Clinton campaign, DNC pays $113,000 to settle probe

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“By intentionally concealing their payments through Perkins Coie and failing to publicly disclose the true purpose of these payments,” the campaign and the DNC “were able to avoid publicly reporting on their legally required FEC disclosure forms that they were paying Merge GPS to conduct opposition research on Trump in an effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election,” the original complaint read.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC had argued that the payments were accurately described, but had agreed, according to the documents, to settle without conceding to avoid further legal costs.

The Clinton campaign agreed to a civil penalty of $8,000 and the DNC to $105,000, according to a pair of settlement agreements attached to the letter sent to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation.

Associated press

Pence offers Republicans a political platform

NEW YORK – Former Vice President Mike Pence has unveiled a new policy platform for Republicans ahead of this year’s midterm elections, providing a framework for candidates – and possibly himself – ahead of a possible presidential election in 2024.

Pence’s “Freedom Agenda,” released Thursday, combines traditional Republican goals such as increasing US energy production, cutting taxes and rolling back regulations with priorities pursued by former President Donald Trump. on issues such as trade and immigration. Pence also offers plenty of culture war red meat for the GOP base, pledging, for example, to save women’s sports by “ensuring that athletic competitions are held between those who share their God-given gender” and by calling on all high school students to take a civic test.

“Elections are about the future, and I think it’s absolutely critical that while doing our part to fight the failed policies of the Biden administration and the radical left, at the same time we want to offer a vision compelling story built on our highest American ideals,” Pence said before the plan was released. “It’s really an effort to put in one place the agenda that I think got us to the White House in 2016. , led two Bush presidencies to the White House and led Ronald Reagan to the White House in 1980.”

Much of the 28-page plan reads like the platform for a presidential campaign, outlining Pence’s ambitions and providing a clear roadmap of the themes and policies he is likely to pursue if he pursues his race in 2024.

Pence’s plan comes as the GOP disagreed on the wisdom of offering voters a concrete political platform ahead of this year’s midterm elections. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has adamantly opposed such efforts, arguing that Republicans should keep their focus on President Biden, whose popularity has plummeted amid the highest inflation in 40 years and the Russian war in Ukraine, and make the election a referendum on him. .

The risks were highlighted last month when Florida Senator Rick Scott, another potential 2024 candidate and chairman of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, unveiled his 11-point plan to “save America.” . The effort drew immediate criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans, particularly its call for all Americans to “pay income tax to get your skin in the game” – a move that would amount to a tax hike for millions of people who do not pay income tax. because they earn so little.

House Republicans, meanwhile, have been working on their own ‘Pledge to America’ plan with echoes of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s ‘Contract with America’, which Republicans unveiled. in 1994 before sweeping the mid-terms that year.

Associated press

Judge rules Florida election law partially unconstitutional

A federal judge in Florida ruled on Thursday that sections of the state’s year-old election law were unconstitutional and racially motivated, and he placed the state under a 10-year injunction to receive the permission from the federal government before again changing key elements of its election laws. .

The 288-page order, issued by Judge Mark E. Walker of the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, is the first federal court ruling striking down key elements of any Republican-enacted election law in the range states. battle since the 2020 elections.

“Over the past 20 years, Florida has repeatedly sought to make it harder for black voters to vote because of their propensity to favor Democratic candidates,” Walker wrote in the decision, which skewered Republican lawmakers. and frequently quoted Martin Luther King Jr.

Walker’s decision is sure to be appealed and likely overturned by either the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta or the Supreme Court, which has cut corners on laws protecting the right to vote for a decade.

New York Times

The Postal Service will answer questions about gas trucks

WASHINGTON — A key House panel on Thursday announced plans to question senior U.S. Postal Service officials about the agency’s decision to buy up to 148,000 gas-guzzling mail delivery trucks despite directives from the Biden administration aiming to green the federal fleet and opposition from key environmental regulators.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the Postal Service’s “Next Generation Delivery Vehicles,” or NGDVs, which will hit the road starting in 2023. The Postal Service will spend up to $11.3 billion dollars with Oshkosh Defense over a decade to replace its aging fleet, but has pledged that only 10% of new trucks will be electric.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy placed the order for the first 50,000 NGDVs on March 24; 20% of this purchase was for electric vehicles.

The Postal Service’s plan falls well short of White House goals to transition the entire federal civilian fleet to electric vehicles by 2035. The Postal Agency’s 217,000 vehicles make up the largest share of vehicles government civilians.

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and even the rise in sales of electric vehicles – which account for about 5% of new vehicle sales – has yet to make a dent. significant in the automotive market. Proponents of electric vehicles had hoped the Postal Service purchase would give the industry a boost.

Washington Post

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