John Legend has a message for Louisiana and Keith Ellison is on the ballot.
John Legend has a message for Louisiana and Keith Ellison is on the ballot.
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August 14, 2018
Ben Carson Targets Obama Policy, Latinx Voter Outreach Nosedives, and Charles Barkley Gets Media Award
BALLOT BOXING… Voters in CT, MN, WI, and VT head to the polls today. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is running for the Democratic nomination, but don’t plan on him accepting it. Christine Hallquist has a shot at becoming the nation's first transgender Governor. VT gubernatorial candidate Ethan Sonneborn is running to get more young people engaged in politics. And he has a major advantage with the youth: he’s 14. Incidentally, he’s not even old enough to vote for himself. More below on other races we’re watching. STRZOK DOWNPeter Strzok, the 20-year FBI veteran who sent text messages that were critical of Trump and helped oversee the Hillary Clinton email and Russia investigations, has been fired. FAMILY FEUDBobby Goodlatte, son of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), said he is “embarrassed” that his father’s “political grandstanding” cost Strzok his job. He also donated the maximum amount of money allowed to Democrat Jennifer Lewis, who is running for his father’s seat in the midterm elections. ETHICS SCHMETHICS… The Trump admin has waived ethics laws so that former Fox News Co-President and newly appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine can communicate with his former colleagues at Fox. Who else gets to skirt ethics rules? The White House’s top economist, Larry Kudlow. Both have been excused from provisions of the law, which seeks to prevent administration officials from advancing the financial interests of relatives or former employers. MCCAIN AMERICA GREAT AGAIN… The president yesterday thanked multiple members of Congress involved in passing the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act at a signing ceremony in NY with one major exception: the Senator for whom the bill is named. WAGGING THE DOG… Donald Trump, and the media, have fallen into Omarosa’s plan. They’re all paying her a lot of attention. Just this morning POTUS45 tweeted, “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” The tweet comes as the reality TV villain is promoting her book and boasting additional audio recordings. STAND YOUR GROUND MANSLAUGHTER… The white man who shot and killed Markeis McGlockton -- an unarmed Black man -- in a dispute over a parking space was charged with manslaughter on Monday, three weeks after the local sheriff refused to arrest him. OUR BADYesterday, in a rush to get this in your inbox, we incorrectly identified Michael Haley, husband of U.S Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, as Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez. Our apologies! Hitting send on a platform that goes to tens of thousands of politicos, journalists, academicians, elected officials, CEOs, C-Suite execs, and other influencers is the bravest thing we do every day. Cheers to you for guys for being loyal readers. Time for a mimosa! We’re kicking off your Tuesday with this…
  • Voters head to the polls. We break down the races we're watching below.
  • Asian American journos elect a new leader.
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) warns VA to cut ties with the “Mar-a-Lago crowd.”
  • State Voices announces a new Executive Director.
  • Charles Barkley is getting a media award.
  • Did you know that in Louisiana and Oregon  a person can be convicted of a felony and sent to prison without a unanimous vote of the jury? Activist and singer John Legend says that has got to change. Check out his WaPo op-ed in Blogs.
  • Catch The Beat DC’s Tiffany D. Cross on Keepin’ It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton today at 1:20P EDT on ch. 126 on SiriusXM.
The Undefeated’s Jemele Hill vacationing on Kalamaki Beach in Greece over the weekend.
WPIX's Dan Mannarino with Hoboken, NJ Mayor Ravi Bhalla in New Jersey on Friday taping an interview.
Tammy Duckworth Urges VA to Cut Ties with the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd”
A report released by ProPublica last week exposed how Donald Trump’s friends -- who are not government employees and have little relevant experience -- inappropriately dictated a number of Veterans Affairs (VA) actions, and used the Department to advance their own business and personal interests. The investigation prompted former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), to pen a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie urging him to immediately cut ties with what she called the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd.” In the letter, Duckworth specifically called out Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman -- three politically-connected members of Trump’s famous Mar-a-Lago Club -- as unqualified “advisors” whose main qualifications appear to be money and access to the President. She also encouraged Wilkie to closely examine every action undertaken by former Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke, and swiftly remove all political appointees within the VA who are pushing a partisan agenda of privatizing VA medical care and leading politically-motivated staff firings, reassignment, and retaliation. “I urge you to immediately cut ties with those advisors who are unqualified to provide advice to the Department and whose involvement in policy decisions lack transparency and is not subject to effective oversight,” the letter reads. “Your success as Secretary will depend upon your ability to make personnel and policy choices that are free from political or outside interference and in the best interest of both the VA and the Veterans you serve. The mission of the VA is too important to have it hijacked by a select few who seek private gain from those who have borne the battle.” More here

Lawmakers Ask USPTO to Collect Data on Patent Applicants
Less than 20% of all U.S. patents listed one or more women as inventors in 2016, with less than 8% of women being listed as the primary inventor, according to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In 2017, the Equality of Opportunity Project found that white children are three times more likely to become inventors than Black children and that children from wealthy families are ten times more likely to have filed for a patent than children from families below the median income. That data prompted members Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), and Alma Adams (D-NC) to send a letter to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu requesting that the office collect and report on the demographic information of patent applicants. This effort, they argued, would be an instrumental step towards reversing decades of underrepresentation for women, minority, and low-income patent applicants. “Securing a patent can be game changing for an entrepreneur, unlocking doors to success, fueling innovation, creating new businesses and spurring job growth,” said Velázquez. Adams also addressed the disparity in patents from minorities and women, and encouraged Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon to also provide reports on patent diversity and to engage with Congress to help develop policies that diversify the economy. “In order to truly address the needs of many firms holding intellectual property rights, or who have the potential to do so, Congress must eliminate the gender, racial, and wealth gaps to allow for additional small business growth,” the letter reads. “But first, Congress needs the important demographic data and report on patent applicants. Without it, thoughtful policy to close the intellectual property gap for women, minorities, and other underserved inventors will continue to elude us.” More here.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and GA gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams at the CBCI's annual policy conference in Tunica, MS over the weekend.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) last Wednesday campaigning before winning her Hawaii primary over the weekend.
On The Beat -- Today’s Primaries
In Wisconsin, state firefighters union leader and Democrat Mahlon Mitchell -- the frontrunner and only person of color on the ballot -- is facing state schools Superintendent Tony Evers, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, former state Rep. Kelda Roys, activist Mike McCabe, former state Democratic Party chairman Matt Flynn, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and attorney and former UW-Eau Claire student Josh Pade. Wisconsin is less than 7% Black but struggles with high levels of Black unemployment and incarceration. The state has been called the worst place in the nation for African Americans. “We can never solve or tackle the problem of racial injustice until we tackle the problem of economic justice,” Mitchell says.
Randy Bryce, despite showing impressive fundraising power and enjoying wide name recognition, is facing a competitive contest against Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers in his bid to win the Democratic primary to fight the GOP nominee in a bid replace retiring Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Myers has highlighted Bryce’s failure to pay child support and his multiple arrests, which include driving while intoxicated. However, many Democratic experts still expect Bryce to be the victor. DNC Vice Chair Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) is running for Minnesota Attorney General, but he faces allegations of domestic abuse just days before the primary. Five Dems are aiming to replace him in Congress. If nominated, Ilhan Omar could join Michigan's Rashida Tlaib as the first elected Muslim women on Capitol Hill. Omar faces fellow Somalian Jamal Abdulahi, Colombia-born state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, Margaret Kelliher, Frank Nelson Drake, and Bobby Joe Champion. In Connecticut, Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes is aiming to make history as the state’s first Black Democrat elected to Congress. Although she lost the party’s backing at a nominating convention, she netted more than enough support to qualify for the primary ballot. She will face Mary Glassman. And 30-year-old Eva Bermudez Zimmerman is making waves to become the state’s Lieutenant Governor which would make her the state’s first Latina to hold statewide office. She will face Susan Bysiewicz. Catch The Beat DC tomorrow for the results. More here.
The Black Economic Alliance Announces Endorsements
The Black Economic Alliance, which was formed by African American business leaders last year, promised to invest what was necessary to help MD gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous and GA gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams be successful in November. Both Democrats have high profiles nationally and are in heated races in states where the Black population is near or above the U.S. national average. The Alliance has raised $3.5 million from 55 donors over the past two months, and plans to invest in competitive contests that emphasize improved economic conditions for Black voters and where African American turnout is crucial to victory. “We’re supporting candidates where the Black vote can be decisive and where every dollar counts,” said Akunna Cook (pictured), Executive Director of the group. She said the alliance is “evaluating on a case-by-case basis what it takes for our candidates to win.” Co-Chairman of the group, Tony Coles (pictured), pointed out to WaPo that this is the first time the Black business community has come together in a concerted political effort focused on economic progress for African Americans. They also endorsed OH Gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, as well as Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), who is seeking another term and running well ahead of his Republican opponent. The group plans to make 10 to 12 endorsements in congressional races after Labor Day. Stay tuned. More here.

