Chicago Takes On the Feds
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Chicago Takes On the Feds

City Supports Immigrants, Sues to Fight Trump’s Efforts to Withhold Funds from ‘Sanctuary Cities’

Sanctuary lawsuit. Chicago plans to sue the Trump administration over threats to withhold public safety grant money from “sanctuary cities.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced that the Justice Department would bar cities from a grant program if they didn’t allow immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provide 48 hours’ notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations. “Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat. “Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is considering a similar lawsuit.

Domestic terrorism. Minnesota’s governor on Sunday called the early morning bombing of a mosque in Bloomington an act of terrorism. “What a terrible, dastardly, cowardly act was committed,” Gov. Mark Dayton said during a visit to the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. “It is a criminal act of terrorism.” The FBI is leading the investigation into the blast that rocked the mosque just after 5 a.m. on Saturday, when a small group of congregants had gathered for morning prayers. The FBI said an improvised explosive device had caused the explosion, and that it remained unclear who was behind the attack.

Greed is good. Wall Street regulators have imposed far lower penalties in the first six months of Trump’s presidency than they did the first half of 2016, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Lawyers who defend financial cases said a shift to a business-friendly stance at regulatory agencies in the Trump administration is one of the reasons for the decrease. Regulators are on track to have the lowest annual level of fines since at least 2010.

Little warning. An early morning tornado Sunday in Tulsa, Okla., injured at least 30 people and caused extensive damage. No tornado sirens were activated. Deputy Mayor Michael Junk said the storm’s severity apparently caught the National Weather Service off guard. By the time the weather service issued a warning, at 1:25 a.m., the storm was crossing into suburban Broken Arrow, Okla.

Small change. An audit of about $8.2 million in on-the-job credit card purchases by IRS employees found $1,716 that was inappropriately spent, or less than 0.02%. The 20 cases, for credit card purchases from Oct. 1 through March 31, included hand sanitizer/wipes, postage stamps and tissues. The program includes 2,781 people with cards. In three of the cases, employees received written counseling. Three others got a lecture. Four received a cautioning letter, and the remaining 10 cases were closed without any personnel action taken.


Lemon legislator. The House Ethics Committee has decided not to reprimand Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) who introduced an amendment in 2015 that might have benefited his Texas car dealership. The amendment, which did not become law, would have allowed car dealers to rent or loan out vehicles that were subject to safety recalls. Williams owns the Roger Williams Auto Mall in Weatherford, Texas. The dealership had eight vehicles in its loaner fleet that were subject to recalls when Williams introduced the amendment. Williams, whose district stretches from downtown Austin to the southern Fort Worth suburbs, is one of the wealthiest members of Congress.  He told the ethics committee staff that it never occurred to him that his sponsorship of the amendment might benefit him or be a conflict of interest. Williams said he “chose to apply some common sense to legislation that was overreaching with regulations.”

August 7, 2017