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1033 Program

527 Organization

Abortion

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Acosta, Alexander

Acquittal

ad hominem

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Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

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Affordable Housing

AFL-CIO

Agalarov, Aras

Agalarov, Emin

Agee, G. Steven

Agency Fee

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AIDS

Air Force One

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Air Traffic Control

Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF)

Akhmetshin, Rinat

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)

Alito, Samuel

Alternative Minimum Tax

Alternative Right (Alt-Right)

Alternatives To Detention (ATD)

Amazon Rainforest

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Bar Association (ABA)

American Chemistry Council (ACC)

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

American Crossroads

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American Federation for Children

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American Medical Association (AMA)

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Amicus Curiae

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Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)

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Anthony, Susan B.

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Assange, Julian

Associated Press (AP)

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AZ: SB-1070

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Balanced Budget

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Bankrate.com

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Basis

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Bot

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Flynn, Michael

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

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Food Stamps

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

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Foremost Group

Form 700

Fortune 500

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Fracking

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Free File Alliance

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Free Trade Agreements

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Freedom Partners

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FSB

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G20

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Garland, Merrick

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Gender

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Gender Transition

General Fund

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Gerry, Elbridge

Gerrymander

GI Bill

Gillespie, Ed

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Girls Inc

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Glass-Steagall

Global Change Research Act (GCRA)

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Global Warming

GLSEN

Gold Star Family

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Gorkov, Sergey

Gorsuch, Neil

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

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GRACE Communications Foundation

Grand Jury

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Grassroots

Great Depression

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Gregory, Roger

Griffith, Preston Wells

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

GRU

Guantánamo Bay

Guccifer 2.0

Guttmacher Institute

H-1B Visa

Habeus Corpus

Hacking

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Hamilton, Alexander

Hanen, Andrew

Hard Money

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Hatch Act

Hate Crime

Haze

Head Start

Health Care Provider

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

Health Resources and Services Administration (HHRSA)

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Hedge Fund

Henderson, Karen LeCraft

Heritage Foundation

Hicks, Hope

HIghway Trust Fund

Hill, Fiona

Hinkle, Robert

HIV

Holding Company

Holman Rule

Holmes, David

Housing & Economic Rights Advocates (HERA)

Housing Act

Hovland, Daniel L.

HRAGI: Human Rights Accountabliity Global Initiative

Huckabee Sanders, Sarah

Huckabee, Mike

Human Trafficking

Hush Money

Hyde Amendment

Ice Shelf

Identity Theft

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Impeachment

Impeachment Managers

Impoundment Control Act (ICA)

Income Tax Return

Independence Day

Independence Hall

Independent Agency

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Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

Independent Petroleum Association of America

Indexing to Inflation

Indictment

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Infrastructure

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Insider Trading

Inspector General (IG / OIG)

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Insurance Exchanges

Insurance Navigator

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Insurrection Act

Interest Rate

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Internation Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

International Court of Justice

International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)

International Franchise Association (IFA)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

International Republican Institute (IRI)

Internet Research Agency

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Intrater, Andrew

Iran-Contra

IRS Form 1099 (1099)

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IRS Oversight Board

Jay, John

Jefferson, Thomas

Jim Crow laws

Johnson Amendment

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Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT)

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Jordan, Adalberto

Jury Selection and Service Act

Justice in Aging

Kagan, Elena

Kaiser Family Foundation

Kantar Media

Katsyv, Denis

Kavanaugh, Brett

Kaveladze, Irakly (Ike)

Keenan, Barbara Milano

Kelly, Timothy

Kemp, Brian

Kennedy, Anthony

Kennedy, Justin

Kent, George

Kerik, Bernard

Kernan, Joseph

Keystone XL Pipeline

KGB

Khusyaynova, Elena Alekseevna

Kilimnik, Konstantin

Kim, Sallie

King v. Burwell

King, Robert B.

Kislyak, Sergey

Klokov, Dmitri

Know Your IX

Kobach, Kris

Koch Brothers

Kremlin

Ku Klux Klan (KKK)

Kushner, Jared

Labor Day

Labor Force

Lagoa, Barbara

Lanza, Bryan

Lavrov, Sergey

Leadership PAC

League of Conservation Voters

Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund

Legal Financial Obligation (LFO)

Legislation, Legislature

Leval, Pierre

Leviev, Lev Avnerovich

LGBT (LGBT)

Libertarian Party

Library of Congress

Line-Item Veto

Linick, Steve

Loan Servicer

Local Government Assessment Tool

Logan Act

LOL

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Luck, Robert

Lutsenko, Yuriy

Lynch

Macgregor, Douglas

Madison, James

Magistrage Judge

Magnitsky Act

Magnitsky, Sergei

Maguire, Joseph

Manafort, Paul

Mandamus

Mandate

Mann Act

Manning, Chelsea (Bradley)

Mar-a-Lago

Marcus, Stanley

Marginal Tax Rate

Martial Law

Martin, Beverly B.

Material Unaccounted For (MUF)

Mattis, James

Mazars USA

McCain-Feingold Act

McCormack, Brian

McEnany, Kayleigh

Meadows, Mark

Measles (Rubeola)

Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine (MMR)

Medicaid

Medicaid Expansion

Medicare

Medicare For All

Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)

Memorial Day

Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)

Merit Systems Protection Board

Messitte, Peter J.

Metal Level

Michigan Grassroots Alliance

Microbead

Microplastic

Mifsud, Joseph

Military Lending Act

Miller, Christopher C.

Miller, Stephen

Millian, Sergei

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Minimum Wage

Ministry of Internal Affairs

Mnuchin, Steven

Moley, Kevin

Money Laundering

Monopoly

Montana Voter and Candidate Pledge

Morrison, Tim

Mortgage

Mortgage Backed Security

Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP)

Moss, Randolph

Mother Theresa

Motion to Proceed to Consider

Motz, Diana Gribbon

Mueller III, Robert

Mueller Report

Mukasey, Marc

Mulvaney, Michael John (Mick)

Must-Pass Legislation

NAACP

Nader, George

Naftogaz

National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Alliance to End Homelessness

National Archives

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

National Association of Realtors (NAR)

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Centers for Environmental Information

National Change-of-Address (NCOA)

National Climate Assessment

National Coalition for Men (NCFM)

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

National Constitution Center

National Consumer Assistance Plan

National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)

National Do Not Call Registry

National Economic Council

National Emergency

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

National Guard

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

National Monument

National Monument: Bears Ears

National Monument: Grand Staircase-Escalante

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

National Park

National Park Service

National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)

National Prayer Breakfast

National Public Radio (NPR)

National Registry of Exonerations

National Rifle Association (NRA)

National School Lunch Program

National Security Adviser

National Security Agency (NSA)

National Security Council

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC)

National Taxpayer Advocate

National Trade Council (NTC)

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)

National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA)

National Women's Law Center (NWLC)

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Navalny, Alexei

Net Neutrality

New Deal

New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS)

Newsom, Kevin C.

Niemeyer, Paul

Nixon, Richard M.

NJ: Bridgegate

Nolo Contendere

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

Nonprofit Organization

Northern Mariana Islands

Noscitur a sociis

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)

Nuclear Option

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Nunberg, Sam

O'Connor, Reed

Obama, Barack

ObamaCare

ObamaCare: State Innovation (Section 1332) Waiver

Obstruction of Justice

Occupational Safety and Health Act

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Offer-in-Compromise (OIC)

Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP)

Office of Compliance (OOC)

Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE)

Office of Foreign Missions (OFM)

Office of Government Ethics (OGE)

Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (IO/HRH)

Office of Language Services

Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Office of National Resources Revenue (ONRR)

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)

Office of Special Counsel (OSC)

Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

Office of the Pardon Attorney

Office on Violence Against Women (OVW)

Oligarchs

Ombudsman

Omnibus Legislation

OPEC

Open Borders

Open Enrollment

Opposition Research

Orb Media

Organic Act

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

Overtime

P5+1

Page, Carter

Palm Center

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC)

Papadopoulos, George

Paris Climate Change Agreement

Parliamentarian

Parnas, Lev

Parole

Pass-through Company

Patel, Kash

Patent

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

Patten, Sam

Payday Loan

Payment Card

Pell Grant

Pence, Mike

Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act

Pension

Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC)

Pension Smoothing

Pentagon

Per Capita

Per Curium

Perdue, Sonny

Perry, Rick

Peskov, Dmitri

Petersen, Matthew

Petroleum classifications

Pew Charitable Trusts

PFAS

Phishing

Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA)

Pickering, Charles

Pinedo, Richard

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

Pizzella, Patrick

Planned Parenthood

Plea Bargain

Plessy v. Ferguson

Plutonium

Pogue, Paul

Political Action Committee (PAC)

Political Party

Political Spectrum

Poll Tax

Pollution sources

Pompeo, Mike

Posse Comitatus Act

POTUS

Poverty Level

PPO: Preferred Provider Organization

Pre-existing Condition

Preclearance

Predatory Lending

PREDICT

Prejudice

President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)

President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)

President's Daily Brief (PDB)

Presidential Protection Assistance Act

Presidential Records Act (PRA)

Presidents' Day

Prevezon Holdings

Price, Tom

Prigozhin, Yevgeny

Primary

Prince, Erik

Prison Sentence

Privatization

Pro Forma Session

Problem Solvers Caucus

Progressive Tax

Project Lakhta

Protected Classes

Proud Boys

Provisional Ballot

Pruitt, Scott

Pryor, Jill A.

Pryor, William H.

Public Citizen

Public Comment Period

Public Domain

Public Funding of Election Campaigns

Public Housing

Public Money

Public Option

Public Policy

Public vs. Private

Public Works Projects

Putin, Vladimir

Quattlebaum, A. Marvin

Quid Pro Quo

Racism

Racketeering

Raffensperger, Brad

Rainforest

Rand Corporation

Ranking Member

Ratcliffe, John

Raytheon

Reagan, Ronald

Recess Appointment

Recession

Recusal

Refugee

Regional Haze Rule

Regressive Tax

Regulation (or Rule)

Regulatory Right-to-Know Act

Rehabilitation Act

Rehnquist, Wiliam H.

Reinhardt, Stephen

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

Renova Group

Representative

Republican National Committee (RNC)

Resolution

Resolution - Concurrent

Resolution - Continuing (CR)

Resolution - Joint

Restore Our Water International

Rhodium Group

Richardson, Julius

RICO: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

Rider

Right-to-Work

Roberts, John

Robocalls

Roe v. Wade

Romney, Mitt

Roosevelt, Franklin D.

Rosenbaum, Robin

Rosenstein, Rod

Ross, Wilbur

Rothstein, Barbara J.

Rove, Karl

Rusal

Rushing, Allison Jones

Rybolovlev, Dmitry

Safari Club International

Sanctuary City

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Sater, Felix

Saturday Night Massacre

Save America PAC

Scalia, Antonin

Schiller, Keith

School Choice

School Voucher

Scientific Method

SCIF

Scott, Rick

SCOTUS

Secret Service

Secretary of State

Section 8

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Security Clearance

Security Clearance Level

Selective Service

Senator

Senior Citizen

Separation of Powers

Sequester

Service Animal

Sessions, Jeff

Severability

Shanahan, Patrick

Shedd, Dennis

Shell Company

Sherman Antitrust Act

Shokin, Viktor

Shrimpscam

Signing Statement

Sine Die

Single-Payer Health Care

Situation Room

Skinny Repeal

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Smog

Social Media

Social Security

Social Security Administration (SSA)

Social Security Number

Socialism

Soft Money

Solid Waste Disposal Act

Sondland, Gordon

Sotomayor, Sonia

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

Sovereignty

Soviet Union (USSR)

Speaker of the House

Special Counsel

SSI (SSI)

Standing

Stare Decisis

State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

State Innovation Exchange (SIX)

Statute of Limitations

Steele, Christopher

Steering

Stepien, Bill

Stevens, John Paul

Stewardship of Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes

Stewart, Jen

Sting Operation

Stone, Roger

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE)

Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)

Straw Purchase

Student Loan

Stull, Mari

Subprime Loan

Subsidy

Suffrage

Sullivan, Emmet

Super PAC

Supercommittee

Superfund

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Supremacy Clause

Supreme Court (SCOTUS)

Surplus

SurvJustice

Swing State

Swing Vote

Swipe Fee

Table

Tata, Anthony

Tatel, David S.

Tax

Tax Audit

Tax Deduction vs Credit

Tax Policy Center

Tax Refund

Tax: Cadillac

Tax: Medical Device

Tax: Medicare

Tax: Net investment

Taylor, William

Tea Party

Teacher Corps

Temperature Anomalies

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Term Limit

Terrorism

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)

Thacker, Stephanie

The Wireless Association (CTIA)

Think Tank

ThinkProgress

Thomas, Clarence

Tillerson, Rex

Timofeyev, Ivan

Tip Credit

Title IX

Title X

Tokhtakhounov, Alimzhan

Too Big To Fail

Torshin, Alexander

Trainor, James E. (Trey)

Trans-Alaska Pipeline

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Traxler, William B.

Treasure Forfeiture Fund

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)

TRICARE

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)

Trump Organization

Trump Tower

Trump Tower Meeting

Trump, Donald

Trump, Donald Jr.

Trump, Eric

Trump, Ivanka

Trump, Melania

TSA PreCheck

Tuesday Group

Twitter

U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change

U.N. General Assembly

U.N. Green Climate Fund (GCF)

U.N. Human Rights Commission (OHCHR)

U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

U.N. Security Council

U.S. Board on Geographic Names

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Code

U.S. Copyright Office

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

U.S. Postal Service (USPS)

U.S. Trade Representative

Ukraine

Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC)

Under Oath

Undervote

Unemployed

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Union

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

Union Security Agreement

United Nations (UN)

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Universal Health Care (UHC)

Uranium extraction

Urban Institute

USPS: Board of Governers

USPS: Postmaster General

Usury laws

van der Zwaan, Alex

Vance, Cyrus Jr.

Vashukevich, Anastasia

Vekselberg, Viktor

Veselnitskaya, Natalia

Veteran

Veterans Health Administration

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Veto

Vindman, Alexander

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Volcker Rule

Volker, Kurt

Voter Caging

Voter Fraud

Voter ID

Voter Suppression

Voting Rights Act

Voucher

Vought, Russell T.

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Wage Theft

Walker, John M.

Walter Reed Medical Center

War on Drugs

Warren, Earl

Washington Examiner

Washington Free Beacon

Washington, George

Watergate

Weapon of Mass Destruction

Weisselberg, Allen

Wheeler, Andrew

Whistleblower

Whistleblower Protection Act

Whitaker, Matthew

White House

White House Chief of Staff

White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA)

White Supremacy

Wiener, Alter

WikiLeaks

Wilkinson, J. Harvie III

Williams, David

Williams, Jennifer

Wilson, Charles R.

Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)

World Bank

World Health Organization (WHO)

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Wounded Warrior

Wray, Christopher

Writ of Certiorari

Write-In

Wynn, James A.

Yanukovych, Viktor

Yazoo-Mississippi Delta

Yovanovitch, Marie

Zelensky, Volodymyr

Zinke, Ryan

Zlochevsky, Mykola

1033 Program

Provision of the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act that allows the federal government to transfer surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.

It is Section 1033 of the bill.

527 Organization

A tax-exempt organization created to influence a particular issue or public policy at the federal, state, or local level.

These organizations can raise unlimited money from individuals, corporations, or labor unions. They must, however, disclose all contributions and expenses to the IRS.

Political parties and Super PACs both are examples of 527 organizations. The name 527 comes from the section of the tax code that governs these groups.

Watch this 2-minute video to see how SuperPACs combine with nonprofit organizations to allow for unlimited anonymous campaign contributions.

Abortion

Abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy, usually before the embryo or fetus is capable of independent life.

Abortions are performed either surgically or medically. A medical abortion - in which the woman takes two drugs 48 hours apart - is approved only during the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

Abramoff, Jack

Former lobbyist who, in 2006, pleased guilty to defrauding Native American tribes.

Abramoff collected fees from the tribes to lobby on behalf of their casinos. The tribes received virtually no benefit from the fees. In fact, Abramoff worked to sabotage a casino in order to collect more fees.

He was sentenced to more than 5 years in prison.

Referenced by...
Labor Sec. Acosta resigns. Replacement fought worker rights (2019-Jul-12)

Acosta, Alexander

Secretary of Labor under President Donald Trump

Acosta was dean of the Florida International University law school. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito when he was a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He served on the National Labor Relations Board under President George W. Bush, as the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and as U.S. attorney in Miami.

The son of Cuban immigrants, Acosta serves on the American Bar Association's Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities. He has defended the rights of Muslim Americans, including criticizing France when it introduced a ban on certain religious attire.

While at the Justice Department, Acosta wrote a letter to a federal judge in Ohio supporting a Republican voter caging effort just before the 2004 presidential election. Bush won Ohio.

When running the Justice Department's civil rights division, he was found by the department's inspector general to have ignored warnings about a subordinate accused of illegally using political affiliations to vet potential civil rights attorneys.

As U.S. attorney for Southern Florida, Acosta gave a plea deal to billionaire investor and political donor Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of having sex with dozens of underage girls. Under the plea, Epstein served about a year in prison. Epstein was a member of Mar-A-Lago - Trump's Florida home and golf club.

Referenced by...
Labor Sec. Acosta resigns. Replacement fought worker rights (2019-Jul-12)
Acosta cuts budget to fight child exploitation (2019-Jul-10)
New pedophile charges against Trump friend Epstein (2019-Jul-08)
Trump cabinet members to speak at ALEC event (2017-Jul-19)
Senate confirms Alexander Acosta for Secretary of Labor (2017-Feb-16)

Acquittal

Acquittal on a criminal charge means that a prosecutor was not able to convince a jury or judge beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offense.

The effect of acquittal is that the accused will not face criminal consequences (such as imprisonment or fine) for the crime. It does not necessarily mean the person was found to be innocent.

ad hominem

An (invalid) argument technique in which someone attacks who a person is, rather than their actual argument. It also is referred to as a personal attack or name-calling.

While it's often useful to consider the source of a particular argument as a guideline, that alone does not alter the validity of the point being made or rebutted.

For example, you might read about someone criticizing their former employer, and having the employer dismiss it as coming from someone who is disgruntled. But if that argument is accepted, one could dismiss claims from every former employee everywhere. Obviously some claims would be true and others false, but they need to be evaluated on their merits, such as with evidence.

Adams, John

Second president of the United States.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

Term used on federal income tax returns referring to your total income minus adjustments such as deductions.

Your previous year's AGI can be used to identify you to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as it is not available anywhere other than your tax return.

Administration

The president and agencies of the Executive Branch.

The president is responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress. This is done through various agencies - referred to collectively as the administration. The president appoints the head of each organization (Senate approval is required). Virtually everyone else working for these agencies is a career professional who maintains their position from one president's administration to the next.

Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

Law enacted in 1946 that governs how federal agencies propose and enact regulations.

It applies to both executive departments and independent agencies.

Affirmative Action

(Coming)

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)

2015 regulation requiring cities to report affordable housing data to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in order to decrease racial segregation in housing.

A computer tool - the Local Government Assessment Tool - was developed to help cities determine how well they are meeting required goals.

Referenced by...
HUD takes back door to suspend anti-segregation program (2018-May-18)
Administration lays out new rules to encourage neighborhood integration (2015-Jul-08)

Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE)

2017 Trump administration proposed rule to replace the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

Referenced by...
EPA proposing relaxed restrictions on coal plants (2018-Dec-06)

Affordable Housing

Housing that is intended to be affordable to those who earn less than a certain income.

Many residents of affordable housing are professionals such as teachers, office workers, and others who may not earn enough to afford rents in the area they work in.

There are several ways affordable housing is created and maintained. It may be subsidized by the government, or developers might be required to provide a certain number of affordable units in exchange for being given approval by a city to build housing there.

AFL-CIO

Agalarov, Aras

An Azeri billionaire who has won several Russian state contracts and been honored by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Agalarov, Emin

A Russian pop musician and businessman.

He is the son of Aras Agalarov.

Agee, G. Steven

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2008.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Agency Fee

Money employees pay to a labor union to help cover the union's expenses in collectively bargaining on their behalf - even if they do not want to become a member of the union.

Unions are required to provide nonmembers with an annual statement - known as a Hudson Notice - explaining how the union uses the agency fee.

Referenced by...
Court: Government workers can't be forced to support union (2018-Jun-27)

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that responds to environmental health emergencies; investigates potential environmental health threats and conducts research on the health impacts of hazardous waste sites.

Referenced by...
Administration hides study showing dangers in drinking water (2018-May-14)

AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Referenced by...
Agency investigating AIDS and Ebola viruses to shut down (2019-Oct-30)
FDA will lift lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men (2014-Dec-24)

Air Force One

Call sign given to the plane on which the U.S. president flies.

Other ways the president travels are on Marine One - call sign for the presidential helicopter - and in the presidential limo - known as The Beast.

Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP)

(Coming)

Air Traffic Control

Each day, almost 100,000 airplanes fly in the skies over the United States. Air traffic controllers work at airports and en-route centers to keep them all a safe distance from each other.

At U.S. airports air traffic controllers also control all ground traffic at airports to keep runways and planes that are taxiing safe.

Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF)

A government fund that pays for approximately 70 percent of the Federal Aviation Administration's annual budget (the rest comes from the General Fund).

The AATF gets its money from taxes charged to airlines and passengers, including...

o Taxes on airline tickets (the largest contributor)

o Taxes on international arrivals and departures

o Taxes on air cargo

o Taxes on flights between the U.S. mainland and Alaska or Hawaii

o Taxes on fuel

Akhmetshin, Rinat

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)

A bureau under the Treasury Department.

The TTB enforces provisions of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. It is responsible for collecting excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.

It also approves liquor stores and and permitting for tobacco and alcohol - including their labeling and marketing.

It was created by the 2002 Homeland Security Act.

Referenced by...
No new craft beers during shutdown (2019-Jan-09)

Alito, Samuel

Supreme Court justice since 2006.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Alternative Minimum Tax

The amount of federal income tax you pay is based on the amount of income you receive minus any amounts you may legally deduct (for example medical expenses and mortgage interest). This system makes it possible for someone to have a very high income, yet pay very little in taxes by claiming a very large amount of deductions.

This is where the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) comes in. It essentially is a separate tax structure for those earning more than a certain amount (in 2013 that amount was $52,000 for single taxpayers and $80,000 for married couples). In calculating your AMT (if you make more than those amounts), most deductions are no longer allowed, meaning you will be taxed on a higher amount. To compensate, the maximum tax rate using the AMT structure is 28 percent.

You don't have a choice of which tax structure to use. You must use whichever would result in the higher amount of tax.

Due to inflation in previous years, people's income grew, while the threshold for the AMT did not grow as fast. That meant that more people found themselves needing to pay the higher Alternative Minimum Tax, even though their effective income had not increased. The American Taxpayer Relief Act fixed this by permanently allowing the threshold to increase with inflation.

Alternative Right (Alt-Right)

Self-proclaimed groups and individuals with the core belief that their white (and often male) identity is threatened by the social gains of other cultures.

Much of their messaging takes place on social media.

They commonly are known as the alt-right.

Alternatives To Detention (ATD)

Programs that provide refugees awaiting asylum hearings a way to live in the country without being detained.

They typically help the refugee find housing and transportation. The refugees are required to maintain contact with immigration officials and attend court hearings. Some refugees are required to wear a GPS monitor.

These programs sometimes are called catch and release.

Referenced by...
Zero-tolerance quietly stopped. Judge orders families reunited. (2018-Jun-25)
Refugee family separation ended - but now what? (2018-Jun-21)
Deportation plan would cost taxpayers more than $30 billion (2017-Feb-21)

Amazon Rainforest

The world's largest tropical rainforest.

It covers much of northwestern Brazil, as well as parts of Columbia, Peru, and other South American countries. The Amazon river, as well as thousands of others, passes through it.

It it referred to as the Earth's lungs because its trees absorb greenhouse gases from the air and creates 5 percent of the planet's oxygen.

Referenced by...
Facts about the Amazon fires (2019-Aug-23)

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Bar Association (ABA)

American Chemistry Council (ACC)

Lobbying organization representing chemical manufacturing companies such as Dow Chemical, DuPont, Monsanto, ExxonMobil Chemical, Chevron Phillips Chemical, and Bayer.

Referenced by...
Administration hides study showing dangers in drinking water (2018-May-14)

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain civil liberties to all Americans. These include...

o Your right to free speech
o Your right to practice your religion
o Your right to the same treatment by the law as every other citizen
o Your right to privacy
o Freedom of the press

The ACLU is a nonprofit organization that works to protect these individual rights. They work both by lobbying Congress and by challenging violations of civil liberties in the court system. The organization has been the center of controversy at times by defending those rights for groups whose views are generally considered to be objectionable, though not unlawful.

For more about about the ACLU, visit their website at www.ACLU.org.

Referenced by...
Kansas city moves polling place, directs voters to wrong site (2018-Oct-26)
Changed regulation could quash protests (2018-Oct-15)

American Crossroads

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

A conservative think tank.

American Federation for Children

A dark-money group that supports school voucher programs and charter schools nationwide.

AFC is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and has worked with the group to draft model legislation.

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) drafts model legislation that state legislators can quickly turn into legislation.

ALEC is funded by large corporations, and the laws it recommends typically support those corporations, often at the expense of the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Referenced by...
House bill would make Right-to-Work the national law (2017-Feb-01)

American Medical Association (AMA)

Referenced by...
New policy would ban most transgender troops (2018-Mar-23)
Issue: Transgender Military Service

American Psychiatry Association (APA)

Professional organization of psychiatrists in the United States.

Amicus Curiae

A brief in a court case filed by someone who is not a party to the case, but who believes...

o They may be affected by the court's decision

o They have relevant information that might not be brought up by the parties involved, yet might help the court arrive at a decision.

The term amicus curiae is Latin, which translates to Friend of the Court.

Anderson, Christopher

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Impeachment

Anderson, James

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)

Anderson, R. Lanier

Senior Judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Jimmy Carter

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)

Nonprofit organization that works to protect animals through the legal system.

Referenced by...
Pork inspection being turned over to slaughterhouses (2019-Apr-14)

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The annual percentage rate of a loan basically tells you how much that loan would cost you in a year, even if it is paid off sooner or later. It's the percentage of the amount borrowed that you would pay in a year.

Here is a simple example... If you borrow $100 with 5-percent interest and the loan is for a year, your APR would be 5 percent. However, if you borrow the same $100 with the same 5-percent interest, but it's due in one month, the APR would be 60 percent (5 percent times 12, because it would cost you $5 for the same $100 every month).

Similarly, if a credit card has a monthly interest rate of 1.5 percent, the APR actually would be 18 percent, because you would be paying 1.5 percent each month for 12 months (1.5 x 12 = 18).

APR is useful in comparing loans because you're comparing how much each loan would cost over the same period of time.

Other common situations make the calculation more complicated. What's important for the purposes of our discussions is the basic understanding provided above.

Anthony, Susan B.

Cofounder of the National Woman Suffrage Association, which fought for women having the right to vote.

That right was granted in 1920 with the Constitution's 19th Amendment - which became known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.

Anti-Defamation League

Antifa

https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/who-are-antifa

Antiquities Act

Law enacted in 1906 allowing the president to designate national monuments on land controlled by the federal government.

When a president designates land as national monument, new uses of the land (such as mining, drilling, logging, and ranching) are prohibited. However, if those activities already had been taking place, they likely would be able to continue.

Antitrust

Actions aimed at preventing monopolies.

Appointments Clause

Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution specifies that a president may appoint "officers of the United States" with "advice and consent of the Senate.

It specifies that Congress may allow "inferior officers" to be appointed by the president without the need for Senate approval.

It also allows the president to bypass Senate approval when the Senate is not in session, via a recess appointment.

Referenced by...
Senators sue to reverse Trump's AG appointment (2018-Nov-19)

Appropriations & Authorizations

Congress determines how Public Money is spent by the federal government. It is a two-step process.

First, Congress must pass an appropriation bill to specify the maximum amount that an agency or program can receive.

To actually spend the money, Congress must pass an authorization that directs ways in which the money should or should not be used.

Appropriations Clause

Clause of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution that states, "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law ."

Arbitration

A means of resolving a dispute between two parties.

Arbitration decisions typically are arrived at by a panel of three people (arbitrators) - one picked by each of the parties and a third picked by those two.

An arbitration clause in a contract is one that requires the parties to agree to resolve future disputes through arbitration - essentially giving up their right to use courts and the legal system. This is referred to as pre-dispute arbitration.

Arbitration clauses also may prohibit class actions.

Referenced by...
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)

Region in northeast Alaska that is the country's largest wildlife refuge. It is one of the most pristine ecosystems on Earth.

It is home to polar bears, migratory birds, and caribou.

It also is considered to be rich in oil.

Referenced by...
Congressional Republicans pass tax reduction. Who benefits? (2017-Dec-20)
Arctic oil exploration could resume in December (2017-Jul-13)
Obama bans oil drilling off much of Alaska and east coast (2016-Dec-20)
Arctic drilling banned through 2022 (2016-Nov-18)

Armed Forces

A nation's combined military forces.

For the United States, the Armed Forces are comprised of the...

o Air Force
o Army
o Coast Guard
o Marine Corps
o Navy

Army Reserve

One of the country's reserve military forces.

Similar to the National Guard, but the Reserves are under the direct authority of the military - and not subject to be called to duty by a state's governor.

Artemenko, Andrii

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Article of Impeachment

A formal charge resulting from an impeachment inquiry.

If an article of impeachment is approved by a majority vote in the House of Representatives, the Senate conducts a trial to determine if the impeached individual should be removed from office.

Referenced by...
House votes to impeach Trump (2019-Dec-18)

Articles of Confederation

The document that defined how the U.S. government operated prior to March 4, 1789 when the government began operating under the Constitution.

Assange, Julian

Founder of WikiLeaks.

Referenced by...
WikiLeaks founder indicted, removed from embassy in England (2019-Apr-12)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Associated Press (AP)

A nonprofit news cooperative whose syndicated reports appear in newspapers and news websites. Most local newspapers that report national and world news merely run stories from the AP, rather than providing coverage by their own reporting staff.

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

An organization of physicians. The group claims to be non-partisan, yet much of its writing advocates for policies generally associated with those who label themselves conservative.

According to a 2009 Mother Jones magazine report...

o The group's "statement of principles declares that it is 'evil' and 'immoral' for physicians to participate in Medicare and Medicaid."

o An article on the group's website "speculated that Barack Obama may have won the presidency by hypnotizing voters, especially cohorts known to be susceptible to 'neurolinguistic programming' - that is, according to the writer, young people, educated people, and possibly Jews."

In an article published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Fall 2015), former AAPS President Richard Amerling suggests, "The abortion industry and Planned Parenthood originated in the population control and eugenics movements," and supports a view that a major reason for abortion is a desire to protect insects, fish, and animals.

One article on the group's website states "The Planned Parenthood doctors make Dr. Joseph Menegle, Hitler's 'Doctor of Death' look like an angel of mercy by comparison."

Note: Lobby99 does not associate any value judgement with labels such as "liberal" or "conservative" - we merely use the term here to point out a leaning the group does not acknowledge. In fact, while Lobby99 considers itself to be nonpartisan and evidence-based, some would label the policies we advocate as being generally associated with those who label themselves liberal.

Asylum

Asylum (in our case political asylum) is the right for a person to live in a foreign country because they are in danger of persecution in their own country. Asylum can be granted or denied by the foreign country.

Referenced by...
Zero-tolerance quietly stopped. Judge orders families reunited. (2018-Jun-25)
Refugee family separation ended - but now what? (2018-Jun-21)
Bill would stop separation of asylum-seeker families (2018-Jun-19)

Attorney General (AG)

The U.S. Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer and attorney of the government, and head of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Senate confirmation required for directors

AZ: SB-1070

2010 Arizona law requiring police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is "reasonable suspicion" they are not in the U.S. legally.

About half of the remaining states later introduced similar laws.

Azar, Alex M.

Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Donald Trump. He replaced Tom Price, who resigned in September 2017.

Prior to become the HHS secretary, Azar worked in the George W. Bush administration. He also is a former executive with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

Referenced by...
Senate confirms former Eli Lilly exec to head HHS (2017-Nov-13)

Balanced Budget

A balanced budget simply means having revenue that is at least equal to expenses - so that everything can be paid for without causing a deficit.

This inherently is a good thing, though several factors of how a government operates (such as needing to budget expenses for the upcoming year before it's known how much tax revenue will be received) make a strict balanced budget unfeasible to at least some degree.

In terms of the federal government, there are two issues with the way a balanced budget is discussed...

o It usually is discussed in terms of cutting funding to programs that benefit many Americans, without considering increasing revenues to cover some of these expenses..

o There have been proposals for a Constitutional amendment that would require a balanced budget. This would put restrictions on Congress (or even future Congresses) in times when emergency spending could be required. Also, Congress already has the ability to create a budget that would not incur a deficit. An amendment to the Constitution is not required.

A balanced budget Constitutional amendment is the subject of model legislation by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Ballot Harvesting

A practice in which voters may have their ballots collected and delivered by someone else.

In the states where ballot harvesting is legal (about half) laws regulating the practice vary widely. It typically involves volunteers or campaign workers going to the homes of voters to collect their completed ballots and then dropping them off at official locations.

Referenced by...
CA: Republican party installs illegal ballot drop-boxes (2020-Oct-12)

Ballot Measure

The United States is not a strict Democracy. As defined by the Constitution, public policies typically are enacted by people we vote to represent our interests, rather than by a direct vote of people.

This is similar at every level of government - federal, state, and local.

Ballot measures are a way of circumventing the process defined by Constitution and providing citizens the power to affect public policy by a direct vote.

Types of ballot measures include...

o Referrendum: A state or local government proposes a law, and allows citizens to vote on whether to enact that law.

o Initiative: A group of citizens propose a policy. They then petition for the proposal to appear on a ballot. If the petition receives enough signatures, citizens will vote directly on whether to enact the policy.

o Amendment: Citizens of a state vote on a proposed change to that state's constitution.

o Recall: Citizens vote to remove an elected official from office. The group initiating the recall must collect enough signatures on a petition in order for the recall election to take place.

Bankrate.com

Bankrate.com is a website that reports on rates and consumer policies offered by about 5,000 banks in the United States.

You can visit their website at www.BankRate.com.

Baranov, Andrey

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Barr, William

(Coming)

Referenced by...
New pedophile charges against Trump friend Epstein (2019-Jul-08)
AG summary of Mueller report narrow and non-committal (2019-Mar-24)
Atty General nominee hard-line, but says Mueller can continue (2019-Jan-14)

Barrett, Amy Coney

(Coming)

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Referenced by...
Senate confirms Barrett for Supreme Court (2020-Oct-26)
Ginsburg replacement could overturn decades of progress (2020-Sep-26)

Basis

In financial transactions, the basis is the amount you paid for something that you're now selling.

If you sell an investment such as stock or real estate, your tax liability is determined by your profit (how much you sold it for minus the basis).

Referenced by...
Trump would bypass Congress for $10 billion tax cut for richest (2018-Aug-30)

Bastian, Stanley

Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Bayrock Group

A real estate company. It was founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan.

Its main offices are in New York's Trump Tower.

From 2003 - 2008, Bayrock worked to develop several properties for the Trump Organization.

Referenced by...
Issue: Russians' Secretive Deals with Donald Trump
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Beck, Nancy

Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) in the Trump administration.

She is a former director of the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

She also reviewed EPA regulations in the George W. Bush administration.

Referenced by...
Administration hides study showing dangers in drinking water (2018-May-14)

Belarus

Eastern European country that had been part of the former Soviet Union.

Referenced by...
Russia releases sex worker after silence pledge about Trump (2019-Feb-15)

Berman, Richard

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Bernhardt, David

In 2019, Bernhardt became acting Secretary of the Interior after the resignation of Ryan Zinke.

Bernhardt served in President George W. Bush's interior department from 2001 to 2008.

Both before and after his time in the Bush administration, he worked for lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP. His client list included oil industry trade group the Independent Petroleum Association of America; the world's largest oilfield services provider, Halliburton; and affiliates of major oil producer Noble Energy Inc.

Referenced by...
Interior's Zinke resigns. Replaced by oil lobbyist (2019-Jan-02)

Bezos, Jeff

(Coming)

Bharara, Preet

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)

Biden, Hunter

The son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden, Joe

(Coming)

Bill

A proposal for a new law. Examples of a bill might be...

o Allocating public money to a government agency, university, or company

o Explicitly making something illegal (or legal)

o Naming a federal facility such as a building or airport.

For the most part, a bill can be first proposed in either house of Congress (the Constitution stipulates that bills allocating money must originate in the House of Representatives)

If both houses of Congress approve identical versions of a bill, it then is up to the president to decide whether to allow it to actually become a law. The president can approve it by signing it, or reject it by vetoing it.

Bill Number

An identifier for each piece of legislation proposed by Congress.

Bill numbers are comprised of a letter code followed by a sequential number.

o HR: A bill originating in the House of Representatives
o S: A bill originating in the Senate
o CR: A Concurrent Resolution
o HJRES: A Joint Resolution originating in the House
o SJRES: A joint resolution originating in the Senate

Bill of Attainder

A bill that imposes a punishment on specific individuals or members of a group.

This violates Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution.

Bill of Rights

The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They provide citizens with basic protections from the federal government.

Black Lives Matter

(Coming)

Blackwater USA

(Coming)

Blagojevich, Rod

Governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009.

In 2009, he was impeached and removed from office for soliciting bribes - including for Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat after Obama was elected president.

He also was convicted for the criminal offenses, and served 8 years of a 14-year sentence before being pardoned by President Donald Trump.

