Peter Flaherty's blog

Ex-NY State Senate Leader Malcolm Smith Gets Seven Years

Former New York Senator Malcolm Smith was yesterday sentenced to seven years in prison for bribery and related offenses. He was convicted in February. A former majority leader in the New York Senate, Smith was defeated for re-election in 2014.

Smith is the latest associate of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) headed to jail. Formal investigations of several New York politicians began in 2010 after the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) exposed corruption through stories in the New York Post, New York Times and New York Daily News.

Hillary Aide Cheryl Mills Double-Dipped While State Dept. Chief of Staff

Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon details today how Cheryl Mills, one of Hillary Clinton’s longtime underlings, apparently collected a paycheck from New York University at the same time she was serving as Chief of Staff of the State Department. According to the article:

After joining the State Department in the beginning of 2009, Mills continued to serve as general counsel for New York University for several months. She also sat on the board of the “NYU in Abu Dhabi Corporation,” the fundraising arm for the university’s UAE satellite campus. The school is bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi government and has been criticized by NYU professors and human rights activists for alleged labor abuses.

Corrupt Congressman Claims Congress Needs a Raise

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), former federal judge who was impeached in 1988 for perjury and accepting bribes, on Monday asserted that members of Congress are not paid enough. He told the House Rules Committee:

Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution.

Reaction was immediate. From an article by Lachlan Markay in the Washington Free Beacon:

WSJ Editorial Wrong About Menendez Indictment

It’s been almost a month since the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled “The Menendez Indictment.”  We responded in a letter to the editor that has not been published. It’s a safe bet it never will be, so we post it here.

The Journal got to the point in its opening paragraph:

Ill-defined federal laws now reach into virtually every sphere of human behavior, and thus prosecutors can destroy almost anyone they choose. The recent indictment of Senator Robert Menendez on 14 counts of corruption and “honest services” fraud is a troubling case in point that deserves more than a little skepticism.

Baltimore Violence is Obama’s Failed Legacy on Race

As our first African-American president, Barack Obama had the opportunity to personify the final triumph of civil rights, and in the process, become a celebrated and historic figure. Instead, his ironic legacy on race is one of abject failure, as the rioting and looting in Baltimore underscore. The tragic reality is that Obama passed on the opportunity to the “post-racial” president he promised to be when he first ran in 2008.

Congress Asked to Stop GM From Writing Off Ignition Switch Victim Compensation Costs

Today I sent this letter to Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT):

We strongly urge you to re-introduce legislation similar to the Government Settlement Transparency Reform Act (S.1654) in the 113th Congress.

As you know, the death toll from General Motors’ failure to act on an ignition switch defect continues to climb, now at 87. Although GM's decision to create a fund to compensate victims and their families is a step in the right direction, we are troubled by GM’s ability to write off the cost as an expense for federal tax purposes.

Senator Robert Menendez Indicted

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted this afternoon on 8 counts of bribery, 3 counts of honest services fraud, one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the travel act, and one count of making false statements. His largest political backer, Dr. Salomon Melgen (in photo on left) was also charged by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

The indictments were the result of a lengthy federal investigation that was initiated after media reports that Menendez attempted to intervene to thwart a Medicare-fraud investigation of Melgen, and that Menendez pressured government officials to further Melgen’s interests in a port security deal in the Dominican Republic.

Heath Care Task Force Showed Hillary's Penchant for Secrecy

Only time will tell just how damaging the current email controversy is to Hillary Clinton. But looking back, it was the same penchant for secrecy, and disregard for rules that others must follow, that doomed her attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system in the early Nineties, the most ambitious project of her life next to running for president.

NLPC was a plaintiff in the successful 1993 lawsuit to open the meetings and records of the task force. A good historical account of the task force, and the fight over its proposals, can be found in a 1996 book titled The First Lady: A Comprehensive View of Hillary Rodham Clinton, that I co-wrote with my brother Timothy. Here is Chapter Nine titled “Health Care:”

NASCAR Asked to End Sharpton Support in Wake of Ferguson Police Shootings

I have sent this letter to Brian France, Chief Executive Office of NASCAR:

We ask that NASCAR end its financial support of Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN). 

According to programs for the NAN national convention, NASCAR has served as a sponsor of the event in recent years, which is Sharpton’s primary annual fundraising event.

The cold-blooded murder of two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, followed weeks of Sharpton’s vilification of law enforcement personnel. Now two police officers have been gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri.

Sharpton Documents Lost in Mysterious Fires

Today at National Review Online, Jillian Kay Melchior revisits two mysterious fires at Al Sharpton’s offices, in 1997 and 2003. In both, important documents were allegedly destroyed. Melchior deserves credit for going back so far, reexamining fire department reports, and actually finding people close to the incidents.

Her very detailed story describes two Complaints filed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) with the Federal Election Commission that reference the fires, and Sharpton’s general disdain for filings and disclosures required of nonprofit organizations and political campaigns. From the article:

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