Trump Continues To Trail Well Behind Clinton In Fundraising Race

Trump and his joint fundraising committees raised $90 million last month. Mark Makela/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Mark Makela/Getty Images

Donald Trump raised $90 million in August, the campaign said on Thursday.

That’s a “record” haul for the Trump campaign and its joint fundraising committees, the campaign bragged in a Thursday statement, but it’s no match for Hillary Clinton, who raised $143 million in August, as her campaign reported last week.

Clinton also started 2016 with far more money in the bank than her Republican rival. She and affiliated committees had $152 million, compared to Trump’s $97 million, as the campaign told the Wall Street Journal this week.

Beyond Trump’s headline number, there weren’t many details on exactly what the haul looked like. For example, while the money came “mostly from small donors,” according to the campaign release, the total “includes a significant contribution from Mr. Trump.”

The totals don’t just reflect campaign fundraising; they also include money raised by each candidate’s joint fundraising committees. These committees can accept unlimited donations, which are then split up between different groups.

Clinton’s victory fund raises money for the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, and Democratic committees from 32 states and Puerto Rico, as Peter Overby reported earlier this year. The Trump Victory Fund shares with the Republican National Committee and 11 state party committees, as the Washington Post‘s Matea Gold reported earlier this year.

While the Trump campaign touted the size of its haul, it also tried to make the case that Trump doesn’t need the money that Clinton does. Clinton has spent $132 million on ads, NBC News reported this week, more than four times Trump’s nearly $29 million. And yet, as Trump campaign finance chairman Steve Mnuchin stressed, the two candidates are virtually tied in some recent polls.

The Trump campaign has also been blasting Clinton for her fundraisers — Trump’s son Eric this week criticized her for raising money while his father was in Mexico. However, Clinton’s strategy seems to be to let Trump get the free media he wants while she sits back — a “rope-a-dope” strategy, as NPR’s Ron Elving put it recently. And while she’s finally getting more facetime in front of the press — bringing reporters on her plane and doing a Thursday press conference — she also has plenty of money to buy more controlled visibility, in the form of attack ad after attack ad.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Watch Allen Stone Play 'Naturally' Live In The Studio

September 8, 20163:07 PM ET

Soul singer Allen Stone, the son of a preacher and a self-described hippie, hails from rural Washington. He’s said Stevie Wonder is one of his biggest influences, and that’s evident in a brand-new song he played live on KCRW, “Naturally.”

  • “Naturally”

Photo by Dustin Downing/KCRW.

Watch Allen Stone’s full Morning Becomes Eclectic performance at

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

STEM To Steam: How Coffee Is Perking Up Engineering Education

Associate professor William Ristenpart talks with Sabrina Perell, a community regional development major, and Kyle Phan, an undeclared major, about the taste of their brew during the Design of Coffee class last October at UC Davis. Students learn the science of coffee, from roasting to brewing. Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis hide caption

toggle caption Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

Like so many brilliant innovations, the idea seems obvious in hindsight. Just combine college, coffee, and chemical engineering. Of course!

But no one, apparently, hit upon this magic formula until a few years ago, when William Ristenpart and Tonya Kuhl, two engineering professors at the University of California, Davis, started discussing ways to give young undergraduates a hands-on introduction to their new discipline. Engineering programs are creating such experiences in order to fight attrition; too many of these so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students have been dropping out after a steady diet of mathematics in the first years of college.

Kuhl “had the idea of taking apart a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker” to study how the designers solved the small-scale engineering challenge of brewing coffee,” says Ristenpart. As they talked, it dawned on Ristenpart that every aspect of coffee-making matched a major topic in the chemical engineering curriculum, from the chemical reactions of roasting, to mass transfer (when hot water extracts oils and flavor compounds from coffee grounds), and fluid dynamics, which control the flow of hot water and steam.

Together, Ristenpart and Kuhl turned the coffee problem into a seminar for first-year engineering students. The first year, in 2012, they had 18 students. The next term, 300 students signed up. Today, the course, called Design of Coffee, is the most popular elective class at the entire university. It fills the largest lecture hall on campus. Last year, the course was offered each term, and more than 1,500 students took it. Most of them weren’t even engineering students.

“We have an army of teaching assistants,” Ristenpart says. “Every graduate student wants to work with this class.”

