Catherine Cortez Masto and Yvette Clarke name new Chiefs of Staff.
Catherine Cortez Masto and Yvette Clarke name new Chiefs of Staff.
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December 10, 2018
Black Lawmakers Square Off Over Term Limits, New Lawmakers of Color Press for Change at Harvard, and Nike Names VP of Diversity and Inclusion
TOTALLY CLEARS THE PRESIDENT? That’s what Donald Trump tweeted Friday, shortly after federal prosecutors filed their sentencing memo for Michael Cohen. Word? Somebody better tell “Individual One” that he’s not so lucky. LOCK HIM UP? The memos suggest that Trump and others might have been involved in lies told by Cohen and Paul Manafort. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is expected to chair the House Intelligence Committee next month, said Trump could "be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time." DEAR JOHNChief of Staff John Kelly is leaving the White House at the end of the year. So is VP Chief of Staff Nick Ayers -- who was thought to be Kelly’s replacement. The White House revolving door is spinning like a breakdancer on cardboard in the 80’s. HELP WANTED… Possible replacements for the Chief of Staff post now include Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer, and House Freedom Caucus Chair Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC). Keep up! NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY... The president announced on Friday that former Fox News personality and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is his choice to succeed Nikki Haley as U.S. Ambassador to the UN. RAISE THE BARR… POTUS45 also nominated William Barr to be the next Attorney General and Army Gen. Mark Milley to succeed Marine Gen. Joe Dunford as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. THEY TRY TO SHUT US DOWN, BUY ANOTHER ROUND… The president will meet with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday as Congress tries to avert a partial government shutdown next week. At issue? The border wall is the biggest impasse. But there’s also a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the criminal justice bill, the farm bill, and a vote on a measure to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of the dissident journalist. I CAN’T BREATHThose were the last words of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi before the transcript notes the sounds of his body being dismembered by a saw. NOBEL PEACE PRIZEDenis Mukwege and Nadia Murad accepted the Nobel Prize today for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. BEAT DOWNBoxer Patricio Manuel became the first transgender man to compete in a professional boxing match on Saturday, defeating Hugo Aguilar by unanimous decision. From one Beat to another, we’re kicking off your week with this...
  • Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) intros a bipartisan measure to regulate cryptocurrency.
  • Fourth woman accuses Neil deGrasse Tyson of sexual misconduct.
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) wants fitness facilities to be more accessible for people with disabilities.
  • RCA Records names a new EVP.
  • The Smithsonian will open the first gallery focused on U.S. Latino experience.
  • Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) name new Chiefs of Staff.
The Daily Show’s Jaboukie Young-White on-set in NYC on Thursday.  
 MSNBC’s Mariana Atencio on Saturday showing off her homemade hallacas in Miami.
Black Lawmakers Push Back Against Committee Chair Term Limits with House Speakership Hanging in the Balance
House Democrats will meet this week and, once again, presumed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will faceoff with some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). At issue? Term limits for Committee Chairs. Incoming freshmen, some of whom are threatening to vote against Pelosi’s bid for the speakership, want term limits. CBC members do not. Outgoing CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) said in a Friday interview that “it’s possible” Pelosi could lose more speakership votes than she’d gain by endorsing the proposal to limit terms for Chairs -- something he calls a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. “I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s awful timing, and I think it’s a hell of a reward for all these chairmen who went out there traveling the country and busting their behinds to get Democrats elected,” Richmond told The Hill. The incoming Majority Whip Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said the topic is too sensitive to have this discussion in the middle of a heated battle over the speakership. “I’m all willing for us to have that discussion and live by the decision that the caucus makes. But we ought not to make these kinds of decisions in the heat of a campaign,” he said to Politico. Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who says he is confident Pelosi will be the next Speaker, suggested the proposal would specifically undercut Black lawmakers who spent years waiting their turn to head committees under seniority rules. Black lawmakers are poised to lead five committees and nearly 30 subcommittees in the next Congress. Pelosi doesn’t currently have the votes to be Speaker and this issue could potentially make or break her chances as well as put new members of Congress against the CBC -- a Caucus some of them are expected to join. More here.

