Securities Attorney Briefing for 14 July 2016

Securities Attorney Tom Krebs

International

Germany Sells Bonds With Negative Yield at Auction

When it comes to bond yields in Europe, it seems there is no such thing as too low. Germany on Wednesday became the first country in the eurozone to sell 10-year debt with a negative yield at an auction, effectively ensuring that investors lose money over the life of the bond. It is the latest twist in the upside-down world of bonds, in which global investors are increasingly willing to pay governments for the privilege of holding their debt. The trend reflects the rising uncertainty over global growth, which is prompting concerned investors to pile into all types of safe havens. In the case of German bonds, the negative rates reflect the worries over the potential repercussions from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, which analysts have warned will lead to slowing growth across the region. With Europe barely having recovered from a financial crisis, fears have risen over the impact “Brexit,” as Britain’s exit is known, will have on economic expansion in the region. As it looks to bolster growth, the European Central Bank has also slashed interest rates into negative territory. And it is printing money to buy bonds. Such pressures are pushing bond rates down around the world. Across the globe, $11.7 trillion of government debt — generally considered to be among the safest of assets — is trading at negative yields, according to Fitch Ratings. More:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/14/business/dealbook/germany-bonds-negative-yield.html?ref=dealbook

The World According to Boris, New Foreign Secretary of Britain

British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed as her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a man renowned for the occasional slip of the tongue, or as the Latin-loving Etonian might say, lapsus linguae. Under him, the chances of a diplomatic incident are high. The former mayor of London Johnson has aired his views on a vast array of topics from his sexual exploits — “I’ve slept with far fewer than 1,000” — to his support of David Cameron — “purely out of self-interest.” We plucked his greatest misfires on foreign policy to give a flavor of what is to come. On Vladimir Putin:  Johnson compared the Russian president to a character straight out of the Harry Potter books, in a 2015 column for The Telegraph newspaper about working with Russia to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “Despite looking a bit like Dobby the House Elf, he is a ruthless and manipulative tyrant” On Hillary Clinton:  Writing in the Daily Telegraph in 2007 Johnson questioned whether he could back her candidacy. Clinton, who today is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was at the time seen as a favorite to win the 2008 U.S. presidential election. “She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital; and as I snap out of my trance I slap my forehead in astonishment. How can I possibly want Hillary? I mean, she represents, on the face of it, everything I came into politics to oppose: not just a general desire to raise taxes and nationalise things, but an all-round purse-lipped political correctness.”  On Barack Obama:  At the height of his campaign to quit the European Union, Johnson penned an article for the Sun newspaper ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to the U.K. He chose to take a swipe at the U.S. leader, who had urged British voters to vote to stay in the bloc. In the course of the piece, Johnson asked why a bust of Winston Churchill had been moved from the Oval Office. He speculated that it might have had something to do with his roots: “Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.” In response, Obama said that as the first African-American president he thought it appropriate to put a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oval Office and that Churchill, whom he loves, was moved into the Treaty Room, where he “sees it every day.” More:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-13/the-world-according-to-boris-new-foreign-secretary-of-britain

Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless

PHNOM PENH — Like the monsoons, repression in Cambodia comes on a regular schedule, and the current season looks like it will be an especially long and stormy one. On July 10, the tension reached a violent crescendo when Kem Ley, a prominent political commentator and advocate, was shot and killed in a brazen daylight attack at a gas station in Phnom Penh. Though police quickly arrested a man who confessed to shooting Kem Ley over a $3,000 debt, few doubt the killing was politically motivated — just one of a string of unsolved political murders that stretches back to the early 1990s. Over the past 12 months, the government has jailed more than 20 people, including opposition parliamentarians, human rights activists, and land rights campaigners. Kem Sokha, the deputy president of the country’s main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), remains holed up in the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, Julian Assange-style, facing arrest in connection with an alleged affair with a hairdresser. His crime? Trumped-up charges of “procuring prostitution.” As of May 26, failure to show up to court has been added to the docket. Meanwhile, Sam Rainsy, the country’s perennial political gadfly, is stranded in self-exile overseas — his third enforced timeout in the past decade — facing arrest on a defamation conviction from 2011. This is all straight out of the playbook of Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders. For nearly half his life, the 63-year-old has loomed over this small Southeast Asian nation of 15 million people, ruling through a carefully calibrated blend of force, guile, and legal manipulation. Crackdowns like the current one have alternated with periods of apparent calm and tolerance, often timed to national elections. And Hun Sen, as well as his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), always emerges on top — even when he doesn’t win the actual election.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/11/lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-shameless/?utm_content=bufferc7dd6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

National

SEC in transparency push on stock trading

US brokers would have to disclose details about how they handle large, institutional stock orders under new rules proposed by regulators amid concern about conflicts of interest. The rules, proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, would require broker-dealers to provide customers with standardised information, including how they route their orders, how much of an order is executed, fees and execution prices. “Investors expect — and deserve — to know how their orders are treated,” said Mary Jo White, SEC chair. “At its core, this proposal should provide investors with an important new tool to better assess whether a broker-dealer’s order routing practices are consistent with their investment objectives.” The rules are intended to complement previous SEC transparency proposals related to how various stock trading venues work. Equity trading has come under the regulatory microscope as market structure has become increasingly complex over the years and faced problems such as the 2010 Flash Crash. Michael Lewis’s book Flash Boys also drew attention to the issue with claims that the market was rigged. “There are a number of ways a broker can handle a client’s order. Some of them may be appropriate and others may not be appropriate,” Larry Tabb, founder of Tabb Group, said on Wednesday.

“There are a lot of conflicts in this process — the buyside pressure on commissions, the different pricing mechanisms of exchanges and different dark pools, a brokerage firm’s desire to match an order internally as well as just the mere fact that there are over 50 places to get an order executed make it difficult to understand if your order is handled appropriately.” In what is known as the maker taker model, for example, exchanges charge market participants to access quotes and pay rebates to those that place bids or offers. Critics of the system argue that brokers may be routing orders to avoid take fees or obtain make fees rather than to get the best trades for their clients. The SEC is also calling for brokers to provide additional detail on retail orders. A public comment period on the proposed rules will now get under way before they can be implemented. More:

https://next.ft.com/content/96052e9a-491f-11e6-8d68-72e9211e86ab

 

