The Canadian and American central banks are pulling out all the stops to support the economic recovery, with the latest move being their indications that they expect to hold interest rates near zero over the next few years. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the hoped-for sustained revival in consumer borrowing and spending is anything but certain. In an unprecedented move on Sept. 16, the U.S. Federal Reserve said it doesn’t expect to raise its key interest rate until 2023, providing a very powerful signal that near-zero rates are here to stay for a long time. A week earlier, the Bank of Canada had said, “The Governing Council will hold the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound [0.25 percent] until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2…
Florida’s attorney general on Wednesday asked state and federal law enforcement to investigate possible election law violations after billionaire Michael Bloomberg, a former Democratic presidential candidate, helped raise more than $16 million for Florida felons to pay debts so they can vote in the upcoming election.
On Thursday, state Attorney General Moody told Fox News that a memo from Bloomberg about the initiative raised concerns.
“When you look at the memo and what was alleged, when you hear words like we need to get this done, investing money to targeted particular group of voters that may be predisposed to vote a certain way, that raises concerns that you are directly influencing or even indirectly giving money to persuade votes to go a certain way,” Moody, who is a Republican, told the network. “That doesn’t matter what party it is that triggers Florida law. Under Florida law, you cannot directly or indirectly give anything of value to persuade or entice a vote,” she said.
The memo that was obtained by the Washington Post read: “We know to win Florida we will need to persuade, motivate and add new votes to the Biden column … This means we need to explore all avenues for finding the needed votes when so many votes are already determined.”
President Donald Trump told the “Brian Kilmeade Show” Thursday that it is “totally illegal” what Bloomberg has done.
Earlier this week, Moody announced she sent letters to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI, saying the move should be investigated.
“I have instructed the Statewide Prosecutor to work with law enforcement and any Statewide Grand Jury that the Governor may call,” Moody, a Republican, said in a statement. “Today, I sent a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into potential violations of election laws,” she also said.
“After preliminary reviewing of the limited public information and law, it appears further investigation is warranted,” Moody wrote in a letter to law enforcement, citing news reports about Bloomberg’s efforts.
A 2018 state constitutional amendment allows for felons who have finished their sentences to regain their right to vote. But they first have to pay any outstanding fines, fees, or restitution. Murderers and sex offenders did not regain the right to vote.
State CFO Jimmy Patronis Wednesday also called for an inquiry into Bloomberg’s effort and asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether the former New York City mayor is “breaking the law by giving direct cash for voters.”
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right. Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it,” Bloomberg said in a statement on Tuesday after his efforts were announced.
Bloomberg spokesman Jason Schechter told news outlets that Moody’s letter is a “transparent political ploy is just the latest example of Republicans attempting to keep Floridians disenfranchised.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) first raised the possibility of an investigation into the matter, telling Fox News that it could be a form of bribery.
“It’s not every felon. It’s just those which they have specifically identified as the Biden voters,” Gaetz said on Fox News. “That’s offering a bribe, an inducement, for someone to behave a certain way in voting.”
Focus News: Florida AG Defends Investigation Into Bloomberg Paying Felons’ Fines
Facebook has shut down more than 180 fake accounts, groups, pages, and Instagram accounts that it determined to be run in China, which posted content on the U.S. presidential election and spread Beijing’s talking points on a range of topics, from the South China Sea to Hong Kong protests. The U.S. social media giant announced the takedown in a blog post published on Sept. 22, saying that these accounts were a violation of its rule against “coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity.” In total, 155 Facebook accounts, 11 pages, nine groups, and six Instagram accounts were shut down. The Instagram app is owned by Facebook. Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy and author of the blog post, explained that while people behind these accounts…