No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, and other GOP lawmakers who criticized Trump or voted to impeach him have spent tens of thousands of dollars on private security
  • Lawmakers who criticized Trump or voted to impeach him spent thousands to improve personal security after the Capitol attack.
  • Republicans including Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney beefed up their security, per Punchbowl News.
  • Federal regulators in March issued more guidance on how candidates can spend money on security.
Members of Congress are permitted to spend campaign funds on personal security protection. And 100 days after the insurrection, lawmakers have faced increased death threats and potential dangers to their safety, creating an urgent need for more security.

Sen. Mitt Romney, a longtime Trump critic and the sole Senate Republican to vote to convict Trump in both of his Senate impeachment trials, spent over $46,000 on security protection at home in Utah, per Punchbowl.

Another Republican who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, spent nearly $70,000 to fortify his home, the most of any lawmaker in Punchbowl's analysis. Toomey is retiring and not running for reelection in 2022.

And Rep. Liz Cheney, the third highest-ranking House Republican who has become a target of a Trump-backed effort to oust her from office after she spoke out against the former president, spent over $50,000 on private security provided by former Secret Service agents.

Two other House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, Rep. John Katko of New York and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, spent nearly $20,000 and $1,5000, respectively, on bolstered home security.

Prominent Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also spent $45,000 from her sizeable campaign war chest on private security, according to Punchbowl.

And Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, one of the impeachment managers who prosecuted the case against Trump, put $44,000 towards services from a Virginia-based security firm.

The spike in members racing to invest in personal security combined with the rise of far-right, paramilitary militia groups raised concerns that lax regulations could lead to members of Congress surrounding themselves with untrained security personnel and even members of extremist groups, Insider's Tina Sfondeles reported in March.

In a late March ruling following Insider's reporting, the Federal Election Commission determined 5-1 that federal candidates can only spend campaign funds on "bona fide, legitimate, professional personal security personnel."
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Republicans say less than 6% of Biden's plan is traditional infrastructure. BofA says it's more like half.
  • Bank of America says about half of Biden's infrastructure plan is traditional, or physical, infrastructure.
  • This contrasts with the GOP argument that less than 6% of Biden's plan goes to roads and bridges.
  • The bank added that nontraditional infrastructure will take longer to prompt economic growth.
The leaders of the Republican party have argued that President Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan funds too many things that aren't physical, or traditional, infrastructure, saying that less than 6% of its spending goes to rebuilding roads and bridges.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed the plan the same day Biden unveiled it, calling it a "liberal wish-list," and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a statement to similar effect. Both floated the 6% statistic, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise recently said that "over 90% of the bill they're proposing has nothing to do with roads and bridges," calling it "Soviet-style infrastructure."

Bank of America has done its own calculations and a team led by Joseph Song found that "about half of the $2.2 trillion in spending should be considered traditional 'infrastructure' spending." The bank said that investments in broadband and the electric grid qualify as traditional infrastructure — things that Republican lawmakers don't include in their definition.

Ultimately, the bank said it expects Biden's plan to boost growth and lead to better productivity, offsetting the higher taxes Biden proposes and the potential "crowding out effect" of higher public spending potentially displacing investment by the private sector.

According to the bank's report, traditional infrastructure — transportation, buildings, water, broadband, and more — should impact economic growth quickly in the US, while nontraditional infrastructure, like education, training, and research and development, will take more time to boost the economy.

Bank of America separately wrote in its Friday municipal report, by a team led by Ian Rogow, that it believes an infrastructure package this large will help boost GDP, while noting that Moody's largely agrees.

While Rogow's team sees Biden's proposed corporate tax hike to 28% as a potential "drag on growth," it said the proposed $400 billion in clean energy tax credits should help reduce the tax burden for some companies.
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GOP Reps. Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene were the only 'no' votes on a bill reauthorizing the National Marrow Donor Program
  • GOP Reps. Greene and Boebert voted against a bill that would renew the National Marrow Donor Program.
  • The program helps match bone marrow donors with leukemia patients.
  • "Nothing in this bill prevents the funding of aborted fetal tissue," a spokesman for Greene said.
GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado were the only members of Congress to vote against a bill that would provide patients who suffer from leukemia or other blood diseases access to potentially life-saving bone marrow transplants.

