The Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos — Story 2: Trump Announces New Immigration Policy — Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 939,  August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938,  August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937,  July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936,  July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935,  July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934,  July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934,  July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933,  July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932,  July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931,  July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930,  July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929,  July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928,  July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927,  July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926,  July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925,  July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924,  July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923,  July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922,  July 3, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 921,  June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920,  June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

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Image result for Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. charts on numbers 

Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos —

President Trump signs Russian sanctions bill Fox News Video

President Trump signs new Russia sanctions, questions whether bill interferes with foreign policy 


January 3, 2017: Sen. Tom Cotton joined Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News

Trump Signs Sanctions Bill – Another Deep State Victory

Real Bipartisanship: Republicans And Democrats Unite For New Cold War

Germany growing sick of US sanctions on Russia

Russians See Sanctions Regime as a Blessing in Disguise

Trump signs Russia sanctions bill but blasts Congress

In a pair of statements, the president said parts of the law violate the Constitution.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bipartisan bill placing new sanctions on Russia — but in a statement, he claimed multiple aspects of the legislation violate the Constitution.

The sanctions, aimed at punishing Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, limit the president’s power to lift the sanctions without congressional approval and were initially resisted by the administration.

In one of two statements released almost simultaneously Wednesday morning by the White House, Trump said he supports the law’s efforts to crack down on the actions of Iran, North Korea and Russia. But the White House protested what it sees as congressional encroachment on the president’s power in foreign affairs.

“In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” Trump said in one statement. “My Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.”

The president’s second statement included a stepped-up defense of his own administration’s foreign policy and input on the legislation. Trump said that “despite its problems,” he had signed the bill “for the sake of national unity.” The statement characterized the governments of Iran and North Korea as “rogue regimes,” a label he did not apply to the Russian government.

Even as he continues to label Russian interference in the election a “hoax,” the statement went further in acknowledging the intrusion than Trump has in the past.

“I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization,” the statement said.

Still, Trump was quick to push back on what he views as congressional overreach.

“The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking,” Trump said, in reference to congressional Republicans’ latest failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected,” the president continued. “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

The statements drew mixed reaction on Capitol Hill.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a leading architect of the sanctions bill, told reporters he was not concerned about Trump’s statement, though he said he had not yet seen it.

“Both countries talk privately in ways that are very different from how they talk publicly,” the Tennessee Republican said of U.S.-Russia relations. “But this was a necessary step that we took, and I’m glad we took it.”

In addition to allowing lawmakers to handcuff Trump on any future changes to Russia sanctions, the legislation converts some existing sanctions from executive orders into law, making them more difficult to roll back, and imposes new sanctions focused on Moscow’s reported cyber-meddling in the November election. The legislation’s Iran and North Korea sanctions were broadly popular in both parties and with the Trump administration.

Although White House officials asserted that some of the preferred changes to the legislation were included before its final passage last week, the administration had long underscored its opposition to provisions that will impede Trump’s ability to warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way that they did, neither the president nor I are very happy about that,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Tuesday. “We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts.”

Still, Tillerson added, “we can’t let it take us off track of trying to restore the relationship” with Russia.

Even as Trump criticized the measure, he added that “I nevertheless expect to honor the bill’s waiting periods to ensure that Congress will have a full opportunity to avail itself of the bill’s review procedures.”

That apparent concession by Trump did not assuage Democratic concerns about his signing statement. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California warned in a statement that Trump’s interpretation of the sanctions bill “raises serious questions about whether his administration intends to follow the law, or whether he will continue to enable and reward Vladimir Putin’s aggression.”

And some Republicans who played a key role in the sanctions package raised their own alarms.

“Look, whether it was President Bush, President Obama, or President Trump, I’ve never been a fan of signing statements,” said Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. “I think they’re a way for any president to usurp the role of the legislative branch. And that’s why I’ve always been concerned, regardless of who issued them, on any matter.”

The bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support. The House passed the sanctions by a vote of 419-3, and the Senate cleared it 98-2 — making any presidential veto futile and sure to be overridden.

With multiple investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, a veto also would have been politically disastrous.

After weeks of waffling, the White House confirmed over the weekend that Trump would sign the bill.

The White House still sought to characterize the bill as a win, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying in a statement on Friday that Trump “negotiated regarding critical elements of it” and decided to sign it “based on its responsiveness to his negotiations.”

The statement Wednesday also contained a warning — not to Russia, but to Congress.

“The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President,” Trump said. “This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.”


Furious Trump signs Russian sanctions into law – then issues tirade against ‘unconstitutional’ bill and boasts his billions show why Congress shouldn’t stop him making deals with Putin

  • President Donald Trump signed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran
  • The White House did not organize a ceremony of any kind for it
  • Trump said in a statement he signed the bill for the sake of ‘national unity’ 
  • The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill
  • It passed Congress overwhelmingly with veto-proof majorities
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he and the president were not ‘very happy’ about the sanctions bill 

President Donald Trump signed legislation Wednesday that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers – but at the same time issued a furious statement calling it ‘flawed’.

He signed the bill, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly said he wasn’t happy about, in private.

Then the White House sent out statement by the president revealing the depths of his unhappiness and boasting that his billions showed he was far better at deal-making than Congress.

Trump said despite some changes, ‘the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.’

He called parts of it ‘unconstitutional’ and signaled fresh tensions with Republicans by criticizing their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

President Donald Trump has signed legislation that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers

‘Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.

‘The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice,’ Trump said in a statement.

‘Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.’

In a message to Congress in response to the bill, Trump singled out provisions his lawyers considers in conflict with Supreme Court case law – and asserts his own latitude to carry out the law as he sees fit.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn't happy with the bill

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn’t happy with the bill

‘My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions,’ the president said in one point – in language certain to irk lawmakers who consider the law much more than a preference.

‘My administration … expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies,’ he said.

The president also complained about what he said were ‘clearly unconstitutional provisions’ in the legislation relating to presidential powers to shape foreign policy.

 White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed the signing on Fox News.

The bill passed Congress by overwhelming margins sufficient to override a presidential veto. The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill.

The bill contains language meant to prevent the president from lifting them without approval from Congress – provisions that got drafted amid concerns Trump would lift or limit sanctions amid his frequent praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and desire to improve ties between the two powers.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters he shared misgivings with the president, as they try to improve relations with Russia.

‘Neither the president nor I are very happy about that,’ Tillerson said. ‘We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made.’

The FBI and congressional intelligence panels are probing Trump campaign connections to Russians during the election.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Trump during the campaign repeatedly called for better relations with Russia. The U.S. intelligence community concluded that the Russian government backed a campaign to interfere in the presidential election.

Despite communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin capped off by two one-on-one meetings in Europe, Trump has struggled to meet his goal.

Putin said last weekend that Russia would expel more than 700 U.S. diplomats from Russia in retaliation for the sanctions legislation.


Today, I signed into law the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,’ which enacts new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.

That is why, since taking office, I have enacted tough new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and shored up existing sanctions on Russia.

Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.

My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.

Still, the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together. The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.

Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.

Further, the bill sends a clear message to Iran and North Korea that the American people will not tolerate their dangerous and destabilizing behavior. America will continue to work closely with our friends and allies to check those countries’ malignant activities.

I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.

In his statement about the bill, Trump highlighted a series of concerns about the legislation. Had he vetoed it, Congress could have easily overridden him.

‘Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies,’ Trump complained.

‘My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.’

 Russia hawk Sen. John McCain of Arizona responded in a statement: ‘I welcome President Trump’s decision to sign legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The enactment of this legislation, which enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, sends a strong message to friend and foe alike that the United States will hold nations accountable for aggressive and destabilizing behavior that threatens our national interests and those of our allies and partners.’

McCain also called out Trump’s signing statement. ‘The concerns expressed in the President’s signing statement are hardly surprising, though misplaced. The Framers of our Constitution made the Congress and the President coequal branches of government. This bill has already proven the wisdom of that choice,’ he wrote.

“While the American people surely hope for better relations with Russia, what this legislation truly represents is their insistence that Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our democracy, violating human rights, occupying Crimea, and destabilizing Ukraine.’


President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met with President Trump for the first time during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, this month. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

MOSCOW — The last time the Kremlin forced a sweeping reduction of local staff at the American Embassy in Moscow, a young diplomat named Steven Pifer found himself working four days a week on arms control, as usual. But on the fifth day, he navigated the capital in a big truck to move furniture or haul mammoth grocery loads.

The entire staff of the embassy, except the ambassador, was assigned one day each week to grunt work called All Purpose Duty, Mr. Pifer recalled in an interview on Monday, when they shed their dark suits and polished loafers to mow the lawns, fix the plumbing, cook in the cafeteria and even clean the toilets.

That was a last hurrah for the Cold War in 1986, and although the embassy now functions on a far more complex scale, many current and former diplomats expect a similar effort in the wake of President Vladimir V. Putin’s announcement on Sunday that the United States diplomatic mission in Russia must shed 755 employees by Sept. 1.

“The attitude in the embassy was if they think that they will shut us down, we will show them,” said Mr. Pifer, who went on to become an American ambassador to Ukraine and is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “I think the embassy will adapt this time, too.”

Russia demanded that the United States reduce its diplomatic staff to equal the 455 Russian diplomats working in the United States, including at the mission to the United Nations. That means cutting about 60 percent of a work force estimated at 1,200 to 1,300 people, the vast majority of whom are Russians.

Given the continuing deterioration in relations between the two countries, core functions like political and military analysis will be preserved, along with espionage, experts said, while programs that involve cooperation on everything from trade to culture to science are likely to be reduced or eliminated.

Besides the State Department, a dizzying array of American government agencies have employees at the embassy, including the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce as well as NASA and the Library of Congress.

The other area expected to take a heavy hit will be public services, like issuing visas to Russian travelers to the United States, which is likely to slow to a glacial pace.

The Russian staff can be broken down into two broad categories: specialists who help individual departments in the embassy like public relations, and basic service workers employed as security guards, drivers, janitors, electricians and a host of other maintenance functions.

As of 2013, the latest year for which public records are available, there were 1,279 staff members working in the American Embassy in Moscow and in consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, according to a report by the Inspector General’s Office. Of those, 934 were not Americans, including 652 basic service workers. The numbers are believed to have stayed roughly the same.

Russian staff members working in various departments like the political or economic section often provide the embassy’s institutional memory, because they stay on the job for years while American diplomats rotate every two or three years. (If the Russian employees stay for at least 15 years, they are eligible for special immigration visas to the United States and their salaries are high by Russian standards.)

It is the Russians who tend to notice nuances in domestic news coverage or in Mr. Putin’s speeches, or who direct diplomats toward public events or responsible journalists. The Russian employees provide continuity, an American diplomat who recently left Moscow said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Gen. Bruce McClintock, the American Defense attaché from 2014 to 2016 and now a RAND Corporation analyst, said Russian employees were often more effective in organizing meetings with government officials, while experienced translators ensured that the positions of both sides were clear in often complex discussions.

Russia had already chipped away at embassy programs, anyway, he noted. In 2013, it shuttered USAID, for example, and in 2014, in response to the West’s cutting off military cooperation after the Ukraine crisis, it closed the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Although the work continued, it was much harder to coordinate because its 10 employees had departed, said General McClintock.

Russian nationals are not given the security clearances needed to work in the more clandestine branches of the embassy. Indeed, in the chancellery itself, no Russians worked above the fourth floor in the roughly 10-story building, former Russian employees said.

The American Embassy, which held a staff meeting on Monday to confirm the news to its employees, refused to comment on the events, while in Washington the State Department would say only that it was studying the Russian government’s request.

The general hostility toward the United States means Moscow was already considered a hardship post for American diplomats, and the new measures will lower morale further, diplomats said.

Russian employees are confused and do not yet understand how the changes will be carried out, a former Russian employee now working outside the country said, adding with dark humor that Stalin used to say there were no irreplaceable people.

Russian employees who worked for specialized departments feel especially vulnerable because they carry a certain stigma in Russia’s current nationalistic mood. Michael McFaul, a Stanford University professor who was the American ambassador from 2012 to 2014, remembered trying to help find work for 70 Russians who were let go when the Kremlin closed the USAID office.

It was especially hard because “many Russian companies would not consider hiring these ‘tainted’ people,” he said in an email.

In recent years, local employees have come under increasing pressure from the Russian security service, the F.S.B., according to current and former employees. Russians escorting delegations of American musicians around the country were harassed, for example, or some in Moscow returned home from work to find agents sitting in their living rooms, demanding that they inform on their employers, they said.

Mr. Pifer said American diplomats who lived through the 1986 clampdown learned all kinds of things about Soviet life that they would not have otherwise.

One of his colleagues, who had to navigate customs, wrote a slightly tongue-in-cheek diplomatic cable titled “The 29 Steps Needed to Clear a Container of Furniture,” detailing every stamp issued on every piece of paper. The cable was a huge hit back in Washington, he said.

In previous spats with the United States or the West in general, Mr. Putin often chose measures that hurt Russians the most, not least because Russia’s limited economic reach globally means it does not have many options.

Angered over sanctions imposed by Congress under the Magnitsky Act in 2012, he banned Americans from adopting Russian children. When the West imposed economic and military sanctions after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, he barred a broad array of food imports, forcing up prices and limiting the options for Russian consumers.

This time, hundreds of Russians will lose their jobs and Russian travelers hoping to visit the United States are likely to wait months for visas. Some 50 Russians were employed in the consular section that processes visas, according to the inspector general’s report.

“I don’t think Mr. Putin is terribly worried about this,” Mr. Collins said, noting the presidential election looming in March. “As he is running for election, it is comfortable for him to show that he can stand up to the Americans and to protect Russian interests and that is what he is doing.”

Outside the embassy on Monday, many of those emerging from the visa section suggested the Russian measures could only make a bad situation worse. Anecdotal evidence suggested that on both sides, what used to take weeks had already slowed to months.

Shavkat Butaev, 50, who works for a company that helps Russians get visas, said rejections were way up, too. “It was never like this before. Fifty, 60 people get rejected every day,” he said.

Oleg Smirnov, an 18-year-old student studying in the United States to become a psychiatrist, said that he had hoped President Trump would improve relations and that he was worried about possible fallout on immigration policy.

“These mutual sanctions look like a game played with water guns,” he said

Story 2: Trump Announces New Immigration Policy — Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act — Videos

Trump announces new immigration policy

Published on Aug 2, 2017

President Trump announced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act on Aug. 2, which aims to cut immigration by half from the current level of more than 1 million green cards granted per year.


Pres Trump and Sens Cotton and Perdue Introduce “The Raise Act”. Excellent!

August 2, 2017: Sen. Cotton and Sen. Perdue Answer Questions about the RAISE Act at the White House


Jim Acosta vs Stephen Miller – Immigration – White House Press Briefing 8/2/17

Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act

Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton RAISE Act Press Conference

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Sen.Barbara Jordan Legal Immigration Recommendations

2015 Barbara Jordan TV ad

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 1

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 2

Why Free Markets Work: Milton Friedman on Political Economy (1996)

Obama’s Amnesty & How Illegal Immigration Affects Us

The Impact of Immigration on Jobs and Income


Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

President Trump on Wednesday teamed up with two conservative Republican senators to roll out new legislation aimed at dramatically curbing legal immigration to the United States, a key Trump campaign promise.

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) have been working with White House officials to revise and expand a bill released earlier this year that would halve the number of people who receive legal permanent residence over a decade.

The senators joined Trump at a White House ceremony to announce the measure.

The president told reporters in the Roosevelt Room that the measure “would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in a half a century.”
They say the legislation would move the United States to a “merit-based” immigration system and away from the current model, which is largely based on family ties.
The measure reflects Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign, when he argued that the spike in legal immigration over the past several decades has taken job opportunities away from American citizens and threatened national security.
“As a candidate, I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects U.S. workers and taxpayers and that’s why we are here today,” he said, adding the measure would “reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars.”
Trump met with Cotton and Perdue in March to discuss the legislation, known as the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act.
The bill would mark a dramatic change in U.S. immigration laws, and could open up a nasty internal fight among Republicans.

The legislation would eliminate immigration preferences currently given to extended family members and adult children of U.S. citizens seeking green cards, and it would cap the number of accepted refugees at 50,000 — half of the Obama administration’s target for 2017.

It would also end the State Department’s Diversity visa lottery, which the senators say is “plagued with fraud.” The program had been allotted 50,000 visas for the 2018 fiscal year.

About 1 million immigrants receive green cards per year.

Conservative outside groups immediately praised the legislation and called for the Senate to vote on the bill.

“The RAISE Act helps realize President Trump’s vision of making America great again by making immigration great again as well. It provides a pathway for a modern, smarter immigration system while protecting those Americans struggling to make ends meet,” said Dan Stein, president of Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, added that the Cotton-Perdue bill will “do more than any other action to fulfill” Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration.

The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate, however, where it’s expected to get pushback from Democrats as well as GOP senators who oppose strict limits on legal immigration and want a broader reform effort that would address the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

If Cotton and Perdue can get GOP leadership to bring the legislation up for a vote, supporters will need to cobble together 60 senators, including at least eight Democrats or independents, to agree to start debate on the legislation.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a handful of Republicans — including GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dean Heller (Nev.) — have been working on bills this year to allow undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children to, at least temporarily, remain in the country legally.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants have been granted temporary reprieves from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But it does not confer legal status on immigrants.

Cotton and Perdue would need to win over their votes, as well as Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment, was critical of their earlier bill.

The White House roll out could give the legislation a boost of momentum, but the earlier version of the Cotton-Perdue bill garnered zero cosponsors.

Critics of the measure say it would devastate families’ effort to reunite with their overseas relatives while providing few economic benefits.

“If this is an acknowledgement that our immigration system is broken, the Trump administration and these senators are right, but this is the wrong way to fix it,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Cutting legal immigration for the sake of cutting immigration would cause irreparable harm to the American worker and their family.”

“Congress should focus on stopping illegal immigration – not on restricting the legal immigration that grows our economy,” said John Feinblatt, president of the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg-backed group New American Economy.

Sen. Cotton Officially Introduces RAISE Act


Thu, FEB 16th 2017 @ 9:40am EST

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has officially introduced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, S. 354, in the Senate. The bill would reduce legal immigration by up to 50% by ending future chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.

Roy Beck, President and Founder of NumbersUSA responded saying, “the RAISE Act has a number — S. 354 — and one that we will do all possible to ensure that lives on through history as one of the great achievements of this period of our country.”

The RAISE Act would:

  • End the Visa Lottery
  • Limit annual refugee admissions to 50,000
  • End chain migration
  • Reduce the worldwide level of family-sponsored immigrants from 480,000 to 88,000 by prioritizing nuclear family
  • Add a nonimmigrant visa for parents of adult U.S. citizens (W-Visa)
    • 5-year renewable visa
    • No work authorization or ability to receive public benefits

The RAISE Act would reduce legal immigration to the United States by 50% in an effort to diminish its impact on vulnerable American workers. First, it eliminates the visa lottery and limits refugee admissions to 50,000 per year, removing the ability of the President to unilaterally adjust upward refugee admissions. Further, it eliminates chain migration by limiting family-sponsored immigration to the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

While U.S. citizens maintain the ability to sponsor nuclear family members without numerical limitation, the worldwide level of family-sponsored immigration is reduced from 480,000 to 88,000 to account for the elimination of the extended-family categories. Finally, a new nonimmigrant visa category is created for parents of adult U.S. citizens. Under this new category, sponsored alien parents would receive a renewable 5-year visa, but must be financially independent or supported financially by the adult son or daughter, as the visa does not authorize the alien to work or receive any form of public benefit.



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The Pronk Pops Show 873, April 13, 2017, Story 1: Made In America Terrorist Tested In Afghanistan — Mother of All Bombs — Who is Next? North Korea, Syria, Iran — Videos — Story 2: Trump To NATO Members: Pay You Bills (2% of GDP For Military Spending) — NATO Not Obsolete — Videos — Story 3: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov To United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — Show Us The Evidence of Chemical Gas Attack in Syria — Assad –“100% Fabrication” — Not Enough Evidence — Videos — Story 4: Trump Will Not Name Communist China As Currency Manipulator –United States Is A Currency Manipulator — Video — Story 5: Trump Favors Fed Chair Yellen’s Unconventional Accommodating Easy Money Policy — Government Intervention in Money Markets — Financial Repression of American Savers — Videos — Story 6: Trump Supporters and Talk Radio Will Dump Trump Should He Continue Flip Flopping and Listening To Liberal Democrat/Moderate Advisers — Videos

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Image result for mother of all bombs moab

Image result for nato countries and military spending

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Story 1: Made In America Terrorist Tested In Afghanistan — Mother of All Bombs — Who is Next? North Korea, Syria, Iran — Videos —

Image result for mother of all bombs moab

Image result for MOAB blast site in afganistan

OFFICIAL M.O.A.B FOOTAGE RELEASED (Afghans React to M.O.A.B Bomb) *Compilation 2017 HD*

OFFICIAL M.O.A.B FOOTAGE RELEASED (Afghans React to M.O.A.B Bomb) *Compilation 2017 HD*

Former UN Amb. Bolton on Afghanistan bombing: Magnitude roughly equivalent to small nuclear weapon

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Breaking! U.S. Drops Largest Non-Nuclear Bomb on Afghanistan! “Mother of All Bombs”!

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WORLDS LARGEST Non-Nuclear Bomb GBU-43 B Massive Ordnance Air Blast

Published on Apr 13, 2017

Mother of all bombs GBU-43 B Massive Ordnance Air Blast.
U.S. on 04.11.2017 dropped the most powerful conventional bomb in its arsenal on Nangarhar, Afghanistan.
The bomb, known in military ranks as “MOAB,” or the “mother of all bombs,” was used Thursday for the first time in combat, though it was developed in the early 2000s.

