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Justice Department drops out of latest Obamacare lawsuit

Which of course was filed in Texas by our felonious Attorney General.

It’s constitutional – deal with it

The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality — a dramatic break from the executive branch’s tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about.

In a brief filed in a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House and Senate leaders of both parties, the Justice Department agrees in large part with the 20 Republican-led states that brought the suit. They contend that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional and that, as a result, consumer insurance protections under the law will not be valid, either.

The three-page letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions begins by saying that Justice adopted its position “with the approval of the President of the United States.” The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history but contends that it is not unprecedented.

The bold swipe at the ACA, a Republican whipping post since its 2010 passage, does not immediately affect any of its provisions. But it puts the law on far more wobbly legal footing in the case, which is being heard by a GOP-appointed judge who has in other recent cases ruled against more minor aspects.

The administration does not go as far as the Texas attorney general and his counterparts. In their suit, lodged in February in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, they argue that the entire law is now invalid.

By contrast, the Justice brief and letter say many other aspects of the law can survive because they can be considered legally distinct from the insurance mandate and such consumer protections as a ban on charging more or refusing coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions.

[…]

In an unusual filing just before 6 p.m. Thursday, when the brief was due, the three career Justice attorneys involved in the case — Joel McElvain, Eric Beckenhauer and Rebecca Kopplin — withdrew.

The department’s argument, if adopted by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, “would be breathtaking in its effect,’ said Timothy Jost, a retired Washington and Lee law professor who follows such litigation closely. “Of all of the actions the Trump administration has taken to undermine individual insurance markets, this may be the most destabilizing. . . . [If] I’m an insurer, I don’t know what I am supposed to do or not.”

Jost, an ACA supporter, noted that the administration’s decision not to defend the law comes during the season when participating insurers must file their rates for next year with state regulators. It raises new questions about whether insurers still will be required to charge the same prices to all customers, healthy or sick.

And Topher Spiro, vice president of health policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, said the administration’s legal argument contradicts promises by Trump that he would not tamper with the ACA’s protections for people with preexisting medical conditions.

University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley, another ACA defender, went even further in a blog post. “If the Justice Department can just throw in the towel whenever a law is challenged in court, it can effectively pick and choose which laws should remain on the books,” he wrote. “That’s not a rule of law I recognize. That’s a rule by whim. And it scares me.”

See here for the background. The fact that three Justice Department attorneys withdrew from the case rather than be party to this decision is what really stands out to me. Those are the people who believe the most strongly in the Justice Department’s mission. That’s about as loud a statement as they could make.

There’s a coalition of states that was granted standing to the litigation, and they filed a brief in response, so it’s not like the ACA is on its own in the courtroom. But if you’re someone with a pre-existing condition, which is one of the things that is at stake here, or you know someone who has one – and there are some 130 million people who fall into that bucket – then this is what this action means to you. If you need health insurance, the Trump administration and its enablers like Ken Paxton are working to take it away from you. I don’t know about you, but I want to hear a lot more about this between now and Election Day. Washington Monthly, Daily Kos, ThinkProgress, Mother Jones, the Observer, and the Trib have more.

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58 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    I’m not a lawyer and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but the SCOTUS upheld ObamaCare because they deemed it a tax (which isn’t what it was sold to the public as, by the way). Well, the tax portion of the law was repealed, so now it isn’t a tax. It seems like the State of Texas and the other plaintiffs have a good case for finding the ObamaCare unconstitutional now.

    I’m not sure how that works, does that negate the entire thing or just make certain parts void? Either way, I’m looking forward to the SCOTUS decision on this, because any way it goes, more, or all of ObamaCare goes bye-bye.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I’m also reminded of the heroine, Sally Yates, bucking the system and refusing to do defend Trump’s travel ban, because she didn’t want to defend her political opposition. That seems a whole lot like this, only now the shoe is on the other foot.

    I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much.

  3. Jules says:

    Bill, I am also proud of the three Justice Dept attorneys who withdrew from the case.

  4. Jules says:

    I don’t understand why paying more for worse insurance is good. Or not being able to buy insurance at all. Sure Obamacare isn’t perfect, but destroying it without replacing it with single payer is a death sentence and financial ruin for many.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    The Trump lover is back, Trump pushes hate his followers follow because they hate, of course there are always some exceptions,

    Posted on Big Jolly yesterday,

    Bill Daniels
    I can’t be the only Ronald Reagan loving former Republican to have renounced the party based on empty promises and a series of failures, from “no new taxes, New World Order Bush Sr, to compassionate conservative, war hawk and national debt busting Bush, Jr.
    Having said that, something wonderful has and is happening now. The Republican Party underwent a successful hostile takeover, not by libertarians directly, but by Trump. Trump did exactly what the Texas Pubs accuse the Libertarians of doing……and guess what? It’s working. Things the Republicans have given lip service to for decades they actually want? Trump is doing it.
    This generally 3rd party voter has been wooed back to the Republican fold, as long as the candidates fully and genuinely embrace Trump’s policies.
    It’s amazing what happens when we finally elect a non politician that doesn’t NEED to be bought off, that can’t be controlled with the usual carrot and stick blackmail of the deep state.
    So, message to the Texas Republican Party: want to win? Support the president!

