Tag: Washington

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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The George Washington University Law School
Washington, D.C.

As D.C.’s first law school, the George Washington University Law School has set the standard for legal education for more than 150 years. GW Law has an impressive, longstanding record of educating forward-thinking leaders. For example, by 1895, our graduates had already written the patents for Bell’s telephone, Mergenthaler’s linotype machine, and Eastman’s roll film camera. We continue to set the curve today, with a robust curriculum offering more than 275 elective courses designed to give students both a broad and in-depth legal education.

Our world-renowned faculty is regularly featured in print and in the media for outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, and CNN. Our faculty also has been cited as having the second-most downloaded scholarship on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) law school list. Our faculty members are experts who have written the leading textbooks in their fields and testified before Congress, but their primary commitment is to prepare the next generation of lawyers to meet the challenges of our ever-evolving world. In addition, our location in the heart of Washington, D.C., has allowed us to build a superb adjunct faculty of distinguished practitioners who are top lawyers at law firms, at government agencies, and on Capitol Hill. We’re the only law school where a sitting Supreme Court justice teaches a regular course.

Along with offering a robust curriculum, GW Law emphasizes helping students gain practical skills and professional knowledge to help build fulfilling careers. Our Fundamentals of Lawyering course helps students master the core knowledge provided by traditional first-year legal research and writing courses, along with the client problem-solving, creative thinking, and sound judgment that law firms have told us they desire in first-year associates. In our new Legislation and Regulation course, students gain a uniquely Washington, D.C., perspective on the practice of law. Through the Inns of Court (called a section at other law schools), students interact with dedicated advisors who help them adjust to law school, facilitate networking opportunities with practitioners, provide advice on course selection, and help them make more informed and satisfying career choices.

Students may participate in the 11 well-established clinical programs, doing real-life legal work with real-life impact. As student-attorneys, clinics students represent actual clients, under faculty supervision. GW Law is home to nine student-run journals, many of them produced in collaboration with national bar associations, and more than 60 student organizations.

GW Law students benefit from the opportunity to participate in meaningful ways with the city around them. Ours is the most robust externship program in the country, with nearly 500 students participating in approved placements each year and receiving both academic credit and practical legal training. Our students hold semester-long externships at the World Bank, which is across the street; at the White House, which is four blocks from campus; and at major entities such as the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Court of Federal

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Anti-government groups shift focus from Washington to states

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – The alleged foiled plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor is a jarring example of how the anti-government movement in the U.S. has become an internet-driven hodgepodge of conspiracy theorists who have redirected their rage from Washington toward state capitols.

That’s in contrast to the self-styled “militia” movement that took shape in the 1990s – loosely connected groups whose primary target was the federal government, which they considered a tyrannical force bent on seizing guns and imposing a socialist “new world order.”

Deadly standoffs between FBI agents and extremists at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, stoked those groups’ anger. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, convicted in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people, were reported to have met with Michigan paramilitary activists.

Public revulsion over that massacre damaged the movement, which largely faded from public view. But recent protests over racial injustice, the coronavirus and other turmoil during the Trump administration have fueled a resurgence, with paramilitary groups blending into a mishmash of far-right factions that spread their messages on websites and social media.

In many ways, their focus is unchanged, including contempt for authority, reverence for the Second Amendment and backwoods military-style training exercises.

But the plot targeting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer illustrates one stark difference: Nowadays, much of the anger focuses on state officials whom extremists accuse of denying rights and freedoms.

“And this is largely due to the fact that Donald Trump, who the militia movement supports, is at the head of the federal government,” said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

“But they can much more easily be angry at state governors, especially Democratic ones, but sometimes even Republican ones, who are involved with gun-control efforts or lockdown or anti-pandemic measures,” he added.

Whitmer told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that extremism targeted at state officials is “a very real threat to democracy.”

“There’s no question that these hate groups are domestic terrorists and I think we need to call them that,” Whitmer said while greeting voters in Traverse City. “We need leadership who steps up and takes it on. We need it coming out of the White House, we need it coming out of all of our statehouses as well.”

Six men were charged in federal court Thursday with conspiring to kidnap the governor in retaliation for what they viewed as her “uncontrolled power,” according to a criminal complaint. Seven others, charged in state court for allegedly seeking to storm the Michigan Capitol, are linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen, a state affidavit said.

The Wolverine Watchmen used Facebook to recruit members and communicated on an encrypted messaging platform, the affidavit said.

Joseph Morrison, 42, a founding member, used the screen name “Boogaloo Bunyan.” Group members gathered for training and drills as they prepared for the “boogaloo,” an anti-government, pro-gun extremist movement that has been linked to a recent string of domestic terrorism

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Anti-Government Groups Shift Focus From Washington to States | Political News

By JOHN FLESHER and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The foiled plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor is a jarring example of how the anti-government movement in the U.S. has become an internet-driven hodgepodge of conspiracy theorists who have redirected their rage from Washington toward state capitols.

That’s in contrast to the self-styled “militia” movement that took shape in the 1990s — loosely connected groups whose primary target was the federal government, which they considered a tyrannical force bent on seizing guns and imposing a socialist “new world order.”

Deadly standoffs between FBI agents and extremists at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, stoked those groups’ anger. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, convicted in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people, were reported to have met with Michigan militia activists.

Public revulsion over that massacre damaged the movement, which largely faded from public view. But recent protests over racial injustice, the coronavirus and other turmoil during the Trump administration have fueled a resurgence, with militias blending into a mishmash of far-right factions that spread their messages on websites and social media.

In many ways, their focus is unchanged, including contempt for authority, reverence for the Second Amendment and backwoods military-style training exercises.

But the plot targeting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer illustrates one stark difference: Nowadays, much of the anger focuses on state officials whom extremists accuse of denying rights and freedoms.

“And this is largely due to the fact that Donald Trump, who the militia movement supports, is at the head of the federal government,” said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

“But they can much more easily be angry at state governors, especially Democratic ones, but sometimes even Republican ones, who are involved with gun-control efforts or lockdown or anti-pandemic measures,” he added.

Whitmer told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that extremism targeted at state officials is “a very real threat to democracy.”

“There’s no question that these hate groups are domestic terrorists and I think we need to call them that,” Whitmer said while greeting voters in Traverse City. “We need leadership who steps up and takes it on. We need it coming out of the White House, we need it coming out of all of our statehouses as well.”

Seven of the 13 suspects charged in the kidnapping plot are linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen, a Michigan State Police investigator said in a court filing. The group used Facebook to recruit members and communicated on an encrypted messaging platform, the affidavit said.

Joseph Morrison, 42, a founding member, used the screen name “Boogaloo Bunyan.” Group members gathered for training and drills as they prepared for the “boogaloo,” an anti-government, pro-gun extremist movement that has been linked to a recent string of domestic terrorism plots, the affidavit said.

Supporters have shown up at protests over COVID-19 lockdown orders and demonstrations over racial injustice, carrying rifles and

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