Show an ad over header. AMP

Feds shielded against insurance claims from Capitol breach

Families of the people who died in Wednesday's attack on the Capitol — and others who were there — will have a hard time filing suit or recovering damages from the federal government.

Why it matters: That's because the government is self-insured, and thus largely protected from such claims. Normally, a public disturbance of the size and scale seen this week might trigger lawsuits, but that might prove difficult in this case.

Where it stands: Since the U.S. government is self-insured, it has no commercial insurance.

  • "Any damage, lawsuits, necessary repairs, or expenses are paid for by U.S. Government resources," per the Insurance Information Institute.
  • From a liability perspective, the Federal Tort Claim Act will likelyprotect the government from any lawsuits, should the estates of the people who were killed decide to sue.
  • That 1946 law means that "suing a federal government entity for damages in a personal injury claim is more challenging than suing a private citizen or corporation," per Justia.

Different rules apply for the family of Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died from injuries sustained while confronting protesters:

  • The Capitol police are under the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia; their workers compensation includes death benefits.
  • "The Capitol Police can’t sue the federal government under workers comp," which provides immunity from negligence, Loretta L. Worters, spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, tells Axios.
  • However, the family or estate of a Capitol police officer could sue third parties if they believe they were negligent — so that could include the rioters, she added.

The backstory: "It appears the government has been self-insured because of the enormity of the costs if it were through the regular market," Worters said, citing a 1972 report to Congress on the issue.

  • While the situation would seem to protect the feds from claims, "there could be an issue with the fact the government knew about the demonstration" in advance and could have been better prepared, Worters said.
  • ‘This is such a fluid thing and so different from anything we’ve ever seen," she added.

Collins helps contractor after pro-Susan PAC gets donation

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

Keep reading... Show less

Cutting corporate cash could push GOP to embrace party's rightward fringe

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

Keep reading... Show less

Tim Kaine, Susan Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Donald Trump

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on-the-record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

Keep reading... Show less

Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

Keep reading... Show less

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden makes a down payment on racial equity with a series of executive orders

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

Keep reading... Show less

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday in an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

Keep reading... Show less

Texas judge temporarily halts Biden's 100-day deportation freeze

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.

Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but could face pushback from the courts.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories