OSC Rules In Favor Of Kushner On Hatch Act Violation (Sort of)

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) ruled in favor of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner on whether he violated the Hatch Act in boasting Trump’s reelection in an interview. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has asked for the complaint to be reopened. There is an interesting twist in the case separate from the merits. The OSC rejected the claim not because it found Kushner’s comments were apolitical but because the interview was apparently not aired on television but was posted online. That seems like a bizarre and facially invalid distinction under the Act.

As we have discussed previously, the Trump Administration has had a long history of violations of Hatch Act, which remains the law in prohibiting electioneering activities by executive branch employees. There have also been alleged Hatch Act violations on the Democratic side and prior administrations have faced valid complaints. The Hatch Act can be a delicate balance for officials who are often asked questions that easily lead to a type of political advocacy or defense. However, the Trump Administration has had a litany of such complaints, including clear violations of the Act as we have discussed over the years.

This controversy was triggered by Kushner’s February appearance on CNN with host Fareed Zakaria where he defended the president in a piece captioned as a discussion of “Trump’s Reelection.” The discussion is clearly political and focused on the election and the Trump strategy:

“KUSHNER: Yes, I think there’s just a big difference between what the voters see and what the voters want, and from what the — what people maybe in the Washington or in the media are calling for. What we’ve seen since the impeachment started is that most people by the way are not paying attention to it. We’ve seen the president’s numbers go up by seven points. We got polling back last night that showed that the president’s approval rating nationally was over 50 percent. It was the highest that it’s been since right after the inauguration. So we’ve seen —

ZAKARIA: Yes, the RealClearPolitics average is more like 44 percent.

KUSHNER: I think it was about 46 percent, but again everything is relative, right? Again there is a lot of polls that were wrong in the last election. I think our data proved to be more right than the public holds and I think that it will continue to be. But I’ll also say about approval, though, is in the last election, when Romney ran, two percent of the people who disapproved of him voted for him.

In the last election, 15 percent of the people who disapproved of president — of Donald Trump as a candidate, and they’re voting for him. So look, I think his base is strong, getting stronger. Last night we were in Iowa, we had a massive crowd. We were around in New Jersey this week. About 160,000 people signed up for it. I mean, the energy that I’m feeling today was stronger than what we felt at the end of the campaign last year. I think that President Trump has not lost many supporters. If any at all. And I think that a lot of people who say well, what he’s talking about, now he’s actually done all the things he’s promised. He’s actually done more things than he’s promised. He got done criminal justice reform work done. He did promise he was going to do that. He did a lot of things that he didn’t even promise he was going to do.
And again, the American consumer has never been stronger. He’s created seven million jobs. You have 2.5 million Americans that have been — that have entered the work force, and 2.5 million Americans who’ve been lifted out of poverty, almost 10 million Americans that have come off of food stamps.
The numbers are unbelievable. But I will say this, the more time we spend in Washington and the more the administration gets better and better at it, and the more the president has his vision for what he wants to do, he believes that the potential for this country is unbelievable. And so as we finish implementing our deregulation agenda, our tax reform agenda, hopefully we’ll do more tax cuts as we, you know, focus on becoming energy independent, which is critical to our nation’s security, bringing down energy cost for people, folks on workforce training, training people for the future economy.
We have a lot of things. We have folks in the judiciary where the president has been very successful. The potential for making this country strong is unbelievable and the president has been very enthusiastic about what he’s been able to accomplish so far.”

That does seem to stray pretty deeply into electioneering under the language of the Act. Kushner is clearly identified as speaking as an adviser in the White House and Act prohibits the “use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”

The Hatch Act now appears honored primarily in the breach and this interview certainly danced along the edge of the law, if it did not blow past it. However, I am less interested in the merits than the technicality cited by the OSC. I think that there is a valid argument raised in CREW’s open letter to OSC Henry Kerner. I know of no precondition of a broadcasted interview or a particular form of media for violations. Such a distinction would be nonsensical and effectively gut the Hatch Act. It also ignores the shift over to online coverage and interviews.

What is particularly bizarre is that the OSC seems to view Kushner’s statements as unacceptable under the Act and confirmed that he did use his official title in the segments. However, the means of the communication appears to be determinative in the analysis.

The key prohibition is that executive branch employees from “us[ing their] official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” This has been violated in the past in a way array of forms. I think the OSC got this one wrong as a matter of law. It should rule on the merits and not the means of the interview.

161 thoughts on “OSC Rules In Favor Of Kushner On Hatch Act Violation (Sort of)”

  1. Hope all have a good weekend. We need it. After all, this today is from the guy responsible for our safety:

    “The germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotic can’t keep up with it … there’s a whole genius to it … not only is it hidden, but it’s very smart.”

