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October 07, 2016

Daily News Roundup: Koch-Linked Nonprofits Endorsing in Key Senate Races

501(c)(4)s in Koch Network Embrace Candidates in Pa. and Fla.: Nonprofit “social welfare” groups aligned with conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch are, for the first time, explicitly backing candidates in political races in an effort to keep the Senate in Republican hands, reports The New York Times. Concerned Veterans for America has mounted voter-contact efforts on behalf of GOP incumbents Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Marco Rubio in Florida, and Libre, another Koch-affiliated organization that seeks to engage Hispanic voters, endorsed Mr. Rubio. Such groups have become major conduits for political spending in recent years but typically employ issue-oriented advertising and outreach to sway voters rather than making endorsements.

Financier Gives $10 Million to Study Racial Inequality in Boston: The donation from Glenn Hutchins will fund research on conditions for black residents in the region's poorest neighborhoods, The Wall Street Journal writes. The work will be done by Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, which the same donor endowed with $15 million in 2013. Mr. Hutchins co-founded private-equity firm Silver Lake after earning business and law degrees at Harvard. Read a Chronicle article on the influx of philanthropic dollars for research on inequality.

N.Y. Archdiocese Starts Fund for Abuse Victims Who Don’t Sue: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York’s archbishop, called the fund “a tangible sign of the church’s outreach and sense of reparation” to people molested by clergy in their youth, reports the Associated Press. The program will be led by Kenneth Feinberg, who has managed compensation funds for victims of 9/11, mass shootings, and natural disasters. Under the plan, any records of the abuse and how the archdiocese handled problem priests will remain private. Cardinal Dolan said the archdiocese will not use donated money to cover the payments, relying instead on a long-term loan to finance the fund. 

Harvard Activists Seeking Fossil-Fuel Divestment Lose Again in Court: The Massachusetts Appeals Court dismissed a suit brought by current and former students aimed at forcing the university to shed its coal, oil, and gas holdings, The Boston Globe reports. The court unanimously ruled that the seven plaintiffs, members of the Harvard Climate Justice Coalition, lack legal standing to force university officials to change investment practices, echoing a March 2015 lower-court finding. While some major universities have pledged to drop fossil-fuel investments, Harvard has declined to do so, saying it considers other means more effective in combating global warming.