Darren Soto Intros Bill to Regulate Cryptocurrency
Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) 
last week introduced two pieces of bipartisan legislation he says would help to prevent fraud, protect consumers, and make sure the country doesn’t fall behind as a leader in the global digital asset class. The Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act of 2018 and the U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2018, both introduced with Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC), would analyze what can be done to protect consumers from price manipulation and ask the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to come up with recommendations. “Virtual currencies and the underlying blockchain technology has a profound potential to be a driver of economic growth,” the lawmakers said. “That’s why we must ensure that the United States is at the forefront of protecting consumers and the financial well-being of virtual currency investors, while also promoting an environment of innovation to maximize the potential of these technological advances.” Though bitcoin has been around for a decade, the cryptocurrency fundraising method began attracting billions of dollars from retail investors at the end of last year. Regulators and lawmakers were caught unprepared as many Initial Coin offerings (ICOs) turned out to be frauds, backed merely by abstract ideas or in some cases nothing at all. In September 2018, the New York Attorney General’s Office released a report concluding that some cryptocurrency exchanges can easily be manipulated because they lack sufficient consumer protections, are riddled with conflicts of interest, and don’t have safeguards to prevent abusive trading. More about the bills here.

Congresswomen-Elect Pioneer Change and Disrupt "Business as Usual" at Harvard Orientation 
Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics Bipartisan Orientation Program has hosted more than 700 members of Congress since 1972. But this time, newly elected members were not down for business as usual. The orientation is pitched as a way for incoming lawmakers to learn about life on Capitol Hill, but some new Dems like NY Democratic Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the gathering for including four corporate CEOs but no labor leaders or activists to talk to the new members. “Lobbyists are here. Goldman Sachs is here,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Where‘s labor? Activists? Frontline community leaders?” On Tuesday, several freshman Democrats joined MA Democratic Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley for a healthcare rally instead of attending a talk by Trump Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “I was not sent to Washington to play nice,” Pressley told single-payer healthcare activists at the rally. And MI Democratic Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib had a tense exchange with GM CEO Mary Barra who suggested that laid-off GM workers who live in the Detroit area could still seek employment at a plant in Flint, MI more than an hour’s drive away. “I was very much trying to actively listen and understand why the decision was made, but I pushed back when the discussion was, ‘Well, they’re going to have options to work in Flint,’” Tlaib said in an interview. “I pushed back and said, ‘You make it sound like it’s so easy,’ and she said, ‘It’s better than not having no job at all.’” Considering the newly elected members’ pushback, it was as much an orientation for the private sector as it was for the new lawmakers. The 116th Congress will almost certainly operate differently. More here.

Actress Michelle La and Angry Asian Man blogger Phil Yu on Saturday at the 17th Annual Unforgettable Gala in LA.
NBC’s Craig Melvin last week showing Christmas gift ideas after a segment for The Today Show.
Lucille Roybal-Allard Wants Tornillo Tent City Facility Closed Immediately
Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) last week called on Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to immediately close the Tornillo, Texas shelter for migrant children that was supposed to close after 30 days. Not only does the shelter remain open, it is now the largest shelter for migrant children in the U.S. -- housing at least 1,800 children. The Congresswomen argue that by using Tornillo, the Trump administration is circumventing long-held standards for the care of children established by the Flores Settlement Agreement and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. The Trump administration has expanded the capacity and extended the contract for this so-called temporary shelter multiple times this year despite prevalent issues at the facility that put children at risk. The Office of Inspector General in November issued a memorandum showing that the facility has dangerously low mental health staffing ratios. Media reports also exposed that the administration has waived child abuse and neglect checks for more than 2,000 staff members and allowed employees and contractors without FBI fingerprint checks to be in regular and close contact with children. These choices make it “clear the Administration’s actions are putting thousands of children in danger. ... For these reasons, we call for the immediate closure of the Tornillo facility,” the lawmakers wrote. “As the top Democrats on the subcommittees that fund the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security, we will be conducting strict oversight in the new Congress on the Administration’s care of migrant children and will be looking closely at limiting the Administration’s ability to perpetuate the mistreatment of these children.” See the full letter here.

