Stewart Rhodes forced his child to guard the family home with a rifle and body armor: court docs

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes allegedly made his son, Dakota, guard his younger siblings with a rifle when they played outside and, in a paranoia-fueled incident when Dakota was 16, forced the boy to wear full body and patrol their house with a gun while the rest of the family fled.

“Stewart became convinced that a power outage was a pending governmental raid and ordered Dakota to don full body armor with a rifle as the family fled their home in the middle of the night, anticipating an attack,” according to court documents obtained by Raw Story.

The document continued, “Dakota is angry that Stewart subjected him, at age 16, to being killed as an armed hostile if there had actually been an encounter with governmental forces.”

New information from the full divorce file of Rhodes adds to the sad and sordid tale of family life with the man convicted of seditious conspiracy and recently sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for his role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Raw Story obtained the court file from Lincoln County District Court in Montana. The judge unsealed it last month.

Raw Story had previously reported exclusive details involving Rhodes' dysfunctional family life: shocking allegations of abuse contained in an unsealed affidavit filed by his now ex-wife Tasha Adams and the concern of Rhodes’ son Dakota that his father might receive a presidential pardon rather than serve his entire prison sentence.

RELATED ARTICLE: Stewart Rhodes' son fears Trump or DeSantis will pardon his father

“From testimony, the parties lived an unusual life style,” the judge wrote. “All of the children were required to carry knives at all times from an early age.”

A court filing said Rhodes told the children “that they were going to be raped or dismembered if they were unable to defend themselves.”

She stated Rhodes “held a pistol to his head multiple times during arguments.” Rhodes denied the allegation and denied abusing his children, generally. He earlier said Adams and her attorney “twisted over 23 years of facts.

Rhodes was allegedly away from the home 30 percent to 40 percent of the time and criticized his wife’s home schooling of the children, saying he taught them history, geography, and the Greek classics. He said he was unaware that two of them couldn’t read.

The judge, however, wasn’t buying it.

“It is hard to believe … that he would be unaware that two of the children could not read if he was indeed teaching history, geography and the Greek classics,” the judge wrote.

RELATED ARTICLE: Angry, violent and abusive: Unsealed court docs allege Stewart Rhodes created ‘constant fear’ at home

Rhodes’ family didn’t use mainstream medical services. All of the children were born at home.

Tasha and Dakota stated that one of the minor children “cut the tip of her finger off with a knife while at a wilderness survival camp with Stewart. In none of the instances of alleged injury to the children was medical assistance sought other than a midwife who advised care of (minor) finger, apparently over the telephone.”

Stewart Rhodes acknowledged a history of being abused as a child and said he suffered from “severe” depression and had sex addiction as a result.

In a May 2018 hearing to determine whether the minor children needed a guardian ad litem — a third party to watch over the minor children’s interests — former Oath Keeper Jason Van Tatenhove testified for Rhodes.

Van Tatenhove would later leave the organization, write a book and testify before the January 6 Committee.

At the time of the Montana court hearing, however, Van Tatenhove said Rhodes lived in his basement, according to a filing by Tasha. The judge noted that it was rent free, “although he sometimes purchases groceries.”

In October 2019, Rhodes filed a handwritten note to the court.

He requested “all filings in my case, as I no longer have an attorney (and) need to have everything so I can represent myself.”

Revealed: Mar-a-Lago wasn't the first time Trump 'evidence' was flooded

Donald Trump has been here before — 35 years ago — with an investigation. Then a flood in a room with evidence.

It happened when auditors in New York City spent two years probing more than $3 million in unpaid rent the city was expecting from Trump’s Grand Hyatt hotel from operations in 1986.

That flood was noted in passing as part of a 2016 report by CBS News in the context of then-candidate Trump refusing to release his tax returns, purportedly because he was being audited. It said the two-year audit of Trump’s hotel from the late 1980s involved “stonewalling, disorganization and obfuscation at every turn.”

The story has a whole new context after CNN reported that in October of last year, a drained swimming pool at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and resort flooded a room with computer servers containing surveillance video.

Skepticism abounded immediately that it was done on purpose to damage evidence in the Justice Department’s investigation of potential obstruction. Trump is under investigation for his handling of classified documents after leaving office as president. The video could show how and when documents were moved.

In the Grand Hyatt case, city auditors filed a 73-page report, posted by CBS News. It said that Trump’s lease obligations should have required substantial documentation — “documentation (that) the Hotel — for one reason or another — could not or did not provide.”

Of particular interest today is the next sentence.

“In September, 1988, the Hotel informed us that it could not locate seven of the twelve monthly general ledgers, because they ‘were discarded after they were severely damaged by water when the room in which they were stored was flooded,’” the report said.

Two months later, the report said, “summary information” about the data being sought was found at a storage site in New Jersey.

“We determined the summaries would be sufficient for our purpose, although their use entailed substantial additional labor to reconstruct the details of the monthly transactions,” the report said.

The audit report went on to describe more delays and missing documents.

The Trump hotel’s “resistance to our review and the Hotel's lapses in record keeping had substantial impact upon our inquiry's scope and methodology,” the report said.

Trump’s rent was tied in part to the hotel’s gross revenue and profits. The report’s Executive Summary said auditors were investigating why the hotel paid $3.7 million for rent in 1985 and, although its gross revenues increased in 1986, it paid only $667,155.

After lawsuits and the bankruptcy of an accounting firm used by Trump, the case was mistakenly labeled as disposed and later reopened. Trump had sold the hotel and the new owners reached an undisclosed settlement, CBS News reported.

‘GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY !!!’: Emails detail outrage over cancellation of LGBTQ-themed play in Indiana

Some emails contained vitriolic screeds. Others expressed concern for gay teachers. One offered a plaintive plea from a high school student bewildered by the conduct of adults.

Taken together, emails obtained by Raw Story help tell the inside story of what would this week become a national news event — the resurrection of an LGBTQ-themed play, "Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood," following its cancellation by a public high school in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The students, with outside financial and logistical support, put on the play anyway as an independent production after a months-long saga involving Carroll High School, principal Cleve Million and district superintendent Wayne Barker.

“I'm guessing you are a True Florida Man and this is all about Don't say Gay....well Wayne GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY !!!” one email said. “Your main role is to educate our kids, well … you've done your job to educate them in YOUR HOMOPHOBIA! Signed, straight married white dude.”

Another wrote that Northwest Allen County Schools “used to be a place any teacher would desire to work. It's very sad that it's come to this point. Please STOP catering to these parents and students with their ultra right wing agenda. They will never stop complaining and trying to force their agenda on our schools until you stand up and say NO. We are a PUBLIC school. Show your teachers you support them!”

Raw Story obtained the emails through the Indiana Access to Public Records Act. The district lightly redacted some of the emails and cited exceptions in public records law to withhold others. Raw Story redacted emailers' personal contact information.

The issues discussed in the emails attracted the attention of media from the Washington Post to Playbill, which publishes programs for Broadway and Off Broadway shows and covers the industry. It also elicited an inquiry from the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Barker, who also received emailssupporting the school’s actions, answered most critics by offering to meet with them and explaining that the cancellation was Million’s decision — and that he supported it.

