Eliza Newlin Carney

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

 

Recent Articles

Pro-Gorsuch Ads Backfired

Conservatives spent millions on ads to pressure Democrats to back Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, one key reason many are now voting against him

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File
rules-logo-109_2.jpg Undisclosed political money has been a key factor in the fight over Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation, both as a tool for big-spending conservative groups, and as a flash point for Democratic opposition. Close to two dozen of the Senate Democrats who have vowed to block Gorsuch have denounced both the more than $10 million spent—with no disclosure—to promote him, and Gorsuch’s own failure to endorse political transparency. On campaign-finance issues, Gorsuch appears to fall to the right of the late Antonin Scalia, who favored deregulation but who staunchly defended political disclosure . Gorsuch also has regarded contribution limits to candidates’ campaigns, one of the few remaining pillars of the campaign-finance regime, in a more critical light than the Supreme Court has. “This issue has galvanized the Democratic caucus,” says David Donnelly, president of EveryVoice, which joined with 121 civil rights,...

A White House Without Rules

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
rules-logo-109_2.jpg So many ethics complaints have now been lodged against the Trump administration that it’s getting hard to keep track. The billionaires running cabinet agencies, the White House advisers accused of self-dealing, and the president’s own failure to divest from his increasingly lucrative business holdings have all drawn so much notice that Americans may be tempted to tune out. But the story of Trump administration ethics conflicts is not going away, and every new revelation sheds disturbing light on a White House culture that celebrates self-enrichment, and that treats the president’s inner circle as literally exempt from the rules that lay out a precise code of conduct for executive branch officials. The White House’s freewheeling attitude toward presidential advisers, in particular, poses special dangers and has rung alarm bells on Capitol Hill and in the federal Office of Government Ethics. The latest complaint comes from Citizens for...

Will the Koch Brothers Save Obamacare?

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File
rules-logo-109_2.jpg Progressives campaigning to defend Barack Obama’s signature health-care law may find their biggest assist comes from the unlikeliest of allies: the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch and their conservative network. The Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity, having spent tens of millions to oppose the Affordable Care Act, is now gearing up to throw more big money behind a campaign to block congressional Republicans’ health-care replacement bill. Deep-pocketed conservative groups such as the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and Heritage Action for America have also panned the House GOP health-care plan, and are mounting an aggressive counter-attack. Of course, right-leaning and progressive activists are assailing the House GOP bill unveiled this week for completely opposite reasons. Conservatives say the Republican bill, officially the American Health Care Act, does too little to dismantle Obamacare. Progressives protest that the GOP...

The FEC’s Open Hostilities, Dysfunction, and Intimidation Foreshadowed the Trump Era

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
rules-logo-109_2.jpg Democrat Ann Ravel’s departure from the Federal Election Commission could set the stage for a shakeup that propels the agency away from mere dysfunction and into the realm of aggressive campaign-finance deregulation. The scathing “ Dysfunction and Deadlock ” report that Ravel released on leaving the commission makes it look as though the six-member FEC couldn’t possibly get any less effective than it is today. The percentage of substantive votes that ended in stalemate spiked from 2.9 percent in 2006 to 30 percent in 2016. Fines dropped from $5.5 million to $595,425 during that same window. Blatant campaign-finance violations on issues ranging from employee political coercion to the use of shell corporations and nonprofits to hide campaign spending went uninvestigated and unpunished. But the FEC’s failure to enforce the rules, while a longtime sore point for watchdogs, could start to look downright harmless if President Trump hand...

Trump’s Get-Rich-Quick Presidency

(Photo: AP/Riccardo Savi)
On Saturday, the Embassy of Kuwait plans to celebrate its National Day at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., one of the more than 500 businesses in roughly two dozen countries around the world owned by the president of the United States. Embassy officials have denied reports that they moved their celebrations to the president’s D.C. hotel under political pressure from the Trump Organization, even though they originally planned to hold their event at the Four Seasons in Georgetown. But even if the Kuwaitis chose Trump’s hotel for non-political reasons, their National Day venue epitomizes the ethical conflicts and legal peril that Trump cannot avoid as both president and owner of an international business conglomerate. Until now, Trump has brushed aside suggestions that he divest from his vast business holdings, arguing in essence that the president can do whatever he wants. While it’s technically true that federal ethics laws do not require the...

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