Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.


Recent Articles

The Transition: From Democrat to Autocrat

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
rules-logo-109_2.jpg Donald Trump’s capacity to unravel President Obama’s legacy is typically cast in terms of the president-elect’s plans to reverse his predecessor’s actions on health care, immigration, environmental protections, and worker rights, among other areas. But Trump is also poised to shred another equally important if less tangible of achievement of the Obama era: the outgoing president’s role as a champion of democracy and a democratic culture. Where Obama advanced voting rights, government ethics, civil discourse and efforts at bipartisan cooperation, Trump is careening to the opposite extreme. He’s trashing democratic norms across the board, and his presidency will almost certainly corrode voters’ faith in public officials, elections, and government institutions. To be sure, Obama was no hero to good government watchdogs, who remain bitterly disappointed that he failed to overhaul the campaign finance rules, strengthen or even...


AP Photo/Susan Walsh
rules-logo-109_2.jpg House Republicans who wanted to take Washington back to the Jack Abramoff era learned this week that it’s not the mid-2000s anymore. GOP lawmakers’ closed-door bid to weaken House ethics oversight sparked such a torrent of angry phone calls that Republicans were forced to ditch the plan . Even Abramoff, the disgraced former lobbyist at the heart of the bribery and corruption scandal that ushered in the current ethics rules, objected . In a sense, it should come as no surprise that Republicans would set out to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent investigative body put in place in 2008 as part of a post-Abramoff ethics overhaul, just as they launch into unified GOP rule. It’s been feeling a lot like the Abramoff days lately, with special interests poised to pounce on pending tax, health care, and financial services overhauls, and fossil fuels, pharmaceutical, and banking executives lining up to join Donald Trump’s...

For Trump, It’s Payback Time

Government by state-sponsored vendetta looms

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File
In his nine-city victory tour following Election Day, Donald Trump might have been expected to ditch the mean-spirited, personal attacks that had defined his campaign, and sound a more presidential note. After all, in his election night acceptance speech , Trump had exhorted the nation to “bind the wounds of division,” and had graciously thanked Hillary Clinton “for her service to the country.” Instead, the president-elect’s “thank you” swing through key battleground states was vintage Trump. In Cincinnati, he declared : “We did have a lot of fun fighting Hillary, didn’t we?” as the crowd chanted “Lock Her Up!” In Salt Lake City, he lashed out at popular Utah independent candidate Evan McMullin, calling him only “that guy,” and asking: “What the hell was he trying to prove?” In Hershey, Pennsylvania, he mocked CNN chief national correspondent John King, who had predicted Trump’s loss...

Jill Stein Pulls Back the Curtain on America’s Voting Chaos

AP Photo/Paul Sancya
rules-logo-109_2.jpg Let’s acknowledge that Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s now-halted bid to recount the vote in three Rust Belt states served principally to earn her a lot of free media and fatten her political fundraising email list. Stein failed to furnish any evidence of the “hacking” and “security breaches” that her many press releases and public comments alleged , but she did scoop up $7.3 million from more than 160,000 donors in less than three weeks. Nevertheless, Stein’s arguably self-serving drive to recount votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin performed an important public service. As Stein noted this week in a press call to mark the end of her recount effort, she did spotlight some troubling weaknesses in the nation’s election system. Voting in America continues to be plagued by malfunctioning machines, byzantine rules, and insufficient cross-checks and audits to ensure that ballots are properly...

Republicans Gear Up to Eviscerate the Campaign-Finance Rules

AP Photo/Molly Riley
rules-logo-109_2.jpg Donald Trump’s ethics conflicts and billionaire-heavy cabinet appointments are making news these days, but an even bigger special-interest bonanza is on the horizon, when Republicans make good on their plans to knock down what remains of the campaign-finance laws. A Supreme Court that includes a Trump appointee will likely uphold a constitutional challenge to the 14-year-old ban on soft (unregulated) money that is now wending its way to the high court. Contribution limits, long reviled by Republicans who now control Capitol Hill, are on the chopping block . Most alarmingly, Trump has pledged to end the ban on partisan political activity by charitable groups, raising the specter of what one tax expert has called “Charity PACs” that would operate in total secrecy while handing wealthy donors a federal subsidy. This last plan, which is also part of the Republican Party platform and the centerpiece of a House GOP bill , was actually the one specific...