  6. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    The portion of the law that was upheld by SCOTUS on the grounds that it was a tax was the individual mandate. The core argument here is that the individual mandate goes if the tax goes (and the tax was removed in last year’s tax rewrite).

    The law had a severability clause that should, in theory, allow the portion preventing insurance companies from refusing coverage due to pre-existing conditions to stand even if the individual mandate is gone.

    If the individual mandate in its current state is found unconstitutional, and the courts end up ruling that the severability clause doesn’t protect the rest of the law, then that’s going to be a pretty big deal, legally. Severability clauses have been pretty important to complicated legislation proposed and passed by both parties over the last few decades.

  7. Flypusher says:

    “It’s amazing what happens when we finally elect a non politician that doesn’t NEED to be bought off,..”

    Yes, we get corruption that will probably make Teapot Dome look like nothing. Anyone who thinks Lido City is on the up and up is dishonest themselves, and/or incredibly stupid. And then we have Scott Pruit living large. And Ivanka feathering her nest.

  8. Flypusher says:

    The bottom line is this, take away the individual mandate, and you lose the protection for people with pre-existing conditions, i.e., people will DIE because they won’t be able to afford treatment.

    That the GOP thinks that this is a winning strategy tells you all that you need to know about their morals. So bad this will also hit people who didn’t vote against their interests.

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly,

    Let’s go with your supposition, that Trump’s underlings and daughter are using their positions to cash in. Nothing new there. Trump himself, is NOT cashing in. I believe his net worth has actually gone down a little bit, since he’s been in office. Trump doesn’t HAVE to cash in. He’s got more money than he can spend, and despite years and multi millions of dollars of Hillary/DNC/Obama Justice Department funds being spent to find dirt, Trump can’t be blackmailed, either. We’ve just never seen anything like this before. Trump is accountable only to the people, and he’s absolutely slaying right now.

    Maybe he took Obama’s advice….”look, at some point, you’ve made enough money.”
    Obviously Obama isn’t there yet, getting his $ 50M payoff from the Netflix guy whose wife got made an ambassador.

    Look at this week’s winning. Trump goes to G7 and is a rock star. He ruffles feathers by telling the other leaders that the unfair trade of the past is over, then leaves early to jet off to Singapore to solve a 65 year old North Korea problem that multiple presidents have either failed completely on, or passed the buck on.

    Please tell me you aren’t a Bill Maher type that actually hopes the economy tanks so Trump can be ousted. Although I vehemently disagree with O’s SJW and perpetual victimhood presidency, I hoped he would be a success, because that would have been best for America.

    You should WANT Trump to get fair trade for the US, and WANT Trump to get N. Korea to give up the nukes and join the rest of the world. You should want these things because they are good for America, even if the opposition party guy is responsible for making them happen.

  10. Jason Hochman says:

    Another problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it created the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, which is a non-profit totally funded by tax dollars. So, it bullies everyone like it is a federal agency, but as far as oversight, it gets to spend tax dollars with far less scrutiny than an actual federal agency. I am against taking money from the workers in order to hand it over to fund wealthy executive positions at a non-profit.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    @Jason:

    I thought you were talking about Mueller and his band of merry witch hunters there, for a minute.

  12. Flypusher says:

    Bill, I specifically mentioned Lido City, and of course you completely ignored that. Also you claim that Trump has lost $. How exactly can you know that without seeing his tax returns? We have no objective measure of his real wealth, and anyone willing to take his word is a sucker.

    How many Obama cabinet official got busted for acting like Price or Carson or Pruit? You ignored that too. I also bet you’d be first in line to bitch and moan opif Chelsea Clinton was doing what Ivanka is doing.

    NK without nukes would be spiffy. But if you think they would give them up for a few economic bones tossed their way, you have learned nothing. Lil’ Kim learned from the examples of Iraq and Libya. They probably don’t give them up unless all US troops leave S. Korea. You think that’s a good idea?

    I want the US ecomony to thrive, but Trump’s bad ideas aren’t going to accomplish that. Trade wars are dumb and the fact that it’s Trump starting them doesn’t make them any less dumb. I don’t root for dumb ideas, period. Even if he had good ideas, the corruption and bigotry he encourages would make that a devil’s bargain. I’ll keep my soul.

    Trump a rockstar at the G7? Yeah, right. Merkel, et al. are smart enough to realize the America is currently not to be relied on. I’d like to see a bit of tough love policy here, because I’m not a blind jingoist who’s going to cheer when America does the wrong things.

  13. Jules says:

    What Flypusher said

  14. […] Justice Department drops out of latest Obamacare lawsuit […]

  15. Manny Barrera says:

    Daniels like Hochman are on this site to lie and misinform, that is how Russian loving Trump supporters operate.

    Fly they won’t respond directly they will change the subject and come up with a few real facts but they are peppered with lies or alternative realities, as the witch that works for the Russian cheeto stated some time ago.

    As an example while the traitors talk about one thing, I would change it to how much money the hard working people in the blue states have had to spend as the Russian cheeto spends his weekends playing golf. The red states don’t care as they rob the rest of the country because they are too lazy.

