Posts tagged with "The Washington Post"

Democrats ponder dumping Iowa’s caucuses as the first presidential vote

October 12, 2021

President Biden is not a big fan. Former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez is openly opposed. And elsewhere in the Democratic inner sanctum, disdain for Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucus has been rising for years, The Washington Post reports.

Now the day of reckoning for Iowa Democrats is fast approaching, as the DNC starts to create a new calendar for the 2024 presidential nomination that could remove Iowa from its privileged position for the first time since 1972, when candidates started flocking to the state for an early jump on the race to the White House.

According to the Post, the caucuses’ reputation has been damaged a number of factors—among them:

  • High barriers to participation,
  • A dearth of racial diversity,
  • The rightward drift in the state’s electorate, and
  • A leftward drift in the Democratic participants.

The Iowa state party’s inability to count the results in 2020 only deepened dismay in the party.

Biden, who handily won the party’s nomination in 2020, noted the lack of diversity in the caucus during the campaign—“It is what it is,” he said of the calendar—and called his fourth-place finish in the state a “gut punch.”

“We have to be honest with ourselves, and Iowa is not representative of America,” Perez said Friday in an interview with the Post. “We need a primary process that is reflective of today’s demographics in the Democratic Party.”

Others in Biden’s extended orbit have come to similar conclusions about the caucuses, for varied reasons.

“It is not suited to normal people, people that actually have daily lives,” South Carolina State Senator Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of that state’s Democratic Party and a longtime Biden ally, said of the caucuses. He described the laborious process of participating, over multiple hours, in person, on a weeknight, as far more restrictive than the requirements of a new voter law in Texas that Democrats universally oppose.

“I just think the caucus process as it exists in Iowa is not suitable in 21st-century America,” he said.

Those views are broadly held among party officers, even though Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, a former South Carolina party chair, says no decisions have been made. He intends to “let the process play out,” according to a statement to the Post. That process will be controlled by Biden and a small group of his allies, following the party’s tradition of granting the sitting president control over party decisions.

The first step took place Saturday, when the party met to accept a slate of at-large members and committee assignments that had been put forward by senior Democratic officials, in consultation with Biden aides. The number coming from Delaware, Biden’s home state, will bump to five from one; and the number of members from Washington, D.C., will rise from 15 to 20, which has angered some state parties that are losing representation.

A subgroup of those members, who sit on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, also were be confirmed. That group, little changed from the past cycle, has been charged with setting the calendar, with an expected decision as soon as the first half of next year, according to people involved.

“Given the unrepresentative nature of the electorate, the caucus procedures that make it virtually impossible for many people to participate, and the disaster in reporting this year, it’s hard to see how anyone can make the case for keeping it first with a straight face,” said one Democratic strategist involved in the calendar conversations, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private deliberations.

Another Democrat put Iowa’s situation in even more stark terms: “Iowa had no friends before the 2020 race, or it had very few friends. And it certainly doesn’t have any friends after the 202o race.”

In 2020, the Iowa caucuses kicked off the presidential nominating contest on February 3, after enjoying months of bus tours and advertising attention from the candidates. New Hampshire held the first primary on February11; followed by two more racially diverse states:  a caucus in Nevada and a primary in South Carolina.

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price said on February 7, 2020, that he had

Leaders in Nevada, with the support of former Senate majority leader Harry M. Reid (D), recently changed state law to transition from a caucus to a primary and schedule the date on the first Tuesday in February in a bid to increase the state’s importance.

Representative James E. Clyburn (D-South Carolina), a longtime Biden ally, has like Reid been critical of the demographics of New Hampshire and Iowa. Ninety-one percent of Democratic caucus goers in Iowa were White in 2020, according to entry polls.

Among the possible solutions is a party ban on allowing convention delegates to be nominated in any early caucuses in the 2024 cycle. Perez has advocated allowing multiple states, possibly including South Carolina, Nevada and New Hampshire, to vote on the same day, forcing campaigns to split their early campaign resources more broadly in the early parts of their campaign.

There remains broad concern about giving larger states too much say in the party’s decision, as Democrats say they do want to allow for a process that encourages meeting with voters and gives less-well-funded or known candidates a chance to win on their merits.

