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November 23, 2016

Daily News Roundup: Trump Taps Philanthropist Betsy DeVos for Education Dept.

Prominent Mich. Donor Is Pick for Education Secretary: President-elect Donald Trump has selected Republican activist and school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos for the cabinet post, reports The Washington Post. Ms. DeVos is a member of the Grand Rapids, Mich., family behind the Amway sales empire, which has donated hundreds of millions of dollars for education, the arts, and other causes.

Donald Trump Drops Plan for Hillary Clinton Investigations: The president-elect told The New York Times he will not press for renewed federal inquiries into the Clinton Foundation’s financial dealings or Ms. Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Mr. Trump made calls to prosecute his Democratic opponent a mainstay of his campaign.

Rockefeller Charities Pushing Climate Conspiracy, Exxon Mobil Says: The oil giant, facing allegations that it downplayed the threat of global warming while its own research showed the climate impact of fossil fuels, is accusing Rockefeller family charitable funds that support environmental causes of plotting against it, reports The New York Times.

George Soros Commits $10 Million to Combat Hate Crimes: The billionaire investor and liberal donor said his Open Society Foundations will support community and civil-rights groups and boost national efforts to track harassment of immigrants, Muslims, and other minorities, reports of which have risen sharply since the election, The New York Times writes.

Heritage Foundation Playing Key Role in Trump Transition: The conservative policy group has emerged as a major influence on the president-elect’s appointments, with Heritage leaders serving on Mr. Trump’s transition committee and other staffers reaching out to and vetting candidates for high administration posts, according to Politico.

In other transition news, The Washington Post reports on the close ties between the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative research nonprofit, and right-wing media outlet Breitbart News. Stephen Bannon, who will be Mr. Trump’s chief White House strategist, founded and received a salary from the institute while also heading Breitbart.

Patagonia to Donate Black Friday Proceeds to Charity: The outdoor-apparel firm said 100 percent of its global sales from the annual shopping extravaganza will go to  grass-roots environmental groups, Fortune reports. The company expects to raise more than $2 million from Black Friday online and in-store purchases.

Simons Foundation Spins Off Cutting-Edge Computing Division: The science-focused grant maker led by hedge-fund billionaire James Simons and his wife, Marilyn, launched the Flatiron Institute to develop software and computing techniques for use by its own researchers and scientists in government and academia, writes The New York Times.