Tag: pay

Twitter to pay $100,000 for violating Washington campaign disclosure law

Twitter will pay $100,000 for failing to retain required records about political ads from Washington candidates that ran over a seven-year period before the social media platform banned all political advertising.

Twitter agreed to pay the fine, which is about half the amount the company received from Washington candidates’ political advertising from 2012 to 2019, to Washington’s Public Disclosure Transparency Account, Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday. The fine comes after Ferguson announced his intention over the summer to sue the company over campaign finance violations

Under Washington’s campaign finance law, commercial advertisers must keep certain information, such as candidates’ names, the cost of the ad and who paid for it and on what date, and the name and address of the ad sponsor. According to the attorney general’s office, at least 38 Washington candidates and committees paid $194,550 for advertising on Twitter, and the company didn’t maintain the required information.

In an emailed statement, Twitter said the resolution is “reflective of our commitment to transparency and accountability. The company ended all political advertising on its platform in November 2019, which was a decision “in line with our belief that the reach of political speech should be earned and not bought.”

In the judgment, Twitter agreed to pay the fine but didn’t waive its ability to contend in the future that its exempt from public transparency laws.

The actions from the Attorney General’s office were prompted by research from Tallman Trask, a University of Washington law student and political activist who requested information from Twitter about a dozen local campaigns. After Twitter failed to provide the requested information, he filed a complaint to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission on Oct. 30, 2019 — the same day Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the platform would stop political advertising.

Trask called the announcement great news for Washington voters.

“It’s particularly good news for fairness in election advertising in our state,” Trask said in an interview. “It’s a question of whether or not companies are following the laws that the people want in place, and that other companies have followed for decades. It’s more about ensuring fairness than ensuring fines.”

The judgment is part of a series of lawsuits filed by the Attorney General’s office against tech companies related to political advertising. Facebook and Google paid more than $450,000 to settle twin lawsuits in 2018, when Ferguson’s office asserted that the tech giants violated campaign transparency laws.

Facebook and Google announced after the 2018 settlement that each company would stop selling political ads, but continued to do so. Ferguson filed another lawsuit in April against Facebook, saying the company has “repeatedly and openly” violated state laws.

In contrast with Facebook,

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Federal government says it will not pay fines for Portland courthouse fence

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will not pay the multi-million dollar fines it owes to two Portland bureaus for erecting an iron fence around the federal courthouse in the city.



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In letters to the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Bureau of Environmental Services obtained by Pamplin Media, Federal Protective Service Assistant Director David A. Hess claimed the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause absolves the agency from city fines.

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“The Federal Government is absolutely immune from fines or penalties issued by local governments unless there is a clear waiver of sovereign immunity by Congress,” Hess wrote. “There has been no such waiver here.”

The PBOT originally fined the federal government for blocking city bike lanes with the security fence it set up around the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse during this summer’s protests.

At a rate of $500 every 15 minutes, or $48,000 a day, fines imposed by the PBOT amount to well over $3 million.

The BES issued another $20,000 fine for federal authorities on September 10 out of concern that tear gas residue from the courthouse washed down city storm drains by federal agents could be contaminating the city water supply.

BES was provided with 90 pages of safety data sheets from the Federal Protective Service for the various crowd control weapons used by the federal officers during this summer’s protests against police brutality around the courthouse.

Federal agents left the streets of Portland by the end of July while Oregon state police officers have intermittently taken over guard duty at the courthouse while protests continue.

The PBOT is overseen by Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. Control of BES was transferred to Commissioner Amanda Fritz by Mayor Ted Wheeler last month.

Tags: States, News, Portland

Original Author: Tim Gruver, The Center Square

Original Location: Federal government says it will not pay fines for Portland courthouse fence

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UK retail body steps up calls for government action on illegal pay

The UK’s largest retail trade body has stepped up its demands for urgent government action to end illegally low wages among garment workers in the UK, arguing that more than 10,000 people have been denied £27m in pay since July.

The British Retail Consortium and MP Lisa Cameron, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on textiles and fashion, have written to Priti Patel, home secretary, to repeat demands for the speedy introduction of a licensing scheme for UK-based textile manufacturers to safeguard factory workers’ pay.

It follows resurfaced reports of many garment workers being paid as little as £3.50 an hour, well below the national minimum wage of £8.72. The scandal has shaken fast-fashion retailer Boohoo, the largest buyer from Britain’s garment hub in Leicester, which is now scrambling to convince stakeholders it can clean up its supply chain after evidence of illegal work practices.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said the trade body had made similar calls in July backed by 50 cross-party MPs and peers as well as 40 retailers, which had not led to “any significant action from government to bring this injustice to an end — all the while garment workers are robbed of tens of millions of pounds in wages”.

