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NC Dem Takes Millions From Coronavirus Program He Criticized

North Carolina Democratic Senate nominee Cal Cunningham’s company collected up to $2 million in taxpayer dollars in coronavirus relief even as the candidate said that the Paycheck Protection Program “harms communities.”

WasteZero, a Raleigh-based environmentalist trash service, obtained between $1 and $2 million in PPP funding on May 3, data released by the Small Business Administration on Monday show. Cunningham earned about $400,000 in 2019 in his role as the company’s general counsel and vice president. He has repeatedly criticized the federal program, which aims to support small businesses struggling with coronavirus shutdowns. Just two months after Senate Democrats blocked a Republican effort to bankroll the depleting fund in April, Cunningham called the program “unacceptable,” saying it “harms communities.”

“For PPP loans to have ‘generally missed the industries and areas most heavily impacted by COVID-19′ is unacceptable,” he said in a tweet. “Leaving behind small businesses—and disproportionately those that are Black- and Latino-owned—harms communities.”

The former state legislator “supports [WasteZero’s] outreach to municipal and state leaders,” according to an archive of the company’s website. Cunningham also has stock options and a convertible note of up to $50,000 tied to the company, according to his candidate financial report. Cunningham told reporters that he was still working for the company in February. He has since been removed from WasteZero’s website and the company does not publicly acknowledge any legal representation on its site. Neither Cunningham nor WasteZero responded to requests for comment about PPP or the candidate’s role in the company.

Cunningham’s lucrative legal career has helped propel his political career. He launched his Senate bid in 2019 by loaning his campaign $200,000 before winning the Democratic primary in March with 57 percent of the vote. Cunningham has also criticized the Trump administration for “refusing to disclose which companies are getting the money.”

“Many small businesses, especially minority-owned businesses, are still waiting to receive funds, while the PPP ‘sent money to companies that did not critically need financial aid,'” he said in a June press release.

Some conservative activists said that Cunningham is trying to have it both ways. Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, said that the wealthy Democrat is out of touch with voters and the suffering that small businesses have experienced during the pandemic.

“This is just more hypocrisy from the left. Cunningham obviously knew that the company he is involved in would benefit from this stimulus package, which passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support,” Schilling said. “North Carolina voters are going to see right through this.”

WasteZero claims to have used the loan to retain 115 jobs. Businesses are required to have fewer than 500 employees in order to qualify for PPP funds, and more than 122,000 loans were issued in the state as of June 30, totaling more than $12.4 billion. The waste elimination industry was deemed essential in North Carolina’s shutdown order.

Cunningham is running to unseat incumbent senator Thom Tillis (R., N.C.). The North Carolina Republican has praised the PPP and co-introduced legislation in July to help small businesses see loans of $150,000 or less forgiven.

“The Paycheck Protection Program played a crucial role in supporting small businesses and saving jobs for hardworking North Carolinians,” Tillis said in a statement. “I am proud to co-introduce this bipartisan legislation that will help small businesses save thousands of dollars by allowing forgiveness for their PPP loan and use those funds to help restart our economy.”

Cunningham will face Tillis in November. He was backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in October 2019 and has benefited from more than $9.4 million in spending from outside groups supporting his candidacy. According to his campaign, the Democrat raised $7.4 million in the second quarter of 2020 and holds $6.6 million cash on hand. Tillis has not yet reported his second-quarter fundraising numbers and held nearly $6.5 million on hand as of March 31. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently rates the race a “toss up.”

Collin Anderson is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Missouri, where he studied politics. He is originally from St. Louis and now lives in Arlington, VA. His email address is anderson@freebeacon.com.

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States Can Bind Members of The Electoral College

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled unanimously that states can require presidential electors to support the winner of the state’s popular vote, rejecting arguments that members of the Electoral College get to act as free agents.

Both red and blue states pressed the justices to resolve the issue before the November balloting and reduce the uncertainty looming over the 2020 race amid the coronavirus pandemic. A decision affirming elector independence would have added an unpredictable dynamic to an election season expected to see a surge in remote voting, delays in final tallies, and continued racial unrest. While so-called faithless electors have never swung the outcome of a presidential election, they could make a difference in a tight race.