SEC Proposes Broker Scorecard for Investors

WASHINGTON—Brokers would have to disclose more details about how they fill stock orders from large, institutional investors under a new scorecard the Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled Wednesday. The scorecard, which the SEC voted unanimously to propose, would give investors formal metrics showing how well their stock orders are handled. The measure is a pillar of SEC Chairman Mary Jo White’s response to regulating the conflicts of interest and opacity of market structure that provides the narrative for Michael Lewis’s best seller “Flash Boys.” “Investors expect—and deserve—to know how their orders are treated,” Ms. White said ahead of the vote. Under the proposal, investors would for the first time have uniform data on metrics such as fill rates, which would tell a mutual fund how often its trades were filled on an exchange or dark pool. In general, a higher fill rate is better because it means an investor is getting the outcome he or she wants while buying shares. A below-average fill rate in a broker’s own dark pool would raise questions about the firm’s service to its clients. Michael Piwowar, a Republican on the SEC, said the rule would “empower market participants to make more informed choices about where to direct their orders. “This should, in turn, promote competition for better execution quality,” he added. The disclosures also aim to shine a light on some of the biggest conflicts of interest in the brokerage business by requiring more disclosure of the rebates brokers receive for sending orders to stock exchanges that use the pricing system known as “maker taker.” More:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/sec-to-propose-broker-scorecard-for-institutional-investors-1468419761

 

SEC approves reforms to in-house process for enforcement cases

 The Securities and Exchange Commission approved reforms Wednesday to its in-house system for trying enforcement cases. The agency, which currently has three members, unanimously amended the rules of practice for administrative proceedings, which are conducted by judges that are employed by the SEC.

Parties involved in a case will now have more time to prepare prior to a first hearing and will be allowed to depose the other side, among other reforms. The changes will go into effect 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The SEC proposed a rule last fall to reform the in-house adjudication process. “The amendments are intended to update the rules and introduce additional flexibility into administrative proceedings, while continuing to provide for the timely and efficient resolution of the proceedings,” an SEC fact sheet states. Many defendants in SEC cases have said the use of administrative proceedings gives the agency a home-court advantage in prosecuting claims. “What we saw today was a practical, strategic response by the SEC to the criticism that’s been leveled [at] the administrative forum,” said David Chase, a former SEC prosecutor and owner of an eponymous law firm.

Although the changes make the existing process “fairer to respondents,” Mr. Chase said more needs to be done. “It doesn’t address whether a respondent can get a fair shake from a judge who is paid by and an employee of the agency that’s trying the case,” Mr. Chase said.

http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20160713/FREE/160719966/sec-approves-reforms-to-in-house-process-for-enforcement-cases?utm_source=natlnewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=finance&utm_campaign=WashingtonDC_20160714_0815

 

Legislation to impose financial transactions tax introduced

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced legislation Wednesday that would impose a tax on stocks, bonds and derivatives trading in an effort to elevate the issue in this fall’s election. The measure would place a levy of three basis points on financial transactions, a move that could generate $417 billion over 10 years, according to congressional estimates. Mr. DeFazio asserts that the tax would rein in speculative trading, make the financial markets more efficient and help fund infrastructure improvements and college tuition assistance. He acknowledged that the bill has no chance of advancing in the Republican-controlled Congress, but he is trying to take advantage of the momentum a financial transactions tax has received by being included in the Democratic Party platform. “I don’t expect the knuckleheads running this Congress to take it up,” Mr. DeFazio said at a press conference on the east lawn of the Capitol. “It’s a meritorious proposal whose time is not quite here yet but will be soon, and I want it to be amply discussed during the election.” He said another recent event also boosted the profile of the issue: Britain’s departure from the European Union. The EU approved a financial transactions tax, but it had been held up by British opposition, Mr. DeFazio said. “We have been helped by Brexit,” Mr. DeFazio said. The political attention is good for the issue, according to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “It no longer sounds like a crazy idea,” he said at the Capitol Hill event. “That’s very big progress.” The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association opposes Mr. DeFazio’s bill.

“A new federal sales tax on Americans saving for retirement is a bad idea,” Payson Peabody, SIFMA managing director and tax counsel, said in a statement. “If the experience of other countries is any guide, an FTT would raise less revenue than promised; it would also reduce liquidity sharply in the affected markets, reducing asset values and increasing borrowing costs for US businesses, consumers, and the federal government itself.” Mr. Baker disputed that assertion. “Your typical person with their 401(k) is not hurt by this [tax],” he said. Damon Silvers, director of policy at the AFL-CIO, said “a small tax on financial transactions is good for the capital markets” because it would curb high-speed computer trading that doesn’t add value to the holdings of ordinary investors.

http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20160713/FREE/160719958/legislation-to-impose-financial-transactions-tax-introduced?utm_source=natlnewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=national&utm_campaign=WashingtonDC_20160714_0815

 

How Private Equity Found Power and Profit in State Capitols

PHOENIX — Inside a cramped committee room on the cactus-dotted campus of Arizona’s Capitol, Kelsey Lundy stepped to the podium to detail new legislation and the higher costs it would impose on struggling borrowers. But Ms. Lundy is not a lawmaker, a government employee or even a statehouse intern. She is a lobbyist for one of the nation’s largest lenders. That lender — controlled by the Fortress Investment Group, one of Wall Street’s most powerful private equity firms — wrote the bill. Months later, in 2014, the state’s legislators passed the law, making it easier to charge interest of 36 percent to borrowers living on the financial margins. The political access in Arizona was just one component of a broader effort to loosen consumer protection laws, according to emails obtained through public records requests. In nine other states, Ms. Lundy’s client helped win legislative changes, persuading lawmakers that it needed to raise costs to stay in business and serve borrowers. Since the 2008 financial crisis, Fortress and other private equity firms have rapidly expanded their influence, assuming a pervasive, if under-the-radar, role in daily American life, an investigation by The New York Times has found. Sophisticated political maneuvering — including winning government contracts, shaping public policy and deploying former public officials to press their case — is central to this growth. Yet even as private equity wields such influence in the halls of state capitols and in Washington, it faces little public awareness of its government activities, The Times found. Private equity firms often don’t directly engage with legislators and regulators — the companies they control do. As a result, the firms themselves have emerged as relatively anonymous conglomerates that exert power behind the scenes in their dealings with governments. And because private equity’s interests are so diverse, the industry interacts with governments not only through lobbying, but also as contractors and partners on public projects. Fortress, which manages more than $70 billion of investor money, encapsulates this new power dynamic. More:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/15/business/dealbook/private-equity-influence-fortress-investment-group.html?ref=dealbook&_r=0

 

