The Silence of U.S. Senate Hopeful Adam Schiff on China: ‘Blood Money’ Book Excerpt

In his new book “Blood Money: Why the Powerful Turn a Blind Eye While China Kills Americans,” investigative journalist Peter Schweizer continues his groundbreaking scrutiny of what he portrays as the intentionally subversive influence of China across American politics and society. His reporting — ranging from the deadly fentanyl trade to America’s social justice movement to its medical establishment — heavily implicates American elites across the spectrum, from the Bidens and their suspect Chinese connections to those of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Elaine Chao.

Here is an excerpt focusing on Rep. Adam Schiff, the Los Angeles-area Democrat and persistent Donald Trump antagonist touted to become California’s next United States Senator. (The text’s numerous supporting footnotes are omitted here.)

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The fentanyl epidemic has not spared wealthy areas such as Burbank, California, where at least seven high school students have overdosed on fentanyl. The situation is so bad that the Burbank Unified School District, like many others around the country, started requiring schools to stock up on naloxone, a drug to contain the effects of a fentanyl overdose. In 2022, two men were arrested in Burbank with a hundred thousand counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl. Nineteen- year-old TikTok influencer Cooper Noriega was found dead in a Burbank park with fentanyl in his system.

Burbank falls within the district of California congressman Adam Schiff, one of the most powerful and influential elected officials in America. A former prosecutor, Schiff has been in Congress since 2000, rising to serve as the chairman of the secretive and powerful House Intelligence Committee between 2017 and 2023. From his perch, Schiff had responsibility for, among other things, US national security. Schiff has been outspoken on numerous national security threats, but not when it comes to fentanyl, even though fentanyl deaths in the Los Angeles area rose by a stunning 1,208 percent from 2016 to 2022. If you go to the Intelligence Committee’s webpage that describes its work under his tenure, the word “fentanyl” yields no results. That is to say, the Intelligence Committee under his leadership, by its own account, did nothing on a topic that the Obama administration had declared a threat to our national security in 2017. A search of Schiff’s congressional webpage yields a lone mention of “fentanyl,” a brief reference to a single piece of legislation.

Fentanyl is clearly not a priority for Schiff.

Voters in his district have noticed the silence.

“According to the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of California in San Diego, more deadly Fentanyl is being seized by border officials in San Diego and Imperial counties than at any of the nation’s 300 plus ports of entry, making this federal district an epicenter for Fentanyl trafficking into the United States,” one constituent noted in the Glendale News-Press, a local paper. “The city of Glendale is about a two-hour drive from our southern border and California Rep. Adam Schiff’s district since 2013. Not surprisingly, on Dec. 31, 2022, we received another piece of mail from the Congressman’s office with no reference to the Fentanyl crisis. Congressman Schiff often writes in the local newspapers without reference to the Fentanyl problem in his district.”

In contrast, Schiff was outspoken on the far, far less dangerous outbreak of monkeypox, demanding more action on a vaccine, even though it has killed no one in the United States at the time of this writing. Schiff also gave numerous interviews on CNN, MSNBC, and other news outlets about the Ebola virus, which at the time had killed just one American.

Why Congressman Schiff has little to say about the deadly fentanyl crisis is an abiding mystery. Part of the reason may be that raising the issue might cause undue attention to his financial connections to individuals involved with criminal networks in Southern California, many of whom are tied to money laundering and the drug trade.

Encompassing Hollywood, Burbank, and Glendale, California, Schiff’s congressional district has long been a hub of organized criminal activity. Beginning in the early 1990s, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers in the region began reporting on the rise of Armenian gangs in the district. These gangs, not to mention those from Central and South America and China, are involved in all kinds of violent crime, including drug trafficking, gunrunning, murder, extortion, and white-collar crimes such as money laundering.

Some of Schiff’s work in the state senate, before he was elected to Congress, fueled financial crimes in his district. One bill related to Medi-Cal created a gateway for considerable fraud, which an organized crime syndicate in his district seized upon, perpetuating the largest Medicaid fraud case in history at the time. California business leaders warned Schiff about the fraud they were witnessing, but he appears to have ignored it. In 2010, four hundred FBI agents executed a massive investigation and arrested seventy Armenian mobsters. The criminals ran 118 phantom clinics, many of them in Schiff’s district. The ringleader, Armen Kazarian, lived in Schiff’s district.

Once in Washington, Schiff opposed legislation that would have cracked down on criminal money-laundering networks. In 2005, a bill was introduced onto the House floor to expand the role the federal government would have in fighting gang violence by creating “an anti-racketeering statute similar to the one used against the Mafia dons to prosecute criminal street gangs.” But Schiff opposed the bill. Armenian organized crime continued to expand in Schiff’s district, and his connections to some of the players involved are concerning.

In 2017, Schiff established a joint fundraising committee with California senator Barbara Boxer called PAC for a Change. One of the largest donations—$95,000—came from the head of a sketchy firm located in Schiff’s district called Allied Wallet. The company was run by Andy Khawaja, an executive who would come under investigation by federal authorities and whose business was tied to money laundering, with a major footprint in China. 

Money also flowed to the campaign in other ways.

Schiff’s congressional campaign took in at least $36,000 in donations from executives at Allied Wallet. Another $16,100 came from Khawaja, and two additional $10,000 contributions came from two other executives of the company. While Schiff was accepting those donations, it was publicly known that Allied Wallet had been under FBI investigation. It was not the first time: in 2010, Allied Wallet had been forced by federal authorities to forfeit $13 million for its involvement in an illegal gambling scheme. At the time Schiff accepted donations from the executives, the company was being investigated for its ties to “illegal pharma” companies around the world. Khawaja threw a lot of money around, clearly in search of political access. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he first backed Hillary Clinton and then switched to Donald Trump. In the case of Schiff, he clearly gained access. On October 16, 2016, Khawaja and Schiff sat down for a private meeting with Saudi prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Beverly Hills.