ALSO READ:Neo-Nazi Marine Corps vet accused of plotting terror attack possessed classified military materials: sources

“It became apparent to Mr. Million that this was becoming a divisive issue for students who were interested in participating in the play,” Barker wrote. “For those reasons, it was cancelled.”

At least one emailer wouldn’t accept that explanation.

“You certainly understand that, given the comments of (school) board members, it’s hard to view this as anything other than a reaction to queer content in this play,” he said.

Another emailer took a particularly harsh tone, writing to Barker, “I am simply ashamed of the cowardice demonstrated by you and the rest of the school board in cowing to the fascist thugs who use religion to justify policy at a secular institution. You have no right to call yourself a man, stand up for freedom of speech or resign, as cowards have no place in the education of our youth.”

An emailer to Million and school board members asked them for empathy.

“Please put yourselves in the shoes of a young person who is targeted by this kind of hate in their very own community,” it said, “by parents who claim to be caring, Christian adults, and by classmates who openly call them faggots and other slurs, tell them they should just do the world a favor and kill themselves, etc.”

Million responded that he had met with “many” LGBTQ+ students who reached out to him.

“They have been good, positive, and constructive conversations,” Million wrote. “Many of our conversations have centered around support not only for the LGBTQ+ students but all students and what that could look like. As I continue to have these conversations with students, I am gaining their insight at how we can support and protect them.”

ALSO READ: 'No idea how evil': Tucker Carlson's counterpart recalls their forgotten C-SPAN segment

A teacher in the Fort Wayne district, which is in Indiana’s second-largest city, wrote to Barker that his colleagues “fear that this will open the door and invite more bigotry aimed beyond just the students.”

“When a colleague approaches you and tearfully asks, ‘What will happen when a parent complains about my orientation?’ it is easy to feel apprehensive about the climate in the district,” the email said. “Unfortunately, there are those in this community who will see the cancellation of the play as a win for their beliefs, be they political, religious, or otherwise, and they will feel emboldened to push even more in the future.”

Another emailer feared educational quality could suffer if the district is seen as bigoted.

“If our teachers continue to have to deal with being called groomers, being told they are indoctrinating their students and pushing their personal beliefs on them, they will leave,” it said. “With all of the new anti-LGBTQIA bills being passed, they will now have to worry about outing their students to parents, dealing with students who no longer trust them as teachers, and constantly worrying about saying something to offend a student or parent.”

One student’s email showed maturity well beyond many teenagers’ years.

“Parents care more about students’ identity, ethnicity, race, and political views than any student at Carroll,” the student wrote. “Honestly, Carroll students do a really good job at representing equality and not caring about people’s identity. Although seeing adults act the way they do just makes me question the people that are supposed to be building my future and my peers’ future. It’s scary seeing adults treat kids this way.”

Stewart Rhodes' son fears Trump or DeSantis will pardon his father

Dakota Adams, eldest son of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, was somewhat disappointed with the 18-year prison sentence a federal judge imposed Thursday on his convicted seditionist father.

Adams considers it too short.

“I was hoping for better than 20 (years), but it still means he's going to die in prison unless he's pardoned, and that's good enough for me," Adams said in an exclusive interview with Raw Story.

Therein lies the rub: unless he’s pardoned.

That’s part of why Adams, 26, said the sentence, for seditious conspiracy at the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, did not represent "closure" for him. Prosecutors asked for 25 years.

“I'm no longer in an emotional landscape where I'm thinking about having a relationship with Stewart, where terms like 'closure' would apply,” he said. “Basically, it's just the threat that Stewart presents has been decreased where the only hurdle remaining is if someone insane wins the presidential election and pardons him for political points."

RELATED ARTICLE: Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes sentenced to 18 years in prison

At a CNN town hall earlier this month, former President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election in 2024 amid his numerous legal troubles, mused about pardoning perpetrators of the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

“I am inclined to pardon many of them,” Trump said, adding that he would take up the issue early in another potential presidency. “I can’t say for every single one, because a couple of them, probably they got out of control.”

Newly minted Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis — one of several Republicans now vying to run against presumptive 2024 Democratic nominee President Joe Biden in next year's general election — also weighed in on pardoning people convicted of crimes connected to the January 6 attack.

“On day one, I will have folks that will get together and look at all these cases, people who are victims of weaponization or political targeting, and we will be aggressive in issuing pardons,” DeSantis said Thursday on a podcast.

Speaking to the court before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta announced the sentence, Rhodes said he was a “political prisoner.” The judge retorted, “You’re not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes. You’re here because of your actions.”

Adams, who wrote in Raw Story about the process of extracting himself from Rhodes’ far-right paranoia, said he’s concerned about DeSantis who, at age 44, is more than three decades younger than Trump.

"DeSantis has been exhibiting all the characteristics of a wanna-be strongman dictator, in his actions as governor of Florida,” Adams said. “And I see inside the mainstream GOP a slow-moving effort to rig the presidential election permanently."

By that, he said he meant gerrymandering and voter suppression, abetted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Speaking to the court Thursday, Rhodes compared himself to Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

"Stewart is completely obsessed with 'The Gulag Archipelago,'” Adams said of Solzhenitsyn’s book, which described forced labor and show trials in the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin. “He quoted Solzhenitsyn all the time. It was one of his favorite people to pull quotes from. I'm not convinced he actually read 'The Gulag Archipelago,' cover to cover, instead of the cursory reading you do to kind of 'front,' like you've really absorbed the work."

Rhodes also told the court Thursday that he felt like the protagonist in Franz Kafka’s 'The Trial,' an early 20th-century work that depicted a character who was arrested without knowing the charge.

"That's a really funny comparison because Stewart absolutely knows what he's on trial for,” Adams said. “It's never been unclear. He's certainly delusional enough to see himself as the accused in The Trial."

Earlier this week, Adams’ mother, Tasha, was officially divorced from Rhodes. Raw Story exclusively obtained her 2018 affidavit in which she alleged depraved and paranoid behavior by her then-husband, including beating his children and emotionally abusing them. The court this week unsealed the affidavit and other documents in the case.

Dakota Adams said that reading that Raw Story article brought back horrific memories.

"I've been in therapy for over a year now and I'm exorcizing a lot of ghosts by writing about my childhood,” Adams said. “It is nice that there are finally consequences (for Rhodes), but mostly it's the cold calculation that Stewart is no longer a potential short-term threat, roaming loose in the world and trying to rebuild his private army."

Angry, violent and abusive: Unsealed court docs allege Stewart Rhodes created ‘constant fear’ at home

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes — a key figure in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — beat his kids, used the toilet in their presence, encouraged them to use drugs and harbored an “obsession with sex (that) led him to incredibly inappropriate behavior around the children,” newly released court filings obtained by Raw Story allege.

A 2018 affidavit, filed by Rhodes’ ex-wife, Tasha Adams, as part of her divorce proceedings, alleged that Rhodes’ emotional and physical abuse of their children included punching and choking them.

