Welcome To The Latest Issue Of Checks & Imbalances
Checks & Imbalances turns 1 years old today! To mark the occasion, let’s check in on some of the stories we broke over the last year.
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Updates on Checks & Imbalances’ previous reporting
Election Results For Trump’s Customers
Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders advanced to the general election after winning 83% of the vote in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Arkansas on Tuesday. Sanders’ campaign has routed $59,000 to Donald Trump via his businesses.
Businessman Charles Herbster lost in the Republican primary for governor of Nebraska on May 11. On the evening of Jan. 5, 2021, Herbster posted on Facebook that he was in Trump’s D.C. hotel with several of the president’s closest confidants, who were “joining [him] in a battle for justice and truth.”
Herschel Walker easily won the Republican primary in Georgia for a U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, garnering 68% of the vote. In March, Trump and Walker, a former running back on Trump’s professional football team in the defunct USFL, co-hosted a golf tournament at Trump’s Palm Beach club. Walker’s campaign has spent $200,000 at Mar-a-Lago so far, as CNBC first reported.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) is headed to a runoff in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate after coming in second in voting that ended on Tuesday. In July, having already spent $25,000 in campaign funds at former President Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Brooks said he wanted to “do fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago as often as I can.” Talk is cheap. Ten months later, Brooks has yet to return.
The House Committee on Ethics released details of a second House investigation into Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.V.) on Monday, two weeks after Mooney beat a fellow incumbent in a primary to stay in Congress. In October, the House Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe” Mooney may have used campaign money for personal expenses and failed to report more than $40,000 of expenditures.
The campaign for Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-Miss.) now has spent $88,000 on legal fees since December 2020, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. In August 2020, the House’s Office of Congressional Ethics voted 6-0 to investigate Palazzo for allegedly misusing his campaign funds, office staff and official position.
Three people, none of whom are members of Congress, donated a combined $30,000 to the legal defense fund of Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in the first three months of 2022, according to a disclosure he filed with the secretary of the Senate. The fund now has received a total of $570,000, with donations coming from 42 current or former lawmakers. In January 2021, the Justice Department closed its investigation into Burr for allegations of insider trading, without filing charges.
The House ethics panel announced it was investigating Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) on Monday, prompting his chief of staff to scoff, “Our office isn’t deterred in the slightest from completing the job the patriots of western North Carolina sent us to Washington to accomplish.” On Wednesday, Cawthorn was spotted in Rome, according to Nikki Schwab of the Daily Mail.
Odds And Ends
Gordon Sondland, the former U.S. ambassador to the European Union and star witness of Trump’s first impeachment trial, has stuck to his word by not making any political donations since 2019. Sondland had been a reliable donor, contributing $537,000 to federal campaigns from 1984 to 2019, as well as $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.
When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) co-hosts a fundraiser with Trump at one of his New York golf clubs in June, it won’t be the first time she has simultaneously raised money for her campaign and the former president’s business. Trump is considering Stefanik as a potential vice presidential nominee if he runs in 2024, CNN reported on Wednesday.
Jill Stein’s 2016 presidential campaign still has not repaid the ten bucks it bummed off her in March 2021. In fact, FEC records now show that Stein made a total of five $10 loans to her campaign on March 30, 2021.
In Case You Missed It
Judge Dismisses Trump Suit Against New York AG Over Fraud Investigation
“A federal judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit former President Donald Trump brought against New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) in an attempt to block her investigation into potential financial fraud by the Trump Organization,” reports Nicholas Reimann:
Trump filed the lawsuit in December, arguing James’ investigation into his business practices violated his constitutional rights…It’s unclear if Trump plans to appeal the ruling from District Judge Brenda Sannes, an Obama appointee.Attorneys representing the former president and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes
, but Trump has repeatedly called the AG’s probe a “witch hunt.”
Watch: Eric Holcomb Explains What Has Boosted Indiana’s Economy, Gives Insights Ahead Of Summit
Bribery Scandal To Cost Glencore $1.1 Billion, While Billionaire Execs Avoid Blame—For Now
For more than a decade, Glencore traders made illicit payments seem customary, reports Christopher Helman:
Glencore admits now that its traders bribed foreign officials to secure contracts and cargoes, bribed bureaucrats to avoid audits, and bribed judges to make lawsuits disappear. Its fine under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act will amount to $430 million in addition to forfeiture of $270 million of ill-gotten gains.
