The Associated Press / Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., ponders a question during a campaign event in Durham, New Hampshire.

Enriching the Clays

Contributions by U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., D-Missouri, to his sister's law firm now have risen to more than $1 million since 2002, according to campaign filings.

The listing for the Law Office of Michelle C. Clay, LLC, is in Silver Spring, Maryland, and appears to be a residential home, more than 800 miles from Missouri. It does not have a website, and very little information on it exists online, according to The Washington Free Beacon. But the firm has been the highest paid vendor for the lawmaker's campaign committee in every election cycle, except one, since 2002. In this year, the firm has been paid $90,000, more than half the campaign committee's operating expenses for the 2020 cycle.

The payments ostensibly are for fundraising, compliance, legal work, and community organizing and outreach, but the committee also has paid $27,000 to a Washington, D.C., consulting group for fundraising during the current cycle.

The Clays like to keep the congressional seat and its trappings a family affair. The congressman now represents the seat previously held by his father for more than 30 years. A scholarship and research fund the father established in the 1980s still gets contributions from the son's campaign committee — some $30,000 since the father left office.

The Democrat is just one of more than a dozen politicians from both parties who have put family members on payrolls in recent years. But they all haven't been so handsomely paid.


Whose tears will be last?

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, has made one of the centerpieces of her 2020 campaign for the Democratic nomination for president an effort to have wealthy people pay dramatically more in taxes.

To entice her supporters to join her crusade, her campaign site is hawking a $25 Billionaire Tears Mug.

The site explains how former Goldman Sachs executive Leon Cooperman was reduced to tears on live television this month while discussing what her campaign is likely to require in taxes from wealthier Americans.

Imprinted on the mug are the words "Billionaire Tears," and below those words is the underlined name of "Warren".

"Savor a warm, slightly salty beverage of your choice in this union-made mug," the wording advertising the item says, "as you contemplate all the good a wealth tax could do: universal childcare, student debt cancellation, universal free college, and more."

Ironically, the mug is sold through Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce company whose founder and CEO, Tobias Lutke, is worth an estimated $2.8 billion.

Cooperman said he doesn't think people will buy what Warren is selling.

"In my opinion she represents the worst in politicians," he said. She's disgraceful. I gave away more in the year than she has in her whole [expletive] lifetime."


Don't speak for us

Veterans say they can speak for themselves, but individuals on both coasts took it upon themselves to speak for veterans in events surrounding Veterans Day last week. And it didn't go well.

A Catholic bishop in California said President Trump's actions on immigration were a "betrayal" of U.S. veterans because some immigrants are veterans.

Many veterans were quick to respond on Twitter, their comments including "Bishop Soto doesn't know what he's talking about," "we sacrificed for the Constitution [and] for law & order not for illegal immigrants to break our laws," "this is 100% wrong and frankly insulting" and the bishop "is greatly mistaken" and should "probably do more research before making unsubstantiated blanket statements."

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts, attempted to link honoring veterans with the impeachment hearings on Trump.

"It is a somber occasion," she said, "and I hope that we can live up to the veterans who we celebrated and honored this week by putting this [impeachment] story forward."

As with the Catholic bishop, veterans quickly pounced with vitriolic criticism.


The last word

An ABC News political analyst showed his sexist and partisan worst recently in a tweet about U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-New York.

"Elise stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing someone because they are a woman or a millennial doesn't necessarily get you the leaders we need," Matthew Dowd tweeted.

He later deleted the tweet but previously had glowing things to say about U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, whose suggestions and comments have become Republican gold, calling her a "needed breath of fresh air" and saying there is "no doubt she loves our country."

Dowd later said people misunderstood his tweet and apologized to Stefanik in a second tweet. Stefanik accepted the apology but noted wryly that comments such as his are "one of the reasons young women don't run for office."