CIA director says he would resign if ordered to resume waterboarding

CIA Director John Brennan said on Wednesday he would resign if the next president ordered his agency to resume waterboarding suspected militants, an apparent reference to comments by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump embracing the banned interrogation method. “I can say that as long as I’m director of CIA, irrespective of what the president says, I’m not going to be the director of CIA that gives that order. They’ll have to find another director,” said Brennan, who did not mention Trump by name. Brennan, who has been director since 2013, tacked his comment to the end of his response to a question about drone strike policy after speaking at the Brookings Institution, a Washington policy institute. Brennan said previously he would refuse to resume the practice, which simulates drowning and was used by the CIA on three suspected militants detained in secret foreign prisons during President George W. Bush’s administration. But his pledge to resign if ordered to revive waterboarding was his most emphatic affirmation of his position to date. Trump, set to be formally nominated next week as the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election, has said he would reauthorize waterboarding immediately if elected, contending that “torture works.” At an April 20 rally in Indianapolis, he recalled being asked about waterboarding during a debate the previous week. “They asked me: ‘What do you think about waterboarding, Mr. Trump?’ I said I love it. I love it, I think it’s great. And I said the only thing is, we should make it much tougher than waterboarding,” he said. More:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cia-waterboarding-idUSKCN0ZT2T3

 

Trouble is Brewing on Billionaire’s Row

For years, investors seeking a safe haven amid a glut of foreign capital poured their money into the New York City real-estate market, fueling a luxury skyscraper boom that has changed the city’s skyline and cast a literal shadow over the little people down below. Many of these so-called “supertall” towers are so expensive that they’ve continually set citywide sales records, skewing the entire real-estate market even as overseas investors rushed to buy, more often than not, in cash. With a seemingly endless stream of investors from places like China, Latin America, and the Middle East, the so-called Billionaires’s Row rose up in Midtown Manhattan, around 57th Street—a stretch of glassy, glitzy, positively skyscraping towers with $100 million apartments overlooking Central Park, all catering to the most elite tastes.

But there is always an end to streams such as these, in real estate, and signs seem to be pointing to New York’s luxury market starting to dry up this summer. Growth in China has slowed dramatically; investors were rattled by what will come from Britain’s recent vote to exit the European Union; oil prices are low; and the federal government implemented measures this spring to crack down on all-cash transactions and pull back the veil on the shell companies buyers have used to conceal their identities. As a result, there now appears to be an oversupply of luxury, eight- and nine-figure apartments in these mega-buildings, making it even harder for developers to attract buyers, who know they can be choosier and drive a harder bargain. As The New York Times reports, the market for apartments listed for more than $10 million has cooled. In the first six months of 2016, there was an 18 percent drop in contracts signed for Manhattan homes in that price range. With the heat off, sellers are starting to slash prices and some developers are putting a hold on their plans entirely. More:

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/07/billionaires-row-new-york-real-estate-trouble?mbid=nl_TH_5786b1c34ee8340b0a32d548&CNDID=11508510&spMailingID=9198304&spUserID=MTMzMTgyMzQ2NTIzS0&spJobID=961052785&spReportId=OTYxMDUyNzg1S0

 

Law Center Calls Seller-Financed Home Sales ‘Toxic Transactions’

Seller-financed home sales are “toxic transactions,” a prominent national consumer law organization said on Thursday as it released a report and called for greater federal and state oversight of the sales.

In its report, the National Consumer Law Center said that many of the contracts in such transactions were “built to fail” and were predatory in nature — benefiting sellers at the expense of lower-income and minority buyers who could not qualify for mortgages. Such a transaction, called a contract for deed or land contract, is similar to buying a home on an installment plan, with a high-interest, long-term loan. For buyers lured by the dream of homeownership, the transactions can turn into money pits that result in a quick eviction by the seller, who can then flip the home again, an investigation by The New York Times found earlier this year. The National Consumer Law Center study describes a shadow housing market that has emerged after the financial crisis. These contracts have flourished in communities where there was a large supply of cheap, foreclosed homes and a paucity of mortgages for properties worth substantially less than $100,000. “Land installment contracts are popular with investors because defaulting borrowers can be swiftly evicted, and traditional mortgage foreclosure protections do not apply,” the report said. “This allows investors to reap substantial profits.” Some state regulators and federal lawmakers are pushing for stronger action to clamp down on predatory seller-financed home sales.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/14/business/dealbook/law-center-calls-seller-financed-home-sales-toxic-transactions.html?ref=dealbook

 

Airbnb Under Fire From U.S. Senators Urging FTC Investigation

Airbnb just can’t get out of the hot seat. On the same day CEO Brian Chesky publicly apologized for failing to foresee how racism could impact the platform during its founding days, a group of U.S. Senators have penned a strongly worded letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to consider how the company is impacting the housing market. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA CA +0.18%) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) penned the note asking the FTC to look at how Airbnb and companies like it could be “exacerbating housing shortages” and “driving up the cost of housing in our communities.” The letter also pointed out “troubling reports” of racial discrimination. And while the letter focused on Airbnb, it also called for the FTC to study similar short-term rental platforms like VRBO, HomeAway and Flipkey. The main focus of the letter isn’t the small family renting out a room to make some extra cash, but rather individuals who turn housing into semi-permanent Airbnb rentals as a major source of income, and thereby take long-term housing off the market in areas of need. These people are termed “commercial users” when they hold three or more units for Airbnb hosting. Commercial users account for 6% of Airbnb hosts in New York City but generate 37% of revenue for all New York City rentals, according to the letter. While this is good news for those commercial users, it means that both those users and Airbnb stand to gain if the status quo continues. A major issue in understanding Airbnb’s impact on local communities is the lack of comprehensive data, or at least publicly available data, on how it operates. “In order to assess the use and impact of the short-term rental market, we need reliable data on the commercial use of online platforms,” the letter says. “We believe the FTC is best positioned to address this data gap in an unbiased manner and we urge the Commission to conduct a review of commercial operators on short-term rental platforms.” Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s global head of policy and communications, said in a statement that the “vast majority” of U.S. Airbnb hosts are “middle class people who depend on home sharing as a way to address economic inequality.” “We welcome any opportunity to work with lawmakers and regulators who want to learn more about how home sharing helps the middle class address the issue of economic inequality,” Lehane added. More:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/shelbycarpenter/2016/07/13/airbnb-under-fire-senators-ftc-investigation/#15cc0c5c1d7d

Koch Brothers Group Hit With Massive Fines

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) just agreed to a massive fine for three Koch network-funded groups for illegally hiding the source of the funding for their political ads, as originally alleged by a 2014 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) complaint. The 60 Plus Association (which agreed to pay $50,000 in a conciliation agreement with the FEC), the American Future Fund ($140,000) and Americans for Job Security ($43,000) spent millions of dollars in 2010 from the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR, now known as American Encore), the Koch brothers’ main funding group at the time, on ads targeted by CPPR without disclosing the source of the money. The groups claimed the money was for general expenses and not specific ads, so they were not required to disclose their donors. However, Sean Noble, who was the central figure in distributing Koch money in 2010 and 2012, told the National Review in 2014 that he was deeply involved with producing the ads and selecting their targets—meaning the groups were required to disclose the source of the funds. The FEC’s investigation found that Noble’s consulting firm even helped produce and place the ads for the groups. “These rules provide some of the only windows into the funding of dark money groups, but the FEC almost never penalizes groups that break them,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “It is hard to overstate how significant this is.” To understand the magnitude of these fines, in the first five months of this year, the FEC gave out $273,000 in conciliation agreement civil penalties for an average penalty of $15,000. The penalties in this case alone totaled $233,000. “This is the largest fine the FEC has collected from groups active in post-Citizens United elections,” Bookbinder said. “This case sends an important signal that groups that brazenly disregard the law will be held accountable. We hope this is a sign of things to come and the FEC will continue to hit dark money groups with major penalties for violating the law.” This is the second highest penalty ever given in a case brought by CREW.

