Peter Flaherty's blog

Wikileaks DNC Emails Reveal Plans to Reward Donors With Appointments

Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller reports that the emails and other Democratic National Committee (DNC) documents made public by Wikileaks show evidence that the DNC sought to reward big political donors with appointments to federal boards and commissions. From the article:

The documents, which were circulated among top DNC officials in April, could raise legal questions for the party, says Ken Boehm, the chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.

“The disclosed DNC emails sure look like the potential Clinton Administration has intertwined the appointments to federal government boards and commissions with the political and fund raising operations of the Democratic Party,” Boehm told The Daily Caller.

“That is unethical, if not illegal.”

 

Clintons Hide Source of $7 Million in Speaking Fees

Alana Goodman in the Washington Free Beacon today reports that Bill Clinton gave some thirty speeches for fees totaling $7 million, but that the actual identities of the sponsors is a “mystery.” The speaking fees were apparently routed through speakers bureaus and other entities, which the Clintons reported on Hillary’s disclosure forms as the source, obscuring the actual payer of the fees. From the article:

Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, said the way the Clintons have handled these paid speaking engagements “suggests secrecy and non-transparency.”

Google, Facebook, Twitter Execs Asked to End Support for 'Black Lives Matter' in Wake of Baton Rouge Police Murders

In the wake of the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge, we are today asking Eric Schmidt of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter to end their personal and corporate support for Black Lives Matter (BLM). The letters read in part:

Billionaires don’t have to worry about their personal security, but working people and the poor do.

Your support for Black Lives Matter is helping to fray the social fabric in cities all over the country, cities in which you do not live. The American people — both liberal and conservative — are increasingly concerned about corporate executives who put their own interests above those of our country.

FBI Director James Comey Must Resign

FBI Director James Comey today announced that he would recommend that Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted for conducting State Department business on a private email system.

He started by referencing the possibility of a “violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way…”

Comey then provided an extremely generous interpretation of Hillary’s actions but one that still clearly placed her in violation of the law:

Rep. Kathleen Rice Took Gifts From Rich Donors

What is the point of prohibiting members of Congress from accepting personal gifts worth more than $50 if the the House Ethics Committee simply waives the rule?

Freshman Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) has disclosed that she accepted substantial gifts from two donors to her political campaigns. Her office claims that the Ethics Committee waived the rule. The first was from a billionaire hedge fund operator named Lee Ainslie in the form of a private jet flight from New York to Boston. It was purported to be worth $3,300. A commercial flight would have cost about $300. According to the New York Post, which first reported the story, Ainslie and his wife have donated more than $80,000 to Rice’s various political campaigns.

House Thwarts New Assault on Office of Congressional Ethics

The House today voted down an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Steven Pearce (R-NM), that would have cut the budget of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The tally was 137-270. During debate, Pearce said, "I would urge people to support this amendment to give notice to the OCE that we're watching what they are doing."

This kind of threatening language is inappropriate, and seems calculated to undercut the independence and effectiveness of OCE. Maybe Pearce hasn't noticed, but the American people have had it with business as usual in Washington. People are sick of all the corruption. We need stronger ethics enforcement, not less.

Freedom House Asked to Decline Facebook Support for Net Freedom Index in Wake of Censorship Flap

NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm sent this letter today to Freedom House President Mark Lagon:

I am sure that you are familiar with the furor over the alleged censorship of conservative stories by Facebook in its “trending" news section. As you know, Facebook is a funder of your annual Net Freedom Index.

On November 19, 2015, I wrote you regarding the appearance that the Net Freedom Index reflected the lobbying priorities of large Silicon Valley firms, rather than serving as an objective index of freedom on the Internet.

Will the FTC’s Ramirez Tell the Truth at Senate Hearing?

Federal Trade Commission Chair Edith Ramirez is scheduled to testify tomorrow, May 11, before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. The topic is “Examining the Proposed FCC Privacy Rules.”

The hearing comes amid allegations that Ramirez is not independent and takes her direction from Google.

On March 9, Ramirez contradicted herself in testimony she gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the FTC’s dropping of an antitrust action against Google in 2013. She testified that the FTC decision not to sue Google was “consistent with the recommendation that had been made by our Bureau of Competition staff,” adding that any “press reports to the contrary are just flatly wrong.”

Clinton Foundation Donor That Got Big OPIC Loans Now Faces Corruption Allegations

Another Clinton Foundation donor with ethics problems received a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. This time, the dollar amounts are gargantuan, and the recipient is at the center of a corruption scandal in Pakistan.

According to a report in the Washington Free Beacon by Alana Goodman,  a Middle Eastern investment firm called The Abraaj Group has contributed $500,000 to $1 million to the Clinton Foundation. Abraaj owns and manages a utility company named K-Electric in Pakistan. That country’s former oil minister,  Asim Hussain,  has been arrested for providing illegal favors for K-Electric and harboring Islamic terrorists in hospitals he owns. From the article:

Justice Dept. Pursued Nemesis of Clinton Foundation Donor

Ken Silverstein in the New York Observer adds important new information to the case of Clinton Foundation donor Gonzalo Tirado, which was first exposed by NLPC. Tirado headed Ponzi-schemer R. Allen Stanford’s bank in Venezuela, but now lives openly in Miami.

After the Stanford flame out, the Venezuelan Tirado sought political asylum in the United States. Although never charged with a crime stateside, Tirado was an extremely dubious candidate for asylum. It is unclear whether he was actually granted it, but Tirado now resides safely in Miami, even as Stanford victims still struggle to recover a portion of their investments.

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