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January 14, 2020

It's a good time to be the president of a private university.

Since 2017, the average pay for a private university president in the United States has increased by 10.5 percent, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The Chronicle's annual survey found that 64 presidents earn more than $1 million a year, with three bringing in more than $5 million. The presidents at more than 500 schools averaged $608,000 in compensation, which includes salary, benefits, bonuses, and extra perks, and their average pay grew by 4 percent in 2016 and 9 percent in 2015. This is all happening as tuition and fees continue to rise for students.

Ronald K. Machtley, president of Rhode Island's Bryant University, was head and shoulders above his peers in 2017, receiving $6.28 million. His base salary was under $1 million, with the influx of money coming from deferred compensation deals that went into effect that year. In a statement, Bryant University told The Associated Press that Machtley "transformed Bryant from a regional college to a leading university in its field." He has been president for 24 years, and as "one of the longest serving university presidents in the nation, it's not surprising that the 2017 payment of his long-term compensation pushed him to the top." Catherine Garcia

December 16, 2019

Congressional negotiators on Monday evening unveiled a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill, which includes $25 million for federal gun violence research, a 3.1 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees, and the repeal of several Affordable Care Act taxes, The Washington Post reports.

Congress is expected to pass the legislation, with the House likely voting on Tuesday and the Senate voting later in the week, before Friday's deadline to avoid a government shutdown. President Trump's border wall will receive $1.375 billion in funding, less than the $8 billion Trump requested, but the administration will have the ability to take funds from other accounts.

The legislation includes $7.6 billion in funding for the 2020 Census, $425 million in election security grants, and a $22 billion boost in Pentagon funding, while also increasing the age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. Catherine Garcia

November 21, 2019

Over the course of five months in 2017, the Secret Service spent more than $250,000 at Trump properties and businesses, documents obtained by Property of the People, a nonprofit watchdog group, show.

Property of the People received the documents after filing a Freedom of Information Act request. The credit card transactions, which were made between Jan. 27 and June 9, totaled $254,020.94. Most of the charges were listed under the category "Trump National Golf Club."

There were several charges at Trump hotels, including his properties in Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, where the agency spent more than $45,000 in March. The documents show there were also multiple charges of $10,000 or less made on the same day, likely at Mar-a-Lago; ProPublica reports that charges under $10,000 would allow the private club to sidestep government contracting rules.

These newly released documents provide more ammunition for people who say Trump, who upon becoming president did not divest from his businesses but instead passed control over to his eldest sons, is illegally profiting from the federal government, in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause. Catherine Garcia

June 13, 2019

Luxury real estate agents in Beverly Hills are side-eyeing the recent sale of President Trump's 5,400-square-foot mansion for $13.5 million.

Trump bought the house on Canon Drive for $7 million in 2007, Los Angeles County land records show, and in 2018, the county assessed the property at $8.3 million. It was never listed for sale publicly, The Washington Post reports, and the price "seems a little rich, to be perfectly frank," Luis Pezzini, CEO of Pezzini Luxury Homes, told the Post. "Unless there's something spectacular about this [house] that I'm missing." Pezzini said he's selling a house close to Trump's, but it's bigger, on a larger lot, and has a tennis court, and he expects to get just under $13.5 million.

So, who bought the property? The Post reports that a deed registered with L.A. County on May 31 shows it was signed over to Hillcrest Asia Ltd. by Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr. The purchaser's address is a condo in Beverly Hills owned by a company belonging to billionaire Indonesian media mogul Hary Tanoesoedibjo. Tanoesoedibjo has teamed up with Trump on two projects in Indonesia: a resort on Bali and a golf course and resort south of Jakarta. In 2014, Tanoesoedibjo ran for vice president in Indonesia, and he has said Trump inspired him to take a shot at the presidency sometime in the future.

Trump has sold some properties since becoming president, including land in the Dominican Republic, condos at his hotel in Las Vegas, and a warehouse in South Carolina, the Post reports. Trump's son Eric told The Real Deal Los Angeles they chose to part with the Beverly Hills property because his family's "hectic schedules" keep them from the house and "it has seen minimal use." Catherine Garcia

June 11, 2019

Facebook is looking for information on how people use apps, and they're willing to pay for it.

The tech giant launched a new app in the United States and India on Tuesday, called Study. The app tracks how a person uses other apps, noting how long they are on them and any features they open. Facebook said it isn't looking at web searches, photos, or account IDs and passwords. The company did not say how much it is paying users who install the app.

Facebook previously tried tracking users — without paying them — through the Research and Onavo Protect apps. Both of these apps were shut down after Apple said they violated the App Store's privacy guidelines. Study is only available on the Google Play Store, and Facebook said this app was made in-house and is different from the earlier iterations. "It's a lot of competitive intelligence, but a little less spying on the users," Lance Cottrell, chief scientist at cybersecurity firm Ntrepid, told The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia

April 14, 2019

In the first quarter of 2019, President Trump's campaign brought in $30 million, a boost to the more than $40 million already on hand, the campaign told NBC News on Sunday.

Trump is the only president to file re-election paperwork on Inauguration Day, and he's been collecting donations ever since, giving him an advantage over the Democratic candidates in 2020. On the Democratic side, leading the pack in donations is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with $18.2 million in the first quarter, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) with $12 million.

On top of the money the Trump campaign has raked in, the Republican National Committee has raised $46 million. The campaign will file its quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission on Monday, revealing where it has spent money and the amount. Catherine Garcia

April 1, 2019

In the first three months of her presidential campaign, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) raised $12 million, her team announced Monday.

The campaign said it received 218,000 contributions, with 98 percent of them under $100. More than $6 million was donated online, including $1.1 million in the last week, The New York Times reports. The average donation was roughly $55, and only 0.55 percent of individual donors gave $2,800, the maximum under the law.

"A nationwide network of hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters has stepped up to lay the foundation for a winning campaign," Harris' campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez, said in a statement. Earlier in the day, another Democratic candidate, Pete Buttigieg, announced he raised more than $7 million in the first quarter. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had 158,550 donors who gave an average of $36.35. Catherine Garcia

March 10, 2019

When President Trump sends his annual budget proposal to Congress on Monday, it will include an $8.6 billion request for border wall funds, aides told The New York Times Sunday.

In December, Congress offered $1.375 billion to build barriers along the border, but Trump rebuffed the deal; when Trump did not receive the $5.7 billion he wanted, the government was shutdown for a record 35 days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement on Sunday that Congress "refused to fund his wall, and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson."

Administration officials said Trump will also ask for $3.6 billion to replace money he intends to take from military construction funds in order to work on wall construction. The budget projects that America's economic growth will rise to 3.2 percent this year, almost a full percentage point higher than the Federal Reserve's forecast of 2.3 percent, the Times reports. Catherine Garcia

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