http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/entry/koch-brothers-group-hit-with-massive-fines-from-crew-complaint

 

Guccifer 2.0 releases new DNC docs

Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who breached the Democratic National Committee, has released a cache of purported DNC documents to The Hill in an effort to refocus attention on the hack. The documents include more than 11,000 names matched with some identifying information, files related to two controversial donors and a research file on Sarah Palin. “The press [is] gradually forget[ing] about me, [W]ikileaks is playing for time and [I] have some more docs,” he said in electronic chat explaining his rationale. The documents provide some insight into how the DNC handled high-profile donation scandals. But the choice of documents revealed to The Hill also provides insight into the enigmatic Guccifer 2.0.

The hacker provided a series of spreadsheets related to Norman Hsu, a Democratic donor jailed in 2009 for running a Ponzi scheme and arranging illegal campaign contributions.  The DNC responded by assembling files to gauge the exposure from Hsu to its slate of candidates. Similar files on Paul J. Magliocchetti, a lobbyist closely associated with former Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), provide a quick reference document outlining Magliocchetti’s donations to Republicans. Magliocchetti pleaded guilty in 2010 to involvement in a pay-for-play campaign finance scheme. Guccifer 2.0 has claimed to be a Romanian hacker with no strong political leanings. Guccifer 2.0’s choice to release documents from Magliocchetti and Hsu, whose cases are now six and seven years old, shows a detailed knowledge of American politics seemingly at odds with the backstory provided by the hacker. Experts have questioned whether Guccifer 2.0 is Romanian or even a single person. Tools used in the attack were matched to Russian intelligence agencies and, when tested, Guccifer 2.0 has struggled to speak in Romanian.

A popular theory explaining the attack is that the DNC hack is a Russian attempt to embarrass the DNC and influence the election. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has speculated that the hack was actually a false flag operation performed by the DNC to cast aspersions on his campaign. More:

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/287558-guccifer-20-drops-new-dnc-docs

Disney networks to host Obama town hall on race

In an unprecedented move, all of the networks owned by Walt Disney Co. will air a town hall with President Obama on race relations in prime time on Thursday. The town hall event, to begin at 8 p.m., will be commercial free. ABC-TV, ESPN, ABC News Digital, Freeform Digital, the WATCH ABC app, the WatchESPN app, Yahoo, and ABC Radio will all air the town hall, titled “The President and The People: A National Conversation.” It will air live from Washington, D.C., and will be produced by ABC News. World News Tonight anchor David Muir will co-moderate the event. His co-moderator will be ESPN commentator Jemele Hill, who normally hosts a sports banter program called “His & Hers,” with Michael Smith, on ESPN 2. The president is scheduled to discuss race relations, policing and gun violence. The town hall comes on the heels of a series of separate highly publicized shootings of African-American men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the sniper ambush killings of five police officers during a protest in Dallas last week.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/287622-disney-networks-to-host-obama-town-hall-on-race

Judge attacked by Trump weighs releasing key video in Trump University case

SAN DIEGO — In his first public hearing on Trump University since being called a “hater of Donald Trump” by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel on Wednesday heard arguments about whether the candidate’s videotaped testimony in the case should be released to media organizations. Curiel did not mention the attacks by Trump, who during a rally here in May and in other remarks accused the Indiana-born judge of being biased because he is Hispanic and Trump has proposed building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. But Curiel pushed Trump’s attorney to defend his position that the videos should remain confidential. “One of the touchstones of the cases has been protecting the integrity of the proceedings,” Curiel said, asking Trump attorney Daniel Petrocelli to explain how releasing the videos would jeopardize that. Petrocelli responded that the videos “would be subjected to massive and perhaps unprecedented public dissemination.” The transcript of Trump’s deposition in the civil fraud case against his seminar company has already been made public, but media organizations, including The Washington Post, are seeking release of the video. In May, responding to a motion filed by The Post citing the public’s interest in a potential president, Curiel ordered the release of hundreds of pages of internal Trump University documents that showed the company’s aggressive tactics in recruiting customers and pressuring them to spend more money. In his order, Curiel noted that Trump had “placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue” and noted that courts deciding on public disclosure must weigh “whether the case involves issues important to the public.” The class-action case, one of several in which former customers allege they were defrauded by a program that did not live up to its promises, is scheduled to go to trial in November after the presidential election.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/judge-attacked-by-trump-weighs-releasing-key-video-in-trump-university-case/2016/07/13/f4881a72-494c-11e6-bdb9-701687974517_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories-2_trumpjudge-650a-stream%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Pence’s congressional library sealed

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s (R) library from his 12 years in Congress is sealed until 2022 or his death — whichever comes later. Pence is believed to be on Donald Trump‘s shortlist of potential vice presidential candidates. His congressional library, housed at Indiana University in Bloomington, is closed until either Dec. 5, 2022, or Pence’s death. “It’s not standard, but it’s not unusual,”  Dina Kellams, the school’s director of university archives, told The Huffington Post. The website noted that former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) put similar restrictions on his own congressional papers before opening up some parts of his archives. Kellams said Pence could open up his library if he chooses. Pence met with the presumptive Republican nominee and his children Wednesday in Indiana as the businessman inches toward naming a running mate. Trump is expected to pick his VP by the end of the week. Trump on Tuesday hinted that Pence would be his pick during a rally in Indiana. “You’re gonna call him … and you’re gonna say governor — or vice president — we’re winning too much!” Trump said when talking about Pence.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/287613-pences-congressional-library-sealed

