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The Swamp

Massachusetts Secretary of State Facing Scrutiny Over Massive Regulations

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An anti-capitalist Secretary of State is facing serious scrutiny due to his overregulation of small businesses which has hurt the financial services industry in Massachusetts.

“After nearly a quarter-century as the state’s top elections official, Secretary of State William Galvin is facing his toughest re-election campaign in decades as he tries to fend off fellow Democrat and Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim in the Sept. 4 primary,” said Boston.com. 

Though Galvin eventually won his primary, he is not out of the woods in a state that, despite voting overwhelmingly for Democrats in presidential elections, has a Republican governor with a high approval rating.

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Small business owners in the state – particularly in the financial services industry – have been dismayed by Galvin’s vindictive attitude towards capitalists, whom he has crushed with fines and regulations under the guise of “fighting for the little guy,” which is socialist code for redistributing wealth from the private to the public sector.

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According to an InvestmentNews report Galvin ordered $56 million worth of fines against broker-dealers between 2012 and 2013, which is nearly as much as his federal counterparts, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) imposed nationwide over the same time period.

“Bill Galvin has been a highly aggressive securities regulator for years,” said Denise Crawford, former securities commissioner of Texas. “The only reason the world doesn’t know his name is because he’s not in New York. If he were in New York, he’d be a household name nationally.”

Galvin has targeted small investment firms like SII Investments Inc. with massive punishments for inconsequential rule breakages.

“Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin banged away Friday on another independent broker-dealer for sales of nontraded real estate investment trusts (REITS), this time ordering SII Investments Inc. to pay money back to clients who bought the REITs,” said another InvestmentWatch report. “SII failed to supervise the sale of the nontraded REITs, according to a statement from Mr. Galvin’s office. As a result of the settlement, any Massachusetts investor who was identified by Mr. Galvin’s office as having been improperly sold the REITs by SII will be offered their money back.”

A year prior, Galvin charged the same company with “dishonest or unethical conduct and failure to supervise” in another overbearing attempt to quash private industry.

Galvin has also gone after companies like GPB Capital, targeting 63 broker dealers who sell GPB’s private placements.

Massachusetts voters have an opportunity on Nov. 6 to make a statement: that quashing private industry with burdensome regulations and red tape will no longer be tolerated.

The Swamp

Swamp Bureaucrats Try to Oust America First USAID appointee

Disgruntled bureaucrats.

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Bureaucrats at a division of the U.S. Agency for International Development that focuses on conflict prevention are fuming about their new boss.

In fact, they’re so angry that they drafted a lengthy memo detailing their grievances with the aim of getting the Trump administration to take action on their behalf, according to a report by Politico.

The disgruntled officials’ 13-page memo singles out Pete Marocco, the head of USAID’s Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Stabilization.

A USAID official stated that a small group of veteran staffers drafted the memo in the bureau’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). Marocco has voiced his skepticism towards a lot of programs this division runs, which is in line with the America First reluctance of embracing foreign aid programs.

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The memo portrays Marocco as a micromanager who has thrown several wrenches into the bureau’s operations. In addition, the memo accuses Marocco of marginalizing employees and being vague about his orders that are allegedly difficult to implement. According to the complaint, “thousands of hours of staff time” have been “spent unnecessarily and unproductively.”

Furthermore, the complaint alleged that Marocco “has leveraged once-routine administrative processes to reopen previously-approved plans, interrogate and redirect country programs, halt movement on programs, procurements, and people, and inject uncertainty into daily operations and office planning.“ In addition, it contended that Marocco “has eschewed providing direction in writing or through other formal channels, and rarely sent guidance to teams directly implicated. Instead, he has conveyed orders and decisions, sometimes only orally, to individual staff … who then must attempt to relay this information as best they can to colleagues. This has inevitably generated significant confusion over intent and expectations, and made it difficult to confirm decisions or maintain adequate records.”

One of the more unheralded aspects of President Donald Trump’s ascendancy into the White House has been his skepticism towards the efficacy of foreign aid, which has traditionally been plagued with corruption. According to the Brookings Institute, the U.S. government spent roughly $39.2 billion on foreign aid in 2019, with very little results to show for it.

Overall, officials like Marcocco were appointed with the task of re-orienting USAID’s priorities, which ruffled many feathers.

For example, Marocco was against a $2 million extension of an OTI program in Ukraine that senior USAID and State Department officials werenin favor of. The proposal to extend the program has been sitting on Marocco’s desk waiting for the greenlight since he assumed the position in July, according to the complaint. On two occasions he has called for canceling this program and made a request to find out how much the cancellation process would cost. Politco reported that Marocco “hasn’t said what he would want to do instead with the money besides “do something ‘important’ like train and equip the military or police, or work on security sector reform,” according to the memo, which notes that the first suggestion is prohibited by law, while the second is not a USAID priority in Ukraine.”

It’s clear that Marocco is no swamp creature and does not believe in just doling out money to corrupt countries. An America First foreign aid policy would be one of minimal to no foreign aid, and people like Marocco make it easier for us to achieve that goal.

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