TIME 2016 Election

Martin O’Malley Announces Presidential Run

"The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families"

Two-term Maryland governor Martin O’Malley announced his presidential campaign Saturday with a swing at Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

“Recently, the CEO of Goldman Sachs let his employees know that he’d be just fine with either Bush or Clinton,” he said in his campaign announcement on Federal Hill, overlooking Baltimore. “Well, I’ve got news for the bullies of Wall Street—the presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families.”

O’Malley is a longshot candidate for the Democratic nomination, polling at 1% among Democrats compared with Hillary Clinton’s 57%, according to a May 28 Quinnipiac survey, despite his frequent trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. His allies have launched a super PAC called Generation Forward that will support his campaign in early nominating states.

During his speech, O’Malley, who is also former mayor of Baltimore, cast the city’s recent racial unrest—including a night of riots after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died of injuries sustained in police custody—as an symptom of a larger American problem. “What took place here was not only about race…not only about policing in America. It’s about everything it is supposed to mean to be an American,” he said. “The scourge of hopelessness that happened to ignite here that evening, transcends race or geography.”

He also took swings at Wall Street. “Tell me how it is, that you can get pulled over for a broken tail light in our country, but if you wreck the nation’s economy you are untouchable,” he said.

During his announcement speech, O’Malley highlighted his record as Maryland’s governor, noting that he supported a successful bid to legalize gay marriage and helped raise the minimum wage.

Read Next: Martin O’Malley Phoned Hillary Clinton Ahead of His Presidential Launch

TIME 2016 Election

Martin O’Malley Phoned Hillary Clinton Ahead of His Presidential Launch

The call was brief and cordial

Barely 24 hours before launching his campaign to challenge Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley phoned the Democratic presidential front-runner to personally inform her of his plans.

The call between the two Democratic rivals was brief and cordial, and came on the same day that O’Malley filed his candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.

O’Malley, the two-term governor of Maryland who left office in January, is launching his presidential campaign Saturday morning in Baltimore, the city where he spent seven years as mayor.

Clinton and O’Malley have a complicated relationship as fellow Democratic party notables. O’Malley was one of the first Democratic governors to endorse Clinton’s candidacy for president in the 2008 election, and was a major fundraiser for the then-Senator. Last year, former president Bill Clinton strongly praised O’Malley’s time as governor.

But as he has prepared to run for the White House, O’Malley has staked out a position to Hillary Clinton’s left on an array of policies, including trade, Wall Street reform and immigration. While he has largely refrained from directly attacking her, he has made a point of emphasizing their disagreements at every juncture.

On the call, O’Malley told Clinton that he is running because he believes it’s time for “new leadership” of the country. Not coincidentally, the phrase is the slogan for his nascent presidential campaign, visible on half a dozen campaign signs around the stage at his launch event on Baltimore’s Federal Hill.

The 52-year-old plans to emphasize his youthfulness in comparison with Clinton, who is 67 and one of the oldest candidates to ever seek the presidency.

Friday’s call is not the first time Clinton’s campaign has communicated with O’Malley. Around St. Patrick’s Day, Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta held a private meeting with O’Malley and told the former governor that they were going to take any possible campaign seriously.

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

O’Malley is a longshot candidate for the Democratic nomination, especially when compared to the Clinton juggernaut. Despite frequent trips to Iowa and New Hampshire with all the accompanying press coverage, O’Malley is polling at 1% among Democrats nationally compared with Hillary Clinton’s 57%, according to a May 28 Quinnipiac survey.

TIME National Security

Obama Warns of Dangers of Inaction on Patriot Act

Barack Obama
Carolyn Kaster—AP President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks to media as he meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 29, 2015. 

"Heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack"

President Obama warned Friday afternoon of dire consequences for national security should the Patriot Act be allowed to expire on Sunday night.

Following a meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday, Obama blamed a “handful of senators” for blocking the passage of the compromise USA Freedom Act, which would keep key provisions of the Patriot Act in place but roll back a controversial provision that the National Security Agency has used to collect bulk data on Americans’ phone and internet records.

Without the Patriot Act in place, Obama warned, the nation’s security would be at risk. “I don’t want us to be in a situation where for a certain period of time those authorities go away,” he said Friday in the Oval Office. “And heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity but we didn’t do so simply because of inaction in the Senate.”

