Category Archives: Elected Officials

Trump Foundation donated to charities that booked galas at Mar-a-Lago

Source: Christine Stapleton, Palm Beach Post, July 6, 2018

Nearly all of the $706,000 in donations made by the Donald J. Trump Foundation in Palm Beach County since 2008 went to charities that hosted lavish fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago — the president’s highest-profile business in the county. ….

Moving to Mar-a-Lago: Who got how much and when
A sampling of the charities that received a donation at the time they moved their fundraisers to Mar-a-Lago.

– The International Red Cross received a $21,000 donation in 2015, the year it decided to move its event from The Breakers back to Mar-a-Lago.
– The Salvation Army received a $25,000 in 2015, the year after it moved its event to Mar-a-Lago from the Breakers.
– The MorseLife Foundation moved its dinner dance to Mar-a-Lago in 2011 and the next year the Trump Foundation made a $25,000 donation.
– The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society moved its event to Mar-a-Lago in 2010. In April 2011, Trump called into Rush Limbaugh’s radio show during Limbaugh’s annual Leukemia/Lymphoma Cure-A-Thon and pledged to give $100,000. The foundation then made a $101,500 donation.
– The Dana Farber Cancer Institute began hosting its fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago in 2011. A year before, the Trump Foundation donated $100,000 to the institute’s headquarters and the foundation followed with a $25,000 gift in 2014 and another $22,500 in 2015.
– The Palm Beach Zoo — a regular at the Breakers — received a $25,000 donation from the Trump Foundation in 2013, which was the year it moved to Mar-a-Lago.

Can Fact-checking Prevent Politicians from Lying?

Source: Chloe Lim, May 17, 2018

Journalists now regularly trumpet fact-checking as an important tool to hold politicians accountable for their public statements, but fact checking’s effect has only been assessed anecdotally and in experiments on politicians holding lower-level offices. Using a rigorous research design to estimate the effects of fact-checking on presidential candidates, this paper shows that a fact-checker deeming a statement false false causes a 9.5 percentage points reduction in the probability that the candidate repeats the claim. To eliminate alternative explanations that could confound this estimate, I use two types of difference-in-differences analyses, each using true-rated claims and “checkable but unchecked” claims, a placebo test using hypothetical fact-check dates, and a topic model to condition on the topic of the candidate’s statement. This paper contributes to the literature on how news media can hold politicians accountable, showing that when news organizations label a statement as inaccurate, they affect candidate behavior.

#MeToo in the Statehouse: At Least 16 Men Are Gone, But the Harassment Culture Isn’t

Source: Jen Fifield, Stateline, May 11, 2018

…..Seven months after the #MeToo movement began, state lawmakers across the country are still grappling with how to root out what many say is a longstanding misogynist culture in statehouses. After dozens of sexual harassment accusations against sitting male state lawmakers, at least 16 legislators in a dozen states have resigned or been expelled, according to a Stateline tally.

In many states, accused lawmakers were knocked from leadership posts, or voluntarily relinquished them, while remaining in office. Others apologized and kept their positions, or maintain their innocence.

As many legislative sessions end, many of the substantial policy changes that state lawmakers were hoping for — such as creating a private and safe method for victims to come forward and a nonpartisan way for bad behavior to be punished — remain elusive…..

If Trump is Laundering Russian Money, Here’s How it Works

Source: Garrett M. Graff, Wired, May 11, 2018

….Recent days have been filled with a seeming tidal wave of fresh revelations from the spiraling investigation around Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, particularly around suspicious financial transactions involving Trump fixer Michael Cohen, who appears to have used the same shell company LLC to pay hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, collect six- and seven-figure consulting deals from companies like AT&T and Novartis, and receive payments from a company with close ties to oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. The subtext of many of the recent tales—from Donald Trump’s massive cash-spending spree to Cohen’s $32 million flip of New York real estate—is that the atypical transactions are worthy of greater scrutiny. After all, why was the self-proclaimed “King of Debt” suddenly waist-deep in cash and on a spending spree in the midst of the global real estate crash? Where was Cohen’s money coming from—and where was it going?….

How Trump is reshaping the courts

Source: Sam Baker, Stef W. Kight, Andrew Witherspoon, Axios, May 10, 2018

President Trump has already appointed a record-breaking number of federal judges, but his judicial legacy is even bigger than that: More than half of those judges replaced Democratic appointees.
Why it matters: Some of our most contentious political debates are ultimately settled in the courts. If Trump can keep replacing liberal judges with conservatives, he’d be giving conservatives an upper hand that would last for decades.

The numbers:
– The Senate has confirmed 17 Trump nominees for federal district courts, most of whom replaced Democratic appointees.
– Trump has also filled 16 vacancies on federal appeals courts (the last stop before the Supreme Court). Six of those appointees replaced judges who were nominated by Democratic presidents.
– There are still 140 more vacancies in the federal district and appellate courts, and Trump has put forward nominees for about half of them.
– There could soon be 100 judicial nominees pending in the Senate, according to the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo, an outside adviser to Trump on judicial nominations.

Louisiana Legislators Are Earning Big Money From Government Agencies — But Don’t Have to Disclose It All

Source: Rebekah Allen, The Advocate, April 13, 2018

One state senator earned $836,000 in legal fees representing a sheriff. The amount he disclosed: $13,328. “The notion that you could get public money and not report it in our flim-flammery of an ethics system is ridiculous,” an ethics expert says.

Governors’ Party Affiliation and Unions

Source: Louis‐Philippe Beland, Bulent Unel, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Volume 57, Issue 2, April 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Employing a regression discontinuity (RD) approach on gubernatorial elections in the United States over the last three decades, this paper investigates the causal effects of governors’ party affiliation (Democrat versus Republican) on unionization of workers, and unionized workers’ working hours and earnings. Surprisingly, we find no significant impact from the party affiliation of governors on union membership and union workers’ labor‐market outcomes.

Women in Congress, 1917-2018: Service Dates and Committee Assignments by Member, and Lists by State and Congress

Source: Jennifer E. Manning, Ida A. Brudnick, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, March 19, 2018

….This report includes committee assignments, dates of service, district information, and listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts of the 327 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress. It will be updated when there are relevant changes in the makeup of Congress.

For additional information, including a discussion of the impact of women in Congress as well as historical information, including the number and percentage of women in Congress over time, data on entry to Congress, comparisons to international and state legislatures, tenure, firsts for women in Congress, women in leadership, and African American, Asian Pacific American, and Hispanic women in Congress, see CRS Report R43244, Women in Congress: Summary Statistics and Brief Overview, by Jennifer E. Manning and Ida A. Brudnick…..