The affidavit — which Rhodes said in his own court filing “twisted over 23 years of facts” — also alleges that Rhodes’ abuse included the family’s pets.

“Stewart has also kicked, hit, and punched the dogs in front of the children so many times,” the affidavit said. “One time he racked his pistols and almost shot our puppy in front of all the children.”

The allegations against Rhodes included gross violations of his children’s privacy.

“When he still lived with us Stewart insisted on going into the bathroom and using the toilet while the girls were showering,” the document states. “(One of his daughters) noticed a direct correlation between his insistence on using the bathroom while the girls were showering and his mood.

“The angrier he was, the more likely he was to force the door open or to order them not to use the lock I had installed on the bathroom door,” the document continues. “Eventually, he broke the lock. He would tell them to just close the curtain while he sat down.”

ALSO READ: Two bloodthirsty extremists are accused of the same murder, but one won't face trial — here's why

The document also cited another allegation about Rhodes’ behavior involving one of his daughters.

“Stewart told her all about how he used to get paid (during our marriage) to have sex with other men's wives while they watched,” the affidavit states. “He described what they paid him to do, how he found partners using Craigslist, and that it was all basically a charitable act because some of these men were disabled.”

One alleged incident involved Rhodes watching pornography at the kitchen table with the volume turned up and his children present.

“The older children said they would turn up the TV to drown out the noise so the little ones couldn't hear,” the document says.

Rhodes answered the affidavit by accusing Adams of fomenting parental alienation.

“Tasha and her attorney twisted over 23 years of facts in an attempt to accomplish Tasha's true goal of keeping the children from me,” Rhodes’ court filing said. “There are simply no grounds to restrict my contact with the children other than Tasha apparently now wants to change a lifestyle and parenting methodology she actively participated in for over 20 years. That is neither the basis of an emergency nor grounds to withhold me from the children.”

‘Grabbed her by the throat’

Rhodes was convicted in November of seditious conspiracy against the United States and other offenses related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Earlier this month, prosecutors asked for a 25-year prison sentence.

“Rhodes used his powers of persuasion and his platform as leader of the Oath Keepers to radicalize more than 20 other American citizens to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Those who have studied Rhodes and who know him best suggest that such behavior is completely in character and unlikely to change.”

Rhodes’ defense team portrayed him as a loyal follower of former President Donald Trump who was ready to follow orders from the president to help overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Donald Trump, Stewart RhodesStewart Rhodes attempted to communicate with then-President Donald Trump ahead of the Jan.6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, although there's no evidence that the two men ever connected. (Rhodes picture by Nicholas Kamm for AFP, Trump by Chandan Khanna for AFP)

Rhodes also said that he would have killed then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to a recording presented at trial.

Raw Story obtained Adams’ affidavit and other divorce documents from a source, not from the Lincoln County (Montana) District Court, where the documents were filed.

A court clerk confirmed Tuesday that the documents were unsealed but could not immediately provide certified copies.

After a court session Monday afternoon, Adams and her oldest son Dakota recorded a video that was posted on Twitter.

“I’m divorced,” Adams said. “My case has been unsealed. … And we get to talk about things that happened in the divorce. … Stewart did not show up to this. There was an open Zoom. … My lawyer is an incredible badass and everything is wonderful.”

Adams’ allegations of physical abuse includes the description of an incident where Rhodes swung one of their daughters around by her hair because her room was messy.

ALSO READ: Jericho March extremists illustrate threat of present-day MAGA violence

Another allegation involved Rhodes’ daughter, then 14: “Stewart grabbed her by the throat and choked her. He pulled back his opposite fist to punch her in the face but my son yelled from across the yard and Stewart let go, so she ran into the house.”

The document alleges that the oldest child, son Dakota, endured much of the abuse.

“The worst time was probably when he was 13,” Stewart’s ex-wife said in the court document. “I had left the room and Stewart punched him in the head so hard that he was dizzy and sick afterwards, fell on his knees, and couldn't see in full color for two days. I walked in on the scene, saw Dakota falling to his knees.”

Rhodes, the document alleges, also referred to his children as a “f—--- lazy little bitch,” “retarded” and “stupid.”

The document said he routinely pitted the children against each other in “stick fighting,” leaving them bruised.

“Stewart’s world view is that we are always under attack and need to be prepared to defend ourselves,” the affidavit says. “He continually tells the children about rape and murder in detail far too graphic for their ages, telling them about the mechanics of rape and how little children are often kidnapped and tortured and chopped up. He keeps the children in constant fear of rape and murder as a control tactic.”

The document said Rhodes, a Yale Law School graduate, did “training scenarios” with the older daughters where he did a mock attack and they had to fight him off.

“When they got to the point where they couldn’t fight him anymore,’ the document alleges, “he would yell that they had just been raped and murdered.”

How Des Moines forced Donald Trump to pay his bills

Ahead of Donald Trump’s campaign visit to Iowa last week, the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation made sure it was financially protected from the nation’s bill-skipper-in-chief.

According to documents obtained by Raw Story through an Iowa public records request, the public operator of Lauridsen Amphitheater in Des Moines, Iowa, compelled the Trump 2024 campaign committee to sign a six-page contract to use the facility for a May 13 rally that was ultimately canceled because of potential tornadoes in the area.

The Water Works Park Foundation charged the Trump campaign $12,900 for rent, not including fencing, parking personnel and portable toilets, according to the contract, which Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate signed.

“Base rent fee is due prior to event, any additional fees as ordered by DJTFP24 will be due within 30 days of event’s conclusion,” the contract said in bold type, referring to the Trump 2024 campaign.

Sam Carrell, executive director of the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation, said Tuesday that the Trump campaign indeed paid ahead.

"While we don’t offer a refund, we do offer other open make up dates when weather forces a cancellation," Carrell told Raw Story.

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump's Waco rally leaves El Paso officials seething

The Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to "improve the quality of life for Central Iowan’s by the enhancement of Water Works Park in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Trump campaign also appears to at least be liable for more than $1,000 of damage to grass. As Axios reported, “Before leaving the park, a semi-truck went off a rock path and into soggy grass areas that were off limits to vehicles. Then, food truck drivers and other vendors drove on the same spots.”

Another part of the contract obtained by Raw Story said the Trump campaign “shall be responsible for, and pay for damages to the Water Works grounds and facilities, which are caused by the event.”

Trump, according to Axios, has reportedly agreed to pay, but the campaign did not respond to the story.

The contract states that the Trump campaign was required to have a “comprehensive general liability insurance policy, including public liability and property damage, covering its activities hereunder, in an amount not less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000).”

The contract did not, however, require the Trump campaign to pay for associated local public safety costs — the kind that Trump officials have generally avoided in recent years. Trump has a long history of ignoring bills in business and politics. Numerous cities are still asking Trump to pay police- and public safety-related bills from his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

ALSO READ: Trump again pushes back deadline to reveal his finances

This year — eight days before Trump’s rally on March 25 in Waco, Texas — public officials there signed a detailed contract with the Trump campaign ahead of Trump’s event at the city-owned Waco Regional Airport.

