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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies

Massachusetts, New Jersey move closer to plastic bag bans

BOSTON – Paper or plastic?

Soon, shoppers in Massachusetts and New Jersey may not have a choice.

Both states’ legislatures have been moving closer to banning plastic bags in an effort to cut down plastic pollution. Eight states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont — already have approved bans on single-use plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Massachusetts bill would make stores charge 10 cents per paper bag – while legislators in New Jersey have been considering banning paper to boot.

DEADLIEST PLASTIC TRASH INGESTED BY SEABIRDS REVEALED IN NEW STUDY

“It’s kind of like water torture. It’s like this drip, drip, drip of taxes,” said John Sullivan, the owner of Dana Wallboard, a hardware and contractor supply store in the town of Tyngsborough in northern Massachusetts.

Westlake Legal Group GOPR0023 Massachusetts, New Jersey move closer to plastic bag bans Rob DiRienzo fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/environment/water fox-news/us/economy/taxes fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox-news/politics/state-and-local/issues fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox news fnc/politics fnc article 2482d041-effd-5f66-bcac-68921ae9332c

John Sullivan, the owner of Dana Wallboard in Tyngsborough, Mass., said paper bags just won’t cut it for a lot of the tools he sells. (Fox News/Rob DiRienzo)

Sullivan said that while he agreed plastic pollution has been an issue, he dreaded slapping his customers with another fee. The store, which has been in business for 44 years, is less than two miles from the New Hampshire border. Sullivan said he feared that eventually, his customers will start driving a few minutes more to the north into the next state to save themselves the hassle.

“Our competitors don’t have to figure out how they’ll have to pay for these taxes,” Sullivan said of his New Hampshire counterparts, which also don’t have a sales tax. “They don’t have to pass it on to the consumer. We typically do.”

MISSOURI LAWMAKER WANTS TO STOP LOCAL PLASTIC BANS: ‘LET’S KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF IT’

Of the 10-cent fee, five cents would go to the city or town for enforcement of the ban and other municipal recycling efforts. The other half would go to the retailer to cover the cost of paper bags. Under the New Jersey proposal, municipal health inspectors would enforce the bans and if a store was caught using paper bags twice, it would be hit with a fine of up to $1,000.

Environmentalists have argued the plastic problem deserved a swift response.

“The mass of plastic in the ocean worldwide in the ocean by 2050 will exceed the mass of fish,” said Jardayna Werlin, the chairwoman of the Massachusetts chapter of Surfrider Foundation, an ocean environmental protection group, citing a 2017 study by the United Nations. “That’s a really scary thing as a parent and as an ocean lover.”

Westlake Legal Group plastic-in-ocean Massachusetts, New Jersey move closer to plastic bag bans Rob DiRienzo fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/environment/water fox-news/us/economy/taxes fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox-news/politics/state-and-local/issues fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox news fnc/politics fnc article 2482d041-effd-5f66-bcac-68921ae9332c

Plastic pollution has become a growing and growing problem, environmentalists have warned. (aryfahmed / Adobe Stock, File)

Werlin denied the plastic bag ban would have any serious impact on small businesses, pointing to the city of Boston and more than 100 other communities in Massachusetts that already had a similar rule in effect.

“Plastic bags as a free thing at point-of-sale are not really free,” Werlin said. “They get wrapped into the cost to the consumer anyway. […] Having that fee in place is crucial and allows the business owners to recoup if they do have increased costs for having to provide paper bags,” she said.

Sullivan had a completely different idea – he said a bag deposit would make more sense.

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“It’s an incentive to pick these things up,” Sullivan said. “If you want, you can go scoop up cans and bottles and bring them back to the store and get your money back. Well, why not do that with plastic bags?”

In California, which has had a plastic bag ban on the books since 2016, many stores still have used plastic bags due to a loophole, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. While the bags were thicker and meant to be reusable, they often have been thrown away after a single transaction, according to the report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group plastic-bag Massachusetts, New Jersey move closer to plastic bag bans Rob DiRienzo fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/environment/water fox-news/us/economy/taxes fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox-news/politics/state-and-local/issues fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox news fnc/politics fnc article 2482d041-effd-5f66-bcac-68921ae9332c   Westlake Legal Group plastic-bag Massachusetts, New Jersey move closer to plastic bag bans Rob DiRienzo fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/environment/water fox-news/us/economy/taxes fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox-news/politics/state-and-local/issues fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox news fnc/politics fnc article 2482d041-effd-5f66-bcac-68921ae9332c

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Katie Hill speaks out about scandal, still denies affair with congressional staffer after resignation

Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill Katie Hill speaks out about scandal, still denies affair with congressional staffer after resignation Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d781a7ac-8df4-588b-9fba-392a544167ff article

After several appearances on cable news since her resignation from Congress last month, former Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., spoke out at length for the first time on Friday night about the alleged inappropriate relationships she had with subordinates.