The government on Sunday said it would respond to the BRC’s letter, sent on Friday, adding that it expected businesses to do “all they can to tackle labour abuse and exploitation in their supply chains”.

It said that it was “deeply concerned” by the reports of “illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers in Leicester”, and that perpetrators would face consequences “if evidence comes to light through the work of our new specialist task force, led by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority”.

Boohoo is not part of the BRC but has previously also urged the government to license factories that supply them and ensure they meet “their legal obligations to their employees”.

The BRC has proposed a “fit to trade” licensing scheme to protect workers from “forced labour, debt bondage [and ensure] payment of national minimum wage, VAT, PAYE, national insurance, holiday pay and health and safety”.

A licence to operate for clothing factories would encourage retailers to once again source from the UK, the organisation argued, after notoriously bad labour standards in manufacturing hubs such as Leicester have contributed to many companies shifting production abroad.

Last year, the HMRC investigated 3,400 businesses for underpayment of workers and identified more than £21m in wage arrears — less than the sum workers in Leicester have lost out on in the past three months, according to the BRC.

“Right now, we have an opportunity to create a more ethical and sustainable fashion manufacturing industry in the UK, providing better jobs and boosting the economy at a time when it is needed most,” said Ms Cameron.

“Without urgent action thousands more people face exploitation,” she added.

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Cineworld’s zero-hours staff face no pay as it confirms UK shutdown

Video: Still the world’s best boss? Five years on, the CEO who set $70,000 minimum pay (France 24)

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Cineworld workers on zero-hours contracts in the UK could be left without pay beyond Thursday after the cinema chain confirmed it will temporarily close its 127 sites in Britain this week, putting 5,500 jobs at risk.



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© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

The UK’s largest cinema operator declined to say how many of its staff are on zero-hour contracts – which do not guarantee any hours of work – but Cineworld workers contacted by the Guardian said that the majority of employees at the average Cineworld site are employed on zero-hour terms.

Cineworld employees first found out that their jobs were under threat via media reports on Saturday evening. On Monday afternoon employees had not received communication about their pay for the next month, according to workers who asked to remain anonymous because the terms of redundancy had not been settled.

Cineworld’s cinemas are generally run by a small team of salaried managers and a larger group of workers whose contracts give them no guaranteed hours of

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Consumers pay when government ignores the law

Every few years, an automotive safety scandal results in millions of recalled vehicles and rounds of congressional hearings. Often new laws are passed so we all learn from our mistakes and try to prevent repeating them. Mistakes like not making sure consumers receive recall notices which could prevent death or life-changing injury, or just losing the use of a vehicle to get to work. Sadly, the mistake of failing to address the federal government’s disregard for the law is the one we keep repeating.

We all know car crashes do not care if your car has a Donald Trump or a Joe Biden bumper sticker, or whether you have tested negative for the coronavirus. Now we also know the U.S. Department of Transportation does not seem to care about enacting laws designed to save lives and money. Recently, it was revealed that in March the DOT told Congress that it writes rules on its own timelines, not based on congressionally mandated deadlines. Tragically, there may never be a full accounting for these wanton rule-making delays, which shift the burden to consumers to deal with an increased risk of death by vehicle. Yet, we already know the cost of the more than six million vehicle crashes annually in the United States is about 40,000 lives, 3 million hospital trips, and $1 trillion.

Take something as simple as recall notification. In 1966, the most effective way to reach car owners about recalled vehicles was to send them a letter. Accordingly, the law required recall notices to be mailed to affected owners. Not receiving the notice was deadly for Lara Gass, a graduate student whose family received the notice after she was killed in a car accident that involved a defective General Motors ignition switch, at age 27, in 2014.

Knowing this history, in 2015, Congress added the use of electronic communications such as email or texts to the required arsenal for car companies. Every kid who watched School House Rock knows Congress writes laws and the executive branch implements rules. This arrangement, in fits and starts, has led to an almost five-fold reduction in crash related deaths per vehicle-mile-traveled over the last five decades. The result of laws requiring seat belts, crash-protection standards, electronic stability control, and many other features to protect us in crashes, has been the saving of hundreds of thousands of lives.