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Children of Mother of All Bomb

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Father of Mother of All Bombs — The Daisy Cutter

Image result for Daisy Cutter Bomb Explosion

Image result for Daisy Cutter Bomb Explosion

The Daisy Cutter in Vietnam

Desert Storm Daisy cutters 11 March 1991

The BLU 82 – [Daisy Cutter]

ISIS hammered as US drops biggest non-nuclear weapon ever: 21,000lb bomb is used in anger for the first time to obliterate jihadists’ caves in Afghanistan

  • U.S. dropped its largest non-nuclear weapon after targeting ISIS in Afghanistan
  • The GBU-43 bomb weighs 21,600 pounds, is 30 feet long, contains 11 tons of explosives and carries a mile-wide blast radius
  • It can create a blast crater more than 300 meters wide after being dropped from a Hercules MC-130 cargo plane
  • Trump pledged in 2015 that if he became president he would ‘bomb the s**t out of ‘ ISIS 
  • On Thursday he called the bombing ‘another successful job’ and said he had delegated strike authority to his military commanders
  • Pentagon denies that it was revenge for the death on Saturday of a Green Beret soldier in the same region of Pakistan 

The United States has dropped its largest non-nuclear weapon after it targeted ISIS a network of caves and tunnels in eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. forces used a GPS-guided GBU-43 bomb, which is 30 feet long and weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds.

It is known as the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ – a play on ‘MOAB,’ an acronym that stands for ‘Massive Ordnance Air Burst.’

A crater left by the blast is believed to be more than 300 meters wide after it exploded six feet above the ground. Anyone at the blast site was vaporized.

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he was ‘very, very proud’ and called the operation ‘really another successful job. We’re very, very proud of our military.’

The Pentagon is denying that the attack was a revenge strike despite the fact that it came in the same area of Afghanistan where a Green Beret soldier was killed on Saturday.

Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, of 7th Special Forces Group, was cut down by enemy small arms fire while his unit was conducting counter-ISIS operations.

The military used a GBU-43 (pictured), which weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds, and has earned the moniker 'Mother Of All Bombs

The military used a GBU-43 (pictured), which weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds, and has earned the moniker ‘Mother Of All Bombs

That MOAB's first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

That MOAB’s first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he had authorized his military commanders to take actions like the one put into play on Thursday

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he had authorized his military commanders to take actions like the one put into play on Thursday

Trump suggested he had not personally ordered the bomb strike but delegated authority to commanders in the field.

‘Everybody knows exactly what happened. So, what I do is I authorize my military … We have given them total authorization,’ he said.

The move marks the fulfilment of a 17-month-old campaign promise Trump delivered in Iowa, when he scoffed at ISIS terror forces and said he ‘would bomb the s**t out of them’ if he became president.

It also comes at a moment in the young Trump presidency when tensions are rising with Russia over its role in Syria, where ISIS has its headquarters.

Huge: The MOAB test fired in 2003 shortly before final preparations for it to be loaded onto an MC-130 attack aircraft

Huge: The MOAB test fired in 2003 shortly before final preparations for it to be loaded onto an MC-130 attack aircraft

Then-candidate Donald Trump told an Iowa audience in November 2015 that he would fight ISIS from the air as president: 'I would bomb the s**t out of them'

Then-candidate Donald Trump told an Iowa audience in November 2015 that he would fight ISIS from the air as president: ‘I would bomb the s**t out of them’

The explosion will also send a saber-rattling message to North Korea and Iran that rogue states’ nuclear-weapons ambitions could be met with brute force.

Trump said of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un: ‘I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not.’

‘North Korea’s a problem. The problem will be taken care of.’

The Department of Defense is denying that Thursday's attack was revenge for Saturday's death of Green Beret sergeant Mark De Alencar in the same region of Afghanistan

The Department of Defense is denying that Thursday’s attack was revenge for Saturday’s death of Green Beret sergeant Mark De Alencar in the same region of Afghanistan

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that MOAB is ‘a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon’ whose use was intended to collapse underground spaces used by ISIS terrorists to move freely and attack U.S. and allied troops.

‘The United States takes the fight against ISIS seriously, and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space – which we did,’ Spicer said.

He referred reporters’ questions to the Pentagon and ignored a shouted question about whether Trump had been aware the bomb was dropped before or during the military operation.

Trump said during a November 2015 campaign rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa that ISIS was ‘making a tremendous amount of money’ because of ‘certain areas of oil that they took away’ after the Obama administration withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the s**t out of them,’ he said to wild cheers. ‘I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes. … I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.’

Preparations: This was the scene as the only other MOAB to be exploded was readied for action in 2003 in Florida. The tail rotor is part of the guidance system for it to exploded over a specified target

Preparations: This was the scene as the only other MOAB to be exploded was readied for action in 2003 in Florida. The tail rotor is part of the guidance system for it to exploded over a specified target

Mushroom cloud: This was the aftermath of the test explosion seen outside Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Mushroom cloud: This was the aftermath of the test explosion seen outside Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

 The MOAB was pushed out the back door of a giant cargo plane on Thursday, flying to its target with GPS guidance. A MOAB has only been exploded once before - in a 2003 test

 The MOAB was pushed out the back door of a giant cargo plane on Thursday, flying to its target with GPS guidance. A MOAB has only been exploded once before – in a 2003 test

A specialized MC-130 ‘Hercules’ cargo aircraft released the weapon at 7:00 p.m. local time.

It was too big to drop from a traditional bomb-bay door or release from an aircraft wing, so ‘we kicked it out the back door,’ a U.S. official told Fox News.

The weapon’s sheer power produces a blast that can be felt miles away, largely because of its construction.

Engineers used an unusually thin aluminum skin to encase MOAB’s payload, in order to avoid a thicker steel frame interfering with the impact on a target.

The U.S. fast-tracked the MOAB in 2003 for use in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the Defense Department later decided that the enemy provided too little resistance to justify its deployment.

It was available to the Obama administration throughout the former president’s entire two terms, but he never deployed it in combat.

Its first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.


Key stats:

  • Known as the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’
  • The U.S. military’s largest non-nuclear weapon
  • Each bomb costs around $16 million (£12.8 million)
  • Its explosion is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT and the blast radius is a mile wide
  • First tested by US forces in 2003
  • It is designed to destroy heavily reinforced targets or to shatter ground forces and armour across a large area
  • 30 feet (9 meters) long and 40 inches (1 meter) wide
  • Weighs 21,000lbs (9,500kg) – heavier than the Hiroshima nuclear bomb
  • Leaves no lasting radiation effect

How it’s deployed:

  • The bomb has ‘grid’ fins that fold into the body and then open up in flight to help control its descent
  • It can only be deployed out of the back of a large cargo plane due to its size
  • The bomb rides on a pallet, a parachute pulls the pallet and bomb out of the plane
  • The pallet then separates so that the bomb can fall to its target
  • It accelerates rapidly to its terminal velocity and is partially guided to its target via satellite
  • It explodes six feet (1.8 meters) above the ground
  • The idea behind this ‘airburst’ mechanism is to spread its destructive range

The weapon carries a blast wave that can be felt more than a mile away

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that the explosive colossus was dropped in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, making it the first time America’s largest non-nuclear weapon has been used in a combat situation.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said it was the first ever combat use of the bomb, which contains 11 tons of explosives.

Stump said the bomb was dropped on a cave complex believed to be used by ISIS fighters in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, very close to the border with Pakistan.

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement about ISIS that ‘as ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense.’

‘This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against [ISIS-K].’

News reports suggest Nicholson made the decision to drop it from the sky.

He added that ‘[t]he strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities.’

The ISIS faction in Afghanistan is known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-Khorasan province, or ISIS-K.


Story 2: Trump To NATO Members: Pay You Bills (2% of GDP For Military Spending) — NATO Not Obsolete — Videos — 

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

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Story 3: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov To  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — Show Us The Evidence of Chemical Gas Attack in Syria — Assad –“100% Fabrication” — Not Enough Evidence — Videos — 

Rex Tillerson holds joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister after meeting Vladimir Putin…

Sec. Tillerson, Russian Minister Lavrov. News conference in Moscow. Syria. April 12. 2017

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Story 4: Trump Will Not Name Communist China As Currency Manipulator –United States Is A Currency Manipulator — Video — 

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C. Fred Bergsten on Currency Wars and US Economy

China’s Upward Currency Manipulation Might Have To End – FX Reserves Are Falling

It is a standard belief of many in the US, including the new President, Donald Trump, that China is a currency manipulator. This is true, China has indeed been manipulating the value of the yuan. However, contrary to popular belief it has, at least recently, been manipulating that value up against the American dollar, not down. This of course makes Chinese exports to America more expensive and reduces the trade deficit between the two countries. Not that simple facts tend to change many peoples’ beliefs about the economy of course.

However, this all might come to an end soon enough because China’s foreign currency reserves are falling as a result of their interventions. In fact, that those reserves are falling is the very evidence we need to show that they are intervening up, not down:

China’s foreign exchange reserves unexpectedly fell below the closely watched $3 trillion level in January for the first time in nearly six years, though tighter regulatory controls appeared to making some progress in slowing capital outflows. China has taken a raft of steps in recent months to make it harder to move money out of the country and to reassert a grip on its faltering currency, even as U.S. President Donald Trump steps up accusations that Beijing is keeping the yuan too cheap.

As we can see the general assumption in the financial markets, and the correct assumption too, is that China has been intervening to keep the value of the yuan up, not down. The major way it has been doing this being by limiting the amount that Chinese citizens can move out of the country:

Further erosion of the world’s largest stockpile may prompt policy makers again to tighten measures for controlling outflows and on companies transferring money to other countries. Authorities recently rolled out stricter requirements for citizens converting yuan into foreign currencies as the annual $50,000 foreign exchange quota for individuals reset Jan. 1.

For a capital outflow does indeed reduce the value of a currency:

China’s foreign exchange reserves fell below the $3 trillion mark for the first time in almost six years as capital continued to flow out of the world’s second-largest economy, data from the People’s Bank of China showed Tuesday.

The reserves fell by $12.31 billion from the previous month to $2.998 trillion, following a drop of $41.08 billion in December. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a $1 billion decrease in January.

The reason a capital outflow does this should be obvious. Yuan work only in China. Thus, to take money out of China you must sell yuan and buy some other form of money. That sale reduces the value of the yuan (more of something for sale does usually mean a price fall) against those other currencies. And thus the truth of those accusations of currency manipulation. As we can see the Chinese government is placing restrictions on peoples’ ability to sell yuan. This is thus manipulation which keeps the value up, not such that pushes it down.

All of which leaves us with an interesting point. The general demand is that China stop manipulating the value of its currency. OK, so, let’s insist upon that. The value of the yuan will fall, Chinese exports to America will be cheaper and we might well then see an increase in the US trade deficit. Which isn’t really what the people complaining about manipulation want, is it? But it may well be what they’re about to get.

Trump says he will not label China currency manipulator, reversing campaign promise

April 12

Trump called China a ‘currency manipulator.’ Does it deserve the label?

During his presidential campaign Trump talked tough on China, accusing them of undervaluing the yuan. The International Monetary Fund has said that Chinese currency is “no longer undervalued”. Does China still deserve to be called a “currency manipulator”?(Daron Taylor/The Washington Post)

President Trump on Wednesday said he would not label China a currency manipulator, contradicting one of the biggest economic promises he made on the campaign trail.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he had changed his mind because China is not currently manipulating its currency, adding that he hoped to enlist China’s help on containing the nuclear threat from North Korea.

Trump also indicated that he might be open to keeping Janet L. Yellen as Federal Reserve chair after her term expires. “I like her, I respect her. … It’s very early,” he said when asking about her reappointment.

Trump was highly critical of Yellen during the campaign. He accused her of keeping interest rates low to benefit the Obama administration and said she should be ashamed of herself. But Yellen has a reputation for being slow to raise interest rates, and Trump had also professed his preference for low interest rates in the past.

“I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you,” he told the Journal, when asked about Yellen.

The president is also “very close” to naming a vice chair and filling another open seat that governs community banking on the Federal Reserve Board, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during the interview.

In the interview, Trump also inveighed against the strong U.S. dollar, saying that the strength of the currency stemmed partially from people’s confidence in him, but that it was also hurting the economy.

“It’s very, very hard to compete when you have a strong dollar and other countries are devaluing their currency,” he said.

Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University, said it was striking that a sitting president would comment so directly on the value of the dollar.

“It could also be taken as an implicit threat to other countries that if the dollar stays strong and if U.S. bilateral trade imbalances with its major trading partners stay high or continue to expand, that he will take some sort of action,” Prasad said.

The judgment on currency manipulation was scheduled to be released in a semiannual report from the Treasury Department that is due this week.

China defies international trade rules in some respects, economists say, but devaluing its currency is not currently one of them. While China suppressed the value of its currency for years to make its products cheaper abroad and boost its exports, for the past several years it has been intervening in currency markets to prop the yuan up, which actually benefits American exporters.

“Certainly for the past six months, which is the period notionally covered by the April 15 report, China has been intervening to raise the value of its currency, not to suppress it,” said Matthew Goodman, a former Treasury official who helped to label China a currency manipulator during the Clinton administration.

China was a favored target of Trump’s on the campaign trail. He often said the world’s second-largest economy was taking advantage of the U.S., and that he would respond on his first day in office by labeling China a currency manipulator. He has also said he would impose tariffs of up to 45 percent on China if the country does not negotiate better trade terms with the United States.

Labeling a country a currency manipulator triggers an investigation and can eventually lead to tariffs or other economically punitive measures.

But when Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago last week, the conversation was much more genial. The outcome of the talks was a 100-day plan to reevaluate the countries’ trading relationship, including trying to boost American exports to China.

President Trump met with China’s president on April 6, after months of criticizing China and promising big trade changes. From blasting China for currency manipulation to accusing them of “raping our economy,” here are some of his biggest blusters from the campaign trail. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Has the United States mismanaged the ascent of China?

By April 15, the Treasury Department is required to present to Congress a report on the exchange rate policies of the country’s major trading partners, intended to identify manipulators that cheapen their currency to make their exports more attractive and gain market share in the United States, a designation that could eventually lead to retaliation.

It would be hard, these days, to find an economist who feels China fits the bill. Under a trade law passed in 2015, a country must meet three criteria: It would have to have a “material” trade surplus with the rest of the world, have a “significant” surplus with the United States, and intervene persistently in foreign exchange markets to push its currency in one direction.

While China’s surplus with the United States is pretty big — almost $350 billion — its global surplus is modest, at 2.4 percent of its gross domestic product last year. Most significant, it has been pushing its currency up, not down. Since the middle of 2014 it has sold over $1 trillion from its reserves to prop up the renminbi, under pressure from capital flight by Chinese companies and savers.

Even President Trump — who as a candidate promised to label China a currency manipulator on Day 1 and put a 45 percent tariff on imports of Chinese goods — seems to be backing away from broad, immediate retaliation.

 And yet the temptation remains. “When you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations,” the Chinese “are world champions,” Mr. Trump told The Financial Times, ahead of the state visit of the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to the United States last week.

For all Mr. Trump’s random impulsiveness and bluster — and despite his lack of a coherent strategy to engage with what is likely soon to become the world’s biggest economy — he is not entirely alone with his views.

Many learned economists and policy experts ruefully acknowledge that the president’s intuition is broadly right: While labeling China a currency manipulator now would look ridiculous, the United States should have done it a long time ago.

“With the benefit of hindsight, China should have been named,” said Brad Setser, an expert on international economics and finance who worked in the Obama administration and is now at the Council on Foreign Relations.

A Changing Trade Picture

After suppressing its currency through 2014, China has turned to propping it up, and its trade surplus as a share of its economy has declined over the last decade.

There were reasonable arguments against putting China on the spot and starting a process that could eventually lead to American retaliation.

Yet by not pushing back against China’s currency manipulation, and allowing China to deploy an arsenal of trade tactics of dubious legality to increase exports to the United States, successive administrations — Republican and Democratic — arguably contributed to the economic dislocations that pummeled so many American workers over more than a decade. Those dislocations helped propel Mr. Trump to power.

From 2000 to 2014 China definitely suppressed the rise of the renminbi to maintain a competitive advantage for its exports, buying dollars hand over fist and adding $4 trillion to its foreign reserves over the period. Until 2005, the Chinese government kept the renminbi pegged to the dollar, following it down as the greenback slid against other major currencies starting in 2003.

American multinationals were flocking into China, taking advantage of its entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, which guaranteed access to the American and other world markets for its exports. By 2007, China’s broad trade surplus hit 10 percent of its gross domestic product — an unheard-of imbalance for an economy this large. And its surplus with the United States amounted to a full third of the American deficit with the world.

Though the requirement that the Treasury identify currency manipulators “gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade” dates back to the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, China was never called out.

There were good reasons. Or at least they seemed so at the time. For one, China hands in the administration of George W. Bush argued that putting China on the spot would make negotiations more difficult, because even Chinese leaders who understood the need to allow their currency to rise could not be seen to bow to American pressure.

Labeling China a manipulator could have severely hindered progress in other areas of a complex bilateral economic relationship. And the United States had bigger fish to fry.

“There were other dimensions of China’s economic policies that were seen as more important to U.S. economic and business interests,” Eswar Prasad, who headed the China desk at the International Monetary Fund and is now a professor at Cornell, told me. These included “greater market access, better intellectual property rights protection, easier access to investment opportunities, etc.”

At the end of the day, economists argued at the time, Chinese exchange rate policies didn’t cost the United States much. After all, in 2007 the United States was operating at full employment. The trade deficit was because of Americans’ dismal savings rate and supercharged consumption, not a cheap renminbi. After all, if Americans wanted to consume more than they created, they had to get it somewhere.


Shi Guangsheng, seated, then the Chinese trade minister, signing documents admitting China to the World Trade Organization at a ceremony in Qatar in 2001. CreditRabih Moghrabi/Agence France-Presse

And the United States had a stake in China’s rise. A crucial strategic goal of American foreign policy since Mao’s death had been how to peacefully incorporate China into the existing order of free-market economies, bound by international law into the fabric of the postwar multilateral institutions.

And the strategy even worked — a little bit. China did allow its currency to rise a little from 2005 to 2008. And when the financial crisis hit, it took the foot off the export pedal and deployed a giant fiscal stimulus, which bolstered internal demand.

Yet though these arguments may all be true, they omitted an important consideration: The overhaul of the world economy imposed by China’s global rise also created losers.

In a set of influential papers that have come to inform the thinking about the United States’ relations with China, David Autor, Daron Acemoglu and Brendan Price from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Gordon Hanson from the University of California, San Diego; and David Dorn from the University of Zurich concluded that lots of American workers, in many communities, suffered a blow from which they never recovered.

Rising Chinese imports from 1999 to 2011 cost up to 2.4 million American jobs, one paper estimated. Another found that sagging wages in local labor markets exposed to Chinese competition reduced earnings by $213 per adult per year.

Economic theory posited that a developed country like the United States would adjust to import competition by moving workers into more advanced industries that competed successfully in global markets. In the real world of American workers exposed to the rush of imports after China erupted onto world markets, the adjustment didn’t happen.

If mediocre job prospects and low wages didn’t stop American families from consuming, it was because the American financial system was flush with Chinese cash and willing to lend, financing their homes and refinancing them to buy the furniture. But that equilibrium didn’t end well either, did it?

What it left was a lot of betrayed anger floating around among many Americans on the wrong end of these dynamics. “By not following the law, the administration sent a political signal that the U.S. wouldn’t stand up to Chinese cheating,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “As we can see now, that hurt in terms of maintaining political support for open trade.”

If there was a winner from this dynamic, it was Mr. Trump.

Will Mr. Trump really go after China? In addition to an expected executive order to retaliate against the dumping of Chinese steel, he has promised more. He could tinker with the definitions of “material” and “significant” trade surpluses to justify a manipulation charge.

And yet a charge of manipulation would add irony upon irony. “It would be incredibly ironic not to have named China a manipulator when it was manipulating, and name it when it is not,” Mr. Setser told me. And Mr. Trump would be retaliating against the economic dynamic that handed him the presidency.

China is No Longer Manipulating its Currency

C. Fred Bergsten (PIIE)

November 18, 2016 9:45 AM

US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to instruct his Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, just as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did in 2012. He would then presumably seek to negotiate with the Chinese to reduce their large trade surplus, which equals roughly half the total US trade deficit of about $500 billion, under the threat of limiting imports unilaterally if they failed to cooperate (and risking retaliation against US exports). A declining US trade deficit, if it could be achieved, would increase US economic growth. But China has not manipulated its currency, the renminbi, for the past two years, and even an erroneous designation would not enable the new president to take any retaliatory trade actions.

China was the champion currency manipulator of all time from 2003 through 2014. During this “decade of manipulation,” China bought more than $300 billion annually to resist upward movement of its currency by artificially keeping the exchange rate of the dollar strong and the renminbi’s exchange rate weak. China’s competitive position was thus strengthened by as much as 30 to 40 percent at the peak of the intervention. Currency manipulation explained most of China’s large trade surpluses, which reached a staggering 10 percent of its entire GDP in 2007.

China was not the only manipulator. A number of other Asian economies, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, also intervened regularly to keep from losing their competitive position to China (and thus to the United States as well). A few others, including Japan and Korea, intervened occasionally as well.

Naming a country a manipulator, however, has no significant operational consequences (which is one of the reasons it has not been done in recent years). The relevant US law, dating from 1988, requires only that the Secretary of the Treasury launch a negotiation with the indicted countries in an effort to rectify the situation. Trump and his advisors have suggested they would use a designation to impose new import restrictions against China, up to the level of the renminbi undervaluation that resulted, but they would have to invoke other US statutes to justify such action. (Regardless of manipulation, the administration might authorize the Commerce Department to apply countervailing duties against imports that were subsidized by undervalued exchange rates in China and elsewhere; this would probably run afoul of US obligations in the World Trade Organization, however, and might also be challenged domestically unless Congress explicitly authorized such treatment.)

I was among the first to call attention to the manipulation by the Chinese and others and to advocate strong action to counter it, but it must be recognized that the situation has changed dramatically over the past two years. China has experienced large outflows of private capital that have driven its exchange rate down and indeed sparked market fears of disorderly renminbi devaluations. To their credit, the Chinese have intervened heavily on the opposite side of the market: Instead of buying dollars to keep the renminbi weak, they have sold large amounts of dollars to prevent it from sliding further. Their recent intervention has promoted US competitiveness rather than undermined it. Manipulation (including by other countries) has passed largely into remission.

