Tavis Smiley will face Paula Deen's former lawyer in PBS lawsuit.
Tavis Smiley will face Paula Deen's former lawyer in PBS lawsuit.
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May 17, 2018
CHC Chair Backs Minority Farmers, Mia Love Teams with Pramila Jayapal, and Grace Meng Talks AAPI Voter Bloc
BREAK OUT THE TONY TONI TONE… It’s our anniversary. On this day in 1954, the Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education. But it’s also another anniversary. MUELLER TIME. Today marks one year since the appointment of Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His office has told a detailed story about a years-long campaign by the Russian government, first to reconnoiter and then to attack the democracy of America. Somebody is gonna sing. CUE THE MUSICAward-winning songwriters will convene on Capitol Hill today as part of the annual American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers' Stand with Songwriters Advocacy Day. They will ask Senators to co-sponsor the Music Modernization Act. Elsewhere on the Hill… GO FCC YOURSELF. The Senate dealt a symbolic blow to the FCC on Wednesday when the upper chamber voted to nullify the agency's net neutrality rollback that remains on track to take effect next month. The legislative victory is fleeting because the House does not intend to take similar action. But the issue is sure to remain a hot button issue during midterms. HOMELAND JOB SECURITY… Unhappy with how Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is running the agency, the White House is now reportedly considering replacements. Speaking of replaced Cabinet members… REX-N-EFFECT. Addressing soon-to-be graduates of the Virginia Military Institute, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom." No shade. PAY ME BACK LIKE YOU OWE YOUR RENTThe president’s latest financial disclosure includes, for the first time, a repayment of more than $100,000 to his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in 2017. Cohen paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election. WHEN THEY GO LOW, WE GO CHIBarack and Michelle Obama yesterday made a stop on Chicago’s South Side to greet the first class of Obama Foundation Fellows. Ok, time to make like DJ Khaled and drop this Beat. We’re kicking off Thursday with this...
  • Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) wants to save the top cybersecurity position at the White House following John Bolton’s decision to eliminate it.
  • Tavis Smiley will face Paula Deen's former lawyer.
  • Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Mia Love (R-UT) team up on visas for spouses.
  • Silicon Valley VC names first female partner.
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) calls on the Senate to curb POTUS’ war authority.
  • Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) has an ambitious national plan to halve rates of maternal mortality and morbidity over the next decade.
  • Forty percent of AAPI voters are unaffiliated. Vice Chair of the DNC Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) on what the party is doing to attract this growing bloc.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation stands up for Native communities.
Former Deputy Secretary of Labor and Obama alum Chris Lu and former AZ congressional candidate Hiral Tipirneni (D) on Tuesday at the APAICS Gala.
CBS NewsGayle King and The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah on-set Tuesday night to discuss her new book, Note to Self: Inspiring Words From Inspiring People.
CHC Chair Intros Bill to Help Minority and Disadvantaged Farmers
Congresswoman Michelle Luján Grisham (D-NM
) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that they say will improve access to assistance for certain groups of farmers. The Outreach to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) -- a program that helps ensure that veteran, minority population, and immigrant farmers and ranchers have opportunities to successfully own, operate, and retain farms and ranches, and to equitably participate in USDA programs -- is set to expire. The lawmakers say their bill, the Assist Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Act of 2018, would not only reauthorize the program through 2023, but strengthen and improve it as well. “This program is critical for underserved populations to gain access to USDA’s credit, commodity, conservation, and other programs and services, all of which result in a real return for every dollar invested,” Luján Grisham said. More here.

Ted Lieu Intros Bill to Save Top White House Cyber Job after National Security Advisor Eliminated It
Congressmen Ted Lieu (D-CA) 
and Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced a bill Tuesday to codify a top cybersecurity position at the White House following National Security Advisor John Bolton’s decision to eliminate the role. The Executive Cyberspace Coordination Act would create a cyber advisory position by consolidating cybersecurity policy responsibilities in a National Office for Cyberspace in the Executive Office of the President -- and a Senate-confirmed head of that office. “The decision to eliminate the top White House cyber policy role is outrageous, especially given that we’re facing more hostile threats from foreign adversaries than ever before. This move impedes our country’s strategic efforts to counter cybersecurity threats against our country,” Lieu said. “A coordinated effort to keep our information systems safe is paramount if we want to counter the cyber threats posed by foes like Russia, Iran and China. To do anything less is a direct threat to national security. I am grateful to Congressman Langevin for his leadership on this critical issue.” More here.

