Now, two advocacy organizations, Free Speech for People and the Courage Campaign, are trying to bring attention to another potential violation of the domestic emoluments clause. The two groups are circulating petitions about public pension funds in several states, including California, New York, and Texas, that invest in CIM Fund III, a real-estate company that owns the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in New York City.
According to a report distributed by Reuters, public pension funds in at least seven states invest millions of dollars in the CIM Group that owns the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York City and pays a Trump company to operate it. CalPERS paid CIM $1,722,418 in management fees for the first three months of 2017.
Two public interest advocacy groups, Free Speech for People and the Courage Campaign, are organizing a campaign to get the pensions to divest from the Trump projects. They charge “The money used for this investment comes from mandatory deductions from the paychecks of public employees. These employees are thus forced to indirectly subsidize President Trump beyond the Constitution’s mandate of a fixed salary.”
Two legal advocacy groups sent petitions to half a million of their members and letters urging state officials who oversee the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the New York State Common Retirement Fund to reconsider their investments in CIM Fund III, which owns the Trump SoHo.
"The money used for this investment comes from mandatory deductions from the paychecks of public employees. These employees are thus forced to indirectly subsidize President Trump beyond the Constitution's mandate of a fixed salary," said the letters from Free Speech for People in Newton, Massachusetts, and Courage Campaign in Los Angeles.
After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to heed the advice of its own scientists and end use of the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos, more than 200 residents of California’s farmworking communities today staged a rally outside the headquarters of CalEPA and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, calling for an immediate statewide ban.
Following the rally, a delegation delivered more than 167,000 petition signatures along with a letter signed by 75 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Californians. The petition was run by Care2, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Courage Campaign, CREDO, Friends of the Earth, and Pesticide Action Network.
Environmentalists who want Nestle to stop pumping tens of millions of gallons from a California creek, virtually for free, to sell it as bottled water, have sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for records on the multinational corporation.
California groups Story of Stuff Project and Courage Campaign Institute sued the FDA in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, in a federal FOIA complaint. They say the agency failed to timely respond to their Freedom of Information Act request for the records, and did not indicate whether, or even if, it will deliver the records.
Paul Song, a California physician and former chairman of the progressive Courage Campaign, said of establishment Democrats, “Whether it be single payer, whether it be [campaign finance] … whether it be now moving forward on environmental issues, I think it’s a much more energized, aggressive base that I don’t think they’ve ever faced before.”
The Democratic Party, he said, is “basically [having] a civil war among themselves.” The division is apparent in the profile of rank-and-file Democrats, more than 40 percent of whom identify themselves as moderate or conservative, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
Tim Molina, Courage Campaign: Two people. Both in a county jail. Both accused of a crime, but not yet convicted. Both deemed a low flight risk, unlikely to harm their communities. Which should get to return home, rejoin their family, live a normal life while awaiting trial?
The California Courage Campaign pleaded with Democrats in an email blast to “fight for single payer today, not next year.” But Democrats can’t pass single payer today or this year; under state law, ballot measures only occur during statewide elections in even-numbered years.
[UPDATE: in a separate message to supporters, the Courage Campaign wrote “it’s certainly true that the Healthy California Act needs more work before it can achieve all our goals” and was more circumspect about the road ahead.] Even the chair of the state Democratic Party, Eric Bauman, insisted that “SB562 must be given the chance to succeed,” even though it, um, can’t succeed.
Senate Republicans unveiled their plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. By Monday, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 22 million fewer people would have health-care coverage by 2026; a similar plan that the House passed was expected to leave 23 million Americans uninsured and increase out-of-pocket costs for the sick and elderly.
Following the election of President Trump, Jimmi Kuehn-Boldt of Palm Springs, Calif., began advocating for single-payer health care with the grassroots group Courageous Resistance. At 63, he doesn't expect anything to take effect before he's eligible for Medicare in a little more than a year, but he said he's worried about seeing care for others deteriorate if Republicans are successful.