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Vox Sentences: It’s Election Day! (in a few states and a bunch of cities)

Virginia, New Jersey, and a bunch of other cities and states head to the polls for Election Day 2017.

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Virginia, New Jersey, and a bunch of other cities and states head to the polls for Election Day 2017; the leaked Paradise Papers reveal businesses and British royals stashed millions in offshore accounts; there's a new, crazy twist in the Harvey Weinstein case.


Election Day isn’t as high-profile as last year, but it’s still very important

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • It’s Election Day in several states, with a full slate of some high-profile state races, as well as plenty of smaller local and municipal races across the country. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]
  • The biggest two to watch are the races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, but as it stands right now, the race in Virginia will be much closer and more exciting to watch. Polls in the state closed at 7 pm Eastern time. [RealClearPolitics]
  • Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie are facing off in Virginia. Both of them suffer from a case of being fairly middle-of-the-road boring candidates. Northam is the current lieutenant governor, while Gillespie is an establishment conservative who’s a longtime Republican Party operative. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • The race (and other races across the country) are widely seen as a referendum on Trump’s presidency. Hotly contested, they’ve gotten especially nasty in recent weeks, with a lot of attention and attack ads focusing on immigration and crime. [Washington Post / Rachel Weiner, Shira Stein and Fenit Nirappil]
  • This has been a campaign strategy of Gillespie’s, who has been wading into Trump-like issues. And it’s paid off; in a state currently held by a Democratic governor, Gillespie has spent a lot of time playing offense and Northam playing defense, something the polls are bearing out now. [Politico / Kevin Robillard]
  • In New Jersey, it’s widely expected that Democratic candidate Phil Murphy will win over Republican Kim Guadagno, the current lieutenant governor. This is in part due to outgoing Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s tanking popularity in the state. (He’s under water at 15 percent approval after things like Bridgegate and Beachgate.) That hasn’t reflected well on Guadagno. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • Beyond these more high-profile races, there are plenty of other votes that matter today. There are mayoral elections in several cities, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. Many of these cities are already liberal, and Dems are expected to retain control. [NPR / Brett Nealy]
  • But there are substantial policy implications, including the chance that Washington state Senate’s slim Republican majority will flip, and for Maine voters to decide a ballot initiative that could expand Medicaid, despite the objections of Republican Gov. Paul LePage. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]

Paradise found

queen elizabeth ii Samir Hussein/WireImage
  • A little more than a year after the release of the Panama Papers — secretive documents that revealed a number of international politicians and businesspeople were evading taxes — there’s a new similar trove called the Paradise Papers. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • On Sunday, the papers were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and they have dirt on a lot of important people, countries, and businesses, including the queen of England and Apple. [BBC / Gary Kitchener]
  • Specifically, they have dirt on where these people and entities have stashed their money in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes (something that isn’t necessarily illegal but definitely frowned upon). That amounts to roughly $10 trillion worldwide, according to some estimates. And it’s concentrated in the hands of the ultra-wealthy. [BBC / Gary Kitchener]
  • Among the papers’ findings so far: The private estate of England’s Queen Elizabeth II placed more than $12 million in offshore holdings. The disclosures also showed her son, Prince Charles, invested millions offshore, including in a Bermuda-registered company run by one of his closest friends and lobbied on the company’s interests. [The Guardian / Hilary Osborne]
  • Tech giant Apple is also getting a lot of scrutiny for avoiding paying taxes to Ireland by moving more than $250 billion offshore to the Island of Jersey. That meant instead of paying the 12.5 percent Irish corporate tax (which is lower than the 35 percent US corporations must pay), Apple got away with paying a tax rate of just 0.005 percent in 2014. [BBC]
  • That’s especially glaring, given that Apple CEO Tim Cook fended off criticism for moving to Ireland for tax purposes in the first place by telling US lawmakers that Apple wasn’t going to store its money in a Caribbean island somewhere. They just stored it on a British island instead. [CNN Money / Daniel Shane]
  • The papers have also named Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross as having invested heavily in a shipping company that’s connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s family. [NYT / Mike McIntire, Sasha Chavkin and Martha Hamilton]
  • That matters because Ross has a big say on US trade, including shipping companies. Ross has said this has not influenced any of his policy decisions as secretary. [The Guardian / Luke Harding and Jon Swaine]

Harvey Weinstein unleashed a spying campaign on his accusers

Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images
  • There is a new, bizarre twist in the ongoing Harvey Weinstein story, on the lengths Weinstein tried to go to quash stories of sexual assault that emerged in the New York Times and the New Yorker. [Vox / Constance Grady]
  • New reporting from Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker alleges that Weinstein hired private detectives and spies from companies, including one named Black Cube, mostly staffed by agents from Israel’s Mossad spy agency. [New Yorker / Ronan Farrow]
  • These firms and spies allegedly worked to suppress information in several different ways: They gathered files on the women accusing Weinstein as well as some of the reporters who were working on the exposés of the Hollywood producer. [Washington Post / Derek Hawkins]
  • But the investigators working for Weinstein allegedly went even further: Two people, including a woman pretending to be a women’s-rights advocate, met with actresses including Rose McGowan to ask for details on the accusations against Weinstein. McGowan has gone public accusing Weinstein of rape. [New Yorker / Ronan Farrow]
  • According to the story, the woman pretending to be the women’s advocate went so far as to befriend McGowan and talked with her extensively under the false guise. She did the same with reporters from New York magazine and reached out to reporters from the New York Times. [NYT / Jim Rutenberg]
  • Obviously, this suppression effort didn’t ultimately work, as there are now more than 50 women who have accused Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment. [Entertainment Weekly]
  • And now there’s a good chance Weinstein could be facing serious legal trouble. The Manhattan district attorney is reportedly pursuing charges against Weinstein for allegedly raping actress Paz de la Huerta in 2010. Those charges could be filed as soon as next week. [Page Six / Larry Celona, Rebecca Rosenberg and Ruth Brown]
  • The repercussions for Weinstein keep coming; the Television Academy is the latest Hollywood organization to announce it is expelling Weinstein for life. [CBS News]

Miscellaneous

  • The pee trade, (or, more specifically, the pee testing trade), is an extremely lucrative business, with individual companies making millions off of Medicare reimbursements. [Kaiser Health News / Fred Schulte and Elizabeth Lucas]
  • Forbes is alleging that US Commerce Secretary and noted billionaire Wilbur Ross is actually not a billionaire and has been lying about the extent of his wealth since 2004. [Forbes / Dan Alexander]
  • Disney is feuding with the Los Angeles Times after the paper literally did its job and reported on the company’s business. Disney blocked LA Times film critics from coming to its movie screenings (they lifted the ban today) and inspired its own media boycott. [The Guardian / Rory Carroll]
  • Care for a cannabis coffee? Marijuana-infused drinks like sodas, juices, and coffees are in the works, and they recently got a big backer: the same company that makes Corona. No marijuana-infused beer is the works, however. [WSJ / Jennifer Maloney and David George-Cosh]
  • In the 1970s, an orchestra of amateurs went on tour playing classical music. And they were not good. [Atlas Obscura / Eric Grundhauser]

Verbatim


Watch this:

Replacing our current system with proportional representation would make more room for the wide range of views in US politics. [YouTube / Matthew Yglesias, Liz Scheltens, and Mallory Brangan]


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