Fiorina left the race in February, on the heels of poor numbers at the polls—and many stories about her shoddy business record and her propensity for stretching the truth. Now that she's back in the race, let's take a stroll down Fiorina memory lane:
"Fiorina Super-PAC Makes Its Own Abortion Video": After Fiorina described a grisly abortion video during a GOP debate in September, multiple media outlets pointed out that the video didn't exist. In response, her super-PAC created a version of the previously nonexistent video.
"Carly Fiorina's Fact-Defying Stump Speech": Fiorina dropped several shocking statistics during a campaign speech in Iowa. Among other dubious claims, she said that in the previous year 307,000 veterans had died before they received health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs and that the tax code is 73,000 pages. We fact-checked the numbers.
"Carly Fiorina Isn't Just Attacking Planned Parenthood at the Debates": While her presidential campaign was in full swing, Fiorina recorded a robocall that was blasted throughout California encouraging voters to support a ballot measure that would require parental notification before an underage girl can terminate a pregnancy. The measure has been a main goal of California's anti-abortion advocates for the past decade, and fighting it on ballot after ballot has drained Planned Parenthood's money and time for years.
In the most draconian statewide anti-abortion measure yet, the Oklahoma state House of Representatives approved a state Senate bill last week that could make nearly all abortions in the state illegal and jail doctors who provide the procedure.
The measure, SB 1522, would make it a felony to perform an abortion, with no exceptions for a woman's health. The minimum punishment for those who do so would be one year in prison. If it is discovered that they have provided an abortion, doctors would be stripped of their state medical licenses. The only exception to these rules would be abortions to save the life of the mother, and the bill makes clear that the threat of suicide by a woman seeking an abortion doesn't fulfill the "life" requirement. This version of the bill must now get final Senate approval before heading to Gov. Mary Fallin. It's unclear if she will sign it, though historically she has supported anti-abortion legislation.*
The bill also propagates a medically inaccurate definition of abortion. For example, according to SB 1522 the routine removal of fetal matter after a miscarriage is considered abortion. So is the surgical removal of an ectopic pregnancy, in which the implantation of the fertilized egg is outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube, which means such pregnancies are never viable. Leaving the embryo in place could lead to the rupturing of the tube and serious injury to the mother.
"This is a ban on abortion, plain and simple," said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in an emailed statement. "Punishing doctors for performing a legal, medical procedure is an assault on women. As a health care provider, we have seen the very real and very disastrous impact these bills have on women's lives. Women are forced to drive hundreds of miles, and across state lines. Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of this extreme agenda, and Oklahomans will not stand for this."
During several hours of floor debate on the bill last week, other lawmakers asked bill co-sponsor Rep. David Brumbaugh to explain how the state would handle a costly legal battle over this bill, since its near total ban on abortion goes against Roe v. Wade—the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion—and would very likely lead to court challenges. Brumbaugh responded, "Do we make laws because they're moral and right, or do we make them based on what an unelected judicial occupant might question or want to overturn?"
He also assured his fellow lawmakers that God would take care of everything. "Everybody talks about this $1.3 billion deficit," Brumbaugh said. "If we take care of the morality, God will take care of the economy."
Correction: An earlier version of this article did not mention the bill's return to the Senate.
Ride-sharing giant Uber announced that it has agreed to pay $100 million to settle two class action lawsuits, in which thousands of drivers alleged that they were improperly classified as independent contractors instead of employees.
The California and Massachusetts lawsuits were set to go to trial in June.
As part of the agreement, which was announced Thursday evening, drivers will keep the contractor classification, but Uber will pay out $84 million to the drivers, and an additional $16 million if the company goes public and the Uber's valuation hits certain growth levels.
The settlement is one of the largest ever achieved on behalf of workers who alleged that they were improperly classified as independent contractors, wrote Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who represented the workers in both cases, in an email. Depending on how many miles they've driven and several other factors, individual drivers could receive up to $8,000 in settlement money, she said.
The agreement has several other significant terms, including that Uber will now be required to tell passengers that tips are not included in their fare. Drivers will be allowed to put small signs in their cars that say as much. Uber will also facilitate and help fund the creation of driver associations in both California and Massachusetts, where drivers will be able to elect peers to leadership positions, and bring drivers' concerns to management.