It would thus be factually incorrect, as well as ineffectual, for the new Trump administration to label China a currency manipulator (and the Chinese might well refuse to negotiate under such circumstances). Indeed, the White House would be running counter to the thrust of the new US currency law (although it could still label a country as a “manipulator,” even if it did not meet the terms of that law). The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 spells out three criteria for identifying a country for currency misbehavior:

  • a large bilateral trade surplus with the United States, which China has;
  • a material global current account surplus, which the Treasury Department interprets as meaning more than 3 percent of a country’s GDP, a bit more than China is now running; and
  • “persistent one-sided intervention” in the currency markets, to keep its exchange rate from rising, which China is clearly not conducting.

These tests would have caught China for eight consecutive years, from 2003 through 2010, but Treasury currently has placed China only on a “monitoring list” along with five others that meet at least two of the criteria or have met them in the recent past. There is always a possibility that China (and others) could resume the competitive nonappreciation of the earlier period if market pressure again pushed the renminbi upward, especially if China’s economic reforms faltered and its growth rate sank below the new target of 7 percent. So we cannot be confident that the problem has been definitively resolved.

Indeed, it would be desirable for the Trump administration to add a new tool to the US policy arsenal, to ensure the problem will not resurface, by announcing that the United States will counter any future manipulation by others with offsetting intervention of its own. If China buys $1 billion in an effort to keep the dollar artificially strong, the United States could buy $1 billion worth of renminbi to neutralize any impact of the Chinese action on the exchange rate between the two currencies. The Chinese currency and bond markets are now large enough to permit any foreseeable level of US intervention that might be needed. But simply the announcement of a policy of such “countervailing currency intervention” would almost surely deter future manipulation efforts, requiring very little if any actual activity. It should thus prolong the current remission of manipulation indefinitely. The Senate passed a bill authorizing “remedial currency intervention” in 2011, but the policy could be adopted under current law.

Trump’s economic team may decide to address a number of Chinese policies that support its exports and impede its imports, in an effort to reduce the Chinese surplus and the US deficit, as its predecessors have done for many years. There are several US statutes that provide a basis for doing so. Currency manipulation is not one of these, however, especially at the present time. The new administration should look for alternative paths to any immediate action while shoring up the country’s defenses against possible recrudescence of currency aggression in the future.

C. Fred Bergsten is senior fellow and director emeritus of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He was the founding director of the Institute from 1981 through 2012. He was previously assistant secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and is coauthor, with Joseph E. Gagnon, of the forthcoming Institute book Currency Conflict and Trade Policy: A New Strategy for the United States.

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Trump’s base turns on him

Steve Bannon’s downgrade is just one of many complaints. ‘We expect him to keep his word, and right now he’s not keeping his word,’ says one campaign supporter.

04/13/17 02:21 PM EDT

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 Donald Trump’s true believers are losing the faith.

As Trump struggles to keep his campaign promises and flirts with political moderation, his most steadfast supporters — from veteran advisers to anti-immigration activists to the volunteers who dropped their jobs to help elect him — are increasingly dismayed by the direction of his presidency.

Their complaints range from Trump’s embrace of an interventionist foreign policy to his less hawkish tone on China to, most recently, his marginalization of his nationalist chief strategist, Steve Bannon. But the crux of their disillusionment, interviews with nearly two dozen Trump loyalists reveal, is a belief that Trump the candidate bears little resemblance to Trump the president. He’s failing, in their view, to deliver on his promise of a transformative “America First” agenda driven by hard-edged populism.

“Donald Trump dropped an emotional anchor. He captured how Americans feel,” said Tania Vojvodic, a fervent Trump supporter who founded one of his first campaign volunteer networks. “We expect him to keep his word, and right now he’s not keeping his word.”

Earlier this week, Vojvodic launched a Facebook group called, “The concerned support base of President Trump,” which quickly drew several dozen sign-ups. She also changed the banner on her Facebook page to a picture of Bannon accompanied by the declaration: “Mr. President: I stand with Steve Bannon.”

“I’m not so infatuated with Trump that I can’t see the facts,” she said. “People’s belief, their trust in him, it’s declining.”

The swiftness and abruptness of Trump’s shift from bomb-throwing populist outsider to a more mainstream brand of Republican has taken the president’s stalwarts by surprise.

“It was like, here’s the chance to do something different. And that’s why people’s hopes are dashed,” said Lee Stranahan, who, as a former writer at Breitbart News, once worked with Bannon. “There was always the question of, ‘Did he really believe this stuff?’ Apparently, the answer is, ‘Not as much as you’d like.’”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The deflation of Trump’s base threatens to further weaken a president who’s already seen his public support drop to historic lows. Frustration among the president’s allies has intensified in recent days, with many expressing worry that Bannon, the intellectual pillar of the nationalist movement that catapulted Trump to the presidency, is being pushed out.

As Bannon’s influence wanes, on the rise is a small group of Wall Street-connected advisers whose politically moderate and globalist views are anathema to the populist cause.

The palace intrigue intensified this week after Trump refused to say he still had confidence in Bannon and downplayed the former Breitbart chairman’s role in his campaign victory. And it’s feeding suspicions that the president is changing his priorities.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the president’s most vocal backers on Capitol Hill, said he’s been disheartened by the chief strategist’s isolation.

“A lot of us look at Steve Bannon as the voice of conservatism in the White House,” said King, who has known Bannon for years.

The displeasure over Bannon’s reduced status has trickled down to Trump’s grass-roots army of volunteers. Among those unsettled is Shane Bouvet, a 24-year-old campaign volunteer and blue-collar single father from Illinois who became something of a hero in the Trump movement. On the eve of the inauguration, Trump, who had read about how Bouvet trekked across the country by car so he could watch the swearing-in, gave him a check for $10,000.

Bouvet later said the gift saved the life of his father, who was battling cancer and needed the money to cover medical costs.

That day, Bouvet also was introduced to Bannon. The two spoke briefly, and Bouvet came to identify with the adviser who, like him, represented a “forgotten America” that Trump had appealed to with his blue-collar pitch. He said in an interview that he still supports the president, but is troubled by reports that Bannon is on the outs and that senior adviser Jared Kushner, a New York City real estate scion, is accumulating influence.

“I see a lot of people upset about his role,” Bouvet said of Bannon.

“I love our president,” he added. “I would tell him, follow his heart instead of whispers in his ears.”

On his South Florida-based radio show, Trump backer John Cardillo has begun to hear from listeners who are disillusioned with the rising influence of moderate staffers like Kushner and Gary Cohn, the Goldman Sachs executive-turned-Trump economic adviser.

For Cardillo, too, it’s been a letdown. During the 2016 Republican primary, he was attracted to Trump because of his insurgent streak. As a former New York City police officer, Cardillo identified with the candidate’s blue-collar style. He fell hard and got aboard the Trump train early, backing the insurgent candidate over home-state favorite Marco Rubio.

Trump voters “felt like they were voting for an anti-establishment candidate — and they’re terrified, they’re losing faith,” Cardillo said. “They’re saying, ‘Why does he have these people around him?’”

The gripes go beyond Bannon’s apparent downgrade. Many of Trump’s most stalwart supporters, including radio show hosts Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham, called last week’s bombing of Syria a betrayal of Trump’s pledge to be an “America First” commander in chief who would avoid unnecessary conflicts overseas.

Concerns about Trump’s foreign policy approach intensified on Wednesday when he backed away from his oft-repeated campaign line that NATO is “obsolete.” Instead, during an appearance with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump called the organization a “great alliance.”

Howie Carr, an influential Boston radio show host and a vocal Trump backer, said he’s been mostly satisfied with the president’s tenure so far. But he said he and his listeners weren’t on board with the Syria bombing and warned against a U.S.-led push to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“People are concerned because it’s such a morass over there,” Carr said. “I don’t think any of my listeners have any great stomach for overthrowing Assad, as odious as he is.”

Other Trump boosters worry that he’s ditching his economic agenda. They wonder why he backed off his vow to label
China a currency manipulator, and are chagrined by his reversal on his position to eliminate the Export-Import Bank.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer took issue with the premise that Trump’s switch on labeling China a currency manipulator amounted to abandoning a campaign promise.

“The president’s tough talk … on a variety of subjects was to get results for the American people. That’s what he has pledged to do, to get more jobs here, to grow more manufacturing, to keep our country safe,” Spicer told reporters. “At the end of the day, this is always about developing a better situation for the American people, and I think he’s done that.”

Still others are concerned about Trump’s lack of progress on reforming the tax code.

Larry Kudlow, a veteran economist who advised Trump’s campaign, expressed dismay that the president hadn’t yet released a tax plan. He said he was beginning to wonder whether the president is about to walk back his pledge to cut taxes.

“What is their product?” Kudlow asked. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not giving up hope. But it’s looking very shaky to me.”

Conservative economist Stephen Moore, who also advised the Trump campaign, said he’s reached out to the White House about the lack of a tax package.

“They’re all over the map,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re listening or not.”

Then there’s immigration, the issue that catapulted Trump to front-runner status. Activists are increasingly alarmed that the president has yet to follow through on his pledge to rescind protections for undocumented parents and children put in place under former President Barack Obama.

Brenda Sparks, an “angel mom” whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant, appeared onstage with Trump at an August campaign event in Phoenix. She said he promised her that he would overturn the program known Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in short order.

While Sparks said she didn’t think it would be done immediately, “I had expected it before now.”

“I still support Trump, but I’m going to hold his feet to the fire,” she said. “He has not lived up to that promise.”

Michelle Dallacroce, an anti-immigration activist, is more pointed. Immigration is “why we voted for Donald Trump,” she said. “This could be the most elaborate reality show. I’m wondering, was this all an illusion for us, using our movement so he could get in there?”

Trump is hardly the first president to get crosswise with his supporters. After running on a promise to infuse Washington with change, Barack Obama faced sharp accusations from backers that he was moving too slowly to change the culture of the capitol. Governing, Obama learned, is a lot different than campaigning.

Not all of the president’s backers are disappointed. They point to his successful nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and his rollback of environmental regulations as early wins.

“There’s always going to be things that aren’t perfect, but it’s exciting,” said Ed Martin, a conservative leader in Missouri.

But as Trump evolves, some of his loyalists are beginning to compare him to another Republican who lost the support of the party’s base: Arnold Schwarzenegger. After being elected California governor in 2003, the former movie star took on entrenched Democratic interests, lost badly, then tacked sharply to the left.

This week, some Trump die-hards passed around a column by conservative commentator Kurt Schlichter headlined: “Trump Can’t Let His Real or His Fake Friends Turn Him into Schwarzenegger Part 2.”

Schlichter, in an interview, said conservatives are fundamentally distrustful of Republican politicians who had often misled them. He urged the president to take some immediate actions, however small, to put his supporters at ease.

“You’ve got to understand the base. It’s like dating a girl whose father cheated on her mother. She’s always going to be suspicious,” he said. “He’s got to constantly provide wins because he’s got an emotionally damaged base that’s been abused.”

Within Trump’s inner circle, a moderate voice captures the president’s ear

April 13 at 7:58 PM
As power struggles and ideological battles engulfed the White House, an unlikely player is exercising new influence on the direction of President Trump’s administration.Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, is capitalizing on his new position as director of Trump’s National Economic Council to push a centrist vision and court bipartisan support on some of Trump’s top agenda items such as tax reform and a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.The growing strength of Cohn and like-minded moderates was on display this week as Trump reversed himself on several high-profile issues — including a less confrontational approach to China, an endorsement of government subsidies for exports and the current leadership of the Federal Reserve. The president’s new positions move him much closer to the views of Cohn and others on Wall Street, not to mention mainstream Republicans and Democrats.It was the clearest sign yet that an alliance of moderates in the White House — including Cohn; senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; and another influential Goldman Sachs alumna, Dina Powell — is racking up successes in a battle over ideology and control with hardcore conservatives led by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who held sway at the start of the administration.In a White House short on experienced personnel, Cohn has found an edge by hiring two dozen policy experts, most with government experience. His team produced detailed proposals on overhauling the tax code, rebuilding infrastructure, cutting back financial regulations and restructuring international trade deals. He is widely considered a future candidate to be chief of staff.

“Cohn might be a newbie to policy and Washington, but you have to give him credit for one thing,” said Gene Sperling, who held Cohn’s job during the Obama administration. “While others seemed engaged in ideological and ‘House of Cards’-like staff warfare, he quietly and quickly focused on the first rule of governing: He hired some competent, professional staff at the NEC, and it has paid off for him.”

Cohn now finds himself in the awkward — and politically risky — position of being praised by Democrats but shunned by conservative allies of Trump who see the former Goldman Sachs executive as anathema to the values that got Trump elected.

“From a pure political perspective, I do not know if the White House appreciates how Gary Cohn is a liability with the Republican and conservative base, as well as the Republican Congress,” said Sam Nunberg, a strategist on Trump’s 2016 campaign. “The Trump White House will always be held in suspicion when you have someone who’s consolidated full economic power in the White House who is also a liberal, New York Democrat.”

Cohn has been getting flak in the conservative media as he has risen in profile. Rush Limbaugh last week called him “a very ideological liberal Democrat” and a “trader at Goldman Sachs.” He expressed concern that Cohn and his allies in the White House “are starting to have sway” at Bannon’s expense.

Cohn, who declined to comment for this article, has given thousands of dollars to candidates from both parties, including President Barack Obama and former candidate Hillary Clinton.

White House aides say Cohn has done well because Trump sees him, more than anything else, as a dealmaker. Cohn represents a bloc of White House officials who are working harder than before to court Democratic support for key parts of Trump’s agenda, having seen the Republican Party splinter during the health-care debate.

“I’m not a Democrat, and I’m not a Republican,” Cohn often says in meetings with business executives, according to two people familiar with his exchanges. “I just want to get things done.”

People who have met with Cohn in his new role said they weren’t aware of what his ideology was. He just seemed driven to forge agreements.

That philosophy has led Cohn to show enthusiasm for ideas such as a new tax on carbon — a Democrat-friendly idea which would raise revenue to ease tax reform, a top presidential priority, while also helping to curb carbon emissions. The idea is ridiculed by many conservatives on Capitol Hill, and the White House rapidly distanced itself last week after word leaked that senior officials were studying the concept.

“I think the National Economic Council has done a terrible job,” said Larry Kudlow, who was one of Trump’s top economic advisers during the campaign. “It’s the NEC’s job to put a plan together and show the president options and make decisions. So far, I would say they are way behind the eight ball.”

But even as the legislative agenda struggles to gain momentum, Cohn and his allies are having a clear impact on the president’s thinking. In the past week, Trump reversed his earlier statements and said he supported the Export-Import Bank, would not declare China a “currency manipulator” and said flattering things about Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet L. Yellen.

Conservatives took aim at the Ex-Im Bank and the Fed throughout much of Obama’s term, while Trump, as part of his tough trade rhetoric, promised to go after China’s currency practices on Day One of his administration.

Cohn’s stature among the top advisers is notable because he is one of the few who played no role in the campaign. Cohn, who grew up in a middle-class family and struggled in a number of schools because of dyslexia, graduated from American University and took a job with U.S. Steel in Ohio. During a trip to New York, he coaxed a well-dressed senior Wall Street executive into sharing a cab with him to the airport, acting as if he knew financial markets (he knew virtually nothing), according to an interview he gave author Malcolm Gladwell. Cohn schmoozed his way into his first Wall Street job and then climbed the ranks, eventually becoming Goldman’s president and chief operating officer.

While friends say he loves his new job, they say Cohn also holds the traditions of Washington in low regard.

At a recent dinner with friends in New York, he called Washington a “s—show,” according to a person familiar with the exchange.

Cohn has not tried to shirk his past at Goldman Sachs or hide his lavish lifestyle. He recently had drinks at the Four Seasons with Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, and shortly after the failure of the House GOP health-care legislation, he went on vacation in the Bahamas.

If he is able to deflect the growing criticism from hardcore conservatives, White House officials say Cohn will have a strong future as a Trump adviser given his experience and the deep bench of experts he has established.

This includes DJ Gribbin, an infrastructure expert, and Shahira Knight, a former congressional aide on tax policy who joined the White House from Fidelity Investments.

Other top members of the team include Kenneth Juster, who is slated to play a top White House role in international negotiations; Jeremy Katz, a former White House official in the George W. Bush administration; and Ray Starling, who works on agriculture issues and was formerly the general counsel for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

While Cohn has met with lawmakers from both parties and executives from numerous companies in his role, he rarely telegraphs what the White House plans to do.

One exception came last week, when — during a gathering of chief executives — he went into great detail about how the U.S. air-traffic-control system needed to be reworked.

He quickly moved through a technical discussion on why the United States should scrap its land-based radar system and adopt a global-positioning system, suggesting he had already devoted time to the topic. He said their approach would save 25 percent of the jet fuel consumed each year.

“We are going to cut flight times down fairly dramatically,” he told the executives. “We are going to cut the experience down. We are going to cut tarmac time down.”

His penchant for dealmaking has even attracted the admiration of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a tough fiscal conservative and longtime critic of government spending. Cohn, working to fulfill Trump’s pledge to spend billions to rebuild infrastructure, has toyed with an idea that would pair $200 billion in taxpayer money with $800 billion in additional funds, mostly from private investors.

“You’ve got to give these Goldman Sachs guys credit,” Mulvaney said this week on CNBC about Cohn’s plan. “They know how to lever up.”

Steve Bannon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Steve bannon)
Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Bannon at the 2017 CPAC
White House Chief Strategist
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Senior Counselor to the President
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Serving with Kellyanne Conway
(Counselor to the President)
President Donald Trump
Preceded by John Podesta (2015)
Personal details
Born Stephen Kevin Bannon
November 27, 1953 (age 63)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cathleen Houff Jordan
Mary Piccard (1995–1997)
Diane Clohesy (divorced 2009)
Children 3
Education Virginia Tech (BA)
Georgetown University (MA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1976–1983
Rank Lieutenant (O-3)[1][a]

Stephen Kevin “Steve” Bannon (born November 27, 1953) is an American political aide, and former media executive and film producer, who is currently the White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration.[2] In this capacity, he attended the Principals Committee of the U.S. National Security Council from January 28, 2017[3] to April 5, 2017.[4][5]

On August 17, 2016, in the later months of the campaign, Bannon joined the Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, taking the position of chief executive officer.[6][7] Prior to taking a leave of absence in August 2016, he had been executive chair of Breitbart News, a far-right[i] news, opinion, and commentary website[17][18] which he described in 2016 as “the platform for the alt-right“.[I]

Bannon was previously a US Navy officer, a Goldman Sachs banker, a radio host, a research director, a film producer and then a media executive. He was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as well as at the Pentagon. After his military service, he worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department. When he left the company, Bannon held the position of vice president. In 1993, he was made acting director of the Earth-science research project Biosphere 2. In the 1990s, he became an executive producer in the Hollywood film and media industry and has produced 18 films since 1991.

Early life, family and education

Stephen Kevin Bannon was born on November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia, to Doris (née Herr) and Martin Bannon, a telephone lineman, later in middle management.[26][27] His working class, Irish Catholic family was pro-Kennedy, pro-union Democrat.[28][29] After serving as president of the student government association,[30] he graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and holds a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. In 1985,[33] Bannon received a Master of Business Administration degree with honors[34] from Harvard Business School.[35]

Service as naval officer

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a surface warfare officer in the Pacific Fleet and, afterwards stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.[36] Bannon’s job at the Pentagon were among other things handling messages between senior officers and writing reports about the state of the Navy fleet worldwide.[37]

Upon his departure he was ranked as a lieutenant (O-3).[1][a]

Business career

Investment banking

After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department.[39] When he left the company he held the position of vice president.[40][b]

In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. In one of Bannon & Co.’s transactions, the firm represented Westinghouse Electric which wanted to sell Castle Rock Entertainment.[34] Bannon negotiated a sale of Castle Rock to CNN, which was owned by Ted Turner at the time.[42]Instead of a full adviser’s fee, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld, which was in its third season. Bannon still receives cash residuals each time Seinfeld is aired.[42] Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.[34]

Earth science

In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon was made acting director of the Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the closed-system experiment project shifted emphasis from researching human space exploration and colonization toward the scientific study of earth’s environment, pollution and climate change. He left the project in 1995.[43][44]

Entertainment and media

Bannon in 2010

In the 1990s, Bannon ventured into the entertainment and media industry. He became an executive producer in the Hollywood film and media industry. Bannon produced 18 films,[27] from the 1991 Sean Penn drama The Indian Runner to Julie Taymor‘s 1999 film Titus. Bannon became a partner with entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm, Inc., a film and television management company.[34]

In 2004, Bannon made a documentary about Ronald Reagan titled In the Face of Evil. Through the making and screening of this film, Bannon was introduced to Reagan’s War author Peter Schweizer and publisher Andrew Breitbart, who would later describe him as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement.[34] He was involved in the financing and production of a number of films, including Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, The Undefeated, and Occupy Unmasked.