  16. Manny Barrera says:

    As to why many Trump supporters refer to the Patient Centered … is that the research is geared to looking at minorities including the LGBT community. https://www.pcori.org/

    Remember the name of the game for the Trump supporters is to push hate to get their voters out in November. They are getting antsy as all evidence is suggesting that the Democrats are going to turn sufficient seats around in the house. Even though the Russians and Trump are working to fix the election. http://time.com/5207065/russia-meddling-2018-elections/

    Ask yourself why would any true blue blooded American not want to stop the meddling by the Russians, whether or not there is collusion?

  17. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly:

    Lido City? I though conspiracy theories were only found amongst Trump supporters, amirite? Trump is pushing China very hard, both on trade and on N. Korea. Trump has to throw Xi a bone once in a while so Xi can save face at home. That’s what ZTE is all about. Think about that. Trump hit them with massive fines for their chutzpah of flipping the bird at the US. Trump also cut off their raw material (chips). Trump took them down to the brink of failure, and now Trump gets to step in and “save” them, and Xi gets to go to his people and say, “hey, I got something from Trump.” An international loan that peripherally involves a Trump brand project? Uh, OK, yeah, you got us……CHINESE collusion!

    You want to trot out Chelsea Clinton, who lived her lavish lifestyle and paid for her lavish wedding courtesy of the Clinton Foundation? Really? Wow, I wouldn’t have even gone there, but, you do you Ivanka, in comparison, took her family name and no doubt some of the family fortune and started an apparel business that was thriving BEFORE Trump got elected. Chelsea consumes the fruit of others’ labor, Ivanka produces. Having said that, I personally don’t like Ivanka…..she’s a typical limousine liberal.

    You also trot out the ‘scandal free’ O cabinet members. Ouch. I feel bad for you. Start off with Geithner, who had problems paying his SS. and Medicare taxes and then had a questionable role in the bailouts. Eric Holder? The Black Panther protecting, Fast and Furious BP agent killing, guy who despite being found in contempt of Congress, walked away free? That’s not someone I’d point to as a bastion of integrity. Hilda Solis? Not only did she double the salaries of her henchmen upon appointment, she went from advocating pro union agenda to, well, uh, lobbying herself for pro union, in her new position.

    I’m assuming you’re talking about Carson’s desk and the private telephone debacle. Yes, embarrassing and unconscionable, but wasteful spending isn’t something new to Trump’s people. I don’t want to take the time to look up comparables with the last admin.

  18. Bill Daniels says:

    @Manny:

    “Ask yourself why would any true blue blooded American not want to stop the meddling by the Russians, whether or not there is collusion?”

    Whether or not there is collusion? What? Hol’ up, hol’ up, hol’ up. Manny, are you telling us the Russian narrative might actually not be true? This is huge!

  19. robert says:

    I’ve just started to watch a series on Amazon Prime called “The Man in the Tower”. It’s about what we’d be like cerca 1962 if the Japanese and Germans had won the war.

    I get sad because it’s like the direction the USA is going in.

    I don’t believe Trump was in collusion with Russia….he is sooo Adamant about it, they just didn’t want Hillary to win, so it was more against her than for him. But Trump also said if they start looking into his business’ they will have crossed the line. So there is no doubt that he is a sheisty conman….I’ve followed this guy closely since the mid- 80’s, even have his autographed picture. He’s been laundering money since 2 or 3 years after the failure of his casinos. Criminal things like that are not what he wants to come to light.

    Russia’s goals are to destroy democracy and NATO. Trump is ignoring our real allies and looks up to dictator types, Turkey, Philippines, NK, Maduro.

    If that doesn’t set off a red flag, you are just blindly following this guy, hate Obama…just admit that you are a racist.

    The problem is , the damage that has been done (his followers see them as accomplishments) EPA, CFPB, Banking laws in general, tax cuts that leave us in a HUGE mess (some Democrat will have to come in and clean up, AGAIN!) and the list of so called “accomplishments” goes on.

    I don’t live in Houston anymore, but I still check this blog regularly. People like Bill Daniels just make my skin crawl….however, I am a true believer in Karma…his day will come.

  20. Manny Barrera says:

    Always changing the narrative, Russian loving traitors always engage in that.

    The Russians meddled period, whether Trump as a person engage with the collusion is another issue that I did not want to get into because Russian lovers always say prove it. They could indict and convict the Russian cheeto and you would still not believe it.

    But your ignorance like believing that the name Jarrett is an Iranian name is incomprehensible, how does one argue with people like that?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerie_Jarrett

  21. Manny Barrera says:

    Always changing the narrative, Russian loving traitors always engage in that.

    The Russians meddled period, whether Trump as a person engage with the collusion is another issue that I did not want to get into because Russian lovers always say prove it. They could indict and convict the Russian cheeto and you would still not believe it.

