How Could This Happen in Washington? Of Course This Happened in Washington

When Rory McCarron started Invest Again, people joined him in droves. Then everything fell apart.

National Journal
Daniel Libit
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Daniel Libit
Feb. 1, 2014, 11:02 a.m.

There’s no bet­ter way to travel to Da­v­os than on some­body else’s Gulf­stream. And that’s how the Demo­crat­ic op­er­at­ives in­volved in In­vest Again thought they were go­ing to fly: They were go­ing to go to Switzer­land on a private plane owned by the heirs of the Goodrich tire for­tune. They were go­ing to meet with Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton, and with Richard Bran­son, the Vir­gin At­lantic founder, who had sup­posedly pledged $12 mil­lion in seed money for their new or­gan­iz­a­tion.

In­vest Again: It was a pro­gress­ive or­gan­izer’s dream. People quit good jobs to join the staff. Ma­jor Demo­crat­ic strategy firms­­­ — Bully Pul­pit, a di­git­al me­dia shop foun­ded by Obama cam­paign alumni; NGP VAN, which sup­plied soft­ware for Pres­id­ent Obama’s 2012 cam­paign; Fitz­gib­bon Me­dia, whose cli­ent roster in­cludes Mo­ve­On.org, NARAL, and Ju­li­an As­sange — signed on to cre­ate an is­sue cam­paign pro­mot­ing sci­ence and sci­ence re­search, some with con­tracts worth hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars apiece. Bruce Kie­loch, the Demo­crat­ic fun­draiser, and Kim­ball Stroud, the D.C. event guru, both deeply tapped in­to the world of high-net-worth Wash­ing­ton Demo­crats, had joined up as con­sult­ants.

There was a pro­posed budget of $30 mil­lion over the first 18 months, ac­cord­ing to a draft of a cam­paign plan, with $4 mil­lion for staff alone.

And it was largely the brainchild of a 25-year-old wun­der­kind named Rory Mc­Car­ron. Over the course of a few months, Mc­Car­ron had turned a cock­tail-nap­kin idea in­to a ser­i­ous mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar op­er­a­tion. It was im­press­ive, and he was im­press­ive: whip-smart and know­ledge­able enough to make people want to join his cause, and likable and earn­est enough to make people want to of­fer him a place to crash.

He was said to refer to her as “Mama H.”

Not that he should have needed one, say some of those who worked with him, be­cause he of­ten men­tioned his wealth and con­nec­tions. They say Mc­Car­ron told them that he had a trust fund of $60 mil­lion, and re­call him talk­ing at length about his close ties to Hil­lary Clin­ton: that he was a key mem­ber of her cam­paign and her team at the State De­part­ment; that they spoke al­most weekly. He was said to refer to her as “Mama H.”

“Ninety per­cent of his con­ver­sa­tion was about Hil­lary Clin­ton and how close they were,” says Erica Payne, a pro­gress­ive act­iv­ist and the pres­id­ent of the Agenda Pro­ject, who says she met Mc­Car­ron on three sep­ar­ate oc­ca­sions. “Ac­tu­ally, about 60 per­cent was about how close they were and the oth­er 40 per­cent was about how much money he had.”

But now, just a few months after the launch of In­vest Again, sev­er­al in­volved parties are com­ing for­ward claim­ing to be vic­tims of de­ceit by the young man they once be­lieved to be a star in the or­gan­iz­ing world. They say they’re not sure what to be­lieve now, oth­er than that the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s re­sources and con­nec­tions seem to be largely fab­ric­ated. Mc­Car­ron, for his part, is fight­ing back vig­or­ously, say­ing he is the vic­tim of a smear cam­paign. He pins most of the blame on Kie­loch, the fun­draiser, and the first in the group to openly raise ques­tions about Mc­Car­ron’s back­ground.

However this ul­ti­mately shakes out, it ap­pears that In­vest Again, a cam­paign and or­gan­iz­a­tion that flashed onto the Wash­ing­ton land­scape with a bang, will be headed to­ward a sim­il­arly hair-trig­ger ex­tinc­tion. Law­yers are now in­volved, law­suits are be­ing threatened. Simply put, it’s a mess.

What fol­lows is the kind of story that makes you say, “How could this hap­pen in Wash­ing­ton?” and, at the same time, “Of course this happened in Wash­ing­ton.” It is a tale of the cap­it­al’s fast-paced, who-you-know cul­ture, where con­nec­tions are cur­rency as good as cash, and re­la­tion­ships, formed at IM speed, are some­times sealed without so much as a single face to face meet­ing. Like everything else in 2014, it is a story that moves quickly. A chain of events that could eas­ily have spanned sev­er­al years took place over the course of just a few months. Much oc­curred, al­though it’s hard to say what was ul­ti­mately ac­com­plished, and, as the fal­lout be­gins, many un­answered ques­tion re­main.