In the coffee lab, teams of students start with identical unroasted coffee beans and compete to produce the best-tasting product. Ristenpart says they end up with “wildly different” version of coffee. Last term’s winner blew away the competition with an “aeropress” method, similar to a French press, that produced coffee with a smell that reminded people of blueberries.

Ristenpart and Kuhl’s idea, in fact, keeps on growing. The Specialty Coffee Association of America heard about it and encouraged the two professors to create not just a class, but an entire center devoted to research on coffee.

Ristenpart says there’s a gaping void of academic research on coffee-making. Scientists might study what happens in the green coffee beans when they are fermented, immediately after harvest, or ways to “maximize the transfer of flavor molecules that you want” into your cup during the brewing process, while leaving those bitter-tasting molecules behind.

Ristenpart is now director of the UC Davis Coffee Center, which is starting to take over a newly vacant, 6,000-square-foot building on the UC Davis campus. It’s not far from the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, a world leader in research on grapes and wine, which Ristenpart sees as a model for his work. “There’s nothing like it for coffee,” he says.

At this point, though, the Coffee Center is little more than a building that’s filled only with Ristenpart’s dreams, while the Mondavi Institute is a bustling enterprise with dozens of full-time faculty and staff. Part of Ristenpart’s job will be raising money to turn his dreams for the Coffee Center into reality.

The first grant was announced this week. Peet’s Coffee is donating $250,000 to help renovate the building and build a pilot coffee roastery.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

FACT CHECK: No, Russia Does Not Want To Defeat ISIS 'As Badly' As The U.S.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke Wednesday at the Conservative Party of New York State. Later in the day, he participated in an NBC candidate forum. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump would have “a very good relationship with many foreign leaders,” he said Wednesday at NBC’s candidate forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. That’s important, he said, because better ties with Moscow would let the U.S. and Russia work together to fight the Islamic State.

The Claim

“And, you know, the beautiful part of getting along?” Trump asked. “Russia wants to defeat ISIS as badly as we do.”

The Question

Is it true that Russia “wants to defeat ISIS” as badly as the U.S. does?

The Short Answer


The Long Answer

Moscow said that it was intervening in Syria to help fight terrorism, but only a small percentage of its airstrikes there have actually targeted the Islamic State, the al Qaeda-aligned al Nusra Front or other extremist groups. Most of its work in Syria has been in support of its longtime client, President Bashar Assad, and his regime focused in the southern capital of Damascus.

American officials at the White House, State Department and Pentagon repeated almost daily that Russia’s actions in Syria did not match its public commitments. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Russia’s deployment was “doomed to fail.”

Now, President Obama and other American leaders are trying to get Russia to change its tack – to agree to a deal which would focus on ISIS and extremist groups and, ideally, spare the more moderate anti-government rebels the U.S. and other allies have supported against Assad. Obama points out that the U.S. has cooperated with Russia on counterterrorism cases and that Russia has its own worries about the threat from radical groups. Many foreign fighters in Syria come from Russia or its neighboring provinces.

Moscow, however, holds most of the cards in Syria. It has made a major commitment to the regime and has helped Assad turn the tide against the anti-government rebels backed by the West. Despite weeks of effort by Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian leaders haven’t shown anything like eagerness to conclude any deal, and State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday that, as of now, Kerry has no plans to return to Moscow for more talks. He was asked whether the Russians are simply stalling – stringing along Washington while they continue to press on the battlefield in support of Damascus.

“I don’t, but again, I can’t speak to what their motivations may be or what their strategy may be,” Toner said. “All I can say is that they have a particular set of issues or positions that they want to see through this agreement. We have our own.”

Also at the candidate forum, Hillary Clinton defended her role in the Obama administration helping get European and Middle Eastern allies together for the campaign to attack Libya in 2011.

The Claim

“Taking that action was the right decision,” Clinton said at a NBC forum on Wednesday. “Not taking it, and permitting there to be an ongoing civil war in Libya, would have been as dangerous and threatening as what we are now seeing in Syria.”

The Question

Did the U.S. prevent “an ongoing civil war in Libya?”