    But your ignorance like believing that the name Jarrett is an Iranian name is incomprehensible, how does one argue with people like that?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerie_Jarrett

  22. Flypusher says:

    “Lido City? I though conspiracy theories were only found amongst Trump supporters, amirite? Trump is pushing China very hard, both on trade and on N. Korea. Trump has to throw Xi a bone once in a while so Xi can save face at home. That’s what ZTE is all about. Think about that. Trump hit them with massive fines for their chutzpah of flipping the bird at the US. Trump also cut off their raw material (chips). Trump took them down to the brink of failure, and now Trump gets to step in and “save” them, and Xi gets to go to his people and say, “hey, I got something from Trump.” An international loan that peripherally involves a Trump brand project? Uh, OK, yeah, you got us……CHINESE collusion!”

    So basically a scam. ZTE was doing the very things Trump keeps bitching about (like selling products to Iran and NK, stealing American intellectual property), and you really think this act of reversal would make them stop? There is bipartisan opposition to this, and given how rare anything bipartisan is these days, it ought to be a big red flashing warning sign. And you think Trump’s not going to make anything off Lido City? Hey, there’s a really simple way to settle that point. Show us those future tax forms.

    “You want to trot out Chelsea Clinton, who lived her lavish lifestyle and paid for her lavish wedding courtesy of the Clinton Foundation? Really? Wow, I wouldn’t have even gone there, but, you do you Ivanka, in comparison, took her family name and no doubt some of the family fortune and started an apparel business that was thriving BEFORE Trump got elected. Chelsea consumes the fruit of others’ labor, Ivanka produces. Having said that, I personally don’t like Ivanka…..she’s a typical limousine liberal.”

    If you’re going to bring up the Clinton Foundation, you’re not going to get away with invoking the bad while ignoring the good. I have zero doubts that people were buying access, but I also must note, in the interests of honesty, that it has gotten some charitable work done. Contrast that with the so-called Trump Foundation, which looks like a means for Trump to collect other people’s money and than redistribute it in his name, so that he could claim maximum credit. We know what the Clintons actually gave to charity, because we’ve seen their tax returns.

    We agree on Ivanka, but for different reasons. I don’t like her because she’s a greedy hypocrite. She’s only better than her horrid father in that she can behave in public. It’s easy to get richer when you can use sweatshop labor, isn’t it? Then we have Jared’s abominable business practices. The righties often play the “you’re jealous’ card here, but you can just put it back in the deck if you’re reaching for it. I’ve never minded that some people are born rich. But I despise rich people who feel that they must have more, and that get that more at the expense of poor people. The Trump and Kushner families are glaring examples of just that.

    “You also trot out the ‘scandal free’ O cabinet members. Ouch. I feel bad for you. Start off with Geithner, who had problems paying his SS. and Medicare taxes and then had a questionable role in the bailouts. Eric Holder? The Black Panther protecting, Fast and Furious BP agent killing, guy who despite being found in contempt of Congress, walked away free? That’s not someone I’d point to as a bastion of integrity. Hilda Solis? Not only did she double the salaries of her henchmen upon appointment, she went from advocating pro union agenda to, well, uh, lobbying herself for pro union, in her new position.”

    I never said that people in the Obama cabinet were “scandal free”. That’s putting words in my mouth, and it’s a damn shame that we can’t assign penalties for that sort of intellectual dishonesty. I’m not some innocent naïve soul who thinks that there’s ever been a scandal free Presidential Administration, ever (although maybe Harrison, since he didn’t have much time). The matter is relative degrees of scandal and corruption. Pruit by himself may rack up more corruption than entire past Administrations, but still you tap dance around him. You really think that nobody notices?

    And if you’re going to invoke “Fast and Furious”, you have to split the blame between Obama AND Bush II.

    “I’m assuming you’re talking about Carson’s desk and the private telephone debacle. Yes, embarrassing and unconscionable, but wasteful spending isn’t something new to Trump’s people. I don’t want to take the time to look up comparables with the last admin.”

    Of course you don’t. Because we all know what the answer would be, and it would contradict that rosy vision you’re pitching here of Trump as an honest, hard-working businessman with good ideas.

  23. Bill Daniels says:

    @ Robert:

    Let’s talk about NATO and the CFPB. Trump campaigned on, and has actively pushed for the NATO countries to live up to their monetary commitments to spend more on defense. Trump has shamed and cajoled several NATO countries to increase their defense spending. Trump achieved this result by threatening to ditch NATO and let the rest of them fend for themselves. This is the same strategy he is using with unfair trade tariffs with the G-7. He told them what the problem was, asked nicely for them to rectify it, and now we are up to the threat stage. We are being taken advantage of, on both fronts, but Trump is the bad guy for actually saying it and waving his big stick to fix it?

    Is this increased military spending harming the NATO alliance, or strengthening it? I’d say more war materiel and more troops by NATO makes it stronger, not weaker.

    Advantage: NATO

    Now, let’s look at the CFPB, Elizabeth Warren’s pet project, a slush fund to fund leftist causes with fines levied on financial institutions. Trump took it over, put a stop to the slush fund, and more recently, Mulveny booted out all the Obama board members. Elections have consequences.

  24. Jason Hochman says:

    @Manny, not sure where I have lied or misinformed. Everything I wrote is true, and, my opinion, which is that government should create non-profits and hand them tax money with limited oversight, is just that, my opinion, which you are free to hold and express a different opinion. Not sure where you gather that I am a Trump supporter, but you know, if you read Hillary Clinton’s book, she blamed all of you Trump haters for losing her the election. She basically said that she couldn’t get her message and ideas out to the public because the media was so busy bashing Trump’s latest Tweet.