Trump seeks $10 million from former aide in disclosure case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seeking $10 million in damages from a former senior campaign consultant, Sam Nunberg, alleging that Nunberg leaked confidential information to reporters in violation of a nondisclosure agreement. In a court filing obtained by The Associated Press, Nunberg accused Trump of trying to silence him “in a misguided attempt to cover up media coverage of an apparent affair” between two senior campaign staffers. The highly unusual legal dispute reflects Trump’s efforts to aggressively protect the secrecy of his campaign’s inner workings. The AP reported last month that Trump requires nearly everyone in his campaign and businesses to sign legally binding nondisclosure agreements prohibiting them from releasing any confidential or disparaging information about the real estate mogul, his family or his companies. Trump has also said he would consider requiring such agreements in the White House. In the court filings, Nunberg denied disparaging Trump and accused the presumptive GOP nominee of attempting to “bully” him into silence after Nunberg decided to publicly support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential bid. “Mr. Trump’s actions in starting a $10 million arbitration, seeking to silence Mr. Nunberg and have the proceedings sealed, are a cautionary tale of what the American people face if Mr. Trump is elected president,” said Andrew Miltenberg, Nunberg’s attorney. Miltenberg said Trump’s attorney argued for the documents to be sealed in a hearing Wednesday morning. Trump attorney Alan Garten did not respond to AP calls and emails. Nunberg declined to comment Wednesday. In particular, Nunberg said Trump filed a $10 million arbitration claim against him and falsely accused him of being a source of a New York Post story from mid-May that recounted a public quarrel between former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks. Lewandowski was fired from the campaign in June after months of tension with other senior Trump advisers. Nunberg denied being the source of the article, but in court papers referred to the quarrel as being part of an “apparent affair.” Hicks did not respond to detailed requests to respond to the allegations sent via email and text, as well as a voicemail. Nunberg’s filed the court documents in an attempt to block private arbitration proceedings initiated by Trump in May. In addition to asserting a right to discuss the campaign on free speech grounds, Nunberg’s lawsuit also argued that the campaign’s arbitration claim was invalid because it was brought by an exploratory group Trump formed for his 2012 campaign, “which has nothing to do with the Trump Campaign’s activities in the 2016 presidential campaign cycle.” “The Trump Campaign was not in existence prior to or at the time of the agreement, and Mr. Nunberg did not agree or intend that it apply to any future entity such as the Trump Campaign,” Nunberg’s complaint said. An affidavit filed by Sam Nunberg’s mother, Rebecca Citron Nunberg, said the Trump entity bringing the claim against Sam Numberg is not registered in the state of New York, depriving it of its ability to pursue legal claims against him.

http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/b20e46f3a0954d858d940bcb0b183f4c/trump-seeks-10-million-former-aide-disclosure-case

A Brief History of Trumps Tallest Tales – Video

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/07/a-brief-history-of-donald-trumps-tallest-tales?mbid=nl_TH_5786b1c34ee8340b0a32d548&CNDID=11508510&spMailingID=9198304&spUserID=MTMzMTgyMzQ2NTIzS0&spJobID=961052785&spReportId=OTYxMDUyNzg1S0

 

State/Local

Federal judge blocks two Alabama abortion laws

A federal judge Wednesday blocked two Alabama laws that would have outlawed an abortion procedure and prevented abortion clinics from locating near elementary and middle school. In a brief order, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order against the laws, which were set to go into effect Aug. 1. Thompson also scheduled an Oct. 4 hearing on moves from plaintiffs for an injunction against the laws. The TRO would expire three weeks after the hearing. The school bill, which forbade clinics from locating within 2,000 feet of a K-8 school, would likely have forced the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville to close. The clinic moved to its current location after the Legislature passed a law in 2013 requiring clinics to have their physicians hold admitting privileges at local hospitals and the clinics themselves to follow ambulatory clinic standards. Dalton Johnson, the clinic’s administrator, told the Advertiser in March the clinic spent $1 million to make the move, which brought it near a school. An attempt to reach Johnson Wednesday afternoon was not successful. Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, the bill’s sponsor, said he had not seen Thompson’s order Wednesday afternoon. “The law I had is basically to protect small children from the chaos that is attracted to those clinics,” he said in a phone interview. Johnson earlier said the clinic did not invite protests outside it. The other law, sponsored by Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, would ban a second-trimester abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation, or D&E. The Huntsville clinic, along with the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, performs the procedure. Opponents refer to it as “dismemberment abortion.” An attempt to reach Williams Wednesday afternoon was not immediately successful. Williams told the Advertiser in May that dilation and evacuation was a ‘heinous procedure’ and said the bill would “put an end to something that should not be an elective procedure.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says the procedure has fewer potential complications in the second trimester than a medical abortion does. The number of abortions done in the second trimester or beyond is relatively small. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, only 594 of the 8,080 abortions performed in Alabama in 2014 – about 7.4 percent – took place after the thirteenth week of a pregnancy. In a statement, Alabama Attorney Luther Strange said he would “vigorously defend the constitutionality of these important laws in federal court at the October hearing.” More:

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/politics/southunionstreet/2016/07/13/federal-judge-blocks-two-alabama-abortion-laws/87054064/

Gov. Bentley Among Those Testifying at Montgomery Special Grand Jury

MONTGOMERY—At 8:39 am, Wednesday, Gov. Robert Bentley walked into the Special Grand Jury being held in Montgomery County as Alabama Political Reporter reported yesterday. Bentley’s entourage included legal counsel David Byrne and one of his personal attorneys, Joe Espy. Following the governor was Hal Taylor, chief of staff to former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier. After lunch Collier’s replacement Stan Stabler, current ALEA head, entered the special grand jury room. The prosecution was comprised of Attorney General Luther Strange, Deputy Attorney General Alice Martin, and Special Prosecutions Divison Chief Matt Hart. Not only was APR there to observe those entering the Grand Jury, sources around the courthouse confirmed that others who appeared earlier in the week were J.T. Jenkins, ALEA’s second-in-command under Collier, and Ray Lewis, who served as Bentley’s “Body Man” before becoming Chief of Protective Services.“ “Lewis knows what skeletons are stashed in Bentley’s closet and where to go looking for them,” said a former Trooper who spoke to APR on conditions of anonymity. The presence of Stabler and former ALEA staff would indicate at this stage the grand jury is hearing testimony concerning events leading to Bentley’s firing of Collier, for filing an affidavit concerning the criminal trial of former Speaker Mike Hubbard. While the Governor has denied Collier was fired over the affidavit, that does not square with others in the administration or Collier.

http://www.alreporter.com/gov-bentley-among-those-testifying-at-montgomery-special-grand-jury/

 

