Disgraced Subway Spokesperson Claims Judge Bias

If federal prosecutors have their way, Jared Fogle isn’t going to be eating Subway sandwiches anytime soon. The disgraced former Subway Spokesperson is serving a 16-year prison sentence. He says that the sentence is unfair because the judge had a bias at his sentencing. Fogle says that his sentence is invalid and the court should let him out of prison.

Fogle says that the judge couldn’t have been fair and impartial in her decision. He says that the judge couldn’t have decided the case fairly because she has teenage daughters. However, the judge had only one daughter who is over the age of adult majority.

Fogle spends his days in a federal prison in Colorado. He began serving his 16-year sentence in 2015. He pleaded guilty to possessing or distributing child pornography. He also faced charges of traveling to another state in order to accost a minor for sexual purposes in exchange for a fee. In exchange for Fogle’s guilty plea, the federal prosecutor agreed with Fogle and his defense team on a recommended sentence. The judge exceeded that recommendation.

Today, Fogle doesn’t have any expensive lawyers or a deal as a Subway spokesperson. He represents himself. He says that because his case involved teenage girls, a judge with teenage girls couldn’t possibly have been fair and impartial. Fogle says that the judge should have recused herself from the proceedings. However, the judge had only one daughter and the daughter was an adult when the judge heard Fogle’s case.

The most recent filing isn’t the first time that Fogle has tried to appeal his case. In 2016, he tried an appeal with the help of an attorney. His attorney at the time said that Fogle only thought about wanting to commit a crime and that he didn’t actually commit any conspiracy to commit a crime.

U.S. prosecutors say that’s untrue. They say that Fogle repeatedly sought out teenage girls for immoral purposes and sexual assault. However, Fogle’s legal team for the appeal said that Fogle was unfairly punished for things he wanted to do or thought about doing instead of just the things that he actually did. If the conviction stands, Fogle can’t see the light of day until he serves 85 percent of his sentence or more. When he gets out, he’ll be more than 50 years old. There’s no word if Fogle is eating fresh in federal prison.

Trumps’ Answer To The Victims Of The Parkland Shootin

With the recent mass-shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Trump made a comment suggesting a connection between the shooting, the FBI and the Russian Investigation. The FBI had dropped the ball which was focusing on the recent Russian hoax. A student from the high school where the shooting happened read some notes from the back of your AP government assignment stating that all of these people should be back in their homes grieving. Instead they are here together to stand up against the government about the need for changes.

The student also had a specific message for the president himself. She said that even if he came up and gave her sympathy in person for the shooting, she would accept but still ask him to answer for how much money he has received from the National Rifle Association. According to a report out of the Center for Responsive Politics, there is no other politician who benefited from the 2016 election spending from the NRA as Trump did. They had spent more than $30 million to support his candidacy. This was more than all other combined spending for other presidential candidates in both the 2008 and 2012 campaign elections. These conclusions also included the 145 House races and the 45 Senate races during this time period.

This week, President Trump is going to host a teacher and student listening session. According to representatives from the White House, there is no official list yet about which teachers or students will be attending this session. It was also recently announced that President Trump will be meeting with local and state officials about school safety later in the week.

While all of the gun tragedies in schools are unfathomable, they may have a positive outcome in the end for future students. They are all starting to highlight the passion, intellect and drive for changes by groups of motivated and informed high school students, especially those affected by and attending Stoneman Douglas High School.

The students from the high school are organizing a march next month. In a recent interview with some of the students, they are hoping to use political action and protests to make the mass shooting at their school a turning point for discussion in the national debate going on currently about gun control. Many people feel that now is not the time to be discussing gun control while families are grieving. They respect that and will be hoping that schools and students across the nation will be marching together next month in hopes of protesting for their lives and changes.

Judge Wants the Supreme Court to Reverse Her Sentence

What happens when a judge regrets their decision? The U.S. Supreme Court might get a chance to answer that question if they accept the appeal of Bobby Bostic. Bostic is serving 214 years in prison for felony convictions relating to a robbery he committed at age 16.

Judge Evelyn Baker of Missouri heard the case. Baker sentenced Bostic to serve 241 years in prison. Baker said that at the time, she believed that she was doing the right thing. She says now she has regret for giving someone that young a life sentence. She says she hopes the Supreme Court accepts the case and reverses the decision.

