dedicated supporter of Donald Trump who served as Trump's 2016 New York state campaign co-chairman — publicly denigrated and disparaged then-first lady Michelle Obama.While he was pressured by the board to resign, he never did, though did offer up an apology. Paladino was ultimately removed from the board by the state's education commissioner for revealing confidential information regarding collective bargaining negotiations with the city teachers union.Paladino officially declared to run for Congress in June 2022. His announcement followed Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs announcing he wouldn't seek re-election after saying he supported a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault-style guns similar to the ones used in shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 22nd, 2022

Carl Paladino, a Donald Trump-boosting New York congressional candidate, is violating federal law by not disclosing his personal finances

Paladino, a Republican running to represent New York's 23rd District, has offered various explanations about his mandatory disclosure. The public still can't see it. Carl Paladino speaks before a rally for then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at JetSmart Aviation Services on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Rochester, New York.Mike Groll/AP GOP congressional candidate Carl Paladino hasn't filed a mandatory personal financial disclosure. Paladino is wealthy Western New York real estate developer who's routinely courted controversy. Early voting for the NY-23 primary election began on August 13. Election Day is August 23. Carl Paladino, a Donald Trump-boosting Republican running to represent New York's 23rd Congressional District, is violating a federal conflict-of-interest and transparency law by not disclosing details about his own finances, an Insider review of congressional financial filings indicates.Paladino — endorsed by third-ranking House Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York — is running against the chair of the New York Republican Party, Nick Langworthy, in the district's open GOP primary. His late disclosure means that voters cannot review details about the ostensibly wealthy real estate developer's income, investments, employment, and debts.A congressional candidate could face an investigation or fine if he or she "knowingly and willfully falsifies a statement or fails to file a statement" in accordance with US House guidance, although officials rarely pursue such investigations.Paladino's campaign did not respond to Insider's requests for comment until after publication of this article. In doing so, Paladino spokesperson Vish Burra said in an email Saturday that the Clerk of the US House of Representatives had granted Paladino a filing extention and that Paladino had filed his disclosure.But Burra did not furnish Insider with a copy of a filing extension confirmation or Paladino's disclosure itself.Records maintained by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, meanwhile, do not indicate Paladino officially requested an extension or received one, and there's no public record of his financial disclosure. The House clerk typically posts such documents to its public website within 24 hours of a document being filed, or the next business day if a candidate files documents over a weekend or holiday. With less than a week until Election Day, and with early voting has already begun — voters were allowed to begin casting their ballots on August 13 — the public still could not review Paladino's financial disclosure as of Saturday.Earlier this month, Paladino's campaign told the Buffalo News that Paladino hadn't filed his financial disclosures because the Clerk of the House of Representatives "failed to supply this campaign with login credentials." The campaign further noted that the clerk extended the filing period and that the disclosure was "in the process of being filed."Federal law requires all candidates to submit their personal financial disclosures within 30 days of an election no matter what. And in the event a candidate cannot or does not want to use Congress' electronic filing system, they have the option to mail paper disclosures to the US House — there are also no congressional records of Paladino doing so.'Suspicious'Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, the government affairs manager at the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, told Insider that it's "unfair to the potential future constituents and the voters to not have that information before they're casting their vote."It's a little bit suspicious," Hedtler-Gaudette added, "that the one thing that could potentially contain some interesting information is the one thing that they seem to not be able to do."The House Ethics Committee, the party that would be tasked with investigating Paladino's violation, frequently overlooks STOCK Act infractions.The committee is even more handicapped as of late after ranking member Rep. Jackie Walorski died in a car accident on August 3. The committee typically does not vote without having a full committee of 10 members.Langworthy, Paladino's opponent, submitted his 2021 annual personal financial disclosure in July. The disclosure shows that he invests in several mutual funds and the SPDR S&P 500.Candidates running for a House office are required to file financial disclosures with the House after raising or spending $5,000 in cash, according to federal law and guidelines from the House Ethics Committee. Paladino crossed that threshold weeks ago.Paladino formally declared his run for office in June 2022, shortly after Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs announced he would not seek re-election.Paladino's turbulent career in politics includes a 2010 run for New York state governor that he badly lost in the general election.In 2016, while serving on the Buffalo School Board, he made sexist and racist remarks about then-first lady Michelle Obama. He later apologized. Fellow board members pressured him to resign, but he refused.New York's education commissioner ultimately removed Paladino from office in 2017 for, as the New York Times reported at the time, revealing confidential information about collective bargaining negotiations with the city's teachers union.Just this week, Paladino told Breitbart News that Attorney General Merrick Garland "should be executed" for green-lighting a search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in pursuit of government records — a comment Paladino later said was "facetious." Paladino is primarily self-funding his congressional campaign. The chairman of a real estate development company, Paladino has loaned his campaign $1.5 million, or 99% of the campaign's total money raised.Paladino is a long-time supporter of Trump, although Trump has not yet endorsed a candidate in New York's 23rd District — a decidedly red district that will almost certainly elect the winner of Paladino-Langworthy in November's general election.A push to ban congressional stock tradingMembers of Congress and congressional candidates — Republicans and Democrats alike — have routinely violated Insider's "Conflicted Congress" project found 70 members of Congress in violation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 with late or missing disclosures.In the wake of the investigation, Congress has begun debating whether to ban lawmakers and their spouses from buying, selling, or holding individual stocks. House Democrats have suggested they'll hold a vote on the issue in September, though a vote has yet to be scheduled.This article was originally published August 19 and updated to include comment from the Paladino campaign.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 20th, 2022

Donald Trump booster Carl Paladino, now a New York congressional candidate, is violating federal law by not disclosing his personal finances

Paladino, who's self-funded 99% of his campaign's coffer, has yet to file a financial disclosure detailing his personal finances as required by law. Carl Paladino speaks before a rally for then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at JetSmart Aviation Services on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Rochester, New York.Mike Groll/AP GOP congressional candidate Carl Paladino hasn't filed a mandatory personal financial disclosure. Paladino is wealthy Western New York real estate developer who's routinely courted controversy. Early voting for the NY-23 primary election began on August 13. Election Day is August 23. Carl Paladino, a Donald Trump-boosting Republican running to represent New York's 23rd Congressional District, is violating a federal conflict-of-interest and transparency law by not disclosing details about his own finances, an Insider review of congressional financial filings indicates.Paladino — endorsed by third-ranking House Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York — is running against the chair of the New York Republican Party, Nick Langworthy, in the district's open GOP primary. His late disclosure means that voters cannot review details about the ostensibly wealthy real estate developer's income, investments, employment, and debts.A congressional candidate could face an investigation or fine if he or she "knowingly and willfully falsifies a statement or fails to file a statement" in accordance with US House guidance, although officials rarely pursue such investigations.Paladino's campaign did not respond to Insider's repeated requests for comment.The campaign did, however, tell the Buffalo News earlier this month that Paladino hasn't filed his financial disclosures because the Clerk of the House of Representatives "failed to supply this campaign with login credentials." The campaign further noted that the clerk extended the filing period and that the disclosure was "in the process of being filed."Records maintained by the Clerk of the House of Representatives do not, however, indicate Paladino officially requested an extension or received one. Federal law, meanwhile, requires all candidates to submit their personal financial disclosures within 30 days of an election no matter what.And in the event a candidate cannot or does not want to use Congress' electronic filing system, they have the option to mail paper disclosures to the US House — there are also no congressional records of Paladino doing so.Now with less than a week until Election Day, Paladino has still yet to file his disclosure and early voting has already begun — voters were allowed to begin casting their ballots on August 13.'Suspicious'Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, the government affairs manager at the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, told Insider that it's "unfair to the potential future constituents and the voters to not have that information before they're casting their vote."It's a little bit suspicious," Hedtler-Gaudette added, "that the one thing that could potentially contain some interesting information is the one thing that they seem to not be able to do."The House Ethics Committee, the party that would be tasked with investigating Paladino's violation, frequently overlooks STOCK Act infractions.The committee is even more handicapped as of late after ranking member Rep. Jackie Walorski died in a car accident on August 3. The committee typically does not vote without having a full committee of 10 members.Langworthy, Paladino's opponent, submitted his 2021 annual personal financial disclosure in July. The disclosure shows that he invests in several mutual funds and the SPDR S&P 500.Candidates running for a House office are required to file financial disclosures with the House after raising or spending $5,000 in cash, according to federal law and guidelines from the House Ethics Committee. Paladino crossed that threshold weeks ago.Paladino formally declared his run for office in June 2022, shortly after Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs announced he would not seek re-election.Paladino's turbulent career in politics includes a 2010 run for New York state governor that he badly lost in the general election.In 2016, while serving on the Buffalo School Board, he made sexist and racist remarks about then-first lady Michelle Obama. He later apologized. Fellow board members pressured him to resign, but he refused.New York's education commissioner ultimately removed Paladino from office in 2017 for, as the New York Times reported at the time, revealing confidential information about collective bargaining negotiations with the city's teachers union. Paladino is primarily self-funding his congressional campaign. The chairman of a real estate development company, Paladino has loaned his campaign $1.5 million, or 99% of the campaign's total money raised.Paladino is a long-time supporter of Trump, although Trump has not yet endorsed a candidate in New York's 23rd District — a decidedly red district that will almost certainly elect the winner of Paladino-Langworthy in November's general election.A push to ban congressional stock tradingMembers of Congress and congressional candidates — Republicans and Democrats alike — have routinely violated Insider's "Conflicted Congress" project found 70 members of Congress in violation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 with late or missing disclosures.In the wake of the investigation, Congress has begun debating whether to ban lawmakers and their spouses from buying, selling, or holding individual stocks. House Democrats have suggested they'll hold a vote on the issue in September, though a vote has yet to be scheduled.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 19th, 2022

Trump-endorsed J.R. Majewski reveals his personal finances after Insider reported he violated a federal disclosure law

Majewski, a Republican congressional candidate, was months late filing a certified personal financial disclosure. This could subject him to a federal investigation. Republican congressional candidate J.R. Majewski, who's running to represent Ohio's 9th Congressional District, appears with former President Donald Trump in this undated campaign photo.J.R. Majewski for Congress J.R. Majewski is the GOP nominee in Ohio's 9th District congressional race — one of the nation's most competitive. Majewski failed for months to disclose his personal finances as federal law requires. He filed his mandatory disclosures three days after Insider reported on the matter. Republican congressional candidate J.R. Majewski — a QAnon conspiracy theory promoter who former President Donald Trump endorsed in Ohio's ultra-competitive 9th District — disclosed two-and-a-half years worth of his personal financial activity after Insider on August 5 revealed he was violating a federal law.The disclosures, submitted to the US House of Representatives on August 8, indicate that Majewski and his wife have up to $750,000 in personal debt, spread across home, home improvement, auto, and student loans.That compares to $80,000 to $200,000 in reported assets, all held within savings, checking, and retirement accounts — and not including the value of Majewski's home, which he is not required to report. He holds no individual stocks, according to his disclosures. Majewski's disclosures, which cover activity from January 1, 2020, to the present, do not indicate that he bought, sold, or held cryptocurrency.But Majewski tweeted in January 2021 that he "just bought 25,000 shares of $DOGE." He added: "Why not? … Download Robinhood App, deposit some money and buy the coin DOGE"Federal candidates and members of Congress must by law report cryptocurrency as they do stock and cash assets, per federal disclosure rules.Majewski also disclosed withdrawing $73,330 this year from his 401k retirement plan at Holtec International, an energy services company that specializes in nuclear power. In December, Majewski personally loaned his campaign $50,000, according to Federal Election Commission records.Majewski reported earning $52,049 from his work at Holtec International during this year. Federal law requires all congressional candidates to file a certified financial disclosure with the US House shortly after raising or spending $5,000 in campaign cash, according to House ethics guidelines and federal law.But Majewski, who's been running for Congress since February 25, 2021, surpassed this threshold sometime before June 30, 2021, according to FEC records. A congressional candidate who "knowingly and willfully falsifies a statement or fails to file a statement" disclosing his or her personal finances may be subject to investigation by the Department of Justice.While such investigations are rare, the maximum civil penalty for such an offense is $66,190 while the maximum criminal penalty is one year in federal prison plus a fine of up to the same amount, according to the federal Ethics in Government Act.Representatives for Majewski did not immediately respond to questions Wednesday from Insider.Prior to publication of Insider's article on August 5, J.R. Majewski for Congress campaign treasurer Sean Tarnowski declined to comment. Majewski's spokesperson, Melissa Pelletier, did not respond to multiple phone and email messages after saying by phone that she's "do my best" to answer a series of emailed questions.President Joe Biden speaks with Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio as he arrives at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 27, 2021. Kaptur is now running for re-election against Republican J.R. Majewski.Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty ImagesTrying to unseat a 20-term incumbentCapitalism, small government, and fiscal restraint are campaign themes for Majewski, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in one of the nation's true toss-up House races, where no clear favorite has emerged.Majewski listed "honesty," integrity" and "the ability to communicate" among the characteristics or principles most important for an elected official, according to a Ballotpedia candidate survey."I want to preserve the wealth I have earned to date & the wealth of my friends & family in OH09. I 100% believe in smaller government & fiscal responsibility," he tweeted on March 10."Bring back fiscal conservatism," he tweeted on May 28.Until now, Majewski has not provided a detailed, certified, public accounting of where he earned his money and whether he carried debt.In 2020, Majewski, while responding to a question about charitable donations, told a fellow tweeter: "You have no clue what I do with the money that I earn. It's NOYB" — none of your business.Majewski's tardy financial filing follows publication of Insider's "Conflicted Congress" project, which found that 67 members of Congress and at least 182 senior congressional aides have in recent months violated the federal Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 with late or missing financial disclosures.The investigation also identified dozens of lawmakers whose personal stock trades are discordant with their public responsibilities, such as members who craft anti-tobacco policy but invest in tobacco giants and others who receive plaudits from environmental groups for crafting policy aimed at combating the climate crisis — yet invest in fossil fuel companies. Numerous members of Congress hold the stock of defense contractors at a time when the House and Senate are voting on hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending, including emergency aid to Ukraine in support of its war effort against Russia.Congress is now actively debating whether to ban federal lawmakers, their spouses, and top congressional staffers from trading individual stocks at all, although no vote has yet been scheduled on a bill that would enact such a ban.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 10th, 2022

Trump-endorsed J.R. Majewski, an Ohio Republican running in one of the nation’s hottest congressional races, is violating federal law by not disclosing his personal finances

Majewski has failed for months to file federally-mandated personal financial disclosure as he challenges Rep. Marcy Kaptur to represent Ohio's 9th Congressional District. Campaign fliers for Republican congressional candidate J.R. Majewski are seen at the the Get out the Vote Super Saturday rally in Port Clinton, Ohio, on July 30, 2022.Tom E. Puskar/AP J.R. Majewski is running in a ultra-competitive race against Democrat Rep. Marcy Kaptur. Majewski has failed for months to file a federally mandated personal financial disclosure. Department of Justice officials could investigate him, although such investigations are rare. Republican J.R. Majewski, a Donald Trump-endorsed candidate in one of the nation's most competitive congressional races, is violating a federal conflicts-of-interest and public transparency law by failing to disclose details about his personal finances.Majewski, who is running against Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur to represent Ohio's newly re-drawn 9th Congressional District, is more than a year late in revealing information about his personal income, investments, debts, employment, and any side jobs, according to an Insider analysis of congressional records.  Federal law requires all congressional candidates to file a certified financial disclosure with the US House shortly after raising or spending $5,000 in campaign cash, according to House ethics guidelines and federal law.But Majewski, who's been running for Congress since February 25, 2021, surpassed this threshold sometime before June 30, 2021, according to FEC records. A congressional candidate who "knowingly and willfully falsifies a statement or fails to file a statement" disclosing his or her personal finances may be subject to investigation by the Department of Justice.While such investigations are rare, the maximum civil penalty for such an offense is $66,190 while the maximum criminal penalty is one year in federal prison plus a fine of up to the same amount, according to the federal Ethics in Government Act.Reached by phone Wednesday, J.R. Majewski for Congress campaign treasurer Sean Tarnowski declined to comment and referred questions to campaign staff.Majewski's spokesperson, Melissa Pelletier, said by phone Thursday she'd "do my best" to answer several questions Insider had sent the Majewski campaign. Pelletier did not respond to subsequent phone and email messages.Majewski listed "honesty," integrity" and "the ability to communicate" among the characteristics or principles most important for an elected official, according to a Ballotpedia candidate survey.He also indicated in various statements and tweets that he supports transparency and following rules."I believe that the rule of law is the ultimate safeguard of our freedoms," he states on his campaign website."Conservatives tend to obey the law," he wrote on February 25."I agree that honesty and transparency are a must," he wrote on December 25, 2020."My FBI Background is clear and security clearance is active. Unlike you I have nothing to hide," he wrote in a tweet argument on December 12, 2020.He's also occasionally tweeted about his finances.—JR Majewski (@JRMajewski) September 30, 2020"Congress is a big paycut, and I have no ambitions to use the office to increase my financial wealth. I want to preserve the wealth I have earned to date & the wealth of my friends & family in OH09," he tweeted on March 10."I earn a very good living professionally," he tweeted on July 14, 2020.And while engaged in a spat on September 30, 2020, while discussing his charitable donations, he told a fellow tweeter: "You have no clue what I do with the money that I earn. It's NOYB."Majewski did, on January 28, 2021, appear to offer some indication of how he spends his money."I just bought 25,000 shares of $DOGE," he tweeted, referring to the cryptocurrency. "Why not? … Download Robinhood App, deposit some money and buy the coin DOGE"—JR Majewski (@JRMajewski) January 28, 2021 Majewski, however, has not provided a detailed, certified, public accounting of where he's earned his money, and when, or how he invests his money. His website states he works as a "senior leader in the nuclear industry working with some of the world's largest nuclear utilities," according to his campaign biography, which does not specify his employer or responsibilities.An Air Force veteran, Majewski has previously managed "multiple multi-million-dollar projects within the nuclear industry" and served as a "project director during the construction of General Motors (GM) new production facility and product line replacement at GM's powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio," his campaign biography states. It also states he previously worked at FirstEnergy's Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ohio.Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization, said all congressional candidates should follow the law about personal financial disclosures — especially in a race as close as the one for Ohio's 9th Congressional District."It allows voters to consider the statements the candidates make, it allows voters to consider any conflicts of interest," Turcer said. "Transparency allows voters to be educated … and to know what each of the candidates are all about and how responsible they are."Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio.US House of RepresentativesKaptur's financial interestsKaptur submitted her 2021 annual personal financial disclosure on time, in May. It discloses that she primarily invests in mutual funds and earned between $10,000 and $30,000 in rent from a pair of properties. She also reported a stock holding of up to $100,000 in Nutrien Ltd., a Canadian fertilizer company.  As chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Kaptur has said she "focuses on efforts to protect the natural resource of Lake Erie, which marks the northern border of her current congressional district. Lake Erie has for years experienced algae blooms caused in part by fertilizer runoff.Insider previously reported that the 20-term congresswoman inherited the Nutrien Ltd. stock in December 2020 from her brother who had died, said Chris Dalton, a spokesperson."She does not intend to trade or cash out her deceased brother's gift," Dalton said in December. "Because the inherited shares are the first she has ever owned during her service, she will look at various options as she resolves the estate. Should other actions be necessary going forward, they will appear in the disclosures in subsequent years as appropriate."Former President Donald Trump points to a supporter before speaking at a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds on June 26, 2021, in Wellington, Ohio.Tony Dejak/APA 'toss-up' raceIn May, Majewski won his Republican primary race with about 36% of the vote — about 4 percentage points more than second-place finisher Craig Riedel.The Cook Political Report has deemed Ohio's 9th Congressional District race a "toss-up," meaning Kaptur and Majewski have an equal chance of winning.Trump has Majewski's back, having endorsed him in June. Majewski would make a "fantastic congressman," worthy of a "complete and total endorsement," Trump wrote.  Majewski, for his part, is one of Trump's most colorful supporters — literally. He once painted his back yard so that it resembled a massive, grassy Trump campaign banner. He also traveled to Washington, DC, to support Trump on January 6, 2021. But Majewski, who has previously promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory and touts a slate of far-right policy positions, denies taking part in the deadly attack on the US Capitol alongside other Trump supporters."I went to Washington on Jan. 6 to support President Trump, and I did so peacefully and we committed no crimes," he told the Crescent-News of Defiance, Ohio, in July. "We went there with a bunch of veterans and their families, elderly veterans and their families. The minute that the Capitol police started to show force, we left."Back in DC, a congressional stock-trade ban?Majewski's tardy financial filing follows publication of Insider's "Conflicted Congress" project, which found that 67 members of Congress and at least 182 senior congressional aides have in recent months violated the federal Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 with late or missing financial disclosures.The investigation also identified dozens of lawmakers whose personal stock trades are discordant with their public responsibilities, such as members who craft anti-tobacco policy but invest in tobacco giants and others who receive plaudits from environmental groups for crafting policy aimed at combating the climate crisis — yet invest in fossil fuel companies. Numerous members of Congress hold the stock of defense contractors at a time when the House and Senate are voting on hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending, including emergency aid to Ukraine in support of its war effort against Russia.Congress is now actively debating whether to ban federal lawmakers, their spouses, and top congressional staffers from trading individual stocks at all, although no vote has yet been scheduled on a bill that would enact such a ban.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 5th, 2022