    As they say – you can’t make this sh up.

    He also said in reply to this question:

    Q: “Can you say what metrics you will use to make that decision [about re-opening the country]?”

    TRUMP: [Points to his head] “The metrics right here.”

    Someone help us!

    1. “maybe it’s because they take big money to host fake articles like this infomercial from the Chicom PLA owned Huawei”

      The NYTImes delivers that type of material paid for by China all the time.

      1. I think they would do it for Hitler if he paid enough. Maybe they did before the disturbances from 1939 to 1945.

  2. Just think.

    God cut it off at ten.

    Why does, presumably, lower-ranking modern man need so many?

  3. “…the interview was not broadcasted but ran online.”

    – Professor Turley

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    Can you say English Grammar 101?

    1. George– Don’t be an idiot. Besides being a professor he manages to raise and interpret these issues every day and all of us appreciate the effort.

      1. George – you can go to the home page and ask for a correction. He is good about that. 😉

        1. PCS, I think I hit a nerve. The original question was quite simply and innocuously, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Why is this young clown so touchy? Oh yeah. I completely forgot about the “Pandemic Panic and Melodrama of 2020.” Dang! It wears on you like those continuous, creeping mortar rounds that night on the 1st Cav base near Dau Tiang (on the bright side, they had a projector and some bad movies outside by a gun pit). My bad.

          1. flashback, sappers inside the wire!
            this guy got a posthumous Medal of Honor:

            “Staff Sergeant Robert W. Hartsock, United States Army, who distinguished himself on 23 February 1969, by conspicuous gallantry in action while serving as section leader with the 44th Infantry Platoon, (Scout Dog), 3d Brigade 25th Infantry Division in Binh Duong Province, Republic of Vietnam.

            “On this date, when the Dau Tieng Base Camp was under heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack, Sergeant Hartsock and his platoon commander spotted an enemy sapper squad which had infiltrated the camp undetected. Realizing the enemy squad was heading for the brigade tactical operations center and nearby prisoner compound they concealed themselves and, though heavily outnumbered,awaited the approach of the hostile soldiers. When the enemy was almost upon them, Sergeant Hartsock and his platoon commander opened fire on the squad. As a wounded enemy soldier fell, he managed to detonate a satchel charge he was carrying.
            Sergeant Hartsock, with complete disregard for his own life, threw himself on the charge and was gravely wounded. In spite of his wounds, Sergeant Hartsock crawled 5 meters to a ditch and provided heavy suppressive fire,completely pinning down the enemy and allowing his commander to seek shelter.Sergeant Hartsock continued his deadly stream of fire until he succumbed to his wounds.
            Sergeant Hartsock’s valorous efforts resulted in the disrupting of the enemy squad’s mission, saved his platoon commander’s life and, indirectly, the lives of many other comrades.Sergeant Hartsock’s extraordinary heroism and profound concern for the lives of his fellow soldiers were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit,and the United States Army”

            1. In my experience, this scenario is nonsensical or simply impossible.

              “…threw himself on the charge and was gravely wounded.”

              One morning, I flew in to Cu Chi for a minor injury evaluation. The Dustoff crew offloaded a body with a poncho covering it to a couple of Graves Registration attendants. As they passed in front of me, the deceased soldier’s arm fell off of the stretcher, hanging by a string of tissue. One of the team casually picked up the arm and calmly placed it back on the stretcher, covering it again with the poncho. This group proceeded into the facility. It was said the infantryman had inadvertently crawled onto a relatively low-power antipersonnel mine during the firefight earlier that night/morning (by contrast, a relatively high-explosive, structural demolition device, aka satchel charge, is used by sappers to destroy razor wire, ignite foo gas barrels and clear a path into a fire base). He wasn’t “gravely wounded,” he was blown to bits and killed instantly.

              Anything can happen.

              God forgive us all.

      2. Yes, sir. I shall follow your orders faithfully. Incidentally, I am confidant that the Good Professor is fully capable of directing his forum and defending his articles. Oh, and can you say, “Egregious by any measure?”

        1. It’s about courtesy. Everyone writing quickly is aware of the difficulty.

          It Is also about not being petty.

          1. Please continue at your convenience. We do need to be comprehensive and thorough. Oh, and I don’t know anything, so you’re boorish, pedantic admonitions are not only appropriate but necessary, nay, imperative…entertaining. Do persist.

            1. GEORGE– In your instant post you said:

              ‘you’re boorish…admonitions” Shouldn’t that be possessive, ‘your boorish…admonitions’?