The Short Answer


The Long Answer

By his account, President Obama was never eager to get involved in Libya. But he acceded to his advisors’ desire to intervene after it appeared the army of strongman Col. Muammar Gaddafi was going to sack the eastern city of Benghazi. An alliance of opposition forces there, energized by the regional “Arab spring,” were opposing the regime in Tripoli. Obama said that American and international power was needed to stop the attack and prevent a bloodbath. Clinton played a leading role in recruiting NATO and other powers to the cause.

But “Operation Odyssey Dawn,” as the Pentagon named it, continued beyond defending Benghazi. American, European and some Arab warplanes destroyed Libya’s air defense systems, then its warplanes, then much of its military. With Western air power, the anti-government forces were able to take control of more of the country. Ultimately Gaddafi was toppled, then captured and executed.

But neither Washington, London, Paris nor the other governments involved wanted an Iraq-style post-conflict follow up, so Libya has been without a consistent central government since. The U.S. struggled with a plan to stand up a new military force, which it ultimately abandoned, and the lawlessness and violence in Libya worsened. Attackers raided the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi in 2012, killing the ambassador and others. Violence in Tripoli became so intense in 2014 the U.S. Embassy there closed. In April, Obama called the bungled aftermath of the Libya intervention “the worst mistake” of his presidency.

Not only did the U.S. and international campaign in Libya not prevent ongoing conflict there, it created another ungoverned refuge for the Islamic State. Local groups re-branded themselves under the ISIS flag and leaders from the core group began to travel from their headquarters in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. began a counterterrorism campaign, striking targets from the air with drones and human-piloted fighter aircraft. Those airstrikes continue today from an amphibious assault ship in the Mediterranean, the U.S.S. Wasp.

Washington is supporting a fledgling government in the Libyan city of Sirte, but it’s only one of several organizations competing to become the new ruling authority.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Wells Fargo Fined $185 Million Over Creation Of Fake Accounts For Bonuses

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has fined Wells Fargo $100 million for what it calls “the widespread illegal practice of secretly opening unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts.” Accused of opening more than 2 million unauthorized accounts, the bank is also paying large penalties and restitution.

Fines and penalties in the case total $185 million, with the bank paying an additional $5 million in what it calls “customer remediation.”

Thousands of Wells Fargo employees opened the accounts in secret, investigators say, so they would get bonuses for hitting their sales targets.

Wells Fargo will pay $50 million to the City and County of Los Angeles, along with a $35 million penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. But it’s also on the hook to pay full restitution to all victims of the scheme.

“Because of the severity of these violations, Wells Fargo is paying the largest penalty the CFPB has ever imposed,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences.”

Wells Fargo says it has fired managers and employees “who acted counter to our values” in carrying out the schemes. It also refunded $2.6 million in fees it collected from customers.

In addition, the bank, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., says it’s taking steps to keep this type of scheme from occurring again, noting that it will now send a customer an email confirmation shortly after a deposit account is opened.

“This is a major victory for consumers,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, whose office sued Wells Fargo in 2015 after a Los Angeles Times investigation into the fake accounts. “Consumers must be able to trust their banks. They should never be taken advantage of by their banks.”

Feuer’s office says that after the suit was filed, the city attorney received “more than 1,000 phone calls and emails from customers and current and former Wells Fargo employees across the nation about the issues raised in the litigation.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

After Going For Gold, Athletes Can Feel The Post-Olympic Blues

American Margaux Isaksen smiles during the women’s fencing in the Modern Pentathlon on Aug. 19 at the Rio Olympics. She finished fourth in London in 2012 and 20th in Rio. “It makes you feel sort of worthless,” Isaksen says of her performance. She calls this current period a “post-Olympic depression.” Rob Carr/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Rio Olympics are in the rear-view mirror. Thousands of athletes have returned home to resume their lives. But for many, this post-Olympic period can be a rough one, with depression and anxiety haunting them after the Games.

That depression can affect both stars and lesser-known athletes alike.

Swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, has talked candidly about his downward spiral after the 2012 London games that led to a DUI arrest and time in rehab.

“I still remember the days locked up in my room, not wanting to talk to anybody, not wanting to see anybody, really not wanting to live,” he told NBC’s Bob Costas during the Olympics last month.

Phelps has been something of a savior to his friend and fellow swimmer Allison Schmitt. She also suffered profound depression after the London Olympics and has become an outspoken advocate for mental health treatment, especially for elite athletes.

Consider that these athletes have spent years, maybe decades, building to the all-consuming goal of making the Olympics.

