Given how President Donald Trump has taken aim at the Environmental Protection Agency with regulatory rollbacks and deep proposed budget cuts, it may come as no surprise that the Office of Environmental Justice is on the chopping block. This tiny corner of the EPA was established 24 years ago to advocate for minorities and the poor, populations most likely to face the consequences of pollution and least able to advocate for themselves. It does so by acting as a middleman, connecting vulnerable communities with those who can help them. It heads a group that advises EPA officials about injustices and another that brings together representatives from other federal agencies and the White House to swap proposals. When it works, all the talk leads to grants, policies and programs that change lives.
The question of whether President-elect Donald Trump will run afoul of federal conflict-of-interest rules or the Constitution because of his extensive foreign investments has been the subject of intense scrutiny among legal and ethics scholars. Legally, his foreign licensing deals could violate the Constitution. An example: During his presidential run, Trump’s name was used to market a never-finished luxury hotel in Azerbaijan, built by the billionaire son of the country’s transportation minister. The deal earned Trump more than $2.8 million between January 2014 and May 2016, according to financial-disclosure filings he filed as a candidate. (See his 2015 and 2016 reports here.)
This story originally appeared on the ProPublica website and is republished through a Creative Commons license.
For the first time since his own presidency, George H.W. Bush is planning to stay silent in the race for the Oval Office — and the younger former president Bush plans to stay silent as well. Bush 41, who enthusiastically endorsed every Republican nominee for the last five election cycles, will stay out of the campaign process this time. He does not have plans to endorse presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, spokesman Jim McGrath told The Texas Tribune. “At age 91, President Bush is retired from politics,” McGrath wrote in an email Wednesday. “He came out of retirement to do a few things for Jeb, but those were the exceptions that proved the rule.” His son Jeb Bush dropped out of the GOP presidential race in February.
Gov. Susana Martinez will jump out of a plane for campaign cash. This weekend, Martinez and her husband—first gentleman Chuck Franco—will take to the skies above New Mexico and skydive for a fundraiser for Speaker of the House Don Tripp, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday. In a time where over a dozen Republican presidential campaigns and even more super PACs are jockeying for money, the leap of faith is one way to cut through the clutter and get attention for a fundraiser. From the New Mexican story:
Tripp’s son-in-law, Lonnie Gonzales, mowed a 450-foot by 450-foot zia symbol that will serve as the landing target in a 20-acre field. An invitation sent to Republican House members says the fundraiser will offer food, entertainment and the first-ever leap from a plane by Martinez and Franco.