Menendez Legal Move Backfires

Lawyers for Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) recently asked that several of the counts in the indictment be thrown out because the investigation started after “unproven allegations” that Menendez has sex with underage prostitutes.

In response, the government says it has “corroborated” evidence of this misconduct, even though Menendez was not criminally charged with it. Paul Mulshine of The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, has a good account of this legal misstep.

Menendez lawyers did not challenge the counts in the indictment based on Menendez advocacy of a port security deal in the Dominican Republic that would have provided a windfall for his biggest donor and co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen.

Mulshine also discusses the port deal and NLPC’s role in exposing it:

The guy who uncovered that was Tom Anderson of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative-leaning ethics watchdog group. Interestingly enough, it was not NLPC but the liberal-leaning Citizens

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Clintons Pushed OPIC Loan to Fraudster Claudio Osorio

Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon today details how the Clintons pushed for a $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to Clinton Foundation donor Claudio Osorio, who now sits in a federal penitentiary, serving a 12-year term for fraud.

The loan was rushed through and Osorio was never required to provide an audited financial statement. The loan was supposed to be for building houses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, but Osorio instead used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and to buy off politicians.

Documents uncovered by the National Legal and Policy Center show that Bill Clinton lined a up well-connected law firm to represent Osario with OPIC, and Hillary Clinton went to bat for the project within the State Department. OPIC is technically an independent agency but submits its budget through the State Department.

Whereas Osorio’s Ponzi-like schemes have generated headlines, and even an American Greed … Read More ➡

Double-Dipping Hillary Aide Helped Arrange NYU Commencement Speech

In a follow-up to her recent story detailing how Cheryl Mills simultaneously served as State Department Chief of Staff and General Counsel of New York University, Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon today reports that Mills helped arrange to have Hillary Clinton be the speaker at the 2009 NYU commencement.

The information about Mills' role in the commencement speech was contained in emails released last week by the State Department. From the article:

“The NY University emails to Cheryl Mills show a textbook example of a conflict of interest. The fact that a wealthy institution was paying Secretary Clinton’s chief of staff while seeking—and getting—access and special favors speaks for itself,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the public ethics group The National Legal and Policy Center.

Related:

Hillary Aide Cheryl Mills Double-Dipped While State Dept. Chief of StaffRead More ➡

Ex-NY State Senate Leader Malcolm Smith Gets Seven Years

Former New York Senator Malcolm Smith was yesterday sentenced to seven years in prison for bribery and related offenses. He was convicted in February. A former majority leader in the New York Senate, Smith was defeated for re-election in 2014.

Smith is the latest associate of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) headed to jail. Formal investigations of several New York politicians began in 2010 after the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) exposed corruption through stories in the New York Post, New York Times and New York Daily News.

The first story, in the New York Post of January 31, 2010, focused on a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation, which according to its website, was founded by Meeks and Smith.

Our review of IRS tax returns, New York state budget records, and other documents suggested that New Direction did little development. Instead, it operated to the … Read More ➡

Hillary Aide Cheryl Mills Double-Dipped While State Dept. Chief of Staff

Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon details today how Cheryl Mills, one of Hillary Clinton’s longtime underlings, apparently collected a paycheck from New York University at the same time she was serving as Chief of Staff of the State Department. According to the article:

After joining the State Department in the beginning of 2009, Mills continued to serve as general counsel for New York University for several months. She also sat on the board of the “NYU in Abu Dhabi Corporation,” the fundraising arm for the university’s UAE satellite campus. The school is bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi government and has been criticized by NYU professors and human rights activists for alleged labor abuses.

The UAE is a major funder of the Clinton Foundation, on whose board Mills sat. The article quotes NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm:

“Federal of conflict interest statutes are very strict, and they want to ensure

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Corrupt Congressman Claims Congress Needs a Raise

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), former federal judge who was impeached in 1988 for perjury and accepting bribes, on Monday asserted that members of Congress are not paid enough. He told the House Rules Committee:

Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution.

Reaction was immediate. From an article by Lachlan Markay in the Washington Free Beacon:

Aside from access to subsidized travel, gym memberships, haircuts, and the like, congressmen have a retirement plan which averages about $40,000 a year for retired members,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog.

The argument that Congress in underpaid was made last year by another corrupt Congressman, Jim Moran, of Virginia. Despite a string of Complaints to the House Ethics Committee and … Read More ➡

WSJ Editorial Wrong About Menendez Indictment

It’s been almost a month since the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled “The Menendez Indictment.”  We responded in a letter to the editor that has not been published. It’s a safe bet it never will be, so we post it here.

The Journal got to the point in its opening paragraph:

Ill-defined federal laws now reach into virtually every sphere of human behavior, and thus prosecutors can destroy almost anyone they choose. The recent indictment of Senator Robert Menendez on 14 counts of corruption and “honest services” fraud is a troubling case in point that deserves more than a little skepticism.

Here’s our response:

To the Editor:

The Journal argues that prosecutors have “no evidence” of crimes by Senator Robert Menendez (“The Menendez Indictment,” op-ed, April 16) and points out that the large donations from his chief benefactor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, were “legal and disclosed.”

You

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Baltimore Violence is Obama’s Failed Legacy on Race

As our first African-American president, Barack Obama had the opportunity to personify the final triumph of civil rights, and in the process, become a celebrated and historic figure. Instead, his ironic legacy on race is one of abject failure, as the rioting and looting in Baltimore underscore. The tragic reality is that Obama passed on the opportunity to the “post-racial” president he promised to be when he first ran in 2008.

Instead, he farmed out leadership on racial issues to Al Sharpton, for whom grievance is like oxygen. The prejudgment of George Zimmerman, and related fury, set the stage for Ferguson, which was followed by the murder of New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. Now Baltimore looks like a scene from 1968, with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake having no problem appearing with Sharpton on Thursday, an implicit endorsement of the violence, or at least, the Obama/Holder version … Read More ➡

Congress Asked to Stop GM From Writing Off Ignition Switch Victim Compensation Costs

Today I sent this letter to Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT):

We strongly urge you to re-introduce legislation similar to the Government Settlement Transparency Reform Act (S.1654) in the 113th Congress.

As you know, the death toll from General Motors’ failure to act on an ignition switch defect continues to climb, now at 87. Although GM's decision to create a fund to compensate victims and their families is a step in the right direction, we are troubled by GM’s ability to write off the cost as an expense for federal tax purposes.

Because of the government-directed bankruptcy and restructuring, GM is now shielded from much of its liability incurred beforehand. In order to ensure at least some semblance of accountability, Congress must make sure that GM’s future payouts for its recklessness are not simply the cost of doing business.

As the families of GM's victims have emphasized, no … Read More ➡

Senator Robert Menendez Indicted

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted this afternoon on 8 counts of bribery, 3 counts of honest services fraud, one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the travel act, and one count of making false statements. His largest political backer, Dr. Salomon Melgen (in photo on left) was also charged by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

The indictments were the result of a lengthy federal investigation that was initiated after media reports that Menendez attempted to intervene to thwart a Medicare-fraud investigation of Melgen, and that Menendez pressured government officials to further Melgen’s interests in a port security deal in the Dominican Republic.

Based on information provided by NLPC, the New York Times first reported on February 1, 2013 that Menendez went to bat for the Dominican port security deal that would have resulted in a "highly lucrative windfall" for Melgen.

The port security deal and … Read More ➡

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