Category Archives: Lobbying

A rare victory over ‘dark money’ in a divided Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts has dedicated his professional career to destroying the Voting Rights Act and destroying any and all campaign finance laws. He represents the millionaires and billionaires who want a corporatocracy to replace our democracy in a new Gilded Age. What a swell guy.

Last week, the Chief Justice granted an emergency application from Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategy, a nonprofit linked to American Crossroads, a “super PAC” started by Karl Rove, to stay the order of U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell which rejected a long-standing FEC regulation regarding disclosure, concluding that nonprofits like Crossroads Grassroots should be required to disclose any donors who give at least $200 toward any independent expenditures. See, Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog, Chief justice puts donor-disclosure ruling on hold. If allowed to stand, the ruling would be significant: Political nonprofits have spent over $700 million on “independent expenditures” since 2010.

Robert’s referred his temporary order to the full court, and the evenly divided Supreme Court denied the group’s application without comment or published dissent. The ruling means that the district court’s order invalidating the FEC’s regulation will go into effect for now.

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A sham hearing and a denial of due process

This is what GOP authoritarianism looks like: a sham hearing and a denial of due process to a victim of sexual abuse.

I explained yesterday, The Senate needs to get this right, and right now it is failing: for judicial background checks, the client is not the Senate but the White House. And the White House Hasn’t Asked FBI to Vet Kavanaugh Allegations, Sources Say.

The FBI background is the legally correct thing to do in fairness to both the accuser and the accused. Due process demands it. As Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told the Washington Post, “If there’s a hearing before that investigation, the committee is going to be shooting in the dark with questions.” “As a former prosecutor and state attorney general, there’s no way I would put a crime survivor on the stand in front of a jury, let alone the American people, without a full investigation so that I know what the facts are before I start asking questions.”

On Tuesday, Christine Blasey Ford Requested That the F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies, a reasonable request, as is her right:

Speaking through lawyers, Christine Blasey Ford said she would cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee and left open the possibility of testifying later about her allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. But echoing Senate Democrats, she said an investigation should be “the first step” before she is put “on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”

Republicans signaled Tuesday night that they would not negotiate an alternative date and would go ahead with the hearing without her or declare it unnecessary if she refuses to appear, then possibly move to a vote. They have repeatedly stressed that Monday would be Dr. Blasey’s opportunity to testify, either privately or publicly, and that they planned to move forward with the confirmation process afterward.

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The Senate needs to get this right, and right now it is failing

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled next Monday for a hearing on Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh when they were in high school.

While there does need to be a hearing, this is yet again another example of GOP leadership steamrolling the Kavanaugh nomination without all the facts being made available to senators. GOP leadership is setting up this Monday hearing to be another public spectacle like the Anita Hill hearings were in 1991, and that is unfair to Christine Blasey Ford, Brett Kavaaugh, and the Senate. These fools have learned nothing in the intervening years.

Lat week Senator Dianne Feinstein referred the letter of Christine Blasey Ford to the FBI for further background investigation. All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter dated Monday morning urging Grassley to postpone the committee vote, urging that an FBI investigation should conclude before Kavanaugh’s nomination proceeds. Democrats call to delay Kavanaugh committee vote, after accuser comes forward.

The problem is that for judicial background checks, the client is not the Senate but the White House. And the White House Hasn’t Asked FBI to Vet Kavanaugh Allegations, Sources Say:

The White House hasn’t asked the FBI to investigate the allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when they were in high school, a request required for the bureau to take further action, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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The biggest test of the #MeToo movement: a Supreme Court nominee

The #MeToo movement is about believing a woman when she says that she has been sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, or raped by a man who is in a position of power:

After The New York Times published an explosive report in October 2017 detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, dozens of women came forward with their own accusations against the Hollywood mogul. Within a week Weinstein had been fired from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Now, in a post-Weinstein world, legions of women have felt empowered to speak out and share their own #MeToo stories—both on social media and in news outlets. The reports against the powerful producer sparked an avalanche of accusations against high-profile men in media, politics, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood, all with varying degrees of repercussions.

Here, a list of the high-profile men who have been accused of sexual harassment, assault, and/or misconduct since the Weinstein story broke, which we’ll keep updating as new allegations surface. Post-Wtneinstein, These Are the Powerful Men Facing Sexual Harassment Allegations.

The stakes just got a lot higher for the #MeToo movement.

“Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.” California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault:

Now, Ford has decided that if her story is going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.

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GOP continues to hide the ball on Brett Kavanaugh and rush his confirmation (Updated)

The confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh last week raised more questions than were answered. Democrats want the confirmation slowed down so there is time to receive documents not yet produced by the National Archives — only 10 percent of documents have been made available so far — But Republican leaders continue to reject their reasonable requests by labeling documents that have been produced “committee confidential” and rushing to a Judiciary Committee vote next week.

This is not normal. This is what GOP authoritarianism looks like. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos sounds the alarm, Grassley and fellow Republicans continue slow murder of democracy in Kavanaugh hearing:

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee tried and failed to slow down the confirmation process on Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in Thursday morning’s meeting. At the outset, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) moved to adjourn, pointing out the total farce this nomination and committee process has been. “There’s no way to seek justice. I am hear under protest. There is fundamental injustice here.” Grassley proceeded with the meeting, setting a vote on the nomination for next week.

Sen. Feinstein then moved to subpoena the hundreds of thousands of documents from Kavanaugh’s Bush White House service that have been withheld, and was voted down by 11-10, all Republicans voting to keep the nation in the dark. A second motion “to subpoena 100,000 documents denied to the committee through a bogus assertion of ‘constitutional privilege'” followed, also defeated 11-10. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) moved to subpoena documents from Kavanaugh’s Bush White House service related native Hawaiians and indigenous people, and was defeated 11-10.

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Kavanaugh lied to Congress. Why is this not ‘a major problem’ for all 100 senators?

I mentioned this in a comment the other day. Lisa Graves, the former chief counsel for nominations for the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice, wrote at Slate that I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About:

During the hearings on his nomination to the D.C. Circuit a few months after the Miranda news broke, Kavanaugh actively hid his own involvement, lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee by stating unequivocally that he not only knew nothing of the episode, but also never even received any stolen material.

Even if Kavanaugh could claim that he didn’t have any hint at the time he received the emails that these documents were of suspect provenance—which I personally find implausible—there is no reasonable way for him to assert honestly that he had no idea what they were after the revelation of the theft. Any reasonable person would have realized they had been stolen, and certainly someone as smart as Kavanaugh would have too.

But he lied.

Under oath.

And he did so repeatedly.

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