In October, intimate texts and photographs of the congresswoman emerged as she reportedly had engaged in a “throuple,” or a three-person couple, with her estranged husband and a female campaign staffer, and was accused of having an affair with her congressional financial director, which prompted an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

Hill, who is openly bisexual, admitted to having relations with the female campaign staffer but denied having an affair with her congressional staffer. She officially resigned from her seat in early November.

WASHINGTON POST HIT FOR ASKING IF KATIE HILL SAGA WOULD HAVE HAPPENED TO A MAN

During an interview on MSNBC, Hill said she does not regret her resignation from Congress.

“I think it was the right thing to do for a number of different reasons, one of which is that there was no way for me to continue working as well as I could with the amount of distraction that it was going to continue to provide,” Hill said. “This was fodder for right-wing operatives… I knew I was going to be, basically, bait for some kind of distraction against what was really important.”

“I was supposed to be the freshman representative to leadership. How could I be the freshman representative to a lot of these people who were in tough seats when they were going to have to go home and answer questions about who is this person that you were working with?” she asked.

Hill repeated her denial about having an affair with a congressional staffer and claimed the House Ethics probe was launched “because of a claim made by my estranged husband” and not from any report.

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“I have a real problem with this whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t think some random person making accusations should launch an ethics investigation because its incredibly invasive,” Hill explained. “It’s something that’s a big, big deal for not just for you but for your staff as well, that there should be some kind of an actual basis for it that a vengeful ex of some kind or just a random political operative can’t be the one who instigates an investigation like that.”

The 32-year-old Californian claimed that her revenge porn controversy was the “first example” of it being used against a public figure, “especially a political figure,” with the images published by the mainstream media.

However, MSNBC host Chris Hayes failed to mention that similar scandals previously occurred to two male lawmakers.

In 2017, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, announced he would not seek reelection after a nude photo and lewd text messages he had sent to women amid his divorce had surfaced. And in 2011, Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., resigned after flirtatious emails and a bare-chested selfie emerged from an extramarital affair that spawned from Craigslist.

Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill Katie Hill speaks out about scandal, still denies affair with congressional staffer after resignation Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d781a7ac-8df4-588b-9fba-392a544167ff article   Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill Katie Hill speaks out about scandal, still denies affair with congressional staffer after resignation Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d781a7ac-8df4-588b-9fba-392a544167ff article

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‘Time’s Up’ group demands NBC to ‘stop protecting powerful men’ following Gabrielle Union report

Westlake Legal Group Gabrielle-Union-NBC 'Time's Up' group demands NBC to 'stop protecting powerful men' following Gabrielle Union report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/media fnc e02466d7-c5a1-5166-ac28-4a3e4947c3d8 article

A prominent women’s advocacy group has slammed NBC for repeatedly “protecting powerful men” following a report about former “America’s Got Talent” judge Gabrielle Union and the complaints she raised while working on the series, which critics suggest led to her unjust firing.

Time’s Up, formulated by several Hollywood actresses following the downfall of film mogul Harvey Weinstein, applauded the actress for coming forward with her claims against  “AGT,” which included instances of racism.

“For too long, NBCUniversal has enabled toxic workplaces by protecting the careers of powerful men like [former ‘Today’ host] Matt Lauer at the expense of women who speak out and are silenced through non-disclosure agreements,” the advocacy group stated in a petition on Monday. “Now, Gabrielle Union was allegedly fired for speaking up about racist and inappropriate behavior she encountered working on NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Union reportedly endured and witnessed racially-insensitive comments and excessive criticism about her physical appearance, and it also appears she was punished for speaking out.”

“It’s time for NBC to stop protecting powerful men at the expense of its workers and address its toxic workplace culture, once and for all.”

NBC did not immediately respond to requests by Fox News for comment.

GABRIELLE UNION SPEAKS OUT AMID CONTROVERSIAL DEPARTURE FROM ‘AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’

The news of Union’s departure from “AGT” was initially broken by Variety. The report alleges that Union was subject to various racially-motivated criticisms. For example, her many hairstyle changes were perceived as “too black” for “AGT’s” core demographic — a critique Union reportedly received over half a dozen times.

Union was also reportedly not a fan of a racially insensitive joke made by Jay Leno on set.