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Dems and Republicans Challenged to Do Better with Latinx Voter Outreach
When it comes to reaching Latino voters, both parties could use some work. Forecasters predict the Latino population will grow more than 50% in the next two decades to 87.5 million -- representing nearly a quarter of all Americans. Yet some Republicans are shying away from reaching out to Latino voters this election cycle, according to Campaigns & Elections (C&E). Texas-based consultant Brendan Steinhauser has been making the pitch for GOP candidates to invest in Latino outreach since 2014, when he served as Republican Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) Campaign Manager. “Candidates are a little more hesitant [in 2018]," said Steinhauser. "They don’t know what to do or what to say with this audience.” Part of the reason could be that under the Trump administration the GOP allowed family separation of Latin American migrants at the southern border, increased ICE enforcement raids, and attempted to end DACA. But Democrat José
Aristimuño of NOW Strategies cautions that those are not the only issues the community cares about. He told C&E that Democrats often make two mistakes: messaging to Latino voters strictly about immigration and assuming the voting bloc is monolithic. “I’ve been one of those holding the mic and saying, ‘Don’t do this, please!’ If you’re speaking to Latinos do not speak about only immigration. What about the economy, what about healthcare?” And Democrat Matt Barreto, a pollster with Latino Decisions, says investment in Latino targeting has been uneven. He noted that the DCCC under Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Executive Director Dan Sena has put money into polling Latinos, but the DSCC hasn’t followed suit. In Senate contests in Arizona, Texas, and Florida, “there has not been as much investment,” he says. While Latino turnout normally drops off during a midterm -- to the tune of 11-21% -- they’re more likely to vote if contacted by a campaign, starting with voter registration. A recent study found 25 House districts where Latino voters could sway the result in November. A recent series of focus groups and a national survey of registered Latino voters conducted on behalf of CHC Bold PAC, Priorities USA, and House Majority PAC had Democrats leading Republicans 67-to -22% in a generic ballot. More here
Battle at the Ballot Box -- the War on Voting Rights
Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, NYT reports that the DOJ has filed legal briefs in support of states that are resisting court orders to rein in voter ID requirements, stop aggressive purges of voter rolls and redraw political boundaries that have unfairly diluted minority voting power -- all practices that were opposed under President Obama’s Attorneys General. The Sessions department’s most prominent voting-rights lawsuit so far forced Kentucky state officials last month to step up the culling from registration rolls of voters who have moved. The efforts advance a longtime Republican political agenda that will increase barriers to the ballot which disproportionately impact communities of color. Donald Trump’s fixation with the myth of millions of fraudulent votes manifested itself in the now-defunct Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. Not surprisingly, documents produced earlier this month in litigation brought against the Commission by one of its members, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, showed that the commission had no proof of widespread voter fraud. Many voter disenfranchisement practices are subtle and occur at the local level, allowing them to fly under the radar now that the advance notice protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act are gone. Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights President Kristen Clarke points out that these practices range from the consolidation of polling places to make it less convenient for minority voters (Black voters, nationally, wait twice as long as white voters to vote), to the curtailing of early voting hours that makes it more difficult for hourly-wage workers to vote, to the disproportionate purging of minority voters from voting lists under the pretext of "list maintenance." Decisions about voting rights cases are typically made by the Division of Civil Rights within the DOJ, which was created in 1957 to battle discrimination against African Americans. There is currently no permanent leader overseeing the division. More here.

Former Obama WH staffer and actor Kal Penn giving shade in character on Saturday.
NBCUniversal's VP of Diversity & Inclusion Salvador Mendoza with MSNBC’s Richard Lui at the AAJA  convention in Houston last week.
Booz Allen Hamilton Adds Capitol Hill Fellow
Nilofar “Nellie” Jafari
is heading to Booz Allen Hamilton, where she will serve as a Senior Health Consultant. She currently serves as a Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow in the office of Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), focused on policies around health care, medication accessibility, population health, and health disparities. The University of Virginia graduate, who also has a Master’s from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, was most recently a postgraduate resident in health-system pharmacy administration at Allegheny General Hospital in Pennsylvania. As a student pharmacist, advocating for pharmacy and public health became a passion. She began to focus on community outreach projects and research in the areas of global health and underserved communities. She will bring this same passion to her new role. More about her here.
State Voices Announces New Executive Director
Alexis Anderson-Reed
will return to State Voices, this time, as its Executive Director. She previously served as the Deputy Director at the Funders' Committee For Civic Participation (FCCP), a philanthropic affinity group dedicated to enhancing democratic participation in all aspects of civic life. During her tenure, she led where she spearheaded the State Circle Project, convened state-based hubs for funders to align resources and strategies. Prior to joining FCCP in 2016, Anderson-Reed served as the Senior Director of Programs for the State Voices network and led efforts to support and expand the work of state-based nonpartisan organizations in civic engagement, civic access, and civic representation. The Alverno College graduate, who also has a Master’s from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, has also served as Director of Youth Reclaiming Our Communities and as Executive Director of Wisconsin Voices. While there, she founded the Our Democracy 2020 Table, which works to expand voting rights and strengthen democracy in the state. She starts her new role on September 4th. More here.