Referenced by...
Trump pardons 11 - most convicted of corruption (2020-Feb-15)

Blair, Robert

Advisor to President Donald Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Block Grant

A large amount of money from the federal government to a state or regional government for a specified purpose.

The purpose usually is general (such as law enforcement, community development, transportation, health services), with the regional government deciding how to spend it in a way consistent with the purpose.

Blue Dog Democrats

(Coming)

Blue Slip

An informal, non-binding Senate custom that allows senators from a state to block the confirmation of federal judges from that state.

They are actual blue pieces of paper.

Bolton, John

(Coming)

Bond

A way of lending money.

They way a bond typically works is you lend a set amount of money to the borrower. You then receive regular interest payments at the bond's interest rate.

After some time, the bond matures, at which time your initial investment is returned.

Bonds often are bought and sold by financial institutions based on whether they believe they can get a better return from some other type of investment.

Bond ratings

Bonds carry a risk that the borrower will default - by not being able make the regular interest payments or pay the amount of the bond when it comes due. Typically higher-risk bonds pay higher interest rates.

Bonds that are rated high (very likely to pay its lenders) are referred to as investment-grade bonds. They typically offer a low interest rate.

Bonds considered likely to default offer a high interest rate in exchange for the added risk. They are referred to as high-yield, low-grade, or junk bonds.

Boogaloo Bois

A loose-knit subculture associated with being anti-government and pro-gun. It has no defined organization.

The term is believed to have originated in an online forum dedicated to firearms. Its use in this context dates back to at least 2012 when President Barack Obama was running for re-election.

They are associated with wearing Hawaiian-style shirts - a reference to Big luau - one of the movement's code names on social media.

Bork, Robert

(Coming)

Borrower Defense to Repayment

This often is referred to simply as the Borrower Defense program.

It is a government program that forgives federal student loans in cases where a school has defrauded students, such as by misrepresenting...

o Costs to the student
o The school's accreditations
o Transfer opportunities
o Job prospects associated with a degree program

The program is managed by the Department of Education. Only loans that were directly provided by the federal government are covered.

It was created in 1994. It simply stated any act or omission by the school that could be acted on under the school's state law could be cited by the borrower as a cause to dismiss the loan.

Obama regulation

In 2016, the department under President Barack Obama adopted new rules. The rules broadened the definition of misrepresentation to include statements or omissions that would be likely to mislead borrowers.

The rules explicitly give borrowers the right to sue the school in court and to file class action lawsuits in Borrower Defense claims. They prohibit the school from requiring the borrower to resolve disputes via arbitration.

They provide ways for the government to recover that money from the school, if the school was found liable. These forgiven loans were funded with public money, so without this it would be taxpayer money paying for the school's misconduct.

Also, they require schools deemed to be financially at-risk to provide financial protection to cover the cost of a successful Borrower Defense claim.

Schools considered to be at-risk also are required to disclose that information to prospective students.

Trump regulation

The Obama rules were to take effect in July 2017. However, the Trump administration postponed them until 2019. In the meanwhile, the administration has proposed a different Borrower Defense policy to take effect in 2019.

The new policy would make it more difficult for borrowers to file successful claims - changing the definition of misrepresentation to statements or omissions that are intentionally false and directly related directly related to the making of the loan.

It would once again allow schools to require arbitration - preventing borrowers from suing in court or using class actions.

The administration also is considering allowing Borrower Defense claims only if the borrower first defaults on the loan, rather than allowing borrowers to file claims while still making payments.

Referenced by...
Gov. continued to pursue loans from defrauded students (2019-Oct-24)
DeVos sued for not implementing student loan protections (2018-Nov-14)
Judge supports relief for defrauded federal student loan borrowers (2018-Oct-01)

Bot

In general, a bot is a computer program that performs simple repetitive tasks at a much faster rate than a human could. It is derived from the word robot.

Lobby99 has discussed bots in terms of those that are used by ticket brokers to buy up large amounts of tickets to an event - often within minutes of the tickets going on sale. The broker then will resell the tickets for a profit.

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)

A movement to boycott companies in Israeli settlements in areas claimed by Palestinians or who have contracts with the Israeli military.

Several states have proposed or enacted legislation (in various forms) against the movement, from condemning it to prohibiting the state from doing business with companies who observe the boycott.

These states include...

o Alabama
o Arizona
o California
o Colorado
o Florida
o Georgia
o Illinois
o Indiana
o Iowa
o New Jersey
o New York
o Ohio
o Pennsylvania
o South Carolina
o Tennessee
o Virginia

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has issued a strong policy statement against the movement - supporting those state governments' efforts to oppose it.

Branch, Elizabeth L.

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Branches of Government

The Constitution defines our government as consisting of 3 branches - each intended to "check and balance" the other two.

Legislative
Congress. Congress writes laws that govern everything from tax rates to how tax money is spent.

Of the 3 branches, the legislative branch is the one most likely to have a direct effect on your life. Your representative represents you and the Congressional District you live in - approximately 700,000 people.

Executive
The US president and various agencies responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress.

The president appoints the head of each agency (Senate approval is required). Virtually everyone else working for these agencies is a career professional who maintains their position from one president's administration to the next.

Judicial
The system of courts that determine if a law is consistent with or violates the Constitution.

The most well-known of the court system is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the final authority on whether a law violates the Constitution. The court does not actively seek laws to judge. Rather, it decides cases that are brought to it by challenges to a law ruled on by a lower court.

Supreme Court justices are appointed by the president (Senate approval is required), and have lifetime terms.

Brasher, Andrew

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Brechbuhl, T. Ulrich

Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Brennan Center for Justice

A nonpartisan public policy institute.

Breyer, Stephen

(Coming)

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Britain: MI-6

The British foreign intelligence agency (MI stands for Military Intelligence). The official name of MI6 is the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).

Brookings Institution

Referenced by...
DOT helps Mitch McConnell's state fund projects (2019-Jun-10)

Brown v. Board of Education

1954 Supreme Court ruling that public schools segregated by race are unconstitutional.

Budget Reconciliation

A special type of bill that can be passed in the Senate with a simple majority - it is not subject to filibuster.

As the name implies, this type of bill is used on legislation that affects spending or revenue (taxes).

The way it works is Congress creates a resolution - a budget plan for in an area such as health care, education, or the military. The resolution can direct related committees to create legislation that conforms to the budget requirements contained in the resolution. This legislation must conform to the Byrd Rule.

Once the House and Senate agree on the exact language, debate in the Senate is limited and can be passed with a simple majority vote.

Budget Scoring

(Coming)

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)

Website: www.ATF.gov

Bureau of Competition

The Bureau of Competition is the part of the Federal Trade Commission that reviews corporate mergers and other anticompetitive practices.

Bureau of Consumer Protection

The Consumer Protection Bureau is the part of the Federal Trade Commission that helps consumers avoid fraud, deception, and other unfair business practices.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Bureau of Economics

The Bureau of Economics is the part of the Federal Trade Commission that supports antitrust and consumer protection investigations.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO)

A bureau within the Department of State, it is the U.S. government's primary interface with the United Nations (UN)

It maintains diplomatic missions in Austria, Canada, Italy, Kenya, and Switzerland - as well as in New York - to develop international policy at the U.N. in concordance with other nations and international organizations.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Referenced by...
State Dept. harassed employees for political leanings (2019-Aug-15)

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The Bureau of Labor Statisics is a government agency that measures and reports on the U.S. labor market, working conditions, and consumer prices. The information is used by Congress to help make relevant laws. For more, visit www.BLS.gov.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Referenced by...
Mitigation for damage to public lands no longer required (2018-Jul-24)

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)

Bureau of Reclamation

Part of the Department of the Interior (DOI) that manages water in the western United States - including dams, powerplants, and canals.

The agency is the country's largest wholesaler of water, and second-largest producer of hydroelectric power.

Burisma Holdings

(Coming)

Burner Phone

A mobile phone purchased to be used anonymously and then thrown away.

A common way to obtain one is to buy a cheap phone along with pre-paid minutes, paying cash for everything. While the phones and pre-paid time have many legitimate uses (and are not made to be disposable), they have become a common tool for people planning crimes because it can be extremely difficult for law enforcement to link them to the user.

Burt, Richard

Lobbyist who helped write then-candidate Donald Trump's first major foreign policy speech while at the same time working to promote a pipeline for the Russian government.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Bush, George W.

43rd president of the United States

Butina, Maria

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Byrd Rule

A Senate rule named after Sen. Robert Byrd requiring that budget reconciliation be used only on legislation that has a direct effect on spending or revenue.

Cabinet

The President's Cabinet is the group of the President's highest level advisors.

Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution states that "(The President) may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices".

The Cabinet consists of...

The following are not official Cabinet positions, but have Cabinet-level rank...

Senate confirmation required for directors

California Air Resources Board (CARB)

California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Judge supports relief for defrauded federal student loan borrowers (2018-Oct-01)

Cambridge Analytica

(Coming)

Campaign Legal Center

Referenced by...
Tool helps convicted felons regain their vote (2018-Aug-26)

Cap-and-Trade

(Coming)

Capital Gains

Income you make by investing money (as opposed to earning a salary for your labor).

Referenced by...
Trump would bypass Congress for $10 billion tax cut for richest (2018-Aug-30)

Capital Gains Tax

How much of your income that goes to taxes depends on where that income comes from.

If you earn that income as a salary for your work, you'll pay one amount. But if the income comes from capital gains, you'll pay a different - usually lower - amount.

Caputo, Michael

A Republican political strategist, he worked in public communication for presidential campaigns of George H.W. Bush and Donald Trump.

Caputo lived in Russia from 1994 - 2000. Among other things, he worked for Russian media company Gazprom-Media to enhance the image of Russian President Vladimir in the United States.

Referenced by...
Stone indictment shows Trump campaign collusion - again (2019-Jan-28)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

The gas that makes up most of emitted greenhouse gases.

Carson, Ben

(Coming)

Catch-22

A difficult circumstance from which there is no escape, because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

It was coined in the book Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, who described a mythical clause that World War 2 pilots wanting to avoid combat missions would encounter...

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers... was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions."

Census

A survey taken of Americans every 10 years to determine the number and characteristics of Americans.

The most significant census data is the distribution of where American's live by state, which is used to determine the number of representatives in Congress each state receives.

The census is mandated in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution.

Census Bureau

(Coming)

Center for American Progress (CAP)

Website: www.AmericanProgress.org

Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)

(Coming)

Center for Economic and Policy Research

The Center for Economic and Policy Research analyzes and reports on economic issues that affect people's lives. To learn more, visit their website at www.CEPR.net.

Center for Media and Democracy

A nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy organization based in Wisconsin.

Center for Responsive Politics (CRP)

(Coming)

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

Website: www.CBPP.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

The federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that administers Medicare and works with state governments to administer Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

For more information, visit www.CMS.gov.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

The foreign intelligence service for the United States.

Chao, Elaine

Secretary of Transportation under Pres. Donald Trump. She previously had been Secretary of Labor under Pres. George W. Bush.

She is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Referenced by...
DOT helps Mitch McConnell's state fund projects (2019-Jun-10)
Transportation Sec. Chao's family conflicts of interest (2019-Jun-02)
Issue: ALEC in the Trump White House

Charter School

A school formed by members of a community that is funded with public money from a school district, but which operates independently of public schools within the district.

The money that goes to a charter school is money that otherwise would go toward the public school system.

Cheney, Richard (Dick)

(Coming)

Chernobyl

(Coming)

Chertoff, Michael

Michael Chertoff was the Secretary of Homeland Security 2005 - 2009.

In 2009 he founded the Chertoff Group lobbying company. One of the company's clients was OSI Systems - the parent company of Rapiscan Systems which makes one of the two types of body scanners used at U.S. airports. In 2011 all 250 Rapiscan scanners - which had cost $180,000 each - were removed from airports due to their inability to blur images that depicted passengers' bodies.

Chevron Doctrine

A guideline for determining how much flexibility a federal agency has in creating regulations.

It is the result of the Supreme Court case Chevron v. NRDC, in which the court ruled that...

o If the law being implemented directly states how it must be implemented, the agency must follow the law as stated.

o If the law doesn't specify how it should be implemented, the agency's actions may be a "permissible" interpretation of the law - and a court must allow it.

Child Tax Credit (CTC)

An income tax credit to help offset the cost of raising children. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a credit of $1,000 for each child in your family.

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage to children in families that can't afford it, yet who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Each state administers its own CHIP program, with funding from both federal and state taxes. The programs are overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

For more, visit www.medicaid.gov/chip/chip-program-information.html.

China: Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE)

One of two Chinese telecommunications companies (the other is Huawei).

Referenced by...
Trump overturns sanction on Chinese technology company (2018-Jul-18)
Ivanka Trump trademarks come with China policy (2018-May-28)
Chinese tech company ZTE banned from U.S. dealings (2018-Apr-16)

Christie, Chris

Governor of New Jersey from 2010 - 2018

Referenced by...
Trump has COVID - Timeline and who it affects (2020-Oct-02)
FBI nominee has ties to Christie, Russia (2017-Jun-07)
NJ: Jeff Chiesa appointed to replace Lautenberg in Senate (2013-Jun-06)
ALEC expands push for taxpayer funding of private schools (2013-Apr-07)

Cipollone, Pat A.

Counsel to President Donald Trump

CISPA: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

A bill passed by the House of Representatives in both 2012 and 2013, which would allow companies to share personal information about their customers (or website users) with the government, while also allowing the government to share that information with other companies. Read our discussion of the bill.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

Referenced by...
Appeals court: Emoluments lawsuit must be heard (2019-Sep-13)
Judge: Secret donations violate election finance law (2018-Aug-04)
Trump profits most from his properties that he visits (2017-Jul-18)
Attorneys General sue Trump over business conflicts (2017-Jun-12)

Civil Asset Forfeiture

(Coming)

Civil Rights

The rights of every citizen to be treated equally regardless of their characteristics... such as ethnic background, gender, and religion.

Civil Rights Act

A series of federal laws to prohibit most forms of discrimination based on a person's skin color, religion, or national origin.

There were were several Civil Rights Acts over various years...

o The 1957 Civil Rights Act

o The 1964 Civil Rights Act

o The 1968 Civil Rights Act

Civil Rights Division

Part of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.

It was created by the 1957 Civil Rights Act .

Referenced by...
White House proposes eliminating civil rights agency (2018-Feb-12)

Civil Rights Project

An organization that researches civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

Civil Service

Employees of the federal government (other than military)

Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA)

1978 law that changed modified how the Civil Service operates.

It was the largest reform of the civil service since the 1882 Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.

Class Action

A legal action (such as a lawsuit) filed on behalf of a group of people. Many of the plaintiffs will not participate in the action itself. In fact, they may not even be aware of it.

A common use of a class action lawsuit is when a company has engaged in a fraudulent or dangerous practice that affects a large number of its customers. Each consumer might have been affected in a tiny way (for example, adding a penny to a utility bill), yet when combined over all customers the practice resulted in a large profit for the company.

Class actions typically result in a settlement - where the company agrees to pay a certain amount that will be divided (after taking out fees charged by the attorneys) among all affected customers (referred to as members of the class).

You may receive a letter or email informing you that you are a member of the class. As a member of the class, you agree to accept the settlement, and give up your right to sue the company at a later date. The letter will inform you of your options, which typically include...

o You can do nothing. If you do nothing, you still will be included in the class. However, you might not receive your share of the settlement.

o If you must file a claim to receive your share of the settlement, you'll be told how to do that.

o You can challenge the settlement if you do not believe it is fair.

You also can request to be removed from the class. If you do this, you will not receive any part of the settlement. However, you will retain your right to sue the company.

Referenced by...
Judge supports relief for defrauded federal student loan borrowers (2018-Oct-01)
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act is a series of laws that were enacted to make the air we breathe cleaner by reducing the amount of pollutants emitted by cars, factories, etc.

It was first enacted in 1963, but has been updated several times as the understanding of air pollution improved.

Referenced by...
Revoking California fuel standards could cost billions (2019-Sep-20)

Clean Power Plan (CPP)

A 2015 policy issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce pollution from power plants.

Referenced by...
EPA proposing relaxed restrictions on coal plants (2018-Dec-06)
Climate report shows impacts on daily life (2018-Nov-23)
EPA proposes repeal of Clean Power Plan (2018-Jul-05)
EPA to cut emissions from coal-fired powerplants (2014-Jun-01)

Clemency / Pardon

A show of mercy toward someone who committed a crime.

Executive clemency is a power granted to the president in Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution. It gives the president the power to "grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

The U.S. president can grant clemency only for federal offenses. A state's governor can grant clemency for violations of that state's laws.

Clemency can take several forms, according to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. They include...

o Pardon
o Commutation of sentence
o Remission of a fine or restitution that was paid
o Reprieve

Referenced by...
Court case could extend presidential pardon power (2018-Oct-30)

Clemency Initiative

2014 Obama administration program to grant clemency to people convicted of nonviolent crimes who received much longer sentences than they would have had they been sentenced under more recent laws.

Clifford, Stephanie

Pornographic film actress who works under the name Stormy Daniels (also Stormy Waters).

Referenced by...
Former Trump attorney lays out possible Trump crimes (2019-Feb-27)
Trump's former lawyer pleads guilty, implicates president in felonies (2018-Aug-21)
Trump's lawyer's company received millions in payments (2018-May-08)

Climate Action Plan

A comprehensive plan proposed by the Barack Obama administration in 2013 to address Climate Change.

Climate Central

Independent organization of scientists and journalists that researches the causes and effects of Climate Change.

Climate Change

One of the primary effects of Global Warming.

Clinton, Hillary

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Lock her up? The risk of private email servers. (2019-Oct-28)

Clinton, William (Bill)

(Coming)

Closely-Held Corporation

A corporation in which 5 (or fewer) individuals own more than half of its stock. Their shares are not publicly traded.

Closely-held corporations can be any size. They account for approximately half of all private jobs in the U.S. Large closely-held corporations include...

o Cargill - one of the largest private companies in the United States. Cargill supplies agricultural products to companies such as McDonalds and Nestle.

o Mars - owner of candies such as M&M's, Snickers, Dove chocolate, Uncle Ben's rice products, and pet food companies Nutro, Pedigree, and Greenies.

o Dell - maker of computers.

o Hobby Lobby - a retail crafts chain with more than 20,000 employees and $3 billion annual revenue.

In the 2014 Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the court ruled that closely-held corporations could claim religious exemptions to federal laws

Referenced by...
Supreme Court to rule on gay and transgender job protections (2019-Apr-25)
Court: Corporations entitled to religious protections (2014-Jun-30)

Cloture

A Senate procedure to end debate on a bill. It takes three-fifths of all senators (60 votes if there are no vacancies) to invoke cloture.

In recent years, the Senate has allowed for merely the threat of a filibuster to serve as a filibuster. Because of this, a bill cannot even be considered unless there would be enough votes to end the (threatened) filibuster. So in a twisted sense of the procedure, it now takes 60 votes to even begin discussion of a bill.

For more, read Lobby99's discussion on the filibuster by clicking here.

Clovis, Sam

(Coming)

Coast Guard

Branch of the military responsible for protecting coasts, vessels, ports, and facilities at U.S. waters.

Coats, Daniel

Director of National Intelligence under President Donald Trump since March 2017.

Senator representing Indiana 1989-1999 and 2011-2017.

Representative from Indiana 1981-1989.

Referenced by...
Intel head resigns. Nominee tried to derail Russia inquiry (2019-Aug-01)
Trump hid details about Putin meetings (2019-Jan-14)
Trump meets Putin privately under shadow of indictments (2018-Jul-16)
Filibuster rules help kill background check law (2013-Apr-17)

Code Sharing

A practice by the airline industry in which the national airline you buy a ticket for might shift you to a smaller regional airline.

The practice is called code sharing because the regional airline uses the major airline's two-letter flight designator code (as well as the major airline's logos and uniforms).

Cohen, Michael

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer. He also is executive vice president for the Trump Organization.

Referenced by...
Former Trump attorney lays out possible Trump crimes (2019-Feb-27)
Law requires Trump to disclose taxes. But go make him. (2019-Feb-26)
Lawyer: Trump offered Putin $50M penthouse in Moscow tower (2018-Nov-29)
Trump's former lawyer pleads guilty, implicates president in felonies (2018-Aug-21)
Trump's lawyer's company received millions in payments (2018-May-08)
Trump attorney asked for Kremlin help on deal (2017-Aug-29)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Cohen-Watnick, Ezra

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)

Cold War

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Government can't account for nuclear weapons material (2018-Jul-27)

Collective Bargaining

The process in which employees of a company join together (as in a labor union) to negotiate working conditions (such as compensation and safety policies) with the employer.

Referenced by...
Court: Government workers can't be forced to support union (2018-Jun-27)
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

Collyer, Rosemary

United States District judge since 2003.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Columbus Nova

U.S. financial company. Though an investment company, it has not been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) since 2012.

Columbus Nova's chief executive officer is Andrew Intrater - a cousin of Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg owns the Russian company Renova Group.

A shadowy link to Renova Group

Columbus Nova claims that Renova Group is its largest client, and denies that the Russian company or Vekselberg has ever had an ownership role. But evidence suggests a much more interwoven relationship. This includes SEC filings, which described Columbus Nova as an affiliate of Renova.

The website for Columbus Nova previously had this biography of Intrater, stating that "he is a former Director and current Member of the Executive Board of Renova Group".


Via WayBackMachine link:
web.archive.org/web/20180509003139/http:/www.columbusnova.com/andrew_intrater.html


The Russian website of Renova previously listed Columbus Nova as part of its group structure.

Both companies have since removed the cross references. Columbus Nova's biography of Intrater was removed in April 2018 - around the time that Renova and Vekselberg were becoming subject to U.S. sanctions.

Referenced by...
Trump's lawyer's company received millions in payments (2018-May-08)

Comey, James

Comey was director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2013 - 2017.

In 2017, he was fired by President Donald Trump.

Referenced by...
FBI investigated whether Trump worked for Russia (2019-Jan-14)
Trump ordered Mueller fired. White House counsel refused (2018-Jan-25)
Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI, may testify against Trump (2017-Dec-01)
Trump fires FBI director leading probe against him (2017-May-09)
House Intel Committee cancels Trump-Russia public hearing (2017-Mar-27)
House Intelligence Committee to hold public hearing on Russia (2017-Mar-07)

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB)

A nonpartisan, non-profit organization that analyzes the fiscal impact of government policies.

Common Cause

Common Core

(Coming)

Common Sense Coalition

A coalition of senators started in 2017 to propose bipartisan solutions on issues that have become subject to partisan deadlock.

Commonwealth Fund

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that works to improve access to health care - especially for those who are the most likely to be unable to obtain it. It does this by funding independent research and improved health care practices.

Community College

A public college that typically awards degrees for two years of study (Associates Degree). Community colleges also can teach vocations - often those in demand where the school is located.

Community Relations Service (CRS)

Federal agency under the Department of Justice (DOJ) that works with local governments and communities to reduce conflicts and tensions arising from things such as race, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.

It provides resources and assistance such as mediatiation and training. It has no investigatory or law enforcement authority.

The agency was created by the 1964 Civil Rights Act .

Referenced by...
White House proposes eliminating civil rights agency (2018-Feb-12)

Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)

A libertarian think tank.

CEI advocates restricting government oversight in public policy areas such as finance, consumer protections, and the environment. It coordinated and funded the Supreme Court case King v. Burwell - an attempt to eliminate most government subsidies that help people pay for health care insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

Major CEI funders include Koch Family Foundations, as well as oil, pharmaceutical, and tobacco companies.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court preserves ObamaCare subsidies in all states (2015-Jun-25)

Conference Committee

Before a bill can be sent to the President to sign into law, the House of Representatives and the Senate each must pass identical versions of the bill. If the bills contain different provisions, a small group of Representatives and Senators meet to agree to changes that both houses can agree to, so that identical versions can be passed.

This group of Representatives and Senators is called a Conference Committee.

Confirmation Bias

There's an almost infinite variety of information available from the internet, cable, satellite, television, radio, and print.

With so many choices, people tend to seek out information that supports views they already have. The phenomenon is referred to as confirmation bias.

A consequence of that is the polarization we see today. When people fail to find it even worthwhile to learn how "the other side" is thinking, we tend to treat them as less intelligent or having bad intentions.

Conflict of Interest

A Conflict of Intersest arises when someone has two interests that cannot necessarily be helped by the same solution.

For example, let's say you are the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who is responsible for ensuring (through regulations) that coal-fired power plants do not emit excessive amounts of pollution into the air.

If you also happen to own a coal-fired power plant, those regulations could cost you money in needed upgrades or fines.

Your two interests conflict.

This does not mean the best decision always would be the one that hurts your company's profits. Nor does it mean that you would be unable to make decisions that are best for the Americans - even if at the expense of your company. But it would cast doubt on the public's trust in your decisions should they favor your company.

Since our government is founded on the concept of honest representation, even the appearance of a conflict of interest often can be a problem.

Referenced by...
DOT helps Mitch McConnell's state fund projects (2019-Jun-10)
Transportation Sec. Chao's family conflicts of interest (2019-Jun-02)

Congress

The group of elected representatives who create federal laws and public policy, as defined in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

Congress is made up of two separate entities, referred to as houses.

o The House of Representatives.
o The Senate.

Although the House of Representatives and the Senate act independently from each other, legislation cannot become law unless both houses of Congress agree on identical wording for the legislation. That single bill then is sent to the president to be signed into law.

Congress: House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is one of two bodies of elected officials that comprise Congress (the other is the Senate). It is comprised of 435 voting members, divided among the states based on each state's population. A state has a minimum of 1 representative. With 53 representatives (each representing a congressional district), California has the most.

Representatives (also referred to as congressmen) are elected to a term of 2 years. Every 2 years, each House seat is up for re-election.

To create a law, each of these Houses of Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) must approve identical bills (although most bills can originate in either House, the Constitution stipulates that bills involving appropriations must originate in the house). The bill then must be signed by the president to actually become a law.

The House of Representatives is the most personal representation you have in our government. Your representative represents you and the Congressional District you live in - approximately 700,000 people. Compare that to your senator, who represents your entire state. The president and Supreme Court represent the entire country.

Congress: Senate

The Senate is one of two bodies of elected officials that comprise Congress (the other is the House of Representatives). It is comprised of 100 members - 2 senators from each state.

Senators are elected to a term of 6 years. The terms are staggered every 2 years, so that every 2 years one-third of the Senate seats will be up for re-election.

To create a law, each of these Houses of Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) must approve identical bills. The bill then must be signed by the president to actually become a law.

Congressional Accountability Act (CAA)

1995 law that requires Congressional offices to provide the same employment and workplace protections that are required in rest of the federal government and in the private sector.

It created the Office of Compliance to administer the protections.

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
State Dept. harassed employees for political leanings (2019-Aug-15)

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a branch of Congress that provides objective and impartial analysis of economic issues (including budgets) that representatives propose and vote on.

For more, visit the CBO website at www.CBO.gov.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Congressional Committee

(Coming)

Congressional District

There are 435 voting members of the House of Representatives. As specified in the Constitution, each state is given one representative by default. The remaining 385 representatives are nearly equally divided among the U.S. citizens.

States that have more than one representative (all except the smallest ones) divide their state into congressional districts - each represented by a representative. Districts within a state must have approximately equal numbers of citizens. However, there are no geographical restrictions set on congressional districts, and state legislatures typically try to create districts that favor the majority party's chances to maintain that majority. There is a saying that, if elections are the process through which voters choose their representatives, then redistricting is the process through which representatives choose their voters (see gerrymander.

Note: Congress determines the total number of representatives that will be distributed among the states - within the limits specified in the Constitution. Congress set that number to 435 in 1911, and it has remained at that number since.

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

The Congressional Research Service is an agency run by the Library of Congress which provides members of the Senate and House of Representatives with impartial information to help them legislate policies.

Unlike most other federal agencies, the Congressional Research Office does not publish its reports to the public. Instead, it makes its reports available only to members of Congress, who may individually decide whether to make them publicly available. You also can request a report from your representative.

Congressional Review Act

1996 law that allows Congress to nullify a new rule from a federal agency.

Under the law, agencies must submit any new rule to Congress before the rule can take effect. Congress then has up to 60 days to pass a joint resolution to prevent the rule from taking effect. The resolution can only nullify the entire rule - it cannot modify just part of it.

The resolution is not subject to a filibuster. However, the presidential approval is required (if the president vetoes the resolution, the veto may be overridden by Congress).

If the rule is successfully nullified, the administration would not be allowed to issue a new one that is substantially the same.

The act is part of the 1996 Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, which in turn is part of the 1996 Contract With America Advancement Act.

Referenced by...
Car loan minority protections repealed (2018-Apr-23)
Rule allowing class action suits against banks nullified. (2017-Nov-01)
Deadline to revoke Obama-era regulations expires (2017-May-11)
Methane Reduction Rule survives attempt to revoke it (2017-May-10)
Planned Parenthood protection revoked (2017-Apr-13)
Congress revokes Obama internet privacy protections (2017-Mar-29)
Trump signs bill to revoke Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces order (2017-Mar-27)
Rule to disclose payments to foreign governments nullified (2017-Feb-14)
Congress pulls rule keeping guns from mentally unstable (2017-Feb-08)
Congress revokes Stream Protection rule (2017-Feb-03)
House resolution would remove protections for prepaid cards (2017-Feb-03)
Congress proposes revoking protection from explosions (2017-Feb-01)
Arctic drilling banned through 2022 (2016-Nov-18)

Congressional Session

Each 2-year Congressional term consists of two annual sessions.

Congressional Term

A term of Congress begins on January 3 of odd years - following November elections which take place in even years. This is specified in the 20th Amendment of the Constitution.

The 20th Amendment allows Congress to change that date.

Congressional terms are numbered starting from the time the Constitution was enacted. The 114th Congress began on Jan 6, 2015, because the 113th Congress changed the date.

Each term is divided into two annual sessions.

Congressman

Another name for a Representative.

Consent Decree

A agreement between disputing parties that does not involve an admission of guilt or liability.

Conspiracy

An agreement by two or more people to commit a crime.

The crime does not have to actually be committed, or successful.

At least one of the co-conspirators must take some action in support of the conspiracy, although that action does not need to be illegal in itself.

Referenced by...
Full Mueller report released. Here's what it says. (2019-Apr-18)

Constituent

In a word - YOU!

In terms of government, you are a constituent of whoever you elect to represent your interests. In terms of federal policymaking, that would be the following...

o In the House of Representatives, the Representative elected from your Congressional District who represents the people in that district.

o In the Senate, both Senators elected from your state.

Constitution

The document that defines the structure of the United States government, and provides a framework for how it operates - including the making of laws.

If there is a question about whether a law or government action violates a provision of the Constitution, a federal court (including the Supreme Court), may rule on whether the law or action is constitutional - meaning it is consistent with the Constitution - or unconstitutional - meaning it violates a provision of the Constitution.

Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC)

Constitutional Amendment

A change to the U.S. Constitution (or a state's constitution).

Consumer Federation of America (CFA)

Consumer Federation of America is an association of non-profit consumer organizations that researches and reports on consumer issues. CFA also advocates for policies that would benefit consumers.

You can visit their website at ConsumerFed.org.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the federal agency responsible for protecting consumers against unfair lending practices and other practices with regard to financial products and services.

It was founded as a result of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act - enacted by Congress in response to the recession and financial crisis in the late 2000s.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Referenced by...
CFBP to stop oversight of predatory lending to military members (2018-Aug-10)
Car loan minority protections repealed (2018-Apr-23)
CFPB enforcements dwindle under Trump appointee (2018-Apr-11)
Payday loan companies sue to prevent regulations (2018-Apr-09)
CFPB top salaries under Mulvaney soar (2018-Apr-05)
Who is head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? (2017-Nov-27)
House passes bill to revoke consumer and financial protections (2017-Jun-08)
Bills would eliminate Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2017-Feb-14)
House resolution would remove protections for prepaid cards (2017-Feb-03)
New protections for users of prepaid cards (2016-Oct-05)
Wells Fargo fined for creating secret accounts (2016-Sep-08)
Regulations would curtail payday loan debt cycle (2016-Jun-02)
Seniors losing homes due to reverse mortgages (2012-Oct-15)
Consumer Protection agency forces Capital One reimbursement (2012-Jul-18)

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

A measurement of the cost of living, based on prices of commonly used products such as food, housing, health care, and fuel. It is calculated and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There actually are several Consumer Price Indexes. Each measures the cost of living for different groups of people.

o CPI-W: This is the measure of how prices affect urban wage earners and clerical workers. Social Security benefit changes are based on this index.

o CPI-U: This is a measure of how prices affect all urban consumers - about 88 percent of Americans. When you hear the term "inflation" being officially discussed, this index typically is what's being referred to. Adjustments to income tax brackets are based on this index.

o Chained CPI: This measures prices for the same people as CPI-U. The difference is that it assumes consumers can switch to less expensive alternatives. Therefore, its dollar value rises slower - though consumers might not enjoy the same standard of living.

o CPI-E: This shows how the cost of living has changed for people 62 and older.

This chart shows how each of the measurements of the cost of living has changed since 2000...

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

A government independent agency that regulates the safety of most consumer products and informs the public of hazards and recalls.

The agency does not regulate products that are regulated by other agencies, such as...

Website: www.CPSC.gov

Contract With America

(Coming)

Conway, Kellyanne

Donald Trump's campaign manager at the end of the 2016 campaign in which he was elected president.

She also served as Counselor to the President from 2017 - 2020.

Referenced by...
Trump has COVID - Timeline and who it affects (2020-Oct-02)
Administration members accused of illegal campaign activity (2019-Jun-13)
Nat'l Security Adviser Flynn resigns - what we know (2017-Feb-13)

Cooper, Laura

(Coming)

Coronavirus / Covid-19

Coronavirus is a virus. Its official name is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the disease caused by the Coronavirus.

Referenced by...
Trump has COVID - Timeline and who it affects (2020-Oct-02)
Issue: Donald Trump Presidency

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)

Federally mandated fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks sold in the United States. They were enacted in 1975 by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

Manufacturers are measured against the standard by the average fuel mileage of all the vehicles they sold in a year. Therefore, a manufacturer's score is affected both by the efficiency of their vehicles and by the distribution of smaller cars to larger ones.

If a manufacturer does not meet the CAFE standards in a year, it is fined approximately $50 for every mile-per-gallon below the requirement - for every car it sold. The fine can be avoided by using credits earned by exceeding the standards in previous years.

Referenced by...
EPA relaxes Obama fuel economy standards (2020-Mar-31)
Revoking California fuel standards could cost billions (2019-Sep-20)
EPA could cut car emissions standards (2018-Apr-02)

Corsi, Jerome

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Stone indictment shows Trump campaign collusion - again (2019-Jan-28)

Cost of Living

A measurement of how much consumers pay for commonly used products such as food, housing, health care, and fuel.

It is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Cost-burdened

Renters who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are said to be cost-burdened.

Renters who pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing are said to be severely cost-burdened.

Cost-Sharing Reduction Subsidies

Payments from the federal government to insurance companies used to make insurance more affordable to those earning 1 - 2.5 times the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (those who make less than the FPL are eligible for Medicaid Expansion in states that have accepted it).

Cost Sharing Reduction Subsidies apply only for silver plans purchased on the insurance exchange their state uses.

They work by reducing deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximums.

In technical terms, they increase the actuarial value of silver policies for those who are eligible.

The law requires that companies provide this benefit. If the federal government does not make these payments to insurance companies, the companies will need to make up for the cost elsewhere - most likely through increased premiums. Without the payments, insurance premiums would increase by 20 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Referenced by...
House will pay ObamaCare subsidies it fought to withold (2017-Mar-30)
Trump passes on first real chance to end ObamaCare (2017-Feb-21)

Council of Economic Advisors

Counselor to the President

Official name of a position for a senior-level person who advises the president and aids in other functions such as communications.

The position was created by President Richard Nixon and has been employed differently by each president since.

Court of Appeals

Federal appeals courts (also known as circuit courts that hear appeals from district courts.

Appeals usually are heard by a panel of three judges randomly selected from available judges of the court. Decisions can be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is possibly the most powerful court in the United States, other than the Supreme Court. It decides cases regarding federal agencies - such as regulations they impose.

The court is made up 11 judges.

o Merrick Garland (appointed by Bill Clinton)
o Karen Henderson (appointed by George H.W. Bush)
o Judith Rogers (appointed by Bill Clinton)
o David Tatel (appointed by Bill Clinton)
o Janice Rogers Brown (appointed by George W. Bush)
o Thomas Griffith (appointed by George W. Bush)
o Sri Srinivassan (appointed by Barack Obama)
o Patricia A. Millett (appointed by Barack Obama)
o Cornelia T.L. Pillard (appointed by Barack Obama)
o Robert L. Wilkins (appointed by Barack Obama)
o (Vacant - Formerly Brett Kavanaugh - appointed by George W. Bush)

The court also is served by several part-time "senior" judges.

Several of this court's former judges later served on the Supreme Court, including John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and Brett Kavanaugh.

Other notable people who have served on the D.C. Circuit Court include Robert Bork and Kenneth Starr.

Referenced by...
Court to review ethics complaints against Kavanaugh (2018-Oct-11)
Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court (2018-Jul-09)

Court, District

Trial courts that hear federal crimes.

Craig, Gregory

(Coming)

Credico, Randy

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Stone indictment shows Trump campaign collusion - again (2019-Jan-28)

Credit Freeze

A tool that lets you prevent potential creditors from viewing your credit report.

This is useful in preventing identity theft, because the thief will not be able to open a new account in your name.

Freezing your credit must be done individually with each credit reporting agency.