Tammy Duckworth Intros Bill to Make Fitness Facilities More Accessible to People with Disabilities 
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) 
last week introduced legislation to make fitness facilities across America more accessible for those with disabilities. The Exercise and Fitness for All Act would establish new federal guidelines to help ensure people with disabilities have the same opportunity to use fitness facilities as their non-disabled peers, and it would allow small businesses to use the Disabled Access Tax Credit to help cover the purchase of accessible exercise equipment. There are nearly 40 million Americans with a disability and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults living with a disability experience far higher rates of obesity and chronic disease. Under current rules issued by the DOJ, fitness facilities are required to meet accessible design standards, such as providing sufficient space next to each type of exercise equipment so that a person in a wheelchair can use it. However, many fitness facilities do not currently meet these standards. The Exercise and Fitness for All Act would help many facilities upgrade their facilities to comply with the law, and it would require the U.S. Access Board -- a federal agency that promotes accessibility -- to issue guidelines specifying the number and types of accessible equipment at the facility. “No one should be the denied the ability to lead a healthy lifestyle because they have a disability, but many exercise gyms and fitness facilities across our country are not accessible for people with disabilities and do not comply with federal rules,” Duckworth said. “I know how frustrating this problem is. This legislation will help lower the barriers that prevent many Americans from accessing gyms across our country.” Duckworth, the first member of Congress born in Thailand, served as an Army helicopter pilot in the Iraq War and suffered severe combat wounds, which caused her to lose both of her legs and some mobility in her right arm. She was the first female double amputee from the war. More here.

Investigation Discovery’s María Elena Salinas, former Condé Nast Mexico and Latin America CEO Eva Hughes, and PBS’ Alicia Menéndez in Miami on Wednesday at the 2018 Leading Latinas dinner for Art Basel.
OWN’s Deon T. Jones and Oprah Winfrey at OWN’s holiday party in LA over the weekend.
Fourth Woman Accuses Neil deGrasse Tyson of Sexual Misconduct
A fourth woman has now come forward and accused Astrophysicist and TV personality Neil deGrasse Tyson of sexual misconduct. The unnamed woman says Tyson drunkenly propositioned her at a 2010 staff holiday party at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he serves as Director of the Hayden Planetarium. She reported the incident to her employer in 2014 as justification for refusing to collaborate with him on a proposed project. She joins Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Bucknell University, who claims that Tyson groped her at a party in 2009, and Tyson’s former assistant, Ashley Watson, who said she was forced to quit her job over his inappropriate sexual advances. There’s also musician Tchiya Amet, who a year ago, accused Tyson of raping her while both were grad students. In a Facebook post, Tyson acknowledges that he and Amet (then living under a different name) had a “brief” sexual relationship, but denies that the incident in question ever happened. Of the two incidents of alleged sexual misconduct, meanwhile, Tyson broadly acknowledges the events in question but says his intent was misinterpreted, and that his “enthusiasm” and offers of friendship were seen as sexual interest instead. The networks and producers behind the Emmy-winning Cosmos reboot vowed to investigate the matter. More here.

