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Trump campaign staffer Jessica Denson sues to void nondisclosure agreement

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Denson, who is representing herself in both suits, is the third woman to come forward to attempt to quash a confidentiality agreement connected to the president. Adult film star Stormy Daniels has sued the president to nullify a nondisclosure agreement about an alleged affair, while former Playboy model Karen McDougal also filed a lawsuit for the right to speak publicly about a “sexual relationship” she says she had with Trump more than a decade ago.

Denson said in court documents that she wants a judge to nullify the nondisclosure agreement (NDA) she signed with the campaign because it “violates public policy” and is too “vague and overly broad.” She also said Trump has “weaponized the NDA by using it as a club to thwart and chill” her discrimination allegations.

Denson attached a copy of the campaign confidentiality agreement with her lawsuit, which prohibits the disclosure of confidential information about Trump, his children and their spouses, his grandchildren and his company.

Trump’s campaign tried to move her earlier suit to arbitration in December and is seeking $1.5 million in damages from Denson, according to a copy of the campaign’s request attached to the March filing. By filing the discrimination suit, the Trump campaign argued, she published confidential information and disparaged the campaign, which violated the nondisclosure agreement.

In her discrimination suit filed last year, she claimed that the campaign punished her for reporting her supervisor’s harassment by diminishing the conditions and scope of her employment, which prevented her from being promoted. Members of the campaign mounted a “slander crusade” against her, she said, which included allegations that she leaked Trump’s tax documents in October 2016.

In her March filing, Denson maintained that her previous suit contained “no allegations whatsoever pertaining to the personal life or business affairs of Donald Trump or any of his family members or businesses” and therefore did not violate the agreement because she has the right to discuss the discrimination she endured while working for the campaign.

She is seeking $25 million in damages.

A Trump campaign representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Dispute over Ohio mail ballot drop box limit ends as advocates drop suit

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The fight over Ohio’s limit on ballot drop boxes ended Friday after a coalition of voting rights groups opted to drop their lawsuit, leaving in place an election chief’s order that was derided by three separate courts.

The A. Philip Randolph Institute, League of Women Voters of Ohio and ACLU of Ohio made the decision after the federal appellate court in Cincinnati set a timetable last week that pushed further activity in the case past Election Day.

The dropped suit was a win for Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who issued the directive. It’s also a victory for Republican President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, which joined LaRose in fighting to keep the restriction in place in a critical battleground state.

“Secretary LaRose is pleased that Ohio voters can continue on with the business of participating in the most secure and accessible election in Ohio’s history,” spokeswoman Maggie Sheehan said in a statement.

Six major Ohio cities were fighting alongside the voting rights groups to expand access to off-site ballot drop-off locations: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron, Dayton and Toledo. The option has grown in popularity this year amid the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about the reliability of voting by mail.

Before the Trump campaign got involved, LaRose had said repeatedly that he would support allowing additional drop boxes if it was clear he had the legal authority to do so. He never followed through, though, despite courts at the county, state and federal level affirming he had the power. All criticized the order as an unreasonable impediment on voters, though only two of the three blocked it.

LaRose did issue a “clarification” to his initial one-box-per-county order, allowing counties to set up drop boxes “outside” their offices but, he said, still on-site.

The two versions of his order have been blocked and unblocked numerous times as the legal dispute made its way through the courts.

Most recently, it was in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which set a briefing schedule last week that assured nothing would be decided before the Nov. 3 election. The court had requested the state’s brief on Nov. 24 and the voting rights coalition’s reply on Dec. 24, after reiterating its concern about changing election rules after voting had already begun.

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Brexit LIVE: Boris Johnson told WTO tariffs will help sort '£80billion UK trade deficit'

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BRITAIN would rake in far more in tariffs than it paid out under World Trade Organisation terms, according to a leading Brexiteer.

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Increasing the minimum wage would help, not hurt, the economy

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The minimum wage in the United States hasn’t budged in 11 years. Whether or not it should was a hotly contested question during Thursday’s final presidential debate.

