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Warren, Biden Campaigns Appear to Find Loophole Around Paid Internships

Warren, Biden Campaigns Appear to Find Loophole Around Paid InternshipsAndrew Harrer/Bloomberg via GettyUnpaid interns are practically non-existent among Democratic presidential campaigns in 2019. But some top-tier candidates appear to be finding a creative way to tap unpaid talent: offering vague “fellowship” opportunities as volunteer positions. There’s no singular definition for a “fellow” among 2020 candidates and most this cycle don’t offer the option. But two leading contenders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), give applicants who are selected a chance to participate in the campaign as volunteer fellows, without requiring compensation or academic credit. “Volunteers are asked to do something, workers are told,” Renée Hagerty, an executive council member for the Campaign Workers Guild, said.  “Everyone who’s performing work on a campaign should be paid.”For Biden’s campaign, the “Team Joe Organizing Fellowship” consists of an eight-week program that includes weekly online trainings in grassroots and digital organizing, according to the listing, which closed this week. Unlike the internship program, which is paid $ 15 per hour, the fellowship program makes no mention of wages, academic credit, or time commitments. Warren’s campaign features one joint application with three options: paid internship, volunteer fellowship, or volunteer fellowship for academic credit. Applicants are allowed to select more than one when applying. Warren’s deputy communications director Chris Hayden told The Daily Beast their internship program “offers a limited number of paid, full-time campaign experiences on a competitive basis” and that “interns commit to working 30 hours a week, and have access to paid health insurance in addition to their weekly salary.”“The campaign also offers a volunteer fellowship program, which provides similar training and work experiences with a smaller time commitment,” Hayden added. “Many of our campaign fellows receive stipends from educational institutions or other third-parties, and everyone in our intern and fellowship programs has access to cost-free supporter housing while they’re working in-state.”Still, Guillermo Creamer, co-founder of the non-profit group Pay Our Interns, said there’s a “gray area” that emerges from having both paid and unpaid options, creating a “fine line” between the roles. “It is interesting that some campaigns can still think about having both,” Creamer said. “The question now is: is fellowship the scapegoat for not paying individuals?”Multiple activists who spoke to The Daily Beast declined to call out individual campaigns, saying they’re generally pleased with the progress this cycle on the paid internship front, what some see as the first hurdle to overcome. But the separate volunteer fellowship option has led several activists to question the program’s cost-benefit analysis.  “What’s actually the difference?” Creamer said when asked about paid internships versus unpaid fellowships. “Campaigns have to be the ones who identify that.”Coming off the heels of a strong second quarter of fundraising, Biden and Warren each crystallized their spots in the top of the Democratic pack both in polls and in money raised. Biden brought in $ 21.5 million, while Warren reported $ 19.1 million. The large sums are even stronger reasons to pay fellows for work, rather than doling out fancy titles in exchange, some activists pointed out.“At Biden for President, interns are employees who are paid by the hour (capped at 30 hours a week),” a campaign spokesperson wrote in an email. “Whereas fellows are part of an educational experience which we hope will equip them to be effective organizers in the future, and are not employees of the campaign.”“Bosses have been coming up with reasons and excuses and caveats for not paying people since the dawn of time,” Hagerty said, without commenting on any campaign specifically. “This is another version that fits into a middle-class narrative of prestige.”Legally, there’s no definition in the campaign finance world that would distinguish internships from fellowships, an official from the Campaign Legal Center said. “Campaigns are given pretty broad leeway for how they spend their money. They can provide any title they want,” the official added. In a field of nearly two dozen contenders, other candidates offer several different fellowship models. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) offer paid fellowships, while Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) requires unpaid fellows to receive academic credit in order to participate in the program. The majority of other candidates offer paid internships. While some activists view the practice as a delicate balance between opening a door to those who seek the experience and a loophole for campaigns to use free labor, not everyone agrees the practice is problematic.“There’s utilitarian reasons for campaigns and there’s utilitarian reasons for the workforce,” Janice Fine, an assistant professor of labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers University, said. For some, fellowships can be a vital way to gain experience with a specific candidate or area of expertise, without having to commit to a set number of hours or responsibilities, she added. “A lot of these jobs are just for the experience,” Alan Seals, a labor economist and professor of economics at Auburn University, agreed. “The worst thing [campaigns] can do is say ‘no they’re all employees now and you’ve got to pay them minimum wage.’ It would be an absolute disaster.”But that argument is what some activists say is part of the problem, and that there needs to be a clear pay-for-work metric that mirrors the fair wage platforms campaigns are pushing on the trail.“It smacks of hypocrisy,” Hagerty said. “No candidate wants to be a hypocrite.” Updated to include comment from the Biden campaign.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Portland protesters arrested during violent demonstrations appear in court

Portland protesters arrested during violent demonstrations appear in courtOfficials work to identify additional suspects believe to be involved in crimes during protests that turned violent in downtown Portland.