The decision follows a spirited campaign to lobby electors to change their vote in 2016 after Donald Trump’s surprise victory. One scholarly amicus brief warned that electors have been subject to increased lobbying and intimidation in recent election cycles. A Michigan elector said he faced death threats before casting his ballot for Trump, while another from Texas said he received over 200,000 emails and letters pressing him to support a different candidate. Seven electors ultimately went rogue and voted for compromise candidates during the December 2016 meeting of the Electoral College, the highest figure in decades.

More than 30 states require electors to take a pledge promising to support the winner of the state popular vote. Fifteen states enforce that pledge with a penalty, either removing the rogue elector or imposing a fine. Monday’s case arose in Washington, where three Democratic electors were fined $1,000 after casting ballots for Colin Powell. The trio hoped to encourage other electors to support a compromise candidate and block Trump’s ascent to the White House.

The electors challenged the fines in state court on constitutional grounds and lost. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came out the other way in a separate case from Colorado, and ruled that electors have the discretion to support whomever they please. The states have considerable discretion to pick electors, the court said, but their power stops there.

“Once that appointment process is concluded, the Constitution identifies no further involvement by the states in the selection of the President and Vice President,” the 10th Circuit’s ruling reads.

Writing for the Court, Justice Elena Kagan said the power to appoint electors gives states more power than that. The right to appoint includes power to impose conditions, like residency or fidelity to the popular vote, she wrote. Similarly, nothing in the Constitution prohibits states from punishing rogue Electoral College voters. Instead, the Constitution is “barebones” about electors, she wrote.

The states, said Kagan, may instruct “its electors that they have no ground for reversing the vote of millions of its citizens. That direction accords with the Constitution—as well as with the trust of a nation that here, We the People rule.”

History confirms that reading, Kagan added. While some of the founding generation contemplated that electors would exercise independent judgment, by 1796 members of the Electoral College were mostly selected on the basis of the candidate they pledged to support. The college itself chose between the nominees of the leading political parties, rather than weigh its own options. And in the whole history of the country, there have been fewer than 200 faithless ballots out of 23,000 electoral votes cast, she noted.

“The electors’ constitutional claim has neither text nor history on its side,” Kagan wrote.

The ruling contained two important qualifications. Kagan said states can’t impose conditions on electors that would effectively add new qualifications for president or vice president. That means, for example, states can’t bar electors from supporting a candidate who hasn’t released financial records. Several blue states have tried to devise ways to force Trump to release his tax returns or be disqualified from the ballot.

Second, the Court cautioned that its decision does not bind electors to support a candidate who dies between the November general election and the Electoral College balloting in December. While the scenario may sound far-fetched, it’s happened before. In 1872 President Ulysses S. Grant’s main challenger, Horace Greeley, died after the general election but before electoral votes were cast.

Seven other justices joined Kagan’s majority opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas handed down a separate opinion that agreed with the outcome but disagreed with the reasoning.

The case is No. 19-465 Chiafalo v. Washington.

Kevin Daley covers the Supreme Court for the Washington Free Beacon. He has covered the Supreme Court since 2016. His email is daley@freebeacon.com.

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Shootings Spike in NYC Over Violent Fourth of July Weekend

Shootings spiked in New York City over the holiday weekend, with 37 people shot and 9 killed over a 9-hour period on Sunday night. The outbreak of violence occurred in the midst of a dramatic rise in shootings in the city this year, even as protesters called for defunding the police and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) announced a $1 billion cut to the NYPD’s budget.

In total, at least 63 people were shot and 11 were killed this weekend. Compared with this time last year, there have been 52 percent more shooting victims in the city, with 616 people shot, according to the most recent NYPD statistics. Year-to-date shooting incidents have also increased by 44 percent from last year.

Mayor de Blasio announced his plan to slash the police budget last week, in response to the deaths of George Floyd and others in police custody and the protests calling for defunding and reforming the police.

