MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 7, 2020

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James Files Lawsuit to Dissolve NRA

Attorney General of NY Letitia James (Photo by KCP)
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA).

For decades, the NRA has been the largest and most powerful pro-gun organization in the United States. James alleges that the NRA has engaged in egregiously illegal conduct, including the embezzlement of millions of dollars by senior officials and the distribution of no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence.

The suit charges the NRA as a whole, but specifically names Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre; Chief Financial Officer Wilson Phillips; Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell; and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer. James has cited dozens of examples of these individuals taking millions from NRA reserves for personal use.

“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” said James. “The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”

Maloney, Warren, Porter Ask Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment Clinics How They’re Protecting Residents from COVID-19

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Photo credit:
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Yesterday, U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Katie Porter (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-CA) sent letters to the nation’s top behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, asking what they’re doing to protect their patients from COVID-19.

The letters went out to the ten largest providers in the nation, each responsible for at least ten inpatient treatment centers nationwide. Among the questions posed in the letter were the number of facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks, the number of staff who have tested positive for the disease, and the facilities’ paid sick leave policies.

A month ago, Maloney and Warren conducted an investigation of the nation’s assisted living facilities, and found that their residents were testing positive for COVID-19 at five times the national average.

“The tragic impact of the pandemic on people struggling with mental health and substance use disorder makes the services provided at your facilities more important than ever,” they wrote. “Yet at the same time, your patients may be especially vulnerable, as they are likely to be isolated from support networks of friends and family during their treatment.”

Williams Accosts Census Bureau for Early Suspension of 2020 Census Count

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Photo credit:
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Last Wednesday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) released a statement after the U.S. Census Bureau announced it would end its counting efforts on Sep. 30 – a month earlier than the previous deadline.

“The Trump administration has been transparent, blatant, and shameless in its efforts to undermine the 2020 census, particularly by discounting metropolitan areas and disregarding black, brown, and immigrant communities,” said Williams. “It has been rebuffed and rejected in every past attempt, and changing the deadline is a last-ditch effort toward these same ends. Ending the count early all but ensures an undercount for New York City, and a subsequent lack of resources and representation. In the midst of a global pandemic, we need more time to ensure an accurate count, not less, but this is an administration unconcerned by inaccuracy, indifferent to the consequences – particularly in communities of more color.”

The early deadline, he said, is particularly problematic for New York, whose response rate has been middling so far.

“In New York City, an average of only 53% of residents have completed the census – lagging behind both the statewide and national average,” he said. “If this trend continues, it could have a devastating impact on New Yorkers’ voice in government and the resources that government provides.”