Live election updates: Democratic runoff goes down to the wire in Texas while Trump-backed candidates have a bad night in Georgia

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and ex-Sen. David Perdue are vying for the GOP nomination, pitting a sitting governor against a Trump-backed challenger. InsiderInsider is be bringing you real-time election votes tonight for governor races, congressional races, a high-profile GOP primary over a safe Alabama senate seat, and state legislature primaries from Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and even a few high profile runoffs in Texas.Here's what we're paying attention to:Alabama's ruby-red Senate seat is up for grabs, with a congressman vying against a former Senate chief of staff in a GOP primary for the seat.And in Texas, incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar is facing a progressive challenger from Jessica Cisneros in a runoff election after their March primary went into overtime.Katie Britt advances in AlabamaAlabama Republican Senate candidate Katie Britt at the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 in Talladega, AL.Sean Gardner/Getty ImagesKatie Britt, a former aide and chief of staff to Sen. Richard Shelby, will advance to a June 21 primary against either Rep. Mo Brooks or businessman Mike Durant in the Alabama Senate race.— John DormanA Georgia election chief attacked by Trump holds his ownGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a presser in AtlantaAP Photo/John BazemoreEarlier in the night, Georgia Republican voters resoundingly rejected Sen. David Perdue, President Donald Trump's pick to run an election grievance-based campaign against Gov. Brian Kemp. And GOP voters now may be on track to either outright reelect Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger or at least send him to a runoff against Trump's pick for the top election job, Rep. Jody Hice. As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night, Raffensperger sat just above the threshold to avoid a runoff with Hice taking about a third of the vote. -Grace Panetta Trump's tumultuous gubernatorial endorsement track recordFormer President Donald Trump.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesFor the third week in a row, a gubernatorial candidate has lost a primary election despite receiving former President Donald Trump's support. The first candidate was Charles Herbster in Nebraska — he lost his May 10 primary by three percentage points. He was followed by Janice McGeachin, who lost her Idaho primary by a landslide on May 17. And tonight, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp handily defeated Trump-endorsed David Perdue to move on to the general election.For a former president with such a powerful hold on his party, Trump's backing has not been as impactful as expected. Insider recently published an analysis breaking down Trump's endorsement power and its limitations.Trump's endorsement did, however, help in two gubernatorial races so far: incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott's in Texas and state Sen. Doug Mastriano's in Pennsylvania.— Madison HallAbrams and Kemp set for a rematch in GeorgiaStacey Abrams.Zach Gibson/Getty ImagesGeorgia's 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams easily cleared the field on Tuesday to secure the her party's nomination for 2022. She will again face off against Gov. Brian Kemp, who easily jettisoned Trump-backed primary challenger David Perdue. Kemp's win sets up a repeat of the contentious 2018 battle that catapulted Georgia into the spotlight as a possible blue-trending swing state — and made Abrams a household name. While Abrams lost that contest, which she decried as unfair and tainted by voter suppression, she spent the subsequent time at the forefront of a nationwide push for voting rights. The 2022 rematch will reopen old wounds, bring in tons of outside money, and ultimately decide Georgia's path as a battleground state. — Grace Panetta Rep. Lucy McBath beats Rep. Carolyn Bordeaux in Georgia member-vs-member primary.US House of RepresentativesRep. Lucy McBath defeated Democratic challengers Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Donna McLeod on Tuesday, according to Decision Desk HQ. McBath will go on to face the winner of tonight's GOP primary race to become the next representative for Georgia's 7th Congressional District.- Madison HallSarah Huckabee Sanders, former Trump White House Press Secretary, wins GOP nomination for Arkansas governorChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSarah Huckabee Sanders was a fixture in the Trump White House for years, and cruises to the nomination. She secured the Republican nomination for governor of Arkansas on Tuesday night, Decision Desk HQ has called. She hopes to take the job once held by her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. - Madison Hall and Walt HickeyMarjorie Taylor Greene cruises to victory in bid to retain House seatRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.John Bazemore-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene easily coasted to victory on Tuesday night, bringing in well over the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. She is vying to retain her seat in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. Click here to follow the other Georgia congressional races.— Madison HallMo Brooks, mo' (financial disclosure) problemsRepublican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama conducts a news conference.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesMo Brooks, who's on the comeback trail in Alabama after getting dumped by former President Donald Trump, is one of 60 members of Congress who violated the STOCK Act in the past year. His, however, was one of the most memorable.Brooks previously railed against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, accusing it of playing politics with its vaccine data. Despite his disdain for the pharmaceutical giant, Brooks sold up to $50,000 in Pfizer stock in August 2021, but failed to disclose it until October of the same year, violating the federal STOCK Act. The reason for the late filing? Brooks' wife, Martha. She told Insider that she runs the family's investments, including her husband's, in addition to filing disclosures. Martha also told Insider that she's in charge of deciding which stocks to buy and sell in accordance with their family's financial advisor, but never with Mo's knowledge.According to Martha, her husband didn't even know he owned any Pfizer stock to begin with.— Madison HallBush loses, embattled AG wins another termGeorge P. BushJoe Skipper/ReutersTexas AG Paxton defeated Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a primary runoff for another term as attorney general. Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud since 2015 but has yet to stand to trial and is reportedly facing an FBI investigation for abusing his office to benefit a wealthy donor, scandals Texas' senior Sen. John Cornyn called "embarrassing." But Paxton's role in helping Trump unsuccessfully overturn his 2020 election loss earned him Trump's support and helped him defeat the last member of the Bush dynasty in elected office. -Grace Panetta  The 'Unbreakable Nine' could get broken upRep. Henry CuellarKevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesA pair of moderate House Democrats who launched a short-lived rebellion against President Joe Biden's economic agenda are battling for their political survival this evening.Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia are facing off against rivals in a pair of closely-watched primary races. Cuellar is competing against Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney with endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. And Bourdeaux is locked in a tight race against Rep. Lucy McBath, another candidate with strong progressive support.Progressives are hoping to oust moderates who they argue helped tank Biden's expansive social and climate spending package once known as Build Back Better. In particular, they're focused on unseating Cuellar, one of the "Unbreakable Nine" House Democrats who nearly derailed Biden's agenda. Sanders recently campaigned with Cisneros in San Antonio, Texas. He cast the race as a "battle against the billionaire class."Last year, both Cuellar and Bordeaux joined a rebellion with seven other House Democrats to split the bipartisan infrastructure law from passing alongside the Build Back Better bill. The latter measure eventually died in the Senate.— Joseph Zeballos-RoigArkansas polls have closedSen. John BoozmanBallotpediaArkansas closed its polls at 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday and results should begin to trickle in soon. We've got two pages tracking Arkansas races: One for the Senate, where incumbent Sen. John Boozman is looking to retain his seat, and one for Arkansas' gubernatorial and local races.— Madison HallThe state of play in AlabamaAlabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a news conference in Montgomery.AP Photo/Kim ChandlerIncumbent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is believed to be a strong frontrunner to win renomination in deeply conservative Alabama, on the road to a likely GOP win this fall.And in the GOP Senate primary, GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, Katie Britt, who is Sen. Richard Shelby's former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant have been in a heated race for months. The 50-percent threshold is a tall one, and the top two candidates will likely head to a June 21 runoff. — John L. DormanGov. Brian Kemp trounces Trump-backed David PerdueGeorgia Gov. Brian Kemp walks onstage for a campaign event in Kennesaw, Georgia.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump endorsed David Perdue, an ex-US senator, to punish Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for not supporting his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. But Perdue's campaign struggled to keep pace with Kemp's spending, and Kemp resoundingly defeated Perdue early on Tuesday night, dealing a huge blow to Trump.Perdue is now the third Trump-endorsed candidate to lose in three weeks, following Charles Herbster in Nebraska and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin in Idaho. — Grace PanettaInsider on the ground in GeorgiaGeorgia gubernatorial hopeful David Perdue poses alongside a cardboard cutout of former President Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Augusta, Georgia.Warren Rojas/InsiderOver the past few days, Insider correspondent Warren Rojas has traveled across Georgia attending events headlined by many of the leading Republican contenders and speaking with voters about everything from Gov. Brian Kemp's standing in the party to the influence of former President Donald Trump.Here are some of the highlights:Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday traveled to Georgia to campaign on behalf of Kemp, putting him at odds with his former boss, who is all-in for ex-Sen. David Perdue. While Kemp was thought to be vulnerable over his defense of the integrity of the 2020 presidential vote in the state, Perdue has lagged in fundraising and endorsements, and the incumbent has also effectively used his bully pulpit to work in tandem with the GOP-controlled legislature to enact conservative legislation.While Perdue has had trouble gaining traction in the polls, controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene remains a major draw for conservatives. She remains a powerful force in the MAGA movement, and is highly regarded as the favorite this fall in her congressional district, which was drawn to elect a Republican.— John L. DormanWhat is Herschel Walker's John Hancock worth?Herschel Walker speaks at a Trump rally in Georgia.Sean Rayford/Getty ImagesRepublican US Senate candidate Herschel Walker has some significant — and complicated — personal finances. So significant and complicated, apparently, that Walker failed for months to properly report millions of dollars in earnings that he's required by federal law to disclose, as Insider reporter Madison Hall revealed last week.But here's another financial curiosity: If Walker wins his primary tonight as expected, then defeats incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in November's general election, he'll stand to earn a standard Senate salary of $174,000.That's less than Walker, a former football star, earned last year from "memorabilia autograph services" he provided to Gary Takahashi Sports Marketing LLC, a firm known for monetizing athletes' John Hancocks.Walker's most recent personal financial disclosure, submitted May 15 to the US Senate, indicates Gary Takahashi Sports Marketing LLC paid Walker "wages" of $211,544. — Dave LevinthalMarjorie Taylor Greene: Disney fan or no?Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.Megan Varner/Getty ImagesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia faces a handful of Republican primary challengers tonight, most notably "no-nonsense conservative" Jennifer Strahan. But the bombastic freshman is expected to win her party's nomination on the strength of her ultra-MAGA platform. Recently, Greene picked a fight with Walt Disney Co. for its opposition to a new Florida law that outlaws lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation. But what many Georgia voters probably don't realize is that the lawmaker personally invests in Disney stock. Asked about this, Greene told Insider that she doesn't make her own stock trades.She reiterated this assertion during a candidate debate earlier this month when one of her opponents, Seth Synstelien, asked her about her investments in defense contractor stocks."I usually find out about stock trades when I read them in the news just like you have," Greene said. "I signed an agreement with our financial advisor that I don't know anything about trades made on behalf of me or my husband. I always find out about them when they are written by leftists like Business Insider just like you are talking about."— Dave Levinthal Stacey Abrams' campaign is spending big bucks on securityStacey Abrams addresses the Gwinnett County Democratic Party fundraiser in Norcross, Georgia.Akili-Casundria Ramsess/ APStacey Abrams will cruise to victory in Georgia's gubernatorial primary today but is gearing up for one of the most contentious races in the country.As one of the most high-profile Democrats in the nation, she's spent a substantial sum on security. In fact, her security agency, Executive Protection Agencies, was the third highest payee in her campaign expense reports, costing her campaign a total of $390,132. As Insider's C. Ryan Barber previously reported, Abrams' voting rights PAC, Fair Fight, spent more than $1.4 million on security in 2020 and 2021, with the bulk of that money going toward Executive Protection Agencies.And while these expenditures are significantly more than that of most politicians and candidates in the US, the threats are real: former congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in 2011 at a constituent meeting and GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise was shot at a Congressional baseball game in 2017.— Madison HallPolls close in the Peach StateGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta. Georgia election officials have announced an audit of presidential election results that will trigger a full hand recount.AP Photo/Brynn AndersonPolls have just officially closed in Georgia. We're watching a Senate primary, former Sen. David Perdue's challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp, another Trump-backed challenge to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and a number of House primaries, including two Democratic House members facing off for the same Georgia district. Our Warren Rojas reports from the Kemp watch party that some counties are keeping polling locations open until 8 p.m. to account for delays at the beginning of the day, so we won't get statewide race calls until after then.–Grace PanettaInsider's Warren Rojas is in Georgia covering the governor raceGeorgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former US Vice President Mike Pence attend a campaign event at the Cobb County International Airport.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesFor a primer on the high stakes for the GOP in Georgia, check out this rundown of the race for Governor from Insider's Warren Rojas and Elvina Nawaguna. Rojas is in Georgia and will be reporting live from The Peach State all night. Both the former president and the former vice president have come down on opposite sides in the tense primary, they write:Perdue supporters are threatening to sit out the November elections if their candidate loses the primary rather than vote for Kemp, who they still hold responsible for Trump's 2020 loss in Georgia. Trump's team did not respond to a request for comment on the tele-rally, which comes days after news reports that he was backing away from Perdue as polls showed the candidate losing.Meanwhile, Kemp is already anticipating that pro-Trump Republicans could try to challenge his primary win after the Tuesday vote. He's trying to get ahead of it by assuring voters that any "mechanical" issues that might have marred the 2020 election have already been solved through a bill he signed into law last year.- Walt HickeyDonald Trump's funky winning ratePennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz joins former President Donald Trump onstage during a rally in support of his campaign at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesHere's what we know about former President Donald Trump's primary endorsee win record: His numbers are great when the person he's endorsing is running unopposed or faces tepid or token opposition. It's easy to pick winners when you know they're going to win, right?Where things get funky for Trump: When he endorses a candidate in a tight, tough Republican primary race.In these kinds of contests, Trump's picks have often faltered or underperformed, as Jake Lahut, Madison Hall, Brent D. Griffiths, and Warren Rojas report in this analysis with lots of cool charts.What does that mean for tonight's races? It means that in Georgia, for example, Republican US Senate candidate Herschel Walker — a Trump endorsee — will likely cruise to victory because he has minimal opposition. But on the same ballot, Trump's gubernatorial pick, former US Sen. David Perdue, could very well lose to Trump nemesis and current Gov. Brian Kemp. — Dave LevinthalLive election results start streaming in at 7 p.m. ET. Here's where to find the results.Georgia election officials counting ballots.Jessica McGowan/Getty ImagesWe're covering dozens of primary races up and down the ticket in four states — click on the links below to see live results for each race Georgia Senate Georgia governor  Georgia secretary of stateGeorgia House and state legislature Alabama Senate & HouseAlabama governor & state legislatureTexas' 28th District Democratic primary runoffTexas attorney general and congressional runoffsArkansas Senate & HouseArkansas governor & state legislaturePolls close at 7 p.m. ET in Georgia, 8 p.m. ET in Alabama and most of Texas, and 8:30 p.m. ET in Arkansas  -Grace Panetta Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 25th, 2022

Live election updates: Sarah Huckabee Sanders wins nomination in Arkansas, Kemp beats Trump-backed Purdue in Georgia