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During the filming of an interstitial segment, Leno joked about a painting that featured Simon Cowell surrounded by dogs. Leno joked that the dogs looked like something one could find “on the menu at a Korean restaurant” — much to the chagrin of “the very few Asian staffers” on the show. The comment was later edited out of the Aug. 6 episode.

Union allegedly urged producers to report the incident to NBC’s human resources department — to no avail.

Time’s Up’s petition also referred to allegations that NBC shielded Lauer after he was accused of sexual assault. According to reporting from “Catch and Kill” author Ronan Farrow, NBC News killed his Weinstein story because the producer used his knowledge of claims against Lauer as leverage against the network.

Fox News’ Andy Sahadeo contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Gabrielle-Union-NBC 'Time's Up' group demands NBC to 'stop protecting powerful men' following Gabrielle Union report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/media fnc e02466d7-c5a1-5166-ac28-4a3e4947c3d8 article   Westlake Legal Group Gabrielle-Union-NBC 'Time's Up' group demands NBC to 'stop protecting powerful men' following Gabrielle Union report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/media fnc e02466d7-c5a1-5166-ac28-4a3e4947c3d8 article

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Tony Robbins says he’s suing BuzzFeed as outlet reports sexual assault claim

Famed self-help guru Tony Robbins said on Friday that he intends on suing BuzzFeed after the digital news outlet published a report about an alleged sexual assault by Robbins that took place decades ago.

In the latest of a series of negative reports about Robbins that had ranged from his alleged use of racial slurs to sexual misconduct, BuzzFeed News reported that Robbins, 59, was accused of sexually assaulting a minor at a summer camp in 1985 when he was 25 years old.

BuzzFeed News spoke to the accuser, two eyewitnesses, and “dozens” of others who recalled their experience at SuperCamp, which was described as “an elite summer camp in Southern California” where Robbins had been invited as a guest speaker.

The accuser, who BuzzFeed News identifies only as “Elle,” says she was under 18 years old when Robbins asked her to join him on a walk in a wooded area, where he, according to her lawyers, “forced himself upon her- kissing her and groping her breasts in a prolonged sexual assault.”

One eyewitness told BuzzFeed News that she saw Robbins “kissing a camper with his arms wrapped around her”  and another recalled him “pinning her arms back as he kissed her forcefully.”

SELF-HELP GURU TONY ROBBINS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Several campers and staffers reportedly were told about the incident at the time. One of the former campers provided BuzzFeed News with her contemporaneous diary where she wrote Robbins “basically started to molest” a girl and that it was a “completely perverted thing to do.”

Lawyers for Robbins acknowledged that there was a “situation” that was a “non-issue” and told BuzzFeed News, “No sexual assault happened. Period.”

Now, Robbins is speaking out himself in a piece he says “BuzzFeed doesn’t want you to read.”

In an op-ed published on Medium.com, Robbins slammed Buzzfeed as an entertainment media company that “disguises” itself as a news organization and asked: “who is watching the watchdogs?”

“For this reason, I am now suing BuzzFeed following a premeditated and malicious campaign against me and my life’s work,” Robbins wrote. “In a series of articles this year, BuzzFeed falsely accused me of abusing my position and making inappropriate advances toward employees and event attendees as well as berating abuse victims at my seminars. Those stories were filled with falsehoods and many people actively spoke out against BuzzFeed in the immediate aftermath.”

TONY ROBBINS APOLOGIZES FOR #METOO COMMENTS

He cited an example of how BuzzFeed “inaccurately” labeled two sources as “victims,” who apparently refuted the “false reporting.”

Regarding the latest report, Robbins alleged that one of the sources contacted his team and said that he had “felt” one of the BuzzFeed reporters “had an agenda, was driving a preconceived narrative and trying to manipulate him into confirming the story she told him.”

Westlake Legal Group Tony-Robbins-Buzzfeed-Getty Tony Robbins says he's suing BuzzFeed as outlet reports sexual assault claim Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/media fnc ec6838c5-b136-5ff0-9f84-7b7747541a88 article

Tony Robbins speaks at the 2017 Graduation Gala to benefit Happy Hearts Fund in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Happy Hearts Fund)

“While the democratic rule of law affords each of us due process, a fair trial, and lawful standards for the proper introduction of evidence, the same rules unfortunately don’t hold true in today’s wild west of digital information sharing and rampant ‘fake news,'” the celebrity guru continued. “More and more people are coming to see the media not as referees but as active players in the larger game of agenda pushing. [sic] Credible media demand transparency, but online tabloid media disguising themselves as “news organizations” too often remain secretive about their sources, techniques and their own agendas. The result: people are turning away from journalism and questioning its once-important role as society’s trusted watchdog.”

