Trump backpedals on knowing Matt Whitaker

President Trump says he doesn't know acting attorney general Matt Whitaker despite calling him a "great guy" one month prior on Fox News.

Posted: Nov 11, 2018 3:52 PM
Updated: Nov 11, 2018 4:11 PM

Before he became Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker worked as the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a Washington nonprofit funded almost entirely by dark money.

On its website, the group proclaims it is "dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas." But the accountability it has sought is almost exclusively related to Democrats.

Since its founding, FACT has filed complaints and called for investigations into dozens of Democrats, and in the group's early days, Whitaker focused his efforts on Hillary Clinton.

In February 2015, FACT filed a complaint accusation with the Federal Election Commission that a Democratic data firm was running an "illegal coordination scheme" with party campaigns and labor unions. That data firm, Catalist, was run by Harold Ickes, a longtime Democratic strategist and President Bill Clinton's former deputy chief of staff.

FACT also filed a complaint in 2015 with the Office of Government Ethics charging that Hillary Clinton "gave a private company special access to the State Department based upon the company's relationships with Secretary Clinton's family members and donors to the Clinton Foundation." And months later, the group released what it called the "Top 10 Most Ethically Challenged Hillary Emails," writing an accompanying piece in the Daily Caller.

Since then, it has filed complaints and called for investigations into many leading Democratic politicians, from Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri to Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia to Tallahassee, Florida, Mayor Andrew Gillum. As recently as October, it filed a flurry of complaints, including ethics allegations against Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California. It's not clear whether any of the group's filings ever resulted in government action.

During his tenure, Whitaker was one of only two people on the payroll, and he made a total of $717,000 from 2014 to 2016. Funding for that salary and all of FACT's work has come from mostly untraceable donors. Over a three-year period, FACT received $2.45 million in contributions, and all but about $450 of that came from a fund called DonorsTrust, according to IRS filings. Contributors to DonorsTrust are mostly anonymous, except for well-known conservative financier Charles Koch.

"In other words," wrote the Center for Responsive Politics, "an organization 'dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency' gets 100 percent of its funds from a group that exists mainly as a vehicle for donors to elude transparency."

While FACT's work is seen as a conservative counterweight to liberal watchdog groups that file the same kinds of complaints against Republicans, critics say the leader of such a partisan group should not be acting as the nation's chief lawyer.

"The fact that Mr. Whitaker is a political operative isn't itself disqualifying," said Sarah Turberville, director of the Constitution Project at the Project on Government Oversight. "But I think where there are some concerns is the fact that he had been head of this very partisan organization for a number of years and that is what raises some alarm bells about his ability to impartially carry out the duties of attorney general of the United States."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 590211

Reported Deaths: 9310
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion815581297
Lake44306666
Allen31919541
Hamilton28371304
St. Joseph26766371
Elkhart24098341
Vanderburgh18643213
Tippecanoe17422121
Johnson14496284
Porter14399160
Hendricks13870241
Madison10561212
Vigo10483171
Clark10240130
Monroe9076108
Delaware8836132
LaPorte8771155
Howard7897138
Kosciusko787277
Warrick643890
Hancock638797
Bartholomew626694
Floyd6150105
Wayne5933157
Grant5818110
Dubois544372
Boone534367
Morgan516291
Marshall494184
Henry493664
Cass471760
Noble460557
Dearborn458444
Jackson414745
Shelby402179
Lawrence380575
Clinton364539
Gibson356556
DeKalb337363
Montgomery334851
Harrison328542
Knox327839
Miami309843
Steuben306340
Adams295235
Whitley294125
Wabash293045
Ripley292345
Putnam284847
Huntington283557
Jasper282433
White267538
Daviess261672
Jefferson250738
Fayette242348
Decatur242182
Greene233360
Posey232326
Wells229447
LaGrange224161
Clay217932
Scott216937
Randolph208340
Jennings192535
Sullivan189031
Spencer181917
Fountain179725
Washington177118
Starke171341
Jay162821
Owen159537
Fulton159229
Carroll152115
Orange151433
Rush149918
Perry147227
Vermillion144933
Franklin143433
Parke12908
Tipton128232
Pike113625
Blackford107522
Pulaski95237
Newton89421
Brown85530
Benton84310
Crawford7579
Martin70013
Warren6587
Switzerland6205
Union6113
Ohio4677
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 826754

Reported Deaths: 10200
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin97493705
Cuyahoga821781012
Hamilton61350439
Montgomery41700399
Summit33399726
Lucas30111597
Butler29721228
Stark24811400
Warren18917139
Lorain18086212
Mahoning16758335
Lake15365135
Clermont15160104
Delaware1382177
Licking12679132
Trumbull12401302
Fairfield1218480
Greene11631133
Medina11128165
Clark10608264
Wood9964154
Allen9511126
Portage8867105
Miami886573
Richland8790116
Marion7319113
Tuscarawas7142174
Columbiana7085124
Pickaway702850
Wayne6781164
Muskingum671242
Erie5886118
Hancock537890
Ross530287
Scioto519662
Geauga483555
Darke457589
Ashtabula439068
Lawrence432651
Union430628
Mercer424287
Sandusky421862
Seneca413555
Auglaize412759
Huron410338
Shelby410221
Jefferson403366
Belmont395640
Washington372040
Putnam364672
Athens36369
Madison339329
Knox336522
Ashland331738
Fulton325943
Defiance319278
Crawford313268
Preble311534
Brown296619
Logan292729
Ottawa282134
Clinton279043
Williams270166
Highland262418
Jackson256943
Guernsey241725
Champaign240927
Fayette225529
Morrow22294
Perry221318
Holmes218662
Henry210247
Hardin204133
Coshocton197420
Van Wert196644
Gallia190926
Wyandot190549
Adams165615
Pike164116
Hocking163423
Carroll149516
Paulding139021
Noble117840
Meigs103221
Monroe95629
Harrison8568
Morgan79128
Vinton67113
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 20°
Angola
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 19°
Huntington
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 18°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Lima
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 18°
Seasonal Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events