FROM Ann Ravel
Measuring Russian meddling in 'likes' and 're-tweets' It's now common knowledge that Russia tried to influence last year's election in favor of Donald Trump. What was the role of social media? Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said that question was "crazy" — until he was warned personally by Barack Obama. Now Facebook and Twitter are under scrutiny by Congress and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Can Tech be trusted to police its advertisers? What about campaign finance rules like those for print and broadcast? We hear about digital communications, politics and freedom of speech.
Ann Ravel on the future of campaign finance reform and why she resigned from the FEC Ann Ravel, one of the Democratic members of the Federal Election Commission, has resigned in protest to the agency’s failure to enforce campaign finance laws. She says because of Republican obstruction, it’s impossible for the commission to do its job.
Dysfunction at the FEC The Federal Election Commission, divided between three Democrats and three Republicans, is supposed to regulate the way political money is raised and spent. Next year's presidential campaign is expected to generate more than $10 billion. But FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel recently told the New York Times , "the likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim" and that the FEC itself is "worse that dysfunctional."
California, Ballot Measures and Dark Money California law says voters should know who's spending the money for and against ballot propositions, but federal law protects non-profits from revealing who their funders really are. When a nonprofit in Arizona spent $11 million last-minute on two California measures, the State Supreme Court ordered disclosure . The Arizona group complied, but not with the names of individual donors. It only revealed two other nonprofits. Americans for Responsible Leadership revealed that it got the money from the Center to Protect Patients' Rights — which originally received it from Americans for Job Security , a national conservative, pro-business organization. The money was spent against California Governor Jerry Brown's tax increase for public schools and for a measure that would limit fundraising by unions . Former federal litigator Ann Ravel, now Chair of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission , says it was the biggest disclosure of campaign money laundering in California history.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump's new look at civil rights and global warming President Trump is reportedly ready to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We look at the possible consequences. On the second half of the program, we hear about cuts in Obama-Era civil rights programs called for by the Trump Administration's first budget plan.