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.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?