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and ex-Sen. David Perdue are vying for the GOP nomination, pitting a sitting governor against a Trump-backed challenger. InsiderInsider is be bringing you real-time election votes tonight for governor races, congressional races, a high-profile GOP primary over a safe Alabama senate seat, and state legislature primaries from Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and even a few high profile runoffs in Texas.Here's what we're paying attention to:Alabama's ruby-red Senate seat is up for grabs, with a congressman vying against a former Senate chief of staff in a GOP primary for the seat.And in Texas, incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar is facing a progressive challenger from Jessica Cisneros in a runoff election after their March primary went into overtime.Abrams and Kemp set for a rematch in GeorgiaStacey Abrams.Zach Gibson/Getty ImagesGeorgia's 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams easily cleared the field on Tuesday to secure her party's nomination for 2022. She will again face off against Gov. Brian Kemp, who easily jettisoned Trump-backed primary challenger David Perdue. Kemp's win sets up a repeat of the contentious 2018 battle that catapulted Georgia into the spotlight as a possible blue-trending swing state — and made Abrams a household name. While Abrams lost that contest, which she decried as unfair and tainted by voter suppression, she spent the subsequent time at the forefront of a nationwide push for voting rights. The 2022 rematch will reopen old wounds, bring in tons of outside money, and ultimately decide Georgia's path as a battleground state. — Grace Panetta Rep. Lucy McBath beats Rep. Carolyn Bordeaux in Georgia member-vs-member primary.US House of RepresentativesRep. Lucy McBath defeated Democratic challengers Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Donna McLeod on Tuesday, according to Decision Desk HQ. McBath will go on to face the winner of tonight's GOP primary race to become the next representative for Georgia's 7th Congressional District.- Madison HallSarah Huckabee Sanders, former Trump White House Press Secretary, wins GOP nomination for Arkansas governorChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSarah Huckabee Sanders was a fixture in the Trump White House for years, and cruises to the nomination. She secured the Republican nomination for governor of Arkansas on Tuesday night, Decision Desk HQ has called. She hopes to take the job once held by her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. - Madison Hall and Walt HickeyMarjorie Taylor Greene cruises to victory in bid to retain House seatRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.John Bazemore-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene easily coasted to victory on Tuesday night, bringing in well over the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. She is vying to retain her seat in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. Click here to follow the other Georgia congressional races.— Madison HallMo Brooks, mo' (financial disclosure) problemsRepublican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama conducts a news conference.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesMo Brooks, who's on the comeback trail in Alabama after getting dumped by former President Donald Trump, is one of 60 members of Congress who violated the STOCK Act in the past year. His, however, was one of the most memorable.Brooks previously railed against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, accusing it of playing politics with its vaccine data. Despite his disdain for the pharmaceutical giant, Brooks sold up to $50,000 in Pfizer stock in August 2021, but failed to disclose it until October of the same year, violating the federal STOCK Act. The reason for the late filing? Brooks' wife, Martha. She told Insider that she runs the family's investments, including her husband's, in addition to filing disclosures. Martha also told Insider that she's in charge of deciding which stocks to buy and sell in accordance with their family's financial advisor, but never with Mo's knowledge.According to Martha, her husband didn't even know he owned any Pfizer stock to begin with.— Madison HallBush loses, embattled AG wins another termGeorge P. BushJoe Skipper/ReutersTexas AG Paxton defeated Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a primary runoff for another term as attorney general. Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud since 2015 but has yet to stand to trial and is reportedly facing an FBI investigation for abusing his office to benefit a wealthy donor, scandals Texas' senior Sen. John Cornyn called "embarrassing." But Paxton's role in helping Trump unsuccessfully overturn his 2020 election loss earned him Trump's support and helped him defeat the last member of the Bush dynasty in elected office. -Grace Panetta  The 'Unbreakable Nine' could get broken upRep. Henry CuellarKevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesA pair of moderate House Democrats who launched a short-lived rebellion against President Joe Biden's economic agenda are battling for their political survival this evening.Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia are facing off against rivals in a pair of closely-watched primary races. Cuellar is competing against Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney with endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. And Bourdeaux is locked in a tight race against Rep. Lucy McBath, another candidate with strong progressive support.Progressives are hoping to oust moderates who they argue helped tank Biden's expansive social and climate spending package once known as Build Back Better. In particular, they're focused on unseating Cuellar, one of the "Unbreakable Nine" House Democrats who nearly derailed Biden's agenda. Sanders recently campaigned with Cisneros in San Antonio, Texas. He cast the race as a "battle against the billionaire class."Last year, both Cuellar and Bordeaux joined a rebellion with seven other House Democrats to split the bipartisan infrastructure law from passing alongside the Build Back Better bill. The latter measure eventually died in the Senate.— Joseph Zeballos-RoigArkansas polls have closedSen. John BoozmanBallotpediaArkansas closed its polls at 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday and results should begin to trickle in soon. We've got two pages tracking Arkansas races: One for the Senate, where incumbent Sen. John Boozman is looking to retain his seat, and one for Arkansas' gubernatorial and local races.— Madison HallThe state of play in AlabamaAlabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a news conference in Montgomery.AP Photo/Kim ChandlerIncumbent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is believed to be a strong frontrunner to win renomination in deeply conservative Alabama, on the road to a likely GOP win this fall.And in the GOP Senate primary, GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, Katie Britt, who is Sen. Richard Shelby's former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant have been in a heated race for months. The 50-percent threshold is a tall one, and the top two candidates will likely head to a June 21 runoff. — John L. DormanGov. Brian Kemp trounces Trump-backed David PerdueGeorgia Gov. Brian Kemp walks onstage for a campaign event in Kennesaw, Georgia.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump endorsed David Perdue, an ex-US senator, to punish Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for not supporting his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. But Perdue's campaign struggled to keep pace with Kemp's spending, and Kemp resoundingly defeated Perdue early on Tuesday night, dealing a huge blow to Trump.Perdue is now the third Trump-endorsed candidate to lose in three weeks, following Charles Herbster in Nebraska and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin in Idaho. — Grace PanettaInsider on the ground in GeorgiaGeorgia gubernatorial hopeful David Perdue poses alongside a cardboard cutout of former President Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Augusta, Georgia.Warren Rojas/InsiderOver the past few days, Insider correspondent Warren Rojas has traveled across Georgia attending events headlined by many of the leading Republican contenders and speaking with voters about everything from Gov. Brian Kemp's standing in the party to the influence of former President Donald Trump.Here are some of the highlights:Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday traveled to Georgia to campaign on behalf of Kemp, putting him at odds with his former boss, who is all-in for ex-Sen. David Perdue. While Kemp was thought to be vulnerable over his defense of the integrity of the 2020 presidential vote in the state, Perdue has lagged in fundraising and endorsements, and the incumbent has also effectively used his bully pulpit to work in tandem with the GOP-controlled legislature to enact conservative legislation.While Perdue has had trouble gaining traction in the polls, controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene remains a major draw for conservatives. She remains a powerful force in the MAGA movement, and is highly regarded as the favorite this fall in her congressional district, which was drawn to elect a Republican.— John L. DormanWhat is Herschel Walker's John Hancock worth?Herschel Walker speaks at a Trump rally in Georgia.Sean Rayford/Getty ImagesRepublican US Senate candidate Herschel Walker has some significant — and complicated — personal finances. So significant and complicated, apparently, that Walker failed for months to properly report millions of dollars in earnings that he's required by federal law to disclose, as Insider reporter Madison Hall revealed last week.But here's another financial curiosity: If Walker wins his primary tonight as expected, then defeats incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in November's general election, he'll stand to earn a standard Senate salary of $174,000.That's less than Walker, a former football star, earned last year from "memorabilia autograph services" he provided to Gary Takahashi Sports Marketing LLC, a firm known for monetizing athletes' John Hancocks.Walker's most recent personal financial disclosure, submitted May 15 to the US Senate, indicates Gary Takahashi Sports Marketing LLC paid Walker "wages" of $211,544. — Dave LevinthalMarjorie Taylor Greene: Disney fan or no?Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.Megan Varner/Getty ImagesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia faces a handful of Republican primary challengers tonight, most notably "no-nonsense conservative" Jennifer Strahan. But the bombastic freshman is expected to win her party's nomination on the strength of her ultra-MAGA platform. Recently, Greene picked a fight with Walt Disney Co. for its opposition to a new Florida law that outlaws lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation. But what many Georgia voters probably don't realize is that the lawmaker personally invests in Disney stock. Asked about this, Greene told Insider that she doesn't make her own stock trades.She reiterated this assertion during a candidate debate earlier this month when one of her opponents, Seth Synstelien, asked her about her investments in defense contractor stocks."I usually find out about stock trades when I read them in the news just like you have," Greene said. "I signed an agreement with our financial advisor that I don't know anything about trades made on behalf of me or my husband. I always find out about them when they are written by leftists like Business Insider just like you are talking about."— Dave Levinthal Stacey Abrams' campaign is spending big bucks on securityStacey Abrams addresses the Gwinnett County Democratic Party fundraiser in Norcross, Georgia.Akili-Casundria Ramsess/ APStacey Abrams will cruise to victory in Georgia's gubernatorial primary today but is gearing up for one of the most contentious races in the country.As one of the most high-profile Democrats in the nation, she's spent a substantial sum on security. In fact, her security agency, Executive Protection Agencies, was the third highest payee in her campaign expense reports, costing her campaign a total of $390,132. As Insider's C. Ryan Barber previously reported, Abrams' voting rights PAC, Fair Fight, spent more than $1.4 million on security in 2020 and 2021, with the bulk of that money going toward Executive Protection Agencies.And while these expenditures are significantly more than that of most politicians and candidates in the US, the threats are real: former congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in 2011 at a constituent meeting and GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise was shot at a Congressional baseball game in 2017.— Madison HallPolls close in the Peach StateGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta. Georgia election officials have announced an audit of presidential election results that will trigger a full hand recount.AP Photo/Brynn AndersonPolls have just officially closed in Georgia. We're watching a Senate primary, former Sen. David Perdue's challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp, another Trump-backed challenge to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and a number of House primaries, including two Democratic House members facing off for the same Georgia district. Our Warren Rojas reports from the Kemp watch party that some counties are keeping polling locations open until 8 p.m. to account for delays at the beginning of the day, so we won't get statewide race calls until after then.–Grace PanettaInsider's Warren Rojas is in Georgia covering the governor raceGeorgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former US Vice President Mike Pence attend a campaign event at the Cobb County International Airport.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesFor a primer on the high stakes for the GOP in Georgia, check out this rundown of the race for Governor from Insider's Warren Rojas and Elvina Nawaguna. Rojas is in Georgia and will be reporting live from The Peach State all night. Both the former president and the former vice president have come down on opposite sides in the tense primary, they write:Perdue supporters are threatening to sit out the November elections if their candidate loses the primary rather than vote for Kemp, who they still hold responsible for Trump's 2020 loss in Georgia. Trump's team did not respond to a request for comment on the tele-rally, which comes days after news reports that he was backing away from Perdue as polls showed the candidate losing.Meanwhile, Kemp is already anticipating that pro-Trump Republicans could try to challenge his primary win after the Tuesday vote. He's trying to get ahead of it by assuring voters that any "mechanical" issues that might have marred the 2020 election have already been solved through a bill he signed into law last year.- Walt HickeyDonald Trump's funky winning ratePennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz joins former President Donald Trump onstage during a rally in support of his campaign at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesHere's what we know about former President Donald Trump's primary endorsee win record: His numbers are great when the person he's endorsing is running unopposed or faces tepid or token opposition. It's easy to pick winners when you know they're going to win, right?Where things get funky for Trump: When he endorses a candidate in a tight, tough Republican primary race.In these kinds of contests, Trump's picks have often faltered or underperformed, as Jake Lahut, Madison Hall, Brent D. Griffiths, and Warren Rojas report in this analysis with lots of cool charts.What does that mean for tonight's races? It means that in Georgia, for example, Republican US Senate candidate Herschel Walker — a Trump endorsee — will likely cruise to victory because he has minimal opposition. But on the same ballot, Trump's gubernatorial pick, former US Sen. David Perdue, could very well lose to Trump nemesis and current Gov. Brian Kemp. — Dave LevinthalLive election results start streaming in at 7 p.m. ET. Here's where to find the results.Georgia election officials counting ballots.Jessica McGowan/Getty ImagesWe're covering dozens of primary races up and down the ticket in four states — click on the links below to see live results for each race Georgia Senate Georgia governor  Georgia secretary of stateGeorgia House and state legislature Alabama Senate & HouseAlabama governor & state legislatureTexas' 28th District Democratic primary runoffTexas attorney general and congressional runoffsArkansas Senate & HouseArkansas governor & state legislaturePolls close at 7 p.m. ET in Georgia, 8 p.m. ET in Alabama and most of Texas, and 8:30 p.m. ET in Arkansas  -Grace Panetta Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 24th, 2022

Live updates: Gov. Brian Kemp triumphs over Trump-backed David Purdue in Georgia

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and ex-Sen. David Perdue are vying for the GOP nomination, pitting a sitting governor against a Trump-backed challenger. InsiderInsider is be bringing you real-time election votes tonight for governor races, congressional races, a high-profile GOP primary over a safe Alabama senate seat, and state legislature primaries from Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and even a few high profile runoffs in Texas.Here's what we're paying attention to:Alabama's ruby-red Senate seat is up for grabs, with a congressman vying against a former Senate chief of staff in a GOP primary for the seat.And in Texas, incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar is facing a progressive challenger from Jessica Cisneros in a runoff election after their March primary went into overtime.Marjorie Taylor Greene cruises to victory in bid to retain House seatRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.John Bazemore-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene easily coasted to victory on Tuesday night, bringing in well over the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. She is vying to retain her seat in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. Click here to follow the other Georgia congressional races.— Madison HallMo Brooks, mo' (financial disclosure) problemsRepublican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama conducts a news conference.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesMo Brooks, who's on the comeback trail in Alabama after getting dumped by former President Donald Trump, is one of 60 members of Congress who violated the STOCK Act in the past year. His, however, was one of the most memorable.Brooks previously railed against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, accusing it of playing politics with its vaccine data. Despite his disdain for the pharmaceutical giant, Brooks sold up to $50,000 in Pfizer stock in August 2021, but failed to disclose it until October of the same year, violating the federal STOCK Act. The reason for the late filing? Brooks' wife, Martha. She told Insider that she runs the family's investments, including her husband's, in addition to filing disclosures. Martha also told Insider that she's in charge of deciding which stocks to buy and sell in accordance with their family's financial advisor, but never with Mo's knowledge.According to Martha, her husband didn't even know he owned any Pfizer stock to begin with.— Madison HallBush loses, embattled AG wins another termGeorge P. BushJoe Skipper/ReutersTexas AG Paxton defeated Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a primary runoff for another term as attorney general. Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud since 2015 but has yet to stand to trial and is reportedly facing an FBI investigation for abusing his office to benefit a wealthy donor, scandals Texas' senior Sen. John Cornyn called "embarrassing." But Paxton's role in helping Trump unsuccessfully overturn his 2020 election loss earned him Trump's support and helped him defeat the last member of the Bush dynasty in elected office. -Grace Panetta  The 'Unbreakable Nine' could get broken upRep. Henry CuellarKevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesA pair of moderate House Democrats who launched a short-lived rebellion against President Joe Biden's economic agenda are battling for their political survival this evening.Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia are facing off against rivals in a pair of closely-watched primary races. Cuellar is competing against Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney with endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. And Bourdeaux is locked in a tight race against Rep. Lucy McBath, another candidate with strong progressive support.Progressives are hoping to oust moderates who they argue helped tank Biden's expansive social and climate spending package once known as Build Back Better. In particular, they're focused on unseating Cuellar, one of the "Unbreakable Nine" House Democrats who nearly derailed Biden's agenda. Sanders recently campaigned with Cisneros in San Antonio, Texas. He cast the race as a "battle against the billionaire class."Last year, both Cuellar and Bordeaux joined a rebellion with seven other House Democrats to split the bipartisan infrastructure law from passing alongside the Build Back Better bill. The latter measure eventually died in the Senate.— Joseph Zeballos-RoigArkansas polls have closedSen. John BoozmanBallotpediaArkansas closed its polls at 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday and results should begin to trickle in soon. We've got two pages tracking Arkansas races: One for the Senate, where incumbent Sen. John Boozman is looking to retain his seat, and one for Arkansas' gubernatorial and local races.— Madison HallThe state of play in AlabamaAlabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a news conference in Montgomery.AP Photo/Kim ChandlerIncumbent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is believed to be a strong frontrunner to win renomination in deeply conservative Alabama, on the road to a likely GOP win this fall.And in the GOP Senate primary, GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, Katie Britt, who is Sen. Richard Shelby's former chief of staff, and businessman Mike Durant have been in a heated race for months. The 50-percent threshold is a tall one, and the top two candidates will likely head to a June 21 runoff. — John L. DormanGov. Brian Kemp trounces Trump-backed David PerdueGeorgia Gov. Brian Kemp walks onstage for a campaign event in Kennesaw, Georgia.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump endorsed David Perdue, an ex-US senator, to punish Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for not supporting his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. But Perdue's campaign struggled to keep pace with Kemp's spending, and Kemp resoundingly defeated Perdue early on Tuesday night, dealing a huge blow to Trump.Perdue is now the third Trump-endorsed candidate to lose in three weeks, following Charles Herbster in Nebraska and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin in Idaho. — Grace PanettaInsider on the ground in GeorgiaGeorgia gubernatorial hopeful David Perdue poses alongside a cardboard cutout of former President Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Augusta, Georgia.Warren Rojas/InsiderOver the past few days, Insider correspondent Warren Rojas has traveled across Georgia attending events headlined by many of the leading Republican contenders and speaking with voters about everything from Gov. Brian Kemp's standing in the party to the influence of former President Donald Trump.Here are some of the highlights:Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday traveled to Georgia to campaign on behalf of Kemp, putting him at odds with his former boss, who is all-in for ex-Sen. David Perdue. While Kemp was thought to be vulnerable over his defense of the integrity of the 2020 presidential vote in the state, Perdue has lagged in fundraising and endorsements, and the incumbent has also effectively used his bully pulpit to work in tandem with the GOP-controlled legislature to enact conservative legislation.While Perdue has had trouble gaining traction in the polls, controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene remains a major draw for conservatives. She remains a powerful force in the MAGA movement, and is highly regarded as the favorite this fall in her congressional district, which was drawn to elect a Republican.— John L. DormanWhat is Herschel Walker's John Hancock worth?Herschel Walker speaks at a Trump rally in Georgia.Sean Rayford/Getty ImagesRepublican US Senate candidate Herschel Walker has some significant — and complicated — personal finances. So significant and complicated, apparently, that Walker failed for months to properly report millions of dollars in earnings that he's required by federal law to disclose, as Insider reporter Madison Hall revealed last week.But here's another financial curiosity: If Walker wins his primary tonight as expected, then defeats incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in November's general election, he'll stand to earn a standard Senate salary of $174,000.That's less than Walker, a former football star, earned last year from "memorabilia autograph services" he provided to Gary Takahashi Sports Marketing LLC, a firm known for monetizing athletes' John Hancocks.Walker's most recent personal financial disclosure, submitted May 15 to the US Senate, indicates Gary Takahashi Sports Marketing LLC paid Walker "wages" of $211,544. — Dave LevinthalMarjorie Taylor Greene: Disney fan or no?Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.Megan Varner/Getty ImagesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia faces a handful of Republican primary challengers tonight, most notably "no-nonsense conservative" Jennifer Strahan. But the bombastic freshman is expected to win her party's nomination on the strength of her ultra-MAGA platform. Recently, Greene picked a fight with Walt Disney Co. for its opposition to a new Florida law that outlaws lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation. But what many Georgia voters probably don't realize is that the lawmaker personally invests in Disney stock. Asked about this, Greene told Insider that she doesn't make her own stock trades.She reiterated this assertion during a candidate debate earlier this month when one of her opponents, Seth Synstelien, asked her about her investments in defense contractor stocks."I usually find out about stock trades when I read them in the news just like you have," Greene said. "I signed an agreement with our financial advisor that I don't know anything about trades made on behalf of me or my husband. I always find out about them when they are written by leftists like Business Insider just like you are talking about."— Dave Levinthal Stacey Abrams' campaign is spending big bucks on securityStacey Abrams addresses the Gwinnett County Democratic Party fundraiser in Norcross, Georgia.Akili-Casundria Ramsess/ APStacey Abrams will cruise to victory in Georgia's gubernatorial primary today but is gearing up for one of the most contentious races in the country.As one of the most high-profile Democrats in the nation, she's spent a substantial sum on security. In fact, her security agency, Executive Protection Agencies, was the third highest payee in her campaign expense reports, costing her campaign a total of $390,132. As Insider's C. Ryan Barber previously reported, Abrams' voting rights PAC, Fair Fight, spent more than $1.4 million on security in 2020 and 2021, with the bulk of that money going toward Executive Protection Agencies.And while these expenditures are significantly more than that of most politicians and candidates in the US, the threats are real: former congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in 2011 at a constituent meeting and GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise was shot at a Congressional baseball game in 2017.— Madison HallPolls close in the Peach StateGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta. Georgia election officials have announced an audit of presidential election results that will trigger a full hand recount.AP Photo/Brynn AndersonPolls have just officially closed in Georgia. We're watching a Senate primary, former Sen. David Perdue's challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp, another Trump-backed challenge to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and a number of House primaries, including two Democratic House members facing off for the same Georgia district. Our Warren Rojas reports from the Kemp watch party that some counties are keeping polling locations open until 8 p.m. to account for delays at the beginning of the day, so we won't get statewide race calls until after then.–Grace PanettaInsider's Warren Rojas is in Georgia covering the governor raceGeorgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former US Vice President Mike Pence attend a campaign event at the Cobb County International Airport.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesFor a primer on the high stakes for the GOP in Georgia, check out this rundown of the race for Governor from Insider's Warren Rojas and Elvina Nawaguna. Rojas is in Georgia and will be reporting live from The Peach State all night. Both the former president and the former vice president have come down on opposite sides in the tense primary, they write:Perdue supporters are threatening to sit out the November elections if their candidate loses the primary rather than vote for Kemp, who they still hold responsible for Trump's 2020 loss in Georgia. Trump's team did not respond to a request for comment on the tele-rally, which comes days after news reports that he was backing away from Perdue as polls showed the candidate losing.Meanwhile, Kemp is already anticipating that pro-Trump Republicans could try to challenge his primary win after the Tuesday vote. He's trying to get ahead of it by assuring voters that any "mechanical" issues that might have marred the 2020 election have already been solved through a bill he signed into law last year.- Walt HickeyDonald Trump's funky winning ratePennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz joins former President Donald Trump onstage during a rally in support of his campaign at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesHere's what we know about former President Donald Trump's primary endorsee win record: His numbers are great when the person he's endorsing is running unopposed or faces tepid or token opposition. It's easy to pick winners when you know they're going to win, right?Where things get funky for Trump: When he endorses a candidate in a tight, tough Republican primary race.In these kinds of contests, Trump's picks have often faltered or underperformed, as Jake Lahut, Madison Hall, Brent D. Griffiths, and Warren Rojas report in this analysis with lots of cool charts.What does that mean for tonight's races? It means that in Georgia, for example, Republican US Senate candidate Herschel Walker — a Trump endorsee — will likely cruise to victory because he has minimal opposition. But on the same ballot, Trump's gubernatorial pick, former US Sen. David Perdue, could very well lose to Trump nemesis and current Gov. Brian Kemp. — Dave LevinthalLive election results start streaming in at 7 p.m. ET. Here's where to find the results.Georgia election officials counting ballots.Jessica McGowan/Getty ImagesWe're covering dozens of primary races up and down the ticket in four states — click on the links below to see live results for each race Georgia Senate Georgia governor  Georgia secretary of stateGeorgia House and state legislature Alabama Senate & HouseAlabama governor & state legislatureTexas' 28th District Democratic primary runoffTexas attorney general and congressional runoffsArkansas Senate & HouseArkansas governor & state legislaturePolls close at 7 p.m. ET in Georgia, 8 p.m. ET in Alabama and most of Texas, and 8:30 p.m. ET in Arkansas  -Grace Panetta Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 24th, 2022

Here are 6 things to watch as Congress considers banning lawmakers from trading stocks