Today’s DOT, however, in keeping with the general disdain for the law that pervades the current administration, has chosen to believe that congressionally mandated rules and deadlines were coincidental to safety increases. Instead of fighting on behalf of every driver, passenger and pedestrian, the department routinely ignores laws signed by presidents of both political parties and substitutes weak voluntary programs that push the responsibility for safety back to the consumer. DOT has treated the 2015 update to the recall notification law as a suggestion

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Does the Queen Pay Her Fair Share of Taxes? It Helps to Have the Government on Your Side

Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: SOPA Images – Getty Images

From Town & Country

No one likes paying taxes and heads of state are no exception. This fact was hammered home last week when the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump, through a series of complex accounting moves, paid minimal tax while in office and even less before he was elected.

Usually governments do everything they can to collect money (Trump, in fact, is being audited by the IRS), but sometimes heads of state can avoid paying tax with the help of the state. For forty years, up until 1993, the British Queen enjoyed an income tax exemption thanks to the generosity of successive UK governments who played cat and mouse with Parliament and the media to keep the matter away from public scrutiny.

Why was it allowed in the first place and, more important, how much was it worth? Recently, some answers have begun to emerge from the vaults.

Photo credit: Scott Barbour - Getty Images
Photo credit: Scott Barbour – Getty Images

Panning for gems in the archives of the British royal family can be frustrating work given all the special privileges they are granted that prevent proper public scrutiny of their wealth, such as sealed wills and personal correspondence closed for a lifetime, but just occasionally you hit paydirt. After being refused more than 20 Freedom of Information requests while investigating the royal finances, I won one recently involving a cache of documents in the UK National Archives about a little-known 1989 review of the Civil List, the forerunner of today’s taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, which pays for all the running costs of the British monarchy. The jewel in the cache was an official UK Treasury paper that revealed that the monarchy was in part funded through tax breaks for the Queen.

“The State provides for the monarchy in two ways: first through explicit finance (currently votes and the Civil List) and secondly by foregoing tax on the Sovereign’s private wealth.” The indiscreet 1989 tax memo went on to spell out why this was significant: “In practice it should be noted that immunity from taxation has enabled the Government to pay a small Civil List confined to specific official aspects and thus keep the whole issue of financing the monarchy in a rather lower key than would otherwise be the case.”

Why was this disclosure such a big deal? Royal watchers had long suspected that the Queen’s special privileges might be granted for some ulterior motive, but here it was set out in black and white for the first time. The tax breaks were a backstairs way of funding the royal household and keeping its real cost under wraps.

A history of royal exemptions

The suspicion that the government was being less than clear with the public about what was really going on was confirmed by a related document. The December 1989 Review of the Civil List, chaired by the Treasury’s most senior official, Permanent Secretary Sir Peter Middleton, revealed that the true

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Politicians, Malaysian civil society leaders pay tribute to former minister VK Liew



a man in a dark room: Liew's passing elicited an outpouring of tributes from both friends and foe for the politician they described as a 'good man' and strong rights advocate. — Picture by Miera Zulyana


© Provided by Malay Mail
Liew’s passing elicited an outpouring of tributes from both friends and foe for the politician they described as a ‘good man’ and strong rights advocate. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 2 — The death of Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong, better known as VK Liew, has elicited an outpouring of tributes from both friends and foe for the politician they described as a “good man” and strong rights advocate.

News of Liew’s passing quickly spread online and within an hour, the term “VK Liew” was trending in Malaysia on Twitter.

Most messages were condolences to Liew’s family from the public, non-governmental organisations and politicians.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also offered his sympathies to the Liew family for their loss.

The All Women’s Action Society tweeted a picture of Liew holding a poster on the Sexual Harassment Bill with the message. “A fitting picture of the late Datuk VK Liew advocating for the Sexual Harassment Bill at Parliament last August. A man who not only stood for women’s rights but worked hard to turn rhetoric to reality. We have lost a strong advocate & all of civil society mourns. May you RIP Sir.”

Parti Warisan Sabah secretary-general Datuk Loretto Padua Jr issued a statement saying the party lost a well-respected leader who contributed to the country and state through his hard work and dedication.

“Parti Warisan Sabah is deeply saddened by the untimely passing of its Chairman and Batu Sapi Member of Parliament, Datuk Liew Vui Keong today on 2 October, 2020,” he said.

He said Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal also extended his deepest condolences to Datin Lindai Lee and her four children.

“The family asks that their privacy be respected as they grieve during this very difficult time,” he said.

He added that funeral arrangements will be made known in due course.

PBS president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said Liew was a very dedicated leader especially on Sabah rights.

“Datuk VK Liew is a good friend and a fine leader. We pray for his family and may God bestow comfort and mercies during this difficult time,” he said.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said on Twitter that citizens groups had enjoyed working with Liew because of his willingness to listen.

“When I rang you to join a discussion with women groups, as a law minister you had no problem coming over to a Deputy Minister’s office. Sabah and Warisan lost a vital voice,” she tweeted.

