Former Murtha crony Paul Magliocchetti was indicted yesterday on 11 counts. The indictment was not unexpected and relates primarily to Magliocchetti’s rather hamhanded manuevers to evade campaign contribution limits by having family members, employees and friends make contributions for which they were paid back.
The indictment certainly relates the PMA “pay to play” scheme, but it does not address the underlying possible crimes by members of Congress who secured earmarks for PMA clients in return for campaign contributions and other benefits. It is not known to what extent, if any, the Justice Department has sought a plea bargain with Magliocchetti in return for information about members of Congress. Maggliocchetti’s son Mark is cooperating with prosecutors but it is not known if his information goes beyond his father to members of Congress.
Attorney General Eric Holder has already shown indifference to earmark-related corruption in Congress by choosing not to retry former … Read More ➡
The auto bailout is a massive failure. It did not save jobs. It is a fallacy to claim that more jobs exist in an economy because particular firms have been saved from going out of business. Automobile jobs exist in the United State because of consumer demand for automobiles. Bailing out car companies does not increase demand, nor will it increase the number of cars built and sold.
All the auto bailout did was shift jobs from one set of firms to others. Because GM and Chrysler are poorly managed, and are joined at the hip with the United Auto Workers, they will not produce cars as efficiently as competitors. In the long run, the bailout will cost American jobs.
All car companies, but especially the bailed-out ones, are burdened by government regulations and mandates, like the recently tightened fuel efficiency standards. Obama said today that the standards are “good … Read More ➡
Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) was defeated in a Democratic primary yesterday. Kilpatrick was one of six members of Congress investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee for accepting a corporate-sponsored Caribbean junket in November 2008. I attended the event in St. Maarten before organizers had me detained by the Police Korps of St. Maarten. The investigations were launched on the basis of my photographs, audio recordings and other evidence of sponsorship by companies like Citigroup.
The Ethics Committee admonished Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), leading him to resign his post as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, but let off the hook Kilpatrick and four others. This was despite overwhelming evidence that Kilpatrick was aware of the corporate sponsorship. NLPC provided the Ethics Committee with an audio recording of a Kilpatrick speech at the event, during which she stated:
Mark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner reports that 45 members of Congress are clinging to campaign funds received from Rep. Charles Rangel’s National Leadership PAC during the 2008 election cycle. The total of outstanding funds is $303,000.
“It just shows how out of touch they are and certainly explains Congress’ 11 percent approval rating,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. “It’s a case where greed trumps common sense and everybody knows that returning the money is the ethical thing to do.”
Hemingway reports that a score of members of Congress have parted with hundreds of thousands in donations from Rangel, including several who did so after being contacted by the Examiner. That total is sure to rise as more attention is focused on Rangel’s extensive giving to his House colleagues.
Most if not all of the money has been given to … Read More ➡
One of the more serious violations was Rangel’s failure to disclose or pay taxes on rental income from a vacation home at the Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic. Following a review of Rangel’s financial disclosures in August of 2008, NLPC dispatched an investigator to the Dominican Republic who established that Rangel’s beachfront “villa” was continuously rented out.
After NLPC provided the story to the New York Post and other publications, Rangel stated that he was unaware that the beach house was generating income. That assertion was undercut by a 1993 letter secured by the Commiteee from Rangel to the management of the Punta Cana. It reads:
The eight members of the House Ethics Committee sit in judgment on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), but it is hard to see how at least two of them can be impartial when they have received campaign funds from Rangel’s National Leadership PAC.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY), in photo, received two contributions of $5,000 each during the 2004 election cycle, on 12/15/03 and 1/20/04. Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) received contributions of $1,000 and $2,000 during the 2004 cycle, on 6/29/04 and 7/13/04 respectively.
A third member of the Ethics Committee, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), recognized the inherent conflict of investigating Rangel and accepting campaign money from him. He received two contributions of $5,000 each during the 2006 cycle, on 3/30/06 and 10/24/06. He also accepted $5,000 during the 2008 cycle, on 9/25/07. He returned all $15,000 on May 1, 2009.
I was interviewed by David Asman on the Fox Business Network on Wednesday, July 21. The topic is the racial mandates contained in the Dodd-Frank financial services regulatory overhaul. Here’s a transcript:
David Asman: The financial regulation Bill is now law and while we know that the twenty three hundred page document is full of new bureaucracies and regulations you may not know there is actually language in this law that requires racial profiling. Peter Flaherty is President of National Legal and Policy Center an ethics watchdog based in Washington. He has done some digging into this Bill. Peter, you know, I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it – I mean this is an Administration that prides themselves on being anti-racial. They are against racial profiling that doesn’t exist, for example in the Arizona immigration law. Get this: lenders will – these new data collection system that … Read More ➡
After being charged with violations of House Rules by the House Ethics Committee today, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) got downright testy with MSNBC reporter Luke Russert when asked if he was going to keep his job. Rangel asked him who he was with and then disparaged the network by saying “it just shows what happened to a channel that did have some respect.”
Because we exposed it, we were happy to see Russert also ask Rangel why he failed to report taxable income from rent on his Dominican Republic house.
The House Ethics Committee announced today that its subcommittee investigating allegations against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has “transmitted a Statement of Alleged Violation” to the Committee Chair and Ranking Republican, and formed an “adjudicatory subcommittee” to consider them. In other words, they have alleged that Rangel violated House rules, and now another subcommittee will try Rangel and determine guilt and the penalty, if any.
NLPC is the source of the most damaging allegations against Rangel, particularly his failure to disclose or pay taxes on rental income from his beach house in the Dominican Republic. Rangel has admitted that he did not report or disclose $75,000 but we have alleged in Complaints to the IRS and U.S. Attorney for D.C. that the total is likely much higher. NLPC is also the source of the information on which the Committee admonished Rangel earlier this year for accepting corporate-funded Caribbean junkets. Following his … Read More ➡
General Motors will acquire auto-finance company AmeriCredit for $3.5 billion. I discuss the deal with Rebecca Lindland of IHS Automotive, and CNBC hosts Melissa Francis, Larry Kudlow and Amanda Drury. Here’s a transcript:
Melissa Francis: All right, it is time for our viewer outrage segment. General Motors, back on the acquisition trail, agreeing to buy auto finance group, AmeriCredit for three and a half billion dollars, this with taxpayer money. GM’s CFO Chris Liddell defending the deal on Squawk on the Street earlier this morning.
Chris Liddell: We thank that it helps in a responsible way to increase lending to increase leasing and therefore increase sales. You know, by definition that makes the company more attractive. So it helps from a valuation point of view.
Melissa Francis: So, not surprisingly, we received lots of emails on this question. Should GM be allowed to buy AmeriCredit with your … Read More ➡