It's been a busy few weeks for Popular Information. Here are a few highlights from our reporting:
Popular Information revealed that the investigation into the death of Mika Westwolf, a 22-year-old Indigenous woman allegedly run over by a white nationalist, was under-resourced, haphazard, and focused on pinning blame on the victim. The story was picked up by major national news organizations, including Democracy Now, Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, and New York Magazine. After our initial report, the Montana Highway Patrol told Popular Information that the FBI had begun assisting with the investigation.
Popular Information obtained public records proving that numerous books banned as "pornography" in Florida — and condemned by Ron DeSantis — were not actually pornographic. One of the books banned as pornography was The Sleeping Beauty, an illustrated version of the classic fairy tale published in 1977. Popular Information's report was featured by MSNBC, the Orlando Weekly, The Guardian, and numerous media outlets in Australia.
Popular Information broke the news that Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) secretly purchased a $600,000 home in Nashville. Our reporting forced Sexton to admit his family lives in Nashville and raised serious questions about whether Sexton can legally represent a district two hours away. The news generated a flurry of national and local media coverage, including a lengthy piece in the Tennessean, the state's largest paper. A non-profit watchdog group called for state and federal criminal investigations into Sexton's conduct.
Today, however, I want to hear from you. What's on your mind? What topics should be on Popular Information's radar? You can leave your thoughts in the discussion thread linked below, starting now. I’ll be dropping by later today to answer any questions.
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Look into the African-American guy who ran for mayor in a tiny town in AL, won the election but has been prevented from taking office for three years by the previous unelected mayor, who also conspired to prevent African-Americans elected to the city council from taking their seat.
A closer look into MTG would be welcome too.
I would LOVE to know who and what is behind the No Labels PAC. Where is all this money coming from? And why are "they" funding the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus in the U.S. House? It is this kind of "dark money" in our politics that should have us ALL concerned, and a little pissed-off!! Thanks
There is soooo much to look into re the corruption and hypocrisy taking place. None is new, this has been going on since time began.
One area I would like to shed a little sunlight on is Jared Kushner's deall with the Saudis.
Keep it up!
What happened to the investigation into the US Postmaster. The reports a couple of years ago made it seem like a slamdunk. There were accusations about DeJoy and his campaign contributions through his employees through his business prior to getting the appointment.
USA press and some citizens need to grow up about their attitudes to addiction. The reaction to the charges against Hunter Biden has been political but also infantile.The word is out. Addiction is world-wide problem in which every citizen has a stake.
Really enjoy your work.
There's already too much to cover, but things that especially piss me off:
1. Corporate supression of unionization efforts
2. The atrocity of health care: tied to employment (lose your job, lose your coverage), pre-existing condition denial, government subsidizing already profitable pharmacutical companies, etc.
How about facts about accomplishments for the current President? Not the click bait we see, or the snippets. "Americans still "struggling"" is a favorite of every News outlet, but is it true? If so WHY?
What is controllable what isn't? What's realistic, what's not? ; ) Thanks for ALL you do!!
I’ve mentioned it before but the antics of Republicans in Ohio around the August special election making it much harder for citizens to pass ballot initiatives to amend the constitution needs scrutiny. I’m interested in this topic specifically as it relates to the slew of representatives elected in 2018 (known as “Team Householder” candidates) who are still in office. They were elected using money funneled from former speaker Larry Householder’s illegal dealings and are now at the forefront of the current assault on freedom in the state.
Greg Abbot in Texas has vetoed everything sent his way recently. They are in a special session which is almost over but he is threatening to call them in for more and refuse to sign anything, veto everything until they pass a school voucher bill. I would be pretty sure he is getting paid off by someone.
Leonard Leo's dark money network recently grew by $1.6 billion from one donor. Anything that can be reported about how they are enhancing their already frightening capacity and what they are doing with the money would advance the public interest.
Keep a spotlight on the murder and disappearance of indigenous women in our country. I find it appalling.
Also, why does 30% of the Navajo Nation still lack access to clean, safe drinking water? In 2023? In the wealthiest country on earth?
We owe a great debt to the native tribes in our country. In the desert southwest, access to clean, safe water that doesn’t have to be trucked in is a good start to repaying that debt. So is taking the murder and disappearance of indigenous women seriously.
Any more info on that stunning party switch in N.C.?