“One day, the honorable craft of journalism will return to reporting fact-based news, not assassinating targets for entertainment purposes and clickable audience building to drive revenue… Until this happens, I simply ask: ‘Who will watch the watchdogs?'”

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In a statement to Fox News, BuzzFeed Director of Communications Matt Mittenthal defended the reporting, saying, “BuzzFeed News’ series of reports on Tony Robbins are based on hundreds of interviews, audio recordings, and documentary evidence. Our latest story about an alleged sexual assault is based on the accounts of dozens of people, as well as contemporaneous journal entries. The evidence speaks for itself, and we stand by our rigorous reporting.”

Westlake Legal Group Tony-Robbins-Buzzfeed-Getty Tony Robbins says he's suing BuzzFeed as outlet reports sexual assault claim Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/media fnc ec6838c5-b136-5ff0-9f84-7b7747541a88 article   Westlake Legal Group Tony-Robbins-Buzzfeed-Getty Tony Robbins says he's suing BuzzFeed as outlet reports sexual assault claim Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/media fnc ec6838c5-b136-5ff0-9f84-7b7747541a88 article

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Katie Hill is ‘victim,’ some media claim, focusing on leaked photos over reported inappropriate relationships

Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill Katie Hill is 'victim,' some media claim, focusing on leaked photos over reported inappropriate relationships Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ce36dcc2-1b3d-50bf-9734-97149f4636ff article

Multiple media outlets rushed to the defense of Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., after she announced her resignation amid reports of inappropriate relationships with staffers, with some media figures even calling her a “victim” of revenge.

Those takes seemed to earn Hill’s approval, in the form of retweets from her Twitter account.

Earlier this month, RedState first reported that Hill, who is openly bisexual, previously had been involved in a “throuple,” or a three-person relationship, with a female campaign staffer and her estranged husband Kenny Heslep, who has since filed for divorce. Hill also was accused of having an affair with her congressional legislative director, Graham Kelly. That allegation prompted a House Ethics Committee investigation.

Both RedState and The Daily Mail obtained text messages and intimate photos of Hill and the campaign staffer, some showing Hill undressed with one of them showing her holding a bong.

Hill admitted last week she had a relationship with her campaign staffer, which she herself described as “inappropriate” in a letter to constituents, pointing to her “abusive marriage” as her reasoning. She repeatedly denied she had an affair with her congressional staffer.

MSNBC FINALLY COVERS REP. KATIE HILL AFTER DAYS OF AVOIDING DEM’S SCANDALS

On Sunday, Hill announced that she was resigning from Congress.

However, there has been a strong focus on the element of the leaked nude photographs in comparison to the reports of “inappropriate” relationships.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes, so far the only star on his network to address the controversy during primetime, pointed to Hill’s youthful age of 32.

“There’s going to be a generation of members of Congress and politicians where there are thousands of images just around,” Hayes said Monday night. “And, it’s like — we’re going to have to decide as a society if we’re going to let that be a permanent source of blackmail, that every person who has a grudge out for you for the rest of your life, who you have dated in college and then you go on to be a Democrat and then they’ll be a Republican, to bring you down with.”

REP. KATIE HILL RESIGNS AMID ETHICS PROBE INTO REPORTED AFFAIR WITH STAFFER

In a piece published on CNN’s website called “The curious case of Katie Hill,” political writer Brandon Tensley argued, “There’s plenty to parse regarding the news about Hill. But one of the most important elements is this: Forgiveness, when it comes to the messiness of politics, is a privilege not evenly distributed. More specifically, it’s disproportionately withheld from women and Democrats.”

The CNN piece went on to list several examples of Republican men whose careers in public service continued despite sex-related allegations, including former Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, current 2020 candidate Mark Sanford, sitting California Rep. Duncan Hunter and the “unscathed” President Trump.

“As visible as the theme of impunity for male misbehavior has become in the past couple years, so, too, has the power of women’s anger at the world’s many gendered injustices,” Tensley continued. “This rage is no longer a cause for shame but rather a cause for its own weaponization.”

CNN, MSNBC LARGELY IGNORE DEM REP. KATIE HILL DURING PRIME TIME, 2 NIGHTS IN A ROW

Medium columnist Jessica Valenti went even further, claiming Hill “is being punished for a crime she’s the real victim of,” by the “same forces that enabled” disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“The truth is that it wasn’t the affair that ended Hill’s time in Congress — it was the explicit photos. More accurately, it was ‘revenge porn’ that killed her career,” Valenti wrote.

