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Sunday, December 17, 2017
Justin Elliott
Kushner's weekly paper published article urging crackdown on dissent

‘Peacemaker’ Kushner Promotes Settlers’ West Bank Expansion

The Kushner family has given money in past years to the group, which funds construction of the Bet El settlement outside the Palestinian city Ramallah, as Haaretz first reported. But this appears to be the first time they’ve done so while Kushner, whose title is senior adviser to the president, is the lead administration official brokering a peace plan.

December 7, 2017

Budget Chief’s Door Open For Corporate Lobbyists And Far Right

One of President Donald Trump’s top cabinet officials has met with a long list of lobbyists, corporate executives and wealthy people with business interests before the government, according to calendars the Trump administration fought to keep secret.

November 22, 2017
FEMA_-_42099_-_Disaster_workers_board_a_plane_in_American_Samoa

FEMA Had A Plan For Responding To A Hurricane In Puerto Rico — But It Doesn’t Want You To See It

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, citing unspecified “potentially sensitive information,” is declining to release a document it drafted several years ago that details how it would respond to a major hurricane in Puerto Rico.

October 28, 2017
Marc-Kasowitz

Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz Threatens Stranger In Emails: ‘Watch Your Back , Bitch’

Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney on the Russia case, threatened a stranger in a string of profanity-laden emails Wednesday night. The man, a retired public relations professional in the western United States who asked not to be identified, read ProPublica’s story this week on Kasowitz and sent the lawyer an email with the subject line: “Resign Now.’’

July 15, 2017
Border Wall

Trump Administration Hires Official Whom Five Students Accused Of Sexual Assault

Steven Munoz was hired by the Trump administration as assistant chief of visits, running an office of up to 10 staffers charged with the sensitive work of organizing visits of foreign heads of state to the U.S. That includes arranging meetings with the president. At The Citadel, five male freshmen alleged that Munoz used his positions as an upperclassman, class president and head of the campus Republican Society to grope them.

May 4, 2017
Syria

Trump Is Hiring Lobbyists And Top Ethics Official Says ‘There’s No Transparency’

President Trump has stocked his administration with a small army of former lobbyists and corporate consultants who are now in the vanguard of the effort to roll back government regulations at the agencies they once sought to influence, according to an analysis of government records by the New York Times in collaboration with ProPublica.

April 16, 2017
LGBTQ

Official Involved In Bush-Era Purge of Gay Employees Now Working For Trump

A little-noticed inspector general report, released in 2013, depicts Trump appointee James Renne as a central player in an anti-gay purge at the Office of Special Counsel during the Bush administration. The report found that employees were targeted for no legitimate reason, pointing to “facts which reflect that…Mr. Renne may have been motivated…by a negative personal attitude toward homosexuality and individuals whose orientation is homosexual.”

April 10, 2017
Trump, Obama, Wiretapping

How The Trump Administration Responds To Democrats’ Demands For Information: It Doesn’t.

Trump, for example, hasn’t nominated anyone for 12 out of the 13 Senate-confirmable leadership spots at congressional affairs offices throughout the government, according to a Washington Post jobs tracker.

April 1, 2017
California, Trump, Ethics

How The Trump Administration May Be Skirting Its Own Ethics Rules

The hiring of three former lobbyists to work in the White House raises questions about how the Trump administration is enforcing the president’s executive order on ethics.

March 4, 2017
K Street, Trump, Lobbyist, Ethics

Trump’s Watered-Down Ethics Rules Allow Lobbyists To Run The Swamp

As a candidate, Trump regularly railed against lobbyists and led crowds in chants of “Drain the swamp!” But as president, Trump signed an executive order that weakened significant aspects of the Obama ethics policy, including scrapping a ban on lobbyists joining agencies they had recently lobbied.

February 12, 2017
Students, Visas, State Department, Trump Muslim Ban

A New State Department Order To Revoke Visas Could Have Far-Reaching Effects

The Trump travel ban could have far wider effects than previously understood for foreigners who waited years as State Department officials reviewed their immigrant visa applications. The new policy, disclosed yesterday, means that immigrants hoping to join their families in the U.S. from the affected countries may have to start the lengthy process all over again.

February 2, 2017
Muslim ban protest

Trump Ban Leaves 12-Year-Old Girl Facing Return To War-Torn Yemen

The Trump order, which bars citizens from Yemen and six other countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, has left a 12- year-old girl in what amounts to a stateless limbo in Djibouti. She cannot join her American-citizen parents and family in the United States, and she has no roots or family in Djibouti.