Because the event was at a municipal facility, city officials had more legal leverage over the Trump campaign, and they used it — including forcing Trump to foot bills for “public safety, sanitation and transportation personnel and resources required to preserve public order and protect public health, safety and welfare”.

At the same time, officials in El Paso, Texas, were still waiting for Trump to pay up for public safety-related costs stemming from a February 2019 visit.

"The Trump campaign has not submitted any payments for their debt," El Paso city spokesperson Laura Cruz-Acosta told Raw Story, noting that Trump’s tab is $569,204.63, including a city-issued late fee of $98,787.58.

Rudy Giuliani is still an honored man at these five colleges — despite a tsunami of legal scandal

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a central figure during Donald Trump’s presidency, stands accused of sexually assaulting an ex-employee.

He is also accused of offering to sell presidential pardons for $2 million each — he denies wrongdoing.

And that’s just last week.

Giuliani also repeatedly lied about President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, according to the House January 6 Committee.

He actively worked to overturn the 2020 presidential election’s results and is facing a civil defamation suit brought by Georgia election workers.

He rallied Trump supporters to stage a “trial by combat” just before they attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and has advocated bombing Mexico.

He violated professional legal standards, per a D.C. Bar disciplinary committee.

Worse yet for Giuliani, he’s endured the suspension of his law license in New York and Washington, D.C, with a New York court declaring Giuliani’s “conduct immediately threatens the public interest” while he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign.”

Even Giuliani’s own lawyer is just about through with him.

But at Georgetown University, Syracuse University, St. John Fisher University, Loyola University Maryland and The Citadel, Giuliani remains an honored man.

At present, each school has allowed Giuliani to keep honorary degrees they bestowed on him before his MAGA-era troubles began — despite, in some cases, mounting outrage from students, faculty and alumni.

Any of them could take Giuliani’s degrees back.

“If at any time during the life of an awardee the University becomes aware of documented evidence of criminal, unethical or immoral behavior or activity, the University has the right to rescind the honorary degree,” Georgetown University’s honorary degree revocation policy states.

“In considering any revocation, Georgetown would follow this policy,” the university wrote in a statement to Raw Story in confirming the former mayor “received an honorary degree from Georgetown in 2002 at the Law Center Commencement.”

Georgetown University officials this week refused to say, however, whether the school’s board and administration are actively attempting to strip Giuliani of his degree, and if so, where the process — if there is one — stands.

That’s more than the other four schools were willing to say about Giuliani.

The Citadel spokesman Zachary Watson acknowledged — but did not answer — Raw Story’s questions about the status of the honorary degree Rudy Giuliani received from the South Carolina military school in 2007.

Then-Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani (center) receives an honorary degree of doctor of public administration from Citadel Associate Provost Isaac Metts (right) on May 5, 2007. Stephen Morton/Getty Images

Officials at Syracuse University and St. John Fisher University in New York, as well as Loyola University Maryland, did not respond to repeated phone and email messages.

Their silence stands in stark contrast to the messages three other schools — the University of Rhode Island, Drexel University in Pennsylvania and Middlebury College in Vermont — have sent Giuliani: they’ve already revoked honorary degrees they had awarded him.

“The totality of Mr. Giuliani’s recent actions, which have led to the suspension of his license to practice law, include repeated unfounded claims of widespread election fraud, have significantly contributed to undermining the public’s faith in our democratic institutions and in the integrity of our judicial system, and stand in clear opposition to Drexel’s values,” Drexel wrote in 2021 when it deep-sixed Giuliani’s 2009 honorary doctor of laws degree.

Last year, after the University of Rhode Island Board of Trustees unanimously revoked honorary degrees awarded to both Giuliani and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, school President Marc Parlange said that the men “no longer represent the highest level of our values and standards that were evident when we first bestowed the degree.”

‘It’s just disappointing’

In a text message to Raw Story, Giuliani communications and political adviser Ted Goodman said, "Frankly, we weren't even aware of those decisions, and it's just disappointing, and it says more about the culture of these institutions than anything else."

At Georgetown University, institutional culture is exactly the reason why the school should terminate Giuliani’s honorary degree, one student group argues.

The “ongoing revelations about Mr. Giuliani’s inappropriate behavior and personal corruption represent egregious violations of the Jesuit values that guide Georgetown,” the Georgetown University College Democrats told Raw Story in a statement.

“His behavior has clearly risen to the level of ‘unethical and immoral,’ the university's standards for revoking honorary degrees,” the Georgetown University College Democrats continued. “The University should join its peer institutions across the country by immediately revoking Mr. Giuliani’s honorary degree to preserve the integrity and reputation of the school. A failure to do so would compromise Georgetown’s commitment to its Jesuit mission and the advancement of the common good.”

ALSO READ: Jericho March extremists illustrate threat of present-day MAGA violence

At St. John Fisher University, a private Catholic College near Rochester, N.Y., legal studies professor James Bowers introduced Giuliani before the former mayor received an honorary degree from the school in 2015. But Bowers has since changed his mind on Giuliani, telling Insider last year that he “clearly no longer represents the values that the Board of Trustees and our president professes that they believe in.”

According to student news organization Cardinal Courier, hundreds of alumni signed a letter asking the school to de-honor Giuliani. But university president Gerard Rooney declared in response: "After consultation with board leadership, the Board of Trustees is not planning to revisit this matter at this time."

Eighty miles east down Interstate 90, Giuliani received his earliest honorary degree in 1989 from Syracuse University’s College of Law. He also delivered Syracuse University’s commencement address in May 2002, eight months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But as Giuliani’s reputation as “America’s mayor” tarnished, David Bruen, president of Syracuse’s student government from 2021 to 2023, worked through the University Senate in an attempt to rescind the honorary degree.

“It was very concerning because earlier that year was January 6 and he played an integral role in disinformation and trying to overturn the result,” Bruen told Raw Story. “Joe Biden has an actual degree from (Syracuse’s) College of Law and Giuliani tried to overturn the election of an actual alum.”

The University Senate, a body of roughly 150 including students, faculty, and staff, passed a resolution to rescind the degree in spring 2022. More than 75% of the members voted in favor.

The matter went to the Board of Trustees, which commissioned a report on honorary degrees at Syracuse. Last November, the trustees passed criteria for rescinding degrees.

The criteria say Syracuse would consider rescinding an honorary degree only “in the most extreme circumstances, based on misconduct that is so egregious or shocking that it brings the character of the recipient into significant disrepute.”

ALSO READ: Trump again pushes back deadline to reveal his finances

Another part of the standard requires “clear and convincing evidence of the recipient’s misconduct, such as a criminal conviction, a finding or sanction by a court or another adjudicating body like a professional association or regulatory agency, or otherwise irrefutable evidence.”

By the end of last year, it appeared Syracuse University was poised to claw Giuliani’s degree back. But as winter turned to spring and the school year ended, Syracuse University officials hadn’t taken action.