              English Grammar 101

  4. The fundimental problem is with the hatch act itself.

    Political speech is the most protected form of free speech there is.

    At the same time we legitimately can not allow the machinery of govenrment to put its fingers on the scales in an election.

    But absolutely everything that anyone in government does inherently has political consequences. Do your job well, it increases the odds the administration you are part of gets re-elected. Do it badly and it decreases it.

    I beleive that Kushner is an unpaid advisor to the president.

    I do not think that the Hatch act can sanely apply in that instance.

    Frankly for any person within government who is elected or appointed to a policy making position, where is there a bright line between doing what voters elected them to do and electioneering ?

    Does the distinction between legal and illegal hinge on not using words like voter or election ?

    1. You presume voter stupidity and incompetence. You cast aspersions on the lazy, greedy, striking teachers in their thug unions by denigrating their product, such as it is. Throw the vast majority of these ridiculous laws out and allow free people to construct their form of self-governance through the vote.

      Most people should not be allowed to vote. The Founders allowed ~11% participation in 1788. Immigrants must have been “…free white person(s)…” and voters must have generally been male, European, 21 and worth 50 lbs. Sterling or 50 acres, maximally restricting the vote.

      You want madness in government? Allow madness in the voting booth. America is not run by algorithms. The Founders assigned the task to “A Few Good Men” as, incidentally, did the Greeks and Romans.

      “The true reason (says Blackstone) of requiring any qualification, with regard to property in voters, is to exclude such persons, as are in so mean a situation, that they are esteemed to have no will of their own.”

      “If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other.”

      – Alexander Hamilton – The Farmer Refuted, 1775

      “the people are nothing but a great beast…

      I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.”

      – Alexander Hamilton

  5. Trump, Trump bo bump…
    Banana fanna Moe hump…
    And all the media is ever the same..
    They throw rocks at Trump yell his name..

  6. Trump’s Press Briefings Worry Republicans

    Yet the publicity-obsessed president is unlikely to relinquish his grip on the evening sessions: Mr. Trump has told aides he relishes the free television time and boffo ratings that come with his appearances, administration officials say.

    He also views it as an opportunity to put forth his version of events and rebut the negative coverage he is receiving, as he showed in a tweet Thursday afternoon. On a day that New York State reported 799 deaths from the coronavirus in a 24-hour period, Mr. Trump’s focus was on himself, and his feuds.

    Donald J. Trump

    The Wall Street Journal always “forgets” to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are “through the roof” (Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale, according to @nytimes) & is only way for me to escape the Fake News & get my views across. WSJ is Fake News!

    12:35 PM – Apr 9, 2020

    There is some preliminary evidence that Mr. Trump is heeding the Republicans’ concerns. On Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Trump made what were for him relatively brief appearances before leaving the room and turning the podium over to Mr. Pence and Drs. Anthony S. Fauci and Deborah Birx. Whether it lasts remains to be seen.

    Edited from: “Trump Keeps Talking. Some Republicans Don’t Like What They’re Hearing”

    Today’s New York Times
    TRUMPERS TAKE NOTE: The Wall Street Journal should be added to your list of “Fake News” sources.

    1. Yet the publicity-obsessed Peter “power bottom Paint Chips Enoch Poor John Burgoyne Tom of Finland” Shill is unlikely to relinquish his grip on the blow job sessions



        This was posted by that commenter who presents himself as a technician of some kind at a medical research lab. Lately he keeps sharing posts on Covid-19 that he presumably wrote himself from his own, ‘inside knowledge’.

        1. Paint Chips is seeking attention again….look out….she’s on the war path…. again


  7. I won’t listen to the guy Jack called “My bruder Bobby.”. He has been on screen in recent days.

  8. Would this be a Hatch Act violation? For several decades I’ve exercised my First Amendment rights and goons (sometimes under color of law) try to intimidate my patriotic and legal exercise, usually on roadways. I know this type of intimidation violates Title 18 US Code 241 and 18 USC 242 of the Federal Criminal Code with up to 10 years in federal prison for the cop or official, but wouldn’t it also be a Hatch Act violation. I’m only commenting on issues reported in the Washington Post and other credible newspapers. Just a guess, but it seems the lawbreaking officials perceive public information, published in newspapers, as leaks or something – lawless and incompetent intimidation.

  9. Since the Hatch act hasn’t been followed by both parties and is violated on a regular basis maybe the problem isn’t with the politicians but with the law.

    Anything a person says can “interfer(ing) with or affect(ing) the result of an election.” I found nothing wrong with the statement Professor Turley provided and if he were talking about Obama I would feel the same.