  25. Ross says:

    So, Bill, just what tariffs from the G7 are unfair and treat the US like a piggy bank? Trump hasn’t come out with any credible descriptions on just how the US is getting screwed by our allies.

  26. Manny Barrera says:

    Hochman that is part to American haters strategy, they put one thing that may be true and then proceed to condemn everything else. There is a slight amount of truth to your statement but it is a very small part.

    Know who else did that, OJ Simpson. It is a Russian’s tactic they are using rabbits like you to undermine this country and you are but a rabbit running with into a rabbit hole to help them destroy this country.

    So now it is Hillary’s fault? Or my fault for hating Trump? That is what rabbits that seek to destroy this country do, they keep throwing manure out, hoping that some of that manure will stick to the wall.

    I have to admit as a rabbit who is working with the Russians, you are above the rest of rabbits that post here or other places.

    So why do you hate this country so much, Jason?

  27. Manny Barrera says:

    Another problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it created the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, which is a non-profit totally funded by tax dollars.

    Let us look at that first statement, not all of it comes from the government you know that part of the funding is from private insurers.

    But if rabbits like you cared about money, why not talk the money us true blooded Americans are paying for the Trump family?https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-trump-travel-costs/

    Second sentence – So, it bullies everyone like it is a federal agency, but as far as oversight, it gets to spend tax dollars with far less scrutiny than an actual federal agency.

    Where is the proof that is occurring rabbit? Show me a link so I can verify, that it is not an opinion that is posted as a fact.

    3rd Sentence – I am against taking money from the workers in order to hand it over to fund wealthy executive positions at a non-profit

    Part of that is opinion, but where is the proof that it funding wealthy executive positions? That part is stated as fact.

    So rabbit, what holes are you going go into now? What do you think the Russians will do for you?

  28. Manny Barrera says:

    When wants to play with rabbits they have to follow the rules of the Russian puppet rabbits.

  29. Manny Barrera says:

    There are Russian puppet rabbits that don’t know they are Russian puppet rabbits.

  30. robert says:

    @Bill….you have so much military knowledge , what rank/branch did you serve?

    About CFPB, I worked for the president of one of the largest banks in USA. It was the ONLY thing that held the banks feet to the fire to not rip off the little people. There was no “slush” fund….they are an agency that REALLY helps. Before was the Office of the Comptroller that did things to help, the CFPB was the best thing to come along….they should break up the banks. They are even much bigger to fail than before 2008 when we had to bail them out.

    With all the Obama regs on the banks reversed , they are back to their old tricks. When the next crash happens (it will, it’s cyclical) it’s going to be (in Trump’s word) HUGE!

  31. Bill Daniels says:

    @Robert:

    I did not serve, have no military experience, other than reading Sun Tzu, and being somewhat of a history buff/geek. Having said that, it stands to reason that if I had two tanks, but now, thanks to increased defense spending, I have 4 tanks, that’s better for my side. I don’t think that’s some big military secret. More aircraft, tanks, artillery pieces, missiles, bombs and troops paid for with increased defense spending seems like it would make your side more powerful, but I didn’t serve, so what do I know? Maybe you can explain to a novice like me (and Trump also) how having more stuff makes you weaker.

    Regarding the CFPB, like all “we’re here from the government, we are here to help you” schemes, the reality is far from the ideal.

    https ://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/cfpb-diverts-civil-penalty-funds-to-democrat-activist-groups/

    (close the spaces after https)
    ” 6/17/2015

    Extortion: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is diverting potentially millions of dollars in settlement payments for alleged victims of lending bias to a slush fund for poverty groups tied to the Democratic Party.

    We’ve seen this before at the Justice Department, which Congress earlier this year scolded for “shortchanging” alleged victims of Bank of America and Citibank the same way. Justice funneled at least $150 million into a slush fund for Democratic interests, unconstitutionally avoiding Congress.

    Now, a little-noticed item on the CFPB’s website reveals the powerful new agency is launching its own scheme to provide backdoor funding for nonprofit urban groups politically aligned with Democrats.

    The CFPB plans to create a so-called Civil Penalty Fund from its own shakedown operations targeting financial institutions. Through ramped-up (and trumped-up) anti-discrimination lawsuits and investigations, the agency will bankroll some 60 liberal nonprofits, many of whom are radical Acorn-style pressure groups. It says these organizations will provide “financial coaching” for low-income homebuyers, as well as “housing and social services.”

    But their activities are more political than charitable. IBD obtained a list of groups eligible for the bank payola, as approved by CFPB Director Richard Cordray and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. It includes:

    • The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, whose directors include senior Democratic National Committee officials; the self-described “policy advocacy” group has lobbied Congress for more welfare spending at least 108 times since Obama took office.

    • The Mississippi Center for Justice, whose stated mission is “advancing racial and economic justice” and “attacking predatory lending practices.”

    • People’s Community Action Corp. of St. Louis, which has seated Obama appointees and Democrat lawmakers on its board.