Pramila Jayapal and Mia Love Team Up on Visas
Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
and Mia Love (R-UT) on Wednesday led 130 bipartisan members of Congress in urging Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to maintain the current regulation granting work authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant workers. The Trump administration is expected to rescind the rule granting these spouses work authorization in June. “The opportunity for H-4 visa holders to work has made our economy stronger, while providing relief and economic support to thousands of spouses—mostly women—who have resided in the United States for years,” wrote the members. “Many are on the path to permanent residency, and would already be permanent residents if not for the decades-long employment backlogs. Rescinding the rule will hurt the competitiveness of U.S. employers and the U.S. economy, as well as H-4 accompanying spouses and their families. We strongly urge you to reconsider this action.” Read the letter here.

Marco Rubio Aims to Keep Recovery Homes on the Up and Up 
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced The Sober Home Fraud Detection act last week following reports of unlawful activity by recovery treatment homes, or sober homes, in Florida. In February, Rubio wrote to AG Jeff Sessions, Department of Labor Inspector General Scott Dahl, and Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson calling for investigations into claims of kickbacks and false statements associated with federal health plans and private insurance plans. If passed, the bill would help states, law enforcement, private insurers and patients identify potentially illicit sober home providers to ensure those who need treatment are able to do so from legitimate facilities, while also preventing health care fraud. “The nation’s opioid epidemic has devastated far too many American families, and the thought of losing a loved one is already frightening enough without having to worry about unscrupulous actors posing as legitimate treatment centers,” said Rubio. More here
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) with attendees of the APAICS Gala on Tuesday.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, actor Ethan Hawke, and rapper Killer Mike behind the scenes of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher last week.
Barbara Lee Appeals to Senate to Curb President’s Authority to Wage War
Back in 2001, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) cast a lonely vote against an ill-defined and open-ended authorization of the use of military force to respond to the September 11, 2001 attacks. She warned then that the so-called Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) could be used by any future administrations to maintain unending warfare without constitutionally adequate approval from Congress. Now Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) have introduced a bipartisan bill supplanting two previous AUMFs. Their new resolution, the Corker-Kaine proposal, leaves Donald Trump’s claimed inherent Article II authority to wage war against nation-states without congressional authorization undisturbed, including the ongoing war against Syria. Lee, joined by Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), sent a bipartisan letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday outlining tailored principles for inclusion in any new AUMF condemning the overly broad language and proposing they repeal previous AUMFs. “The Senate needs to go back to the drawing board,” said Lee. “While I support a robust debate on any new AUMF, I fear that the Corker-Kaine proposal would further limit congressional oversight of our perpetual wars. Replacing one blank check with another even broader one is a recipe for disaster.” Read the full letter, which was signed by a bipartisan coalition of 49 members of Congress, here.
Raja Krishnamoorthi Intros Bill to Eliminate Preventable Pregnancy-Related Deaths In America
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL)
has introduced bipartisan legislation with an ambitious national plan to halve rates of maternal mortality and morbidity over the next decade, with the goal of eliminating preventable maternal deaths within 20 years. Between 700 and 900 American women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes each year, and more than 50,000 nearly die. The Ending Maternal Mortality Act, which he introduced with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) -- Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care, would require the Department of Health and Human Services to design and implement a National Strategy to Combat Maternal Mortality with the goal of cutting the rate of preventable maternal deaths by half in the next decade. The public plan would address the need for improved data collection, increased understanding of maternal mortality, eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy outcomes, and best practices for hospital and health providers. “Maternal health outcomes reflect how we value women and mothers, but despite our country’s prosperity, the United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world,” said Krishnamoorthi. “We cannot stand idly by as hundreds of American mothers die each year in the nation with the most advanced medical care on earth. It is not only possible to save their lives; it is our moral imperative.” More here.

