Daily Archives: January 15, 2017

The Clinton Foundation Shuts Down Clinton Global Initiative, Laying Off 22 Employees

The main office of the Clinton Global Initiative would be closing

WARN Details

Date of Notice: 1/12/2017Event Number: 2016-0132

Rapid Response Specialist: Stuart Goldberg

Reason Stated for Filing: Plant Layoff

Company:
The Clinton Foundation
1271 Avenue of the Americas, 42nd Floor
New York, NY  10020

County: New York | WIB Name: NEW YORK CITY | Region: New York City

Contact: Veronika Shiroka

Phone: (646) 775-9184

Business Type: Social Advocacy Organization – Clinton Global Initiative

Number Affected: 22

Total Employees: —–

Layoff Date: 4/15/2017

Closing Date: —–

Reason for Dislocation: Discontinutation of the Clinton Global Initative

ERNUM: 86-83268

Union: The affected workers are not represented by a Union.

Classification: Plant Layoff

Source: NY Department of Labor

Why Wells Fargo rejected a teacher’s Black Lives Matter debit card design

BLM

Courtesy of Rachel Nash

Wells Fargo offers its customers the ability to personalize their credit and debit cards with images “that reflect what’s important to you.” A family photo, a picture of your pet, your kid’s artwork — “the choice is yours,” the banking giant advertises on its website.

So Rachel Nash, a Baltimore city schoolteacher, tried, as the company advises, to “make a statement with an image.”

She designed a sleek custom bank card featuring a raised fist and three words — “Black Lives Matter.”

When her city erupted in protests over the 2015 death of a young black man, Freddie Gray, from an injury sustained while in police custody, the white English teacher had ironed “Black Lives Matter” onto a gray tank top and wore it to school. She wanted to express solidarity with a national movement protesting the string of police killings of black citizens and signal to students that she was willing to listen.

Now Nash, who says she’s fed up with white people who freely disparage black youth in front of her, wants to extend the conversation to cashiers and others she interacts with while she buys groceries, gets coffee, dines at restaurants — wherever and whenever she uses her debit card.

“A lot of white people in Baltimore have really problematic views about race, and they feel like because I’m a white person I agree with them automatically,” Nash, 29, said. “This is one way I can demonstrate regularly that I am not complicit in whatever their views are.”

But Wells Fargo rejected her design.

Two days after she submitted her image online, Nash received an email Thursday morning informing her that her design did not meet the company’s guidelines.

Read on.

Cuomo will make foreclosure reform a priority — finally

Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers are finally making reverse-mortgage foreclosure reform a priority this year — following continuing coverage of a crisis by The Post.

Last week, the governor announced plans to provide reverse-mortgage holders the right to a mandatory foreclosure settlement conference with their lender, overseen by the court, just as traditional mortgage borrowers have, and to update regulations to prevent reverse-mortgage foreclosures.

Read on.

CREW:LETTER TO REP. CHAFFETZ IN RESPONSE TO HIS THREATENING THE OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS

The Honorable Jason Chaffetz
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
January 13, 2017

Dear Chairman Chaffetz:

We note with concern your Jan. 12, 2017 letter to Walter Shaub, Director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), demanding the director testify in a closed-door session in short order (i.e. that he “make himself available available for a transcribed interview with Committee staff as soon as possible, but no later than January 31, 2017.”)[1] The letter adds “the Committee may also need to interview additional witnesses,” which hints at interviews of other OGE staff. The New York Times characterized the letter as “including a veiled threat of an investigation.” We also see it as a threat to cut off funding for this vital institution.

The context in which your letter was sent—the noncompliance of the incoming Trump administration with some recommendations of OGE to address conflicts-of-interest and other ethics issues pertaining to incoming senior administration officials—raises concerns that the letter may be inordinately partisan and not in furtherance of the purpose you have declared for the committee: “we will work with our colleagues in the minority to exercise effective oversight over the federal government and will work proactively to investigate and expose waste, fraud, and abuse.”