The self-described “feminist” columnist pointed to Weinstein’s recent public appearance in New York City where he was confronted by a female comedian and other hecklers.

“How effective can #MeToo be if a serial rapist can still function in polite society? The same goes for Hill,” Valenti said. “It’s wonderful that America voted in a record number of women, but to keep them there, we need to be able to defend them from the kind of sexist attacks that women in power are most vulnerable to.”

Time offered a similar assertion, reporting that Hill was the “first millennial lawmaker to resign because of nudes.” But, in the analysis from Time’s national correspondent Charlotte Alter, she argued that the Hill scandals shed light on the “tricky nuances of workplace relationships” amid the #MeToo era.

“The cultural reckoning with sexual harassment has cast a pall over many workplace relationships, and especially those between a boss and a subordinate,” Alter wrote. “According to the new code of ethics, consent is impossible when there is a power imbalance involved. But it’s worth noting that in Hill’s case, no victim has come forward to allege abuse.”

An op-ed published in The Guardian called Hill’s resignation a “travesty,” decrying that “this is not what justice looks like,” blaming “homophobia” among other things.

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“Hill’s case may seem straightforward: she violated the rules, she abused her office, she has to go. But there’s much more to it, and we should be disturbed at the speed with which Hill was forced out of office before completing a single term,” The Guardian columnist Nathan Robinson argued. “The way details of Hill’s sex life have been exposed, and Hill’s claim that her career is being ended by a vindictive husband, should give us serious pause before jumping to conclusions.”

While Hill has been laying low in public, she has been very active on Twitter, retweeting the MSNBC clip as well as the pieces published in CNN, Medium, Time and The Guardian, among others defending her.

Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill Katie Hill is 'victim,' some media claim, focusing on leaked photos over reported inappropriate relationships Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ce36dcc2-1b3d-50bf-9734-97149f4636ff article   Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill Katie Hill is 'victim,' some media claim, focusing on leaked photos over reported inappropriate relationships Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ce36dcc2-1b3d-50bf-9734-97149f4636ff article

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lhan Omar votes ‘present’ on bill condemning Armenian genocide, saying Congress should acknowledge other ‘mass slaughters,’ too

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6089092944001_6089094580001-vs lhan Omar votes 'present' on bill condemning Armenian genocide, saying Congress should acknowledge other 'mass slaughters,' too Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4b31c96e-ad51-5bf8-beab-a019e2116864

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Tuesday refused to support a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, saying it was important first to condemn the preceding “mass slaughter” of “hundreds of millions of indigenous people,” as well as the “transatlantic slave trade.”

Omar, in a statement explaining her vote of “present” on the resolution, seemingly suggested that the century-old mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks may not have occurred at all. She asserted that “accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as a cudgel in a political fight” but should instead “be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics.”

The comments prompted accusations that Omar, again, was seeking to communicate a bigoted message while maintaining a veneer of wink-and-nod deniability — even as she has previously called for a boycott over alleged Israeli human-rights abuses, described the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as an instance in which “some people did something” while pushing for civil liberties, and asserted that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”

Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib made history as the first Muslim women in Congress earlier this year, and within months, Omar was criticized by her own party for series of remarks deemed anti-Semitic by some — including her claim that Jewish support in Washington was “all about the Benjamins, baby.” (Tlaib, too, has also been accused of anti-Semitism in office.)

Political analyst Zaid Jilani noted that contrary to Omar’s claim, the U.S. has condemned the treatment of Native Americans and the slave trade.

“There’s nothing wrong with asking that the U.S. government acknowledge human rights abuses here before we acknowledge them overseas,” Jilani wrote. “The issue is, the U.S. government already did acknowledge the ones Omar is asking it to acknowledge. Didn’t acknowledge the Armenian genocide at behest of Turkey.”

He added: “Congress has passed many resolutions condemning abuses against Native Americans and slavery. It has never passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide. That’s why Ilhan Omar’s explanation here rings hollow.”

Other commentators were alternately perplexed and outraged by Omar’s statement.

“Her explanation doesn’t cut it,” said political scientist Ian Bremmer.

PELOSI ACKNOWLEDGES OMAR’S REMARKS ARE ANTI-SEMITIC

“Hard to square this approach with her support for BDS. Not a good look,” wrote former George W. Bush administration official Christian Vanderbrouk, referring to Omar’s support for the movement to boycott and sanction Israel for alleged human rights abuses.

“This is a bizarre explanation,” journalist Yashar Ali observed.

“All lives matter?” mused Alan Cole, a senior GOP economist on Capitol Hill.

