Black journos pick new leader & Mel Watt faces harassment accusations.
Black journos pick new leader & Mel Watt faces harassment accusations.
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July 30, 2018
Latino Lawmakers Renew Call for Smithsonian, Jim Clyburn Aims to Kill Tax Hike, and Obama Center Faces Another Delay
TWITTER TANTRUMThe president threatened on Sunday to shut down the government just before the midterm elections this fall if Congress doesn’t fund his border wall -- the one that was supposed to be paid for by Mexico. He also continued his attacks on the free press, offering conflicting accounts of an off-the-record meeting with NYT’s Publisher A. G. Sulzberger. And he attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller and managed to cast a wide enough net to loop Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in his insults. Just another manic Monday. We're not normalizing. But we are bored. PELOSI’S PUERTO RICO PROMISEHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused the federal government of not honoring its agreement with Puerto Rico’s more than 3 million citizens and pledged to focus on further recovery efforts during a visit to the island territory on Friday. LEADING FROM THE MIDDLECongressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) is considering a bid for leadership in the House Democratic Caucus, saying there should be representation from the Midwest and not just America's coasts. ICED-OUTPhiladelphia is ending a data-sharing contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a move seen as a major accomplishment for immigration rights activists who are making a nationwide push to sever ties with the agency. THE TALK OF CBSThe CBS Board of Directors spent most of the weekend discussing what to do about CEO Les Moonves after a published report included allegations of sexual misconduct from six women. His role had already been in jeopardy because of a separate legal battle with controlling shareholder Shari Redstone -- he and the board are trying to stop a merger with Viacom. Meanwhile, Julie Chen, his wife and host of The Talk, will certainly address this on today’s show. THEY BE ALL NIGHTFormer President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama were spotted at Beyonce and JAY-Z’s “On The Run II” tour stop at FedEx Field in Landover, MD on Saturday. FOREVER YOUNG… Speaking of Jigga, his docuseries, Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, premieres on the Paramount Network tonight at 10P EDT. The House is out. The Senate is in. 99 PROBLEMS ... IS VOTING ONE? Midterm elections are 99 days away. Make sure your people are registered! We’re kicking off the week with this...
  • Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) team to safeguard the next big thing in technology.
  • Former NC Congressman Mel Watt faces harassment accusations.
  • Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) makes a commitment to house Millennials in her Cabinet if elected Governor.
  • Historic MI gubernatorial candidate, Abdul El-Sayed, gets a boost from the Bernie-wing of the party. Check it out in Blogs.
Comedy Central’s José Acevedo, Roy Wood Jr., and Tara Schuster over the weekend at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on Wednesday with Youth Caucus of America’s John Domínguez in DC.
John Lewis Released from Hospital
Civil rights icon and Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis was released from the hospital on Sunday evening with a clean bill of health. He had been hospitalized on Saturday following an in-flight emergency during a flight to Atlanta. Lewis’ office released no details about the nature of his illness, but said that "All tests have been completed, and doctors have given him a 'clean bill of health.’" The Congressman’s spokesperson Brenda Jones went on to say, "He thanks everyone who shared their thoughts, prayers and concerns during his stay." The 78-year-old missed an event on Saturday. More here.
Catherine Cortez Masto and Ted Cruz Team to Protect Next Big Thing in Technology: 5G
The next big thing in cellular technology, 5G, will bring lightning-fast wireless Internet. According to documents leaked earlier this year, there was a proposal going around the White House to build a federally owned 5G telecommunications system -- or perhaps even to nationalize the 5G networks that private telecom companies are now building. The proposal was driven by concerns about security threats related to China’s development of 5G networks. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, introduced legislation last week which would protect commercial 5G broadband networks from nationalization without authorization from Congress. The Eliminate From Regulators Opportunities to Nationalize The Internet in Every Respect Act is important enough to bring two political opposites together. They say nationalizing 5G networks will only have a chilling effect on private investment and result in a radical shift in the management of the nation’s telecommunications networks.’ “As we look to breakthroughs in innovation to spur domestic economic growth, it is crucial that we work collaboratively with the telecom industry to expand the country’s broadband infrastructure and maintain our global competitiveness. Nationalizing our broadband network would be detrimental to competition and private investment,” said Cortez Masto. Cruz agreed, adding, “If we try to compete with China by acting like China, we will lose far more than our global leadership in mobile technology.” More here.
Jim Clyburn Wants to End the Tax on Churches and Nonprofits
House Assistant Minority Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) on Wednesday introduced the Stop the Tax Hike on Charities and Places of Worship Act to repeal the new tax on churches and other places of worship. In June, Republicans quietly imposed a new tax law that requires churches, hospitals, colleges, orchestras, and other historically tax-exempt organizations to begin paying a 21% tax on certain benefits. Clyburn referred to the Republican tax bill as the “GOP tax scam” in a press release, saying the legislation is part of a broader Republican effort to strip the code of tax breaks for employee benefits such as parking and meals, and poses a major financial and administrative burden. “The GOP Tax Scam gave more than a trillion dollars in tax breaks to corporations and the ultra-rich on the backs of America’s working families.  It is making healthcare more expensive, encouraging companies to ship jobs overseas and threatening the future of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” Clyburn said. “Just as our country’s history is steeped in volunteerism and philanthropy to aid the less fortunate, so too is our tax code. Congress should not force nonprofit organizations to foot the bill for their massive corporate giveaway.” More here.
Congressman Lou Correa's (D-CA) Legislative Assistant Valeria Sandoval meeting NY congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) on Monday in DC.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh meeting with franchise owner, former NBA player Magic Johnson on Friday in Baltimore.
Hispanic Caucus Renews Calls for Latino Smithsonian
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday renewed calls for a Latino-specific Smithsonian Museum. The lawmakers pointed to the National Museum of African American History and Culture as an example of the type of plan they needed to follow to make a Latino Smithsonian a reality, and they said they plan to push Congress to pass legislation that would cover half the cost. The members estimated it could take $600-$700 million to build. There is currently bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the National Museum of the American Latino Act, which was introduced in June 2017 by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Congressman José Serrano (D-NY) in the House and by Senators Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) and John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Senate. Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) said, "If we don't take charge, another decade is going to go by, another decade is going to go by, and the biggest minority population in America is not going to have a powerful presence in Washington, D.C., as we should." Unfortunately, the effort faces an uphill climb; previous bills to establish a Latino Smithsonian have stalled, and the chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian has said there are no plans for a new museum. More here.

