US judges join senator in campaign finance law case

The Biden administration had championed the provision as an anti-corruption measure, and in a dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the majority, by overturning it, “gave the go-ahead to whatever sordid business Congress thought was right.” to stop”. She said the decision “can only further discredit the political system of this country”.

The case may be important for some candidates for federal office who wish to take out large loans for their campaigns. But the administration also said the vast majority of those loans are under $250,000, and therefore the provision Cruz is challenging does not apply.

The case concerns a section of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act 2002. The provision states that if a candidate lends their campaign money before an election, the campaign cannot repay the candidate more than $250,000 using the money collected after Election Day. Loans can still be repaid with money raised before the election.

Cruz argued that this makes candidates think twice before lending money, as it greatly increases the risk that any candidate loan will never be fully repaid. A lower court had agreed that the provision was unconstitutional.

Cruz, who has served in the Senate since 2013 and unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016, loaned his campaign $260,000 the day before the 2018 general election in a bid to challenge the law.

The government said that in the five election cycles before 2020, Senate candidates made 588 loans to their campaigns, about 80% of them less than $250,000. Candidates for the House of Representatives have made 3,444 loans, nearly 90% of them for less than $250,000.


Trump could be paid to post on his platform

Former President Donald Trump could be paid to post for his own startup and it’s unclear whether securities regulators would allow his merger with a cash-rich shell company, according to a securities filing Monday.

The long-awaited registration statement filed by Digital World Acquisition Corp. said it expects to complete the merger with Trump Media & Technology Group in the second half of the year. But the document, known as S4, says the Securities and Exchange Commission, which began investigating the proposed merger last year, may “disapprove this transaction and issue a stop order” that would block it. .

Digital World said Trump could be paid to post streaming videos on Trump Media’s video-on-demand service under certain circumstances. The licensing agreement also doesn’t obligate him to exclusively use Truth Social, Trump Media’s Twitter-like social media platform, and allows him to “post from a personal account tied to political messaging.” , political fundraising or voting”. efforts on any social media site at any time.

If the former president does anything “illegal, immoral or unethical,” it is not considered a violation of his agreement with the company, according to the filing.

The unusual licensing deal is unlikely to calm concerns that Trump will return to Twitter if Elon Musk closes his deal to acquire the much larger social media platform. Musk, the world’s richest man, said he would lift Twitter’s ban on Trump if he acquires the company; Trump said he “probably wouldn’t join Twitter if he could.”

Twitter suspended Trump and kicked him off the platform after supporters stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021 and Trump’s repeated claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

Trump had nearly 90 million Twitter followers when he was kicked off the platform. He currently has around 2 million followers on Truth Social, where he only started posting in earnest this month.

The most looming concern for Trump Media is whether securities regulators will allow the deal to proceed, which would allow Trump’s company access to up to $1.3 billion in cash for investors.

Trump could own 73 million shares, or just under 50% of the voting power in Trump Media common stock, if the merger is completed. Digital World said in the filing that Trump would have significant influence over the company post-merger and may be able to determine who sits on board and “block issues requiring shareholder approval.”

If the deal were to close at Digital World’s current share price of $44, Trump’s stake would initially be valued at more than $3 billion.

Digital World said the SEC served it with a subpoena requesting various documents regarding its board meetings, trading procedures, and “communications with and evaluation of potential targets.”

The SEC has been investigating whether Special Purpose Acquisition Company Digital World, or SPAC, went public in September because a deal with Trump Media was already in the works.

Digital World’s filing says SPAC was considering acquiring more than a dozen companies at the time of its IPO. But it confirmed previous New York Times reports that another SPAC controlled by Digital World chief executive Patrick Orlando was in serious merger talks with Trump Media until just days before the initial public offering. shares of Digital World.


Maryland senator says he suffered ‘minor stroke’

Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Sunday night he was recovering from a “minor stroke”, the second Democratic lawmaker to fall ill this year.

Van Hollen, 63, said in a statement posted on Twitter that he was admitted to George Washington University Hospital, which is in the District of Columbia, “after experiencing severe dizziness and severe neck pain.” during a speech. An angiogram showed he had had a “minor stroke in the form of a small vein tear” in the back of his head.

But he said there would be “no long-term effects or damage”.

Van Hollen said he would reduce his schedule and remain under observation for the next few days out of an abundance of caution. He planned to return to the Senate later this week, according to the statement.

The news highlighted the delicate balance of power in a chamber where Democrats hold a 50-50 majority and losing a single vote could have a huge impact and hamper President Biden’s agenda.

In February, Senator Ben Ray Luján, Democrat of New Mexico, also said he had suffered a stroke, going to the hospital after feeling dizzy and tired.

Carlos Sanchez, his chief of staff, said in a statement that Luján, 49, had “suffered a cerebellar stroke, affecting his balance”. The statement added: “As part of his treatment plan, he then underwent decompressive surgery to relieve swelling.”

A lawyer and progressive Democrat, Van Hollen previously served in the Maryland State Legislature before being elected to Congress in 2002. He served as a member of the House Democratic leadership, and from 2007 to 2011 he led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which tries to help the party win and keep seats in the House. After his election to the Senate in 2016, he played a similar role in organizing efforts to win the Senate races.

Van Hollen’s announcement of a stroke came amid hotly contested midterm elections. Democrats have entered an uphill battle to retain their majority in the House and cannot afford to lose seats in the Senate.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, a candidate for the Democratic Senate nomination from the state, said Sunday he suffered a stroke on Friday.

“The good news is that I feel much better, and the doctors tell me that I have not suffered any cognitive damage,” he said on Twitter. “I am on track for a full recovery.”

His rivals on the Republican side include Kathy Barnette, a far-right conservative commentator; Dr. Mehmet Oz, television personality and retired physician who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump; and David McCormick, a former hedge fund manager.


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