Trump's pick for federal wage watchdog stiffed her house-cleaners

The word on the Hill is that Trump will nominate Cheryl Stanton to head the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, a step up from her current job as head of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, where her tenure has been marked by high-profile resignations over her plans to trump up claims against employees she disliked and wanted to fire, and (you can't make this stuff up) a lawsuit by the agency that cleans her house because she refused to pay them. Read the rest

Trump Organization to Congress: Upholding the Constitution "diminishes the experience of our brand"

Remember the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, the one that says that presidents aren't supposed to get gifts or payments from foreign governments without Congressional approval? Read the rest

Senator Chris Dodd [D], father of SOPA, is stepping down as MPAA boss

Chris Dodd (previously) was once a Democratic senator who decried politicians who became lobbyists; then he became one of the highest-paid and least competent lobbyists in DC, taking the helm of the Motion Picture Association on America and leading the organization to failure, catastrophe and irrelevance. Read the rest

Donald Trump has filled the swamp with his own gators, hiring 400 lobbyists, conspiracy theorists and trolls

Donald Trump has been slow to fill administrative positions that require Senate confirmation (and thus public scrutiny), but he's quietly hired 400 "beachhead team" members "to serve as his eyes and ears at every major federal agency, from the Pentagon to the Department of Interior" -- a rats' nest of ex-lobbyists running agencies they used to lobby, campaign staffers being given cushy jobs, neo-nutjobs from the Breitbart depths who endorse birtherism and other, more exotic conspiracy theories, and a whole Mos Eisley Cantina's worth of scum and villainy. Read the rest

The Department of Labor's Wells Fargo whistleblower site has disappeared

Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, the Department of Labor's whistleblower site -- for Wells Fargo employees who wanted to report fraud in the ongoing scandal affecting millions of Americans -- disappeared. Read the rest

Leaked doc shows Trump Treasury pick presided over the "widespread" theft of Americans' homes

Steve Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Secretary of Treasury, has a checkered past (he once foreclosed on a 90 year old customer who was $0.27 short on her mortgage payment) but a leaked memo from the California attorney general's Consumer Law Section reports that Mnuchin's leadership of Onewest Bank involved "widespread misconduct" in foreclosing on Californians, through which the bank was able to fraudulently confiscate their customers' homes. Read the rest

House GOP abandons plans to kill independent ethics office in favor of 1% tax cuts and taking away healthcare

A day after using an unannounced, after-hours, closed-door session to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, the House GOP has abandoned its plans, partly because President-Elect Trump told them that while he believed that the Office should be dismantled, doing so now would distract from the urgent business of slashing taxes for the wealthy and taking away healthcare from 20 million Americans. Read the rest

UPDATED: Without warning, after hours, House GOP dismantles ethics watchdog

Update: They've backed down because Trump warned them it would be a distraction from taking away healthcare and giving tax cuts to rich people.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics -- created in 2008 after three Congressmen were jailed for corruption -- has been stripped of its powers by the House GOP, who held an after-hours vote, with no notice, on Monday night. Read the rest

Trump Department of Labor pick is a foreign labor exec who's brought "over 40,000" cheap workers to the USA

Veronica Birkenstock is Practical Employee Solutions, a company that boasts of having brought "over 40,000" cheap H-2B workers from 80 countries to the USA to work in "hospitality, landscaping, welding, and construction" for companies like Marriott and Starwood Hotels, for whom it is the "preferred vendor." Read the rest

Hamilton's eerie relevance to this moment in America's terrifying political journey

Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash Broadway musical Hamilton -- which recounts the events of 240 years ago -- keeps looming large in our very current political discourse, from Hamilton's role in the establishment of the Electoral College to Mike Pence's night at the theater and the ensuing Trumpian call for a safe-space for vulnerable politicians who have only their status as the second-most powerful man on the planet to defend themselves from the terrifyingly mild petitions delivered by actual, globe-striding singing fellows. Read the rest

Sanders and Warren issue joint statement slamming Trump's new finance industry alligator for his private DC swamp

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren: "During the campaign, Donald Trump told the American people that he was going to change Washington by taking on Wall Street. Donald Trump’s choice for Treasury scretary, Steve Mnuchin, is just another Wall Street insider. That is not the type of change that Donald Trump promised to bring to Washington – that is hypocrisy at its worst. After his bank pocketed billions in taxpayer dollars from the bailout, Mnuchin moved on to make a fortune running another bank that aggressively foreclosed on families still reeling from the crisis. This pick makes clear that Donald Trump wants to cater to the same Wall Street executives that have hurt working families time and again." (Images: Bernie Sanders, AFGE/CC-BY; Elizabeth Warren, Tim Pierce/CC-BY) Read the rest