Call Your House Rep · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause

Tell Trey Gowdy and the House Oversight Committee to Stay on the Trump-Russia Probe

Tell Trey Gowdy and his colleagues on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to keep pursuing the Trump-Russia probe.

Gowdy, who represents South Carolina, became the Republican chair of the committee after Utah’s Jason Chaffetz announced he would resign from his house seat. Gowdy, who hassled Hillary Clinton with Benghazi investigation after Benghazi investigation, recently announced that, in general, the House committee would not pursue matters that relate to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether and how Trump’s campaign might be involved.

His excuse seems to be that special counsel Robert Mueller is on the case and he wants to steer clear and let him handle things. Gowdy also said that the House committee might investigate in specific, narrowly defined instances. While that might sound reasonable on its face, Gowdy’s Democratic counterpart, Elijah Cummings, sharply countered that sentiment with salient points. The Washington Post quoted Cummings as saying:

“It is a known fact that interference in our election will happen again if we do not take serious steps to prevent it,” he said. “The voters did not send us here to sit on the sidelines while our government is getting attacked. Chairman Gowdy is a very talented lawyer, and I believe he and I can work together to investigate this and make reforms to prevent it from happening again.”

Please call your house reps and urge them to continue to investigate #TrumpRussia matters, even though Robert Mueller is on the case. They should sit and figure out how best not to step on Mueller’s toes rather than giving up and stepping aside completely. Tell them you expect them to stay on this.

Important. Is your House Rep a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee? Then it’s extra-important that you call. See the link below, which lists all the current members:

https://oversight.house.gov/subcommittee/full-committee/

 

If your House rep is a Democrat: “Hello House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code,) and I am calling to ask you to continue to support investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and investigations into whether Trump and his campaign team colluded with them. I am concerned that the new Republican committee chair, Trey Gowdy, will assume that giving Robert Mueller room to do his work means that the House is off the hook. It is not. Please urge the committee to do the extra, upfront work it needs to do to respect Mueller’s efforts while staying on top of its own responsibilities in this regard. Thank you.

 

If your House rep is a Republican: “Hello House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code,) and I am calling to ask you to vigorously support House-led investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and investigations into whether Trump and his campaign team colluded with them. I am concerned that the new Republican committee chair, Trey Gowdy, will assume that giving Robert Mueller room to do his work means that his Congressional committee is off the hook. It is not. Please urge Gowdy and his colleagues to do the extra, upfront work they need to do to respect Mueller’s efforts while staying on top of its own responsibilities in this regard. And if they use that upfront work to hamper and frustrate the work of the House investigators, please call them out early and often. Thank you.

 

Read stories about how Gowdy was chosen to succeed Chaffetz, and stories that quote Gowdy saying that while he is chair, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will not chase Trump-Russia investigations:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/on-trump-and-russia-oversight-chair-trey-gowdy-says-he-will-stay-in-his-lane/2017/06/23/4d1dfca6-583d-11e7-a204-ad706461fa4f_story.html?utm_term=.8e754a82703a

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/23/house-oversight-no-russia-investigation-trey-gowdy-239904

http://theweek.com/speedreads/708011/house-oversight-committee-not-pursue-investigation-trump-russia

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/08/trey-gowdy-picked-by-gop-steering-committee-to-chair-house-oversight-panel-239308

 

Read about the partisan shens Gowdy got up to as chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-endless-trial-of-trey-gowdys-benghazi-committee-20160114

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/how-the-press-can-deal-with-the-benghazi-committee/410251/

 

Call Your House Rep · Call Your Members of Congress · Call Your Senators · Community Activism · Ethics · Marches and Protests · Postcard Campaigns · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Never Stop Demanding That Congress Investigate Trump’s Ties to Russia and His Violations of the Constitution

Trump and his minions have done, or tried to do, any number of horrible things. Most of them demanded an immediate answer. Others demanded ongoing attention.

Several people are speaking up to say the daily shenanigans are distracting us from focusing on the two issues that have the power to force Trump from office: His financial conflicts of interest, and the Russian hacking scandal, which should shed light on Trump’s curious connections to Putin.