Allied Wallet made money processing credit card payments for “‘high-risk’ online retailers that traditional financial institutions avoid.” They included criminal organizations “that apparently break the law in underhanded and odious ways.”

Allied Wallet also had a partnership with a Chinese company called China UnionPay, which Chinese triads used to launder money. China UnionPay is a Chinese state-owned entity with close ties to the CCP and a card brand that “is often seen as an arm of Chinese state policy.” UnionPay has been used by organized crime groups and drug traffickers all around the world, including the Chinese triads. Allied Wallet seemed to function “as a sort of credit card processor for fraudsters, swindlers, and rip-off artists bilking the public out of more than $100 million.”

Schiff has other interesting donors and friends besides Allied Wallet.

Arthur Charchian is a Glendale, California, lawyer who was involved in a money-laundering scheme. Charchian is the head of Southern California Armenian Democrats and a Schiff booster. Shortly after Schiff introduced legislation on the Armenian genocide, another Armenian, gang leader Pogos Satamyan, donated $10,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In 2019, Democratic megadonor Ed Buck was charged with drug trafficking and “operating a drug house.” Buck was a donor to Schiff’s campaign and a social acquaintance as well.

Openly pressing for aggressive action to deal with the Chinese-linked fentanyl networks might lead to open discussions of money-laundering networks operating in the United States and raise some difficult questions for Schiff.

Schiff represents a congressional district that is at the heart of the American entertainment industry, including the cities of Burbank and Hollywood. Hollywood titans who finance his campaigns rely on access to the Chinese market for a sizable portion of their profits. From his earliest national elections, Schiff received the backing of entertainment industry titans such as Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg.

Their partner at DreamWorks, David Geffen, promised to raise however many millions of dollars were needed to defeat his opponent in 2000. … These titans have deep, abiding, and lucrative ties to the Chinese government that they do not want disturbed. DreamWorks has modified films for American audiences at the request of the Communist Chinese government, pushing CCP propaganda both subtly and not so subtly.

Taking aggressive action against China for its fentanyl activities could disrupt these relationships.

Click here to read the full article in Real Clear Investigations

Steve Garvey’s ‘Seinfeld’-esque campaign strategy: Do nothing, and hope to succeed

Steve Garvey’s Senate primary campaign was the political version of “Seinfeld”: It was a campaign about nothing that was highly successful.

Don’t expect Garvey’s strategy to change now that the Republican former Los Angeles Dodger star will face Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff in November. Except that now, the Schiff-friendly political action committee that boosted Garvey with $10 million of free advertising in the primary is going to shift gears and try to crush him.

But no apologies from Garvey’s campaign for winning. To use a baseball metaphor — and Garvey loves ’em — the campaign kept the bat on its shoulder and eventually came around to score.

“We campaigned differently and it worked,” Garvey spokesman Matt Shupe told me. “People can criticize the strategy all they want.”

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It is a generous interpretation of the word “campaigned.” 

Garvey spent much of the campaign bubble-wrapped in the candidate protection program. He made few public appearances, doing little of the hand-shaking and selfie-taking that his Democratic rivals did. While they crisscrossed the state in the campaign’s final days, Garvey was as hard to spot on the trail as Melania Trump.

Instead of gripping and grinning with voters, Garvey spent much of the campaign snuggled with conservative media, where he leveraged his baseball fame to become virtually tied with Schiff in the latest vote count. Good luck finding a long list of Republican endorsers on Garvey’s website. Doing that could alienate independent voters and disgruntled Democrats frustrated with the crime, homelessness and housing unaffordability in California. 

Yet it worked, and Garvey is unlikely to change strategy. And neither is the super PAC that supported Schiff in the primary — and helped Garvey win a spot in the November general election. 

The Standing Strong PAC spent $10 million, largely to boost Garvey’s name recognition. It linked him to Donald Trump — who Garvey voted for twice — in the hope of unifying California Republicans behind him and making the 75-year-old first-time office-seeker one of the top two candidates to advance to the general election. With Democrats holding a 2-to-1 advantage in voter registration, Schiff figured that Garvey would be an easier opponent in November than Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, who finished third Tuesday. 

Garvey needed the boost. His campaign raised only $2.1 million, half of what fourth-place finisher Rep. Barbara Lee, of Oakland, did and a fraction of the $31 million Schiff received.

Coupled with Republicans overperforming their turnout expectations, according to the latest results, and the electorate being disproportionately older and whiter, Garvey, if you’ll pardon the non-baseball metaphor, hit a triple-bank shot to make it into the general election. 

But now it’s time for a re-rack. And Standing Strong, the pro-Schiff super PAC, is about to focus even more intensely on Garvey. 

It plans to focus on Garvey’s two votes for Trump, who is loathed by two-thirds of California voters. And it will pound him for his hazy plans for what he’d do in office and his lack of accessibility to voters.

“There’s going to be a lot less room to hide for Steve Garvey. He had a chance to coast a little bit” in the primary, Kyle Layman, executive director of the Standing Strong super PAC told me.  “You can’t continue to hide. That is not going to be acceptable to voters.”

Garvey’s Democratic opponents have voting records as long-standing members of the House. He didn’t.

Yet Garvey was so vague or non-committal on most issues during the primary that when I pressed him in January — four months after he launched his run — to be more specific on what he’d do as a U.S. senator, he said “I’m at the beginning of the journey. I’ll have more answers for you in June and more answers for you in August.” 

Or three months after the March 5 primary.  

His campaign website is full of vagaries. His plan to take on crime, which he said is a top priority: “More training, better resources, and effective crime prevention strategies are at the top of my list.” While Schiff has put forth a somewhat flawed housing policy, there’s little mention of California’s housing affordability crisis on Garvey’s site.

While Garvey talked about touring homeless encampments during the primary debates, his plan to address the issue boils down to auditing the money that has been spent so far on homelessness. “From there, we can build a plan that truly makes a difference,” he says on his website.

Garvey is perhaps most specific about his stance on the Middle East, saying he stands with Israel “yesterday, today and tomorrow.” Schiff has also been a strong Israel ally, and opposed a cease-fire. On Tuesday, Schiff said he supports a cease-fire in Gaza on the condition of the release of Israeli hostages, a position in lockstep with the Biden administration.

Garvey has bigger challenges. He has only $758,260 cash on hand, a pittance in California. Schiff has $13.7 million. It’s doubtful whether top Republican donors will want to invest heavily in a longshot campaign in deep blue California but on Thursday, a pro-Garvey super PAC was established. 

Its name will surprise no one: “Strike Out Schiff.” 

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle

Schiff’s tactic may end Porter’s battle

Burbank Democrat’s focus on Garvey to avoid facing her appears to be working.

Rep. Katie Porter, famed among Democrats for grilling powerful corporate barons and right-wing ideologues testifying before Congress, faces a serious risk of falling short in Tuesday’s California primary election, which would bring an end to her bid to win the late Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat in the fall general election.

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Along with a once-formidable campaign account depleted by her tough 2022 reelection bid and expected low voter turnout, the Irvine congresswoman must overcome the millions of dollars Democratic rival Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank and his allies have spent boosting GOP candidate Steve Garvey, the former Dodgers All-Star first baseman.

If Garvey and Schiff win the top two spots in California’s open primary, the two would be the only candidates to advance to the November general election — with Schiff being the heavy favorite because of California’s strong Democratic tilt. Political experts say Schiff’s strategy to prop up Garvey is largely driven by the threat he would face in a one-on-one face-off against Porter in the fall election.

“She would give him a hell of a run in the general election — he would look like the establishment Washington, D.C., insider, and she could have contrasted herself with him,” said GOP strategist Kevin Spillane, who is undecided in the race. “That’s pretty remarkable. Schiff’s working harder to get Garvey in the runoff than Garvey is himself.”

Spillane said he could not recall anyone spending as much to buoy a statewide GOP candidate since then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman in 2010. Ad campaigns portray Garvey as a loyalist of former President Trump and the biggest political threat to Schiff, an effort largely expected to increase Garvey’s appeal among Republican voters.

The strategy is partly driven by California’s top-two primary system approved by voters more than a decade ago, which allows only the two candidates who secure the most votes to advance to the general election, regardless of their political party affiliation.

But this year’s Senate contest — a rare open seat for a Californian in the nation’s top legislative body — is also shaped by the records and personalities of the top Democrats in the race.

Schiff and Porter are both liberal Democrats, prodigious fundraisers and well-known voices among cable news show viewers across the nation, but a contest between them in the general election would be much different from their current primary battle.

Schiff, who was elected to Congress as a moderate in 2000, has won over most of the Democratic establishment’s leadership, starting with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). He is now best known by many voters as the manager of Congress’ first impeachment trial of Trump over foreign interference in the 2020 election and his vocal role in the 2021 House investigation into Trump’s accountability for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Although Porter’s voting record is practically identical to Schiff’s, she has honed a populist patina, blasting corporate leaders during congressional oversight hearings and focusing on issues such as income inequality. The former UC Irvine law professor’s background as a minivan-driving single mother also appeals to moderate voters in her sharply divided suburban Orange County congressional district.

“Part of her persona is that she’s authentic. I think she is trying to connect with normal voters who face the same kitchen table issues she does and talks about as a single mom,” said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at UC San Diego. “That’s part of her appeal and could lead to her getting moderate support in the general.”

Porter’s positioning — combined with Schiff being among the most prominent anti-Trump faces in the nation — could boost her in a general election contest because she could win anti-Schiff Republican voters, he added.

“I don’t think she has built up a wall against her with Republicans as he has because he’s been such a prominent figure as a leader of the impeachment. That’s helped him [in the primary], but that’s a double-edged sword” in the general election, Kousser said.

But Porter’s prospects of reaching the November ballot are, at best, uncertain. A new poll finds her in third place in the primary, and early ballot returns show a sluggish turnout among the voters most likely to support her, compared with Schiff and Garvey.

Garvey and Schiff are in a statistical tie for the top two spots, according to a poll released Thursday by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and The Times.

Among likely primary voters, Garvey received the backing of 27%, while Schiff won 25%, within the poll’s margin of error. Porter received the support of 19%, and fellow Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland got 8%. Slightly more than 1 in 10 supported other candidates, while 9% said they were undecided.

The mail-in ballots that already have been cast favor Garvey over Porter.

Though there are far more Democratic registered voters in the state than Republicans, GOP voters have cast a greater share of their ballots, 15% compared with 13% of Democrats through Friday, according to a ballot tracker run by PDI, a political data firm that caters to Democratic and nonpartisan candidates.

Paul Mitchell, a veteran Democratic strategist who is the vice president of PDI, expects low voter turnout in the election, reflecting a lack of enthusiasm driven by the reality that President Biden and Trump have all but secured their parties’ nominations for president.

“It’s just an uninteresting national ballot,” he said.

Low turnout would help Garvey, since Republicans appear to have a greater propensity to cast ballots in the primary. Plus, if, as multiple polls suggest, GOP voters have consolidated behind Garvey while Democrats are split among multiple candidates, that alone could be enough to help Garvey win one of the top two spots on Tuesday.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Adam Schiff breaks his Fox News boycott

Schiff, a Burbank Democrat, has started running TV ads on Fox News to supercharge his U.S. Senate campaign.

California Rep. Adam Schiff has used his perch as a hero of the MAGA resistance to implore advertisers to boycott Fox News.

Now a candidate for the Senate, Schiff is violating his own entreaty. On Saturday, the Burbank Democrat will begin running TV ads on Fox.

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Schiff’s ad buy is the latest in his deluge of spending to fortify his frontrunner status in the March 5 primary, and, possibly even clear a path to the Senate.

Schiff has spent millions to promote Republican Steve Garvey and box out fellow Democrat Katie Porter. A pro-Schiff super PAC also is running ads on Fox News intended to boost Garvey.

But the Schiff ads run counter to his boycott plea just last year as part of a sweeping indictment of the network’s brass and hosts as “shameful.” Schiff at the time said his boycott applied to Fox News and all other “stations that deliberately put out lies and deliberately undermine our elections.”