Pramila Jayapal Urges Trump Administration to Put Breastfeeding Mothers First
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
accused the Trump administration of placing the interests of the formula industry over those of breastfeeding mothers. She led 64 House members in a letter directly to the president after reports that the U.S threatened nations at the World Health Assembly meeting in May in an effort to water down a resolution supporting breastfeeding. In the letter, the members cited medical evidence and the health benefits of breastfeeding including improved IQ, school attendance, preventable newborn deaths, and more. They also addressed the reports of representatives of the Trump administration threatening Ecuador, the original sponsor of the resolution, with trade sanctions and withdrawal of military aid if they did not alter or pull back the resolution. “The resolution was widely expected to be non-controversial and be adopted unanimously, until your administration went out of its way to favor a narrow group of companies, contrary to longstanding U.S. public health policy.  This is just plain wrong,” the lawmakers wrote. “This is not the manner in which the American people expect themselves to be represented on the global stage. Bullying does not work on the school yard; neither does it work in the boardroom. It will certainly not work at international forums either.” See the full letter here
Ben Ray Luján and Jamie Herrera Beutler Intro Bill to Expand Kids’ Access to Health Care
Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) 
and Congresswoman 
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) on Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to streamline the reimbursement process for care provided to children outside the state where they are enrolled in a Medicaid program. Joined in its introduction by Congressmen Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and David McKinley (R-WV), the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act aims to create an enhanced screening and enrollment process for Medicaid’s pediatric providers and suppliers when there is a low risk for fraud, waste, and abuse. “Medicaid coverage is integral to keeping kids and families healthy across the country, but it is critical to ensure the program works for health care providers and hospitals, too. This bill is an important step towards enabling providers to care for all patients, no matter where they call home,” said Luján. “I’m grateful to San Juan Regional Medical Center – a New Mexico hospital that also borders Utah, Arizona, and Colorado – for bringing this issue to my attention. Providers should be able to focus on taking the best care of these rural neighbors without having to worry if they will be paid for their services.” Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. More here.
Press Assistant (Boston, MA)
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2018 re-election campaign seeks a dynamic and self-motivated Press Assistant to join the press team. The campaign is looking for an individual with strong research, verbal, and written communication skills. Someone who is organized, proactive, and calm under pressure with a high level of attention to detail.
Click here to learn more.