    I don’t care how the interview took place.

    1. Allan– Yes, the problem is with the law in this case rather than the conduct. Hence the weird construction to reach the result. Wrong in law but right in equity.

      1. Young, we need less laws and more laws that do not need judges to decide what they mean.

        1. Allan– Certainly fewer laws and clearer laws.

          I don’t have a problem with judges interpreting laws. There is no reasonable alternative. Laws are linear and behavior is fractal. No law will address every variation of circumstance and conduct.

          In Civil law judges are theoretically barred from interpreting law. They must only apply it as written. Frederick the Great, for example, was very strict on that point. However even his judges could not escape the need to interpret laws so they made sense in mutable situations.

          Interpretation should probably be conservative, shaping the adjustment to conform as near as possible to the intent of the statute and other existing laws.

          Lately, some courts and many administrative agencies have been let free to vastly extend their jurisdiction and rewrite their mandates. AG Barr noted that as a type of misconduct committed by IG Atkinson. He took a narrow and legitimate authority and expanded it into a vastly greater and unauthorized office. Apparently despite advice from the DOJ that he was going too far.

          The ‘by any means necessary’ attitude has infected and corrupted our institutions. When it comes to the rule of law the means are an essential part of the goal.

          1. Young, there are a lot of vague laws on the books and outdated laws especially regulatory ones. If we need judges to interpret law for ordinary citizens then something is very wrong. At times judges can bend the law in favor of the citizen.

            Take Justice Roberts decision on ObamaCare. It wasn’t up to him to rewrite the law. It should have been sent back to Congress. Congress must be forced to write laws in intelligible ways but all too frequently they are trying to hide dirty deeds.

            1. Allan, I agree with the sentiment in your statement, but there are many times when the law is not immediately clear and research and briefing by parties are needed to help inform the judge to reach a decision.

              Any law so detailed as to abolish confusion would be too long, dense and involved to function.

              Imagine you want to collect a judgment from a debtor whose extensive property is in real estate still tied up in the unprobated estates of both his parents. No statute is so specific as to answer this question. What do you do?

              There is a remedy (more than one) but the easiest is to use common law and the ability of the judge to discover new law in old.

              1. Young, I can answer that! creditors usually have standing to open estates even though they rarely do it. So, give it a try, petition for letters of admin to handle both intestate estates, notice the kids or whomever, get the PR letters, seize the property, hire broker, sell it, bank the proceeds, pay the bills off, and if there’s a surplus deposit it in the court, file final accounting, done! On that one we use the statutes and never even get to common law.

                that’s your free consult, next 15 minutes is $100

                1. Kurtz– Right, and when I was presented with the actual problem I gave brief consideration to doing that. I didn’t because it was going to take forever.

                  Mostly I wanted the debtor to settle. The judgment was much less than the value of the real estate.

                  I took the approach that since the parents were dead and the debtor was the only heir the property was actually vested in the heir even though the scope was uncertain until probate was completed. Vested it could be sold. If it could be sold it could be levied on. I levied on the right to inheritance. They paid before the marshal’s sale. Common law.

                  1. If the sale had gone through the buyer could go through the hard work of two successive probates to see what he bought. My way was faster for me.

              2. “Imagine you want to collect a judgment from a debtor whose extensive property is in real estate still tied up in the unprobated estates of both his parents. No statute is so specific as to answer this question. What do you do?”

                Young that seems more a problem of the written contract and understanding by the parties involved then what the law says. I’m not against judges being involved in sorting those things out.

                1. It was a judgment, not a contract, and the issue was what the law allowed as property that could be levied on.

                  My inspiration for handling the problem came from an old case in which a car was damaged driving onto a ferry because of the ferry operator’s negligence. The driver sued the ferry but had to temporarily dismiss the action because of some other matter. It was dismissed with the right to refille but the judge awarded the defendant a judgment for costs up to that point. A cause of action is property so the defendant used the judgment for costs to levy on the plaintiff’s cause of action against him. I thought it a neat trick and used a variation on the theme.

                  1. Young, I’m not disagreeing with you and I understand the legal messes we have but ultimately the law is probably clear as to “property that could be levied on.” yet there are balancing issues. That is not what I am talking about when I say clear laws.

                    I am involved in a lot of contracts and since I know my business affairs better than my lawyers or accountants I generally write my own contract and then let the lawyers and accountants clean it up. That is a necessity because one has to have expertise and that expertise can vary based on which state one is dealing in.

                    1. Most contract law is common or case law. When you take contract law in law school your text is full of cases, not statutes. Often among the first few cases is Hadley v. Baxendale, an 1854 English case which is good law to cite in the US even today.