Schiff’s decision to steer his donations to Fox is an acknowledgement that the potential Garvey voters he’s hoping turn out in the primary are squarely in the network’s target demographics. A Schiff campaign spokesperson did not directly address the boycott, but defended his decision to spend money on Fox.

“It’s important for California voters — no matter what TV channel they tune into — to know what’s at stake in this election,” Marisol Samayoa told POLITICO. “We’ll continue to bring our message to voters across the Golden State.”

Click here to read the full article in Politico

Schiff, Garvey Surge Ahead In Latest 2024 California U.S. Senate Election Poll

Porter six points behind Garvey in third place, Lee remains a distant fourth

A new Inside California Politics/ Emerson College poll on the 2024 California U.S. Senate Election was released Tuesday, showing that both Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and former Major League baseball star Steve Garvey (R) have continued to grow their respective leads over other top candidates such as Congresswomen Katie Porter (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

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According to the poll, Schiff has stayed in first place with 28% of those polled giving him their support. Garvey remained in second, receiving 22%, followed by Porter who was six points down at 16%. In a distant fourth was Lee with only 9% of the vote. Lawyer Eric Early (R), Businessman James Bradley (R), and TV Anchorwoman Christina Pascucci (D) each had 2% of the vote, rounding out the candidates who had more than 1%. Meanwhile, only 17% of voters remained undecided.

When broken down by demographics, both Schiff and Garvey enjoyed a high percentage of older voters in their favor, while Porter garnered more support from younger voters. Amongst independent voters in California, both Garvey and Schiff were split, with Garvey garnered 23% support from independents while Schiff had 22%.

“Candidate support varies by age group,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling. “Schiff’s support is highest among voters in their 60s, at 45%, and those over 70, with 39%, whereas Porter’s strength is among young voters, where she holds 23%. Notably, this group has the highest share of undecided voters at 28%. Garvey’s strength is also with older voters, with 33% support among voters over 70.”

When compared to the two previous polls in January, the previous Emerson poll and the USC Dornsife poll, Schiff has seen a trend of growing support. The January Emerson poll showed him at 25%, with the USC poll at 26%, and the February Emerson poll at 28%, marking a three point climb in only a month. Garvey, meanwhile went from an 18% January Emerson showing, to a 15% USC figure, then back up to a 22% with Emerson this month.

In Comparison, Porter had a 13%-15%-16% string of small gains, matching Schiff’s overall 3 point gain in a month, but coming short of Garvey’s 4 point gain. Lee meanwhile, made small gains, going from 8% to 7% to 9% on Tuesday. Bradley, Early, and Pascucci, meanwhile, all stagnated at around 2%.

Schiff, Garvey speed ahead of Porter, Lee

“This poll spells good news for Schiff, great news for Garvey, and just the worst possible news for Porter,” added Stephanie Lewis, a pollster in Southern California, to the Globe on Tuesday. “Schiff’s ads, first debate performance, and generally not rocking the boat in terms of negative headlines during the campaign have led him to maintain and slowly build. He’s getting many older Democrats to go away from Lee and Porter, and has pushed those on the fence to decide between him and Garvey. There’s people saying that some of his ads are charged and is trying to remove Porter because he would rather face Garvey in November, but he’s just been going after the independents and undecideds and wants to consolidate Democrats now.”

“If you’re a Garvey supporter, then this poll is great news. A six point lead over Porter with only 17% undecided, with Garvey grabbing the most independents. Plus he has outpaced support growth over all other candidates, as he went up 4 points since last month, and Schiff and Porter only went up 3. You can also track his debate performances from the polls. As he was doing decently before the first debate, dipped after his poor performance in the first, then won many people back in the second. It is helping that the Democrats are split, but it’s also helping the Porter just cannot break through.”

“Speaking of Porter, she is somewhat keeping pace, but she needed to have done more than that by now. Porter is good for the snappy headline and getting younger voters who see Lee as too old and too left, Schiff as too centrist, and Garvey as too conservative. But younger voters tend not to vote much as older voters, especially in primaries and especially in a primary election where Biden is the only real candidate for the Dems. And she is growing frustrated. She’s putting out a ton of ads, only for Schiff and Garvey to keep outpacing her. She gave up her House seat for this and was expecting to face Schiff in November. If she loses in the primary, well, that is hard to come back from.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Schiff takes a narrow lead in U.S. Senate race

Rep. Porter, former Dodger Garvey are in a tight contest to also advance to general election, poll shows.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) speaking during the House select committee hearing on the January 6th attack on the Capitol, July 27th, 2021 JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AP

The fight for second place in California’s U.S. Senate race between Rep. Katie Porter and former Dodgers star Steve Garvey appears volatile as the March 5 primary approaches, according to the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by The Times.

Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank leads the field by 4 percentage points in a race that thus far has lacked much sizzle, though that could change now that the candidates have launched political ad campaigns and are set to clash in a trio of televised debates over the next two months.

According to the survey, Porter (D-Irvine) trails slightly behind Schiff and holds a narrow lead for second place over Garvey, the top Republican in the race.

Schiff is backed by 21% of likely voters, compared with 17% supporting Porter and 13% for Garvey. Schiff and Porter were essentially tied in Berkeley’s poll in October.

The other top Democrat in the race, Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, was supported by 9% of likely voters, the poll found. About a fifth of the voters surveyed picked one of the 23 other candidates on the crowded ballot, and the remainder said they were undecided

The top two vote-getters, regardless of party and share of the vote, will compete against each other in November. Given the Democrats’ huge registration advantage in the state, if Garvey advanced to the general election he’d be at a sizable disadvantage.

The poll also showed how divisions among voters over the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza are having an effect on the contest.

Voters will be asked to vote on two separate Senate elections on the March ballot — one for the full six-year Senate term starting in January and the other for the remaining months of the term of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

In that second race, only seven candidates are listed, and the poll found tighter margins. Schiff still leads among likely voters with 21% support. Porter has 18%, Garvey has 17%, Lee has 12% and Republican Eric Early has 11%.

