Bad Election Day for Lawmakers in Ethics Trouble

Shelley BerkleyEric Lipton of the New York Times had a round up on Friday of the election-day fortunes of members of Congress in ethics trouble.  According to the article:

In races around the country, an unusually large number of lawmakers facing charges of wrongdoing were unceremoniously ousted from their jobs on Tuesday – which is quite rare, because more than 90 percent of the incumbents seeking re-election to Congress typically return for another term.

Perhaps Democrats and Republicans can agree that this is good news. The biggest example was Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), who failed in her attempt to move up to the Senate, even though Obama carried Nevada. She was defeated by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), who was already in the Senate after have been appointed after John Ensign resigned.

From the article:

Ken Boehm, co-founder of the National Legal and Policy Center, a Virginia-based group that has

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Rep. Moran is Proof of Failure of Congressional Ethics Regime

James MoranRep. James Moran (D-VA), whose son is seen on an undercover video providing instructions on how to engage in vote fraud, has a long history of ethical problems. The fact that he is still in Congress is confirmation of the ineffectiveness of three bodies tasked with enforcing ethics, the U.S. Justice Department, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the House Ethics Committee.

Moran’s most egregious misconduct took place in the context of the PMA scandal. The PMA Group, a lobbying firm, funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to lawmakers who obtained earmarks for PMA clients. The Justice Department failed to prosecute the PMA gang that included Reps. James Moran (D-VA), Peter Visclosky (D-OH), Norm Dicks (D-WA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Bill Young (R-FL). Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), the ringleader, passed away in February 2010.

The Department argued that its conviction of former PMA lobbyist and former … Read More ➡

Rep. Kelly: Vienna Embassy Goes Green as Libya Embassy Bombed

Embassy/Volt photoIn a Washington Times column, Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) blasted State Department priorities on an issue we first raised in an October 2 post titled, Embassies Facing Security Cuts Waste Money on Chevy Volts.” From Kelly’s column:

In fact, at a May 10 gala held at the U.S. embassy in Vienna, the ambassador showcased his new Volts and other green investments as part of the U.S. government’s commitment to “climate change solutions.”

The event posting on the embassy website read: “Celebrating the Greening of the Embassy.”

While the embassy in Vienna was going green, the consulate in Benghazi was getting bombed, and little was done to stop it.

We cited a State Department contract for a Volt recharger that cost $108,000. Kelly figures that this sum could have bought a lot of additional security in Benghazi:

According to an employment contract recovered at the Benghazi compound by the

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Embassies Facing Security Cuts Waste Money on Chevy Volts

Volt and Embassy officialThe U.S. military’s newspaper, Stars & Stripes, recently reported that the Pentagon is buying Chevy Volts in a 1,500 electric-vehicle purchase, as part of the Defense Department’s “green initiatives,” which seek to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy sources.

A recent Congressional Budget Office study challenged the assumption that electric vehicles have any impact on such dependence, prompting the question of why the government is spending money this way. Against the backdrop of the attack on our embassy in Benghazi, and looming embassy security cuts due to sequestration, it appears politics and ideology are trumping common sense.

A little poking around the web raises additional questions about government Volt purchases. A State Department contract from March of this year details the purchase of a Chevy Volt for $47,500 for use at a U.S. embassy in Norway. The sticker price for a 2013 model year is $39,145 (before the $7,500 tax credit … Read More ➡

Tax Cheat Rangel Says Higher Taxes Are ‘Paying Your Fair Share’

Rangel Tweet photoThis photo was Tweeted by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) yesterday. Also in the photo is House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Along with the photo, Rangel Tweeted this:

My ears perking up to hear RepCantor saying taxes will go up under Pres Obama. It’s called “paying your fair share”!

In 2008 Rangel admitted not paying taxes on rental income from a Dominican Republic beach house after it was exposed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC). It was one of the counts in his 2010 Censure by the House.

Of course, Rangel used to be Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax laws. He resigned that post after being admonished by the House Ethics Committee for accepting corporate sponsorship of Caribbean junkets. We exposed that, too.