Bennie Thompson Probes DHS on Chinese Company Championed by Trump
Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)
, the top Democrat of the Committee on Homeland Security, yesterday introduced a Resolution of Inquiry calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide the Committee with all information and documentation it possesses related to the cybersecurity threats posed by the Chinese telecom corporation ZTE. The move comes after Donald Trump on Sunday pledged to help ZTE Corp “get back into business, fast” after a U.S. ban crippled the technology company, offering a job-saving concession to Beijing ahead of high-stakes trade talks this week. U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that the Chinese company has been considered a significant security and surveillance threat for years and has illegally sold its products to Iran and North Korea, despite sanctions. “We must also be able to determine what, if any, information or formal processes informed President Trump’s decision to work with President Xi to benefit ZTE. The President’s cavalier approach to handling this serious national security matter should be concerning to all,” said Thompson. “In this age of ever-changing threats, the cybersecurity of government networks and our national security infrastructure should be paramount.” Some have argued that POTUS45 has a lot to gain from this deal. The Trump Organization has a contract with Chinese companies at a project in Dubai and China also granted Trump a portfolio of valuable trademarks shortly after he was elected. Agence France-Presse reported that Chinese state enterprises will provide $500 million in loans to a development project in Indonesia that will include Trump-branded hotels, residences, and golf courses. The project stands to funnel millions of dollars into the Trump Organization. More on the resolution here.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a champion for working families, is looking for a Graphic Designer to join her 2018 re-election campaign. The Graphic Designer will work with the digital team to create social media graphics, digital ads, email images, website landing pages, and more.
Click here to learn more and apply!
The Information Taps WSJ Reporter
The digital media company The Information has nabbed Wall Street Journal Reporter Wayne Ma. Wayne will be joining as a reporter in the Hong Kong bureau. He has been covering China tech for the WSJ and Dow Jones in Beijing since 2008 and has distinguished himself as an incredible scoop machine. Before joining WSJ/Dow Jones, Wayne reported for Bloomberg. The 2004 University of Illinois grad, who earned his MBA from NYU in 2008, will join The Information sometime this summer. More here.
PBS Hires Paula Deen’s Former Lawyer in Legal Battle With Tavis Smiley
In February, Tavis Smiley sued PBS for firing him over sexual misconduct allegations, claiming that the network breached its contract and damaged his production company. He also accused the network of acting in “a racially hostile manner” over the years. In response, PBS filed a countersuit against Smiley seeking $1.9 million in salary and providing more detail about the accusations, accusing him of “having sexual encounters with subordinates,” and “making unwanted sexual advances toward subordinates, including requests for specific sexual acts.” Now, PBS has hired Grace Speights to represent the network in its legal battle with Smiley. An employment litigation specialist and Partner in the DC office of Morgan Lewis, Speights is the same lawyer that Paula Deen used in her workplace racial discrimination suit after the TV chef and her brother were sued by a former employee for sexual harassment and racially offensive talk. The University of Pennsylvania grad, who completed law school at George Washington University, also led the legal team hired by NPR to investigate the company’s handling of inappropriate behavior by former top news executive. An initial scheduling conference is set for later this month in DC Superior Court. More here.

Top Dems Have Questions Over WH-Justice Communications on Time Warner Merger
Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
and other top Dems sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting documents related to AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner in light of new concerns raised by recent statements regarding Donald Trump’s potential interference with DOJ’s merger review process. The letter to AG Jeff Sessions requests any and all communications between the White House and DOJ on the issue. “As we have repeatedly noted, political interference in law enforcement matters — including antitrust enforcement — is unacceptable and without modern precedent,” the letter reads. “Despite our repeated requests for materials related to the Trump Administration’s many conflicting claims on the matter, the Department has not provided Congress with any relevant information.” Cummings was joined in the letter by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), House Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member David N. Cicilline (D-RI), and House Government Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA). Read the letter here.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, her brother Craig Robinson, and mom Marian Robinson in the 1960s.
Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA), who taught in Southern California public schools from 1988 to 2012, before being elected to Congress.