Now, it’s over. All of the buildup, the hype and media attention, the extreme adrenaline rush of competition, have come to a crashing halt.

“You work so hard,” says Karen Cogan, sports psychologist with the U.S. Olympic Committee. “You put everything into it, and for some athletes, their performance is over in a matter of seconds, literally. And then it’s done, and now what?”

Fencer Kelly Hurley (left) with teammate Kat Holmes at the Olympics in Rio in August. “You feel a little empty” after the Games, says Hurley, expressing a sentiment felt by many athletes who prepared for years. Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Melissa Block/NPR

That’s what fencer Kelly Hurley, 28, is asking herself.

I talked with her a couple of weeks ago as she was packing up to leave the athletes’ village in Rio, heading back home to San Antonio. Her epee team finished fifth.

“You feel a little empty,” she said. “Everything that you did all came up to one point, and now it’s over and the new chapter begins, and where to start writing?”

This was Hurley’s third Olympics. Now, she’s wondering if she should try for a fourth.

“Should I do school or make new friends, because I lost them all in the last four years, when I haven’t had time to hang out with any of them,” she says, ruefully.

Hurley hopes that, with the Olympics behind her, she can finish her masters in public health at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

Like Hurley, many athletes have put their lives outside of sport on hold. Some have delayed or taken time off from college. They’ve likely missed out on important family events, like weddings and funerals.

Now they’re reckoning with the future.

For triathlete Greg Billington, 27, of San Diego, becoming an Olympian was a driving goal for nearly 20 years. Ever since he started swimming around age 8, he wanted to qualify for an Olympic team. Posters of Olympic gold medal backstroker Lenny Krayzelburg hung on his bedroom walls.

So when Billington qualified to compete in Rio, he considered it the absolute pinnacle of achievement.

“It kind of changes who you are,” he says. “You’re trying to become the best version of yourself that exists. There’s nothing that quite grips your imagination like qualifying for an Olympic team does, so that’s what makes it hard to replace.”

U.S. triathlete Greg Billington competes in the Olympics in Rio on Aug. 18. He finished 37th. “Currently nothing fills that void,” Billington, 27, says of the post-Olympic period. He plans to seek a spot on the U.S. team in 2020. Bryn Lennon/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

In the end, Billington didn’t have a good triathlon in Rio. He finished 37th. Now that he’s home in California, he says the transition has been tough.

“Currently nothing fills that void. It’s just a little empty part and that’s OK for a little while, as long as it gets filled before it starts to fester,” he says.

Billington says he’ll pursue qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I think there’s definitely more I can get out of myself in triathlon,” he says. After he retires, he’s interested in going to business school.

For some athletes, retiring from sport can bring its own set of problems.

“Their identity is so wrapped up in being an athlete and in their sport,” Cogan, the psychologist, says. “All of a sudden they don’t have that identity in the same way. So who are they going to be? What is the identity going to be? That sometimes is a big struggle.”

If they’re starting over in a new career, many athletes discover with a shock that they’re not among the best any more.

And even for athletes who made the medal podium, they come down from the ultimate high, an explosion of endorphins.

That success can bring its own set of pressures: can I possibly match that again?

Adam Krikorian, who has coached the U.S. women’s water polo team to gold medals in the past two Olympics, says apart from the medal itself, it’s the shared intense journey that proves impossible to replicate.

“You build this incredible bond, and all of a sudden it’s over,” he says. “They’re gonna go the rest of their life looking to try to emulate this experience. And many of them are gonna have a hard time finding something that’s going to equal that passion and that energy and that love.”

Cogan often counsels athletes disappointed in their Olympic performance, who get stuck replaying part of their competition constantly in their mind, wishing they could have a do-over.

That’s the case for Margaux Isaksen, 24, who competes in modern pentathlon, an event that combines shooting, fencing, swimming, horseback riding, and running.

At the London Olympics in 2012, she finished fourth — so close to a medal.

“I just remember thinking, wow, if I had run a second faster, or I’d got one extra fencing touch, then I would have a medal. And I just came home and I felt so defeated and so sad,” says Isaksen, who lives in Fayetteville, Ark.

This summer in Rio, Isaksen was competing five weeks after surgery for a stress fracture in her leg, and she finished 20th.