If you later apply for credit, you first would need to unfreeze your credit at each credit reporting agency. This often must be done at least a few days ahead of time. You then would need to refreeze your credit (again at each agency) if you want the continued protection.

Depending on the state you live in, credit reporting agencies can charge a small fee to both freeze and unfreeze your credit.

Referenced by...
Banking law weakens safeguards, gives half-billion to banks (2018-May-24)

Credit Report/Score

Your credit report and score estimate the risk of lending you money.

Your credit report contains a list of your accounts (such as credit cards and loans), including information such as your credit limit, your outstanding balance, and your payment history.

Your credit score is a number that is calculated based on the information in your report. It often is referred to as a FICO score - an acronym for Fair Isaac Company - the company that developed the algorithms that calculate your score for the agencies.

The higher your score the more a bank is likely to lend you, and the lower your interest rate may be. But it can be used in other ways. An apartment might charge a higher security deposit if your credit score is low. It might affect whether you are offered a job.

You have three credit scores - one from each of the main credit reporting agencies. You're entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three agencies. To find out how, visit our Resources page.

Credit Reporting Agencies

Companies that monitor your credit history - including accounts you hold and your payment record. The three main companies that perform this function are...

o Equifax
o Experian
o TransUnion

If you fail to make payments on a loan or credit card, for example, the bank may report the delinquency to any of these agencies.

The information is used by companies you want to conduct certain types of business with, such as applying for a loan or credit card, renting an apartment, buying a cell phone under a contract, or even applying for a job.

Referenced by...
Banking law weakens safeguards, gives half-billion to banks (2018-May-24)

Crimea

A peninsula in the Black Sea just south of Ukraine and west of Russia.



A simple history of Crimea's national affiliation...

o 1783: Crimea becomes part of Russia

o 1954: Russia "transfers" Crimea to Ukraine. However, both Russia and Ukraine are part of what was then the Soviet Union.

o 1991: The Soviet Union is dissolved. Ukraine becomes independent. Crimea becomes an autonomously governed part of Ukraine. However, Russia maintains its naval base at Sevastapol.

o 2014: Russian troops occupy Crimea and Russia annexes it.

o 2018: Russia completes a 12-mile bridge linking Russia to Crimea. There had been no previous direct road link between mainland Russia and Crimea.

Referenced by...
Trump administration imposes Russia sanctions (2018-Apr-06)
Dozens of Trump aides lose top-secret clearances (2018-Feb-28)

Croft, Catherine

(Coming)

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Crossfilre Hurricane

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)

Crossroads GPS

Commonly used name for Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies.

A conservative 501(c)(4) advocacy organization primarily founded by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

It has been used to anonymously fund the Super PAC American Crossroads.

Referenced by...
Judge: Secret donations violate election finance law (2018-Aug-04)

Cuba: People-to-People

A way for individuals to plan their own trips to Cuba.

Even after President Barack Obama legalized travel to Cuba in 2015, travel for tourism still was prohibited. But an U.S. citizen can plan people-to-people visits - ostensibly to learn about Cuban life and discuss American life with Cubans. Though there is an expectation that the traveler would keep logs of their business activities and who they talk with there, there is no indication that this requirement would be enforced.

Referenced by...
Trump reinstates Cuba travel restrictions (2017-Jun-25)
Americans now allowed to visit Cuba (2015-Jan-15)

Cuba: Wet Foot, Dry Foot Policy

1995 agreement with Cuba that allowed Cuban refugees who reached the United States to become permanent residents. Cubans caught in U.S. territorial waters before reaching the U.S. shore were returned to Cuba or to a third country. President Barack Obama ended the policy in 2017.

Referenced by...
Trump fundraiser to run Postal Service (2020-Jun-15)
Judge holds up money for border wall (2019-May-26)
Trump's company hired undocumented workers for years (2019-Jan-30)
White House proposes eliminating civil rights agency (2018-Feb-12)
Trump reinstates Cuba travel restrictions (2017-Jun-25)
Obama ends Cuban immigration amnesty (2017-Jan-12)
Election Topics ()

Daniels, George

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Dark-Money

Money used by a political campaign to influence elections - the source of which is not known.

A candidate for elected office is required to disclose who has contributed money to their campaign - as well as how much. There also are limits to how much an individual is allowed to contribute.

To legally avoid these limits, donors can donate to special organizations such as Super PACs. Money donated to Super PACs still needs to be disclosed.

To give money anonymously, donors instead give to organizations known as 501(c) nonprofit. Donors can give to these nonprofits anonymously. The nonprofit then donates the money to the SuperPAC (the SuperPAC still must list a donor, but that donor is just the nonprofit).

As the source of the political contribution now is unknown, it is referred to as dark money.

Referenced by...
Judge: Secret donations violate election finance law (2018-Aug-04)

David-Bacon Act

1931 law requiring that workers on public works projects be paid local prevailing wages.

Debt (vs Deficit)

Debt is the amount of money owed at a particular point in time. It can be increased by borrowing more or simply by accruing interest on the existing debt. It can be decreased by paying part of it off.

Debt is different from a deficit, which is the how much more money was spent than received over a period of time, such as a year.

By law, the amount of the national debt may not exceed the debt limit.

To view the current amount of U.S. debt, visit www.USDebtClock.org.

Debt Limit (or Debt Ceiling)

The amount of money the U.S. is allowed to borrow in order to pay for its operations.

Practically speaking, however, it has nothing to do with managing the federal budget since spending and revenue are specified by Congress. If Congress allocates more money that exceeds the debt limit, increasing the limit merely allows the government to borrow enough to pay that extra money that was already spent.

Watch this 3-minute video to understand how this really works...



There are two ways Congress can set the debt limit...

o They can set a dollar amount, allowing the Treasury Department to lend money up to that amount.

o They can set a date, allowing the debt to increase by however much they exceed the previous limit until the specified date.

Declaration of Independence

The document that declared that the United States was its own country - no longer a part of England.

Its final wording was agreed on July 4, 1776 - which traditionally is considered to be the birthday of the United States. A more accurate birthday, however, is two days earlier - when the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence.

You can read the Declaration of Independence at that National Archives.

Deep State

In a sense, a state within a state.

The term can be used to describe a situation where a government's employees operate independently of elected representatives.

It takes on negative connotations when the employees are accused (rightfully or not) of doing so in an effort to undermine those elected officials.

Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Transgender Military Service

Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB)

An independent federal agency that advises the president and Department of Energy (DOE) on public health and safety issues at defense nuclear facilities.

It was formed in 1988 by the National Defense Authorization Act, toward the end of the Cold War and soon after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The board has only advisory power.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Policy established by President Barack Obama in 2012 to allow undocumented immigrants categorized as DREAMers to remain in the country and legally work.

Applicants must pass a background check, have no criminal record, and either be in school, recently graduated, or have been honorably discharged from the military.

Their permission to remain in the country legally must be renewed every two years.

In 2017, President Donald Trump rescinded the policy. He delayed the recision through March, 2018, saying that Congress could enact legislation to continue it for those already eligible.

Referenced by...
Senate fails to protect immigrants who arrived as children (2018-Feb-15)

Deficit (vs Debt)

A deficit occurs when you spend more money than you bring in over some period of time such as a year. (For the opposite situation, see surplus).

This chart shows annual federal deficits since 1977. Years that that chart dips below 0 indicates a surplus. 2020 is a projection by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).


Click on the chart for the underlying data and key economic events

If the U.S. budget for a fiscal year creates a deficit, the amount of the deficit must be borrowed in order to pay for everything the money was spent on. That amount adds to the national debt.

Referenced by...
2020 deficit will exceed $1 trillion (2020-Feb-12)

DeJoy, Louis

(Coming)

Demand Response

A program for reducing energy consumption by offering consumers a lower price if they reduce their energy use during peak demand times.

This can help the utility company avoid power outages due to heavy demand and keep them from having to buy expensive power on spot markets.

For more, visit the Department of Energy website.

Democracy 21

Deployment

Movement of troops into position to take military actions.

Referenced by...
New policy would ban most transgender troops (2018-Mar-23)
Issue: Transgender Military Service

Deposition

(Coming)

Dept of Agriculture (USDA)

The federal agency responsible for administering policies related to food, farming, agriculture, and forestry.

For more, visit www.USDA.gov.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of Commerce

(Coming)

Website: www.Commerce.gov

Senate confirmation required for directors

Referenced by...
Chinese tech company ZTE banned from U.S. dealings (2018-Apr-16)

Dept of Defense (DoD)

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of Education

The Department of Education establishes general policies for education in the United States.

One of its missions is to prohibit discrimination and ensure equal access to education.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of Energy (DOE)

Cabinet-level department of the federal government that administers policies regarding energy and nuclear material.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Referenced by...
Government can't account for nuclear weapons material (2018-Jul-27)

Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS)

The principal government agency for protecting the health of Americans. It is comprised of agencies that do research and provide services including public health, food and drug safety, and health insurance.

For more, visit www.HHS.gov.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of Homeland Security (DHS)

Cabinet department that oversees the protection of United States' territories. This includes preventing and responding to terrorist attacks, and responding to natural disasters.

It was created by the 2002 Homeland Security Act.

Agencies that make up DHS include...

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Senate confirmation required for directors

Referenced by...
HUD takes back door to suspend anti-segregation program (2018-May-18)
FHA insurance price cut will save homeowners hundreds (2017-Jan-09)
Administration lays out new rules to encourage neighborhood integration (2015-Jul-08)

Dept of Justice (DOJ)

Website: www.Justice.gov

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of Labor (DOL)

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of State (DoS)

The Department of State typically is referred to as the State Department.

It is the federal agency responsible for the country's foreign policy - including international relations and treaty negotiations.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of the Interior (DOI)

Federal lands make up about 1/5 of the United States. The Department of the Interior is responsible for managing this land - from maintaining national parks to leasing land for grazing or oil drilling to preserving cultural resources.

Agencies that make up the Department of the Interior include...

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of the Treasury

Cabinet-level agency responsible for ensuring the United States' financial security. Its functions include...

o Producing coins and currency
o Collecting revenue (such as taxes)
o Disbursing payments to Americans (such as tax refunds)
o Borrowing money needed to run the federal government
o Advising the President on economic and financial issues
o Helping to govern the country's financial institutions

Website: www.Treasury.gov.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of Transportation (DOT)

Website: www.Transportation.gov.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (most often referred as simply the VA) provides services to U.S. military veterans and their families.

One area of the VA - the Veterans Health Administration - is one of the country's main health care systems.

Website: www.va.gov

Senate confirmation required for directors

Deripaska, Oleg

A Russian oligarch.

Deripaska was a business associate of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. He is suing them - claiming they defrauded him out of millions of dollars he invested in their company.

Referenced by...
Russia releases sex worker after silence pledge about Trump (2019-Feb-15)
Trump eases sanctions on Russian companies (2019-Jan-10)
Trump administration imposes Russia sanctions (2018-Apr-06)
Paul Manafort proposed influence plan to Russia 10 years ago (2017-Mar-22)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

DeSantis, Ron

(Coming)

Desmond, Michael

(Coming)

Deutsche Bank

A German bank (the name Deutsche Bank is literally german for German Bank). It is one of the largest banks in the world.

Deutsche Bank has been linked to money laundering schemes involving Russian oligarchs. It also was the only bank willing to lend money to Donald Trump at a time when nobody else would - and while Trump still owed the bank hundreds of millions of dollars and was suing the back to relieve that debt.

Referenced by...
Court: President can't ignore subpoenas (2020-Jul-09)
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Resigns (2018-Jun-27)
Mueller subpoenas Deutsche Bank data (2017-Dec-05)

DeVos, Betsy

Secretary of Education under President Donald Trump.

She had no prior professional education experience. She is a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

She chaired the American Federation for Children, a dark money group that supports school voucher programs and charter schools nationwide, funneling donations from undisclosed sources to candidates who support school privatization, mostly at the state level. 

DeVos' father, Edgar Prince, co-founded the Family Research Council and the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, major financial backers of the religious right. Her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., is heir to the Amway multi-level marketing company fortune. The couple founded the Windquest Group investment firm.

DeVos and her relatives - including her brother Erik Prince, co-founder of the Blackwater private security company - have been major donors to the Republican Party for decades.

Referenced by...
Gov. continued to pursue loans from defrauded students (2019-Oct-24)
DeVos sued for not implementing student loan protections (2018-Nov-14)
Education Secretary DeVos wants money to arm teachers (2018-Aug-23)
Trump cabinet members to speak at ALEC event (2017-Jul-19)
Senate confirms Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary (2016-Nov-23)
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Diaz, Albert

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2010.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Director of National Intelligence (DNI)

The principal advisor to the president on intelligence issues related to national security.

Senate confirmation required for directors

Referenced by...
New intel director after mandated replacement resigns (2019-Aug-15)
Intel head resigns. Nominee tried to derail Russia inquiry (2019-Aug-01)

Discharge Petition

A petition in the House of Representatives to force the House to consider a bill that has not been passed by a committee - even against the will of the House Speaker.

If 218 representatives (a majority of voting representatives) sign the petition, the bill becomes "discharged" from the committee and can be discussed and voted on by the full House.

DISCLOSE Act

The name of the DISCLOSE Act is an acronym for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections.

(more to follow)

Disenfranchisement

To disenfranchise a person or group means to deprive them of a privilege, right, or power. For our purposes, it means to deprive them of a right of citizenship - especially the right to vote.

Disparate Impact

U.S. anti-discrimination laws protect from two forms of discrimination in areas such as employment or housing...

o Disparate Treatment: Classes of people are treated differently, such as in the refusal to rent property to someone in a certain class.

o Disparate Impact: The discrimination is not explicit or intentional, but it results in a disproportionate disadvantage for certain classes of people.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court: Discrimination doesn't need to be intentional (2015-Jun-25)

Disproportionate Share Hospital Program (DSH)

Money the federal government pays hospitals to offset their cost of treating people without insurance or the ability to pay.

Distressed Asset

Something that is offered for sale at a price significantly below value because the owner needs to sell it quickly.

District

See Congressional District

Diversity Visa Lottery

A lottery administered by the State Department that attempts to diversify the immigrant population by selecting applicants from countries with low numbers of immigrants in the previous five years.

Referenced by...
Senate fails to protect immigrants who arrived as children (2018-Feb-15)

DMCA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The 1998 law designed to protect copyrights on digital media. Among other things, the DMCA made it illegal to circumvent copy protection mechanisms built into electronics - a provision that has since been interpreted very broadly.

For more, read our discussion of the DMCA.

Referenced by...
You legally can unlock your cell phone again (2014-Aug-01)
House passes bill to re-allow cell phone unlocking (2014-Feb-26)
White House, Congress seek to legalize cell phone unlocking (2013-Mar-05)

Dmitriev, Kirill

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Do Not Call Registry

A list maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of phone numbers that telemarketing organizations should not call.

Anyone can add their phone number to the list. Most legitimate companies respect the list and do not call these numbers. If you have added your number to the list and you receive a telemarketing call, it most likely is a scam.

Referenced by...
The shutdown - what does it mean to you? (2018-Dec-24)

Dodd-Frank

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a 2010 law intended to prevent a recurrence of the financial crisis that hit the nation in 2008.

Click here to read our explanation of the bill.

Referenced by...
Banking law weakens safeguards, gives half-billion to banks (2018-May-24)
House passes bill to revoke consumer and financial protections (2017-Jun-08)
Bills would eliminate Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2017-Feb-14)
Rule to disclose payments to foreign governments nullified (2017-Feb-14)
Senate confirms Jay Clayton to head SEC (2017-Jan-04)

Dogma

Positions or beliefs obtained from a figure of authority - such as a parent, religious leader, teacher, or book - which is contradicted by verifiable evidence or for which verifiable evidence does not exist.

Related term: scientific method

DOI Methane and Waste Prevention Rule

A 2016 rule issued by the Department of the Interior (DOI) requiring oil and gas producers to use currently available technologies and processes to cut flaring in half at oil wells on public and tribal lands.

This source of pollution is the second-largest industrial contributor to climate change in the United States, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The rule will result in a reduction of pollution equivalent to almost 1 million cars per year, and recover enough gas to supply about three-quarters of a million homes per year.

The full name of the rule is "Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation".

DOI Stream Protection Rule

A 2016 rule issued by the Department of the Interior (DOI) requiring coal mining companies to avoid practices that permanently pollute streams, destroy drinking water sources, increase flood risk, and threaten forests.

Companies also would be required to monitor streams that could be affected by their mining operations.

In February 2017, Congress voted to prevent this regulation from taking effect.

Donald Trump Dossier

A 35-page collection of memos that was the result of a private investigation into Russian connections to Donald Trump.

Political research company Fusion GPS was hired in 2015 to perform the research. It was hired by the Washington Free Beacon - a conservative publication - to help defeat Donald Trump in the Republican primary.

After Trump won the primary, the Free Beacon ended its deal. Fusion GPS then was hired on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

In 2016, Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele to perform the research. For that reason, the dossier also is referred to as the Steele Dossier.

Referenced by...
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)
Former Trump attorney lays out possible Trump crimes (2019-Feb-27)
Testimony further debunks Trump dossier narrative (2018-Jan-11)
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Donald Trump Foundation

(Coming)

Double Jeopardy

The Constitution's Fifth Amendment states that no person shall "be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."

It protects a person from being prosecuted for an offense after being acquitted or convicted for the same offense. Nor can the person be punished more than once for the same offense.

Referenced by...
Court case could extend presidential pardon power (2018-Oct-30)

Doughnut Hole

A general term used to describe a gap in eligibility for a benefit.

For a simple hypothetical example, a prescription drug benefit might pay for drugs up to $2,000. But if it also pays for drugs in excess of $4,000, your maximum out-of-pocket expenses would be $2,000 (the amount over $2,000 but less than $4,000). This gap - where you would pay - is referred to as a doughnut hole.

Down Payment

When you take out a loan to buy something expensive such as a car or a house, you often will pay a small portion of the price up front, and then borrow the remainder.

The money you pay up front is what's called the down payment.

DREAM Act

Acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, the DREAM Act is the name given to various attempts at legislation that would have provided legal residency to certain young people brought into the United States illegally by their parents.

Though they were brought here illegally, these children grew up in the United States, and their only life (home, school, etc) has been in the United States.

The various attempts to define those who would be helped by the DREAM Act differed, but in general, the person must...

o Have first entered the United States before their 18th birthday.

o Have lived in the U.S. for a certain length of time.

o Have a certified completion of high school, or be admitted to college

o Pass background and criminal checks.

Because the bill was named the DREAM Act, those young people to whom it offered protection are referred to as DREAMers.

Referenced by...
Senate fails to protect immigrants who arrived as children (2018-Feb-15)
Deportation plan would cost taxpayers more than $30 billion (2017-Feb-21)

Drive-Thru Voting

A method of voting in which voters drive up to a special polling place where their voter registration is validated and they can cast their ballot from their car.

It also is referred to as curbside voting.

Drone

An unmanned aircraft. Drones are used by the military, companies (for example filmmakers and surveyors), and individuals. They can be either autonomous - controlled by a computer program without human control or manned - remotely controlled by a pilot.

Drones also are referred to as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and UASs (Unmanned Air Systems).

For more on how drones may be used in the United States, read the Federal Aviation Administration factsheet.

Droney, Christopher F.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Referenced by...
Appeals court: Emoluments lawsuit must be heard (2019-Sep-13)

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

(Coming)

Drug War

Also referred to as the War on Drugs, the term was first used by President Richard Nixon to describe using federal resources to eliminate illegal drugs in the country.

Due Process / Equal Protection

A key provision in the Constitution that protects people from arbitrary acts by the government.

The Fifth Amendment states...

"...nor shall any person ...be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."

The Fourteenth Amendment extends that to state governments, adding that protections must be the same for every person...

"...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ..."

Duffey, Michael

Appointed official in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Donald Trump.

He formerly was executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party and Defense Department liaison to the White House under President George W. Bush.

Duncan, Robert "Mike"

(Coming)

Dvorkovich, Arkady

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

e-Cigarette

Short for electronic cigarette. E-cigarettes are small electronic devices used like a cigarette - in which the person inhales a vapor made from nicotine and/or flavored liquid. They differ from cigarettes in that e-cigarette vapor is produced electronically rather than by burning tobacco.

Referenced by...
E-cigarette sales now limited to those over 18 (2016-May-05)

Earmark / Pork-Barrell

Money designated to be spent for a specific project.

Although earmarks are used by representatives to funnel money to their state, the projects may be worthwhile and provide benefits to a large number of people.

A type of earmark that does not fit into that category is known as a pork-barrel spending, or just pork. One feature of pork-barrel spending is that it typically benefits just a small number of people, even though it is paid for by the nation as a whole.

Earmarks often are included as part of an unrelated, must-pass bill, as presidents are constitutionally prohibited from issuing line-item vetoes. Though Congress officially outlawed them in 2011, they still find their way into legislation.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Annual cash assistance to low- and moderate-income families from the federal government. It is paid as a federal income tax refund.

EcoHealth Alliance

Referenced by...
Agency investigating AIDS and Ebola viruses to shut down (2019-Oct-30)

Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

The Economic Policy Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit think tank that studies public policies which affect low- and middle-income workers. They also propose public policies that would improve the economic conditions of American workers.

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

It provides information and research on agriculture and economics.

It was created in 1863.

Eisenberg, John

National Security Council legal advisor under President Donald Trump.

Ejusdem generis

Legal canon meaning where general words follow specific words in a statutory enumeration, the general words are construed to embrace only objects similar in nature to those objects enumerated by the preceding specific words.

Election Assistance Commission (EAC)

The Election Assistance Commission is a four-member, non-partisan commission recommends voting system guidelines. It also maintains the national mail voter registration form. There currently are no commissioners assigned to this commission.

For more, visit www.EAC.gov.

Election Fraud

Corruption of the voting process by those in power, with the intent of influencing elections

Election fraud can take several forms, including...

Election Integrity Commission

Officially the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, the Election Integrity Commission was created by President Donald Trump to determine the extent of illegal voter registration and voting illegally.

This federal advisory committee was created in response to Trump receiving approximately 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton - his Democratic opponent - in the 2016 presidential election.

Though Trump won the Electoral College - and therefore the election - he claimed his popular vote loss was due to illegally cast votes. There is no evidence that this is the case.

Referenced by...
Voting fraud fabricator named to investigate voting fraud (2017-Jul-17)

Election Integrity Fund

Fundraising website for conservative causes founded in 2020.

It is part of the Michigan Grassroots Alliance - which supports right-wing causes.

Elections

Presidential elections are held every 4 years. But Congressional representatives are elected for 2-year terms. And, while senators are elected for 6-year terms, one-third of the Senate is up for election every 2 years.

Midterm elections (often shortened to midterms) are Congressional elections that are held halfway between presidential elections.

Electoral College

Procedure set out by the Constitution to elect a president.

Essentially, the winner of each state's presidential election receives that state's electoral votes. Each state has a number of votes equal to its number of senators plus representatives. There are a total of 538 electoral votes - and a candidate who receives 270 votes wins the election.

Though they rarely come into play, there are complications to that simplification. The actual process is specified in the following sections of the Constitution.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation advocates on free speech and privacy concerns related to the Internet. You can learn more at www.EFF.org.

Ellis, Michael

Deputy to National Security Council attorney John Eisenberg.

Emergency Extended Benefits (EB)

(Coming)

Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)

(Coming)

Eminent Domain

(Coming)

Emoluments

In the Constitution, emoluments refers to benefits from holding office - such as compensation, privileges, or certain advantages.

Emoluments are mentioned twice in the Constitution...

Foreign Emoluments

Article 1, Section 9 states...
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Domestic Emoluments

Article 2, Section 1 states...
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Referenced by...
Appeals court: Emoluments lawsuit must be heard (2019-Sep-13)
Appeals court dismisses emoluments suit against Trump (2019-Jul-29)
Judge: MD and DC can obtain Trump financial info (2018-Nov-03)
Attorneys General sue Trump over business conflicts (2017-Jun-12)

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Acronym for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a 1974 law that helped ensure that retirees from a company would be able to receive the full pension promised them.

For more, read our discussion of the law.

En Banc

A decision by all of the judges in a particular Court of Appeals.

En+ Group

A Russian holding company.

It has significant ownership of Rusal and EuroSibEnergo.

Referenced by...
Trump eases sanctions on Russian companies (2019-Jan-10)

End Rape on Campus (EROC)

An organization that works to end sexual violence on school campuses.

ENDA: Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Legislation that would make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

For more, see our discussion of this issue.

Endangered Species List

A list of animal, bird, and plant species whose existence is considered at risk.

Species on the list are classified as either...

o Threatened: Likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future

o Endangered: In danger of becoming extinct.

The list is maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as specified in the 1973 Endangered Species Act.

Referenced by...
Administration proposes weakening Endangered Species Act (2018-Jul-19)

Energy Innovation

Referenced by...
Revoking California fuel standards could cost billions (2019-Sep-20)

Enriched Uranium

(Coming)

Enron

Energy company created in 1985 and dismantled due to bankruptcy in 2001. Before declaring bankruptcy, Enron used fraudulent accounting practices to make it appear to be profitable. Accounting firm Arthur Anderson helped enable the deception by approving Enron's financial reports.

The Enron case was one of the prime motivations for the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Entitlement

Entitlement programs are those that receipients have a legal right to benefit from, provided they meet the program's qualifications. These programs include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and most Veterans' Administration programs. On a much smaller scale, they include things like the salaries of Congress and the President.

Spending for these programs is referred to as mandatory spending, as opposed to programs which are legislated each year and are referred to as discretionary spending.

Entrapment

A defense to a criminal charge in which the defendant claims to have committed the crime only because they were coerced by a government official, and would not otherwise have committed the crime.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

A nonprofit, non-partisan organization that researches and reports on issues related to the environment.

Epstein, Jeffrey

A financier who pleaded guilty in 2008 to sexual offenses in an unusually lenient plea bargain. The deal was approved by Alexander Acosta - then the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

The charges included sex with underage girls.

Epstein has had close friendships with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, the United Kingdom's Prince Andrew, and actor Kevin Spacey.

Referenced by...
Labor Sec. Acosta resigns. Replacement fought worker rights (2019-Jul-12)
New pedophile charges against Trump friend Epstein (2019-Jul-08)
Senate confirms Alexander Acosta for Secretary of Labor (2017-Feb-16)

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)

1974 law making it illegal for a creditor to discriminate against credit applications based on rac, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age.

The ECOA is Title V of HR-11221 - a larger bill to regulate banking.

Referenced by...
Car loan minority protections repealed (2018-Apr-23)

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Federal agency that enforces federal laws regarding discrimination or harassment by employers (or potential employers).

Referenced by...
Gender pay equality bill passes House (2019-Mar-27)

Equal Protection Clause

Part of the Constitution's 14th Amendment, which states

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court - NC districts unfair to black voters (2017-May-22)
Supreme Court - VA districts race-based (2017-Mar-01)

Equitable Sharing Program

A 1984 program that allows property seized by state or local law enforcement agencies by Civil Asset Forfeiture to be turned over to the federal government.

The federal government then sells the property and returns part of the proceeds to the agency that confiscated the property.

Erdogan, Recep Tayyip

President of Turkey since 2014.

Referenced by...
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Esper, Mark T

Secretary of the Army from 2017-2019.

In June 2019 he became the acting Secretary of Defense after Patrick Shanahan resigned.

Prior to his military administration positions, he was employed by defense contractor Raytheon as vice president for Government Relations.

He also has worked for the Heritage Foundation.

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)
Former defense lobbyist Esper confirmed as DoD Secretary (2019-Jun-18)

Essential Consultants LLC

A shell company created by Michael Cohen - Donald Trump's attorney.

The company was created one month before the 2016 presidential election.

Referenced by...
Trump's lawyer's company received millions in payments (2018-May-08)

Essential Health Benefits

Services that health insurance plans must cover under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

o Care you receive without being admitted to a hospital. This includes home health services and hospice care - though plans may set a 45-day maximum on those services.

o Emergency services - including ambulance service. You cannot be penalized if the hospital is not in your provider network.

o Treatment you receive in a hospital, including room and board. Some plans limit coverage for care in a skilled nursing facility to 45 days.

o Maternity and newborn care

o Mental health services and addiction treatment

o Prescription drugs

o Rehabilitative services and devices. Plans must cover 30 visits a year for services such as physical or occupational therapy.

o Laboratory services

o Preventive services, including screening for colorectal and breast cancers, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases.

o Pediatraic services - including dental and vision care for those younger than 19.

Estate Tax

When someone dies, the money and property they owned (i.e. their estate) is distributed among others - usually according to the owners' wishes. First, however, estate's value (over a certain amount) is taxed by the federal government.

Ethics in Government Act

1978 law that....

o Created the Office of Government Ethics (OGE)

o Requires high-ranking government officials (elected and appointed) to provide a financial disclosure to the OGE

o Creates the requirement for a special prosecutor in certain situations.

EuroSibEnergo

A major Russian power-producing company.

Referenced by...
Trump eases sanctions on Russian companies (2019-Jan-10)

Ex Officio

An ex officio member of a board, committee, etc. is one who is part of it by virtue of holding another office.

Excise Tax

A tax paid when purchasing a specific product, such as gasoline airline tickets, etc.

The seller is responsible for paying the tax. However, sellers may include the tax in the cost of the product.

Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)

A type of health insurance plan similar to a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) in that your plan provides a network of health care providers for you to use.

With an EPO, the network may be much smaller than with a PPO - giving you fewer choices of providers. Also, the insurance company may pay nothing if you use a provider not in your plan's network.

Execution

Usually referred to as capital punishment or the death penalty, it is the taking of the life of a person convicted of certain crimes (referred to a capital offenses) under certain circumstances.

Executive Order

An instruction by the president on how the federal government should operate - including how federal agencies should enforce laws.

They are published in the Federal Register.

Executive orders are similar to laws passed by the Congress in that they are fully enforceable and can be challenged for their constitutionality. They differ from laws passed by Congress in that they can be nullified or changed by a future president.

Referenced by...
Trump signs bill to revoke Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces order (2017-Mar-27)

Executive Order 13224

(Coming)

Executive Privilege

The power of the president to refuse to release certain information - even if that information has been subpoenaed.

The Supreme Court has upheld the use of executive privilege as being part of separation of powers between the branches of government.

Referenced by...
Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court (2018-Oct-06)
Kavanaugh won't say whether Trump can pardon himself (2018-Sep-05)

Expatriate

A person residing in a country other than their native country.

The term often is shortened to expat.

Externality

A term used in economics to describe a consequence to some party that did not cause - and had no choice in whether to incur - the effect.

An externality can be positive (external benefit) or negative (external cost).

One example would be a factory that dumps pollutants into a river, while a second factory downstream requires clean water for its operations.

A few things can happen...

o The downstream factory will incur the cost of cleaning the water, even though it did not cause the problem. This would be an external cost to the second factory.

o The upstream factory could mitigate the problem it caused, by either reducing the amount of pollutants it dumps into the river or paying to clean the water. In this case it would be internalizing the cost.

Fact-Checking

Verifying information that was presented in order to determine its correctness. Generally that involves examining evidence such as official records and studies.

Fair Housing Act

1968 law that prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin.

Other protections were added later...

1974: Sex
1988: Disability and family status (such has having children).

The law is Section VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

Referenced by...
Administration lays out new rules to encourage neighborhood integration (2015-Jul-08)

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Federal law which sets certain standards for working conditions, including...

o Minimum Wage
o Overtime
o Youth employment

Referenced by...
Bill would allow workers to take time off rather than overtime (2017-May-02)

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces

A 2014 Executive Order by President Barack Obama that federal contractors who do more that $500,000 of business with the government disclose any labor law violations against them in the prior 3 years. Violations would not preclude the contractor from getting hired - but the information would be used in the determination.

A 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found violations of environmental, wage, and safety laws in several companies that had large government contracts.

Just before the order was set to take effect in 2016, it was put on hold by a federal judge in Texas.

In March 2017, President Donald Trump signed a bill revoking the rules.

Referenced by...
Trump signs bill to revoke Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces order (2017-Mar-27)

Family Case Management Program (FCMP)

An Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program created to provide services to families waiting for an asylum hearing.

The program was shut down in 2017.

Referenced by...
Refugee family separation ended - but now what? (2018-Jun-21)

Family Research Council

(Coming)

Fancy Bear

A hacking group that typically works in ways that support the Russian government.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac

Government Sponsored Enterprises that encourage home ownership by buying mortgages from banks.

Fannie Mae is short for the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA). Freddie Mac is short for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). The main difference between the two is that Fannie Mae typically buys mortgages from larger banks, while Freddie Mac buys mortgages mostly from smaller banks.

This is how it works...

When you take out a mortgage to buy a house, the bank has to pay that money to the house's seller. But a bank can only lend as much money as it has. To increase the amount of money available for loans, the bank sells the mortgage. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages, most of which they bundle to resell as mortgage backed securities.

Farm Bill

Legislation that is the primary way the federal government influences issues under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), such as agriculture and food policy.

The first farm bill was passed in 1938. It typically is renewed every five years.

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

The part of the USDA responsible for implementing laws regarding farms - especially the Farm Bill.

For more, visit www.FSA.USDA.gov.

Fast-Track

A special status the Senate can assign to to bills in order to speed their passage.

Though the rules for fast-track status can vary for a bill, they often include disallowing amendments and limiting discussion time.

Federal

The United States is a made up of multiple governments. There is one national government, consisting of...

o Congress (House of Representatives and Senate)

o The President (and government agencies)

o The Supreme Court (and lower national courts)

Each state and territory also has its own government. Within each state, counties and cities have governments. So do school districts.

The national government is referred to as the federal government. Most things labeled as federal relate to the country as a whole.

Lobby99 typically addresses only federal government - only addressing state and lower issues when they might affect the country as a whole.

Federal Advisory Committee

Temporary committees established by the executive branch to provide expert advice on a particular subject.

They are required to follow guidelines specified in the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act, including transparency to the public and having a membership that is "fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented".

They must be disbanded once their mission has been completed.

Federal Alcohol Administration Act

(Coming)

Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)

Law enacted in 1925 that makes arbitration clauses enforceable in most contracts that contain one.

Referenced by...
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

The prime federal law enforcement agency of the United States.

In addition to investigating federal crimes, the FBI also is the primary agency for domestic intelligence. The FBI director reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.

Referenced by...
Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court (2018-Oct-06)

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

Website: www.BOP.gov.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

An independent federal agency that regulates interstate communications - including those by radio, television, wire, cable, and satellite.

It is directed by five commissioners who are appointed by the president and serve a 5-year term (unless filling an unexpired term). Commissioners may not have a financial interest in any commission-related business. No more than three can be of the same political party.

The FCC was created by the 1934 Communications Act.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The FDIC is a Government Owned Corporation that protects the money you deposit in banks.

It was created by the 1933 Banking Act (Glass-Steagall) to prevent panicked withdrawals from banks - by assuring depositors that their money will be safe even if the bank goes out of business.

The FDIC is funded with premiums paid by member banks.

Federal Election Commission (FEC)

U.S. independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces laws regarding federal election financing.

Referenced by...
Election monitoring agency prevented from acting (2019-Aug-30)
Judge: Secret donations violate election finance law (2018-Aug-04)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

An independent agency within the Department of Energy (DOE) that regulates interstate electricty sales, hydroelectric facilities, and pricing for electric and natural gas power.

According to its website, there are some things that are outside the commission's jurisdiction, including...

o Regulating retail electricity and natural gas sales to consumers. These responsibilities are left to public utility commissions of each state.

o Regulating nuclear power plants (managed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC))

Website: www.FERC.gov

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures mortgages - protecting lenders in case the homebuyer defaults on their mortgage.

This typically is for buyers who can't afford a large enough down payment to qualify for a loan. A bank will lend to these borrowers because the FHA will insure the lender gets paid back.

This helps people who don't have much in savings buy a house.

In exchange, home buyers requiring an FHA guarantee pay a Mortgage Insurance Premium.

Referenced by...
FHA insurance price cut will save homeowners hundreds (2017-Jan-09)

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)

Federal Insurance Office

Office under the Treasury Department that monitors the insurance industry to identify problems that could contribute to a financial crisis.

It also monitors the availability of insurance (except health insurance) to traditionally underserved communities and consumers.

It was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA)

Independent federal agency that governs relations between the federal government and government employees.

It was created by the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act.

Federal Lands (or Public Lands)

Land owned by the federal government (in other words, American citizens). Federal lands make up about 1/5 of the United States.

Different types of federal lands are managed by various agencies of the Department of the Interior.

Referenced by...
Administration proposes land sale from national monument (2018-Aug-15)
Mitigation for damage to public lands no longer required (2018-Jul-24)

Federal Office

In terms of election law, generally means the presidency, vice presidency, Senate, or House of Representatives.

Federal Register

A daily government publication that contains regulations, proposed rules, executive orders, and other government documents.

You can view the Federal Register at www.FederalRegister.gov.

Federal Reserve (The Fed)

(Coming)

Federal Reserve Dividend

A bank wanting to be a national bank (which would exempt it from state usury laws) must become part of the Federal Reserve.

In order to do that, they must buy stock (i.e. partial ownership) in Federal Reserve district banks. These stocks are effectively risk free since the Federal Reserve's debts are backed by the U.S. government. The bank cannot sell or trade these stocks. However, they receive a dividend on the stock. The dividend rate currently is 6 percent (it hasn't changed in more than a century).

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission is the fedaral agency that protects consumers against deceptive unfair business practices. The FTC also maintains a website (www.consumer.ftc.gov) that provides alerts on products and scams, and services such as the national registry and free credit reports.

The FTC consists of three organizations...

You can learn more about the FTC at FTC.gov.

Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA)

1998 law that dictates how the president is fill the vacancy for heads of executive agencies that require Senate confirmation.