To be fair, these issues have not been forgotten, just overshadowed. A team of lawyers from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is suing Trump over his violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments clause. Jerry Nadler, a house rep from New York who sits on the house judiciary committee, recently filed a resolution of inquiry into Trump, an early step on the road to impeachment. Members of Congress are pursuing bipartisan investigations into the Russian hacking scandal, despite Republican attempts to keep such queries under its party’s control (which would let them soft-pedal the findings).

But the blogger behind The Liberal Yell rightly points out that it’s on us, the citizens, to keep pressing Congress to stay on the two issues that could end Trump’s presidency, and we should support their efforts to do so.

See the blog below.

http://theliberalyell.com/focus-people-there-are-only-two-things-to-demand-of-congress-in-regards-to-trump/

To summarize: TLY asks us to stay firmly on these two issues, regardless of what other evils Trump looses. No matter what happens, do not lose sight of the need to look into Trump’s Emoluments clause violations and the importance of getting to the bottom of the Russian hacking.

Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post for a great tool–a custom postcard demanding investigations into both issues, which you can download and print and mail and hand out to others.

Read about bipartisan efforts to investigate the Russian hacking scandal, and Republican resistance to it:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/02/02/senate-panel-investigate-russian-election-interference/97411482/

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/10/14220484/house-dems-bipartisan-probe-russian-hacking

http://www.snopes.com/mitch-mcconnell-blocked-investigating-russian-hacks/

Learn about New York House Representative Jerry Nadler’s filing of a resolution of inquiry into Trump, and its implications:

https://www.countable.us/articles/237-preliminary-impeachment-inquiry-filed-president-trump

Ethics · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Good News · Thank You Actions

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Is Awesome. Show Her Some Love.

Show some love to Maura Healey, the Democratic state attorney general of Massachusetts, who is up for re-election in 2018.

Healey is still in her first term, having been elected in 2014, and she is a standout. Previously, she was the Chief of the Civil Rights Division under her predecessor, and she led the state’s challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

She was a solid state AG already, but since Trump’s election, she has been a tireless defender of laws, norms, and civil rights.

She was among the earliest of the AGs to sign on to the lawsuit to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump promised to kill.

She has also been in the forefront of suing the Betsy DeVos-led Department of Education to allow Obama-era laws to take effect that would allow students who were cheated by colleges to discharge their federal loan debts.

Healey has also announced that she will sue Equifax over its egregious breach that compromised the personal information of roughly 143 million Americans.

Healey is up for re-election in 2018. It’s unclear if she will run for re-election; it’s possible she’ll want to challenge Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker for his post.

Regardless, Healey deserves your support on social media at the very least.

 

See the Massachusetts Attorney General’s website:

http://www.mass.gov/ago/

 

See her own website:

http://www.maurahealey.com

 

Like her on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MauraHealeyMA

 

Follow her on Twitter:

@maura_healey

 

See her page on the website of the National Association of Attorneys General:

http://www.naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag/massachusetts/maura-healey.php

 

Read various stories about her lawsuits against Equifax and the Department of Education, and the lawsuit in defense of DACA:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/equifax-data-breach-massachusetts-attorney-general-to-sue/

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2017/09/06/massachusetts-suing-daca/

http://www.wbur.org/radioboston/2017/07/06/maura-healey-devos

Action Alerts · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Tell Congress to Tell Trump to Fully Comply With The Emoluments Clause

Tell your House Rep that you want Trump to comply with the Constitution by fully and properly tracking the payments that his businesses receive from foreign governments.

A previous OTYCD post noted how Trump was in violation of the Constitution the day he took office, because of the Emoluments clause, which states that the president cannot receive gifts or payments from foreign governments. Having hotels and resorts all over the world–Washington D.C. included–with his name on them complicates the matter significantly.

In order to have a hope of complying, Trump has to track all the payments his many and varied business entities receive. Initially, his organization promised that it would donate all the profits it earned from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.

Well, on May 24, the Trump organization said it was not going to do the full due diligence required to be in compliance with the Emoluments clause, evidently because it’s just too damn hard. In an eight-page pamphlet it sent to the House Oversight Committee, it stated:

“To fully and completely identify all patronage at our Properties by customer type is impractical in the service industry and putting forth a policy that requires all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand.”

