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Author: ProPublica

ProPublica Report: Ron Johnson finagled $200M tax break for Uihleins and his other wealthy benefactors

Billionaire business owners deployed lobbyists to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill was tailored to their benefit. Confidential IRS records show the windfall that followed was due in large part to assistance from Senator Ron Johnson. In November 2017, with the administration of President Donald Trump rushing to get a massive tax overhaul through Congress, Senator Ron Johnson stunned his colleagues by announcing he would vote “no.” Making the rounds on cable TV, the Wisconsin Republican became the first GOP senator to declare his opposition, spooking Senate leaders who were pushing to quickly pass the tax bill with their...

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New details suggest senior Trump officials worked to appease leaders of the January 6 insurrection

On December 19, 2020, Then-President Donald Trump blasted out a tweet to his 88 million followers, inviting supporters to Washington for a “wild” protest. One of his senior advisers had released a 36-page report alleging significant evidence of election fraud that could reverse Joe Biden’s victory. “A great report,” Trump wrote. “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” The tweet worked like a starter’s pistol, with two pro-Trump factions competing to take control of the “big protest.” On one side stood Women for America First, led...

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Medical Debt: Wisconsin hospitals continued legal proceedings against patients during the pandemic

Last year as COVID-19 laid siege to the nation, many U.S. hospitals dramatically reduced their aggressive tactics to collect medical debt. Some ceased entirely. But not all. There was a nearly 90% drop overall in legal actions between 2019 and the first seven months of 2020 by the nation’s largest hospitals and health systems, according to a new report by Johns Hopkins University. Still, researchers told ProPublica that they identified at least 16 institutions that pursued lawsuits, wage garnishments and liens against their patients in the first seven months of 2020. The Johns Hopkins findings – which first reported the...

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Investigation finds Trump officials gave millions in COVID-19 response contracts to unproven companies

A top adviser to former President Donald Trump pressured agency officials to reward politically connected or otherwise untested companies with hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts as part of a chaotic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the early findings of an inquiry led by House Democrats. Peter Navarro, who served as Trump’s deputy assistant and trade adviser, essentially verbally awarded a $96 million deal for respirators to a company with White House connections. Later, officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency were pressured to sign the contract after the fact, according to correspondence obtained by congressional...

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Current laws prevent domestic terrorists from being designated and prosecuted like foreign extremists

In the days leading up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the FBI received intelligence that extremists were planning violence as lawmakers gathered in Washington to certify the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden. FBI officials managed to dissuade people in several places from their suspected plans, a senior FBI official said — but there was not enough evidence to issue arrest warrants. “Prior to this event, the FBI obtained information about individuals who were planning on potentially traveling to the protests, individuals who were planning to engage in violence,” said the senior FBI official. “The FBI was...

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U.S. Capitol police were caught off-guard even though domestic terrorists had made violent intentions clear

The invasion of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was stoked in plain sight. For weeks, the far-right supporters of President Donald Trump railed on social media that the election had been stolen. They openly discussed the idea of violent protest on the day Congress met to certify the result. “We came up with the idea to occupy just outside the CAPITOL on Jan 6th,” leaders of the Stop the Steal movement wrote on Dec. 23. They called their January 6 demonstration the Wild Protest, a name taken from a tweet by Trump that encouraged his supporters to take...

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