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Morning Reads: Citizens United Lets Overseas Cash Into Election; Trump Plans Black Outreach

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Citizens United [...]

Foreign money in US elections –> In a detailed investigation, Lee Fang and Jon Schwartz of The Intercept report that they have determined “that a corporation owned by a Chinese couple made a major donation to Jeb Bush’s Super PAC Right to Rise USA — and it did so after receiving detailed advice from Charlie Spies, arguably the most important Republican campaign finance lawyer in American politics. As Robert Weissman, president of the nonprofit advocacy organization Public Citizen, said, ‘We know that Citizens United opened the door for foreign money to influence US elections. This case appears to be the first instance in federal elections where the money trail is clear and documentable from publicly available records.'”

Clinton and the frackers –> Clark Mindock writes for International Business Times that Hillary Clinton attended a fundraiser in Colorado Tuesday hosted by natural gas mogul Charif Souki. Colorado currently is ground zero in the fight to ban fracking, with activists pushing back after the state’s high court overturned bans put in place by local communities. It was also one of the issues on which Clinton differed during the primary season from Bernie Sanders, with Sanders endorsing an outright ban on the extraction process and Clinton promising only to support states and towns that pass their own bans. Kindock writes, “By some estimates, Clinton raised at least $650,000 at the fundraiser with Souki, based on the number of people in attendance and the price of admission.”

Clean Power Plan’s first anniversary –> EPA head Gina McCarthy celebrated with a blog post: “One year ago today, I signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards on reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants. EPA’s charge from the President was clear: to exercise our statutory authority to lay out steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. And that’s what we did — by setting limits that reflected the growing momentum in the power sector to provide the American public with cleaner sources of energy.” The Supreme Court has delayed implementation until all the legal challenges to the plan work their way through the justice system. McCarthy expressed confidence that the court eventually will uphold the rule.

And: Samantha Page and Josh Israel at ThinkProgress: “With more than $4 million already spent or committed in support of GOP candidates this year, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) is poised to play a huge role in November’s state attorney general elections. And it is doing so with a huge assist from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and other fossil-fuel interests…

“Attorney general elections don’t garner big headlines. Most Americans likely can’t even name their state attorney general. But these people play a major role in enforcing — or fighting — environmental laws… At the moment, several state attorneys general are fighting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan…

This is going well –> Only days after Trump started to receive classified intelligence briefings, he is either sharing the content of those briefings or making up stuff to score political points. Christina Wilkie and Jessica Schulberg for The Huffington Post: “Donald Trump on Wednesday described vivid details from a video he said he had watched earlier in the day of Iranian officials unloading cash from an airplane. The money was part of a payment, announced earlier this year, from the US to Iran to settle a decades-old dispute over an incomplete weapons sale.

“… No publicly available video matches what Trump described. This raises the possibility that Trump was either fabricating the contents of a non-existent video, or he was disclosing information to which he has newly been granted access.”

Trump starts black outreach effort –> “On Sunday, an entire Charlotte church will endorse Donald Trump. Trump surrogates will attempt a media blitz, trying to engage black women, veterans and leaders over the next several days, culminating in the church’s endorsement at Antioch Road to Glory International Ministries. ‘Supporting Hillary is like being with an abusive ex, one that you already know left you broken and wounded,’ reads a post on the church’s Facebook page from last month. ‘At this point, give the new guy a chance.'”

But: Polls show most black Americans are worried about a Trump presidency — even though some aren’t enthusiastic about Clinton. Jeff Stein at Vox profiles pastor Ray Shawn McKinnon, a Methodist pastor who “speaks from within Bernie-world. But he has a powerful overriding message for the Bernie or Bust crowd: Please, don’t do anything that would force my kids to live through a Trump presidency.”

And: The New York Times put together a video compilation of aggressive speech from Trump fans at the candidate’s rallies. Warning: racist and sexist taunts abound.

“This is a country that believes in second chances” –> CNN: “President Barack Obama granted a history-making 214 commutations Wednesday, the highest number granted on a single day in more than a century. It’s a continuation of his effort to reduce sentences for drug offenders, many of whom were punished under harsh sentencing laws that have since been relaxed. Obama has now commuted the sentences for 562 individuals, more than the past nine presidents combined.”

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!


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