Donald Shaw

Donald Shaw is a money-in-politics reporter and a co-founder of Sludge.

Recent Articles

Will Senator Reed Stand Up to His Defense Donors on Yemen?

Jack Reed’s campaigns and leadership PAC have taken $362,400 from four defense contractors that have sold 90% of the American weapons bought by Saudi Arabia. Now he has a key role in negotiations around banning the companies’ Saudi sales.

Sludge produces investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics. The American Prospect is re-publishing this article. In the coming weeks, lawmakers who oppose America’s involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen have a chance to attach measures withdrawing American assistance to a “must-pass” bill authorizing the military budget. Activists are calling on Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, to make sure it happens. But will he, given his decades of campaign donations from the defense contractors who are profiting the most from the Yemen war? Members of the armed services committees in the Senate and House will soon convene a conference committee to iron out differences in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes military spending and establishes military policies. The version passed by the House contains language suspending sales and transfers of precision guided munitions to Saudi Arabia...

As It Cultivates a Socially Responsible Image, Juul Sends Lobbyist to ALEC’s Annual Meeting

Juul says it wants to “make a meaningful, positive impact on our communities,” but by participating in the influential right-wing state legislative lobby it is working with a group that helps corporations violate the public interest.

Seth Wenig/Associated Press Vape manufacturer Juul and the company’s part-owner Altria sent lobbyists and government affairs employees to ALEC’s annual meeting. Their attendance coincides with a federal effort to undermine anti-tobacco regulation in the states. Sludge produces investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics. The American Prospect is re-publishing this article. Juul, the Silicon Valley vape start-up that is popular among millennials, is participating in a secretive right-wing group that helps corporations and interest groups push their agendas in the states. The company sent lobbyist Mark Bordas to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual meeting that was held last week in Austin, Texas, according to a list of attendees obtained and published by investigative news site Documented. At the meeting, lobbyists like Bordas drafted and voted on model bills that they will ask state legislators who are members of ALEC to introduce...

Representative Gottheimer Asks Regulators to Deregulate Banks He’s Invested In

At the behest of a big-bank trade group, Gottheimer rallied 16 of his fellow Democrats to join him in urging financial regulators to gut a provision of Dodd-Frank that protects insured depository institutions from risky trading.

Big Wall Street banks are on a mission to reverse a section of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that requires them to post collateral when making internal derivatives transactions among their affiliates and subsidiaries. Congressional Republicans have supported the banks’ efforts for several years. Now a key House Democrat has taken up their cause. Financial Services Committee member Representative Josh Gottheimer has begun urging regulators to act on the matter, spearheading a letter that asks them to take “quick action” to repeal the requirement. The letter, which is co-signed by 16 other Democrats, was drafted and circulated by Gottheimer’s office, according to a source familiar with the matter. Gottheimer’s letter is the result of a lobbying campaign by the Financial Services Forum, a trade group comprised of the CEOs of eight of the largest U.S. banks , according to a report from Bloomberg. Gottheimer’s staff did not respond when asked by...

How Medicare for All Became a Dirty Word

Richard Neal’s recent contributors include multiple companies represented in anti-Medicare for All lobbying group the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future.

Sludge produces investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics. The American Prospect is re-publishing this article. The House Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing today on Medicare for All, but its chairman, Representative Richard Neal, suddenly changed the focus of the hearing and instructed his Democratic colleagues to not even mention the term. Instead of focusing on the proposal to establish a single-payer universal health care system, the hearing now covers all options for making health coverage universally accessible, including tweaks to the Affordable Care Act. Since taking his powerful chairmanship at the start of the current legislative session, Neal, a longtime skeptic of Medicare for All , has raked in tens of thousands of dollars from health care industry interests. Neal received $61,800 from PACs and individuals affiliated with health care interests from January 1, 2019, to March 31, 2019, Sludge ’s review of the most recent Federal...

McConnell’s Tobacco 21 Bill Exposes States to Big Tobacco’s Wishlist

McConnell has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the tobacco industry, and some of his former staffers now lobby for tobacco giant Altria.

Seth Wenig/AP Photo
Seth Wenig/AP Photo A Juul electronic cigarette starter kit at a smoke shop in New York Sludge produces investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics. The American Prospect is re-publishing this article. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a so-called Tobacco 21 bill to raise the federal minimum age for buying tobacco products, including vaping products, from 18 to 21. The legislation does not include preemption of state regulations or other industry-friendly measures, but it requires states to take follow-up actions that could give the tobacco industry a chance to flex its lobbying muscle and enact its regulatory wishes in states across the country. Tucked into the bill is an update to a 1992 law, the Synar Amendment, that requires states to enact and enforce their own laws prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco products to people under the age of 18. The McConnell bill, which is co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of...