oped

Congress has long sought to bar foreign campaign contributions
From the early days of the republic to cracking down on Nazis, a longtime consensus

Rep. Zoe Lofgren has legislation that looks to close campaign finance loopholes. But she is not looking to specify that the measure define a “thing of value” more narrowly in light of the impeachment inquiry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the decades before President Donald Trump asked Ukraine to launch an investigation into his main political rival in the upcoming presidential election, Congress tried again and again to keep foreign nationals out of American elections and government decisions.

The lawmakers’ adversaries over the years sound as if they come straight out of Hollywood scripts: the Nazi party in the 1930s, the Philippine sugar industry in the 1960s, a Greek industrialist in the 1970s, an international businessman turned Chinese government agent in the 1990s.

Elijah Cummings, a man of character and the best of Baltimore
Late Maryland lawmaker leaves an example of moral clarity and courage for others to follow

The late Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings was a fighter for justice and a leader with a sense of right and wrong, even when there was a price to pay, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In the summertime, Baltimore can be hot as blazes with humidity to match. Trying to cool off in a public pool would be quite an ordinary outing for an 11-year-old boy. But for young Elijah Cummings in 1962, it turned into a nightmare in the still largely segregated city. White adults and children resisting integration yelled, “Go back to where you came from” — sound familiar? — to children and, over the heads of a police line, threw rocks and bottles, one of which caught young Elijah in the face.

That day taught Cummings he had rights, he later said, and it made him determined to become a lawyer despite teachers who dismissed his dream as impossible. With strong parents and supporters such as his boss at a drug store, who paid his college admission fee, Cummings fulfilled that dream and so much more.

Can church ever be separate from state at a Franklin Graham rally?
Spiritual leader’s message of love and unity isn’t reaching all backers of the president he supports so strongly

“We live in a political world, so we can’t avoid politics,” the Rev. Franklin Graham said at a recent Charlotte, N.C., rally. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

[OPINION] CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After the Rev. Billy Graham became less a counselor of presidents and more a political player, particularly in the unfortunate case of Richard Nixon, he learned a lesson. The Rev. Franklin Graham, heir to his father’s legacy, has chosen a different path, arguably becoming as well known for his politics as for his role as a spiritual leader.

Considering his remarks as he brought his “Decision America” tour to his hometown this past weekend, it’s a box Graham the younger is not exactly comfortable being placed in. But for the preacher who credited the “God factor,” in part, for Donald Trump’s 2016 win, that narrative is set. Vocal support of the president pre- and post-election exists right alongside his philanthropic and mission outreach — such as recent efforts in the Bahamas — through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

House Democrats sharpen counterattacks to Republican impeachment process complaints
Democrats say this part of the inquiry needs to be conducted behind closed doors but public portions coming

From left, Reps. Andy Harris of Maryland, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Steve King of Iowa speak to reporters Wednesday after being denied access to transcripts because they aren't on the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry. Democrats have begun to change tack on their response to GOP messaging on the probe. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats in recent days have sharpened their counterattacks to Republican assertions that they’re running an illegitimate and nontransparent impeachment process. 

The rebukes represent a shift in messaging strategy as Democrats had largely been trying to avoid engaging in a back-and-forth about process, arguing the GOP was manufacturing concerns to avoid having to defend President Donald Trump on the substance of the impeachment inquiry.

Uber’s commitment to safety
We take seriously our responsibility to riders and drivers

Uber is committed to working with local and federal policymakers to identify the solutions that are best suited for our riders and our driver partners, Burr writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — At Uber, our safety team has a simple, critical mission: to help set the standard for ridesharing safety. We know that every time riders open their Uber app, they are putting their trust in us — to not only get where they need to go, but to get there safely. Local and federal policymakers have proposed solutions to enhance ridesharing safety, and Uber is committed to working with them to identify the solutions that are best suited for our riders and our driver partners.

Over the past three years, we’ve introduced new safety features, including an in-app emergency button; strengthened our driver background check and screening processes; and made investments in new technologies to help improve the safety of the platform. In fact, we’ve developed more safety features in the past couple of years than we did in the previous eight. And that’s just the start of our commitment to safety.

Why Pelosi should heed the Rodino precedent on impeachment
Late House Judiciary chairman put principles over politics during Watergate

As House Judiciary chairman during Watergate, New Jersey Rep. Peter Rodino, left, set the standard for an impeachment inquiry that today’s Democrats would be wise to follow, Winston writes. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — In Joe Biden’s statement on the Clinton impeachment released to the Congressional Record on Feb. 12, 1999, he cautioned his fellow senators, calling impeachment “the most obviously anti-democratic act the Senate can engage in — overturning an election by convicting the president.”

He also said that impeachment had “no place in our system of constitutional democracy except as an extreme measure … reserved for breaches of the public trust by a president who so violates his official duties, misuses his official powers or places our system of government at such risk that our constitutional government is put in immediate danger by his continuing to serve out the term to which the people of the United States elected him.”

Scope of drug pricing bill could thwart Democrats’ hope for political win
Patients raise concerns that legislation impacts limited number of medicines

Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Oct. 2, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are betting their legislation to lower drug prices will be a political winner — but some patients learning the details are skeptical it will help them.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said in late September that her signature drug pricing bill received “rave reviews from everyone but the pharmaceutical industry.” And lawmakers tried to tout the bill during the October recess. Two House committees will markup the measure on Thursday.

Democratic impeachment holdout touts legislative focus over inquiry he’s not backing
South Carolina’s Joe Cunningham spent recess discussing climate change, infrastructure, trade

South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham, here examining a turtle excluder device while touring a shrimp boat in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Monday, is one of seven House Democrats not supporting the impeachment inquiry. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Rep. Joe Cunningham spent his final day of a two-week district work period here Monday talking to local fishermen about adjusting to climate change and to a conservation group about banning offshore drilling — top issues for constituents of his coastline district.

Cunningham, the first Democrat to represent the 1st District in more than a quarter century, did not talk about the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, except to answer reporters’ questions about why he has not endorsed it. The constituents he interacted with Monday did not broach the topic with him, although some complimented him generally for how he’s navigating a political tightrope.

Taking lead on impeachment legal message, Trump gives GOP cover to defend him
Campaign official says GOP is benefitting from inquiry with voter registration, donation surges

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday. His legal argument on impeachment is that he committed no crime. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Senior White House officials and House Republicans are basing their counter-impeachment arguments on House Democrats’ process rather than legal arguments — but President Donald Trump is again doing his own thing and arguing the probe is invalid because, he says, he committed no crimes.

The president has no formal legal training, but that is not stopping him from leading his own legal defense, using tweets and public comments to claim House Democrats have no grounds to impeach him — and the Senate no reason to remove him — because he never outright asked Ukraine’s new president to investigate a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, in exchange for U.S. aid.

Rise of fintech weakens law to prevent lending discrimination
The number of bank branches with a Community Reinvestment Act obligation to provide loans and other services is falling

The growth of online banking has poked some holes in the Community Reinvestment Act. (Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images file photo)

As online banking threatens to make in-person banking at brick-and-mortar branches as archaic as video rental stores, it may do the same to a 1977 law created to counteract decades of underinvestment in minority neighborhoods.

The Community Reinvestment Act was Congress’ response all those years ago to redlining — the practice of discriminatory lending that denied or offered more expensive credit to minorities and the poor and led to urban blight and white flight from city centers.