“I’m utterly confused by this,” GOP political strategist Andrew Surabian wrote, asking if Omar was “suggesting here that there is no ‘academic consensus’ that the Armenian genocide occurred???”

INVESTIGATION FINDS OMAR BROKE CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES — AND FLAGS POTENTIAL TAX LAW VIOLATIONS

The New York Post’s Brooke Rogers noted that Omar’s invocation of term “academic consensus” raised the possibility that Omar, like Turkey, was seeking to dispute basic facts about the genocide.

Earlier this year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said nations accusing his country of committing genocide had their own “bloody past.”

ISRAEL BLOCKS OMAR FROM ENTERING COUNTRY AFTER MULTIPLE ANTI-SEMITIC REMARKS

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed around World War I, and many scholars see it as the 20th century’s first genocide.

Turkey disputes the description, claiming the toll has been inflated and considering those killed victims of a civil war, rather than casualties of genocide.

The nonbinding resolution passed 405-11 Tuesday, with some dissenters warning that it could counterintuitively strengthen Erdogan’s political position.

Opponents of a resolution also said that formally recognizing the Armenian genocide risks angering Turkey, whose relationship is crucial to stability in the region. But such apprehensiveness has waned with Turkey’s invasion of northeast Syria earlier this month following President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region.

Reps. Paul Gosar and Eddie Bernice Johnson also voted present.

Speaking on the House floor in support of the resolution, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said the resolution “is an important measure to set the record straight on the atrocities suffered by the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.”

“We know what happened in this dark period of history. Between 1915 and 1923, 1.5 million Armenians were murdered. This was a genocide — and it’s important that we call this crime what it was.”

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There have been no plans to bring the resolution up for a vote in the Senate. A second resolution on Tuesday, imposing severe sanctions on Turkish officials and prohibiting the sale of military arms to Turkey for use in Syria, passed in the House by a 403-16 vote.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6089092944001_6089094580001-vs lhan Omar votes 'present' on bill condemning Armenian genocide, saying Congress should acknowledge other 'mass slaughters,' too Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4b31c96e-ad51-5bf8-beab-a019e2116864   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6089092944001_6089094580001-vs lhan Omar votes 'present' on bill condemning Armenian genocide, saying Congress should acknowledge other 'mass slaughters,' too Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4b31c96e-ad51-5bf8-beab-a019e2116864

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Katie Hill defended by ABC News analyst comparing her case to allegations against Trump, Supreme Court justices

Westlake Legal Group Matthew-Dowd-GettyImages-577703630 Katie Hill defended by ABC News analyst comparing her case to allegations against Trump, Supreme Court justices Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/confirmation-of-judge-kavanaugh fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc bffaab08-6b38-5e31-b967-a97486ac7c3b article

ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd offered a bold defense of Katie Hill on Monday after the congresswoman announced her resignation, describing her behavior as “jaywalking” compared to the more serious, “credible” allegations of sexual assault or harassment made against President Trump and Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas.

Dowd, who described himself as a “proud independent” on Twitter, weighed in on the sudden resignation of the California Democrat after multiple sex scandals emerged, including a reported affair with a congressional staffer that prompted a House Ethics Committee investigation.

“Katie hill resigning while we have a president and 2 Supreme Court justices all credibly accused of sexual harassment/assault is a bit like a jaywalker going to jail while al Capone roams free,” Dowd tweeted, in a reference to the notorious Chicago mob boss.

CNN, MSNBC LARGELY IGNORE DEM REP. KATIE HILL DURING PRIME TIME, 2 NIGHTS IN A ROW

Dowd offered similar rhetoric on Sunday evening in reaction to Hill’s resignation.

“There are two Supreme Court Justice and a President in DC today with credible accusations of sexual harassment/assault, and Katie Hill resigns. Ridiculous,” Dowd tweeted.

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This wasn’t the first time Dowd went after Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh. Last year, Dowd was slammed for calling Thomas a “sexual predator” as Kavanaugh was being confirmed.

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Matthew-Dowd-GettyImages-577703630 Katie Hill defended by ABC News analyst comparing her case to allegations against Trump, Supreme Court justices Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/confirmation-of-judge-kavanaugh fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc bffaab08-6b38-5e31-b967-a97486ac7c3b article   Westlake Legal Group Matthew-Dowd-GettyImages-577703630 Katie Hill defended by ABC News analyst comparing her case to allegations against Trump, Supreme Court justices Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/confirmation-of-judge-kavanaugh fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc bffaab08-6b38-5e31-b967-a97486ac7c3b article

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House Ethics Committee launches inquiry into Rep. Katie Hill after report of affair with staffer

The House Ethics Committee confirmed on Wednesday it was launching an inquiry into Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., after a report suggesting she was having an affair with her legislative director.