For two years, Uber pulled out all the stops to fight this case. The company hired lawyer Ted Boutrous, who successfully represented Walmart before the Supreme Court in the largest employment class action in US history and it twice inserted arbitration clauses into contracts to prevent more drivers from signing on to the class action.
That's likely because classifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees is a major cost-saver that has helped Uber grow into a $60 billion company; losing that classification could have cost the company untold millions.
And Uber is not alone: Classifying workers as independent contractors is a common cost-cutting strategy among popular Silicon Valley startups (Lyft, Postmates, Washio, and more) that have relied on cheap, gig economy freelancers to provide services and have grown rapidly as a result.
While this historic agreement is a significant win for her clients, the question of worker classification in Silicon Valley has yet to be resolved, Liss-Riordan said in an email.
"No court has decided here whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors and that debate will not end here," Liss-Riordan wrote. "This case, however, with this significant payment of money, and attention that has been drawn to this issue, stands as a stern warning to companies who play fast and loose with classifying their workforce as independent contractors, who do not receive the benefits of the wage laws and other employee protections."
The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, a House committee formed in the wake of last summer's Planned Parenthood sting videos, convened on Wednesday to discuss "the pricing of fetal tissue."
This marked the fifth time Congress has held a hearing to discuss the allegations that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue for a profit—a practice that is illegal according to federal law. Last summer, the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress released secretly recorded, deceptively edited videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of fetal tissue. Four separate congressional hearings found no such wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. Unsatisfied, House Republicans, led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), formed this investigative panel last October to continue looking into the possibility that the women's health provider is selling fetal tissue and breaking the law.
In addition to the four congressional hearings, 12 states have so far investigated the allegations of fetal tissue sales by Planned Parenthood and turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. In Texas, a grand jury that began with the intent of investigating Planned Parenthood instead indicted CMP's David Daleiden, the creator of the videos, and absolved the women's health care provider. None of these exonerations, however, has derailed this House committee. Wednesday's hearing didn't make much headway in separating fact from fiction, but it made for some great political theater. Here are a few highlights:
1) A fight over sources: As Blackburn was about to begin her opening statement, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) cut in to pose a fundamental question. In advance of the hearing, the committee had released a set of exhibits purporting to show that procurement companies are working with abortion clinics so both players can derive a profit from selling fetal tissue. DeGette requested that she be allowed to question the committee staff that created the packet, in large part because the sourcing for many of the most incendiary pieces of evidence—including a draft contract between a procurement company and an abortion clinic and several charts implying the growing profitability of fetal tissue procurement—is not noted anywhere in the exhibits.
Blackburn declined to make the staff available, answering that the source was the "investigative work" of the committee, as well as materials obtained through the committee's "whistleblower portal," a form on its website. Unsatisfied by this answer, DeGette asked the committee to exclude the use of these exhibits until their origins are ascertained. "If you won't let me find out what the basis is for these exhibits, then I object to their use," she said. The committee rejected her request.
2) Déjà vu: The first witness to testify was Fay Clayton, a Chicago attorney. Clayton recalled how in 2000 she represented a nonprofit that donated fetal tissue to medical researchers in a case strikingly similar to the Planned Parenthood one. In her case, a different anti-abortion group, Life Dynamics, made a video in which a former employee of the Anatomical Gift Foundation alleged that the group was selling—not donating—fetal tissue. The videos led to sensational media coverage and House hearings, until the former employee was deposed under oath. At that point, he made clear that the accusations he'd made on video were false. He was paid by Life Dynamics to say these things on camera, and he agreed to do so because he needed the money. "What was for sale wasn't fetal tissue; it was a phony witness statement," said Clayton at Wednesday's hearing.
She wondered aloud why the panel has subpoenaed a number of medical researchers and health care providers, but has not subpoenaed the creator of the videos. "Unless this Select Panel is willing to put Mr. Daleiden and his associates under oath and get to the bottom of what they did, it should terminate these proceedings now and return to doing the people's business," Clayton concluded.
