Just days after Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, had this security clearance downgraded, and had it reported that foreign countries pegged him as vulnerable for exploitation because of his debt, he’s under scrutiny again for meetings he took with private equity firms and banks at the White House. According to a report from The New York Times, after Kushner met with Apollo Global Management at the White House, his family business, Kushner Companies, received a desperately-needed $184 million loan. Additionally, Kushner Companies received a whopping $325 million loan from Citigroup, whose executives also held meetings at the White House.
Experts agree that there “is little precedent for a top White House official meeting with executives of companies as they contemplate sizable loans to his business.” (Both Kushner and the companies deny any wrongdoing.) While Kushner got his loans, these companies were amongst the biggest beneficiaries of loopholes mysteriously kept in the tax bill. And they’re not done: Apollo is seeking to gain profits under Trump’s infrastructure proposal.
Whether it’s on tax policy, infrastructure, or secret international diplomacy (Kushner’s role in the Russia crisis remains under suspicion), it’s clear that the Trump Administration’s culture of corruption comes at a steep cost to the country.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Stop Selling Weapons of War. Since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, numerous companies have ended their partnerships with the NRA or taken action to make their gun sales safer. The only remaining major retailer of assault weapons is Bass Pro Shops. Demand they stop selling weapons of war by signing our petition!
#RaiseTheWage. Today is Minimum Wage Workers’ Equal Pay Day, which marks how many extra days into the new year America’s lowest-paid workers (which are disproportionately women and people of color) must work just to earn the same amount they did in 2009. Thanks to Congress’s failure to raise the federal minimum wage, workers earning $7.25 will lose nearly $2,370 due to inflation in 2018—more than 47 times the average tax cut this same worker can expect from congressional Republicans’ tax law. If Congress could hand America’s millionaires an average tax break of $70,000—nearly five times what a minimum-wage worker will earn in the entire year—surely lawmakers should not let another Minimum Wage Workers’ Equal Pay Day go by without giving America’s lowest-paid workers the raise they deserve.
Interior Department for Sale. In Ryan Zinke’s first year as Interior Secretary, he’s gone from espousing the conservation ethic of President Theodore Roosevelt to leading the largest elimination of protected areas in U.S. history. The Center for American Progress has identified five lobbyists and industry representatives, who in just one year, successfully swung Interior Secretary Zinke to the far right. The list includes top NRA lobbyist Chris Cox, who serves as a primary conduit for the NRA to further some its top priorities through the National Park Service, as well as Kathleen Sgamma, who leads a powerful oil and gas industry group and indicated interest in drilling in Bears Ears National Monument.
“Gun-Free Zones.” Yesterday, during the bipartisan round table about gun policy at the White House, Trump continually said that 98 percent of all mass shootings take place in so-called “gun-free zones.” But studies show this is false. In fact, only a small percentage of mass shootings occur in locations where guns are prohibited. Additionally, Trump told Senator John Cornyn that Texas set an example with its laws, as the state “[hasn’t] had this problem.” Trump seems to be forgetting Sutherland Springs, Dallas, and Fort Hood.
UNDER THE RADAR
Dodd-Frank Under Attack. Next week, the U.S. Senate will vote on a bill that would put the economy at risk of another financial crisis – the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protect Act, or S.2155. S.2155 would undermine the banking regulations put in place following the Great Recession, and it would reintroduce risky practices to the housing market by removing protections against predatory lenders. The corporate tax cuts passed in December 2017 were a windfall for big banks – and big banks are again winners with this legislation. Read more about the Senate’s Bipartisan Dodd-Frank Rollback Bill, and use Indivisible’s Call Guide to call your Senators and tell them to oppose this bill.