Charlottesville and Moral Equivalence

This commentary was first published by the Daily Caller.

A member of my staff was in Charlottesville the day of the clash. The University of Virginia campus, where he was tasked with delivering a table to his sister’s dorm room, was mostly deserted. It was like any other slow, muggy summer afternoon. So how did a bunch of racists and so-called counter-demonstrators come to descend on the place to create the ugliest of spectacles?

Simply put, they needed each other. For some, their passion was sufficient enough that traveling hundreds of miles was no impediment to confronting each other. Both wear their alienation from mainstream American society on their sleeve. Most significantly, they make group identity the basis for their activism.

Both also promote resentment and violence, although the media regularly fails to report this persistent fact about “anti-racist” demonstrators. They have been embraced (and funded) by philanthropists like George … Read More ➡

Is Salomon Melgen Ratting Out Sen. Robert Menendez?

Menendez and Melgen in happier times

Paul Mulshine of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, the hometown newspaper of Senator Robert Menendez, has penned a column titled, “Will the eye doctor see his way clear to singing on the senator?”

It’s about what a judge did in Thursday in Florida. Dr. Salomon Melgen, Menendez’ co-defendant on bribery charges, was supposed to be sentenced for his conviction on separate charges of Medicare fraud. The judge agreed to delay sentencing until after the bribery trial, scheduled for September in New Jersey, suggesting that Melgen may be cooperating with prosecutors and will testify against Menendez. From the column:

There was no immediate indication that such a deal is in the offing. But one close observer of the case said that such a deal looks like the obvious option for Melgen.

“Melgen played all of his cards and he’s got one card left, one and that’s

Read More ➡

Another 5.8 Million Fake Net Neutrality Comments Found; 1.5 Million Fakes Put Online for Public Scrutiny

A new analysis by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) shows that the number of fake pro-net neutrality comments posted in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) docket between July 17th and August 4th was more than 5.8 million.

The FCC continues to be flooded with comments from various fake email domains and U.S. address generator programs found online. In many cases, the same comments are submitted dozens or even hundreds of times by filers using the same name, but coming from various phony email and physical U.S. addresses.

While the data file of the 5.8 million is too large to put online, NLPC has uploaded 6 CSV files containing 1.5 million comments downloaded through the FCC’s public API between July 17 and 25. NLPC invites journalists and researchers to examine, download and manipulate the data if they would like to conduct their own analysis.

Click here for a Dropbox Read More ➡

Questions Surround Ex-Rep. Rangel’s ‘Loan’ to His Campaign

Ex.-Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) retired from Congress last year, but the deception and chicanery surrounding his finances appears to continue.

In his public filings, reviewed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), Rangel purported to make a personal loan of $100,000 to his campaign in June 2014. These funds apparently needed to pay legal bills for Rangel’s unsuccessful attempt to have his 2010 censure by the House overturned by the courts.

It appears that he may not have made this “loan” at all because it appears repayment was made to his National Leadership PAC. So-called leadership PACs are fundraising vehicles that incumbent members of Congress may maintain in addition to their regular re-election campaign committees.

The motivation for the deception may be simple. Members of Congress may use funds from their personal re-election committees for legal expenses related to their service, but not from leadership PACs.

On his public … Read More ➡

House IT Scandal Figure Arrested Fleeing USA; Wasserman Schultz Finally Fires Imran Awan

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)

The central figure in the burgeoning House Information Technology scandal was arrested yesterday while attempting to board a jet to his native Pakistan. Imran Awan, his wife, and two brothers were longtime employees of a score of House Democrats, collecting more than $4 million in salaries, but were seldom seen on Capitol Hill.

On July 17, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm predicted that the IT scandal was “about to explode.”