The contrast between the two races shows that when the number of candidates — particularly Republicans— consolidates, Garvey’s support grows, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Institute of Governmental Studies poll and a longtime California pollster.

That offers evidence that Garvey has the opportunity to finish in the top two in the March primary and qualify for the November general election, rather than having two Democrats meeting in the fall, DiCamillo said.

“The open question really is who’s going to be second, and our poll is showing Katie Porter still ahead of Garvey, although there has been movement toward Garvey in each of our polls,” he said.

“There’s an opportunity for him to coalesce the Republican votes to come his way, certainly. I think the debate will help in that regard.”

Garvey’s support has nearly doubled since Berkeley’s poll in August, while Porter’s numbers have remained about the same.

The poll found that of the four top candidates, Schiff was the only one whom a majority of likely voters knew enough about to have an impression. Schiff, a ubiquitous guest on cable news shows, captured the national spotlight when he led the first impeachment trial of then-President Trump.

About 43% of likely voters had a favorable view and 31% an unfavorable view of Schiff. He’s popular among Democrats (67% have a favorable view) and unpopular among Republicans (68% have an unfavorable view).

Porter is less well known but still popular, with 39% of likely voters saying they had a favorable impression of her. Just 16% said they had an unfavorable impression of her. The rest had no opinion.

Garvey, who officially entered the race in October, wants to leverage his fame among older sports fans. The 74-year-old played for the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, but he hasn’t taken the field since the 1980s. He’s viewed favorably among 24% of likely voters and unfavorably by 21%. The rest had no opinion of him.

Schiff’s small lead is fueled in part by his ability over the last few months to increase his backing in voter-rich Los Angeles County. In the October poll, Porter led by 4 percentage points on Schiff’s turf (22%-18%); now he is up by the same margin in the county (23%-19%). Schiff also leads by large margins in the Bay Area, Central Valley and Sacramento regions.

Porter is up by 12 percentage points (24%-12%) at home in Orange County, while the two are essentially tied in the Inland Empire and the San Diego region.

The most potent political issue of the moment — the Israel-Hamas war— shows the very different coalitions backing each of the major candidates. Schiff has been a vocal backer of Israel and President Biden’s strategy in the region. Both Schiff and Garvey say that the United States should continue military aid to Israel.

Both Lee and Porter back a cease-fire. Lee opposes providing further military aid to Israel, and Porter has called for a “robust discussion” about military assistance.

Schiff supporters were far more likely to approve of Biden’s response to the war than Garvey or Lee supporters. Porter backers were split down the middle about how they felt about Biden’s diplomatic response in the aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

About 8 in 10 supporters of Garvey were more sympathetic to Israel than the Palestinians, while Lee backers are sympathetic to the Palestinians by more than 2 to 1.

About half of Schiff supporters and 40% of Porter backers said they were equally sympathetic to both sides of the conflict.

The coalitions supporting each candidate have shifted slightly in recent months.

Porter still garners the most support from voters under 50 and those who identify as strongly liberal. Schiff is ahead with voters 65 and older and those who identify as somewhat liberal. Schiff and Porter had been essentially tied in October among voters who identify as Democrats. Now Schiff leads by 10 percentage points among that very large voting bloc.

Lee, who is one of three Black members of Congress from California, had been leading among Black voters statewide but now is essentially tied with Schiff — who leads with Asian American Pacific Islander voters and white voters. Schiff and Porter are essentially tied among Latino voters.

One remaining big unknown is how voters respond to the barrage of television advertising that is about to start in the state.

It’s hard to assess the true political strength of any candidate in California until they start running TV ads, said Republican strategist Mike Murphy, who worked on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign team.

Porter is “starting her TV imminently. Schiff will be right behind her by a few days. He’ll probably have more, but she’s got more charisma. So there’s a little more rocket fuel there if she catches on,” Murphy said.

“The Democratic campaigns are obsessed with Garvey. That’s not because they care about [Garvey winning in] November. If he comes in second, Schiff just won the lottery.”

Both Porter and Schiff have begun or will begin airing ads on cable and broadcast television in Bay Area-San Jose and Oakland markets this week.

Schiff’s ad focuses on some of his accomplishments in Congress. Porter’s ad is focused on how she plans “to shake up the Senate” by banning earmarks, abolishing the filibuster and prohibiting senators from trading individual stocks, among other proposals.

A Schiff spokeswoman said the campaign put “over $700,000” into its ad, while the Porter campaign told the San Francisco Chronicle it made a “seven-figure ad buy.”

Schiff has a significant financial advantage over his competitors. Last week his campaign revealed that it had $35 million on hand after the last fundraising quarter, as of the end of the year.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Porter, Schiff lead in poll for SenatePorter, Schiff

They appear headed to a runoff if rivals for Feinstein’s seat don’t gain traction soon.

Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Katie Porter are in nearly a dead heat in California’s U.S. Senate race, well-positioned to move ahead to a runoff, a new poll shows.

The two well-funded House Democrats have been pacing the field since the beginning of the year. Other candidates, including fellow Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee and Republican former baseball star Steve Garvey, have so far not shown an ability to make the race more broadly competitive.

Porter, of Irvine, holds 17% support among voters likely to cast ballots in the March primary, and Schiff, of Burbank, is at 16%, in the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, co-sponsored by The Times. Garvey comes in at 10% and Lee, of Oakland, has 9%, the poll found.

The poll standings represent a slight improvement for Lee and Garvey since the last Berkeley IGS poll, in August, while support for Schiff has declined slightly. But the shifts are all close to the poll’s margin of error, and none have changed the overall shape of the race. About 3 in 10 likely voters remain undecided.

Under California’s system, the top two finishers in March, regardless of party, will move forward to the general election runoff in November. The poll suggests that runoff will feature two Democrats, which was the case in the last election for this Senate seat, in 2018, when Sen. Dianne Feinsteindefeated fellow Democrat Kevin de León. The seat is currently held by Sen. Laphonza Butler, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom after Feinstein’s Sept. 29 death but is not running for election to a full term.