It is part of the 1999 Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Referenced by...
Senators sue to reverse Trump's AG appointment (2018-Nov-19)

Federalist Papers

A collection of 85 essays written in 1787 and 1788 to persuade Americans to ratify the Constitution. They explain the reasoning behind certain parts of the Constitution.

They are generally assumed to have been written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.

Click here to learn more about the Federalist Papers and to read them.

Felon Disenfranchisement

The practice of barring people from voting solely because they have been convicted of a felony.

Each state has different policies regarding the voting rights of convicted felons.

Referenced by...
Tool helps convicted felons regain their vote (2018-Aug-26)

Felony

A serious crime (as opposed to less serious crimes such as misdemeanors and infractions).

Different jurisdictions define felonies differently. Federal laws that are punishable by more than a year in prison are classified as felonies. Each state has its own definition.

Referenced by...
Florida now allows ex-felons to vote (2018-Nov-07)
Tool helps convicted felons regain their vote (2018-Aug-26)

Fiduciary Rule

2016 regulation from the Department of Labor (DOL) that requires financial planners recommending investments for retirement accounts to provide advice in your best interest, rather than theirs.

For example, while an advisor is required to recommend investments suitable to your goals, he can suggest an investment that will earn him a higher fee - rather than one that would provide you with the best return. This rule prevents that.

It also is known as the Conflict of Interest Rule.

Referenced by...
House passes bill to revoke consumer and financial protections (2017-Jun-08)
Rule protecting retirement will take effect in June (2017-May-23)
Fiduciary Rule will protect those investing for retirement (2016-Apr-04)

Filibuster

Senate rules allow for a senator to speak for as long as he or she wants when debating a bill. When a senator (or group of senators) knows they are a minority in opposiing a bill, they can utilize this rule to kill the bill by speaking indefinitely. This tactic is called a filibuster.

A filibuster can be ended if three-fifths of all senators vote to end it - known as invoking cloture.

That is how filibusters used to work. Today, modern Senate rules allow a senator to merely threaten to filibuster (silent filibuster), rather than forcing him to actually speak (talking filibuster). In order for a bill to proceed under a silent filibuster, three-fifths of all senators then must agree to allow the bill to continue.

This means that it effectively takes 60 senators (out of 100) for any legislation to proceed.

For a deeper understanding, read our discussion of the filibuster.

While there is no similar procedure in the House of Representatives, House rules allow for the Speaker, majority leader, and minority leader to speak for unlimited amounts of time.

Related terms: Senate, Cloture

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

A bureau of the Treasury Department.

FinCEN collects and analyzes data about financial transactions to fight financial crimes.

Referenced by...
Trump's lawyer's company received millions in payments (2018-May-08)
Issue: Russians' Secretive Deals with Donald Trump

Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)

The FSOC watches for risks in the U.S. financial system. It was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The council attempts to identify banks and other financial companies considered so large that their failure could pose a threat to financial markets (designated as too big to fail).

If nonbank financial companies get too big, the council can require they be regulated by the Federal Reserve. The council also can recommend that the Federal Reserve adopt stricter rules for factors such as liquidity and risk management as companies grow in size.

Members include the Secretary of the Treasury and the heads of nine federal financial regulatory agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Website: www.treasury.gov/initiatives/fsoc/Pages/home.aspx.

Firtash, Dmitri

Ukrainian oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He is under indictment for bribery and racketeering, but has been fighting extradition to the United States.

He also has alleged involvement with corruption in the Ukranian energy company Naftogaz.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Fiscal Cliff

(Coming)

Fiscal Year

Organizations maintain their finances year to year, but those years can begin whatever month the organization chooses. It is not always January like the calendar year. The one-year period, starting with whatever month the organization has chosen, is known as its fiscal year. Once set, it is permanent for the most part.

The United States' fiscal year starts in October (of the previous year). So the 2017 fiscal year runs from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017.

FL: Amendment 4

2018 amendment to the Florida Constitution that allows most former felons in the state to vote.

Text of the amendment:
"This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis."

Referenced by...
Florida now allows ex-felons to vote (2018-Nov-07)

FL: SB-7066

2019 Florida law that requires former felons to pay off all debts related to their conviction before being allowed to register to vote.

Referenced by...
Florida law could keep a million ex-felons from voting (2019-Jun-28)

Flat Tax

The term flat tax has been used to describe a tax policy in which everyone pays the same percentage on all of their income. The term is used to contrast it to our present graduated tax structure. But other than the numbers used, there is no real difference between the two. We explain why here...



The section on the left shows present tax structure, followed by two variations of a flat tax. If you understand how marginal tax rates work, you'll see that all three structures simply are marginal tax structures. It's just that a flat tax has fewer graduations. (If you don't understand how marginal tax rates work, see our explanation and five minutes from now you will.)

So is one better than another? That depends on who you are. Let's look at an comparison between a low-wage earner and high-wage earner...



As you can see, the low-wage earner might end up paying higher taxes under a flat tax system. It is the high-wage earners who would pay significantly less in taxes.

For more on arguments for or against a flat tax structure, click here.

Flores Settlement Agreement

A set of rules that specify the conditions under which immigrant children can be held in custody.

It stems from a 1985 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of a 15-year-old girl from El Salvador - Jenny Lisette Flores - who was held in oppressive conditions.

In 1997, a consent decree agreed to by the Clinton administration formalized the agreement.

Originally it applied only to unaccompanied minors. But in 2015 - in response to an Obama administration attempt to limit asylum-seeking families from Central America by keeping them in detention - a federal court ruled that the Flores Agreement applies to all children. It also ruled that children could not be detained for more than 20 days.

Referenced by...
Refugee family separation ended - but now what? (2018-Jun-21)

Floyd, Henry

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2011.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Flynn, Michael

President Donald Trump's first National Security Adviser.

Resigned less than a month into the administration after revelations that he discussed foreign policy with Russia before Trump had taken office.

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)
Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI, may testify against Trump (2017-Dec-01)
Bill limits president's power to lift Russian sanctions (2017-Aug-02)
Special Counsel to investigate Trump-Russia connection (2017-May-17)
Senate subpoenas documents on Russia (2017-May-10)
Trump fires FBI director leading probe against him (2017-May-09)
White House refuses Congress' request for Flynn documents (2017-Apr-25)
Rep. Nunes recuses self from Russia investigation (2017-Apr-06)
Info Nunes gave to White House came from White House (2017-Mar-30)
House Intel Committee cancels Trump-Russia public hearing (2017-Mar-27)
House Intelligence Committee to hold public hearing on Russia (2017-Mar-07)
Paul: Republicans shouldn't investigate Republicans (2017-Feb-14)
Nat'l Security Adviser Flynn resigns - what we know (2017-Feb-13)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA is the government agency that regulates several foods, drugs, and other products to ensure their safety and efficacy.

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products.

Referenced by...
Pork inspection being turned over to slaughterhouses (2019-Apr-14)

Food Stamps

See Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

1977 law enacted to prevent American companies from bribing foreign government officials in order to do business with them.

Click here for details of the bill.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)

Foremost Group

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Transportation Sec. Chao's family conflicts of interest (2019-Jun-02)

Form 700

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires that companies with more than 50 employees provide health care coverage that includes contraception.

EBSA Form 700 is a form that religious nonprofit organizations can submit to their health insurance companies that allows the organization to refuse to provide certain forms of contraceptives to employees. The insurance company then would be required to provide these contraceptives to covered employees at no cost to the organization (or to employees).

Three days after the Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that the form was an acceptable alternative to requiring retailer Hobby Lobby to provide disputed contraceptives, the court issued a temporary injunction against requiring Wheaton College from having to fill out the form.

In Wheaton College v. Burwell, the religious college in Illinois claimed that filing the form with its insurance company made it complicit in providing the contraceptives. Until the court issues a final ruling, the school merely needs to send a letter notifying the government of its position.

It is unclear whether a letter without Form 700 can compel an insurance company to offer the contraceptives at its expense.

Fortune 500

Annual list published by Fortune magazine of the 500 U.S. companies with the most revenue in that year.

Founding Fathers

A general term describing the leaders who created the initial mold for the United States - from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution.

Historians typically include the following as among America's founding fathers...

Fracking

Short for hydraulic fracturing.

(More coming)

Franklin, Benjamin

(Coming)

Free File Alliance

A consortium of tax-preparation companies that collaborates with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the Free File Program.

Referenced by...
You can file your taxes for free. But it could be better. (2019-May-16)

Free File Program

A government program that allows most taxpayers to use commercial tax-preparation software (such as TurboTax) for free.

It is defined by an agreement between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Free File Alliance.

Referenced by...
You can file your taxes for free. But it could be better. (2019-May-16)

Free Trade Agreements

(Coming)

Freedom Caucus

A group consisting of some of the more conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives. Not all representatives who are believed to members of the group acknowledge their membership.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Lock her up? The risk of private email servers. (2019-Oct-28)

Freedom Partners

A nonprofit organization that raises money for conservative candidates.

Fruman, Igor

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump associates charged with campaign violations (2019-Oct-10)

FSB

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) is Russia's primary security agency.

It is the agency that succeeded the KGB.

Fuse Washington

Referenced by...
Republicans discuss protecting Trump from Russia probe (2018-Aug-08)

Fusion GPS

A company that performs opposition research for political candidates.

FWA Consultants

FWA Consultants books retired military officers to speak at events.

G20

Informal group of 20 countries (19 + the European Union), along with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Combined, the G20 represents two-thirds of the world's population and 85 percent of the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

G20 is short for Group of 20.

Gap Insurance

Insurance to cover a gap in values.

For example, a new car is worth less immediately after you take ownership. If you finance your car and crash it soon after buying it, your insurance might not pay enough to cover the entire loan - leaving you responsible for the difference. Gap insurance covers that difference.

Gap insurance can be relatively inexpensive when purchased through your auto insurance company. However, a car dealer may offer it to you directly - at potentially more than 10 times the amount an insurance company would charge.

Referenced by...
CFBP to stop oversight of predatory lending to military members (2018-Aug-10)

Garland, Merrick

Justice on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals.

In March 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who had died in February.

Republicans in the Senate refused to act on the nomination, stating it was too late in Obama's term and that Congress should wait for the next president to appoint Scalia's successor 10 months later.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Referenced by...
Court to review ethics complaints against Kavanaugh (2018-Oct-11)
Republicans may indefinitely block Supreme Court justices (2016-Oct-26)
President nominates Merrick Garland to Supreme Court (2016-Mar-16)

Gates, Rick

Member of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

During the campaign, he is believed to have had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officers.

Referenced by...
Stone indictment shows Trump campaign collusion - again (2019-Jan-28)
Court filing reveals Trump campaign collusion with Russians (2019-Jan-09)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Gender

It is common in our culture to identify a person's gender by their body features. When someone is born, those features are used to assign that person a gender on their birth certificate. That is not always correct, however.

Research shows that the gender a person feels they are can differ from the gender their body makes them appear. A person's gender identity is which gender a person identifies themselves as, regardless of their physical attributes.

Those who identify themselves as a gender different than their assumed gender at birth are labeled transgender. They may appear to be the gender on their birth certificate, or they may appear to be the gender they identify as.

Several studies estimate there are approximately 700,000 transgender people in the United States, though neither the U.S. Census Bureau or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obtains this information.

Referenced by...
HUD seeks rollback of Obama homeless LGBT protections (2019-May-22)
Supreme Court to rule on gay and transgender job protections (2019-Apr-25)
New policy would ban most transgender troops (2018-Mar-23)
Issue: Transgender Military Service

Gender Dysphoria (GD)

Medical condition in which there is a conflict between a person's biological gender and the gender with which they psychologically identify.

Referenced by...
New policy would ban most transgender troops (2018-Mar-23)
Issue: Transgender Military Service

Gender Transition

The process of relieving gender dysphoria by taking actions to align a person's body and/or social behavior with the gender they identify as.

Forms of gender transition include...

o Social: Helping the person live as the gender they identify with

o Medical: Using hormones and hair removal (or addition) to help align the person's body with the gender they identify as.

o Surgical: This includes genital reconstruction surgery

Referenced by...
New policy would ban most transgender troops (2018-Mar-23)
Issue: Transgender Military Service

General Fund

When a government receives money from taxes or fees, some of that money might be designated for a specific use. For example, there is a tax on gasoline that goes directly into the Highway Trust Fund.

Other money is put into a fund that can be used for any purpose Congress decides to allocate money for (via a bill signed by the president). This fund is called the General Fund.

General Services Administration (GSA)

Federal agency that manages the basic functioning of other federal agencies.

Its functions include managing government buildings, purchasing equipment and supplies, and hiring contractors.

Gerry, Elbridge

Elbridge Gerry was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He also was a member of the Constitutional Convention that created the U.S. Constitution, but was one of three who refused to sign it.

My principal objections to the plan are, that there is no adequate provision for a representation of the people; that they have no security for the right of election; that some of the powers of the legislature are ambiguous, and others indefinite and dangerous; that the executive is blended with, and will have an undue influence over, the legislature; that the judicial department will be oppressive; that treaties of the highest importance may be formed by the President, with the advice of two thirds of a quorum of the Senate; and that the system is without the security of a bill of rights.

Nevertheless, he was elected to the first two Congresses.

He then was elected governor of Massachusetts, where he manipulated the state's redistricting to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. The practice would take on his name - and now is called gerrymandering.

Gerry later became President James Madison's second vice president.

Gerrymander

Each state defines the boundaries of its congressional districts.

Gerrymandering is when these districts are determined in a way intended to accomplish a politically biased goal. They often are oddly-shaped. It's been described as representatives choosing their constituents rather than constituents choosing their representative.

There are several common forms of gerrymandering. In the most common form, voters who would be expected to vote for the minority political party are packed into just a few districts, so more districts will more strongly favor the party in power. Another form is racial gerrymandering, in which black voters will be packed into a few districts - so even if they constitute a significant part of a state's population they will have just a small minority of representatives they would choose.

Supreme Court decisions typically have accepted gerrymandering for political reasons, while rejecting racially gerrymandered districts as a violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

The name is a combination of salamander and former Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry. In 1812 members of Gerry's political party created a congressional district that supposedly resembled a salamander.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court - NC districts unfair to black voters (2017-May-22)
Supreme Court - VA districts race-based (2017-Mar-01)

GI Bill

Originally a 1944 law (the Servicemen's Readjustment Act) to provide benefits to returning World War 2 veterans such as education and housing.

The 1984 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) changed the education benefits. To become eligible for benefits, service members optionally pay $100 a month in their first year of service ($1,200 total). In exchange, they can receive a monthly stipend to attend college (or a vocational school) after leaving the military.

In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Post-9/11 GI Bill. It generally provides more generous financial benefits to veterans and does not require any contribution. However, it has more restrictions than the Montgomery GI Bill (for example it cannot be used to pay for a vocational school).

Gillespie, Ed

(Coming)

Gilliam, Haywood

Federal judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader

Supreme Court justice from 1993 to 2020.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Referenced by...
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies (2020-Sep-18)
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

Girls Inc

An organization that provides education and other programs to girls to help them overcome gender, economic, and social barriers.

Giuliani, Rudolph (Rudy)

President Donald Trump's personal attorney since April 2018.

Giuliani was the mayor of New York City from 1994-2001

Referenced by...
Trump associates charged with campaign violations (2019-Oct-10)
Trump pressured Ukranian president to investigate Biden (2019-Sep-23)
Manafort provided inside info to Trump on Mueller probe (2018-Nov-28)

Glass-Steagall

A law that prohibited commercial banks from investment activities and set up the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to guarantee bank deposits.

The law?s strict separation of commercial and investment banks was eliminated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999.

Global Change Research Act (GCRA)

1990 law that directs the administration to research Climate Change.

It created the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and tasked the program with reporting to Congress every 4 years on various impacts of climate change.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

A set of satellites in fixed positions about the earth that allow devices to track their location based on signals from them.

A device that can track its location based on signals from these satellites is said to be GPS-enabled.

Global Warming

This will be less of a definition than an explanation of how we discuss terms such as global warming and climate change.

First of all, those two terms often are used interchangeably. We differentiate them - referring to global warming as the rise in the earth's temperature and climate change as one of the consequences of global warming.

We will not argue whether these things are taking place. The overwhelming preponderance of evidence and concurrence among scientists makes a few things certain enough to not waste time continuing the argument in News in FiVe's discussions...

o The earth's temperature is rising.
o The cause is mostly due to human activity since the industrial revolution.
o The effects are tangible and will continue to become worse.
o Serious action is required to stop this trend before it becomes irreversible.

Any discussions we have involving the topic will assume the above points.


Image Source: Conserve-Energy-Future.com

Referenced by...
Climate report shows impacts on daily life (2018-Nov-23)

GLSEN

Organization that educates on and advocates for equal treatment for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade - especially LGBT students.

Gold Star Family

Families of those who died in service to the Armed Forces.

Gordon, J.D.

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Gordon, Sue

U.S. intelligence analyst and director for 30 years.

She resigned as Deputy Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in Aug. 2019 along with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Referenced by...
New intel director after mandated replacement resigns (2019-Aug-15)

Gore, Albert

(Coming)

Gorkov, Sergey

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Gorsuch, Neil

(Coming)

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Referenced by...
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Resigns (2018-Jun-27)
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

An independent, nonpartisan government agency that monitors federal spending of public money.

The GAO does its work at the request of Congressional committees. It often is referred to as the congressional watchdog.

Note: The GAO originally was called the General Accounting Office.

Government Owned Corporation

A corporation that is owned by the federal government and exists to provide services to the public.

They are more politically independent than federal agencies (such as the Environmental Protection Agency) or federal independent commissions (such as the Federal Communications Commission or Nuclear Regulatory Commission).

Government Owned Corporations include...

o Corporation for Public Broadcasting
o Export-Import Bank
o Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
o Gallaudet University
o Government National Mortgage Association
o Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC)
o Tennessee Valley Authority

Government Printing Office (GPO)

(Coming)

Government Shutdown

As with private companies, work done in government agencies is performed by employees who need to get paid.

The public money to pay government employees must be allocated yearly by Congress (though a continuing resolution can extend that).

Unless that money is appropriated (either by a budget or a continuing resolution), there would be no money available to pay government employees. Therefore, most would not be allowed to work.

What could happen during a government shutdown?

o Paychecks could be delayed for service members on active duty.

o Federal tax refunds could be delayed.

o Thousands of children could temporarily lose access to Head Start programs.

o National parks and historic sites would be closed.

What likely would not happen?

o National security and public safety jobs likely would be exempt from furloughs.

o Delivery of Social Security benefits would not be affected.

o Mail delivery would not be affected since the U.S. Postal Service operates as a self-funding corporation.

Referenced by...
The shutdown - what does it mean to you? (2018-Dec-24)

Government Sponsored Enterprise

Government Sponsored Entities are private companies created by Congress for the purpose of making it easier for consumers to borrow.

They essentially do this by buying loans such as mortgages and student loans from banks. This gives the banks money for new loans.

They also can receive support from the government, such as a line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.

The most well-know Government Sponsored Enterprises are mortgage resellers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

GRACE Communications Foundation

The GRACE Communications Foundation is an organization that works to increase public awareness of issues related to food, water, and energy systems.

You can visit their website at www.GRACElinks.org.

Grand Jury

A body of 12 to 23 people that investigates whether there is enough evidence to indict someone for a crime.

A grand jury examines evidence presented by a prosecutor. It also can issue subpoenas - for evidence or for a person to testify.

Referenced by...
Lawsuit could keep Mueller from sharing Trump-Russia findings (2018-Aug-30)

Grant, Britt C.

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Grassroots

Political movements organized by constituents - the ones affected by policies - are called grassroots movements.

Great Depression

(Coming)

Great Lakes

A group of five large freshwater lakes on the United States - Canada border. They contain a fifth of the Earth's surface fresh water.

The lakes are..

o Lakes Michigan and Huron (connected)
o Lake Superior
o Lake Erie
o Lake Ontario

Great Lakes Water Compact

A 2008 agreement among the eight states bordering the Great Lakes that controls how water from the lakes can be used - with the goal being to preserve the lakes.

Great Recession

Economic collapse from 2007 - 2009.

It was caused by a combination of several factors, some of which were...

o Mortgage companies aggressively pushed for people to buy homes - including those who couldn't afford it. In some cases, the loans were made in ways that would require the homes' values or purchasers' incomes to rise. In other cases, loan documents were falsified to make it appear the borrowers had enough income to pay the loan.

o The mortgage companies grouped loans together and then sold off parts of them to investors. Lax regulations allowed banks to invest more than was safe.

o A large number of the homeowners defaulted on their loans. The loans were insured, but insurance companies had covered more than they could afford to lose.

Under the Barack Obama administration, the federal government enacted several programs to help affected Americans. Programs included extended unemployment benefits and a stimulus program to create jobs.

The federal government also spent money to bolster failing financial institutions.

Referenced by...
2020 deficit will exceed $1 trillion (2020-Feb-12)

Great Replacement

A concept propagated by the alt-right that white, European, and Christian cultures will be diluted by immigration of other cultures.

Referenced by...
Racist remarks cost Iowa Rep. King committees (2019-Jan-17)

Green Card

An identification card for non-U.S. citizens showing they are allowed to permanently live and work in the country. They are issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Green card holders are referred to as permanent residents.

A few facts about green cards...

o The minimum age to obtain one is 18

o They can be revoked

o They must be carried at all times

o They are not green (they used to be)

Greenberg, Henry

Russian expatriate who lives in the United States.

He has claimed to have been an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

He also uses the name Henry Oknyansky

Referenced by...
Stone indictment shows Trump campaign collusion - again (2019-Jan-28)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Greenhouse Gas (GHG)

Gasses emitted into the earth's atmosphere that trap heat - increasing Global Warming.

Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and water vapor.

Referenced by...
Revoking California fuel standards could cost billions (2019-Sep-20)

Gref, Herman

(Coming)

Gregory, Roger

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2000.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Griffith, Preston Wells

Campaign consultant for the Republican party and energy and climate advisor to President Donald Trump.

Griffith, Thomas B.

Judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals since 2005.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of a country's overall economy. It is the total value of goods and services produced in the country over some time period (ex. in a year).

Two ways economists calculate GDP are...

o Income Approach: Calculated by adding up total compensation to employees, gross profits for companies, and taxes (minus subsidies). This sometimes is referred to as GDI or GDP(I)

o Expenditure Approach: Calculated by adding up total consumption, investment, government spending, and net exports (exports - imports)

The actual dollar amount isn't as important as the comparisons that can be made using GDP to help explain issues affecting the economy. For example...

o A country's GDP can be compared between years, or even from one quarter to the next. A country usually is considered to be in a recession when its GDP decreases for two consecutive quarters (though this is not always the criteria)

o Because countries come in all sizes, a comparison often is made by dividing a country's GDP by its population. This is referred to as per-capita GDP

o Expenses (for things such as health care or defense) often are measured as a percentage of the GDP - in order to be compared with the amount other countries spend as a percentage of their GDP.

GRU

Russia's military intelligence organization.

GRU is an acronym for its Russian name, which translates to Main Intelligence Directorate.

Referenced by...
Stone indictment shows Trump campaign collusion - again (2019-Jan-28)
Court filing reveals Trump campaign collusion with Russians (2019-Jan-09)
Trump meets Putin privately under shadow of indictments (2018-Jul-16)

Guantánamo Bay

(Coming)

Guccifer 2.0

A persona that was used to hack into Democratic National Committee computers in order to steal confidential emails, which then were published on WikiLeaks.

Guccifer 2.0 was later revealed to be an officer in the GRU - Russia's military intelligence agency.

Referenced by...
Stone indictment shows Trump campaign collusion - again (2019-Jan-28)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Guttmacher Institute

A nonprofit organization which works to advance reproductive health.

It was founded in 1968 as the Center for Family Planning Program Development, a division of Planned Parenthood. It became an independent nonprofit in 1977 and was renamed the Guttmacher Institute after the death of former Planned Parenthood president Alan Guttmacher.

Website: www.Guttmacher.org.

H-1B Visa

A temporary work permit that allows an immigrant to work in a specialty occupation. It requires a higher education degree.

Referenced by...
Bill provides hard path to citizenship, easy path to tech companies (2013-May-23)

Habeus Corpus

Latin for "having the body", it requires that the government provide evidence of a reason to detain someone.

It is a right granted in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, which states...

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

Hacking

An unauthorized attempt to exploit a computer system for an illicit purpose.

This can include cracking - or obtaining by illicit means - passwords.

Hale, David

(Coming)

Haley, Nikki

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump 2017-2018.

South Carolina governor 2011-2017

Former member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Referenced by...
Nikki Haley to resign as UN Ambassador (2018-Oct-09)
Senate confirms Nikki Haley for U.N. Ambassador (2016-Nov-23)
SC: Former Gov. Mark Sanford elected to House (2013-May-07)

Hamilton, Alexander

The first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, appointed by Pres. George Washington.

He also was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers.

Hanen, Andrew

Federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas since 2002.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Hard Money

(Coming)

Hard Pass

A long-term badge that allows access to the White House for those who work there on a daily basis.

Referenced by...
White House moves to ban reporters' followup questions (2018-Nov-22)
Judge orders White House to allow banned reporter (2018-Nov-16)

Harris, Pamela A.

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2014.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Hatch Act

1939 law that regulates partisan political activities of federal employees.

The Hatch Act originally prohibited most federal employees from engaging in political activity. The president and vice president are excluded from the law.

It was amended in 1993 as the civil service had became more merit-based than political, and laws had been enacted to protect employees against coercion and retaliation. Most employees now are allowed to participate in political activities when not at work. They cannot use government money for any of these activities.

The law has been further clarified as the work versus free time line has become blurred in recent years, with people using mobile phones at work and doing work from home.

Referenced by...
Interior's Zinke resigns. Replaced by oil lobbyist (2019-Jan-02)

Hate Crime

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines a hate crime as a crime motivated by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

Referenced by...
House passes anti-lynching bill (2020-Feb-28)
White House proposes eliminating civil rights agency (2018-Feb-12)

Haze

Air pollution that obscures outdoor views.

Head Start

A federal program that provides pre-school to children in low-income families.

Health Care Provider

A person or organization that provides health care. Types of providers include doctors, clinics, and hospitals.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

An organization that provides health care for its members. The providers (doctors, etc) are employed by the organization. The organization also owns the facililities such as hospitals that it uses.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HHRSA)

Part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for those with the least access.

HHRSA also is responsible for determining what types of preventive care should be covered in certain health plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Website: www.HHRSA.gov

Health Savings Account (HSA)

A Health Savings Account is a way for an individual (or family) to pay for their health care with money that is not taxed.

Here's how it works...

o An individual has part of his or her income deposited into a Health Savings Account

o The amount deposited can be deducted from the person's taxable income.... so they don't pay taxes on that part of their income.

o The money in the account can be used to pay for health care expenses. Though the money can only be used for health care expenses, the rules regarding what constitutes such an expense can be broad.

Health Savings Accounts provide the most benefits for those with the highest incomes, because those with the highest incomes...

o More likely can afford to put aside enough to pay for their own health care.

o Pay the highest tax rates, meaning the tax savings would be much more significant to them.

Hedge Fund

Investment designed to make money regardless of whether the stock market rises or falls.

Hedge funds are made available to only wealthy investors. As a consequence, they are the least regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under the presumption that these investors can handle the potential risks.

Henderson, Karen LeCraft

Judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals since 1990.

Appointed to latest court by President Ronald Reagan

Heritage Foundation

A think tank with the stated mission of "formulating and promoting conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."

Hicks, Hope

Former employee of the Trump Organization, Hicks has served in communications and advisory roles for the Trump administration.

Referenced by...
Trump has COVID - Timeline and who it affects (2020-Oct-02)

HIghway Trust Fund

A federal government fund that pays for approximately half of U.S. transportation projects, including roads, and bridges. It also helps pay to maintain public transportation systems. It was created in 1956 by the Federal-Aid Highway Act.

Most of the money for the Highway Trust Fund comes from a tax on each gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.

For more on the Highway Trust Fund, see our discusion.

Hill, Fiona

(Coming)

Hinkle, Robert

U.S. district court judge for Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Referenced by...
Supreme Court keeps Florida ex-felons out of voting booth (2020-Jul-16)

HIV

Human Immunodeficiency Virus - the virus the causes AIDS.

It can be transmitted through sexual contact, blood (transfusions, needle sharing), or from a mother to child - either in the uterus or through breast milk.

A person infected with the virus will have it for the rest of their life, though they might not develop AIDS.

Referenced by...
FDA will lift lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men (2014-Dec-24)

Holding Company

A company that exists primarily to own and control other companies.

Holman Rule

A rule of the House of Representatives allowing any representative to propose cutting any federal program or reducing any federal employee's salary to as little as $1.

The mechanism to do so would be propose an amendment to an appropriations bill. This means that even though it would require both House and Senate approval, it could avoid a filibuster in the Senate due to the budget reconciliation process.

Rep. William Holman proposed the rule in 1876 as a way to combat a system in which government jobs were given to supporters and family members of the winning party. That system was replaced by the 1882 Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, though the Holman rule had intermittently remained in the House rules until 1983.

In 1946, the Supreme Court ruled an attempt to invoke the Holman rule unconstitutional.

Holmes, David

(Coming)

Housing & Economic Rights Advocates (HERA)

A not-for-profit consumer advocacy organization in California.

Referenced by...
DeVos sued for not implementing student loan protections (2018-Nov-14)

Housing Act

1937 law that authorized the federal government to subsidize local housing agencies to improve the conditions of low-income families.

It created the agencies merged into the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1965.

In 1974, Section 8 of the act was amended by the Housing and Community Development Act to create Section 8 housing.

It also is referred to as the Wagner-Steagall Act.

Hovland, Daniel L.

Judge of the United States District Court in North Dakota since 2002.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

HRAGI: Human Rights Accountabliity Global Initiative

A U.S. organization created and funded by Russians to lobby against the Magnitsky Act - which bans certain Russians from the U.S. and denies them access to their wealth stored in U.S. banks.

The domain for the organization - hragi.org - expired in March 2018.

Huckabee Sanders, Sarah

Press secretary for the Trump administration July 2017 - July 2019. Prior to that, she was deputy press secretary.

She is the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee, Mike

Governor of Arkansas July 1996 - January 2007.

He was a candidate in the 2008 and 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

Referenced by...
Trump frees man who defrauded Medicaid out of millions (2019-Jul-29)

Human Trafficking

An organized system of forced, fraudulent, or coerced subjugation of people, for the purpose of commercial sex or labor.

For more, visit the website for the Polaris Project

Hush Money

Slang term for money paid to someone in exchange for their silence about something that could compromise the payer.

Hyde Amendment

Conditions attached to bills appropriating money for health care that prohibit the use of federal money to pay for abortions.

Most typically, the Hyde Amendment is used in bills that appropriate money for Medicaid.

It has taken several forms since first being introduced by former Rep. Henry Hyde in 1976. In its current form it allows federal money to be used for abortions only in the case where the mother's life is at risk, or where the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest.

Here is sample text of a Hyde Amendment from the 2014 budget bill...

Ice Shelf

A large floating platform of ice that extends from a land mass onto the ocean surface.

Referenced by...
Arctic summer ice will be gone in just decades (2020-Oct-13)

Identity Theft

The term identity theft has become the common term for when someone pretends to be you for criminal reasons.

Some of the fraudulent practices of identity thieves include...

o Obtaining a credit card in your name. When the thief doesn't pay the bill, your credit rating will be damaged.

o Filing a tax return using your Social Security Number, claiming a very large refund.

If someone does file a tax return as you, the following is likely to happen..

o The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will pay the refund to the thief without question, because it doesn't reconcile tax returns with income documents until later in the year.

o When you file your return, the IRS will refuse to give you your refund - because they believe they already did.

o When the IRS does reconcile the fraudulent tax return with your income documents, they will demand that you reimburse them what they paid to the identity thief.

Referenced by...
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Impeachment

The process by which a legislative body charges a high government official - such as a president or judge - with a serious crime. Impeach comes from the Latin word impedicare, meaning to catch or entangle.

What are "High Crimes and Misdemeanors"?

Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution states that...

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Though the Constitution does not expand on the definitions of high crimes and misdemeanors, they do not necessarily need to be violations of a defined criminal code.

Rather, as Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers (no. 65), they focus on...

"...those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself."

A predominate concern of the Constitution's authors was foreign influence in elections or policymaking.

Removal from office is a two-step process

The Constitution states that the House of Representatives shall have the sole Power of Impeachment. The House sets its own rules on the actual process it follows.

Typically hearings are conducted by a House committee. The committee then decides on whether to file articles of impeachment. Any articles of impeachment then are voted on by the full House. A majority vote is needed to approve an article (thus impeaching the official).

If the House approves one or more articles of impeachment, the Senate conducts a trial. If it is the president being impeached, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the proceeding. To remove an official from office, two-thirds of senators must vote to convict.

Penalty if convicted is limited to removal from office

The Constitution states that the punishment for impeachment (and subsequent conviction)...

"... shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."

The Senate can choose to remove the official from office, yet not preclude them from holding a public office in the future.

Referenced by...
House votes to impeach Trump (2019-Dec-18)
Lawsuit could keep Mueller from sharing Trump-Russia findings (2018-Aug-30)

Impeachment Managers

Selected members of the House of Representatives who present arguments for articles of impeachment - essentially acting as prosecutors - in a Senate trial.

Referenced by...
House votes to impeach Trump (2019-Dec-18)

Impoundment Control Act (ICA)

1974 law that defines the procedures a president must follow to reduce or delay funding decisions enacted by Congress.

There is no penalty defined for violating the ICA. The only remedy is for Government Accountability Office (GAO) to sue an administration to release the money.

The act also created the House and Senate Budget Committees and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Income Tax Return

Each year by April 15 you must pay taxes based on your income in the previous year. You calculate the amount of your tax and report it Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on a form referred to as your income tax return.

The form helps you calculate your tax based on factors such as...

o How much you (or your family) earned in the previous year.

o How much you can deduct from that income in order to decrease the amount of your income tax.

That isn't when you actually pay your income tax though. If you're like most workers, you pay your taxes as a deduction from your regular paycheck (automatically done by your employer). The amount you pay is based on an estimate of how much income tax you'll owe at the end of the year.

When you fill out your tax return, what you actually are doing is reconciling the amount of your tax with the amount you paid throughout the year. This will determine whether you still owe money or are entitled to a refund.

Independence Day

(Coming)

Independence Hall

Building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and adopted.

Independent Agency

Federal agencies, commissions, and boards that are not controlled by the president or Congress.

Members are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate, but once appointed they usually can only be removed for good cause or when their term expires.

Independent agencies include...

Independent Expenditures

A political advertisement in support of (or opposition to) a specific candidate that is not coordinated with the candidate's campaign.

Contributions to pay for independent expenditures are referred to as soft money.

Referenced by...
Judge: Secret donations violate election finance law (2018-Aug-04)

Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

A government agency created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to reduce Medicare costs.

The agency would consist of 15 medical experts appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

If Medicare spending exceeds predetermined thresholds, the board can act to reduce costs. The reduction cannot ration care, increase costs to recipients, or increase taxes. Congress can refuse the change - however it would need to come up with its own plan to cut those costs.

The IPAB would replace the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which can submit recommendations to Congress, but had no authority to enact changes on its own.

Independent Petroleum Association of America

Oil industry trade group. Its mission statement reads "The Independent Petroleum Association of America is dedicated to ensuring a strong, viable American oil and natural gas industry, recognizing that an adequate and secure supply of energy is essential to the national economy."

IPAA produced the film TruthLand. It was in response to the film GasLand, which showed dangers of unregulated fracking.

It was founded in 1929 by President Herbert Hoover.

Referenced by...
Interior's Zinke resigns. Replaced by oil lobbyist (2019-Jan-02)

Indexing to Inflation

Allowing an investor to pay less tax on the profit of an investment, by allowing the basis (the amount you bought it for) to be increased to account for inflation.

How it works

Normally, when you sell a stock, you pay taxes on your profit - the amount you sold it for minus the basis. If you sold a stock for $150 that you had bought for $100, you would be taxed on the $50 profit.

With indexing to inflation, the basis becomes what you would have paid in today's dollars after accounting for inflation. So if you sold the same stock for $150 that you bought for the same same $100, but there had been 10 percent inflation over the time you owned it, you could claim a basis of $110, and you would be taxed on only $40.

Referenced by...
Trump would bypass Congress for $10 billion tax cut for richest (2018-Aug-30)

Indictment

A formal accusation of a felony, issued by a grand jury.

If an indictment is sealed, it has been filed in a court but its contents are unknown until the accused is in custody. This may be done to maintain the secrecy of an investigation, or to keep the accused from fleeing until they are apprehended.

Referenced by...
Senators sue to reverse Trump's AG appointment (2018-Nov-19)

Indirect Lender

A lender that does not deal directly with the borrower when creating the loan.

For example, if you buy a car and the dealer processes the loan, the bank supplying the money (and that you make your payments to), is considered an indirect lender - because it dealt with the dealer rather than with you.

Referenced by...
Car loan minority protections repealed (2018-Apr-23)

Inflation

(Coming)

Infrastructure

(Coming)

Initiative

A way in which citizens (usually at a state-level) can make laws that their elected representatives would not.

A typical process for an initiative is for a petition to collect enough signatures to place it on the ballot for an election. Citizens then vote for or against it. If the initiative passes, it becomes law.

Injunction

A court order prohibiting a person or organization (such as a government agency) from taking certain actions.

A preliminary injunction is a temporary injunction intended to maintain the status quo until the disputed issue is resolved.

Innocence Project

A nonprofit organization that works to exonerate wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing.

Insider Trading

Buying or selling investments based on information that has not been made public.