Garry Neil Drummond, CEO of Drummond Company, dead at 78

Garry Neil Drummond, chairman and CEO of Drummond Company and one of Alabama’s richest people, has died. He was 78. Drummond died today (July 13) in Birmingham, the Drummond Company announced. Drummond led the company as chairman and CEO for more than 50 years. The company has coal and mining operations in the U.S. and Central America. “Drummond Company has lost an exemplary leader and our industry a great visionary. Without his foresight and dedication, our company would not have grown to be one of the world’s premiere producers of energy that is it today,” said Mike Tracy, President – Mining of Drummond Company, Inc. Drummond Company was started in Sipsey in 1935 by H.E. Drummond, Garry Drummond’s father. The company was founded as a coal provider for farms and households, famously started with a $300 loan from Walker County Bank in Jasper with three mules as collateral. At 15, Garry Drummond began working in coal mines in Walker County with his father. He was named CEO of Drummond Company in 1973. Drummond received an associate degree from Walker College in 1959 and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alabama in 1961. After graduation he joined Drummond and became the first engineer hired by the company. Drummond was a founder of the American Coal Foundation and in 1978 served as the first Chairman of the Mining and Reclamation Council of America, which later merged with the National Coal Association. He also served on the boards of the National Mining Association and the Alabama Coal Association. He was a long-time member of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and served as President Pro Tem of the Board. He was the University of Alabama College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Lecturer in 1987-1988 and was the University’s Outstanding Alumnus for 1987-1988. Drummond was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 1989, the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 1997, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame in 2010. He was active in civic and community groups and served on the boards of the Big Oak Ranch, Inc., Boy Scouts of America Greater Alabama Council, the Business Council of Alabama, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, the Rotary Club of Birmingham and Glenwood, Inc. Drummond is survived by his wife Peggy Drummond, four children, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, one brother and a host of nephews and nieces. He is preceded in death by one son, three brothers, and two sisters.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/07/garry_neil_drummond_ceo_of_dru.html

 

Alabama Supreme Court Grants Stay in AG’s Appeal of Greenetrack

MONTGOMERY—On Wednesday, the Alabama Supreme Court (ASC) granted a stay, before the deadline, for a response from the attorneys for Greenetrack had expired. Circuit Judge Houston L. Brown, ruled on June 22, that the machines seized from Greenetrack were, in fact, bingo machines and therefore legal in the State of Alabama. The State responded on July 7, with an Emergency Motion for Stay, Pending Appeal and Memorandum in Support of the ASC. Rule 27(a) of the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure provides 7 days for other party’s response, in opposition to a motion, unless the court shortens the time for response. “[a]ny party may file a response in opposition to a motion, other than one for a procedural order (for which see subdivision (b)), within 7 days (1 week) after service of the motion; but the court may shorten or extend the time for responding to any motion.” Since the court did not enter such an order, the time for the response would not have expired until July 14. On Monday, counsel for Greenetrack called the Supreme Court Clerk’s office and confirmed, with a staff attorney, that Greenetrack had 7 days to respond to the motion. A source close to the case said, “Without shortening the time, without allowing a response, and without adhering to its own rules, this Court entered an order granting the stay, before the time had expired for Greenetrack to respond.” Greenetrack attorneys intend to file a motion to reconsider asking the court to withdraw its order, and to consider arguments in their response, as to why there should not be a stay granted.

http://www.alreporter.com/alabama-supreme-court-grants-stay-in-ags-appeal-of-greenetrack/

Blogs/Opinions

Hillary can’t beat Trump. Trump can beat Trump. Ed Rogers, WaPo

As everybody in politics knows, political campaigns are a unique type of PR animal.  Essentially, you win by capturing 50 percent of the market share against one other product (notwithstanding the impact of a few third-party products) on one day in November.  The question the Hillary campaign must be asking themselves is whether or not Hillary is so flawed that she can’t get 50 percent against a product as flawed as Donald Trump.  Is she so wildly out of step with the times and so damaged because of her own paranoia and deceit that she just can’t win, no matter what? The latest McClatchy-Marist poll must have sent her and her team into a collective cold sweat.  It shows that Clinton is now only ahead of Trump by 3 percent in a head-to-head match-up.  There is no case to make that she is getting stronger during what should have been a flattering time for her candidacy.  Besides her character and image issues, Hillary has had to abandon the political middle that elected her husband twice and embrace a new leftist socialism, which has further marginalized her appeal. So how will she overcome her problems?  Luckily, this Republican is here with some free advice.  Hillary needs to do three things. First, she needs to quit lying.  It sounds like I’m just taking a shot at her, but I’m being serious.  Most Americans don’t think she is honest or trustworthy, so she needs to stop reinforcing that notion.  If that means continuing to refuse to hold press conferences or hold any unscripted interviews, then so be it.  Let the press whine about accessibility.  If she speaks freely, she will undoubtedly revert to form and tell a few whoppers. And oh by the way, the investigations into and media inquiries about the Clinton Foundation and Huma Abedin’s employment are not over.  These investigations and assorted leaks to come probably means more lies are in order if Clinton hopes to escape past malfeasance. Second, Hillary should make Bill Clinton invisible.  If Bill Clinton was going to do her any good, it was in the primaries, not in the general.  He needs to stick to off-the-record fundraisers and make sure he does no harm. With younger voters and moderates, Bill Clinton reminds everyone of the past; and just to state the obvious, he is the opposite of something new. Third, Clinton needs to rethink her message.  She is not a fighter, and it is not credible for her to say she is.  Her insistence that she is a champion of the people only reinforces her biggest problem, which is authenticity and honesty. Her message has to be non-Trump, neutral, benign — even call it quiet. More Hillary is not the key to Hillary winning. More Trump is the key to Hillary winning. Most of her ads should be attacks on Trump and not positive spots about herself. Maybe if Hillary Clinton spoon-feeds the media, avoids unscripted encounters with real journalists, is positive and deliberate on the stump and hides from Donald Trump, she will be able to get more votes than Trump.  But it’s not a given that Trump’s high negatives and problems among women and minority groups will be enough to propel Clinton to victory. Let’s face it.  Hillary Clinton is the wrong person at the wrong time.  In a change election, Clinton will have to do more than just make a bunch of promises that everyone knows she can’t keep.  She has to be surefooted, do no harm and hope that Trump continues to be Trump and keeps his negatives at a place where it is impossible for him to win.  Trump, as evidenced by recent polling, is not dead, and if Hillary Clinton wants to win, she is going to have resist the temptation to make herself the focal point of campaign 2016 and let Trump beat himself.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/07/13/hillary-cant-beat-trump-trump-can-beat-trump/

Morning Money

HELLO CLEVELAND! — MM is getting fired up to head to the Cleve for the GOP proceedings. We have a GREAT event on Wednesday morning on Donald Trump’s policies and the state of the US economy. The power panel will include CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, who is close to Trump and advising him on policy, American Action Forum’s Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Moody’s Analytics’ Mark Zandi, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Stifel Nicolaus’ chief economist Lindsey Piegza and Freedom Works’ Stephen Moore who has also done work on Trump’s tax plan.

