Situational awareness: "Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations," the WSJ reports.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
In state capitals around the country, we're seeing year-end power plays aimed at permanently icing out the political opposition.
Why it matters: The architects of these drives say they’re just running to the tape before they lose juice. But at a time of declining faith in public institutions, these moves can alienate voters, and make it harder for states to be responsive when the electorate demands change.
Driving the news:
The big picture: "The Republican efforts could hurt the party’s image with moderate voters [in the Midwest] ... Yet GOP leaders are determined to push ahead, fearing that their decade-long dominance in the Midwest is coming to an end as newly elected Democrats and the prospect of more competitive districts threaten to shift the balance of power." [NYT]
Be smart: Some of America's most difficult political problems tend to trickle up from the states. Reformers might want to refocus their efforts on where the problems begin.
Photo: Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has successfully launched its VSS Unity space tourism rocketship to the edge of space, just beyond 50 miles above the surface of the Earth. Go deeper.
Nearly six years after his infamous Big Sur wedding went viral for all the wrong reasons, Napster co-founder Sean Parker has released a mobile app showing where Californians can enter the coastline in public areas, the L.A. Times reports.
Why it matters: "Often, public entry to the beach is just a narrow set of stairs or an alleyway next to a gated community — and certain neighborhoods are known for going out of their way to leave these entryways unmarked or unwelcoming."