With Nearly 40% of AAPI Voters Unaffiliated with a Political Party, This Growing Voting Bloc Remains Up for Grabs
Nearly two in five Asian Americans who are registered voters didn’t identify as either a Democrat or Republican, according to findings from a Spring 2016 report released by nonprofits APIAVote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, along with AAPI Data. Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), who also serves as Vice Chair of the DNC, said the party isn’t taking any chances when it comes to reaching Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters, who account for around 4% of the electorate. “The Republican Party in the past has been active in wooing AAPI voters, and so that reminds our party that we need to do a better job,” Meng said. In the 2016 presidential election, both parties pursued this voting bloc, which is part of the fastest growing racial group, according to the Pew Research Center, and is expected to double by 2040. While voter turnout for Asian Americans was less than for African Americans and whites, it was slightly higher than Hispanics, according to the Pew Research Center. Meng said the conventional wisdom of almost any campaign is to target voters who have participated in the last one to three elections. But for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, she added, outreach has to extend beyond that. More here.

Woman of Color Jumps Into NY AG Race
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James has formed a campaign committee to raise money for a likely run for NY Attorney General. James filed papers with the state Board of Elections declaring her intention to run for AG in the fall. The 1981 CUNY's Lehman College and 1989 Howard University School of Law grad made history in 2014 by becoming the first woman of color to hold citywide office in NYC. In her current role, James is a strong advocate for criminal justice reform and led the push for police body-worn cameras in the NYPD. Prior to being elected Public Advocate, she served as a City Council Member from 2004 to 2013, as an Assistant Attorney General, and a public defender. Last week, James withdrew her name from consideration to replace former AG Eric Schneiderman for the rest of his term; Schneiderman resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has said he is considering running as well. And Alphonso David, Chief Counsel to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), is another possible contender. More here.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and her husband Abraham Williams last weekend helping families on Kauai whose homes were damaged by recent storms.
Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) in her DC office on Tuesday getting ready to host her first live telephone town hall.
VC Firm Names First Female General Partner
Sarah Guo just became one of the first female general partners at Greylock Partners -- one of the oldest venture firms in the country based in Silicon Valley. Guo joined five years ago as a Principal on the recommendation of Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri, now an advisor at the firm, after she’d worked on that company’s IPO on behalf of Goldman Sachs. Greylock, which closed its current (15th) fund with $1 billion in October 2016, now has eight general partners and four venture partners altogether. The 28-year-old graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (for both her undergraduate degree and MBA) also worked previously at Casa Systems, a 15-year-old tech company that develops a software-centric networking platform for cable and mobile service providers and that was founded by her parents. She also sits on the boards of several companies, including the security startup Obsidian. Altogether, women still only represent just 15% of decision-makers at Silicon Valley’s major venture capital firms. Guo, who is fluent in both English and Chinese, will be focusing on enterprise software, security and healthcare investments. More here.

New Teacher Center Names A New CEO
New Teacher Center, a nonprofit organization that supports new educators, has named Desmond K. Blackburn as their new CEO. He previously served as Superintendent for Brevard Public Schools in Brevard County, FL. The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity member began his career in education in 1996 as a high school math teacher for Broward County Public Schools. Since then, the University of Florida grad has held the role of Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of School Improvement, Area Superintendent, and Chief School Performance and Accountability Officer. He earned his Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2002 before going on to complete a Doctorate at Florida Atlantic University, joining the FAU faculty as an Adjunct Professor in 2007. More here

BET’s The Rundown host Robin Thede  yesterday vacationing in Barbados.
Congressman Al Green (D-TX) celebrating Cinco de Mayo in North Texas last weekend.
States Are Crafting Work Requirement Waivers -- for White Republicans
In January, the Trump administration released new guidelines that would allow states to begin imposing work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Since the announcement, states have raced to implement new work requirements, which will bump hundreds of thousands of their poorest citizens off the Medicaid rolls. But, according to WaPo’s Christine Emba, a number of GOP-controlled states have been quietly crafting waivers that would end up shielding rural, white residents from this new scheme for self-esteem. In Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky, work-requirement waivers would include exemptions for counties with the highest levels of unemployment, which are overwhelmingly white, rural, and Republican-leaning. But most of these exemptions would do nothing to help people of color who live in high-unemployment urban areas because they live in places where countywide unemployment numbers are skewed by the inclusion of wealthy suburbs. More here.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Stands Up for Native Communities
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will no longer consider an application to its Sports Award if it is submitted by an entity whose name, brand, or practices denigrates, harms or discriminates against any racial or ethnic group. The move comes after the 2017 RWJF Sports Award recognized the football teams in Washington and Kansas City. The Foundation “has over the past year unwittingly become part of the problem by using the RWJF Sports Award to honor teams that denigrate American Indian people. We didn’t consider the fact that the team names, mascots and misappropriation and mocking of sacred symbols like headdresses do real damage to the health of people across the country,” wrote Dr. Richard E. Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Though one might not think of racism and discrimination as factors in health, the clear science tells us otherwise. They impact the physical, emotional and psychological health of people, especially children. ... In short, we got an important health issue wrong.” The Foundation made its announcement in a USA Today op-ed last week. Read it here.