Bannon persuaded Goldman Sachs to invest, in 2006, in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment.[45] Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was the chair and CEO of Affinity Media.[46][47]

In 2007, Bannon wrote an eight-page treatment for a new documentary called Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Facism (sic) in America. The outline describes Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America as “cultural jihadists” and describes the Washington Post, the New York Times, NPR, “Universities and the Left”, the “American Jewish Community“, the ACLU, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department, and the White House as “enablers” of a covert mission to establish an Islamic Republic in the United States.[48] In 2011, Bannon spoke at the “Liberty Restoration Foundation” in Orlando, Florida about the Economic Crisis of 2008, the Troubled Assets Relief Program and their impact in the origins of the Tea Party movement, while also discussing his films Generation Zero and The Undefeated.[49]

Bannon was executive chair and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, where he helped orchestrate the publication of Breitbart News senior editor-at-large[50] Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash,[34][51] from its founding in 2012 until he left in August 2016.[52] For the years 2012 through 2015, he received between $81,000 and $100,000 each year; the organization reported that he worked an average of 30 hours per week for the organization.[52] He has also worked as vice president of Cambridge Analytica‘s board, a data-analytics firm owned largely by the Mercer family;[53] said family are also co-owners of Breitbart News.[54]

In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite‘s list of the “25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015”.[55]

Bannon also hosted a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on the SiriusXM Patriot satellite radio channel.[56]

Breitbart News

Main article: Breitbart News

Bannon was a founding member of the board of Breitbart News,[57] an online far-right news, opinion and commentary website which, according to Philip Elliott and Zeke J. Miller of Time, has “pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic material into the vein of the alternative right“.[17]

In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart‘s death, Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News.[58][59][60] Under his leadership, Breitbart took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach toward its agenda.[61] Bannon declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” in 2016.[19] Bannon identifies as a conservative.[62][63][64] Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: “We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly ‘anti-‘ the permanent political class.”[65]

In 2016, Ronald Radosh claimed in The Daily Beast that Bannon had told him earlier, in a book party on November 12, 2013, that he was a Leninist, in that “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment”.[66] While Snopes considers this claim unproven,[67] other media such as Time magazine and The Guardian have reported or discussed it.[68][69]

In a 2014 speech to a Vatican conference, Bannon made a passing reference to Julius Evola, a twentieth-century, Nazi-linked Italian writer who influenced Mussolini‘s Italian Fascism and promoted the Traditionalist School, described by a New York Times writer as “a worldview popular in far-right and alternative religious circles that believes progress and equality are poisonous illusions.”[70] In referring to the associated views of Vladimir Putin, who is influenced by Evola follower Aleksandr Dugin, Bannon stated “We, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what he’s talking about as far as Traditionalism goes — particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism.”[70] He has likewise quoted French anti-Enlightenment writer Charles Maurras approvingly to a French diplomat.[71][72]

Starting in 2015, Bannon has frequently referenced controversial, allegedly racist 1973 French novel The Camp of the Saints, which depicts immigration destroying Western civilization.[73]

Political career

Donald Trump campaign

On August 17, 2016, Bannon was appointed chief executive of Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign; he left Breitbart, as well as the Government Accountability Institute[52] and Cambridge Analytica,[74] to take the job, and shortly after the chairman of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, was dismissed.[59][62][75][76][58]

Protests against Bannon’s appointment

Following Trump’s election, on November 13 Bannon was appointed chief strategist and senior counselor to President-elect Donald Trump.[77]This appointment drew opposition from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Council on American–Islamic Relations, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and some Republican strategists, because of statements in Breitbart News that were alleged to be racist or antisemitic.[6][7][78][79][80]

Ben Shapiro,[80][81][82] David Horowitz,[83] Pamela Geller,[84] Bernard Marcus of the Republican Jewish Coalition,[85] Morton Klein[86] and the Zionist Organization of America,[85] and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach[87] defended Bannon against the allegations of antisemitism. Alan Dershowitz first defended Bannon and said there was no evidence he was antisemitic,[88][89] but in a later piece stated that Bannon and Breitbart had made bigoted statements against Muslims, women, and others.[90] The ADL said “we are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon”, while adding “under his stewardship, Breitbart has emerged as the leading source for the extreme views of a vocal minority who peddle bigotry and promote hate.”[91] Shapiro, who previously worked as an editor-at-large at Breitbart, said that he has no evidence of Bannon being racist or an antisemite, but that he was “happy to pander to those people and make common cause with them in order to transform conservatism into European far-right nationalist populism”,[92] an assertion supported by other sources and by gestures like his alluding to Front National politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen as “the new rising star”.[93]

On November 15, 2016, U.S. Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island released a letter to Trump signed by 169 Democratic House Representatives urging him to rescind his appointment of Bannon. The letter stated that appointing Bannon “sends a disturbing message about what kind of president Donald Trump wants to be”,[94][95][96] because his “ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well documented”; it went on to present several examples of Breitbart News’ alleged xenophobia.[97] Bannon denied being a white nationalist and claimed, rather, that he is an “economic nationalist.”[98]

On November 18, during his first interview not conducted by Breitbart Media since the 2016 presidential election, Bannon remarked on some criticisms made about him stating that “Darkness is good: Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”[99][100] The quote was published widely in the media.[99][101][102][103]

Trump responded to the ongoing controversy over Bannon’s appointment in an interview with The New York Times by saying “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”[104]

Trump administration

Bannon and other advisors watching Trump sign an executive order.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon shake hands with WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at 2017 CPAC

Several days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Bannon told an American newspaper, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. I want you to quote this: the media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”[105]

Bannon, along with Stephen Miller, was involved in the creation of Executive Order 13769, which resulted in restricted U.S. travel and immigration by individuals from seven countries, suspension of the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, and indefinite suspension of the entry of Syrians to the United States.[106][107]

At the end of January 2017, in a departure from the previous format of the National Security Council (NSC), the holder of Bannon’s position, along with that of the Chief of Staff, were designated by presidential memorandum as regular attendees to the NSC’s Principals Committee, a Cabinet-level senior interagency forum for considering national security issues.[3][108][109] The enacted arrangement was criticised by several members of previous administrations and was called “stone cold crazy” by Susan E. Rice, Barack Obama’s last national security adviser.[110] In response, White House spokesman Sean Spicer pointed to Bannon’s seven years experience as a Navy officer in justifying his presence on the Committee.

File:Bannon Says Corporatist Global Media Opposed to Economic Nationalist Agenda.webmhd.webm

‘Bannon Says Corporatist Global Media Opposed to Economic Nationalist Agenda’ video from Voice of America, recorded at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2017

In February 2017, Bannon appeared on the cover of Time, on which he was labeled “the Great Manipulator”.[111] The headline used for the associated article was “Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World?”, alluding to Bannon’s perceived influence in the White House.[112] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Bannon analogized his influence to that of “Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors“.[113][114][115]

Bannon was removed from his NSC role in early April 2017 in a reorganization by National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, who Bannon had helped select.[4] Some White House officials said Bannon’s main purpose of serving on the committee was as a check against former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn, who had resigned in February 2017 for misleading the vice president about a conversation with the Russian operatives.[116][5] Hence, with Flynn gone, Bannon was no longer needed.[4] Bannon reportedly opposed his removal from the council and threatened to quit if president Trump went forward with it, although Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer urged him to stay.[53] The White House said Bannon had not attempted to leave, and Bannon said any indication that he threatened resignation was “total nonsense”.[117] Bannon had only attended one NSC meeting.[118]

Personal life

Bannon has been married and divorced three times. He has three adult daughters.

His first marriage was to Cathleen Suzanne Houff.[119] Bannon and Houff had a daughter, Maureen, in 1988 and subsequently divorced.[120][78]

Bannon’s second marriage was to Mary Louise Piccard, a former investment banker, in April 1995. Their twin daughters were born three days after the wedding. Piccard filed for dissolution of their marriage in 1997.[121][122]

Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in early January 1996 after Piccard accused Bannon of domestic abuse. The charges were later dropped when his now ex-wife did not appear in court.[123] In an article in The New York Times Piccard stated her absence was due to threats made to her by Bannon and his lawyer:

Mr. Bannon, she said, told her that “if I went to court he and his attorney would make sure that I would be the one who was guilty” … Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, she said, “threatened me,” telling her that if Mr. Bannon went to jail, she “would have no money and no way to support the children.” … Mr. Bannon’s lawyer … denied pressuring her not to testify.[124]

Piccard and Bannon divorced in 1997. During the divorce proceedings, Piccard alleged that Bannon had made antisemitic remarks about choice of schools, saying that he did not want to send his children to The Archer School for Girls because there were too many Jews at the school and Jews raise their children to be “whiny brats”. Bannon’s spokesperson denied the accusation noting that he had chosen to send both his children to the Archer School.[123][125][126][127][128]

Bannon’s third marriage was to Diane Clohesy; they divorced in 2009.[129]

Lebanese-American author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, neoreactionary blogger Curtis Yarvin and conservative intellectual Michael Anton have been pointed out as three of the main influences in Steve Bannon’s political thinking, alongside the William Strauss and Neil Howe book The Fourth Turning (which directly inspired Bannon’s film Generation Zero).[130]


Bannon has been a producer, writer or director on the following films and documentaries:

Year Title Credited as Notes
1991 The Indian Runner[131] executive producer
1999 Titus[132] co-executive producer
2004 In the Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed[133] director, co-producer, writer based on the 2003 book Reagan’s War by Peter Schweizer
2005 Cochise County USA: Cries from the Border executive producer
2006 Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration executive producer
2007 Tradition Never Graduates: A Season Inside Notre Dame Football executive producer
2009 The Chaos Experiment executive producer
2010 Generation Zero[134] director, producer, writer based on the 1997 book The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe[68]
Battle for America[135] director, producer, writer
Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman[135] director, producer, writer
2011 Still Point in a Turning World: Ronald Reagan and His Ranch[136][137] director, writer
The Undefeated[135][138] director, producer, writer about Sarah Palin
2012 Occupy Unmasked[139] director, writer
The Hope & The Change[140] director, producer, writer
District of Corruption director, producer
2013 Sweetwater[141] executive producer
2014 Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power executive producer
2016 Clinton Cash producer, writer based on the similarly titled Peter Schweizer book
Torchbearer director, producer, writer features Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson[142]



Jared Kushner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner cropped.jpg
Director of the Office of American Innovation
Assumed office
March 27, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Senior Advisor to the President
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Serving with Stephen Miller
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Brian Deese
Valerie Jarrett
Shailagh Murray
Personal details
Born Jared Corey Kushner
January 10, 1981 (age 36)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.[1]
Political party Democratic[2]
Spouse(s) Ivanka Trump (m. 2009)
Relations Charles Kushner (Father)
Joshua Kushner (Brother)
Murray Kushner (Uncle)
Children 3
Education Harvard University (BA)
New York University (JD, MBA)
Religion Judaism

Jared Corey Kushner (born January 10, 1981) is an American real estate investor and developer, publisher, and senior advisor to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. Together with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon he formed Trump’s leadership team. Kushner is said to be President Trump’s most trusted advisor, showing “unwavering loyalty” to his father-in-law.[3]

He was principal owner of the real estate holding and development company Kushner Companies and of Observer Media, publisher of the weekly, on-line New York Observer. On January 9, 2017, Kushner was named to be a Senior White House Adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. As a result, Kushner resigned as CEO of his family’s real estate company and as publisher of the Observer.[4] He also divested “substantial assets”.[5]

Kushner is the elder son of American real estate developer Charles Kushner and is married to Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump. He was among the senior advisors to Trump’s presidential campaign. Peter Thiel said “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”[6] Kushner played the largest role in developing and running Trump’s digital media strategy.[7][8][9]

In 2007, Kushner’s father and CEO made the most expensive single-building property purchase in U.S. history, acquiring 666 Fifth Avenue for $1.8 billion.[10] In 2011, Kushner brought in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.[11]

Family history, early life and education

Kushner was born in Livingston, New Jersey, and is the elder son of Seryl Kushner (née Stadtmauer) and real estate developer Charles Kushner.[12][13] His paternal grandparents, Rae and Joseph Kushner, were Holocaust survivors who came to the U.S. from Poland[a] in 1949.[14]His grandmother Rae Kushner was born in Novogrudek, in what is now Belarus.[15] Joseph became a prominent real estate businessman.[16][17]

He has a brother, Joshua (also a businessman), and two sisters, Nicole and Dara. He is also a nephew of Murray Kushner, the owner of Kushner Real Estate Group. Kushner Real Estate Group is separate from Kushner Companies, which Murray Kushner started in 2000.[16]

Kushner was raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey.[18] He graduated from the Frisch School, a private, coed yeshiva high school, in 1999. According to a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, he was an honors student and a member of the debate, hockey, and basketball teams while at Frisch.[19]

In 2003, Kushner graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree[20][21] in government.[22] He lived in Kirkland House.[23] While a student at Harvard, Kushner was a member of the Fly Club and bought and sold buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, earning a $20 million profit.[24]

In 2007, Kushner graduated from New York University where he earned a J.D. and an M.B.A.;[25] He interned at Manhattan District AttorneyRobert Morgenthau‘s office and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.[26]

Business career

Real estate

Kushner Companies purchased 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 for $1.8 billion, the most expensive single property purchase in US history at the time.[27]

In May 2015, Kushner purchased a majority stake of One Times Square for $295 million.[28]

According to Forbes, in 2017 Jared Kushner and his parents had a personal fortune of around $1.8 billion.[29] Kushner is a real estate investor, and has increased the Kushner Companies’ presence in the New York City real estate market as a principal in his family’s real estate company.[30] His father, Charles Kushner, was arrested on charges of tax evasion, illegal campaign donations, and witness tampering in 2004, and was eventually convicted on all charges (by the then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie)[31] and sentenced to two years in federal prison.[32]

Kushner Companies purchased the office building at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, for a then-record price of $1.8 billion, most of it borrowed.[27] However, following the property crash in 2008, the cash flow generated by the property was insufficient to cover its debt service, and the Kushners were forced to sell the retail portion in the building to Stanley Chera for more than $1 billion[33] and bring in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.[11]

He assumed the role of CEO of Kushner Companies in 2008.[31] On August 18, 2014, Kushner acquired a three-building apartment portfolio in Middle River, Maryland, for $37.9 million with Aion Partners. In 2013–14, he and his company acquired more than 11,000 units throughout New York, New Jersey, and the Baltimore area.[34] In May 2015, he purchased 50.1% of the Times Square Building from Africa Israel Investments Ltd. for $295 million.[28]

In 2015, Kushner scored spot No. 25 on Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list ranking the most influential young people in business.[35]

Newspaper publishing

At age 25, Kushner purchased the New York Observer, a weekly New York City newspaper, for $10 million,[36] using money he says he earned during his college years by closing deals on residential buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, with family members providing the backing for his investments.[37]

After purchasing the Observer, Kushner published it in tabloid format.[38] Since then, he has been credited with increasing the Observers online presence and expanding the Observer Media Group.[39][40] With no substantial experience in journalism, Kushner could not establish a good relationship with the newspaper’s veteran editor-in-chief, Peter W. Kaplan.[41] “This guy doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” Kaplan remarked about Kushner, to colleagues, at the time. [41] As a result of his differences with Kushner, Kaplan quit his position. Kaplan was followed by a series of short-lived successors until Kushner hired Elizabeth Spiers in 2011.[42] In December 2011, the New York Post reported that the Observer expected to become profitable for the first time.[43] Spiers left the newspaper in 2012. In January 2013, Kushner hired a new editor-in-chief, Ken Kurson. Kurson had been a consultant to Republican political candidates in New Jersey[42] and one-time member of Rudy Giuliani‘s unsuccessful 2008 presidential primary campaign.

According to Vanity Fair, under Kushner, the “Observer has lost virtually all of its cultural currency among New York’s elite, but the paper is now profitable and reporting traffic growth … [it] boasts 6 million unique visitors per month, up from 1.3 million in January 2013″.[44] In April 2016, the New York Observer became one of only a handful of newspapers to officially endorse United States presidential candidate Donald Trump in the Republican primary, but the paper ended the campaign period by choosing not to back any presidential candidate at all.[45][46]

Kushner stepped down from his newspaper role in January 2017 to pursue a role in President Donald Trump’s administration. He was replaced by his brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer.[47]

Los Angeles Dodgers bid

In February 2012, Kushner put in a bid to acquire the MLB team the Los Angeles Dodgers.[48] He withdrew his bid in March 2012.[49]

Political activity

Earlier career and family history

Jared Kushner had been a life-long Democrat and had made major donations to its candidates for years before reportedly undergoing an “ideological conversion” and supporting the 2015–16 Trump campaign.[50][51][52][53] Kushner has had no prior involvement in campaign politics or in government before his father-in-law, Trump’s, campaign.[54]

Trump presidential campaign

From the outset of the presidential campaign of his father-in-law Donald Trump, Kushner was the architect of Trump’s digital, online and social media campaigns, enlisting talent from Silicon Valley to run a 100-person social-media team dubbed “Project Alamo”.[8] Kushner has also helped as a speechwriter and was tasked with working to establish a plan for Trump’s White House transition team should he be elected.[55] He was for a time seen as Trump’s de facto campaign manager, succeeding Corey Lewandowski, who was fired in part on Kushner’s recommendation in June 2016.[56] He has been intimately involved with campaign strategy, coordinating Trump’s visit in late August to Mexico and he was believed to be responsible for the choice of Mike Pence as Trump’s running mate.[8][57] Kushner’s “sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign” has been described as “the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid”.[58]

According to Eric Schmidt, “Jared Kushner is the biggest surprise of the 2016 election, Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources.”[6] Eric Schmidt said, “Jared understood the online world in a way the traditional media folks didn’t. He managed to assemble a presidential campaign on a shoestring using new technology and won. That’s a big deal. Remember all those articles about how they had no money, no people, organizational structure? Well, they won, and Jared ran it.”[6] Peter Thiel said “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”[6]

On July 5, 2016, Kushner wrote an open letter in the New York Observer addressing the controversy around a tweet from the Trump campaign containing allegedly antisemitic imagery. He was responding to his own paper’s editorial by Dana Schwartz criticizing Kushner’s involvement with the Trump campaign.[59] In the letter, Kushner wrote, “In my opinion, accusations like “racist” and “anti-Semite” are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless.”[60]

Trump presidential transition

During the presidential transition, Kushner was said to be his father-in-law’s “confidant”[61] and one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors, even more so than Trump’s four adult children.[62]Trump was reported to have requested the top-secret security clearance for him to attend the Presidential daily intelligence briefings as his staff-level companion, along with General Mike Flynn who already had the clearance prior to his resignation.[63]

The Washington Post, New York Times and numerous other national news authorities explain Kushner was an influential factor behind the firing of New Jersey governor Chris Christie as head of the transition team, as well as the dismissal from the Donald Trump transition team of anyone connected to Christie.[64][65] A source familiar with the Trump campaign explained that “Jared doesn’t like Christie. He’s always held [the prosecution of his father, Charles Kushner] against Christie.”[66] Kushner told Forbes that the reports that he was involved in Christie’s dismissal were false: “Six months ago Governor Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together. The media has speculated on a lot of different things, and since I don’t talk to the press, they go as they go, but I was not behind pushing out him or his people.”[67]

Senior Advisor to President Trump

Japanese PM Shinzō Abe, Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and President Trump, November 17, 2016

In January 2017, Kushner was named a Senior White House Advisor to President Trump. Kushner’s appointment was questioned on the basis of a 1967 anti-nepotism law.[68] On January 20, 2017 the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion stating “the President may appoint relatives to his immediate staff of advisors.”[69][70] Kushner was sworn in on January 22, 2017.[71]

Trump put Kushner in charge of brokering peace in Israeli–Palestinian conflict as well as making deals with foreign countries, although in what way he is in charge is unclear.[72][73][74] Furthermore, after Donald Trump became President-elect, Kushner and his wife met with Japanese Prime Minister and other Japanese officials while his wife was conducting a licensing deal between her namesake clothing brand and a Japanese government-owned company.[75] His wife sat in on a meeting between her father, then President-elect Donald Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.[76] In February 2017, his wife Ivanka Trump was a surprise attendee at the Chinese Embassy’s New Year’s party.[77] In late March 2017 he was also given the new role of leading the “White House Office of American Innovation”.[78][79]

Personal life

Kushner married Ivanka Trump, daughter of businessman and U.S. president Donald Trump, in a Jewish ceremony on October 25, 2009.[80][81] They are Modern Orthodox Jews, keep a kosher home, and observe Shabbat.[82][83][84] Jared and Ivanka have three children: Arabella Rose, Joseph Fredrick and Theodore James.[85]


Gary Cohn (investment banker)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the business executive. For others, see Gary Cohn (disambiguation).
Gary Cohn
Gary D. Cohn - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010.jpg
11th Director of the National Economic Council
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Jeffrey Zients
Personal details
Born August 27, 1960 (age 56)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lisa Pevaroff
Children 3
Education American University (BA)

Gary D. Cohn (born August 27, 1960) is an American investment banker and political figure. He is the chief economic advisor to President Donald Trump and Director of the National Economic Council.[1][2] He was formerly the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs from 2006 to 2017. Cohn is a registered Democrat, but has donated extensively to the Republican Party.[3]

Early life and education

Gary Cohn was born to an Eastern European Jewish family,[4][5] the son of Victor and Ellen Cohn;[6] and was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio. His father was an electrician who later became a real estate developer.[7] Cohn was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and attended four schools by the time he reached the sixth grade.[8] Cohn studied at Gilmour Academy, and received his bachelor’s degree from American University‘s Kogod School of Business.[7]

National Economic Council director

On January 20, 2017 Cohn took office as Director of the National Economic Council (NEC) in President Donald Trump‘s administration, a position which did not require Congressional confirmation. By February 11, 2017, The Wall Street Journal described Cohn as an “economic-policy powerhouse”[9][10] and The New York Times called him Trump’s “go-to figure on matters related to jobs, business and growth”.[11] With the confirmation of Trump’s December 12, 2016 nominee for Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, being held back by Congressional hearings, Cohn filled in the “personnel vacuum” and pushed “ahead on taxes, infrastructure, financial regulation and replacing health-care law”.[9] Had Cohn stayed at Goldman Sachs, some believed he would have become CEO when Lloyd Blankfein vacated that office.[9] His severance package at Goldman Sachs amounted to $285 million.[12] Additionally, Cohn sold a stake valued at $16 million in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank as of 2017.[13]

Cohn supports reinstating the Glass-Steagall legislation, which would separate commercial and investment banking.[14]


Cohn started his career at the U.S. Steel home products division in Cleveland, Ohio.[15] After a few months, he left U.S. Steel and started his career as an options dealer in the New York Mercantile Exchange.[15] He taught himself the basics of options by reading about it in the days between meeting the hiring manager and joining the New York Mercantile Exchange.[16]

Goldman Sachs

Cohn was recruited by Goldman Sachs in 1990.[17] In 1996, he was named head of the commodities department and in 2002, he was named the head of the entire Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division (FICC) division. In 2003, he was named co-head of Equities and in January 2004, Cohn was named the co-head of global securities businesses .[18] He became President and Co-Chief Operating Officer and director in June 2006.[19]

In late 2009, Cohn led a delegation from Goldman Sachs to meetings with the government of Greece, which included proposals (that were not adopted) to push debt-due dates far into the future, “much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.”[20] Goldman Sachs had been scrutinized for creating or pitching products used by Greece to “obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels”.[20]

In 2010, Cohn testified to Congress on the role of Goldman Sachs in the 2007-2008 financial crisis.[21] Cohn testified: “During the two years of the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs lost $1.2 billion in its residential mortgage-related business. We did not ‘bet against our clients,’ and the numbers underscore this fact.”[22]

In February 2015, Cohn hosted the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco. As host, Cohn asked questions of Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., while Cook was on stage.[23]


Cohn’s salary at Goldman Sachs was US$22 million in 2014.[24] He received $21 million in 2015.[25]

He received a severance package worth around $285 million – mostly in stock – from Goldman Sachs upon leaving to join the administration of Donald Trump.[12]

Personality and work style

Critics of Cohn attribute to him an arrogant, aggressive, abrasive and risk-prone work style. They see his “6-foot 3-inch & 220lbs” as intimidating, as he might “sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face and ask how markets were doing”[17] According to former Bear Stearns Asset Management CEO Richard Marin, Cohn’s arrogance is at the root of the problem.

