Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is The American Prospect's senior editor.

 

Recent Articles

Ethics Watchdog Can Only Do So Much

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File Walter M. Shaub Jr., director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics walks on Capitol Hill in Washington. F or more than 30 years, watchdogs have pleaded in vain with Congress to strengthen the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), an independent agency set up in the wake of Watergate to ward off executive branch conflicts of interest. Now, lawmakers may finally take notice. Until this year, it’s been easy for Congress to overlook the OGE’s relative lack of clout, sleepy profile, and reluctance to take forceful action. After all, until now all presidents have voluntarily followed fixed ethics conventions, such as disclosing their taxes and placing their assets into blind trusts, and have stood squarely behind the OGE in its inevitable clashes with other federal agencies. But Donald Trump’s determination to throw those conventions out the window, and his administration’s moves to not only reject OGE’s advice but block it from doing its job, have made it...

Trump’s Assault on the ‘Administrative State’

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster FBI Director James Comey pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation." A mong those alarmed by FBI Director James Comey’s firing last week are surely many federal workers, who may see it as emblematic of Donald Trump’s deliberate attack on the nation’s 2.7 million civil servants. Trump’s eagerness to fire government employees, for political or other reasons, has been on display since his campaign pledge to freeze federal hiring and end “waste, fraud and abuse.” Presidential chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon put it more bluntly following Trump’s election, pledging the “ deconstruction of the administrative state .” Some of Trump’s firings, such as his dismissals of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, have raised questions about his motives. Like Comey, Yates, and Bharara—who refused to step down...

Lobbying for Foreign Interests -- and Not Reporting It

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington. D onald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey has thrust foreign governments’ growing influence on American politics and policy—and U.S. officials’ failure to police it—front and center on Capitol Hill. The immediate question facing Congress is whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s role in the U.S. presidential race, something Democrats demand and GOP leaders reject. But the Russia probe has also shed light on another problem that worries lawmakers on both sides of the aisle: the secrecy that shrouds foreign influence peddling. In theory, U.S. lobbyists representing foreign governments and interests must register and disclose their activities with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a 1938 law written to stop Germany from using American firms to spread Nazi propaganda. In...

Shareholders Demand Disclosure -- and Republicans Push Back

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta House Financial Services Committee Chairman Representative Jeb Hensarling speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, during the committee's hearing on overhauling the nation's financial rules. C orporate political spending has spiked noticeably in the business-friendly Trump era, but so has the pressure on corporations to fully disclose the money they pour into politics. Shareholders have filed dozens of resolutions this proxy season that call on companies to explain and account for their political spending. In January and February alone, shareholders filed 90 resolutions relating to political activity, including one that comes before the Berkshire Hathaway board on May 6. By one estimate, such resolutions numbered 105 in 2016. But Republicans on Capitol Hill, under pressure from business lobbyists, have introduced legislation authored by Texas Representative Jeb Hensarling that would silence most shareholders as part of a larger bill to...

Should ‘Dark’ Money Power the Resistance to Trump?

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez Members of the Orchard City Indivisible Group raise their hands in support of a fellow member who spoke before the city's council against the policies of President Trump in Campbell, California. W hen a pair of former Democratic Hill aides put out a Donald Trump resistance manual dubbed the Indivisible Guide in December, they deliberately set out to emulate the hyper-local tactics so successfully deployed by the Tea Party. Not lost on the authors of the guide, which went instantly viral and garnered $1 million in contributions to fund a group dubbed the Indivisible Project, was that Tea Party organizers had run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service for allegedly diving into politics while seeking tax exemption. Pressured by Republicans following a critical inspector general report, the IRS later apologized for improperly targeting Tea Party groups, but the flap exposed the perils for nonprofits that enter the political fray. Undaunted, the Indivisible...

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