“I think Lee and Garvey are the ones to watch in the second tier. Are any of them going to be able to get a little higher breakthrough to be the third possible candidate?” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Berkeley poll and a longtime California pollster. “Lee’s problem is she’s just not very well-known outside the Bay Area,” he said, noting that she faces the challenge of “broadening her appeal” to a statewide constituency.

The coalitions supporting each candidate have stayed roughly constant in recent months: Porter garners more support from younger voters and those who identify as strongly liberal. Voters under 50 favor her over Schiff by more than a dozen percentage points, and she leads among people who identify as strongly liberal by 15 percentage points.

Schiff is ahead with voters 65 and older and those who identify as somewhat liberal. The two are essentially tied among voters who identify as Democrats.

Lee, one of three Black members of Congress from California, now leads among Black voters statewide, which was not the case earlier in the campaign.

Porter, Schiff and Lee have been crisscrossing the state, attending forums hosted by unions and advocacy groups, holding fundraisers and doing small town hall meetings with voters. But the near-even division between the two parties in the House has often kept all three in Washington so as not to miss votes. Consequently, most campaigning occurs when the chamber is in recess.

Geographically, Porter leads in Orange County, with 21% support from likely voters, while Garvey gets 15% support and Schiff 14%. Porter also leads Schiff by 6 points in voter-rich Los Angeles County (22% to 18%), and the two are essentially tied in the Central Valley and San Diego County.

Lee polls better among voters in the Bay Area than elsewhere. The three Democrats are closely bunched together there — Schiff with 19% support, Lee with 18% and Porter with 16%.

Garvey’s poor performance in the Bay Area is likely due to the region’s deeply liberal identity, but his 4% support there could also indicate that his main draw as a candidate — his years of playing for the Dodgers — doesn’t help him in Northern California, DiCamillo said.

Statewide, however, one possible hope for Garvey is that the undecided voters in the race tend to be more conservative and more likely to be Republicans than the overall electorate, suggesting that he may have some room to expand his support.

To get into the runoff, however, Garvey would have to consolidate most of the vote from the state’s Republican minority. That’s difficult with two other Republicans in the race — attorney Eric Early and businessman James Bradley.

Garvey, who twice voted for former President Trump, has told supporters he will focus his campaign on quality-of-life issues such as education, the cost of living, housing affordability, crime and homelessness. He leads the poll among voters who identify as conservative.

The poll shows that the Senate race is not yet top of mind for many voters. Nearly half of likely voters have no opinion of Porter, for example. Similarly, about half don’t know enough about Lee to render an opinion, and 58% said they don’t know enough about Garvey.

Likely owing to his prominent role in the Trump impeachments, Schiff is better-known, with just 31% of voters saying they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. But Schiff is also more polarizing: 40% of likely voters said they had a favorable view of him, and 29% had an unfavorable view. In Porter’s case, 38% had a favorable view and 17% had an unfavorable view.

Democratic consultant Bill Carrick said that as primary grows closer, Schiff’s monumental fundraising advantage will likely begin to have an impact on polls.

Schiff has about $32 million in cash on hand, according to his latest financial disclosure report. That will translate into far more television and radio advertising than his rivals can afford. Porter reported the second-most cash on hand, with $12 million at the last fundraising deadline. The other candidates lag far behind in the money race.

California is famously difficult to campaign in, owing to the size of its media markets and the huge cost of buying airtime. Schiff launched a digital advertisement this week, but none of the candidates have advertised on television yet.

The Berkeley-Times poll surveyed likely voters about which outlets they rely on for news and how that may relate to their candidate preferences. Local television and radio news remains far and away the most common way voters learn about the candidates, with 85% reporting they use them. Among likely voters, 58% said they turn to CNN and MSNBC to get up to speed on the race. The majority of the voters who rely on those two outlets identify as Democrats.

The next three most popular sources were Google and other internet search engines, 43%; local or regional newspapers, online or in print, 38%; and government voter guides, 37%. The three sources were also favored more by Democrats than Republicans in the poll.

About a fifth of likely voters said they received information on the race from Fox News. The vast majority of them identified as Republicans.

Still, the primacy of television and radio made Carrick believe Schiff might have an advantage.

“I think the rubber meets the road when he starts buying broadcast and cable,” Carrick said, adding: “That may be an advantage that he has much earlier.”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Which Orange County Areas are Donating the Most Money to Rep. Katie Porter’s Senate Campaign?

Search by ZIP code to find out who your neighborhood is donating the most to so far this cycle

Rep. Katie Porter is leading in early funding in almost all of the cities in her home county of Orange heading into the 2024 U.S. Senate election, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

While Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, has posted the most substantial overall fundraising numbers so far this cycle, the Irvine Democrat is making a solid showing on her home turf of Orange County. So far, Porter has raised a little over $323,000 in itemized donations from Orange County, which makes up nearly 20% of itemized donations from California and over 11% of total itemized donations.

But how does she stack up against her fellow Senate contenders and congressional colleagues, Schiff and Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland in Orange County? To find out, the Southern California News Group compiled campaign finance data for itemized contributions — donations that exceed $200 or aggregate over $200 when added to other contributions received from the same person during the election cycle and are required to be reported — for the three candidates who have been in the race for both quarters of the year.

The largest share of Porter’s haul so far has come from Irvine, where she lives. She’s received $71,934 from more than 60 unique donors, the most coming from the 92617 ZIP code. Laguna Beach is a close second, with $31,914 coming from more than 20 people.

Porter represents the 47th congressional district, a coastal district anchored in Irvine that includes Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and part of Huntington Beach.

According to a July survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, she is leading the pack among likely voters: 19% of likely voters said they would vote for Porter while 16% said they would choose Schiff and 13% said Lee. 

Porter has received contributions from all but five Orange County cities: Cypress, La Habra, La Palma, Placentia and Stanton — cities in the northwestern corner of Orange County, most of which border neighboring Los Angeles County.