“Iowa’s position is really in danger. On the other hand, I have got to say, when you look at the early states, you can’t have a big state. You don’t want people to be priced out,” said Jeff Weaver, a presidential campaign adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). “With California, Texas, Florida and New York as the first four, you would know who the nominee is before you even started.”

None of that means pushing Iowa to the side will be easy. Attempts by DNC commissions in 1978 and 1981 to change the date of the Iowa caucuses ultimately failed.

state law in Iowa requires the parties to hold their nominating caucuses at least eight days before any other state caucus or primary, and the state law in New Hampshire requires that its primary be at least a week before any other state. Republicans, who control government in both states, have made it clear that they plan to stick to tradition for their party in 2024.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Draft report of Arizona sham audit confirms Biden’s win over Trump

September27, 2021

A draft report of a partisan audit of the 2020 presidential election results commissioned by Arizona State Senate Republicans confirms President Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county—by a larger margin than election results documented, The Arizona Republic first reported Thursday, September 23.

According to HuffPost, the county confirmed the conclusion on Twitter but did not release the text of the three-volume report, led by contractor Cyber Ninjas. Instead, it slammed the report as being

What’s more, not only did the draft report fail to show that the election was “stolen” from Trump, as he has falsely claimed for many months, but it also showed that Biden actually won by a larger margin than the official election results showed, according to The New York Times.

The draft report shows that 99 additional votes were cast for Biden and 261 fewer votes were cast for Trump in Arizona’s largest county, per the Times. 

The official results were set to be presented to the Arizona state Senate on Friday afternoon. Multiple early versions of the report circulated ahead of time and were obtained by various media outlets, also including The Washington Post and Politico.

Maricopa County Board Chair Jack Sellers said in a statement that the results of the draft report demonstrate that the tabulation equipment counted the ballots as they were designed to do. He slammed the audit process.

“I hope those holding on to their anger for the past 10 months will see the truth and put their energy into supporting the democratic process instead of tearing it down,” he said.

On Thursday night, Trump shared a statement ahead of the draft report’s release.

“Everybody will be watching Arizona tomorrow to see what the highly respected auditors and Arizona State Senate found out regarding the so-called Election!” he said.

Even some Republicans who initially backed the “audit” have come to regret it.

“It makes us look like idiots,” State Senator Paul Boyer of suburban Phoenix said in May. “I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

House Democrats outline tax increases for wealthy businesses and individuals

Sseptember 14, 2021

Senior House Democrats are coalescing around a draft proposal that could raise as much as $2.9 trillion to pay for most of President Joe Biden’s sweeping expansion of the social safety net by increasing taxes on the wealthiest corporations and individuals, The New York Times reports.

The preliminary proposal, which circulated on and off Capitol Hill on Sunday, September 12, would raise the corporate tax rate to 26.5 percent for the richest businesses and impose an additional surtax on individuals who make more than $5 million.

The plan could be a critical step for advancing the $3.5 trillion package, which is expected to include federally funded paid family leave, address climate change and expand public education.

But the revenue provisions outlined in a document obtained by The New York Times and reported earlier by The Washington Post fall short of fully financing the entire package Democrats are cobbling together, despite promises by Biden and Democratic leaders that it would be fully paid for in order to assuage concerns from moderates in their caucus.

Still, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates was cheerful about its prospects— commenting that the outline “makes significant progress toward ensuring our economy rewards work and not just wealth by cutting taxes for middle-class families, reforming the tax code to prevent the offshoring of American jobs and making sure the wealthiest Americans and big corporations pay their fair share.”

Specifically, the proposal would raise the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21% for businesses that report more than $5 million in income. The corporate tax rate would be lowered to 18% for small businesses that make less than $400,000; and would remain at 2% for all other businesses. The president originally had proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, a larger increase that both corporations and moderate Democrats have resisted.

To help raise what the draft’s authors estimate could be $900 billion in taxes on corporations, Democrats suggest additional changes to the tax code that are intended to bolster a global push to set minimum taxes for corporate income and crack down on multinational companies shifting profits to tax havens, a process that the administration is championing abroad.

