Bloomberg CityLab, “Republicans Ramp Up Rhetoric Against ‘Anarchist Jurisdictions’”

A Department of Justice threat to strip federal funds from Seattle, Portland and New York City is part of a larger GOP effort to bring cities to heel. 

Kriston Capps, September 23, 2020

A September 22 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice designating three American cities as “anarchist jurisdictions” took at least one of them by surprise. Neither U.S. Attorney General William Barr nor any other DOJ official has been in contact with Seattle leaders to discuss the possibility of stripping federal funds from the city.

That’s the threat now hanging over the heads of leaders in Seattle, New York City and Portland, Oregon. Barr’s Monday-morning missive was the first step toward fulfilling a September 2 memo signed by President Donald Trump that seeks to review federal funding for any state or local jurisdictions deemed to be permitting anarchist violence.

“The Trump administration’s threats to defund Seattle, Portland, and New York are a gross misuse of federal power and blatantly unlawful,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in a statement. “Trump, the Department of Justice, and Barr’s obsession with Seattle and me is irrational and most importantly, a huge distraction.”

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