Congress has been out on recess since Memorial Day and Senators left town before passing a Patriot Act reauthorization. The act expires at midnight on Sunday. Obama is pushing lawmakers to pass the USA Freedom Act, while some Senators have argued for a straight extension of the Patriot Act. Others think reform bills don’t go far enough.

Obama said he’d reached out to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and urged Senators to “take action and take action swiftly.

“This is not an issue where we have to choose between security and civil liberties, this is an issue in which we in fact have struck the right balance and shaped a piece of legislation that everybody can support. So let’s go out and get it done,” he said.

 

TIME

Hastert Paid to Hush Up Sexual Misconduct, Reports Say

Several outlets reporting former House Speaker paid to hush up misconduct of a sexual nature

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert allegedly paid an individual to keep quiet about sexual misconduct, according to multiple media reports.

The Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Buzzfeed reported, citing anonymous federal officials, that the “prior misconduct” mentioned in the seven page indictment of Hastert was sexual in nature.

The New York Times reports a man told the FBI Hastert had fondled him when Hastert was a history teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. Hastert was at the school between 1965 and 1981.

Hastert was charged on Thursday for lying to FBI agents about bank transactions he made to allegedly “compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct” against the person identified as “Individual A.”

The Northern Illinois U.S. District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the specific misconduct, noting that the 73-year-old had only been charged for the two crimes mentioned in the indictment. Calls to representatives at Dickstein Shapiro, where Hastert worked before the indictment, were not immediately returned.

Hastert will not be arrested, according to a spokesperson at the U.S. Attorney’s office, but no court date has been set. A judge, however has been assigned to the case— Obama appointee Judge Thomas M. Durkin.

TIME Congress

What Does This Mysterious C-SPAN Call to Dennis Hastert Mean?

“Hello, Denny"

A C-SPAN caller’s mysterious question to Dennis Hastert last year has taken on a new meaning in light of recent allegations that the former House Speaker illegally paid $3.5 million in hush money to an unidentified resident of Yorkville.

The call was placed during a 2014 interview on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”

“Hello, Denny,” said the caller, who identified himself as Bruce. “Do you remember me from Yorkville?”

The caller then laughs and hangs up the phone, and the interview moves on without further comment. Footage of the call garnered newfound attention after a federal grand jury indicted Hastert on Thursday for allegedly paying an acquaintance in his hometown of Yorkville hush money over “prior misconduct.”

TIME Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton Comes Out in Force to Defend His Foundation

Clinton Global Initiative University
Larry Marano—Getty Images Former US President Bill Clinton attends the Clinton Global Initiative University at University of Miami on March 7, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

A response to a barrage of unflattering revelations in the press

Bill Clinton joined his allies in defending his family’s foundation in an open letter on Friday, emphasizing the charity’s philanthropic work in the face of criticism over its foreign donors and alleged entanglement in politics.

“It’s the political season in America, so the purpose and impact of the efforts your support makes possible has largely been ignored in recent coverage of the Foundation,” the former president said in his note. “But we are and always have been a non-partisan, inclusive foundation with lots of support from and involvement by people across the political spectrum and governments from right to left, all committed to our creative solutions-centered work.”

Clinton recounted in his note many of the charitable deeds the Foundation has accomplished around the world, including “helping smallholder farmers in Africa increase their yields” and supporting “women entrepreneurs in Latin America.” Nearly 10 million people in 70 countries have access to HIV/AIDS medicines through the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Clinton wrote.

“We will also continue to look for ways to improve our reporting systems so that we can operate as accurately, efficiently, and transparently as possible – a goal to which we have been committed since day one,” said Clinton in the note.

The Clintons’ allies have voiced their support of the family’s charity in recent days as well, with Foundation donor Jay Jacobs penning a blog post Thursday saying one reason voters should elect Hillary Clinton is her connection to the Foundation. Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s previous presidential election and former advisor in President Clinton’s administration, wrote an op-ed published earlier this week in the Huffington Post defending the Foundation.

The Clinton Foundation has come under fire for accepting donations from foreign businesses and governments with business before the U.S. State Department, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. No specific evidence of intervention on behalf of donors has been found, though in several cases the foundation failed to abide by Clinton’s pledge to disclose all donors during her tenure.

Bill Clinton has also been criticized for giving speeches and making appearances that appear to benefit foundation supporters on the global stage. This week, the foundation came under further scrutiny when it was revealed that Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime friend and adviser of the Clintons, had a $10,000 a month job at the foundation doing unspecified work during the time he was providing Hillary Clinton with purported intelligence tips about activities of various political factions in Libya.