The place to start is at the be­gin­ning.

Last sum­mer, a young man named Rory Mc­Car­ron began work­ing in New York for Caring Across Gen­er­a­tions, a uni­on-fun­ded cam­paign de­signed to pro­mote im­proved home health care op­tions for those in need. While there, Mc­Car­ron be­friended Eleiza Braun, the group’s com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or, who had pre­vi­ously worked in Geneva, for The Glob­al Fund.

When they wer­en’t hard at work, Braun says, she and Mc­Car­ron would of­ten spend time talk­ing shop. Mc­Car­ron had pre­vi­ously worked as a di­git­al dir­ect­or for Demo­crat Kath­leen Falk’s gubernat­ori­al cam­paign in Wis­con­sin and, to Braun, he seemed savvy and well versed in a world for which, at 31, she felt al­most too old.

His on­line bio said he had gone to Wil­li­ams Col­lege and had served as ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of a Hil­lary Clin­ton-re­lated su­per PAC called HRC Leg­acy PAC. In­deed, Braun says, he told her in great de­tail about his close ties to the former sec­ret­ary of State.

Over drinks, she says, the two began to hatch an idea for an is­sue cam­paign that would pro­mote sci­ence and reas­on. “We thought it would be a really good polit­ic­al bridge is­sue,” Braun says.

“Where did the idea come from? [Over] a lot of drinks con­sumed, you talk about dif­fer­ent ways to run cam­paigns. That is the thing you do in bars with like-minded people,” she says.

Soon, they star­ted talk­ing to oth­ers about their idea and, even­tu­ally, Braun in­tro­duced Mc­Car­ron to Kie­loch, a long­time Demo­crat­ic and pro­gress­ive fun­draiser who cur­rently con­sults for House Ma­jor­ity PAC. Braun knew Kie­loch also had Clin­ton ties — namely to Hil­lary’s broth­er, Tony Rod­ham.

Mc­Car­ron and Kie­loch first met at a polit­ic­al event in Con­necti­c­ut and hit it off.

“He was warm and friendly and cha­ris­mat­ic; a little quirky — but aren’t we all?” says Kie­loch.

By Ju­ly, Mc­Car­ron had left Caring Across Gen­er­a­tions and, as the sum­mer came to a close, he and Braun were shap­ing their new or­gan­iz­a­tion.

The fol­low­ing month, Mc­Car­ron asked Braun if she might con­trib­ute some notes for a speech Clin­ton would be giv­ing on the use of force in Syr­ia. Braun says she was flattered by the op­por­tun­ity, and wrote up some talk­ing points, which Mc­Car­ron said he passed along to Clin­ton staffers. Ac­cord­ing to Braun, Mc­Car­ron spe­cific­ally claimed to have passed them along to Cheryl Mills, a long­time Clin­ton as­so­ci­ate who served as her chief of staff at the State De­part­ment. Braun says Mc­Car­ron con­vinced her of this by for­ward­ing her an email ex­change between him and Mills. Emails ob­tained by Na­tion­al Journ­al in­clude a con­ver­sa­tion that ap­pears to be Mc­Car­ron and Mills dis­cuss­ing Braun’s work.

Ac­cord­ing to Braun, this wasn’t the only time Mc­Car­ron had for­war­ded her an email con­ver­sa­tion in which he ap­peared to be con­vers­ing with a Clin­ton­ite. Na­tion­al Journ­al was also provided cop­ies of two oth­er such email ex­changes, in which Mc­Car­ron ap­pears to be in friendly com­mu­nic­a­tion with Robert Reich, Bill Clin­ton’s former Labor sec­ret­ary, and Anne-Mar­ie Slaughter, pres­id­ent and CEO of the New Amer­ica Found­a­tion, who served un­der Hil­lary Clin­ton at State.

“He was warm and friendly and cha­ris­mat­ic; a little quirky — but aren’t we all?”

The le­git­im­acy of the email ex­changes pur­portedly between Mc­Car­ron and Clin­ton’s in­ner circle is now in doubt, but at the time no one had reas­on to raise ques­tions, and the In­vest Again jug­ger­naut con­tin­ued.