The legislation, called the TRANSPLANT Act, would reauthorize the National Marrow Donor Program for another five years. The program helps match bone marrow donors and cord blood units with people in need.

The bill overwhelmingly passed the House in a 415-2 vote on Thursday evening. Twelve lawmakers, including freshman Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, did not vote on the bill.

A spokesman for Greene told Insider that the bill "opens the door" for the National Institutes of Health to "research the remains of babies who were murdered in the womb."

... The bill also directs the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and other related federal agencies to "conduct a review of the state of the science of using adult stem cells and birthing tissues to develop new types of therapies." It is a renewal of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which Congress passed with bipartisan support and former President George W. Bush signed into law. It was reauthorized in 2010 and 2015 under the Obama administration. Fetal tissue research must be conducted according to federal and state law.

Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui of California, the lead sponsor of the bill, celebrated its passage in the House and urged the Senate to follow suit. The Senate version, led by Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island, was introduced in February and has four co-sponsors, including two Democrats and two Republicans.

"Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. For patients and families facing these fatal diseases, a bone marrow or cord blood transplant may be the best treatment or only potential for a cure," Matsui said in a statement on Thursday. "For the 1.3 million Americans suffering from blood cancer and bone marrow disorders, we must continue to make investments in these programs that have saved tens of thousands of lives."

After the bill's passage, the National Marrow Donor Program wrote on Twitter: "Grateful to be one step closer to renewing our federal Program and the Nation's registry!"
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Senator Josh Hawley's bill to ban all acquisitions by companies with a market cap above $100 billion will hurt startups more than Big Tech
  • Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri introduced a new antitrust bill Monday.
  • A large percentage of startups exit via acquisition, and investors depend on those opportunities.
  • This bill goes against Hawley's intention — to give smaller companies a chance to succeed.
On Monday, Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri introduced a bill that would make substantial changes to antitrust law by banning all acquisitions by companies with a market cap above $100 billion and changing the standard used by antitrust regulators when considering whether a company's actions are anticompetitive.

Its intended goal is to curb the ability of large companies to use their size to squeeze out the competition by buying up other companies.

The problem is, this push to rein in Big Tech is more likely to hurt startups by eliminating their most common exit strategy.
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GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar create 'America First Caucus' that emphasizes 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions'
  • GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar formed the "America First Caucus," Punchbowl News reported.
  • The group will reportedly emphasize "common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions."
  • It will also push racist lies about immigration and foreign aid and parrot Trump's conspiracy theories about the election.
Two Republican lawmakers worked together to create an "America First Caucus" that emphasizes "common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions" and infrastructure that "befits the progeny of European architecture," Punchbowl News reported on Friday.

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar collaborated to form the far-right caucus, whose aim is to "follow in President Trump's footsteps, and potentially step on some toes and sacrifice sacred cows for the good of the American nation," according to a document obtained by Punchbowl News.

The news outlet reported that other Trump loyalists on Capitol Hill, like Reps. Barry Moore and Louie Gohmert, have also agreed to join the caucus.

It went on to say, without citing any evidence, that "societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country."

The document also pushed the lie that immigrants who came to the US before 1965 were "more educated, earned higher wages, and did not have an expansive welfare state to fall back on when they could not make it in America and thus did not stay in the country at the expense of the native-born."
  • Fact check: The Pew Research Center noted in a 2018 study that "the estimated 44 million immigrants in the United States are better educated than ever, due in part to rising levels of schooling in many of the countries they came from and an influx of high-skilled workers to the U.S. in recent years, especially from Asia."
The document's section on infrastructure said the caucus will "work towards an infrastructure that reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture," and criticized the US government for "sending trillions of dollars out the door to support the infrastructure of other nations — even to countries that hate the United States — with nothing to show for it."