When you become arrogant, in a trading sense, you begin to think that everybody’s a counterparty, not a customer, not a client.[17]

Cohn’s supporters see these qualities as advantages. Michael Ovitz, co-founder and former chairman of Creative Artists Agency and former president of The Walt Disney Company, stated that he is impressed with Cohn. Ovitz said:

“He’s a trader. He has that whole feel in his body and brain and fingertips.”[17]

Ovitz sees Cohn’s toughness as a “positive” value, explaining that a high ranking executive can’t be “all peaches and cream.”[7][17]

Donna Redel, who was Chairman of the Board of the New York Mercantile Exchange when Cohn worked there as a silver trader, remembers Cohn as “firm,” “strategic” and “driven.” Martin Greenberg, her predecessor, said Cohn “was tough,” and added that “Gary got in with the right people, worked his ass off and used his head.”[17]

Personal life

Cohn is married to Lisa A Pevaroff-Cohn.[26] [27] They have three daughters and reside in New York City.[6][15]


Cohn and his wife are founding board members of the New York University Child Study Center. The couple funded the Pevaroff Cohn Professorship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine in 1999. He financed the Gary D. Cohn Endowed Research Professorship in Finance at American University, his alma mater.[28]

In 2009, the Hillel International building at Kent State University was named the Cohn Jewish Student Center in recognition of a gift from Cohn and his wife.[29] It is the first Hillel building built directly on the campus of a state university.[30]

Cohn has been a supporter of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and has supported Harlem RBI since 2011. At that time, Harlem RBI was given the chance to build its own charter school. Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and Harlem RBI director Rich Berlin asked Cohn if he could help them raise the capital they needed to build the school.[31]

In December 2012, Cohn attended the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief which raised money for the Robin Hood Relief fund to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.[32]

Cohn is active as a trustee of his alma mater, American University, and of his school, Gilmour Academy.[33]

In 2010, the Hospital for Joint Diseases at NYU Langone Medical Center named Cohn the chairman of the HJD Advisory Board.[34]

On June 17, 2013, Cohn was honored at the annual “Bid for Kids” gala in order to raise funds for Harlem RBI and the DREAM charter school. Cohn said in an interview that Harlem RBI is a project that is “very near and dear to his heart.”[31]

Published works

Cohn has written editorials in prestigious journals and newspapers.[citation needed] In March 2014, he wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, discussing “The Responsible Way to Rein in Super-Fast Trading.”[35]


Cohn is a member of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.[36]

Cohn is a member of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.[37]


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The Pronk Pops Show 284, June 23, 2014, Story 1: IRS Scandal Update — IRS Archive Vault Hard Drives Exist and Have All The Emails Requested By Congress — Videos

Posted on June 23, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Crime, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, History, IRS, Law, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Security, Social Science, Tax Policy, Taxes, Terror, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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Story 1: IRS Scandal Update — IRS Archive Vault Hard Drives Exist and Have All The Emails Requested By Congress — Videos



gay_coupleobama-lois-lerner-fifth-amendment1-540x368Lois Lerner takes the 5th














EV 10 Process Diagram -Exchange Server Archiving (July 2012)






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IRS Scandal – IT: Jimmy Hoffa Is Hard To Find, Not Lois Lerner’s Emails – The Real Story

Ellison Barber: Lois Lerner’s Lost Emails ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’

Goldberg: Missing Lois Lerner Emails Are ‘Justifiable Red Meat’ for Republican Investigators

Why Archive Email?

What is email archiving and why is it important?

Office 365 and Exchange Online Archiving and Compliance

Symantec Enterprise Archiving Demo

Data Workflows in E-Mail Archiving using Symantec Enterprise Vault and Dell Storage

Introduction to Symantec Managed Enterprise Vault

Symantec Tales from the Vault: Introducing Enterprise Vault 11

Symantec Tales from the Vault: Using Mail Connect to Streamline Archive Access

Understanding email servers and clients

How your email server works

Beck-Napolitano – The Right To Be Left Alone

5 Questions: IRS chief meets Congress over computer crash

The disappearance of IRS employee emails has kicked the rumor mill over agency targeting of tea party groups into high gear.

Republicans accuse the IRS of disposing of evidence that could link the practice to the Obama Administration and ex-IRS official Lois Lerner. Some Democrats, meanwhile, want to ignore the matter, arguing that tech accidents happen and that the emails aren’t relevant anyway.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will face his toughest round of questioning yet from irate lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.


President Barack Obama brought in Koskinen to clean up the mess, after firing the acting IRS chief at the time, Steve Miller. Lerner’s admission that the agency had inappropriately used key words like “tea party” to scrutinize applicants for nonprofit status in May 2013, following by a critical inspector general report days later, set off furor.

Here are some to expect:

1. Why just now tell Congress?

Lawmakers want to know why the IRS just told Congress late last week that Lerner’s 2011 hard drive crash resulted in her archived emails being lost.

After all, it’s been more than a year since the IRS controversy came to light and lawmakers started demanding copies of IRS employee emails, with Lerner, who headed tax-exempt unit, being one of Republicans’ key targets from the start.


It is unclear when exactly Koskinen learned of the matter. Koskinen said Monday he first heard of it “late in the spring.” Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has said that some IRS employees knew as early as February.

Republicans are furious that Koskinen didn’t mention the crash during spring hearings, when they peppered him with questions about why the agency had not turned over all of Lerner’s emails. Koskinen at a late March hearing, for example, retorted that the process is tricky and could take years because of taxpayer privacy laws. He said the agency would comply to turn over all Lerner’s emails but never mentioned that a chunk of them was lost.

Some Republicans are already accusing the IRS of deceit.

“Why did they deceitfully mislead this Congress in promising to provide all of Lerner’s email when they … had already been told about this supposed computer loss?” asked Ways and Means Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) .


But the IRS says it did not realize what happened to Lerner’s emails until it expanded its probe of her files from “relevant” correspondence to all correspondence, as demanded by Republicans.

Koskinen also told reporters on the Hill on Monday he chose now because the Senate Finance Committee was getting close to finalizing its IRS investigation: “We did not expect that. We were expecting that we would complete the Lois Lerner email production by the end of this month, complete with a full discussion of what we’ve been able to find and what we have not.”

2. When was her hard drive recycled, and did they try to get it back?

Some lawmakers and observers had hoped the crashed hard drives could be recovered by top tech experts. But POLITICO reported Wednesday night that the hard drive has been recycled — making retrieval likely impossible, sources say.

The questioning will now likely focus on what steps the IRS took, both when the computers crashed back in 2011, and what the IRS did this year after it discovered the emails were gone.

“There are many pressing questions that must be answered regarding how this development came about and what led to the destruction of the hard drive in the first place,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.) said in a statement.

The IRS has said the best people in the criminal division — tech experts who can rebuild and search hidden criminal records on computers — weren’t able to recover Lerner’s documents. The IRS also released emails showing Lerner asking for computer help to recover the documents.

Some Republicans, like Oversight Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.), want to know if the metadata exist to get the senders, receivers and dates of emails, if not the content.

GOP panel staff members wonder if the IRS went back to the sixth-month files it kept at the time on all employee email to restore Lerner’s Outlook after it crashed. The IRS backed up emails for six months on a disk. That means, theoretically, the IRS should have had a tape at the time of the crash of emails Lerner had received during the first half of 2011, they say.

Oversight Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) thinks there might be another way to recover the info: “Bring the nerds in! … I want a group of nerds who can tell you how this works, because in this day and age, emails don’t just disappear off the face of the planet. … You can’t just erase the Internet.”

3. Did the IRS break any laws?

Republicans say the IRS may have broke record keeping laws by not backing up employees’ emails.

The Federal Records Act requires that official documents be backed up in a method chosen by each agency and that National Archives be notified if documents are destroyed. But transparency advocates say the law isn’t clear on what exactly constitutes official documents.

Before May of 2013, when the scandal broke, the IRS only backed up emails on tapes for six months and then recycled the tapes, essentially throwing out the data. It relied on employees to print out copies of official correspondence and file them.

The Archives, which oversees the law, is now looking into the IRS’s loss of emails and “was concerned to learn that the IRS has lost email due to a hard-drive failure,” according to a spokesperson.

The IRS maintains it hasn’t broken any rules and that it would cost millions — money the cash-strapped agency says it doesn’t have — to back up all employee emails forever. They also say the recycling of failed hard drives is standard procedure.

4. Could someone have taken advantage of the system?

The GOP suspects more than just bad record keeping at the IRS — but also a cover-up. The IRS emphatically denies such accusations.

Republicans want to know if Lerner, former chief of staff to the commissioner Nikole Flax or others with lost emails could have destroyed them knowing they couldn’t be backed up.

They’ll point out that Lerner’s computer crashed just a few days after after Camp sent a letter to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman inquiring about why the IRS was auditing political nonprofits.

Democrats will point out the White House this week said it did a search and found no emails between Lerner and White House staff from 2009 through 2011.

Koskinen will likely respond by citing emails showing that Lerner was worried about getting her hard drive back, saying she will “keep my fingers crossed” for recovery.

“There were some documents in the files that are irreplaceable. Whatever you can do to help, is greatly appreciated,” she wrote to someone looking at her computer in July 2010.

Koskinen said there’s “no indication” that anyone at the IRS was trying to hide emails.

5. What about the other lost emails?

Lerner’s email has been the focus, but Ways and Means Republicans say that as many as six additional people involved in the scandal also had email erased in hard drive crashes.

While some may take that as a confirmation that crashes happen at the IRS on a regular basis, some Republicans see it as a smokescreen.

“OK, a computer crashes, you ought to be able to get back finding that information. But to have six others? Something’s rotten in this,” said Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La).

Hatch — working with Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on what has been described as a bipartisan IRS probe — is not pleased that they learned of the lost emails only as they were putting the finishing touches on their final report, and that Koskinen earlier this week only mentioned Lerner’s lost email when he met them in person— not the other six.

Expect to hear more details about these other crashes at the hearings. How they crashed, when, and how were the people linked to the scandal?

Lawmakers may also ask the IRS how often computer crashes happen at the IRS. At least two IRS officials, one former and one current, have told POLITICO they lost information in a hard drive crash, too.

The IRS has seen its budget reduced, including for IT, for the past few years, even as Congress has heaped more responsibility on the agency. The IRS is expected to cite its very old technology, and lack of funds to update it, as part of the reason for the crashes.

Wyden told POLITICO he’s “definitely convinced that that issue needs a full hearing, and we’re going to do it.”

Read more:

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Darrell Issa calls White House attorney on IRS email loss

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa is hauling in a former IRS counsel-turned-White House attorney to testify on the disappeared Lois Lerner emails.

The California Republican on Thursday evening requested Jennifer O’Connor of the White House Counsel’s office to testify on Tuesday morning about her knowledge of the crashed hard drive of ex-IRS tax exempt chief Lerner. The IRS says the crash erased two years’ worth of Lerner’s emails just when the IRS was beginning to pull conservative social welfare groups for additional scrutiny.

O’Connor was hired on at the IRS from May 2013 to November 2013 to serve as counselor to Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. One of her primary duties was to help the IRS respond to congressional inquiries after the tea party-targeting controversy came to light. And IRS chief counsel William Wilkins told the panel during its IRS probe that O’Connor was one of two people supervising the collection of “documents relating to the committee’s requests for material.”

Oversight Republicans had requested Lerner’s emails.

Issa suspects O’Connor, a former partner at D.C.’s WilmerHale, may have known about the missing Lerner emails.

“Given your prominent role in supervising the IRS’s document review and production processes, you likely knew or should have known that the IRS was missing a portion of e-mails sent or received by Ms. Lerner responsive to the Committee’s subpoena,” Issa said in a statement.

O’Connor specializes in responding to congressional investigations and was also detailed to help out the Health and Human Services Department following the botch Obamacare roll out in the early winter of last year. She headed to the White House earlier this year, according to the panel.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who will appear before House Ways and Means Friday morning in the first hearing on the email controversy, will also sit in Issa’s hot seat just a few hours before O’Connor on Monday night.

The hearings come just days after the IRS told lawmakers that all Lerner’s emails between January 2009 and April 2011 were lost in a computer crash in mid-2011. The defunct hard drive was also thrown out as per IRS procedure, sources say. Ways and Means said six additional people involved in the sandal have also had emails lost since the IRS at the time did not back up email.



IRS Has Lost More E-mails . . .

By Eliana Johnson

It’s not just Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The Internal Revenue Service says it can’t produce e-mails from six more employees involved in the targeting of conservative groups, according to two Republicans investigating the scandal.

The IRS recently informed Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany that computer crashes resulted in additional lost e-mails, including from Nikole Flax, the chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal.

The revelation about Lerner’s e-mails rekindled the targeting scandal and today’s news has further inflamed Republicans. Camp and Boustany are now demanding a special prosecutor to investigate “every angle” of the events that led to Lois Lerner’s revelation in May 2013 that the agency had used inappropriate criteria to review the applications for tax exemption.

The lawmakers expressed particular outrage that the agency has known since February that it would not be able to produce the e-mails requested by the committee yet did not apprise the committee of that fact, and they charged in a statement that the IRS is attempting to “cover up the fact that it convenient lost key documents in the investigation.”

If Lerner is the central figure in the scandal — Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa said Monday evening he believes she was the senior-most official involved — Flax may be an important auxiliary figure. E-mails produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the group Judicial Watchshow Flax giving the green light to Lerner’s request to meet with Department of Justice officials to explore the possibility of criminally prosecuting nonprofit groups — at the suggestion of Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse — for engaging in political activity after declaring on their application for nonprofit status that they had no plans to do so.

E-mails uncovered by the committee last week showed that, in preparation for her meeting with the Department of Justice, Lerner and one of her advisers transmitted 1.1 million pages of data on nonprofit groups, including confidential taxpayer information, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, potentially in violation of federal law

An Introduction to Email Archiving

With email being such a vital part of a business’s day-to-day activity and communication, it’s no surprise that many organizations are looking to back-up sent and received messages. Messages often contain important information, such as negotiation details, agreements and customer commitments, while they are also the basis for binding contracts.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that businesses are crying out for effective email archiving solutions to keep a vital record of these kinds of communications, especially with overall data growth expected to grow from 26 per cent to 50 per cent in the next year. In addition to providing storage solutions for vast quantities of emails, what benefits does email archiving provide your business?

Efficient access

Storing hundreds of thousands of emails is one thing, but finding the right one when it’s needed can also be problematic. Furthermore, what happens when you need to find that vital document but you aren’t able to connect to the office-based server due to an outage, or you wish to retrieve a document that has been archived for an important meeting? This is where a cloud-based service, like the one offered by Mimecast Email Archiving, could prove particularly beneficial.

All emails, both internal and external, are easily stored in a secure archive, offering a huge amount of storage space and the ability to access the mailbox anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection and you have a device that can connect to the web. This allows for greater worker productivity, as staff will no longer have to forage around for important documents or call technical support for email access. They can simply log-in and look through their emails in real-time.

Folders can be used to organise emails into an accessible files, while the search function makes it easy to scan for a key phrase or word that is located in the desired document.

Minimising costs, maximising security

The major problems with large storage systems are the costs involved in maintaining them, the need to guard against security issues, and the stretching of company resources and man-power. An email archive in the cloud helps to meet these challenges and solve them in one accessible, simple and unified platform.

Security is perhaps the most pressing issue, due to the risks associated with email viruses and spam. However, a system like Mimecast is extremely resilient, and a number of copies are created of inbound, outbound and internal messages, which are then immediately encrypted and geographically dispersed to ensure no important information is lost forever.

With technology evolving all the time, having to complete data migration and software upgrades can be complicated. However, using an email archiving system in the cloud eliminates these issues without any interruption to existing services. There is almost no limit on the amount of data that can be stored, meaning that regardless of how your business needs grow, there will always be enough capacity to meet them.

Complete integration

Email archiving, as offered by Mimecast, allows you to integrate the solution to Microsoft Outlook, enabling the user to access their personal archive with a familiar email interface. This makes it easy to recover deleted messages that are then restored to Outlook using the ‘drag and drop’ system, providing simple management of your mailbox. The service is already available on Android, Windows Phone, iPhone and Blackberry, ensuring that all major smartphones can take advantage of a cloud-based email platform.

And that concludes our introduction to email archiving. Make sure your business has a solution imminently to help increase your company’s productivity.


Email archiving

Email Archiving is the act of preserving and making searchable all email to/from an individual. Email archiving solutions capture email content either directly from the email application itself or during transport. The messages are typically then stored on magnetic disk storage and indexed to simplify future searches. In addition to simply accumulating email messages, these applications index and provide quick, searchable access to archived messages independent of the users of the system using a couple of different technical methods of implementation. The reasons a company may opt to implement an email archiving solution include protection of mission critical data, to meet retention and supervision requirements of applicable regulations, and for e-discovery purposes. It is predicted that the email archiving market will grow from nearly $2.1 billion in 2009 to over $5.1 billion in 2013.[1]


Email archiving is an automated process for preserving and protecting all inbound and outbound email messages (as well as attachments and metadata) so they can be accessed at a later date should the need arise. The benefits of email archiving include the recovery of lost or accidentally deleted emails, accelerated audit response, preservation of the intellectual property contained in business email and its attachments and “eDiscovery” in the case of litigation or internal investigations (what happened when, who said what).


Email Archiving is the process of capturing, preserving, and making easily searchable all email traffic to and from a given individual, organization, or service. Email archiving solutions capture email content either directly from the email server itself (journaling) or during message transit. The email archive can then be stored on magnetic tape, disk arrays, or now more often than not, in the cloud. Regardless of the location of the email archive, it gets indexed in order to speed future searches, and most archive vendors provide a search UI to simplify query construction.

In addition to email, attachments and associated metadata, some email archiving applications can also archive additional aspects of a mailbox including public folders, .pst files, calendars, contacts, notes, instant messages and context.

Objectives of Email Archiving

There are many motivations for enterprises or end-users to invest in an Email Archiving solution, including:

  • Data Preservation
  • Protection of Intellectual Property
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Litigation and Legal Discovery
  • Email Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • Messaging System & Storage Optimization
  • Monitoring of Internal & External Email Content
  • Records Management (Email Retention Policies)
  • Business & Email Continuity

Regulatory Compliance

As enterprises of all sizes grow more reliant on email, the business value of that content is also growing. To protect this increasingly valuable information (intellectual property), numerous standards and regulations have been enacted to require records protection and retention as well as timely response to legal (discovery) and information (FOIA) requests.[2] Modern email archiving solutions allow companies to meet regulatory requirements or corporate policies by securing and preserving data and providing flexible data management policies to enable authorized users to enact ‘legal holds’, set retention and purge policies, or conduct searches across multiple mailboxes to complete various inquiries.

Some of the primary compliance requirements driving the need for secure email archiving are (alphabetically):




United Kingdom

United States

Note, that many of the compliance regulations require the preservation of “electronic business communications” which consist of not only email, but may include instant messaging, file attachments, Bloomberg Messaging, Reuters Messaging, PIN-to-PIN and SMS text messages, VoIP and other electronic messaging communications used in business.

Litigation and Legal Discovery

For legal discovery, email archiving solutions will lower the overall risk of spoliation and greatly speed up electronic discovery. This is because messages are indexed, audit trails are provided, messages are deduplicated, and legal hold/preservation can be applied.[5]For litigation support, email can be retrieved quickly and a history of the email exists to prove its authenticity for chain of custody. For compliance support, email records are stored in the archive according to administrator defined retention policies. When retention periods expire, email is automatically deleted by the archiving application. In order to be compliant, an organization can intentionally destroy email messages, so long as (1) the destruction is done pursuant to a stated company policy and (2) the destruction stops immediately if an incident occurs which could give rise to a lawsuit. [6]

If an organization has multiple separate applications, for example for e-discovery, records information management, and email archiving, each application may have a separate database and it becomes difficult to de-duplicate messages and ensure that a single retention policy is being applied. From a legal point of view, this is important because once retention periods have expired the message should be purged from the archive.[7] Messages that are not purged are still discoverable, should litigation arise at a later date. As such, without a unified archive it is difficult to ensure one single retention policy. This problem is magnified for large organizations that manage tens of millions of emails per day.

Without email archiving, email likely exists on some combination of backup tapes and on end users’ local workstations. If a specific email needs to be found for an internal investigation or in response to litigation, it can take weeks to find and costs a great deal. With today’s legal discovery rules (see FRCP: and compliance legislations, it has become necessary for IT departments to centrally manage and archive their organization’s email, so email can be searched and found in minutes; not days or weeks.

Email Backup and Disaster Recovery

Email is the lifeblood of many modern businesses, and enterprises today depend more on reliable email service. Virtually all enterprises implement a messaging infrastructure to connect workers and enable business processes. In the e-commerce arena, employees may require access to email to close sales and manage accounts. These employees, plus many others, may choose to keep their emails indefinitely, but some organizations may mandate that emails more than 90 days old be deleted. Setting these kinds of retention policies deserves careful consideration as a single email could help a company win a lawsuit or avoid litigation altogether. Email archiving can also be used for business continuity at the individual employee level. When one employee quits, his/her replacement can be given access to the departed employee’s archived messages in order to preserve correspondence records, and enable accelerated on-boarding.

As part of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, an email archive can be instrumental in an organization’s effort to “get back to business”. An offsite, online archive means that secondary facilities can spin up messaging servers and quickly get access to the last mails sent/received as well as all historical messaging data. Offsite archives can take the form of disk farms (SANs) in distant DR facilities or email archives stored in public/private cloud environments. It should be noted that while email archiving products do capture and copy all messages, they are not mirrored copies of the messaging server itself, and therefore cannot help recreate user accounts/groups in the event of a disaster.