On Nov. 5, the In­vest Again cam­paign launched its web­site. In a mes­sage he pos­ted on his per­son­al blog, titled “Jump­ing off a cliff,” Mc­Car­ron said he was both “ex­cited” and, as he ad­ded in bold­face type, “ter­ri­fied.”

He wrote of his ap­pre­hen­sions: “Not that we won’t do a good job — of that I have no doubt, but ter­ri­fied that if this doesn’t work, we’ll lose that odd, pi­on­eer­ing spir­it that has defined Amer­ica for cen­tur­ies.”

Kie­loch in­vited Mc­Car­ron and Mc­Car­ron’s boy­friend to his moun­tain house in Vir­gin­ia over Thanks­giv­ing, and the two stayed sev­er­al days there­after for Kie­loch’s birth­day party. Mc­Car­ron was in­tro­duced to a num­ber of Kie­loch’s friends, in­clud­ing Nora Mac­coby, a film­maker who cowrote the movie Buf­falo Sol­diers, and who spent sev­er­al years work­ing on en­vir­on­ment­al ad­vocacy is­sues. She took an im­me­di­ate lik­ing to Mc­Car­ron.

“I thought he was smart, and all our friends thought he was smart,” she says. “He is gay and fat and kind of in­no­cent. It was this whole teen in­no­cence: He seemed pure in his in­ten­tions on sci­ence and get­ting in­vest­ment in sci­ence and tak­ing on the Koch Broth­ers, and that to me was really ad­mir­able and ba­sic­ally what I had been do­ing.”

Mac­coby also re­calls Mc­Car­ron talk­ing about Hil­lary Clin­ton. “It was like he was on the phone with Hil­lary all the time,” she says.

In­deed, Mac­coby took such a lik­ing to Mc­Car­ron that she in­vited him and his boy­friend to stay with her and her hus­band in their house for sev­er­al weeks.

And so it was that Mc­Car­ron be­came baked in Wash­ing­ton’s con­vec­tion oven of cred­ib­il­ity. You meet some­body, they in­tro­duce you to some­body else, and so on and so forth, un­til you’ve se­cured your fu­ture le­git­im­acy among those you will meet, and im­proved your stock ret­ro­spect­ively among those you’ve already met. All you have to do is find a way in. And the new, di­git­al Wash­ing­ton, Wash­ing­ton 2.0, is more por­ous and ac­cess­ible than ever; no suit or tie re­quired, no proof of de­gree or driver’s li­cense ne­ces­sary. Glib­ness is cur­rency enough — and Mc­Car­ron, say those who worked with him, had that in spades. He could talk the talk, and in mul­tiple Belt­way dia­lects: di­git­al ads, polit­ics, for­eign policy, you name it. In de­scrib­ing him, Kie­loch in­voked a phrase once used to de­scribe the cha­risma of Steve Jobs, say­ing he cre­ated a “real­ity dis­tor­tion field.”

And he was able to de­liv­er enough, ini­tially, to con­vince oth­ers he had the goods. Mac­coby re­calls Mc­Car­ron ar­ran­ging a meet­ing for the two of them with a con­tact at the De­fense De­part­ment. Even­tu­ally, she says, she agreed to join In­vest Again as dir­ect­or of part­ner­ships and out­reach, for a salary of $90,000 a year. Kie­loch said he was im­pressed by the Hil­lary Clin­ton eso­ter­ica Mc­Car­ron seemed to know — the kinds of things, he says, like the fact that Clin­ton had a get­away cab­in in Lake Winola, Pa., to which one might as­sume only a true mem­ber of the club would be privy.

Ac­cord­ing to Kie­loch and Braun, Bully Pul­pit and Fitz­gib­bon Me­dia were two of the ini­tial vendors to sign con­tracts. Kie­loch said he felt com­fort­able join­ing the pro­ject in part be­cause these firms were on board. (Rep­res­ent­at­ives with both firms de­clined to talk on the re­cord for this story.) An on­line doc­u­ment also ap­pears to show NGP VAN con­tract­ing with In­vest Again to do more than $27,000 in web-re­lated work. (NGP VAN did not reply to an email re­quest­ing com­ment.) Ac­cord­ing to cop­ies of emails ob­tained by Na­tion­al Journ­al, of­fer let­ters went out to sev­er­al hires.

Wash­ing­ton 2.0, is more por­ous and ac­cess­ible than ever; no suit or tie re­quired, no proof of de­gree or driver’s li­cense ne­ces­sary.

