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This Week in Tarbell

Happy holidays!

Nothing new this week! But we are getting toward the end of our fundraising drive, where all donations are doubled by the generous team at NewsMatch. If you’re looking for better coverage of policy, health care, environmental issues and defense in 2020, please consider donating to Tarbell before the end of the year!


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Notable Investigations and Solutions

Are lobbyists unstoppable? Sen. Elizabeth Warren has taken the generic campaign promises to clean up corruption to the next level. But lobbyists are already gearing up to stop many of her proposals if she were to take the presidency.

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Trump org pulling in office revenue: After the Trumps’ hotel business gained criticism for hosting events and delegations wanting to get the President’s attention, Trump labeled hotels are losing business. Instead, the company’s office spaces, which don’t bear his name but have the similar draw of relation, are surging in revenue.

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Consumer protection backslide: The decade opened with the promise of greater regulation and reform of banks in favor of consumers, but under the Trump administration that was immediately reversed. CNBC reflects on how consumer protections evaporated even in the wake of the 2008 global recession.

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Unique campaign opportunity: In the lead-up to the House Impeachment broadcast, candidates across the aisles have been using this rare event as fodder for their political campaigns. An OpenSecrets analysis shows that nearly $17 million was spent on political campaigns that contain at least some reference to impeachment.

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Spotlight on Local Reporting

Connected Senate pick: Kelly Loeffler, the Georgia Governor’s pick to fill an open Senate seat, seems like an innocuous pick. But look deeper, and her previous employer has spent more than $17 million in lobbying the government in the past 16 years, clearly forging a back door into the state capital.

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State board seeks solution: After ProPublica and Anchorage Daily News reported shocking rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in remote and defunded Alaskan villages, the Alaska state board is finally trying to plug the holes that created such an insecure environment for residents, ProPublica reports.

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Cleaning up the Windy City: As Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval and other politicians clean out their desks, Chicago is queuing up sweeping reforms of lobbying laws to prevent future bribery scandals that rocked City Hall this year.

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Danielle Keeton-Olsen is the Engagement Editor at and a freelance journalist based in Southeast Asia.