“It makes you feel sort of worthless,” she says. “It’s a really strong word, but that’s kind of how I feel right now. I really feel like I’ve let myself down, let my coaches down, and that’s hard. And then you don’t know if you want to put yourself through that again.”

Isaksen calls this period “post-Olympic depression.”

She’s finding some relief with yoga, and spending time outside. She’s also been bolstered by some tough love from her mother.

“She told me right after Rio just how proud she was. She gave me a big hug. And then she just said, ‘You know what, Margaux? There’s so much more to life than sport.’ And she said, ‘Just think about everything that’s going on in the world, all the suffering. And just think for a minute about how lucky you are that this seems like the biggest tragedy in your life right now.'”

Isaksen continues: “When you think about that and you put it in perspective, all of my so-called problems? It really doesn’t seem like anything at all.”

Being an elite athlete is a self-absorbed endeavor, Isaksen admits. Sometimes, she says, you just need a smack in the face to bring you back to reality.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Watch Kevin Gates' Emotional New Video For 'Time For That'

September 8, 201612:21 PM ET

The new video from Baton Rouge rapper Kevin Gates is a sultry slow-burner beautifully shot against an arid landscape, with Gates standing amid the ruins of a dusty, burned-out building. It’s a stark setting for his musings on fame and identity, sex and the intricate dance of dating.

“Time For That” is from Gates’ debut full-length, Islah. He released its video on his own website earlier today.

Watch Kevin Gates in a 2014 interview with Microphone Check‘s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley, as he discusses his conflicted feelings regarding fame and success.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Far More Than 2012, Voters Are Rejecting Both Major Party Presidential Candidates

A Seattle Seahawks fan holds a sign suggesting quarterback Russell Wilson for president instead of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Elaine Thompson/AP hide caption

toggle caption Elaine Thompson/AP

You’ve heard it a bajillion times at this point: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the two most unpopular major party presidential candidates on record. Both of them have unfavorability ratings of more than 50 percent.

But here’s one more place that unpopularity pops up: the number of people who simply don’t choose either candidate. Especially when you compare this election with 2012, a massive number of people are either choosing third-party candidates or simply have not yet decided.

The below chart shows the share of people who, in head to head polls, choose neither Clinton nor Trump, compared to similar polls in 2012 and 2008. (Yes, the chart combines both likely- and registered-voter polls, but this chart is intended to just show the general shape of how people’s opinions have shifted.)

Statistician Drew Linzer first pointed this out on Twitter (with a chart that smooths these trends out way more than ours does).

The big separation occurs sometime in mid-January, right as the primaries and caucuses were starting. Suddenly, in February and March, as Trump and Clinton began their marches toward their nominations, lots of 2016 voters decided they didn’t want to vote for either Trump or Clinton.

Throughout 2015, the Trump-Clinton matchup in polls had been purely hypothetical — no primaries had happened yet, so there wasn’t a clear, quantifiable indication of who was likely to win. But as their nominations became more likely, people either chose someone else or decided they were undecided.

Importantly, these are two-way polls between Trump and Clinton, meaning they aren’t separating out Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. It’s hard to compare 2016’s four-way race to 2012’s, as polls this year are counting third-party candidates far more often than polls did in 2012 (when Stein and Johnson were also their parties’ candidates).

However, including Stein and Johnson bumps the number of people who pick neither major party candidate way higher. In the 10 most recent Trump vs. Clinton polls listed on RealClearPolitics, an average of 12.5 percent of people chose neither candidate. Make it a four-way poll with Johnson and Stein, and almost 20 percent of Americans chose someone other than Clinton or Trump or were simply undecided. Around the same time in 2012, the share was only around 13 percent (according to the few four-way 2012 polls RealClearPolitics lists).

So there are two different forces at work here. One is that a bunch of people are undecided — right now, around 7.5 percent, whether you look at this year’s two- or four-way polls. That puts this year’s average a couple points higher than where it was at this point in 2012 — somewhere just above 5 percent. A couple of percentage points may not seem like a big deal right now, but then, that’s millions of potential voters to get off the fence.

The other is the share of people who are picking other candidates, like Johnson and Stein. When those two are not included in a poll, the share of people picking “other” isn’t all that big. But add them in, and Johnson and Stein prove to be much more popular.