In ad­di­tion to claim­ing to be a go-between with the Clin­tons, say those in­volved with the group, Mc­Car­ron also made claims about ma­jor fund­ing com­mit­ments, in­clud­ing a pur­por­ted $12 mil­lion pledge from Bran­son, the Vir­gin At­lantic bil­lion­aire. A copy of a Google Hangout con­ver­sa­tion from Dec. 5, provided to Na­tion­al Journ­al, ap­pears to show Mc­Car­ron de­scrib­ing the terms of the deal: “Bran­son in for 12.”

Two weeks later, Mc­Car­ron provided to Braun and Kie­loch a PDF copy of a let­ter of in­tent, ap­par­ently signed by Bran­son, on sta­tion­ery bear­ing the Vir­gin logo.

“I have thor­oughly en­joyed my con­ver­sa­tions with you and your team over the past month and look for­ward to the great work we can do to­geth­er,” the let­ter says.

Over the next month, the team planned for three big pow­wows sur­round­ing In­vest Again’s ma­jor pub­lic un­veil­ing: There was a trip to Hol­ly­wood for the Golden Globes, where they would schmooze with tal­ent agents and celebrit­ies and po­ten­tial donors; a trip to Da­v­os, where Mc­Car­ron said he had ar­ranged meet­ings with the Clin­tons and Bran­son; and an event at the South by South­w­est mu­sic fest­iv­al in Aus­tin, Texas.

In­vest Again’s big pub­lic ad launch was sup­posed to be pegged to Pres­id­ent Obama’s 2014 State of the Uni­on ad­dress. Ac­cord­ing to in­tern­al emails, Bully Pul­pit was hand­ling the di­git­al ad buy.

“It got big quickly,” says Braun. “The whole thing re­quired a com­fort level with elec­tron­ic cor­res­pond­ence that al­lowed it to hap­pen. All the cor­res­pond­ence be­ing over email and the elec­tron­ic doc­u­ment­a­tion and sig­na­tures—it was hard to fig­ure out what is real.”

On Jan. 9, an email ap­par­ently sent from Mc­Car­ron to Kie­loch and Braun out­lined the Da­v­os it­in­er­ary. It said he had sched­uled time with Bran­son for “all day” on the 23rd and 24th, and Bill Clin­ton for all day on the 24th and a two-hour block on the 23rd. Also ref­er­enced in the email was a speech Mc­Car­ron said he was sup­posed to give in con­junc­tion with re­ceiv­ing a young lead­er­ship award at the World Eco­nom­ic For­um, ac­cord­ing to Kie­loch. Kie­loch and Braun also say Mc­Car­ron told them that he had se­cured his fam­ily’s private plane for the transat­lantic flight.

But by then, Kie­loch says, he was grow­ing un­easy about the whole thing. He says he had be­gun to ask ques­tions for which Mc­Car­ron had an­swers, but ones that didn’t fully sat­is­fy his grow­ing sense of ap­pre­hen­sion. Then, he says, Mc­Car­ron an­nounced yet an­oth­er mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar pledge to the cam­paign — and a big red flag went up. So he de­cided to go right to the heart of the mat­ter.

On Jan. 10, Kie­loch says he con­tac­ted Hil­lary Clin­ton’s broth­er, Tony Rod­ham, ask­ing him to check in with his sis­ter about wheth­er she knew a Rory Mc­Car­ron. A day later, Rod­ham got back to Kie­loch, say­ing that he had run Mc­Car­ron’s name by Hil­lary and it didn’t ring a bell. In an email to Na­tion­al Journ­al, Rod­ham con­firmed the in­form­a­tion, say­ing, “Yes I brought up this guy Rory to Hil­lary from Bruce and she has nev­er heard of him.” A Hil­lary Clin­ton spokes­man did not reply to re­quests for com­ment.

Kie­loch says he im­me­di­ately then texted his find­ings to Mac­coby — who had just boarded the a flight to L.A. for the Golden Globes with Mc­Car­ron, his boy­friend, and some oth­er In­vest Again as­so­ci­ates.

They wer­en’t go­ing to Da­v­os; they wer­en’t go­ing to be fly­ing on a Gulf­stream.