Baker says that at the time of the sentencing, she confidently told the teen that he would die in prison. She told Bostic that he made the choice to break the law. She said the life sentence was the fair result of his choice.

Bostic was convicted of armed robbery. He and a friend robbed a group of people. The group was out delivering Christmas presents. There were shots fired during the robbery. Judge Baker said that the defendant wasn’t remorseful. In fact, she called him a fool.

Now, Baker says that she realizes her sentence was inappropriate. She says that doctors have learned a lot about brain science since the time of Bostic’s sentence. She says that she thought that Bostic was a lost cause. However, since the sentencing, she says that she has come to understand that young people are still growing, learning and changing. Baker says that a teenager can’t fully appreciate their actions and the consequences of their actions.

Rehabilitation is possible for teenagers like Bostic, Baker says. Baker says that it’s unfair to hold a teenager to adult consequences because teenagers can’t fully appreciate the consequences of their choices especially when a life sentence is on the line. She says rehabilitation should be a possibility because young people are able to learn from their actions and reform their behavior.

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed life sentences for juveniles who aren’t convicted of murder, the decision may not help Bostic. Judge Baker didn’t give Bostic a life sentence. Instead, Baker gave the teen 214 years. Even though the effect is essentially a life sentence, the case may still not qualify for reversal because it isn’t classified as a life sentence. Bostic and Baker both hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case and rule in Bostic’s favor.

EPA Reaches Settlement With Amazon.com on Illegal Pesticide Distribution

Marking a victory in the efforts to safeguard online consumers from the hazards of toxic pesticide compounds illegally distributed by overseas merchants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement agreement with eCommerce giant Amazon.com earlier this week.

Initially released details of the Consent Agreement and Final Order allowed Amazon to avoid stipulating to any admission or denial of wrongdoing in connection with the nearly 4000 violations of Section 3 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act that the firm was accused of.

The allegations resulted from unregistered pest control products that were sold and distributed through Amazon.com’s online marketplace.

As part of their agreement with the EPA, Amazon was ordered to pay $1.2 million in penalty assessments and to implement a mandatory compliance program that includes an online education course that all sellers engaged in pesticide products will be required to pass before being allowed to sell those products on the eCommerce site.

The course’s downloadable education materials will be available in Chinese, English and Spanish.

Spokesperson for the EPA, enforcement officer Ed Kowalski stated that Amazon.com was directly engaging in commerce transactions, storing and warehousing and preparing shipments of the illegal substances.

Following the enforcement action by the EPA, Amazon removed all the products from its website and banned international sellers from distributing the pesticides through its marketplace. The company also stated that it had increased its monitoring efforts.

Customers who purchased the chemicals were asked to dispose of the products by Amazon, who also agreed to reimburse the buyers for the amounts of those purchases.

To date Amazon has agreed only that third party sellers sold the products through its marketplace.

However, the EPA’s complaint lists several unregistered pest control compounds that Amazon distributed and held for distribution, shipped and held for shipment between 2013 and 2016 including “Miraculous Insecticide Chalk,” “R.B.T.Z. Safe Highly Effective Roach Killer Bait Powder Indoor” and “Refill for ARS Electric Mosquito Killer Convenient, Clean & Smokeless.”

In their enforcement action documentation the EPA noted that Amazon.com had engaged in these practices on multiple occasions.

During July, 2017, in a related announcement, the EPA stated that it would be increasing its focus on hazardous chemical waste sites as part of the administration’s high priority monitoring and management of citizens’ exposure to toxic substances.

Government Immigration Attorney Steals IDs

Even though federal immigration attorneys are supposed to protect the public by providing honest, ethical representation, one U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement attorney decided to abuse his position and steal the identities of the immigrants whose information came through the office. Raphael Sanchez was the chief counsel for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Seattle. Now, he’s set for sentencing in a federal court after pleading guilty to using his position to steal the identities of people filing immigration paperwork in his office.

Sanchez entered a guilty plea to aggravated identity theft. He also admitted to committing wire fraud. A judge in the U.S. Western Washington federal court accepted the guilty plea. The case now moves to a sentencing hearing in May that will decide Sanchez’ fate.

According to Washington Post, as part of the plea, Sanchez worked out a sentence recommendation with federal prosecutors. They say both sides agree that four years in federal prison is fair. There’s no word on whether the judge will honor the sentencing agreement.