Schiff, who represents part of Los Angeles County, received $2,250 in donations from Cypress, La Habra and Placentia combined. He also outraised Porter in four additional cities: Costa Mesa, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda.

In Orange County overall, Schiff raised $165,968 in itemized donations.

Lee, D-Oakland, has raised $28,929 in Orange County, far behind Porter’s and Schiff’s hauls.

Still, it remains to be seen whether Lee’s fundraising efforts will catch up to those of her two Democratic rivals in Orange County. Last month, Lee stepped onto Porter’s turf when she spoke to a friendly crowd at the Laguna Woods Democratic Club’s July meeting. It won’t be her last visit to Orange County, she said.

“Orange County is part of California, why wouldn’t I be here? I need to be everywhere, especially in Orange County,” said Lee. “I want them to get to know me. I’m asking for their vote.”

Lee outraised both Porter and Schiff in two Orange County cities: Laguna Hills and Rancho Santa Margarita. In Laguna Hills, Lee hauled in $13,500 compared to Porter’s $5,560 and Schiff’s $5,550. And in Rancho Santa Margarita, she raised $250 while Porter brought in $190 and Schiff nothing.

Overall though, Schiff is outraising the other candidates. He brought in $8.3 million during the second quarter that ended June 30 and has well over $29 million left in his coffers.

Porter raised $3.2 million in the most recent quarter with $10.4 million cash on hand, and Lee raised just over $1 million with $1.4 million left to spend.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

In California Senate race, what’s the difference among 3 House Democrats?

One contender has emerged as the first of the three “to make a serious effort at broadening their political identity,” one analyst says

Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee and Katie Porter are Democratic representatives in Congress. They have similar voting records, boast their progressive bona fides and are running for California’s U.S. Senate seat.

When it comes to their voting records, Porter and Schiff agree 98% of the time so far this Congress while Schiff and Lee and Porter and Lee agree 96%, according to a ProPublica analysis of their voting records. In the 2021-22 Congress, Porter and Schiff agreed 99% while the other pairings lined up at 98%.

Certainly, even more similarities abound, including biographical — two are lawyers, two represent Southern California in the U.S. House, two are over the age of 60 and none is originally from California.

But there are stark differences, too, and with less than a year to go until the primary, how all three candidates are pitching themselves to voters, and highlighting those contrasts, is starting to emerge.

“There’s not a great deal of difference between the candidates on the issues,” said Dan Schnur, who teaches political messaging at USC and UC Berkeley. “As a result, they’re going to end up spending a lot of time trying to establish themselves as a particular type of progressive leader: Barbara Lee is the social justice warrior, Katie Porter is the economic populist and Adam Schiff is the defender of democracy.”

“For many Democratic voters, the differences between them are going to have more to do with emphasis and identity than anything else,” Schnur said.

Lee, 76, has been in Congress since 1998 when she won a special election to replace a retiring member.

She was the only member of Congress to vote against invading Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks. The Oakland Democrat has railed against what she considers “wasteful military spending and investing in war rather than peace” and has voted against the federal defense budgets.

In contrast, Porter, 49, has only been in Congress since 2019; she was part of the wave that flipped Orange County from red to blue.

Originally from Iowa, Porter has made economic issues her bread and butter and is an acolyte of progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was once her professor at Harvard Law School. She’s behind several viral moments, from reading a book with an expletive in the title during the House speaker vote earlier this year to hoisting her now iconic whiteboard in congressional hearings and late-night talk shows alike.

And then there’s Schiff, 63, who is perhaps most known for taking on then-President Donald Trump as the House Intelligence Committee chair — an investigation that was the catalyst for his recent censure in Congress.

Schiff, as Schnur pointed out, is the first of the three “to make a serious effort at broadening their political identity.”

The Burbank Democrat’s campaign has rolled out a consistent slate of endorsements from labor groups over the past few weeks, most recently announcing the backing of the California-Nevada Conference of Operating Engineers. This is the fourth statewide labor union to back Schiff, his campaign told the Southern California News Group, which follows the Amalgamated Transit Union, the IBEW and California IATSE Council.

“I feel really proud to be emerging as the candidate of labor in this race,” Schiff said in an interview. “These are the folks that build things, that get things done, and that’s the focus of our campaign — to get things done for California and to move California forward.”

“I think the paramount challenge facing Californians is that the economy is not working for millions of them,” he added. “I say that not because people aren’t working but because people are working, but they’re not making enough to get by. … The number of households represented by labor has fallen over the decades.”

Schiff introducing himself to voters as the pro-labor candidate in the race, Schnur said, signals that he already has an advantage in the “democracy argument” so he’s looking at other bases of support.

“Even if democracy is his main calling card,” Schnur said, “he can’t just run for the Senate for the next year and a half (by) running only as the anti-Trump candidate.”

As for Porter and Lee, both say they will underscore their records as they meet with voters throughout the race.

“I have been championing progressive values and passing progressive legislation my whole career. Californians want someone who can get things done in the Senate on Day One,” said Lee. “I am an effective legislator, appropriator and negotiator and that’s how you get things done.”

And Porter said: “I am the only candidate in this race who’s always rejected corporate PAC money, and I’m the only candidate to refuse lobbyist money. That gives me legitimacy to lead on issues like banning Congressmembers from trading stocks. Voters can be 100% confident that I work for them — not my own pocketbook and not special interests.”

But Lee is also leaning on her own lived experience as a Black woman in California.

“I can speak to the challenges facing so many Californians because I’ve lived them, too,” she said. “I escaped a violent marriage. I was a single mom on public assistance. I had an abortion as a teenager when it was illegal and dangerous for women to do so.”

Noting there have only been a couple Black women to serve in the U.S. Senate — and none currently — she added: “It is important that the Senate have all perspectives on critical issues, like voting rights, income and racial inequality, health care, childcare, poverty and homelessness. I have always fought to dismantle barriers for marginalized communities which have not had a seat at the table.”