Many months after the Dominican revelation, Rangel amended his financial disclosure forms to show that he failed to … Read More ➡

Auto Bailout is a FAILURE

GM/ObamaTonight, the Democratic National Convention will reportedly highlight the “success” of the auto bailout.  Michelle Malkin comments in a column today, and quotes NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica:

The claims that GM paid back its taxpayer-funded loans “in full” – a story peddled in campaign ads narrated by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks – were debunked by the Treasury Department’s TARP watchdog this summer. GM still owes nearly $30 billion of the $50 billion it received, and its lending arm still owes nearly $15 billion of the more than $17 billion it received. Bailout watchdog Mark Modica of the National Legal and Policy Center adds: “In addition to U.S. taxpayers anteing up, Canada put in over $10 billion, and GM was relieved of about $28 billion of bondholder obligations as UAW claims were protected. That’s an improvement of almost $90 billion to the balance sheet, and the company still lags

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NY State Sen. Shirley Huntley Says She Will Be Arrested; NLPC Exposed Her Sham Charity

Shriey Huntley photoNew York State Senator Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) announced on Saturday that she expects to be arrested on Monday on corruption charges. In March 2011, NLPC exposed a sham charity she founded called The Parent Workshop, to which she steered tens of thousands in taxpayer money.

According to the New York Times today:

She said she did not know the charges, but her announcement came months after one of her aides and three others were charged with stealing taxpayer money from a nonprofit group that Ms. Huntley founded.

NLPC’s Huntley allegations were a byproduct of our investigation of U. S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and a sham charity with which he was associated called New Direction Local Development Corporation. Among other irregularities, New Direction raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who did not receive any assistance.

As described in the New York Post in March 2011:

Sham charities are a

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GM CEO Akerson Responds to Criticism

Akerson photoGeneral Motors CEO & Chairman Dan Akerson has an op-ed in yesterday’s Detroit Free Press in response to the growing chorus of criticism of the company in general, and his leadership in particular.  It is rather typical corporate PR, complete with a Teddy Roosevelt quote.

One line is odd, though. Akerson (or his flak) writes:

I believe our culture is our “secret weapon” and is on the way to being a true difference maker for us.

So, how is GM’s culture,  according to Akerson?

A few days ago, Akerson had “expressed his continued frustration with the company’s inability to quickly shed its bureaucratic legacy,” saying “We’ve got to get this company and the culture into the 21st Century.”

Last month, Akerson was asked, “How much of GM’s culture has changed since before bankruptcy, on a scale of one to 100,” and he responded: “20, 25. We have a long, … Read More ➡

Rep. Meeks Blames NLPC for Ethics Woes

MeeksIn an interview Tuesday on New York City’s WNYW-TV, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) denied that he is under investigation by federal authorities, contradicting several previous reports by the New York Times, New York Post and New York Daily News.

The New York Post reported on Saturday that a nonprofit called the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation received subpoenas connected to a broader investigation of Meeks, who has steered millions in federal funds to the group.

As he has done in the past, Meeks attributed his woes to the New York Post and NLPC. Of the most recent reports, he told WNYW-TV reporters David Price and Rosanna Scotto:

They’re all inaccurate. It’s the New York Post… I’ve never been investigated. I am not under investigation. I’ve never been questioned.

Later in the interview, Meeks renewed his assault on NLPC:

David Price: …I think the concern to a lot

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NY Times: $900K Flows From ‘Mysterious’ Donor

New York Times logoThe New York Times has a front-page story today on a political giver named James Robert Williams, who has no visible means of support, but is very generous to both parties and to politicians of different stripes.  From the article:

…one government watchdog group called the pattern of donations extremely troubling. Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, said, “In more than 15 years of investigating political corruption, I’ve never seen a more suspicious set of facts.”

According to the story by reporters Raymond Hernandez, Alison Leigh Cowan and Jo Craven McGinty, Williams lives in a small apartment in a scrubby section of Jamaica, Queens where the average household income is $33,800 and many residents receive government assistance.” The reporters state the obvious that it is “hard to say where the big sums are coming from.”

The recipients include Democrats like Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) and … Read More ➡