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Porter and Schiff clash over demands for campaign donation purity

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Irvine Rep. Katie Porter has been engaging in a heated exchange with her Democratic rival in California’s 2024 Senate race, Burbank Rep. Adam B. Schiff, over campaign donation purity tests. Porter has been critical of Schiff for accepting contributions from influential special interests such as oil, pharmaceutical, and financial companies, accusing him of being influenced by these entities in Washington.

Porter has distinguished herself by refusing donations from corporate political action committees, unlike Schiff, who is currently leading in the polls alongside former baseball player Steve Garvey as the primary election nears. She has emphasized her commitment to standing against corporate influence and delivering results on issues like climate change during her time in Congress.

In response, Schiff defended his fundraising practices by highlighting his support for Porter in her congressional campaigns, stating that he had helped raise significant amounts of money for her. He also pointed out that he had previously prosecuted big oil companies before entering Congress, despite accepting contributions from them during his political career.

A recent analysis conducted by The Times on campaign finance reports from the overlapping terms of Porter and Schiff revealed interesting findings. Both candidates have raised substantial sums of money for their campaigns through individual contributions as well as through political action committees that they have established to support other candidates.

Defense, tech, and pharmaceutical companies contributed to Schiff’s campaigns

The analysis showed that Schiff’s committees received a total of 377 contributions from corporate PACs, with his campaign committee and leadership PAC receiving significant donations from industries such as defense, technology, and telecommunications. Companies like Comcast, Wells Fargo, and Amgen were among the top contributors to Schiff’s campaigns.

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Porter criticized Schiff for accepting what she referred to as “dirty money” from corporate interests, urging him to take responsibility for his fundraising choices. The majority of corporate PAC donations to Schiff’s committees came from defense companies, including major players like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, as well as other industry giants like Amazon and Universal Music Group.

Schiff donated over $50,000 to Porter

An examination of FEC records revealed that Schiff had contributed over $50,000 to Porter’s campaigns for the House of Representatives. These donations were primarily facilitated through individual donors who channeled their contributions through Schiff’s committees, with messages exchanged between the two candidates expressing gratitude for the support.

In addition to financial contributions, Schiff also aided Porter in raising funds through fundraising solicitations and events, estimating that he had helped her accumulate close to $240,000 since her initial campaign in 2018. Porter’s team acknowledged Schiff’s assistance but reiterated their commitment to refraining from accepting corporate PAC donations.

Navigating corporate money in politics

The issue of corporate influence in politics is a complex one, as evidenced by the fundraising practices of both Porter and Schiff. While Porter has maintained a strict policy of rejecting corporate PAC donations, Schiff’s fundraising efforts have involved a mix of individual contributions as well as support from various groups, including corporate interests.

Porter’s approach to fundraising has been centered on grassroots support and individual donations, culminating in the creation of her leadership political committee, the Truth to Power PAC. This committee has focused on supporting candidates across the country without relying on corporate political action committees for funding.

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Despite their differences in fundraising strategies, both Porter and Schiff have demonstrated their commitment to advancing their respective agendas and supporting fellow Democrats in their political endeavors. The ongoing debate over campaign donation purity tests highlights the complexities of navigating the intersection of money and politics in the modern political landscape.

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The Contribution of Volcanoes to Venus’s Atmospheric Composition

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One of the many mysteries surrounding Venus, our closest planetary neighbor, is the origin of its atmosphere. The planet is veiled in thick clouds, making it challenging to study its surface and atmospheric composition. However, scientists have long speculated about the role of volcanoes in shaping Venus and adding to its atmosphere. With approximately 85,000 volcanoes on Venus, the idea of active volcanic activity is a topic of interest and debate among researchers.

A recent paper by European researchers explores the question of whether Venus has active volcanism through two approaches. The first approach considers whether Venus can maintain its current atmospheric composition without additional gases from volcanic emissions. The variability of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere over decades has been cited as potential evidence of ongoing volcanism. However, some scientists suggest that other factors, such as surface-atmosphere interactions or atmospheric dynamics, could also contribute to this variability.

The second approach focuses on identifying transient effects in Venus’ atmosphere that could indicate active volcanism. These effects could range from water vapor to particulate matter like volcanic ash. Data on these phenomena has been limited, primarily collected through remote sensing missions. However, upcoming missions to Venus, such as DAVINCI and EnVision, aim to provide more direct measurements and insights into the planet’s atmosphere.

DAVINCI, equipped with spectrometers and high-tech cameras, will gather data in Venus’ lower atmosphere to detect trace volcanic gases. It will also analyze ionic concentrations to indicate volcanic outgassing. EnVision, another mission, will focus on studying gases higher up in the atmosphere using various spectroscopic techniques to unravel mysteries in Venus’ cloud tops.

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While current missions offer valuable tools for studying Venus’ atmosphere, there are limitations to consider. For instance, an infrasound sensor could directly detect volcanic eruptions, but no missions currently include this technology. Despite these challenges, researchers are optimistic about the new insights these missions could bring to the ongoing debate on Venus’ volcanic activity.

With the earliest mission, DAVINCI, set to launch in approximately five years, scientists have time to refine their hypotheses and theories about Venus. The data collected during these missions could finally provide conclusive evidence regarding the presence of active volcanism on Venus, answering a long-standing question about our neighboring planet.

As researchers eagerly await the results from upcoming missions, the scientific community is hopeful that these endeavors will shed light on the enigmatic nature of Venus and its mysterious atmosphere. By leveraging advanced technologies and innovative approaches, scientists are poised to unravel the secrets of Venus and potentially redefine our understanding of planetary volcanism.

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