Ac­cord­ing to Mac­coby, Mc­Car­ron had prom­ised them lodging at the Chat­eau Mar­mont, but they all ended up stay­ing at an Airb­nb rent­al in Echo Park, Cal­if. Mac­coby, Kie­loch, and Braun say they quietly can­celed le­git­im­ate meet­ings in L.A. in light of their new sus­pi­cions. Mac­coby says after a day or so, she and her hus­band left the group Airb­nb to stay with friends in the area and at­temp­ted to make the most out of the trip. Mc­Car­ron, mean­while, also seemed to make the most of things. His Foursquare page from the week showed him “check­ing in” to a Pink­berry in Santa Mon­ica, a Dav­id My­ers res­taur­ant in West Hol­ly­wood, and the Chat­eau Mar­mont. He also scored him­self an in­vite to a Golden Globes after party: the In­Style soir­ee, from which he tweeted a photo of him­self tuxedoed and pos­ing with TV act­ress Lana Par­rilla.

Back in Wash­ing­ton, a fum­ing Kie­loch bom­barded Mc­Car­ron with text mes­sages and phone calls, telling him that he had been un­covered as a fraud. In re­sponse, Mc­Car­ron filed for an or­der of pro­tec­tion in Los Angeles Su­per­i­or Court, ac­cord­ing to the court’s web­site. Braun and Kie­loch had con­cluded by that point that they could no longer count on any­thing Mc­Car­ron had told them. They wer­en’t go­ing to Da­v­os; they wer­en’t go­ing to be fly­ing on a Gulf­stream. They braced for the fal­lout and moved to try to find a way to put an end to Mc­Car­ron’s con­trol.

Braun ob­tained her own law­yers and, ac­cord­ing to sev­er­al sources, Clin­ton at­tor­ney Dav­id Kend­all was ap­prised of some of the al­leg­a­tions in­volving Mc­Car­ron. Last Thursday, Mc­Car­ron says, he met with Kend­all. Reached by phone, Kend­all de­clined to com­ment.

The next day, ac­cord­ing to an email ob­tained by Na­tion­al Journ­al, Mc­Car­ron tried to ex­plain the Kend­all meet­ing and the lar­ger shake-up sur­round­ing In­vest Again to a group of col­leagues. He said that prob­lems star­ted when Kie­loch “star­ted ask­ing ques­tions about my back­ground and threatened my life” — a charge Kie­loch denies. Re­gard­ing the Kend­all meet­ing, he said, “the only con­cern he had was that the cam­paign was not us­ing Sec. Clin­ton’s name to fun­draise.” Mc­Car­ron went on to say that he was work­ing with Bri­an Svoboda, a Per­kins Coie at­tor­ney ini­tially hired by In­vest Again to help draft its art­icles of in­cor­por­a­tion, who was “re­search­ing ways to neg­ate any of the cur­rent at­tacks this cam­paign is un­der­go­ing.” (Svoboda told me this week he doesn’t cur­rently rep­res­ent either Mc­Car­ron or In­vest Again.) And he said he had made con­tact with In­vest Again’s donor net­work and been as­sured that “our fund­ing is se­cure.”

The email ended with an apo­logy “for the events of the last two weeks,” but without spe­cify­ing ex­actly what the apo­logy was for.

On Fri­day, I con­tac­ted Mc­Car­ron over email, and he quickly called me. We spoke sev­er­al times throughout the day and in­to the even­ing. He main­tained that the en­tire con­tro­versy had been stirred up by Kie­loch, who was act­ing out of jeal­ousy — of his youth, of his suc­cess, of his boy­friend.

“I am un­der dir­ect as­sault by someone who is twice my age,” he said.

He said Braun and oth­ers were merely cov­er­ing for Kie­loch, tak­ing the side of the more seasoned Wash­ing­ton play­er. Hav­ing tried to file for a re­strain­ing or­der against Kie­loch in Los Angeles, Mc­Car­ron ap­par­ently did the same in Ar­ling­ton County, Va., on Jan. 27. He sent me iPhone pic­tures he had snapped of what looked to be pre­lim­in­ary pro­tect­ive or­ders, which he said were gran­ted based on mes­sages sent by Kie­loch.

Des­pite a myri­ad of ac­cus­a­tions, and ap­par­ent doc­u­ment­ary evid­ence to the con­trary, Mc­Car­ron said he has nev­er claimed to have spoken to Hil­lary Clin­ton, nor had a friend­ship with her. He also denied ever claim­ing to have com­mu­nic­ated with Anne-Mar­ie Slaughter or Robert Reich. (Both Slaughter and Reich told me they did not know Mc­Car­ron.)

What about the emails that seemed to show Mc­Car­ron com­mu­nic­at­ing with Clin­ton’s people? He said they could have been fals­i­fied by the same people who claim he fab­ric­ated them.

When I asked about wheth­er he had claimed to have fund­ing com­mit­ments from Bran­son, he ini­tially said he could “neither con­firm nor deny.”

