By Jan Wolfe (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday sued Roger Stone, saying the close ally of former President Donald Trump owes about $2 million in unpaid federal income taxes, according to a court document seen by Reuters. The civil lawsuit, filed in federal court in Florida, alleged that Stone and his wife, Nydia, used a commercial entity to "shield their personal income from enforced collection and fund a lavish lifestyle despite owing nearly $2 million in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties." (Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)
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Reprinted with permission from ProPublica
The number of federal political committees that have spent money in the first half of 2021 at Trump Organization properties has dropped dramatically from the same period two years ago, Federal Election Commission filings show. Those continuing to spend: a smaller circle of loyal supporters of former President Donald Trump and candidates jockeying for his favor in contested Republican primaries.
During the first six months of 2021, 27 federal committees have reported spending $348,000 at Trump Organization properties, with the Republican National Committee accounting for more than half the total. That's a steep decline from the 177 committees that did so during the 2019-2020 election cycle or the 78 committees that spent more than $1.6 million at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump International Hotel in Washington and other company sites in the first half of 2019, filings show.
Of course, that spending came in the run-up to a presidential election in which Trump was the incumbent. The biggest spenders in 2019 were the RNC and Trump's own political committees raising money to support his campaign.
While the RNC is the top spender so far in 2021, many of the other PACs that used Trump properties as venues for fundraising events and other activities appear to have stopped their spending. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the fundraising arm of House Republicans, has not reported spending any money at Trump properties through May of this year after spending $32,532 during the previous election cycle. (National party committees will file reports covering activity in June on July 20, which may show some spending at Trump's facilities.)
Those that have spent money at Trump properties this year represent some of the former president's most fervent loyalists, including Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who is running for an open Senate seat, and Ronny Jackson of Texas, who previously was the White House physician. Overall, 13 of the 23 committees spending this year are connected to current members of the House or Senate.
"Republican candidates are in a delicate moment, I think, because of uncertainty surrounding Trump's future power," said Abby Wood, a professor of law, political science and public policy at the University of Southern California, in an email. "Trump's power in the next election is much less certain than it was from the vantage point of folks spending money (and enriching him) at his properties in 2019."
The drop in political spending comes at a precarious time for the Trump Organization, which in early July was hit with 10 felony charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., as well as additional charges against Allen Weisselberg, the organization's chief financial officer. Both Weisselberg and the company have pleaded not guilty to the charges, but the impact of the investigation and the fallout of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have damaged the company's business prospects. The Washington Post described the company as at its "lowest point in decades."
The other spenders include congressional candidates advertising their ties to Trump, such as Lynda Blanchard, who is one of Brooks' opponents for the GOP nomination in the Alabama Senate race, and Josh Mandel, who's running for an open Senate seat in Ohio. Brooks, Blanchard and Mandel have each paid to use Mar-a-Lago, Trump's property in Palm Beach, Florida, while Jackson paid for an event at the Trump hotel in Washington.
"It is my intention to do fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago as often as I can, so long as they help generate positive cash flow for my Senate campaign for America First policies," Brooks said in a statement. "I personally thank President Trump for allowing me to use Mar-a-Lago and hope he will continue to be so generous in the future."
The campaigns of Blanchard, Jackson, and Mandel, along with the RNC and the Trump Organization, did not respond to requests for comment. The RNC has spent more money for events at other locations this year, including $529,000 for a donor event at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach in April.
Mar-a-Lago, a private club that also doubles as the former president's residence, has been the leading recipient of federal political committee spending among Trump properties, bringing in at least $283,000 this year, much of it for hosting an RNC donor retreat in May. In addition to getting the venue and Florida weather, politicians holding events at the club stand a good chance of having Trump make an appearance.
The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the BLT Prime restaurant located there, have seen a significant drop-off in political spending compared to the first half of 2019. Two years ago, the D.C. hotel and restaurant brought in more than $518,000, according to FEC records. This year, without Trump in the White House nearby, the total is less than $15,000.
"Given Trump is no longer president and there is less need to curry favor with him, congressional incumbents and party committees may choose less expensive venues," said Paul Herrnson, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut.
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Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos
A fly fishing guide in Montana had the kind of opportunity many of us only wish we could tap, and that is to tell Fox host Tucker Carlson, an irresponsibly vocal anti-vaxxer, how much damage he has done. "You are the worst human being known to mankind. I want you to know that," Dan Bailey is seen telling Carlson in video posted to the Montana man's Instagram page on Friday.
Bailey encountered Carlson in Dan Bailey's Fly Shop in Livingston, but neither is affiliated with the shop, according to a statement shared both on the business's website and at HuffPost. "On July 23rd, a well-known television personality, Tucker Carlson, was affronted while shopping at Dan Bailey's Outdoor Company. Coincidentally, the person engaging Mr. Carlson was a local resident named Dan Bailey," the store's owner Dale Sexton said in the statement. "This person has no affiliation with our business, other than he shares the same name as our founder, who passed away in 1982. To be clear, we treat every customer equally and respectfully. Our staff was professional and cordial to Mr. Carlson, as we are with all of our customers."
The Dan Bailey in the video was hilariously unprofessional and uncordial. "It's not everyday you get to tell someone they are the worst person in the world and really mean it!" he said in the caption of his Instagram post after approaching Carlson. "What an a--hole! This man has killed more people with vaccine misinformation, he has supported extreme racism, he is a fascist and does more to rip this country apart than anyone that calls themselves an American."
In support of Carlson, the former president's son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted his own form of bigotry against transgender parents. "Is the loser who went out of his way to have someone video him harassing Tucker in public for some viral content the model for the new Pregnant Male Emoji? The likeness is uncanny! #SoBrave" he said in the tweet on Sunday.
Film producer Evan Shapiro tweeted about the encounter: "Dan Bailey calmly spoke facts. Tucker tried to use his kid to shield himself from hearing them. Monday @TuckerCarlson will say Bailey attacked him. He will cry like a baby. He will try to dox Bailey in retaliation. Watch. Share. Don't let him."
Carlson has been casting doubt on the effectiveness of vaccines for months now. "If vaccines work, why are vaccinated people still banned from living normal lives," he asked on April 13, before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did in fact issue revised guidance that it was safe for vaccinated people to interact without masks. "Honestly, what's the answer to that? It doesn't make any sense at all," Carlson added in April. "If the vaccine is effective, there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact."
Ex-Fox reporter reveals why Tucker Carlson is lying about vaccines www.youtube.com
What Carlson's rudimentary argument failed to take into account was how the unvaccinated population affects public health in total. As of Friday, only 49 percent of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated, the CDC reported. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN host Anderson Cooper: "There have been multiple times when we have been fooled by Covid-19, when cases went down and we thought we were in the clear and then cases went up again. It means we shouldn't let down our guard until cases not only come down but stay down, and right now cases are actually going up. Cases are going up, hospitalizations are going up, death rates are ticking up."
Dr. Brytney Cobia wrote in a heartbreaking Facebook post last Sunday: "I'm admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections. One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late."
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