                      I could give an example of common law operating in an interesting American case if you like.

                    2. When your lawyers clean up your contracts they almost cerainly have an eye to recent cases and common law as well as statutes.

                    3. Young, I’m sure they do and that is why I pay a lot of money to them, but even some of the best lawyers I have used don’t have the experience in business or negotiating and that has led to a lot of costs so I make sure my input occurs before anything is written and again before anything is signed.

                      In my earlier days I ended up in court because of lousy legal advice but won everytime because of provisions I put into the contract myself. On one occasion where the attorney who wrote most of the contract wasn’t present the judge said that the contract was poor except for one portion (mine) and that portion was what won the case.

                      One thing that stuck in my mind came from a very smart lawyer. He said to forget about the prose and how things looked. Concentrate on making each detail clear and say what you want said.

                  2. Allan– I agree a lot of businessmen have more savvy than lawyers and their lawyers make a big mistake in not listening to them.

                    The lawyer who said to skip the prose and write as simply and clearly as you can gave excellent advice, but I suspect you had already adopted that style before he spoke; probably praising you for doing it already.

                    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I don’t know if I deserve it. I always appreciate it when people productively criticize what I am doing. That is how I learned most of the important things.

          1. “A dash, or a comma, would do your sentence some serious justice, Allan.”

            OK Paulie tell us what is gramatically incorrect in the sentence ,”Young, we need less laws and more laws that do not need judges to decide what they mean.” I like you acting like a spell and grammar checker since mine doesn’t work very well. I can do the thinking and you can do the spell check.

            1. ”Young, we need less laws and more laws that do not need judges to decide what they mean.”

              Whenever you say something like ‘less laws and more laws’ right up against each other a comma or dash will serve you well. Otherwise you have a run on sentence.

              Try something like this:

            2. Whenever you run contradictory contradictory bits of information right up against each other it leads to a garbled message. (i.e. “…less laws and more laws…”)

              Try something like this:

              We need less laws overall — and more laws that don’t need judges to decide what they mean.

              And thanks for the offer of doing the thinking for me. I recognize the inherent genius in every one of your utterances, no doubt. In fact I’d adhere to them always…

              If they didn’t suck so much.

              1. Alias Paulie, you are right about the punctuation. I didn’t see it when I wrote the quick response. Later, I again didn’t see it probably because I knew what I wanted to say. That glaring error would never have caught my attention had you not pointed it out. I thank you for the correction.

                I respond quickly and generally I do more than one thing at a time. Between that and the fact that writing never was my forte or even a desire of mine I probably will make a lot more errors.

                1. No worries, Allan.

                  That’s generally the case with anyone with their writing…, they know what they want to say and know what’s in their head and it makes it easy to gloss over clarity.

                  One aspect of my job is to seek this kind of thing out. Even with that it’s always a struggle to stay on message.

  10. TRUMP WINS AGAIN the TRUMPER HATERS/NEVER TRUMPERS LOSE AGAIN – Trump drives the Dem’s, Trump Haters, Never Trumpers, the Nut Cases Crazy and they lose again.

    1. Hey, 234, show us how Trump is winning. Let’s see where his approval rating is at. ‘The Mid 40’s”? That’s not good with a Depression upon us.

  11. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has asked for the complaint to be reopened

    A sorosphere outfit.

    The problem with ‘ethics’ complaints is as ever. They’re commonly twee when they’re not exercises in political messaging. The Hatch Act complaints are both.

    1. CREW apparently is a David Brock organization that primarily targets Republicans while pretending to be non-partisan.

      It seems likely this complaint was using a poorly drafted law as a political whip rather a genuine attempt to make Wsshington more ethical.

      That does not make the decision legally correct. But it makes it more likely it was equitable.

        1. Peter – anything associated with Brock is less legitimate than Judicial Watch.

          1. Paul, why is that??? Why are conservative activists more legitimate than liberal activists?

            Before you answer, please note that Judicial Watch has assisted several conspiracy theories that went nowhere.

            1. “Judicial Watch has assisted several conspiracy theories that went nowhere.”

              What does that mean, ‘assisted’? You would like to libel them but you didn’t. Instead you chose a word that wouldn’t create libel though it would make people think Judicial Watch was directly involved.

              If Judicial Watch of today assisted in a conspiracy theory my guess is that they produced valid material from the government maybe having to do with money and then someone else used that data to provide their own seperate opinion. That doesn’t implicate Judicial Watch but makes one think you were trying to perpetrate a lie.

              Would you like to provide an example of where Judicial Watch was actually involved in a conspiracy theory?

