The Dead Pool – 17 April 2017

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Todd Ricketts, President Trump’s choice for deputy Commerce Secretary, has withdrawn. Can you guess why? Yep: because he’s so rich that he can’t “untangle” himself from his financial holdings to the satisfaction of the Office of Government Ethics. Trump himself may not be subject to normal ethics rules, but everyone else is. And let’s face it: no one with substantial wealth really wants to go through all this divestment and blind trust folderol just for a deputy position. Especially in the Commerce Department, which ranks pretty low on everyone’s list of cabinet agencies.

There’s an interesting backstory here that you may remember from campaign season. Last February Trump tweeted this: “I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!” He was apparently threatening Todd’s mother, who contributed to anti-Trump causes early in the primaries, but Todd was willing to work for Trump anyway. Seems a little odd, no? In any case, I guess he was willing to work for Trump, but not all that willing.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest