Wednesday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of seventy-three. Sunrise is 5:37 AM and sunset 8:04 PM, for 14h 27m 29s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent, with 35.6% of its visible disk illuminated.
Whitewater’s Police & Fire Commission is scheduled to meet at 7:45 PM.
On this day in 1864, the Battle of Spotsylvania, Virginia rages:
The Battle of Spotsylvania, Virginia, lasted from May 8-21, 1864, and pitted 100,000 Union troops against 52,000 Confederates. When the two weeks were over, about 11,000 Union soldiers had been killed or wounded without any clear victory for either side. The 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Infantry regiments fought at Spotsylvania on May 8, 1864, and during the entire Spotsylvania Campaign (May 8-21, 1864). The 36th Infantry fought at Spotsylvania May 18-21, 1864.
Recommended for reading in full —
➤ Mike McIntire, Ben Protess, and Jim Rutenberg report Firm Tied to Russian Oligarch Made Payments to Michael Cohen:
A shell company that Michael D. Cohen used to pay hush money to a pornographic film actress received payments totaling more than $1 million from an American company linked to a Russian oligarch and several corporations with business before the Trump administration, according to documents and interviews.
Financial records reviewed by The New York Times show that Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer, used the shell company, Essential Consultants L.L.C., for an array of business activities that went far beyond what was publicly known. Transactions adding up to at least $4.4 million flowed through Essential Consultants starting shortly before Mr. Trump was elected president and continuing to this January, the records show.
Among the previously unreported transactions were payments last year of about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch. A lawyer for Columbus Nova, in a statement on Tuesday, described the money as a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Mr. Vekselberg.
Other transactions described in the financial records include hundreds of thousands of dollars Mr. Cohen received from Fortune 500 companies with business before the Trump administration, as well as smaller amounts he paid for luxury expenses like a Mercedes-Benz and private club dues.
➤ On November 27th, Damian Paletta reported that Trump had hundreds of limited liability companies like Essential Consultants L.L.C. See Trump could personally benefit from last-minute change to Senate tax bill:
Trump has become the first president in 40 years to refuse to release his tax returns, making it hard to know exactly how much he would gain from his tax policy. But a letter from Trump’s lawyers last year said nearly all his companies count as pass-through entities.
“You hold interests as the sole or principal owner in approximately 500 separate entities,” Morgan Lewis attorneys Sheri Dillon and William Nelson wrote in a letter released by the Trump campaign. “Because you operate these businesses almost exclusively through sole proprietorships and/or closely held partnerships, your personal federal income tax returns are inordinately large and complex for an individual.”
➤ Alexis C. Madrigal considers The Strange Case of AT&T’s Payments to Michael Cohen (“Why did AT&T pay the same company used to funnel hush money to Stormy Daniels?”):
If AT&T paid a monthly fee of $50,000, Essential Consultants would have received more money in the year than AT&T’s highest-paid lobbying firms, Mayer Brown and Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld, which were paid $420,000 and $400,000 respectively. In 2017, AT&T paid 14 firms at least $200,000 to work Washington for the telecommunications giant. AT&T didn’t immediately respond to a request about the total amount they paid Essential Consultants.
Essential Consultants does not appear in the public disclosures that AT&T filed about who they paid for lobbying, and AT&T says Essential did no lobbying or legal work for the telecom giant—but AT&T certainly had important issues before the government. Not only was net neutrality under reconsideration, but the company has a prospective merger with Time Warnerbefore the Department of Justice’s antitrust division. Net neutrality was repealed in December 2017; the merger has had a rockier path.
Among the more charitable interpretations of AT&T’s payments to Essential Consultants is that they were a pay-for-play scheme to get access to the newly elected president. Less charitable interpretations go well beyond the baseline level of corruption that Americans have come to expect from their government. People know that powerful interests pay for access to American politicians, but they likely do not expect the president’s personal lawyer to commingle the money of corporations, adult-film actresses, and Russian oligarchs.
➤ Ricardo Torres reports [Racine] County to borrow $68 million for Foxconn land purchases:
RACINE COUNTY — Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said when he was elected three years ago, asking to borrow $3 million “would keep me up at night,” and now the county is talking about a $68 million loan.
“The world has changed quite a bit in three years,” Delagrave said to the county Finance and Human Resources Committee on Tuesday.
The county plans to borrow $68 million to help finance the land purchases in Area I and II related to the Foxconn Technology Group project in Mount Pleasant. In December, the county borrowed $79.2 million to help buy the land in Area I.
The committee recommended approval of three resolutions that would allow the county to borrow the money. The proposal to borrow the money is scheduled to go to the full County Board for consideration on May 8.
(Even after billions in public money from the state, local and county governments spill tens of millions more red ink. See also 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, and A Sham News Story on Foxconn, and Another Pig at the Trough. )