Zachary Roth

Zachary Roth is a former national reporter for MSNBC and the author of The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy (Crown, 2016). He has written for The Atlantic, The New Republic, Slate, Politico, and The Daily Beast, among others, and is the founder of The Daily Democracy.

Articles by Zachary

Late last week, right-wing media outed the FBI informant who in 2016 talked to Trump campaign officials as part of the bureau’s efforts to learn about the campaign’s ties with Russia. That’s likely to hurt the bureau’s ability to recruit sources, especially those with access to information about the right.

But if anything, the fallout from the news has been even more damaging.

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Under the Trump administration, the State Department took veteran career officials who were working on key issues like closing Gitmo and resettling refugees, and reassigned them to process FOIA requests.

Democrats have been asking questions about the reassignments for months. And now, Alice Ollstein reports exclusively, the State Department IG office has said it’s investigating the issue.

In 2015, the Time magazine writer Joe Klein published his latest book, “Charlie Mike.” Named for the military slang meaning “Continue Mission,” it follows the efforts of a group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as they build a charity designed to help their fellow vets keep serving their country as volunteers.

The book’s central character is the charity’s founder, a former Navy SEAL named Eric Greitens, who Klein portrays as a kind of paragon of warrior-scholar virtue: physically brave, determined, and rugged, but also humble, loyal, morally upright, intellectually curious, and rigorously self-sacrificing — constantly pushing himself to do more in his quest to make the world better.  

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At a rally in Indiana Thursday night, Donald Trump mused about getting an “extension” on his presidency.

Recounting how he was told that the new U.S. embassy in London wouldn’t open for five to ten years, Trump said:

So unless they give me an extension for the presidency — which I do not think the Fake News media would be too happy about. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Actually, they would be happy, because when I am not here their ratings are going to sink. So they would probably be very happy.

The crowd roared with delight.

Like the online alt-right, Trump likes to preserve some deniability by floating these kinds of anti-democratic ideas as if they’re jokes. But there’s clearly a deadly serious goal: to slowly introduce ideas once considered beyond the pale into the mainstream conversation, or at least closer to it.

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With the next round of redistricting approaching after the 2020 Census, we’re seeing powerful movements in a number of states to end gerrymandering and ensure districts are drawn more fairly.

So it’s no surprise, as Allegra Kirkland reports, that the GOP is mobilizing to protect their right to rig the maps.

We recently wrote about Todd Entrekin, the Alabama sheriff accused of taking over $750,000 for inmates’ food and using it to buy a beach-house.

But when it comes to abuses of power, another sheriff in the state is giving Entrekin a run for his money. Ana Franklin took $160,000 also meant for inmates’ food and invested it in a sketchy used-car lot. She hasn’t accounted for an additional tens of thousands of dollars she said went to charity. And when a local blogger exposed her, she had the blogger’s source arrested.

Allegra Kirkland has the crazy details.

Last year, the Missouri ethics commission investigated how Gov. Eric Greitens came to possess a donor list from a veterans’ charity he founded. If Greitens took the list, it would be a major campaign finance violation. Greitens, a Republican elected in 2016, swore in a consent decree with the commission that his campaign got the list via an in-kind contribution from its campaign manager, Danny Laub.

But now, Laub has testified that Greitens was lying about that. And Laub says he was duped by Greitens’ team into taking the fall. As we already knew, it looks like Greitens himself directed someone to send the list to the campaign. Allegra Kirkland has all the details.

But that’s not all…

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When the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs abruptly quit after just six months on the job, BIA didn’t give an explanation. Now, Alice Ollstein exclusively reports that a BIA employee claimed the director, Bryan Rice, acted in an aggressive and intimidating manner towards her, and called him “an insidious perpetrator of harassment.” She’s urging supporters to use the FOIA process to get security camera footage of the incident.

In April 2013, I traveled to San Antonio to meet Nicole and Victoria Rodriguez. Twin sisters and college students, they had come close to being disenfranchised in the previous year’s election by Texas’s strict voter ID law. The law, a version of which was upheld by a federal appeals court Friday, had originally been passed in 2011 amid a climate of alarm about the state’s soaring Hispanic population and its potential to upend the dominance of white Republicans.

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Late on Election Night 2016, as it was becoming clear that Donald Trump was likely to win the White House despite losing the popular vote, I tried to take my mind off the unfolding disaster by calling John Koza.

Koza’s the founder of the National Popular Vote (NPV) compact. Launched in response to the 2000 election, which similarly was won by the popular vote loser, NPV is an effort to sideline the Electoral College by getting states to pass legislation pledging to award their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.

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