If you are in Cleveland, please join us Wednesday morning at 11:00 a.m. at the POLITICO Hub event space. You can send questions hashtagged #POLITICOCaucus. And if you aren’t making the trek to Cleveland you can still watch and take part at politico.com/livestream. Details: http://goo.gl/rT1Kdf

FINAL MOMENTS FOR #NEVERTRUMP — POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt, Kyle Cheney and Shane Goldmacher: “The Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s campaign are scrambling to quash a small but dangerous insurgency inside the party aimed at wresting the nomination away from the New York billionaire on national television next week. It’s a pivotal showdown where anti-Trump forces are the underdogs as they introduce a proposal that would free convention delegates to rebel against Trump and select a new nominee.

“And the RNC … is fighting back. About a dozen of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s most loyal allies who hold seats on the 112-member Rules Committee are working to extinguish the anti-Trump efforts. … The push to reject Trump at the party’s convention comes to a head on Thursday and Friday, when the influential Rules Committee decides whether to allow delegates to unbind themselves” http://goo.gl/xi2UJT

MORE ON WALL STREET SKIPPING CLEVELAND — Following Wednesday’s story about Wall Street largely skipping the GOP convention, MM reached out to another senior bank lobbyist to ask whether he knew of any top financial execs who might be good to talk to in Cleveland. The response was brief: “No.”

Several other people we reached out to who got back to us after the story ran all had various versions of “family commitments” keeping them away from Cleveland. Sure seems like a popular week for banker vacations and trips to visit kids at camp!

VILSACK-MENTUM? — MM had lunch with a Democratic policy veteran on Wednesday who wondered why Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack doesn’t get more buzz as a potential VP pick for Hillary Clinton.

After all, this person said, he’s got all the credentials, comes from an important swing state, has already been through a national vet as a potential John Kerry VP pick in 2004 and is the longest-serving member of the Obama administration. The problem? He’s not Mr. Excitement in a year of political celebrity. But if you want to go the safe route, it doesn’t get much safer than Vilsack.

TOP TWEET: @MikeGrunwald: “I had a WH person mention Vilsack today too. Hmm.”

TRUMP VP PICK TO COME FRIDAY — WSJ’s Reid Epstein from Cleveland: “Donald Trump will end his vice presidential search and announce his running mate selection on Friday in New York, his campaign chairman said. ‘We will be making an announcement on Friday,’ Paul Manafort said during a brief interview in the lobby of the Westin hotel here, after being asked when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will reveal his choice for vice president. ‘It will be in New York.’http://goo.gl/I8zpye

TRUMP-LAND VP CHATTER — MM spoke with one of his chief fundraisers who said he believes Trump prefers Christie as a potential attorney general and would eventually go with Pence or Gingrich.

BARCLAYS ON BREXIT AND 2016 — Per new Barclays research report: “Since the Great Recession … a global wave of populism has affected the economy and markets as voters have turned inwards and questioned the benefits of trade and immigration.

“Most [US] states are well entrenched and are likely to vote along past party lines, but
we believe the wave of anti-globalization sentiment has the potential to alter the
2016 electoral map, as some swing states may shift. Other states may no longer
be swing.”

SPEAKING OF WHICH … New Quinnipiac swing state polling out Wednesday showed Trump tied with Clinton in Ohio and slightly ahead in Pennsylvania, two states where manufacturing weakness could be boosting the presumptive GOP nominee.https://goo.gl/VuC0Ib

DRIVING THE DAY — President Obama participates in ABC town hall this afternoon “where he’ll have the opportunity to engage directly with officers, parents, students, community leaders and families on trust and safety in our communities” … Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will meet in Berline with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and will hold a joint press conference … Senate Banking has a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on “Evaluating the Financial Risks of China” … The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee holds a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on “Evaluating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Response to Major Data Breaches … Producer Prices at 8:30 a.m. expected to rise 0.3 percent headline and 0.1 percent core … JPMorganChase kicks off bank earnings season. Analysts expect JPM to earn $1.43 per share, down from $1.54 a year ago on revenue of $24.16 billion down from $24.53 billion last year.

ASIA RISES ON BofE HOPES — Reuters: “Asian shares held near eight-month high on Thursday as investors bet the Bank of England will cut rates in a pre-emptive strike to ward off a recession following the country’s decision to leave the European Union. … U.S. stocks ticked up on Wednesday, just enough for the S&P 500 and Dow industrials to set record highs, with investors expecting upbeat earnings to keep the rally going. …

“In addition, concerns that Brexit could disrupt the European economies effectively took a Federal Reserve rate hike off the agenda in the near future, and boosted expectations of more monetary stimulus from central banks in Europe and Japan. Financial markets expect the Bank of England to announce a rate cut later on Thursday. Governor Mark Carney has hinted he may ease policy to cushion the economy from the Brexit shock” http://goo.gl/iZ8ATk

FIRST LOOK — CEI has a report out today “on an action the next POTUS can take to cut back on unnecessary, harmful/costly federal regulations. Namely, a revival of a successful 1981 executive order by President Reagan increasing White House oversight and review of federal regulations” https://goo.gl/K7W6zp

GOP PUSHES FOR TRADE DEAL WITH UK — POLITICO’s Doug Palmer: “Republican trade leaders in Congress are moving to soften the economic blow of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, introducing a resolution Wednesday calling on President Barack Obama to begin exploratory talks with London on a bilateral trade agreement. …

“Hatch and Brady said they would work to advance the resolution quickly, but no action is expected before lawmakers return in September from an extended summer break that begins at the end of this week” http://goo.gl/YZLlNi

COULD TERRORISTS CAUSE NAT’L BLACKOUT? — WSJ’s Rebecca Smith: “[D]espite federal orders to secure the power grid, tens of thousands of substations are still vulnerable to saboteurs. The U.S. electric system is in danger of widespread blackouts lasting days, weeks or longer through the destruction of sensitive, hard-to-replace equipment. Yet records are so spotty that no government agency can offer an accurate tally of substation attacks, whether for vandalism, theft or more nefarious purposes.

“Most substations are unmanned and often protected chiefly by chain-link fences. Many have no electronic security, leaving attacks unnoticed until after the damage is done. Even if there are security cameras, they often prove worthless. In some cases, alarms are simply ignored.” http://goo.gl/JGUJc2

CLEVELAND BRACES FOR CHAOS — NYT’s Yamiche Alcindor: “With thousands of protesters expected to descend on Cleveland for next week’s Republican National Convention, city officials have devised intricate plans to handle mass arrests should chaos break out on the streets, identifying jail facilities to house more than 975 arrested protesters and keeping courts open for 20 hours daily to process cases.
Twelve judges will be working 10-hour shifts in the Cleveland Municipal Court to handle what could be a flood of cases. And to guard against violence, the authorities have been collecting intelligence on extremist groups to identify any possible threats.