In recent weeks both Bill and Hillary, who is now running for president, have defended the foundation. Hillary said during an event in Iowa last week that she is “proud of the foundation,” and Bill said earlier this month in an interview with NBC that the charity has never done anything “knowingly inappropriate.”

TIME

Everything We Do and Don’t Know About the Hastert Indictment

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday

The announcement that federal prosecutors had charged former House Speaker Dennis Hastert with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigations about a series of bank transactions shook Washington on Thursday.

Though the Illinois Republican isn’t exactly a stranger to scandal—he was voted Speaker of the House following a scandal surrounding Newt Gingrich’s would-be successor—the announcement and the mystery surrounding it have spurred myriad questions about the Speaker’s future, and most importantly, his past.

Below, we attempt to address the most pressing questions that have been raised amid Hastert’s indictment.

Who is Dennis Hastert?

Dennis Hastert is a former Republican Congressman from Illinois and the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives. Hastert was born in Aurora, Ill. and attended Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University. Before heading to Washington, Hastert worked at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Ill., a small city in Northern Illinois about an hour outside of Chicago. At the high school, Hastert taught history and coached the high school wrestling team. He worked there from 1965 until 1981. In the early 1980s, he launched his political career, first serving in the Illinois state House of Representatives and later replacing Republican Rep. John Grotberg in Washington. Hastert rose to prominence on Capitol Hill and replaced Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1999. TIME magazine called him at the time, “The Speaker Who Never Was.” Hastert is often credited for establishing a rule in the House that limits the minority party’s power by only bringing bills to vote if the majority of the majority party doesn’t support it.

What has he been up to since?

Hastert stepped down as Speaker of the House after the 2006 election and in the wake of a lurid scandal surrounding Florida Rep. Mark Foley. Foley was found to have sent sexually suggestive messages to Congressional aides. Hastert was criticized for improperly handling Foley’s actions. Hastert had served on the Advisory of the J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy at Wheaton College, which was launched in 2007 after Hastert donated his congressional papers to the school. On Friday, the school announced Hastert had resigned from the Board of Directors. Hastert had also joined the Washington lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro after leaving the House. The firm announced on Thursday the former Congressman had resigned in the wake of the indictment.

What is he accused of doing?

According to the indictment, Hastert is accused of lying to the FBI. Between 2010 and 2012, Hastert allegedly made 15 $50,000 withdrawals from his accounts and various banks and gave the money to an unidentified person, referred to as “Individual A.” The reason Hastert made the payments, according to the indictment, was “to compensate Individual A to remain secret so as to cover up his [Hastert’s] past misconduct.” The withdrawals caught the eye of the banks, which are required by law to report any transaction or series of transactions over $10,000. Hastert reportedly withdrew over $1.7 million dollars over four and a half years, about half of the $3.5 million he was supposedly giving to “Individual A” as a part of their agreement, according to the indictment.

Bank officials questioned Hastert, but after questioning the congressman started withdrawing cash in increments of $10,000 or less. That raised another red flag for federal authorities who started investigating the withdrawals in 2013. A year later, the FBI asked Hastert directly about the transactions and whether he was using the money to “cover up past misconduct” or if he was storing the cash. Hastert reportedly told agents, “Yeah…I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing.”

Who is “Individual A”?

The indictment does not name “Individual A,” but it does provide some vague details about the person’s connection to Hastert. Individual A has known Hastert for all of his or her life and was born and raised in Yorkville, Ill.—the town where Hastert worked as a teacher and coach between 1965 and 1981. Individual A made contact with Hastert in 2010 a number of times. At the meetings, they are alleged to have discussed the undefined “misconduct” by Hastert. After the 2010 meetings, Hastert began withdrawing and delivering the cash.

What is the misconduct?

This part is unclear. The misconduct is repeatedly referred to as having occurred “against Individual A.” But the indictment does not specify what misconduct Hastert is accused of conducting. The indictment links Hastert and Individual A through the town of Yorkville—where the individual resides and where Hastert was once a teacher. The Los Angeles Times, citing two anonymous sources, reported on Friday afternoon that the misconduct was sexual in nature. Hastert’s lobbying firm declined to comment, while his attorney could not be reached by the newspaper.

Did anyone know?

