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Morning Reads: Thousands Protest in DC for Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights

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

Morning Reads: Thousands Protest in DC

Democracy Spring protesters marched on the US Capitol to protest big money in politics and voting rights restrictions. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Democracy Spring hits DC –> More than 3,600 demonstrators protested on Capitol Hill yesterday, demanding an end to the conservative assault on voting rights and limits on the influence of money in politics. Some 400 were arrested. The demonstrations will continue through the weekend, part of the Democracy Spring movement. Alex Gangitano reports for Roll Call.

What is going on at the EAC? –> The New York Times’ editorial board spoke out against chaos at the Elections Assistance Commission, a federal agency tasked with making it easier to vote. Since November, the agency has been headed by Brian Newby, an ally of Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, one of the main proponents of restrictive voting laws. Newby approved new proof-of-citizenship requirements for state elections without consulting the agencies’ commissioners; voting rights advocates sued, and the Justice Department refused to defend him. The Times: “For years, Republicans in statehouses have been trying to block voting rights. Now, the federal agency whose mandate is to make voting easier is also being hijacked by Republican ideologues.”

Meanwhile, back in Kansas, Kris Kobach’s office issued a Spanish-language voting guide that omits passports as a form of ID one can use to sign up to vote, and lists the wrong deadline to register to vote. Oddly enough, the English-language voting guides do not have the same errors. Caitlin MacNeal reports for TPM.

Voting is hard –> Two of Trump’s children missed the cutoff to register in their home state of New York, and thus won’t be able to voter for their father.

Show us the money –> David Fahrenthold and Rosalind Helderman at The Washington Post: “Since the first day of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has said that he gave more than $102 million to charity in the past five years. To back up that claim, Trump’s campaign compiled a list of his contributions — 4,844 of them, filling 93 pages.

But, in that massive list, one thing was missing. Not a single one of those donations was actually a personal gift of Trump’s own money. Instead, according to a Washington Post analysis, many of the gifts that Trump cited to prove his generosity were free rounds of golf, given away by his courses for charity auctions and raffles.

Location matters –> A new study by Stanford economist Raj Chetty, reported by Tanvi Misra for The Atlantic’s City Lab, finds, “The poorest men in the U.S. have life expectancies comparable to men in Sudan and Pakistan; the richest men in the U.S. live longer than the average man in any country.” But geography plays a huge role in how long the poor live. (The New York Times has an interactive map.)

How kids talk about Trump –> A teacher at a middle school in the Bronx has some insights at Dissent on what the not-old-enough-to-vote set thinks about Donald Trump. Unlike past candidates, Molly Knefel writes, the kids not only know Trump’s running for president, they know his policies and how he presents them. One child’s worse-case scenario: “Donald Trump and El Chapo decide to work together to make it harder for immigrants to come into the country.”

Wall Street wages double –> Jennifer Surane at Bloomberg:

When adjusted for inflation, wages for investment bankers and securities-industry employees, including salary and bonuses, increased 117 percent from 1990 through 2014, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Over the same period, wages for all other industries rose 21 percent, to $51,029 in 2014, about one-fifth of the $264,357 that bankers and brokers earned that year.

Special-interest hijacking? –> InsideClimate News’ Lisa Song investigates the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a group originally established by Congress in 1935. In 1978, “the Justice Department argued it should be disbanded because it had evolved into an advocacy organization,” she writes. But today, more than a quarter century later, the group, stocked with industry interests and regulators from oil friendly states, continues to play a leading role in pushing back against goverment regulation of the shale gas boom.

Moderates for Sanders –> Vox’s Dara Lind finds that in some states’ exit polls, Democrats who found Obama too liberal are voting for Sanders. Lind offers some theories on why this could be happening, including: “Perhaps Sanders has become the candidate of disaffected Democrats — and that includes both the people who are annoyed with Obama for being too moderate and those annoyed with him for being too liberal.”

Use your inside voice –> The AP’s climate reporter Seth Borenstein: “FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY, THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED ITS FORECASTS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. But in the age of social media that’s considered yelling, so next month federal meteorologists are lowering their voices and their letters — except in dire emergencies.”

Morning Reads was written 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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