New York City police commissioner Dermot Shea said releasing prisoners from Rikers Island—the city’s main jail—during the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the increase in shootings.

“The saddest part is this has been predictable. You heard me say a storm is coming, and we’re in the middle of it right now, we are in a perfect storm of sorts,” Shea said in an interview with NY1 on Monday morning. “With COVID, the Rikers population. Look at the Rikers population of the last year. Ask a sane person. It’s about half. And where is that other half right now? We’ve transplanted the general population to the streets of New York City and it’s extremely frustrating.”

Shea said the police department lacks support and called the New York City council’s recently passed police-reform bill, which bans the police from using choke-holds, “insane.”

“We don’t need a lot of new things, what we need is support, and that’s in short supply,” Shea said. “The [bill] is insane. It’s crippling the police. Police officers shouldn’t have to worry more about getting arrested than the person with the gun that they’re rolling around on the street with.”

Alex Nester is an intern at the Washington Free Beacon and will begin a fellowship with The Public Interest in September. She graduated from Hillsdale College this spring with a bachelor of arts in economics.

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Media Matters Takes As Much As $2M In PPP Aid While Criticizing Trump Coronavirus Response

Media Matters raked in as much as $2 million in coronavirus relief loans as the left-wing blog slammed the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, according to federal records released on Monday.

Records show that Media Matters, the progressive activist group founded by Clinton loyalist David Brock in 2004, received between $1 million and $2 million from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. The loan represents a significant portion of the group’s annual income, which was listed as $11 million in 2017, according to tax records. Media Matters is bankrolled by the Democracy Alliance, one of the largest progressive donor groups in the country. The deep-pocketed philanthropy network has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to liberal groups since it was founded in 2005—and pledged to distribute $100 million in 2020 alone.

Their million-dollar loan was much larger than the average PPP loan. The average loan size for businesses during the first round of funding that ended in April was $200,000, according to reports. The average for the second round of funding, which ended in late May, was $114,000.

Media Matters’s successful loan application has not stopped it from continuing to criticize Trump’s coronavirus policies.

“[T]hough Trump is set to ask Congress for emergency funds to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak—after weeks of failing to do so—some public health officials say he won’t ask for enough to do the job,” Media Matters argued in late February, before receiving a PPP loan.

American Bridge 21st Century, a political action committee also founded by Brock that shares the same address as Media Matters, has attacked the administration for allegedly neglecting to provide loans to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.

The group posted a Twitter message suggesting that Trump was directly responsible for the failure to provide “PPP Funds for Small Businesses” in late May.

“As indicated by the SBA, Media Matters received a PPP loan in the $1-2M range,” Media Matters communications director Laura Keiter said. “Media Matters and American Bridge are two distinct organizations.”

Another Media Matters article claimed that Trump “is ignorant, incompetent, and generally uninterested in the aspects of his job that don’t involve promoting his narrow personal interests. His response to coronavirus has not diverged from this baseline.”

“He spent the last few years systematically dismantling U.S. pandemic response capabilities, dissolving the National Security Council’s global health security unit and slashing funding to the CDC’s global health section,” claimed the group. “And since the coronavirus outbreak began, Trump has been largely detached from managing the government’s response.”

Alana Goodman is a senior investigative reporter for the Washington Free Beacon. She was previously investigative political reporter at the Washington Examiner and a senior reporter at the Daily Mail. Goodman has written for Commentary, the Weekly Standard, and the New York Post. She lives in Washington, D.C. Her Twitter handle is @alanagoodman. Her email address is goodman@freebeacon.com.

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Atlanta Mayor to Clear Protests After Death of Eight-Year-Old

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D.) announced Sunday that the city will clear the area that’s been occupied by anti-police protesters after a child was shot and killed on Saturday night.

Bottoms, who marched with Black Lives Matter protesters just a month ago, said on Sunday that the protests are now doing more harm than good and condemned the wave of violence that culminated in the death of eight-year-old Secoriea Turner.

“You can’t blame this on police officers,” Bottoms said. “It’s about people who shot a baby in a car. We’re doing each other more harm than any officer on this force.”

