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Trump’s budget for corporate interests, and other news for 3/17/16

March 17, 2017 | Adam Smith

As Trump continues to profit off the presidency with his fifth trip to Mar-a-Lago this weekend, he released a budget yesterday that benefits wealthy corporate interests that fund him at the expense of food for children and elderly and other critical programs. As we wrote on our blog yesterday, it’ll likely boost the private prison companies that funded his campaign, the defense contractors that funded his inauguration, and the corporate interests spending money at his hotels. Jimmy Kimmel noted the Mar-a-Lago thing on last night’s show.

Public Citizen’s Lisa Gilbert: “That the Trump administration believes that draining the swamp means cutting things like environmental protections, programs for the poor, education funding and the jobs of federal employees who implement those and many critical programs – while simultaneously stacking its Cabinet and other posts with the wealthiest one percent of Americans – is appalling. If this president wants to keep his promise to drain the swamp, he and his family should stop profiting from the presidency.”

Related, from The Onion: ‘Curses!’ Shouts Fist-Shaking Meals On Wheels Ringleader As Trump Cuts Off Gravy Train

Campaign Finance/Election Law

BNA: Democrats to Probe Gorsuch Views on Campaign Finance
Yup, because his record is bad on this issue: “Democrats supporting campaign finance regulation have stopped short, so far, of outright opposition to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but key lawmakers said the burden of proof is on Gorsuch to show he won’t help extend the line of recent court decisions that rolled back limits on money in politics.”

And speaking of Judge Gorsuch’s terrible record of defending the wealthy and powerful at the expense of everyday people, Every Voice and Mayday went over to the Senate yesterday and delivered personal messages from our grassroots supporters to offices about that issue. As we went into one office, a staffer said, “I just got a call about this!”

Fox31: Where does Senator Bennet stand on Judge Neil Gorsuch?
At a town hall on Thursday, Sen. Michael Bennet told the crowd, “Bennet did however hint at the issue he has discussed the most with Gorsuch. “I spent more time with him on Citizens United than I did anything else.”

Campaign Legal Center: Wisconsin Must Revisit Judicial Recusal Rules
Makes sense: “Today, the Campaign Legal Center sent a letter to the Wisconsin Supreme Court supporting a petition by 54 retired state judges urging the adoption of rules requiring that judges step aside from cases involving their top campaign supporters.”

Letter to the editor in Montana on Gorsuch: “Montanans do not believe corporations are people, and we expect our senators to support justices that don’t either.”

Congress/Administration

Bloomberg: Icahn Bets Against Renewables Market He Wants Trump to Overhaul
Honestly, it’s sort of refreshing how honest Carl Icahn is about using his role with the president to make a buck.

American Prospect: A White House Without Rules
Speaking of Icahn: “But the story of Trump administration ethics conflicts is not going away, and every new revelation sheds disturbing light on a White House culture that celebrates self-enrichment, and that treats the president’s inner circle as literally exempt from the rules that lay out a precise code of conduct for executive branch officials. The White House’s freewheeling attitude toward presidential advisers, in particular, poses special dangers and has rung alarm bells on Capitol Hill and in the federal Office of Government Ethics.”

Washington Post: Trump adviser Flynn paid by multiple Russia-related entities, new records show
Welp: “Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser amid controversy over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, collected nearly $68,000 in fees and expenses from Russia-related entities in 2015, a higher amount than was previously known, according to newly released documents.”

OpenSecrets: Ninth annual K Street Classic: Wildcats on top — and maybe not the ones you’d expect
If it’s the NCAA men’s tournament, it’s time for the Center for Responsive Politics’ blog post on schools’ lobbying spending: ” According to our tally of lobbying dollars spent in 2016 — our version of March Madness — Northwestern has been crowned OpenSecrets’ K Street Classic winner with its $614,513 total.”

New York Times: Trump Adviser Gary Cohn to Sell Stake in Chinese Bank Giant
“The White House economic adviser Gary D. Cohn is selling a significant holding in the world’s largest bank — which happens to be in China — as he clears potential conflicts of interest to serve in his new role.” On a call with analysts recently, the head of the Royal Bank of Scotland joked, “I have a question online from the White House — sorry, sorry, Goldman Sachs.”

Once again, Trump retweeted the secret money group supporting him that won’t disclose its donors like OFA did.

CBS: Democratic super PAC goes after Trump’s Russia connections
“The Democratic super PAC American Bridge launched a website Thursday that maps out the complicated web of relationships between Russian power players and people in President Trump’s orbit.”

Click2Houston: Former Texas Congressman Steve Stockman accused of violating federal election law
Here’s that Steve Stockman update you’ve been waiting for: “He is accused of conspiring to violate federal election laws during his last term in office. It’s a felony that could send him to federal prison if he’s convicted.” It’s sort of hilarious that he spent Monday and Tuesday tweeting about draining the swamp right before appearing in court in handcuffs.

Take a few minutes this weekend and read this piece on what happens with Queen Elizabeth dies and the years of planning that has gone into getting it right.

States/Other

Gotham Gazette: Since State of the State, Cuomo Silent on Ethics Reform
Knock me over with a feather: “For the second year in a row, in his January State of the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out an ambitious ethics reform agenda that touched on a variety of issues and aimed at restoring public trust in New York State’s scandal-plagued government. But, also for a second year in a row, Cuomo has not followed up with any discernable public push to rally support for that agenda or put pressure on members of the state Legislature to pass it.”

Wall Street Journal: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Cleared in Fundraising Probes
“Federal and state prosecutors on Thursday said they wouldn’t bring charges after investigating the fundraising of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides, lifting a cloud hanging over the mayor and likely clearing the way for his second term.”

Durango Herald: Democratic lawmakers in Colorado introduce bills to reform campaign finance laws
In Colorado: “Democratic lawmakers are trying to increase the transparency and equity of the system for financing political campaigns with four bills that were introduced Wednesday at the state Legislature.”

News and Observer: Cooper’s first veto: partisan judicial elections
When Republicans took the legislature, they changed the rules to make it harder to vote. When Roy Cooper won, the legislature tried to take his power away. When they didn’t get a Supreme Court justice they wanted, they want to change the rules on that too.

Adam Smith

Adam Smith is Every Voice's communications director.