As ICE’s leading man in the Seattle office, Sanchez oversaw cases in Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Washington. With that power, he chose to steal the identities of eight different people. Using the identities, he took out loans that totaled $190,000. Sanchez allegedly found his victims by using the ICE database.

Once he had a victim in mind, he used their information to make a fake driver’s license and fake utility bills. For a photo, he used his own picture. If he stole the identity of a woman, he used a photo of a murder victim.

Once he had the paperwork, he took out credit cards and loans using the false identities. Some of the victims were in deportation proceedings and weren’t even in the United States to know that they were being scammed. Authorities say that was part of Sanchez’ plan to avoid discovery. Authorities also say they found 20 more identities ready to go in Sanchez’ home.

It isn’t the first time that a Seattle ICE attorney has abused their position. In 2016, another official forged a document in order make an immigrant ineligible to stay in the United States. Officials noticed the fraud because the officer forged a document with a date that was earlier than when the form even existed for use. The offending offer served time in prison for the offense. Officials decided to grant the victim a green card.

 

Grandmother Attacks Policing and Prosecution for Profit

Ramona Morales is a 79-year-old woman who bought a total of six dilapidated homes in Indio and Coachella, CA. All of the homes were renovated by her and her family with sweat equity, and then they were rented out. Her intention was to leave something for her children and grandchildren.

Prosecution Fees
At one of the Morales properties in Indio, a city code inspector noticed some chickens inside of a small coop in the home’s back yard. That violated a local ordinance, and Morales was warned accordingly. She told her tenant to get rid of the chickens, paid $150 in fines and went about her life. The tenant failed to get rid of the chickens, and Morales was prosecuted in the criminal courts. According to the Desert Sun, Indio and the law firm of Silver & Wright, its prosecutors, now want nearly $6,000 in prosecution fees from Morales. She isn’t the only one that the Indio and Coachella has sought prosecution fees from. A Desert Sun investigation revealed that the two cities have billed other similarly situated individuals $122,000 of prosecution fees.

She Sued Them
Morales is fighting back. California courts have already ruled that it’s against the law for prosecutors to have a financial interest in cases that they might pursue. The Institute for Justice represents Morales. As opposed to Indio, Coachella and Silver & Wright, it’s a not-for-profit public interest law firm that confronts government entities that police for profit. Morales has now filed a class action lawsuit against Indio and Silver & Wright. At this point in time, she’s the only plaintiff, but other individuals are expected to join.

The Institute of Justice is trying to stop enforcement for profit and obtain the return of the fines paid by Morales and others. The Desert Sun reports that in other cases “the disparity between the severity of the crime and the cost of the bill is even more staggering than what happened to Morales.” Ramona Morales is now a convicted criminal.

Florida Immigration Arrests Increase Drastically

Immigration arrests have increased faster in Florida over the past year than any other state in the country. On that basis, more than 12 immigration advocacy activist groups have advised travelers to Florida to think carefully about trips to the state. They have been told to be ready to be questioned by immigration authorities at Florida travel hubs.

The Chilling Florida Effect
The Associated Press reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has teamed up with the sheriffs of 17 Florida counties in preparation for the spring break season that begins in March when millions of travelers will be arriving in the state. As per ICE, arrests increased from about 3,500 to about 6,200 in Florida during the agency’s last fiscal year. That’s a 76 percent increase. Advocacy groups say that the teaming of federal and county law enforcement agencies coupled with the spike in arrests of undocumented individuals have chilled the desire of undocumented immigrants to travel to Florida.

Related Texas Legislation
Federal legislators are requiring an examination of detentions and arrests within 100 miles of United States borders and coastlines. In the last week, immigration activist groups have held demonstrations at Florida bus stations where a minimum of two arrests were caught on camera. In Texas, where new legislation banned sanctuary cities, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cautioned travelers of the new law. Texas law enforcement officers are now authorized by statute to inquire into an individual’s immigration status during routine detentions.

In January of 2018, Florida released information on what it labeled a nationwide model that allows law enforcement agencies to detain undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for unrelated offenses. This policy was objected to by both the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. A representative of the Florida Immigration Coalition remarked that with Florida and ICE teaming together, immigrant communities are not safe in the state.

Alimony Tax Laws Set to Change

The 2018 tax cut changes the way that U.S. tax law treats alimony. Payers can no longer deduct alimony payments from their taxable income. Recipients no longer have to claim it as income. The net result is that alimony payments will be taxed at the higher level of the payer instead of at the lower level of the recipient.