When news first broke in February that the IT workers were under investigation by the Capitol Police for theft of House property and possibly breaching security, the Awans were fired by a score of House members who employed them as “shared employees.” The only exception was Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) who kept Imran Awan employed even though he was banned from the House server network. She got around the ban by designating Awan as an … Read More ➡

Analysis: 1.3 Million More Pro-Net Neutrality FCC Public Comments Came From Russia, Other Foreign Countries

Over 1.3 million additional pro-net neutrality comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appear to be coming from non-U.S. filers from foreign countries, according to a new analysis released today by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a leading government watchdog.

A forensic analysis of comments received between July 3rd and Net Neutrality “Day of Action” on July 12th shows that the FCC was flooded with 1.3 million comments from addresses in France, Russia and Germany. This time the comments came almost exclusively from the email domains Pornhub.com and Hurra.de (Germany). As with NLPC’s previous analysis, thousands of the comments appear to come from fake email addresses and fake physical addresses overseas.

NLPC’s latest analysis of foreign comments flooding the FCC docket matches similar patterns found in our previous analysis and some new patterns as well:

  • 325,076 comments were submitted from Germany
  • 325,528 comments were submitted from
Read More ➡

Article to Impeach President Trump Introduced in House

Sherman & Green: Ready, Fire, Aim

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) today filed an article of impeachment against President Trump, and was joined by Rep. Al Green (D-TX). Notwithstanding all the impeachment talk in some quarters, this is the first time an impeachment article has been introduced in the House.

Yesterday, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm belittled impeachment efforts. From the Daily Signal:

“If they had a good case based on real information, I think they would mention it by now and put their cards on the table,” Boehm, a former Pennsylvania state prosecutor and former counsel for the board of directors at the Legal Services Corporation, told The Daily Signal. “They don’t have high crimes and misdemeanors. They don’t have low crimes and misdemeanors.”

Sherman is the Congressman who claimed that Russia manipulated the Electoral College to elect Trump. On CNN’s Newsroom on January 9, he said, “The fact is that … Read More ➡

New York Times Looks at Corrupt Rep. Maxine Waters in Age of Trump

Today in the New York Times, Yamiche Alcindor reports on the “odd new celebrity” of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) after years of being considered as one of the most corrupt House members by both liberal and conservative ethics groups. From the article:

Ken Boehm, the chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a right-leaning, ethics-in-government group, called her a grandstander.

“It’s odd that you would come out for impeachment like right at the gate,” he said. “The guy takes his hand off the Bible and it’s like, ‘Impeach him.’”

Read More ➡

Rep. Pallone’s Selective Request for Probe of Fake Net Neutrality Public Comments

Today, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) asked the Justice Department to investigate the use of stolen identities in the submission of public comments on net neutrality to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

But he asked for a probe of only these anti-net neutrality comments, even though we recently released two analyses demonstrating that hundreds of thousands of fake emails were sent in support of net neutrality.

Despite his professed support for net-neutrality, Rep. Pallone provides non-neutral information based on a murky allegation from an activist group that provides no substantive analysis or investigative proof regarding the alleged 450,000 “fake” comments in question.

In contrast, our analyses were based on fact. We offered specific examples of the fraud we identified, and when possible, we quantified it. We found that there are hundreds of thousands of comments in the docket from people who say they never filed, from fake email addresses, and from … Read More ➡

Amazon Acquisition of Whole Foods Underscores the Big Data Threat

(This piece was first published by The Hill, where I am an Opinion Contributor.)

Traditional grocers and retailers are in a state of shock over what Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods might portend for their businesses. The economist Joseph Schumpeter’s characterization of capitalism as “the perennial gale of creative destruction” seems to fit.

While this process may be thought inevitable by anyone who believes in the virtues of free markets, like I do, it is also true that the increasing economic power of big technology firms represent a new and serious threat to our civil liberties.

Constitutional government — or limited government — is still government. It still relies on the state as the ultimate authority even as it permits most economic transactions to remain between private parties.

Government’s real service is not in its regulation of economic activity, which is often counterproductive, but in its guarantee of … Read More ➡

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