Referenced by...
NY: Rep. Chris Collins indicted for insider trading (2018-Aug-08)

Inspector General (IG / OIG)

An official responsible for investigating an organization or activity.

The Office of the Inspector General for a government department or agency monitors that agency for fraud, abuse, or other mismanagement.

Inspectors general for federal agencies are required to be politically independent.

Inspectors General for Government agencies:

Referenced by...
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)
Whistleblower: Trump is soliciting foreign election interference (2019-Sep-26)
State Dept. harassed employees for political leanings (2019-Aug-15)
Pork inspection being turned over to slaughterhouses (2019-Apr-14)
Migrant children separated more - and earlier (2019-Jan-17)
Interior's Zinke resigns. Replaced by oil lobbyist (2019-Jan-02)

Inspector General Act (IG Act)

Law first enacted in 1978 to allow inspectors general to function solely for the purpose of maintaining government integrity.

It requires inspectors general to be appointed without regard to political affiliation.

Though a president is allowed to remove an inspector general, the law was amended in 2008 to require that Congress be given notice 30 days in advance.

Insurance Exchanges

Online (Web) marketplaces where you can compare and purchase health insurance policies that meet the requirements for ObamaCare.

The exchange lists the monthly premium for each policy. You might be eligible to have part of that premium subsidized (paid for) by the federal government. While on the exchange website, you can choose to provide basic information about your income to determine how much of a subsidy you are eligible for (many Americans will be eligible for at least some help).

The intent of the Affordable Care Act was that each state would set up its own exchange. While several states have done this, many have not. Residents of states without an exchange will be able to use one set up by the federal government. Also, a few states had technical difficulties with their exchange so they switched to the federal one.

If your state has its own exchange, you should use it. If not, you should use the federal site. Click here to find the site you should use.

Insurance Navigator

A trained person who helps consumers understand their options under the Obamacare, and helps them complete their eligibility and enrollment forms on their state's insurance exchanges.

Insurance: Actuarial Value

The percentage of a person's total healthcare costs that an insurance company expects to pay. As an example, for a policy with an actuarial value of 70, the insured person can expect to pay 30 percent of their healthcare costs.

Actuarial values are the basis for determining an insurance policy's metal level.

It's important to note that it is not an exact determination of how much you would pay. It's an average of what policyholders with that policy likely would pay. As a rule though, a plan with a higher actuarial value likely will have more expensive premiums, but cost you less for actual expenses.

Insurance: Adverse Selection

The phenomenon that those who most need health care are those most likely to buy insurance.

Since insurance companies make money by having customers not using their product, adverse selection results in insurance companies requiring more income to make a profit. Sources of this money can include higher premiumns or the government.

Insurance: Catastrophic Plan

An insurance plan designed to help out only in the case of a catastrophic health problem. These plans have low premiums, but high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), catastrophic plans are available only to those under age 30.

Insurance: Coinsurance

Even if you have health insurance that covers expensive treatments, your insurance company typically will pay only part of the bill. The amount you pay is referred to as coinsurance.

For example, if your plan specifies a 20-percent coinsurance and your bill is $1,000, you would pay $200 (20 percent of $1,000).

Insurance: Community Rating

A rule that requires health insurance companies to charge the same amount to people within a geographic area - without regard to factors such as gender or health status.

Insurance: Copayment

A copayment is the amount you pay (typically $5 - $50) for a doctor's visit or some other health care service.

For example, if your insurance plan allows four office visits for routine care in a year with a $20 copayment, then you will pay $20 for each of the first four times you visit the doctor for routine care. After the fourth visit - or if you need something other than routine care - you will pay the full cost until you have spent the amount of your deductible.

Insurance: Cost-Sharing

The portion of the cost of your health care that insurance doesn't cover, such as deductibles and copayments.

The quality of a health insurance policy is measured by what percentage of the cost of your health care the policy would pay on the average. This is referred to as the policy's actuarial value.

Insurance: Deductible

An insurance deductible is the amount of your own money you will need to pay before your insurance begins paying for most services.

For example, if your plan has a $4,000 deductible and you get sick or injured, your insurance company will not pay the first $4,000 of your expenses. You will be responsible for that amount.

Insurance: Formulary

The list of pharmaceuticals that an insurance company will cover under a specific policy.

Insurance: Guaranteed Issue

Requirement that heath insurance companies enroll someone regardless of factors that might predict their use of health care services - such as their health status (i.e. pre-existing conditions) or gender.

It is a protection required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

Under ObamaCare, insurance companies can charge more for some factors such as age.

Insurance: High-Risk Pool

A health insurance plan available to those who cannot obtain health care insurance due to pre-existing conditions.

Insurance: Lifetime Cap

The maximum amount an insurance company will pay to reimburse your health care over your lifetime.

Once the insurance company has paid that amount over your lifetime, they can terminate your policy. You then would be responsible for all of your health care expenses for the rest of your life.

Lifetime caps stopped being an issue in 2011, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) prohibited them.

Insurance: Out-of-Pocket

The amount of something that you pay (i.e. out of your pocket).

Out-of-pocket expenses include deductibles and copayments.

For example, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, there will be $6,350 cap on out-of-pocket expenses for an individual's health care starting in 2015. That means that the most any individual will be required to pay of their own money for health care will be $6,350 in a year - regardless of how much their care (including prescription drugs) costs.

Note: Health care out-of-pocket maximums apply to money paid to health care providers, but not to premiums paid to insurance companies.

Related term: Cost-Sharing.

Insurance: Out-of-Pocket Maximum

The maximum amount of your own money you would need to pay for medical expenses covered by your insurance.

The amount usually is specified in terms of either a year or in a lifetime.

Insurance: Overhead

The amount of your health insurance premium that is not used to pay for health care benefits.

This includes company salaries, executive bonuses, advertising, lobbying, etc.

The premium you pay for a policy is based on the total benefits the company expects to pay out plus the overhead (typically 20 percent).

Insurance: Policy (or Plan)

An insurance policy or plan is a legal document that describes what your medical insurance will pay for, and how much it will pay.

A policy contains several components that determine how much of your own money you must pay for care you receive...

In addition, most policies restrict which providers you are allowed to visit in order to receive full benefits as described by the above terms. If you choose to use a provider not in your policy's network, the insurance company will pay less for your treatment (meaning you most likely will pay more).

Insurance: Premium

A premium simply is another word for what you pay for insurance.

For some types of insurance, premiums are paid yearly. For health insurance, premiums typically are paid monthly.

Determining health care insurance premiums
A health care insurance company calculates premiums by estimating the total benefits they expect to pay out, and then add an administrative overhead (typically 20 percent).

Insurance: Provider Network

A list of health care providers that are available to you under your health insurance policy.

Insurance: Reinsurance

A way of insuring insurance companies - reinsurance effectively limits their losses from insuring sick people who need expensive medical care.

ObamaCare requires insurance companies to cover everyone regardless of health. Rensurance uses public money to pay insurance companies for exess losses to encourage them to charge lower premiums.

Insurance: Rescision

The practice by insurance companies of canceling an insurance policy after the insured person became seriously ill.

This was not supposed to happen, since this type of thing is exactly what insurance policies are meant to protect against. However, if a covered person did become seriously ill, the company would review the person's initial application, and use even the slightest error as justification for the cancellation.

The practice of recision was outlawed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Insurance: Risk Selection

Since insurance companies make money by having customers not using their product, it is in their benefit to insure healthy customers.

One consumer protection of ObamaCare is that insurance companies must insure anyone regardless of their health risks or pre-existing conditions.

ObamaCare also requires every insurance plan to cover essential health benefits. However, they can adjust other aspects such as drug formularies and out-of-pocket expenses.

Insurrection Act

A set of laws enacted in 1807 that allows the president to deploy troops to put down domestic insurrections.

Interest Rate

The primary cost of a loan.

In the simplest example, if you borrow $100 with a 5-percent interest rate, the cost of the loan would be $5 (you would pay back a total of $105).

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The agency responsible for collecting taxes, interpreting tax laws, and enforcing those laws. It is part of the Treasury Department.

For more, visit www.IRS.gov

Internation Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB)

Agency of the Department of Labor (DOL) that manages the department's international roles.

These roles include combating child labor and human trafficking.

Referenced by...
Acosta cuts budget to fight child exploitation (2019-Jul-10)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

A independent organization of several nations' governments created to help nations maintain nuclear safety - whether it is used for energy or weapons.

The IAEA is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

Referenced by...
Government can't account for nuclear weapons material (2018-Jul-27)

International Court of Justice

(Coming)

International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)

(Coming)

International Franchise Association (IFA)

A trade association that advocates favorable laws and policies for large franchises.

The organization has...

o Opposed efforts to make it easier for workers to unionize

o Fought to delay the employer mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and repeal the provision requiring businesses to provide health insurance for employees who work 30 hours a week. Read the introductory letter of their 2014 Annual Report.

o Sued Seattle in 2014 to try to block the city from treating franchises as large businesses under its new $15-an-hour minimum-wage law.

The IFA also is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

(Coming)

International Republican Institute (IRI)

Organization that seeks to influence political outcomes in lesser developed countries.

It is loosely affiliated with the Republican Party

Internet Research Agency

A company based in St. Petersburg, Russia that publishes social media posts attempting to influence political campaigns and discussions.

They typically make these posts pretending to be someone else, and often attempt to incite controversy where none existed before.

The agency was charged in a 2018 indictment with attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Referenced by...
AG summary of Mueller report narrow and non-committal (2019-Mar-24)
Indictment: American demonstrators duped by Russians (2018-Feb-22)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

A company that provides you with access to the internet. This might be an independent service or the company that provides you with cable or satellite television or cell phone service.

Referenced by...
FCC allows internet providers to control content (2017-Dec-15)

Intrater, Andrew

Chief executive officer for Columbus Nova - which is owned by Russian company Renova Group.

On the day that U.S. intelligence agencies announced that the Russian government deliberately attempted to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Intrater donated $250,000 to Donald Trump's inauguration fund.

Intrader is a cousin of Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, Renova Group's owner.

Iran-Contra

Scandal during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

The mechanics of the illegal actions are complex, but this summary will be enough for our purposes...

o Reagan wanted to fund a pro-U.S. force (Contras) attempting to take over the government of Nicaragua, but Congress had disallowed it.

o Meanwhile, the Reagan administration had begun selling weapons to Iran. That also was unlawful due to an arms embargo against Iran.

o The administration then diverted proceeds of the Iran arms sale to fund the Contras.

The affair often is referred to as trading arms for hostages, because Reagan initially justified the arms sales as part of a bargain to free seven American hostages being held in Lebanon. However, evidence later showed that the arms sales began before the hostages were even taken.

It is not known how much Reagan actually knew about the program.

Fourteen Reagan administration officials were indicted. Those who were indicted or whose convictions were not overturned on appeal were pardoned in the final days of the presidency of George H.W. Bush.

Referenced by...
Atty General nominee hard-line, but says Mueller can continue (2019-Jan-14)

IRS Form 1099 (1099)

A tax form used to report income other than wages or salaries, such as interest, dividends, or money earned outside of being an employee.

There are two aspects to 1099 forms. The payer files a 1099 with the IRS, and sends a copy to the person who earned the money. The recipient then reports the income on their tax return.

IRS Form 990 (990)

Tax form that all nonprofit organizations must file each year. Large nonprofits must provide information such as income and compensation of their highest paid executives.

Part of the form - Schedule B lists donors who contributed more than $5,000.

Nonprofits must make their Form 990s available to the public. Want to view Lobby99's? Click here.

IRS Oversight Board

An independent body created by Congress in 1998 to improve how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) serves taxpayers.

It currently consists of nine members...

o The Secretary of the Treasury
o The Commissioner of the IRS
o 7 members appointed by the president to 5-year terms.

Website: www.treasury.gov/IRSOB

Jay, John

The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

He also was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers.

Appointed to latest court by President George Washington

Jefferson, Thomas

Third president of the United States.

Jefferson is generally recognized as the author of the Declaration of Independence.

Jim Crow laws

Laws passed in southern U.S. states that established different rules for blacks and whites. They affected most aspects of life, including voting and where people of color could live, eat, and use public facilities such as transportation, schools, and parks.

The Jim Crow era began in the late 1800s. This type of explicit discrimination ended with a succession of Supreme Court decisions and laws, including...

o The 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education
o The 1964 Civil Rights Act
o The 1965 Voting Rights Act

Johnson Amendment

1954 law that prohibits tax-exempt organizations such as churches and charities from supporting (or opposing) political candidates.

It is named after then Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who introduced the amendment.

Referenced by...
Trump: Religions should be able to endorse candidates (2017-Feb-02)

Johnson, Lyndon

Lyndon Johnson was the 36th president of the United States.

Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT)

A Congressional committee made up of members of both the House of Representatives and Senate that researches issues regarding taxation.

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

(Coming)

Jordan, Adalberto

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Jury Selection and Service Act

1968 law that defined the selection process for federal juries.

Among its provisions, it prohibits the exclusion of potential jurors "on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status."

Justice in Aging

A nonprofit organization that fights poverty of senior citizens through legal advocacy.

Kagan, Elena

Supreme Court justice since 2010.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Kaiser Family Foundation

A non-partisan nonprofit organization that researches issues focusing on U.S. health care policy. It is not associated with health care provider Kaiser Permanente.

Kantar Media

An company that analyzes advertising in the media. Their Campaign Media Analysis Group analyzes advertising for political campaigns.

Katsyv, Denis

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)

Kavanaugh, Brett

Supreme Court justice since 2018.

Prior to his term on the Supreme Court, he was a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals - appointed by President George W. Bush.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Referenced by...
Court to review ethics complaints against Kavanaugh (2018-Oct-11)
Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court (2018-Oct-06)
Kavanaugh won't say whether Trump can pardon himself (2018-Sep-05)
Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court (2018-Jul-09)

Kaveladze, Irakly (Ike)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Keenan, Barbara Milano

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2010.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Kelly, Timothy

Judge for the United States district court in the District of Columbia since 2017.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Referenced by...
Judge orders White House to allow banned reporter (2018-Nov-16)

Kemp, Brian

Georgia governor elected in 2018.

As a Republican candidate against Democrat Stacey Abrams, Kemp also was the Georgia Secretary of State in charge of the state's elections.

Referenced by...
Georgia cancels election for judge (2020-May-19)
GA candidate - also overseeing election - blocks 53,000 voters (2018-Oct-10)

Kennedy, Anthony

Supreme Court justice 1988 - 2018. Kennedy resigned from the Court in 2018.

Appointed to latest court by President Ronald Reagan

Referenced by...
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Resigns (2018-Jun-27)

Kennedy, Justin

Son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kennedy worked for more than 10 years at Deutsche Bank. At one point he was head of the the bank's real estate capital markets organization at the time Donald Trump was borrowing more than $1 billion from the bank.

He later became co-CEO of LNR property, which in 2011 invested in a failing property owned by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner'.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Resigns (2018-Jun-27)

Kent, George

Deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

From 2015 to 2019, Kent was deputy chief of mission in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Kerik, Bernard

Former New York City police commissioner under then-mayor Rudy Giuliani.

In 2004 Kerik was nominated by President George W. Bush to be secretary of Homeland Security, but a week later withdrew from consideration amid allegations of corruption - including lobbying city officials on behalf of a construction company with suspected ties to organized crime.

In 2009 Keric pleaded guilty to felonies including corruption and tax fraud. He served three years in federal prison.

Referenced by...
Trump pardons 11 - most convicted of corruption (2020-Feb-15)

Kernan, Joseph

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)

Keystone XL Pipeline

(Coming)

KGB

The main internal security and intelligence agency (as well as secret police) of the former Soviet Union.

It operated from 1954 - 1991.

Khusyaynova, Elena Alekseevna

Russian charged with attempting to interfere with the 2018 midterm elections.

The charges allege she managed funds for the Russian misinformation program Project Lakhta.

Referenced by...
Russian charged with interfering in 2018 elections (2018-Oct-19)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Kilimnik, Konstantin

A business associate of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates in Ukraine.

He is believed to have ties to Russian intelligence.

Referenced by...
Court filing reveals Trump campaign collusion with Russians (2019-Jan-09)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Kim, Sallie

Federal magistrate judge appointed in 2015 to an 8-year term.

Referenced by...
Gov. continued to pursue loans from defrauded students (2019-Oct-24)

King v. Burwell

2015 Supreme Court case to decide whether the intent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was to provide subsidies only to people in states that provide their own health insurance exchange.

Click here to read our discussion of this case.

King, Robert B.

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 1998.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Kislyak, Sergey

Russian ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2017.

Referenced by...
Full Mueller report released. Here's what it says. (2019-Apr-18)
Dozens of Trump aides lose top-secret clearances (2018-Feb-28)
Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI, may testify against Trump (2017-Dec-01)
Kushner omits Russian meetings on clearance application (2017-Apr-06)
House Intel Committee cancels Trump-Russia public hearing (2017-Mar-27)
House Intelligence Committee to hold public hearing on Russia (2017-Mar-07)
AG Sessions recuses self from Russia investigation (2017-Mar-02)
Nat'l Security Adviser Flynn resigns - what we know (2017-Feb-13)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Klokov, Dmitri

Russian weightlifter. He won the silver medal in the 2008 Olympics and the gold medal at the 2015 World Championships.

In 2015, he offered to introduce presidential candidate Donald Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Know Your IX

An organization that works with students and sexual-abuse survivors to eliminate sexual and dating violence in schools.

Its name comes from Title IX - the 1972 law guaranteeing equal protections in public education from all genders.

Kobach, Kris

Kansas Secretary of State 2011-present.

In 2017, Kobach was named by President Donald Trump to be vice chair of his Election Integrity Commission.

Kobach was one of the prime architects of Arizona SB-1070 - the 2010 Arizona law requiring police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is "reasonable suspicion" they are not in the U.S. legally.

Referenced by...
Kris Kobach funded by white supremacists (2018-Nov-05)
Kansas city moves polling place, directs voters to wrong site (2018-Oct-26)
Voting fraud fabricator named to investigate voting fraud (2017-Jul-17)

Koch Brothers

Charles Koch and David Koch are the owners of Koch Industries.

The Kansas-based company makes much of its money in energy production, but subsidiaries also manufacture products with mainstream name brands, including Quilted Northern, Dixie, Brawny, Zee, Sparkle, and Stainmaster.

In 1980, David Kock was the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential candidate. The party's platform included abolishing...

o All taxation (and terminating all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion)
o Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
o The Occupational Safety and Health Act
o Minimum-wage laws
o Compulsory insurance or tax-supported plans to provide health services
o Laws requiring the use of "self-protection" equipment (safety belts, air bags, helmets).
o Welfare programs and other services to those with children and in poverty.
o Compulsory education
o Usury laws

The platform called for privatizing all public schools, roads, railroads, inland waterways, and "the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households."

It also called for eliminating these agencies...

The Koch brothers have continued that mission of achieving those goals by contributing and raising billions of dollars for conservative organizations and to help the campaigns of Republican candidates for law-making offices. They were expected to spend almost $1 billion in the 2016 presidential election.

They also are strong supporters American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). A Koch Industries rep has served on ALEC's Private Enterprise Advisory Council for more than 20 years, and the company is believed be on of ALEC's biggest funders (although the group is not required to disclose its donors).

Kremlin

The home of the Russian president.

It also is used to refer to the Russian government, similarly to the way White House is used to refer to the executive branch of the U.S. government.

Referenced by...
Court filing reveals Trump campaign collusion with Russians (2019-Jan-09)
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)

Ku Klux Klan (KKK)

(Coming)

Kushner, Jared

Ivanka Trump's husband.

After becoming president, Donald Trump appointed Kushner to be a senior adviser to the Trump administration.

Referenced by...
Lock her up? The risk of private email servers. (2019-Oct-28)
Administration members accused of illegal campaign activity (2019-Jun-13)
Full Mueller report released. Here's what it says. (2019-Apr-18)
Trump defends Saudis while taking their money (2018-Dec-10)
Lawyer: Trump offered Putin $50M penthouse in Moscow tower (2018-Nov-29)
Dozens of Trump aides lose top-secret clearances (2018-Feb-28)
Trump attorney asked for Kremlin help on deal (2017-Aug-29)
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)
House Intelligence Committee to hold public hearing on Russia (2017-Mar-07)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Labor Day

(Coming)

Labor Force

The Labor Force is is made up of all people age 16 and over who are employed or unemployed.

Lagoa, Barbara

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Referenced by...
Florida law restricting felon voting upheld (2020-Sep-11)

Lanza, Bryan

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump eases sanctions on Russian companies (2019-Jan-10)

Lavrov, Sergey

Foreign minister of Russia since 2004. He was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He was the Russian representative to the United Nations (UN) from 1994-2004.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Leadership PAC

A type of Political Action Committee (PAC) established by a political figure to increase their influence.

They can be used to pay for things that campaigns and Congressional offices are prohibited from paying for - including personal expenses.

League of Conservation Voters

A 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that advocates for sound environmental laws and policies.

Among the ways it does this are working with the federal and local governments and supporting candidates who will support policies that protect the environment.

Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund

A fund that provides money to address petroleum releases from underground storage tanks that are regulated by the federal government. It is paid for by a 1-cent tax on each gallon of fuel.

Its functions include...

o Overseeing and enforcing cleanups.
o Paying for emergency cleanups or cleanups where the owner or operator is unable to.
o Preventing leaks

Legal Financial Obligation (LFO)

Fines, fees, and restitution imposed as part of a sentence against a person convicted of a crime.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court keeps Florida ex-felons out of voting booth (2020-Jul-16)

Legislation, Legislature

A legislature is a group with the power to make laws. In the United States, this can be Congress, or each house (Senate or House of Representatives) individually. At the state level, it can be state senates, assemblies, etc.

Legislation is a law that is passed by a legislature.

Leval, Pierre

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Referenced by...
Appeals court: Emoluments lawsuit must be heard (2019-Sep-13)

Leviev, Lev Avnerovich

Russian-born Israeli billionaire in the real estate and diamond businesses (he is nicknamed the King of Diamonds).

Leviev was involved in real estate deals with Prevezon Holdings - the subject of a Russian money laundering scheme - and Jared Kushner.

He is a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

LGBT (LGBT)

Acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. Other initials often are added for various alternative labels of sexuality.

A term generally used when referring to those seeking civil rights on the same level as those who are heterosexual.

Referenced by...
HUD seeks rollback of Obama homeless LGBT protections (2019-May-22)
Bill would prohibit sexuality-based discrimination (2019-May-17)

Libertarian Party

A U.S. political party that advocates to minimize government involvement in public policy areas such as consumer protections and social programs.

Website: www.LP.org

Library of Congress

Website: www.loc.gov/

Line-Item Veto

(Coming)

Linick, Steve

(Coming)

Loan Servicer

A company that handles the administrative details of a loan, such as payment terms, billing, etc.

Local Government Assessment Tool

A computer assessment tool originally designed to help city governments provide adequate affordable housing and decrease racial segregation.

It was developed to help communities meet their obligations under the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule by helping them discover clusters of poverty and segregation.

Referenced by...
HUD takes back door to suspend anti-segregation program (2018-May-18)

Logan Act

A law established in 1799 making it illegal for a U.S. citizen to negotiate policy with foreign governments without authorization.

The law reads...
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

Referenced by...
Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI, may testify against Trump (2017-Dec-01)

LOL

Acronym for Laughing Out Loud, it's a term commonly used in online conversations.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

(Coming)

Luck, Robert

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Referenced by...
Florida law restricting felon voting upheld (2020-Sep-11)

Lutsenko, Yuriy

Ukrainian Prosecutor General from 2016 - 2019.

Lynch

To kill someone by mob action without legal authority for an alleged offense.

Referenced by...
House passes anti-lynching bill (2020-Feb-28)

Macgregor, Douglas

(Coming)

Madison, James

James Madison was the forth U.S. president.

Also...

o Was Secretary of State under Pres. Thomas Jefferson
o Was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers.

Magistrage Judge

Temporary federal judges that perform most duties of permanently-appointed judges.

As opposed to permanent judges appointed by the president to a lifetime term, magistrate judges are appointed to 4- or 8-year terms by a panel of judges.

Magnitsky Act

2012 law that prohibits certain Russian officials from entering the United States or accessing illegally obtained money they have in U.S. banks.

It was named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died under suspicious circumstances in a Russian prison after uncovering a money laundering scheme in which Russian mobsters brought millions of dollars into the U.S. by buying New York luxury properties.

The Russian government retaliated for the law by banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

Referenced by...
Bill limits president's power to lift Russian sanctions (2017-Aug-02)
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)

Magnitsky, Sergei

A Russian lawyer who investigated a money laundering scheme by Russian officials in 2007.

He was imprisoned by the Russian officials, and later died in prison under suspicious circumstances.

The 2012 Magnitsky Act, which barred these Russians from the United States and access to U.S. banks, was named for him.

Maguire, Joseph

Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) since Aug 2019.

He replaced Dan Coats, who resigned.

Maguire assumed the position after President Donald Trump twice bypassed Principal Deputy Director Sue Gordon - despite the law requiring Gordon to become the acting director.

Maguire is a former Navy vice admiral. After retiring from the Navy, he became an executive for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

He most recently was head of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

Referenced by...
Trump pressured Ukranian president to investigate Biden (2019-Sep-23)
New intel director after mandated replacement resigns (2019-Aug-15)

Manafort, Paul

Campaign manager for Donald Trump from from March 2016 until August 2016. He left the campaign due to his connections with Russia.

Referenced by...
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)
Full Mueller report released. Here's what it says. (2019-Apr-18)
Manafort indicted on NY fraud charges (2019-Mar-13)
Russia releases sex worker after silence pledge about Trump (2019-Feb-15)
Trump eases sanctions on Russian companies (2019-Jan-10)
Court filing reveals Trump campaign collusion with Russians (2019-Jan-09)
Lawyer: Trump offered Putin $50M penthouse in Moscow tower (2018-Nov-29)
Manafort provided inside info to Trump on Mueller probe (2018-Nov-28)
Former Trump campaign head pleads guilty, will cooperate (2018-Sep-14)
Trump's former campaign manager convicted (2018-Aug-21)
Campaign aide told Trump about Russian connections (2017-Oct-30)
Former Trump campaign aides indicted for Ukraine deals (2017-Oct-30)
Trump attorney asked for Kremlin help on deal (2017-Aug-29)
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)
Senate subpoenas documents on Russia (2017-May-10)
House Intel Committee cancels Trump-Russia public hearing (2017-Mar-27)
Paul Manafort proposed influence plan to Russia 10 years ago (2017-Mar-22)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Mandamus

An order from a court ordering a lower judge or government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct a mistake.

Mandate

The Mandate is a term for the provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to have at least a minimum level of health care insurance.

Although a vital component of the health care law, the mandate has become such a controversial issue that we have devoted an an entire page to explain it.

Mann Act

Law enacted in 1910 making it a felony to cross a state line with "any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose."

It has since been amended to change the purposes to prostitution or illegal sexual acts.

Manning, Chelsea (Bradley)

In 2010, then Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning gave stolen classified information he stole to WikiLeaks, including this video showing U.S. helicopters killing civilians in Iraq.



Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage and theft.

In 2014, Manning, who served in the military as a male but is transgender, legally became Chelsea Manning.

In January 2018, President Barack Obama commuted Manning's sentence. She was released from prison in May 2018.

Referenced by...
WikiLeaks founder indicted, removed from embassy in England (2019-Apr-12)

Mar-a-Lago

Donald Trump's luxury resort in Florida.

As president, Trump has routinely used Mar-a-Lago to host official visitors or perform other official U.S. business.

Referenced by...
Trump profits from Secret Service (2020-Sep-20)
Trump associates charged with campaign violations (2019-Oct-10)
New pedophile charges against Trump friend Epstein (2019-Jul-08)
Trump profits most from his properties that he visits (2017-Jul-18)
Bill would require presidents to disclose visitors (2017-Mar-23)
Issue: Trump's Enrichment

Marcus, Stanley

Senior judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Marginal Tax Rate

Different portions of your taxable income are taxed at different percentages. These were the income tax rates that you paid on your 2012 taxable income...

10% : Only on the first $8,700 of taxable income
15% : Only on the portion higher than $8,700 and lower than $35,350
25% : Only on the portion higher than $35,350 and lower than $85,650
28% : Only on the portion higher than $85,650 and lower than $178,650
33% : Only on the portion higher than $178,650 and lower than $388,350
35% : Only on the portion higher than $388,350

To see how it actually works, watch this short video...



The highest tax rate someone pays (i.e. the percentage on the chunk of their income above a certain level) is known as their marginal tax rate.

Again, keep in mind that nobody pays the marginal tax rate on all of their income. So when someone mentions a top (i.e. marginal) tax rate, they're talking about the rate paid only on the top portion of income.

Martial Law

When the military assumes authority over civilian institutions such as law enforcement.

Martin, Beverly B.

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Referenced by...
Florida law restricting felon voting upheld (2020-Sep-11)

Material Unaccounted For (MUF)

The U.S. military keeps track of how much plutonium nuclear weapons companies produce, and how much of it the government knows the location of.

The difference is referred to as MUF.

Referenced by...
Government can't account for nuclear weapons material (2018-Jul-27)

Mattis, James

Mattis was Secretary of Defense under President Donald Trump from 2017-2019.

Before that, he was Marine Corps general.

Mazars USA

Accounting firm for Donald Trump

Referenced by...
Court: President can't ignore subpoenas (2020-Jul-09)

McCain-Feingold Act

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (usually referred to as McCain-Feingold) sets restrictions for contributions to campaigns for federal offices.

McCormack, Brian

Former chief of staff to Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

McEnany, Kayleigh

(Coming)

Meadows, Mark

(Coming)

Measles (Rubeola)

A very infectious disease cased by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms generally occur 1-2 weeks after a person is infected. They can resemble a cold or a flu, such as a cough, runny nose, watery eyes, high fever, and a rash.

Measles, however, can turn much more serious...

o About 25 percent of people infected will require hospitalization.

o About 1 out of 1,000 will develop brain swelling that can lead to brain damage

o More than 1 out of 1,000 will die, even with the best care

Measles can be prevented by the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Referenced by...
Measles on the rise. Culprit no surprise. (2019-Apr-30)

Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine (MMR)

A vaccine that protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella.

The measles vaccination program began in 1963.... Before then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 3 million people got measles each year in the United States.

Since then, there has been a 99 percent reduction in measles cases.

Is the reduction due to the vaccinations? Measles still is common in countries that do not have vaccination programs.

Despite their effectiveness, there have been organized efforts to discredit vaccines with misinformation, whether about personal freedoms or perceived harm from the vaccines.

Myths about potential dangers, however, have been completely debunked.

For a simple way to understand the effectiveness of vaccines, watch this video by magicians Penn and Teller...

Referenced by...
Measles on the rise. Culprit no surprise. (2019-Apr-30)

Medicaid

A program that provides health care for those with low income. Each state runs its own Medicaid program, which is funded by both federal and state taxes.

Related term: Entitlement

Medicaid Expansion

The provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that provides virtually free health care to those who earn less than the Poverty Level.

It does this by having the federal government pay each state to expand its Medicaid program. The federal government would cover 100 percent of the states' costs through 2016 and at least 90 percent on a permanent basis.

In the 2012 Supreme Court decision National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the majority of justices ruled that the federal government could not force states to accept expanded Medicaid.

As of 2016, more than 14 million people in just over half of the U.S. states receive health care due to
Medicaid Expansion.

The rest of the states have rejected Medicaid Expansion - leaving many of their poorest residents without health care coverage.

For more about Medicaid Expansion and other parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, see our discussion.

Medicare

The government-run health insurance program that serves primarily those 65-years-old and older.

Related term: Entitlement

Medicare For All

A term used to describe a single-payer health care system that would cover all Americans.

Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)

Memorial Day

(Coming)

Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)

Merit Systems Protection Board

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Election monitoring agency prevented from acting (2019-Aug-30)

Messitte, Peter J.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Metal Level

Health care plans available under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are classified by the level of benefits they provide. The levels are determined by actuarial value. These classifications are..

o Bronze: The policies with the lowest premiums. These policies have the highest deductible and other out-of-pocket costs, so they typically are best for young people and others who do not expect to require significant medical care in the coming year. They have an actuarial value of at least 60 percent.

o Silver (Actuarial Value at least 70 percent)

o Gold

o Platinum: The policies with the highest premiums. You will pay more up front, but if you require significant medical care, you will pay less out-of-pocket with these plans.

Because these classifications are named for metals, they often are referred to as metal levels.

Michigan Grassroots Alliance

Michigan-based organization that supports right-wing causes.

Microbead

A tiny plastic particle (typically smaller than a millimeter) used in cosmetic products such as liquid soap and toothpaste - generally added for exfoliation.

Because most of their use is for personal cleansing, they end up in bodies of water.

They were banned in the United States starting in 2017.

Referenced by...
Microbeads in soaps and cosmetics banned (2015-Dec-31)

Microplastic

Tiny (smaller than 5 millimeter) bits of plastic that are the byproducts of other products containing plastic.

Some estimates have predicted there to be more than 200 thousand tons of microplastics in the world's oceans. Sources of this microplastic pollution include...

o Microscopic fibers from your clothes that either are washed off in the laundry or break off into the air.

o Tire dust that gets washed into sewers.

o Paints, such as dust from road markings.

o Larger pieces of plastic such as forks, straws, bags, takeout containers, and beverage bottles in waters that break apart into smaller and smaller pieces.

o Microbeads from personal cleansing products.

Mifsud, Joseph

A professor and foreign policy expert with ties to Russian government officials.

Referenced by...
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Military Lending Act

A series of laws intended to protect members of the Armed Forces from predatory lending practices.

2006
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 required the Department of Defense (DoD) to compile a report on predatory lending practices against members of the Armed Forces and their families, as well as their affects on service members. It also required the DoD to present a strategy to protect service members (including education) from predatory lending.
The Military Lending Act is Subtitle I (Consumer Protection Matters), Sec. 579 of the bill.

The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 instilled actual protections for service members, including a maximum interest rate, the ability to sue a lender in court, and other significant protections.

2016
Expanded protections and the types of loans covered - including credit cards.

Referenced by...
CFBP to stop oversight of predatory lending to military members (2018-Aug-10)

Miller, Christopher C.

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)

Miller, Stephen

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Understanding Trump advisor shows genesis of policies (2018-Aug-29)

Millian, Sergei

(Coming)

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Agency of the Department of Labor (DOL) that works to prevent illness, injury, and death from mining.

Minimum Wage

The minimum amount that an employee must be paid for an hour of work.

There are some employees who are not required to be paid the minimum wage, such as restaurant workers who receive tips.

The federal minimum wage has been increased several times over the years. See this chart for a list of all the changes.

Note: When News in Five discusses policies concerning the minimum wage, we are referring to the federal minimum wage. Individual states may enact laws that set a minimum wage higher than the one set by the federal government.

Referenced by...
Bill would require companies to pay for employees' govt aid (2018-Sep-05)
Labor rule would change who owns tips (2017-Dec-05)

Ministry of Internal Affairs

Russian national police force that maintains the country's labor camps.

Mnuchin, Steven

Secretary of the Treasury under President Donald Trump.

He had no prior government experience.

Before becoming treasury secretary, Mnuchin ran Dune Capital, a privately owned hedge fund. Prior to that he worked for 17 years at Goldman Sachs investment bank, where he was a partner.

In 2009, Mnuchin led the group that bought failed subprime lender IndyMac, renaming the bank OneWest. Over the next six years, Mnuchin and his fellow investors doubled their money. During that time the bank foreclosed on more than 35,000 mortgages - forcing families from their homes. Federal regulators charged the bank with filing false documents during foreclosures.

Mnuchin also was the executive producer of movies American Sniper and Mad Max: Fury Road.

During his Senate confirmation process, Mnuchin failed to disclose $100 million in assets on disclosure documents required by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). He also did not mention his role as a director of an investment fund located in a tax haven.

Referenced by...
Law requires Trump to disclose taxes. But go make him. (2019-Feb-26)
Trump eases sanctions on Russian companies (2019-Jan-10)
Senate confirms Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary (2016-Nov-30)
Issue: Donald Trump Presidency

Moley, Kevin

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs in the Trump administration.

He previously had been Ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva in the George W. Bush administration.

In 2003, he wrote an opinion article about Guantánamo Bay, claiming that prisoners there are treated well and denying the use of torture to coerce prisoners to confess.

He also was a senior adviser to former Vice President Richard (Dick) Cheney during the 2000 presidential campaign.

Referenced by...
State Dept. harassed employees for political leanings (2019-Aug-15)

Money Laundering

Taking money obtained from criminal activity (dirty money) and "laundering" it to make it appear as though it were legally obtained (clean money).

Criminals use a variety of methods, including real estate purchases, cash smuggling to offshore banks, and deposits in businesses that deal in large amounts of cash. They often use shell companies and complicated layers of financial transactions to disguise the true source of the money.

Methods of money laundering have interesting names. They include...

Mirror Trades
The scheme requires the cooperation of the bank involved. Here's how it works...

o A Russian client buys a few million dollars worth of a stable stock from a branch of a bank in Russia - paying in (dirty) rubles.

o Almost immediately after, a non-Russian client sells the same amount of the stock in a branch outside of Russia - receiving payment in (clean) dollars.

In reality, the two clients are the same.

Global Laundromat
This scheme involves two shell companies and another cooperating company.

One shell company lends (dirty) money to the other. The loan is guaranteed by the third company. When the borrowing company defaults on the loan, the lending company sues. A court then orders the insuring company to pay the lending company the (clean) amount that was guaranteed.

Referenced by...
House to investigate possible Trump money laundering (2019-Feb-07)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Monopoly

A situation in which there is only one entity that provides a service or product - thus they have no competition.