The Syracuse University student government filed a petition for revocation with the University Senate’s Honorary Degrees Committee. Bruen, who graduated from Syracuse University earlier this month, said it will probably take a final, conclusive decision to disbar Giuliani for Syracuse to move forward with revocation of the degree.

“I have confidence that if there’s news, they’ll take action,” Bruen said. “I will be watching very closely.”

So will Giuliani.

"It'll be interesting to see who is behind these efforts to attack Mayor Giuliani and if anyone at these schools will inform these students about the basic principles of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ and if they'll educate these students on the mayor's past as the man who took down the mafia, cleaned up New York and comforted the nation following 9/11," said Goodman, Giuliani’s spokesman.

NFL execs invited these 45 congressional staffers to the 2023 Draft — expenses paid

The National Football League invited at least 45 congressional staffers — including six for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — to attend an expenses-paid junket to the 2023 NFL Draft, according to new congressional documents reviewed by Raw Story.

The number of invites is significantly larger than what was previously known. Last week, Raw Story reported that the NFL brought about a dozen congressional staff members to Kansas City on April 27 for what the league called a “Government Affairs Congressional Forum.”

The agenda for the forum included NFL executives speaking on topics such as taxpayer financing of stadiums, player health, gambling, and diversity.

It was an unusual, if not unprecedented, event put on by the NFL, and came at a time when the world’s richest sports league is under increasing scrutiny by Congress.

Since 2010, the NFL had never hosted congressional staffers for an expenses-paid, out-of-town trip, according to a database of required disclosure reports submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics.

Neither Katie Hill, the NFL’s senior vice president for communication and public relations, nor Brendon Plack, the NFL’s senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, responded immediately to requests for comment.

The NFL’s 45 invitations to attend the forum included six staffers for McCarthy (R-CA), three staffers for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), and four staffers for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

It is not immediately clear how many of the 45 congressional invitees attended. If all attended, the NFL would have spent well into the five-figure range for the staffers airfare, lodging and meals, based on the costs incurred by known attendees.

RELATED ARTICLE: Congressional staffers wined and dined by NFL at 2023 draft as lawmakers scrutinize pro football

Attendees included Brandon Casey, staff director of the House Ways and Means Committee, according to an attendance list included with the recent filings. Confirmed attendees, who filed reports, included David Brewer, deputy staff director of the House Judiciary Committee.

Other confirmed attendees, according to federal records, include:

  • Hayden Haynes, chief of staff for Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA).
  • Billy Constangy, leadership chief of staff for Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC).
  • Rachel Harris, chief of staff for Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ).
  • Sally Chen, senior member services adviser for the New Democrat Coalition.
  • Eric Heighberger, oversight director of the House Homeland Security Committee.
  • Tyler Grimm, chief counsel for policy and strategy for the House Judiciary Committee.
  • Dante Cutrona, chief of staff for Rep. John Joyce (R-PA).
  • James Bernhard, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA).

Kanye West can start paying white nationalists from his old presidential campaign again

Rapper and former 2020 presidential candidate Kanye West can resume using surplus money from his old presidential campaign account to pay white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes for his services.

A week after West’s previous campaign treasurer resigned, a Federal Election Commission filing reviewed by Raw Story on Monday listed a new treasurer, Devin Anderson of Casper, Wyo.

Without a treasurer, West’s campaign couldn’t legally raise and spend campaign money.

Voice messages left at the phone number listed for Anderson on the FEC form were not answered, except for an immediate text message that said, “Sorry, I can’t talk right now.” Texts sent directly to the number were unanswered.

Kanye 2020, West's presidential committee, had almost $125,000 remaining in its account as of March 31, according to federal records. The committee paid Fuentes $30,000 during the first two months of this year for "archival services."

RELATED ARTICLE: Kanye West can no longer pay a notorious Holocaust denier from his old presidential account — for now

That's in addition to $14,719 in payments West's campaign made to Fuentes in late 2022. Of that amount, $9,026 was made on Nov. 22 and coincided with the date West and Fuentes dinedwith Donald Trump at the former president’s Florida home.

West unsuccessfully ran as an independent presidential candidate in 2020, failing to qualify for the ballot in most states and only receiving about 68,000 votes nationwide — fewer votes than the likes of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins (about 403,000) and Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate Gloria La Riva (about 85,000).

He says he intends to run for president again in 2024 and has reportedly hired another right-wing provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos, to lead his political operations. But to date, he has not formally registered to run again for president and has established no formal campaign operation.

West has made a string of antisemitic comments in recent years, including saying he would go “death con 3 on Jewish people.” In an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, he said, "I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis."

Fuentes is a white nationalist and conspiracy theorist who's called COVID-19 a "hoax" and called the attack on the U.S. Capitol and a racially motivated 2022 mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., "falseflag" operations.

On May 8, the previous treasurer for Kanye 2020, Patrick Krason, resigned, according to a letter Krason sent the FEC.

"My name is Patrick Krason and I have resigned as Treasurer of Kanye 2020 campaign committee (C00751701) effective 9:00am EDT Monday May 8, 2023," the letter reads. "I have notified the campaign of my resignation and they have been made aware of the requirement to name a new treasurer within 10 days. I have also made them aware that they cannot raise or spend campaign funds until a new treasurer has been named. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns."

Politico reported last week that Krason sent a letter to West alleging that Yiannopoulos might have violated campaign finance law.

Revealed: Congressional staffers wined and dined by NFL at 2023 draft as lawmakers scrutinize pro football

The 2023 NFL Draft was filled with nationally televised pomp, pageantry and scores of young athletes about to become millionaires.

But behind the scenes, nearly a dozen other power players — from Congress — attended the draft as expenses-paid guests of the NFL, according to U.S. House records reviewed by Raw Story.

Records from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics, reviewed by Raw Story, showed that the league paid for high-ranking congressional staff members to travel to Kansas City, site of the draft. The league called it a “Government Affairs Congressional Forum.”

The attendees, according to the agenda, included Brandon Casey, staff director of the House Ways and Means Committee, and David Brewer, deputy staff director of the House Judiciary Committee. Drew Sachse, senior advisor to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who was listed on the agenda an a participant, did not attend, a spokesperson for Jeffries' office said.

A trip disclosure document submitted Friday to Congress by Brewer, and authorized by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), indicated the NFL paid $927 to cover Brewer’s travel, lodging and meal expenses.

The congressional junket follows recent congressional investigations into various aspects of the NFL’s operations and interests, from front-office workplace culture to gambling to player concussions.

According to the forum agenda reviewed by Raw Story, attendees arrived in Kansas City on the morning of April 27 and had nine sessions with various NFL executives including Executive Vice President Jeff Miller, Vice President for Events Strategy Matthew Shapiro, Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs Brendon Slack.

The first session focused on a topic of keen interest to league owners: taxpayer-financed stadiums.

The session, titled “Stadium Construction and Municipal Bonds,” touted “federal-tax-exempt bonds as a tool to promote economic development at the local level that allow state and local governments low-cost financing for community economic development projects.”