Indeed, the Ranking Member of the Committee, the Hon. Elijah Cummings, wrote to you on January 12, 2017, requesting “the Committee convene a hearing next week … to hear public testimony from the nation’s top government ethics expert regarding President-Elect Donald Trump’s massive global business entanglements.” He added “I believe it is imperative that Director Shaub be permitted to testify in public — before the American people — to avoid any perception he is being unfairly targeted behind closed doors for expressing his views.”[2] (emphasis added)

Committee leaders of both parties have a long bipartisan history of working across party lines and with civil society on government transparency and accountability issues. The recent enactment of the FOIA Improvement Act and DATA Act, and ongoing protection of whistleblowers, is testament to the power and purpose of collaborating to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, and we applaud those efforts. Recent reporting suggests the Committee may plan to investigate the Trump administration less vigorously than the Obama administration,[3] a charge that we hope you will dispel.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee clearly has jurisdiction over OGE and we do not quibble with the proper exercise of its oversight authority. Nevertheless, we cannot help but be alarmed by a letter that: (1) lacks bipartisan support; (2) unreasonably demands the head of OGE and possibly OGE staff be interviewed during the peak time they are vetting President Elect Trump and his nominee’s ethics forms; (3) does not address the underlying issues of whether President Elect Trump and his nominees are complying with government ethics requirements; and (4) does not meet the reasonable accommodation of holding such an inquiry in public.

Accordingly, we request you defer any inquiry into OGE until such time as it is bipartisan, held in public, addresses the Trump administration’s potential conflicts-of-interest, and is calibrated to interfere as little as possible with OGE’s ongoing activities of reviewing the incoming administration’s compliance with ethical requirements.

We are, sincerely yours,

Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation
Brennan Center for Justice
Center for Media Democracy
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Common Cause
Demand Progress
Democracy 21
Demos
Every Voice
Free Speech For People
Fund for Constitutional Government
James A. Thurber
Kathleen Clark
No More Guantanamos
Norman Eisen
Norm Ornstein
OpenTheGovernment.org
People For the American Way
Public Citizen
Richard Painter
Sunlight Foundation
Zephyr Teachout

[1] THE LETTER IS DESCRIBED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, “G.O.P. LAWMAKER HINTS AT INVESTIGATING ETHICS CHIEF CRITICAL OF TRUMP,” BY STEVE EDER AND ERIC LIPTON (JANUARY 13, 2017),HTTPS://WWW.NYTIMES.COM/2017/01/13/US/POLITICS/REP-JASON-CHAFFETZ-ETHICS-MONITOR-INVESTIGATION-THREAT.HTML, AND PUBLISHED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES ATHTTPS://WWW.DOCUMENTCLOUD.ORG/DOCUMENTS/3284846-2017-01-12-CHAFFETZ-TO-SHAUB-OGE.HTML. ODDLY, THE LETTER IS NOT AVAILABLE ON THE MAJORITY WEBSITE OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM (HTTPS://OVERSIGHT.HOUSE.GOV/), ALTHOUGH IT IS REFERENCED ON THE MINORITY WEBSITE (HTTPS://DEMOCRATS-OVERSIGHT.HOUSE.GOV/).
[2] HTTP://DEMOCRATS-OVERSIGHT.HOUSE.GOV/SITES/DEMOCRATS.OVERSIGHT.HOUSE.GOV/FILES/DOCUMENTS/2017-01-12.EEC%20TO%20CHAFFETZ.RE_.SCHAUB.PDF
[3] NEW YORK TIMES, “OBAMA WATCHDOG IN CONGRESS HAS NEW TARGET IN TRUMP ERA: POSTAL REFORM” (JANUARY 9, 2017), AVAILABLE AT HTTPS://WWW.NYTIMES.COM/2017/01/09/US/POLITICS/DONALD-TRUMP-TRANSITION.HTML.

cc: The Hon. Elijah Cummings

Source: CREW