Insider's "Conflicted Congress" investigation found more than 1 in 10 members of Congress has violated a law designed to curb financial conflicts and promote transparency. A House panel is holding a hearing about congressional stock trading — one of the most concrete steps suggesting that reforms are ahead.Mark Wilson/Getty Images A key House panel will hold a hearing Thursday on congressional stock trading. The hearing comes after Insider found numerous STOCK Act violations and conflict-of-interest issues.  Stock-trading bans for judges and lawmakers' spouses could be particularly contentious. There isn't much members of Congress can agree on these days, even within their own party. Democrats are still divided over how to jumpstart the Build Back Better Act and are gearing up for a mostly party-line vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.But on Thursday, a key US House panel is turning its attention to a surprisingly unifying issue: government ethics. At the center of the hearing by the Committee on House Administration is a debate over the merits of banning federal lawmakers from trading individual stocks. The hearing is the first on the issue in more than a decade. It marks an acceleration on the matter after Insider's Conflicted Congress investigation found 1 in 10 members of Congress had failed to report their stock trades in a timely way or faced late penalties, as required by the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act.Insider's investigation also uncovered numerous conflict-of-interest concerns where members of Congress personally invested in industries they oversee. Recent reports show members or their spouses investing in missile manufacturers during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and lawmakers who hold stocks in Russian companies.Five witnesses will testify before the Committee on House Administration during Thursday's hearing. Here are six things to watch during the high-stakes hearing:Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, leads the Committee on House Administration.Nhat V. Meyer/The Mercury News via Getty ImagesHow serious are members about the possibility of a trading ban? Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the Committee on House Administration, never used the word "ban" last month when she announced the STOCK Act hearing. Her comments instead focused on making the current law more rigid. She mentioned the committee was investigating the extent to which members of Congress were following the rules about disclosing their trades. She also said they'd be looking at stronger penalties for members who don't report their trades on time. Members are supposed to pay a late fee of $200 the first time they are tardy, regardless of how late they reported their transactions or how much those transactions were worth. But right now — especially in the House — penalties for violating the STOCK Act are inconsistently enforced and the process is not transparent, Insider found. There isn't even a public ledger anywhere showing who paid a penalty."As we have seen through recent reporting, Congress has not been good about complying with the STOCK Act's disclosure requirements, and that's a problem," said Jennifer Schulp, director of Financial Regulation Studies at the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank. Republicans invited Schulp to testify, and she's opposed to a stock-trade ban because she said transparency helps to inform voters of what their elected officials are doing. But she said Congress should consider other ways to strengthen the STOCK Act, such as publicly reporting who is flouting the law and who paid fines. Shortening the timeframe between when lawmakers or their family members can make a trade and when they have to report it could also help, she said. Currently, lawmakers must publicly disclose stock trades within 30 to 45 days, depending on when members learned about their trades.Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, the Committee on House Administration's top Republican, said in an interview last month that he was skeptical about a ban but hadn't totally ruled it out. He stressed that Congress could improve lawmakers' ethics trainings to help them better comply with disclosure rules. Davis also said Congress could improve how it makes lawmakers' trading information  available to the public. But the committee will certainly hear about how and why to implement a stock trading ban. Democrats on the committee called on nonprofit anti-corruption organizations, including the Project on Government Oversight and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, to testify on behalf of a ban. Meanwhile, 37 former members of Congress on Wednesday asked current lawmakers to ban themselves — and their immediate family members — from trading stocks while in office.Enforcement: tougher and more transparent?Here's a recent example of how convoluted current congressional stock disclosure rules are. Stick with us — it's a bumpy ride.On February 28, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disclosed to the Clerk of the House of Representatives that her husband, Paul Pelosi,  purchased $2.9 million in stock on January 21. Pelosi also affirmed in her disclosure that she became aware of her husband's stock trades the same day, January 21. A stock disclosure filing submitted February 28, 2022, by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Clerk of the House of RepresentativesFederal law and House guidance states that members of Congress must disclose such stock trades "within 30 days of notice of the transaction." They have a maximum of 45 days to disclose a transaction in the event that a financial or stock broker bought stock on their behalf but didn't inform the member of Congress about it until, say, 35 or 40 days after doing so.At its face, this language indicates Pelosi disclosed her husband's trade one week late. Several former congressional ethics attorneys told Insider that this 30-day rule is real and clear — but that the Committee on House Ethics, in particular, doesn't follow it."The law requires members of Congress to disclose stock trades within 30 days of knowing of the trade, but the Ethics Committee has created exceptions contrary to law," said Kedric Payne, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center's general counsel and senior director for ethics and a former deputy chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics.Pelosi's office denied that the speaker was late and referred questions to the Committee on House Ethics. But the Committee on House Ethics, which enforces the STOCK Act, refused to answer Insider's questions — as has been the case for months.In October, however, Insider obtained an email from Tonya N. Sloans, the Committee on House Ethics' director of financial disclosure, advising another member of Congress that she actually had 45 days to disclose her stock transactions, and that the 30-day rule doesn't apply."As long as the transaction is reported within 45 days of the transaction … the transaction is timely," Sloans wrote.On March 4, Pelosi filed another disclosure with the Clerk of the House of Representatives. In it, she said that she didn't learn of her husband's stock trades on January 21, as she originally affirmed, but on February 28.An updated stock disclosure filing submitted March 4, 2022, by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Clerk of the House of Representatives"The Speaker was made aware of these transactions on February 28, 2022. The last disclosure has been amended to correct the notification date of these transactions," Pelosi deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill told Insider.There is no evidence that Pelosi paid a fine or was otherwise warned in the matter.On Thursday, expect lawmakers to debate whether Congress can do better when it comes to clarifying what existing law even requires of them. And bet that lawmakers will discuss whether they should provide more insight into what's now a decidedly opaque process for investigating potential STOCK Act disclosure violations and penalizing members who break the law.If they do talk about a ban, who will it apply to? Two bills, the Ban Conflicted Trading Act and the TRUST in Congress Act, would prevent lawmakers from trading individual stocks while in office. They'd force lawmakers to hold onto existing investments or have them put assets into a blind trust.Both bills have bipartisan support but differ in a key way: The TRUST in Congress Act would extend a ban to lawmakers' spouses. Several good government groups view a lawmaker-only ban as meaningless. They pan the idea that finances in a marriage can remain separate given that spouses do tend to live together, likely discuss their jobs on a regular basis and share in each other's wealth.Take Pelosi, for instance. Pelosi herself does not trade any stocks. But her husband, Paul, has millions of dollars worth of investments, including in companies that together spend tens of millions of dollars annually lobbying the federal government for favorable treatment. With her husband's wealth considered, Pelosi ranks among the wealthiest members of Congress. Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, a co-sponsor of the TRUST in Congress Act, speaks at a press conference outside the Capitol on December 21, 2020.Cheriss May/Getty ImagesWill senior staff get considered? Discussions on Capitol Hill about reforming the STOCK Act have included very few mentions of senior congressional staff. One big reason: lawmakers are concerned about being able to retain top talent when they know the people working for them can easily depart for a far more high-paying corporate lobbying position. Yet Insider has found that at least 182 of the highest-paid Capitol Hill staffers, who earned a minimum salary of $132,552, were late reporting their stock trades during 2020 and 2021 — in violation of the STOCK Act.These staffers often wield significant influence over their elected bosses. Many also regularly meet with special interests and corporate lobbyists, who could conceivably represent a company or industry in which a congressional staffer personally invests. That's why the STOCK Act obligated senior staff to disclose their stock trades, just as lawmakers have to. These disclosure documents, however, are notoriously difficult to access: One must physically go to the US Capitol to obtain them. Even if you successfully access the office where the records are, and snag one of the few dedicated computer terminals where you may access them, you're not allowed to download them. But you can print them — for 20 cents per page.Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat of Virginia who co-sponsored the bipartisan TRUST in Congress Act, told Insider one of her biggest concerns was that Thursday's hearing will attempt to address too many issues at once and distract from Congress focusing on … members of Congress. "I'm hyper alert to things that might be poison pills," Spanberger said, citing the staffer example and then questions over whether to create new requirements for federal employees. "I'm not in any way opposed to it," she said of a ban on trading for top staffers, particularly those on committees. "But the principle I'm focused on is that we are the elected ones. We are the ones who have to demonstrate that we should be, and are, trustworthy." Some members of Congress think it's time for Supreme Court justices to provide far more information about their finances while they sit on the bench.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesWill Congress target judges?Spanberger's concerns extend to the question over whether to create new requirements for the judiciary — she's concerned that the legislation might become too large and result in nothing being able to pass. In September 2021, The Wall Street Journal released a bombshell investigation that found 131 federal judges broke the law by hearing cases in which they had a financial interest. As a result, some lawmakers and outside groups started talking about restrictions on their stock ownership. "The recent scandals make it clear that it is time to go a step further and ban stock trading activity altogether for some, if not most, government officials," Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, wrote in comments he submitted to the committee. While Public Citizen says it would support numerous reforms on stock trading, it is encouraging Congress to be more encompassing, including by banning Supreme Court justices from trading. Even Pelosi has said that it might be important to consider "government-wide" reforms."The court system, the third branch of government, the Judiciary, has no reporting," she said during a press conference on February 9. "The Supreme Court has no disclosure. It has no reporting of stock transactions.  And yet it makes important decisions every day." Will members use the hearing as an opportunity to attack each other? The discussion about congressional stock trading is happening smack at the start of a midterm election year.Political campaigns know that voters are agitated by the idea that lawmakers are in Washington to benefit and enrich themselves rather than the people they were sent there to represent. They're running tons of ads and fundraising emails attacking their opponents about their stock trades. Hearings can often provide fodder for even more attacks. So the question is, how much will members call out each other for STOCK Act violations or conflict-of-interest questions? Bryan Metzger contributed to this report.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 6th, 2022

At least 182 high-ranking congressional staffers have violated a federal conflict-of-interest law with overdue disclosure of their personal stock trades

Watchdog groups say the trend shows Congress isn't taking the STOCK Act seriously. Rebecca Zisser/InsideriStock; Skye Gould/Insider Insider analyzed congressional staff financial filings from January 2020 to mid-September 2021. Reporters found at least 182 instances in which senior staffers were late disclosing stock trades. "A lot of people just ignore the law, and it goes unenforced," one ethics watchdog said. At least 182 of Capitol Hill's most influential and highest-paid staffers have blown past deadlines to detail and disclose their personal stock trades — violating a federal conflict-of-interest law in the process, an Insider analysis of congressional financial documents reveals. The staffers' failure to properly disclose the transactions come with a laundry list of excuses and rationalizations. They're also a violation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, a 2012 law designed to prevent insider trading and defend against financial conflicts among elected officials and their top aides.Insider's tally includes aides in both the House and the Senate with high-ranking jobs such as chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors. Also among them are workers known as professional staff members, who serve on congressional committees to advise lawmakers on policy.High-ranking congressional staffers often wield significant influence over their elected bosses. Many also regularly meet with special interests and corporate lobbyists, who could conceivably represent a company or industry in which a congressional staffer personally invests. That's why a law President Barack Obama signed almost a decade ago obligated senior staff to disclose their stock trades, just as lawmakers had to.The late-reporting problem is decidedly bipartisan. The violations split almost exactly down the middle between Democrats and Republicans.The 182-person finding is part of Insider's exhaustive Conflicted Congress project, in which journalists reviewed nearly 9,000 financial-disclosure reports for every sitting lawmaker and their top-ranking staffers.Watchdog groups say the sheer number of late filings is evidence of a far-too-lax attitude on Capitol Hill about ethics rules. The congressional staffers' infractions come on top of STOCK Act disclosure violations by at least 48 members of Congress.Compounding the problem, ethics watchdogs say, is a secretive enforcement process. Both lawmakers and their staff work out any breaches of the law in private. Few are open with the public about why they failed to disclose their stock trades properly or how they worked to fix the issue."Your research is showing that when it is not disclosed a lot of people just ignore the law and it goes unenforced," said Craig Holman, a government-affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen who helped shape the STOCK Act and wants to make it stronger.He called Insider's findings "stunning" and said all documents detailing people's trades, and any enforcement steps taken, should be made public.The chief of staff for Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican of Arkansas, appeared to be late disclosing numerous trades in 2020.Gary Cameron/ReutersStaffers have lots of excusesInsider reached out to 48 staffers whose trades appeared to be disclosed the latest, as well as those who appeared to be the most frequent STOCK Act violators. Thirty-four of them didn't respond, weren't forthcoming about why their disclosures were late, or refused to share how they attempted to comply with the law. Some who provided information about why they were late said they forgot or misunderstood the deadlines despite receiving ethics training that all staff are required to take, both when they get hired and then periodically over the course of their Capitol Hill careers. Others blamed a financial advisor or spouse for failing to tell them about the trade in a timely manner. Still others described a convoluted, difficult-to-understand disclosure process that didn't always accommodate their various financial situations — including unexpected inheritances or gifts to family members — despite their best efforts to comply with the STOCK Act.Stock trades exceeding $1,000 from senior congressional staffers, their spouses, and any dependent children are supposed to be a matter of public record. Yet many senior staffers who were late disclosing their trades were unwilling to open up about what happened or whether they faced a penalty.Douglas Coutts, the chief of staff for Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican of Arkansas who is making early moves toward a 2024 presidential run, appeared to be late disclosing numerous trades in 2020, each valued between $1,001 and $15,000. He listed trades in companies including the insurance provider Chubb Limited; Google's parent company, Alphabet; and the healthcare company Abbott Labs, known for its COVID-19 testing capabilities. Cotton sits on the Judiciary Committee, which has scrutinized large tech companies like Google over antitrust concerns.At least one document appears to show that Coutts disclosed some trades nearly two months past a federally mandated deadline.An attorney for Cotton's office declined to explain why Coutts' disclosures appeared to be habitually tardy, and she called the financial-disclosure requirements "onerous.""He is all squared away," Cotton's general counsel, Meg McGaughey, said of Coutts, declining to elaborate further on the documents.Bryan Petit, a senior professional staff member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by the conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, appeared to be about a year and nine months late disclosing a JPMorgan trade from 2019. The trade was made by his spouse and was valued at $15,001 to $50,000."Senator Manchin's staff is in full compliance with Senate Ethics Committee requirements," Manchin's communications director, Sam Runyon, said without elaborating. Walter Shaub, who leads the Government Ethics Initiative at the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, said he was shocked by the majority of staffers who weren't forthcoming, given their access to lawmakers and lobbyists and knowledge about pending legislation."We have entrusted these people with great power. They owe us great transparency," he said. "They are not even giving us minimal transparency.""The public will have questions if these things keep happening," he added. "And there is nothing on the culture of the Hill that suggests this will stop happening.""There is at least an optics problem," said Jason Briefel, the director of policy and outreach at the Senior Executives Association, a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional association representing career federal civil servants. "All the members and staff, these are significant numbers."Some congressional staffers were forthcoming.Mike Henry, the chief of staff for Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat of Virginia, was 1 to 1 1/2 years late disclosing five sales on different dates in 2019 that his spouse made in Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. stock. The biotech company develops treatments for serious diseases such as cystic fibrosis, and it has faced backlash from state regulators for high prices. Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton's 2016 vice-presidential running mate, serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which has the power to regulate the healthcare industry and oversees government healthcare programs.Henry's highest Vertex sale was valued at $50,001 to $100,000. He told Insider the Senate Ethics Committee informed him that he'd forgotten to file a disclosure about it. He said that he paid a fine — the standard late-filing penalty is $200 — but that the committee didn't give him a receipt."I will certainly work harder to avoid such oversights in the future, as disclosing information like this is important to me," he said.The office of Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat of Ohio, did not explain why his state director, John Ryan, appeared to be about 3 ½ years late disclosing a 2018 purchase worth up to $15,000 in TotalEnergies SE, a petroleum refining company. Trudy Perkins, Brown's communication director, said Ryan paid a late fee after the Senate Select Committee on Ethics notified him about the late reporting. One example of a staffer tardy in acknowledging a particularly large number of trades is Julie Leschke, a deputy chief of staff for Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Leschke and her husband, Dr. John Leschke, appeared to be more than two years late reporting at least 12 stock trades in companies that included Facebook, Amazon, and Alibaba. Taken together, the trades were worth at least $131,006 and as much as $440,000. Separate trades that appeared to be late were listed in several other documents she filed. Johnson's office attributed the late filing to a change in reporting requirements. In 2013, Leschke became state director and deputy chief of staff under a work category known as a "political fund designee" — someone who is allowed to engage in campaign activity, including fundraising, outside of Senate hours. Under Senate ethics rules, she only had to file annual personal financial disclosures in that role. Alexa Henning, deputy chief of staff for Johnson, said that Leschke filed her annual reports as required. Then, in 2018, a cost-of-living salary adjustment bumped Leschke into a different worker category that then required regular reporting of stock transactions, she said. "Senate Ethics noticed this in December of 2020 and contacted her," Henning said. "She worked closely with Ethics to quickly remedy. No waiver was necessary." Multiple other late filers didn't dispute the tardiness of their financial reporting, instead offering pandemic-related reasons for the lapses. Competing challenges mentioned include juggling work-from-home duties and full-time parenting while schools were closed; liquidating cash to bring home college-age students who would have otherwise been stranded abroad as international travel bans took hold; and caring for older relatives rather than leaving them isolated during quarantine. The staff director for Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, was late disclosing stock trades.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesComplex rules and minimal oversight Senate staffers receive automated email notifications from ethics officials when they're late disclosing their personal stock trades. But House staff face a far more complicated process and less oversight, Insider has learned. House staffers typically have to notice on their own that they forgot to disclose a stock trade on time. Then it's up to them to call up the House Ethics Committee to explain what happened and have a conversation with attorneys about whether they owe a fine or can apply for a waiver.  Gary Andres, the staff director for Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, said he didn't know one of his stock-trade disclosures was more than a year late until Insider asked him about it. He checked on it and said he spoke with the House Ethics Committee and "the matter has been resolved." The missing trade was valued at $500,000 to $1 million and was conducted by his spouse in Union Pacific Corp."My financial advisor filed this in January but due to a clerical error it was not logged in by the Ethic Committee," he said. "Once this clerical error was discovered by my financial advisor he filed it again in 2021."Robert Marcus, the chief of staff to Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat of Illinois, filed a disclosure roughly eight months late disclosing a purchase in Insulet Corp., a medical-device company whose products include a wearable insulin dispenser to treat diabetes.  Marcus told Insider he recently called the House Ethics Committee to let it know and the panel assessed a $200 fine, which he said he would pay. Marcus said he forgot to disclose the trade, valued between $1,001 and $15,000, on time. He said that he didn't trade large amounts of stock but that investing was fun for him and something he'd been curious about since childhood. "It wasn't nefarious," he said of missing the deadline. "It was just a missed opportunity or a missed deadline that was off.""I'm just embarrassed of myself for missing it because I do care about these things," he added. "I do care about ethics in this place. And I'm very upset at the way things are going around here nowadays in that department with some people, but I don't want to be one of them."The communications director for Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut was late disclosing stock trades.Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty ImagesSmall consequences Most of the congressional staffers' late disclosures aren't nefarious — they happen because people aren't paying attention to the rules or are preoccupied with other parts of their lives, said a former, nonpartisan staffer for the Senate ethics panel.But the person also partly blamed the lack of serious consequences for filing disclosures late."If there is no real consequence for doing it wrong, what is the reason to really pay attention?" said the person, who requested anonymity to protect professional relationships.Staffers are supposed to pay a federally mandated fine starting at $200 after they've exceeded their deadline by 30 days. The only way to otherwise get right with the law after a tardy disclosure is to explain the reason behind the violation to the House or Senate ethics committees, which have the power to grant waivers that get staff out of paying a fine but still put them in compliance with the STOCK Act.These waivers are supposed to be granted only "in extraordinary cases," according to ethics manuals.No public ledger exists disclosing whether and when congressional staffers paid a fine or got a waiver. This makes it impossible to independently determine the extent to which congressional staffers are held accountable by Congress when they break the STOCK Act's disclosure rules. The only way to try to verify what happened is to go straight to the source of the violation. But only five senior staffers provided Insider with copies of their waivers. One was Maria McElwain, the communications director for Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. She disclosed 18 trades late that occurred over four months in 2019, the most recent of which appears to have happened about a year before it was disclosed. McElwain attributed the gaffe to miscommunication with her financial advisor about federal reporting requirements.The Senate Select Committee on Ethics waived her late fee after she fessed up, she said. "Since this was my first mistake and I confirmed that I had developed communication safeguards to ensure that it wouldn't happen again, I was granted a penalty waiver," McElwain told Insider. That waiver appears to have covered trades worth $32,018 to $305,000 and included investments in Home Depot, Apple, and Verizon Communications. If staffers don't disclose their stock trades by the deadline but have a reasonable excuse, then the Senate Select Committee on Ethics would likely waive their fee, said a senior Senate staff member.They were also likely to get excused if it was just their first time, said the senior Senate staffer, who had no record of improperly disclosing stock trades but spoke with Insider to help explain the relationship between the Senate staff and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. The Senate Select Committee on Ethics trains congressional staffers on how to fill out the financial documents, and some professional staff who work for committees even get ethics refresher courses focusing "on topics of relevance," including how to follow the STOCK Act, according to the senior Senate aide, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly.The House and the Senate also have attorneys in each Ethics Committee at the ready in case staff have any questions or want to discuss issues in their reports, three former congressional ethics staff told Insider. Holman said he thought all STOCK Act waivers should be made public to be able to determine whether they were being granted only in extraordinary cases."Sometimes waivers are justified — and that would be compliance — but we should be able to scrutinize the grounds by which waivers are being issued," he said. Shaub also raised concerns about the circumstances under which ethics committees were choosing to grant waivers."In the executive branch, 'I didn't know' or 'I forgot' will not get you out of the $200 fine," said Shaub, who previously served as the director at the US Office of Government Ethics. "The standard is supposed to be 'unusual hardship.' Not caring enough about ethics to know the rules isn't 'unusual hardship.' In fact, it's anything but unusual in Congress."The chief of staff for Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican of Iowa, said her finances were complicated and that she wasn't always able to disclose her finances on time.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesMurky disclosure rulesInsider reviewed every stock trade disclosed by high-level congressional staffers from January 1, 2020, to September 13, 2021. Their trades are listed in documents known as periodic transaction reports, which, for congressional staffers, are not available to the public online and must be obtained either through a cumbersome records-request process or by using a little-known computer terminal in congressional office buildings in Washington, DC.For the most part, Capitol Hill staff members are required to report their stock trades regularly only if they earn a congressional salary starting at $132,552 annually. That's generally the salary minimum for senior aides, but many other jobs on the Hill providing tech support or financial management for offices have similar compensation.All of these job descriptions appeared among the 182 people Insider identified as having submitted their disclosures late. Only four of the total identified appeared to be nonpartisan staff. The extent to which other Capitol Hill office employees with lower salaries trade stocks is unknown because they don't have to disclose it.Senior congressional staffers have 30 days to disclose a trade, or 45 days if they learned about a trade a few days after it happened, such as when a financial advisor made it and didn't notify them right away. The first penalty is $200 regardless of how late a staffer was, the number of companies the staffer invested in, or how much the staffer invested. Increasingly higher fines follow if they continue to be late — potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars in extreme cases, though Insider hasn't found evidence of staff or members of Congress paying such large fines.While filers are, by law, considered late after 30 days, they still have another 30-day "grace period" before congressional officials might fine them. Insider's analysis identified disclosures that ranged from as little as one day late to others that appeared to be four years late.A former investigative counsel at the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body that investigates ethics concerns and complaints in the House, said cases did emerge in which it could be hard for people to figure out whether they're supposed to submit a report. The former investigative counsel, who asked not to be named to speak candidly, offered the example of a spouse leaving a company and triggering a repurchase of their stock holdings.Some senior staff members told Insider that certain circumstances could make it harder to report their finances in a timely way. Lisa Goeas, the chief of staff for Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, called her finances "complicated.""My family had several transactions involving family businesses over the past few years that resulted in the trusts and underlying assets that I disclose," she said.Goeas said she worked closely with the Senate Ethics Committee on her reports to comply with the STOCK Act, saying, "I want to get them right." But she still has filed six disclosures late in seven years, and while she said she received a waiver for the first late-filing fine, she said she paid the others and they were in the range of $200 to $400. Goeas said that she did not direct or control the investments and that in some cases she filed her report past the deadline because the trust didn't provide her with needed information on time. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat of Virginia, introduced the bipartisan TRUST in Congress Act, which would require all members of Congress put certain investment assets in a blind trust.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesDon't hold your breath for a stronger STOCK ActGovernment experts say it's far past time to make the STOCK Act stronger. James Thurber, a professor at American University who is a congressional-studies scholar, said that for starters there should be more enforcement measures to ensure congressional staffers submit their financial disclosures on time."We should have transparency about that," he said. "They should abide by the rules."  Holman of Public Citizen said Congress and staff might better comply with the law if fines were higher and if people had to publicly disclose their violations "so that there is political pressure and political price for this." The public can get immediate access to staff's financial disclosures only through accessing five computers on Capitol Hill — three on the Senate side and two on the House side — and some open-government experts want staff to post all their financial disclosures online just as members of Congress do.Even when accessed, some periodic transaction reports may leave out details. While reporting this story, Insider viewed documents that showed the disclosures sometimes contain private, confidential notes that are visible only to a staffer and the Ethics Committee. The notes in some cases can help to explain why a trade has been disclosed late or can even contain crucial details showing the staffer hasn't run afoul of the law. Briefel at the Senior Executives Association urged caution against online disclosures of staffers' information given the potential it could create for doxxing and other kinds of attacks on public servants."This conversation probably needs to be part of a broader conversation about the balance between privacy and openness for public officials in general," he said. Yet he and good-government advocates agree the self-policing strategy Congress established in the STOCK Act has proved inadequate. Even its champions concede the law amounts to little more than a toothless annoyance. "Congress doesn't like to punish itself," the former Senate Ethics Committee staffer told Insider. Several bills reintroduced this congressional session have sought to make the STOCK Act stronger.A bipartisan House bill called the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress Act would require lawmakers, their spouses, and dependent children to place certain assets into a blind trust, relinquishing all control of their assets to a third party. The Ban Conflicted Trading Act, introduced in both the Senate and the House, would prohibit members of Congress and senior staff from buying individual stocks.But the bills have languished, and no formal hearings or votes on them appear imminent.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 13th, 2021

