Tag Archives: funds

Harvard accepted over $8 million in donations from Jeffrey Epstein. The university plans to redirect unused funds toward supporting victims of human trafficking and sexual assault.

Harvard accepted over $  8 million in donations from Jeffrey Epstein. The university plans to redirect unused funds toward supporting victims of human trafficking and sexual assault."Harvard is not perfect, but you have my commitment as president that we will always strive to be better," the university's president wrote.



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As Trump Looted FEMA and the Military for His Border Policies, DHS Bought High-End Chairs With Taxpayer Funds

As Trump Looted FEMA and the Military for His Border Policies, DHS Bought High-End Chairs With Taxpayer FundsChristian Torres/APAs President Donald Trump’s immigration policies have swelled detention center populations on both sides of the U.S. southern border, his administration has repeatedly pillaged funds from key Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programs and agencies to fund cash-strapped immigration enforcement agencies.In April, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told Congress that the crush of undocumented immigrants in the agency’s custody meant that “the system is full,” and that given the scale of the crisis, the department “will exhaust our resources before the end of our fiscal year.”But while administration officials have defended the diversion of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from airport security operations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund, and the U.S. Coast Guard, DHS has spent nearly $ 120 million of its funding… on office furniture.Since President Trump’s inauguration, DHS and its subsidiary agencies have spent $ 119,530,544.14 on office furniture, according to data compiled from the service USA Spending, which tracks federal spending. Since the implementation of the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which resulted in the traumatic separation of thousands of migrant children from their families, the department has spent $ 79,359,212.32.According to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cost-per-night estimate, the Trump administration’s furniture expenditure for the department would have been enough to run the agency’s family detention facility in Dilley, Texas, at full capacity for nearly half a year. It’s also almost enough to repay FEMA for $ 155 million in federal disaster aid that was diverted to ICE last month. (Just in time for hurricane season.)The office furniture expenditures, sorted by code in the Federal Procurement Data System Product and Service Codes Manual, include filing cabinets, dry-erase boards, desks, and many, many chairs—and does not include cots, bed frames, or mattresses destined for use by undocumented immigrants in detention centers.Much of the new furniture is earmarked for the department’s new Washington, D.C. headquarters, dubbed “the most ambitious federal building project since the Pentagon.” The project, a 4.5 million-square-foot office complex due to be completed in 2026, is the largest construction job in the history of the General Services Administration. A review of purchase descriptions reveal that a surprisingly large percentage of the department’s furniture outlays rest—recline?—on an expensive taste in office chairs. Herman Miller, the luxury furniture maker whose Aeron chair is featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, is the most frequent recipient of DHS orders for office furniture.In July, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) placed an order to the company for $ 515,976.09 for office furniture intended for its service center in Laguna Niguel, California. In May, the agency spent $ 786,409.61 on Herman Miller furniture for an application support center in nearby Tustin, California. One month before that, USCIS spent $ 803,095.54 for furniture, also from Herman Miller, for an office in Jackson, Mississippi.DHS did not return a request for comment on its budgetary priorities, or whether its furniture budget might be a better target for redirecting funds than disaster relief.Meanwhile, immigrants in detention centers have been on the receiving end of miserable conditions caused, in part, by underfunding and overcrowding. In February, for example, more than 2,000 Central American migrants were held in an abandoned body-bag factory in Piedras Negras, Mexico, complaining of being “prisoners” in a facility where nighttime temperatures dropped below freezing and where there weren’t enough clothes or cots to go around.President Trump, meanwhile, has shown little compunction for repurposing federal taxpayer dollars earmarked for public safety, education, and the military to be used for his immigration agenda. On Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported that the Trump administration plans to pay for his long-promised border wall with funds redirected from the construction of elementary schools, hazardous waste warehouse facilities, and fire stations.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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Sudan court charges Bashir with illegal use of foreign funds

Sudan court charges Bashir with illegal use of foreign fundsA Sudanese court on Saturday charged ousted president Omar al-Bashir, on trial for corruption, with illegal acquisition and use of foreign funds, offences which could put him behind bars for a decade. Judge Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman said at the third session of Bashir’s trial that foreign funds of multiple currencies were found at his home. Authorities had “seized 6.9 million euros, $ 351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds at (Bashir’s) home which he acquired and used illegally,” the judge said.



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Rep. Omar dismisses questions about alleged affair, campaign funds as 'stupid'

Rep. Omar dismisses questions about alleged affair, campaign funds as 'stupid'Rep. Ilhan Omar under fire from Federal Election Commission; Gillian Turner has the details.



