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

January 16, 2019

In response to the housing crisis in Seattle, Microsoft announced late Wednesday it is pledging $500 million to build affordable housing in the region.

Microsoft is based in the suburb of Redmond, and in many areas where tech giants have their headquarters, low-and middle-income homeowners are being priced out. During a meeting attended by New York Times reporters earlier this week, Microsoft President Brad Smith and CEO Satya Nadella said they were worried about their employees being able to afford housing in an area where prices are skyrocketing. "We are going to invest quite a bit," Nadella said. "Of course, we have lots of software engineers, but the reality is that a lot of people work for Microsoft. Cafeteria workers, shuttle drivers. We have a real challenge. We don't have enough affordable housing units."

In December, the government published a report that found the Seattle region needs 156,000 more affordable housing units, and if the area continues to grow at its current rate, an additional 88,000 units are needed by 2040. Catherine Garcia

January 15, 2019

President Trump's inaugural committee had $107 million to work with, and a deep dive shows that $1.5 million was spent at the Trump International Hotel, $924,000 paid for seven-foot-high wreaths and moss-covered obelisks, and $10,000 covered makeup for 20 aides attending an evening event, The New York Times reports.

To determine how much was spent on the inaugural events, the Times reviewed documents and interviewed people involved with the committee. Trump's committee raised tens of millions more than Barack Obama and George W. Bush's committees, with most of the money coming from large corporations, including Bank of America and AT&T, and wealthy GOP donors like casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Inaugural committees have to report every donation to the Federal Election Commission, but for the most part are able to use the money as they please.

The Times reports that about $5 million was donated to charity; $2 million was paid to Trump campaign official Brad Parscale's firm for ads to drum up interest for inaugural events; and $6.4 million went to pay for hotel rooms that were never occupied, as the guests made their own arrangements. First lady Melania Trump's friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff received $1.6 million for overseeing events and creating a documentary that ended up never seeing the light of day.

Winston Wolkoff and her friend Jonathan Reynaga formed WIS Media Partners to manage things, and brought on another party planner, David Monn, who spent $924,000 on decorations for a candlelight dinner at Union Station, the Times reports. WIS Partners ultimately received almost $26 million, which it paid out to other vendors.

It is illegal for foreigners to make donations to inaugural funds, and now federal prosecutors in New York are investigating whether money was funneled to the committee through Americans, as well as if any donations weren't recorded, the Times reports. Read more about the committee's spending, and Winston Wolkoff's testy relationship with other aides, at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

December 27, 2018

Workers in 20 states will ring in the new year with higher wages.

Minimum wage will increase in 20 states on Jan. 1, with a boost of five cents an hour in Alaska all the way up to $1.50 per hour in New York City. In November, voters in Missouri and Arkansas passed ballot measures to increase minimum wage in their state, while increases in 18 other states are due to legislation already passed or inflation adjustments, MoneyWatch reports. At least five million Americans will see a raise, the Economic Policy Institute said.

It's been nearly 10 years since Congress last increased the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. David Cooper, senior economic analyst at the research group EPI, told MoneyWatch that if Congress isn't going to raise the federal minimum wage, "state lawmakers are feeling compelled to do it, and even local lawmakers. The minimum wage is such a simple, straightforward way to improve wages for people." Catherine Garcia

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