Watchdog Files FEC Complaint Against Rep. Meeks for Stanford Fundraiser

Meeks photoOn October 28, NLPC filed a formal Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), his campaign, and his “leadership” political action committee called Build America PAC.

The Complaint alleges that Stanford Financial Group made illegal, in-kind contributions to Meeks’ campaign for a 2008 fundraiser in the Virgin Islands. The event was hosted by R. Allen Stanford, who is currently in prison awaiting trial for charges related to his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The Complaint also alleges that Meeks appears to have disguised a personal gambling junket to Las Vegas as a leadership PAC fundraiser. In December 2010, Build America PAC paid expenses for an event at the ARIA Resort and Casino, but disclosed no contributions from the event.

The Complaint also asks the FEC to investigate a voided $5,000 check from Build America PAC to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The check was voided on … Read More ➡

Is Justice Dept. Covering Short-Seller Tracks in For-Profit College Scheme?

Holder photoBeginning in 2009, the Department of Education — mightily aided by Senator Tom Harkin’s HELP Committee and a coterie of Wall Street short sellers — laid siege to the for-profit college sector in a knock-down, drag-out battle to the finish. Their strategic objective was to seriously hobble the profitability of career schools that had devised a competitive, career pathway for predominantly at-risk, low-income, non-traditional and minority students. On June 2, in the infamous Battle of the Beltway, the Department issued its (you should excuse the expression) ‘Gainful Employment’ rule, which was heralded as a major blow to career schools, whose recruitment rates have since dropped precipitously.

For anyone who viewed ‘Gainful Employment’ as an honest effort to address the educational needs of students preparing to enter the workforce at the worst moment since 1930, the latest salvo by the Justice Department will dispel that wishful thinking.

With a one-two punch, … Read More ➡

More Controversy Engulfs NY Times Shale Gas Reporting

NY Times building photoThis week the New York Times again ran a story calling into question the credibility of reporter Ian Urbina’s June 27th article, “Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush,” which claims the quickly emerging shale gas industry is similar to a Ponzi scheme.

It appears Urbina crossed the line into sensational journalism with his baseless claims by failing to conduct proper background checks, and his tendency to overstate the credentials of anonymous sources. This problems with his reporting apparently have driven a wedge between Times editors trying to justify the story, and those concerned over the long-term repercussions for the paper.

Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane has published two articles criticizing Urbina’s work; first calling into question his cited sources for their biases on the topic, and next pointing out the liberties taken with anonymous sources.  National editor Richard L. Berke and Adam Bryant, … Read More ➡

NY Times Ombudsman Critical of Shale Gas ‘Bubble’ Stories

NY Times building photoOn July 7, we asked New York Times ombudsman Arthur Brisbane to look at the newspaper’s front-page series on natural gas by reporter Ian Urbina, who alleged that the sector is in the grips of a speculative bubble. We specified a number of apparent ethical problems with Urbina’s methods and sources.

In Sunday’s paper, Brisbane addressed the central concern raised by us and many others – that Urbina ignored the fact that production of natural gas from domestic shale deposits is booming. Brisbane wrote:

My view is that such a pointed article needed more convincing substantiation, more space for a reasoned explanation of the other side and more clarity about its focus.

Unfortunately, Urbina’s editor continued to defend the story:

“The article challenges conventional wisdom and a powerful industry, so we expected criticism,” said Richard L. Berke, the national editor. “But it is deeply sourced, meticulously reported and measured, and

Read More ➡

NY Times Asked to Investigate Shale Gas ‘Bubble’ Series

New York Times photoNLPC today asked the New York Times ombudsman to review the newspaper’s front-page series on natural gas published last week. The articles by Ian Urbina alleged that there is a speculative bubble in natural gas drilling. We have identified a number of apparent ethical problems with Urbina’s methods and sources.