Today, 9A: In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders hosts a Community Leaders Forum, an opportunity to engage with senior level federal officials to discuss issues impacting the AAPI community. U.S. Department of Education, Barnard Auditorium. 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.Click here to learn more and RSVP
Today, 2P: Democratic members of Congress hold a forum to examine current enforcement of the Civil Rights Act in U.S. schools and to announce a new resolution to affirm support for disparate impact analysis as an enforcement tool of Title VI under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 2247 Rayburn House Office Building. 
Today, 2:30P: Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity and the Congressional Black Caucus host a forum, “50 Years After the Kerner Report.” HVC-215, U.S. Capitol Building.
Today, 6:30P: The Faith and Politics Institute hosts a documentary screening and panel discussion of the forthcoming PBS documentary, Exploring Exclusions: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882Joie Chen, Director of Medill Washington, will guide Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) and the film’s directors, Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu, in a discussion. Landmark E Street Cinema. 555 11th St N.W. Click here to RSVP.
Today: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute hosts their 2018 Capitol Hill Policy Briefing Series. Topics include “Preventing Gun Violence Through Community Investment, The Necessity for Bail Reform, Environmental Justice for Whom?, and Substance Use Disorders in Underserved Communities.” Capitol Hill. Click here for more information and to RSVP.
Today: Federal Asian Pacific America Council's 33rd National Leadership Training Program. Keynote address by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Sheraton Pentagon City, 900 South Orme Street, Arlington, VA. Click here for more information.
Today - Saturday, May 19th: The National Black Child Development Institute hosts National Black Child Development Week: The Movement Continues. Click here for more information.
Saturday, May 19th, 10A: Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) hosts the 2018 National Summit of the League of Dominican-American Elected Officials. Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Riverview Terrace.173 Fort Washington Avenue, NYC. RSVP to Aneiry Batista at aneiry.batista@mail.house.gov or (212) 663-3900. 
Monday, May 21st - Tuesday, May 22nd: Common Cause Pennsylvania will host their Democracy Works Summit. The Beat DC's Tiffany D. Cross will be a panelist. Sheraton Downtown Hotel on 201 N. 17th Street in Philadelphia, PA. Click here for more information
Thursday, May 24th 6P: Third Annual Multicultural Media Correspondents’ Dinner. The National Press Club. 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC. Invite only. 
Wednesday, June 6th - Saturday, June 9th: The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit. Charlotte, NC. More than 1,000 CEOs, investors, and business experts are expected to attend. Click here for more information and to register.
Sunday, June 10th - Tuesday, June 12th: The ACLU Membership Conference. Speakers include Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse CullorsCongressman John Lewis (D-GA), and founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL Bryan Stevenson. Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place NW) and Marriott Marquis Washington D.C. (901 Massachusetts Avenue NW). Click here for more information
Thursday, June 21st - Sunday, June 24th: The Black Millennial Political Convention, which aims to increase engagement of Black millennials in the political sphere and shed a light on policy issues impacting black communities. This year’s theme is The Advocacy of Policy, Pipeline and Power for the People. Hyatt Regency, Crystal City, VA. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Saturday, July 7th - Tuesday, July 10th: The 2018 UnidosUS annual conference, Marriott Marquis Hotel, DC. Click here for more information and to register.
Thursday, July 12th - Friday, July 20th: March On Washington Film Festival. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, July 17th - Wednesday, July 18th: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 2018 National Women’s Conference. Phoenix. Click here for more information and to register.
Friday, July 20 - Sunday, July 22nd: The 2nd Annual Black Campaign School, hosted by The Collective. Atlanta, GA. Click here for information
Wednesday, August 1st - Saturday, August 4th: The National Urban League 2018 Annual Conference “Save Our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution.” Columbus, OH. Click here for more information and to register.
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