Women’s advocacy groups are upset about the change. They say that it’s going to make men run to the courthouse to get divorced before the law goes into effect. They say that men aren’t going to want to pay alimony if they have to pay tax on it.

People who support the new bill say that it’s all going to even out. They say that alimony awards will be a little bit smaller to account for the change in taxation. However, they say that the end result will be the same. They say that most people aren’t thinking about an alimony tax payment when they make the decision of whether or not to file for divorce.

Lawmakers say that the change is part of an overall effort to simplify the tax code. They say that most people receive a tax cut when you consider all of the rules taken together. Opponents of the law say that it isn’t true and that promises of real tax cuts are just smoke and mirrors.

Even though the tax law change impacts alimony payers and recipients worldwide, it doesn’t change how state courts determine alimony payments. Each state sets its own rules for determining alimony payments. The amounts can vary wildly by state.

For example, in Texas, alimony is for a shorter duration and typically paid in lesser amounts than in other states. Alimony is seen as a way to quickly rehabilitate the recipient in order to become financially self-sufficient. However, in other states, alimony is seen as a way to make the recipient financially whole for what they might have made if they hadn’t entered into the marriage. In states like Michigan, the court can order alimony indefinitely if the judge feels that’s what justice requires.

States like North Carolina take spousal misconduct into account. If you want to receive alimony but you cheat on your spouse, the judge typically can’t award you anything. On the other hand, if you’re the higher earner and you’re the one who cheats, a judge in North Carolina must order you to pay alimony. Each state makes up their own rules, but the federal tax implications are uniform throughout the United States.

New York To Sue Weinstein Company Due To Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The attorney general for New York is suing Harvey Weinstein and his company for alleged sexual misconduct and harassment that went on for years. This move could have a negative impact for the studio and all involved. Weinstein is the co-founder of Miramax Studios. He was considered a very influential man before over 70 came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct and harassment. Others who came forward claimed he raped them. He stands by his testimony that he did not have any non-consensual sexual encounters with anyone.

The lawsuit claims that Mr. Weinstein and his company executives had failed multiple times to protect the employees from him. The civil suit also names his brother Bob Weinstein as well. He is the co-founder of the company. The studio had been in talks of selling the company to some investors who were led by the official of former President Obama’s administration. However, the suit is now putting the negotiations of that deal on hold. The suit was filed in part because of the reports claiming that the sale of Weinstein’s studio was imminent.

The state is also seeking an unspecified amount of money for restitution and damages for the harm done to his victims. In a recent statement, Weinstein’s attorney had said that a full investigation into many of these sexual harassment claims would be found to be without merit. Schneiderman said he used a subpoena in order to get around the signed Non-Disclosure Agreements that were signed by both Weinstein and his employees in order to attempt to hide from the scrutiny.

Back in October, the New York Times had first reported on the allegations about Weinstein’s sexual abuse allegations. The confirmation about the allegations have not yet been confirmed by Reuters. Since that time, many more women have come forward with their own allegations against Weinstein and other prominent men in the industries of entertainment, politics and business. Many victims have since come together to form the #MeToo movement using various social media platforms to share their sexual harassment stories in support of one another.

Harvey Weinstein has committed to embracing the investigation. However, he has said many times that he will work endlessly to defend himself against the allegations that have been brought against him. Many on his side feel that he is not without any fault. However, they do not feel that it is right for him to be charged in a criminal manner.

 

John Geddert May Have Known About Gymnastics Abuse for Years

In 2012, John Geddert had it all. He was the head coach of the USA women’s gymnastics team. The team struck gold at the London Olympics. They won the gold medal in the team competition, the individual all around and the floor exercise. They also won the silver medal on vault and bronze medal on beam.

Today, say the name John Geddert and you’re unlikely to hear accolades of Olympic success. Instead, Geddert is in the hot seat because Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman says that Geddert knew about Nassar’s abuse. Raisman says that Geddert knew about the abuse in 2011, but didn’t do anything to report it or stop it.

Raisman says that she was riding in a vehicle with Geddert and other gymnasts. One of the gymnasts described in detail what Nassar did to her. Raisman said that Geddert didn’t say anything. She says Geddert just stayed silent. Others have accused Geddert of making treatments with the doctor mandatory for his club gymnasts. They say that Geddert fed Nassar his victims with at least some suspicion of what was going on.

