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‘Troubling’ Questions Raised About Disappearing Millions From Trump’s Dark Money Machine: Report

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According to a deep dive by the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, the “dark money” machine that is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars to promote Donald Trump recently changed ownership hands and questions are being raised about where all the money is going and who controls it.

As the report notes, Trump’s ouster from the White House in 2020 set in motion a collection of allies creating PAC’s aimed at promoting him as he ostensibly plans to make another presidential run in 2024, and that the non-profit formerly known as America First Policies underwent an ownership change that further has obscured how the money is being used.

Pointing out that the changes “cast another layer of opacity over millions of dollars in already obscured donations the group made to controversial far-right causes in 2020,” the report quotes University of Notre Dame non-profit law expert Lloyd Mayer calling the changes “troubling.”

“Whatever your views of so-called ‘dark money’ may be, these groups are further obscuring money flows,” he explained.

Mayer went on to explain that the selling of a non-profit is quite unusual, telling the Beast, “Nonprofits generally do not have owners as a matter of state law, so I am not sure what they mean by ‘sold.’ Nonprofits can sell their assets, including their name, as long as they do so for fair market value,” before adding, “the nonprofit itself would have received the proceeds.”

According to Sollenberger, “The sale also shows that the byzantine pro-Trump dark money machine is reconfiguring itself ahead of the 2022 midterms, as well as Trump’s possible candidacy in 2024,” before continuing, “All the confusion has one immediate upshot: It makes it even more difficult to understand who exactly is responsible for millions of dollars in shady grants that [Trump affiliated group] America First Policies doled out last year.”

“Those grants appeared in the tax report covering America First Policies’ activity last year, which was filed by America First Works and first obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Some of the listed recipients have been tied to voter-suppression activity, and one of them is a hotbed for bigoted anti-LGTBQ rhetoric,” the report continues. “But paper trails vanish almost immediately, with some entities appearing to have evaded scrutiny after failing to file tax reports for several years—a pattern which raised concerns among experts in nonprofit law.”

After noting several other off-shoots that have also undergone multiple name changes — and in many cases have not made IRS filings — Sollenberger wrote, “Of course, the Trump money machine has never been easy to follow. But the connections appear even blurrier now that Trump is out of office. And thanks to IRS filing deadlines, voters may not know what these groups are currently up to until next November, after the midterms.”

Non-profit expert Mayer added, “Timing matters. The longer it takes for the information to come out, the less it’s on the public’s mind. And by delaying flings and obscuring who these groups are, that information only gets older and colder and staler. Even if it all comes out accurately and on time in 2022, it still may not make the news.”

You can read the detailed report here — subscription required.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

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Virginia School Districts Furious After Youngkin Flip Flops on Promise to Allow Local Boards to Decide Mask Mandates

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For months Virginia’s incoming Republican governor has been promising he would neither mandate masks in schools nor ban school districts from requiring them.

“Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) will not outlaw local COVID-19 mandates when he takes office in January,” reported the far right wing website Daily Wire back in November.

Local ABC affiliate 8 News, also in November reported, “Youngkin won’t try to block local mask, vaccine mandates like other Republican governors.”

Glenn Youngkin was sworn into office on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Business Insider reports that on Saturday, after Youngkin was sworn into office, he “signed an executive action that banned schools from requiring that students wear masks to stem the spread of COVID-19, instead allowing parents to decide when their children wear masks during the school day.”

Youngkin’s first act as governor was to sign eleven executive orders. Among them: effectively banning any mask mandates in schools across the state, by allowing parents to opt-out for any reason or no reason.

In other words: flip-flopping on his promise.

Youngkin is using his Lt. Governor to threaten angry school districts. Fox News’ John Roberts:

Pundit and political analyst Bill Scher:

Youngkin made a big deal over the weekend claiming schools have to “listen to parents” and if they oppose his mask ban they aren’t listening to parents.

Gov. Youngkin is the one not listening.

In poll after poll after poll after poll Virginia parents make clear they support mask mandates in schools, and Virginians overall support mask mandates, period.

 

 

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Top Democrats Renew Call to End Anti-Gay Blood Ban as Red Cross Announces First-Ever National Shortage Crisis

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Last week the Red Cross issued its first-ever warning of a blood shortage so dire it is calling it a “national crisis.” In response 22 top Democratic Senators signed a letter urging the FDA to once and for all end the ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.

The nearly four-decade old ban was instituted during the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 2015 the FDA reduced the complete and total ban to one where gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men could donate blood if they had abstained from sexual activity for one year. In 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic raged, threatening blood shortages, the FDA moved to a three-month prohibition.

“If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed,” warns the Red Cross, citing a 34 percent drop in supply, CBS News reports.

“Any policy that continues to categorically single out the LGBTQ+ community is discriminatory and wrong,” the group of 22 top Democrats, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), say in their letter. “Given advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based policy for gay and bisexual men is not scientifically sound, continues to effectively exclude an entire group of people, and does not meet the urgent demands of the moment.”

Blood Shortage MSM Donor Deferral Letter FDA HHS Jan 2022 Final by David Badash on Scribd

 

Image by ec-jpr via Flickr and a CC license

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Watch: Fox News’ Peter Doocy Admits There Are Republicans ‘That Don’t Agree With Voting Rights’

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki ended the week with yet another smack down of Peter Doocy, as the Fox News reporter admitted there are Republicans who “don’t agree with voting rights.”

“As you talked about a year ago and working with Republicans, now [President Biden] is talking about Republicans that don’t agree with voting rights,” Doocy complained, “he’s describing them as George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis. What happened to the guy who, when he was elected said: ‘To make progress me must stop treating our opponents as our enemy’?”

Doocy was referring to President Joe Biden’s widely praised speech in support of voting rights earlier this week, referencing civil rights icons and their infamous white supremacist and segregationist opponents.

“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?” Biden asked, to the anger of many conservatives. “Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor?  Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy.”

Psaki as usual was prepared to respond – suggesting Doocy was not “speaking on the level.”

“I think everybody listening to that speech, who’s speaking on the level, as my mother would say, would note that he was not comparing them as humans. He was comparing the choice to those figures in history and where they’re going to position themselves, if they as it – as they determine whether they’re going to support the fundamental right to vote or not.”

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