Wednesday News: The company you keep


DAN FOREST IS DIRECTLY LINKED TO BRIBERY SCANDAL: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest's chief of staff reached out to Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey's office in early August 2017, seeking a meeting for two men who would later be indicted and accused of trying to bribe Causey. At the time, the state Department of Insurance was reviewing three insurance companies Lindberg owned. Within a month of the reach out, more than $50,000 flowed into Forest's campaign coffers from associates of Greg Lindberg and John Gray, at least in part because Lindberg hosted a fundraiser at his home. Lindberg himself donated $400,000 that month to a second political committee that the lieutenant governor controls and that accepts unlimited donations. By the end of that year, Lindberg had deposited $2.4 million in political committees backing Forest's current run for governor. Forest put out a press release at the time, trumpeting his ability to bring in such a haul.

RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO END CITIZEN ADVISORY COUNCILS: In a split vote, the Raleigh City Council voted Tuesday to disband the 18 community organizations that are supposed to seek input from residents on city matters. No advance notice was given of the action, which occurred in a 6-2 vote at the end of the council’s afternoon meeting. The boards, called Citizen Advisory Councils, will be allowed to continue for 45 days to allow rezoning cases that have already been scheduled to be heard. A handful of people, including former Council member Stef Mendell, spoke during the Tuesday night meeting against the council’s decision. She asked for those who support CACs to stand, with about 40 people rising from their seats. Michael Lindsay compared the council to President Donald Trump and the impeachment process, and said he’d never seen anything as dishonest on the local level. “You’re throwing out a process citizens have used for almost half a century,” he said. “I am sad for Raleigh and sad for your country.”

APP THAT FAILED DURING IOWA CAUCUS WAS DEVELOPED BY FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN WORKERS: The app was issued by Jimmy Hickey of Shadow Inc., metadata of the program that the Des Moines Register analyzed Tuesday shows. Gerard Niemira and Krista Davis, who worked for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, co-founded Shadow. Company officials did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment. But a short time after the Des Moines Register published a story revealing the link, the company tweeted an apology. “We sincerely regret the delay in the reporting of the results of last night’s Iowa caucuses and the uncertainty it has caused to the candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers,” Shadow’s message said. Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price worked as Clinton’s 2016 Iowa political director. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday about the relationship between the party and Shadow, which it paid $63,184 for website development and travel expenses, according to reports filed with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board. Price on Tuesday morning issued a statement saying that because of a coding problem, the app reported only partial data. “We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system,” Price said. “This issue was identified and fixed. The application’s reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately.”

PELOSI TEARS TRUMP SPEECH IN HALF AFTER HE HANDS IT TO HER: He boasted that his accomplishments were like nothing ever seen before, promoted divisive policies — even prompting audible boos at points — and added reality-show flourishes to the speech he delivered in the historic House chamber. He goaded the Democrats, began the evening with an apparent snub of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and offered a boastful accounting of the previous three years that could easily double as the campaign promises he plans to deploy in the coming one. And if Trump at least made a listless effort to channel some of the presidency’s soaring rhetorical rhythms, the lawmakers in the ornate chamber didn’t even pretend to try to rise above the bitter partisanship that has riven the presidency, Congress and the nation. Republicans cheered divisive lines, some Democrats walked out while Trump spoke, and Pelosi punctuated the night by tearing up the president’s speech while standing over his left shoulder as he wrapped up his remarks.

PETE LEADS BERNIE BY A WHISKER IN IOWA, 71 PERCENT OF PRECINCTS HAVE REPORTED: New Iowa caucus results released late Tuesday night showed Pete Buttigieg continuing to lead the Democratic field, just ahead of Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren remained in third place, and Joe Biden was a distant fourth. Seventy-one percent of precincts have now reported results. The percentages remain virtually unchanged from the results released earlier in the day. Mr. Buttigieg has 26.8 percent of state delegate equivalents, Mr. Sanders has 25.2 percent, Ms. Warren 18.4 percent, Mr. Biden 15.4 percent and Senator Amy Klobuchar 12.6 percent. No further results are expected overnight. It is not clear when the rest of the caucus results will be released, or if the full results would alter the current standings of the candidates. The 71 percent of precincts counted so far are relatively representative of the state, but the margin between Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders is unusually slim. The Associated Press declared late Tuesday that the race remained too early to call.