CNBC Names VP of Business Development, Strategy
CNBC has named Tiffany Sam Chow as its new VP of Business Development and Strategy. In her new role, she’ll be responsible for leading CNBC's business development strategy across all platforms, implementing new corporate initiatives, developing strategic partnerships, and identifying global investment opportunities to help drive the network's growth. Chow was previously the VP of Business Development at NBCUniversal International where she led business planning initiatives for investments in several local over-the-top platforms and digital media assets, as well as the launch of new linear channels. Prior to that, Chow worked for Discovery Communications, Time Warner (now WarnerMedia), and Lazard. The two-time University of California at Berkeley graduate, who also has a Master’s from London Business School, began her career as a media and communications investment banking professional at Morgan Stanley. She starts her new role on January 2nd and will be based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. More about her here

CNN’s Natasha Chen and her husband Nick Chen on Saturday at CNN’s holiday party in DC.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Saturday supporting Atlanta United on their MLS championship win.
Smithsonian to Open First Gallery Focused on U.S. Latino Experience
The Smithsonian will finally have its first-ever gallery focused on the U.S. Latino experience beginning in 2021. The Molina Family Latino Gallery will be housed at the National Museum of American History and will feature 4,500 square feet of bilingual stories and rotating exhibitions featuring multimedia activities, objects, and first-person narratives. The gallery is made possible by a lead gift to the Smithsonian Latino Center of $10 million by members of the Molina family, founders of the publicly traded Fortune 500 company Molina Healthcare Inc. The planned inaugural exhibition, “Making Home: Latino Stories of Community and Belonging,” will examine the historical roots of Latino culture as it shaped the continent and the U.S. Supporters of a movement to create a new Smithsonian museum dedicated to Latinos were encouraged by the announcement. “It’s wonderful. This is exactly the road the African American Museum took. They also had a gallery in the American History Museum,” said Estuardo Rodríguez, who’s leading the effort to add a full Latino museum to the Smithsonian, told WaPo. “We run on parallel tracks, and we will point to that in our efforts to fundraise and to pass legislation for [a museum].” Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ), one of the leaders of legislation to create the Latino Smithsonian, added: “I applaud the Smithsonian’s efforts to create a space to honor and display the rich contributions that Latinos and Latinas have made to this country since its very inception. I am convinced now, more than ever, that the Smithsonian Institution has the capacity to fill an entire state-of-the-art museum dedicated to the American Latino in the near future. This is a great first step.” We’ll keep you posted. More here.
Nike Names VP of Global Diversity and Inclusion
Nike has appointed Tamika Curry Smith as its new VP of Global Diversity and Inclusion. She most recently was the head of Diversity and Inclusion at Mercedes-Benz USA and over the course of her career, has worked with global companies, nonprofits, academia, and the public sector to improve representation and retention. The 1995 University of Michigan graduate, who earned a Master's from Northwestern University, held senior leadership positions with Target Corporation as Director of Diversity and Deloitte Consulting as Americas Director of Diversity Programs. The announcement comes after the appointment of Ariel Investments CEO John Rogers to Nike’s Board of Directors. More here.

