Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.

 

Recent Articles

Foreign Influence Peddling Bill Comes Due

Lobbyists who have shilled for foreign interests in secret for decades may now be forced to come clean.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Paul Manafort walks from Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., on October 30, 2017. democracy_rules.jpg T he indictments of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates have triggered a long-overdue reckoning with K Street’s rampant disregard for the laws that require lobbyists representing foreign interests to publicly disclose their activities. Foreign agents on K Street and on Capitol Hill are anxiously wondering who’s next, and are bracing for new regulations, tougher enforcement, or both. The renewed focus on the disclosure law, known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act, also spotlights FARA’s potential as a potent tool to fight political disinformation campaigns by Russia or other foreign actors. FARA abuses could leave K Street with an even worse black eye than the one delivered by the Jack Abramoff scandal in 2005 and 2006, warns Paul Miller , president of the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics, who has...

On Election Security, Feds Flounder While States Make Strides

Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Images
Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Images A man walks past voting booths as New Yorkers cast ballots at Newton High School in Queens, New York democracy_rules.jpg T he debate over the Russian election interference and American election security is a case study in the utter dysfunctionality of Beltway politics. By contrast, a number of states have already embarked on practical, problem-solving innovations in securing the ballot in future elections. On the national stage, President Trump’s “election integrity” commission has careened from one controversy to another, taking steps that actually threaten to undermine ballot security. Outside the spotlight, state election officials are quietly taking steps to respond to the Russian threat and upgrade American election systems with better machines, more accurate voter rolls, and firewalls against hacking. The state-level picture is not all rosy, of course, and plenty of Republican statehouses have moved in the wrong direction with ill-advised voting...

Bannon’s Revolution Is About Power -- and Money

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks with Fox News host Sean Hannity L ike sharks sensing blood in the water, conservative political operatives have set out to cash in on the mounting anger among both populist Republican voters and big GOP donors, sometimes pulling in big salaries for themselves while doing little to help candidates or elected officials. The Republican National Committee’s record $100 million haul so far this year, a take fueled by low-dollar donors loyal to President Trump, has raised GOP hopes of a windfall on the far right. In some cases, as with the RNC’s swelling coffers, this will assist Trump. But some GOP operatives raising money off Trump’s name are actually backing candidates whom he opposes, or simply lining their own pockets as they stoke GOP extremism and infighting. Take Citizens for Trump, which despite its name endorsed Christian rightist Roy Moore in the GOP Alabama Senate primary, even as Trump publicly backed...

Team Trump’s Travel Travails

(AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher) Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks at a news conference in Las Vegas on August 28, 2017. democracy_rules.jpg T he White House is struggling to contain a potentially explosive ethics scandal, and it has nothing to do with Donald Trump’s business conflicts, the Russia inquiry or the many lobbyists writing policy in his administration. No, the real ethics nightmare that could finally rile Trump’s base voters involves the taxpayer money that super-rich cabinet officials have spent on private and military planes to questionable destinations. Unlike such obscure ethics questions as whether Trump violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the travel scandal is simple. When billionaire cabinet heads jet around on taxpayer-funded charter flights to ski resorts and sporting events, voters grasp instinctively that Beltway elites are following rules that don’t apply to average Americans. That helps explain why Trump moved so decisively to punish Tom Price , who...

Redistricting Fuels Big Money Arms Race

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta Activists rally for a fair elections outside the U.S. Supreme Court democracy_rules.jpg T he partisan gerrymandering case known as Gill v. Whitford that the Supreme Court heard Tuesday is just the beginning of a multimillion-dollar redistricting war between Republicans and Democrats over who gets to draw legislative and congressional district lines in 2021. The money is being raised through a hodge-podge of legal trusts, tax-exempt groups, and political action committees that in many cases operate outside the federal campaign-finance rules. That means that many donations are not subject to contribution limits or disclosure requirements, thanks in part to a little-noticed and arguably nonsensical Federal Election Commission ruling that in 2010 found that redistricting is not related to federal elections. “It’s an absurd fiction, but it gives the parties permission to raise unlimited money and to not disclose where that money is coming from,” says Paul Ryan...

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