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Serious questions being raised about Bill Barr’s contributions to Senate Republicans

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Attorney General William Barr, now 69, has a long history of making political donations. But what changed in late 2018 and early 2019, according to a report by Ephrat Livni and David Yanofsky for Quartz, is how many he made — and in the months before his confirmation as U.S. attorney general, there was a sharp increase in Barr’s donations to Senate Republicans.

For their report, Livni and Yanofsky took a close look at the attorney general’s history of political donations. And they describe the donations Barr made from 1993 to mid-2018 as “occasional at best.” But the amount of money Barr donated politically, according to the Quartz reporters, sharply increased “in the lead-up to his Senate confirmation hearings for attorney general earlier this year.”

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Altogether, Livni and Yanofsky report, Barr donated $51,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in the five months leading up to his confirmation as U.S. attorney general by the Senate. Before 2018, the journalists note, Barr donated a total of $85,400 to the NRSC.

Livni and Yanofsky, examining Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, found that between October 2018 and February 2019, Barr’s donations to the NRSC were “ramped up” and “substantially different” from his NRSC donations prior to that.

President Donald Trump fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the 2018 midterms, temporarily appointing Matthew Whitaker to the position before nominating Barr — who was confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate on Valentine’s Day 2019. That wasn’t the first time Barr enjoyed a Senate confirmation: previously, he served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.

Those late 2018/early 2019 donations, Livni and Yanofsky point out, do not violate FEC rules. Nonetheless, Adav Noti (senior director of the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. and former associate general counsel for the FEC) told Quartz that Barr’s NRSC contributions should “raise eyebrows.”

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“The fact that any one person can give such large amounts to a political party creates a perception problem,” Noti told Quartz. “Someone giving such large amounts to a senatorial committee before their confirmation certainly raises appearance questions.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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As many as 20 corrections officers have been subpoenaed by grand jury investigating Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide

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According to sources interviewed by CNN, as many as 20 correctional officers are being called to testify before the grand jury investigating how Jeffrey Epstein was able to kill himself.

It was reported late Wednesday that there were eight officers who knew to watch Epstein while he was housed in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Epstein had left "suicide watch" after an alleged suicide attempt, and he was supposed to remain under the watchful eye of officers. However, the officers are overworked and the prison understaffed, requiring officers to work several overtime shifts, the officer's union explained.

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‘All over the map’: CNN details the bizarre surge of Trump’s flip-flops

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Following two mass shootings in one weekend, President Donald Trump promised to strengthen background checks for gun purchases. But just the next week--reportedly after speaking with NRA head Wayne LaPierre--dropped his resolve and said there were already sufficient background checks on the books.

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