Robert Rubin is a Disgrace

Rubin photoRobert Rubin’s obstinate performance yesterday on Capitol Hill is sure to fuel popular disgust with the bank bailouts. Rubin appeared to be what he is, someone who has walked away with so much money that he doesn’t have to answer to anyone. When he was responsive, Rubin tried to claim that he had nothing to do with Citigroup’s meltdown. He also tried to make it complicated, which it is not.

All you have to do is read pages 145 and 146 of Charlie Gasparino’s book, titled The Sellout, for a concise account of Rubin’s role in leveraging up Citigroup. Rubin not only pushed for more risk-taking at Citigroup’s executive and board levels, but he also “was making the rounds of the various departments and talking to people about taking more risk.”

I’ve never been a big fan of trial by Congressional hearing. This one was handed over to the …

SEC Rules Wal-Mart Cannot Exclude NLPC Shareholder Proposal on ObamaCare, Cap and Trade

Mike DukeThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will not allow Wal-Mart to exclude from consideration an NLPC-sponsored shareholder proposal asking for a report on the company’s lobbying priorities. Wal-Mart suddenly finds itself on the opposite side of public opinion on ObamaCare and cap and trade, after having embraced both last year.

On January 9, Wal-Mart sought to preclude a shareholder discussion of these issues by asking the SEC if it could exclude our resolution on the grounds that it “does not focus on, or implicate, a significant social policy.” Oh, really?

The SEC disagreed. Our resolution must now appear in the Wal-Mart proxy, and I will have the right to speak at the annual meeting in early June. Even after losing at the SEC, Wal-Mart still refuses to address the issues raised by the resolution. In its statement of opposition, it can’t even bring itself to mention ObamaCare or cap and …

RNC Chair Steele Should Withdraw From Sharpton Event

SteeleNLPC today asked Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to cancel his scheduled participation in the annual conference of  Al Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network (NAN). According to the conference agenda, Steele is scheduled to speak at a “Special Plenary Session” on Wednesday, April 14.

In a hand-delivered letter today,  I write:

Just because Barack Obama and much of the media have made the mistake of treating Sharpton like a legitimate public figure, it doesn’t mean that you should.

Sharpton has encouraged anti-Semitism and violence. He remains unrepentant for accusing innocent persons of hate crimes in the Tawana Brawley episode and the Duke rape case. I have enclosed our Special Report by Dr. Carl Horowitz titled Mainstreaming Demagoguery: Al Sharpton’s Rise to Respectability, published last year.

Sharpton has a trail of unpaid bills and taxes. He has engaged in massive violations of election law. As a result of

Rep. Gregory Meeks Attacks the Wrong Peter Flaherty

Meeks photoIn today’s Queens Chronicle, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) attacked NLPC as “a right-wing, inside-the-Beltway organization with an explicitly stated partisan agenda.” As evidence, Meeks claimed that I  “served as a top advisor to Mitt Romney during his presidential campaign.” The only problem is that Meeks got the wrong Peter Flaherty.

Maybe Meeks should learn how to aim before he fires. Or at least learn how to use Google. The Peter Flaherty who advised Romney is a principal in the Shawmut Group in Boston. He is a former assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County, and served as Vice-President of Walden Media, a film production studio. Flaherty worked as a senior advisor to Mitt Romney while he was governor, and held a senior position in his 2008 presidential campaign. He is also credited with helping to engineer Scott Brown’s upset Senate win this year.

Although I am also originally from Massachusetts, …

Eliot Spitzer To Speak on Corporate Social Responsibility at Harvard Club (Not a Parody)

SpitzerAt first, I thought it was satire. Client #9 is scheduled to be a “keynote” speaker at something called the CRO Summit in Boston on April 21. CRO stands for Corporate Responsibility Officer. Yes, major corporations actually have such a position. The organizers’ apparent lack of self-consciousness about Spitzer confirms our view that the so-called Corporate Social Responsibility movement isn’t about responsibility at all. Instead, it is about advancing a set of political positions.