As an Alabamian who finds Tommy Tuberville's idiotic behavior a total embarrassment, I'd like to know who is behind his stonewalling of officers' confirmation. He's not smart enough to do this by himself.
I hope you can amplify the #StopCopCity movement in Atlanta, Georgia! The Guardian and Atlanta Community Press Collective are two sources of information.
Please take a look at Gov Greg Abbott who receives a nice check for his accident which crippled him yet he signed a law which now caps the amount others can receive in a similar event.
After reading the superb suggestions thus far, I have to agree with all of them.
I fully agree with a deep dive into the state legislative folks. Instead of picking a state, just go down the alphabet. Hit all the red states first, that will give them plenty to do as you then pick apart the blue states.
As for the federal level. Take the House Republicans starting at the top, with Marjorie Taylor Greene, then Kevin McCarthy, L. Boebert, and so on, right down the line.
A deep dive needs to be done to all of their ‘extracurricular activities’, non-paid taxes, unclaimed incomes/expenses on taxes. Who their sleeping with, other than their spouses, everything. Get down and dirty with it all.
What groups they are getting kickbacks from? Why?
I'd really like to know what has happened in East Palestine Ohio. What has happened to the railroad workers shafted in their efforts to have reasonable work hours, paid sick leave, and basic safety regulations upheld? Also, will Norfolk Southern face any real consequences for their grotesque mismanagement?
I would like to see an in depth report on public education. Specifically around the systematic undermining of public schools. Books like “A Nation at Risk” which began the push against public education in the eighties under President Reagan to the legislation “No Child Left Behind” to today’s continued book banning etc. have all contributed to this harmful trend. Public education is the great equalizer especially for the poor and marginalized members of our society. The effort to undo public education has had far reaching negative effects on our society.
We need to oppose the far right with in-depth articles that expose and name the actual people (sociopaths) who write the legislation that Republicans pass. Who are they? Where does their money come from? What organizations (Federalist Society, for example) are involved. Are they white nationalists? Oligarchs? It's not enough siimply to see the idiotic politicians (MTG, Boebert, DeSantis and all the rest). We need to expose the vast conspiracy in the same way that Jane Mayer did in Dark Money. And we must make it a drum beat! We are getting nowhere unless we expose and attempt to shame the fascists behind the fascists.
Elon Musk continues his anti-trans tirades on Twitter. Yesterday he tweeted, "The words 'cis' or 'cisgender' are considered slurs on this platform."
Not sure if Popular Info can uncover anything new, as it's now pretty widely reported that one of his children changed her name after transitioning and has said she wants nothing more to do with him. Perhaps just some public exposure on the Q of "Why is Elon Musk so consistently attacking trans people?"
You’re great at traversing the maze of political corruption and hypocrisy. I suggest more of the same, at the state level, like in TN. Pick a state, any state, sadly.
Are the Russian sanctions actially working? and if so, how quickly will the full effects be felt.?
Why hasn’t Steve Bannon gone to jail yet for contempt of congress?
Why haven’t the law enforcement officers wounded on January 6 filed lawsuits against Trump?
Has Starbucks management begun to take good faith meetings with unions yet?
Quite honestly- these day you can pick a state, any state, any local election, any school board even and there will be corruption. The way things have turned out, the pride of doing something for the good of everyone has gone out of the window. It once was a sense of pride to be in office. Now it is a sense of what can I get out of this. Things have gone from bad to worse. It doesn’t seem to be getting much better. tRUMP crossed the line of good and made it “okay” to be dishonest and selfish. Nixon was an embarrassment, 45 was much much worse and still is.
I wish there were more information about Angela Paxton, the wife of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. She is in the Texas Senate, and I believe I just read that she will Not recuse herself from his impeachment trial. I wonder what she has done, and what she is currently doing to try to make sure that her husband cannot be held accountable for the securities fraud and abuse of office he is accused of. It also seems very strange that he has been accused of crimes for years, and Texas judges keep letting him get away with it. Which makes me wonder about the judges.
Thank you for all your work!
Denial of science. Recent pillory of Dr. Peter Hotez for promoting vaccines is only part of the problem. The questioning of Rachel Wolensky at congressional hearing. The republicans want to go back to the middle ages and are defunding NIH and other science. If you can address this it would be great.