        2. Paint Chips is you don’t recognize the difference then you know very little. You can say the opinion from Judicial Watch is similar to any other organization but Judicial Watch is not primarily an opinion organization. it’s main job is FOIA requests which makes government more transparent and accountable. On that issue Judicial Watch is probably the best.

          1. Diaper Man, Judicial Watch is a nakedly partisan organization tasked with harassing Democrats. It’s no more legitimate than CREW.

            1. You don’t like Judicial Watch because when FOIA requests are made it might reveal all sorts of bad things done by Democratic leaders. Judidical Watch should be given a prize for the government records they have obtained that demonstrated how the Obama administration weaponized an entire bureacracy. That alone reveals what you are supporting. At least we know where you stand. The Chinese are sending you a case of Chop Suey.

              1. ALLAN, Yes, Judicial Watch seems able to accomplish more than the DOJ and the entire Congress in ferreting out rats.

    2. 28 million dumped by the Soros cartel into Dem operations so far this year acc to new story

      that’s just first quarter, wow, and what a quarter it has been

  12. Real checks & balances happen between separate co-equal branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial) and separate levels of government (local, state, federal). Not to disparage good government employees but can the “Executive Branch” police itself? Maybe, without firing anyone, make the employees of the OSC, IG’s, GAO, etc part of the “Judicial Branch”? It’s the same reason Internal Affairs in police departments don’t really function properly, the government-watchdog answers to the head of the agency being investigated. The head of the agency is most responsible, giving illegal orders to subordinates. Taxpayers pay the tab.

  13. I think it was the right decision, they were just trying to find where to file it.

    1. Another way of saying that in some respects the law itself is wrong but must, more or less, be used in a twisted way to reach an equitable conclusion.

  14. Key Passage From Kushner’s Statement

    “And so as we finish implementing our deregulation agenda, our tax reform agenda, hopefully we’ll do more tax cuts..”

    Historians will look back at “deregulation” and “tax cuts” as being mindless in light of the economic Depression that followed. The 2017 Tax Cuts will be viewed as a travisity. A kickback to the Koch Bros that bled The Treasury when we should have used prosperity to pay down the National Debt.

    1. ok seth we will bookmark this prediction and come back and see if you were right. probably not but there’s nothing wrong with gazing into one’s crystal ball and making predictions

      jared that poor pencil necked geek, he is smart but always says something which sounds dumb, especially when taken out of context.

        1. Not all economists are created equal. some of those economists are ticket punchers.

          Larry Samuelson is respectasble. I had Samuelson’s book for one of my econ classes and take a look at what he says. cutting taxes can stimulate growth though typically not enough to offset revenues lost.

          moreover, Trump has actually RAISED TAXES. he does not say so but it is literally true because he imposed TARIFFS which are paid by the importers of the goods. There was some dissembling on this point, saying China was paying them, which is not correct, rather, the importers pay them, domestically. And that is precisely how they work to stimulate onshore industrial production which is their explicit goal

          The Treasury receives the customs and duties as tax revenues. I did not see in that link, which I did examine for ten minutes, that they were taking into account the increased revenues taken from tariffs. If not, then their evaluation of the tax cuts was a selectively narrow conclusion. Not invalid, just only valid as far as the focus went.

          1. i should have said, he raised SOME taxes, ie, the tariffs, which are essentially taxes.

            i have no idea the overall net drift of taxes over his administration, inclusive of tariffs.

            this resource could probably help

            it does mention “excise and customs duties” as a component at least in that pie chart


            if i had to guess i would say the deficeit between revenues and outlays has probably widened under trump

            i would think it will widen more in the future regardless who is president. the US is in a very peculiar position, uncharted territory, for the magnitude of its debt, and it already was long before Trump. one suspects that we were already “in for penny, in for a pound” a long time ago

            i have an old hypothesis going back before the election, that some powerful hands, oligarchs if you will, may have actually wanted to bring Trump on deck because he has so much executive experience handling big bad corporate debt, he was precisely the kind of CEO they wanted at this juncturein history. this is something of a conspiracy hypothesis however so I don’t often mention it. and I don’t really believe it; i think most oligarch level powers hate his guts

          2. Tariffs have historically been a prominent source of Federal government income until relatively recently. They’re a targeted consumption tax which targets some imports. The huge trade deficit we have with several countries (which don’t burden THEIR manufacturers with expensive safety and environmental protection laws) justify tariffs. It’s a moral measure which penalizes exporting pollution and dangerous and unjust working conditions. That it more than replaces lost income to tax cuts is a bonus. Tariffs should bring in additional money as domestic businessmen can compete on a more nearly equal footing with China.