Here is the complete text of my letter to The New York Times ombudsman Arthur Brisbane, whose actual title is Public Editor:

I write to request a formal inquiry by the Public Editor into a series of articles published last week in The New York Times about the natural gas industry and the investment banking world.  In the “Drilling Down” series, Ian Urbina alleges that there is a speculative bubble in the shale gas industry, “in much the same way that insiders have raised doubts about previous financial bubbles.”  But at least two of the sources for his articles … Read More ➡

For-Profit Education Reg: Flawed Process = Flawed Policy

The Department of Education today released its highly controversial rule tightening regulation of for-profit trade, technical and career colleges. While the final regulation was softened from the initial proposed rule, it still is a textbook example of a flawed regulation created by an unethical process.

There are four solid reasons why this regulation should not be allowed to take effect.

First, the major push for this regulation came from a group of Wall Street investors and hedge funds that stood to profit by short-selling the listed stocks of corporations that provided trade, technical and career education. This crass motivation should have no impact on how educational policy is made.

Second, the short-sellers worked hand-in-glove with the Department of Education to produce a regulation designed to do one thing: destroy the share value of for-profit education companies. Thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Committee for Responsibility and … Read More ➡

Obama Foundation Drops Bogus Tax-Deductibility Claim

Obon'go and Barack photoThe Barack H. Obama Foundation no longer states on its website that contributions are tax deductible. It has also stopped using an Arlington, Virginia address that we found to be a mail-forwarding service. The only address it now uses is in Kenya.

These changes are in apparent response to our May 8 request of the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the Foundation, named for President Obama’s father, and founded by his half-brother Abon’go Malik Obama. We alleged that the Foundation never applied for tax-deductible status and has never filed an IRS Form 990, the annual tax return for nonprofit organizations.

While the Foundation has implicitly confirmed our allegations, these actions do not diminish the need for an IRS investigation. Still unknown is how much money was raised under the false pretense of a tax deduction, and what happened to the money.

Abon’go Malik Obama, who is also known as “Roy,” … Read More ➡

Boehm: Obama’s Brother Runs ‘Fake’ Charity

On Friday, I again appeared on Follow the Money with Eric Bolling on Fox Business Network to discuss our IRS Complaint against the Barack H. Obama Foundation. Eric talked to Obongo Obama, the President’s brother, who Juan Williams called a “small time guy.” Here’s a transcript:

Eric Bolling: President Obama’s brother Abongo has been accused of running a charity scam. The Barack H. Obama Foundation claims to be a nonprofit that collects tax-deductible donations. Reports say that is just not true. The charity has been never been properly registered while claiming to have a budget of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year.  I did what we do here at “Follow the Money.” We followed the money and got Abongo on the phone from his home in Kenya. Take a listen to this interview and decide for yourself if he is a do-gooder or a con artist.

Abongo Read More ➡

Boehm: Where is Obama Foundation Money Going?

Last night, I discussed our request for an IRS investigation of the Barack H. Obama Foundation with Eric Bolling on his Follow the Money show on Fox Business Network. Here’s a transcript:

Eric Bolling: The President’s half brother, Abon’go Obama might get to be as famous as the chief. Abon’go runs the Barack H. Obama Foundation. The charity which claims to tax exempt and nonprofit, but there is no proof of any of that. Ken Boehm, co-founder of the National Legal and Policy Center has asked the IRS to investigate. So far no one really knows where seven hundred thousand dollars has gone. Ken is here with us today. Thank you Ken. Ken, you have six questions you want the IRS to answer regarding this charity, is that right?

Ken Boehm: Right, we want to know, first of all, how much money was raised? We don’t know because … Read More ➡

Lawyers Cash In on California’s Proposition 65

Prop 65 warning imageHindsight is always 20/20. It’s easy to look back after a mistake and pinpoint what went wrong. But there’s something to be said for heeding warning signs ahead of time too – to avoid the blunder all together. And often times, when we look back, we realize those warning signs were everywhere. We simply ignored them.

More than two decades ago voters in California were fooled when Proposition 65 – “The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986” – was passed into law. Prop 65 was advertised as a means to protect California’s drinking water and exposure to chemicals in consumer products from dangerous toxic substances that cause cancer and birth defects. Sometimes all the law required were warning labels in advance of those exposures. And who would argue with that?

The trouble is that’s not the end of the story. Experts from across the political spectrum warned … Read More ➡