    The CFPB says the money will aid these and other left-wing groups in helping 45 million otherwise uncreditworthy, low-income people living in America obtain loans to buy cars and homes.

    It complains that these mostly minority and immigrant consumers are “economically vulnerable” and “have limited access to mainstream financial services.”

    So in effect the government is forcing banks to fork over payola to radical nonprofit groups that exist to shake down banks for high-risk urban home loans — the kind of mortgages that defaulted in droves during the housing crisis. The money also restocks their war chest to lobby Congress for expansion of the disastrous Community Reinvestment Act.”

    In order to avoid even the HINT of impropriety, fines levied should go directly to the US Treasury, not be doled out to private entities. How would you like it if Mulveny started sending the fine money to the ACLJ, to the Cato Institute, or other conservative causes? I bet you would be screaming bloody murder.

    Also, I take exception to your revisionist history. Uncle Sam FORCED banks to make questionable home loans to people whose main qualification was they were able to steam up a mirror, then Uncle Sam feigned surprise when those loans became delinquent. The simple solution to that problem is, let lenders assess their own risk and let them decide who gets a loan and who does not. Of course, that’s racist/bigoted/homophobic/misogynist/whatever, so we need the CFPB to intimidate banks and lenders to do risky stuff they otherwise would not do. Personally, I’d like to see Mulveney just shut the place down, turn off the lights, and sell the property, using someone other than CBRE as the sales agent. Diane Feinstein has enough money, and Obama agrees that at some point, you’ve made enough money.

  32. Bill Daniels says:

    @Ross:

    EU tariff on cars from US: 10%
    US tariff on cars from EU: 2.5%

    I don’t have time to look up other inequalities, but there’s always the 270% tariff on US milk in Canada to point out.

  33. Jules says:

    So are the new tariffs on Canada for national security or in retaliation for milk tariffs?

  34. Bill Daniels says:

    Jules:

    ¿por qué no los dos?

    Does Canada consider milk production a national security issue? What? They don’t trust us to provide high quality milk for them? I find that insulting. Doesn’t Justin trust us to provide milk?

    We are hearing about a bunch of panties getting wadded, but we aren’t hearing anyone actually dispute Trump’s actual position, that the tariff situation is not fair to the US, and that the US is carrying the rest of NATO on the US taxpayer back. The grumbling right now is a lot like that friend you had that just never seemed to have money to kick in for gas, beer or pizza, who still expected to be included but is mad you pointed out he didn’t pay his share.

    I think the larger issue with steel and aluminum is, what’s to prevent China or other 3rd world countries from shipping their steel and aluminum to Canada, then letting a Canadian intermediary import the steel and aluminum into the US, obfuscating its actual origin. Look at what China has done with solar. They subsidized and dumped it world wide, putting other country’s domestic solar companies (Solyndra?) out of business. Now that they have succeeded in dumping and killing off industry, they ended the subsidization and are selling their solar at normal price. Kill off the competition, then take over the market as the only game in town.

  35. Bill Daniels says:

    Jules:

    Can I just add that Trump’s positions on tariffs and NATO have been consistent for 30 years or more? Watch his old interviews, back when he was a registered Democrat. He’s called this stuff out for years, and suddenly he’s wrong now because he ran and won as a Pub? I don’t consider Trump a Republican, I consider him a pragmatist, and as close to a populist as we are going to get. Getting better trade deals and making the NATO countries pay their fair share seem like pretty non partisan issues to me. Same thing with the North Korea meeting…..should be non partisan.

  36. Ross says:

    @Bill, it would help if you did some research on what that milk tariff is all about, and understood that the US still sells more dairy in Canada than Canada does here. The US needs to have a ton of dairy farmers go out of business to prevent oversupply, as does the EU. Remove the blank after https

    https ://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2018/jun/09/milk-canada-us-trade-war

    As for selling US cars in Europe, no one I’ve ever talked to wants to buy a US car,other than the Mustang. American cars are still too large, in general, and the designs suck. The tariff could be 0, and there would still be a huge imbalance in cars, because more Americans want to buy German cars than Germans want to buy cars from here. I was in Germany last year, and most American cars would not fit in the underground parking lots.

  37. Bill Daniels says:

    Ross:

    What difference does it make what the auto preferences of the EU are? They tax us at 10%, we should tax them at 10%. How is a 7.5% difference fair to us? What if we just reversed that for a few decades, and we tax them 10% and they can tax us at 2.5%? OK with you?

    Off topic: I just voted for a progressive, gay, Hispanic in early voting today…..the lesser of two evils. I’m expecting Manny’s head to explode.

  38. Jules says:

    So fair is all countries have the exact same tariffs on the exact same items? So the US should put a 270% tariff on Canadian milk? And the US and Canada should trade the exact same quantities of milk? At the exact same price?