For the purposes of our discussions here, there are two basic types of monopolies...

o Private monopolies exist to make a profit. They have incentive to provide the most inferior product at the highest price. The (rarely enforced) Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits these monopolies that are created through unfair business practices.

o Public monopolies (such as those run by a government) exist to serve the people. They have the opposite goal... to provide the best "product" at the lowest price.

Of course public monopolies don't always do the best job, but there's nothing to substantiate that professionals employed by a private company would do any better of a job than professionals employed by the government. They merely have different employers

Montana Voter and Candidate Pledge

A statement of policy written by conservative activists in Montana. They ask candidates for state office to sign it.

Among the policies that those signing the document agree to...

o Have prospective staff and appointees vetted by a "third-party qualification process".

o Sell state lands... with the revenue used to reduce income and property taxes.

o Privatize entitlement programs and state pensions and remove them from the state budget.

o "Remove all Federal, U.N., and foreign influences from Montana public education", while moving toward charter schools, home schooling, educational savings accounts, and "alternate teacher certification".

o Oppose agencies of the Department of the Interior (DOI), including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), "United States Park Service", and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

The pledge's first paragraph is an agreement to resign their office if they "fail to keep their promise of fidelity to the terms of this Pledge."

Morrison, Tim

(Coming)

Mortgage

A loan used to buy property such as a house. It typically is paid back over many years (for example, a 30-year mortgage used to buy a house).

Mortgage Backed Security

When an investment bank or Government Sponsored Enterprise buys a bundle of mortgages from a lender, they in turn sell shares of those mortgages to investors. These investments are backed by the value of the property the mortgages are for. They therefore are called mortgage backed securities.

Theoretically, they are safe investments because they are made up of many mortgages. If only a few borrowers defaulted, there still would be enough pay investors their profit.

A few things happened however, that contributed to 2006 mortgage crisis (this is not the complete story, but we're presenting a small slice of it here to help understand mortgage backed securities)...

o Lenders issued mortgages to people who could not afford them. These included loans for which no income documentation was required.

o The bad loans were packaged into mortgage backed securities. Rating agencies (who are paid by the investment banks) rated the securities highly.

o Many borrowers whose mortgages were part of the security could not make their payments, while property values fell. Therefore the securities that investors bought became worthless.

Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP)

An insurance premium on mortgages backed by Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance. The premium is paid by the homeowner.

Referenced by...
Trump reverses savings on mortgage premiums (2017-Jan-20)
FHA insurance price cut will save homeowners hundreds (2017-Jan-09)

Moss, Randolph

Judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since 2014.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Referenced by...
Judge supports relief for defrauded federal student loan borrowers (2018-Oct-01)

Mother Theresa

(Coming)

Motion to Proceed to Consider

Usually called a motion to proceed, it is a proposal in the Senate to bring a bill up for consideration when there is opposition to the bill.

Because the motion to proceed is itself open to debate, it can be subject to a filibuster.

Motz, Diana Gribbon

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 1994.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Mueller III, Robert

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director from 2001 to 2013.

In May 2017, after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to be special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

Referenced by...
Trump pardons longtime friend Roger Stone (2020-Jul-10)
Court filing reveals Trump campaign collusion with Russians (2019-Jan-09)
Manafort provided inside info to Trump on Mueller probe (2018-Nov-28)
Trump's former campaign manager convicted (2018-Aug-21)
Trump's former lawyer pleads guilty, implicates president in felonies (2018-Aug-21)
Republicans discuss protecting Trump from Russia probe (2018-Aug-08)
Trump meets Putin privately under shadow of indictments (2018-Jul-16)
Indictment: American demonstrators duped by Russians (2018-Feb-22)
Trump ordered Mueller fired. White House counsel refused (2018-Jan-25)
Senate bills would make it hard for Trump to fire Mueller (2017-Aug-03)
Special Counsel to investigate Trump-Russia connection (2017-May-17)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Mueller Report

In May 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign.

In March 2019, he completed his role in the investigation and submitted the report of it to the Attorney General.

That approximately 400-page report is referred to as the Mueller Report.

In April 2019, the Attorney General released a redacted version of the report to Congress and the public.

Referenced by...
Full Mueller report released. Here's what it says. (2019-Apr-18)

Mukasey, Marc

Personal attorney to Donald Trump and his organization.

He is a former law partner of Rudy Giuliani.

Mulvaney, Michael John (Mick)

John Michael (Mick) Mulvaney was representative from South Carolina before becoming director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Donald Trump.

Referenced by...
CFBP to stop oversight of predatory lending to military members (2018-Aug-10)
Administration looks to change name of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2018-Jun-11)
CFPB enforcements dwindle under Trump appointee (2018-Apr-11)
CFPB top salaries under Mulvaney soar (2018-Apr-05)
Who is head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? (2017-Nov-27)
Senate confirms Rep. Mick Mulvaney to direct OMB (2016-Dec-16)

Must-Pass Legislation

A bill that if not passed will result in a significantly detrimental situation. These bills usually are those that fund large programs or agencies, so that if the bill does not pass funding for these programs or agencies would stop once the existing funding expired.

Often Congress will attach a rider to a must-pass bill as a way to enact a controversial provision that either would not pass Congress or be signed by the president on its own.

NAACP

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination."

Nader, George

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Naftogaz

Ukraine's state-owned national oil and gas company.

National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

A nonprofit organization made up of scientists. It was established in 1863 to provide independent, objective advice to policymakers on scientific and technological issues.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Government agency that manages the United States space program.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to end homelessness in the United States.

National Archives

Website: www.archives.gov

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Referenced by...
Trump reverses savings on mortgage premiums (2017-Jan-20)

National Center for Transgender Equality

Organization that works to end discrimination and violence against transgender people.

National Centers for Environmental Information

Website: www.NCEI.NOAA.gov

National Change-of-Address (NCOA)

(Coming)

National Climate Assessment

A government report on climate change and its impacts on the United States.

It is published by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) every four years.

Referenced by...
Climate report shows impacts on daily life (2018-Nov-23)

National Coalition for Men (NCFM)

Organization stating it is "dedicated to the removal of harmful gender based stereotypes, especially as they impact boys, men, their families and those who love them."

According to its website, the organization addresses issues such as pay inequality between genders, domestic violence against males, and false accusations of rape.

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

A non-partisan organization that provides information to state legislators to help them evaluate policy options.

All state legislators and their staff members are members.

National Constitution Center

A nonprofit organization established by Congress to "disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis in order to increase the awareness and understanding of the Constitution among the American people.".

The Constitution Center Museum is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania near Independence Hall.

National Consumer Assistance Plan

An agreement announced in March, 2015 between the three major credit reporting agencies to make credit reports more accurate and help consumers correct errors in their credit information.

National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)

Agency under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) that integrates intelligence related to terrorism.

Senate confirmation required for directors

National Do Not Call Registry

A list of phone numbers that telemarketers are not allowed to call. It was implemented in 2004 as a result of the 2003 Do-Not-Call Registry Bill.

Even if you register your phone number, some calls still are permitted...

o Calls from companies you recently have purchased things from

o Calls which aren't trying to sell you something

o Calls by (or for) non-profit organizations.

The list is primarily for residential landline phones. Companies are not permitted to call mobile phones (though you still may add a mobile phone number to the list). Once you add your phone number to the list, it will remain there until you remove it or no longer have that phone number.

National Economic Council

(Coming)

National Emergency

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump's national emergency will divert billions to border wall (2019-Feb-15)
Issue: National Emergencies

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

1969 law that promotes enhancing the environment.

It created the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

National Guard

A reserve force of the U.S. military. It is organized by state.

Members typically live as civilians, serving one weekend per month. But they can be called at any time (either by the president or their state's governor) to deal with domestic emergencies or overseas combat missions.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The NHTSA is the federal agency responsible for regulating cars and other motor vehicles. Issues the agency deals with include...

o Safety standards
o Fuel economy
o Car-theft prevention
o Consumer information

The NHTSA was created by the 1970 Highway Safety Act, and is part of the Department of Transportation.

For more, visit their website at www.nhtsa.gov.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

(Coming)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

It coordinates all federally funded agricultural research.

It was created by the 2008 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (also referred to as the 2008 Farm Bill).

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

An agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that performs health-related research.

It is made up of more than 25 separate organizations called Institutes and Centers.

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

1935 law that protects the rights of private sector employees to form or join a union and to bargain collectively.


Graphic source: U.S. Dept. of Labor

Click on the above poster for a larger version.

Referenced by...
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

Federal agency created to prevent unfair labor practices and resolve disputes between labor unions and companies. It ensures that employers follow the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.

The agency is run by five members, each appointed to a 5-year term.

For more information, visit www.NLRB,gov.

National Monument

An area of land - considered to be of archeological, scientific, or historic interest - owned by and protected by the federal government.

The 1906 Antiquities Act gave the president the authority to designate federal lands as national monuments.

They are similar to national parks, except national parks are designated by Congress.

Lands designated as national monuments cannot be leased for activities such as mining, drilling, logging, or ranching. However, if these activities were taking place at the time a president declares the land a national monument, they normally can continue.


Data Source: National Parks Conservation Association (via fivethirtyeight.com)

Referenced by...
Administration proposes land sale from national monument (2018-Aug-15)

National Monument: Bears Ears

A 1.35 million acre area in Utah. Indigenous people lived on the land for thousands of years, leaving artifacts that date back 5,000 years. It also is a recreational visitor attraction.

Bear Ears also leases land for grazing and oil and gas extraction.

In Dec. 2016, President Barack Obama invoked the Antiquities Act to designate it a national monument. That means existing leases can continue, but no new leases can be issued.

In 2016, Rep. Rob Bishop introduced an alternative plan that would allow for mineral extraction, energy development, and road construction at Bears Ears.

Referenced by...
Administration proposes land sale from national monument (2018-Aug-15)
Trump orders review of National Monuments (2017-Apr-26)

National Monument: Grand Staircase-Escalante

A national monument in Utah.

It was established in 1996 by President Bill Clinton under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

Referenced by...
Administration proposes land sale from national monument (2018-Aug-15)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Website: www.NOAA.gov

National Park

An area set aside by the federal government for conservation.

National parks are designated by Congress, as opposed to national monuments, which are designated by a president.

National Park Service

Referenced by...
Changed regulation could quash protests (2018-Oct-15)

National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)

A nonprofit whose mission is to protect U.S. national parks.

National Prayer Breakfast

Annual event put on by an organization known as The Fellowship or The Family.

It started in 1953 under the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower.

Though based on the Christian religion, the breakfast itself is inclusive of other religions. It has, however, been used to advance political causes.

In 1995, during the Bill Clinton administration,
Mother Theresa used the breakfast to preach against abortion.

In 2017, President Trump promised at the breakfast to eliminate the law that prohibits tax-exempt religions (and other charities) from participating in elections.

Most of the significant actions, however take place side events around the breakfast - where lobbyists and leaders of various interests meet with associates of the president.

Referenced by...
Russian with ties to NRA, Kremlin charged as foreign agent (2018-Jul-18)
Trump: Religions should be able to endorse candidates (2017-Feb-02)

National Public Radio (NPR)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Did Putin say he ordered U.S. election interference? (2018-Jul-30)

National Registry of Exonerations

A project of the University of Michigan Law School that provides details of every known exoneration (a case in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence) in the United States since 1989.

National Rifle Association (NRA)

Website: home.NRA.org

Referenced by...
Trump loosens restrictions on elephant hunting (2018-Mar-05)

National School Lunch Program

A federal program that reimburses public and non-profit private schools for providing nutritionally balanced meals to children.

Children from families with incomes less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level can receive free lunches. Those from families with slightly higher incomes can receive lunch for approximately a half-dollar.

National Security Adviser

The senior advisor to the President on issues regarding national security.

The formal title of the position is Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

National Security Agency (NSA)

Website: www.NSA.gov

National Security Council

The President's primary forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters.

It is chaired by the President. Attendees include the...

o Vice President
o Secretary of State
o Secretary of Defense
o Secretary of the Treasury
o Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
o Director of National Intelligence
o National Security Advisor

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC)

Organization the researches "our world's frozen realms" and provides data on its findings.

Referenced by...
Arctic summer ice will be gone in just decades (2020-Oct-13)

National Taxpayer Advocate

(Coming)

National Trade Council (NTC)

A White House office created in 2017 by newly-elected President Donald Trump. It is unclear at this time what role the NTC will play.

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)

1993 law making it easier to register to vote.

National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA)

Organization founded in 1869 to advocate for women having the right to vote.

National Women's Law Center (NWLC)

Organization that advocates for women's rights

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical assistance to farmers and other land managers.

It formerly was called the Soil Conservation Service.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Website: www.NRDC.org

Navalny, Alexei

A Russian lawyer and anti-Putin activist.

Referenced by...
Russia releases sex worker after silence pledge about Trump (2019-Feb-15)

Net Neutrality

In simplest terms, net neutrality is your ability to reach any online service you want without interference from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) being used.

Under net neutrality, all internet traffic is transmitted to you the exact same way. An ISP cannot favor any particular service or website.

For example, under net neutrality....

o If an ISP owns a news or entertainment service, it cannot provide that service at a faster speed or greater priority than any other service.

o An ISP cannot sell faster transmission (which in turn would make those that don't pay slower and less competitive).

o An ISP cannot block or slow down a competitor's content.

o An ISP cannot block content that might criticize the ISP or that doesn't conform to its political leanings.

This guarantees consumers access to all content regardless of where they are or what ISP they choose.

Referenced by...
FCC allows internet providers to control content (2017-Dec-15)

New Deal

(Coming)

New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Pork inspection being turned over to slaughterhouses (2019-Apr-14)

Newsom, Kevin C.

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Niemeyer, Paul

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 1990.

Appointed to latest court by President George H.W. Bush

Nixon, Richard M.

(Coming)

NJ: Bridgegate

Term used to label a 2013 political scandal in New Jersey in which toll lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed for several days - resulting in traffic gridlock in Fort Lee, NJ.

The closures were alleged to be retaliation against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not supporting Gov. Chris Christie's re-election. Three associates of Christie - including his deputy chief of staff - were convicted of felony charges related to the incident.

Nolo Contendere

Latin for "no contest".
>br> A person charged with a crime can plead nolo contendere, meaning they are not admitting to the crime, but are not contesting the charge.

Though the use of nolo contendere varies by jurisdiction, the effect generally is identical to a plea of guilty.

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

A not-for-profit organization that operates independent of any country.

Many NGOs perform humanitarian work.

Nonprofit Organization

An organization that operates to work toward some cause, rather than to make a profit. To become a nonprofit, an organization must become certified by the IRS.

A few typical features of nonprofit organizations...

o They do not pay taxes

o All money they receive must be used in a way that's consistent with the organization's stated cause, including paying employees and consultants.

o Any money not spent cannot be distributed to executives or others. It must remain in the organization to be used toward the organizations's cause.

o They must file an annual report on their major expenses - including the salaries of their highest paid executives.

There are several categories of nonprofits - named for the section of the tax code that defines them. Common ones include...

o 501(c)(3)
Charities are 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Donations to these nonprofits usually are tax-deductible. They are restricted in the types of political activity they can engage in - which is typically limited to advocating causes directly related to their organization's mission.

o 501(c)(4)
A nonprofit organization whose major activities involve lobbying and advocacy. Although 501(c)(4) nonprofits are exempt from paying federal taxes, donations to them are not tax-deductible. A 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization is expected to operate primarily for promoting social welfare. Although influencing elections is not considered to be part of that, IRS rules are vague and enforcement has been minimal.

Lobby99 is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. Lobby99 does not endorse or support any candidate or political party in any way. Rather, we advocate for policies that would benefit the overwhelming majority of Americans and explain issues. We also make it easy to see how well your elected representatives are actually representing your interests, in order to help you decide your vote. This is in accordance with the strictest definition of social welfare.

Nonprofits are surreptitiously used by some to channel anonymous campaign contributions to a Super PAC working toward a candidate's election. To understand how this happens, watch this 2-minute video...

Referenced by...
Trump inaugural committee investigated for corruption (2018-Dec-13)
Judge: Secret donations violate election finance law (2018-Aug-04)
Large secret campaign contributions just got secreter (2018-Jul-17)
Congress proposes hiding large campaign donors from IRS (2016-Apr-26)
PA Rep. Chaka Fattah sentenced for corruption (2015-Jul-29)
Groups targeted by IRS were violating tax-exempt provision (2013-May-27)
IRS targets conservative nonprofit applications - what's behind it? (2013-May-19)
Tax-exempt organizations form to secretly influence elections (2012-Aug-20)

Northern Mariana Islands

U.S. commonwealth consisting of 14 islands in the Pacific Ocean.


Source: Google Maps

Referenced by...
Labor Sec. Acosta resigns. Replacement fought worker rights (2019-Jul-12)

Noscitur a sociis

Legal doctrine meaning which is that a word is known by the company it keeps.

It has been used in court decisions in determining how to interpret a catchall phrase at the end of list of conditions.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)

A notice that announces the intent of a federal agency to implement a new rule or regulation. The notice typically includes the opportunity for public comment.

NPRMs are published in the Federal Register. However, a simpler way to learn about them - as well as provide your comments during the allowed comment period - can be found at www.Regulations.gov.

If an agency decides to make significant changes to a rule before it becomes final, it will issue a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rule Making (SNPRM). This will require an additional comment period.

Nuclear Option

Senate rules normally require 60 votes (out of 100 senators) to overcome a filibuster.

Senate rules also, however, can be changed with a simple majority vote. Therefore, one way the Senate can overcome a filibuster without the required 60 votes is to simply change the rules to require only 50 votes to overcome it.

This has become known as the nuclear option.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Website: www.NRC.gov

Nunberg, Sam

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

O'Connor, Reed

Federal judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas since 2007.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Obama, Barack

Barack Obama is the 44th United States president. He was elected in 2008, and re-elected in 2012.

ObamaCare

Name given (originally meant to be derogatory) for the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

ObamaCare: State Innovation (Section 1332) Waiver

Part of ObamaCare that allows states to opt out of some of the law's requirements provided they can provide coverage for residents that is at least as good.

In order for a state to waive any requirements, coverage must be "at least as comprehensive" as coverage offered through the state's insurance exchanges, and cannot make insurance or health care unaffordable for a substantial number of residents. It also cannot increase the federal deficit.

Requirements that may be waived include...

o Subsidies
o Essential health benefits
o Insurance exchanges

Obstruction of Justice

A crime involving interfering with the actions of legal officials.

Among actions that could be considered obstruction of justice include bribing or intimidating a witness or judge, or destroying evidence.

Occupational Safety and Health Act

1970 law enacted to provide a safe workplace environment for workers. It created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Agency of the Department of Labor (DOL) that sets and enforces workplace safety standards.

It was created by the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Offer-in-Compromise (OIC)

An settlement between a taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that allows the taxpayer to pay less than the full amount owed.

To qualify, the taxpayer generally must show they cannot afford other ways to pay, such as monthly installments.

Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP)

Referenced by...
Administration hides study showing dangers in drinking water (2018-May-14)

Office of Compliance (OOC)

Federal agency created by the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act (CAA). The agency administers the workplace protections for Congressional offices that the act provides for.

Referenced by...
TX Rep. Farenthold resigns amid payment scandal (2017-Dec-01)

Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE)

The Office of Congressional Ethics of the House of Representatives is an independent agency that reviews allegations of misconduct against representatives and their staffs.

If further investigation for possible charges is needed, the OCE refers the complaint to the House Ethics Committee. Even if the committee decides to take no action, the report from the OCE still is made public.

The is no such office for the Senate. The Executive Branch has a related office - the Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

Referenced by...
NY: Rep. Chris Collins indicted for insider trading (2018-Aug-08)
IN Rep. Marlin Stutzman referred to Ethics Committee (2016-Aug-31)
CA Rep. Duncan Hunter referred to Ethics Committee (2016-Aug-31)
NC Rep. Mark Meadows referred to Ethics Committee (2016-Aug-17)
TX Rep. Roger Williams referred to Ethics Committee (2016-May-13)
FL Rep. Alan Grayson referred to Ethics Committee (2016-Jan-06)
CO Rep. Jared Polis referred to Ethics Committee (2015-Oct-30)
CA Rep. Mike Honda referred to Ethics Committee (2015-Jun-05)
TX Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)
NJ Rep. Leonard Lance referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)
TX Rep. Ruben Hinojosa referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)
NM Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)
NY Rep. Gregory Meeks referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)
TX Rep. Ted Poe referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)
OK Rep. Jim Bridenstine referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)
NY Rep. Yvette Clark referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)
IL Rep. Danny K. Davis referred to Ethics Committee (2015-May-08)

Office of Foreign Missions (OFM)

Office of Government Ethics (OGE)

The Office of Government Ethics advises the president and his or her administration on issues in which there might be a conflict of interest.

The OGE has no investigative or enforcement authority. It acts mainly in an advisory role to help prevent conflicts of interests from arising.

It was created by the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.

This differs from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for the House of Representatives, which investigates ethics complaints against representatives and their staffs.

Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (IO/HRH)

Office within the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) that works with the United Nations (UN) and international organizations to advance U.S. policy relating to human rights.

Referenced by...
State Dept. harassed employees for political leanings (2019-Aug-15)

Office of Language Services

Part of the State Department that provides interpreters and translators for the president and other federal officials.

Referenced by...
Trump hid details about Putin meetings (2019-Jan-14)
Trump meets Putin privately under shadow of indictments (2018-Jul-16)

Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)

Office within the Department of Justice (DOJ) that provides legal advice on presidential (and other executive branch) actions.

The OLC has been nicknamed the president's law firm, and at times has formulated opinions that appear to merely find justification for a president's questionable action. These decisions are interpretations of the law, and do not carry the force of law.

These decisions include...

o A 2000 memorandum that a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime.

o A 2002 memorandum essentially allowing for the torture of certain prisoners.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Office of National Resources Revenue (ONRR)

The Office of National Resources Revenue is part of the Department of the Interior (DOI).

When a company such as an energy or mining company leases land from the U.S. government, this is where they send the money.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

The government independent agency that oversees the recruitment and employment policies of the federal government.

Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)

Office of Special Counsel (OSC)

Federal agency with the primary role of protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited practices.

Authority for the agency comes from these laws...

o Civil Service Reform Act

o Whistleblower Protection Act

o Hatch Act

o Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act

Referenced by...
Administration members accused of illegal campaign activity (2019-Jun-13)

Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

Part of a government department or agency that monitors that agency for fraud, abuse, or other mismanagement.

Office of the Pardon Attorney

Office of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that assists the president when deciding to offer clemency to someone who committed a federal criminal offense.

The office researches cases and provides a recommendation to the president for each applicant.

Office on Violence Against Women (OVW)

Office in the Department of Justice (DOJ) created to help communities develop programs to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault, and to strengthen services to victims.

It was created by the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Oligarchs

A group of well-connected businessmen who made their fortunes largely through the privatization of natural resources and other state-owned assets after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Some oligarchs lost their influence in a power-struggle with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the early 2000s, others reached bargains with the president, and a new group of oligarchs allied to Putin emerged.

Referenced by...
Trump pressured Ukranian president to investigate Biden (2019-Sep-23)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Ombudsman

A representative of an organization (either public or private) who represents the interests of the organization's constituents (such as internally investigating a complaint about how the organization operates).

Omnibus Legislation

A bill that deals with several subjects and programs.

OPEC

Oil Producing and Exporting Countries - a oil cartel consisting of 14 nations...

o Algeria
o Angold
o Ecuador
o Equatorial Guinea
o Gabon
o Iran
o Iraq
o Kuwait
o Libia
o Nigeria
o Qatar
o Saudi Arabia
o United Arab Emirates
o Venezuela

Open Borders

In the strict definition, an open border is one that anyone can cross without restriction - just as we cross from state to state in the 48 contiguous U.S. states.

However, the term has become a political one - used by some Republicans to label Democrats in general when they disagree on how (not whether) the nation's borders should be controlled.

Open Enrollment

A period of time that anyone can enroll in or change their health care insurance. After an open enrollment period, it still may be possible to obtain insurance under certain conditions, such as a change in family or employment.

Opposition Research

Investigations against a political opponent to find information that can be used against them in a campaign.

Orb Media

A news organization that reports on global issues such as the environment, education, health, and governance.

Organic Act

A law that establishes a U.S. territory or an agency to manage federal lands.

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump pressured Ukranian president to investigate Biden (2019-Sep-23)

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

1953 law the defines U.S. coastal waters and their management.

Overtime

Hours worked in a week by an employee in excess of 40 hours.

The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires most employees to be paid 1-1/2 times their regular rate for any overtime hours they worked....

"... no employer shall employ any of his employees... for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed."

A 2013 Congressional Research Service (CRS) overview of the FLSA states that, "The purpose of the overtime provision is to reduce unemployment by encouraging employers to hire more workers, rather than requiring current employees to work more than 40 hours per week and pay the premium overtime rate."

Referenced by...
Bill would allow workers to take time off rather than overtime (2017-May-02)

P5+1

(Coming)

Page, Carter

Former member of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Referenced by...
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)
Dozens of Trump aides lose top-secret clearances (2018-Feb-28)
Testimony further debunks Trump dossier narrative (2018-Jan-11)
Senate subpoenas documents on Russia (2017-May-10)
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Palm Center

A research institute that that focuses onpublic policy issues related to society.

Referenced by...
New policy would ban most transgender troops (2018-Mar-23)
Issue: Transgender Military Service

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC)

Committee made of up 20 inspectors general created to oversee the spending of several trillion dollars authorized by various coronavirus relief programs passed by Congress.

Papadopoulos, George

Foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

In October 2017 he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about meetings he had with Russian contacts. He had said those meetings took place before his involvement with the Trump campaign.

He agreed to cooperate with the investigation into Trump's Russian connections.

Referenced by...
Inspector General - Russia investigation not political (2019-Dec-10)
Trump adviser Papadopoulos to serve time in Russia probe (2018-Sep-07)
Testimony further debunks Trump dossier narrative (2018-Jan-11)
Campaign aide told Trump about Russian connections (2017-Oct-30)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Paris Climate Change Agreement

The main product of a 2015 conference in which 195 countries agreed to limit greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the Earth's temperature rise

It went into effect on November 4, 2016.

Referenced by...
US to withdraw from Paris Climate Agreement (2017-Jun-02)

Parliamentarian

An official advisor to a governing body who interprets the rules of that body to ensure they are followed.

The parliamentarians of the Senate and House of Representatives are non-partisan. They act in an advisory role only, and can be overruled.

Referenced by...
20 million Social Security numbers stolen from government computers (2015-Jul-09)

Parnas, Lev

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump associates charged with campaign violations (2019-Oct-10)

Parole

The conditional release of a prisoner before the have completed their designated sentence.

To be granted parole, the prisoner must have demonstrated they are not a likely threat to commit additional crimes. Once paroled, the prisoner must follow certain conditions specified in their parole agreement.

Parole benefits the prisoner by allowing a smoother transition back into society. It benefits society by reducing prison costs and receiving benefits from a productive member of society.

Referenced by...
Atty General nominee hard-line, but says Mueller can continue (2019-Jan-14)

Pass-through Company

A company whose income is reported on the owner's individual income tax return.

In other words, the income is passed through from the company to the owner.

Patel, Kash

Chief of Staff to Defense Secretary Christopher Miller. Both were named to their positions after President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.

Patel is a former aid to Rep. Devin Nunes, and was the lead author of a report to discredit the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)

Patent

(Coming)

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

2010 law that allows millions of previously uninsured Americans to obtain health care coverage. Many were unable to afford insurance, many could not obtain coverage due to an existing illness. This law is often referred to as ObamaCare.

Patten, Sam

A republican lobbyist and business associate of Paul Manafort.

Patten headed the Moscow office of the International Republican Institute (IRI) from 2001-2004.

He also worked with Cambridge Analytica.

Referenced by...
Trump inaugural committee investigated for corruption (2018-Dec-13)

Payday Loan

A short-term loan typically used to cover a temporary need - such as an emergency car repair or a smaller than usual paycheck due to an irregular work schedule.

Payday loans also are referred to as cash advance loans, deferred deposit, and deferred presentment loans - depending on the laws in a particular state.

Referenced by...
CFBP to stop oversight of predatory lending to military members (2018-Aug-10)

Payment Card

A plastic card that allows you to buy things without using cash. There are a few basic types of these cards. Transactions with them appear to work the same, but the ways they process your money differ.

Credit Card: Buying something with a credit card is essentially like borrowing money from a bank. You don't pay for it right away. Rather, the credit card company (bank) sends you a statement each month listing your purchases. You then pay the total amount for all your purchases. Alternatively, you can pay just a portion of what you owe each month. The remainder is considered a loan, and you will pay interest on the remaining amount. Interest rates typically are significantly higher than those for a traditional loan.

Debit Card: A debit card uses money you already have in a bank account. When you pay for something using s debit card, the purchase amount is subtracted (debited) from the account associated with the card. You still may receive a monthly statement, but you won't owe any money because the amount of each purchase was taken out at the time of the purchase. The exception to this is that a bank may allow you to purchase more than you have in your account - in which case you will be charged a fee, as well as being required to pay interest on the amount the bank paid for you.

Prepaid Card: Similar to a debit card, a prepaid card has a certain amount of money associated with it. For example, you might use a prepaid card for money you receive from the government. Instead of sending you a payment, the government simply adds the amount to the balance on your card. When you buy something, the value of the card is reduced by the purchase amount. You can learn more about prepaid cards at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.

In recent years, cashless purchases do not necessarily require an actual card. You can, for example, pay for something with a credit card linked to your mobile phone. You simply hold the phone over an electronic reader, and the transaction is processed as if you had used a physical credit card.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court: Merchants can't suggest cost-saving credit card (2018-Jun-25)

Pell Grant

A federal subsidy for low-income students to attend college.

Pell Grants formerly were called Basic Educational Opportunity Grants (BEOG).

Pence, Mike

U.S. Vice President under Donald Trump.

Governor of Indiana 2013 - 2017.

Member of Congress 2001 - 2013.

In 1983 Pence switched from the Democratic to the Republican party.

Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act

1882 law that created the Civil Service System and prohibited government jobs from being dependent on political support.

Pension

A pension is money paid in regular intervals (monthly, for example) to someone who retires from a company (if the provides a pension).

Pensions effect those who receive them, but they also can affect the average American in obscure ways. Therefore, it's important to have a basic understanding of where the money to pay pensions comes from.

Companies that provide pensions to their employees create a separate fund that will pay when they retire...

o Each year, they need to pay enough into the fund that there will be enough to pay employees who retire.

o They don't need to pay the full amount that will be needed, because the money they pay will earn interest to make up the difference. The higher the interest rate the company assumes the money will earn, the less it actually needs to put in.

o If the actual interest earned is less than the company anticipated (meaning they didn't put enough money into it), there might not be enough money in the fund to pay retirees the amount promised. Such pensions are labeled underfunded.

Companies are required to pay the full amount of pensions unless they go bankrupt. Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in 1974 and the Pension Protection Act in 2006 to protect pensions of retirees.

Pensions do not require a contribution by employees. In recent times, many companies have switched to retirement plans such as 401-K plans that are based on contributions by the employee.

Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC)

A Government Owned Corporation that takes over the paying of pensions to retirees when a company's pension fund is inadequate to pay the pensions it owes to retirees. One way this can happen is the pension is underfunded and the company becomes bankrupt.

It was created in 1974 by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

There are limits to the the amount a retiree may receive. Therefore a retiree whose pension has been taken over by the PBGC might lose part of their pension.

The PBGC is funded by the companies it insures - through premiums and the money left in pensions it takes over. However, if it should run out of money because it is paying more in pensions than it has, there would be two options...

o Pay less in pensions to retirees, depriving them of the retirement income they were promised.

o Make up the difference with money from the federal government. In other words, your tax dollars.

* Bonus Material: You might read about two different funds the organization maintains. The single-employer fund guarantees pensions from individual companies. The multiemployer fund guarantees pensions sponsored by unions which can involve several companies.

Website: www.PBGC.gov

Pension Smoothing

When a company puts money into a pension that eventually will pay its retirees, it doesn't put in all the money it will need. That's because it is assumed that the money will earn interest, so that by the time the pension needs to pay retirees, it will have grown into the needed amount.

The amount a company needs to put in is determined by the interest rate the company expects to earn on the money. If it assumes it will receive a higher interest rate, it can put less into the pension. To ensure that a company puts enough into a pension to cover its future obligations to retirees, the government determines the maximum interest rate a company can assume.

Pension Smoothing is a government policy that effectively allows a company to assume a higher interest rate for a certain number of years, so it does not need to put as much into its pension. It makes up for this by requiring greater contributions in later years, so theoretically the amount contributed eventually would be sufficient.

Why is this done?
Congress has used pension smoothing twice in recent years to pay the federal government's portion of transportation projects. Because companies pay less into their pensions, they have higher profits and therefore pay more in taxes.

Who else benefits?
Higher profits for a company can mean greater compensation for that company's executives.

So what's the problem?
There are several problems associated with Pension Smoothing. One problem is that even though tax revenues increase in the early years of a Pension Smoothing program, they decrease in later years as companies must make up the difference by paying more into pension plans - therefore lowering their taxable income (and taxes). If those reduced revenues aren't made up by some other means (for example by higher corporate or individual tax rates), government services will need to be reduced.

This chart shows the estimated effect of pension smoothing as called for in the 2014 Highway and Transportation Funding Act.



Another problem comes up if the company becomes bankrupt before it can pay the higher contributions. Its pension fund will not have enough to pay the pensions it owes. See our discussion of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for more on how this would be resolved (hint... it may be you who pays for it).

Pentagon

(Coming)

Per Capita

For each person

In terms of government programs, it could mean for each person eligible for that particular program.

Per Curium

An unsigned opinion, written for the court as a whole by an unidentified justice. Per curium opinions are not necessarily unanimous. Written dissents are signed.

The term comes from Latin meaning by the court.

Perdue, Sonny

Secretary of Agriculture under President Donald Trump since April 2017.

He served as governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. Prior to that, he served in the Georgia state Senate from 1990 to 2001.

He received more than $278,000 in farm subsidies from 1995 to 2004, according to the Environmental Working Group.

As Georgia's governor, Perdue signed into law measures based on American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation, including the nation's second voter ID law and a school-choice program described by ALEC co-founder Paul Weyrich as "the most expansive in the nation."

He was worth more than $6 million and owned agriculture businesses worth nearly $2.8 million, according to a financial disclosure statement from his 2006 campaign.

Referenced by...
USDA to fire hundreds of scientists (2019-Aug-14)
Senate confirms Sonny Perdue for Secretary of Agriculture (2017-Jan-19)

Perry, Rick

Secretary of Energy under President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2019.

He was appointed in spite of campaigning to eliminate the department and having no experience with nuclear weapons - an area that comprises much of the department's responsibilities.

Indicted as governor of Texas

Perry was governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015.

In 2014, he was indicted for abusing his power as governor. The charges eventually were dropped.

Referenced by...
Diplomats link Trump to Ukraine extortion (2019-Nov-14)
Interior's Zinke resigns. Replaced by oil lobbyist (2019-Jan-02)
Senate confirms Rick Perry for Energy Secretary (2016-Dec-13)
Several states refusing funds to provide health care to neediest (2013-May-07)
Issue: Donald Trump Presidency

Peskov, Dmitri

Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary.

Referenced by...
Lawyer: Trump offered Putin $50M penthouse in Moscow tower (2018-Nov-29)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Petersen, Matthew

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Election monitoring agency prevented from acting (2019-Aug-30)

Petroleum classifications

Crude oil is classified as either sweet or sour, depending on how much sulfur it contains.

Sweet crude oil - which contains less than 1/2 percent sulfur - is easier to refine and safer to transport. It costs more than sour petroleum.

The sulfur in sour crude oil can cause health problems. At low concentrations, it gives the oil the smell associated with "rotten eggs". At larger concentrations, it can be fatal.

Pew Charitable Trusts

PFAS

PFASs are a set of related chemicals used in many industrial products such as cleaners, waterproof clothes, furniture, take-out containers, insulation, and non-stick surfaces. They also are used in fire-fighting foams - particularly by the military.

They don't degrade in biological systems - including in humans.

Drinking water contaminated with PFASs has been linked to serious health problems.

A study conducted between 2013 and 2015 found water supplies that serve 6 million people in the United States contained amounts of PFASs greater than the safety limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Most in-home water filters are not able to filter PFASs from tap water..

PFAS is an acronym for Per-and polyFluoroAlkyl Substances.

Referenced by...
Administration hides study showing dangers in drinking water (2018-May-14)

Phishing

Email - usually from a source that appears to be trustworthy - sent to be malicious in some way.

For example, the link in the email might be pretending to be for your bank. Clicking it and entering your password will give your password to the hackers. Or clicking might install malicious software on your computer.

Spear phishing - is a type of phishing directed toward a specific person or organization.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA)

A section (6002) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requiring drug and health care device makers to disclose money or gifts they provide to health care providers.

Health care providers also are required to disclose any ownership interests they have in these companies.

Pickering, Charles

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court (2018-Oct-06)

Pinedo, Richard

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

Agency of the Department of Transportation (DOT) that regulates the 2.5 million miles of pipeline in the United States.

It is made up of two separate offices - the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) and the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS).

Pizzella, Patrick

Deputy Secretary of Labor in the Donald Trump administration. He became the acting director when Alexander Acosta resigned.

He has worked in three previous administrations...

o In the Ronald Reagan administration, he had administrative roles in the General Services Administration (GSA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Department of Education.

o In the George W. Bush administration he was an advisor in the Department of Labor.

o In the Barack Obama administration he was a member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA)

In the late 1990s, Pizzella worked as a lobbyist on behalf of a shell company connected to the Russian government.