At least two members of the protest opened fire on a car containing Turner, her mother, and another adult male as it approached a parking lot they were blocking the entrance to. Turner was brought to the hospital, but did not survive her injuries.

Turner’s father, Secoriya Williamson, also spoke out against the Black Lives Matter protest.

“They killed my baby because she crossed a barrier and made a U-turn?” Williamson said. “Black Lives Matter? You killing your own. You killed an 8-year-old child. She ain’t did nothing to no one of y’all. She just wanted to get home to see her cousin. That’s all she wanted to do.”

In the past month, the area surrounding the Wendy’s parking lot where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed while in police custody has become a hotbed for protesters, who have set fire to the restaurant and illegally barricaded nearby streets.

Bottoms condemned those who have continued to protest as the demonstrations turned violent, saying the “blood of Secoriea Turner” is on the hands of all who were part of the Saturday crowd.

“If you are part of a protest or demonstration that looks like it’s going the wrong way, that’s your time to pull back because you are no longer part of the solution, you are part of the problem,” Bottoms said. “If you are part of these gatherings that are becoming disruptive and becoming deadly, then on your hands, too, is the blood of Secoriea Turner.”

Atlanta’s interim police chief Rodney Bryant said 23 people were shot in the city on Saturday night, and 3 were killed. On Sunday night, a 53-year-old man was shot and killed in the area where both Turner and Brooks died.

Alex Nester is an intern at the Washington Free Beacon and will begin a fellowship with The Public Interest in September. She graduated from Hillsdale College this spring with a bachelor of arts in economics.

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Mount Rushmore: Once Iconic, Now Canceled

Mount Rushmore has come under fire from liberals in recent weeks for its depiction of presidents who were slaveholders, but before President Donald Trump gave a speech there, it was revered by figures on the left.

While covering Trump’s Mount Rushmore visit over the weekend, CNN reporter Leyla Santiago described the famed South Dakota site as a “monument of two slaveowners and on land wrestled away from Native Americans,” and MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross criticized Trump for picking the “most grandiose symbol of U.S. imperialism on earth.”

It’s a far cry from how it was described when Democratic politicians were mentioned alongside it.

MSNBC’s Al Sharpton wondered in 2013 if President Barack Obama deserved a spot alongside Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, as did MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

Matthews also cut a “Lean Forward” ad for MSNBC in front of Mount Rushmore in 2012, praising the four presidents as makers of American history.

In 2008, CNN’s Jim Acosta covered Obama’s visit during the Democratic primary as “a fitting campaign stop for a presidential contender looking to make history.” Another CNN anchor called it “quite a sight if you haven’t seen it.”

In office, Obama referred to Mount Rushmore as one of the nation’s “most iconic landmarks,” on par with the Statue of Liberty.

In 2016, CNN’s Jeff Zeleny covered Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) visit there and noted he took in the “majesty of the moment.”

Sanders called the monument “our country at its very best” and said it made “one very proud to be an American.”

David Rutz is senior writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a sports reporter for two years in Atlanta and has done freelance sports reporting for the Washington Post. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 and lives in Marietta, Ga. His Twitter handle is @DavidRutz. He can be reached at rutz@freebeacon.com.

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Madeleine Albright’s Consulting Firm Took Millions in Coronavirus Relief Funding, Records Show

An influential Democratic consulting firm that employs former Chinese government officials received as much as $5 million in federal coronavirus relief funding, according to records released on Monday.

The Albright Stonebridge Group, a Washington-based “commercial diplomacy firm” with strong staff links to Joe Biden, connects multinational businesses and nonprofits with political powerbrokers in the United States and abroad. The company is chaired by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

Records show that the firm raked in between $2 million and $5 million from the Paycheck Protection Program that was meant to provide relief to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump administration has faced off with the Chinese government over the pandemic and blamed Chinese leadership for trying to cover up the initial spread of the virus after it originated in Wuhan late last year.

Albright Stonebridge has significant consulting operations in China, which is its “largest single country practice,” according to its website.

