1 in 14 Trump appointees is a former lobbyist, four times the rate under Obama

Trump Town is a Propublica/Columbia Journalism Investigations interactive database of everyone working in the Trump administration; the latest revision reveals that Trump has hired 281 former lobbyists to regulate the industries that used to sign their paychecks. Read the rest

What it would cost to build Trump's snake-and-alligator border moat

Earlier this month, we learned that one of the most enduring frustrations of Trump's presidency is that no one will take his suggestion of building a moat filled with man-eating alligators and poisonous snakes along the US border (something he's been talking up for at least 35 years!). Read the rest

EPA Inspector General Report finds massive waste from Trump's Pruitt flying business class, staying in swanky hotels

Trump's initial appointee to run the EPA was Scott Pruitt, who resigned in disgrace in 2018 amid a massive corruption scandal in which he was found to have spent lavishly and assigned improper personal duties to government employees. Read the rest

How the super-rich defeated the IRS's crack Global High Wealth unit

In 2009, the IRS created a Global High Wealth Industry Group to audit the super-wealthy, staffing it with skilled lawyers and accountants who could unravel the webs of "trusts, foundations, limited liability companies, complex partnerships and overseas operations" that were used to hide the income of the super-rich from the tax-collector. Read the rest

Trump's scandal-haunted Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is out

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (previously) is leaving the cabinet at the end of the month. Read the rest

Top FTC official is so such a corporate shill that he has conflicts of interest for 100 companies, including Equifax and Facebook

Andrew Smith is Trump's chief of the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau, in charge of investigating companies that abuse Americans -- but he can't, because he has previously provided services for over 100 of America's largest companies, including Facebook, a whack of payday lenders, Amazon, American Airlines, Amex, BoA, Capital One, Citigroup, John Deere, Equifax, Expedia, Experian, Glaxosmithkline, Goldman Sachs, Jpmorgan, Linkedin, Microsoft, Paypal, Redbubble, Twitter, Sotheby's, Transunion, Uber, Verizon, Visa, Disney and Wells Fargo. Read the rest

All the economists who told the FTC we shouldn't break up Big Tech are paid by Big Tech

From the Open Markets Institute's Mat Stoller and Austin Frederick, who analyzed the FTC's panel, "The Current Economic Understanding of Multi-Sided Platforms," in which economic experts told the regulator that Big Tech's monopoly power just isn't a problem: "every single economist testifying on the issue of corporate concentration derived income, directly or indirectly, from large corporations. Beyond that, the hearing itself was held at the Antonin Scalia Law School, which is financed by Google and Amazon." Read the rest

Scott Pruitt's EPA has opened secret backchannels to the climate denial industry to find "scientists" and other "experts"

The Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Law Center sued the EPA to force it to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for access to emails to and from thinktanks associated with the climate denial industry like the Heartland Institute, Plants Need CO2, The Right Climate Stuff, and Junk Science. Read the rest

Trump's finance watchdog wants to make the taxpayer-funded database of crooked banks go dark

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Elizabeth Warren's gift that keeps on giving -- one of the most effective US government agencies, handing out real punishment to banks that break the law, fighting loan-sharks that prey on poor people, and maintaining a database of vetted consumer complaints against banks that have ripped them off. Read the rest

Scott Pruitt is such a colossal asshole that the lobbyists who were bribing him with nearly-free lodgings evicted him

Scott Pruitt, an asshole, was Donald Trump's pick to head the EPA. Read the rest

Gary Cohn served Donald Trump for 14 months, and made billions for his old bosses at Goldman Sachs

When Donald Trump announced that he would "drain the swamp" by filling his cabinet with lobbyists, billionaires, and political operators, we all braced for an onslaught of rules that benefited the fattest of cats at the expense of everyone else, but Gary Cohn outdid himself. Read the rest

Trump's Consumer Finance Protection Board chief gives up on punishing Equifax for doxing the entire United States of America

Mick Mulvaney, the former loan-shark lobbyist who killed plans to regulate payday lenders after being appointed chief of the Consumer Finance Protection Board, has effective abandoned the agency's efforts to punish Equifax for leaking the sensitive personal and financial information of at least 145,500,000 Americans. Read the rest

Trump's "consumer protection bureau" will let the $50B payday lending industry gouge the poorest Americans with triple-digit interest rates

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, founded by Elizabeth Warren prior to her career as a senator, was once the gem of the US political system, a consistently effective force for punishing finance industry wrongdoing, until Trump let Wall Street robber barons loose on it, under the direction of a lawyer who represented loan sharks before going to work for the Trump administration. Read the rest

Trump's Cabinet of Billionaires operates in unprecedented (and illegal) secrecy

Eight of Trump's 17 cabinet secretaries do not release any information about their travel schedules -- a standard practice under the Obama and GW Bush administrations; 4 others only release incomplete, "sporadic" information; Treasury only started releasing Munichin's schedule in November and six departments illegally withhold details on who their cabinet secretaries meet with (two released some information after being sued). Read the rest

A law-enforcement agency is trying to figure out who owns the bots that hacked the FCC's Net Neutrality comment period, but the FCC is obstructing justice

The FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on killing Net Neutrality was flooded by anti-neutrality bots who submitted millions of comments under the names of fake people, dead people, and living people who supported Net Neutrality. The New York Attorney General has opened an investigation into this sabotage of the lawmaking process, but the FCC is obstructing justice, refusing to comply with requests that would help the AG get to the bottom of things. Read the rest

100 million Americans live in areas where every single ISP has admitted to violating net neutrality

Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai -- a former Verizon exec -- says that we can count on ISPs to voluntarily refrain from abusing their natural monopolies to degrade service to their customers in order to maximize their profits. Read the rest

The scientists and innovators who invented the internet to the FCC: you really, really don't understand how the internet works

A group of 21 of the internet's most esteemed pioneers have written an open letter to the FCC's Congressional overseers that critiques the agency's foolish, self-serving description of how the net works in eye-watering detail. Read the rest

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