He also has worked with Jack Abramoff, the former lobbyist convicted of fraud in 2006. His work involved hampering worker protections in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Referenced by...
Labor Sec. Acosta resigns. Replacement fought worker rights (2019-Jul-12)

Planned Parenthood

A nonprofit organization that provides information and services relating to reproductive issues and children's health.

Website: www.PlannedParenthood.org

Plea Bargain

An agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor, in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or nolo contendere in exchange for a concession by the prosecutor.

The concession can include dropping one or more charges, reducing a charge to a less serious one, or recommending a reduced sentence to the judge.

Referenced by...
Lawyer: Trump offered Putin $50M penthouse in Moscow tower (2018-Nov-29)

Plessy v. Ferguson

1896 Supreme Court ruling that racial segregation did not necessarily constitute unlawful discrimination.

The ruling allowed states to enforce laws that provided separate accommodations for blacks and whites. This included education, public transportation, and recreational facilities.

Plutonium

A radioactive metallic element that can be used for power - such as in nuclear power plants or spacecraft. It can be used to supply power to heart pacemakers.

It also is used in nuclear weapons - such as the atomic bomb known as "Fat Man" that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in the Second World War.

Plutonium manufactured for both civilian and military purposes.

Plutonium for civilian purposes is monitored by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), with reports of missing plutonium sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Military plutonium is managed by the Department of Energy (DOE). Missing military plutonium rarely is reported to the public.

Referenced by...
Government can't account for nuclear weapons material (2018-Jul-27)
Live nukes mistakenly flown over U.S. (2007-Sep-05)

Pogue, Paul

The former owner of Pogue Construction in Texas, Pogue is a large donor to the Republican party.

He was convicted in 2010 of tax fraud. In 2020, he was pardoned by President Donald Trump.

Referenced by...
Trump pardons 11 - most convicted of corruption (2020-Feb-15)

Political Action Committee (PAC)

An organization that solicits contributions and uses the money to campaign for or against candidates or proposed laws.

Election laws set limits on how much an individual can contribute to a PAC. Corporations and labor organizations cannot directly contribute to most PACs.

Political Party

(Coming)

Political Spectrum

A general classification of how someone might view various public policies. The following terminology and characterizations often are used to distinguish. They are only generalizations. People have various views on different issues.

LeftRight
LiberalConservative
DemocratRepublican
Wants high marginal tax rate Wants low marginal tax rate
Understands global warming is real Claims global warming is a hoax
Supports a woman's right to abortionWants abortion outlawed
Supports sex education in schoolsDoes not want sex education taught in schools

While these are just generalizations, they can be useful to take note of because they tend to divide people due to the phenomenon of confirmation bias. Also, political parties often unite on opposite sides of these issues.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Resigns (2018-Jun-27)

Poll Tax

(Coming)

Pollution sources

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies air pollution by its source...

o Stationary (i.e. power plants, chemical plants, gas stations)

o Mobile (i.e. cars, trucks, planes)

Pompeo, Mike

Former representative from Kansas.

He resigned in 2017 to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President Donald Trump.

In 2018 he became Secretary of State when Trump fired Rex Tillerson.

Referenced by...
Trump associates charged with campaign violations (2019-Oct-10)

Posse Comitatus Act

Posse Comitatus is Latin for power of a country, and is the principle that the military should not act as a domestic police force.

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 explicitly outlaws any use of the Army or Air Force (and implicitly the Navy and Marines) to enforce laws unless expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress.

One such authorization is the 1807 Insurrection Act.

Referenced by...
Issue: National Emergencies

POTUS

Acronym for President Of The United States

Poverty Level

The federal poverty level is an estimation of what it would cost in a year to meet basic needs such as food and housing.

It is used to determine eligibility for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Head Start, the National School Lunch Program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

An individual or family is considered to be living below the poverty level if their income is less than the level specified for the size of their family. It is updated each year by an amount based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The government actually maintains two separate poverty levels...

o Poverty Guidelines; Set by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is the one used to determine eligibility for government assistance.

o Poverty Threshold: Set by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is used mostly to calculate statistics.

Click here to see the poverty guidelines for 2016.

PPO: Preferred Provider Organization

A type of health insurance plan in which you pay less if you use health care providers that are in your plan's provider network.

You have the option of using providers outside of your plan's network, but the insurance company will compensate you less.

Pre-existing Condition

A medical condition someone had before being accepted under a health insurance plan.

Approximately half of all non-elderly Americans and 80 percent of those over the age of 55 have at least one health condition that would qualify as a pre-existing condition, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Prior to 2014, this limited people's ability to obtain insurance coverage for health care. For example, an insurance company could refuse to insure someone with a genetic disease. This changed in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which required insurance companies to accept everyone - regardless of their health situation. An insurance company also could not charge someone more because of their health.

This not only made health care insurance more accessible to the less healthy, it made the application process and comparing costs easier for everyone.

Allowing insurance companies to set premiums based on pre-existing conditions requires an application process that involves filling out many details about your health - some of which might require verification or an explanation by your doctor.

Aside from the inconvenience and possible cost of a doctor visit, comparing policies would be more complicated because you would not know how much each would cost until you submitted your application and it was reviewed. This process would need to be completed for each policy you would consider.

Preclearance

Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, jurisdictions that have shown a pattern of voting discrimination cannot make changes to their election practices until the proposed changes are approved by the federal government.

This requirement is referred to as preclearance.

Without preclearance, voters' only recourse would be to challenge the new rules in court. This is impractical for several reasons, states a Brennan Center for Justice report...

o Once an election is over, the harm generally cannot be reversed.

o Even if an injunction can be obtained, a jurisdiction can try again with a similar new tactic, resulting in additional costs to challenge. Pre-clearance requirements prevent this from happening.

"Without a system of pre-clearance, the public might not even know about such changes sufficiently in advance of an election to seek relief from the courts," the report states.

For more, see...
Our discussion of voting rights
Our discussion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act
Our discussion of the Supreme Court decision that cripples preclearance.

Predatory Lending

Lending practices that exploit borrowers, including....

o Imposing unfair or abusive loan terms

o Coercing a borrower to take a loan while knowing that the borrower doesn't need or want it, or can't afford to repay it.

Referenced by...
CFBP to stop oversight of predatory lending to military members (2018-Aug-10)

PREDICT

A program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that analyzes animal viruses having the ability to infect humans and cause a pandemic.

Viruses researched by PREDICT include HIV and those that cause Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Referenced by...
Agency investigating AIDS and Ebola viruses to shut down (2019-Oct-30)

Prejudice

When a court dismisses a lawsuit with prejudice, it is saying it has made a final determination on the merits of the case, and the plaintiff may not file another lawsuit on the same grounds.

President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)

(Coming)

President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)

(Coming)

President's Daily Brief (PDB)

An intelligence and analysis report the President receives each day from the Director of National Intelligence.

Presidential Protection Assistance Act

1976 law that established who must be protected by the Secret Service.

It also provides for accountability of spending involved in its protective responsibility.

Presidential Records Act (PRA)

1978 law that governs presidential and vice presidential official records created or received after Jan. 20, 1981. It changed the official records of the president to be public records.

Presidents' Day

(Coming)

Prevezon Holdings

Russian real estate company accused of laundering Russian taxpayer money to the United States by purchasing real estate in New York. It is estimated that $230 million was taken by Prevezon and others.

The scheme had been uncovered by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who later died under suspicious circumstances in a Russian prison.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) settled with Prevezon for $6 million in May. Just two months prior to the settlement, President Donald Trump fired Preet Bharara - the federal attorney who had been investigating the case for the previous four years.

Referenced by...
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)

Price, Tom

Representative from Georgia from 2005 - 2017.

Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2017 under Pres. Donald Trump. Price resigned in Sept. 2017.

Referenced by...
NY: Rep. Chris Collins indicted for insider trading (2018-Aug-08)
HHS Secretary Tom Price resigns (2017-Sep-29)

Prigozhin, Yevgeny

A businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Because he is a caterer, his close relationship with Putin has led him to be nicknamed Putin's Chef.

Referenced by...
Russian charged with interfering in 2018 elections (2018-Oct-19)
Indictment: American demonstrators duped by Russians (2018-Feb-22)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Primary

(Coming)

Prince, Erik

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Prison Sentence

The amount of time a person convicted of a crime must serve in prison.

If a person is convicted of multiple crimes, the sentences can run concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one sentence begins after the other ends).

Privatization

(Coming)

Pro Forma Session

A session of Congress in which no business is conducted.

One of the more controversial uses of pro forma sessions has been their use by the Senate, during what otherwise would be a recess, to prevent a president from making a recess appointment.

Problem Solvers Caucus

A group of Republican and Democratic representatives who have agreed to seek bipartisan solutions to issues for which the parties tend to present incompatible proposals.

Progressive Tax

A progressive tax is one in which someone with a higher income pays a greater percentage of whatever is being taxed.

Income taxes in the United States are an example of a progressive tax. To see how it works, read our explanation of marginal tax rates.

All of this might seem obvious - after all if someone earned more they should pay more. But it isn't always the case. To see an example of the opposite situation, read our explanation of regressive taxes.

Project Lakhta

Russian effort to spread false and inflammatory information on social media in order to create artificial divisions among Americans and influence U.S. elections.

According to a 2018 criminal complaint, the project had a budget in the tens of millions of dollars (not all directed at the United States) and was funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin - who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Referenced by...
Russian charged with interfering in 2018 elections (2018-Oct-19)

Protected Classes

Groups of people that a law is designed to protect.

Referenced by...
Bill would prohibit sexuality-based discrimination (2019-May-17)

Proud Boys

(Coming)

Provisional Ballot

When someone tries to vote and their voter registration can't be verified, they are given a provisional ballot rather than a regular one.

If the voter then verifies their registration within a specified time period, their ballot then is counted as if it had been a regular one. If they do not verify their eligibility, the provisional ballot is not counted.

Pruitt, Scott

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Donald Trump.

Prior to being named EPA director he was Oklahoma's attorney general. During his tenure as attorney general, he filed lawsuits against the EPA in attempts to force the agency to stop enforcing clean air requirements. Since 2002 he has received more than $250,000 in donations from the oil and gas industry.

Pruitt, is a former member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Referenced by...
EPA head Pruitt faces multiple ethics investigations (2018-Apr-09)
Senate confirms Scott Pruitt to head EPA (2016-Dec-07)

Pryor, Jill A.

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Pryor, William H.

Chief Judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Referenced by...
Florida law restricting felon voting upheld (2020-Sep-11)

Public Citizen

Public Comment Period

Before a government agency implements proposed rules or regulations, members of the public are given the opportunity to tell the agency their thoughts about the new rules.

Comments can come from both organizations and individuals. The amount of time allowed for comments (typically 90 days) is called the public comment period.

For more about regulations and how you can provide comments, visit www.Regulations.gov.

Referenced by...
Administration proposes weakening Endangered Species Act (2018-Jul-19)

Public Domain

A term generally used for a work (such as a book or song) which nobody legally can deny permission to use.

Public Funding of Election Campaigns

The government pays campaign expenses such as media advertisements, with the intent of limiting the influence of large private donors.

Financing may be...

o Partial, in which the amount the government provides to a candidate is determined by how much the candidate raises from private sources.

o Full, in which the government provides a set amount to all candidates to cover most of their campaign expenses.

In either case, the money is provided with restrictions on how much the candidate can raise from private sources.

Public Housing

Housing in which the property is owned by a government agency.

Referenced by...
HUD seeks to raise rents for low-income and disabled renters (2018-May-09)

Public Money

Money controlled by the government. The only way for a government (federal, state, local) to obtain money is through a tax or fee, and that money is meant to be used only in the public's best interests.

Public Option

A government-run insurance plan that would compete with private health insurance companies.

It was considered for inclusion in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but was dropped in the final version of the bill.

Public Policy

Government policies (such as laws and regulations) that affect the general public.

Congress, the president, the Supreme Court, and federal agencies all create or define public policies for the United States.

Public vs. Private

Public Policy

In terms of policy, public and private differentiate who pays for and manages something.

For example, in public sector jobs, employees are paid with public money. In a private sector job, employees are paid from a company's money.

The differences become less clear in other areas.

Public schools are run and paid for by governments (i.e. public money). Private schools are companies and are paid for by students' families. However, charter schools are privately owned, yet are paid for with public money.

Public colleges are run by governments, but are partially paid for by students' tuition.

Public prisons are run and paid for by governments. Private prisons are run by corporations, but are paid for by governments.

Company Ownership

The terms also are used to differentiate types of companies - the difference being who owns the company.

A privately owned company is owned and run by an individual or group.

A publicly traded company is owned by stockholders who purchase ownership shares (stock) in the company. The government defines requirements (such as reporting) to ensure the company operates in an honest and fair way to its shareholders.

Referenced by...
Bill would allow workers to take time off rather than overtime (2017-May-02)

Public Works Projects

Projects that create infrastructure or public benefit - such as roads, parks, water supplies - paid for with public money.

Putin, Vladimir

President of the Russian Federation.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Quattlebaum, A. Marvin

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2018

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Quid Pro Quo

Latin for what for where or something for something, an expression that can be summarized by the cliche you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

Essentially, it's a term for extortion or a bribe.

Racism

A belief that one ethnicity is superior to another, or actions or policies that discriminates in favor of some groups over others.

Racism can be explicit. But it also can be systemic - i.e. the result of previous policies that have not been mitigated so that one class of people maintains an advantage.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that a policy resulting in discrimination against a class can be illegal even if the discrimination is not explicit or intentional.

Racketeering

Essentially, dishonest and fraudulent business dealings.

In law it is a classification of 35 federal and state crimes (referred to as predicate crimes) that must be committed under certain circumstances....

o Crimes must be connected to an enterprise - multiple people related in some way (such as a crime organization, gang, political party, or corporation).

o There must have been multiple crimes committed by the enterprise within a 10-year period.

Predicate crimes include...

o Arson
o Assault
o Blackmail and extortion
o Bribery
o Counterfeiting
o Drug offenses, gambling, and prostitution
o Fraud (including mail and wire)
o Kidnapping
o Money laundering
o Murder

Raffensperger, Brad

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Lindsey Graham asks if Georgia can toss ballots (2020-Nov-16)

Rainforest

Ecosystems filled with mostly evergreen trees that typically receive high amounts of rainfall.

Rainforests exist on every continent except Antarctica.

Tropical rainforests are those near the equator, and feature high temperatures and humidity.

Temperate rainforests are found mostly by coastal or mountainous areas.

Referenced by...
Facts about the Amazon fires (2019-Aug-23)

Rand Corporation

Ranking Member

The most senior member of a congressional committee from the minority party.

Ratcliffe, John

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Intel head resigns. Nominee tried to derail Russia inquiry (2019-Aug-01)

Raytheon

U.S. defense contractor specializing in weapons and electronics.

Reagan, Ronald

Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the United States.

Recess Appointment

Normally, the Senate must approve appointments to key positions in a president's administration. But what if the Senate is not in session?

According to Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution...

"The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session."

Presidential appointments made during a Senate recess are called recess appointments. They do not require Senate approval and may remain in effect throughout the next session.

Presidents have used recess appointments to bypass a Senate that is blocking a nomination. The Senate has responded by holding pro forma sessions to keep the Senate in session.

The scope of a president's ability to make recess appointments is questionable, however. Before the Constitution was ratified, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers (No. 67) that...

The ordinary power of appointment is confined to the President and Senate JOINTLY, and can therefore only be exercised during the session of the Senate; but as it would have been improper to oblige this body to be continually in session for the appointment of officers and as vacancies might happen IN THEIR RECESS, which it might be necessary for the public service to fill without delay, the succeeding clause is evidently intended to authorize the President, SINGLY, to make temporary appointments "during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session."

During the early days of the country, Congress might be in session for less than half of the year, leaving long periods when critical positions could not otherwise be filled.

Recession

A significant slowdown of economic activity.

A recession generally is recognized as a six-month period in which the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) goes down.

Recusal

When a judge excuses himself from a case because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.

Refugee

Someone who has been forced to leave their own country to escape war, persecution, or a natural disaster.

Referenced by...
Zero-tolerance quietly stopped. Judge orders families reunited. (2018-Jun-25)
Refugee family separation ended - but now what? (2018-Jun-21)

Regional Haze Rule

A series of regulations issued to lessen haze in national parks and wilderness areas.

Regressive Tax

A regressive tax is one in which someone with less money pays a larger percentage of their money than someone who has more. Though it sounds counterintuitive, there are many such regressive taxes.

A sales tax is an example of a regressive tax. Take two mothers buying diapers and baby food. If the sales tax comes to $5, the mom with $50 in the bank has just paid ten percent of her savings in taxes. The mom who has $50,000 in savings has paid only one hundredth of a percent of her savings.

Regulation (or Rule)

After the president signs a bill into law, federal agencies create regulations on how the law should be implemented.

Creating a regulation is a lengthy and detailed process specified in the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and other laws.

Among other requirements, proposed rules must be published in the Federal Register and a public comment period must be provided.

Referenced by...
Administration proposes weakening Endangered Species Act (2018-Jul-19)

Regulatory Right-to-Know Act

Law enacted in 2000 directing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare an annual report of the costs and benefits of federal regulations.

Rehabilitation Act

1973 law to make workplaces more accessible to those with disabilities.

Rehnquist, Wiliam H.

Supreme Court justice from 1972 to 2005 - nominated by Richard Nixon.

He was named Chief Justice in 1986 by Ronald Reagan.

Appointed to latest court by President Ronald Reagan

Reinhardt, Stephen

Justice on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1980 - 2018.

Reinhardt died in office on March 29, 2018.

Appointed to latest court by President Jimmy Carter

Referenced by...
Equal pay ruling overturned after judge dies (2019-Feb-25)
Court: Equal pay for women can't depend on past pay (2018-Apr-11)

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

Referenced by...
Supreme Court to rule on gay and transgender job protections (2019-Apr-25)
Court: Corporations entitled to religious protections (2014-Jun-30)

Renova Group

A large Russian holding company owned by Viktor Vekselberg.

Renova has a shadowy relationship with U.S. financial company Columbus Nova, which is run by Vekselberg's cousin Andrew Intrater.

Columbus Nova was formed as a subsidiary of Renova, but the two companies began to disavow any connection beyond a client relationship around the time that U.S sanctions were imposed on Renova and Vekselberg.

Representative

An elected member of the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives consists of 435 representatives - from all 50 states plus U.S. territories. You are represented by the representative elected by your Congressional District.

Representatives are elected to two-year terms.

Republican National Committee (RNC)

The organization that sets the official platforms for the Republican Party and funds Republican candidates' campaigns.

Resolution

An action by a house of Congress that affects whichever house passed it - such as an internal rule or to express a sentiment of that house.

Resolution - Concurrent

A Congressional action that usually affects Congress itself - such as a the rules of Congress or to express a sentiment of Congress.

As with a bill, identical versions must be passed by both houses of Congress in order for it to take effect. It does not require the president's signature and it does not carry the force of law.

Resolution - Continuing (CR)

Legislation that extends the funding of government functions and services for a limited period of time. Funding typically remains at the current levels.

Because federal money cannot be spent without first being budgeted, Continuing Resolutions keep the government running when both houses of Congress and/or the president cannot agree on a budget either at the end of a fiscal year or the expiration of the previous Continuing Resolution.

Resolution - Joint

A proposed law similar to a bill.

A joint resolution typically is not used to enact a law that will be incorporated into the U.S. Code. Rather, it usually is used to...

o Authorize a small amount of spending
o Enact a continuing resolution (CR)
o Create temporary commissions
o Provide a temporary exception to an existing law
o Declare war
o Propose an amendment to the Constitution

The procedure for passing a joint resolution is virtually identical to that for passing a bill. Identical versions must be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it must be signed by the president.

Restore Our Water International

An alliance of American and Canadian environmental groups that addresses water issues on the Great Lakes.

Rhodium Group

A consulting company that analyzes "disruptive global trends".

Richardson, Julius

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2018.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

RICO: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

Part of the 1970 Organized Crime Control Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, was enacted to help the government prosecute racketeering crimes.

The RICO act also allows for lawsuits to be based on racketeering.

Rider

An additional provision of a bill that usually has nothing to do with the purpose of the bill.

Once a bill is approved by both houses of Congress, the president must either sign or veto the bill as an entirety. The Constitution does not allow for line-item vetoes. Therefore, riders generally are added to bills for two opposite reasons...

o To "sneak" an unpopular provision into law by attaching it to a major bill the president is virtually assured to sign.

o To add a "poison pill" to a bill that would compel the president to veto it. This would allow the majority party in Congress to claim they passed popular legislation and it was the president who killed it.

Right-to-Work

In workplaces where unions represent a specific group of workers, the union negotiates wages, benefits, and working conditions for them using a process referred to as collective bargaining.

In many of these workplaces, all workers in that group are required to pay union dues. The requirement is specified in a Union Security Agreement.

Many states have adopted laws prohibiting union security agreements, meaning that employees cannot be compelled to join the union. These laws are referred to as right-to-work laws (and the states are referred to as right-to-work states). More than half of U.S. states have adopted right-to-work laws.

Even when employees aren't required to join a union, those that don't join still often obtain the benefits of collective bargaining - because it would be costlier for the company to negotiate separate packages for each non-union worker. If too many employees become "free riders", the union might not have enough income to continue representing employees. That would end collective bargaining for the group of employees - which typically leads to lower wages.

Referenced by...
House bill would make Right-to-Work the national law (2017-Feb-01)

Roberts, John

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court since 2005.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Robocalls

Phone calls made by an automated dialer which play a recording when you answer.

They most often are used by telemarketers and political campaigns, but also are used for public service or emergency announcements.

Roe v. Wade

1973 Supreme Court ruling that a woman's right to have an abortion is protected under the constitutional right to privacy.

Referenced by...
Ginsburg replacement could overturn decades of progress (2020-Sep-26)

Romney, Mitt

(Coming)

Roosevelt, Franklin D.

32nd president of the United States

Rosenbaum, Robin

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Rosenstein, Rod

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Republicans discuss protecting Trump from Russia probe (2018-Aug-08)
Senate bills would make it hard for Trump to fire Mueller (2017-Aug-03)
Special Counsel to investigate Trump-Russia connection (2017-May-17)
Trump fires FBI director leading probe against him (2017-May-09)

Ross, Wilbur

(Coming)

Rothstein, Barbara J.

Senior Judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Appointed to latest court by President Jimmy Carter

Rove, Karl

(Coming)

Rusal

One of the world's largest aluminum companies. Its headquarters are in Moscow, Russia.

It was founded by Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Referenced by...
Trump eases sanctions on Russian companies (2019-Jan-10)

Rushing, Allison Jones

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2019.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Rybolovlev, Dmitry

(Coming)

Safari Club International

Organization that advocates for the freedom to hunt.

Referenced by...
Trump loosens restrictions on elephant hunting (2018-Mar-05)

Sanctuary City

When someone is arrested, their identifying information is shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

If an inmate is determined to be in the country illegally, ICE may request that the jail detain them after they would otherwise be released, in order to begin deportation proceedings.

A sanctuary city (or other jurisdiction) is one that refuses such requests.

Referenced by...
Senate fails to protect immigrants who arrived as children (2018-Feb-15)

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

2002 law enacted to prevent companies from providing fraudulent information to investors.

Sater, Felix

A longtime Trump associate, Felix Sater has close ties to U.S. organized crime and to the Russian government.

He has served time in prison for assault. He has been charged with racketeering - pleading guilty and testifying against his co-conspirators.

From 2003 - 2008, he worked for the Bayrock Group - becoming the chief operating officer. During that time, Bayrock worked to develop several properties for the Trump Organization.

He later went on to work for the Trump Organization.



Sater is a longtime friend of Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Referenced by...
Lawyer: Trump offered Putin $50M penthouse in Moscow tower (2018-Nov-29)
Trump attorney asked for Kremlin help on deal (2017-Aug-29)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Saturday Night Massacre

(Coming)

Save America PAC

Leadership PAC started by President Donald Trump right after the 2020 election.

Scalia, Antonin

Supreme Court justice from 1986 to 2016. He died in office on Feb. 13, 2016.

Appointed to latest court by President Ronald Reagan

Referenced by...
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies (2020-Sep-18)

Schiller, Keith

President Donald Trump's former personal bodyguard.

Referenced by...
RNC pays rent for Trump campaign - in Trump Tower (2018-Feb-23)
Trump may keep private security while president (2016-Dec-20)

School Choice

Generic term for programs that would allow public money to pay for a child's education at a school other that a public one (which they can attend for free).

One way to provide this money could be through school vouchers.

These programs effectively siphon money from the public school system into private companies.

School Voucher

Public Money that parents can use to offset the cost of sending their children to a private school, rather than a public one (which they can attend for free).

The money for vouchers typically comes from funds that otherwise would have gone to public schools.

Scientific Method

A way of arriving at positions or theories by verifying or rejecting hypotheses based on reproducible evidence.

Related term: dogma

SCIF

A building (or part of a building) designated for working with secure compartmented information.

SCIFs are protected from electronic and other surveillance, Access to one is extremely restricted and controlled.

Scott, Rick

Senator from Florida beginning in 2019.

Prior to that he was Florida's governor from 2011 - 2019.

SCOTUS

Acronym for Supreme Court Of The United States

Secret Service

The Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency.

It is known mostly for its role in protecting the president and others associated with the president, but it has several roles in protecting the country's infrastructure (including financial).

It was established in 1865 to suppress counterfeiting. In 2003 the Secret Service became part of the Department of Homeland Security

Referenced by...
Trump profits from Secret Service (2020-Sep-20)

Secretary of State

In the federal government, the member of the president's cabinet who is the head of the Department of State (DOS).

In state governments, the person responsible for certain functions. Perhaps the most important function managed by the secretary of state is elections.

Section 8

Federal program that provides low-income families with vouchers they can use to pay for a portion of rent.

The program was created in a 1974 amendment to Section 8 of the 1937 Housing Act.

Referenced by...
HUD seeks to raise rents for low-income and disabled renters (2018-May-09)

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The Securities and Exchange Commission is a government agency that regulates the stock market and other securities in order to protect investors from fraudulent practices. It is comprised of five commissioners, appointed by the president and approved by the Senate.

For example, SEC rules prohibit insider trading of stocks - in which someone (such as a company executive) uses confidential information to buy or sell a stock before the public has access to that information.

For more, visit www.SEC.gov.

Security Clearance

A security clearance (or just clearance) is a certification by the government that a person is allowed access to information considered potentially damaging to national security.

Potential damage can take many forms, such as...

o Revealing the capability of a weapon or a system that gathers intelligence

o Exposing the identity of an undercover agent

o Revealing operational plans

Security Clearance Level

Sensitive government information is classified according to the amount of damage exposure might cause. A person must have a security clearance of at least that classification in order to be allowed to access it.

There are 3 main levels of security clearances...

Confidential: The least restrictive clearance, but information classified as Confidential still could cause damage if revealed.

Secret: Access to information that could cause serious harm to national interests if revealed.

Top-Secret: The most restrictive clearance - with access to information that could cause grave damage. Access to Top-Secret information is further restricted to only those with a "need to know". This information may be further classified as Special Access Program or Secure Compartmented Information(SCI). The use of secure compartment information is almost always restricted to a Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).

Selective Service

(Coming)

Senator

An elected member of the Senate.

The Senate consists of 100 senators - two from each of the 50 states. The senators from each state often are referred to as the senior senator (the one who has been in the Senate the longest) and the junior senator. However, the Constitution makes no such distinction, and both Senators are considered to be equals.

Senators are elected to six-year terms.

Senior Citizen

Typically someone 65 years of age or older.

The exact age might vary based on who is using the term. However, the term usually is used to classify people with common issues or who are eligible for certain benefits.

Separation of Powers

The Constitution defines the U.S. government as being divided into three branches.

The concept of separation of powers balances the need for each branch to operate independently against the need to prevent one branch from assuming disproportionate power.

Sequester

A set of across-the-board budget cuts implemented in March 2013 as the culmination of a series of congressional actions and inactions.

For more, read our discussion of this issue.

Service Animal

A dog that is individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

Sessions, Jeff

Jeff Sessions was a U.S. senator from 1997 - 2017.

In 2017 he left the Senate to become Attorney General. He was fired by President Trump in November 2018.

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)
Sessions fired - Replacement may be illegal appointment (2018-Nov-08)
Republicans discuss protecting Trump from Russia probe (2018-Aug-08)
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Severability

(Coming)

Shanahan, Patrick

Shanahan was the deputy Secretary of Defense since 2017. He became acting defense secretary on Jan. 1, 2019 when Jim Mattis was fired by President Donald Trump.

He is an engineer and a former executive at Boeing.

Shedd, Dennis

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2002.

Appointed to latest court by President George W. Bush

Shell Company

A company that has no real underlying business, but rather serves only as a vehicle for financial transactions.

While not necessarily illegal, shell companies often are created to cover up illegal activity - such as for disguising who the participants are of financial transactions.

Sherman Antitrust Act

Law passed in 1890 that prohibits monopolies from from being created by unfair business practices.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court: Merchants can't suggest cost-saving credit card (2018-Jun-25)

Shokin, Viktor

Ukraine's prosecutor general from 2015 to 2016.

Shrimpscam

Late 1980s sting operation to uncover bribe-taking by members of California's state legislature.

FBI agents posed as representatives of a shrimp-processing company seeking a loan guaranteed by the state in order to build a plant near Sacramento. They offered bribes.

Twelve officials were convicted. Four were state legislators:

o Sen. Joseph B. Montoya (D)
o Sen. Alan Robbins (D)
o Assemblyman Pat Nolan (R - Assembly minority leader)
o Assemblyman Frank C. Hill (R)

Signing Statement

(Coming)

Sine Die

A term used to describe an adjournment of Congress when no day is specified to reconvene.

The most common use is when Congress adjourns for the last time in a year to end a Congressional session.

The name sine die is Latin for "without a day".

Single-Payer Health Care

A single-payer system is one method of paying health care providers for services they provide. Various ways include...

o You pay them out of your own pocket
o An insurance company pays them.
o The government pays them (single-payer).

Under a single-payer system, all providers would be reimbursed from a single source, rather than from one of a multitude of insurance companies (that is where the name single-payer comes from).

One example of a single-payer system is Medicare. For the most part, only those older than 65 are eligible for Medicare. This is why creating a single-payer system for all U.S. citizens is referred to as Medicare for All.

Watch this 2-minute video for a clearer understanding...

Situation Room

The White House Situation Room is a 5,000 square-foot complex that serves as the central point for handling intelligence for the president.

Its official name is the John F. Kennedy Conference Room. It's located on the first floor of the West Wing, and sometimes is referred to as the woodshed.

Skinny Repeal

Term used to describe a Senate amendment to the American Health Care Act.

The 8-page amendment - that would have replaced the entire bill - would have eliminated key components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Small Business Administration helps American small businesses obtain loans, counseling, and other types of assistance.

Smog

A form of air pollution resembling a smoky fog. It is a combinations of the words smoke and fog.

Social Media

An interactive environment (such as a website) that allows someone to share content (such as writings and photos) and allows others to respond.

Referenced by...
Russian charged with interfering in 2018 elections (2018-Oct-19)

Social Security

Generally used as the term for the federal program known as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. It provides guaranteed payments for retirees, the disabled, and certain survivors.

It's a type of program referred to as an entitlement.

It's paid for by a separate tax on salaries...

o Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA)
o Self Employed Contributions Act tax (SECA)

These taxes are imposed only on the first $117,000 of income (in 2014). In other words, if you earn less that that, you pay the tax on your entire income. If you earn more, then you pay tax only on that amount.

Social Security Administration (SSA)

The government independent agency that administers the Social Security program.

Social Security Number

A nine-digit number that identifies you to the U.S. government.

Social Security numbers originally were intended to merely identify you to the Social Security Administration, but now are used to identify you to the government for everything from taxes to background checks.

They also are used by private businesses, such as insurance and credit card companies and banks.

In many cases when dealing with companies on the phone, you will be asked for "the last four digits of your social" in order to confirm your identity.

As the uses of Social Security numbers have become more widespread, the number of potential targets has increased for those trying to steal them for identity theft.

Socialism

A way of organizing a society so that major industries are owned and controlled by the government (i.e. common ownership).

The United States contains a mixture of privately owned and socialized industries.

o Water, education, roads, libraries, public safety, and prisons are examples of industries that are predominantly socialized. The Veterans Health Administration (VA) is a socialized health care system.

o Housing, gasoline, energy, internet, and the media are predominantly run by private corporations, though there might be government oversight. Most health care in the United States (other than the VA) is provided by private companies.

Soft Money

(Coming)

Solid Waste Disposal Act

1965 law enacted to help deal with new types and increased amount of discarded materials from consumer packaging, industry, construction, and agriculture.

Sondland, Gordon

(Coming)

Sotomayor, Sonia

(Coming)

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

A nonprofit organization that investigates and educates the public about people and organizations that advocate violence against others based on bigotry.

They sue organizations on the behalf of victims of hate crime. In several cases, the organizations found liable for the hate crimes were required to turn over all of their assets (including property) to the victim.

The SPLC also runs Teaching Tolerance - a program that provides free materials to teachers who want to educate their students on ways to reduce prejudice and improve relations between various ethnic groups.

Sovereignty

The authority of a government to enact and enforce laws.

The United States recognizes several levels of sovereignty, from the federal government to state governments to local governments.

Soviet Union (USSR)

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) - or Soviet Union for short - was a nation comprised of several nations that it had appropriated.

It existed from 1922 to 1991.

Its nations, along with Russia, were...

o Armenia
o Azerbaijan
o Belarus
o Estonia
o Georgia
o Kazakhstan
o Kyrgyzstan
o Latvia
o Lithuania
o Moldova
o Tajikistan
o Turkmenistan
o Ukraine
o Uzbekistan

Speaker of the House

The leader of the House of Representatives.

The House Speaker is elected by representatives each Congressional term. Because each member of the House has a vote, the Speaker effectively is guaranteed to be of the same political party as the majority of members.

The 1947 Presidential Succession Act specifies that if both the president and vice president become unable to serve, the Speaker of the House will become the president (assuming he or she is able to serve).

One interesting note. Although the Speaker of the House always has been a member of the House of Representatives, the Constitution does not require that.

Special Counsel

(Coming)

SSI (SSI)

(Coming)

Standing

The connection a party has to a lawsuit they file.

In order to have standing to bring a lawsuit, a party must show they suffered a valid consequence as a result of the defendant's conduct.

Stare Decisis

Latin for "to stand by a decision", it is the legal principle that court rulings should be on precedent (prior decisions).

State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

State Children's Health Insurance Program - another way to refer to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

State Innovation Exchange (SIX)

(Coming)

Statute of Limitations

A limit to how long after you commit a crime that you can be held responsible for it.

For example, if you understate your income on your tax return by more than 25 percent, the current law has a 6-year statute of limitations - meaning that after six years the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can no longer reassess your tax liability.

Referenced by...
NYT: Trump fortune built on fraud, cost gov't half billion (2018-Oct-15)

Steele, Christopher

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Steering

When a merchant tries to influence a purchaser to use a credit card that charges the merchant a lower swipe fee.

Credit card companies may include anti-steering provisions in contracts with merchants - preventing the merchant from attempting to steer customers away from their card.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court: Merchants can't suggest cost-saving credit card (2018-Jun-25)

Stepien, Bill

President Donald Trump's re-election campaign manager starting July 2020.

He previously was White House Director of Political Affairs in the Trump administration.

Referenced by...
Trump has COVID - Timeline and who it affects (2020-Oct-02)

Stevens, John Paul

Supreme Court justice 1975 - 2010

Stevens died July 16, 2019.

Appointed to latest court by President Gerald Ford

Stewardship of Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes

2010 Executive Order issued by Pres. Barack Obama establishing a national policy to ensure the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources.

Stewart, Jen

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)

Sting Operation

A law-enforcement operation in which officers create opportunities for someone to take criminal actions they can be prosecuted for.

Stings are undertaken against people believed to be involved in criminal behavior.

They differ from entrapment, in that they merely create the opportunity to commit a crime. They don't coerce the target to do so.

Stone, Roger

Lobbyist and political consultant. He is a longtime friend of Donald Trump.

Stone has worked on the political campaigns of Republicans including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Trump.

In 1980, he co-founded a lobbying firm with a group that included Paul Manafort.

Referenced by...
Trump pardons longtime friend Roger Stone (2020-Jul-10)
Stone indictment shows Trump campaign collusion - again (2019-Jan-28)
Senate subpoenas documents on Russia (2017-May-10)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE)

Organization whose website states its mission as "Working for policy reform to protect all victims and stop false allegations."

SAVE states as its position that a definition of rape that includes alcohol- or drug-facilitated rape, as well as attempted rape, is "overly broad".

Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)

The nation's emergency fuel storage.

The crude oil is stored in four storage facilities in Louisiana and Texas - in deep underground caverns. The total capacity is more than 700 million barrels. Both sweet and sour crude oil is stored.

It was created by the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act, and is maintained by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Straw Purchase

A purchase where someone buys something for someone else who is unable to buy it themselves.

For example, someone legally purchasing a gun ostensibly for them, but in reality for someone who cannot legally own one.

Referenced by...
Trump inaugural committee investigated for corruption (2018-Dec-13)

Student Loan

A loan that helps students pay the expenses of a college education. Students typically are not required to start repaying the loan until they are finished with their education.

A federal student loan is one that is funded by the government, rather than a private lender such as a bank.

