Mike Soraghan reports in today’s edition of The Hill:
An investigation into a trip taken by members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is triggering a backlash against the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s signature ethics proposal.
CBC members, frustrated at what they perceive as an accusation by a conservative group that’s been blown out of proportion, last week formed a working group to look at taking on the 2006 resolution that created the OCE.
The junket to sunny St. Maarten took place the weekend after the election in 2008. I attended in order to document violations of House Rules that prohibit corporate sponsorship of travel and hospitality.
The trip was funded by “lead sponsor” Citigroup, a major recipient of bailout funds, which contributed $100,000. Other sponsors included IBM, AT&T, Verizon, Pfizer, Macy’s and American Airlines.
On May 22, the House Ethics Committee asked … Read More ➡
Last week, Courthouse News Service reported:
In a federal action, four casinos say former Gov. Rod Blagojevich used the governor’s office to enrich himself by agreeing with horse track owner John Johnston to secure enactment of legislation forcing casinos to pay millions of dollars to five horse tracks that included two controlled by Johnston.
To conceal their actions, Johnston arranged for the money to be paid through several entities under his control, according to the complaint. As a result, the plaintiff casinos say they had to pay $89.2 million for redistribution to horse tracks and their owners, fattening the tracks’ profits at the plaintiffs’ expense.
In February, NLPC released a study showing that Johnston-owned or affiliated interests contributed more than $343,000 to Governor Blagojevich’s campaign committee during 2002-2007. This total was $183,000 more than alleged in previous news accounts.
Additionally, NLPC’s analysis revealed a suspicious pattern to the contributions. … Read More ➡
From Drudge today:
On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care — a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!
Highlights on the agenda: ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.
The network plans a primetime special — ‘Prescription for America’ — originating from the East Room, excluding opposing voices on the debate.
ABC is going one step further than NBC did in 1993 when it broadcast a health care special, paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, favorable to Hillary’s health care plan. This time, ABC is cutting out the special interest group, and is directly flacking for the White House.
From my book titled The First Lady: A Comprehensive View of Hillary Rodham Clinton, … Read More ➡
According to today’s Memphis Daily News:
The South’s Grand Hotel is trying to collect a grand sum of money it claims is owed by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s nonprofit civil rights group.
The Peabody hotel has filed a lawsuit in Shelby County Circuit Court against Sharpton’s National Action Network seeking payment of almost $70,300, plus more than $17,000 in attorney’s fees and other costs. The lawsuit, which puts the total close to $88,000, was filed Tuesday…
The Peabody was the site of the 2008 national convention of the National Action Network (NAN). Corporate sponsors included Abbott Laboratories, Allstate, American Honda, Anheuser-Busch (since acquired by InBev), Chase Foundation, Chrysler, Colgate-Palmolive, Continental Airlines, Entergy, FedEx, Ford, GM, Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Pfizer, UPS Foundation and Wal-Mart.
Dr. Carl Horowitz of the NLPC staff attended as an uninvited observer. Colgate-Palmolive accepted a ‘corporate excellence’ award, which NLPC asked the company … Read More ➡
From The Hill today:
The House ethics committee is investigating an alleged quid pro quo between Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and an oil company executive, the subject of a lengthy New York Times article published in December.
Eugene Isenberg, the oil executive accused of trying to influence Rangel through a $1 million donation to the education center bearing Rangel’s name, is cooperating with an ethics committee investigation into the matter and predicts that the panel will find no wrongdoing.
The story by Susan Crabtree continues:
The assertion was caught on tape during a conversation with Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog that has investigated several ethics stories about Rangel. Flaherty approached Isenberg at the company’s annual meeting in Houston last week, taped the conversation and provided The Hill a transcript and audio recording.
As detailed in a previous entry, I actually questioned … Read More ➡
Eugene Isenberg, Chairman and CEO of Nabors Industries, is smiling in the photo at right but he wasn’t happy when I questioned him at the company’s annual meeting in Houston on Tuesday, June 2.
Isenberg’s controversial $1 million pledge to the so-called Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York came at a time when Rangel helped preserve a loophole that allowed Nabors to save tens of millions in taxes after moving to the Bahamas. These facts were first reported in the New York Times in an article by David Kocieniewski in late 2008.
Under my questioning, Isenberg again denied any quid pro quo. He also denied that there was any “understanding” or a “wink and a nod.” He would not even concede an appearance problem.
Click here to download a 7-page pdf transcript of our exchange.
Isenberg was clearly annoyed … Read More ➡
On May 22, the House Ethics Committee asked NLPC if to provide photographs, audio recordings and other materials related to a trip to the sunny Caribbean island of St. Maarten in November 2008 by the following five House members: Charles Rangel (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Donna Christensen (D-VI).
I was present in St. Maarten, where I documented violations of House Rules that prohibit corporate sponsorship of travel and hospitality.
When I inquired whether this matter was under investigation, I was told that House Rules prevented the Committee from confirming an investigation. We provided the material on May 29 along with a formal request for an investigation.
Click here to download a 4-page pdf of the Complaint, without exhibits.
The sponsor of the trip was the Carib News Foundation, but it was funded by “lead sponsor” Citigroup, a major … Read More ➡
Barack Obama argued that if GM collapsed, jobs would be lost and shipped overseas, dealers would close, and the taxpayer would be saddled with all kinds of costs. Well, Obama is “saving” GM and all those things are happening anyway.
This is not a bankruptcy; it’s the moral equivalent of a bank robbery. The White House didn’t “broker” a deal, but it BROKE the things that make our economic system work: rule of law, respect for contracts, and bankruptcy supervised by the judiciary, as specified in the Constitution.
The discussion today misses the point. It’s should not be about the economy but about what this raw exercise of power means for the future of democracy.
GM and Chrysler are being turned into appendages of Obama’s political machine. Nothing would be more harmful to the automakers than this cap-and-trade scheme being considered in Congress, but the companies are up there lobbying … Read More ➡
This picture of Al Sharpton talking to Attorney General Eric Holder was taken yesterday at the White House where Barack Obama announced his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. The White House has been giving Sharpton a surprisingly high profile lately. Al has practically moved in.
Barack Obama was supposed to be our first “post-racial” president. After all, he won the Democratic primaries and the general election with white votes. Obama’s supporters argued that Obama was just the leader to move the country beyond race. Sharpton’s mentor Jesse Jackson became so flustered at this possibility that he wished to cut off Obama’s privates.
Obama’s “post-racial” presidency is nonsense as long as he hobnobs with a racial bully like Sharpton, not to mention his nomination of Sotomayor, whose primary qualification for Obama may be her ethnicity. The headline in today’s Wall Street Journal is “Hispanic Picked for Top Court.”… Read More ➡
That’s the question asked today by Richard Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News in the wake of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision last month to drop the prosecution of former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK). The newspaper asked NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm and other experts whether the prosecutorial misconduct in the Stevens case should taint the related investigations of Rep. Don Young (R-AK), whose photo is at right, and Steven’s son Ben, former president of the Alaska state Senate.
From the Anchorage Daily News:
“I can see they’re a little singed around the edges, but at the same time, they all take the oath to pursue the evidence of crime wherever it leads, and they do have a duty to the public to the degree that there’s people out there that are selling their office in one way or another — they owe it to the public to follow up,”
… Read More ➡