Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Rare FEC fine for federal contractor who gave in congressional race

Campaign finance regulators have imposed a rare fine on a government contractor for illegally donating to a federal candidate.

The decision marked a moment of unusual unanimity at the Federal Election Commission, where a 2-2 partisan split and a pair of vacancies usually results in deadlock. But this time, the agency agreed to fine Ring Power Corp., which sells and leases industrial machinery and construction equipment, $9,500 for its donations to help Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott, when he ran successfully for the Senate last year.


It has been against the law for 75 years for companies with federal contracts to give to congressional or presidential candidates. Ring Power, based in St. Augustine, Fla., has been a contractor for a dozen years, according to a settlement agreement between the company and the FEC that was finalized last week.

The New Republican PAC, a super PAC backing Scott, returned the contractor's $50,000 gift last summer after theCampaign Legal Center, a watchdog group, filed a complaint.

"We were concerned that the FEC might allow the violation to slide because the contribution was refunded, but that didn't happen," CLC's Brendan Fischer told Roll Call. "We are certainly pleased that the FEC is continuing to enforce the ban on government contractors making political contributions, which is designed to prevent pay-to-play in the contracting process."

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Read More

Donald Trump and J.D. Vance

Vice presidential candidate J.D. Vance, standing next to former President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, said President Biden's campaign rhetoric "led directly to President Trump's attempted assassination."

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Assassination attempt will fuel political extremism

Khalid is a physician, geostrategic analyst and freelance writer.

President Joe Biden’s initial response to the attack on Donald Trump, calling it “sick” and reaching out to his stricken adversary to express support, was commendable. Statements from other prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as notable Republicans like former President George W. Bush and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, echoed this sentiment of unity and concern.

In contrast, the response from some on the right — engaging in finger-pointing and blaming Democrats for their heated rhetoric — proved less productive. Vice presidential candidate J.D. Vance, for instance, asserted that Biden's campaign rhetoric "led directly to President Trump's attempted assassination," seemingly in reaction to recent comments from Biden suggesting, "It’s time to put Trump in a bullseye." This divisive rhetoric only exacerbates the political tension that already grips the nation. Instead of fostering unity, such accusations deepen the partisan divide.

Keep ReadingShow less
Hands coming together in a circle of people
SDI Productions/Getty Images

Building a future together based on a common cause

Johnson is a United Methodist pastor, the author of "Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community" and program director for the Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum.

As the 2024 presidential campaigns speed toward November, we face a transformative moment for our nation. The challenges of recent years have starkly revealed the deep divisions that threaten our societal fabric. Yet, amidst the discord, we are presented with a pivotal choice: Will we yield to the allure of division, or will we summon the courage to transcend our differences and shape a future founded on common cause and mutual respect?

Keep ReadingShow less
People protesting laws against homelessness

People protest outside the Supreme Court as the justices prepared to hear Grants Pass v. Johnson on April 22.

Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

High court upholds law criminalizing homelessness, making things worse

Herring is an assistant professor of sociology at UCLA, co-author of an amicus brief in Johnson v. Grants Pass and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.

In late June, the Supreme Court decided in the case of Johnson v. Grants Pass that the government can criminalize homelessness. In the court’s 6-3 decision, split along ideological lines, the conservative justices ruled that bans on sleeping in public when there are no shelter beds available do not violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

This ruling will only make homelessness worse. It may also propel U.S. localities into a “race to the bottom” in passing increasingly punitive policies aimed at locking up or banishing the unhoused.

Keep ReadingShow less
silhouettes of people arguing in front of an America flag
Pict Rider/Getty Images

'One side will win': The danger of zero-sum framings

Elwood is the author of “Defusing American Anger” and hosts thepodcast “People Who Read People.”

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was surreptitiously recorded at a private event saying, about our political divides, that “one side or the other is going to win.” Many people saw this as evidence of his political bias. In The Washington Post, Perry Bacon Jr. wrote that he disagreed with Alito’s politics but that the justice was “right about the divisions in our nation today.” The subtitle of Bacon’s piece was: “America is in the middle of a nonmilitary civil war, and one side will win.”

It’s natural for people in conflict to see it in “us versus them” terms — as two opposing armies facing off against each other on the battlefield. That’s what conflict does to us: It makes us see things through war-colored glasses.

Keep ReadingShow less