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Delta CEO calls Georgia voting law ‘unacceptable’

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Delta CEO calls Georgia voting law ‘unacceptable’

The CEO of Georgia-based Delta Air Lines said Wednesday that the state’s new election law overhaul is “unacceptable” and “based on a lie,” after the company faced criticism that it didn’t speak out forcefully enough in opposition to the bill when it was being considered by the state’s Republican leaders.

CEO Ed Bastian offered his assessment of the new Georgia law in a memo sent to employees less than a week after Delta officials joined other corporate lobbyists to shape the final version of a sweeping measure that could make it harder for some Georgia citizens to cast ballots.

The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, comes amid a smattering of calls for consumer boycotts of Delta and other Georgia-based brands, including Coca-Cola, UPS and Home Depot. The Major League Baseball players union also has raised the possibility of moving the summer All-Star game from the Atlanta Braves home stadium.

Delta Air Lines initially issued a statement touting some parts of the law, such as expanded weekend voting, but said “we understand concerns remain over other provisions in the legislation and there continues to be work ahead in this important effort.”

But Bastian spoke more forcefully in Wednesday’s memo to employees.

“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true,” Bastian wrote, alluding to former President Donald Trump’s claims that his loss was due to fraud. “Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights.”

Bastian repeated that Delta “joined other major Atlanta corporations to work closely with elected officials from both parties, to try and remove some of the most egregious measures from the bill. We had some success in eliminating the most suppressive tactics that some had proposed.”

But, he emphasized, “I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”

The new law was signed last week by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, hours after it cleared the state legislature. It is part of a tide of GOP-sponsored election bills introduced in states across the country after Trump’s false assertions about the 2020 elections. President Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by about 12,000 votes out of almost 5 million cast, and Democrats won two Jan. 5 Senate runoffs to give the party control of the chamber on Capitol Hill.

Georgia officials, including Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, have vouched for the accuracy of the election counts even as they backed some changes that could make it harder for Georgians to cast absentee ballots, a method that more than a fifth of the November electorate used.

The Georgia law adds a photo ID requirement for voting absentee by mail, cuts the amount of time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed. It also bans people from handing out food or water to voters waiting in line and allows the Republican-controlled State Election Board to remove and replace county election officials while curtailing the power of the secretary of state as Georgia’s chief elections officer.

Republicans in Georgia insist the changes are needed to restore voters’ confidence.

Civil rights and voting rights groups have filed multiple federal lawsuits challenging the Georgia law. Activists also have turned their attention to congressional Democrats’ push for sweeping federal action on voting rights. Democrats’ measures in Washington could effectively override many of the changes being enacted in Georgia and considered in dozens of other state legislatures led by Republicans.

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Dogecoin jumps again to double record rally price

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Dogecoin jumps again to double record rally price

Dogecoin has doubled from its Wednesday morning rally to reach prices of more than $0.30 Thursday night.

The dog meme-inspired cryptocurrency — that began as a joke — is up 400 percent over the past week, according to Coindesk.

The surge came a day after Wednesday’s stock market debut for the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which was considered a sign of Wall Street’s acceptance of crypto. However, Dogecoin is not listed on Coinbase.

Doge was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter Thursday night, and at least one user told The Post they were unable to purchase the currency on Robinhood, due to the app crashing as its value skyrocketed.

“Doge Barking at the Moon,” tweeted SpaceX’s Elon Musk, who once said Dogecoin is his favorite Bitcoin rival.

“Me on Robinhood checking if #dogecoin has reached the moon every 2 seconds,” another user tweeted.

“There is fixing to be a lot of Meme Millionaires,” one user posted.

Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban began accepting Dogecoin for payment for NBA tickets and merchandise last month.

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Robinhood sues Massachusetts over regulatory clampdown

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Robinhood sues Massachusetts over regulatory clampdown

 Online brokerage Robinhood on Thursday sued to invalidate Massachusetts’ recently-adopted fiduciary rule and block state regulators from proceeding with charges it encourages inexperienced investors to place risky trades without limits.

Robinhood in a lawsuit filed in state court in Boston said the fiduciary standard of conduct for broker-dealers that Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s office adopted last year violates state and federal law.

A spokeswoman for Galvin did not respond to a request for comment.

Galvin, the state’s top securities regulator, in December filed an administrative case accusing Robinhood of using aggressive tactics to attract inexperienced investors and failing to prevent outages on its platform.

He accused the app-based service of using strategies that treated trading like a game to lure young, inexperienced customers, including having confetti rain down for each trade made on its app.

The case is the first enforcement action brought under a state fiduciary rule adopted in September that raised the investment-advice standard for brokers.

Regulators are seeking a fine and order requiring Robinhood to engage a compliance consultant to review its platform and policies. Robinhood has denied wrongdoing.

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Veterans included in latest round

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Veterans included in latest round

The feds just doled out another 2 million stimulus checks — and a large chunk of them went to veterans.

The Internal Revenue Service’s fifth batch of coronavirus relief payments under the American Rescue Plan included more than 320,000 checks for people relying Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, officials said.

Those taxpayers are receiving compensation benefits or VA pensions available to veterans as well as their spouses or other relatives in some cases, according to the feds.

Like many Social Security recipients who had to wait for their stimulus checks, these VA beneficiaries do not usually file tax returns and didn’t submit their payment info to the IRS when previous payments were distributed last year, the tax agency said Wednesday.

The IRS had to review payment data it received from the VA to deliver money to the affected veterans, officials have said.

The VA beneficiaries’ checks were among more than $3.4 billion worth of “economic impact payments” that the IRS said it started processing last Friday and officially paid on Wednesday.

Nearly 850,000 payments in the latest batch went to people whose payment info the IRS did not have on record but recently filed a tax return, according to the feds. Another 72,000 went to the aforementioned Social Security beneficiaries who didn’t file income taxes in either of the last two years, officials said.

There were also more than 700,000 “plus-up” payments to taxpayers who received an initial check in March based on their 2019 tax returns but qualified for more money based on their recently processed 2020 returns, the IRS said.

The feds have now given out about 159 million stimulus payments worth more than $376 billion since President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion spending package authorizing the checks last month, officials said.

This week’s batch of payments included nearly 1.2 million direct deposits and close to 800,000 paper checks, according to the IRS.

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