A pro-Trump challenger to Republican Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan is violating a federal law by hiding his personal finances: "That"s none of the federal government"s business"

Federal law requires congressional candidates to disclose details about their personal finances after raising or spending $5,000 in campaign cash. Former President Donald Trump is playing a significant role in a Michigan congressional primary where a Republican challenger is refusing to release details about his personal finances as federal law requires.John Moore/Getty Images Tom Norton is running in a Republican primary against Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan. Norton is refusing to disclose information about his personal finances, which is against a federal law. It comes as Congress is debating stricter rules on lawmakers' personal finances. Tom Norton, a pro-Donald Trump congressional candidate mounting a Republican primary challenge to Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan, is refusing to file a federally-mandated personal financial disclosure.Norton, a member of the Army National Guard and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, lists "fiscal responsibility" among his top campaign issues. He argues that "Washington has become a political swamp that sucks energy and money from everyday people around the country." But when asked why he hadn't yet filed his personal financial disclosures, which are designed to prevent conflicts of interest and increase public accountability, Norton told Insider: "That's none of the federal government's business."Federal law says otherwise. —Tom Norton For Congress (MI-02) (@ForNorton) November 10, 2021 A congressional candidate must file his or her financial disclosure, which details personal investments, debts, employment, and side income, shortly after raising or spending $5,000 in campaign cash, according to House ethics guidelines. Norton easily surpassed that threshold early last year, raising $113,239 by the end of 2021, according to Federal Election Commission records. The standard, US House-issued fine for a late personal financial disclosure filing is $200, payable to the US Treasury. But a candidate who "knowingly and willfully falsifies a statement or fails to file a statement" may subject himself to investigation by the Department of Justice. While such investigations are rare, the maximum civil penalty for such an offense is $66,190 while the maximum criminal penalty is one year in federal prison plus a fine of up to the same amount, according to the federal Ethics in Government Act. Separately, federal law, as amended by the False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, "provides for a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years for knowingly and willfully making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation, or falsifying, concealing, or covering up a material fact" in a filing covered by the Ethics in Government Act.A congressional candidate who's refusing to file a personal financial disclosure "would find themselves in violation of the Ethics In Government Act," said Jordan Libowitz, communications director for nonpartisan government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.  While the federal government could conceivably pursue criminal penalties against a candidate for not filing, "it is much more likely that the DOJ could, and should, pursue civil penalties," Libowitz said. Norton's refusal to publicly reveal his personal finances follow publication of Insider's "Conflicted Congress" project, which found that 57 members of Congress, and at least 182 senior congressional aides, have in recent months violated the federal Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 with late or missing financial disclosures. Republican Tom Norton is running in a primary against Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan (pictured).Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images'Not in the eyes of Big Brother'Norton's challenge to Moolenaar, who earned Trump's endorsement earlier this month, comes after the congressman's high-profile splits with Trump.While Moolenaar voted against impeaching Trump on a charge of inciting the January 6 insurrection, Moolenaar did not object to the certification of presidential electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania — in contrast with some of his most strident, pro-Trump House colleagues.Over the past several years, Moolenaar has generally voted in line with Trump's position on various issues, although his agreement with the former present has waned of late, according to FiveThirtyEight. Norton has earned the endorsements of two prominent Trump allies: political operative Roger Stone and former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn.In addition to his military service, Norton works in sales and has previously served as a village trustee and village president for Sand Lake, Michigan, according to the US Census Bureau.Norton describes himself as an "America-first conservative" who believes the nation's "best days are ahead of, not behind her.  "Tom will NOT surrender our border, our culture, or our rights as American citizens to immigrants, establishment politicians or the global corporations pandering to them," his campaign website states. "An ardent Christian, Tom and his wife Jami strive to raise their three children properly in the eyes of the Lord, not in the eyes of Big Brother." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 24th, 2022

After his wife"s ExxonMobil sale led to STOCK Act violation, Rep. Peter Welch says he and his wife will no longer trade individual stocks

Welch disclosed that he dumped all of his individual stocks after an Insider investigation found his stock trades violated the law he had co-sponsored. Rep. Peter Welch at a House Oversight Committee hearing on September 30, 2020.Greg Nash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images Rep. Peter Welch says he and his wife will no longer hold individual stocks, reiterating a pledge he made in 2020. The Vermont Democrat disclosed his wife's sale of ExxonMobil stock one week late, violating the STOCK Act. A conservative watchdog group is filing a complaint against Welch, who's now running for Senate. Rep. Peter Welch says he's giving up individual stock-trading after an Insider investigation revealed that the Vermont Democrat was one week late in disclosing his wife's purchase of $6,238 worth of shares in ExxonMobil in September."Rep. Welch has decided to no longer own individual stocks," Welch communications director Arianna Jones told Insider. The 8th-term congressman made a similar pledge in April 2020, but this time it's actually backed up by a new filing indicating that he's sold off all of his individual stock.And asked for clarification, Welch's Chief of Staff Patrick Satalin told Insider that the pledge now applies to his wife, Margaret Cheney.Welch's failure to disclose his wife's stock purchase in a timely manner constituted a violation of the disclosure provisions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, an anti-conflict-of-interest law that Welch cosponsored himself.Insider recently published "Conflicted Congress," a 5-month-long investigation that found 52 members of congress — including Welch — and 182 senior congressional staffers in violation of the the federal insider trading prevention law. Insider also uncovered a number of conflicts of interest, including more than a dozen environmentally-minded Democrats who invest in fossil fuel companies or other corporations with concerning environmental track records.Asked recently whether members of Congress and their spouses should be banned from trading stocks while serving, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea. "'We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that," she said.Welch, for his part, earned a "Borderline" rating — which generally indicates having a few STOCK Act violations either by members or their staffers — as part of Insider's index of each member's compliance with transparency rules.Meanwhile, the conservative watchdog Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed a complaint against Welch last week with the Office of Congressional Ethics, calling for the body to "fully investigate this violation and apply the requisite penalties."Welch's office did not comment on the complaint.After Sen. Pat Leahy announced his retirement, Welch launched a Senate campaign, immediately earning the endorsement of progressive titan Sen. Bernie Sanders.'The clearest way to avoid even the appearance of a conflict'Welch speaks at a climate rally on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Green New Deal NetworkWelch's spokeswoman told Insider in November that the congressman's wife, Margaret Cheney, sold her 113 shares of ExxonMobil stock on September 17 after inheriting the asset through her mother's estate. He then learned of that trade — which his office says was made by his wife's financial advisor — just three days before he grilled the the oil company's CEO Darren Woods during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing. Welch said ExxonMobil had withheld data and information about climate change."The issue here is credibility," said Welch, an outspoken environmentalist, before engaging in a pointed exchange with Woods at the hearing.While oil companies didn't initially know about climate change, "they were the first to learn about it, and learning about it, concealed and denied it," said Welch, who for years has publicly criticized ExxonMobil's corporate responsibility and commitment to addressing the climate crisis.Twelve days later, Welch disclosed the sale."This transaction had no impact on his line of questioning towards ExxonMobil's chief executive officer about the company's negligence and failure to disclose internal documents warning of the dangers of climate change," his spokeswoman, Jones, said at the time.The conservative group, however, slammed Welch for violating the act and questioned the ExxonMobil CEO only days after his wife sold its stock."What makes this case egregious, beyond the violation itself, is that his office acknowledged that he knew of the transaction prior to the reporting deadline and not only missed it, but grilled the ExxonMobil CEO about transparency and credibility just days later," said Kendra Arnold, the executive director of FACT.And on December 17, Welch filed a Periodic Transaction Report revealing that he apparently dumped all of his individual stocks in late November.Jones told Insider that the filing "reflects" the congressman's decision to forgo individual stocks, and she touted Welch's record as "long-standing supporter of ethics reform and transparency in government" and a supporter of the Ban Conflicted Trading Act. That bill, introduced in March but yet to receive a hearing, would prohibit members of Congress from buying and selling individual stocks.But Welch previously had pledged to stop trading individual stocks in 2020, after nonprofit news organization VTDigger found that he had profited from his financial manager's investment in a COVID-19 testing firm."I have made a decision that the clearest way to avoid even the appearance of a conflict is to simply stop making purchases" of individual stocks "directly and indirectly through my adviser," he told VTDigger in April 2020. He also told WCAX that he was instructing his financial advisor to only invest in mutual or exchange-traded funds.But that prior pledge was undermined by a disclosure filed by the congressman in August, which revealed that he still owned several individual stocks at that time, including General Electric, IBM, PayPal, Unilever, and others.Welch's office did not respond to detailed questions from Insider about what sort of financial investments he might make in the future, what he thought of Pelosi's remarks on stock-trading, or why he failed to live up to his pledge until now.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 27th, 2021

Congress makes it nearly impossible to investigate whether its aides are violating financial conflict-of-interest laws. We went and did it anyway.

Insider spent hundreds of hours investigating whether Capitol Hill aides are breaking the law. The lack of transparency is 'intentional,' experts say. Rebecca Zisser/InsiderCongress makes it hard to get records about staffers' finances and conflicts of interest.Drew Angerer/Getty Images To promptly access staffers' financial records, you have to trek to the US Capitol. We found many staffers violating the STOCK Act. Several refused to explain why. The lack of transparency isn't a bug, it's a feature, legal experts say. In August, three Insider political reporters endeavored to obtain public records about the personal finances of top congressional staffers.These records aren't supposed to be some state secret. They're mandated by a law called the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. In theory, any American should have reasonable access to them. But they don't. This is a story about how Congress makes it nearly impossible to obtain and understand information designed to defend against conflicts of interest — and how over the last five months we went and did it anyway.KIMBERLY LEONARD: Theoretically, you can call to obtain copies of congressional staffers' personal financial disclosures. For Senate records, they're $0.20 per page. But when we tried, our calls either went to voicemail or we were asked to fill out forms to retrieve these records — a process that could take weeks. To obtain these records without an indeterminate wait or great expense, or without playing phone tag with the Office of Public Records, you have to physically go to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. This information is only readily accessible via computers located in windowless rooms in the House Cannon Building basement and the Senate Hart Building.CAMILA DECHALUS: Some may wonder, why does that matter? Why did we spend countless hours looking at these records? Well, senior congressional staffers regularly have access to sensitive information that lawmakers are getting in closed-door meetings that is not available to the public. WARREN ROJAS: They could also be taking advantage of these privileges and making certain well-timed stock investments, which could go against current regulations.KIMBERLY: By law, congressional staffers whose salaries exceed a certain annual threshold — more than $132,552 in 2021 and $131,239 in 2020 — are required to disclose what stocks they bought and sold.CAMILA: Back in August, we at Insider realized that the only way to find out whether senior congressional staffers were violating the law through late filings or potential conflicts of interests would be to manually check every single financial disclosure and reported stock trade. That meant spending endless hours on Capitol Hill scrolling through ever-changing financial records.KIMBERLY: We spent countless hours on Capitol Hill, and we went back multiple times ahead of publishing our project, but in the end we did look at every filing from the start of 2020 to the end of August 2021. CAMILA: That meant sifting through approximately 8,300 filings — more than 4,400 from high-ranking House staffers, and nearly 3,900 from high-ranking Senate staffers — click by mind-numbing click. WARREN: What we learned wasn't just that roughly 200 people had filed their disclosures late. The process taught us the extent to which elected officials and their staff were willing to go to obscure information they're required to make publicly available. After talking to experts, we learned it was that way by design. KIMBERLY: It took me half a day to figure out where in the sprawling US Capitol campus — there are numerous office buildings beyond the Capitol — the financial disclosures were located. I finally found the House records in the Cannon Office Building basement. (The Senate records are located elsewhere — more on that in a moment.)Before I could begin searching the records, I had to type my name, address, and organization into the only computer that was working at the time. I realized there wasn't an easy way to search these records. You can't just type in "Nancy Pelosi" or "Kevin McCarthy" and see the financial disclosures their senior staff submitted. The House documents don't even say which member of Congress each person works for. If you look at a document, it will show only the state abbreviation and the district, or list the abbreviation for the committee. Try memorizing that for 435 people. The other option for looking through the database is to select a year, such as 2021, to see all the filings reported so far. But there's no way to limit the search to a more narrow time frame. So good luck checking the records every week hoping to spot new filings. You can't. You must go through them all and pick up where you left off alphabetically.It became immediately clear that getting a full picture of congressional staffers' financial interests would be a task as tall as the Capitol dome. So I teamed up with Insider DC Bureau colleagues Camila DeChalus and Warren Rojas to get it done.  CAMILA: At first I thought it wasn't going to be that difficult accessing information on what kind of stocks congressional staffers in the Senate were trading. Wow, I was wrong.The first time I set out to access records on Senate staffers, I went to the Senate public-records office located in the Hart Senate Office Building on the second floor. In front of the office's glass doors stands a tall American flag on the left side. Immediately when you enter the room you see on the right side three computers set up side by side. When I arrived I was greeted by a "be back in 15" sign on the door. The person running the office eventually came back, but these short breaks became routine. When the office-minder went on a break, I had to go on a break, too — they wouldn't allow me to stay there alone. One hour's worth of work to find information often turned into two or three hours' worth of work because of the constant delays.Only one Senate staffer was allowed to work in the office to limit in-person contact due to the pandemic. That made accessing these records more difficult. WARREN: For a while there, the "out for a quick errand" sign on the Hart Building's second floor became the bane of our existence. I quickly learned that swinging by the Senate resource center within an hour on either side of noon was a fool's errand because of the unpredictability of the staff's lengthy lunch breaks. But popping by earlier proved equally frustrating. Away sign outside the Office of Public Records in the Hart Senate Office Building.Waren Rojas/InsiderOn more than one occasion I found myself waiting for the lone office staffer theoretically on duty that day to return from tending to their personal to-do list. Often they'd meander back double-fisting steaming java from Senate-staffer haven Cups & Company. One aide strolled in with freshly reclaimed dry cleaning over their shoulder. The worst time suck was the day I showed up at 9:30 a.m. stupidly believing I'd knock out the pending research in a few minutes. The errand sign was already up, falsely promising me access within 10 minutes. When the bagel-toting staffer finally showed up 35 minutes later, I rushed to the first available terminal in the hopes of extracting what I needed before the first round of votes that morning. Silly me. The first computer failed to boot up properly. The staffer tinkered with it for a little bit before sliding over to the next terminal. That one wouldn't even turn on. He made a call. He nodded knowingly before hanging up. And then the staffer asked if I could come back later. I said something about returning within the hour."Could you make it after 2 p.m.?" the staffer countered. KIMBERLY: It was clear from our visits that most people did not even know that they could access these records and that they rarely did so. The logbook on the Senate side hadn't been signed in months, so our day-after-day presence at these computers was definitely out of the ordinary. Over on the House side, Congress' lower chamber had its own problems. For weeks there was only one functioning computer terminal — literally the only one in the entire United States of America — available for viewing congressional staffers' financial information. Camila, Warren, and I had to take turns using it.Someone from congressional IT finally got a second computer working. But the system remained super complicated.If someone trades stocks frequently, they generate reams of documents to comb through, and each must be separately downloaded. Some individual disclosures went on for 10 pages or more, so I had to scroll back and forth to see whether staffers had disclosed their trades late and which of their filings were the most tardy. I also had to compare the different amendments they filed to see whether some of the disclosures were actually late or whether an amendment was filed to fix a typo. Some of the filings were handwritten and incredibly difficult to read. (This turned out to be true for some members of Congress as well.) Printing the filings for closer inspection might have helped somewhat, but the House charges $0.10 per printed page, while the Senate charges $0.20 a page.House staffers' disclosures are kept in this basement room on Capitol Hill.Camila DeChalus'They want to make it hard' to find these recordsKIMBERLY: The public's right to access data about top congressional staffers' personal finances was supposed to be significantly stronger. Under the original STOCK Act that Congress passed in 2012, senior congressional staffers' financial disclosures were slated to be posted online, just like they are for members of Congress. Craig Holman, a government-affairs lobbyist for the nonprofit watchdog Public Citizen, told me the law had also mandated that the disclosures be "searchable, sortable, and downloadable." Obviously, that's not the system we have today. Not even close.So how did it all get so off track? One year after the STOCK Act became law, Congress quietly and quickly passed another bill that amended it. President Barack Obama signed it into law. This amendment gutted language that would have made it easy to search congressional staffers' financial records. That's how they all ended up in specific databases that could be accessed only on the Hill. Even the data on members of Congress — while posted publicly online and accessible to anyone with an internet connection — is clunky. For example, there's no way to see how many members of Congress invest their money in a particular company, except to look at every member's individual filings. (But you can soon do that using a database Insider has created!)CAMILA: When we finally analyzed the congressional-staffer financial data we needed, we determined that dozens of staffers were weeks, months, or even years late in filing their mandatory disclosures. I followed up with the Legislative Resource Center about whether it keeps records for people who violate the STOCK Act's deadlines and whether they paid statute-required late fees. But a clerk of the office said he could not comment on it because the information was "confidential."WARREN: Neither House nor Senate Ethics Committee staffers would speak on the record about their internal processes. They provided no official guidance on whom congressional staff with filing-related questions should ask to speak to at the committee — though the names of the lawyers and financial professionals who vet everything for each chamber are posted online. And they offered no explanation about whether documentation exists that would verify claims of having hashed things out with ethics officials one way or the other. The Senate Ethics team redirected every question to a dedicated phone line that evidently handles all incoming calls, while House Ethics stuck with the check-our-website mantra. CAMILA: I spoke with James Thurber, an American University professor and congressional-studies expert, and he said the lack of transparency about congressional staffers' financial records is "intentional." He told me that "they want to make it hard" to find these records. KIMBERLY: I called up Walter Shaub, the former director of the executive-branch-focused US Office of Government Ethics who now leads the government-ethics initiative at the Project on Government Oversight. I told him what it was like for us to dig up the congressional data. "This is absolutely shocking, which is not to say that it's surprising," he said. "But it's shocking in that it's truly appalling behavior by Congress trying to flout the spirit of its own laws."When people want financial documents from the executive branch, all they have to do is send an email asking for it, he told me. He also noted that my colleagues and I were all in DC when we researched congressional staffers' financial information. But that's not true for everyone who wants to access such a wide array of information. A political researcher from Fairbanks, Alaska, for instance, would need to take at least two flights, pay for a hotel, and trek to Capitol Hill. It would be especially difficult on days when the congressional document repositories have limited hours, such as during recess — or when someone like Camila, Warren, or me is monopolizing the limited computer terminals. Jason Briefel, the director of policy and outreach at the Senior Executives Association, the director of policy and outreach at the Senior Executives Association, a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional association representing career federal civil servants, told me that his organization supported amending the law in 2013 for personal safety and security reasons, particularly for those who work on national security issues or have to travel abroad for work. "We don't want privacy to be a cloak, but being able to track someone down at their house where you know what their assets are and how much they are worth — that is a lot to put out there," he said. Yet he also said he thought the law clearly could be improved. While he doesn't think the information from senior staff should be posted online like it is for members of Congress, he said lawmakers should consider how to make it easier for journalists to access and sort through the records. He called the enforcement of the law "inadequate." The system, as designed, doesn't allow reporters or the general public to independently verify whether congressional staffers and members of Congress are paying fines associated with violating the STOCK Act's filing requirements. We are mostly left to rely only on the word and honor of congressional staffers and lawmakers who may have violated the STOCK Act.CAMILA: Because we couldn't confirm with other congressional committees and offices on which lawmakers and staffers violated the law and therefore had to pay the fines, we contacted congressional staffers and lawmakers themselves independently to confirm if they paid a $200 late fee.KIMBERLY: While several people were transparent about what had happened and even provided us documentation, many others refused to explain why they had violated the STOCK Act, saying only that "the matter was resolved." Some forwarded our inquiries to press representatives who gave similar canned answers.Shaub lamented that "Congress has a terrible history of not even trying to live up to ethical requirements it sets for both itself and the executive branch.""The problem is that the executive branch has Congress watching over it, and Congress has nobody watching over it," Shaub said. "So the old saying 'It's good to be king' rings true in this case."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 15th, 2021

