By Gabriel T. Rubin
RUDY GIULIANI'S NEW LAWYER Eric Creizman is no stranger to Washington controversy. He advised an invention-promotion company that federal regulators shut down in 2017 for allegedly defrauding customers. The company, World Patent Marketing, also employed former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. The Federal Trade Commission said the company "deceived customers" and used "threats, intimidation, and gag clauses."
The company president threatened customers in emails, the FTC said, including one where he threatened costly litigation and introduced the customer to company attorneys including Creizman. Creizman later complied with federal subpoenas and was never accused of wrongdoing. Creizman told the Journal that he didn't want to be on the advisory board, and that his name was added to the board without his consent. He later backtracked and said he figured there was no harm in being on the board, which he described as a way to make "customers more comfortable with the company."
"I never understood the company to be a fraud," Creizman said, though he was aware there was a class action lawsuit against the company alleging fraud.
Creizman previously represented George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign staffer who served two weeks in prison for making false statements to the FBI about Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. He is one of three lawyers now representing Giuliani in relation to his activities in Ukraine.
OFF-THE-CHARTS voter enthusiasm could strain election resources in 2020. Nearly three-quarters of voters say they're highly interested in the election, a number usually not seen until just before election day. Turnout in Tuesday's Kentucky gubernatorial jumped from 31% in 2015 to 42% this year, and Pennsylvania voters complained of long lines for low-level county and municipal elections. Some blamed new touch-screen voting machines.
Civil rights groups have documented hundreds of poll closings since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Voter wait times doubled in 2018, compared with 2014, as turnout rose by 38%. Around 6% of voters reported waiting for more than 30 minutes in 2018, a tipping point for political scientists who say long wait times can depress turnout in future elections among discouraged voters. Crucially, vote times vary based on race: Black and Hispanic voters reported waiting longer than white voters.
GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENLAND: Ambassador Bill Taylor said that his work to release frozen security assistance to Ukraine was stymied because top-level cabinet officials were too busy dealing with President Trump's idea to purchase Greenland. The idea, first reported by the Journal, "took up a lot of energy" on the National Security Council, Taylor told the House Intelligence Committee. "That's disturbing for a whole different reason," Chairman Adam Schiff responded.
TWITTER'S DECISION to cut out campaign ads won't hurt its bottom line. In recent years, around 75% of Twitter's political advertising revenue came from trade associations, advocacy groups, federal agencies and other organizations. Twitter has focused more heavily on the oil and gas, aerospace and defense industries, rather than relying on political campaigns that were already spending less on its platform. Politics is usually close to last in terms of revenue among Twitter's dozen-plus sales verticals.
REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES in 2018 elections lost support in areas most exposed to tariffs from U.S. trading partners in the midst of the trade war. Worse, they didn't see electoral gains in areas where employment was protected by new U.S. tariffs, a new analysis by Dartmouth College and Peterson Institute economists shows. By mapping the geographic distribution of exposure to the trade war and 2018 voting patterns, the researchers posit that five of Republicans' lost House seats were driven by retaliatory tariffs, mostly on agricultural products.
DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS suggest in a recent WSJ/NBC News poll that they are looking for revolution more than restoration. Some 37% say they want a nominee who will build on President Obama's legacy, while 55% say they want someone who will take a new and different approach. Joe Biden leads among the former group; Bernie Sanders leads among the latter.
COMMITTEE TURF WARS prevent Congress from tackling diffuse problems like student loan debt, says freshman Rep. Katie Porter. The California Democrat says that giving one committee jurisdiction over the securitization and underwriting process and another committee responsibility for the federal government's student debt portfolio means no panel has ownership of the politically unpopular topic. The broken structure, which also affects data privacy and corporate bankruptcy, "allows some of the most pressing issues to fall through the cracks," she said.
MINOR MEMOS: Netflix gives viewers an on-screen button to skip political jokes in new Seth Meyers stand-up special.... Trump acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney wears Montreal Expos hat to Washington Nationals celebration at White House.... Man who changed his name to "Nobody" runs for governor of New Hampshire.
Write to Gabriel T. Rubin at firstname.lastname@example.org