Tommy Tuberville.....what the hell? He's not smart enough to do anything on his own, so who's pulling his strings? He's a total embarrassment to at least some of us in Alabama.
Here is what I'd like to see.
How can we as readers, aside from voting make a difference? How do we get media outlets to print and report on the positives that happen in our current administration, and with the country, such as the last article about crime going down?
How do we as readers confront the lies, misinformation that are pumped daily into our media sources?
I get my news from various sources, 2 who are Tik-Tok creators, along with a couple subscriptions like this one, I watch PBS, and that is about it. I trust their investigative resources.
A recurring theme is child sexual abuse, trafficking, a huge percent of these perpetrators are conservative lawmakers, ministers, youth pastors, priests, lawmakers. Literally dozens, every month! Why isn't this literally everywhere on all media outlets? Even if there are liberal, democrat independents involved? The Republicans tout themselves as the party of * Family Values * moral high ground, they diminish the LGBTQ community, women, people of color yet I very seldom see them called out on the abuses going on or god forbid the divorce rate! Or did we all know how low the price of diesel fuel is right now? Is that being played on media outlets? That inflation is steadily improving, that blue states do better economically and subsidize red states? And can we stop doing this? My biggest frustration is that the good news is never OUT there in bold capping! Too many people have no idea. How do we change this?
I urge people watch Shiny Happy People on Amazon Prime. The evangelicals are playing the long game, they have wanted to co-opt our government for decades and it seems to be working.
As a gay man, married, what is happening in this country right now due to religious influence, is making me scared and sick to my stomach.
Thanks for your inspiring work, Judd. You have a whipsmart staff, too, and best wishes to them!
I am still processing the latest debt ceiling resolution. I observe that that the entire negotiation was in bad faith between both parties and that the opposition between Democratic leadership and Republicans on the ceiling is a sham. Democrats set the conditions for this hostage taking to regularly recur and use it as cover for their willingness to assuage their wealthy donors. For instance, including additional IRS funding in the infrastructure bill, which was clawed back in the deficit negotiation, was nothing more than a bargaining chip from the start. We need to keep exposing these actors and hold them accountable, because two years from now we’ll be right back there.
I’m interested in the status of lawsuits that challenge state book banning, state restrictions on abortion and state restrictions on medical care for trans youth. I’m also, as always, interested in where and on what the department of education spends its money.
relentless focus on Koch industries and Charles Koch subverting democracy
Thank you for all of your excellent research and reporting. You are making a huge difference in getting the truth out to the world. Under our noses, Republicans did an excellent job of taking over many local and state government entities. Many of us were caught blindsided. Now they are working to influence our children as young as middle school on their beliefs on abortion, LGBTQ, climate issues, immigration etc. We are not paying attention! In our town, Dixon, Illinois, the Young America's Foundation, owners of the Reagan Boyhood Home are hosting endless workshops for young people on how to talk like a conservative. Other similar groups are gaining strong traction all over the US. Most people are totally unaware that these "nice" "attractive" "well-sponken" "neighborly" young organizers are dangerous! Can you help us spread the word? They have millions of dollars and we pass the hat for money. Help!!!!
It is a cold story, but one that might bear fruit (or just turn out to be a dead-end), but I would love to see an investigation into Russian presence at NRA conventions, beginning in the 1990s, and their use of those events to suborn or gather compromising material on lawmakers and political influencers.
Read the article in the Atlantic about the “woman buying a mountain for God”, there was mention of the suspicious “apostolic ministries” funding including “offshore inventors” hiding funds from government oversight for “voting the wrong way”. The article was focused on this particular woman, but left many questions about who is funding this stuff.
Interesting article in NYTimes re: local officials who retaliate against local newspapers for covering corruption by withdrawing legal notice contracts and giving them to papers on the fringe of the area or out of the area altogether. Bet there's a lot more.
The reported delay by FBI/DOJ on the top level 1/6 instigators is important. I am wondering if there's a similar hesitation to investigate domestic terrorism - I know there are First Amendment issues with prosecuting but the threat seems significant. Yahoo just reported on corporate support for cultural awareness but did not acknowledge the discrepancies between public statements and political donations. I love your work and I use Twitter (mostly) to amplify the related messages to corporations.
Please look into the huge tax deductions for oil and gas drilling programs. These programs incentivize accredited investors to support dirty energy.
