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Author: ProPublic

IRS admits targeting the poor because they are easier and cheaper to audit

The IRS audits the working poor at about the same rate as the wealthiest 1%. Now, in response to questions from a U.S. senator, the IRS has acknowledged that is true but professes it cannot change anything unless it is given more money. The disproportionate audit focus on lower-income families was reported in April. Lawmakers confronted IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the emphasis, citing our stories, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Rettig for a plan to fix the imbalance. Rettig readily agreed. Last month, Rettig replied with a report, but it said the IRS has no plan and...

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Students posing with guns at shot-up Emmett Till Memorial face Civil Rights investigation

Three University of Mississippi students have been suspended from their fraternity house and face possible investigation by the Department of Justice after posing with guns in front of a bullet-riddled sign honoring slain civil rights icon Emmett Till. One of the students posted a photo to his private Instagram account in March showing the trio in front of a roadside plaque commemorating the site where Till’s body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River. The 14-year-old black youth was tortured and murdered in August 1955. An all-white, all-male jury acquitted two white men accused of the slaying. The photo, which...

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The State of American Values: A Border Patrol Agent shares experience of guarding migrant children

With the agency under fire for holding children in deplorable conditions and over racist and misogynistic Facebook posts, one agent speaks about what it is like to do his job. “Somewhere down the line people just accepted what’s going on as normal.” The Border Patrol agent, a veteran with 13 years on the job, had been assigned to the agency’s detention center in McAllen, Texas, for close to a month when the team of court-appointed lawyers and doctors showed up one day at the end of June. Taking in the squalor, the stench of unwashed bodies, and the poor...

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Border Patrol Agents found mocking care of migrant kids with unofficial commemorative coin

An unofficial commemorative coin has been circulating among Border Patrol agents at the U.S./Mexico border, mocking the task of caring for migrant children and other duties that have fallen to agents as families cross into the United States. On the front, the coin declares “KEEP THE CARAVANS COMING” under an image of a massive parade of people carrying a Honduran flag — a caricature of the “caravan” from last fall, which started in Honduras and attracted thousands of people as it moved north. While the caravan included many women and children, the only visible figures on the coin appear...

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The Mueller Report: Six tips to remember while waiting for what may or may not be coming

By nature, journalists constantly ask questions. When there are no realtime answers, the news media turns to speculation. For political issues that is a cottage industry. But until special counsel Robert Mueller’s office releases a final report on his investigation, the public and pundits alike must wait. Here are a few things to keep in mind until that content is known. 1. Don’t Predict. We do not know what Mueller will report, when he will report it, or even whether we will be able to read it. That is because Congress changed the law after special prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s...

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Federal proposals under consideration to regulate Facebook

For years, Congress and federal regulators have allowed the world’s largest social network to police itself — with disastrous results. Here are four promising reforms under discussion in Washington. A recent gathering in a Washington DC ballroom for an annual “tech prom,” hundreds of tech industry lobbyists and policy makers applauded politely as announcers read out the names of the event’s sponsors. But the room fell silent when “Facebook” was proclaimed — and the silence was punctuated by scattered boos and groans. These days, it seems the only bipartisan agreement in Washington is to hate Facebook. Democrats blame the...

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