Lauren Fox

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.

Articles by Lauren

Senate Democrats are dubbing President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin the "Foreclosure King" on a new website they've set up to solicit public complaints from people allegedly hurt by Mnuchin's past work in financial services.

Mnuchin– the former chief executive officer and chairman of OneWest Bank– was accused of aggressively foreclosing on homes during the financial crisis.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Jeff Merkely (D-OR) are leading the charge.

“After years peddling the kind of dangerous‎ mortgage-backed securities that eventually blew up the economy, Mnuchin swooped in after the crash to take a second bite out of families by aggressively--and sometimes illegally--foreclosing on their homes,” Warren said in a statement about the website. “This man has engaged in the worst kinds of practices on Wall Street and directly hurt thousands of working families – and now, Donald Trump wants to literally hand him the keys to the Treasury where he can make big banks even richer at the expense of America's families.”

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Senate Democrats will introduce legislation in January seeking to force the disclosure and divestment of any of President-elect Donald Trump's business interests before he is sworn into office.

The bill also requires that the vice president and cabinet officials and other presidential appointees do the same before assuming their duties.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) have all signed onto the legislation that has very little chance of being brought up for a vote in a Republican-controlled Senate that is going to be more focused on rapidly confirming Trump's nominees and repealing the Affordable Care Act at the beginning of the year.

Democrats argue that Trump's vast business interests– which range from connections to foreign governments and international investors in places like Libya, Turkey and China– will affect his ability to lead the country.

"Our President-elect has significantly greater risk of business and financial conflicts of interest than any other president, yet has so far refused to follow the precedent set by previous presidents. To this day, President-elect Trump has refused to address his conflicts of interest," said Coons said in a statement.

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Tuesday he is staying in the U.S. Senate despite being considered for Trump's cabinet earlier this month.

In a statement, Manchin said that "right now, I believe that I can best serve my state of West Virginia in the United States Senate."

Manchin announced his decision after reports emerged that Trump plans to nominate former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) as secretary of the Department of Energy, the position that Manchin had been considered for.

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A significant change in the way the government-funded Voice of America is run could empower the Trump administration to use the media outlet as it's unofficial propaganda machine, Politico first reported.

The change–which abolished the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the independent federal agency that oversees VOA, Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia–was slipped into the 1,404th page of the National Defense Authorization Act mostly unnoticed last week. The bill already passed. It replaces the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors with a single CEO appointed by the President and subject to Senate confirmation.

“Congress unwittingly just gave President-elect Trump unchecked control of all U.S. media outlets,” said Michael Kempner, a Democratic member of the board told Politico. "No president, either Democrat or Republican, should have that kind of control. It's a public jewel. It's independence is what makes it so credible."

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Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told CNN that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has criticized him recently because Manchin is "running for a part in the Trump administration."

"Every one of my caucus members has a right to say whatever they want to say and Manchin, of course, is running for a part in the Trump administration. So maybe that's the way he got the door open," Reid said, when he was asked about Manchin's criticism of a letter he had sent about Trump's election.

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