And what better place for such a politically correct event than in a seat of privilege like the Harvard Club. Spitzer, son of a real estate magnate and a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, should be right at home. To be fair, the Harvard Club is an alumni club and has no formal connection to the college. The CRO Summit organizers, a for-profit called SharedXpertise, are just renting the Club. Still, the imagery …

High-Living Congressman Meeks Blames NLPC for Scrutiny

According to a New York Times story today titled “Congressman Cries Poor, but Lifestyle May Disagree” by Eric Lipton and Ray Hernandez:

Money is so tight, Representative Gregory W. Meeks says, he does not have a savings account with more than a few thousand dollars in it. And yet Mr. Meeks, one of New York City’s most prominent Democrats, lives a life worthy of a jet-setter.

When he travels, he stays in luxury hotels like the Mondrian South Beach in Miami and the Ritz-Carlton in San Juan, P.R. He drives a Lexus, leased by the federal government, at a cost of $1,000 a month. He eats expensive meals at BLT Steak in Washington and Docks Oyster Bar in Manhattan, among other trendy spots.

Later in the Times article, Meeks attacks NLPC:

Mr. Meeks said the attention being focused on his political affairs, including a series of articles recently in

White House Bans Signs & Banners at Friday Health Care Event

Dissent is American signBarack Obama will speak “on the urgent need for Health reform” at an event on Friday morning at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in the Patriot Center, a basketball arena seating about 10,000.

The event is apparently open to all, ensuring that opponents of the plan will be there. But the White House announcement on Facebook reads:

Just as a heads up, no signs or banners are permitted, and those who come are encouraged to limit personal items and not bring bags or purses.

What a courteous “heads up.” Not satisfied to push a bill the public opposes, and threaten to use unconstitutional means to do so, the White House now helpfully informs us our First Amendment rights are null and void.

Of course, security is important at any event where the President is present. Banning things sticks and large physical props is reasonable; disallowing signs and banners made …

Doubts Cast on Rep. Meeks’ New Account of Missing Katrina Funds

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) has offered a second account of what happened to money he helped raise for Hurricane Katrina victims who apparently did not receive the aid. But this latest explanation — that it benefitted Katrina victims who came to New York City — is proving as flimsy as his original.

On New York’s Channel 1, Meeks was actually being interviewed about Rep. Charles Rangel’s downfall when the interviewer shifted gears to questions about the Katrina charity. Meeks has ducked interviews on the topic since NLPC first raised questions on January 31 about a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation, which sponsored an effort known as New Yorkers Organized to Assist Hurricane Families (NOAH-F). The “charity” is now being investigated by federal prosecutors.

According to its own tax filings, New Direction took in more than $30,000 in contributions for Katrina relief but expended only $1,392 for that …

Northrop Drops Tanker Bid; NLPC Exposed Boeing Scandal

tankerOn Monday, Northrop Grumman Corporation announced that it would drop out of the competition with Boeing to build midair refueling tankers for the Air Force. Boeing had the original contract until NLPC exposed a scandal that sent two Boeing executives to prison.

The tankers are flying gas stations that refuel fighters and bombers on long-range missions. By exposing the scandal, NLPC saved taxpayers billions of dollars. The original plan was for the Air Force to lease, rather than buy, a hundred 767s to be used as tankers from Boeing. The new contract will be for the outright purchase of the planes.

In February 2008, the Air Force awarded a huge $40 billion contract to a Northrop/EADS consortium, after competition had been reopened in the wake of the scandal. Boeing then counter-attacked by successfully seeking to get the selection criteria changed and competition again reopened. Although NLPC had no favorite between …

SEC: Pepsi Must Allow NLPC Proposal on Lobbying Priorities Like Cap and Trade

Pepsi logoThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled that PepsiCo may not exclude a shareholder proposal filed by NLPC that asks the company for a report on its lobbying priorities. PepsiCo is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of corporations and environmental groups that lobbies for the disastrous cap and trade legislation.

Our resolution will appear in PepsiCo’s proxy materials, and I will speak in its support at the company’s annual meeting this spring.

By trying to preclude a shareholder discussion of this and other issues, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi seems unwilling to publicly defend the company’s controversial public policy positions, which is exactly the point of our resolution. Maybe the company should change its positions on cap and trade, and other issues where it sides with anti-business activists.

PepsiCo distributes Aquafina, reportedly the largest-selling brand of bottled water in the United States. Bottled …

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