Elijah Cummings, minority leader of the house committee, shot back with deserved anger, saying the pamphlet “raised grave concerns about the president’s refusal to comply with the Constitution.”

We at OTYCD are asking you to back Cummings up by calling your house reps and demanding that the Trump organization do everything it can to get right with the Constitution, even if it’s wildly inconvenient. The sanctity of the Constitution is more important than the “guest experience” at Trump’s properties.

If your house rep IS Elijah Cummings, call him to thank him for doing the right thing.

Otherwise, riff off of this sample script:

“Dear House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code), and I am calling to ask you to demand that the Trump organization do everything it can to prove that its business entities are in compliance with the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. In late May, the organization said it would not do the work involved in confirming that its entities were respecting the Constitution because doing so might affect the quality of the “guest experience” at Trump hotels and resorts. Well, maybe Trump should have thought that through before he ran for president. The Constitution is priceless. The guest experience at Trump properties is not. If his guests have to suffer a little to ensure that the Constitution receives due respect, that’s a small price to pay, and Trump can eat it.”

 

Read about the Trump organization’s refusal to fully comply with the standards required by the Constitution:

https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/527997/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/05/24/trump-shows-he-wasnt-serious-about-shunning-emoluments/?utm_term=.b22e01bd7440

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-failing-track-foreign-cash-his-hotels-n764061

 

Read the eight-page pamphlet that team Trump prepared for the House Oversight Committee:

https://democrats-oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/Trump%20Org%20Pamphlet%20on%20Foreign%20Profits.pdf

 

Read Elijah Cummings’s rejoinder:

https://democrats-oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2017-05-24.EEC%20to%20Trump%20Organization.pdf

Ethics · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · First Amendment, Defending a Free Press · Vote with your Dollars

Support Rick Wilson’s Film, Everything Trump Touches Dies

Support Everything Trump Touches Dies, a film that Florida-based Republican strategist Rick Wilson hopes to finish in time to release in January 2018.

Rick Wilson is a Republican who has assisted several high-level Republican campaigns. We at OTYCD began following him after the 2016 election and boy, has that guy brought the fire. He has been unsparing and relentless in his savaging of Trump. If he didn’t coin the phrase “everything Trump touches dies,” he’s certainly popularized it.

He plans to co-create a feature-length documentary with that title for release in January 2018. Here’s what he says about the project on its GoFundMe page:

“We’re here to tell the story of the first year of Donald Trump’s reckless, failed Presidency and the damage he’s done to America’s reputation, values, and institutions, and to the allies and supporters who put him in office and served in his White House.

We’ve estimated a production budget of $85,000 for a completed documentary, including all editing, shooting, footage and media rights, music, professional voiceover, travel, and legal work related to the film.

We hope you’ll join us in making this important film. We’re waiving our usual production fees and putting our own funds and time into the project. If we see the kind of support we know is out there, we’ll begin production immediately, and premiere the film in January of 2018.”

This should be good.

As of September 23, Wilson and his creative partner, filmmaker Ben Howe, had raised just over $27,000 for Everything Trump Touches Dies.

If you can donate, please do. If you can’t, tell people about the project by promoting it on social media.

 

See the GoFundMe page for Everything Trump Touches Dies:

https://www.gofundme.com/everything-trump-touches-dies-film

 

Follow Rick Wilson on Twitter, and retweet his pinned tweet, which boost the documentary project:

@TheRickWilson

Elections · Ethics · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Support Democrat Kathryn Allen’s Bid to Win Chaffetz’s House Seat

Update: Kathie Allen pulled in 27.1 percent of the vote in the November 7, 2017 special election for the Utah house seat. Unfortunately, Republican John Curtis drew 57.6 percent of the vote.

See the Ballotpedia page:

https://ballotpedia.org/Kathie_Allen

Original post text follows.

Are you pissed off by Utah Republican House Rep Jason Chaffetz’s feckless leadership of the House Ethics Committee? Support Democrat Kathryn Allen’s 2018 bid to represent Utah’s 3rd District.

(Note: On April 19, Chaffetz announced he would not run to defend his house seat in 2018. But the list of reasons that make him an odious candidate are still true, so we’re leaving them in place.)

