What We're Reading

Morning Reads: GOP Pushes to Repeal Dodd-Frank; Clinton Email Controversy Will Continue Through End of the Campaign

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

Morning Reads: GOP Pushes to Repeal Dodd Frank

Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, center, speaks to members of the media at the Economic Club of New York in New York. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Looks like bathroom policy is headed to the Supreme Court –> A George W. Bush-appointed federal district court judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration’s policy allowing children to use the school bathroom aligned with their gender identities. Thirteen states challenged the White House and brought the rule before the court. Jon Herskovitz reports for Reuters, “While a setback for transgender advocates, the ruling is only the latest salvo in a larger legal and cultural battle over transgender rights that could be headed toward the US Supreme Court.”

Wells Fargo punished on student loans –> The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the consumer watchdog established by the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, has leveled a $3.6 million penalty against Wells Fargo Bank. According to a CFPB statement, “breakdowns in the servicing process” at Wells Fargo meant that “thousands of student loan borrowers encountered problems with their loans or received misinformation about their payment options,” including illegal late fees. The bank also provided credit agencies with inaccurate information about borrowers. CFPB head Richard Cordray: “Consumers should be able to rely on their servicer to process and credit payments correctly and to provide accurate and timely information and we will continue our work to improve the student loan servicing market.”

But the CFPB’s life could be in danger. The chair of the House Financial Services Committee is hoping to kill it next year. If Donald Trump is elected president, Congressman Jeb Hensarling believes he would sign a bill to completely repeal Dodd-Frank — and wipe out the CFPB. Hensarljng also wants to eliminate regulators’ ability to crack down on banks designated “too big to fail.” On Dodd-Frank’s anniversary last month, Hensarling joked, “Instead of ending ‘too big to fail,’ Dodd-Frank has created ‘too small to succeed.'”

The 15,000 new emails –> Mark Landler and Steven Lee Myers for The New York Times: “The dispute over Hillary Clinton’s email practices now threatens to shadow her for the rest of the presidential campaign after the disclosure on Monday that the FBI collected nearly 15,000 new emails in its investigation of her and a federal judge’s order that the State Department accelerate the documents’ release. As a result, thousands of emails that Mrs. Clinton did not voluntarily turn over to the State Department last year could be released just weeks before the election in November.”

Wisconsin voter restrictions still illegal –> Last month, a judge struck down portions of Wisconsin’s voter-ID law, saying the state legislature that passed it demonstrated “a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud” that “leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities.” The state appealed, and on Monday that appeal was blocked by another judge. Mother Jones’ AJ Vicens reports that the restrictions will very likely not be in place on Election Day.

Syria’s “apex of horror”–> The UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs described the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo as the “apex of horror” in a briefing to the United Nations Security Council yesterday, The New York Times’ Rick Gladstone reports. “United Nations officials have said that the fighting in Aleppo — pitting Syrian government forces and their Russian backers against an array of insurgents, including Islamist militants — has left 275,000 people in rebel-held eastern Aleppo completely cut off from food, water and medicine, and has severely limited aid deliveries to 1.5 million people in government-held western Aleppo.”

The rent is too damned high –> S.V. Date at The Huffington Post: “Trump nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign, according to a Huffington Post review of Federal Election Commission filings. The rent jumped even though he was paying fewer staff in July than he did in March.”

Meanwhile, Melania Trump is threatening legal action against the media — and using the same lawyer that Peter Thiel used to crush Gawker. According to Poynter.org, she is accusing Politico, The Week, The Daily Mail and others of “false and defamatory” statements. On Aug. 9, Donald Trump announced that Melania Trump would hold a press conference “over the next couple of weeks” to challenge reports that she had violated US immigration laws when she entered the country. Still waiting for a day and time.

RIP –> Gawker features editor Tom Scocca on the site’s last day: “Gawker always said it was in the business of publishing true stories. Here is one last true story: You live in a country where a billionaire can put a publication out of business. A billionaire can pick off an individual writer and leave that person penniless and without legal protection. If you want to write stories that might anger a billionaire, you need to work for another billionaire yourself, or for a billion-dollar corporation. The law will not protect you. There is no freedom in this world but power and money.”

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

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