January 30, 2017
Overtime

How Trump Could Kill A Plan To Get You Overtime Pay

One of the first tests of Trump’s pledge to help workers will come in how his administration handles the complicated rules that govern who has the right to time-and-a-half overtime pay. At stake is the possibility of overtime pay for about 4 million workers around the country.

January 15, 2017
Puzder, Labor Secretary, Trump

Trump’s Pick For Labor Secretary Wrote A Deregulatory Manifesto

The single best window into Andrew Puzder’s thinking may be an obscure book he wrote six years ago. It’s a blistering attack on business regulations, unions, and the Obama administration’s stimulus and health-care policies.

December 16, 2016

From Russia With PR

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. Today, Vladimir Putin wrote an op-ed about Syria in the New York Times. The piece was placed by the public-relations giant Ketchum, BuzzFeed reported. On Nov. 16, 2012, we explored how Ketchum placed pro-Russia op-eds in American publications by businesspeople and others without disclosing the role of the Russian government. Ketchum’s latest public filing says […]

September 12, 2013

Does The NSA Tap That? What We Still Don’t Know About The Agency’s Internet Surveillance

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. Among the snooping revelations of recent weeks, there have been tantalizing bits of evidence that the NSA is tapping fiber-optic cables that carry nearly all international phone and Internet data. The idea that the NSA is sweeping up vast data streams via cables and other infrastructure — often described as the […]

July 22, 2013

Dark Money Group Spent On House Race, Then Told IRS It Didn’t

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. Shortly before Election Day last year, mailers went out to Texas voters featuring pictures of a Democratic congressional candidate and a rare species of spider, whose discovery had forced stoppage of an important highway construction project. “The same left-wing extremists who support Pete Gallego want more burdensome regulations that put the […]

July 1, 2013

House Finance Chair Goes On Ski Vacation With Wall Street

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica In January, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) ascended to the powerful chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee. Six weeks later, campaign finance filings and interviews show, Hensarling was joined by representatives of the banking industry for a ski vacation fundraiser at a posh Park City, Utah, resort. The congressman’s political action […]

April 30, 2013

Drilling Deeper: The Wealth Of Business Connections For Obama’s Energy Pick

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. When President Obama nominated Ernest Moniz to be energy secretary earlier this month, he hailed the nuclear physicist as a “brilliant scientist” who, among his many talents, had effectively brought together “prominent thinkers and energy companies” in the continuing effort to figure out a safe and economically sound energy future for the […]

March 20, 2013

Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding For Republican Dark Money Group

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. Some of the nation’s biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to play a key role in recent political fights. Like the nonprofit groups that poured money into last year’s elections, the decade-old State Government Leadership Foundation has been able to keep […]

February 14, 2013

How A Government Report Spread A Questionable Claim About Iran

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica Several media outlets reported this month on an alarming finding from a new U.S. government study: Iran’s intelligence ministry, as CNN put it, constitutes “a terror and assassination force 30,000 strong.” The claim that the intelligence ministry has a whopping 30,000 employees, first reported by a conservative website, spread to other […]

January 15, 2013

Watchdogs To IRS: Reject Rove Group’s Tax Application

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. Two watchdog groups are calling on the IRS to reject Crossroads GPS’ request to be recognized as a social welfare nonprofit. Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, nonpartisan outfits that favor tighter campaign finance regulations, wrote a letter to the tax agency Wednesday citing ProPublica’s recent reporting on Crossroads’ 2010 […]

January 4, 2013

Meet The Think-Tankers Advising The U.S. Military In Kabul

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. Amid the media frenzy over former CIA director David Petraeus’ extramarital affair, we were struck by a quick reference in a Washington Post story about Petraeus’ time running the war in Afghanistan: Prominent members of conservative, Washington-based defense think tanks were given permanent office space at his headquarters and access to […]

November 30, 2012

Have U.S. Drones Become A ‘Counterinsurgency Air Force’ For Our Allies?

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. On Sunday The New York Times reported that the Obama administration, prompted by the possibility of losing the election, has been developing a “formal rule book” to govern the use of drone strikes, which have killed roughly 2,500 people under President Obama. One aspect of the piece in particular caught our eye: […]

November 28, 2012

Dark Money And Citizens United: What Obama And Romney Would And Wouldn’t Do About It

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica. With campaign finances limits rendered nearly meaningless, election spending is on pace to set records. Where does each presidential candidate stand on how to regulate money in politics? President Obama talks about changes but hasn’t instituted many. He favors legislation that would require disclosure of donors to dark money non-profits. The […]

October 23, 2012