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While 2020 was filled with unexpected and unprecedented events, Maria Patton, a single mother who was financially caught off guard after she lost her job during the pandemic, finally received a good surprise. For the last nine months, Patton struggled to cover basic expenses, frantically prioritizing which bills should be paid every month.

“It’s a constant juggle of creditors and people that I owe money to try to keep my phone turned on and pay my car payment. I’ve already lost my insurance and I have to reinstate that too,” she told The Federalist.

After she lost her job when the California government shut almost everything down, Patton moved from Los Angeles to Tennessee with the hopes of finding work, help, and a way to manage her steady trickle of bills. Instead, Patton found herself living out of her car, staying awake every night to run the heater in 19-degree weather so her teenage son, Aaron Reed, could sleep.

“When you sleep in your car, you’re vulnerable, so you don’t actually sleep,” Patton said.

While Patton had previously received money from the government through Pandemic Unemployment Resistance and the Cares Act, the aid eventually expired and she was left with nothing but debt and dampening hopes.

When the Wall Street Journal asked to feature her and her son in a story about the effects of the pandemic and government shutdowns on families, she agreed, hoping that her story might bring awareness to how many people were suffering not from the virus, but from a damaging economic shutdown and a sudden lack of finances.

“I think the biggest thing is that people need to know is that this kind of thing is happening,” she explained. “Families and other people are experiencing sudden homelessness.”

Shortly following the publication of the story detailing Patton’s quest to stay afloat, however, support and sympathy for her little family grew.

Patton’s GoFundMe, which started with the goal of $4,000 to cover costs such as her car payment, a move for a new nannying job in Colorado, and to have a warm, safe place to sleep at night, began to skyrocket, with hundreds of people financially contributing to help her out.

“We all need to help each other. Godspeed. On to a better New Year,” one donor wrote.

“I read the article in the WSJ and my heart just broke. Even though times are tough for many of us, there’s always someone worse off and in need of people to give a damn. Praying that things work out for you and your son,” another donor posted.

As of Thursday, more than 600 people from all around the world, including Hong Kong and Germany, had donated to Patton and her son, totaling more than $44,000. This generosity, she said, that was unexpected and unmatched by expiring, difficult government aid programs.

“I’m overwhelmed by the kindness of people that I don’t even know,” Patton said, noting that “I’ve been isolated from people for a while now because of my situation, but I’m overwhelmed, humbled, and amazed.”

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“Our government has their priorities all wrong,” Patton said. “Instead, people are helping each other get through this.”

The sudden influx of money, Patton said, not only showed her the kindness of strangers but also gave her immense and widespread relief.

Not only does Patton now have the money to relocate for her new job, but she will also be able to eliminate some of the debt she has accumulated over the last few months, and receive important dental care that she delayed to pay other bills. Patton and Reed will also finally be able to have a warm, safe place to come home to at night.

“I don’t want to be homeless again,” she explained. “We don’t have any expectations, we’re just going to do the best we can.”

While she was living out her car, Patton said her teen struggled to come to terms with their situation and suffered from a decline in mental health and opportunities.

“It was a real struggle for him not being able to control the emotions of anger and stuff like that because of our situation,” she said. “He’s lost a lot and doesn’t have a normal teenager’s life where kids don’t have to worry about where they’re going to sleep at night. That breaks my heart.”

With the donations from her fund, a new job, and a place to settle down, however, Patton is hopeful that she can also give her son a better, more stable future.

“He wants to go to junior college and hopes to start school in the fall, and I’m wanting to be able to do that and not have to worry about anything,” Patton explained. “We are looking forward to a new start.”

“I hope that one day, I’m in a position to be able to pay it forward to somebody in need,” she added.

Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.



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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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