Stock Market Takes a Dive

It was a wild ride on Wall Street today with the Dow Jones Industrial average taking a nosedive, losing more than 1,175 points dropping below 25,000 for the first time since January 4th during a second straight day of sell-offs.

It was the worst single-day point drop the Dow has ever sustained and, coming on the heels of Friday’s 666-point loss, erased the Dow’s gains for the year.

By the end of the trading day the Dow had dropped 46 percent, more than 1,100 points, closing at 24,345.

Troy Reinhart of Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management said that while these fluctuations can be scary, market pullbacks prevent stocks from overheating and gives investors who were stuck on the sideline a chance to “get in”.

Despite the recent turmoil, the Dow remains up almost 40 percent since President Trump’s election and the official white house comment today was that “markets do fluctuate in the short term,” but stressed, that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

DOJ Puts Pressure on Sanctuary Cities

On Wednesday 23 jurisdictions, including Oregon State, received letters from the U.S. Department of Justice asking for documents to prove that they are cooperating with immigration authorities and threatening to pull public safety grants.

The letters are part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ promised crackdown on sanctuary cities and states.

“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press release from the DOJ (Department of Justice). “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law. We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement—enough is enough.”

The letter sent to Michael Schmidt, the Executive Director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission,  warned that the DOJ could use subpoena power to force them to provide documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.

Similar letters were sent to cities like Chicago, New York, Denver and Los Angeles, and the states of Illinois and California. DOJ officials said the 23 jurisdictions have been previously warned they need to provide information about their policies to be receive grants.

According to the DOJ website, jurisdictions who refuse to turnover documents, or whose policies are deemed counter to federal immigration laws, may be forced to return federal grant dollars from a 2016 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant and may be deemed ineligible for a 2017 Byrne Grant.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant is a memorial grant and is the leading source of federal justice funding for state and local jurisdictions. The grant provides states, tribes and local governments across the U.S. with funding for target community specific law enforcement needs.

Oregon was allocated $3,099,650 through the grant for 2016.

Sanctuary cities, counties, and states are jurisdictions with laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions or policies that prohibited local law enforcement agencies from complying with ICE detainers and denying ICE access to interview incarcerated undocumented immigrants.

In Oregon this means an undocumented immigrant that has committed a crime in a sanctuary jurisdiction would be penalized for that crime but would not be detained due to their undocumented status. It also means local and state law enforcement will not assist immigration officials in locating or apprehending people due to their undocumented status.

Relying on local law enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody for deportations.

In response to the letter, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in tweet, “Oregon will not be bullied by a Trump Administration that’s focused on diving our country. Oregon’s laws are in place to uphold the civil rights of all Oregonians. The federal government cannot, under the US Constitution, force state law enforcement officers to implement its policies.”

Here’s is the full letter written to Oregon from the DOJ:

Dear Director Schmidt:

Thank you for your response to our November 15, 2017, letter regarding your jurisdiction’s compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, a federal law with which your jurisdiction must comply as an eligibility requirement for receiving Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) funding from the Department of Justice (Department or DOJ). After reviewing your response, the Department remains concerned that your jurisdiction’s laws, policies, or practices may violate section 1373, or, at a minimum, that they may be interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with section 1373.

In light of these concerns, the Department is requesting certain documents as described below. This request is made consistent with 2 CFR § 200.336, as adopted by Department regulation 2 CFR § 2800.101. In your FY 2016 Byrne JAG award, you agreed to the following (listed as special condition #23):

[The recipient agrees to] cooperate with [the Bureau of Justice Assistance (“BJA”)] and [Office of the Chief Financial Officer (“OCFO”)] on all grant monitoring requests…. The recipient [also] agrees to provide to BJA and OCFO all documentation necessary to complete monitoring tasks, including documentation related to any subawards made under this award. Further, the recipient agrees to abide by reasonable deadlines set by BJA and OCFO for providing the requested documents. Failure to cooperate with BJA’s/OCFO’s grant monitoring activities may result in sanctions affecting the recipient’s DOJ awards, including but not limited to withholdings and/or other restrictions on the recipient’s access to grant funds; referral to the Office of the Inspector General for audit review; designation of the recipient as a DOJ High Risk grantee; or termination of an award(s).

Please respond to the below request by providing to Chris Casto, BJA, at by no later than February 23, 2018, all responsive documents, consistent with the instructions in Attachment A.

Documents Requested: All documents reflecting any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees (including, but not limited to, police officers, correctional officers, and contract employees), whether formal or informal, that were distributed, produced, and/or in effect during the relevant timeframe, regarding whether and how these employees may, or may not, communicate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or their agents, whether directly or indirectly.

BJA will review your submissions and seek additional information, if necessary. The Department fully anticipates your complete cooperation in this matter. Should you fail to respond in a complete and timely manner, the Department will subpoena these documents in accordance with 34 U.S.C. §§ 10225, 10221, 10230, 10151 – 10158, 10102(a)(6), 10110, and 10110 note.

These materials are critical to our ongoing review. Should the Department determine your jurisdiction is out of compliance with section 1373, the Department may, as detailed in your award documents, seek return of your FY 2016 grant funds, require additional conditions for receipt of any FY 2017 Byrne JAG funding for which you have applied, and/or deem you ineligible for FY 2017 Byrne JAG funds.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. We look forward to working through this matter with you. Any specific questions concerning this request can be sent to directly to Tracey Trautman, BJA Deputy Director, at or call (202) 305-1491.”

Trump signs Tax Bill

President Donald Trump signed the republican tax bill on Friday, before heading to Florida for Christmas. The bill is the largest tax overhaul in 30 years and passed through Congress without a single democrat vote in the House or Senate. The bill has been criticized for providing permanent tax cuts to large corporation while only providing temporary cuts to most middle to low-income Americans.

Before it passed Congress the tax bill polled low with the American people, with only about 40 percent in favor of the bill. Aside from concerns that the bill favors rich Americans and large corporations, it will also likely hit high-tax states the hardest, which generally means liberal-leaning costal states like Oregon. This is due to the new bill’s limits on SALT deductions, which allowed people to deduct their state and local taxes.

Since the tax cuts for middle and lower- income Americans expire in 2025, many Americans may also see tax increases as time goes on to pay for the new bill’s $1 trillion in tax cuts and the $1.5 trillion it adds to the national debt.

For now Americans could see the new cuts reflected on their taxes as early as this year since Trump signed the bill before the New Year.

On Friday Trump also signed in a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through Jan. 19 while adding $4 billion to missile defense. A more permanent spending bill will be discussed when democrats and republicans return to D.C. after the Christmas break.

A Tax Bill for Christmas

President Donald Trump signed the republican tax bill before heading to Florida for Christmas. The $1.5 million tax bill is the largest tax overhaul in 30 years and passed through Congress without a single democrat vote. The bill has been criticized for providing permanent tax cuts to large corporation while only providing temporary cuts to most middle to low-income Americans.

On Friday Trump also signed in a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through Jan. 19 while adding $4 billion to missile defense.