That same report also said she was in a so-called “throuple” with her estranged husband and a female campaign staffer. However, it was the reported affair with her congressional staffer, Graham Kelly, that sparked the investigation, according to the panel.

“The committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Katie Hill may have engaged in a sexual relationship with an individual on her congressional staff, in violation of House Rule XXIII, Clause 18(a),” Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Ranking Member Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, wrote. They added that the panel had launched “an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations.”

The statement did not indicate the committee had empaneled an “investigative subcommittee,” the equivalent of a congressional indictment.

Last week, RedState reported that Hill, who is openly bisexual, had developed a “long-term sexual relationship” with the unnamed staffer from her congressional campaign, who ultimately entered into the “throuple” with Hill’s husband, Kenny Heslep — who later filed for divorce. The three of them, according to RedState’s confidential sources, had taken multiple vacations together.

The conservative blog obtained screenshots of several text messages between Hill and the staffer detailing the reported end of their three-person relationship earlier this year as well as intimate pictures including a nude photo of Hill. According to the alleged texts, Hill wanted to focus on her work and suggested that “political risk” was a factor.

REP. KATIE HILL FIGHTS BACK AMID CLAIMS SHE WAS INVOLVED IN ROMANTIC ‘THROUPLE’ WITH STAFFER

RedState also reported that Hill had an extramarital affair with Kelly, her legislative director and former campaign finance director, for at least a year. Heslep was said to have shared his own screenshot of a text exchange he had with a friend who had heard about the affair, which he later deleted from his Facebook account. According to RedState, the alleged affair was why Heslep filed for divorce.

Hill acknowledged to Fox News that she’s going through a divorce and claimed her “abusive husband” has been “determined to try to humiliate me.”

“Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the Internet without my consent,” Hill said in a statement to Fox News. “I have notified Capitol Hill police, who are investigating the situation and potential legal violations of those who posted and distributed the photos, and therefore will have no further comment on the digital materials.”

She did add this: “I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain. This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and people close to me is despicable and will not succeed. I, like many women who have faced attacks like this before, am stronger than those who want me to be afraid.”

Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill House Ethics Committee launches inquiry into Rep. Katie Hill after report of affair with staffer Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc fa0125bf-892e-590b-b046-446fa4456cf2 article

Rep. Katie Hill, seen here in April, denied she was having an affair with her legislative director. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images, File)

The freshman congresswoman also flatly denied having an affair with Kelly, adding that her estranged husband made the “vindictive claims.”

“Allegations that I have been involved in a relationship with Mr. Kelly are absolutely false,” Hill told Fox News. “I am saddened that the deeply personal matter of my divorce has been brought into public view and the vindictive claims of my ex have now involved the lives and reputations of unrelated parties.”

“She continued: “This smear campaign will not get in the way of the work I am doing every day to move our district and our country forward. I am truly grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from colleagues and constituents alike, and I know we will get through this together.”

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Her statement did not address the claim that Hill was romantically involved with her husband and the female staffer.

Neither Heslep nor Kelly could be reached for comment.

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill House Ethics Committee launches inquiry into Rep. Katie Hill after report of affair with staffer Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc fa0125bf-892e-590b-b046-446fa4456cf2 article   Westlake Legal Group Katie-Hill House Ethics Committee launches inquiry into Rep. Katie Hill after report of affair with staffer Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc fa0125bf-892e-590b-b046-446fa4456cf2 article

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Carson King controversy leads Des Moines Register-organized charity staffers to resign

Westlake Legal Group Ragbrai-Des-Moines-Register Carson King controversy leads Des Moines Register-organized charity staffers to resign Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/iowa fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e5a0f770-0156-5933-8ec2-761352e03e98 article

Staffers for an annual charity bike ride run by Iowa’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register, submitted resignations over the paper’s handling of a story about sudden philanthropist Carson King, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Last month, the Register faced major backlash over a profile of King, the 24-year-old Iowa man who ended up raising over $3 million for a children’s hospital after he became a viral sensation for holding a sign asking people to donate money to his Venmo account so he could buy beer. That profile, however, included information about offensive tweets he had written in high school. Busch Light, which had announced a fundraising partnership with King, later severed its ties to him.

The paper denied its reporting was responsible for the beer company’s decision, as critics said scouring King’s social media presence for offensive old tweets was inappropriate in this case.