The Yorkville Community Unit School District reportedly said they had “no knowledge of Mr. Hastert’s alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the District to report any such misconduct.” In an interview with CNN, 2016 Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, a former Congressman and Senator, said the whole ordeal seems “very much out of character” for Hastert. Reporters have unearthed a C-SPAN call during Hastert’s 2014 appearance on “Washington Journal” that could offer clues. In that call, a man identifying himself as “Bruce” calls into the program to speak with Hastert. “Hello Denny,” the caller says. “Remember me from Yorkville?” The caller than laughs and is disconnected.

What happens next?

According to the Wall Street Journal, a judge has not been assigned to the case and there is no date set for Hastert to appear in court. The Associated Press reports each count of the two-count indictment carries a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

TIME

Hillary Clinton Team Lays Out New Primary Blueprint

<> on May 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sits with a customer as she visits the Main Street Bakery on May 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.

The campaign is building, but slowly

Hillary Clinton will gradually ramp up her campaign throughout the summer, but it will be months before she turns completely to a more orthodox model replete with a packed public schedule of billboard events and the regular appearance of husband Bill and daughter Chelsea, top Clinton campaign officials said on Thursday.

The former Secretary of State will present a more detailed reasoning behind her candidacy at her first official campaign rally on June 13, top Clinton officials told reporters in a briefing at the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters Thursday evening. Afterward, Clinton will begin holding larger speaking events in the primary states.

But Clinton will not significantly increase the pace of her campaigning for many months, and she will continue to hold the roundtable discussions that have marked the first six weeks of her presidential bid.

Read more: Hillary Clinton Faces the Limits of the Controlled Campaign

She will roll out more policy plans over the summer, but she will do it at a measured pace without any momentous announcements all at once. And while Chelsea and Bill will make an appearance at her June 13th announcement, campaign officials said the focus will be on Hillary in the coming months.

Clinton had originally planned to hold her official kickoff at the end of May, but the campaign pushed the rally back.

While Clinton and her top aides have insisted they plan to run a serious and competitive primary, her opponents former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders lag far behind her in the polls, allowing the frontrunner freedom to run a campaign on her own terms.

Clinton’s schedule has so far included a couple of days each week or less of campaigning in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. She has held small-scale, roundtable discussions with a selected group of primary voters in Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa that officials say allow her to connect with voters and frame her policy ideas.

Clinton’s relaxed pace of campaigning will slowly increase and will begin to include a broader mix of campaign events and venues.

The campaign officials said they hope to raise $100 million through the primary, discounting rumors about a $2-billion fundraising goal. The $100 million sum does not include donations raised by Priorities USA Action, the pro-Clinton super PAC.

Clinton’s aides insisted that the campaign has not been significantly damaged by criticism over the Clinton Foundation and her role at the State Department, saying that while those issues may rile up the Republican base, they do not register much with primary Democrats and Independents.

The campaign would not provide more details on the location for the June 13 event, but said that it would be a large, public event.

TIME

Morning Must Reads: May 29

Capitol
Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Once one of the biggest champions of Common Core education standards, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is leaving them behind, as public pressure and political ambition coincide. It’ll cost you money—a lot of it—to give Bill Clinton an award. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz loves Candy Crush, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has money troubles. Here are your Friday must reads:

Must Reads

The Republican Presidential Contest Has a Polling Problem
Polling is hard. Polling 16 candidates is even less reliable. [TIME]

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is Indicted
But the details are scarce [Associated Press]

GOP Split on Possible Health-Law Fixes
Some suggest extending Obamacare tax credits to ease the transition [Wall Street Journal]

An Award for Bill Clinton Came With $500,000 for His Foundation
The plaque comes with a steep ask [New York Times]

Rand Paul’s money problem
Behind the Kentucky senator’s NSA ‘filibuster’ lies a desperate quest for cash [POLITICO]

Sound Off

“Love thibs and think he did a great job.” —President Barack Obama on fired Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau Thursday.

“Don’t ask me what movies I’ve seen, because I haven’t.” —Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush revealed his reading list, and that he’s not a fan of the silver screen.

Bits and Bites

Ted Cruz requests a Candy Crush correction

Chris Christie Pulls New Jersey Out of Common Core [TIME]

Clinton campaign still doesn’t have supporter e-mail lists from Obama or booster group [Washington Post]

Clinton gets three Pinocchios [Washington Post]

Straw Poll meeting offers clues on who will participate [Des Moines Register]

Clinton leads the invisible primary for New Hampshire support [Boston Globe]

 

TIME Crime

Hastert Indictment Offers Few Clues About Alleged Misconduct

Dennis Hastert agreed to pay Individual A from Yorkville $3.5 million to keep past misconduct quiet

CHICAGO — A newly unveiled indictment against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert accuses the Illinois Republican of agreeing to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime high school teacher silent about “prior misconduct.” But it offers few hints about a central question: What was the alleged wrongdoing?

