Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.

 

Recent Articles

The Right's Campaign to Expand Voter Purges

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File Voters cast their ballots in Hinsdale, Ilinois. democracy_rules.jpg T he Supreme Court’s recent ruling to uphold Ohio’s controversial voter purge law spotlights the growing clout of right-wing “election integrity” groups that have aggressively bullied and sued states and jurisdictions into kicking thousands of voters off their rolls. Such groups, which include the deep-pocketed legal outfit Judicial Watch, and the Public Interest Legal Foundation, headed by J. Christian Adams, a leading proponent of voter fraud myths, hailed the high court’s ruling in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute as a major victory. Both Judicial Watch and the PILF called on states to follow Ohio’s lead and “clean up” their voter rolls—a practice that in Ohio’s case has meant blocking thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots. Cheering from the wings was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a key architect of the Trump administration’s voter-unfriendly policies. The...

The Return of the Spoils System

AP Photo/Alex Brandon President Donald Trump holds his hands together during a meeting in the Oval Office democracy_rules.jpg P resident Trump’s attacks on what he calls “ 13 Angry Democrats ” working for Robert Mueller go well beyond his troublingly successful campaign to discredit the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference. Trump’s “deep state” rhetoric is part of a much broader assault on the federal civil service, the two million or so government professionals who by law are hired to serve the public based on merit and not on partisan fealty. Popular as it is to hate government bureaucrats, this merit-based civil service system is an unsung pillar of democracy—one Trump and his Cabinet are taking steps to topple. The administration’s latest move to deconstruct what former White House strategist Steve Bannon derided as the “ administrative state ” came late last week in the form of three executive orders that will make it easier to fire federal workers...

Business as Usual? Michael Cohen Payments Look More Like a Smoking Gun

AP Photo/Richard Drew Attorney Michael Cohen in at Trump Tower in New York A surprisingly popular take on the millions in “consulting” fees that Michael Cohen collected from heavy hitters in the telecommunications, aerospace and drug industries is that the payments were unseemly but not illegal. “Welcome to the reality of Washington,” opened the May 11 edition of “Playbook,” Politico’s daily briefing, which continued: “YES, guys like Michael Cohen routinely get paid amounts like $1.2 million to offer insights about their boss or former boss.” And even if Trump’s personal lawyer “explicitly sold access” to his boss, argues criminal attorney Randall D. Eliason in a recent op-ed , a string of Supreme Court cases has made public corruption cases almost impossible to prosecute. But anyone who shrugs off the Cohen scandal isn’t looking very carefully at a money trail that grows more complicated every day, and that points to both criminal and national security danger zones. The secret...

“No Corporate PAC” Pledges Go Beyond Cheap Promises

AP Photo/Denis Poroy Senator Kamala Harris speaks in San Diego I t would be easy to reject the growing popularity of “no corporate PAC” pledges among Democrats as symbolic at best. Corporate PAC dollars often add relatively little to candidates’ campaign coffers, and are subject to strict limits and full disclosure in any case. The real corruption threat these days comes not from conventional corporate PACs but from super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited money if they keep candidates at arm’s length, and from secretive “issue” groups that skirt disclosure rules while spending millions on politics. Nevertheless, there are potent forces driving the more than 100 Democratic candidates who have promised to reject corporate PAC contributions, including a half-dozen potential 2020 presidential contenders. The “no PAC” pledges may strike some as campaign gimmickry, but they reflect both rising public anger over big money in politics, and the power behind anti-big money messages. “It...

Republicans Are Running Out of Excuses for Trump

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tells reporters on April 10, 2018, that he's seen no clear indication that Congress needs to step in and pass legislation that would prevent the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller. S enate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done his best to throw cold water on a bipartisan bill that would effectively block President Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. McConnell told Fox News that he “will not” bring the bill to the floor, and that even if the Senate managed to pass it, he sees no reason why Trump would sign it. All that makes the bill look like an awfully lost cause. But for those backing the legislation, its actual passage may be beside the point. As the White House spins out of control, the bill is important both as a measure of growing public pressure on Republicans and as a signal that Congress is prepared to defend the rule of law. The emergence of two Senate Republicans as the bill’s lead...

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