Eliza Newlin Carney

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


Recent Articles

“No Corporate PAC” Pledges Go Beyond Cheap Promises

It would be easy to reject the growing popularity of “no corporate PAC” pledges among Democrats as symbolic at best. Corporate PAC dollars often add relatively little to candidates’ campaign coffers, and are subject to strict limits and full disclosure in any case. The real corruption threat these days comes not from conventional corporate PACs but from super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited money if they keep candidates at arm’s length, and from secretive “issue” groups that skirt disclosure rules while spending millions on politics. Nevertheless, there are potent forces driving the more than 100 Democratic candidates who have promised to reject corporate PAC contributions, including a half-dozen potential 2020 presidential contenders. The “no PAC” pledges may strike some as campaign gimmickry, but they reflect both rising public anger over big money in politics, and the power behind anti-big money messages. “It’s...

Republicans Are Running Out of Excuses for Trump

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done his best to throw cold water on a bipartisan bill that would effectively block President Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. McConnell told Fox News that he “will not” bring the bill to the floor, and that even if the Senate managed to pass it, he sees no reason why Trump would sign it. All that makes the bill look like an awfully lost cause. But for those backing the legislation, its actual passage may be beside the point. As the White House spins out of control, the bill is important both as a measure of growing public pressure on Republicans and as a signal that Congress is prepared to defend the rule of law. The emergence of two Senate Republicans as the bill’s lead sponsors , including North Carolina conservative Thom Tillis, is something of a watershed, say the legislation’s backers. Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley’s move to schedule a markup on the bill next week in the Senate Judiciary...

Can This Census Be Saved?

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
democracy_rules.jpg The Commerce Department’s decision to ask about citizenship on the census typifies the way the Trump administration does business: It’s hasty and sloppy, disregards expert opinion, is calculated to hurt Democrats and immigrants, misstates the facts, wastes taxpayer dollars, and may violate the Constitution. Opponents of the decision, which was announced at the eleventh hour with none of the years-long testing usually conducted for questions added to the census, are seeking redress both in the courts and on Capitol Hill. Recent lawsuits filed by the attorneys general of California and New York make a strong case that the move violates both the constitutional requirement for an accurate population count and the Administrative Procedure Act’s bar on government decisions that are “arbitrary” and “capricious.” But Congress may get the last word. Democrats in both the Senate and the House have called for hearings to examine the...

Hush Money May Prove Trump's Biggest Campaign-Finance Problem

(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Alleged campaign-finance violations keep piling up against President Trump, but the ones that involve the paltriest sums—two payments of less than $200,000 apiece to silence women who claim affairs with Trump—may cause him the most trouble. In one sense, Trump’s entanglements with a porn star and an ex-Playboy Bunny look like seedy side shows compared with special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding last month t hat a foreign power disrupted American democracy. By far the most serious campaign-finance allegation against Trump remains that he and his team illegally solicited help from and provided assistance to Russians who meddled in the 2016 election. Trump’s hush money payments also may prove less corrosive, in the grand scheme of things, than the millions being raised and spent by a secretive nonprofit set up by officials from his campaign and his administration. That organization, America First Policies, has drawn little notice but netted $26 million in...

The Move to Politicize Churches Is Back, and Conservatives Should Be Outraged

democracy_rules.jpg There are a lot of reasons why President Trump’s plan to let churches wade directly into partisan politics, which Congress may now approve as part of a must-pass spending bill, is a colossally bad idea. Reversing the so-called Johnson Amendment, which bars churches and other charities from direct campaigning, would drag churches into the profane world of electioneering. It would damage public trust in charities, which could dry up their contributions. It would blow a hole in the election laws , by ushering in “pop-up” churches that come and go with the political cycles, boosting undisclosed expenditures, and letting donors write off purely political contributions. But the best argument against politicizing charities, ironically enough, may come from conservatives themselves—in an unrelated Supreme Court challenge known as Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees . In that challenge, which the High Court heard...