According to the Times, House Democrats also are considering an increase to the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6% from 37% for households that report taxable income over $450,000 and for unmarried individuals who report more than $400,000. For people who make more than $5 million, the proposal would impose a 3% surtax, which is expected to raise $127 billion.

It also increases the top tax rate for capital gains—the proceeds from selling an asset like a boat or stocks to 25% from 20%. Biden essentially had proposed doubling that tax rate. The proposal also would provide $80 billion over the next ten years for the Internal Revenue Service to beef up tax enforcement, a provision that budget scorekeepers estimate would raise $200 billion.

And while Bates, the White House spokesperson, said that the draft outline adhered to Biden’s pledge to avoid raising taxes on Americans who make less than $400,000, the document suggests increasing the tax rate for tobacco products and imposing a tax on other products that use nicotine, such as e-cigarettes. That provision is expected to raise $96 billion.

The document also outlines the possible inclusion of drug pricing provisions and changes in tax rules to “treat cryptocurrency the same as other financial instruments.”

The full House tax-writing committee still needs to release and advance text of the legislation, and it is unclear if a sufficient number of Democrats will embrace the package in the House and the Senate. In order to protect the economic package from a Republican filibuster and pass it with a simple majority, Democrats can spare only three votes in the House and must remain united in the Senate.

Research contact: @nytimes

Washington Post publisher asks White House to help evacuate 204 journalists, staff, families from Kabul

August 18, 2021

Three top U.S. newspapers—The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal— are seeking help from the Biden Administration in getting their staffs and their families out of Kabul following the Taliban’s takeover of the capital of Afghanistan, CNN reports.

The Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan emailed White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday, August 16, with an “urgent request on behalf of” his paper, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ryan asked to have the publications’ “204 journalists, support staff and families transported by U.S. Military from the civilian side of the Kabul airport to the military side of the airport where they can be safe as they await evacuation flights.”

“They are currently in danger and need the US government to get them to safety,” Ryan wrote. “Please advise as to how best to proceed.”

Later in the day, The Times published a separate group statement—signed by the publishers of each of the three papers and addressed specifically to Biden. The statement asks the President for protected access for their Afghan colleagues to a US-controlled airport, safe passage through a protected access gate and facilitated air movement out of Afghanistan.

Satellite images have shown significant crowds of people and traffic jams near the Kabul International Airport and at the tarmac. Witnesses at Hamid Karzai International Airport told CNN that thousands of people were there hoping to board flights out of the country.

Almar Latour, CEO of Dow Jones and Company and publisher of The Journal, echoed the urgency of Ryan’s plea for help in a statement to CNN.

“We can’t overemphasize the urgency of the situation,” Latour said. “Right now we are focused on seeking safe passage for our Afghan colleagues and their families who even now are bearing witness to events on the ground. We need the immediate support of the US government in bringing them to safety.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ Executive Director Joel Simon recently made a case for helping the Afghan journalists “who do the lion’s share of the reporting for international news organizations, which have shrunk their bureaus as the American presence has diminished.”

“[U]nless the U.S. government intervenes to bring them to safety, an entire generation of reporters will be lost,” Simon wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post last week.

Last month, the CPJ and US media organizations asked the Biden Administration for humanitarian assistance and emergency visas for Afghan journalists. Signers of that July 20 letter included The Post, The Journal’s parent company Dow Jones; and The Times, as well as CNN.

The National Security Council and the White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment. Biden said in a speech from the White House East Room Monday that the United States is “expanding refugee access to cover other vulnerable Afghans who worked for our embassy, US non-government agencies, or US non-governmental organizations and Afghans who otherwise are at great risk in US news agencies.

Research contact: @CNN

Ex-U.S. attorney reportedly testifies, ‘I quit before Trump could fire me for denying election fraud claims’

August 12, 2021

During closed-door testimony on Wednesday, August  11, Byung J. Pak, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he resigned abruptly last January after being told that then-President Donald Trump was going to fire him for refusing to say there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia, a person familiar with the testimony told The New York Times.

Pak said the warning came on January 3 from top Justice Department officials who relayed that Trump wasn’t happy when Pak announced he had investigated Trump’s claims of voter fraud in Fulton County and found no evidence, the Times notes.