FHFA Director Accused of Sexual Harassment 
Mel Watt
, the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, is under investigation for alleged sexual harassment of an employee. According to reports, an accuser alleges that the 72-year-old former NC Congressman repeatedly made inappropriate sexual advances when she tried to discuss career and salary concerns. The conversations included a 2016 meeting during which Watt allegedly steered the discussion to his feelings for the woman, according to documents and partial transcripts of tapes obtained by Politico. In a separate encounter, Watt his accuser alleges he asked about a tattoo on her ankle, saying, “If I kissed that one would it lead to more?" The employee, who requested privacy during an ongoing investigation, has filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint. "The selective leaks related to this matter are obviously intended to embarrass or to lead to an unfounded or political conclusion,” Watt said in an e-mail. “However, I am confident that the investigation currently in progress will confirm that I have not done anything contrary to law. I will have no further comment while the investigation is in progress." More here.

Administration Official Who Made Racist Comments Out
Ximena Barreto
, a right-wing pundit who was appointed to a communications post at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), resigned last week following a report that she had spread conspiracy theories on social media. Barreto had pushed material about “Pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory which alleges that there was a Hillary Clinton-linked pedophile ring operating out of the basement of a pizza restaurant in DC, called Islam a “cult,” shared conspiracy theories about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich, and made claims that Barack Obama and France President Emmanuel Macron were controlled by outside forces. Barreto was placed on leave in April following reports from CNN and Media Matters that she spread these conspiracies and made anti-Muslim comments. After issuing a public apology, she returned to work but was moved from her job as Deputy Director of Communications. She was escorted from HHS headquarters by security on Friday, becoming the third staffer to leave the department since an article was published on how Trump appointees were spreading conspiracy theories online. More here.

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center's Bailey Boyd with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) over the weekend in Seattle.
CNN’s Jim Acosta in full vacation mode last week.
Obama Presidential Center Faces Another Delay
Groundbreaking on the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park is being pushed back again until 2019 -- when all federal approvals are completed. The date has always been fluid and contingent on the completion of architectural design and approvals, and the need to allow the foundation and former President Barack Obama the time to develop the programming and ceremony around what will be a major groundbreaking event. From the perspective of the foundation, a few more months is a very minor development given the enormity and permanency of the project. There’s also a federal lawsuit filed in May that’s seeking to block construction by public parks activists against the city of Chicago and the Chicago Park District. After clearing the hurdles, the future Obama Presidential Center campus will include a 165,000 square-foot tower to rise 235 feet with eight stories, plus several mezzanine levels; a building to house a Chicago Public Library branch; a combination building to be used a conference and recreation center; and outdoor spaces. More here.

Colleen Hanabusa Makes Bold Commitment to House Millennials in her Cabinet
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI)
is aiming to unseat fellow Democratic incumbent Hawai'i Governor David Ige and she thinks she found the answer-- Millennials. The Aloha State is struggling to stop millennials from moving off the island largely due to high housing costs. “I want to ensure that we stop this trend and I want to next generation to feel that they have place to belong,” she said. Hawai'i has the highest cost of living of any state in the nation. That’s why the Congresswoman made an unprecedented pledge to establish executive Cabinet-level representation for Millennials if she is elected Governor. “Every decision that is made I’m hoping would have the value of their knowledge and their input and their perspective. Because how can we say we're creating a Hawaii for the next generation and we don’t even have someone from the next generation giving their input?,” she asked. But before this can happen, Hanabusa must win the August 11th primary. Her chances look good as she enjoys wide name recognition, and Ige’s approval rating is underwater by 12 points, according to an April Morning Consult survey. Stay tuned. More here.

DCCC Announces Plans to Pay Interns
DCCC Chair Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) on Thursday announced in a roundtable meeting that the Committee was “going forward” with plans to pay intern classes in the future. The change comes just weeks after a group 13 interns -- led by DCCC intern Lydia Murray, who is Chinese American -- authored a letter with the advocacy group Pay Our Interns, urging Luján and other Committee officials to pay their future cohorts. By offering unpaid internships, the letter said, the DCCC was limiting the talent pool to the kinds of people who already dominate the political world. The letter also noted several examples of how paid internships have opened the doors for marginalized communities and increased diversity; after the DNC announced paying interns this year, the share of people of color in the spring 2018 program leaped from 18% to 42%. Luján did not offer details about when and how much the DCCC would pay but did say that the Committee was planning to offer a stipend and to expect an announcement in the near future. More here

Hamilton's creative crew Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andy Blankenbuehler, Thomas Kail, and Alex Lacamoire on Thursday hanging out in NYC.
Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) awarding Alejandro Montes the Business Person Of the Year award for the city of Pasadena, CA last week.
Edgar Ramírez Joins WaPo’s Opinions Section
Edgar Ramírez
is joining The Washington Post as a Social Media Producer for the Opinions section. In this role, he’ll be responsible for growing the audience and engagement for Opinions content across social platforms, including social video series and its global offerings. He most recently served as a Social Media Editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he led their social media accounts, helped launch and produce Facebook Live programs, and implemented their strategies on Snapchat and Instagram stories. The Penn State University graduate began at the Post-Gazette in 2011 as a Dow Jones News Fund Copy Editing Intern and continued to serve in a variety of roles there including as a Copy Editor, Page Designer, and Desk Operations Assistant. The bilingual journalist, who is fluent in English and Spanish, begins his new role today. More here.

