House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) may have gotten a fleeting break when Edward Kennedy’s death knocked reports of his newly-disclosed wealth off the front page.
But by this morning, editorial writers had caught their breath and were busy at work skewering the Chairman of the committee that writes the nation’s tax laws. And just think how much fresh meat has been left for the weekend crew.
As a pro football fan, I always welcome the late summer, which brings pre-season games. They are great to watch, for about ten minutes, and then they disappoint. The starters play a couple of series and then they are gone. Then you get that sinking realization that it doesn’t matter that much, either to you or the teams, who wins. So you go to bed craving the authenticity of the regular season.
Tonight, I found a replacement in the form of Rep. Jim Moran’s Town Hall meeting on health care. I took my two kids and we had an authentic Town Hall experience. It was everything it was cracked up to be.
Moran represents Virginia’s eighth district, including the cities of Arlington and Alexandria. It hooks weirdly out into the DC suburbs to encompass Reston, where the event was held a high school gymnasium that held more than 2,000 people. … Read More ➡
House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel, already beset by a series of ethics investigations, has disclosed more than $500,000 in previously unreported assets.
Among the new items on Rangel’s amended 2007 financial disclosure report were an account at the Congressional Federal Credit Union worth at least $250,000, an investment account with at least $250,000, land in southern New Jersey and stock in PepsiCo and fast food conglomerate Yum! Brands. None of those investments appeared on the original report, which was filled out by hand and filed in May 2008.
NLPC’s exposure of Rangel’s unreported and undisclosed income from his Dominican Republic “villa,” touched off more intensive scrutiny of Rangel’s finances, leading Rangel to revise his filings, albeit months late.
Rangel can’t claim that he merely overlooked reporting a half million in various assets. These omissions appear willful and deliberate. Of course, … Read More ➡
Barack Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation is unseemly. At a time when unemployment is near 10% and virtually all Americans have suffered losses in their home values and retirement funds, Obama’s holiday at a $20 million estate is inappropriate.
The White House is refusing to say how much the rental is for the “Blue Heron Farm,” but press reports indicate similar properties go for $35,000 to $50,000 a week.
Many Americans are currently having difficulty living within their means. What kind of example is Obama setting? His salary as President is $400,000. How can he afford this vacation when the rental alone is $35,000 to $50,000? Maybe it’s because Presidents now have a reasonable expectation of becoming rich upon leaving office, another regrettable development.
In February, Obama said, “You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the … Read More ➡
Just how out of touch is Congress? The above video clip is now famous. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) talks on her cell phone while cancer survivor Tracy Miller tries to ask her a question at a health care Town Hall meeting.
Rep. Jackson Lee was one of five members of Congress who took part in a Citigroup-funded junket to the sunny Caribbean island of St. Maartens shortly after all five voted for TARP. The trip was led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), the tax cheat who has proposed tax increases to fund health care.
Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha have retreated half way on their plan to spend $550 million on private jets for use by members of Congress. This is not good enough. Plans for the remaining four aircraft must be abandoned as well.
Murtha was quoted by AP as saying, “If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill.” I guess the public uproar over the jet purchase had nothing to do with it. After years of ramming unwanted projects down the throat of the Defense Department, Murtha this time just wants to defer to the Pentagon.
It is amazing that Pelosi continues to allow Murtha such a high visability as his cronies get indicted one by one, and he unapologetically defends earmarks for projects like the Airport for No One in his district.
The fact that these aircraft purchases were even contemplated shows … Read More ➡
A new book by Barron’s reporter Erin Arvedlund asserts that banking giant JPMorgan Chase became aware of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme months before his arrest, prompting the bank to liquidate its positions in a Madoff-related fund. Yet, the bank continued to accept deposits into Madoff’s main account at the bank from unsuspecting investors who were about to lose everything.
NLPC is a critic of JPMorgan Chase’s support for political and social causes that are contrary to the bank’s interests and hostile to the capitalist system itself, such as ACORN. Although these new revelations are a separate controversy, both reflect an apparent willingness by the firm to work with shady enterprises if it is perceived to be in its own interest.
The book is titled Too Good to be True. Excerpts appeared in Barron’s over the weekend. Arvedlund has a great deal of credibility on anything Madoff-related, having written a story … Read More ➡
The Senate ethics committee cleared Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad of breaking rules by getting mortgages through a VIP program, even as it scolded them Friday for not being more careful to avoid the appearance of sweetheart deals.
Apparently, the Committee was so proud of its work that it released its decision on a Friday afternoon in August. This will do nothing to undermine the reputation of both the House and Senate Ethics Committees as laughingstocks.
The Select Committee on Ethics told Dodd of Connecticut and Conrad of North Dakota in separate letters that it found “no substantial credible evidence” after a yearlong investigation that their mortgages from Countrywide Financial Corp. broke Senate gift rules. The two influential Democrats got their mortgages through a VIP program for those designated as “friends” of then-Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo.
We should acknowledge a debt of gratitude to … Read More ➡
Hillary Chabot reports in the Boston Herald today:
Attorney General Martha Coakley donned a cap and gown to receive an honorary law degree from Suffolk University as her office actively probed a school trustee for conflict of interest – and maintains she did not have to get ethics clearance first.
But Ken Boehm of the ethics watchdog agency National Legal and Policy Center blasted Coakley over the Suffolk honor: “By any ethical yardstick, that’s way over the line and it shouldn’t have happened. Anything of value received from someone under investigation is wholly inappropriate.”
Coakley, widely viewed as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate and a strong backer of ethics reform, was awarded the honorary degree May 7, telling graduates, “If your reputation for integrity is impaired, set that diploma on fire.”
Suffolk spokesman Greg Gatlin said in a statement:
Amazingly — despite credible allegations of numerous violations of federal law — Mollohan is still the Chairman of the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. That subcommittee, according to Cong. Mollohan’s own website, “funds the departments of Justice and Commerce.”
So let’s get this straight: The highest-level legislator responsible for funding the Justice Department is himself the subject of a very serious Justice Department investigation. Was there ever a bigger conflict of interest?