CNN en Español’s María Alejandra Requena on-set in Miami last week.
Open Society Foundations' Patrick Gaspard, MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid, and Rev. Al Sharpton in Johannesburg last weekend for the Global Citizen Festival.
Catherine Cortez Masto Names Chief of Staff
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) 
has named Reynaldo Benitez her Chief of Staff in her Senate office as she plans for her tenure as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Benitez, a Utah Valley University graduate who also holds a Master’s from Johns Hopkins University, most recently served as a Special Advisor and Communications Director to Cortez Masto. Prior to that, he worked as a Senior Advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, where he also served as Press Secretary for Hispanic Media. The 32-year-old Mexican immigrant also worked at the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS), where he focused on resource development. “Being chief of staff in the U.S. Senate, I know I’m bringing a different perspective than other chiefs of staff,” Benitez said. “I’m going to be able to influence the legislative process based on my life experience and background and that’s something we don’t have a lot of in Congress.” Cortez Masto’s former Chief, Scott Fairchild, will now serve as Executive Director of the DSCC. So far, Benitez will be the second Latino CoS in the Senate during the 116th Congress, joining Bianca Ortíz Wertheim -- who works for Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). More here.
Yvette Clarke Names Chief of Staff
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
has promoted Charlyn Stanberry to Chief of Staff. Stanberry previously served as Legislative Director and Counsel, where she oversaw the Congresswoman's work on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Multicultural Media Caucus, and Smart Cities Caucus. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Stanberry served as VP of External Affairs for Net Communications, Regional Voter Protection Director for the Florida Democratic Party, and Staff Counsel for the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council. She’s also an Adjunct Professor at the University of DC and serves as Co-Chair on the Telecom, Tech & IP Task Force for Women in Government Relations. The Jacksonville, FL native earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at the University of Central Florida, as well as a law degree from Florida International University. More about her here
Blavity’s Morgan DeBaun on Friday in Miami for Art Basel.
Guardian USSabrina Siddiqui with fiancé Ali Jafri taking their engagement photos in DC last month.
RCA Names New EVP
RCA Records on Wednesday promoted Camille Yorrick to EVP of Creative Content. In her new role, Yorrick will oversee content strategy and programming. She will also lead the development of visual creative content through partnerships with RCA's artist roster and content creators while continuing to work on music visuals. Yorrick has been with RCA since 2014 and previously worked as SVP of Video Production. The 1994 New York Institute of Technology graduate began her career as the lead on visual strategy for artists including Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, John Legend, and many more. She has also previously held leadership roles at Sony Music and Universal Records. "The role that visual content plays in culture is vital to our business. I look forward to building on RCA's current impact in this space and developing new global opportunities,” Yorrick said. The Brooklyn native was nominated for a Grammy for her work on Beyoncé’s I Am ... World Tour documentary and was also on the team that created the music video for Childish Gambino's "This is America." She will remain at the RCA headquarters in New York City. More here.

Today, 10A: The Aspen Institute hosts “Future of Sports Activism: Reimagining its Bottom Line,” a conversation about the implications in a number of areas, such as fan engagement, sponsorships, relationships within teams, athlete health and welfare, and society in general if more athletes spoke out. Featuring Etan Thomas, former NBA player and author of We Matter: Athletes and ActivismJoe Briggs, NFL Players Association Public Policy Counsel; and Ellis McKennie, University of Maryland football player, among others. The Aspen Institute, 2300 N St. N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, December 11th, 10A: The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Black Women’s Roundtable host a media briefing on “Power of Black Women’s Leadership and Vote at the Polls In 2018.” 1666 K Street NW, Suite #440, DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, December 12th, 8A: Cornell Belcher, Quentin James, and Stefanie Brown James host a reception for Michael Blake for New York featuring DNC Chair Tom Pérez and Senator Doug Jones (D-AL). Brilliant Corners, 1250 Eye Street, N.W., Suite 1003, DC. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, December 12th, 6PCBCPAC Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) hosts the CBCPAC’s Annual Holiday Reception. Click here for more information.
Thursday, December 13th, 7P: A holiday reception honoring the members of the Tri-Caucus Staff Associations. The Brighton, 949 Wharf St S.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, January 3, 2019, 6P: A reception honoring Congresswomen-elect Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Deb Haaland (D-NM), the first Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress. National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street & Independence Avenue, S.W., DC. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019, 6P: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute hosts a swearing-in ceremony and welcome reception for the Hispanic members of the 116th Congress. U.S. Capitol Visitor Center - Congressional Auditorium & Atrium, East Capitol St NE and First St SE, DC. Click here for more information.

Friday, January 18, 2019, 9A–3P: The Indigenous Peoples Movement hosts the Indigenous Peoples March to bring awareness to the injustices affecting Indigenous men, women, and children. DC. Click here for more information.

Saturday, February 16, 2019: The Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s 93rd Annual Black History Luncheon. Washington Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019: APAICS 25th Anniversary Awards Gala Dinner to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The evening honors Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders, both current and pioneers, and recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that continue to politically empower the AAPI community. 1000 H Street, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
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