            1. LOUP, show us how much revenue Trump’s tariffs have added to The Treasury. Then show how much money Trump has given U.S. farmers to subsidize his tariff War.

                1. Diaper Man, it was highly Under-Reported but Trump channeled billions to American farmers in support of his tariff War.

                  1. Under-reported?? It was announced on the news continuously and even the President said that over and over again. Of course you missed it being so reliant on CNN.

                    1. Is this a repeat of a previous statement? No problem I will copy my answer from the last one.

                      I don’t know the accuracy of the article one way or the other but that demonstrates the news wasn’t under-reported.

                      I know you like the CCP and like their Chop Suey but I don’t understand how you didn’t know about large amounts of money going to farmers.

                      I’ll add that Bloomberg’s opinion is Bloomberg’s opinion.

                  2. they were talking all about it on NPR many times. and i know you lissen to npr. anyhow it’s a good question what those numbers were comparatively and unlike you I don’t assume that I know the answer

                    check back later and see if you came up with a credible source and a figure

                    1. Thing is those bailouts are artificially affecting the grain markets. I see it everyday because I trade bean oil and bean meal. I pop in here during the day because I’m waiting on trades to shake out.

                      Here’s what’s going on. First trading day of the year prices were highest, they’ve been diving since. Why? Because the bail outs, while keeping farmers afloat, do nothing to regenerate the contracts that were lost to the Russians and Brazilians by virtue of tariff taxes. The Chinese are the primary market for the soybean complex.

                      We’ve discussed this awhile back on here. Jinn put forth that the market should convert to domestic production of grain fuel, an awesome idea at that. But it will take time to develop a brand new market.

                      (Chances are a lot of grain fields will be filled with solar panels and windmills within about ten years.)

                      But prices are diving because it’s the only way to get those contracts back, at least that’s the thinking and in supply & demand terms it makes sense…, lower prices to gain back market control. That’s what’s going on between the Saudis and the Russians with oil right now.

                      Trump has been playing footsie with the Chinese about grain sales agreements since he started talking tough about tariffs to put a jingle in the boxers for his base, but he keeps going back and forth. One day there’s an agreement, next there’s not. The market, or rather the people in the market, have given up and are like put up or shut up Trump…, until it happens we’ll price war it out with the Russians and Brazilians and get our market back.

                      It works out for riff raff like me who can short the market. Nothing has been a more sure bet since the beginning of the year, grain prices are heading down. Now, there are normal seasonal cycles in the States beginning in the spring as assessments are made from planting stats about what the crop outlook is >> prices tend to head up with this phenomenon…pure market speculation always heats things up a bit and it gets a bit crazy…, something like good rains over a weekend in the midwest can gap a market up on Monday morning. Combine that with the big funds jumping in on a Sunday night and it can be a rocket ride.

                      We’ll see this year. Seems everything’s up for inspection as we head into a coming depression.

                      *Disclaimer: trading is a wild game that in this digital age requires staying in close contact with market data and knowing momentum patterns. Don’t anyone take this as verbatim and trade this info. i swing trade. That’s short term trading. That’s the filter I trade through…, but it just happens that the market is heading off a cliff since january. Doesn’t mean there won’t be intense variance that moves in quickly.

                    1. i read it for about 30 seconds and the paywall came up. i read fast and didn’t see a precise answer. if that is the number for the payments, the question is, what was the increase in tariffs for the corresponding time frame? because that figure is only half the equation

                      since you apparently have paid access to any number of publications,. hmm, and I do not,. feel free to copy the relevant text, thank you

                    2. Kurtz, by half you mean the total cost to the US. correct? China isn’t paying those tariffs, American consumers are. Here’s from a Forbes article on it.

                      “The Trump administration gave more taxpayer dollars to farmers harmed by the administration’s trade policies than the federal government spends each year building ships for the Navy or maintaining America’s nuclear arsenal, according to a new report. A National Foundation for American Policy analysis concluded the spending on farmers was also higher than the annual budgets of several government agencies. “The amount of money raises questions about the strategy of imposing tariffs and permitting the use of taxpayer money to shield policymakers from the consequences of their actions,” according to the analysis.