Congress needs to remove these tax incentives (85-93% deduction of investment, and a 15% depletion allowance on the revenue stream for 20-30 years.)
If we are serious about combatting climate change, we must make green programs more tax advantaged.
I would like your insights about the most effective activist organizations readers can join. I have volunteered and canvassed for various political campaigns but would like to join an organization working to combat misinformation and hate speech. In particular, I want to regulate Big Tech and dismantle their monopolies. Any ideas?
We need to look into laws that protect public from ALL media that intentionally lies and distributes information known to be false. Where is the protection? It is not freedom of speech to endanger the public by calling mass murder at schools a hoax etc, then to present it on news. There is video/audio footage of trump impeding help for capital police & inciting sedition. Yet he is speaking on national tv. It will be difficult to end this desecration of democracy unless all people have access to the truth.
How about covering the Democrats working with Republicans to literally allow corporations to vote in Joe Biden's home state?
With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?
Love what you do.
Check into Louisiana Legislature haphazardly finishing up their Session, and slashing State Health-related Funds to the tune of perhaps $500 Million -plus, (once Federal funds lost by this insanity are factored in).
The Head of Health Programs in LA initially thought the slashing, when he first heard of the debacle, was a joke.
A Special Session (to correct this mess) is likely being cobbled together, as I write.
JARED KUSHNER AND IVANKA TRUMP
The children who crashed in the Amazon were indigenous who were being evacuated from their home village due to violent political strong-arming of their family by outside developers. What's up with that?
in interested in how James Cromer and Jim Jordan can use the oversite and jusicial committee websites to push their agenda against the current administration and how they can post articles from right wing news sources like FOX news on those sites as information to back up their claims i feel that this is a misuse of taxpayer money and resources
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and the Chicago Police Department. Such uneven policing in this city with the usual dividing lines -- color and income. Hard to deny data but not a lot of local media spending time required to really prove it. Needs to be done before a new chief of police hired. Thank you.
Look into Gov. Ron DeSantis' recent approval/vetoes bc it seems he's alright spending taxpayer money on shameless shenanigans (*cough* Disney fued & bussing immigrants *cough*) while denying the hard-hit blue-leaning counties with much needed funding.
TV created trump and his cult. MSM TV continues to disinform and manipulate opinion. trump and his cult are tv addicts, and tv is becoming more stupid and shallow by the day and leading many people into a dishonest and angry wasteland. TV addiction and corporate control of our airwaves needs more criticism and more accountability for its dishonesty. Thank you for all your great reporting!
Check out the just released documentary "Americonned". Outlines the destruction of the US middle class, increase in homelessness and the consolidation of wealth to the top 1%.
We have a situation in Oregon with the State Senate Republicans and their six week walkout, bringing our biennial Legislature to a halt by denying the constitutionally mandated Quorum. A ballot measure was passed by over 68% of Oregon voters declaring 10 unexcused absences would preclude electeds from running again. Someone (who?) is bankrolling a Court challenge to this. Might this be worth investigating? Thanks!
There are rumors that Chick-fil-A, notorious for the donations their owner made to anti-LBGTQ groups (some I believe were in African countries that killed gays) has stopped it's anti-LBGTQ crusade. Is this true? Are there other stores that have been boycotted for their political or social-cause donations that have changed their ways? Some clarification would be valuable. We appreciate your reporting, Judd!!
Please write about the profiteering and absolutely abhorrent behavior from Jared and Ivanka Kushner, the two unqualified " senior advisors" to the most corrupt, incompetent WH in history.
The pulling of the Bible from the purse, ( her asinine, fake idea) while they gassed and helicopter swiped peaceful protestors, the scores of unethically acquired Chinese trademarks, while Trump simultaneously was demanding we use and save ZTE Chinese tech company, which was declared a national security threat by the Pentagon, and removed from all government and military facilities?
A coincidence? Probably not.
If one thing this people are, " masters of the obvious" applies.
How about $2.5 billion payday for someone even the Saudi's find to be inept ?
The $ passed with Qtar and Kushner ?
All her emails on an unsecured server a la " lock her up " ad nauseam,
Kushner using What's App so all his correspondence can't be tracked,
His involvement with Cambridge Analytica ?
They're lying to the United States about COVID and PPE while hundreds of thousands of people died ?
Why is there zero accountability for these truly awful self enriching grifters ?