Rather than be publicly fired, Pak wrote a letter of resignation on January 4—stating that he did his best “to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice for my fellow citizens in a fair, effective, and efficient manner,” The Week reports.

On anuary 3, audio was leaked to The Washington Post of a January 2 phone call Trump had with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), during which Trump asked Raffensperger to find the number of votes needed to overturn the state’s election results and deliver him a victory.  During the call, Trump made a reference to “your never-Trumper U.S. attorney there.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating the last weeks of the Trump presidency and pressure his administration put on the Justice Department to falsely claim the election was stolen. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters that Pak “answered all questions in a seemingly honest and candid way, and my impression is that he believes in the rule of law and that he stood up for it.”

The WeeResearch contact: @TheWeek

Richard Branson prepares to blast off with Virgin Galactic … and beat Jeff Bezos to the edge of space

July 12, 2021

Over the years, brash British billionaire Richard Branson has embarked on all sorts of wild adventures, from the dangerously ill-conceived to the merely zany—from attempting a powerboat speed record across the English Channel in seas so choppy it “was like being strapped to the blade of a vast pneumatic drill,” as he wrote in his memoir; to crossing the Pacific Ocean in a hot-air balloon and crashing on a frozen lake in Canada, The Washington Post reports.

Now, the one-man publicity circus—still very much alive and kicking at age 70—is preparing for what would be the biggest stunt of all: A rollicking ride to the edge of space in the spaceplane developed by Virgin Galactic—the venture he founded in 2004 that he vowed would become the world’s first “commercial spaceline.”

Virgin Galactic announced this week that Stephen Colbert would host the live-stream broadcast of the event—now scheduled for Sunday, July 11, although weather and last-minute technical problems could force a delay.

And the company also intends to use Branson’s flight as a catalyst to reopen ticket sales for its space tourism business, the Post reports. It had previously cost $250,000 for the flight, which would allow passengers to experience a few minutes of weightlessness. But when the tickets go back on sale, the price is expected to jump to about $500,000, according to analysts.

Like Branson’s previous exploits, the flight from Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America in New Mexico will be as much theater as adventure, designed to sell tickets as well as to celebrate the commercialization of human space exploration. But that is to be expected from the man who made his start by signing the Sex Pistols to his record label and who’s lived by the motto, “screw it, let’s do it.”

The company had planned to fly a test flight with four crew members in the cabin, and then fly Branson. But after Jeff Bezos announced he would fly on his company’s spacecraft to the edge of space on July 20, Branson jumped the line and said he would board Virgin Galactic’s next space flight and — conditions permittingbeat Bezos by nine days.

In making the announcement, Branson simultaneously reveled in the attention it generated while downplaying any competition. He told The Washington Post, which Bezos owns, “I completely understand why the press would write that.” He added that it was just “an incredible, wonderful coincidence that we’re going up in the same month.”

But when asked about a rivalry with Bezos on CNBC, he couldn’t help himself, saying, “Jeff who?”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Trump Organization attorneys have until end-of-day June 28 to persuade prosecutors not to file charges

June 29, 2021

Prosecutors in New York have given former President Donald Trump’s attorneys a deadline of Monday afternoon, June 28, to make their final arguments as to why the Trump Organization should not face criminal charges over its financial dealings, according to two people familiar with the matter, The Washington Post reports.

That deadline is a strong signal that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D)—now working together, after each has spent more than two years investigating Trump’s business—are considering criminal charges against the company as an entity.

Earlier this year, Vance convened a grand jury in Manhattan to consider indictments in the investigation. No entity or individual has been charged in the investigations thus far, and it remains possible that no charges will be filed, the Post says.

Prosecutors have shown interest in whether Trump’s company used misleading valuations of its properties to deceive lenders and taxing authorities, and in whether taxes were paid on fringe benefits for company executives, according to court documents and people familiar with the investigations.

The two people familiar with the deadline set for Trump’s attorneys spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations. Under New York law, prosecutors may file charges against corporations in addition to individuals.

Last Thursday, lawyers working for Trump personally and for the Trump Organization met virtually with prosecutors to make the case that charges were not warranted. Meetings like these are common in financial investigations. The Post notes—allowing defense attorneys a chance to present evidence before prosecutors make a decision on whether to seek charges.

