A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
- Almost a year to his announcing he was seeking the GOP nod for the White House, Donald Trump today has reached the number of delegates necessary for securing the Republican presidential nomination. According to the Associated Press, unbound delegates put him over the top with 1,238 – the threshold is 1,237.
- Hillary Clinton’s email practices when she was President Obama’s top diplomat is under fire from the State Department’s independent watchdog who issued a long-awaited report yesterday. The State Department’s inspector general’s review concluded that as Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton failed to comply with department policies on record keeping and never sought approval for the home-rigged, private email server she had set up in the basement of her New York house and used to conduct all official business for the four years she served as secretary of state – raising major security concerns which are now being investigated by the FBI. The highly critical review of Clinton’s email practices found they were “not an appropriate method” of preserving documents and failed to comply with department polices to ensure federal record laws are followed. The inspector general’s review was also critical of others including former secretary Colin Powell who has acknowledged using a private laptop to send emails – though Clinton stands alone in setting up a private home server to bypass the government system. The report finds that Clinton was particularly concerned about her personal email “being accessible” and noted that a top Clinton aide was warned in 2010 that the system may not properly preserve records but dismissed those worries. Clinton maintains she has not broken any rules.
- Meanwhile, this week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe – a Democrat and longtime Clinton fundraiser and confidante – is also under investigation by the FBI. According to several news reports, the feds are looking into McAuliffe’s campaign contributions that date back to his gubernatorial campaign. CNN reports one of the donations that drew the interest of investigators was $120,000 from Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman, through Wang's US business. Wang has also served in China's ceremonial legislature. McAuliffe told CNN Wang was “fully vetted” and there are “no allegations of wrongdoing.”
- Hearings began this week to see whether the chief of the country’s federal tax agency – the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – should be impeached on charges stemming mostly from the agency’s admitted targeting of conservative Americans leading into the 2012 elections. Angry House Republicans are seeking the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and blasted him Tuesday for failing to show up for the hearing, sending along a written statement instead which Republicans refused to enter into the record. While Democrats admit the agency has been mismanaged, they are defending Koskinen and say partisan politics are driving the impeachment proceedings. Republicans says Koskinen deliberately stymied the investigation into the IRS when he mishandled documents and flouted a subpoena for the emails of the central figure in the case. The IRS claimed thousands of emails were irretrievably “lost” or “destroyed” and spent millions “recovering” them.
- Lawyers with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) have systemically deceived lower courts about the Administration’s actions when it comes to immigration in “misconduct” described as “intentional, serious and material.” So says Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas in blasting DOJ lawyers for “misrepresenting the facts in bad faith” regarding the timing and number of applications the Obama Administration has processed to award legal status to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally. It is exponentially higher than DOJ attorneys admitted to the judge. Hanen concludes, “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” As a result, he’s ordered that any Washington-based Justice lawyer who “appears or seeks to appear” in any state or federal court in the 26 states that have sued the Obama Administration over its executive order on immigration must first attend a remedial ethics seminar on “candor to the court.” He also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prepare a “comprehensive plan” to prevent such falsification. The immigration case is now in front of the Supreme Court.
- President Obama is in Vietnam and Japan this week. In addition to attending the G7 Summit in Japan, Obama will make an historic visit to Hiroshima tomorrow.
- On Tuesday, the House passed a bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) on a 403-12 vote. The bill may clear the Senate this week as well, and President Obama is expected to sign it. The White House described the bill as “a clear improvement over the current TSCA and represents a historic advancement for both chemical safety and environmental law.”
All In for Ayotte
Your former US Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, began his week at an event surprisingly (for him!) close to home. He was honored to participate in a breakfast held for New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte in his hometown of Greenville, SC hosted by his good pals, Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Trey Gowdy.
But Wilkins being Wilkins, all y’all know he wasn’t in town for long. On Tuesday, he hightailed it on down to “Hotlanta”, Georgia – where Canada is very well represented by its Consulate General office there, especially in Consul General Louise Blais.
Wilkins was delighted to attend a working dinner at the Atlanta Canadian Consulate office hosted by Blais and including a number of VIPs such as Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, and Clemson University President Jim Clements, among others.
What was truly a surprise – and a distinct honor – was the recognition Wilkins received from Governor General Johnston: the Governor General’s Medallion. Wilkins was presented the medallion for his commitment to “preserving the strong bonds” between the US and Canada.
Consul General Louise Blais who runs the Atlanta Canadian Consulate office, David Wilkins, and Canada’s Governor General David Johnston right after Wilkins is surprised with the “Governor General’s Medallion” Tuesday evening.
Now He’s in Nashville
We guess you could call this week Wilkins' Southern Summer Tour, cuz now he’s on his way to Nashville, TN – home to all things country music, of course – but more pertinent to CCC readers right now – locale of the 2016 SEUS-CP conference.
Insightful CCC readers know all about the annual US States-Canadian Provinces Trade Alliance conference. Wilkins is reppin’ the South Carolina delegation this year and key Team Wilkins members like Ashley Martin Aldebol are also there mixing and mingling with our Canadian counterparts on how we all can do bilat business better!
SEUS-CP is a strategic partnership between member states including Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Member provinces include Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Québec.
You can bet we’ll have plenty of pictures and all the buzz from this year’s SEUS conference in the next edition of your Carolina-Canada Connections! So look for it coming your way.
Monday is Memorial Day here in the US. We honor and remember our fallen heroes who have sacrificed everything in freedom’s name.
It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
--Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army
Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005
They Said What?
- “To root for people to lose their pensions, to root for two little girls in Clark County Nevada to end up living out of a van — what kind of a man does that? I'll tell you exactly what kind of a man does that. It's a man who cares only about himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn't care who gets hurt as long as he makes a profit,” – Democrat Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) giving her take on Donald Trump in a fiery Tuesday night speech to fellow Democrats.
- “The misconduct in this case was intentional, serious and material. In fact, it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct. There were over 100,000 instances of conduct contrary to counsel’s representations; such a sizable omission cannot be classified as immaterial,” – United States District Judge Andrew S. Hanen in his order blasting US Justice Department lawyers for massive deception regarding the president’s executive order on immigration which is being challenged by 26 states.
- “Shocked,” – word Virginia governor and Clinton confidante Terry McAuliffe used to describe himself when he learned that he was the subject of an FBI probe this week looking into his campaign finances.
- “Obama is the greatest destroyer America has ever had…God fear for America and Ohio if Hillary Clinton gets elected,” – Coal-mining corporation CEO Bob Murray on why he is supporting Donald Trump for president as reported by Columbus Business First.
- "Muslims who support Trump is like chickens for Colonel Sanders. You know what I mean? You think that you are going to be the chicken who doesn’t get fired up? Well I think you better guess again,” – Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, talking Trump at the National Press Club this week.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.