President Donald Trump asserted that increasing the minimum wage would crush small businesses, many of which are already struggling as a result of the pandemic, arguing that the decision should be left to the states. Democratic nominee Joe Biden repeated his campaign pledge to raise the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $15.

Establishing a $15 wage floor has been a long-term goal for union-backed advocacy groups, which began putting pressure on big companies like McDonald’s and Walmart to pay workers $15 an hour in 2012. The Democratic party made a $15 minimum wage part of its platform ahead of the 2016 election season. A handful of states with high costs of living — California, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, and Connecticut — as well as some cities, have adopted laws that will raise the minimum wage to $15 over time, and 29 states as well as the District of Columbia currently have minimum wages higher than the federal one.

The issue clearly resonates with voters: “Wages” was the most-searched topic in 44 states during the debate (the top search in the remaining six states was “unemployment”). Surveys indicate, though, that Trump’s view is out of step with that of most Americans: Two-thirds want to see a $15 minimum wage, according to the Pew Research Center.

Business groups have argued that raising the minimum wage forces business owners to fire workers, a claim echoed by Trump in the debate. The reality is more complex: The evidence of job loss is inconsistent, and the benefits are accrued by some of the country’s most vulnerable populations.

In terms of reducing income and wealth disparities, a rising minimum wage is a good thing. “The benefits in terms of reducing inequality — getting money into people’s pockets, stimulating the market — are very well proven,” said Till von Wachter, professor of economics and director of the California Policy Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The best evidence is that judiciously set minimum wages make a lot of sense. They raise earnings, reduce individual and family poverty, and have no measurable negative effects on employment,” said David Autor, MIT economics professor and co-chair of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future.

A report last year by the Congressional Budget Office found that a $15 minimum wage would increase the income of 27 million workers, 17 million who currently earn below that amount, and 10 million who earn just over $15 an hour but would see their wages rise due to what economists call the “spillover effect.”

When adjusted for inflation, today’s minimum wage gives workers far less buying power than they once did. Since peaking 52 years ago, purchasing power of the minimum wage has fallen by 31 percent — the equivalent of $6,800 for someone working full-time at minimum wage for a year.

“The real value of the federal U.S. minimum wage is at a historic low,” Autor said. “I’d be happy to see something like $12 or $13, indexed to inflation so it doesn’t again sink to irrelevance within 10 years.”

A $15 wage would lift 1.3 million households above the poverty line — but the flip side could be fewer jobs. The CBO estimated a median loss of 1.3 million jobs, although it also acknowledged considerable ambiguity with that figure. “Findings in the research literature about how changes in the federal minimum wage affect employment vary widely,” the agency said.

A 10 percent increase in base pay is associated with a 1.5-percentage-point increase in the likelihood that workers will remain with their current employer, which can translate to significant cost savings for companies.

Given the sweeping societal impact a higher minimum wage would have on the lives of the poorest Americans, von Wachter said policymakers should deem this potential an acceptable risk. “We accept these small efficiency costs because we think it’s valuable to provide that redistribution. We accept a trade-off between costs and benefits,” he said, adding that most of the studies have yielded no evidence of higher minimum wages triggering job losses.

Some research has even found the opposite — that is, a higher minimum wage can increase employment in some situations. When studying employment practices of big chain stores, von Wachter found that raising the minimum wage had the most positive effect in labor markets dominated by just a few large employers.

Other data suggests that higher pay improves worker satisfaction and leads to lower turnover, which can help mitigate employers’ higher payroll costs. According to Glassdoor, a 10 percent increase in base pay is associated with a 1.5-percentage-point increase in the likelihood that workers will remain with their current employer, which can translate to significant cost savings for companies. Replacing a low-wage worker costs about 16 percent of that worker’s annual salary.

A minimum wage that hasn’t risen since 2009 will only become increasingly unsustainable for the people relying on it, experts say. “There’s a lot of headroom to raise it [and] workers would benefit,” Autor said. “We can afford to do better.”

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