3) Internal contradictions: At the beginning of the question-and-answer session, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) sought clarification. One of the committee's exhibits concludes that an abortion clinic incurs no costs in the process of procuring fetal tissue. But other exhibits contradict that, Nadler said, and show that the process requires employee time and equipment for drawing blood, discussing consent forms, and more—all costs that federal law considers reimbursable.
Nadler asked the panel to explain the discrepancy in their materials. Blackburn answered simply, "There is no discrepancy." Nadler and Blackburn then went through several more rounds of back-and-forth, with Nadler repeating his question and Blackburn avoiding a direct answer, saying that the exhibits are based on the committee's "investigatory work." A frustrated Nadler called out her vague answers. "Can you explain how using a chart that draws conclusions that have no objective basis in fact other than your statement that somebody investigated does not violate House rules?" he asked.
4) An episode of House of Cards, and a kangaroo court: When it came time for Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) to speak, she did not mince words. "This hearing belongs in a bad episode of House of Cards," Speier said. "In fact, this hearing is literally based on a house of cards, and the exhibits being used as a foundation are, in all likelihood, the product of a theft carried out by someone who is now under indictment in Texas." Speier was referring to an ongoing line of questioning by various members of the panel who had asked for a clear explanation of the sourcing for the investigative panel's exhibits. "Is this hearing really going to proceed based on stolen and misleading documents? Even Frank Underwood would be blushing at this point."
Speier chided the committee for wasting time on this issue in pursuit of a political agenda: "This so-called committee is the very definition of a kangaroo court," she said, "a mock court that disregards the rules of law and justice to validate a predetermined conclusion." She also criticized the panel for expending effort on "what goes on inside a woman's uterus" while "ignoring what happens to babies and children outside of them." She pointed to the health implications for children in stifling fetal tissue research, and specifically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent research that has used fetal tissue to investigate the connection between the Zika virus and microcephaly. You can watch her incensed testimony below:
5) A shoddy investigation: After the witnesses completed their testimony, DeGette repeated her disapproval of the shoddy sourcing for the committee's exhibits and her puzzlement as to why the committee refused to be more transparent, particularly given the severity of their allegations. "The reason I'm kind of stuck on this," she said, "is because if people are selling fetal tissue in violation of the law, then we need to have an investigation. But we can't have some witch hunt based off some things that were taken off of screenshots and charts created by staff." She continued, "Even though 12 states have investigated and found there was nothing, if you want to send it to the Department of Justice for investigation, I'll guarantee you, they won't make up little charts with their staffs. They will get to the bottom of it with original documents, and I suggest that's what you should do if you think there is a criminal violation."
The CNN town hall with Ted Cruz and his family on Wednesday night began with host Anderson Cooper talking to the candidate about the usual political subjects, including his thoughts about GOP front-runner Donald Trumps' vocal opposition to the current system of gathering delegates in advance of the Republican National Convention. Cruz said Trump is acting like a "union boss thug" by threatening delegates and noted that he's only complaining about the process because recently he has lost several key primaries. "In the last three weeks there have been 11 elections in four states. And we have beaten Donald in all of 11 of them," Cruz said. "He's unhappy about that."
When Heidi Cruz joined her husband on stage and audience members came to the mic, the questions moved from the political to the personal: What was their first date? (A dinner when the two were working on the Bush campaign in 2000.) What did she think was his "most annoying" quality? (His iPhone.) Cruz also told the audience that he loves movies but his wife isn't interested in them, and that, after The Princess Bride, his favorite movies are The Godfather series, including The GodfatherPart III.
But the real highlight of the evening came when Cruz's two young daughters, dressed in identical yellow dresses, were asked whom they would first want to invite to visit the White House. Caroline, whose eighth birthday is on Thursday, and five-year-old Catherine, were shy about naming their favorite pop star, but their mother, Heidi, answered for them: "The girls would love to have their first guest be Taylor Swift," she said.
The girls may not have had much to say on the Cruz versus Trump delegate fight, but they weighed in on a different kind of "Bad Blood" (#sorrynotsorry). The whole family exchange was pretty adorable.