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Wounded vet with Tucson ties pleads guilty in 'private border wall' scheme

Brian Kolfage, a former Tucsonan and wounded Air Force veteran who led a failed effort to raise millions of dollars to build a privately funded wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Thursday. ... Read more»

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The low-and-slow approach to food safety reform keeps going up in smoke

For more than 70 years, consumer advocates, government experts, members of Congress and several presidents have called for a single food safety agency - but the idea has stalled again and again, easy to propose but all but impossible to enact.... Read more»

FactCheck

Republicans inflate cost of Taliban-seized U.S. military equipment

The Taliban seized an arsenal of U.S.-made military equipment, but not the grossly exaggerated figure of $85 billion worth of equipment numerous Republicans have claimed - that figure is the total amount spent on the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund since the war began in 2001.... Read more»

Education Department will forgive $5.8 billion in student loans for disabled borrowers

A troubled Education Department program left many disabled borrowers unable to escape crushing debt, and finally, a decade after ProPublica exposed the issue, the US has taken a major step to address the program’s defects. ... Read more»

ICE to limit detention of pregnant women in reversal of Trump-era rule

Under a July 1 directive signed by ICE's acting Director Tae Johnson, immigration officials will no longer detain, arrest, or take into custody those who are pregnant or nursing unless their release is prohibited by law or "exceptional circumstances".... Read more»

Spurred by Grijalva, federal watchdog to review Trump's border wall construction

At the urging of U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the GAO is launching a review the impact of border wall construction under the Trump administration. DHS "blatantly abused its sweeping and potentially unconstitutional authority" to waive environmental laws, he said. ... Read more»

Factchecking Biden’s prime-time address on COVID relief

In his remarks to the nation after signing the latest COVID-19 relief legislation, President Joe Biden stretched the facts, particularly when boasting of the increase in vaccinations on his watch.... Read more»

GAO: Pentagon estimates of border duty costs, impact were unreliable

The Pentagon did not have reliable estimates for the cost of its work supporting Homeland Security efforts on the southwestern border and did not assess the impact of those efforts on military readiness, a new report says. The report by the Government Accountability Office also chided the Defense Department for failing to fully report its border costs to Congress in 2019, and said the Pentagon and Homeland Security need to come to an agreement on the level of long-term support.... Read more»

Why we can’t make vaccine doses any faster

President Biden has promised enough doses for all American adults by this summer. There’s not much even the Defense Production Act can do to deliver doses before then. “It’s not like making shoes,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. ... Read more»

Biden ends 2 Trump programs designed to limit asylum-seekers

President Biden has ended a pair of Trump-era programs that forced asylum-seekers to remain in custody while awaiting a hearing. Advocates had pushed to halt the PACR and HARP programs, calling them among Trump's "most horrific attacks on America’s long tradition of asylum." ... Read more»

Wolf quits as Homeland Security chief after judge's order over asylum claims

Recent court rulings over the validity of Chad Wolf's tenure as the head of Homeland Security, including a series of policies designed to clamp down on asylum along the U.S.-Mexico border, have forced the acting secretary to resign. ... Read more»

FCC grants no-cost broadband spectrum licenses to 11 Arizona tribes

The Federal Communications Commission has granted broadband spectrum licenses to 11 Arizona tribes in what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called “a major step forward in our efforts to close the digital divide on Tribal lands.”... Read more»

Air Trump: Cost of trips to campaign events still hard to pin down

Government watchdog groups say they have not been able to get a full accounting of the expenses related to the president’s use of Air Force One, despite years of trying.... Read more»

Records show Trump’s border wall is costing taxpayers billions more than initial contracts

As the presidential election nears, a review of federal spending data found modifications to contracts have increased the price of the border wall by billions, costing about five times more per mile than it did under previous administrations.... Read more»

Federal judge suspicious of Trump officials hiking immigration fees

Fees paid by immigrants applying for asylum, work permits and U.S. citizenship will skyrocket next month, advocates warned in Washington Thursday, arguing the increases are unlawful because the two federal officials who signed off on the hikes were not Senate confirmed. ... Read more»

'OGs' for Trump with Tucson ties indicted for 'private border wall' fraud

Former Tucsonan Brian Kolfage and ex-White House advisor Stephen Bannon of "We Build the Wall," a group that raised millions to build private walls along the U.S.-Mexico border, were indicted for fraud, allegedly using donations to line their own pockets.... Read more»

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