USA Gymnastics revoked Geddert’s certification to attend USA-gymnastics sanctioned events. He simply transferred ownership of the gym to his wife. Geddert is also on the receiving end of several civil lawsuits.

Even though the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office has Geddert under investigation, it’s unclear if he’ll face criminal charges for his failure to act. Athletic coaches are not among the individuals identified as mandatory reporters by Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services. Teachers and school social workers must report suspicion of child abuse to Child Protective Services. There’s no such mandate in Michigan for athletic coaches like Geddert.

Even if Geddert doesn’t face criminal charges for his failure to report Nassar’s behavior, he still may not be off the hook. Another person reported that Geddert assaulted her in a parking lot. At one point, he was reportedly urged to attend counseling for anger management by a county prosecutor’s office. There’s no word on whether the statute of limitations has run out or whether the prosecutor could reconsider filing charges against Geddert for the assault allegations.

After the 2012 Olympics, Geddert’s star principal high-tailed it to UCLA. Even though she was ineligible to compete as an NCAA athlete, Jordan Wieber accepted a post as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bruins women’s gymnastics team. Wieber testified at Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Ingham County that she too was a victim of Nassar’s abuse.

Former Magistrate Denied Reinstatement to Michigan Bar

Nearly a decade after Dennis Mikko lost his bar license and his job as a Michigan court referee, he wants the Michigan State Bar to reinstate him as a practicing attorney. Bar officials denied the request. After a panel review by licensed attorneys, the State Bar of Michigan said that Mikko hasn’t proven that he’s fit to resume practicing law. Mikko appealed the panel’s decision, but officials say the decision is fair.

Mikko was a sitting court referee in Grand Traverse County’s 13th Circuit Court. Officials found inappropriate photos of teenage girls in his office. Mikko said that the images didn’t influence his work. State officials didn’t buy that argument, and they suspended Mikko’s license to practice law. They said the behavior definitely constituted misuse of his position as a court official.

He also fought criminal charges. A judge threw out the charges because he said the photos weren’t criminally offensive. Still, the photos cost Mikko his career.

Mikko used photos of local teenagers along with other lewd photos of teenagers to make a book. He compiled it all into a strange, homemade fiction book of his own making. He also looked at pornography on his work computer and had sexual conversations with a dozen people using his work computer.

After losing his law license, Mikko continued to coach youth soccer. He served a brief suspension, but then local soccer officials reinstated him to referee local games. Mikko says the public shouldn’t worry. Local parents expressed concern that he was working as a referee for youth soccer games, but said they felt powerless to stop it.

Mikko is far from the first Grand Traverse County court official to run into trouble. Judge David Stowe left the bench shortly after his wife’s run-ins with the law. The court declined to remove another sitting family law referee after law enforcement found child pornography on her husband’s computer and marijuana in her home. She continued to make decisions regarding children in Grand Traverse County for years before finally stepping down from her post.

Just in case you thought the 13th Circuit Court has the market cornered on judge misconduct in Grand Traverse County, 86th District Court Judge Thomas Gilbert received a suspension from the bench after getting caught smoking marijuana at a concert. Even so, the District Court isn’t shy about accepting tens of thousands of dollars in grant money with the supposed goal of helping addicts. Citizens charged with a crime in Grand Traverse County can expect to answer to officials in the 86th District and 13th Circuit Courts.

Is Virtual Currency Legislation On Congress’ Agenda?

Based on remarks made recently by Securities and Exchange Chairman Jay Clatyon, the United States Congress may be asked to pass legislation soon that will help regulate various types of virtual currencies, most notably Bitcoin. As these currencies have risen in popularity in recent years, many industry regulators have become concerned about a lack of oversight in this area. These concerns, coupled with recent market losses that have led to Bitcoin losing half its value, have prompted legislators to take a closer look at the issue.

The SEC, working in conjunction with the U.S. Treasury Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is currently examining how new laws regulating virtual currency would impact national and international financial markets. With some banks now refusing to allow customers to use credit cards to purchase Bitcoin, regulators are concerned about such issues as market volatility, investor protections, and the threat of cyber criminals hacking into various virtual currency markets, which could cause chaos in other financial markets.

According to lawmakers, the recent incident involving hackers stealing $530 million from the Japanese bitcoin exchange Coincheck had much to do with the sense of urgency to pass legislation. As the current rules stand, virtual currencies are essentially unregulated, falling into what regulators consider to be cracks that exist between federal and state regulators, the SEC, Treasury Department, and other related agencies.