Ohio GOP House candidate J.R. Majewski backtracks and claims his military records don"t show any evidence of combat or Afghanistan service because they"re "classified"

Majewski borrowed a line out of Donald Trump's book, flippantly using the idea of classification as a veil of secrecy over Afghanistan combat records. J.R. Majewski, Republican candidate for U.S. Representative for Ohio's 9th Congressional District, takes the stage at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.Tom E. Puskar/AP PH Ohio GOP candidate J.R. Majewski has come up with a new defense about his combat records. At a Friday rally, Majewski said records related to a deployment to Afghanistan were "classified." All available military records showed that Majewski never served in Afghanistan, according to the AP. Ohio GOP House candidate J.R. Majewski backtracked on the claim that he was deployed to Afghanistan, saying that his lips — and records — are sealed on the matter.At a Friday rally, Majewski responded to an Associated Press report which showed that Majewski had lied about his service in Afghanistan, per military records obtained by the outlet. Majewski claimed that some top-secret documents that only he has access to tell a different story."The orders and military records that I have been able to obtain from my personal files shows that all of my deployments are listed as classified," Majewski told his supporters.He claimed that the reporting on the matter was part of a plan to bring him down, adding that the Air Force said it could not verify whether he did or didn't go to Afghanistan.—James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) September 23, 2022 Had Majewski seen and participated in combat anywhere, including Afghanistan, he would almost certainly be a recipient of the Combat Action Ribbon, which he did not possess, per the AP. Secret medals are fairly rare, even among the most elite units like Navy SEALs, and the awardee still can wear the medal — it's only the citation on their record that would be redacted from release, not the award itself.Similarly, significant service in Afghanistan would have resulted in earning the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, whose criteria include aircrews who fly into, within, or out of that country for at least 30 days. It's notable that there's also no record of Majewski receiving the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, which is given to troops, including aircrews, who have deployed abroad in support of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars and served at least 30 days in that deployment.This award is common among veterans who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and public data shows that Majewski worked as an airman who supported passenger loading and unloading out of Qatar in support of various wars.In August, Insider first reported that Majewski had violated a federal law by disclosing his personal finances late in his race. Majewski's campaign did not immediately respond to Insider's inquiry.In recent weeks, Donald Trump — who has endorsed Majewski — has largely been flippant in discussing how things are classified or declassified. In an interview with Shaun Hannity on Wednesday, Trump suggested he could declassify documents just by thinking about it.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2022

Donald Trump"s docket: The latest on key cases and investigations centered on the ex-president and his businesses

Donald Trump and his business are tangled in at least a dozen significant federal and local investigations and lawsuits. Here's the latest on all of them. Former President Donald Trump addresses the America First Agenda Summit in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images Trump and his businesses are tangled in at least a dozen significant investigations and lawsuits. Under inquiry are Trump's alleged mishandling of sensitive documents, efforts to overturn the US election and possible financial wrongdoing. Check back here for updates on Trump's legal troubles, and for details on what's coming next. It's hard to keep track of Donald Trump's very busy legal docket. The former president is the subject of at least four major investigations into wrongdoing relating to his handling of White House documents, the election, the insurrection, and his finances — probes based in Florida, Fulton County, Georgia; Washington, D.C., and New York.Trump's business also remains under indictment in Manhattan for an alleged payroll tax-dodge scheme. On top of all that, Trump is fighting or bringing a grab-bag of important lawsuits that could financially cripple his international real estate and golf resort empire.Keep up to date on the latest of Trump's legal travails, both criminal and civil, with this guide to the ever-evolving Trump docket.Indictments Trump with his former CFO Allen Weisselberg at Trump Tower in 2017.Evan Vucci/APThe Trump Organization Payroll Case The Parties: The Manhattan DA is prosecuting The Trump Organization. The Issues: Trump's real estate and golf resort business is accused of giving its executives pricey perks and benefits that were never reported as income to taxing authorities.The company's co-defendant, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, has pleaded guilty to the 15-year, payroll tax-dodge scheme.As part of his August 18, 2022 plea deal, Weisselberg agreed to serve 5 months in jail and pay back $2 million in back taxes and penalties.What's next: Weisselberg also agreed to testify for the prosecution if lawyers for the Trump Organization fight the indictment at trial; an October 24 trial date has been set.Weisselberg would describe to jurors a tax-dodge scheme in which company executives, himself included, received some pay in off-the-books compensation that included free apartments, cars, and tuition reimbursement. But Weisselberg is hardly the ideal prosecution witness. He still works for Trump Org as a special advisor, and Trump's side is hoping to turn his testimony to its advantage.The Trump Organization could face steep fines if convicted of conspiring in the scheme by omitting the compensation from federal, state, and city tax documents and by failing to withhold and pay taxes on that compensation.Criminal InvestigationsFulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta, on Jan. 4, 2022.AP Photo/Ben Gray, FileThe Fulton County election interference probeThe parties: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Trump, and his Republican associates The issues: Willis is investigating whether Trump and his associates tried to interfere in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Her probe has expanded to also include investigating an alleged scheme to send a fake slate of electors to Georgia's state Capitol in an attempt to overturn the elections.She's notified Rudy Giuliani, Trump's former personal attorney, that he's a target in the investigation. Giuliani testified for six hours under court order on August 17.What's next: A federal appeals court temporarily halted on Sunday a court order for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to testify before the Fulton County special grand jury on Tuesday, August 23.Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Jon Cherry/Getty ImagesThe Justice Department investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 electionThe parties: Federal investigators are increasingly scrutinizing the role Trump and his allies played in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.The issues: The Justice Department is facing pressure to prosecute following a string of congressional hearings that connected the former president to the violence of January 6, 2021, and to efforts to prevent the peaceful handoff of power.In a series of eight hearings, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol described Trump's conduct in criminal terms and pointed to an April court decision in which a federal judge said the former president likely committed crimes in his effort to hold onto power. In that ruling, Judge David Carter called Trump's scheme a "coup in search of a legal theory."Prosecutors have asked witnesses directly about Trump's involvement in the effort to reverse his loss in the 2020 election and are likely to issue more subpoenas and search warrants in the weeks ahead.In June, federal investigators searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who advanced Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.On the same day, federal agents seized the phone of John Eastman, a lawyer who helped advise Trump on how to overturn the 2020 election. A top prosecutor in the Justice Department's inquiry, Thomas Windom, revealed in late July that investigators had obtained a se cord warrant allowing a search of Eastman's phone. Rep. Liz Cheney, the top Republican on the panel, lost her primary bid for reelection on August 16. What's next:  The Justice Department has remained largely silent about how and whether it would consider charges against Trump, but in July, prosecutors asked witnesses directly about the former president's involvement in the attempt to reverse his electoral defeat. FBI agents descended on Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, with a search warrant.Darren SamuelsohnThe Justice Department investigation into the handling of classified documentsThe parties: The FBI searched Trump's estate in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago, on August 8 as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of government records, including classified documents. Trump and his lawyers alleged prosecutorial misconduct and condemned the search as politically motivated.The issues: Early in 2022, Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents — including some marked as classified and "top secret" — to the National Archives. But federal investigators scrutinizing the former president's handling of records reportedly grew suspicious that Trump or people close to him still retained some key records. The FBI seized about a dozen boxes of additional documents during the raid of Mar-a-Lago, in a search that immediately demonstrated how Trump's handling of records from his administration remains an area of legal jeopardy.What's next: A federal judge in South Florida granted Trump's request for an outside arbiter — known as a special master — to review the more than 11,000 documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago, including about 100 records marked as classified. Judge Aileen Cannon halted the review of those records as part of the Justice Department's criminal inquiry but said intelligence agencies could continue assessing the potential national security risk raised by Trump's hoarding of government records at his West Palm Beach estate. In response, the Justice Department said that bifurcation was unworkable and that Cannon's order had effectively paused the national security assessment.The Justice Department asked Cannon to exclude the 100 classified documents from the special master review. If she declines to do so by September 15, the Justice Department signaled that it would go to the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.Lawsuits against TrumpThe front page of the lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James accusing former President Donald Trump, his family and his business of a decade of padding his net worth to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans and tax breaks.Jon Elswick/APThe NY AG's civil filing against the Trump family and Trump OrganizationThe parties: New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued Trump, his family and the Trump Organization.The issues: James says she has uncovered a decade-long pattern of financial wrongdoing at Trump's multi-billion-dollar hotel and golf resort empire.She alleges Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans, and low-balled his properties' worth for tax breaks. Trump has derided the AG's efforts as a politically motivated witch hunt.The 220-page lawsuit arose from a three year investigation and makes multiple, corporation-crippling demands that would eventually be decided by a Manhattan judge.The demands include that the company pay back $250 million Trump allegedly pocketed by misleading banks about his worth. It further requests that Trump and his three eldest children — Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, who have all served as Trump Organization executives — be permanently barred from running a company in New York state.Th suit also demands that for the next five years, an independent receiver be put in place to monitor the company's finances and that Donald Trump be personally barred from purchasing property in New York or borrowing from a New York-registered bank over those same five years.Perhaps most extremely, it asks the judge to pull the Trump Organization's New York papers of incorporation. That's the charter that lets Trump draw revenue from his New York properties, including the lucrative commercial rents at his Manhattan skyscrapers. These hamstringing demands, if ordered by a judge, would run Trump's corporate headquarters out of New York. Trump would also be barred from selling, buying, collecting rent from or borrowing against any property in New York, potentially putting the Trump Organization out of business entirely. What's next:  Barring a settlement, next comes an "eye-glazing" litigation slog — legal filings, courtroom arguments, decisions and appeals — that could go on for two years before a trial can decide if anything material actually happens to the Trumps and the family business. But in announcing her office's lawsuit, the AG also revealed that she has referred her findings of alleged financial and tax fraud to federal prosecutors in New York and to the Internal Revenue Service.Either of those referrals could more quickly result in federal criminal charges and a bill for millions of dollars in back taxes and penalties.Supporters of then-President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DCBrent Stirton/Getty ImagesLawsuits alleging 'incitement' on January 6The Parties: House Democrats and two Capitol police officers accused Trump of inciting the violent mob on January 6.The Issues: Trump's lawyers have argued that his time as president grants him immunity that shields him from civil liability in connection with his January 6 address at the Ellipse, where he urged supporters to "fight like hell."A federal judge rejected Trump's bid to dismiss the civil lawsuits, ruling that his rhetoric on January 6 was "akin to telling an excited mob that corn-dealers starve the poor in front of the corn-dealer's home."Judge Amit Mehta said Trump later displayed a tacit agreement with the mob minutes after rioters breached the Capitol when he sent a tweet admonishing then-Vice President Mike Pence for lacking the "courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country."What's Next: Trump has appealed Mehta's ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and requested an oral argument. In a late July court filing, Trump's lawyers said the immunity afforded to the former president cannot be "undercut if the presidential act in question is unpopular among the judiciary."Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on October 18, 2021 in New York City.James Devaney/GC ImagesGalicia v. TrumpThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Efrain Galicia and four other protesters of Mexican heritage have sued Trump, his security personnel, and his 2016 campaign in New York.The issues: They say Donald Trump sicced his security guards on their peaceful, legal protest outside Trump Tower in 2015. The plaintiffs had been demonstrating with parody "Make America Racist Again" campaign signs to protest Trump's speech announcing his first campaign for president, during which he accused Mexican immigrants of being "rapists" and drug dealers. Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen said in a deposition that Trump directly ordered security to "get rid of" the protesters; Trump said in his own deposition that he didn't even know a protest was going on until the next day. His security guards have said in depositions that they were responding to aggression by the protesters.What's next: Trial is set for jury selection on October 31 in NY Supreme Court in the Bronx.Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is pictured in New York in 2020.Seth Wenig/APE. Jean Carroll v. TrumpThe Parties: Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation in federal court in Manhattan in June 2019.The Issues: Carroll's lawsuit alleges Trump defamed her after she publicly accused him of raping her in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-90s.Trump responded to Carroll's allegation by saying it was untrue and that she was "not my type." Trump also denied ever meeting Carroll, despite a photo to the contrary.What's next: Arrangements for the sharing of evidence are ongoing behind the scenes, including for the possible collection of Trump's DNA.Carroll has said she wants to compare Trump's DNA with unidentified male DNA on a dress she wore during the alleged rape. The trial is tentatively set for Feb. 6, 2023; Carroll has said she would never settle the case.Carroll's lawyers say they are also getting ready to additionally sue Trump for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.Although Carroll's allegations are more than 30 years old, a New York law that takes effect on November 24 — the Adult Survivors Act — gives sex assault victims a one-year window to file civil cases regardless of when the incident occurred, so long as they were 18 or older at the time.  Donald Trump, right, sits with his children, from left, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Trump International Hotel on July 23, 2014, in Washington.Evan Vucci/APThe 'multi-level marketing' pyramid scheme caseThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Catherine McKoy and three others sued Trump, his business, and his three eldest children, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, in 2018 in federal court in Manhattan.The Issues: Donald Trump is accused of promoting a scam multi-level marketing scheme on "The Celebrity Apprentice." The lawsuit alleges Trump pocketed $8.8 million from the scheme — but that they lost thousands of dollars. Trump's side has complained that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack. What's Next: The parties say in court filings that they are working to meet an August 31 deadline for the completion of depositions. Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMichael Cohen's 'imprisonment' caseThe Parties: Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen sued Donald Trump, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and more than a dozen federal prison officials and employees, in federal court in Manhattan in 2021.The Issues: The president's former personal attorney is seeking $20 million in damages relating to the time he spent in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress about Trump's dealings in Congress. Cohen says in his suit that he had been moved to home confinement for three months in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, but was then vindictively thrown into solitary confinement when he refused to stop speaking to the press and writing a tell-all book about his former boss. A judge ordered him released after 16 days.What's Next: A decision is pending on defense motions to dismiss the case.Singer Eddy Grant performs in concert in honor of Nelson Mandela in Hyde Park, London June 27, 2008.Andrew Winning/ReutersThe Electric Avenue copyright caseThe Parties: Eddy Grant, the composer/performer behind the 80s disco-reggae mega-hit "Electric Avenue," sued Donald Trump and his campaign in federal court in Manhattan in 2020.The Issues: Grant is seeking $300,000 compensation for copyright infringement. His suit says that Trump made unauthorized use of the 1983 dance floor staple during the 2020 campaign. About 40 seconds of the song played in the background of a Biden-bashing animation that Trump posted to his Twitter account. The animation was viewed 13 million times before being taken down a month later. Trump has countered that the animation was political satire and so exempt from copyright infringement claims. He's also said that the campaign merely reposted the animation and have no idea where it came from.What's Next: There was an August 21 deposition completion deadline for both sides — including for Trump and Grant. Pretrial motions are not due to be filed until October.Mary Trump speaks to Katie Phang on MSNBC on June 17, 2022.MSNBCMary Trump v. Donald TrumpThe Parties: The former president's niece sued him and his siblings in 2020 in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan.The Issues: Mary Trump alleges that she was cheated out of at least $10 million in a 2001 court settlement over the estate of her late father, Fred Trump, Sr. Mary Trump alleges she only learned by helping with a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times article that she'd been defrauded by her Uncle Donald, her aunt, Maryanne Trump Barry, and the late Robert Trump, whose estate is named as a defendant.The Times' 18-month investigation "revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges," the Pulitzer Committee said in praising the piece. Lawyers for the Trumps have countered that it's far too late for Mary Trump to sue over a 2001 settlement that she had knowingly participated in.What's next: The defendants' motion to dismiss, including on statute of limitations grounds, is still pending.Lawsuits brought by Trump Donald Trump v. Mary Trump The Parties: The former president counter-sued his niece Mary Trump — and the New York Times — in 2021 in New York state Supreme Court in Dutchess County.The Issues: Mary Trump, the Times and three of its reporters  "maliciously conspired" against him, Trump alleges, by collaborating with the Times on its expose of and breaching the confidentiality of the family's 2001 settlement of the estate of Mary Trump's father, Fred Trump, Sr. What's Next: Mary Trump's motion to dismiss is pending in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, where the case has since been transferred to.Hillary Clinton.Photo by: Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesDonald Trump v. Hillary ClintonThe Parties: Trump has sued Hillary Clinton, her campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and prominent Democrats including former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a federal court in southern Florida in March, 2022.The Issues:  Trump alleged in this unusual use of federal racketeering statutes that Clinton and her campaign staff conspired to harm his 2016 run for president by promoting a "contrived Trump-Russia link." The defendants succeeded in getting the massive lawsuit dismissed in September; a federal judge in Florida said the suit was structurally flawed and called it "a two-hundred-page political manifesto" in which Trump detailed "his grievances against those that have opposed him."What's Next: Trump's side has promised to appeal the dismissal.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 23rd, 2022