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro and Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II on Friday in Reno.
The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui with Ali Jafri on Sunday at a wedding in DC.
Asian American Journos Elect New President
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) has elected WaPo’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee as their next President. With more than 1,500 AAJA members across the country, Michelle boasts the chops to take the reins. The Guam native works on WaPo’s political enterprise and accountability team, covering money and influence in politics. Before that she worked for the paper’s Fact Checker, digging for the truth beyond political rhetoric. She has also served as a government accountability Reporter at The Arizona Republic, covering public money, regulatory loopholes, and state and county politics. “This is a challenging time in our industry -- attacks against the integrity of our profession and press freedom, the dwindling local news market, the struggle to find a lasting and profitable revenue model,” the Emory University graduate said in her address to the organization where she previously served as SVP. She goes on to lay out additional challenges saying, “Despite our work for nearly 40 years to diversify newsrooms, the news industry is still devoid of leaders who are not white men, particularly at the highest levels. On top of it all, our Asian American-Pacific Islander community is still struggling to wield its full potential as a formidable electorate in this country.” She says she wants to lead a revolution of change during her tenure. “I envision AAJA as a trailblazing force at the forefront of this turbulent time — -- innovating, thinking ahead, anticipating what’s coming, and adapting quickly to changes we hadn’t anticipated.” Read her full vision here.

The Atlantic Adds Newsletters Editor
Shan Wang
is joining The Atlantic as a Newsletters Editor. She previously covered media at Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab. Prior to that, Wang reported for the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, where she shared the Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for her healthcare coverage of poorly regulated diagnostic tests that have misled patients and confused doctors. The 2011 Harvard University graduate began her career as an Editorial Assistant in the Humanities for Harvard University Press. Her bylines can also be found in the Boston Globe and the Harvard Review. More about her here.
Charles Barkley Gets Media Award from Temple
Emmy-winning broadcaster and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley will be honored with the 18th Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award in October, Temple University announced this week. The former Philadelphia 76er and Phoenix Sun is currently an analyst for Inside the NBA. Barkley joins the ranks of past honorees including Tina Fey, Wolf Blitzer, Dean Baquet, Whoopi Goldberg, and many more. “Charles Barkley is not only a keen analyst of basketball, he is an important and influential voice in American culture,” said David Boardman, Dean of the Klein College said in a statement released by the school. “He was known in the NBA for his ethic of hard work and intensity, and has brought that ethic to his work in media.” More here.

AAJA members Ramy Inocencio, Yvonne Leow, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Nicole Dungca, Sia Parkar, and Ted Han at the organization’s convention in Houston last week.
TX gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez  with Texas Democratic Party's Southeast Regional Political Director Sanjanetta Barnes last Tuesday in Houston.
Ben Carson Rolls Back Obama Era Policy
HUD Secretary Ben Carson on Monday announced plans to revamp the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule -- an Obama-era policy that required certain HUD grantees to conduct assessments to actively help communities identify and address challenges like racial segregation and discrimination and "significant disparities in housing needs." The AFFH Final Rule was meant to be a means of providing communities with a method of reviewing and establishing goals and priorities for tackling whatever barriers to fair housing exist. Carson said in a statement that the current rule, put in place by President Barack Obama in 2015, “is actually suffocating investment in some of our most distressed neighborhoods that need our investment the most.” For the next two months, HUD will accept public comments on proposed changes to the rule in an effort to minimize housing regulations, give more control to local governments and increase the housing supply. More here.

Friday, August 17th - Sunday, August 19th: Martha’s Vineyard celebrates Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) 20 years of service. Special guests include House Assistant Minority Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and more. Harbor View Hotel, 131 North Water Street Edgartown, MA. Kelley House, 23 Kelley Street Edgartown, MA. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, September 11th - Wednesday, September 12th: CHCI's Annual Leadership Conference. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, September 12th - Saturday, September 16th: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 48th Annual Legislative Conference. Walter E. Washington Convention CenterClick here for more information.
Thursday, September 13th: CHCI's 41st Annual Anniversary Awards Gala. Marriott Marquis Washington, DC. 901 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, September 19th: The Political LEAP: The Role of Women in 2018" a women empowerment luncheon focused on the role of women in politics, featuring Symone Sandersand Alencia Johnson. The Hamilton, 600 14th Street, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, September 25th - Saturday, September 29th: NBMBAA 40th Annual Conference & Exposition. Detroit, MI. Click here for more information.
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