If legislation is passed on this matter, congressional legislators believe there would be numerous benefits to companies as well as investors. Along with having laws that are much clearer to everyone involved, investors would also have many more protections in place to guard them against cyber thieves. If this occurs, SEC Chairman Clayton and heads of other agencies have said they would be very aggressive in pursuing those who attempt to defraud investors, and would also coordinate efforts with the FBI if there were suspicions of money laundering associated with funding terrorist operations.

According to Chairman Clayton, senators, and other agency heads, if legislation is passed to regulate virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, one concern all agencies will have is funding which will be necessary to hire additional staff. In order to be effective at regulating virtual currencies, the SEC and related agencies will need new personnel to staff trading and markets divisions, cyber crime divisions, and other areas. For additional information on the status of virtual currency legislation, visit Reuters.com.

The Government Shutdown Game is Over for Two Years

Over the past year the United States Congress has played politics with the national operating budget by trying to connect the necessary authorization to other political issues, such as the wall along the Mexico border and extending the DACA program. Both the Democrats and Republicans have apparently realized this is a dangerous game, at least for their careers, and now have averted what President Trump recently said he welcomed.

The needs of the military and the law enforcement community was one of the primary concerns for the agreement according to members of Congress, but there is surely an underlying personal priority in the approval for all congressional members. Unnecessary government workers are commonly off work during a government shutdown, which includes their staffs. The “shutdown” usually merely becomes a short-term suspension from daily operation. Issues such as concerns over North Korea and the renewal of the Iran agreement were also identified.

The fact that 2018 is an election year surely impacted how all Congress members voted, both in the House and Senate, with the House of Representatives approving a budget version first shortly followed by the Senate approval. This means that all members who are running for re-election can claim a victory of sorts on both sides of the aisle. It is surely interesting how both sides of the political duopoly can agree on any measure if it will directly impact their careers, which also leads to the current career politician problem in Washington.

With the manufactured budget crisis behind them, now Congress can focus on doing the people’s work to an extent. If history has taught the U.S citizens anything, it is that the Belt Way operatives always take care of themselves first before any voting decisions are made including what issues will even get a vote. During an election year focus is not so much about ideas in heads as it is about protecting the republican or democrat affiliation of the seat holders, who are ultimately controlled legislative voters.

A two-year budget, which should have been done long ago, will now put Congress back on the regular funding cycle of the government ensuring that pay for all government workers will not be interrupted as well. And, of course, it is in place until the next election cycle of 2020 that will also include a presidential race. Even with the so-called crisis side-stepped and the “can kicking” stopping, it was still vital to develop a time frame where this unnecessary political tool can be used again. The more things change, the more they stay the same in the political power monger game that is Washington D.C.

 

 

 

Nasser Criminal Case Prompting More Investigations

The recent shocking claims by many former United States gymnastics team Olympians against former trainer Dr. Larry Nassar appears it may be just the tip of the iceberg involving what has been happening over the course of the past decade in collegiate gymnastics. The U.S. Olympic Committee has requested an independent third-party to investigate the claims and determine “why this could have gone on for so long” within a sport that utilizes the acrobatic skills of very young and small-frame female athletes. The number of testimonies and the similarity of the accounts have driven much anger among officials and enthusiasts alike, and now New York Sen. Kirsten Gilliland has requested an official U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

The conviction of Nasser has also triggered the resignation of Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon, which is where Dr. Nasser was employed for many years. If the former university president knew about the activity and failed to act, the university could be liable for extensive legal action as well as criminal charges for complicity if other university employees were aware and assisted in the cover up. With the winter Olympics just around the corner, there will assuredly be more focus on the sexual abuse predicament for the female U.S. Gymnastics Team as the games play out this year.

The victims obviously felt powerless to approach authorities concerning Nasser’s actions during his employment tenure, which also prompts questions concerning those in charge who are responsible for Nassar’s criminal behavior. The fact that the university president was the first to resign from a potential list of other officials who were aware of the issue suggests that more resignations and arrests may be forthcoming, especially if the DOJ does as Gilliland requests.

The NCAA infractions committee has also announced they will conduct an official investigation into the claims, but this too could present problems because there are reports that the NCAA president was told in 2010 that the sex abuse cases were actually happening and the university was avoiding addressing the problem.

