Rangel Applauds Obama Offshore Tax Crackdown; Will Charlie Give Nabors a Refund?

Nabors logoHouse Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) is all for Barack Obama’s proposal to tax the income of subsidiaries of American companies earned abroad. Bloomberg quoted Rangel as saying:

Our tax code should reward companies that thrive by continuing to invest in America and American workers. I applaud President Obama’s commitment to simplifying our tax code and look forward to working with the administration to close these loopholes.

Does this mean Charlie will refund the $200,000 (of a million dollar pledge) he’s received from Bermuda-based Nabors Industries, formerly of Houston? It would only be fair.

David Kocieniewski reported in the New York Times on November 24, 2008:

…Rangel was instrumental in preserving a lucrative tax loophole that benefited an oil-drilling company last year, while at the same time its chief executive was pledging $1 million to the project, the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at C.C.N.Y.

The

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New House Ethics Committee Director Has Own Problems

Chisam photoDespite promises by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of rigorous enforcement of House ethics rules, the top staff position on the Ethics Committee stayed vacant for eight months. Now the Committee has hired Blake Chisam (photo at right), who was already a staffer for Ethics Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and a member of the search committee that selected him.

Isabel Vincent of the New York Post reported yesterday:

According to his latest disclosure statements, Chisam owes up to $300,000 in student loans and filed for bankruptcy in 2000 in Pennsylvania and 2001 in Georgia.

The Post continued:

Ken Boehm, of the watchdog National Legal and Policy Center was quick to rip the eyebrow-raising pick.

“No wonder the House Ethics Committee is considered something of a joke,” Boehm said. “Despite having to investigate…a powerful congressman like Charlie Rangel, [it] goes many months without a staff director and then picks

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Pepsi’s Politicized Charitable Giving Again Under Fire

Indra Nooyi photoThe American Family Association (AFA) is criticizing PepsiCo’s financial support of activist groups promoting gay marriage. PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation are major funders of the Human Rights Campaign, and a group called Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

AFA president Don Wildmon is asking PepsiCo to become “neutral” on the issue of gay marriage by ending support for the groups. Wildmon’s complaints echo those of NLPC, made in 2006 and 2007, of a liberal political bias in the company’s giving. At that time, NLPC objected to PepsiCo’s financial support for groups founded by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

In 2006 and 2007, NLPC sponsored shareholder proposals that would have required PepsiCo to disclose its charitable giving, and most importantly, provide a business rationale for each gift. NLPC’s interest in PepsiCo’s charitable giving is based on shareholder rights.

NLPC believes that shareholder interests are best served when … Read More ➡

Did Colgate-Palmolive Accept Sharpton Award — or Not?

Colgate ToothpasteAl Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network (NAN), held its annual convention April 1-4 in New York City. The event included NAN’s “Keepers of the Dream” award presentations. Last year, Colgate-Palmolive accepted the “corporate excellence” award, prompting NLPC to ask the company to give it back. At the Colgate-Palmolive annual shareholders’ meeting a few weeks later, I made an issue of the award, calling it a “dubious honor indeed.”

This year, no corporation was identified from the podium or in the program as getting a Keepers award. Yet, a full-page Colgate-Palmolive ad in the same program reads:

Colgate-Palmolive is honored to be named Corporation of the Year by the National Action Network at the 11th Annual Keepers of the Dream Awards.

So, did Colgate accept the award, or not?

Perhaps the company accepted the award, but did not want to be publicly identified with Sharpton at the event itself, in … Read More ➡

Citigroup Proxy Lauds Robert Rubin; No Gratitude to Taxpayers

Rubin photoOn the first page of Citigroup’s just-issued 139-page proxy statement, Chairman Richard Parsons writes,

The Board would also like to recognize our retiring directors, Sir Win Bischoff, Kenneth Derr, Roberto Hernandez, Robert Rubin, and Franklin Thomas for their many contributions to Citi. The collective wisdom and insight of these directors have been an invaluable source of strength for Citi.