And Porter highlights her ability to question or counter those in leadership positions.

“My questioning of the CDC director got every American free COVID tests. After I called out ‘Big Pharma’ CEOs for price gouging patients, I was able to secure a new law that recovers taxpayer dollars from drug companies that engage in outrageous price hikes, saving some Americans as much as $449 per dose on medications they need,” she said.

Of course, all that could change if the status quo is interrupted.

Former Google and American Express executive Lexi Reese is considering jumping into the race as a Democratic contender with a focus on her “outsider” status and the economy. Her website teases a June 29 announcement.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

In Rowdy Scene, House Censures Rep. Adam Schiff Over Trump-Russia Investigations

The House voted Wednesday to censure California Rep. Adam Schiff for comments he made several years ago about investigations into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, rebuking the Democrat and frequent critic of the former president along party lines.

Schiff becomes the 25th House lawmaker to be censured. He was defiant ahead of the vote, saying he will wear the formal disapproval as a “badge of honor” and charging his GOP colleagues of doing the former president’s bidding.

“I will not yield,” Schiff, who is running for the Senate in his home state, said during debate over the measure. “Not one inch.”

When it was time for Schiff to come to the front of the chamber to be formally censured, immediately after the vote, the normally solemn ceremony turned into more of a celebratory atmosphere. Dozens of Democrats crowded to the front, clapping and cheering for Schiff and patting him on the back. They chanted “No!,” “Shame!” and “Adam! Adam!”

When House Speaker Kevin McCarthy started to read the resolution out loud, as is tradition after a censure, Democrats heckled him to the point that he stopped and gave up, leaving the chamber.

“Censure all of us,” one Democrat yelled.

Schiff, the former Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the lead prosecutor in Trump’s first impeachment trial, has long been a top Republican political target. Soon after taking back the majority this year, Republicans blocked him from sitting on the intelligence panel.

More than 20 Republicans voted with Democrats last week to block the censure resolution, but they changed their votes this week after the measure’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, removed a provision that could have fined Schiff $16 million if the House Ethics Committee determined he lied. Several of the Republicans who voted against the resolution last week said they opposed fining a member of Congress in that manner.

The final vote on Wednesday was 213-209 along party lines, with a handful of members voting present.

The revised resolution says Schiff held positions of power during Trump’s presidency and “abused this trust by saying there was evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.” Schiff was one of the most outspoken critics of the former president as both the Justice Department and the Republican-led House launched investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia in 2017. Both investigations concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election but neither found evidence of a criminal conspiracy.

“Representative Schiff purposely deceived his Committee, Congress, and the American people,” the resolution said.

The House has only censured two other lawmakers in the last 20 years. Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona was censured in 2021 for tweeting an animated video that depicted him striking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., with a sword. Former Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York was censured in 2010 for serious financial and campaign misconduct.

The censure itself carries no practical effect, except to provide a historic footnote that marks a lawmaker’s career. But the GOP resolution would also launch an ethics investigation into Schiff’s conduct.

While Schiff did not initiate the 2017 congressional investigation into Trump’s Russia ties — then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican who later became one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, started it — Republicans arguing in favor of his censure Wednesday blamed him for what they said was the fallout of that probe, and of the separate investigation started that same year by Trump’s own Justice Department.

Luna said that Schiff’s comments that there was evidence against Trump “ripped apart American families across the country” and that he was “permanently destroying family relationships.” Several blamed him for the more than $30 million spent by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, who led the Justice Department probe.

Schiff said the censure resolution “would accuse me of omnipotence, the leader of some a vast Deep State conspiracy, and of course, it is nonsense.”

Democrats aggressively defended their colleague. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, who led Trump’s second impeachment, called the effort an “embarrassing revenge tour on behalf of Donald Trump.”

Mueller, who led the two-year Justice Department investigation, determined that Russia intervened on the campaign’s behalf and that Trump’s campaign welcomed the help. But Mueller’s team did not find that the campaign conspired to sway the election, and the Justice Department did not recommend any criminal charges.

The House intelligence committee probe launched by Nunes similarly found that Russia intervened in the election but that there was no evidence of a criminal conspiracy. Schiff was the top Democrat on the panel at the time.

Schiff said last week that the censure resolution was “red meat” that McCarthy was throwing to his conference amid squabbles over government spending. Republicans are trying to show their fealty to Trump, Schiff said.

He said he warned the country during impeachment proceedings three years ago that Trump “would go on to do worse. And of course he did worse in the form of a violent attack on the Capitol.”

After Democrats won the House majority in 2018, the House impeached Trump for abuse of power after he threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine and urged the country’s president to investigate then-candidate Joe Biden. Schiff was the lead House prosecutor making the case for conviction to the Senate, arguing repeatedly that “right matters.” The Republican-led chamber ultimately acquitted him.

Trump was impeached a second time a year later, after he had left office, for his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. The Senate again acquitted Trump.

In the censure resolution against Schiff, Luna also cited a report released in May from special counsel John Durham that found that the FBI rushed into its investigation of Trump’s campaign and relied too much on raw and unconfirmed intelligence.

Durham said investigators repeatedly relied on “confirmation bias,” ignoring or rationalizing away evidence that undercut their premise of a Trump-Russia conspiracy as they pushed the probe forward. But he did not allege that political bias or partisanship were guiding factors for the FBI’s actions.

Trump had claimed that Durham’s report would reveal the “crime of the century” and expose a “deep state conspiracy” by high-ranking government officials to derail his candidacy and later his presidency. But the investigation yielded only one conviction — a guilty plea from a little-known FBI employee — and the only two other cases that were brought both ended in acquittals at trial.

On Wednesday, just before the vote, Schiff’s campaign sent out a fundraising email that said Luna had introduced “yet ANOTHER resolution to censure me.”

“The vote and debate will happen imminently,” the email read, asking recipients to donate to help him fight back. “Once more, I have to be on the House floor to listen as MAGA Republicans push false and defamatory lies about me.”

Click here to read the full article at FoxNews