The interesting question is what will happen as Election Day approaches. Clearly in 2012, both the “other” and “undecided” shares of people slid precipitously as Election Day approached. That looks like it might have started among 2016 undecideds, but it’s more subtle.


As for third-party candidates like Johnson and Stein, the future is also unclear. Their share (“other”) looks like it’s slipping a little in this year’s two-way polls, but it’s steady in four-way trends.

That suggests a change from 2012. Unfortunately, there aren’t many Obama-Romney-Johnson-Stein polls to go off of from that year, but at least in two-way polls, it’s clear that “other” voters were disappearing — and fast — as Election Day approached.

Voters in 2012 may have abandoned their outside choices in favor of a major-party, non-spoiler candidate, but with this year’s wildly unpopular major-party choices, it may be tougher for Clinton or Trump to get those third-party voters to budge.

And those third party candidates provide some insight into what on earth undecided voters are thinking. Because of the often stark differences between candidates, undecideds are easily written off as dopey imbeciles:

But even despite the ocean between Trump and Clinton, it’s easy to see how people might be undecided yet in this election, especially given the new prominence that Johnson and Stein have this year.

It’s easy to imagine a former Sanders supporter who is torn between reluctantly supporting Clinton (and thereby helping defeat Trump) or supporting Stein more enthusiastically (and potentially helping Trump). The same could be true of libertarian-leaning, reluctant Trump supporters considering whether they should vote for Gary Johnson, for example.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Ryan Lochte Is Suspended For 10 Months Over His Behavior At Rio's Olympics

Ryan Lochte will serve a 10-month suspension from domestic and international swim competitions, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming announced Thursday. Ray Tamarra/GC Images hide caption

toggle caption Ray Tamarra/GC Images

Weeks after he left Rio’s 2016 Summer Olympics under a cloud, U.S. swimming star Ryan Lochte is being punished for his behavior in Brazil, which ranged from an altercation at a gas station to making claims that he was robbed — claims that were later deemed to be false.

On Thursday, the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming imposed a 10-month suspension on Lochte, banning him from domestic and international national swim team competitions through June 30, 2017. This means Lochte, 32, won’t be able to compete in the 2017 national championships — and, by extension, he’ll be ineligible for the 2017 FINA World Championships.

Announcing the punishment for Lochte and three other swimmers, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said, “The behavior of these athletes was not acceptable. It unfairly maligned our hosts and diverted attention away from the historic achievements of Team USA.”

The three other U.S. swimmers who were with Lochte that night — Gunnar Bentz, 20; Jack Conger, 21; and James Feigen, 26 — were hit with four-month suspensions and other punishments.

None of the four swimmers will receive stipends from USA Swimming or the USOC during their suspensions; they will also be left out of Team USA’s visit to the White House.

And in Lochte’s case, he forfeits all USOC and USA Swimming funds that were triggered by the gold medal he won at the 2016 Olympics. It’s been reported that the USOC pays a $25,000 bonus to gold medalists.

“Each of the athletes has accepted responsibility for his actions and accepted the appropriate sanctions,” Blackmun said. He added, “We look forward to focusing our energy on the Paralympic Games and the incredible men and women representing our country in Rio.”

Here’s now Blackmun has described what happened on the night in question:

“As we understand it, the four athletes (Bentz, Conger, Feigen and Ryan Lochte) left France House early in the morning of August 14 in a taxi headed to the Olympic Village. They stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, where one of the athletes committed an act of vandalism. An argument ensued between the athletes and two armed gas station security staff, who displayed their weapons, ordered the athletes from their vehicle and demanded the athletes provide a monetary payment. Once the security officials received money from the athletes, the athletes were allowed to leave.”

Immediately after the incident, Lochte spoke to the media about what he described as an armed robbery — but that version of events unraveled in the face of scrutiny, particularly after surveillance video contradicted Lochte. Then news emerged that Lochte had left Brazil as the police were seeking to question him further and seize his passport. On the night of August 17, police removed Conger and Bentz from a U.S.-bound plane at Tom Jobim Airport. The pair were allowed to leave one day later, after satisfying local authorities.

On Aug. 19, Lochte issued a statement in which he said, “I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend, for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics.”

USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said today that the American swimmers “had lapses in judgement” and engaged in behavior that broke the code of conduct for U.S. Olympic athletes.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)