Marilyn Geewax

This may not be good news for your waistline, but your sweet tooth might appreciate it: Halloween candy sales are crackerjack this year.

"Consumer confidence is riding high, so consumers are likely to splurge a little more on edible goodies," David Deull, a senior economist with IHS Markit, said in his analysis of 2017 Halloween spending.

Halloween candy sales are expected to rise 4.1 percent from last year, reaching a seasonally adjusted $4.1 billion, he said.

When negotiators for the United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up the latest round of trade talks in Washington on Tuesday, they sounded frustrated — and far apart.

From cars to cows, they have big disagreements over how the North American Free Trade Agreement should work. In fact, the disputes appear so big, they may be threatening the future of NAFTA.

So officials have agreed to delay their next meeting — pushing off its start in Mexico City until Nov. 17; they originally had planned to meet later this month.

When corporate chief executives appear before Congress, they come braced for battle, but hope for gentle treatment.

Tender handling is not what they got on Tuesday. Not from Republicans. Not from Democrats.

Not when they were representing Wells Fargo and Equifax — two huge companies that recently have harmed Americans.

"At best, you were incompetent. At worst, you were complicit. And either way you should be fired," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan.

The House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday considered looking into President Trump's financial ties, particularly those linking him to a bank that had been involved with laundering Russian money.

But Republican members voted "nyet" on a straight party-line vote of 34-26.

More than 190 Democrats in Congress joined together to sue President Trump on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

They say Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution by profiting from business deals involving foreign governments — and doing so without congressional consent. And they want the court to make it stop.

Trump has "repeatedly and flagrantly violated" the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters on a conference call.

Can states force President Trump to sell off his businesses?

That question is being raised by a new legal challenge to Trump's continued ownership of far-flung businesses.

On Monday, the attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in a Maryland federal court, saying that Trump's failure to sell off his interests in hotels, golf courses, office buildings and other properties is undermining public trust and violating the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause.

A nonprofit group's claim that President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution should be dismissed because the plaintiffs have no standing to sue, according to a court filing by the Department of Justice.

"Those claims falter on threshold grounds: no Plaintiff has alleged an injury" that meets the standing requirement, the DOJ says in a document submitted in federal court.

The Trump administration has granted ethics waivers or partial releases to about a dozen federal agency officials, freeing them from full compliance with ethics rules.

That's according to documents released Wednesday by the Office of Government Ethics.

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, accused Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of failing to answer his questions about President Trump's business ties to people who might be violating money laundering and other U.S. laws.

Mnuchin responded by suggesting Brown "just send me a note on what you are looking for."

Brown pointed out that he had already sent a two-page letter.

In a letter released Friday, President Trump's lawyers said a decade's worth of his tax returns show that he doesn't owe money to Russian lenders and that he has received no income from Russian sources, "with a few exceptions."

The exceptions include this: "In 2008, Trump Properties LLC sold an estate in Florida, that it had acquired in 2005 for approximately $41 million, to a Russian billionaire for $95 million."

Networking, connecting, pitching — it's all routine in the business world.

But a connection pitched in China over the weekend — involving ties between President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and a real-estate project — has prompted ethics experts to raise objections, and some lawmakers to call for change. There are concerns about potential conflicts of interests, but also about a visa program for investors.

Shortly after the November election, President Trump's initial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski launched a new career — co-founding a lobbying firm called Avenue Strategies.

But he did not register as a lobbyist.

That caused critics to demand investigations into his lack of registration, and now, Lewandowski is quitting.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

An article on a State Department website about President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has been removed after criticism that it was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.

Critics complained that resources were being used to tout the for-profit club, which Trump refers to as the Winter White House. The club, in Palm Beach, Fla., is held in Trump's trust, of which he is the sole beneficiary.

Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub Jr. is calling on the chairman of House Oversight Committee to become more engaged in overseeing ethics questions in the Trump administration.

In an interview with NPR on Monday, Shaub said public inquiries and complaints involving Trump administration conflicts of interest and ethics have been inundating his tiny agency, which has only advisory power.

This spring, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., will host a three-day event co-hosted by a business group.

That's not unusual. But here's what is: The group's chair founded the company that paid President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lobbying work that may have benefited the Turkish government.

This mashup of money involving Turks, Flynn and Trump has concerned ethics experts who worry about a "pay to play" atmosphere in Washington. Here are the basics:

President Trump is on his way to getting something he has wanted for a long time: dozens of valuable "Trump" trademarks in China.

China's Trademark Office has now given preliminary approval to 38 new trademarks, covering everything from hotels to golf clubs, insurance and more.

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Since Donald Trump won the presidential election last month, his conflicts of interest have come into sharper focus.

Ethics experts say that to clearly separate his role as president from his role as businessman, he must sell off his holdings. Trump has so far rejected that recommendation, saying via Twitter that he intends to have his two oldest sons run the Trump Organization.

But those sons have been deeply engaged in the transition work of the incoming Trump administration.

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Trying to understand the Trump Organization is a daunting task. President-elect Donald Trump has not released tax documents, so the best clues about his privately held business interests come from a financial disclosure form he released in May.

The document covers scores of pages with small type, and suggests he is financially involved with hundreds of companies, including some that simply license his name.

In Washington, lobbyists, trade association leaders and journalists are passing around names that President-elect Donald Trump may be considering for key economic policy positions.

His choices to lead Treasury, Trade, Commerce, Labor and Housing and other departments will help shape Trumponomics in 2017. So whom will he choose?

Pull out your blue pencils, green eyeshades and rule books; it may soon be time to start rewriting NAFTA.

Leaders in the United States, Canada and Mexico say they're open to giving the North American Free Trade Agreement, in place since 1994, a hard look.

Here's what's been happening:

During his presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump said he would "get rid of" Dodd-Frank — the sweeping legislation passed in 2010 to address problems underlying the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Many Republicans hate the 2,300-page law, saying it is layered with far too many regulations. But Democrats say it provides valuable oversight of an industry that they believe took too many risks on Wall Street and too much advantage of customers on Main Street.

During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump often was fuzzy on details of his economic plans.

But he was clear about one goal: getting much tougher on trade relations with our most important partners, i.e., China, Canada and Mexico.

Analysts say they don't doubt he will follow through. "We are definitely shifting to a world where the landscape is far less favorable to trade," said Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University.

These are the three most likely steps to be taken in this new environment:

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Go ahead — ask the boss for a raise.

The jobs report released Friday by the Labor Department suggests the time finally may be right to demand a fatter paycheck.

The October report showed employers added 161,000 jobs — and paid workers more. Average hourly earnings rose by 10 cents to $25.92 last month — and that gain followed September's increase of 8 cents an hour.

The Federal Reserve's policymakers ended their two-day meeting Wednesday without raising interest rates.

But they did issue a statement saying the case for more expensive loans is strengthening. That's because the U.S. economy is improving enough to allow interest rates to rise soon to more normal levels.

In recent weeks, "the labor market has continued to strengthen and growth of economic activity has picked up from the modest pace seen in the first half of this year," the Fed said.

Deals, deals and more deals — corporations are on a merger binge. But are they helping or hurting the economy?

In the short run, mergers can hurt workers, consumers and savers. But most economists say that in the long run, consolidation can increase efficiency and strengthen U.S. corporations, helping the economy for all. Let's walk through recent events, and consider the arguments.

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