“The convention and the national stage it promises is attracting myriad groups, with agendas that range from white supremacy to in-your-face body art. The groups include the American Freedom Party and Blood & Honour, whose members are white nationalists, along with skinheads and the Westboro Baptist Church … An effort called ‘Everything She Says Means Everything’ is working to have 100 naked women gather outside the convention site” http://goo.gl/OMF8xq

TRUMP PROMISES “SHOWBIZ” BUT WHO WILL SPEAK? — WP’s Philip Rucker: “When Democrats gather for their national convention in Philadelphia, the list of speakers praising Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy is expected to feature the president, the vice president, the first lady, a former president and a galaxy of well-known political luminaries. But when the Republican convention opens … Trump will showcase an assortment of family members, defeated primary opponents and politicians whose names barely register with the general public.

“Many of the GOP’s past, current and future leaders are staying away from the spotlights at the Quicken Loans Arena. The star-power disparity between the conventions speaks volumes about the state of the two parties — one is united and marching together toward what it hopes will be its fifth win of the past seven presidential elections, while the other remains divided and still not fully accepting its new standard bearer” https://goo.gl/6nzG4e

THIS IS A REAL OPENING PARAGRAPH to NYT story about speaker plans for Trump’s convention: “A night highlighting the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya. An appearance by onetime football star Tim Tebow. A presentation detailing former President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct.”

And for the business community: “Billionaire Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur, will represent the business community, along with Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a private-equity real estate investor.” http://goo.gl/n3lJa4

BANK OF ENGLAND PREPARES TO ACT — WSJ’s Richard Barley: “The Bank of England, although a venerable institution, doesn’t usually pack the same global punch as the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank or the Bank of Japan. Nevertheless, investors everywhere should take note of Thursday’s BOE decision. … Governor Mark Carney has signaled the central bank will take action to prop up the U.K. economy in the wake of the Brexit vote.

“Little hard economic data is available yet on the impact of that vote, leading some economists to argue the BOE will wait until August to take action, when its quarterly Inflation Report will offer a fuller analysis of the outlook. But markets are primed for action, and a delay may be tricky: A swift rate cut from the current 0.5 percent, the first move in U.K. rates since March 2009, looks likely. Further measures can then follow, such as a resumption of asset purchases later in the summer” http://goo.gl/jNZl9v

THERESA MAY TAKES OVER THE U.K. — FT’s George Parker: “Theresa May has entered Downing Street with a promise to address the country’s deep divisions, ruling not ‘for the privileged few’ but for people who felt they were losing control of their lives. Within hours of becoming the UK’s second female prime minister, Mrs May made her first cabinet appointments by installing Philip Hammond as chancellor and Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. George Osborne left the government, making way for the former foreign secretary who has long harboured an ambition to move to the Treasury.

“Mrs May spoke only fleetingly about last month’s Brexit vote as she addressed the nation outside Number 10, but her mission statement was aimed squarely at those voters who saw the referendum as a chance to attack the economic establishment. A low-key fiscal hawk, Mr Hammond is not a natural fit with Mrs May’s plan to relax austerity and tackle corporate excess but he will bring business and ministerial experience to the top of government in uncertain times” http://goo.gl/Ldt89V

IS GREAT BRITAIN THE NEW NORWAY? — NYT’s Liz Alderman: “As the political chaos after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union starts to subside, one of the most pressing issues for the country’s new leader is how to keep doing business with the bloc’s vast single market of 500 million consumers. Many are pointing to fjord-flecked Norway as a possible model for the way forward. …

“A Norwegian-style deal has its advantages. Norway is outside of the bloc, but it can trade easily with its members through a construct known as the European Economic Area. The hitch is that Norway, in exchange for the trade deal, must allow the free movement of people — a principle that Ms. May, who has vowed to clamp down on immigration, may not fully concede”http://goo.gl/HDS0DS

LONDON BANKERS FRUSTRATED WITH JPM — FT’s Martin Arnold and Laura Noonan: “Senior bankers in London are growing frustrated with JPMorgan Chase’s public warnings that it may cut thousands of jobs in the UK, saying such remarks send an unhelpfully negative message. The concerns come amid efforts by the Treasury to encourage international banks to paint a rosier picture of the City’s future in the aftermath of the UK’s referendum vote to leave the EU.

“The Treasury has separately urged British banks to refrain from public proclamations about any dire consequences from Brexit … Officials asked international banks to sign a ‘more optimistic’ joint statement than the one eventually published last Thursday and said banks and the Treasury would ‘work together . . . to help London retain its position as the leading international financial centre’. Banks resisted, arguing that they were ‘not cheerleaders’” http://goo.gl/59IC3l

POTUS Events

10:30 am || Recieves the Presidential Daily Briefing
2:55 pm || Participates in a town hall conversation hosted by ABC Studio Theater

All times Eastern
Live stream of White House briefing at noon

Floor Action

The House meets at 9 a.m. with the last votes until September expected around 12:30 p.m. The House gavels in at 9:30 a.m. with multiple roll call votes starting at 11:30 a.m. on NDAA and defense appropriations and another vote on Zika funding, which is expected to fail, at 1:45 p.m.

AROUND THE HILL– Senate Democrats host a Latino issues summit starting at 9 a.m. in 216 Hart. HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez will also attend.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise holds a 9:30 a.m. press conference in HVC Studio A, updating the status of a House select committee launched after the Planned Parenthood controversy last year. House Speaker Paul Ryan holds his weekly press briefing at 11:30 a.m. in HVC Studio A.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and several other Democrats roll out the caucus’ new security agenda at 12 p.m. in H-207 (the Rayburn Room). Reps. Patrick Murphy and Curt Clawson hold a 1 p.m. press conference in the House triangle on “Lagoon Gulf Action Day.”

Rep. Seth Moulton holds a press conference on gun violence at 3:30 p.m. in the House triangle. Starting at 7:30 p.m. Democrats led by Reps. John Lewis and James Clyburn will hold a speak out on gun violence on the West lawn of the Capitol.

OFF THE HILL– Rep. Darrell Issa will celebrate the launch of his new book, Watchdog, at the CTA Innovation House starting at 5 p.m.

Announcements

 

Issue Number:    IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2016-05

Inside This Issue

About Your IRS Notice or Letter

The IRS normally sends correspondence in the mail. We mail millions of letters to taxpayers every year. Keep these important points in mind if you get a letter or notice:

  • Don’t Ignore It.  You can respond to most IRS notices quickly and easily.
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If you don’t agree, it’s important that you respond. Follow the instructions on the notice for the best way to respond to us. You may be able to call us to resolve the issue. Have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call. If you choose to write to us, be sure to include information and any documents you want us to consider. Also, write your taxpayer identification number (Social Security number, employer identification number or individual taxpayer identification number) on each page of the letter you send. Mail your reply to the address shown on the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.

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IRS Tax Tips provide valuable information throughout the year. IRS.gov offers tax help and info on various topics including common tax scams, taxpayer rights and more.