Patterico's Pontifications

11/26/2019

A Tale of Two Books

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:04 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a couple of interesting news items involving books. They are not necessarily related, but are similar in that they involve high-profile individuals, books they authored, and politics

The first item involves a former Baltimore mayor:

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and tax charges on Thursday a day after she was indicted on numerous federal counts in an alleged scheme involving the publishing of her children’s books, officials announced.

Pugh, 69, allegedly defrauded customers of Healthy Holly books, a company she owned, for her own political and personal gain, including funding her mayoral run, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In all, she earned $800,000 for book deals that Maryland’s chief accountant called “brazen, cartoonish corruption,” according to The Associated Press.

She is also accused of using funds from sales of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books to purchase, and then renovate, a house in Baltimore City, according to the statement.

She pled guilty to: “conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of tax evasion…The facts she stipulated to in her plea agreement with prosecutors included most of the allegations outlined in the 11-count indictment against her… They included her double-selling copies of her books to multiple buyers, hiding the proceeds from the Internal Revenue Service, and improperly funneling some of the funds into her mayoral campaign in 2016.”

What a piece of work:

[S]he was evading taxes on the income she received from the sales. In 2016, she allegedly claimed her income was $31,020 and the tax due was $4,168, when in fact, Pugh’s taxable income was $322,365, with an income tax due of approximately $102,444.

Behind every Healthy Holly lurks a very unhealthy author.

The next item involves the RNC and Donald Trump, Jr.:

Donald Trump Jr.’s new book, Triggered, hit the top of the New York Times’ bestsellers list this month with the help of nearly $100,000 in purchases from the Republican National Committee.

Federal Election Commission records list a $94,800 payment — identified as “donor mementos” — to BooksAMillion.com on Oct. 29. That same day, the president’s son signed an RNC fundraising email promising signed copies of the book to those who contribute at least $50 to the party. “This limited-time opportunity ends SOON,” Trump Jr. wrote, “so be sure to claim your signed copy of my new book NOW.”

The FEC filing was first noticed by a New York Times reporter. RNC spokesperson Michael Joyce confirmed the expense in an email to BuzzFeed News.

“We have netted $500,000 for the party fundraising off the book,” Joyce added.

An RNC official told BuzzFeed News earlier this month that there hadn’t been “a large bulk purchase,” but that the party was “ordering copies to keep up with demand.”

“Using books as a means to fundraise is standard practice from political parties on both sides of the aisle,” the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, added at the time. “Triggered has been very popular among our supporters, helping us raise funds to support the reelection effort.”

The report goes on to say that if the RNC just wanted to resell the books, they could have gotten the books directly from the publisher for far less money. Why pay the higher price to BooksAMillion for the books? Well, to make it look like these were “real” sales.

If you donate to the RNC (or DNC, for that matter), it behooves you to find what your hard-earned money is supporting.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Democratic Congresswoman Changes Mind On Impeachment (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:08 am



[guest post by Dana]

A quick little post here, involving a bit of that was then, this is now from Democratic Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, who represents a very blue district:

Over the summer, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence fully backed the move to impeach President Trump, but the Detroit-area Democrat said over the weekend that she has since changed her mind.

“I feel we should begin that process,” Lawrence told CNN on June 12. “If we impeach him, he is still sitting in the White House because the Senate must act.”

“Our democracy is bigger than Donald Trump, and we need to act,” added the congresswoman, who since 2015 has represented Michigan’s 14th District, which includes eastern Detroit.

Now, however, Lawrence said she sees things differently.

“You can censure, you don’t have to remove the president,” Lawrence said Sunday on No BS News Hour with Charlie LeDuff. “Sitting here, knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of kicking him out of office, but I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable.”

“I’ll be g-damned,” the host said at one point in response to Lawrence’s remarks. “To hear you say, and you are a Democrat, and you are a liberal minded person; I know you don’t like Trump For the betterment of all of us, in an election year, it’s unwise to tear him from the chair. Is that how you think?”

“Yeah,” Lawrence responded.

At this point in time, Nancy Pelosi remains mum on whether censuring Trump will be an available option. Regardless, Lawrence’s flip on this has got to be the last thing that Pelosi wants the public to hear coming from her side of the aisle.

With that, CNN is reporting that, since the impeachment hearings began, not much has changed:

Half of Americans say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 43% say he should not. Neither figure has changed since October, with support for impeachment remaining at its highest level thus far in CNN polling. The partisan divide over the President persists as well, with roughly 80 points between Democratic support for Trump’s removal and Republican support for it.

Independents are closely divided on the question, 47% in favor, 45% opposed. Opinions on both sides are deeply held, with about 9 in 10 on either side saying they feel strongly in favor or against it.

The President’s approval rating has also held about even since October: 42% say they approve, 54% disapprove.

Although views on impeachment and removal have not moved, the poll finds that 53% say Trump improperly used his office to gain political advantage, up from 49% who said the same in October. More, 56%, say the President’s efforts to get Ukraine to launch investigations into the Biden family, a Ukrainian energy company and the 2016 election were more to benefit himself politically than to fight Ukrainian corruption.

The public is about evenly divided over whether there is enough evidence now for the House to vote to impeach the President and send him to trial before the Senate (48% say yes, 47% say no). And a narrow majority (52%) say the Democrats have exercised their constitutional powers properly during the impeachment inquiry, 40% say they have abused their constitutional powers.

This is isn’t the only poll that’s found things unchanged.

UPDATE: New Quinnipiac poll:

While 40 percent of all registered voters approve of the job President Trump is doing, 54 percent disapprove. This compares to a 38 – 58 percent approval rating in an October 23 poll, and falls within the range of where his job approval rating has been over about the last two years.

…While 45 percent of American voters think President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 48 percent don’t think he should be. In an October 23 poll, 48 percent thought he should be impeached and removed and 46 percent didn’t think so.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


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