Messaging system & storage optimization

Every email message takes up space on an email system’s hard drive or some other permanent storage device (e.g. Network Attached StorageStorage Area Network, etc.). As the number of these messages increase, simple operations such as retrieving, searching, indexing, backup, etc. take utilize more information system resources. At some point older data must be removed from the production email system so that they can maintain a level of performance for their primary use, exchange of email messages. Email archiving solutions improve email server performance and storage efficiency by removing email and attachments from the messaging server based on administrator defined policies. Archived email and attachments remain accessible to end users via the existing email client applications.


  1. Jump up^ The Radicati Group, Inc. Releases “E-Mail Archiving Market, 2009-2013” Study
  2. Jump up^ E-Mail Archiving Growth Fueled by Federal Rule Changes
  3. Jump up^ MFDA Rules
  4. Jump up^ Principles of data access and of digital documents (GDPdU)
  5. Jump up^ The Sedona Canada Principles: Addressing Electronic Discovery, 2008
  6. Jump up^ Kest, Kristopher; Drew Sorrell; Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. (April 12, 2013). “Are You Allowed to Intentionally Destroy Emails? Re: Privacy in the Workplace”The National Law Review. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  7. Jump up^

External links

See also


IRS scandal could entangle Sen. Carl Levin

Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)

Internal Revenue Manual
Table of Contents

Part 1     Organization, Finance, and Management
Part 2     Information Technology
Part 3     Submission Processing
Part 4     Examining Process
Part 5     Collecting Process
Part 6     Human Resources Management
Part 7     Rulings and Agreements
Part 8     Appeals
Part 9     Criminal Investigation
Part 10     Security, Privacy and Assurance
Part 11     Communications and Liaison
Part 13     Taxpayer Advocate Service
Part 20     Penalty and Interest
Part 21     Customer Account Services
Part 22     Taxpayer Education and Assistance
Part 25     Special Topics
Part 30     Administrative
Part 31     Guiding Principles
Part 32     Published Guidance and Other Guidance to Taxpayers
Part 33     Legal Advice
Part 34     Litigation in District Court, Bankruptcy Court, Court of Federal Claims, and State Court
Part 35     Tax Court Litigation
Part 36     Appellate Litigation and Actions on Decision
Part 37     Disclosure
Part 38     Criminal Tax
Part 39     General Legal Services
Download IRM Source Files (XML) – Directory List of File Names

1.10.3  Standards for Using Email

Manual Transmittal

August 30, 2012


(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.10.3, Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Standards for Using Email.


This IRM provides guidelines for using email in the most effective and productive manner. It includes guidance on formatting messages in a way that will be easily accessible for all employees, including those using the Enterprise Remote Access System (ERAP). It also includes information on security guidelines, creation and use of distribution lists, and contacts for assistance with email issues.

Material Changes

(1) Text has been revised to clarify and update information including web site references.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.10.3 dated July 8, 2011, is superseded.


All IRS employees

Effective Date

(08-30-2012)Terry Lemons
Office of Communications  (06-01-2007)

  1. Email is now commonly used in business as an official form of communication, often replacing memorandums, meetings or phone conversations. This technology option is often the most efficient way to handle business communications and responsibilities. But its benefits can lead to burdens if we do not use this powerful tool judiciously. This section defines the standards for email use in Internal Revenue Service communications.  (08-30-2012)

  1. Email messages are official documents and should reflect this perspective. Email communications can be offered as evidence in court and can be legally binding. Before sending an email, you must consider how it reflects on the Service’s image and take into account privacy, records management, and security factors.
  2. The privacy of email cannot be assured and is easily compromised. Messages can be forwarded to unintended recipients (sometimes outside the agency or even outside the government). The public we serve, or the Congress, who may have occasion to see an email message, do not differentiate between employees as individuals and our agency. We are the IRS.
  3. More information on the Service’s email security policy is available at Cybersecurity’s policy, IRM, Electronic Mail (Email) Security and IRM , Privately Owned Email Accounts.  (07-08-2011)
Secure Messaging & Encryption

  1. The Internal Revenue Service processes Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information. The definition of SBU information is any information that requires protection due to the risk and magnitude of loss or harm to the IRS or the privacy to which individuals are entitled under 5 United States Code (USC) Section 552a (the Privacy Act), which could result from inadvertent or deliberate disclosure, alteration, or destruction. See IRM 10.8.1, Information Technology (It) Security, Policy and Guidance, for guidance on Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information.
  2. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is a specific type of sensitive information. PII includes the personal data of taxpayers, and also the personal information of employees, contractors, applicants and visitors to the IRS. Refer to the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) section of IRM 10.8.1 for additional PII guidance
  3. You should never consider email secure. Do not include taxpayer, SBU, or PII information in email messages or attachments unless you use IRS approved encryption technology.
  4. Use the Secure Enterprise Messaging System (SEMS, or ” Secure Messaging” ) for sending Microsoft Outlook messages that contain SBU data. Secure Messaging enables you to digitally encrypt email messages and attachments for transmission among IRS email users including Criminal Investigation,, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), and Chief Counsel employees. In order for you to send a secure message through Outlook, both you and the recipient must have Secure Messaging installed. This allows authorized employees to transmit SBU information to other authorized employees within the system once they have been enrolled and received training.
  5. Secure Messaging enrollment is an automated process for all LAN accounts with an Exchange mailbox in IRS. You can find the instructions for configuring the Outlook client to use the certificates at the Secure Enterprise Messaging Systems (SEMS) web site:
  6. Alternatively, you may encrypt files to be e-mailed as attachments using the latest software provided by MITS. Instructions are provided at
  7. IRS employees may not send SBU data by electronic mail outside the IRS unless an IT approved exception is obtained. See the Electronic Mail and Secure Messaging section of IRM 11.3.1 for details.  (07-08-2011)
Suspicious Emails / “Social Engineering”

  1. Individuals seeking to commit fraud or intending harm to the IRS or its employees often engage in “social engineering,” wherein they use an alias and a seemingly innocuous cover story in order to gain the victim’s confidence and gather sensitive information. Such scammers may use email, and try to trick you into revealing your password, or personal information. If you receive a suspicious, bogus, or phishing email:
    • Do not open any attachments
    • Do not reply
    • “Forward” the email to the electronic mailbox, (
    • Delete the email after forwarding

    For more information, see IRM 21.1.3 – Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations.  (07-08-2011)
Emails as Possible Federal Records

  1. All federal employees and federal contractors are required by law to preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency. Records must be properly stored and preserved, available for retrieval and subject to appropriate approved disposition schedules.
  2. The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are:
    • Created or received in the transaction of agency business
    • Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities, or
    • Valuable because of the information they contain


  3. If you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly. The Treasury Department’s current email policy requires emails and attachments that meet the definition of a federal record be added to the organization’s files by printing them (including the essential transmission data) and filing them with related paper records. If transmission and receipt data are not printed by the email system, annotate the paper copy. More information on IRS records management requirements is available at or see the Records Management Handbook, IRM 1.15.1
  4. An email determined to be a federal record may eventually be considered as having historical value by the National Archivist prior to disposal. Therefore, ensure that all your communications are professional in tone.
  5. Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.  (08-30-2012)
Emails are Subject to FOIA

  1. The public is aware of the role emails play in agency internal operations and emails are included in a growing number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Emails that are responsive to a FOIA request must be released unless the information contained in the email falls into one of nine very specific categories of exemptions. (See IRM 11.3.13 for more on FOIA processing). There is no category of exemption to protect the author or the Service from embarrassment.
  2. Emails provided in response to a FOIA must include the addressee, date and time. The address list, date and time are considered part of the record for both FOIA and record management purposes.
  3. Do not delete a message or attachment that is the subject of a congressional, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or discovery request or that is needed for litigation.  (08-30-2012)
Emails may be subject to electronic discovery

  1. Certain electronic records (like emails) may need to be identified and preserved when litigation is anticipated. In this case, you will be notified by your manager or Chief Counsel that relevant information must be preserved as part of the legal process. See Office of Chief Counsel Notice CC-2010-008, Complying with E-Discovery (,%20Complying%20with%20E-Discovery%20Rules%20&%20Identifying%20&%20Preserving%20ESI;%20dated%20May%204,%202010.pdf), for information on E-Discovery.  (08-30-2012)
Inappropriate Emails

  1. IRM 10.8.27, Information Technology (IT) Security, Internal Revenue Service Policy On Limited Personal Use Of Government Information Technology Resources, defines the minimum standard for acceptable personal use of Government IT resources by IRS employees. The first exhibit, includes a summary of prohibited activities that includes creating, copying, transmitting, or retransmitting chain letters or other unauthorized mass mailings regardless of their subject matter.
  2. IRM, , Information Technology (IT) Security, Policy and Guidance states “Email spamming, sending or forwarding chain letters, other junk email, or inappropriate messages shall be prohibited. ” In addition, IRM (7) states “Any use of IRS IT resources, including email, shall be made with the understanding that such use may not be secure, is not private, is not anonymous and may be subject to disclosure under FOIA.”
  3. If you receive an inappropriate email, please notify your immediate supervisor or your local Data Security Area. Do not forward it to your co-workers, friends or family, etc. You should delete the inappropriate email after notifying the proper authorities.  (07-08-2011)
Message Format

  1. Most IRS employees have access to email, but not everyone has the same email environment. Many employees work offsite and their email messages must go through the Enterprise Remote Access System (ERAP). A result is that these users often experience slower access and transmission. Email messages that IRS office workers download in fractions of seconds can often take longer for a field user. Additionally, graphics and stationery can’t be read by adaptive equipment and can freeze the user’s system.
  2. Unnecessary messages or excess volume of data within a message require time for the recipient to review and digest. Keep the reader’s situation and need in mind at all times.  (07-08-2011)
Don’t Slow Down the System

  1. To avoid slowing down transmission of information:
    • Use Arial or another simple font on a plain background.
    • Do not use animation, fancy background, “wallpapers,” borders, graphics and photographs as part of your “stationery” or message format. Exceptions will only be allowed for special IRS Commissioner initiatives.
    • Refrain from sending large attachments to work groups or audiences. Remember every email message and any attachments, embedded graphics and photographs require a copy for each Exchange server store where each recipient’s mailbox resides. Instead store the document on an IRS public web archive or SharePoint repository and insert a hyperlink into the message. Ensure the permissions allow access by all recipients prior to sending the message.  (06-01-2007)
Categorize Messages

  1. A meaningful subject line helps recipients prioritize their email. Categorize all email by type. Include only related information in a message. If there is another topic you wish to address, send it in a separate message. This makes it easier for the recipient to manage and respond to messages on different topics.
  2. Use the follow-up flag feature to identify items with required follow-up dates.  (06-01-2007)
Designate Priority

  1. Most email will be normal priority. Designate an email as high priority only if the receiver will need to act on the message immediately. If your message is truly urgent, consider trying to reach the recipient by phone or in person.
    • “!” – High. Example – Computers will be down this weekend so overtime will not be scheduled and credit hours will not be approved. Example – We need volunteers for a task force in Washington that will convene in two weeks. Nominations are due this Friday.
    • “blank” – Normal (the default)
    • “down arrow” – Low. Example – The territory office of (another operating division) in another city has moved; its new address is…  (06-01-2007)
Designate Sensitivity

  1. Most email is of normal sensitivity. Messages designated as ” private” or “confidential” should not be forwarded – but the system allows for this. Marking a message with one of these settings is advisory only. Recipients can take any actions on the message that they want to, such as forwarding the message to others.
  2. To designate sensitivity, from the “View” menu, select “Options” then select the appropriate designation.
    • Private – Example: Communications with Labor Relations about an issue involving a particular employee.
    • Confidential – Example: A proposal you are sharing with someone for their input, but which has not been shared with those who will approve or implement the procedures.
    • Normal (default)  (07-08-2011)
Follow Guidelines of Email Common Sense and Etiquette

  1. To improve the effectiveness of email, follow these rules of etiquette and common sense guidelines:
    1. Consider whether email is the best method for your communication. Sometimes, two-way dialogue by phone, Office Communicator or in person may be more effective. At other times, email may be best if you need written documentation.
    2. Choose your recipients carefully. When selecting from the global address list, watch for duplicate names. If you frequently sendmessages to the same individuals, put them in your Personal Address Book. If two or more individuals have the same names, check the employees’ properties in the Global Address List to ensure your intended recipient is the right person in the right location.
    3. Do not use a distribution list (as a convenience to you) unless your message is appropriate for everyone on that list.
    4. Use the subject line to categorize messages. Do not include any confidential or sensitive information in the subject line.
    5. Forward messages only when necessary. Do not forward to people who have already received the message. Example: Do not resend Commissioner All-Employee messages.
    6. Be concise.
    7. Review your messages for accuracy in content, spelling, and punctuation. Hint: Set auto spell check to check all messages before sending and review any changes made .
    8. If you say that a file is attached, attach it. Hint: attach the file before you compose the message.
    9. Insert hypertext links to large documents stored on IRS document repositories.
    10. Maintain your Inbox.
    11. Respond promptly to messages.
    12. Routinely purge your mailbox of old and unnecessary messages (but do not delete email that could be federal records).
    13. Use the “To” address line for the primary recipient.
    14. Use the carbon copy “cc” and blind carbon copy “bcc” features appropriately. Avoid copying people who do not need to see your message. In an internal office environment, it is rarely appropriate to use the “bcc” feature.
    15. Use “Reply to all” only if all the original recipients need to know your response. Otherwise, reply only to the sender.
    16. Never use “Reply to all” when you receive an email as a member of a large geographic or servicewide distribution list.
    17. Use conversational grammar.
    18. Do not use all caps or all lower case. Use punctuation.
    19. Use the “out of office assistant” or ” auto forward” features when you will be out of the office for an extended time.
    20. If you receive any messages with a known or suspected virus, delete them immediately and report the matter appropriately .
    21. Avoid background, stationery or graphics.
    22. To accommodate those with visual impairments, select font and background colors that provide sufficient contrast and avoid unusual color combinations. For example, use the default font color (usually black or blue) rather than selecting red or green, use the default background color rather than selecting a background color and do not use the text highlighting feature.
    23. Help prevent unnecessary email by telling recipients when your message does not require a reply.
    24. Manage your email more effectively by using Outlook features such as voting buttons and invitation options. It will be easier for recipients to respond and easier to manage and track the results.  (08-30-2012)
Limit Size of Attachments

  1. Large attachments can degrade overall system efficiency, so you should limit the transmission of large files as email attachments whenever possible.
  2. Consider alternatives for attachments larger than 10MB:
    If … Then …
    “Attachment” has widespread impact and a shelf life
    • Have it posted to your organization’s intranet site for retrieval, and
    • Include the hyperlink in the email message.
    • -or-
    • Save it to your shared directory, and
    • Include file and path name in the email message.
    “Attachment” does not have widespread impact and/or a shelf life
    • Zip large files for faster transmission.
    • Eliminate official IRS seal from memos.
    • If possible, remove graphics, borders, pictures and non-standard fonts.
    “Attachment” is a large graphic presentation (i.e., PowerPoint, screen shots, scanned documents)
    • Send it only to people who need to use or see the actual file.
    • Convert the information to a text file for those who only need the information.
    • Zip the file.
    • Have it posted to your organization’s intranet site and email the hyperlink.


  3. If you are responding with an attachment, use “Forward ” instead of “Reply” because attachments do not stay with replies.
  4. If you want to save the email message but do not need the attachment, follow these instructions:
    • Open the message,
    • Right click the attachment icon, and
    • Select remove from the menu.
    • Close file. Select “yes” at the “Do you want to Save changes?” prompt.

    This will also save disk space.  (06-01-2007)
Malicious Attachments

  1. Ensure attachments are safe from viruses. Open attachments only if you trust the source and are expecting the attached file. Because of the impact the spreading of worms and viruses have on the IRS network, the Enterprise Messaging System is now configured to block all files with particular extension. If a file is sent via email with certain extensions (such as .exe, .vbs and .lnk), the message will be deleted without delivery.
  2. A number of virus variants try to bypass the IRS virus scanning software by including their damaging payload within a .zip file. Be cautious with any message you receive containing an attachment with a .zip file extension, and only unzip the file only if you trust the source.
  3. When you receive an email message with an attachment, save both the email and the attachment to a hard drive or network drive as soon as possible and remove the message and attachment from your mailbox. You free up space on your server by doing so.  (07-08-2011)
Using and Creating Distribution Lists

  1. Distribution groups/lists are a convenience when messages need to be sent to a large defined group. They allow users to send email messages to each individual on the list without selecting individual names. However, you should use them judiciously.  (07-08-2011)
Personal Distribution Lists

  1. Personal distribution lists are created by an individual user. Use your Outlook Help feature, keyword: personal distribution list, for instructions on creating and sharing personal lists.  (06-01-2007)
Global Distribution Lists

  1. IT and the SEMS staff can create global distribution lists for groups of practically any size and for any situation. These distribution lists are available for use from the global address list on Outlook. The list owner determines who will be authorized to use the list.
  2. There are several different types of global distribution lists.
    Location specific Considered local in scope, these lists contain members from a local site. For example, functional coordinators within a service center campus.
    Special needs Cross multiple organization boundaries and are often created for temporary groups, such as task forces.
    Large lists Contain more than 100 members and require specific set up and delivery restrictions. The AWSS all employee list (&AWSS Employees) is an example.


The use of large global lists should be confined to those who have a business need to communicate with the list. Examples include messages sent by IT to alert users of systems related issues or distribution of other approved servicewide communications tools such as IRS headlines or Leaders’ Alert.

 Lists created from a databaseMembership for these lists is determined by specifying certain criteria within a database (such as TAPS or TIMIS) and populating the list with names meeting the criteria. Changes to membership cannot be made directly to the list, but must be made to information contained in the database. The SB/SE all-employee list (&SBSE All) is an example.  (04-01-2003)
Using Global Lists

  1. Before using a global distribution list to send an email message that requires follow-up actions or commitment of resources by recipients outside of your division, always discuss the requirement with the applicable Division Commissioner’s office.  (07-08-2011)
Requesting a Global Distribution List

  1. Contact OSGetServices (1-866-743-5748) or TDD/TTY: 1-866-435-7486 to request creation of a new global distribution list (DL). You will need to provide the following information :
    • Business need justification
    • Scope – to whom it applies
    • Anticipated “shelf life” of DL
    • Name and number of the individual charged with maintaining the DL
    • Proposed list of initial DL members
    • If the list is automated, the conditional criteria of the members



    Distribution group/list names must be pre-approved by the designated business unit point of contact prior to opening the ITAMS ticket.  (07-08-2011)
Managing a List

  1. Distribution group/list managers can find information on modifying a list in the SEMS Documentation Library online at  (04-01-2003)
Messages Intended for All Employees

  1. The IRS has the capability to send email messages to all employees; however this method of communication should be used sparingly. If you have a message you believe should be communicated servicewide, contact your business unit’s communication office.  (06-01-2007)
IRS Headlines…and more

  1. Generally, information requiring communication to all employees is distributed via the IRS Headlines … and more electronic newsletter. The C&L Internal Communications (IC) branch distributes IRS Headlines…and more every Monday using the all employee global distribution list. Articles for IRS Headlines …and more should contain time-sensitive information (something happening last week, this week or next week) relevant to a cross-section of IRS managers and employees.
  2. If you think you have information appropriate for IRS Headlines… and more, you should take the following steps:
    1. Originator discusses topic and schedule with the business unit’s communication office. (If none, contact IC directly
    2. Business unit communicator discusses topic and schedule with theIRS Headlines editor.
    3. IC determines whether the topic is appropriate for IRS Headlines …and more.
    4. Originator and business unit communicator draft message and submit it to Internal Communications the Headlines editor (
    5. IC will provide editorial feedback on content, length, tone, and key messages.
    6. IC will schedule article for publication in the IRS Headlines…and more electronic newsletter.
    7. IC will suggest ways to incorporate message into other internal communications products, when appropriate.  (06-01-2007)
Special All-Employee Emails

  1. On rare occasions, special circumstances may require the issuance of an all-employee email separate from IRS Headlines … and more. Any message submitted for distribution as an all-employee email will be subject to a stringent review process. The communications manager in your business unit is your initial point of contact when deciding whether to start the process of creating an all-employee email.
  2. When submitting a message for distribution to all employees, you must provide the following information:
    • Significance to employees (Is there something they must know immediately to do their jobs correctly, to comply with the law, to prevent a systems failure, etc.?)
    • Reason for extreme time sensitivity (Why is this information so critical to employees that it cannot wait for inclusion in the next edition of Headlines?)
    • Necessity of email delivery instead of Headlines or other method (Why does this information have to be sent via a special email? Why wouldn’t IRweb (intranet) or Headlines be more appropriate ?)
    • Desired outcome (What immediate action do you want employees to take?)
    • Business objective


  3. The C&L Internal Communication Branch will determine the best method of communicating the message based on the information submitted.  (07-08-2011)
Assistance with Email Issues

  1. Use the following table to determine where to get assistance with email issues.
    Topic Resource
    Security Concerns Immediately contact the Computer Security Incident Response Center (CSIRC) at
    (866) 216-4809 (toll-free)
    (202) 283-4809 (local)
    (202) 283-0345 (FAX)
    Technical problems w/Outlook Submit OS GetServices ticket online at by phone: 1-866-743-5748 or TDD/TTY: 1-866-435-7486.
    Creating or changing criteria for an Automated Distribution Group/List (Requires an ITAMS ticket) Contact OS GetServices online at by phone: at 1-866-743-5748 or TDD/TTY: 1-866-435-7486.
    SPAM issues DO NOT open email; forward questionable email to *SPAM with “Possible SPAM” in subject line.
    For additional information, take the Anti-SPAM Procedures link contained in the IT Navigation Guide.


Exhibit 1.10.3-1
Reducing the Size of Your Mailbox

The Secure Enterprise Messaging system (SEMS) establishes a standard size of 500 MB (500 megabytes) for individual mailboxes. The system mails you daily warning messages that the limit is being approached when your mailbox reaches a size of 475 MB. When it exceeds the 500 MB limit, you will receive the following warning each time you attempt to send a message:

  • “You have exceeded your storage limit on your mailbox ” .
  • Delete some mail from your mailbox or contact your system administrator to adjust your storage limit. (Consider whether any of the items you want to delete may be a federal record. IRM above.)