In a now-deleted post on the Facebook page for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), then-director TJ Juskiewicz alleged that the paper “refused to offer me the opportunity to openly speak to the RAGBRAI Nation, and answer the hundreds of passionate questions asked about the future of RAGBRAI following the Des Moines Register’s handling of the Carson King story.”

He also claimed he could not reach out to riders because “it did not mesh with the company’s PR narrative to spin the Carson King embarrassment,” adding that leadership at the Register didn’t want to “issue any more public statements on this matter” and that RAGBRAI was offered “talking points” to use on the subject of the King story.

AXED DES MOINES REGISTER REPORTER BLAMES  ‘RIGHT-WING IDEALOGUES’ FOR FIRING, SUGGEST HE’S OPPRESSED

He wrote in response, “I can no longer be an effective leader when my principles are compromised by the leadership of Gannett/Des Moines Register.”

Juskiewicz vowed to lead his own event called “Iowa’s Ride,” which has been scheduled for the same time as next year’s RAGBRAI event, KTIV reported.

The Register reported Tuesday that RAGBRAI will still happen next year, specifying that “the marketing team” behind the event had resigned.

“We’ll continue RAGBRAI’s longstanding tradition in 2020 with another great bicycle ride and strong partnerships with Iowa communities to raise money for good causes. Our commitment remains to donate $50,000 to the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital,” an official from the Register’s parent company, Gannett, said. “We’re proud of the good RAGBRAI has done for the state since 1973.”

DES MOINES REGISTER REPORTEDLY FACING THREATS, ADDS POLICE PRESENCE AFTER STORY BACKLASH

RAGBRAI was founded by two Register columnists and has grown to gather 10,000 riders from across the country.

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The Register did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

The controversy surrounding the King piece grew bigger after Aaron Calvin, the journalist who reported on the tweets, was blasted for his own social-media posts deemed offensive. The Register ultimately fired him.

Westlake Legal Group Ragbrai-Des-Moines-Register Carson King controversy leads Des Moines Register-organized charity staffers to resign Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/iowa fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e5a0f770-0156-5933-8ec2-761352e03e98 article   Westlake Legal Group Ragbrai-Des-Moines-Register Carson King controversy leads Des Moines Register-organized charity staffers to resign Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/iowa fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e5a0f770-0156-5933-8ec2-761352e03e98 article

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California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman

The California Democratic Party has spent more than $800,000 in legal costs associated with lawsuits alleging discrimination and sexual misconduct by former party chairman Eric Bauman.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that sum includes $430,000 in legal fees, including payments to law firms representing Bauman, and $378,348 in legal settlements for three cases.

Alton Wang, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy and Kate Earley jointly filed a lawsuit in January that alleged Bauman fostered a culture of harassment and sexual misconduct which was “well-known and apparently tolerated” by top party officials.

CALIFORNIA ADOPTS NATION’S BROADEST GUN SEIZURE LAWS

Westlake Legal Group bauman California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc article 01df3957-81cf-5680-b784-250e203d48a0

Eric Bauman addresses the California Democratic Party’s annual convention in May 2017. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Rodriguez-Kennedy, the chairman of the San Diego Democratic Party, alleged that Bauman speculated about Rodriguez-Kennedy’s sex life during discussions about a job opening within the party, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. He and Wang also alleged unwanted touching by Bauman, including instances when Bauman massaged Rodriguez- Kennedy’s back and neck in front of others and placed his arm around Wang’s waste.

OXYGEN-DEPENDENT CALIFORNIA MAN DIES 12 MINUTES AFTER PG&E CUTS POWER TO HIS HOME

The Times, citing campaign finance reports, reported that Rodriguez-Kennedy and Wang each received a “legal settlement” of $150,000. Earley, who serves as the Digital Director for California Democrats, later dropped her claims and alleged in a Medium post she was being intimidated by a top party official, She received a settlement of $78,348, while her attorney, Gloria Allred received an additional $60,000. In the post, Earley called out Vice Chair Daraka Larimore-Hall as the senior witness accused in the suit of having engaged in retaliation and witness tampering.

Bauman resigned last November amid claims of misconduct and said at the time that he planned to seek treatment for alcohol use. Two other cases against Bauman remain active. In one of those cases, Bauman’s former assistant alleged that Bauman repeatedly groped and sexually assaulted him. In the other, two former employees and a party activist alleged that they endured sexual assault, harassment and racial discrimination by Bauman. Bauman’s attorneys denied all claims and said their client “looks forward to complete vindication once the facts come out.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group bauman California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc article 01df3957-81cf-5680-b784-250e203d48a0   Westlake Legal Group bauman California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc article 01df3957-81cf-5680-b784-250e203d48a0

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