It is becoming clear that a Department of Justice investigation coming on the heals of the recent shoe company payoffs for certain college player’s families could put an even larger lens on this problem, including the general manner in which the NCAA operates regarding illegal behavior within the collegiate sports industry. Indeed, if the DOJ steps in, the tip of the iceberg may just be emerging.

http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/03/politics/gillibrand-usoc-doj-investigation/index.html

End Citizens United Endorses Beto O’Rourke for the Senate

End Citizens United released a poll, and the group found that their candidate Beto O’Rourke is only trailing Senator Ted Cruz by 45-37 percent. According to the Cruz campaign’s polling, Senator Cruz is ahead by 52-34 percent.

End Citizens United’s goal is to end the stranglehold that “Big Money” has on Washington, D.C., and candidate Beto O’Rourke is someone whom the group can support because he refuses to take money that corporate political action committees offer him. People behind End Citizens United have made it their mission to support candidates in this year’s congressional races who repudiate large donations from large corporations.

End Citizens United was created on March 1, 2015 because of the disastrous Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. That decision declared that “corporations are people” and allowed special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on America’s elections without the need for transparency. This made it possible for large donors to have an unreasonable amount of influence on our elections.

End Citizens United Endorses Beto O’Rourke for the Senate
Beto O’Rourke – U.S. Representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district

O’Rourke is currently a congressman from El Paso, and he is the first person that End Citizens United is endorsing this year. He could have also received an endorsement from the AFL-CIO, but he chose not to attend the group’s convention this year, so he lost the endorsement.

This year, Republicans hold 51 of 100 seats in the Senate. Ordinarily, the party that is not in power gains more seats in mid-term elections than the party in power, but it doesn’t look like this will be the case for the Democrat Party this year.

There are 34 elections scheduled for 2018, and the Democrats must defend 24 of them. This includes the two independent seats that caucus with the Democrats, and they are located in states President Donald Trump won in 2016. Republicans need to defend eight of these seats, and one of them is located in Texas, a state that voted for Trump by nine percentage points.

Ted Cruz isn’t being taken seriously by anybody, and Democrats now have hope because a Democrat won the Alabama election in December against a Republican candidate who was plagued by scandal.

In the End Citizens United poll, 38 percent of voters were in favor of Cruz, but 49 were not. Unfortunately, 61 percent of those polled had never heard O’Rourke’s name before. Only 20 percent of the voters were in favor of him, and 19 percent were not.

When asked whether they would support a candidate who vowed never to take large donations from corporate entities, 63 percent of respondents said that they would support the candidate. After respondents heard that O’Rourke stated that he would never accept money from corporate entities, he tied with Cruz at 43-41 percent.

Beto O’Rourke has said that he wants most of his donations to come from the state of Texas. He doesn’t particularly want Super Political Action Committees to contribute to his campaign.

End Citizens United is a political action committee that wants to encourage campaign finance reform, and it wants to do this by helping candidates get elected who propose to support legislation that will change the way that campaigns are financed. ECU obtains a majority of its donations from small donors. In fact, the average donation is just $14.

Last election cycle, the group raised $25 million for the candidates it supported, but this year, it planned to raise $35 million to support challengers in the “Big Money 20” races this year. The Big Money 20 is senators and representatives who accept money from large corporate donors and special interest groups. In Texas, the group received donations from 157,000 people. Most of Ted Cruz’s donors are also from Texas, and these supporters donated $5.7 million to his campaign. In contrast, O’Rourke only received $2.9 million.

Learn More: Democratic PAC End Citizens United names ‘Big Money 20’ targets for 2018

In 2009, a Public Policy Polling survey showed that U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison had 56 percent of the vote and that Governor Rick Perry only had 31 percent. A report by Rasmussen showed very different results. In the Rasmussen poll, Perry had 56 percent of the vote while Hutchison had 36 percent, and he went on to win the contest. Public Policy Polling has done another poll, and experts are taking the results with a grain of salt. The poll has O’Rourke behind Cruz by eight points, but these results are similar to the results obtained by other surveys.

ECU paid for the poll, and the questions were worded in such a way so that Beto O’Rourke would be favored, but he only beat Cruz by two points. None of the other polls are indicating that O’Rourke has a chance of beating Cruz. However, Cruz is not seen favorably by the voters, and it is believed that he could lose because of his prior loss during the 2016 primary race for President of the United States.

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund also announced its support for Beto O’Rourke.