Thursday’s meeting was first reported by The New York Times. Spokespeople for Vance and James declined to comment on Sunday, as did an attorney for Trump, Ronald Fischetti, and an attorney for the Trump Organization, Alan Futerfas.

People familiar with the probe confirmed to The Washington Post that prosecutors were looking at charging the Trump Organization as an entity, as well as Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, following Weisselberg’s refusal to assist in the investigation.

Trump—who on June 26 kicked off a planned series of rallies to boost his and favored Republicans’ future election prospects—still owns his businesses through a trust managed by his adult sons and Weisselberg. He gave up day-to-day management of the company while in the White House, but it is unclear what role he plays in the company’s operations now.

Last month, Trump called the investigations a “witch hunt” run by Democrats seeking to damage his future political prospects.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Justice Department official to step down amid uproar over leaks inquiry

June 15, 2021

John Demers, the Trump-appointed head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, is expected to step down at the end of next week, according to a person familiar with the matter—a departure that was arranged months ago, but that now comes amid widespread backlash over DOJ investigations into leaks of classified information that began under the administration of the former president, The New York Times reports.

Demers is the longest-serving Senate-confirmed official from the Trump Administration to remain at the Justice Department during the Biden presidency.

John Carlin, the second in command in the deputy attorney general’s office—who, himself, left the agency in April—had before his own departure asked Demers to remain at the department, according to the person. Lisa O. Monaco had just been confirmed to serve as the deputy attorney general, and the three officials had a long history of working together on sensitive national security cases.

In response, Demers asked to leave by summer, and the two men eventually agreed that he would stay on through June 25, the Times’ source said.

But , the Times notes, Demers’s departure also comes as Democrats and First Amendment advocates have attacked the Justice Department following revelations that prosecutors supervised by Demers seized the records of reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN and of classified information.

The department’s inspector general announced an investigation on Friday into the matter.

While it is common for the Justice Department to try to find out who shared classified information with the media, it is highly unusual to secretly gather records from the press and lawmakers. The prosecutors also prevented the lawyers and executives of the Times and CNN from disclosing that records had been taken, even to their newsroom leaders, another highly aggressive step.

Such moves require signoff by the attorney general. But. Demers and his top counterintelligence deputies in the division would typically be briefed and updated on those efforts.

Much of the spotlight on national security cases during Demers’ three-year run focused instead on the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller, III, who ran the Russia investigation, the Justice Department’s highest profile and politically fraught national security matter.

But Demers’s ability to skirt controversy ended in recent weeks as the revelations about reporters’ record seizures and the gag orders came to light.

Justice Department officials say that all appropriate approvals were given for those orders, meaning that the attorney general at the time, not Demers, signed off.

Former Attorney General William P. Barr approved the decision to seize records from CNN and The Washington Post in 2020, people with knowledge of the leak investigations have said. But it is unclear who approved the request for email records from Google that belonged to Times reporters. The request was filed with a court days after Barr left,although he could have signed off on it before leaving.

A Justice Department spokeperson declined last week to identify whether Barr or his successor, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, approved that move.

Leak investigators in 2018 also obtained data from Microsoft and Apple that belonged to Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, including Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California. Mr. Schiff is now the panel’s chairman.

In those instances, the Justice Department also told the technology companies not to inform customers about the subpoenas until recently.

The data was collected and the gag orders were imposed on the tech companies weeks before Demers was confirmed to lead the National Security Division.

Still, some Democrats demanded answers about what he knew about the leak cases. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, called on Demers on Sunday, June 13,  to testify before Congress.

Research contact: @nytimes

After defeating voting restriction bill, Texas Dems send loud and clear message: ‘We need Congress to do their part’

June 2, 2021

Texas Democrats who defeated a Republican effort to pass a suite of new voting restrictions with a dramatic late-night walkout from the state House chamber on Sunday, May 31, have a message for President Biden and his allies in Congress: If we can protect voting rights, you can, too.

The surprise walkout by roughly 60 Democratic lawmakers headed off the expected passage of S.B. 7— a voting measure that would have been one of the most stringent in the nation—by denying Republicans a required quorum and forcing them to abruptly adjourn without taking a vote, The Washington Post reports.