Two Glencore traders have so far pled guilty and are soon to be sentenced.
Trump Must Testify In New York Financial Fraud Probe, Court Says
“A New York appellate court on Thursday ruled that former President Donald Trump must testify in the New York Attorney General’s investigation into potential fraud by the Trump Organization,” reports Nicholas Reimann:
Trump’s two oldest adult children, Ivanka and Don Jr., have also been directed to “appear before my office to testify under oath.”
Eric Trump, the former president’s middle son, appeared for a deposition in the probe in 2020.
- “Trump to speak at NRA meeting in Texas days after school shooting” (The Washington Post)
- “These Investors Are Putting $1 Billion Into Trump Media” (The New York Times)
- “When Eric Trump stayed at Trump Hotels, Secret Service paid above government rate limits” (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)
- “Auditor who was fired from Axos Bank, Trump’s new lender, wins suit against bank” (NBC News)
- “Utah hunting guide is charged after using oil, grain, PASTRIES and trained dogs to illegally bait bear killed by Donald Trump Jr.” (The Daily Mail)
- “Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters spends campaign cash on Mar-a-Lago trip, movie tickets” (9 News KUSA)
- “GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales [whose district includes Uvalde, Texas] refuses to answer NBC’s Garrett Haake when asked why 18-year-olds need to be able to buy assault riffles” (Twitter/The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC). Gonzales’s campaign has accepted $6,000 from the NRA’s PAC since he first ran for Congress in 2020, according to records with the FEC.
- “Maker of rifle in Texas massacre is deep-pocketed GOP donor” (The Washington Post)
- “Gun Rights and the Senate” (Unusual Whales)
- “A Republican member of Congress owns a gun store and makes millions selling military-style rifles, body armor, ammunition, and other weapon accessories” (Insider)
- “In More Than 100 G.O.P. Midterm Ads This Year: Guns, Guns, Guns” (The New York Times)
- “While Uvalde parents waited to learn if their children were among the dead, Gov. Abbott attended high-dollar fundraiser in Walker County” (Harvey Kronberg’s Quorum Report).
- “Sen. Ron Johnson uses tax dollars to travel between Florida family home and the U.S. Capitol” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- “Frustration grows as the movement to ban stock trading in Congress stalls: ‘They’re trying to run out the clock’” (Insider)
- “Marjorie Taylor Greene’s security detail is costing her a pretty penny.” (The New York Times)
- “Ron DeSantis has at least 42 billionaire donors. Here are some of the most notable.” (Tallahassee Democrat)
- “A new personal financial disclosure filing from NC House candidate Bo Hines indicates all of the $775k he’s loaned his own campaign came from trust fund withdrawals” (Twitter/Lachlan Markay of Axios)
- “Erdogan hires cousin to win Turkish votes in U.S.” (LegiStorm)
- “Justice Department Secures Forfeiture of Maryland Property Purchased with $3.5 Million in Alleged Corruption Proceeds Linked to Ex-President of The Gambia” (The Department of Justice)
- “The expensive and unscrupulous campaign to keep an anti-abortion Democrat in Congress” (Popular Information)
- “Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu resigns amid federal investigation” (Orange County Register)
- “Billionaires Diane Hendricks and Uihleins pump $3.5 million into new group backing U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- “Would the World Be Better Off Without Philanthropists?” (The New Yorker)
- “First look: McConnell group’s $43M summer ad blitz” (Axios)
- “Mink and reptile breeders lobby up for China bill” (Politico)
- Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers (R) sent an email blast trying to raise funds off of the sexual-harassment claims against Elon Musk. (Twitter/Arizona Right Wing Watch)
- “Kanye West 2020 Campaign Claims Thousands Stolen” (TMZ)
- “Another $1.5 million in self-funding from the tech billionaire Democratic candidate for US Senate in California whose campaign is entirely premised on taking advantage of the cheaper candidate media rates to run ads critical of Elon Musk” (Twitter/Rob Pyers of California Target Book)
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