                      Trump Aid to Farmers $28 Billion
                      Department of State $26.3 Billion
                      Navy Ship Building (annual avg.) $22 Billion
                      Nuclear Forces $21.8 Billion
                      NASA $19.8 Billion
                      Children’s Health Insurance $17.3 Billion
                      TANF $16.7 Billion
                      Department of Commerce $8.6 Billion
                      EPA $8.1 Billion
                      Judicial Branch $7.8 Billion
                      National Science Foundation $7.2 Billion
                      Legislative Branch $4.7 Billion
                      Food Safety and Inspection Service $1.3 Billion
                      Agricultural Research Service $1.1 Billion
                      Forest Service $0.4 Billion

                    3. And:

                      “WASHINGTON — The U.S. Government Accountability Office is opening a review of President Trump’s $28 billion bailout for farmers harmed by his trade war amid allegations that the money was mismanaged and allocated unfairly.

                      The investigation came at the request of Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, who has been vocal in her concern that the aid program was biased, providing more funds to southern states that voted for Mr. Trump and favoring large and foreign agriculture companies over small farms.

                      The Trump administration, which signed an initial trade deal with China last month, said the farm subsidies would end this year. The program began in 2018 as a $12 billion effort to mitigate losses for farmers who lost sales or faced retaliatory tariffs from China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico as a result of the trade war. The program grew to $28 billion last year as Mr. Trump’s conflict with China festered.

                      Critics have faulted the program for the formulas it used to determine payments for certain crops and for providing funds to big corporate farms. The program, which used a Depression-era fund, allowed farmers earning less than $900,000 a year to receive money if they produced one of the agricultural products that faced retaliation.

                    4. I don’t know the accuracy of the article one way or the other but that demonstrates the news wasn’t under-reported.

                      I know you like the CCP and like their Chop Suey but I don’t understand how you didn’t know about large amounts of money going to farmers.

                    5. Thanks, Book. That $28 billion was widely published yet it was never really a front page headline story.

                    6. RE DTB and the investigation begun by Sen. Debbie Stabinow.

                      It was her husband, I believe, who was caught on Project Veritas tape boasting about bussing in phony voters to tip an election.

                      Anything she and her husband are in stinks.

                    7. And why is By the Book still pretending to know anything? He was humiliated in his discussion on federal courts in the last thread. Insulted everyone but completely wrong.

              1. Seth hmm a legit question— however– how about YOU look it up and waste your own time for once because when you guys say proof and i bring it then you ignore me.

                I already supplied a resource, try plug and chug it yerself!

                1. Bravo to Seth & Bythebook…..it is nothing less than Oscar Wilde drama how you both play the idiots Kurtz & Allan

                  they really are imbeciles for how you both run circles around them. With Elvis backup up his truck and finishing them off, they look worse than road kill

                  Bravo!!! Your handlers pay you well for good reason.

        2. and i might add the words they used were not “mindless” nor even anything close to it. you exaggerate. tax cuts like tax increases, have a complicated variety of effects on both the private sector and government, over time.

        3. BTB– I am surprised you would venture an opinion on anything so soon after being embarrased by your confusion on federal courts in the last thread.

        4. Exactly. It’s a done deal. Blew up deficits even before this CV-19 crash. Actually, as far as markets were concerned, they were looking for a reason to correct, CV-19 gave them a huge reason. But truthfully, the grains jumped off a cliff beginning first trading day of Jan. ’20.

          The ’17 tax cuts fueled stock buy backs but not not fundamental strength to the economy. That research was in by last year.

          Bush’s tax cuts blew up. So have Trump’s. Trickle on economics are beyond established as a way to watch a trending economy flatten before taking a dive.

  15. It makes no sense to decide the issue on the type of medium used. How would they decide if an official used drums or smoke signals?

    This is what you get when nobody really wants to follow a law as written.

  16. Agreed. There shouldn’t be distinction between broadcast mechanism. The internet is a legit publishing arm, so at best this is a dated view and, yes, certainly Kushner violated the act as he referred to “…our polling”.

    They got it wrong.

  17. It’s curious that this “not too public disclosure” legal defense didn’t work for CIA official, John Kiriakou, who served years in prison. Kiriakou was apparently sent to prison for refusing an illegal order [Nuremberg Defense precedent from WWII]. Kiriakou never harmed national security and was loyal to his supreme loyalty oath – the Oath of Office. Why would Americans be skeptical of our broken justice system?

  18. Is an unpaid advisor an executive branch employee?

    To use one of Turley’s favorite phrases: IN MY VIEW the Hatch Act is total bovine excrement.

    But I would be in favor of prosecuting Kushner under the Hatch Act the day after they prosecute John Kerry for clear violations of the Logan Act.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

  19. Ok JT, your “both sides do it” comment is unbalanced. You are comparing the actions of a low ranking member of the military with little or no connection to a campaign to a senior advisor to the president.

    1. But the senior advisor to the president didn’t wear a senior-advisor-to-the-president suit to appear on TV, he wore the-son-in-law-to-the-president suit.

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