Eliza Newlin Carney

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

 

Recent Articles

Democracy Is in Shambles -- or Is It?

Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images
AP Photo/Cliff Owen Supporters hold signs in support of Democrat Phil Murphy, who was elected governor of New Jersey on November 7 democracy_rules.jpg I t would be easy to conclude one year after Donald Trump’s election that American democracy is in shambles. Trump’s assaults on press freedoms, judicial independence, and democratic norms are unprecedented in an American president. His administration has set the tone for self-dealing and ethics violations at the highest levels of government. And the U.S. has abandoned its traditional leadership role promoting accountability, transparency, and liberal governance internationally, just when democracy is on the wane around the world. Yet for all that, the one-year anniversary of Trump’s election has also shed light on the resilience of American democratic institutions and civic life, and on some silver linings. The nation’s democracy stress test has galvanized a wave of activists and candidates to enter the public square for the first time...

Foreign Influence Peddling Bill Comes Due

Lobbyists who have shilled for foreign interests in secret for decades may now be forced to come clean.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Paul Manafort walks from Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., on October 30, 2017. democracy_rules.jpg T he indictments of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates have triggered a long-overdue reckoning with K Street’s rampant disregard for the laws that require lobbyists representing foreign interests to publicly disclose their activities. Foreign agents on K Street and on Capitol Hill are anxiously wondering who’s next, and are bracing for new regulations, tougher enforcement, or both. The renewed focus on the disclosure law, known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act, also spotlights FARA’s potential as a potent tool to fight political disinformation campaigns by Russia or other foreign actors. FARA abuses could leave K Street with an even worse black eye than the one delivered by the Jack Abramoff scandal in 2005 and 2006, warns Paul Miller , president of the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics, who has...

On Election Security, Feds Flounder While States Make Strides

Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Images
Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Images A man walks past voting booths as New Yorkers cast ballots at Newton High School in Queens, New York democracy_rules.jpg T he debate over the Russian election interference and American election security is a case study in the utter dysfunctionality of Beltway politics. By contrast, a number of states have already embarked on practical, problem-solving innovations in securing the ballot in future elections. On the national stage, President Trump’s “election integrity” commission has careened from one controversy to another, taking steps that actually threaten to undermine ballot security. Outside the spotlight, state election officials are quietly taking steps to respond to the Russian threat and upgrade American election systems with better machines, more accurate voter rolls, and firewalls against hacking. The state-level picture is not all rosy, of course, and plenty of Republican statehouses have moved in the wrong direction with ill-advised voting...

Bannon’s Revolution Is About Power -- and Money

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks with Fox News host Sean Hannity L ike sharks sensing blood in the water, conservative political operatives have set out to cash in on the mounting anger among both populist Republican voters and big GOP donors, sometimes pulling in big salaries for themselves while doing little to help candidates or elected officials. The Republican National Committee’s record $100 million haul so far this year, a take fueled by low-dollar donors loyal to President Trump, has raised GOP hopes of a windfall on the far right. In some cases, as with the RNC’s swelling coffers, this will assist Trump. But some GOP operatives raising money off Trump’s name are actually backing candidates whom he opposes, or simply lining their own pockets as they stoke GOP extremism and infighting. Take Citizens for Trump, which despite its name endorsed Christian rightist Roy Moore in the GOP Alabama Senate primary, even as Trump publicly backed...

Team Trump’s Travel Travails

(AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher) Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks at a news conference in Las Vegas on August 28, 2017. democracy_rules.jpg T he White House is struggling to contain a potentially explosive ethics scandal, and it has nothing to do with Donald Trump’s business conflicts, the Russia inquiry or the many lobbyists writing policy in his administration. No, the real ethics nightmare that could finally rile Trump’s base voters involves the taxpayer money that super-rich cabinet officials have spent on private and military planes to questionable destinations. Unlike such obscure ethics questions as whether Trump violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the travel scandal is simple. When billionaire cabinet heads jet around on taxpayer-funded charter flights to ski resorts and sporting events, voters grasp instinctively that Beltway elites are following rules that don’t apply to average Americans. That helps explain why Trump moved so decisively to punish Tom Price , who...

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