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Trump administration is using this shady loophole to circumvent Senate confirmations — and it could violate federal law

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The White House is aggressively seeking to expand the authority of the executive branch of government by circumventing Senate confirmation of “acting” appointees, The Intercept reported.

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act allows the president to install acting leadership where there is a vacancy, but caps the maximum time served at 210 days. With Trump having now served over 300 days, an increasing number non-confirmed appointees have exceed the 210 day cap.

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One such case shows how the administration dropped “acting” from an appointee title, but in name only.

“Dan Simmons, an expat of the American Legislative Exchange Council, has been presiding over the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Trump administration has not named a nominee for the Senate-confirmed position, and Simmons hit his 210-day time limit on November 16. The Department of Energy subsequently removed Simmons’s title of acting director, while stating he would still “serve in a leadership capacity” as a principal deputy assistant secretary,” The Intercept explained. “Simmons signed off on a proposal to overhaul energy efficiency standards the next day.”

The administration has made similar moves at the Office of Nuclear Energy and at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

The 210 day limit is not the only violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act being used to circumvent senate approval.

At the Department of Interior, Secretary Ryan Zinke named Brian Steed acting director of the Bureau of Land Management. This violated another section of FVRA, which mandates deputy directors must work at an agency for 90 days before being made acting director. Steed has only worked at BLM since October, previously he served as chief of staff to Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT).

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The Intercept concluded that “the Trump administration has relied on the FVRA to evade the Senate confirmation process, and, in most cases, has failed to nominate anyone to the directorship posts. These functionaries, installed across the government, are able to carry out duties unilaterally.”

There is ongoing debate as to what is motivating the White House to violate the law, rather than quickly get confirmation from the Republican senate.

“It’s not that Trump would have difficulty getting his nominees through the Senate. Since 2013, the Senate confirms executive branch appointees with a majority vote. With Republicans in control, not a single Democratic vote is required for Trump to get his appointees confirmed. But floor time in the Senate is scarce, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is using it instead to ram through federal judges at a record-setting pace,” The Intercept noted. “It will be those judges who hear any challenge to the legitimacy of the no-longer-just-acting directors scattered throughout the Trump administration.”

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Giuliani associates’ company promised to build a bizarre temple over Jersusalem

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The Wall Street Journal has uncovered new details about the strange work done by Fraud Guarantee, the company founded by Lev Parnas, the indicted henchman of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Specifically, the Journal was given information from an investor who says he plugged $250,000 into Fraud Guarantee after Parnas told him that he could use his connections with President Donald Trump to help promote his initiative to create peace in the Middle East.

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2020 Election

Liberal PACs gear up for major ad blitz to flip GOP-controlled legislatures in states where Trump is vulnerable

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According to a report from Politico, two left-leaning PAC's are working in concert to flip GOP-majority legislatures in reliably conservative or too- close-to-call states.

With Donald Trump expected to be at the top of the Republican ticket, "Arena and Future Now Fund, are planning to spend $7 million to try to flip GOP-controlled state legislatures in Florida, Arizona, Michigan and North Carolina," the report states.

According to Daniel Squadron, co-founder of the Future Now Fund, "If you look at where the important states are, the places most people are watching are the Electoral College to secure the White House. But the truth is that when you talk about the impact of 2020, electoral control of the state legislatures is critical.”

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Newly revealed letter details Rudy Giuliani’s work for Fraud Guarantee company owned by indicted henchman

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A newly revealed letter sheds light on Rudy Giuliani's work for Fraud Guarantee, a company founded by his indicted associates Lev Parnas and David Correia -- and the document has been handed over to investigators.

Fraud Guarantee circulated an investor letter last year that shows the company would pay the consulting firm Giuliani Partners up to $2 million for the first year and give the former New York City mayor equity in the company, reported the Wall Street Journal.

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