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BUSTED: Tea Party leader stole $10 million from gullible right-wing donors

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According to Politico, Kelley Rogers, a Maryland-based GOP consultant, pleaded guilty to wire fraud this week.

Rogers, who ran multiple right-wing action committees including Conservative Majority Fund and Tea Party Majority, took in $10 million from mostly small donors since 2012, but only disbursed $48,400 to politicians.

The rest of the money, according to prosecutors, was used to pay himself and his friends, as well as settle legal fees from a state lawsuit investigating his political activity — all the while sending emails to donors bragging about how much he was doing to fight President Barack Obama and illegal immigration.

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“Rogers swindled millions of dollars from individuals attempting to participate in our democratic process,” said Washington Field Office assistant director Timothy Slater. “Instead of using donations to provide assistance and support to military veterans, as he advertised, Rogers used the money to benefit himself and his associates.”

The original investigation of Rogers by Politico and ProPublica, which first led the FBI to raid his Maryland offices and arrest him in 2017, showed that Conservative Majority Fund relied on donor information it collected for the American Conservative Union (ACU) — the organizer of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — to target people to defraud. ACU says that it had no knowledge of what Rogers or his PACs were doing.

The case is an important landmark in the government’s efforts to crack down on so-called “scam PACs.” Such PACs are easier than ever to set up in the wake of court rulings like Citizens United and gridlock at the Federal Election Commission, which shut down at the end of August as the retirement of GOP commissioner Matthew Petersen left the body without a quorum.

Rogers is scheduled to be sentenced in January, on top of forfeiting the money he earned and paying nearly $500,000 in restitution.


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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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Some Trump supporters ‘delight’ in defying pandemic protocols to stick it to liberals: report

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A new report from The Atlantic's McKay Coppins reveals that some conservative Trump supporters are intentionally defying recommended social distancing protocols as a way to stick it to their political foes.

In his article, Coppins interviews Georgia resident Geoff Frost, who says that older conservatives who play at his local country club have made a habit of blowing off recommendations against shaking hands and sharing golf carts during the worst public health crisis the United States has faced in decades.

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Alternet 2020

Pandemic modelers warn that Trump’s lies may increase the spread of COVID-19

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Epidemiologists model how an infectious disease outbreak may spread within and between communities. The computer models are based on research into past epidemics, the virulence of a pathogen,the  severity of the illness it causes and various other factors. But these scientists assume that leaders will offer a coherent response to the crisis, and that people will modify their behavior appropriately. Trump, the conservative press and the Republican base are upending those assumptions.

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