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Greg Chung

Mayor Pete, It’s Time To Get Big Money Out Of Your Campaign

What will it take to get big money out of politics? As a voter and a student, that’s what I want to know from any candidate who wants my vote, so I asked Mayor Pete Buttigieg this when he visited our campus – Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa – this weekend. Presidential hopefuls know many Iowa students will vote in the caucus. I know I will. We played a decisive role in the 2016 elections, and we’ll do it again in 2020. Mayor Pete’s spent a ton of cash on ads in Iowa, trying to stand out from the crowded field of candidates. But in these ads, he also attacks Democrats who support Medicare For All and Free College For All. That irks me. These are things I know firsthand our country needs, and students like me desperately need – now. So after his stump speech, I stood in line to shake his hand, so I could ask him myself: “Does getting big money out of politics mean not taking money off billionaires and closed-door fundraisers?" Mayor Pete’s one-word answer? “No.” Mayor Pete’s response to this question struck a nerve. My friend Max made a video of our exchange, and it’s already been viewed more than 3.1 million times, and has been shared by dozens of outlets. We must have struck a nerve, too – because on Monday, the Buttigieg campaign did an about-face and agreed to release – for the first time – some of its donor records, and to allow press into his fundraisers. Transparency is good, and we’re glad Mayor Pete has come around to having more of it in his campaign. But responding to voters is better, so what he really needs to do is take down his misleading ads in Iowa, and stand with the candidates who support Free College For All. So I, along with my fellow members of Iowa Student Action, the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund and People’s Action, will continue to demand transparency from Mayor Pete and every candidate we meet from now until Election Day. Because anyone who wants my vote will have to earn it.

Greg Chung is a student at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where he organizes his campus to be more welcoming to poor and low-income students.

House Judiciary Debates Impeachment

Judiciary Committee debates articles against Trump. NYT: "A somber but contentious debate is expected to culminate by the end of the day in a vote by the panel to send the charges to the full House, setting up a vote next week to impeach the president on charges that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress. For only the third time in modern history, lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee are formally considering articles of impeachment against a sitting president in a debate that underscores the deep divisions in the country. The process began on Wednesday night, with lawmakers delivering impassioned statements for or against impeaching the president. On Thursday, Democrats are putting the last touches on articles accusing Mr. Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, finalizing charges stemming from their two-and-a-half-month inquiry into what they say was a scheme by the president to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals. For Republicans, Thursday’s meeting — called a 'markup' because it gives members the opportunity to offer amendments and edits to the articles — is their last chance to try to derail the impeachment before the articles are expected to come to the House floor early next week. That is unlikely to happen in the committee, which is firmly under the control of Democrats and led by Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York. Both sides expect the committee to vote along party lines by Thursday afternoon to send the articles to the full House."

Trump Abandons Attempt To Shutter Federal Agency

After bipartisan pushback, Trump ditches effort to kill major federal agency. WaPo: "President Trump has abandoned his administration’s faltering effort to dissolve a key federal agency, a major setback in his three-year battle to keep his campaign promise to make government leaner and more efficient. The Office of Personnel Management will remain the human resources manager of the civilian workforce of 2.1 million employees, and its functions will not — for the foreseeable future at least — be parceled out to the White House and the General Services Administration. The White House hoped that shuttering the agency of 5,500 employees could serve as a blueprint for eliminating other federal offices as Trump tries to contain the size and scope of a bureaucracy he targeted as duplicative and inefficient — and rein in a workforce he views with skepticism."

Federal Judges Block Border Wall Construction

Second federal judge blocks plan to use Pentagon funds for border wall. NPR: "A federal judge in California ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may not divert $3.6 billion in Defense Department funds for construction of the wall on the southern border. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. is the second court decision in two days blocking the administration's effort to reallocate money Congress has appropriated for other purposes. A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday, in a separate case, ruled that the administration may not use an emergency proclamation to divert funds from military construction projects. U.S. District Judge David Briones issued a permanent injunction blocking the administration's border wall project. In his ruling, Gilliam said the administration was trying to circumvent congressional appropriations for military construction projects. He wrote that "the border barrier projects Defendants now assert are 'necessary to support the use of the armed forces' are the very same projects Defendants sought — and failed — to build under [the Department on Homeland Security's] civilian authority, because Congress would not appropriate the requested funds.' Gilliam's ruling comes in response to two suits filed by the state of California and the ACLU on behalf of the Sierra Club."

Trump Wants Jews Classified As A Race

Trump's anti-Semitism executive order, explained. CNN: "President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday expanding his administration's interpretation of race and national origin to include Judaism- a move that extends certain civil rights protections to Jews in education settings. The move is part of the Trump administration's broader efforts to combat what it considers anti-Israel and anti-Semitic movements on college campuses. But the order has ignited debate over federal funding, free speech and views about Israel, and prompted renewed questions about how Jewish people should be classified by the government. The order concerns a section of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 requiring federally funded educational institutions not to discriminate based on national origin. Under this order, colleges and universities that support or tolerate anti-Israel movements -- the most prominent being Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) -- could be under threat of having their funding withheld by the Department of Education. While protections from racial, color and national origin discrimination are covered under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, religious discrimination is not. In the past, the Education Department has nevertheless interpreted the law to protect students of any religion from discrimination based on shared ethnic, racial or national origin."

NY Judge Lets Exxon Off Hook For Climate Change

Judge ruling in Exxon case ‘Sends a very dangerous signal to companies’. NPR: "A judge has handed Exxon Mobil a victory in only the second climate change lawsuit to reach trial in the United States. The decision was a blow for the New York Attorney General's Office, which brought the case. Justice Barry Ostrager of the New York State Supreme Court said that the attorney general failed to prove that the oil giant broke the law. 'Nothing in this opinion is intended to absolve ExxonMobil from responsibility for contributing to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gasses in the production of its fossil fuel products,' Ostranger wrote. But, he added, 'this is a securities fraud case, not a climate change case.' In a three-week trial, New York state prosecutors argued that the oil company had downplayed the financial risks it faces from possible climate regulation. Attorney General Letitia James said doing so made Exxon's assets appear more secure than they really were, which in turn affected its share price and defrauded investors."

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