The concise federal grand jury indictment handed down Thursday accuses Hastert, who once was second in line to the U.S. presidency, of agreeing to pay the money to a person identified in the document only as “Individual A,” to “compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against” that person.

It notes that Hastert, 73, was a high school teacher and coach from 1965 to 1981 in suburban Yorkville, about 50 miles west of Chicago. It goes on to say Individual A has been a resident of Yorkville, and has known Hastert most of Individual A’s life, but doesn’t describe their relationship.

Legal experts say the fact that federal prosecutors noted Hastert’s tenure in Yorkville in the indictment’s first few sentences strongly suggests some connection between the allegations and that time and place.

“Notice the teacher and coach language,” said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor and head of the Chicago office of the investigation firm Kroll. “Feds don’t put in language like that unless it’s relevant.”

The indictment charges Hastert with one count of evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in increments of less than $10,000 to skirt reporting requirements. He also is charged with one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for the unusual withdrawals.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hastert did not return email and phone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment on the allegations. Hastert, who had worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., since shortly after he left Congress in 2007, resigned from Dickstein Shapiro LLC, a spokesman for the lobbying and law firm said Thursday.

A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office announcing the indictment said Hastert will be ordered to appear for arraignment. The date was not immediately set.

The indictment alleges Hastert withdrew a total of around $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts from 2010 to 2014, then provided the money to Individual A.

The indictment says Hastert agreed to the payments after multiple meetings in 2010. It says that “during at least one of the meetings, Individual A and defendant discussed past misconduct by defendant against Individual A that had occurred years earlier” and Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to keep it quiet. The indictment suggests he never paid the full amount.

The indictment says that between 2010 and 2012 Hastert made 15 cash withdrawals of $50,000 from bank accounts at Old Second Bank, People’s State Bank and Castle Bank and gave cash to Individual A around every six weeks.

Around April 2012, bank officials began questioning Hastert about the withdrawals, and starting in July of that year, Hastert reduced the amounts he withdrew at a time to less than $10,000 — apparently so they would not run afoul of a regulation designed to stop illicit activity such as money laundering, according to the indictment.

Among the focuses of the FBI investigation was whether Hastert, in the words of the indictment, was “the victim of a criminal extortion related to, among other matters, his prior positions in government.” The court document does not elaborate.

Legal experts said extortion cases can be tricky.

In mulling over whom to charge, prosecutors often must decide whether the person being extorted or the person doing the extorting is most victimized, said Chicago-based attorney and former federal prosecutor Phil Turner.

“In most instances you would view someone being extorted as the victim because they are being shaken down,” he said. “But prosecutors have enormous discretion and, in some instance, may see the person doing the extortion as a greater victim. Those are factors that can be weighed.”

Investigators questioned Hastert on Dec. 8, 2014, and he lied about why he had been withdrawing so much money at a time, saying he did it because he didn’t trust the banking system, the indictment alleges.

“Yeah, … I kept the cash. That’s what I am doing,” it quotes Hastert as saying.

Hastert, who also maintains a home in the Chicago suburb of Plano several miles northwest of Yorkville, was a little-known lawmaker from suburban Chicago when chosen to succeed conservative Newt Gingrich as speaker. Hastert was picked after favored Louisiana Rep. Bob Livingston resigned following his admission of several sexual affairs.

As speaker, Hastert pushed President George W. Bush’s legislative agenda, helping pass a massive tax cut and expanding Medicare prescription drug benefits.

He retired from Congress in 2007 after eight years as speaker, making him the longest-serving Republican House speaker. He was second in line to the presidency during those years after the vice president.

David Corwin of Yorkville said his son, Scott, wrestled for Hastert in high school, then later became a wrestling coach himself.

“You won’t get anyone to say anything bad about him out here,” said David Corwin. “Everybody loved him. The kids loved him and they still do.”

Illinois has a long history of politicians getting in legal trouble.

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. served a year and a half for illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds on furs, vacations and other luxury items. Two successive governors in the 2000s, Republican George Ryan and Democrat Rod Blagojevich, were convicted on corruption charges.

In the Hastert case, it’s not clear whether the money was paid in relation to his former position in government. Hastert started making the payments to the person in about 2010, according to the indictment.

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