  39. Bill Daniels says:

    Jules,

    If you want to negotiate nuanced tariff rates for different products for each country, I would be OK with that….as long as the total balance of trade is reasonably close to equal., which isn’t even close to happening between us and our allies at the moment. Look at Japan pretty much keeping US cars out of Japan, period. That seem fair to you? The fact is, the US lost the trade war a long time ago, unless you happen to subscribe to the Mosler economic theory. Mosler has a point, a country that net imports more than it exports gets more stuff and in exchange, sends little pieces of paper, or more correctly, decimal places on a computer. I agree with that part, but what Mosler fails to account for is jobs, and manufacturing base. Jobs are important for obvious reasoning, and manufacturing base is important for national security. Remember when the US Army was buying berets from China?

  40. Bill Daniels says:

    *are jobs and manufacturing base.

  41. Ross says:

    @Bill, we buy Japanese cars because they are better value than American cars. Japanese buy very few American cars because they are generally wholly unsuited for Japan, and the makers don’t want to meet Japanese requirements, like right hand drive(Japan drives on the left). Dropping tariffs on US cars to 0 would not result in any significant sales of those vehicles in Japan or Germany.

    Have you read the article on Canadian milk tariffs? Or do you think the US should be allowed to destroy Canadian dairy farmers by dumping surplus milk on the Canadian market?

  42. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill why would my head explode, so what is the name of the person you voted for? I am glad to see that you are into identity politics. The only election that I am aware of in June is https://www.texastribune.org/2018/04/24/texas-greg-abbott-special-election-blake-farenthold-june-30/

    Early voting starts in two days in that election. So Bill who did you vote for, or what election for that matter.

    Bill did you know that the US has a 25% tariff on pickups, where do US car makers tend to make their profits? https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/big-threes-shameful-secret AND Bill that is from a conservative think tank. If you bother to read the article you will see how we killed Volkswagon entry into the truck market.

    Sugar, do you have any idea what the tariff on that is? https://www.heritage.org/trade/report/us-trade-policy-gouges-american-sugar-consumers

    What about ethanol Bill do you have any idea about that? https://www.globalenergyinstitute.org/dow-jones-%E2%80%93-us-chamber-commerce-us-should-reconsider-ethanol-tariffs

    Bill I am using conservative outlets just for you.

    I could go on, but where could I find where Trump stood on the issue of tariffs 30 years ago?

    I don’t have time nor inclination to go over all the rabbit holes you brought up, suffice to say that most of it is Republican (aka Russian loving traitors) propaganda that would not pass a fact check.

    Guys – the rabbits are always switching holes.

  43. Bill Daniels says:

    @Ross,

    Yes, I read it. Canada has a nostalgic soft spot for small family farms. I can appreciate that. As I mentioned to Ross, I’m OK if we want to have some disparate tariffs, as long as the net is something close to equal in terms of net trade. That metric isn’t even close to being met, so I’d say renegotiation of NAFTA is certainly in order. Trump began that quest by presenting the problem to our partners, asking nicely, gently nudging, and now we are here, bellicosity.

    If Justin had spent more time trying to even things up instead of gluing his eyebrows on, maybe the dust up at the G-7 would not have been necessary.

  44. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill your head will explode but I have never been in favor of NAFTA I had an article published before NAFTA was passed in the Chronicle. All the studies not to mention Ross Perot with you hear the jobs leaving the US showed who the winners and losers were going to be.

    Small farmers in Mexico were going to be big losers as they would not be able to compete with the large heavily subsidized American farms. Those people I predicted would come north, guess what they are still coming.

    On the American side the manufacturers employees which at time which were mostly union members were the big losers.

    Bill Clinton signed NAFTA with the help of a lot of Republicans. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nafta-signed-into-law

    By the way I voted for Ross Perot.

    The winners are the very filthy rich and the losers are the middle class working men and women, the color does not matter nor their preference of whom they wish to marry or have sex with. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1992

    In fact I never voted for Bill Clinton, when he ran again I voted for Bob Dole. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1996

    I never voted for Obama because he was the deporter in chief and knew that he would never keep his promise to the Spanish Surname Community. I often called him that in old blog. But he did not do a bad job, I just did not care for him. The first time in spite of Palin I voted for McCain, The second time I voted for the Stein, as Romney with his self deport turned me off.

    I did not like Obama for several reasons the main one was his book where he tells all including his use of drugs. How can he be a role model? Clinton his deal with the intern in the White House was the reason for not supporting him, again what kind of Role Model is he?

    Trump is a racist, has a history of being a racist, and is known to associate with criminals, as they say Birds of a feather.

    I did vote for Hilary as she was the best I had seen since McCain.

  45. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill why do you support government handouts for not working?

    I know you do as I have yet to see you write about government handout to farmers for not planting crops. or

    Farm policy is supposed to help farmers recover income lost because of low crop prices. However, farmers can increase their subsidies by planting additional acres, which increases production and drives prices down further, thereby spurring demands for even greater subsidies. https://www.heritage.org/agriculture/report/how-farm-subsidies-harm-taxpayers-consumers-and-farmers-too

    Again mostly helping the filthy rich at the expense of the working men and women of America.

    Would you have Trump as a role model for your little girl? Don’t answer that you probably don’t see anything wrong with grabbing them from their p***y.

  46. Manny Barrera says:

    Oh yes the farmers are the ones with hand out to get money for not working from the government but they are as red as the Russians and vote for the Russian puppet.