Economists have long disputed what leagues have said would be the public financial benefits of a new stadium. A research paper out today by Robert Baumann of College of the Holy Cross and John Charles Bradbury of Kennesaw State University, states in its abstract that “researchers have demonstrated conclusively that sports stadiums are not economic development catalysts.”

The agenda billed an afternoon session titled “Legalized Sports Betting” as a “discussion of efforts by Congress and the Department of Justice to identify and pursue illegal offshore sportsbooks that continue to subvert the legal U.S. betting market, and how the NFL protects consumers and ensures the integrity of the game.”

The NFL has promotional deals with legal gambling operators DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars Entertainment that the Associated Press said could be worth $1 billion over five years.

Another session promoted the economic benefits of cities’ playing host to the league events such as the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and the Draft.

The congressional staffers’ trips were permissible under U.S. House rules.

But House Committee on Ethics Chairman Michael Guest (R-MS) and Ranking Member Susan Wild (D-PA), writing to Brewer in an April 26 letter, reminded him that he could only “participate in officially-connected activity on one calendar day” because the NFL employs federal lobbyists.

The NFL, Casey and Brewer, did not immediately return requests for comment. Sachse referred the inquiry to a communications staff member, who did not immediately respond to questions.

Touring the ‘draft theater’

Among the other sessions featured on the NFL’s Draft Day agenda for congressional staffers was a gathering that offered “insight on how the league’s tentpole events … benefit and support communities throughout the United States, nationally and locally. NFL tentpole events, such as the Draft, brings thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity to a local economy.

“Additionally, this economic activity generates new Government revenue that would not otherwise be realized if not for the league Event,” the description continued.

Economists have also disputed the public economic benefit from major sports events.

The league had other issues to address as well with the congressional staffers, including player health and safety.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin nearly died after collapsing on the field of a nationally televised game in January. He suffered cardiac arrest and medical personnel kept him alive by performing CPR.

The league has also paid hundreds of millions to settle lawsuits pertaining to the long-term effects of head injuries.

The presentation to congressional staff members had a predictably upbeat tone, according to the agenda. Those present would learn “how the league uses technology and resources to protect and advance player health and safety on gameday and beyond, including the league’s leading technology, techniques, rules, and policies that are designed to keep players safe.”

Then-U.S. Senate Majority Whip Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) (L) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (R) participate in a news briefing after their meeting June 20, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Goodell was on the Hill to discuss bounties in professional sports. Alex Wong/Getty Images

After that session, the attendees received a tour of the “draft theater” where the first round of the draft was conducted that night.

In the afternoon, the league focused on the economic interests of its season ticket holders and other fans who sell their tickets on the secondary market for a profit. People who make more than $600 in one or more such transactions in 2023 have their revenue reported to the Internal Revenue Service. A year earlier, it was $20,000 minimum and 200 transactions.

The NFL led a discussion, according to the agenda, about “a permanent solution that would raise the threshold and reinstate a minimum level of transactions.”

The other sessions took up issues such as diversity; fan safety at games from drones; ticketing reforms; and draft eligibility for college players and college players using their name, image and likeness (NIL) for profit.

The congressional staffers’ visit ended with dinner at Arthur Bryant’s BBQ in Kansas City, according to an event agenda.

The other staffers listed on the agenda as attending: Eric Heighberger, oversight director for the House Homeland Security Committee; Tyler Grimm, chief counsel for policy and strategy for the House Judiciary Committee; Dante Cutrona, chief of staff for Rep. John Joyce (R-PA); Hayden Haynes, chief of staff for Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA); Billy Constangy, leadership chief of staff for Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC); Rachel Harris, chief of staff for Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ); James “Tres” Bernhard III, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA); and Sally Chen, senior member services adviser for the New Democrat Coalition.

The world’s richest sports league, the NFL has so far this year spent $350,000 lobbying the federal government, according to nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets. During a typical calendar year, the NFL will spend between $1 million and $1.7 million lobbying the federal government, targeting issues that range from broadcasting and gambling to labor policy and player health. During the 2021-2022 election cycle, the NFL’s political action committee, Gridiron-PAC, separately spent almost $800,000 on political campaign donations.

‘Front group for the Republican Party’: activists demand IRS strip Trump-tied nonprofit of tax status

Democrat-supporting activists have accused the Donald Trump-alignedConservative Partnership Institute of operating as an arm of the Republican Party and is now demanding the Internal Revenue Service revoke its tax-exempt status.

A letter from End Citizens United, sent today and obtained by Raw Story, asks the IRS to immediately begin an investigation, citing what it says are blatant violations of federal rules regulating non-profit charitable organizations’ participation in politics.

A Conservative Partnership Institute official called for curtailing voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters at a Republican National Committee donor retreat, according to a Washington Post story last month.

Cleta Mitchell, the head of CPI’s anti-voter program, said the quiet part out loud,” End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller said in a statement to Raw Story. “The leaked information that came to light from the Republican National Committee’s private donor retreat revealed that CPI is operating under the guise of a social welfare program, but in reality, it's a front group for the Republican Party.

“They're using the group as a vehicle for big Republican donors to hide their political contributions — and get a tax break for doing so. It’s a flagrant abuse of what the IRS’ tax-exempt status is intended for,” Muller said.

ALSO READ: 'A little too close for comfort': Why did the National Archives disappear this Trump photo?

Representatives for the Conservative Partnership Institute and the Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Conservative Partnership Institute may receive contributions that donors can deduct from their taxes. But such nonprofits are “restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct,” according to IRS guidance.

Specifically, 501(c)(3) “organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,” the IRS states.

End Citizens United’s letter accuses the Conservative Partnership Institute of operating as an “action” organization that, according to IRS rules, “participates or intervenes, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”

The Conservative Partnership Institute, the letter says, “operates for the private benefit of the Republican Party and the Republican National Committee rather than for a public purpose. Its very mission — to provide staffing support and training only to Republican Members of Congress and political committees — evinces its non-exempt purpose.”

The letter says the Conservative Partnership Institute legal and digital media production services are offered only to Republicans and that its facilities are available for rent only to Republicans.

The letter includes a list of 20 examples of political campaigns, all for Republicans, paying the Conservative Partnership Institute for reasons such as “facility rental,” “meeting expenses,” and “catering/meals.”

“Most troublingly, its programs solicit tax-exempt funds to promote the Republican Party's electoral Mission,” the letter says.

The Conservative Partnership Institute describes itself as “a home base and a networking hub for conservatives here in Washington” that helps associates “build the relationships and gain the education and training necessary to thrive in an environment that too often strips you of your resolve.”

End Citizens United describes itself as a Democrat-supporting organization that wants to "fix our democracy by getting big money out of politics and protecting the right to vote." It also says it will fight a "rigged political system by electing reform champions, passing meaningful legislative reforms, and elevating these issues in the national conversation."

As First Republic Bank faltered, five members of Congress dumped their personal stock investments

At least five members of Congress in mid-March dumped their personal stock shares in now-defunct First Republic Bank — trades that potentially saved the lawmakers or close family members thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, according to a Raw Story analysis of congressional financial records.