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Brazil rejects G7 aid for Amazon fires, saying funds 'more relevant to reforest Europe'

Brazil rejects G7 aid for Amazon fires, saying funds 'more relevant to reforest Europe'Brazil on Monday rejected aid from G7 countries to fight wildfires in the Amazon, with a top official telling French President Emmanuel Macron to take care of "his home and his colonies." Nearly 80,000 forest fires have broken out in Brazil since the beginning of the year – just over half of them in the massive Amazon basin that regulates part of Earth's carbon cycle and climate. G7 countries made the $ 22 million aid offer to fight the blazes at the Biarritz summit hosted by Mr Macron, who insisted they should be discussed as a top priority. "We appreciate (the offer), but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe," Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, told the G1 news website. "Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site," he added, referring to the fire in April that devastated the Notre-Dame cathedral. "What does he intend to teach our country?"   The presidency later confirmed the comments to AFP. Brazilian environment Minister Ricardo Salles had earlier told reporters they had welcomed the G7 funding to fight the fires that have swept across 950,000 hectares (2.3 million acres) and prompted the deployment of the army. But after a meeting between Mr Bolsonaro and his ministers, the Brazilian government changed course. The Amazon is ablaze in Brazil "Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron," Mr Lorenzoni said. Although about 60 per cent of the Amazon is in Brazil, the vast forest also spreads over parts of eight other countries or territories, including the French overseas territory of Guiana on the continent's northeast coast. Hundreds of new fires have flared up in the Brazilian part of the forest, data showed Monday, even as military aircraft dumped water over hard-hit areas. Race to save the rainforest | Mass deforestation in the Amazon Smoke choked Porto Velho city and forced the closure of the airport for nearly two hours as fires raged in the northwestern state of Rondonia where firefighting efforts are concentrated. Mr Bolsonaro – a climate-change sceptic – has faced criticism over his delayed response to the fires at home and thousands have taken to the streets in Brazil in recent days to denounce the destruction.



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2020 Vision: Democratic candidates raise funds off 'Send her back' chant at Trump rally

2020 Vision: Democratic candidates raise funds off 'Send her back' chant at Trump rallyAmid outrage over the chant, Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke and other Democratic groups are using the episode in their fundraising emails.



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EU to Cut the Flow of Funds to Turkey as Drilling Spat Heats Up

EU to Cut the Flow of Funds to Turkey as Drilling Spat Heats Up(Bloomberg) — The European Union is poised to freeze most high-level contacts with Turkey and cut the flow of funds to the country, while holding back for now on sanctions that could target Turkish companies involved in offshore drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.EU diplomats have agreed on the wording of a draft decision due to be formally adopted by the bloc’s foreign ministers on Monday, two officials familiar with the talks said. The draft calls for suspending negotiations on an aviation agreement with Ankara, halting scheduled ministerial meetings, reducing aid and inviting the European Investment Bank to review sovereign-backed lending to Turkey.The bloc will also reiterate that it’s working on targeted sanctions in light of Turkey’s continuing controversial drilling practices, according to the final draft of the communique seen by Bloomberg. The statement was agreed on Friday afternoon after several rounds of redrafting, and it will be rubber-stamped by EU ambassadors on Monday before ministers sign off later in the day.Turkey and Cyprus are at loggerheads over offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean that are claimed by the Cypriots and disputed by Ankara. Turkey has sent exploration vessels into the area, a move Cyprus calls a violation of its sovereignty.Deep-Sea ExplorationEU leaders have squarely sided with Cyprus in the dispute, declaring last month that they’re ready to consider sanctions if Turkey continues drilling. That could target companies, individuals, and Turkey’s deep-sea hydrocarbon exploration and production sectors, though such measures weren’t officially on the menu of options debated this week.Still, the escalation marks a new low in EU-Turkey relations, which have been deteriorating since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pushed through constitutional reforms that Brussels claims weaken the country’s democratic safeguards.The European Commission says Turkey has been drifting further away from the prospect of eventual EU membership, and some member states, such as Germany and France, have considered formally shelving long-stalled accession talks.The spat with Brussels adds to a climate of uncertainty weighing on Turkish assets, following the dismissal of the country’s top central banker and the prospect of U.S. sanctions over Erdogan’s decision to purchase Russian missiles. Washington has also called on Turkey to cease drilling off the coast of Cyprus.Maintaining CommunicationDespite renewed tensions in the Mediterranean, the EU is wary of an escalation that would risk a landmark 2016 migration agreement, under which Turkey stemmed the bulk of refugee flows to Europe in exchange for financial assistance. Even though options for targeted sanctions were mandated by the bloc’s leaders last month, they are not being activated at this stage.An EU diplomat said the bloc in its Monday decision will seek a balance between sending a clear message to Ankara and agreeing on measures that won’t harm the interests of EU nations or cut all ties with Turkey. The EU wants to keep some lines of communication open in areas such as migration and terrorism, the diplomat said, asking not to be named discussing sensitive issues.\–With assistance from Viktoria Dendrinou and Jonathan Stearns.To contact the reporter on this story: Nikos Chrysoloras in Brussels at nchrysoloras@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Jerrold Colten, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Trump labor secretary who cut Epstein deal plans to slash funds for sex trafficking victims