“We work to create allies within the Chinese system through an approach that emphasizes systematic engagement with agencies and non-government stakeholders at the central, provincial, and local levels,” said the Albright Stonebridge Group website.

Although Albright Stonebridge is not registered as a foreign lobbying group, it engages in much of the same influence-peddling work as companies that do register. Albright Stonebridge is not required to disclose its clients, however.

The firm employs “former high-level U.S. and Chinese government officials and diplomats,” according to its website.

The chairman of Albright Stonebridge’s China branch is Jin Ligang, who previously served as director of China’s ministry of foreign trade. Mu Lan, a senior adviser at Albright Stonebridge, was a former Chinese embassy official, and Jia Mingru, another senior adviser at the firm, was a former assistant minister of culture in China.

The company also has numerous former Biden aides on its staff. Julie Mason, a senior vice president at Albright Stonebridge, previously served as the director of special projects under Biden while he was vice president. She was also communications director for his wife, Jill Biden.  Lawrence Silverman, a senior advisor at the firm, was Biden’s special adviser to Europe and Russia. Scott Jacobs, a vice president at Albright Stonebridge, was a former aide in Biden’s vice presidential office.

The firm previously worked on behalf of First Solar, helping the solar power company secure a contract in China, the Washington Free Beacon reported in 2015. Albright Stonebridge did not respond to a request for comment.

Alana Goodman is a senior investigative reporter for the Washington Free Beacon. She was previously investigative political reporter at the Washington Examiner and a senior reporter at the Daily Mail. Goodman has written for Commentary, the Weekly Standard, and the New York Post. She lives in Washington, D.C. Her Twitter handle is @alanagoodman. Her email address is goodman@freebeacon.com.

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The East Coast-West Coast Feud Our Dumb Digital Culture Deserves

The East Coast-West Coast feud most people are familiar with, involving hip-hop legends Tupac Shakur and the fat guy who inspired Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s gangsta nickname, ended tragically but produced some good music along the way.

The same will not be said of the East Coast-West Coast feud brewing on the internet between elite journalists and Silicon Valley tech bros. You probably haven’t heard about it, but that just means you’re a normal, well-adjusted human being who doesn’t spend every waking hour on social media. This obscure donnybrook is the hero-less melee our dumb digital culture deserves. Apparently it’s sort of like Gamergate, whatever that was.

If you insist on knowing the details, here they are: On the East Coast, we have New York Times journo Taylor Lorenz, who covers “internet culture” for the Style section. In addition to keeping tabs on Kellyanne Conway’s 15-year-old daughter, Lorenz is best known for complaining on Twitter that the avocado slid off the $22 avocado toast she ordered on Seamless. It’s a problem to which most Acela-corridor journalists can relate.

Like most Times reporters, Lorenz was ornately (and expensively) educated at private institutions, including an actual Swiss boarding school like the ones mean stepmoms are always threatening to send their fiancé’s children to in romantic comedies.

Speaking of romantic comedies, Lorenz has some wall art in her Brooklyn apartment suggesting that a “better rom-com” would involve the male-identifying character finding out if his potential love interest is “attracted to men and gives cues that she’s interested in talking to me.” Her most recent article, about “The Ultimate Tik-Tok Rom Com,” features two Gen Zers who rose to prominence by helping collect data for Chinese intelligence.

What did Lorenz do to upset the tech bros? Apparently they didn’t like the way she tweeted about Steph Korey, the founder of Away, a fancy luggage company. Lorenz referred to Korey as “the disgraced former CEO” of Away, and described her as “ranting … about the media” in a series of Instagram posts, which she found “incoherent” and “disappointing.”

The tech bros pounced and quickly corrected her. At the time, Korey was still co-CEO, although she recently announced she was stepping down after employees anonymously complained about her Instagram posts, which were deemed offensive for criticizing “cancel culture” and suggesting that media companies are perversely incentivized to publish provocative takedowns because people like to click on them.

Lorenz’s commentary on Korey’s posts really upset some guy named Balaji Srinivasan, an “angel investor and entrepreneur” with multiple degrees from Stanford. He cofounded Earn.com, a digital thing that “lets people earn cryptocurrency for replying to emails and completing tasks.”

