NLPC Staff's blog

Ogundu Gets 1 to 3 Years in Prison; NLPC Exposed Earmarks to Fake NYC Health Clinic

New York physician Dorothy Ogundu has been sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison for ripping off City, State and federal programs for a fake health clinic. The Nigerian-born Ogundu was convicted in October on 29 counts, including second-degree grand larceny, forgery in the second degree, and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.

The prosecution was based on information uncovered by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), and made public through a New York Post article in April 2012. The Ogundu exposé was a spinoff of our investigation of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who secured a $380,500 earmark for the "clinic."

Puerto Rico Bond Expert Ravitch Not So Independent

The following letter was sent today by NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

I am writing regarding the recent hearing the Judiciary Committee held on December 1, 2015, “Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Problems: Examining the Sources and Exploring the Solution.”

As you correctly noted in your opening statement, part of the confusion that reigns is because Puerto Rico has failed to provide audited financial statements for the past two years.

Sheldon Silver Latest Domino to Fall in New York Political Scandals

Ex-New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted this week on corruption charges, is the latest domino to fall as New York’s culture of political corruption unravels. The next is likely to be Dean Skelos, the former Senate Majority Leader, who is on trial now.

NLPC was not the source of the evidence on which the charges against Republican Skelos and Democrat Silver were based, but the investigations would not have taken place if not for NLPC’s exposés of a slew of other corrupt officials.

Freedom House Challenged On Net Freedom Index; Google Influence Permeates Project

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) is challenging the independence and objectivity of Freedom House in its recently-released Freedom on the Net Index.

Today, NLPC President Ken Boehm sent Freedom House President Mark Lagon a letter detailing the following points:

  • Google is a major funder of the Index
  • Authors of several country reports have financial ties to Google
  • The Index is annually released at Google headquarters
  • The criteria used to rate nations seem to reflect Google business priorities

Below is the full text of the Boehm letter:

Boehm Disses ‘Democracy Voucher’ Election Funding Scheme

CNN reports today on the recently passed “democracy voucher” initiative in Seattle, and other proposals for taxpayer funding of election campaigns. From the story:

But Ken Boehm, chairman of the right-leaning National Legal and Policy Center, argues the reform movement has a basic flaw, as candidates who accept the vouchers are blown out of the water by bigger spenders.

"If the opponent signs up for this, they get their little vouchers and they can send out some posters and stuff, but in terms of voter contact, they're getting creamed," Boehm said. "I don't know how they address that and they can't, because constitutionally you can't put an overall cap on spending."

Ex-NY State Sen. Leader John Sampson Convicted

New York State Senator John Sampson, a Democrat of Brooklyn, was convicted yesterday on three counts, including obstruction of justice. He was acquitted on six others, but the conviction should result in significant prison time. No date has yet been set for sentencing.

Between 1998 and 2008, Sampson allegedly embezzled approximately $440,000 from the foreclosure sales of four Brooklyn properties on which he was a court- appointed referee. The embezzlement charges were thrown out because the state of limitations expired. The charges on which he was convicted relate to the cover-up.

Azerbaijan Junket Broke House Rules

According to a report by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) that was leaked to the Washington Post, ten House members broke House Rules when they took an all-expenses paid trip in 2013 to a conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, courtesy of an oil company known as SOCAR. Also enjoying free trips were 32 staff members.

Azerbaijan is a country in Central Asia ruled by strongman Ilham Aliyev. In 2012, the Organized Crime and Corruption Project named him its “Person of the Year” for doing “the most to promote organized criminal activity or advance corruption.”

Menendez Donor Melgen Indicted for Medicare Fraud

As we have expected for some time, Dr. Salomon Melgen was indicted today for Medicare fraud. The dollar amounts of his alleged ripoff are staggering. From 2008 to 2013, Melgen billed Medicare $190 million and received $105 million.

Hopefully, this indictment will put an end to the fiction that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) went to bat for him in a “billing dispute.” Menendez was trying to thwart a fraud investigation, and successfully enlisted the help of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Jeb Bush Relationship With Fraudster Claudio Osorio Gets New Scrutiny

CNN reporter Chris Frates has identified “plenty of red flags” that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush should have seen before he joined in a business relationship with a company called InnoVida, headed by Claudio Osorio, who is now serving a 12 ½-year prison sentence for defrauding investors. Osorio's mug shot is at right.

While Osorio’s efforts to cozy up to politicians in both parties have been previously reported, the CNN report includes important new facts. From the report:

Fox & Friends Interview Kicks Off Publication of 'Sharpton: A Demagogue's Rise'

NLPC's Carl Horowitz talked about Al Sharpton's access to the White House, and his new book Al Sharpton: A Demagogue's Rise, on "Fox & Friends" this morning. Here's the video:

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