Reps. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), John Curtis (R-UT), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dan Goldman (D-NY) each sold their shares between March 15 and March 20 as the bank’s credit rating eroded, stock price tumbled and depositors fled.

The lawmakers’ timing of the trades — four of the five bailed out of First Republic Bank stock while share prices still hovered in the $31-to-$35 range down from February highs in the $140s — allowed them to avoid additional losses beyond what they had already experienced. First Republic’s stock traded below $4 a share by the time JPMorgan Chase bought the failing bank earlier this week.

Their trades also coincided with broader bank-related action on Capitol Hill, with Congress fretting over the economic implications of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank imploding and spoolingup investigations into their failures.

While there’s no evidence that the lawmakers used information they obtained through their public service to inform their First Republic stock trades, such stock sales “can erode the public’s faith and confidence in Congress,” said Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization.

“The perception of corruption can be just as damaging as actual corruption in many cases,” said Scherb, noting that a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have introduced bills that would ban members of Congress and their immediate family members from trading individual stocks at all.

Why lawmakers sold First Republic shares

Khanna’s stock trade disclosures list the owners of the stock as his wife, Ritu Khanna, and their dependent child.

“Rep. Khanna does not own any individual stocks and is a co-sponsor of the TRUST in Congress Act to ban congressional stock trading,” a spokesperson for the congressman told Raw Story. “His wife has assets prior to marriage in a diversified trust managed by an independent third party, which per OGE rules eliminates any conflict. The periodic transaction reports publicly filed show that the First Republic transactions were very small relative to the portfolio and sold at a loss days after the steep fall. All trades have been disclosed.”

The trades listed as being for a child are from “a diversified trust that the family of Rep. Khanna’s wife set up for their grandchildren over which Rep. Khanna has no involvement or control.” Khanna valued the trades at between $2,002 and $30,000 — lawmakers are only required by law to disclose the value of their stock trades in broad ranges.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and his wife, Ritu Khanna. Paul Morigi/WireImage via Getty Images

Frankel, one of Congress’ more active stock traders over the years, sold between $1,000 to $15,000 on March 16, when the stock price was $34.27.

Less than a week later, according to congressional financial disclosures, Frankel purchased up to $15,000 worth of shares in JPMorgan Chase, the bank that would go on to buy First Republic several weeks later.

“My account is managed independently by a money manager who buys and sells stocks at his discretion,” Frankel told Raw Story through a spokesperson.

Goldman spokesperson Simone Kanter similarly indicated that the freshman congressman, who has also established himself as one of Congress’ most frequent stock traders, had no personal involvement in the decision to sell between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of his First Republic shares. Goldman’s trades are executed by a financial adviser whose name his office declined to release.

“Congressman Goldman does not know why the stock was sold since he has had no contact with his advisor about specific trades since he entered Congress,” said Kanter, noting that Goldman has initiated a process to place his stock assets into what’s known as a qualified blind trust — a congressionally approved financial vehicle where a member of Congress formally cedes control of his or her assets to an independent money manager.

RELATED ARTICLE: A Democratic congressman who says Congress shouldn’t trade stock violated existing stock trade law

Blumenauer reported the sale of $1,001 to $15,000 in First Republic Bank stock on March 20 as a part of his spouse’s retirement portfolio, according to congressional stock disclosures.

“Congressman Blumenauer and his wife, a long-time successful attorney in Portland, have separate financial accounts. They have both retained a money manager with the power of attorney who makes financial decisions without their input or knowledge,” Hillary Barbour, Blumenauer’s communications director, said in a statement.

“For the Congressman’s spouse, the money manager occasionally engages in non-directed trades, meaning that she neither directs, approves, nor has knowledge beforehand of transactions made on her behalf. Congressman Blumenauer owns no individual stocks and has instructed the money manager to not purchase any stock on his behalf,” Barbour said.

Curtis purchased $1,001 to $15,000 worth of First Republic Bank shares on December 20 and sold stock in that same range on March 16, according to congressional disclosures. Curtis’s office did not respond to Raw Story’s requests for comment.

Push to ban congressional stock trading

During the 117th Congress from 2021 to 2022, at least 78 members of Congress — dozens of Democrats and Republicans alike — were found to have violated the STOCK Act's disclosure provisions, according to a tally maintained by Insider.

This year, Raw Story has identified three additional lawmakers — Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) — who were late disclosing personal stock trades.

Meanwhile, news organizations including the New York Times, Insider, NPR and Sludge have documented rampant financial conflicts of interests among dozens of members of Congress, such as those who bought and sold defense contractor stock while occupying positions on congressional armed services committees or otherwise voting on measures to send such companies billions of federal dollars. The executive and judicial branches are riddled with similar financial conflict issues, too, as the Wall Street Journal hasreported.

A plan to enact a congressional stock-trade ban failed during the 2021-2022 congressional session after Democratic House leaders declined to bring any of several existing bills — including one floated by House leaders themselves — up for a vote.

But this year, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), have introduced several similar stock-ban bills in a renewed push to prohibit federal lawmakers and their spouses from trading stocks altogether. Cryptocurrency trades are also a target.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is among a growing group of lawmakers, both on the right and left, who want to ban members of Congress from trading stocks.

One of these lawmakers says her colleagues’ First Republic Bank trades are additional proof that members of Congress must prohibit themselves from playing the market.

“In the past few weeks, we’ve seen consistent reports of lawmakers — on both sides of the aisle — making suspiciously timed trades in the days surrounding the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), lead sponsor of a bill that would ban members of Congress and their immediate family members from trading stocks, told Raw Story.

“These trades further erode the trust that the American people have in their elected officials, and they reinforce the importance of banning members of Congress — and their spouses — from trading individual stocks,” Spanberger said. “Rather than moving on to the next news cycle, Congress needs to meet this moment with urgency, action, and a willingness to make clear that lawmakers should be serving the people, not their own stock portfolios.”

Why big-time politicians are surrendering gobs of campaign cash to an unlikely source

More than 30 federal political candidates and party committees have together surrendered at least $160,000 worth of donor dollars to the U.S. Marshals Service in recent weeks, according to a Raw Story analysis of federal campaign records.

It’s an all-but-unprecedented relinquishing of precious campaign cash to a government agency best known for hunting down suspected criminals, and even veteran election officials say they’ve never seen anything quite like it in U.S. politics.

But this isn’t any routine situation: Most of these “disgorgements” stem from contributions made by executives of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, including former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, Raw Story’s analysis indicates. And the Department of Justice is urging campaigns to give the money up.

“Based on our office's investigation, we have cause to believe these donations represent the proceeds of Bankman-Fried's crimes and accordingly are forfeitable under applicable provisions of the federal asset forfeiture statutes,” said a letter sent by the Department of Justice to a member of Congress’ campaign committee, which in turn shared its contents with Raw Story.

The letter continued, “It is the intent of this office to request any funds forfeited be made available to compensate the victims of Bankman-Fried's crimes pursuant to the Department of Justice's restoration and/or remission regulations."