In his tenure at the head of the House Ethics Committee, Chaffetz has distinguished himself, after a fashion, by being an absolute bulldog on any possible hint of a whisper of an ethics violation by Hillary Clinton, but rolling over and playing dead when confronted with the many and legion ethics violations committed by Trump (with the notable exception of recommending that Kellyanne Conway be reprimanded for blatantly endorsing Ivanka Trump products, and asking for the Comey memo).

Normally, Chaffetz would be seen as tough to dislodge. Ballotopedia shows that he won his last House race with about 75 percent of the vote. But his cowardly, shameful, and piss-poor reactions to Trump, and to the constituents who called Chaffetz out in person at town hall meetings a few months back, have energized the opposition.

On March 6, Allen set a new one-day fundraising record on CrowdPac, a political crowdfunding site, when she took in $40,000. That happened to be the day when Chaffetz  made his clueless comment about Americans needing to choose between buying an iPhone and paying for health care. Allen, being a family physician, knows damn well what the truth of the matter is, and she reaped what Chaffetz sowed.

As of early April, she had collected more than $506,000 of her $550,000 fundraising goal for the 2018 house race. Please donate or start saving money to donate to Allen’s 2018 campaign.

See Kathryn Allen’s CrowdPac page, and donate to her campaign:

https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/181376/the-us-congress-needs-a-caring-physician

Read a Deseret News story about Allen’s arrival as a 2018 challenger:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865675117/Kathryn-Allen-is-the-underdog-running-against-Chaffetz-See-why-shes-suddenly-on-the-rise.html

See another Deseret News story that contains a clip of Allen’s appearance on the Rachel Maddow show:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865675214/Will-Kathryn-Allen-really-run-against-Chaffetz.html

See the Ballotpedia page about Utah’s 3rd Congressional District:

https://ballotpedia.org/Utah%27s_3rd_Congressional_District

Call Your House Rep · Ethics · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your House Rep to Oppose HR 620, Which Would Undermine the Rights of the Disabled

Call your house rep to oppose HR 620, which would alter the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and undermine the rights of the disabled.

The ADA was passed in 1990, under President George H. W. Bush. It required businesses to make accommodations for disabled people, including adding wheelchair ramps and bathroom facilities that can accommodate wheelchairs.

HR 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, would change the ADA to no longer require businesses to proactively comply with the law. It shifts the burden to disabled customers, who are required to inform the business owner how their rights were violated. Then the wronged disabled people have to wait six months to see if the owner does anything to fix the problems before they can go to court to get them to comply.

You might have noticed that, hey, the law is 27 years old. Shouldn’t pretty much every business that faces the public have brought itself into compliance or sought the necessary waivers? Why yes, yes, they should have. Ages ago. The current law allows businesses to stave off lawsuits if they claim they are making substantial progress toward complying with the ADA. And as you have probably guessed, the government doesn’t generally devote the time or resources needed to nudge businesses to get right with the law.

As of September 7, HR 620 has been reported out of committee. The next step, if it advances, would be a full floor vote in the House. Skopos gives the bill a 17 percent chance of becoming law. Because of where it is in the legislative cycle, we at OTYCD thought the time was right to for an anti-HR 620 action.

As always, before you call, please check the web site and social media accounts of your House rep to see if he or she has said anything about HR 620, and prepare to give thanks or heap scorn. (Politely.)

Sample script: “Dear House Rep (Lastname,) I am (Firstname Lastname from town, zip code). I am calling you to oppose HR 620, which, if passed, would undermine the civil rights of disabled people. Businesses have had 27 years to bring themselves into compliance with the ADA or pursue waivers. Weakening the ADA, which HR 620 would do, would lower the quality of life of millions of aging and disabled Americans. Please oppose this bill and ensure that it does not leave the House of Representatives. Thank you.”

 

See GovTrack’s page on HR 620:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr620

 

Read a piece from the ACLU on the likely effects of HR 620:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/disability-rights/congress-wants-change-americans-disabilities-act-and-undermine-civil-rights

 

Follow the Twitter account of ADAPT, which is all over HR 620-related news and activism:

@NationalADAPT