First, Srinivasan mocked Lorenz’s tweet using wordplay. Then he and his fellow tech bros—along with former CNN contributor Roland Martin—were recorded ranting about journos on Clubhouse, an invite-only “audio social network popular with venture capitalists and celebrities.” It was recently valued at $100 million, because of course it was. Silicon Valley ingenuity truly is making the world a better place.

Srinivasan wondered if Lorenz was simply “afraid of a brown man” and argued that the existing “East Coast model” of journalism should be replaced by venture capitalists and cryptocurrency—West Coast style. He also referenced Cartman from South Park.

Other tech bros on the stupid app thing accused Lorenz of playing “the woman card” for complaining about harassment and alleging that people were “trying to reset my passwords and hack into my accounts, [making] vicious, disgusting threats,” and creating stupid parody accounts like “CancelTaylorLorenz.” Which doesn’t sound at all like the behavior that aggrieved tech bros would ever engage in.

Srinivasan was pretty annoyed that “corporate journalists” had recorded his “private conversation” with the other tech bros, so he did what any normal person would do in response: Offered a Bitcoin bounty for “the best meme” or “legal analysis” related to the incident. He’s also been brainstorming innovative ways to inject the news media with cohesive synergy:

Lorenz, meanwhile, has mostly been retweeting supportive comments from other media professionals. As everyone knows, journalists are not at all like whiny tech bros because they are supremely humble and open to criticism and would never claim that attacks on the media are attacks on “democracy itself.”

Pick a side, if you dare.

Andrew Stiles is senior writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He can be reached at stiles@freebeacon.com.

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Don’t Break the Law to Appease Israel Haters

A civil rights group is warning congressional Democrats that their opposition to an Israeli plan to take over land in the contested West Bank area may violate U.S. law and constitutes “a clear and present danger to American national security interests in the Middle East.”

The Lawfare Project, a nonprofit legal group that combats anti-Semitism, wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) late last week to express opposition to a recent Democrat-led letter warning Israel over its impending decision to extend sovereignty into Jewish areas of the West Bank. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and a group of fellow Democrats warned Israel that the move could jeopardize critical U.S. aid money. That letter was backed by multiple organizations that promote boycotts of the Jewish state and traffic in anti-Semitic rhetoric, the Washington Free Beacon first reported last week.

The Lawfare Project letter, sent to Pelosi on July 1 and provided exclusively to the Free Beacon, argues that Israel’s plan is not tantamount to an annexation of territory, as Ocasio-Cortez and her Democratic colleagues argued. Israel, the group maintains, has the proper international legal standing to extend its sovereignty into areas it already controls. So far, Pelosi has remained silent on both Israel’s plan and Ocasio-Cortez’s letter.

Israel’s plan has sparked public outrage from leading Democratic lawmakers and their anti-Israel supporters, primarily groups that back the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel. As Democrats amplify their criticism of Israel—threatening longstanding bipartisan support for U.S. aid to the country—groups like the Lawfare Project are at the forefront of a push by the pro-Israel community to ensure the facts about the situation remain clear. The group hopes to pressure Pelosi into reestablishing her party’s support for Israel.

“With this letter, The Lawfare Project reminds Congress that it has a legal obligation to recognize Israel’s sovereign right to reunify its own territory,” said Gerard Filitti, senior counsel for the Lawfare Project. “This obligation cannot be discarded in favor of political activism.”

Congressional opposition to Israel’s territorial takeover may violate U.S. law, which clearly recognizes Israel’s possession of land in the West Bank area, according to the Lawfare Project. By not recognizing Israeli sovereignty over territory in the West Bank, Democrats could be in violation of legally binding U.S. agreements granting Israel control of this land.

“The threats by members of your caucus not to afford recognition to Israel’s sovereignty over Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], along with concomitant threats to cut or condition assistance to Israel, may be contrary to American law, which has long recognized the rights of the Jewish people to a national home in Palestine,” the Lawfare Project wrote to Pelosi.