On foreign aid, the document said it would be "unwise" for the US to send financial and military support to other countries because it represents an "entanglement that rarely provides any benefit to our citizens."
  • Fact check: This view stands in stark contrast to what experts in the field say. As George Ingram, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, wrote in 2019, "there is hard evidence that development and humanitarian programs produce considerable results," including a sharp decline in extreme poverty over the last three decades; a significant decrease in maternal, infant, and child mortality rates; an increase in global life expectancy; and the eradication of diseases like smallpox and a steep drop in cases of polio and malaria."
  • Sending foreign assistance also bolsters US national security "by supporting allies in promoting regional and global stability and peace," Ingram wrote, and it shores up "national economic progress and stability, which can make it more viable for citizens to remain at home rather than migrate to other countries."
The America First Caucus' mission statement also parroted many of Trump's lies about the 2020 election and voter fraud, saying, "Recent election results demonstrate a compromised integrity of our elections and made our election system a subject of global mockery."

It went on to falsely claim that "federal elections have been undermined by using voting machines that are readily compromised and illegally accessed whereby results appear manipulated, voters are disenfranchised, and faith in our system eroded." The document added: "Mail-in voting, long recognized as subject to fraud, has become normalized."
  • Fact check: As Business Insider has reported, the 2020 election was the safest and most secure in US history. Trump and Republicans filed dozens of lawsuits challenging the election results in battleground states that President Joe Biden won, and the GOP either lost every case or it was dismissed for a lack of standing. The Department of Homeland Security under Trump also publicly refuted his conspiracy theories and confirmed that the 2020 election was the "most secure in American history."
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Pompeo violated ethics rules by asking staff to carry out personal tasks, watchdog finds
The Department's Office of Inspector General "found that both Secretary and Mrs. Pompeo requested that the political appointee and other employees in the Office of the Secretary undertake work of a personal nature, such as picking up personal items, planning events unrelated to the Department's mission, and conducting such personal business as pet care and mailing personal Christmas cards," according to the report. "OIG found that such requests were inconsistent with Department ethics rules and the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch."

The report, which was published Friday, also noted that the Pompeos directed one of their employees to use State Department funds "to purchase items, such as gold nut bowls, for when the Pompeos visited the homes of friends or attended dinners held in their honor by private U.S. citizens."

The release of the report comes as Pompeo has given strong signals he may be planning to run for president in 2024. The former top US diplomat recently traveled to Iowa and joined Fox News as a contributor.

According to the report, the watchdog "found evidence of over 100 requests to Department employees that are inconsistent with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch or raised questions about the proper use of Department resources."

... The watchdog "identified at least 30 instances when the Secretary or Mrs. Pompeo tasked (Office of the Secretary) employees with making restaurant reservations for personal lunches and dinners with Pompeo family members or friends."

... The OIG made three recommendations in the report -- that the department's legal adviser "update its guidance to the Office of the Secretary to include guidance on the use of Department funds to pay for gifts to U.S. citizens and the use of Department employees to arrange personal dinners and entertainment;" that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security update its handbook with guidance on "appropriate and inappropriate requests" and how agents should respond to inappropriate requests; and "that the Under Secretary for Management draft and publish guidance on the use of a subordinate's time for tasks of a personal nature, including direction concerning what to do and who to contact when a Department employee is tasked with an inappropriate request."

"The Department concurred with all three recommendations," the report said.
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Justice Department files civil lawsuit against Roger Stone over unpaid taxes
The Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against former President Donald Trump's ally Roger Stone on Friday, accusing him and his wife of owing nearly $2 million in unpaid taxes.

In a six-count civil complaint, investigators said Stone and his wife, Nydia Stone, owed about $1.5 million in unpaid taxes form 2007 and 2011, and an additional $407,000 from 2018.

"The Stones evaded and frustrated the (Internal Revenue Service's) collection efforts" by repeatedly funneling money to a corporate entity they controlled called Drake Ventures, investigators wrote. Stone and his wife then used Drake Ventures account to "fund a lavish lifestyle despite owing nearly $2 million in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties," they wrote.

According to the complaint, the Stones allegedly used the Drake Ventures account to pay for personal expenses like spa visits, haircuts, groceries, restaurants and dentist appointments.

... Stone has not yet responded to the civil complaint, which was filed in the Southern District of Florida, where Stone lives. In the complaint, the Justice Department asked the judge to order Stone and his wife to pay nearly $2 million in unpaid taxes, "plus interest ... as allowed by law."
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or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.