Referenced by...
DeVos sued for not implementing student loan protections (2018-Nov-14)
Judge supports relief for defrauded federal student loan borrowers (2018-Oct-01)

Stull, Mari

Senior Advisor to the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) in the Trump administration. She left in 2019 under the shadow of an investigation by the State Department's Inspector General.

Stull previously had been a lobbyist for the food industry.

She also writes a bog about wine, and is known as the Vino Vixen.

Referenced by...
State Dept. harassed employees for political leanings (2019-Aug-15)

Subprime Loan

A type of loan offered to someone who might be considered too much of a risk for a traditional loan - whether due to a low credit score, low income, or other factors.

Because of the added risk, subprime loans are provided at a higher interest rate than traditional loans.

Subsidy

Financial assistance used to help pay for something considered desirable (by whoever is providing the subsidy).

For example, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacar) the federal government provides subsidies to help those with low enough incomes pay for health care insurance.

Suffrage

The right to vote - typically in public political elections.

Sullivan, Emmet

Judge for the District of Columbia District Court since 1994.

When appointed to that position, he became the first person in the District of Columbia to be appointed to judicial positions by three presidents (Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton).

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Referenced by...
Order for USPS to restore service levels mostly ignored (2020-Oct-27)
Democrats' emoluments lawsuit dismissed (2020-Feb-07)

Super PAC

A Political Action Committee that may raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations, and unions.

Super PACs are required to report who their donors are, though donors can shield their identities by giving to a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization instead, which in turn donates the money to the Super PAC. These nonprofits are not required to list donors.

The main restriction on a Super PAC is that it may not coordinate with the candidate it is supporting. In fact, the official name for this type of organization is Independent Expenditure Committee

Watch this 2-minute video to see how SuperPACs combine with nonprofit organizations to allow for unlimited anonymous campaign contributions.



Super PACs are a type of 527 Organization.

Supercommittee

See Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Superfund

Federal program to clean up sites that have been contaminated with hazardous substances.

Originally, most of the money for the fund came from a tax on the industries that were at risk for creating the contamination. However, most of the funding since 2001 comes from public money.

It was created by the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

A government program that helps make food affordable to those with very low incomes.

This program formerly was known as Food Stamps.

Supremacy Clause

The second paragraph of Article 6 of the Constitution.

It states that the U.S. Constitution and federal laws take precedence over state constitutions and laws.

Supreme Court (SCOTUS)

As specified by the Constitution, the United States' government consists of three branches...

o Legislative (Congress): Writes laws
o Executive (President): Approves and enforces laws
o Judicial: Determines if a law violates any provision of the Constitution.

The judicial branch consists of the U.S. federal court system. The Supreme Court is highest court in that system. It consists of nine justices (judges) . Justices are appointed by the president, and must be confirmed by the Senate.

When a lower court's decision is appealed to the Supreme Court, the court may...

o Refuse to hear the appeal, and the lower court's decision becomes the final outcome.
o Agree to hear the appeal, in which case the Supreme Court will decide the final outcome.

For a list of Supreme Court justices - present and past - click here.
For a list of Supreme Court decisions that Lobby99 has discussed, click here.
Website: www.SupremeCourt.gov.

Surplus

A surplus occurs when you bring in more money than you spend over some period of time such as a year. (For the opposite situation, see deficit).

If the U.S. budget for a fiscal year creates a surplus, the amount of the surplus may be used pay off (i.e. reduce) some the national debt. Alternatively, it can be used for whatever Congress and the President agree to, such as rebating the money to taxpayers or paying for additional programs.

SurvJustice

Nonprofit organization that supports survivors of sexual violence through legal assistance, policy advocacy, and education.

Swing State

A state in which voters cannot be regularly predicted to favor one party over another, and that has a large enough number of Electoral College votes to determine the outcome of an election.

Swing Vote

Whether it's judges on a court, representatives in Congress, or voters or states in an election, many votes are predictable based on ideology or demographics.

It is the votes that aren't as predictable that often determine the outcome of a decision. Those votes are referred to as swing votes, in that they can swing the outcome one way or another.

Swipe Fee

The fees a merchant pays to a credit card company when you pay for something using a card.

Swipe fees are passed onto consumers. It's usually in the form of higher prices for everyone, because paying with a credit card rarely costs more than paying any other way. They cost the average household $400 a year in higher prices.

That hurts lower-income families more than higher-income ones. Because lower-income families pay more often using cash, they don't receive rebates and other benefits cards offer, yet they they still pay the added costs.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court: Merchants can't suggest cost-saving credit card (2018-Jun-25)

Table

To defeat an item (i.e. bill, resolution, or amendment) in the Senate.

A motion to table an item is not debatable, and only a simple majority is required to table the item. It therefore is used to quickly dispose of an item.

Tata, Anthony

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Trump overhauls Defense leadership after election loss (2020-Nov-09)

Tatel, David S.

Judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals since 1994. He was appointed to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Tax

Taxes are the way a government gets money to pay for services that benefit its constituents. Taxes are collected by the federal government, states, and cities.

A government is not the only way to obtain these services, as the following diagram shows...


Click on the diagram for a clearer understanding

Taxes are collected in several ways. For example, you might pay...

o A percentage of your income
o A percentage of the cost of things you buy
o A fee for using a road, bus, public park, etc.

For a more in-depth look some of the issues involving taxes, read our discussion of this issue

Tax Audit

(Coming)

Tax Deduction vs Credit

When you earn money, you pay an income tax based on the amount you earned.

For various reasons, such as to encourage you to buy certain things or to help those in need, the government enacts various deductions and tax credits.

A deduction allows you to calculate your tax on an amount lower than you actually earned. For example, if you earned $100,000 but paid $10,000 in medical expenses, a deduction would allow you to pay taxes as if you had earned only $90,000 ($100,000 - $10,000).

A tax credit allows you to directly reduce the amount of tax you owe. For example, if you owe $3,000 in taxes, a $1,000 tax credit would mean you actually owe only $2,000 ($3,000 - $1,000).

A credit generally is worth more than a deduction. For example...

o A $1,000 deduction is worth only the amount of tax you would pay on $1,000 of income. So if you pay 10 percent of your income in taxes, the deduction would save you $100 (10 percent of $1,000).

o A $1,000 tax credit would save you $1,000.

A tax credit can be refundable or non-refundable. A non-refundable credit can reduce your taxes only up to the amount that you owe. With a refundable credit, you always get the full amount - meaning that you can receive it as a refund if it is worth more than the tax you owe.

Tax Policy Center

The Tax Policy Center is a nonpartisan organization that analyzes the effects of tax policies. It is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute.

Tax Refund

Each year by April 15 you file an income tax return based on the amount you earned in the previous year.

When you fill out your tax return, what you actually are doing is reconciling the amount of your tax with the amount you paid throughout the year.

o If you paid less than the amount of your tax, you must pay the difference to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 15.

o If you paid more than the amount of your tax, the IRS returns the amount you overpaid. This is your tax refund.

Note: In some cases your refund may be more than the what you paid, due to credits from programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Tax: Cadillac

A tax on expensive health care coverage provided by employers. It was created to help pay for Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

It is called the Cadillac Tax because it taxes only the most expensive and generous plans that companies can employees instead of a higher salary. While the salaries would have been taxed, there previously had been no tax on policies such as this.

Implementation of the tax has been delayed several times. It now is scheduled to take effect in 2020.

Referenced by...
2020 deficit will exceed $1 trillion (2020-Feb-12)

Tax: Medical Device

The Medical Device Tax is a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices (such as artificial knee joints). It was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Implementation of the tax has been repeatedly delayed. It now is not set to take effect until 2022.

Referenced by...
2020 deficit will exceed $1 trillion (2020-Feb-12)
Senate giving ObamaCare repeal big final push (2017-Sep-19)
Bipartisan group seeks to fix ObamaCare problems (2017-Aug-05)
Issue: Repealing (and Replacing?) Obamacare

Tax: Medicare

A separate tax on wages that is used to pay for Medicare. It also is known as the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) tax.

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), high-income individuals pay about one percent more.

Tax: Net investment

A tax on investment income on those with investment profits exceeding $200,000 in a year.

It is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The official name of the tax is the Unearned Income Medicare Contribution Tax. In spite of that name, revenue from this tax goes into the nation's General Fund.

Taylor, William

(Coming)

Tea Party

(Coming)

Teacher Corps

(Coming)

Temperature Anomalies

The difference from a baseline of previous values - for example comparing one year's temperature to an average of the previous 30 years.

In climate change studies, anomalies convey more meaningful information than absolute values, because absolute values can depend on factors such as location and altitude.

Adding a new weather station, for example, would affect the overall average temperature differently depending on whether that station was atop an Alaskan mountain or in the middle of a Hawaiian rainforest. Anomalies tend to be more consistent among locations.

Referenced by...
Climate report shows impacts on daily life (2018-Nov-23)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

(Coming)

Term Limit

A law that limits the number of terms a representative can serve in an elected office.

The Constitution's 22nd Amendment limits the president to two terms. There are no limits to the number of terms representatives or senators can serve.

Terrorism

A term generally used to describe illegal acts that are politically-motivated and that cause harm of some sort.

Often the harm is to people who are not specifically targeted by the perpetrator. But it can be against property.

It is not necessarily violent, for example in the case of an internet attack on a computer system (cyber terrorism) or a financial system.

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute studies problems associated with all aspects of transportation.

You can learn more about them at tti.tamu.edu.

Thacker, Stephanie

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2012.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

The Wireless Association (CTIA)

An organization that lobbies for the wireless industry. You can visit their website at www.CTIA.org.

Think Tank

An organization that studies, reports on, and advocates for public policies. They can be non-partisan or they can subscribe to some political agenda. They also are referred to as policy institutes, research institutes, or advocacy groups.

When evaluating a policy reported on by a think tank, it is important to understand the political leanings of the organization.

ThinkProgress

A news website that provides reporting and analysis from a self-described "progressive perspective". It is a project of the Center for American Progress (CAP)

Thomas, Clarence

Supreme Court justice since 1991

Appointed to latest court by President George H.W. Bush

Tillerson, Rex

Secretary of State under President Donald Trump from February 2017 to March 2018.

At the time of his nomination, Tillerson had no government or diplomatic experience. He spent his entire career at ExxonMobil - starting as an engineer in 1975 until being named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2006.

He does, however, have strong business ties to leaders around the world, most notably Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two first met in 1999, while Tillerson was responsible for Exxon's holdings in Russia.

In 2011 the company signed an agreement to explore and drill in the arctic and Siberia with oil company Rosneft, which is majority owned by the Russian government. The deal - which could generate up to $500 billion for Exxon - was put on hold because of U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia for its invasion of the Ukraine.

The State Department helps decide on and administer sanctions.

ExxonMobil has given nearly $2 million to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) since 1998. Exxon representative Cynthia Bergman has a seat on ALEC's Private Enterprise Advisory Council.

Referenced by...
Rule to disclose payments to foreign governments nullified (2017-Feb-14)
Trump fires Sec. of State Tillerson (2016-Dec-12)
Issue: ALEC in the Trump White House
Issue: Donald Trump Presidency

Timofeyev, Ivan

Director of programs at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) - a Russian tthink tank founded by the Russian foreign ministry. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is chairman of the board.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Tip Credit

Most restaurant employees who traditionally receive tips - such as servers - may be paid a lower minimum wage than that for other workers (though if the employee's tips are less than the minimum wage, the restaurant must make up the difference).

The difference between the normal minimum wage and the lower amount the restaurant actually pays the employee is referred to as the tip credit.

Referenced by...
Labor rule would change who owns tips (2017-Dec-05)

Title IX

Part of the 1972 amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965, it prohibits gender discrimination in publicly funded higher education.

It begins...

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..."

Title X

1970 addition to the 1944 Public Health Service Act that funds family-planning and other preventive health services for low-income individuals.

Tokhtakhounov, Alimzhan

A reputed Russian mobster - wanted in the U.S. after he was indicted in connection with an illegal gambling ring run out of Trump Tower in New York.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Too Big To Fail

A term used to describe a financial institution or other business so large that if it fails, the effect to the economy could disastrous for many people outside the actual institution.

For example, a failure of a very large bank could result in people not being able to access their money.

The government works to both prevent these failures from happening, and to provide assistance if they do happen.

Referenced by...
Banking law weakens safeguards, gives half-billion to banks (2018-May-24)

Torshin, Alexander

(Coming)

Trainor, James E. (Trey)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Election monitoring agency prevented from acting (2019-Aug-30)

Trans-Alaska Pipeline

(Coming)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Traxler, William B.

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 1998.

Appointed to latest court by President Donald Trump

Treasure Forfeiture Fund

(Coming)

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration provides independent oversight of IRS activities - including the prevention and detection of fraud, waste, and abuse within the IRS and related entities. (www.Treasury.gov/tigta)

TRICARE

Health care program for members of the United States military.

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)

(Coming)

Trump Organization

A group of approximately 500 businesses principally owned by Donald Trump.

Referenced by...
Trump profits from Secret Service (2020-Sep-20)
Lawyer: Trump offered Putin $50M penthouse in Moscow tower (2018-Nov-29)

Trump Tower

A condominium and office skyscraper in New York.

It is the private residence of Donald Trump, as well as the main office of his businesses.

Referenced by...
Trump profits most from his properties that he visits (2017-Jul-18)

Trump Tower Meeting

A June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.

The main participants in the meeting were Donald Trump Jr. and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya.

It officially was arranged by Rob Goldstone, who is an agent for Russian musician Emin Agalarov. Agalarov's father, Aras Agalarov, has close ties with the Russian government.

It's likely that Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya came to the meeting with different agendas. Goldstone's proposal to Trump Jr. offered "official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia."

Veselnitskaya - who founded a Russian organization to fight U.S. sanctions against Russia imposed under the Magnitsky Act - is said to have come to discuss having those sanctions eliminated.

Trump Jr. initially had said the meeting was about "Russian adoptions". The barring of Russian adoptions to the United States was a retaliatory action by Russia to the Magnitsky Act.

Aside from Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, other known attendees at the meeting were...

o Jared Kushner
o Paul Manafort
o Rinat Akhmetshin
o Irakly Kaveladze (who attended on the behalf of Aras Agalarov)
o Rob Goldstone and Anatoli Samochornov (a translator)

Referenced by...
Full Mueller report released. Here's what it says. (2019-Apr-18)

Trump, Donald

Donald Trump is the 45th United States president.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Trump, Donald Jr.

Donald Trump's eldest son.

Referenced by...
Full Mueller report released. Here's what it says. (2019-Apr-18)
Former Trump attorney lays out possible Trump crimes (2019-Feb-27)
Lawyer: Trump offered Putin $50M penthouse in Moscow tower (2018-Nov-29)
Campaign aide told Trump about Russian connections (2017-Oct-30)
Trump attorney asked for Kremlin help on deal (2017-Aug-29)
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Trump, Eric

Donald Trump's son.

Referenced by...
Trump profits from Secret Service (2020-Sep-20)
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Trump, Ivanka

Donald Trump's daughter.

Referenced by...
Lock her up? The risk of private email servers. (2019-Oct-28)
Former Trump attorney lays out possible Trump crimes (2019-Feb-27)
Ivanka Trump trademarks come with China policy (2018-May-28)
Trump attorney asked for Kremlin help on deal (2017-Aug-29)

Trump, Melania

(Coming)

TSA PreCheck

(Coming)

Tuesday Group

(Coming)

Twitter

A social media organization that allows users to broadcast messages of up to 140 characters.

Twitter messages are referred to as tweets.

President Donald Trump was famous for using Twitter as a medium to vent personal anger and to make policy declarations (not all of which he acted on).

U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change

1992 international treaty for working toward limiting greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

The framework does not set limits and there are no enforcement provisions. Instead, it works as a guideline for for future environmental treaties (often referred to as agreements or protocols).

U.N. General Assembly

(Coming)

U.N. Green Climate Fund (GCF)

An international fund that helps poor countries...

o Deal with climate change effects caused by countries that emit the most greenhouse gases.

o Develop clean energy technologies

U.N. Human Rights Commission (OHCHR)

Also called the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

Organization within the United Nations (U.N.) that provides technical assistance in developing human rights standards for the U.N.

Referenced by...
State Dept. harassed employees for political leanings (2019-Aug-15)

U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

Organization founded to assist Palestinian refugees, which it defines as persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 (Arab-Israeli) conflict.

It was established by the United Nations (UN) in 1949 and receives most of its funding from United Nations member states.

Referenced by...
State Dept. harassed employees for political leanings (2019-Aug-15)

U.N. Security Council

The UN Security Council is one of the six main organs of the United Nations.

Its primary function is to maintain international peace and stability.

The Security Council is comprised of 15 members - 5 permanent and 10 elected to 2-year terms. The permanent members are...

o United States
o Russian Federation (previously the Soviet Union)
o China
o United Kingdom
o France

Security Council resolutions are binding, and can be enforced by sanctions or a peacekeeping force. Passing a resolution requires a YES vote from at least 9 members. However, a NO vote by any of the permanent members is considered a veto and will cause the resolution to fail.

U.S. Board on Geographic Names

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names is responsible for ensuring that geographic names in the United States are consistent throughout the government.

Consistent naming eliminates misunderstanding and allows various government agencies to work together more easily.

It is part of the Department of the Interior, and was created in 1890 by an executive order from President William Harrison.

Website: geonames.usgs.gov

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Code

The laws of the United States.

When a bill becomes a law, it becomes part of the U.S. Code. The law might add a completely new section to the U.S. Code, or it might change an existing law.

U.S. Copyright Office

(Coming)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for processing travelers and goods entering the country.

It was known as the U.S. Customs Service until 2003, when it was merged with parts of other agencies.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

U.S. Forest Service

Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that manages and protects national forests and grasslands in the United States.

U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)

Federal program that coordinates research on Climate Change across several federal agencies and scientific organizations.

The program releases publications that assess the impacts of climate change.

It was established by 1990 Global Change Research Act

Referenced by...
Climate report shows impacts on daily life (2018-Nov-23)

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

U.S. Postal Service (USPS)

Official organization that delivers mail in the United States.

Though regulated as a federal agency, the USPS effectively is a corporation whose operations are funded by its sales. It receives virtually no federal funding (other than funding for a few specific purposes).

U.S. Trade Representative

Ukraine

Eastern European country that had been part of the former Soviet Union.



In 1991 it became an independent country again. It has since gone through periods when its policies were more aligned with Russia, and others where its policies were more aligned with western Europe and the United States.

Referenced by...
Trump associates charged with campaign violations (2019-Oct-10)
Trump pressured Ukranian president to investigate Biden (2019-Sep-23)
Trump inaugural committee investigated for corruption (2018-Dec-13)
Trump's former campaign manager convicted (2018-Aug-21)
Trump won't impose required Russia sanctions (2018-Feb-02)
Bill limits president's power to lift Russian sanctions (2017-Aug-02)
Paul Manafort proposed influence plan to Russia 10 years ago (2017-Mar-22)
Trump fires Sec. of State Tillerson (2016-Dec-12)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC)

A minor who has no lawful immigration status in the United States and does not have a parent or legal guardian in the country available to provide care and physical custody.

Under Oath

When someone testifies under oath, they affirm that they legally are required to be truthful. If their testimony is false, they can be charged with perjury.

Undervote

(Coming)

Unemployed

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies someone as unemployed if they do not have a job, but have been actively searching for one in past 4 weeks.

After 27 weeks, if they still have not found a job they are considered long-term unemployed.

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

(Coming)

Referenced by...
Issue: Unemployment Insurance

Union

Technically, a labor union (or simply union) is an organization of workers. However, it often is more useful to think of a labor union as an organization that represents a group of workers.

Labor unions have several functions, among which are...

o They negotiate wages and benefits for your group in an activity referred to as collective bargaining.

o They support you in disputes with your employer.

o They lobby government for laws and regulations that protect and benefit workers.

o They support candidates whom they believe will best represent the interests of workers.

The money to do all this comes from members (workers in the group) paying dues.

Referenced by...
Court: Government workers can't be forced to support union (2018-Jun-27)
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

Union Security Agreement

An agreement between a labor union and an employer that specifies whether all employees in the group represented by the union are required to pay dues to the union - even if the employee chooses to not become a member of the union.

These agreements are a way of ensuring that all workers who benefit from collective bargaining pay the union for negotiating on their behalf.

United Nations (UN)

An organization of approximately 200 of the Earth's nations. It was created in 1945 - after the Second World War - to promote international cooperation.

The UN consists of 6 main organs...

o General Assembly
o Security Council
o Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
o Trusteeship Council
o International Court of Justice
o Secretariat

The leader (Secretary-General) of the U.N. is Ban Ki-moon of Korea, who has served since 2007.

Previous Secretary-Generals have been:

o 1997-2006 Kofi A. Annan (Ghana)
o 1992-1996 Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt)
o 1982-1991 Javier Perez de Cuellar (Peru)
o 1972-1981 Kurt Waldheim (Austria)
o 1961-1971 U Thant (Myanmar)
o 1953-1961 Dag Hammarskjold (Sweden)
o 1946-1952 Trgve Lie (Norway)

Website: www.UN.org

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Government agency that provides aid and development assistance to other countries.

It was created in 1961 by an executive order by President John F. Kennedy.

Referenced by...
Agency investigating AIDS and Ebola viruses to shut down (2019-Oct-30)

Universal Health Care (UHC)

A policy of guaranteeing health care to citizens or residents of a country, state, or city.

It can be implemented in a number of ways, including...

o A single-payer system, in which health care providers (doctors, hospitals, etc) are businesses, and are paid for their services by a government entity rather than by insurance companies who operate for profit. Medicare is an example of a single-payer system.

o A socialist system in which the government owns the facilities and directly employs the doctors and other health care providers. Health care provided by the Veteran's Administration (VA) is an example of a socialist system.

The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide some type of universal health care to all of its citizens.

Uranium extraction

These are the primary ways uranium is obtained for use in nuclear fuel and weapons...

o Conventional milling: Uranium ore from mines is brought to a mill, where it is crushed into smaller particles. Uranium is then leached from the particles using a liquid such as sulfuric acid.

o In situ recovery: A solution is injected into the ground to dissolve the uranium. Then the solution (containing the dissolved uranium) is collected and pumped to a processing plant where the uranium is extracted. This is similar to fracking, but shallower, which can affect groundwater.

The product of uranium extraction is known as yellowcake.

Urban Institute

A non-partisan think tank that studies, reports on, and advocates for social programs and policies.

The Urban Institute was created in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson.

For more, visit their website at www.Urban.org.

USPS: Board of Governers

Panel that oversees the policies and operations of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). It was created by the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act.

The board is made up of 11 members...

o Postmaster General
o Deputy Postmaster General
o 9 governors

No more than 5 of the board's 9 governors may belong to the same political party.

The board's governors are nominated by the President, and require Senate approval. The board selects (and can remove) the Postmaster General.

USPS: Postmaster General

Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Usury laws

Laws that govern the amount of interest that can be charged on a loan. Usury laws are enacted to protect consumers by preventing a bank from charging excessively high interest rates.

van der Zwaan, Alex

Dutch lawyer who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in the investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

He was the first person sentenced to prison in the investigation.

Referenced by...
Trump adviser Papadopoulos to serve time in Russia probe (2018-Sep-07)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Vance, Cyrus Jr.

District Attorney of New York County, New York since 2010.

He is the son of Cyrus Vance, who served as secretary of state under President Jimmy Carter.

Referenced by...
Court: President can't ignore subpoenas (2020-Jul-09)

Vashukevich, Anastasia

A Belarusian sex worker who goes by the professional name of Nastya Rybka.

In addition to her other work, she authored a book titled The Diary of Seducing a Billionaire - allegedly highlighting a yacht trip with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

She has been involved in several sexual pranks and protests. In 2017, she served a week in jail for a sex prank instigated by her colleague and self-proclaimed Belarusian "sex guru" Alexander Kirillov - who goes by the professional name Alex Lesley.

Kirillov was running for the Russian presidency at the time against President Vladimir Putin. His slogan was "A country led by a military man will fight. A country, led by a scientist, will develop. A country that is run by a sex guru will multiply!"

Referenced by...
Russia releases sex worker after silence pledge about Trump (2019-Feb-15)

Vekselberg, Viktor

A Russian oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vekselberg owns Renova Group, a Russian holding company that owns companies involved in construction, transportation, energy, telecommunications, and banking.

One of those companies - Columbus Nova - is run by Vekselberg's cousin Andrew Intrater.

Referenced by...
Trump administration imposes Russia sanctions (2018-Apr-06)

Veselnitskaya, Natalia

A Russian lawyer with close ties to the Russian government.

Veselnitskaya founded the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative (HRAGI) that is working to repeal the Magnitsky Act - which is preventing certain wealthy Russians from accessing their wealth stored in the United States. HRAGI is based in the United States but funded by Russia.

One of Veselnitskaya's clients is Denis Katsyv, who owns Prevezon Holdings. Prevezon was named in the scandal uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky - which resulted in the Magnitsky Act.

Veselnitskaya was one of the key participants of the Trump Tower meeting.

Referenced by...
Trump's son met to get Russian government info on Clinton (2017-Jul-10)
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Veteran

The standard definition of a veteran is someone who has a long experience in any particular field.

However, we typically use the term to refer to someone who has served in the U.S. military (including those still serving).

Veterans Health Administration

The Veterans Health Administration (most often referred as simply the VA) is the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs that provides health care to U.S. military veterans.

The VA health care system is separate from other health care systems in the U.S. Unlike the other systems, the VA is a socialized system in that its doctors and other providers are employees of the government, and its facilities are government-owned.

Veterans of Foreign Wars

A nonprofit organization that provides services for veterans who have served in overseas conflicts and advocates for policies that serve their interests.

Veto

Once Congress passes a bill, it then is up to the president as to whether it actually becomes a law. He can sign the bill, making it an official law. Or he can reject it by vetoing it.

Though that is the essence of how a bill becomes a law (or doesn't become one), there are a few variations that can come into play...

o If the president vetoes a bill, it still can become a law if Congress overrides the veto. To override a veto, two-thirds of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate must vote to override the veto.

o If the president does not sign or veto the bill within 10 days, it automatically becomes law.

o If the president does not sign or veto the bill within 10 days, but Congress adjourns during that 10 days and is no longer in session, the bill is automatically vetoed. This is referred to as a pocket veto

Vindman, Alexander

(Coming)

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

This act is Title IV of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

It funds investigations and prosecutions of violent crimes against women. It requires those convicted to provide restitution to the victim.

It allowed victims to sue their attackers in federal court. In 2000, that provision was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in United States v. Morrison.

The law was reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Technology that allows someone to communicate over the internet - which is public - as if they were using a private network.

This allows their communications to be encrypted, as well as masking their internet identity.

Volcker Rule

A federal regulation, part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, that prohibits banks from engaging in certain speculative investments.

Referenced by...
Banking law weakens safeguards, gives half-billion to banks (2018-May-24)
House passes bill to revoke consumer and financial protections (2017-Jun-08)

Volker, Kurt

(Coming)

Voter Caging

A form of election fraud designed to revoke the registration of legal voters.

Voter caging consists of mailing letters to registered voters that cannot be forwarded. If the letter is returned for some reason, the recipient's voter registration is challenged on the grounds that they do not legally reside at that address.

If these mailings are targeted to areas with a high concentration of voters likely to support an opposing party, the practice can affect the outcome of the election in the favor of the organization sending them.

The term caging also can apply to similar practices that challenge a legal voter's eligibility.

Voter Fraud

The intentional corruption of the voting process by voters.

This can involve someone casting a vote who is not legally allowed to vote, or someone casting multiple votes in an election.

Voter ID

(Coming)

Voter Suppression

Generic term for tactics used to disenfranchise a segment of the population considered likely to vote for candidates of a particular political party.

Voting Rights Act

1965 law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

Main provisions include...

o Makes any restrictions to voting - such as a knowledge test or cost - illegal

o Jurisdictions that had used discrimination in the past can not change their voting rules without having the changes pre-cleared by the federal government.

For more, read our discussion of the law.

Voucher

An amount of money that can be used only for a specified purpose.

Vought, Russell T.

Deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Donald Trump.

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Part of the Department of Labor (DOL) created by the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Among the laws enforced by the WHD are those enacted in the FLSA, including...

o The federal minimum wage
o Overtime pay
o Child labor laws

Wage Theft

The failure of employers to pay workers what they legally are entitled to. Many of the victims are low-wage workers.

In 2012, the amount of money recovered for victims of wage theft was about $1 billion - triple the amount of all the money stolen in robberies that year, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute.

Walker, John M.

Appointed to latest court by President George H.W. Bush

Referenced by...
Appeals court: Emoluments lawsuit must be heard (2019-Sep-13)

Walter Reed Medical Center

(Coming)

War on Drugs

(Coming)

Warren, Earl

Supreme Court justice from 1953 to 1969. Warren was Chief Justice.

Washington Examiner

An explicitely conservative newspaper. It is owned by Phil Anschutz, who also owns the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard.

For more, read this Politico.com story.

Washington Free Beacon

A conservative website. It was founded by Paul Singer - a major Republican donor.

Washington, George

George Washington was the first president of the United States.

Watergate

(Coming)

Weapon of Mass Destruction

A term used to describe a weapon capable of killing many people at once and causing widespread destruction.

Examples would be nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

Referenced by...
Government can't account for nuclear weapons material (2018-Jul-27)
Live nukes mistakenly flown over U.S. (2007-Sep-05)

Weisselberg, Allen

Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization.

Other roles he has played for the Trump family include...

o Chief Financial Officer for Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts

o Treasurer of the Donald Trump Foundation

o Accountant for Trump's father Fred Trump.

Referenced by...
Former Trump attorney lays out possible Trump crimes (2019-Feb-27)
Issue: Trump's Enrichment

Wheeler, Andrew

Acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

He previously was the EPA's deputy director. He became the acting director when previous director Scott Pruitt resigned.

Prior to that, Wheeler was a lobbyist, mainly for the fossil-fuel industry. His top client, coal company Murray Energy, paid him to lobby against the Obama administration's regulations.

Wheeler is a former aide to Sen.
James Inhofe, an outspoken climate-change denier.

Whistleblower

A person who exposes illegal or unethical actions of an organization (typically one they work for).

Referenced by...
Trump pressured Ukranian president to investigate Biden (2019-Sep-23)

Whistleblower Protection Act

Law that protects federal whistleblowers from retaliation by their employer.

There are two Whistleblower Protection Acts:

1989 Whistleblower Protection Act
Excluded members of the intelligence community.

1998 Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act
Protects members of the intelligence community by providing methods for whistleblowers to report violations while keeping classified information protected.

Referenced by...
Trump pressured Ukranian president to investigate Biden (2019-Sep-23)

Whitaker, Matthew

Whitaker was chief of staff to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

When Sessions was fired by President Donald Trump, Trump named Whitaker to be the acting attorney general.

Referenced by...
Senators sue to reverse Trump's AG appointment (2018-Nov-19)
Sessions fired - Replacement may be illegal appointment (2018-Nov-08)

White House

The White House (which really is white), is the official residence and office of the president.

The term also is used as a general way to refer to the president's administration. For example, "The White House announced that..."

Referenced by...
Changed regulation could quash protests (2018-Oct-15)
Did Putin say he ordered U.S. election interference? (2018-Jul-30)

White House Chief of Staff

(Coming)

White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA)

Nonprofit organization that coordinates media access to the president.

Referenced by...
White House moves to ban reporters' followup questions (2018-Nov-22)
Judge orders White House to allow banned reporter (2018-Nov-16)

White Supremacy

A form a racism that espouses the belief that white people (caucasians, European descent, etc) are superior to other races, and therefore should dominate society.

Referenced by...
Racist remarks cost Iowa Rep. King committees (2019-Jan-17)

Wiener, Alter

Alter Wiener is a Holocaust survivor living in the Portland, Oregon area. He spent three years of his teens imprisoned in five Nazi Germany concentration camps. Virtually his entire family was murdered.

His autobiography, From a Name to a Number, was published in 2007.
He has no financial interest in the book, and it is available from major booksellers as well as in public libraries.

Watch this video to hear Alter discuss his life story...

WikiLeaks

Nonprofit organization that publishes information from anonymous sources on its website.

The information typically is classified or sensitive.

Referenced by...
WikiLeaks founder indicted, removed from embassy in England (2019-Apr-12)

Wilkinson, J. Harvie III

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 1984.

Appointed to latest court by President Ronald Reagan

Williams, David

(Coming)

Williams, Jennifer

(Coming)

Wilson, Charles R.

Justice on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appointed to latest court by President William J. Clinton

Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)

(Coming)

World Bank

World Health Organization (WHO)

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

An agency of the United Nations (UN) created in 1967 to protect intellectual property across nations.

For more, visit www.wipo.int.

Wounded Warrior

A term used to describe a veteran who was severely wounded, injured, or made ill while serving after Sept. 10, 2001.

Referenced by...
CA: Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted (2018-Aug-21)

Wray, Christopher

FBI director in the Donald Trump administration.

He replaced James Comey, who was fired by Trump.

Wray is one of several members of the Trump administration with close ties to Russia.

Writ of Certiorari

A request for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lower court decision.

Appeals typically are from federal courts, though the Supreme Court could review a state's court ruling if it is a Constitutional issue. At least 4 of the 9 justices must vote to accept a case. Of the thousands of requests the Court receives each year, it typically accepts fewer than 150.

Write-In

A vote for someone whose name is not listed on their ballot.

Rules for write-in votes vary both by state and by the office being voted for.

Wynn, James A.

Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2010.

Appointed to latest court by President Barack Obama

Yanukovych, Viktor

President of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014.

Initially popular, he used his presidency to enrich himself and jail his main political opponent. After he backed out of a partnership with the European Union, violent protests in 2014 - in which many protesters were killed by government snipers - forced him to to flee. He ended up in Russia.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump's Ties to Russia

Yazoo-Mississippi Delta

The delta of the Yazoo River between the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers. It also is referred to as the Mississippi Delta.

It consists of the northwest section of Mississippi and parts of Arkansas and Louisiana.

Due to a combination of factors aggravated by Global Warming, flooding has made the delta among the fastest-disappearing lands on Earth.

Referenced by...
Mississippi Delta under water for six months (2019-Aug-06)

Yovanovitch, Marie

U.S. Ambssador to Ukraine from 2016 to 2019.

President Donald Trump removed her from her diplomatic role in May 2019. The effort to remove her, however, began a year before it became a central issue in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

In the way of shady deals

Yovanovitch was supporting anti-corruption safeguards in Ukraine. Those safeguards would have preempted a deal to sell large amounts of liquified natural gas from Texas to the Ukrainian oil company Naftogaz, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.

The frontmen for the deal were Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, according to an indictment of the two.

The effort to remove Yovanovitch included a letter in 2018 from then-Rep. Pete Sessions to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting that she be removed.

Around that time, Sessions received illegal campaign contributions from Parnas and Fruman, the indictment claims.

Note: Sessions was not directly mentioned in the indictment. However, a "Congressman-1" was mentioned, and actions of that congressman match those of Sessions.

At least one Ukrainian government official involved

The indictment claims that Parnas and Fruman also were woking to advance the political interests of a Ukrainian government official.

That official is believed to be former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.

In March 2019, Lutsenko claimed that Yovanovitch had given him a list of people he should not prosecute.

The State Department called that claim "an outright fabrication." Lutsenko himself later retracted the claim.

Trump associates saw Yovanovitch as blocking Biden inquiry

Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had said he considered Yovanovitch to be an obstacle in uncovering disparaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden - a possible opponent of Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Soon after, Donald Trump Jr. referred to Yovanovitch as a "joker" in a Twitter post.

President Trump himself also disparaged her.

Referenced by...
Trump associates charged with campaign violations (2019-Oct-10)

Zelensky, Volodymyr

President of Ukraine since May 2019.

Referenced by...
Diplomats link Trump to Ukraine extortion (2019-Nov-14)

Zinke, Ryan

Representative from Montana from 2015 - 2017. He previously had served in the Montana state Senate.

In 2017 he became Secretary of the Interior under President Donald Trump.

His previous record runs counter to the goals of the department he was named to run.

As a candidate for Montana Lt. Governor in 2012, Zinke is said to have signed the Montana Voter and Candidate Pledge. The pledge, among other things, demands opposition to Department of Interior agencies. Zinke has not acknowledged or denied signing the pledge. He has claimed that he doesn't remember signing it.

The oil and gas industry has contributed more than $345,000 to Zinke, who supports opening up public lands to oil and gas drilling.

The League of Conservation Voters has given Zinke a lifetime score of 3 percent. Zinke has supported...

o The Keystone XL pipeline.
o Limiting the president's ability to protect public lands by declaring them national monuments.
o Weakening protections for endangered species.
o A balanced budget Constitutional amendment.
o Prohibiting funding for a Department of Defense directive that would require the DoD to consider climate change in its plans.

His actions on climate change contradict his 2010 position in which he cosigned a letter to President Obama and Congress calling for "comprehensive clean energy jobs and climate change legislation." The letter also stated...

"Our nation's most respected military leaders recognize that climate change is a threat multiplier for instability in the most volatile regions of the world. The climate change threat presents significant national security challenges for the United States - challenges that should be addressed today, because they will almost certainly get worse if we delay."

He now claims to be skeptical of Global Warming. In a 2014 Congressional debate, he said "It's not a hoax, but it's not proven science either."

Zinke is a retired Navy SEAL.

Referenced by...
Interior's Zinke resigns. Replaced by oil lobbyist (2019-Jan-02)
Trump cabinet members to speak at ALEC event (2017-Jul-19)
Senate confirms Rep. Ryan Zinke for Secretary of Interior (2016-Dec-15)

Zlochevsky, Mykola

Owner of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

He also had been a senior official in the Ukrainian government under deposed president Viktor Yanukovych

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