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U.S. Attorney General Barr to appear before Congress for first time since Mueller report

U.S. Attorney General Barr to appear before Congress for first time since Mueller reportU.S. Attorney General William Barr will appear before a U.S. congressional panel on Tuesday for the first time since Special Counsel Robert Mueller completed his report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The hearing before a House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee is meant to explore the Trump administration’s $ 29 billion fiscal 2020 budget request for the Justice Department, but Barr is likely to face questions about Mueller’s final report and when a redacted version will be delivered to Congress. Mueller turned his confidential report over to Barr on March 22 following a 22-month-long probe into whether Donald Trump may have colluded with Russia during his 2016 presidential campaign and whether Trump later obstructed inquiries into the matter.



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Hollywood actresses appear in court in US college admissions bribery case

Hollywood actresses appear in court in US college admissions bribery caseSurrounded by a mob of journalists, actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin appeared in a Boston court on Wednesday to face charges in connection with a massive college admissions scam involving other celebrities and top industry CEOs. Huffman and Loughlin, who have remained silent since they were charged in March, arrived separately and said nothing to the reporters outside the courthouse. Loughlin, known for her role on “Full House,” smiled and waved at her fans before entering the building.



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More than a dozen parents involved in college admissions scam to appear in court

More than a dozen parents involved in college admissions scam to appear in courtThe parents are expected to plead not guilty.



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Empire executives suspend Jussie Smollett and say his character Jamal will not appear in final two episodes

Empire executives suspend Jussie Smollett and say his character Jamal will not appear in final two episodesJussie Smollett's character Jamal will not appear in the final two episodes of Empire, the Fox show's executive producers have said. Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report after alleging he had been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, authorities have said. Police in Chicago had earlier said the 36-year-old actor was being considered as a suspect in the case and have now confirmed charges have been brought against him. He has been charged by Cook County State's Attorney's Office with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said detectives are now looking to arrest Smollett. In a statement, Fox said: "The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. "While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. "We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show, and to avoid further disruption on set we have decided to remove the role of Jamal from the final two episodes of the season." Jussie Smollett's mugshot Lawyers acting on behalf of Smollett have said they will mount an "aggressive defence" to the charges. Lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement: "Like any other citizen, Mr Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defence." It did not say where Smollett is and when he might turn himself in to police. The charges emerged on the same day that detectives and two brothers who were earlier deemed suspects testified before a grand jury. The announcement that charges had been made followed weeks of speculation around the investigation and lengthy interviews of the brothers by authorities, a search of their home and their release after police cleared them. Investigators have not said what the brothers told detectives or what evidence detectives collected. On Friday, it became clear the focus of the investigation had shifted when police announced a "significant shift in the trajectory" of the probe after the brothers were freed. If found guilty of the Class 4 felony, Smollett faces a prison sentence of between one to three years, but could also receive probation. Smollett had alleged he had been attacked by two masked men in downtown Chicago on January 29, telling police his attackers had shouted racist and homophobic abuse and tied a noose around his neck. Jussie Smollett as his character Jamal in Empire Credit: Chuck Hodes/Fox Smollett, who is black and came out as gay in 2015, made a tearful appearance on Good Morning America this month and said he had been "forever changed" by the alleged attack. He said: "I will never be the man who this didn't happen to. "I am forever changed and I don't subscribe to the idea that everything happens for a reason, but I do subscribe to the idea that we have the right and responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad." Asked what message he wanted to send by speaking about the attack, he replied: "I want young people, young members of the LGTBQ community, young black children, to know how strong they are, to know the power they hold in their little pinky." Smollett has starred in musical drama Empire since 2015. He plays Jamal, the gay son of a music mogul, played by Terrence Howard. Fox, the network which airs Empire, said it had no comment to add.



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Former Trump adviser Stone ordered to appear in court over Instagram posts

Former Trump adviser Stone ordered to appear in court over Instagram postsRoger Stone, a former political adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, was ordered on Tuesday to appear in court this week over Instagram posts that chastised and appeared to threaten the judge presiding over his criminal trial. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Stone would need to show cause at a hearing on Thursday as to why the posts did not violate a gag order in the case or the conditions of his release. Stone, who is free on a $ 250,000 bond and is free to travel to certain U.S. cities without the court’s permission, has pleaded not guilty to charges of making false statements to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.



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Wells Fargo fixes outage issue that caused some paychecks not to appear in accounts

Wells Fargo fixes outage issue that caused some paychecks not to appear in accountsWells Fargo say the issue that caused some trouble seeing paychecks and direct deposits in online and mobile banking accounts has been corrected.



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Students appear to perform Nazi salute in 'sickening' photo, superintendent says

Students appear to perform Nazi salute in 'sickening' photo, superintendent saysHigh school officials in Indiana are investigating after a picture posted on social media appeared to show students using a Nazi salute.



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Son: Jailed Iranian TV anchor to appear before US grand jury

Son: Jailed Iranian TV anchor to appear before US grand juryWASHINGTON (AP) — A prominent American-born anchorwoman on Iranian state television, who has been jailed in the U.S., will appear Friday before a federal grand jury, her son said.



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