Oh, really? I guess there was no reason for taxpayers to pour $45 billion into the company and prevent a meltdown of the entire financial system. You’d certainly get that impression from the proxy. Nowhere in this thick document is a word of thanks for taxpayers.

In January 2009, Rubin was named by Thomas Kostigen of Marketwatch as one of the “10 most unethical people in business.”

Rubin has been a director and chair of Citigroup’s executive committee since 1999, overseeing a time during which the bank took on huge risks … Read More ➡

Ford Bankrolled Sharpton Convention Featuring Biden

Biden and Sharpton photo

Ford Motor Company has applied for $11 billion in taxpayer funds for retooling, and has access to an additional $9 billion line of credit from the government. Yet, the company was a financial sponsor of Al Sharpton’s national convention last week that featured a speech by Vice-President Joseph Biden.

In a letter today to Steven Rattner, who directs President Obama’s auto industry task force, I wrote,

Ford’s financial support for Sharpton places into doubt the judgment of Ford executives. I can think of no expenditure farther removed from the core mission of saving the company and the American auto industry than bankrolling Sharpton. It is your responsibility to ensure that no more capital is wasted on controversial political causes, no matter how supportive they are of the administration you represent.

In a Complaint filed today with TARP Inspector General Neil M. Barofsky, I wrote,

Ford’s major donation to Al Sharpton’s

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Obama is Exceeding Presidential Authority on Wagoner Firing, Auto Bailout

Although Rick Wagoner should have been gone years ago, Barack Obama has exceeded presidential authority in firing the CEO of a major corporation. Of course, the justification is that GM is accepting government money, but Congress has not authorized money for an auto bailout. 

The money has come from the TARP, which was supposed to used to buy the toxic assets of banks. The Constitution is being shredded. This concentration of power in the hands of the President, a small circle of advisors, and financiers is dangerous.

If Obama can take over sick companies, why can’t he take over healthy companies he doesn’t like? After all, he’s not only criticized the auto companies for building certain kinds of cars, but he’s criticized oil companies for their business decisions. Can Obama now tell oil companies to close down their wells and build windmills?

It is government that destroyed the U.S. carmakers … Read More ➡

Another Trillion to Buy Toxic Assets? What Was TARP For?

money reducedIf Barack Obama wants another trillion or more for toxic-asset purchases, what was the TARP for?  The burden is on him and Timothy Geithner to explain why another Wall Street bailout will work when the previous ones have not.

This latest plan would have the taxpayer finance the purchase of troubled assets, opening the door for unregulated opaque entities like hedge funds to speculate with taxpayer funds. This “public-private partnership” might also be called the Obama Hedge Fund Bailout.

When TARP was passed by Congress in October, its purported purpose was to buy toxic assets from banks. Instead, the $700 billion has been used to buy preferred stock in banks, bail out the automakers, and now bail out the automakers’ suppliers.  Yet these stock purchases have failed to prevent the deterioration of bank’s capital positions, even as common stock, held by millions of small investors, has been crushed.

Former Treasury … Read More ➡

NLPC Pres. Comments on IBT Ethics Controversy

From an op-ed published nationwide, by NLPC president Peter Flaherty…

Organized labor was an undisputed election day loser, but John Kerry’s defeat was a particular blow to Teamsters chief Jim Hoffa. For Hoffa…It was about getting the 1.3 million-member Teamsters out from under federal government oversight, in place since 1989.

 

The stakes for Hoffa were so high because of a burgeoning controversy that exploded with the April 28 resignation of Edwin Stier, the former federal prosecutor hired by the Teamsters to clean up the union. Stier charged that Hoffa had “backed away” and “inexplicably retreated” from anticorruption efforts.

 

…[Now] the Teamsters are refusing to release Stier’s 303-page report on the six locals…Stier asserted that he encountered “active resistance” from Hoffa’s office in investigating these allegations.  In 1999, the Teamsters established an internal reform program and hired Stier.  It was a way of staving off more serious Read More ➡

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