GOP House candidate J.R. Majewski lied about serving in a combat zone, AP reports

GOP House candidate J.R. Majewski, a former airman, said he served in Afghanistan when he actually served in Qatar. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Majewski. J.R. Majewski, Republican candidate for U.S. Representative for Ohio's 9th Congressional District, takes the stage at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio, on September 17, 2022.Tom E. Puskar/AP PH GOP House candidate J.R. Majewski lied about aspects of his military service, according to the Associated Press. Majewski has repeatedly said he served in Afghanistan, but military records indicate he actually served in Qatar. Insider previously discovered Majewski violated federal law by neglecting to disclose his personal finances. A candidate for House of Representatives from Ohio, J.R. Majewski, repeatedly misrepresented aspects of his military service, according to the Associated Press.During his campaign for office in Ohio's 9th Congressional District, Majewski stated on several occasions that he served in Afghanistan, where the US fought a nearly 20-year war. After obtaining records from Majewski's Air Force service, however, the AP found that he never actually deployed to that war-zone. Instead, Majewski actually loaded planes at a base in Qatar.Majewski's claims of serving in Afghanistan can be found online in at least one podcast and on his personal Twitter.In a video interview with "One American Podcast" in 2021, Majewski was asked if he served in Afghanistan."Yes I did," Majewski firmly replied before noting that he doesn't like talking about his military experience as "it was a tough time in life. You know, the military wasn't easy."Additionally, Majewski claimed he was a veteran of the Afghanistan war on Twitter, saying he'd gladly "go back to Afghanistan" to rescue Americans who were left behind when US forces left the country a year ago.—JR Majewski (@JRMajewski) August 25, 2021The AP also found that Majewski lacks several medals that are typically given to people who have served in Afghanistan, such as an Afghanistan Campaign Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.Majewski has had a turbulent transition to the general election phase of his campaign after scoring an upset victory in his four-way Republican primary.In August, Insider found that Majewski was violating federal law by neglecting to publicly report his personal finances. It was not until after Insider inquired about them to his campaign that he filed the financial disclosure.The disclosure revealed Majewski and his wife have up to $750,000 in personal debt and own up to $200,000 in assets, not including their home. Majewski faces incumbent Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a race that the nonpartisan Cook Political Report has declared a "toss-up." Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Majewski, stating that Majewski "bravely served in the U.S. Air Force" and would be a "fantastic congressman."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2022

‘Egregious Deficiencies,’ Bots, and Foreign Agents: The Biggest Allegations From the Twitter Whistleblower

Twitter's former head of security claims 'egregious deficiencies' Twitter’s former top security official has alleged that company executives endangered national security through “egregious deficiencies” in privacy and security and systematically misled users, members of its board, investors, and government officials about those vulnerabilities. The former official, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, is a famous hacker and one of the nation’s top cybersecurity experts. He served as Twitter’s security lead from Nov. 2020 to Jan. 2022, when he was fired by CEO Parag Agrawal after Zatko began documenting what he says were repeated security violations, and as he worked with the company’s compliance officer on a formal investigation based on his claims. Zatko submitted his disclosures to U.S. regulatory agencies in July, invoking federal whistleblower protections, and they were shared with members of Congress. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] In 84 pages of disclosures and supporting documents, which TIME reviewed, Zatko accuses the $33 billion social-media platform’s top executives of violating the Federal Trade Commission Act and Securities and Exchange Commission regulations by misleading users, investors and board members about critical data security and privacy issues. These vulnerabilities led to frequent serious security breaches, exploitation by bad actors, and infiltration by foreign governments, Zatko alleges. The documents shine a light on what Zatko alleges are years of basic security failings at Twitter, which he says make the platform vulnerable to abuse and even total collapse. Notably, the disclosures imply that the problems were allowed to fester under Agrawal, who was the most senior executive in charge of security issues before Zatko arrived. “If these problems are not corrected, regulators, media, and users of the platform will be shocked when they inevitably learn about Twitter’s severe lack of security basics,” Zatko wrote in a Feb. 2022 document cited in the disclosure. READ MORE: What the Twitter Whistleblower Bot Disclosures Mean for Elon Musk The disclosures come just weeks before the first scheduled court date in a legal dispute over the pending sale of the company to billionaire Elon Musk, who is seeking to extricate himself from an agreement to purchase the company. Musk claims Twitter misled him and investors about the percentage of spam bots and fake accounts that make up its user base. According to internal company emails submitted as part of the disclosures, Zatko began documenting Twitter’s alleged wrongdoings months before Musk publicly announced his desire to buy the company. The trial over whether Musk must go through with his initial agreement to buy Twitter is set to start on Oct. 17 in Delaware. Zatko accuses Twitter executives of “lying about bots” to Musk, shareholders and Twitter users, alleging that the platform has far more spam accounts than it lets on, and that executives are disincentivized to count them properly because doing so would negatively affect their bonuses. A Twitter spokesperson said the company had not seen Zatko’s allegations in full, but rejected a description of his main allegations. “Mr. Zatko was fired from his senior executive role at Twitter for poor performance and ineffective leadership over six months ago,” a Twitter spokesperson told TIME. “While we haven’t had access to the specific allegations being referenced, what we’ve seen so far is a narrative about our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and lacks important context. Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and we still have a lot of work ahead of us.“ Zatko’s disclosures allege the social media company’s executives committed securities law violations by making “material misrepresentations and omissions” in SEC filings, and asked him to mislead the board by minimizing security vulnerabilities. Zatko also says Twitter is beset by fundamental architectural flaws that allow too many employees “God mode” access to its systems, making the platform vulnerable to hackers and to influence by foreign intelligence agencies. His disclosures allege that Twitter executives hired two people whom he believes were Indian government agents and put them in positions with “direct unsupervised access” to internal Twitter data and information. This was just one example of Twitter’s “negligence and even complicity with respect to efforts by foreign governments to infiltrate, control, exploit, surveil and/or censor” the platform, its staff and its operations, Zatko alleges. A source close to the company says that Zatko’s claims around the time of his exit were “investigated and found to be sensationalistic and lacking merit.” “Mudge stands by everything in his disclosure, and his career of effective and ethical leadership speaks for itself. The focus should be on the facts laid out in the disclosure, not ad hominem attacks against the whistleblower,” says John Tye, of Whistleblower Aid which is representing Zatko. Zatko’s disclosures, which were first reported by the Washington Post and CNN and which TIME obtained from a congressional source, were sent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission, and the civil and antitrust divisions of the Justice Department, and a redacted version was shared with Congress. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is reviewing the documents, which are coming to light weeks after lawmakers advanced a landmark data privacy bill and the FTC launched an effort to review data privacy protections. The Senate Judiciary Committee has also indicated it intends to investigate Zatko’s allegations, and the Senate Intelligence Committee is looking to set up a meeting with him, according to CNN. The disclosures suggest that “Twitter is disorganized and careless” and highlight the “total lack of institutional and practical controls they have,” a senior Democratic staffer tells TIME. “They show how the potential for abuse is there…and it will inform the work we’re doing on this legislation.” Who is Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko? Cole WilsonZatko’s whistleblower disclosures allege Twitter executives committed securities law violations by making “material misrepresentations and omissions” in SEC filings, and asked him to mislead the board by minimizing security vulnerabilities Known by the hacker pseudonym “Mudge,” Zatko, 51, has for three decades been one of the best-known figures in the world of network security. He has been tapped by major tech companies and the federal government to uncover weaknesses in their digital security systems. He exposed vulnerabilities in the early days of the Internet, played leading roles in the hacker collectives L0pht and the Cult of the Dead Cow, and served stints at Google and the Department of Defense. Zatko has also testified in front of Congress and been brought in to advise U.S. Presidents, lawmakers, and federal intelligence agencies. “He remains one of the best security minds on the planet today,” Kevin O’Brien, co-founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm GreatHorn, said of Zatko after Twitter hired him. After a Twitter hack in 2020 that led to the accounts of users including Elon Musk and Joe Biden being compromised, Twitter co-founder and then-CEO Jack Dorsey gave Zatko a broad mandate as the social-media company’s “head of security.” Zatko ultimately supervised hundreds of staffers and had a mission to evaluate Twitter’s security problems, present them to company leaders, and come up with a strategy to fix them, according to his disclosures. But his time at Twitter quickly grew fraught. Here are some of Zatko’s most serious allegations against his former employer: Claim: Twitter knowingly undercounts spam bots Since July, Musk and Twitter have been locked in a legal dispute that revolves around the number of spam bots on the platform. Musk has argued that the percentage of automated spam accounts on Twitter is far higher than the maximum of 5% the company has claimed for years, and that this inaccuracy gives Musk grounds to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy the company. In allegations that will bolster Musk’s argument, Zatko’s disclosures allege that Twitter has been “lying” to Musk about bots, and that the total percentage of spam bots on Twitter is substantially higher than the maximum of 5% that Twitter claims. Zatko says that Twitter arrives at its official percentage of bots on the platform by sampling only from a subset of accounts known as “monetizable daily active users,” or mDAUs. But that subset, created by Twitter to give advertisers an idea of how many real humans are looking at their ads, already attempts to exclude bots. Zatko says that his own internal attempts to find out what percentage of total Twitter accounts were bots were met with a lack of enthusiasm. “In early 2021, as a new executive, Mudge asked the head of Site Integrity (responsible for addressing platform manipulation including spam and botnets) what the underlying spam bot numbers were,” Zatko’s disclosure states. “Their response was ‘we don’t really know.’” Zatko further argues that Twitter executives “are not incentivized to accurately detect or report total spam bots on the platform,” because he says that their potentially lucrative bonuses are “tied” to growing the number of mDAUs. He suggests that if the real percentage of spam bots were to become known, it would “hurt the image and valuation of the company.” And he alleges in the complaint that he once witnessed a Twitter executive telling members of the company’s board of directors that Twitter had “intentionally and knowingly deprioritized platform health” in favor of growing mDAU. A Twitter representative did not respond to requests for comment related to mDAU. Claim: Twitter has a ‘severe lack of security basics’ Zatko alleges that Twitter is “decades behind” competitors like Google and Facebook in its internal security protocols and that during his tenure, a serious security breach was occurring at Twitter virtually every week. He argues that this was partly because far too many employees have access to internal systems that they shouldn’t, which makes the platform vulnerable to basic phishing schemes. In July 2020, the accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and other prominent figures were hacked as part of a scam that drained more than $100,000 in Bitcoin from users. The hack was masterminded by a teenager who posed as a member of the IT department in order to gain employees’ credentials, which then allowed him access to those accounts. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to all 30 charges against him. On Jan. 6, Zatko says, he was watching the Capitol insurrection unfold online and asked a Twitter higher-up to curtail employees’ access to internal systems. He learned that it was impossible: too many employees had irrevocable access. One rogue engineer with the right system privileges could have sabotaged the platform, sowing misinformation and discord, Zatko alleges. A few false tweets purporting to be from the account of President Trump, for example, could have escalated the violence. A source close to the company said that employees must have a “business justification” to access internal systems and data platforms. Zatko also says that Twitter’s data centers were a mess, running on outdated operating systems and improperly backed up. In the spring of 2021, Zatko says, the company narrowly avoided a catastrophic failure that could have knocked out all of the company’s data centers and permanently shut down the entire platform. Twitter engineers worked around the clock to fix the issues, Zatko says, and the incident never became public. A Twitter representative did not respond to a request for comment on this alleged incident. (The platform did experience widespread outages on April 16, 2021.) Claim: Twitter misled investors and the government Zatko alleges that an awareness of these security shortcomings is “fundamental to any proper valuation of Twitter’s business”—and that hiding these problems from investors and the board is “significantly misleading.” He further alleges that Twitter knowingly misled the government in other ways, including in its SEC filings in response to Musk’s bid to buy the company. In those filings, for instance, Twitter declares that it does not knowingly violate IP rights—but Zatko claims that Twitter never obtained the proper legal rights to the training material used to build Twitter’s core algorithmic models, and that executives misled regulators in multiple countries about owning those rights. Zatko also asserts that internal security measures Twitter promised to develop in the wake of the 2011 FTC mandate had yet to be rolled out, and that executives misled Twitter’s board about their progress in creating them. (Zatko says that when he informed the board about this situation, he received an angry call from an executive chastising him for doing so.) A source close to the company says that Zatko did not understand the company’s agreements with the FTC and made “inaccurate claims” about Twitter’s compliance with regulatory obligations. Claim: Twitter allowed foreign government agents access to data Zatko says the company’s security lapses didn’t only harm individual users. He alleges they were matters of national security and geopolitical importance. Twitter was “complicit in threats to democratic governance,” he writes. One of Zatko’s allegations is that the company hired two people that he believes were Indian government agents. Because of Twitter’s flawed internal security systems, Zatko says, the purported agents had “direct unsupervised access” to internal information. Zatko says he has filed a separate disclosure detailing this and other episodes with the Counterintelligence and Export Controls Section within the National Security Division of the Department of Justice and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. A source close to the company says that the company has no knowledge of government agents working at Twitter. Zatko alleges that Agrawal—a few months before his promotion to CEO—advocated for Twitter’s expansion into Russia, even if it meant abiding by the country’s censorship and surveillance demands. Zatko also writes that in 2022, the U.S. government told Twitter that at least one of their employees was working for a foreign intelligence agency. He does not say how Twitter responded. Earlier this month, a former Twitter employee was found guilty of acting as an agent of a foreign government, spying on Saudi dissidents and passing personal information on to the Saudi government. Claim: Jack Dorsey was silent for ‘days or weeks’ at a time While Zatko tweeted in support of Dorsey in 2021, he now claims that Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO suffered from a “drastic loss of focus” in 2021. He says Dorsey attended meetings sporadically, and that rumors spread within Twitter about him remaining silent for “days or weeks.” (Dorsey is a proponent of silent vipassana meditation.) While Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter CEO in November and is also CEO of payment platform Block, had initially given Zatko a wide mandate, Zatko says in the whistleblower disclosure that he felt unmoored: He was receiving “little to no actual support for his task of fundamentally changing the risky behaviors of over 8,000 employees, and the entire corporate culture,” the disclosure says. On several occasions, Zatko alleges, he was instructed to suppress the extent of Twitter’s problems in front of the board. And he says that after he solicited an independent study that highlighted Twitter’s extensive security lapses and failure to combat disinformation, senior executives “became concerned about the impact on Twitter’s reputation were the findings to become publicly known” and had the parts most damaging to the company removed. Claim: Parag Agrawal encouraged Zatko to mislead investors Zatko says that his relationship with Agrawal was strained from the beginning, especially given that Agrawal had been the most senior executive in charge of security issues before Zatko arrived. When Agrawal replaced Dorsey, tensions quickly escalated, according to Zatko, who says he became concerned that Agrawal was going to use the first board meeting of his tenure to diminish the severity of security issues. He wrote to Agrawal on Dec. 15, arguing that there were “numerous, and some significant, misrepresentations” in his materials for an upcoming presentation. But Agrawal, he says, brushed him off, and the next day, the documents were presented at a high-level Risk Committee meeting. In a Jan. 4, 2022 email to Agrawal, Zatko called the documents “at worst fraudulent,” and wrote: “I was hired to achieve certain goals and to fix problems here at Twitter. In order to do that, we need to recognize the actual state of affairs at the company.” “Zatko had every opportunity to either prevent that information from being shared or correct any inaccuracies during the meeting,” a source close to the company says. “On many occasions, Zatko was the source of inaccurate information.” A few days after Zatko’s email, Agrawal wrote back to Zatko, saying that the company had launched an internal investigation into his allegations. Zatko was asked for a detailed report to back up his claims, which he began to pull together. But less than two weeks later, before he was able to file the report, he was fired. Publicly, Agrawal wrote that the decision stemmed from “an assessment of how the organization was being led and the impact on top priority work.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeAug 23rd, 2022

Donald Trump"s docket: The latest on key cases and investigations the ex-president and his businesses are involved in