The Lawfare Project calls Ocasio-Cortez’s letter threatening U.S. aid “uninformed and inaccurate.” It also said, “Its contents and tone (including overt threats directed at America’s oldest, closest, and most reliable ally in the Middle East) are inimical to American interests and democratic values, and pose a clear and present danger to American national security interests in the Middle East.”

International mandates that created Israel laid the legal groundwork for the current Israeli plan to extend its sovereignty into the West Bank. This includes the landmark 1924 treaty between the United States and United Kingdom that permitted Jewish immigration into the area that later became known as Israel.

These decades-old agreements “bar the United States from taking any action” that runs counter to its recognition of Israel’s legal control over the West Bank territory and other similar areas, according to the Lawfare Project. The civil rights group also said Israel’s plan is not legally annexation, but is rather a reunification plan that will rejoin areas long separated from Israel proper.

The letter also takes issue with claims by Democratic leaders that Israel is guilty of perpetuating human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where the terror group Hamas controls the government. Palestinian terror groups continue to conduct cross-border terror attacks, warranting Israel’s security apparatus, the letter maintains.

Brooke Goldstein, the Lawfare Project’s executive director, said recent moves by Democrats in Congress—primarily Ocasio-Cortez’s letter—have empowered Israel’s detractors.

“It threatens our democracy and undermines the rule of law for Members of Congress to abdicate their legal obligation to recognize the sovereign rights of the Jewish State,” Goldstein said. “When Members make biased and ignorant political statements that disregard or mis-state the law, it pollutes the dialogue, pours fire on a simmering conflict, and inflames hatred and anti-Semitism.”

Adam Kredo is senior writer reporting on national security and foreign policy matters for the Washington Free Beacon. An award-winning political reporter who has broken news from across the globe, Kredo’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, the Drudge Report, and the Jerusalem Post, among many others. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.

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Dem Law Firm Behind Weinstein Defense Takes Millions in PPP Aid

An elite law firm known for representing disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein and Al Gore’s presidential campaign accepted up to $10 million in federal coronavirus aid, data released by the Small Business Administration show.

Boies Schiller Flexner, a white-shoe firm founded by former Al Gore lawyer David Boies, applied for and obtained between $5 and $10 million through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the federal program aimed to support small businesses hurt by the pandemic. Boies Schiller Flexner earned more than $400 million in gross revenue in 2019, making it one of the highest-grossing law firms in the world, according to The American Lawyer. The multinational firm’s partners took home more than $3.3 million on average in 2019, but it still capitalized on the taxpayer bailout that was designed to help mom-and-pop shops.

Boies Schiller Flexner, which claimed that the loan was necessary to save 490 jobs, declined an interview request, saying it does not “comment on our financials.”

The law firm has been a major player in Democratic political circles since Boies represented Gore in the Supreme Court’s landmark Bush v. Gore case in 2000. Its employees have already donated about $300,000 to Democratic candidates—more than 99 percent of its total contributions—in the 2020 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. More than $40,000 has gone to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), and Sen. Doug Jones (D., Ala.), among other Senate and congressional Democratic hopefuls. Firm employees also helped Democrats take control of the House of Representatives during the midterm elections, contributing more than $430,000 to liberal candidates.

The firm received the forgivable loan on April 28, weeks after the PPP program exhausted its initial $350 billion funding. It is now the latest high-profile entity to receive scrutiny after accepting small-business relief. While restaurant chain Shake Shack and news site Axios returned their loans following widespread criticism, some recipients have refused. Sidwell Friends School—a top D.C. prep school with a $50 million endowment—refused to return its $5.2 million PPP loan amid pushback in May.

Boies is best known for representing Weinstein against allegations of sexual assault, as well as Gore in his 2000 Florida recount dispute against former president George W. Bush. He has also represented fraudulent blood-testing startup Theranos and served on the company’s board.

Collin Anderson is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Missouri, where he studied politics. He is originally from St. Louis and now lives in Arlington, VA. His email address is anderson@freebeacon.com.