Mitú Founder and CEO Step Down Amid Layoffs
Mitú President and Founding Partner Beatríz Acevedo and its CEO Herb Scannell have stepped down from their management positions. Acevedo, who has been a manager at the company since its inception in 2012, will continue to have a seat on the company’s board of directors. Scannell, a TV industry veteran who once ran Nickelodeon and BBC Worldwide North America, will also remain affiliated with Mitú in an advisory role. While Mitú has not named an interim CEO, according to a company representative, the company will be run by a senior management operating committee led by CFO Ray León. More here.
NABJ Names New Executive Director
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced longtime member and Emmy Award-winning producer Drew Berry as its new Executive Director. The 1978 University of Texas at Austin graduate has been serving as a consultant tasked with executing this year's Convention, which kicks off Wednesday in Detroit. Berry also served in a staff leadership role from 2015 to 2017 and worked with current NABJ President Sarah Glover and the board and staff with overseeing a million-dollar financial turnaround of the organization. The 63-year-old previously served as Interim Executive Director of NABJ in 2010. The Dallas native has held numerous leadership positions in broadcast including as an Executive Producer for WABC in NY, a News Director for WCAU in Philadelphia, and as VP and General Manager for WMAR in Baltimore. Since 2007, he has been running his own media consultant agency specializing in strategic plans for media organizations, marketing, branding, and crisis management. "I am very excited about the opportunities for engagement with NABJ leadership, members and partners to further build on a very solid financial and programmatic foundation.  We are already discussing new partnerships, NABJ enterprises and organizational efficiencies to benefit all NABJ stakeholders," Berry said. More here.

The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah meeting Liverpool Football Club’s Mohamed Salah last week in New Jersey during the teams’ stateside tour.
Former GA Senator Leroy R. Johnson on Saturday celebrating his 90th birthday with GA gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in Georgia.
Judge Appointing Independent Monitor for Immigrant Child Detention Centers
A federal judge is appointing a special monitor to oversee conditions for detained migrant children after lawyers for the children and their families provided stories detailing inhumane treatment at detention centers. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said the independent monitor will report directly to her about the conditions in Customs and Border Protection facilities. As of now, the monitor will only look at facilities in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, but lawyers for the families are considering asking the judge to extend the monitoring to all facilities. Gee’s decision comes as a result of complaints that the Trump administration is not adhering to the Flores settlement, which details the care that immigrant children detained by the U.S. must receive. Accounts from children and their attorneys detail inadequate food, dehydration, and sleep deprivation because children do not have access to sleeping mats, among other claims. "There continue to be persistent problems,” Gee said. "There seems to be disconnect between what both sides see at these facilities." Both sides have until August 10th to confer and come up with a name. Should they not reach an agreement, both sides will submit two names, and Gee will pick a monitor from their submissions. More here.

Wednesday, August 1st - Saturday, August 4th: The National Urban League's 2018 Annual Conference “Save Our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution.” Columbus, OH. Click here for more information and to register.
Wednesday, August 1st - Sunday, August 5th: NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair. Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. 400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit, MI. Click here for more information
Thursday, August 2nd, 6:45P: The Mexican Cultural Institute's La Música de México series presents a recital titled 'Mexico's nueva canción' with Mexican composer Alfredo Sánchez. Click here for more information and to RSVP.
Friday, August 3rd, 5P: Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) will lead a conversation with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on politics and the issues that both members are battling on Capitol Hill. Dillard University Georges Auditorium, 2601 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA. Click here for more information.
Monday, August 6th - Saturday, August 11th: 16th Annual Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, August 8th - Saturday, August, 11th: AAJA National Convention. Marriott Marquis Houston. 1777 Walker St., Houston, TX. Click here for more information.
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.
Thursday, September 25th - Saturday, September 29th: NBMBAA 40th Annual Conference & Exposition. Detroit, MI. Click here for more information.
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