Donald Trump and his business are tangled in at least a dozen significant federal and local investigations and lawsuits. Here's the latest on all of them. Former President Donald Trump addresses the America First Agenda Summit in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images Trump and his businesses are tangled in at least a dozen significant investigations and lawsuits. They include probes into election, insurrection, and financial wrongdoing in Georgia, DC, and New York. Check back here for updates on Trump's legal troubles, and what's next. It's hard to keep track of Donald Trump's very busy legal docket. The former president is the subject of at least three major investigations into wrongdoing relating to the election, the insurrection, and his finances — probes based in Fulton County, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; and New York.Trump's business remains under indictment in Manhattan for an alleged payroll tax-dodge scheme. On top of all that, Trump is fighting or bringing a grab-bag of important lawsuits. Keep up to date on the latest of Trump's legal travails, both criminal and civil, with this guide to the ever-evolving Trump docket.Indictments Trump with his former CFO Allen Weisselberg at Trump Tower in 2017.Evan Vucci/APThe Trump Organization Payroll Case The Parties: The Manhattan DA is prosecuting The Trump Organization. The Issues: Trump's real estate and golf resort business is accused of giving its executives pricey perks and benefits that were never reported as income to taxing authorities.The company's co-defendant, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, has pleaded guilty to the 15-year, payroll tax-dodge scheme.As part of his August 18, 2022 plea deal, Weisselberg agreed to serve 5 months in jail and pay back $2 million in back taxes and penalties.What's next: Weisselberg also agreed to testify for the prosecution if lawyers for the Trump Organization fight the indictment at trial; an October 24 trial date has been set.Weisselberg would describe to jurors a tax-dodge scheme in which company executives, himself included, received some pay in off-the-books compensation that included free apartments, cars, and tuition reimbursement.The Trump Organization could face steep fines if convicted of conspiring in the scheme by omitting the compensation from federal, state, and city tax documents and by failing to withhold and pay taxes on that compensation.Criminal InvestigationsFulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta, on Jan. 4, 2022.AP Photo/Ben Gray, FileThe Fulton County election interference probeThe parties: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Trump, and his Republican associates The issues: Willis is investigating whether Trump and his associates tried to interfere in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Her probe has expanded to also include investigating an alleged scheme to send a fake slate of electors to Georgia's state Capitol in an attempt to overturn the elections.She's notified Rudy Giuliani, Trump's former personal attorney, that he's a target in the investigation. Giuliani testified for six hours under court order on August 17.What's next: A federal appeals court temporarily halted on Sunday a court order for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to testify before the Fulton County special grand jury on Tuesday, August 23.Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Jon Cherry/Getty ImagesThe Justice Department investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 electionThe parties: Federal investigators are increasingly scrutinizing the role Trump and his allies played in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.The issues: The Justice Department is facing pressure to prosecute following a string of congressional hearings that connected the former president to the violence of January 6, 2021, and to efforts to prevent the peaceful handoff of power.In a series of eight hearings, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol described Trump's conduct in criminal terms and pointed to an April court decision in which a federal judge said the former president likely committed crimes in his effort to hold onto power. In that ruling, Judge David Carter called Trump's scheme a "coup in search of a legal theory."Prosecutors have asked witnesses directly about Trump's involvement in the effort to reverse his loss in the 2020 election and are likely to issue more subpoenas and search warrants in the weeks ahead.In June, federal investigators searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who advanced Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.On the same day, federal agents seized the phone of John Eastman, a lawyer who helped advise Trump on how to overturn the 2020 election. A top prosecutor in the Justice Department's inquiry, Thomas Windom, revealed in late July that investigators had obtained a se cord warrant allowing a search of Eastman's phone. Rep. Liz Cheney, the top Republican on the panel, lost her primary bid for reelection on August 16. What's next:  The Justice Department has remained largely silent about how and whether it would consider charges against Trump, but in July, prosecutors asked witnesses directly about the former president's involvement in the attempt to reverse his electoral defeat. FBI agents descended on Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, with a search warrant.Darren SamuelsohnThe Justice Department investigation into the handling of classified documentsThe parties: The FBI searched Trump's estate in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago, on August 8 as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of government records, including classified documents. Trump and his lawyers alleged prosecutorial misconduct and condemned the search as politically motivated.The issues: Early in 2022, Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents — including some marked as classified and "top secret" — to the National Archives. But federal investigators scrutinizing the former president's handling of records reportedly grew suspicious that Trump or people close to him still retained some key records. The FBI seized about a dozen boxes of additional documents during the raid of Mar-a-Lago, in a search that immediately demonstrated how Trump's handling of records from his administration remains an area of legal jeopardy.What's next: The Justice Department is under a deadline of Thursday, August 25, to submit proposed redactions of the Trump Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit to US magistrate judge Bruce Reinhart. He said during an August 18 public hearing he's inclined to side with media organizations to make public some portion of the document laying out the DOJ's rationale for seeking a search warrant against Trump. Civil InvestigationsNew York Attorney General Letitia James speaks on June 6, 2022, in New York.Mary Altaffer/APThe NY AG's Trump Organization probeThe parties: New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating Trump, his family and the Trump Organization for three years. The issues: James says she has uncovered a decade-long pattern of financial wrongdoing at Trump's multi-billion-dollar hotel and golf resort empire.She alleges Trump misstated the value of his properties on annual financial statements and other official documents used to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans and tax breaks. Trump has called the probe a politically motivated witch hunt.What's next: Court-ordered depositions of Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr., were delayed by the death of family matriarch Ivana Trump. But their depositions finally wrapped on August 10, when Donald Trump testified before investigators in James' Manhattan offices. He pleaded the Fifth more than 440 times. The contentious, massive probe — involving more than 5 million pages of documents — appears close to filing a several-hundred-page lawsuit that could seek to put the Trump Organization out of business entirely. Lawsuits against TrumpSupporters of then-President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DCBrent Stirton/Getty ImagesLawsuits alleging 'incitement' on January 6The Parties: House Democrats and two Capitol police officers accused Trump of inciting the violent mob on January 6.The Issues: Trump's lawyers have argued that his time as president grants him immunity that shields him from civil liability in connection with his January 6 address at the Ellipse, where he urged supporters to "fight like hell."A federal judge rejected Trump's bid to dismiss the civil lawsuits, ruling that his rhetoric on January 6 was "akin to telling an excited mob that corn-dealers starve the poor in front of the corn-dealer's home."Judge Amit Mehta said Trump later displayed a tacit agreement with the mob minutes after rioters breached the Capitol when he sent a tweet admonishing then-Vice President Mike Pence for lacking the "courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country."What's Next: Trump has appealed Mehta's ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and requested an oral argument. In a late July court filing, Trump's lawyers said the immunity afforded to the former president cannot be "undercut if the presidential act in question is unpopular among the judiciary."Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on October 18, 2021 in New York City.James Devaney/GC ImagesGalicia v. TrumpThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Efrain Galicia and four other protesters of Mexican heritage have sued Trump, his security personnel, and his 2016 campaign in New York.The issues: They say Donald Trump sicced his security guards on their peaceful, legal protest outside Trump Tower in 2015. The plaintiffs had been demonstrating with parody "Make America Racist Again" campaign signs to protest Trump's speech announcing his first campaign for president, during which he accused Mexican immigrants of being "rapists" and drug dealers. Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen said in a deposition that Trump directly ordered security to "get rid of" the protesters; Trump said in his own deposition that he didn't even know a protest was going on until the next day. His security guards have said in depositions that they were responding to aggression by the protesters.What's next: Trial is set for jury selection on September 6 in NY Supreme Court in the Bronx.Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is pictured in New York in 2020.Seth Wenig/APE. Jean Carroll v. TrumpThe Parties: Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation in federal court in Manhattan in June 2019.The Issues: Carroll's lawsuit alleges Trump defamed her after she publicly accused him of raping her in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-90s.Trump responded to Carroll's allegation by saying it was untrue and that she was "not my type." Trump also denied ever meeting Carroll, despite a photo to the contrary.What's next: Arrangements for the sharing of evidence are ongoing behind the scenes, including for the possible collection of Trump's DNA.Carroll has said she wants to compare Trump's DNA with unidentified male DNA on a dress she wore during the alleged rape. The trial is tentatively set for Feb. 6, 2023; Carroll has said she would never settle the case.Donald Trump Jr, Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump during the filming of the live final tv episode of The Celebrity Apprentice on May 16 2010 in New York City.Bill Tompkins/Getty ImagesThe 'multi-level marketing' pyramid scheme caseThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Catherine McKoy and three others sued Trump, his business, and his three eldest children, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, in 2018 in federal court in Manhattan.The Issues: Donald Trump is accused of promoting a scam multi-level marketing scheme on "The Celebrity Apprentice." The lawsuit alleges Trump pocketed $8.8 million from the scheme — but that they lost thousands of dollars. Trump's side has complained that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack. What's Next: The parties say in court filings that they are working to meet an August 31 deadline for the completion of depositions. Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMichael Cohen's 'imprisonment' caseThe Parties: Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen sued Donald Trump, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and more than a dozen federal prison officials and employees, in federal court in Manhattan in 2021.The Issues: The president's former personal attorney is seeking $20 million in damages relating to the time he spent in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress about Trump's dealings in Congress. Cohen says in his suit that he had been moved to home confinement for three months in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, but was then vindictively thrown into solitary confinement when he refused to stop speaking to the press and writing a tell-all book about his former boss. A judge ordered him released after 16 days.What's Next: Oral arguments on pending defense motions to dismiss were set for August 2. Singer Eddy Grant performs in concert in honor of Nelson Mandela in Hyde Park, London June 27, 2008.Andrew Winning/ReutersThe Electric Avenue copyright caseThe Parties: Eddy Grant, the composer/performer behind the 80s disco-reggae mega-hit "Electric Avenue," sued Donald Trump and his campaign in federal court in Manhattan in 2020.The Issues: Grant is seeking $300,000 compensation for copyright infringement. His suit says that Trump made unauthorized use of the 1983 dance floor staple during the 2020 campaign. About 40 seconds of the song played in the background of a Biden-bashing animation that Trump posted to his Twitter account. The animation was viewed 13 million times before being taken down a month later. Trump has countered that the animation was political satire and so exempt from copyright infringement claims. He's also said that the campaign merely reposted the animation and have no idea where it came from.What's Next: There is an August 21 deposition completion deadline for both sides. Pretrial motions are not due to be filed until October.Mary Trump speaks to Katie Phang on MSNBC on June 17, 2022.MSNBCMary Trump v. Donald TrumpThe Parties: The former president's niece sued him and his siblings in 2020 in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan.The Issues: Mary Trump alleges that she was cheated out of at least $10 million in a 2001 court settlement over the estate of her late father, Fred Trump, Sr. Mary Trump alleges she only learned by helping with a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times article that she'd been defrauded by her Uncle Donald, her aunt, Maryanne Trump Barry, and the late Robert Trump, whose estate is named as a defendant.The Times' 18-month investigation "revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges," the Pulitzer Committee said in praising the piece. Lawyers for the Trumps have countered that it's far too late for Mary Trump to sue over a 2001 settlement that she had knowingly participated in.What's next: The defendants' motion to dismiss, including on statute of limitations grounds, is still pending.Lawsuits brought by Trump Donald Trump v. Mary Trump The Parties: The former president counter-sued his niece Mary Trump — and the New York Times — in 2021 in New York state Supreme Court in Dutchess County.The Issues: Mary Trump, the Times and three of its reporters  "maliciously conspired" against him, Trump alleges, by collaborating with the Times on its expose of and breaching the confidentiality of the family's 2001 settlement of the estate of Mary Trump's father, Fred Trump, Sr. What's Next: Mary Trump's motion to dismiss is pending in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, where the case has since been transferred to.Hillary Clinton.Photo by: Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesDonald Trump v. Hillary ClintonThe Parties: Trump has sued Hillary Clinton, her campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and prominent Democrats including former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a federal court in southern Florida in March, 2022.The Issues:  Trump alleges in this unusual use of federal racketeering statutes that Clinton and her campaign staff conspired to harm his 2016 run for president by promoting a "contrived Trump-Russia link." The defendants are trying to get the massive lawsuit dismissed on statute of limitation grounds, to which Trump's side counters that the "conspiracy" wasn't fully disclosed until the 2019 report on the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation.What's Next: Trump's side is asking that a tentative May, 2023 trial date be pushed back to November of 2023.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 22nd, 2022

Florida GOP candidate Luis Miguel was banned on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook after saying he would legalize shooting federal agents "on sight"

Luis Miguel, a GOP candidate for Florida's House, was banned on several social platforms after calling to legalize shooting FBI, IRS, and ATF agents. Screenshot of the suspended account of Luis Miguel, a Florida republican candidate for the House of Representatives. Miguel was suspended after calling to legalize shooting federal agents "on sight."Screenshot/Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert Luis Miguel, a candidate for Florida's House, was removed from several social media platforms Friday. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook suspended Miguel after he posted about violence against federal agents. Miguel said that under his plan Floridians could shoot FBI, IRS and ATF agents "on sight." Luis Miguel, a GOP candidate for Florida's House of Representatives, was banned from several social media platforms on Friday after calling to legalize shooting federal agents "on sight."On Wednesday, Miguel, who is running in Florida House District 20, posted across his Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Parler accounts the same message, signed with his name: "Under my plan, all Floridians will have permission to shoot FBI, IRS, ATF and all other feds ON SIGHT! Let freedom ring!"The post, which is still visible on his Parler account — a platform associated with supporters of former President Donald Trump — prompted Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to suspend him.A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to Insider Miguel was permanently suspended from the platform for violating its hateful conduct policy, which states users may not make violent threats.A Facebook spokesperson told Insider that one of Miguel's Facebook accounts and his Instagram account were both removed, but did not respond to questions about whether the suspension was permanent.Calls for violence against federal agents have risen in recent weeks following the FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, where officers recovered 11 sets of classified materials, according to court records.Miguel told Florida Politics the suspension "doesn't affect (him) at all." The local news outlet reported he stands by the proposal, which he said is justified because the IRS has been "weaponized by dissident forces."The Miguel campaign did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Miguel is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Bobby Payne in Tuesday's primary election. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 20th, 2022

Trials, pardons, prison time: How Trump"s legal woes could play out and what it means for 2024

Now that we know Trump is the target of an active criminal investigation, what comes next, and how might this end for the former president? Former President Donald Trump.Scott Olson/Getty Images The FBI waded into uncharted waters when it executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. Trump is the target of an active criminal probe. What comes next, and how might it end for him? The inquiry could wrap without charges, Trump could cut a deal to avoid indictment, or he could end up behind bars — but still be able to run in 2024. The FBI waded into uncharted territory when it executed a search warrant last week at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club and personal residence in Palm Beach, Florida.According to the unsealed warrant and an accompanying FBI manifest of items seized, the feds recovered 20 boxes from Mar-a-Lago and at least 11 sets of classified documents, including some that were marked top-secret. The warrant also indicated that the Justice Department is investigating if Trump violated three federal laws, including the Espionage Act, related to the handling of national security information.The raid — and its continued fallout — sparked a national firestorm as the public grappled with the reality that there is an active criminal investigation into the former president of the United States.It also opened up a slew of questions given the unprecedented nature of the probe. Chief among them: what happens next, and how might this end for Trump?Here are some potential scenarios:The investigation concludes with no charges filedIn the US's 250-year history, no ex-commander-in-chief has ever faced criminal charges. And while the FBI's raid indicates that its investigation has entered an aggressive phase, the inquiry could very well wrap without an indictment against the former president. For a somewhat similar example of this option playing out (albeit not involving a former president), look to Trump's ex-personal defense attorney Rudy Giuliani. The FBI raided Giuliani's home and office last year and seized more than a dozen of his electronic devices as part of a criminal investigation into whether Giuliani broke foreign lobbying laws.Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference in Miami in July 2021.Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News ServiceBut earlier this month, the feds returned Giuliani's devices to him and The New York Times reported that he's unlikely to face criminal charges related to his work in Ukraine.Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, also cautioned against assuming that the Mar-a-Lago raid will lead to an indictment and said it's possible the Justice Department only wanted to recover the sensitive records Trump had at his Florida property."I think that's one aspect of what's going on and perhaps the dominant aspect," Richman told Insider's Camila DeChalus.In this scenario, Trump would have a clear path to running for president in 2024 — as he's repeatedly indicated he'll do — and landing in the White House again.Trump agrees not to seek public office to avoid an indictmentOn the other end of the spectrum, prosecutors could pursue criminal charges against the 45th president in connection to his handling of official government records. If they do, it could go one of several ways.One option with some historical precedent: A deal in which Trump would agree not to seek public office to avoid being indicted.In 2001, on his last day in office, then President Bill Clinton cut a deal with the Whitewater special prosecutor Robert Ray: give up his license to practice law in his home state of Arkansas for five years and the Whitewater team wouldn't pursue criminal charges against him for lying under oath about his sexual relationship with the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.Whitewater investigators also imposed a $250,000 fine on Clinton, which he paid, and the Supreme Court suspended him from arguing cases before it. The court gave Clinton 40 days to explain why he shouldn't be disbarred after the Arkansas Bar Association suspended him, but rather than face disbarment, Clinton resigned his membership on the Supreme Court bar.Monica Lewinsky worked as a White House intern under former President Bill Clinton.Getty ImagesAlthough the Justice Department's investigation into Trump's handling of government records is the most public-facing since the FBI's raid, it isn't the only ongoing federal probe connected to him. The department is also conducting a wide-ranging investigation into the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, and several former high-ranking White House officials were subpoenaed in recent weeks as at least two grand juries investigate events leading up to the attack.Prosecutors are said to be zeroing in on Trump's actions surrounding the riot and his lawyers have reportedly grown more concerned about Trump's legal exposure as the attorney general publicly emphasizes that "no person is above the law."Then there's Congress' separate investigation into January 6, which so far has highlighted five federal laws lawmakers think Trump may have broken in connection to the riot.Trump's defense lawyer, Alina Habba, recently appeared to allude to the possibility of him agreeing not to seek office again in exchange for avoiding criminal charges."I've sat across from him every time he gets frustrated and I say to him, 'Mr. President, if you would like me to resolve all your litigation, you should announce that you are not running for office, and all of this will stop,'" Habba said on Real America's Voice.Trump is indicted, convicted, and ends up behind bars — but he can still run for presidentIf Trump is charged with a crime — or crimes — but forgoes a plea deal, the case would proceed to a criminal trial. According to the FBI's search warrant, prosecutors are looking into whether Trump violated three federal laws:18 USC § 793, a key facet of the Espionage Act relating to the removal of information pertaining to the US's national defense. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.18 USC § 2071, which bars the concealment, removal, or mutilation generally of government records. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of three years and disqualification from holding public office.18 USC § 1519, which prohibits the destruction, alteration, or falsification of records. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.In all, the former president would be looking at potentially being incarcerated for 33 years, according to legal experts.If Trump is in prison, can he still run for president in 2024? The short answer: yes, and it's been done before.As Insider previously reported, there's nothing in the Constitution that blocks someone from mounting a presidential run if they're behind bars. The socialist candidate Eugene Debs had been convicted of treason under the Espionage Act when he ran for president in 1920. And Lyndon LaRouche, who was convicted of mail fraud in 1988 and imprisoned, ran for president in 1992.If he's convicted for violating two of the three laws mentioned above, Trump could theoretically launch a 2024 presidential campaign even if he's incarcerated. If he's convicted for violating 18 USC § 2071, however, he would be disqualified from holding office again.AP PhotoBiden grants Trump executive clemencyPresident Joe Biden could elect to grant Trump executive clemency — in the form of a pardon, commutation, amnesty, or reprieve — if Trump gets indicted, convicted, or even if he's under threat of indictment while Biden is in office. The most famous historical example of this was when President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, after Nixon resigned from office amid the Watergate scandal.Congress dropped its impeachment investigation into Nixon following his resignation but he still faced the risk of criminal prosecution on both a state and federal level. In September 1974, Ford granted Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed while president.While the move was seen as a step towards helping the country heal in the wake of Watergate, it's also widely believed to be one of the main reasons Ford lost his own bid to serve a full term in the 1980 election against Jimmy Carter.Now, more than four decades later, legal experts suggest it's highly likely Biden would grant Trump a pardon or a commutation if he's convicted, indicted or under threat of indictment in order to avoid further inflaming political divisions in the country."My 100% is really that there is no way that a former POTUS is going to spend time in jail, or that Biden (or any normal POTUS) would allow that," Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and a dean at Yale Law School, tweeted.Aziz Huq, a law professor at the University of Chicago, made a similar point.A narrow pardon for offenses related to the mishandling of classified information, as opposed to a blanket pardon like the one Ford granted Nixon, "might minimize damage to the rule of law, while shoring up our democratic norms," Huq wrote in Politico. "While hardly perfect, it might well be the least bad option to protect our constitutional democracy."But it's worth noting that a presidential pardon wouldn't shield Trump from possible state charges.The Fulton County district attorney's office is currently investigating if Trump and his allies violated Georgia laws in their quest to nullify Biden's election victory in the state — and some legal experts say this investigation is a bigger risk to Trump than the DOJ's. The inquiry kicked into high gear this week, when prosecutors informed Giuliani, who spearheaded Trump's legal effort to overturn the election results, that he is a target of the probe.Local prosecutors in Georgia have targeted Rudy Giuliani in their investigation into efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the state's 2020 election results.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesGiuliani appeared before the special grand jury investigating the matter on Wednesday. If Trump himself becomes a target of the investigation and faces state criminal charges, his only hope for clemency upon conviction would be from a Georgia pardons and parole board.Trump gets indicted and acquitted following a trialIt's also possible that Trump could be criminally charged and opt not to cut a deal, and that Biden wouldn't step in with a clemency grant. If the case goes to trial, a 12-person jury would have to reach a unanimous decision in order to convict, and Trump would be off the hook if just one juror broke from the others.If he does sidestep the legal minefield he's currently in and makes it back into the White House in 2024, Trump and his allies have made clear that they intend to exact revenge on the Justice Department and the FBI.It wouldn't be the first time Trump has interfered with the department's work.He made headlines during his presidency for wondering why he couldn't have "my guys" at the "Trump Justice Department" do his bidding. He famously fired James Comey, the FBI director in charge of the investigation into the Trump campaign's links to Russia. Then he ordered the firing of the special counsel appointed to investigate Comey's firing (and only backed off when the White House counsel threatened to quit).When he lost the 2020 election, Trump tried to enlist the Justice Department to overturn Biden's victory and attempted to oust the acting attorney general before backing off when top DOJ officials threatened to resign en masse.On Wednesday, the former president took to Truth Social to post a Wall Street Journal op-ed by the pro-Trump columnist Kimberly Strassel titled, "The Payback for Mar-a-Lago Will Be Brutal.""What went around [last week] will come around hard for the Democrats when Republicans control the Justice Department and FBI," Strassel wrote, before speculating about how the rule of law will hold up "when a future Republican Justice Department starts raiding the homes of Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, James Comey and John Brennan."Michael Caputo, the former top communications aide at the Department of Health and Human Services and one of Trump's most loyal lieutenants, also alluded to what could come next if Trump is reelected."At the end of this thing the FBI is going to be four different departments spread across the federal government like seeds to the wind and probably based in Wichita," he told Insider in an interview.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 17th, 2022