What We Read This Week: Our Investigative News Roundup
No Support for Kids
The Trump administration is canceling English classes, recreational programs and legal aid for unaccompanied minors staying in federal migrant shelters nationwide, saying the immigration influx at the southern border has created critical budget pressures. The Office of Refugee Resettlement has begun discontinuing the funding stream for activities—including soccer—that have been deemed “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation.” The move — revealed in an email an HHS official sent to licensed shelters last week, a message that has been obtained by The Washington Post — could run afoul of a federal court settlement and state licensing requirements that mandate education and recreation for minors in federal custody.
Trump’s Trump Tower Grift
With commercial tenants fleeing his Trump Tower in Manhattan, Donald Trump continues to spend $37,500 a month of campaign money for office space there—with some of that cash destined for his own wallet―even as thousands of square feet go unused at a newly opened office in northern Virginia, reports HuffPost. No more than “four or five” campaign staffers work at Trump’s Manhattan base, according to an informal adviser close to the White House, where the campaign rents a few thousand square feet as its “headquarters.” The per-square-foot cost is likely at least triple what the Republican National Committee pays for the much larger space it shares with the campaign in Arlington.
IRS Follows the Money (Not)
Every year, Congress starves the IRS a bit more, and the agency loses hundreds of agents to retirement. And every year, the news gets better for the rich—especially those prone to go bold on their taxes. According to data released by the IRS last week, millionaires in 2018 were about 80% less likely to be audited than they were in 2011, reports ProPublica. But poor taxpayers continue to bear the brunt of the IRS’ remaining force, reports. Americans who receive the earned income tax credit, one of the country’s largest anti-poverty programs, are audited at a higher rate than all but the richest taxpayers. The new data shows that the trend has only grown stronger. Audits of the rich continue to plunge while those of the poor hold steady, and the two audit rates are converging. Last year, the top 1% of taxpayers by income were audited at a rate of 1.56%. EITC recipients, who typically have an annual income under $20,000, were audited at 1.41%.
Featured image: Migrants outside the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen (Texas) Station. (Reuters)