Peter Flaherty's blog

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.

Watchdog Asks for Probe in Mortgage Lending 'Revolving Door' Case

A watchdog group is asking for an investigation of David H. Stevens, a former Federal Housing Administration (FHA) official, who currently serves as President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) today asks in dual requests to the U.S. Attorney for District of Columbia, and the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that Stevens be investigated for possibly violating the statutory one-year ban on having contact with his former agency, as well as the lifetime ban on having contact with officials on matters on which he worked while in government. Click here to download a copy of the requests.

Puerto Rico Governor Tries to Distance Himself from His Brother

Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, is claiming that he has nothing to do with a controversial charity, which has his brother Antonio Garcia Padilla as its only employee, according to Alana Goodman in the Washington Free Beacon.

The nonprofit is called Sociedad Economica De Amigos Del Pais. Its funding comes from corporations doing business with the Commonwealth government. According to its federal tax return, Antonio makes $70,000 per year for a forty-hour work week. The group is a resurrected version of a nonprofit founded as the Hispanic Education and Legal Fund (HELF) in 1996 by New York union boss Dennis Rivera and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson.

Questionable Charity in Puerto Rico Has One Employee— the Governor’s Brother

A nonprofit group founded by ex-New York SEIU boss Dennis Rivera has received big contributions from corporations that do business with the Puerto Rican government, while employing the governor’s brother as its only employee. This arrangement was reported today by Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon, based on information provided by NLPC.

FBI Investigating Clinton Foundation Pay to Play?

According to unconfirmed reports, the FBI is now investigating the possibility that donors were directed to the Clinton Foundation in return for favors from the State Department when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. This would be in addition to the ongoing investigation into Hillary’s use of a private email account for official business.

We hope the FBI is reviewing the circumstances described below that we uncovered and have already made public:

Menendez Shameless But Indictment Looms

In a headline today NJ.com asks the question, “How has Menendez Indictment Affected His Senate Duties?” The story details how Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is acting if nothing is wrong, and quotes NLPC Chairman (not executive director) Ken Boehm:

A leading Menendez critic said he had no problem with the senator's efforts to carry on as if he did not face criminal charges.

"Defendants can act anyway they want," said Ken Boehm, executive director of the National Legal and Policy Center, a Falls Church, Va.-based watchdog group. "I take almost an attitude of, 'It's a free country, he's a free man, he's innocent until proven guilty.' At the end of the day, that's not going to change the driving forces behind the indictment."

Sen. Corker to Get Scrutiny in Wake of Disclosure Omissions

On December 11, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) amended his financial disclosure reports after he “failed to properly disclose millions of dollars in income from real estate, hedge funds and other investments since entering the Senate in 2007,” according to Brody Mullins in the Wall Street Journal.

The amendments were made after the Journal made inquiries about certain specifics on Corker’s disclosures. Corker called the omissions “filing errors.” From Roll Call today:

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