It is not the practice of the SEMS staff to adjust any individual mailbox storage limits, but rather to provide guidance on reducing the size of the contents. The Outlook Help menu provides instructions for enabling and configuring both Auto-archiving and Rules to manage mail and mailbox folders to maintain proper storage limits.

Exhibit 1.10.3-2

Your email signature section should include only the identifying information that would otherwise be included in any official IRS communication (i.e. business card, memorandum, letter, etc.):

  • Name
  • Title
  • Organization
  • Street/email address
  • Telephone/fax numbers

Refrain from including quotes or other personal messages as part of the signature section.

Follow these steps to create an automatic signature in Outlook:

  • Select “Options” from the “Tools” menu. Choose the “mail format” tab. Use the ” Signatures” section at the bottom to create your personal signature line.


Part 2. Information Technology

Table of Contents

President Wrong on Citizens United Case

By Bradley A. Smith

Tonight the president engaged in demogoguery of the worst kind, when he claimed that last week’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, “open[ed] the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

The president’s statement is false.

The Court held that 2 U.S.C. Section 441a, which prohibits all corporate political spending, is unconstitutional. Foreign nationals, specifically defined to include foreign corporations, are prohibiting from making “a contribution or donation of money or ather thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State or local election” under 2 U.S.C. Section 441e, which was not at issue in the case. Foreign corporations are also prohibited, under 2 U.S.C. 441e, from making any contribution or donation to any committee of any political party, and they prohibited from making any “expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication.”

This is either blithering ignorance of the law or demagoguery of the worst kind.


 – Bradley A. Smith is Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___ (2010), (Docket No. 08-205), is a US constitutional law case. The United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporationsassociations, or labor unions. This followed a line of decisions starting with Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) interpreting freedom of speech to include spending money. The case has remained intensely controversial for increasing the influence in elections that money can have, in contrast to most other developed countries where limits are imposed on all election spending.

In the case, the conservative lobbying group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”).[2] Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][3] The Supreme Court reversed this decision, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and “electioneering communications”.[2] The majority decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).[4] The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.[5]




The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (known as BCRA or McCain–Feingold Act)—specifically §203, which modified the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C. § 441b—prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury to fund “electioneering communications” (broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate) within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. During the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization named Citizens United filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that advertisements for Michael Moore’sfilm Fahrenheit 9/11, a documentary critical of the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, constituted political advertising and thus could not be aired within the 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election. The FEC dismissed the complaint after finding no evidence that broadcast advertisements for the movie and featuring a candidate within the proscribed time limits had actually been made.[6] The FEC later dismissed a second complaint which argued that the movie itself constituted illegal corporate spending advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, which was illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974. In dismissing that complaint, the FEC found that:

The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film’s release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not “contributions” or “expenditures” as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act.[7]

In the wake of these decisions, Citizens United sought to establish itself as a bona fide commercial film maker, producing several documentary films between 2005 and 2007. By early 2008, it sought to run television commercials to promote its latest political documentary Hillary: The Movie and to air the movie on DirecTV.[8] The movie was highly critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton, with the District Court describing the movie as an elongated version of a negative 30-second television spot. In January 2008, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the television advertisements for Hillary: The Movie violated the BCRA restrictions of “electioneering communications” within 30 days of a primary. Though the political action committee claimed that the film was fact-based and nonpartisan, the lower court found that the film had no purpose other than to discredit Clinton’s candidacy for president.[9] The Supreme Court docketed the case on August 18, 2008,[10] and heard oral argument on March 24, 2009.[8][11][12]

Before the Supreme Court

During the original oral argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or union.[13] In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring a writer to author a political book.[14]

According to a 2012 article in The New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin, the Court expected after oral argument to rule on the narrow question that had originally been presented: could Citizens United show the film? At the subsequent conference among the justices after oral argument, the vote was 5–4 in favor of Citizens United being allowed to show the film. The justices voted the same as they had in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., a similar 2007 case, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito in the majority.[15]

Chief Justice John Roberts, per the privilege of that office when in the majority, was in charge of assigning the majority opinion, and chose to do it himself. His opinion restricted itself narrowly, holding that the BCRA allowed the showing of the film. A draft concurrence by Kennedy argued that the court could and should have gone much further. The other justices in the majority began agreeing with Kennedy, and convinced Roberts to reassign the writing and allow Kennedy’s concurrence to instead become the majority opinion.[15]

On the other side, John Paul Stevens, the most senior justice in the minority, assigned the dissent to David Souter, who announced his retirement from the Court while he was working on it. The final draft went beyond critiquing the majority. Toobin described it as “air[ing] some of the Court’s dirty laundry,” writing that Souter’s dissent accused Roberts of having manipulated Court procedures to reach his desired result—an expansive decision that, Souter claimed, changed decades of election law and ruled on issues neither party to the litigation had presented.[15]

According to Toobin, Roberts was concerned that Souter’s dissent, likely to be his last opinion for the Court, could “damage the Court’s credibility.” He agreed with the minority to withdraw the opinion and schedule the case for reargument. However, when he did, the “Questions Presented” to the parties were more expansive, touching on the issues Kennedy had identified. According to Toobin, the eventual result was therefore a foregone conclusion from that point on, because the same majority had supported it.[15] Toobin’s account has been criticized for drawing conclusions unsupported by the evidence in his article.[16]

On June 29, 2009, the last day of the term, the Court issued an order directing the parties to re-argue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission to decide the case.[17] Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge of BCRA §203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim.[18]

Justice Sotomayor sat on the bench for the first time during the second round of oral arguments. This was the first case argued by then-Solicitor General and future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued for Citizens United, and former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman defended the statute on behalf of various supporters.[19] Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky called it “one of the most important First Amendment cases in years”.[20]

Opinions of the Court


The Supreme Court held in Citizens United that it was unconstitutional to ban free speech through the limitation of independent communications by corporations, associations, and unions,[21] i.e. that corporations and labor unions may spend their own money to support or oppose political candidates through independent communications like television advertisements.[22] This ruling was frequently interpreted as permitting corporations and unions to donate to political campaigns,[23] or else removing limits on how much a donor can contribute to a campaign.[24] However, these claims are incorrect, as the ruling did not affect the 1907 Tillman Act‘s ban on corporate campaign donations (as the Court noted explicitly in its decision[25]), nor the prohibition on foreign corporate donations to American campaigns,[26] nor did it concern campaign contribution limits.[27] The Citizens United decision did not disturb prohibitions on corporate contributions to candidates, and it did not address whether the government could regulate contributions to groups that make independent expenditures.[22] The Citizens United ruling did however remove the previous ban on corporations and organizations using their treasury funds for direct advocacy. These groups were freed to expressly endorse or call to vote for or against specific candidates, actions that were previously prohibited.[28]

The majority opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, was relatively short, less than 30 pages; the dissenting opinions of Justices Kennedy and Scalia in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission actually provide a more complete picture of the majority’s thinking, in many respects. Chief Justice Roberts wrote a concurring opinion to address concerns about stare decisis, andJustice Scalia wrote a concurring opinion about the history and meaning of the First Amendment. Justice Thomas wrote separately to announce his disagreement with the majority’s decision not to strike down the mandatory disclosure requirements in BCRA. Justice Stevens wrote a lengthy dissent to analyze the development of First Amendment doctrine and campaign finance restrictions and to rebut the arguments of the majority and concurring opinions.

Majority opinion

Justice Kennedy, the author of the Court’s opinion.

Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion[29] found that the BCRA §203 prohibition of all independent expenditures by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The majority wrote, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”[30]

Justice Kennedy’s opinion for the majority also noted that because the First Amendment (and the Court) does not distinguish between media and other corporations, these restrictions would allow Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television, and blogs.[2] The Court overruled Austin, which had held that a state law that prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court also overruled that portion of McConnell that upheld BCRA’s restriction of corporate spending on “electioneering communications”. The Court’s ruling effectively freed corporations and unions to spend money both on “electioneering communications” and to directly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates (although not to contribute directly to candidates or political parties).

The majority argued that the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker. Corporations, as associations of individuals, therefore have speech rights under the First Amendment. Because spending money is essential to disseminating speech, as established in Buckley v. Valeo, limiting a corporation’s ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members to associate effectively and to speak on political issues.

The majority overruled Austin because that decision allowed different restrictions on speech-related spending based on corporate identity. Additionally, the majority argued that Austin was based on an “equality” rationale – trying to equalize speech between different speakers – that the Court had previously rejected as illegitimate under the First Amendment in Buckley. The Michigan statute at issue inAustin had distinguished between corporate and union spending, prohibiting the former while allowing the latter. The Austin Court, over vigorous dissent by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Sandra Day O’Connor, had held that such distinctions were within the legislature’s prerogative. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, however, the majority argued that the First Amendment purposefully keeps the government from interfering in the “marketplace of ideas” and “rationing” speech, and it is not up to the legislatures or the courts to create a sense of “fairness” by restricting speech.[29]

The majority also criticized Austin’s reasoning that the “distorting effect” of large corporate expenditures constituted a risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption. Rather, the majority argued that the government had no place in determining whether large expenditures distorted an audience’s perceptions, and that the type of “corruption” that might justify government controls on spending for speech had to relate to some form of “quid pro quo” transaction: “There is no such thing as too much speech.”[29] The public has a right to have access to all information and to determine the reliability and importance of the information. Additionally, the majority did not believe that reliable evidence substantiated the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, and so this rationale did not satisfy strict scrutiny.

The majority opinion relied heavily on the reasoning and principles of the landmark campaign finance case of Buckley and First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, in which the Court struck down a broad prohibition against independent expenditures by corporations in ballot initiatives and referenda.[29] Specifically, the majority echoed Bellotti’s rejection of categories based on a corporation’s purpose. The majority argued that to grant First Amendment protections to media corporations but not others presented a host of problems, and so all corporations should be equally protected from expenditure restrictions.

The Court found that BCRA §§201 and 311, provisions requiring disclosure of the funder, were valid as applied to the movie advertisements and to the movie itself.[29]


Chief Justice Roberts, with whom Justice Alito joined, wrote separately “to address the important principles of judicial restraint and stare decisis implicated in this case”.[31]

Roberts wrote to further explain and defend the main opinion’s statement that “there is a difference between judicial restraint and judicial abdication.” Roberts explained why the Court must sometimes overrule prior decisions. Had prior Courts never gone against stare decisis, for example, “segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants”. Roberts’ concurrence recited a plethora of case law in which the court had ruled against precedent. Ultimately, Roberts argued that “stare decisis…counsels deference to past mistakes, but provides no justification for making new ones”.[31]

Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the Court, but also wrote a concurring opinion which was joined by Justice Alito in full and by Justice Thomas in part. Scalia addressed Justice Stevens‘ dissent, specifically with regard to the original understanding of the First Amendment. Scalia stated that Stevens’ dissent was “in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment…It never shows why ‘the freedom of speech’ that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form.” He further considered the dissent’s exploration of the Framers’ views about the “role of corporations in society” to be misleading, and even if valid, irrelevant to the text. Scalia principally argued that the First Amendment was written in “terms of speech, not speakers” and that “Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker.”[32] Scalia argued that the Free Press clause was originally intended to protect the distribution of written materials and did not only apply to the media specifically. This understanding supported the majority’s contention that the Constitution does not allow the Court to separate corporations into media and non-media categories.[29]

Justice Thomas wrote a separate opinion concurring in all but the upholding of the disclosure provisions. In order to protect the anonymity of contributors to organizations exercising free speech, Thomas would have struck down the reporting requirements of BCRA §201 and §311 as well, rather than allowing them to be challenged only on a case-specific basis. Thomas’s primary argument was that anonymous free speech is protected and that making contributor lists public makes the contributors vulnerable to retaliation, citing instances of retaliation against contributors to both sides of a then recent California voter initiative. Thomas also expressed concern that such retaliation could extend to retaliation by elected officials. Thomas did not consider “as-applied challenges” to be sufficient to protect against the threat of retaliation.[33]


Justice Stevens, the author of the dissenting opinion.

A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens[34] was joined by Justice GinsburgJustice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens read part of his 90 page dissent from the bench.[35] Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the majority opinion. The dissent argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He wrote: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

Justice Stevens also argued that the Court addressed a question not raised by the litigants when it found BCRA §203 to be facially unconstitutional, and that the majority “changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law”.[29] He argued that the majority had expanded the scope beyond the questions presented by the appellant and that therefore a sufficient record for judging the case did not exist. Stevens argued that at a minimum the Court should have remanded the case for a fact-finding hearing, and that the majority did not consider other compilations of data, such as the Congressional record for justifying BCRA §203.

Stevens referenced a number of major First Amendment cases to argue that the Court had long recognized that to deny Congress the power to safeguard against “the improper use of money to influence the result [of an election] is to deny to the nation in a vital particular the power of self protection”.[36] After recognizing that in Buckley v. Valeo the Court had struck down portions of a broad prohibition of independent expenditures from any sources, Stevens argued that nevertheless Buckley recognized the legitimacy of “prophylactic” measures for limiting campaign spending and found the prevention of “corruption” to be a reasonable goal for legislation. Consequently, Stevens argued that Buckley left the door open for carefully tailored future regulation.[29] Although the majority echoed many of the arguments in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Stevens argued that the majority opinion contradicted the reasoning of other campaign finance cases – in particular, Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission – and found it telling that the majority, when citing such cases, referenced mainly dissenting opinions.

Stevens’ lengthy dissent specifically sought to address a number of the majority’s central arguments:

First, Stevens argued that the majority failed to recognize the possibility for corruption outside of strict quid pro quo exchanges. Stevens referenced facts from a previous BCRA challenge to argue that, even if the exchange of votes for expenditures could not be shown, contributors gain favorable political access from such expenditures.[29] The majority considered access to be insufficient justification for limiting speech rights.

Stevens, however, argued that in the past, even when striking down a ban on corporate independent expenditures, the Court “never suggested that such quid pro quo debts must take the form of outright vote buying or bribes” (Bellotti). Buckley, he claimed, also acknowledged that large independent expenditures present the same dangers as quid pro quo arrangements, although Buckley struck down limits on such independent expenditures. Using the record from a previous BCRA §203 challenge, he argued that independent expenditures were sometimes a factor in gaining political access and concluded that large independent expenditures generate more influence than direct campaign contributions.[29] Furthermore, Stevens argued that corporations could threaten Representatives and Senators with negative advertising to gain unprecedented leverage. Stevens supported his argument by citing Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.,[37] where the Court held that $3 million in independent expenditures in a judicial race raised sufficient questions about a judge’s impartiality to require the judge to recuse himself in a future case involving the spender. Stevens argued that it was contradictory for the majority to ignore the same risks in legislative and executive elections, and argued that the majority opinion would exacerbate the problem presented in Caperton because of the number of states with judicial elections and increased spending in judicial races.

Second, Stevens argued that the majority did not place enough emphasis on the need to prevent the “appearance of corruption” in elections. Earlier cases, including Buckley and Bellotti, recognized the importance of public confidence in democracy. Stevens cited recent data indicating that 80% of the public view corporate independent expenditures as a method used to gain unfair legislative access.[29] Stevens predicted that if the public believes that corporations dominate elections, disaffected voters will stop participating.

Third, Stevens argued that the majority’s decision failed to recognize the dangers of the corporate form. Austin held that the prevention of corruption, including the distorting influence of a dominant funding source, was a sufficient reason for regulating corporate independent expenditures. In defending Austin, Stevens argued that the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside of profit-making, and no loyalty. Therefore, he argued, the courts should permit legislatures to regulate corporate participation in the political process.

Legal entities, Stevens wrote, are not “We the People” for whom our Constitution was established.[29] Therefore, he argued, they should not be given speech protections under the First Amendment. The First Amendment, he argued, protects individual self-expression, self-realization and the communication of ideas. Corporate spending is the “furthest from the core of political expression” protected by the Constitution, he argued, citing Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont,[38] and corporate spending on politics should be viewed as a business transaction designed by the officers or the boards of directors for no purpose other than profit-making. Stevens called corporate spending “more transactional than ideological”. Stevens also pointed out that any member of a corporation may spend personal money on promoting a campaign because BCRA only prohibited the use of general treasury money.

Fourth, Stevens attacked the majority’s central argument: that the prohibition of spending guards free speech and allows the general public to receive all available information. Relying on Austin, Stevens argued that corporations “unfairly influence” the electoral process with vast sums of money that few individuals can match, which distorts the public debate. Because a typical voter can only absorb so much information during a relevant election period, Stevens described “unfair corporate influence” as the potential to outspend others, to push others out of prime broadcasting spots and to dominate the “marketplace of ideas”.[29] This process, he argued, puts disproportionate focus on this speech and gives the impression of widespread support regardless of actual support. Thus, this process marginalizes the speech of other individuals and groups.

Stevens referred to the majority’s argument that “there is no such thing as too much speech” as “facile” and a “straw man” argument. He called it an incorrect statement of First Amendment law because the Court recognizes numerous exceptions to free speech, such as fighting words, obscenity restrictions, time, place and manner restrictions, etc. Throughout the dissent, Stevens argued that the majority’s “slogan” ignored the possibility that too much speech from one source could “drown out” other points of view.

Fifth, Stevens criticized the majority’s fear that the government could use BCRA §203 to censor the media. The focus placed on this hypothetical fear made no sense to Stevens because it did not relate to the facts of this case—if the government actually attempted to apply BCRA §203 to the media (and assuming that Citizens United could not constitute “media”), the Court could deal with the problem at that time. Stevens described the majority’s supposed protection of the media as nothing more than posturing. According to Stevens, it was the majority’s new rule, announced in this case, that prohibited a law from distinguishing between “speakers” or funding sources. This new rule would be the only reason why media corporations could not be exempted from BCRA §203. In this, Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment’s protection of “the press” quite differently. Stevens argues that the “Press” is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not “press”. The majority opinion viewed “freedom of the press” as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.

Sixth, Stevens claimed that the majority failed to give proper deference to the legislature. Stevens predicted that this ruling would restrict the ability of the states to experiment with different methods for decreasing corruption in elections. According to Stevens, this ruling virtually ended those efforts, “declaring by fiat” that people will not “lose faith in our democracy”.[29] Because of the complex interrelated interests at stake, Stevens found this an undesirable area of law for black-and-white rules. Stevens argued that the majority’s view of a self-serving legislature, passing campaign-spending laws to gain an advantage in retaining a seat, coupled with “strict scrutiny” of laws, would make it difficult for any campaign finance regulation to be upheld in future cases.

Seventh, Stevens argued that the majority opinion ignored the rights of shareholders. A series of cases protects individuals from legally compelled payment of union dues to support political speech.[39] Because shareholders invest money in corporations, Stevens argued that the law should likewise help to protect shareholders from funding speech that they oppose. The majority, however, argued that ownership of corporate stock was voluntary, and that unhappy shareholders could simply sell off their shares if they did not agree with the corporation’s speech. Stevens also argued that Political Action Committees (PACs), which allow individual members of a corporation to invest money in a separate fund, are an adequate substitute for general corporate speech and better protect shareholder rights. The majority, by contrast, had argued that most corporations are too small and lack the resources and raw number of shareholders and management staff necessary to cover the compliance, accounting, and administrative costs of maintaining a PAC. In this dispute, the opposing views essentially discussed differing types of entities: Stevens focused his argument on large, publicly held corporations, while the justices in the majority, and particularly Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion, placed an emphasis on small, closely held corporations and non-profits.

Stevens called the majority’s faith in “corporate democracy” an unrealistic method for a shareholder to oppose political funding. A derivative suit is slow, inefficient, risky and potentially expensive. Likewise, shareholder meetings only happen a few times a year, not prior to every decision or transaction. Rather, the officers and boards control the day-to-day spending, including political spending. According to Stevens, the shareholders have few options, giving them “virtually nonexistent” recourse for opposing a corporation’s political spending.[29] Furthermore, most shareholders use investment intermediaries, such as mutual funds or pensions, and by the time a shareholder may find out about a corporation’s political spending and try to object, the damage is done and the shareholder has funded disfavored speech.

Stevens concluded his dissent:

At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.


Correspondingly, Stevens and the other dissenting justices would have upheld the constitutionality of BCRA §203 and its restriction against advertising and broadcasting “Hillary: The Movie” within 30 days of the primary election on the grounds that the movie was produced and distributed by a corporate entity.

Subsequent developments

There was a wide range of reactions to the case from politicians, academics, attorneys, advocacy groups and journalists.



Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who attended the announcement of the ruling, said the court “struck a blow for the First Amendment”.[40]

Republican campaign consultant Ed Rollins opined that the decision adds transparency to the election process and will make it more competitive.[41]

Advocacy groups

Citizens United, the group filing the lawsuit said, “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Citizens United to air its documentary films and advertisements is a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”[42] During litigation, Citizens United had support from the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.[40]

Campaign finance attorney Cleta Mitchell, who had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of two advocacy organizations opposing the ban, wrote that “The Supreme Court has correctly eliminated a constitutionally flawed system that allowed media corporations (e.g., The Washington Post Co.) to freely disseminate their opinions about candidates using corporate treasury funds, while denying that constitutional privilege to Susie’s Flower Shop Inc. … The real victims of the corporate expenditure ban have been nonprofit advocacy organizations across the political spectrum.”[43]

Heritage Foundation fellow Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, said “The Supreme Court has restored a part of the First Amendment that had been unfortunately stolen by Congress and a previously wrongly-decided ruling of the court.”[44]

Libertarian Cato Institute analysts John Samples and Ilya Shapiro wrote that restrictions on advertising were based on the idea “that corporations had so much money that their spending would create vast inequalities in speech that would undermine democracy”. However, “to make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint, which is ultimately the heart of American conceptions of free speech.”[45]

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief that supported the decision,[46] saying that “section 203 should now be struck down as facially unconstitutional”, though membership was split over the implications of the ruling and its board sent the issue to its special committee on campaign finance for further consideration.[47] On March 27, 2012, the ACLU reaffirmed its stance in support of the Supreme Court’sCitizens United ruling.[48]

Academics and attorneys

Bradley A. Smith, professor of law at Capital University Law School, former chairman of the FEC, founder of the Center for Competitive Politics and a leading proponent of deregulation of campaign finance, wrote that the major opponents of political free speech are “incumbent politicians” who “are keen to maintain a chokehold on such speech”. Empowering “small and midsize corporations—and every incorporated mom-and-pop falafel joint, local firefighters’ union, and environmental group—to make its voice heard” frightens them.[49] In response to statements by President Obama and others that the ruling would allow foreign entities to gain political influence through U.S. subsidiaries, Smith pointed out that the decision did not overturn the ban on political donations by foreign corporations and the prohibition on any involvement by foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending by U.S. subsidiaries, which are covered by other parts of the law.[50]

Campaign finance expert Jan Baran, a member of the Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, agreed with the decision, writing that “The history of campaign finance reform is the history of incumbent politicians seeking to muzzle speakers, any speakers, particularly those who might publicly criticize them and their legislation. It is a lot easier to legislate against unions, gun owners, ‘fat cat’ bankers, health insurance companies and any other industry or ‘special interest’ group when they can’t talk back.” Baran further noted that in general conservatives and libertarians praised the ruling’s preservation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, but that liberals and campaign finance reformers criticized it as greatly expanding the role of corporate money in politics.[51]

Attorney Kenneth Gross, former associate general counsel of the FEC, wrote that corporations relied more on the development of long-term relationships, political action committees and personal contributions, which were not affected by the decision. He held that while trade associations might seek to raise funds and support candidates, corporations which have “signed on to transparency agreements regarding political spending” may not be eager to give.[43]

The New York Times asked seven academics to opine on how corporate money would reshape politics as a result of the court’s decision.[52] Three of these wrote that the effects would be minimal or positive: Christopher Cotton, a University of Miami School of Business assistant professor of economics, wrote that “There may be very little difference between seeing eight ads or seeing nine ads (compared to seeing one ad or two). And, voters recognize that richer candidates are not necessarily the better candidates, and in some cases, the benefit of running more ads is offset by the negative signal that spending a lot of money creates.[52] Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, stated that the “most influential actors in most political campaigns” are media corporations which “overtly editorialize for and against candidates, and also influence elections by choosing what to cover and how to cover it”. Holding that corporations like Exxon would fear alienating voters by supporting candidates, the decision really meant that voters would hear “more messages from more sources”.[52] Joel Gora, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who had previously argued the case of Buckley v. Valeo on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the decision represented “a great day for the First Amendment” writing that the Court had “dismantled the First Amendment ‘caste system’ in election speech”.[52]


The Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News criticized McCain–Feingold’s exception for media corporations from the ban on corporate electioneering, writing that it “makes no sense” that the paper could make endorsements up until the day of the election but advocacy groups could not. “While the influence of money on the political process is troubling and sometimes corrupting, abridging political speech is the wrong way to counterbalance that influence.”[53]

Anthony Dick in National Review countered a number of arguments against the decision, asking rhetorically, “is there something uniquely harmful and/or unworthy of protection about political messages that come from corporations and unions, as opposed to, say, rich individuals, persuasive writers, or charismatic demagogues?” He noted that “a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of the public actually agrees with the Court that corporations and unions should be treated just like individuals in terms of their political-expenditure rights”.[54] A Gallup poll taken in October 2009 and released soon after the decision showed 57 percent of those surveyed agreed that contributions to political candidates are a form of free speech and 55 percent agreed that the same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions. Sixty-four percent of Democrats and Republicans believed campaign donations are a form of free speech.[55]

Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman wrote “If corporate advocacy may be forbidden as it was under the law in question, it’s not just Exxon Mobil and Citigroup that are rendered mute. Nonprofit corporations set up merely to advance goals shared by citizens, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, also have to put a sock in it. So much for the First Amendment goal of fostering debate about public policy.”[56]


American politicians[edit]

President Barack Obama stated that the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington—while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates”.[57] Obama later elaborated in his weekly radio address saying, “this ruling strikes at our democracy itself” and “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest”.[58] On January 27, 2010, Obama further condemned the decision during the 2010 State of the Union Address, stating that, “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law[59] to open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

Democratic senator Russ Feingold, a lead sponsor of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, stated “This decision was a terrible mistake. Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”[60] Representative Alan Grayson, a Democrat, stated that it was “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case, and that the court had opened the door to political bribery and corruption in elections to come.[61] Democratic congresswoman Donna Edwards, along with constitutional law professor and Maryland Democratic State Senator Jamie Raskin, have advocated petitions to reverse the decision by means of constitutional amendment.[62] Rep. Leonard Boswell introduced legislation to amend the constitution.[63] Senator John Kerry also called for an Amendment to overrule the decision.[64] On December 8, 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the Saving American Democracy Amendment, which would reverse the court’s ruling.[65][66]

Republican Senator John McCain, co-crafter of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, said “there’s going to be, over time, a backlash … when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that’s going to go into political campaigns”.[67] McCain was “disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions” but not surprised by the decision, saying that “It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA.”[60] Republican Senator Olympia Snowe opined that “Today’s decision was a serious disservice to our country.”[68]

Although federal law after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission still prohibited corporate contributions to all political parties, Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party, stated that “The ruling especially hurts the ability of parties that don’t accept corporate contributions, like the Green Party, to compete.” Another Green Party officer, Rich Whitney, stated “In a transparently political decision, a majority of the US Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech.”

Ralph Nader, a lawyer who placed third in the popular vote in the presidential elections of 2000, 2004, and 2008, condemned the ruling,[69] saying that “With this decision, corporations can now directly pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars.” He called for shareholder resolutions asking company directors to pledge not to use company money to favor or oppose electoral candidates.[70] Pat Choate, former Reform Party candidate for Vice President, stated, “The court has, in effect, legalized foreign governments and foreign corporations to participate in our electoral politics.”[71]


Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, speaking for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe‘s election body, which has overseen over 150 elections, stated that the ruling may adversely affect the organization’s two commitments of “giving voters a genuine choice and giving candidates a fair chance” in that “it threatens to further marginalize candidates without strong financial backing or extensive personal resources, thereby in effect narrowing the political arena”.[72]

Academics and attorneys

Money Isn’t Speech and Corporations Aren’t People
David Kairys[73]

The constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe wrote that the decision “marks a major upheaval in First Amendment law and signals the end of whatever legitimate claim could otherwise have been made by the Roberts Court to an incremental and minimalist approach to constitutional adjudication, to a modest view of the judicial role vis-à-vis the political branches, or to a genuine concern with adherence to precedent” and pointed out, “Talking about a business corporation as merely another way that individuals might choose to organize their association with one another to pursue their common expressive aims is worse than unrealistic; it obscures the very real injustice and distortion entailed in the phenomenon of some people using other people’s money to support candidates they have made no decision to support, or to oppose candidates they have made no decision to oppose.”[74]

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose opinions had changed from dissenting in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce to co-authoring (with Stevens) the majority opinion in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission twelve years later, criticized the decision only obliquely, but warned, “In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon.”[75]

Richard L. Hasen, professor of election law at Loyola Law School, argued that the ruling “is activist, it increases the dangers of corruption in our political system and it ignores the strong tradition of American political equality”. He also described Justice Kennedy’s “specter of blog censorship” as sounding more like “the rantings of a right-wing talk show host than the rational view of a justice with a sense of political realism”.[76]

Kathleen M. Sullivan, professor at Stanford Law School and Steven J. Andre, adjunct professor at Lincoln Law School, argued that two different visions of freedom of speech exist and clashed in the case. An egalitarian vision skeptical of the power of large agglomerations of wealth to skew the political process conflicted with a libertarian vision skeptical of government being placed in the role of determining what speech people should or should not hear.[77][78] Wayne Batchis, Professor at the University of Delaware, in contrast, argues that the Citizens United decision represents a misguided interpretation of the non-textual freedom of association.[79]

The four other scholars of the seven writing in the aforementioned New York Times article were critical.[52] Richard L. Hasen, Distinguished Professor of election law at Loyola Law School argued differently from his Slate article above, concentrating on the “inherent risk of corruption that comes when someone spends independently to try to influence the outcome of judicial elections”, since judges are less publicly accountable than elected officials. Heather K. Gerken, Professor of Law at Yale Law School wrote that “The court has done real damage to the cause of reform, but that damage mostly came earlier, with decisions that made less of a splash.” Michael Waldman, director of the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law, opined that the decision “matches or exceeds Bush v. Gore in ideological or partisan overreaching by the court”, explaining how “Exxon or any other firm could spend Bloomberg-level sums in any congressional district in the country against, say, any congressman who supports climate change legislation, or health care, etc.” andFred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21 considered that “Chief Justice Roberts has abandoned the illusory public commitments he made to ‘judicial modesty’ and ‘respect for precedent’ to cast the deciding vote for a radical decision that profoundly undermines our democracy,” and that “Congress and presidents past have recognized this danger and signed numerous laws over the years to prevent this kind of corruption of our government.”[52]


The New York Times stated in an editorial, “The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.”[80] Jonathan Alter called it the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation”.[81] The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the Court had declared “outright that corporate expenditures cannot corrupt elected officials, that influence over lawmakers is not corruption, and that appearance of influence will not undermine public faith in our democracy”.[82]

Media coverage

Political blogs

Most blogs avoided the theoretical aspects of the decision and focused on more personal and dramatic elements, including the Barack ObamaSamuel Alito face-off during the President’s State of the Union address.[83] There, President Obama argued that the decision “reversed a century of law” (the federal ban on corporate and union expenditures dates from 1947) and that it would allow “foreign corporations to spend without limits in our elections”, during which Justice Alito, in the audience, perceptibly mouthed the words “not true”. This event received extensive comment from political bloggers, with a substantial amount of the coverage concentrated on whether or not foreign corporations would be able to make substantial political contributions in US elections. In the opinion, the Court had specifically indicated it was not overturning the ban on foreign contributions.

Opinion polls

ABC-Washington Post poll results.

An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections”. Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns”. The poll showed large majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.[84][85][86]

Gallup Poll conducted in October 2009, after oral argument, but released after the Supreme Court released its opinion, found that 57 percent of those surveyed “agreed that money given to political candidates is a form of free speech” and 55 percent agreed that the “same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions”. However, in the same poll respondents by 52% to 41% prioritized limits on campaign contributions over protecting rights to support campaigns and 76% thought the government should be able to place limits on corporation or union donations.[87][88]

Separate polls by various conservative organizations, including the plaintiff Citizens United and the Center for Competitive Politics, found support for the decision.[89] In particular, the Center for Competitive Politics poll[90] found that 51% of respondents believed that Citizens United should have a right to air ads promoting Hillary: The Movie. The poll also found that only 22 percent had heard of the case.

Further court rulings

SpeechNow is a nonprofit, unincorporated association organized as a section 527 entity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The organization was formed by individuals who seek to pool their resources to make independent expenditures expressly advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates. SpeechNow planned to accept contributions only from individuals, not corporations or other sources prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act. On February 14, 2008, SpeechNow and several individual plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act provisions governing political committee registration, contribution limits and disclosure. The plaintiffs contended that the Act unconstitutionally restricts their association guaranteed under the First Amendment. By requiring registration as a political committee and limiting the monetary amount that an individual may contribute to a political committee, SpeechNow and the other plaintiffs asserted that the Act unconstitutionally restricted the individuals’ freedom of speech by limiting the amount that an individual can contribute to SpeechNow and thus the amount the organization may spend. SpeechNow also argued that the reporting required of political committees is unconstitutionally burdensome.[91]

On March 26, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in v. FEC that the contribution limits of 2 U.S.C. §441a were unconstitutional as applied to individuals’ contributions to SpeechNow. The court also ruled that the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. §§432, 433 and 434(a) and the organizational requirements of 2 U.S.C. §431(4) and §431(8) can be constitutionally applied to SpeechNow.[91] A unanimous nine-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals[92] struck down the federal limits on contributions to federal political committees that make only independent expenditures and do not contribute to candidates or political parties. This type of “independent expenditure committee” is inherently non-corruptive, the Court reasoned, and therefore contributions to such a committee can not be limited based on the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.[28] In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting independent expenditures, the appeals court ruled that “contributions to groups that make only independent expenditures cannot corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.” As a result, the court of appeals held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent group such as SpeechNow. Contribution limits as applied to SpeechNow “violate the First Amendment by preventing [individuals] from donating to SpeechNow in excess of the limits and by prohibiting SpeechNow from accepting donations in excess of the limits.” The court noted that its holding does not affect direct contributions to candidates, but rather contributions to a group that makes only independent expenditures.[91] The appeals court held that, while disclosure and reporting requirements do impose a burden on First Amendment interests, they “‘impose no ceiling on campaign related activities'” and “‘do not prevent anyone from speaking.'” Furthermore, the court held that the additional reporting requirements that the Commission would impose on SpeechNow if it were organized as a political committee are minimal, “given the relative simplicity with which SpeechNow intends to operate.” Since SpeechNow already had a number of “planned contributions” from individuals, the court ruled that SpeechNow could not compare itself to “ad hoc groups that want to create themselves on the spur of the moment.” Since the public has an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate and who is funding that speech, the court held that requiring such disclosure and organization as a political committee are sufficiently important governmental interests to justify the additional reporting and registration burdens on SpeechNow.[91]

On June 27, 2011, ruling in the consolidated cases Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (No. 10-238) and McComish v. Bennett (No. 10-239), the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional an Arizona law that provided extra taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups. A conservative 5–4 majority of justices said the law violated free speech, concluding the state was impermissibly trying to “level the playing field” through a public finance system. Arizona lawmakers had argued there was a compelling state interest in equalizing resources among competing candidates and interest groups.[93] Opponents said the law violated free-speech rights of the privately financed candidates and their contributors, inhibiting fundraising and spending, discouraging participation in campaigns and limiting what voters hear about politics.[94] Chief Justice John Roberts said in the court’s majority opinion that the law substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified to survive First Amendment scrutiny.[94]

As a consequence of the decision, states and municipalities are blocked from using a method of public financing that is simultaneously likely to attract candidates fearful that they will be vastly outspent and sensitive to avoiding needless government expense. “The government can still use taxpayer funds to subsidize political campaigns, but it can only do that in a manner that provides an alternative to private financing” said William R. Maurer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which represented several challengers of the law. “It cannot create disincentives.”[95] The ruling meant the end of similar matching-fund programs in Connecticut, Maine and a few other places according to David Primo, a political science professor at the University of Rochester who was an expert witness for the law’s challengers.[96]

Despite the Citizens United ruling, In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court, in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana, upheld that state’s law limiting corporate contributions. Examining the history of corporate interference in Montana government that led to the Corrupt Practices Law, the majority decided that the state still had a compelling reason to maintain the restrictions. It ruled that these restrictions on speech were narrowly tailored and withstood strict scrutiny and thus did not contradict Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

While granting permission to file a Certiorari petition, the US Supreme Court agreed to stay the Montana ruling, although Justices Ginsburg and Breyer wrote a short statement urging the Court “to consider whether, in light of the huge sums of money currently deployed to buy candidate’s allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway”.[97] In June 2012, over the dissent of the same four judges who dissented in Citizens United, the Court simultaneously granted certiorari and summarily reversed the decision in Bullock.[98] The Supreme Court majority rejected the Montana Supreme Court arguments in a two paragraph, twenty line per curiam opinion, stating that these arguments “either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.”[99] The ruling makes clear that states cannot bar corporate and union political expenditures in state elections.[100]

Legislative responses

Legislative impact

The New York Times reported that 24 states with laws prohibiting or limiting independent expenditures by unions and corporations would have to change their campaign finance laws because of the ruling.[101]

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed that candidates who sign up small donors receive $900,000 in public money. Others proposed that laws on corporate governance be amended to assure that shareholders vote on political expenditures.[81]

In February 2010, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, immediate past Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, outlined legislation aimed at undoing the decision.[102] In April 2010, they introduced such legislation in the Senate and House, respectively.[103] On June 24, 2010, H.R.5175 (The DISCLOSE Act) passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. It would have required additional disclosure by corporations of their campaign expenditures. The law, if passed, would also have prohibited political spending by U.S. companies with twenty percent or more foreign ownership, and by most government contractors.[104]

The DISCLOSE Act included exemptions to its rules given to certain special interests such as the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. These gaps within the proposal attracted criticism from lawmakers on both political parties. “They are auctioning off pieces of the First Amendment in this bill… The bigger you are, the stronger you are, the less disclosure you have,” said Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California commented, “I wish there had been no carve-outs”.[105]

The DISCLOSE Act twice failed to pass the U.S. Senate in the 111th Congress, in both instances reaching only 59 of the 60 votes required to overcome a unified Republican filibuster.[106][107]

A trimmed back version of the DISCLOSE Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate in 2012 but did not pass.[citation needed]

Some have argued for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Move to Amend, a coalition formed in response to the ruling,[108] seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood, thus stripping corporations of all rights under the Constitution.[109][110] In an online chat with web community Reddit, President Obama endorsed further consideration of a constitutional amendment and stated “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court Doesn’t revisit it)”.[111] He further elaborated that “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”[111]

States lawmakers and local elected officials urge for federal constitutional amendment[edit]

Sixteen states have called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s decision:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.[112][113]

In Vermont, the General Assembly approved “Joint Resolution Senate” No. 27 on May 2, 2014, going so far as to apply to Congress to call an Article V Convention to draft and propose a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. In California, the lower house of the Legislature approved “Assembly Joint Resolution” No. 1 on January 30, 2014, to likewise call a constitutional convention to pass an amendment that would repeal the decision; the California Senate has not yet acted, however.[114][115] And in Minnesota, the House of Representatives has yet to vote on “Senate File” No. 17 which was approved by that state’s Senate on May 2, 2013.

On a local level, Washington D.C. and almost 400 other municipalities have also passed resolutions requesting a federal constitutional amendment—itemized on the United for the People website.[116]

Super PACs

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has often been credited for the creation of “super PACs“, political action committees which make no contributions to candidates or parties and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. Certainly, the holding in Citizens United helped affirm the legal basis for super PACs by deciding that, for purposes of establishing a “compelling government interest” of corruption sufficient to justify government limitations on political speech, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption”.[117] However, it took another decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. While Citizens United held that corporations and unions could make independent expenditures, a separate provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, at least as long interpreted by the Federal Election Commission, held that individuals could not contribute to a common fund without it becoming a PAC. PACs, in turn, were not allowed to accept corporate or union contributions of any size or to accept individual contributions in excess of $5000. In, the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, held 9–0 that in light of Citizens United, such restrictions on the sources and size of contributions could not apply to an organization that made only independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a candidate, but not contributions to a candidate’s campaign.[118] The effectiveness of this system remains a hot topic in American politics. See Political Action Committee.

Citizens United and SpeechNOW left their imprint on the 2012 United States presidential election. In any event, the implications of Citizens United were quickly apparent. In March, 2010, the D.C. Circuit ruled that individuals could make unlimited contributions to so-called Super PACs, which supported individual candidates. This opened the door for Presidential campaigns in 2012 that were essentially underwritten by single individuals. Sheldon Adelson, the gambling entrepreneur, gave approximately fifteen million dollars to support Newt GingrichFoster Friess, a Wyoming financier, donated almost two million dollars to Rick Santorum’s Super PAC. Karl Rove organized Super PACs that spent over $300 million in support of Republicans during the 2012 elections.[119]

In addition to indirectly providing support for the creation of super PACs, Citizens United allowed incorporated 501(c)(4) public advocacy groups (such as the National Rifle Association or Sierra Club, or the group Citizens United itself) and trade associations to make expenditures in political races. Such groups may not, under the tax code, have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy. These organizations must disclose their expenditures, but unlike super PACs they do not have to include the names of their donors in their FEC filings. A number of partisan organizations, such as Karl Rove‘s influential conservativeCrossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies or the liberal 21st Century Colorado, have since registered as tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups (defined as groups promoting “social welfare”) and engaged in substantial political spending.[120][121] This has led to claims[122][123][124] of large secret donations, and questions about whether such groups should be required to disclose their donors. Historically, such non-profits have not been required to disclose their donors or names of members. See National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama.

See also


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  4. Jump up^ Hasen, Richard (2010-01-21). “Money Grubbers: The Supreme Court kills campaign finance reform”Slate.
  5. Jump up^ Carney, Eliza (2010-01-21). “Court Unlikely To Stop With Citizens United”National Journal. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  6. Jump up^ FEC finding August 6, 2004
  7. Jump up^ “Compliance Cases Made Public” (Press release). Federal Election Commission. August 9, 2005
  8. Jump up to:a b Barnes, Robert (2009-03-15). “‘Hillary: The Movie’ to Get Supreme Court Screening”The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  9. Jump up^ “Memorandum Opinion” (PDF). Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. District Court for the District of Columbia. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  10. Jump up^ “Docket for 08-205”U.S. Supreme Court. 2008-08-18.
  11. Jump up^ Ross, Lee (2009-03-18). “March 24: Hillary Clinton Film Challenged”Fox News. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  12. Jump up^ Holland, Jesse J. (March 22, 2009). “”Hillary: The Movie” next on Supreme Court docket”Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
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  18. Jump up^ CounterPunch, February 4, 2010, Chucking Precedent at the High Court
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  104. Jump up^
  105. Jump up^ “Who’s exempted from ‘fix’ for Supreme Court campaign finance ruling?”The Christian Science Monitor. June 25, 2010.
  106. Jump up^ Eggen, Dan (July 28, 2010). “Bill on political ad disclosures falls a little short in Senate”. The Washington Post.
  107. Jump up^ Memoli, Michael A. (September 24, 2010). “Disclose Act fails to advance in Senate”Los Angeles Times.
  108. Jump up^ Ocean Beach Rag. July 6, 2011.
  109. Jump up^ Movement to Abolish Corporate Personhood Gaining Traction.Boulder Weekly July 14, 2011.
  110. Jump up^ Move to Amend website
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  113. Jump up^ McCarter,Joan, “Oregon becomes 16th state to call for amendment overturning Citizens United”, Daily KOS, July 2, 2013
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  122. Jump up^
  123. Jump up^
  124. Jump up^

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 38-40

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 01-09


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