Des­pite a myri­ad of ac­cus­a­tions, and ap­par­ent doc­u­ment­ary evid­ence to the con­trary, Mc­Car­ron said he has nev­er claimed to have spoken to Hil­lary Clin­ton.

What about the $60 mil­lion trust fund he al­legedly told people about? “I have a trust fund,” he said. “The valu­ation of that is con­fid­en­tial.” But he in­sisted that he had nev­er used al­lu­sions to per­son­al wealth in try­ing to sell In­vest Again to vendors, donors, or em­ploy­ees.

When I asked him about at­tend­ing Wil­li­ams Col­lege (his Linked­In pro­file had, un­til late Fri­day, said he gradu­ated there in 2008), he told me he at­ten­ded but ended up a few cred­its shy. When I told him I checked with the re­gis­trar’s of­fice, and there was no re­cord of him ever at­tend­ing the school, he said he and his moth­er re­ques­ted that his name be stricken from the re­cords. (The per­son I fol­lowed up with in the re­gis­trar’s of­fice said she didn’t think this could be done.)

And so on it went.

Why did it ap­pear that HRC Leg­acy PAC had nev­er raised any ac­tu­al money, but had in­stead garnered sev­er­al rep­rim­ands from the FEC for hav­ing missed fil­ing re­quire­ments?

Mc­Car­ron replied that the PAC was just a device to help hide the names of donors for a 501c(4) he op­er­ated, but wouldn’t dis­close any in­form­a­tion about. (501c(4) or­gan­iz­a­tions are not re­quired to dis­close the names of donors.) It was all just to “send a re­port­er on a goose hunt,” he said. “Re­port­ers are our en­emies.”

Mc­Car­ron made one small con­ces­sion about mis­por­tray­ing his ties to Clin­ton. He ac­know­ledged de­ceiv­ing Braun in­to think­ing that her Syr­ia talk­ing points were go­ing to be passed along to Clin­ton’s people. He said he was just try­ing to be nice and “give a col­league con­fid­ence in her writ­ing.”

On our third tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion, he said the $12 mil­lion pledge from Bran­son, and the signed let­ter of in­tent, were le­git­im­ate.

“The Bran­son let­ter is something I got from someone on his team,” Mc­Car­ron said.

But when I for­war­ded a copy of the let­ter to Vir­gin, Christina Choi, Bran­son’s spokes­wo­man, denied it had come from her boss.

“It was not writ­ten by Richard, who has not had con­tact with [Mc­Car­ron],” Choi wrote in an email.

The In­vest Again web­site came down this week.

“For my­self, one of the ab­so­lutely hard­est pieces to pro­cess is I le­git­im­ized him,” says Braun. “People trus­ted him be­cause they trus­ted me. I was part of caus­ing a non­trivi­al amount of hurt, whatever way it happened.”

Braun says she her­self spent $10,000 to help fund the web­site; many of the con­sult­ants have put in sig­ni­fic­ant time for which they now be­lieve they won’t be paid. “There are two months of re­tain­ers we’ll nev­er get,” said one con­tract­or.

“I think every­body be­lieved him,” said Payne. “But be­lief in polit­ics is a sub­ject­ive term. I think the nature of polit­ics is such that you meet an enorm­ous num­ber of people on a weekly basis, and so you have to op­er­ate un­der the as­sump­tion that most people you meet with are reas­on­ably cred­ible.”

For his part, Mc­Car­ron says he is the one who has lost money — as much as $45,000 — and that his boy­friend has lost thou­sands as well. He says he is go­ing over things with his at­tor­neys, and look­ing in­to fil­ing a law­suit against his ac­cusers with­in the next two weeks.

“In this field,” he says, “all you have is your repu­ta­tion.”

COR­REC­TION: An earli­er ver­sion of this art­icle iden­ti­fied Anne-Mar­ie Slaughter as a Prin­ceton pro­fess­or. She is cur­rently the pres­id­ent and CEO of the New Amer­ica Found­a­tion. 

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THE DETAILS

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."

Source:
SUCCEEDS UPTON
Walden to Chair Energy and Commerce Committee
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.

Source:
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT
Senators Looking to Limit Deportations Under Trump
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.

Source:
REQUIRES CHANGE IN LAW
Trump Taps Mattis for Defense Secretary
2 days ago
BREAKING

Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.

Source:
MEASURE HEADED TO OBAMA
Senate OKs 10-Year Extension of Iran Sanctions
2 days ago
THE LATEST
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