The coordinated Democratic exit just after 10:30 p.m. Central time jolted the national debate on voting rights—putting the spotlight on Democratic-backed federal legislation that has been stalled in the Senate all spring, even as state Republicans move to enact new voting rules.

“We knew today, with the eyes of the nation watching action in Austin, that we needed to send a message,” state Representative Trey Martinez Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat, said at a news conference held at a historically Black church in Austin early Monday, shortly after he and other lawmakers left the state Capitol. “And that message is very, very clear: Mr. President, we need a national response to federal voting rights.”

Republicans control every branch of Texas government and hold firm majorities in both the House and Senate, the Post notes.

Thus, while Governor Greg Abbott (R) vowed late Sunday to bring the voting measure back at a special legislative session for redistricting later this year—and threatened to defund the legislature in a tweet on Monday—the walkout represented an unmistakable and shocking defeat for Republican leaders who had assumed the bill would pass ahead of the House’s midnight deadline to finish its 2021 business.

It failed to do so because Texas Democrats resolved early in the day to use every tool at their disposal to block a bill they say would have made it harder for Texans to vote —particularly Black and Latino voters who embraced early-voting methods that would have been banned under the measure.

However, the Post said, the move came at a price—forcing Democrats to walk away from pieces of legislation addressing police force and bail reform, among others, that some had hoped to pass Sunday.

After taking their stand, the state Democrats said they want allies elsewhere in the country to seize the moment and show the same kind of resolve—particularly in Washington, where Democrats control the presidency and both chambers of Congress;  yet are struggling to pave the way for two major pieces of voting legislation: the For the People Act, a sprawling overhaul of federal elections, ethics and campaign finance law; and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would reauthorize the seminal 1965 Voting Rights Act by giving the federal government fresh power to police jurisdictions with histories of racial discrimination in voting administration.

“We did our part to stop SB 7,” tweeted state Representative Erin Zwiener (D). “Now we need Congress to do their part.”

“State lawmakers are holding the line,” tweeted state Rep. James Talarico (D). “Federal lawmakers need to get their s— together and pass the For The People Act.”

In an interview with the Post, Martinez Fischer said that national leaders need to rise to the occasion.

“Breaking quorum is about the equivalent of crawling on our knees begging the president and the United States Congress to give us the For the People Act and give us the John Lewis Voting Rights Act,” he said.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Work halted again at Amazon construction site after eighth noose is found

May 28, 2021

Work was suspended for the second time in as many weeks on May 26, after another noose—the eighth in just one month—was discovered at an Amazon warehouse under construction in northern Connecticut, The Washington Post reports.

The noose was found at the Windsor work site in Hartford County, Connecticut, on Wednesday—one day after work resumed from the last stoppage. The discovery occurred after security was upgraded and a few hours before NAACP representatives arrived to interview workers about previous incidents. The noose, made of red rope, was found in some yellow electrical cables.

“This is ridiculous,” Scot X Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP, told The Washington Post on Wednesday. “We told them to take this seriously, and they’re trying to water it down. This is pretty bad.”

The FBI and Connecticut State Police are assisting the Windsor Police Department with the investigation of the incidents, which are being treated as hate crimes.

Amazon is offering a $100,000 reward for information that helps identify the responsible party. The company did not immediately respond to a request from the Post for comment. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post)

Cameras had been installed during the shutdown, Windsor Police Chief Donald Melanson said at a Wednesday news conference, according to the Hartford Courant, but do not cover the entire 3.6 million-square-foot site.

Windsor police officers had been patrolling the site when the seventh noose was discovered on May 19, the department said in a news release. Employees in the area were interviewed, and the rope was taken to a state lab for analysis. The work site had no surveillance cameras at the time.

At an unrelated news conference Wednesday, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont called the nooses “racist provocation of the worst type,” according to the Hartford Courant.

Work on the Amazon facility in Windsor began late last year and is supposed to be completed by late this year. Amazon has said that the center will create 1,000 jobs in the next two years and that employees will be paid $15 per hour plus benefits.

Research contact: @washingtonpost