Bankman-Fried faces 13 charges in federal court, including fraud, breaking campaign finance laws and violating the Foreign Corrupt Business Practices Act with an alleged $40 million bribe to Chinese authorities. The FBI on Thursday reportedly searched the home of FTX executive Ryan Salame, a frequent political donor. Salame has not been charged with a crime.

The largest amount sent to the U.S. Marshals came from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which received $36,500 from Nishad Singh, FTX’s former director of engineering, who pleaded guilty in February to six conspiracy charges. The DSCC did not respond to Raw Story’s request for comment.

The Republican National Committee received $25,000 from Salame, according to the FEC filing. The RNC declined to comment.

RELATED ARTICLE: Beto O’Rourke returned $1 million check from FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried

Raw Story’s review of the FEC filings indicated that of the political committees to unload money to the Marshals Service, Salame contributed to 15, Bankman-Fried to six and Singh to five.

It is highly unusual for the Marshals Service to involve itself in electoral politics generally, and it almost never collects money from political campaigns. Federal Election Commission records show it’s happened once during the past decade prior to the flurry of disgorgements during recent weeks. The Marshals Service does, however, list “seizing assets gained by illegal means and providing for the custody, management, and disposal of forfeited assets” among its responsibilities.

Campaigns typically send unwanted donor cash — particularly money from contributors who find themselves in legal jeopardy or public disrepute — to the U.S. Treasury, which generally absorbs it into the nation’s general fund.

Sending money to the Marshals Service is “a way for these political committees to resolve the situation, and then whatever they do with Sam Bankman-Fried, that's a whole other issue,” said Michael Toner, a partner at Wiley Rein and former Republican FEC chairman who served on the commission from 2002 to 2007. “It may be that the authorities have preferred the disgorgements go to the U.S. Marshals Service because obviously that's an arm of the federal government, and it would accomplish the same purpose as a disgorgement" to the U.S. Treasury.

“It appears this is related to the FTX case, and all inquiries are being referred to the USAO in the Southern District of New York,” Dave Oney, a spokesman for the Marshals Service, told Raw Story via email.

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York did not respond to Raw Story’s requests for comment.

Emphasizing that she was speculating, Ann Ravel, a Democrat and former FEC chairwoman who served from 2013 to 2017, said, “I've never seen anything like this, and maybe they think because they can't rely on [campaign] people doing what they're supposed to do, that they need more active campaign finance enforcers.”

Raw Story contacted each political committee that disgorged money to the Marshals Service between January, when the phenomenon first began, and late March, when most disgorgements took place. Most committees did not respond to messages.

But the campaign of Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) indicated that Crenshaw didn’t need a push to return the $2,900 Salame contributed to Crenshaw for Congress on Oct. 10, 2022.

“Obviously the campaign didn’t know at the time that FTX was engaged in criminal activity,” said Sue Walden, Crenshaw for Congress’ political director, in a statement to Raw Story. “We were happy to oblige the Justice Department’s request.”

Among the political contributions that federal political committees have sent the U.S. Marshals:

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — $36,500

Republican National Committee — $25,000

Former Republican Sen. Ben Sasse — $5,800

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) — $5,800

Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) Campaign Fund — $5,800

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) — $5,800

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) — $5,800

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) — $5,800

Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) — $2,900

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) — $2,900

Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-NC) — $2,900

Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) — $2,900

Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA) — $2,900

Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) — $2,900

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) — $2,900

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) — $2,900

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) — $2,900

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) — $2,900

Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-FL) — $2,900

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) — $2,900

Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) — $2,900

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) — $2,900

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) — $2,900

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) Presidential Exploratory Committee — $2,900

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) — $2,900

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) — $2,900

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) — $2,900

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) — $2,900

Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) — $2,700

Athena Pac (Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida) — $2,500

Axne PAC (Democratic Rep. Cynthia Axne of Iowa) — $1,618

​Sen. Kyrsten Sinema no longer a California winery intern

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s new personal financial disclosure is notable for something that doesn't appear on the document.

Sinema (I-AZ) appears to have not reprised her two-week internship at a winery in California, which she reported in her 2020 financial disclosure.

The gig — an odd pursuit for a sitting U.S. senator, to say the least — paid her $1,170.40.

Sinema earned praise from the winery for being hardworking while doing manual labor. But it’s the opposite image that hangs over her as she faces tough competition for reelection in 2024.

A report last week detailed Sinema’s lavish spending of campaign funds on private jets, chauffeurs, and fancy hotels and restaurants. The restaurants were in New York, London, Paris, and Barcelona.

And yes, there was wine, too. Lots of wine. In all, Sinema’s campaign committee spent nearly $20,000 on wine since 2021, according to federal records analyzed by the New York Post.

Sinema has also spent hundreds of thousandsof donor dollars on a private security detail.

Sinema’s press secretary did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why Kyrsten Sinema jumped the Democratic Party after they took a 51-seat Senate majority

The New York Post report said Democratic donors were upset with what they considered extravagant spending. Sinema was a Democrat before becoming an independent late last year.

Sinema’s personal financial disclosure filing, which covers activity during calendar year 2022, filing indicated the senator did have one side gig, earning reportable income of $24,174 in the form of an “approved teaching fee” from Arizona State University.

In addition to a Republican candidate — possibly also-ran gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — Sinema will likely face Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) for her senate seat.

A Jezebel report Monday, citing polling contained in an internal memo from the Gallego campaign, said that a mere 27% of voters view Sinema favorably. But in a three-way general election, she may face somewhat better odds than in a two-way race, particularly given her incumbency and statewide notoriety.

GOP leaders took Anheuser-Busch PAC donations despite outrage over 'woke' Bud Light

With the image of Kid Rock blasting away at cases of Bud Light helping stoke right-wing culture warriors' fury at the beer's association with a transgender social media influencer, the Federal Election Commission on Thursday posted recent political contributions from Bud's maker Anheuser-Busch – and three prominent Republicans are on the list.

Raw Story’s review of the FEC records shows that on March 3 the Anheuser-Busch Companies LLC Political Action Committee made these contributions:

— Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) received two contributions totaling $15,000 for the McCarthy Victory Fund.

— U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who has announced an exploratory committee for a potential presidential run, received $2,500 for Tim Scott for Senate.

— John Boozman, the senior senator from Arkansas, received $5,000 for Boozman for Arkansas.

Raw Story reached out to the press secretaries for the three men asking if they planned to return the money, but has yet to receive a response.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) were also reported to have received donations in the report.

Many conservatives continue their outrage against Bud Light for its marketing association with transgender woman Dylan Mulvaney, an actress and social media influencer with a huge online audience. She did a marketing post for the beer on April 1.

The commotion has become a rift in the party, pitting the pragmatism of political fundraising against culture wars.

Donald Trump Jr. spoke out against a boycott of Bud Light on his podcast. He said Anheuser-Busch gives more to politicians on the right than the left.

"I'm not for destroying an American, an iconic company, for something like this,” Trump Jr. said of Anheuser-Busch.