SaveSave story

Steve Bannon's new group

Photo: Mary Schwalm / AP

Steve Bannon is setting up a new 501(c)(4) — aka a "tax-exempt social welfare organization" — to promote his agenda, and, he argues, the president's.

  • Such groups don't have to disclose their donors so long as — according to the IRS code — they can "be operated exclusively to promote social welfare" and so long as politics are not the group's "primary activity."

Bannon first publicly mentioned his new plans on billionaire John Catsimatidis' Sunday morning radio show, "Cat's Roundtable."

I asked a source close to Bannon to tell me more about the group. Here's what they told me:

  • The group has no name yet but will be set up this week.
  • Bannon plans to use the group to establish a "war council" to promote hawkish policies against China.
  • Bannon is obsessed with the rise of China and believes that Beijing will become a hegemon — sinisterly dominating America — if the U.S. doesn't aggressively confront it. (His detractors inside the White House say his ideas are reckless and would start a globally devastating trade war. Bannon, however, says China is already engaged in economic warfare against America, stealing the country's IP and technology, but the U.S. refuses to properly fight back.)
  • He also plans to use the group to "focus on grassroots efforts" so the base is "unified and energized to support the president's agenda."
  • Other policy issues that animate Bannon: trade, immigration, education, and inner city infrastructure development.

Why it matters: For all the speculation about Bannon's relationships with donors he's had no fundraising apparatus to date.

What we don't know: Which donors will fund the group. And we may never know because, under the law, Bannon won't have to tell us.

SaveSave story

The worst flu season in eight years

Note: Activity levels are based on outpatient visits in a state compared to the average number of visits that occur during weeks with little or no flu virus circulation; Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

This year's flu season caught many experts off guard with both its sustained prevalence and its virulence. At its peak, there was a higher level of flu-like illnesses reported than any other year during the past eight years. Watch in the visual as it hits its peak around Week 18.

Why it matters: Public health officials try to capture this data when developing the next year's vaccines. And, of course, they want to find better ways to prevent severe flu seasons. There's a "Strategic Plan" to develop a universal vaccine to protect against a wider range of influenza viruses, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells Axios.

Haley Britzky 20 hours ago
SaveSave story

Zuckerberg happy to testify if it is "the right thing to do”

A portrait of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
A portrait of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he would be "happy" to testify before Congress if it was "the right thing to do," in an interview with CNN's Laurie Segall.

Why it matters: Facebook has been under the microscope lately for what Zuckerberg called earlier today the "Cambridge Analytica situation." Zuckerberg said if he was the "person...who will have the most knowledge," then he'd be the one to testify in the face of Facebook's data-collection situation.