Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.

 

Recent Articles

The Maps That Kill Competition

Corey Lowenstein/The News & Observer, File via AP
Corey Lowenstein/The News & Observer, File via AP Republican State Senators Dan Soucek, left, and Brent Jackson, right, review North Carolina's congressional district map. democracy_rules.jpg D emocrats eyeing the 2018 midterm elections have a lot to feel optimistic about—fired-up liberal activists are thronging to protests and town halls, low-dollar donors are opening their wallets , candidate recruitment is setting records. But Democrats also face a massive handicap: cleverly drawn electoral maps that dramatically favor Republicans, in both House and state legislative races. Democrats have mounted an aggressive, multi-million dollar effort to fight back against district lines that they say were unfairly and even illegally drawn. And they may get an assist from the Supreme Court. The practice of gerrymandering—manipulating electoral boundaries to favor the party in power—is hardly new, and the arcane topic of redistricting typically makes voters’ eyes glaze over. But the issue is...

Ethics Watchdog Can Only Do So Much

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File Walter M. Shaub Jr., director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics walks on Capitol Hill in Washington. democracy_rules.jpg F or more than 30 years, watchdogs have pleaded in vain with Congress to strengthen the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), an independent agency set up in the wake of Watergate to ward off executive branch conflicts of interest. Now, lawmakers may finally take notice. Until this year, it’s been easy for Congress to overlook the OGE’s relative lack of clout, sleepy profile, and reluctance to take forceful action. After all, until now all presidents have voluntarily followed fixed ethics conventions, such as disclosing their taxes and placing their assets into blind trusts, and have stood squarely behind the OGE in its inevitable clashes with other federal agencies. But Donald Trump’s determination to throw those conventions out the window, and his administration’s moves to not only reject OGE’s advice but block it from doing...

Trump’s Assault on the ‘Administrative State’

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster FBI Director James Comey pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation." democracy_rules.jpg A mong those alarmed by FBI Director James Comey’s firing last week are surely many federal workers, who may see it as emblematic of Donald Trump’s deliberate attack on the nation’s 2.7 million civil servants. Trump’s eagerness to fire government employees, for political or other reasons, has been on display since his campaign pledge to freeze federal hiring and end “waste, fraud and abuse.” Presidential chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon put it more bluntly following Trump’s election, pledging the “ deconstruction of the administrative state .” Some of Trump’s firings, such as his dismissals of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, have raised questions about his motives. Like Comey, Yates, and Bharara—who...

Lobbying for Foreign Interests -- and Not Reporting It

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington. D onald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey has thrust foreign governments’ growing influence on American politics and policy—and U.S. officials’ failure to police it—front and center on Capitol Hill. The immediate question facing Congress is whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s role in the U.S. presidential race, something Democrats demand and GOP leaders reject. But the Russia probe has also shed light on another problem that worries lawmakers on both sides of the aisle: the secrecy that shrouds foreign influence peddling. In theory, U.S. lobbyists representing foreign governments and interests must register and disclose their activities with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a 1938 law written to stop Germany from using American firms to spread Nazi propaganda. In...

Shareholders Demand Disclosure -- and Republicans Push Back

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta House Financial Services Committee Chairman Representative Jeb Hensarling speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, during the committee's hearing on overhauling the nation's financial rules. rules-logo-109_2.jpg C orporate political spending has spiked noticeably in the business-friendly Trump era, but so has the pressure on corporations to fully disclose the money they pour into politics. Shareholders have filed dozens of resolutions this proxy season that call on companies to explain and account for their political spending. In January and February alone, shareholders filed 90 resolutions relating to political activity, including one that comes before the Berkshire Hathaway board on May 6. By one estimate, such resolutions numbered 105 in 2016. But Republicans on Capitol Hill, under pressure from business lobbyists, have introduced legislation authored by Texas Representative Jeb Hensarling that would silence most shareholders as part...

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