Former education minister and Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik posted a picture of him with Liew when the latter was in the hospital a few days ago with the message, and expressed shock to learn of his former Cabinet colleague’s death.

“I still remember how hardworking he was. His fighting spirit and optimism towards any nation building and change had already qualified him to be a well known statesman. Today, my friend left me, all of us and the country. I

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Britons Would Pay More Tax for a Fairer, More Equal Society Post-COVID-19: Poll

By Emma Batha

LONDON, Sept 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Britons would be happy to pay higher taxes for a fairer, more caring and gender-equal society as the coronavirus pandemic transforms people’s views about the world they want to live in, economists said on Wednesday.

In a major report to be presented to parliamentarians, regional governments, and business leaders, they laid out a radical roadmap for building a “caring economy” that puts people and the planet first.

“This is an idea whose time has come,” said Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of feminist think-tank the Women’s Budget Group, which published the report.

“People don’t want to return to business as usual. We’re calling for a fundamental change in the way we approach the economy. It’s about a vision for doing things differently,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

At the heart of the new economy is a recognition of society’s reliance on paid and unpaid care work — most of which is done by women — and the need to distribute this equally.

Proposals include introducing free social care, free childcare, equal sharing of parental leave, a fairer minimum wage, a universal basic income for retired people, and reducing the working week to about 30 hours.

Stephenson said the pandemic could be a catalyst for reform in the same way as Britain’s welfare system was introduced after World War Two.

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The transformation could be funded by major changes to the taxation system and borrowing, she added.

Stephenson said the pandemic had brought into stark relief the importance of care work to the economy — both paid and unpaid.

Women do 60% more unpaid work than men, reducing their time for paid employment, impacting their earnings, and leaving them poorer in old age, she said.

A poll published by the Women’s Budget Group showed men, as well as women, overwhelmingly agreed a better balance was needed between paid work, caring responsibilities, and free time.

Three quarters of respondents thought economic equality between women and men was the mark of a good society.

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Four in five respondents — including three-quarters of men — agreed women and men should equally share caring for children, older and disabled relatives, with most saying the government should financially support men to provide more care.

“The way things work at the moment they don’t work for women, but they don’t work for men either,” Stephenson said. “Just as women need some time free from care, men need time to care.”

The survey of more than 2,000 people also showed a significant majority would be willing to pay more tax to support secure jobs for everyone, a pay rise for key workers, green transport, and affordable housing. 

Reporting by Emma Batha @emmabatha; Editing by Helen Popper; Please credit

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Britons would pay more tax for a fairer society as COVID-19 exposes inequality

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Britons would be happy to pay higher taxes for a fairer, more caring and gender-equal society as the coronavirus pandemic transforms people’s views about the world they want to live in, economists said on Wednesday.

In a major report to be presented to parliamentarians, regional governments and business leaders, they laid out a radical roadmap for building a “caring economy” that puts people and the planet first.

“This is an idea whose time has come,” said Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of feminist think-tank the Women’s Budget Group which published the report.

“People don’t want to return to business as usual. We’re calling for a fundamental change in the way we approach the economy. It’s about a vision for doing things differently,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

At the heart of the new economy is a recognition of society’s reliance on paid and unpaid care work – most of which is done by women – and the need to distribute this equally.

Proposals include introducing free social care, free childcare, equal sharing of parental leave, a fairer minimum wage, a universal basic income for retired people and reducing the working week to about 30 hours.

Stephenson said the pandemic could be a catalyst for reform in the same way as Britain’s welfare system was introduced after World War Two.

The transformation could be funded by major changes to the taxation system and borrowing, she added.

Stephenson said the pandemic had brought into stark relief the importance of care work to the economy – both paid and unpaid.

Women do 60% more unpaid work than men, reducing their time for paid employment, impacting their earnings and leaving them poorer in old age, she said.

A poll published by the Women’s Budget Group showed men, as well as women, overwhelmingly agreed a better balance was needed between paid work, caring responsibilities, and free time.

Three quarters of respondents thought economic equality between women and men was the mark of a good society.

Four in five respondents – including three quarters of men – agreed women and men should equally share caring for children, older and disabled relatives, with most saying the government should financially support men to provide more care.

“The way things work at the moment they don’t work for women, but they don’t work for men either,” Stephenson said. “Just as women need some time free from care, men need time to care.”

The survey of more than 2,000 people also showed a significant majority would be willing to pay more tax to support secure jobs for everyone, a pay rise for key workers, green transport and affordable housing.

Reporting by Emma Batha @emmabatha; Editing by Helen Popper; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit news.trust.org

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