  47. Jason Hochman says:

    @Manny not sure what all of your ravings about rabbits and Russian puppets, it doesn’t seem too logical, but to your first sentence, from an interview with PCORI director, Dr. Selby:

    Dr. Selby: The budget is clearly specified for each year from 2010 through 2019 in the ACA legislation. The funding is ramped up gradually. It was $10 million in 2010, $50 million in 2011, $150 million this year, and each of those contributions comes directly from the Treasury. Each year going forward, the Treasury will contribute $150 million to PCORI, but beginning in October 2013, an additional source of income will come from a $1 fee levied on every insured person, whether they are insured through Medicare, private insurance, or employer-sponsored insurance. That’s estimated to generate an additional $200 million in funding for PCORI in 2013. Beginning in 2014 and continuing through 2019, that fee increases to $2 a person, which will mean that more than $500 million will flow into the PCORI trust fund.

    For your second question, about a link to verify, look at the PCORI Website, it tells you right there that your contract from them will contain federal clauses (FAR) and be subject to OMB, and they are not at all flexible.

    Again, Dr. Selby on the oversight:

    Dr. Selby: We are independent in the sense that we are not an agency or department of government. I report to a 21-person Board of Governors. The board was appointed by the Government Accountability Office, the GAO, but that is my line of reporting to the board.

    3rd sentence, I guess you are right, I don’t know the salaries, because, unlike government employees PCORI salaries are not a public record. That goes to my whole point about no accountability to the public.

    So you can look this stuff up or you can spout your rabbit nonsensical rant, and you will see that I have not lied, but yes, have expressed some opinions. Meanwhile,my question to you, since you are so concerned about the hate filled Trump supporters, why aren’t you asking for the Mayor of Houston to be impeached? HUD determined that his policies encouraged segregation, and violated title six, why are you not protesting that?

  48. Manny Barrera says:

    Jason I have heard that “raving” word before.

    The government collects but it is not all government funding, there is a distinction. About 1/3 comes from the insurance companies. So either you don’t understand the difference or seek to ignore it.

    How does reporting to the board mean it runs ” So, it bullies everyone like it is a federal agency, but as far as oversight, it gets to spend tax dollars with far less scrutiny than an actual federal agency.” Like the rabbits the hole changed when you responded. “Bullies” is one of that words like “Kneeling” is one of those whistle words.

    So Jason did you cherry pick to make your argument, picked the hole? Here is a link to where so of the rabbit holes you used came from

    https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/763663#vp_3

    So Jason to you I may be raving mad, but I don’t resort to lies, rabbit holes, unless some rabbit wants to play games in that case I play by the same rules.

    I will end this charade that you started by posting two things, we will spend as much for the Trump family this year as we will spend on research. I prefer the research obviously you don’t care about taxpayers’ monies are you worry about other things. But the last two statement by Dr. Selby

    When I went to medical school and trained as a family physician, it had never crossed my mind that I would write a scientific article or publish something in the New England Journal of Medicine, or write a grant. I saw myself seeing patients in the neighborhood health center forever. Seven years into my experience at a neighborhood health center in Oakland, California, we got a computer. Our first computer was about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Not long after that, we realized that we could find all of our patients with diabetes in the computer based on the patients who had checked the diabetes box on their patient forms.

    We pulled them all and we sent them a postcard saying, “Time for your flu shot. Come in.” And a couple months later, the dean of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, came by, and she began talking to us about community-oriented primary care, using computers to get to know your population, identifying the problems that the population faced, and coming up with solutions that began by understanding what problems your patients were experiencing. You begin to see patterns; you begin to see places where you’re falling down; you begin to see opportunities. She also recommended that I study epidemiology, so I took a little time off from the clinic, studied epidemiology at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, and fell in love with it. From there, I made my way as an intern, so to speak, or a fellow, to Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente was a place where, in those days, there was not a lot of computerized data yet, but there was a defined population. And gradually, over time, first doing etiologic epidemiology and then, as the clinical data improved, moving more toward health services research, I began to get very interested in outcome studies and the use of large databases and trials, particularly large practical trials in a population or a cluster-randomized trial. So, years later, when I was called and asked, “Might you be interested in the position at PCORI?” I was primed.

  49. Manny Barrera says:

    Oh Jason I have never been a fan of the ACA, but for rabbits to engage in deception is not a virtue that any true blood American would desire, Russian loving rabbits are another thing.

  50. Flypusher says:

    “ Trump began that quest by presenting the problem to our partners, asking nicely, gently nudging, and now we are here, bellicosity.”

    Asking nicely and gently? Given all his rude and childish behavior in public, I’m calling major bullshit without some verified quotes. And speaking of bullshit, saying that you’re putting tariffs on Canada, CANADA! of all nations because of “national security concerns” is one of the most egregious pieces of bullshit that’s ever dropped from his lips, which is saying something given the sheer volume of lies and bullshit he spews. Canada has been one of our staunchest allies for many years. You honestly think if the US had a real national security crisis that required a lot of steel that Canada wouldn’t step in to help out????? Perhaps not anymore, if Donny-dumbass can’t get it through his thick skull who the USA’s real friends are and keeps acting so shamefully.