Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.

 

Recent Articles

A White House Without Rules

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci From left, White House director of Strategic Initiatives Christopher Liddell, Dell CEO Michael Dell, and General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with manufacturing executives at the White House in Washington. rules-logo-109_2.jpg S o many ethics complaints have now been lodged against the Trump administration that it’s getting hard to keep track. The billionaires running cabinet agencies, the White House advisers accused of self-dealing, and the president’s own failure to divest from his increasingly lucrative business holdings have all drawn so much notice that Americans may be tempted to tune out. But the story of Trump administration ethics conflicts is not going away, and every new revelation sheds disturbing light on a White House culture that celebrates self-enrichment, and that treats the president’s inner circle as literally exempt from the rules that lay out a precise code of conduct for executive...

Will the Koch Brothers Save Obamacare?

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Florida. rules-logo-109_2.jpg P rogressives campaigning to defend Barack Obama’s signature health-care law may find their biggest assist comes from the unlikeliest of allies: the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch and their conservative network. The Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity, having spent tens of millions to oppose the Affordable Care Act, is now gearing up to throw more big money behind a campaign to block congressional Republicans’ health-care replacement bill. Deep-pocketed conservative groups such as the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and Heritage Action for America have also panned the House GOP health-care plan, and are mounting an aggressive counter-attack. Of course, right-leaning and progressive activists are assailing the House GOP bill unveiled this week for completely opposite reasons. Conservatives say the Republican bill, officially...

The FEC’s Open Hostilities, Dysfunction, and Intimidation Foreshadowed the Trump Era

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images Federal Election Commissioner Ann Ravel. rules-logo-109_2.jpg D emocrat Ann Ravel’s departure from the Federal Election Commission could set the stage for a shakeup that propels the agency away from mere dysfunction and into the realm of aggressive campaign-finance deregulation. The scathing “ Dysfunction and Deadlock ” report that Ravel released on leaving the commission makes it look as though the six-member FEC couldn’t possibly get any less effective than it is today. The percentage of substantive votes that ended in stalemate spiked from 2.9 percent in 2006 to 30 percent in 2016. Fines dropped from $5.5 million to $595,425 during that same window. Blatant campaign-finance violations on issues ranging from employee political coercion to the use of shell corporations and nonprofits to hide campaign spending went uninvestigated and unpunished. But the FEC’s failure to enforce the rules, while a longtime sore point for watchdogs, could start to...

Trump’s Get-Rich-Quick Presidency

(Photo: AP/Riccardo Savi)
(Photo: AP/Riccardo Savi) O n Saturday, the Embassy of Kuwait plans to celebrate its National Day at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., one of the more than 500 businesses in roughly two dozen countries around the world owned by the president of the United States. Embassy officials have denied reports that they moved their celebrations to the president’s D.C. hotel under political pressure from the Trump Organization, even though they originally planned to hold their event at the Four Seasons in Georgetown. But even if the Kuwaitis chose Trump’s hotel for non-political reasons, their National Day venue epitomizes the ethical conflicts and legal peril that Trump cannot avoid as both president and owner of an international business conglomerate. Until now, Trump has brushed aside suggestions that he divest from his vast business holdings, arguing in essence that the president can do whatever he wants. While it’s technically true that federal ethics laws do not require...

Huge Demonstrations, Huge (Low-Dollar) Donations

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta Martha Obermiller of Denver, right, chants during a rally protesting the immigration policies of President Donald Trump, near the White House in Washington, Saturday, Febuary 4, 2017. rules-logo-109_2.jpg I t will take months to establish whether Democrats can transform the grassroots energy that’s driving demonstrators to street protests, airports and town hall meetings into actual electoral gains. But by one measure, party leaders and their allies are already cashing in on a key ingredient of political clout: Money. Public reports do not yet show how much Democratic Party committees and political groups have raised since January, but organizers say the money is flowing in—much of it in low-dollar donations from first-time contributors. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had a “record-smashing month” for an off-year election in January, says one aide, pulling in $4.1 million via digital fundraising alone. That’s twice the committee’s online...

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