Trump labor secretary who cut Epstein deal plans to slash funds for sex trafficking victimsDemocrats condemn as ‘amoral’ Alex Acosta’s proposed 80% funding cut for US agency that combats child sex trafficking Us labor secretary Alexander Acosta has proposed a drastic cut to the International Labor Affairs Bureau that experts say would put the lives of children at risk. Photograph: Evan Vucci/APAlexander Acosta, the US labor secretary under fire for having granted Jeffrey Epstein immunity from federal prosecution in 2008, after the billionaire was investigated for having run a child sex trafficking ring, is proposing 80% funding cuts for the government agency that combats child sex trafficking.Acosta’s plan to slash funding of a critical federal agency in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children is contained in his financial plans for the Department of Labor for fiscal year 2020. In it, he proposes decimating the resources of a section of his own department known as the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB).The bureau’s budget would fall from $ 68m last year to just $ 18.5m. The proposed reduction is so drastic that experts say it would effectively kill off many federal efforts to curb sex trafficking and put the lives of large numbers of children at risk.ILAB has the task of countering human trafficking, child labor and forced labor across the US and around the world. Its mission is “to promote a fair global playing field for workers” and it is seen as a crucial leader in efforts to crack down on the sex trafficking of minors.Katherine Clark, a congresswoman from Massachusetts, said Acosta’s proposed cut was “reckless” and “amoral”. When seen alongside the sweetheart plea deal he granted Epstein in 2008, when Acosta was the US attorney in Miami, she said, it indicated that the labor secretary did not see protecting vulnerable children as a priority.“This is now a pattern,” Clark told the Guardian. “Like so many in this administration Mr Acosta chooses the powerful and wealthy over the vulnerable and victims of sexual assault and it is time that he finds another line of work.”Clark grilled Acosta about the proposed cuts in April, when he presented his departmental budget to the House appropriations subcommittee. On that occasion, she said, she found him “rude, dismissive, challenging”.“I’m sure this is a very uncomfortable topic for him,” Clark said, “but I don’t think he should be able to hide from it.”Acosta is facing mounting pressure from Democrats to resign, over the lenient deal he gave Epstein and in the wake of the billionaire’s new prosecution. Epstein was arrested on Saturday and indicted on two sex trafficking counts by federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York in an apparent rebuke to Acosta’s earlier decision.Under the 2008 deal negotiated by Acosta, an FBI investigation that had produced a 53-page draft indictment involving more than 30 potential underage victims was shut down. The billionaire only had to plead guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting women who were controversially labeled prostitutes.Epstein ended up serving 13 months in a Florida jail during which he was allowed out six days a week to attend his plush business offices.Senior Democrats have been lining up to call for Acosta to go. On Tuesday the party leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, accused the labor secretary of having let a serial sex trafficker “off easy”.Schumer said: “This is not acceptable. We cannot have as one of the leading appointed officials in America someone who has done this.”Others to call for Acosta to go include House speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in Congress, Tim Kaine, a senator from Virginia, and former vice-president Joe Biden, now running for the presidential nomination.On Tuesday, Donald Trump gave his first comments since Epstein’s arrest. Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, the president praised Acosta as an “excellent secretary of labor” said: “The rest of it we’ll have to look at very carefully but you are talking about a long time ago.”Trump tried to minimize Acosta’s role in the 2008 plea deal, saying: “I hear there were a lot of people involved in that decision not just him.”The Department of Labor is widely respected for its vital role in investigating, prosecuting and preventing human trafficking worldwide. Experts say any major cut to ILAB would be a direct threat to the US government’s ability to combat the sexual exploitation of children.“A huge cut of this sort is bound to expose children to more risk of sexual trafficking,” said Kathleen Kim, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who co-authored California’s law on human trafficking.“An 80% reduction at ILAB will undoubtedly eliminate many of the US government’s anti-human trafficking efforts that have been critical in encouraging action by law enforcement.”Kim said Acosta having granted the lenient plea deal to Epstein, combined with the proposed cuts to ILAB, made it entirely inappropriate that he continued in his current role.“He should step down,” she said.The battle over the future of ILAB is ongoing. Acosta’s proposed cuts were imported into Trump’s $ 4.7tn federal budget, released in March, which contains several Republican goals including extra money for the military and funding of the president’s beloved border wall.The Democrats have responded with a 2020 House budget that passed in June. It would see ILAB resources expand to $ 122m.“Congress ultimately makes the decisions about how money is spent and appropriated,” said Clark. “We will prevail and the bureau will not be shuttered if we can get this item through Congress.”



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Trump administration loses bid to lift bar on funds for border wall

Trump administration loses bid to lift bar on funds for border wallThe ruling was another setback in President Donald Trump’s effort to construct a border wall, one of his top promises in the 2016 presidential campaign. “Congress did not appropriate money to build the border barriers defendants seek to build here,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 ruling. “Congress presumably decided such construction at this time was not in the public interest.



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Trump administration loses bid to lift bar on funds for border wall

Trump administration loses bid to lift bar on funds for border wallA federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to lift an injunction barring the Trump administration from using $ 2.5 billion intended for the fight against illegal narcotics to build a wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico. The ruling was another setback in President Donald Trump’s effort to construct a border wall, one of his top promises in the 2016 presidential campaign. “Congress did not appropriate money to build the border barriers defendants seek to build here,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 ruling.



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