👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ The Supreme Court upheld a pair of restrictive election laws in Arizona, overturning a lower court ruling that found the laws discriminated against minority voters. The Arizona laws invalidate ballots that are cast in the wrong precinct, and ban the practice known as “ballot harvesting,” in which third-party community groups or campaigns collect and return other people’s ballots. Democrats argued that the data showed the restrictions disproportionately affected voters of color, which would be a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said the law requires “equal openness” to the voting process and that a “mere inconvenience cannot be enough to demonstrate a violation” of the law. (NPR / ABC News / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios)
2/ The Manhattan district attorney’s office charged the Trump Organization with a 15-year-long “scheme to defraud” the government and charged its chief financial officer with grand larceny and tax fraud. Allen Weisselberg allegedly avoided paying taxes on $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation, including apartment rent, car payments, and school tuition. In all, 15 criminal charges were filed against Weisselberg, including counts of conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records. Grand larceny in the second degree carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. “To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” Carey Dunne said, general counsel for the district attorney. Dunne added that the scheme to get “secret pay raises” while not paying taxes was “orchestrated by the most senior executives.” The Trump Organization, meanwhile, issued a statement, claiming that Weisselberg was being used as a “pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.” Weisselberg pleaded not guilty, as did an attorney on the Trump Organization’s behalf. Trump himself was not charged. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / CNN)
3/ 130 countries endorsed setting a 15% global minimum corporate tax rate. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said the agreement on taxing global companies in countries where their goods or services are sold, even if they have no physical presence there, would generate an estimated $150 billion in additional tax revenue each year. “Multinational corporations will no longer be able to pit countries against one another in a bid to push tax rates down and protect their profits at the expense of public revenue,” Biden said. “They will no longer be able to avoid paying their fair share by hiding profits generated in the United States, or any other country, in lower-tax jurisdictions. This will level the playing field and make America more competitive.” (Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times)
4/ Nancy Pelosi appointed Republican Rep. Liz Cheney to the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In May, House Republicans removed Cheney from her leadership role because of her vote to impeach Trump and her continued criticism of Trump’s repeated lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, threatened to strip any Republican member of their committee assignments if they accept an offer to serve on the committee. (CNN / CNBC / Axios)
5/ The Supreme Court struck down a California law that required charities and nonprofits to disclose their top donors. Under the law, the tax-exempt groups were required to report the names and addresses of all donors who gave more than $5,000 or 2% of the organization’s total donations. Conservative groups challenged the state’s disclosure requirements, saying the information was protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of association and that the disclosure could lead to harassment. California, meanwhile, said the state attorney general needed the information to investigate complaints of charitable fraud and self-dealing. (NPR / Washington Post / CNN / New York Times)
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