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House Ethics Committee accuses GOP Conference chairwoman of diverting taxpayer money to campaign in scathing report

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On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee released a damning report on a multi-year investigation into former House Republican Conference chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the highest-ranking GOP woman in the House.

The investigation, which began in 2013, explored allegations that Rodgers has been improperly mingling taxpayer funds for her congressional office with campaign funds for her re-election. Specifically, Rodgers allegedly “paid a consultant for official services with funds from political committees; used official resources, including staff, for campaign activities; and combined official resources and campaign resources in furtherance of her campaign for a House leadership office.”

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“The extensive record compiled by the Committee in this matter demonstrates that the offices of Representative Rodgers frequently exhibited an indifference to the laws, rules and
regulations relating to the use of official and unofficial resources,” stated the report. “This indifference led to myriad instances of resources being used inappropriately. While in some of those instances, the misuse appeared to be a minor deviation from expected conduct, at other times the impropriety was more severe. Taken as a whole, the abuses reviewed by the Committee add up to a concerning pattern over the course of more than five years.

The Committee did not find any evidence that Rodgers forced her legislative staff to engage in campaign work, which would be an even more serious offense. But the report found numerous instances in which they willingly did so, including distributing internal office materials to the campaign, printing campaign documents in congressional offices, filming campaign advertisements on congressional time, and driving her to political campaign events, all of which pose serious ethical problems.

The report concluded that Rodgers “must reimburse the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $7,575.95 for the misuse of official resources.”

You can read more here.

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2020 Election

If Democrats fight right-wing ‘fake news’ fire with fire, we all lose

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Democrats are increasingly worried about losing the 2020 presidential election to Donald Trump. The party is in seeming disarray from the botched Iowa caucuses and the failure of an "electable" frontrunner to emerge early in the primary season. Trump's fundraising and digital operations are humming, buoyed in part by his acquittal at the Senate trial which refused to remove him from office for soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 elections and obstructing the House's investigation of it.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Soledad O’Brien shames 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ hockey team for photo-op with Trump while wearing MAGA hats

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In an early Sunday morning tweet, award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien expressed her dismay with members of the 1980 Gold Medal-winning Olympic hockey team for celebrating their historic win over the then-Soviet Union -- dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" -- with Donald Trump while wearing "Make America Great Again" hats.

According to O'Brien, seeing them hand Trump a photo-op filled her with "disappointment."

Taking to Twitter, she wrote, " Ugh.... so disappointed by the @1980MiracleTeam . I loved watching that game as a kid with my dad. Loved watching the movie with my kids. To see them on a stage, in maga hats—kinda crushing I have to say."

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2020 Election

‘Nice deflection, Mr President’: Adam Schiff busts Trump for trying to blame him for his leaky administration

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) took a shot at President Donald Trump on Sunday morning after the president tried to blame him for the leak describing a classified meeting lawmakers had with an intelligence official who warned the bipartisan group that the Kremlin is trying to help the president get re-elected.

As the president prepared to leave the White House for India, he told reporters that Schiff was to blame for the leaked meeting story, with the president insisting he personally had not been briefed on the report explosive report.

Responding to a 'Meet the Press" clip of the president making his accusation, Schiff tweeted back: "Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020. Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it. You’ve betrayed America. Again."

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