Peter Flaherty's blog

ComEd Steers Contributions to Illinois Politicians' Charities

Today’s Chicago Tribune spotlights Commonwealth Edison’s “charitable” contributions to activist groups that might be expected to oppose electricity rate increases. From the article by Julie Wernau:

Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center just outside Washington, D.C., called the practice of making such donations a "double cheat" on ratepayers.

"Why should ratepayers have to pay increased rates so the utility can go out and give money to groups that might otherwise criticize their increase request?" Boehm said.

The article also detailed contributions to foundations and groups associated with Illinois politicians:

Ex-New York State Senator Malcolm Convicted of Bribery

Malcolm Smith

Former New York State Senator Malcolm Smith was convicted in federal court last week of bribery, wire fraud and extortion. A former majority leader in the New York Senate, Smith was defeated for re-election in 2014.

Convicted at the same time was Vincent Tabone, a former Queens Republican Party official. Smith, Tabone, and other GOP officials conspired to allow Smith, a liberal Democrat, to run for New York City mayor as a Republican in 2013, in return for $25,000.

Smith is the latest associate of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) to be convicted of crimes. 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.

Rep. Meeks' Crony Albert Baldeo Sentenced to 18 Mos. in Federal Prison

Meeks and BaldeoOn Monday, New York City Democratic leader Albert Baldeo was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. He was convicted of seven counts of obstruction of justice in August of last year.

Baldeo was originally charged with three counts of fraud related to the use of straw donors to qualify for taxpayer matching funds for 2010 for his unsuccessful City Council campaign. The scheme was exposed in a New York Post story of October 11, 2011, based on information provided by the National Legal and Policy Center as part of our investigation into U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and his political network.

Sharpton's Tax Problems Get More Scrutiny

I was a guest this morning on Fox & Friends to discuss Al Sharpton's longstanding practice of not paying his taxes. Here's the video:

 

New Sharpton Book Coming February 15

Sharpton book coverTiming is everything. And in this 300+ page book titled Sharpton, A Demagogue's Rise, longtime Sharpton watcher and critic Carl F. Horowitz could not be more timely.

The cold-blooded murder of two New York City police officers followed weeks of Sharpton's vilification of law enforcement. The controversial minister and activist now finds himself front and center, a position he has always sought, but in a way he did not plan.

Horowitz not only explodes the myths about Sharpton by carefully documenting his past, but indicts a political culture that made possible his spectacular rise.

GM Asked to Disclose Donations to Nonprofits in Wake of Awards-for-Barra Controversy

Barra Appeal of ConscienceToday I sent the following letter to Theodore Solso, Chairman of the GM Board:

As a shareholder, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) asks General Motors (GM) to disclose all its contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations by the company, the General Motors Foundation, or any other entity.

This request is prompted by the acceptance of various awards by CEO Mary Barra offered by charitable and nonprofit organizations at the same time some of the groups are recipients of large cash donations from GM.

Sharpton's Shakedowns Get Scrutiny

Getting attention is our request that Walmart and other big companies stop funding Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN), in the wake of the police murders in New York City. On January 5, I was a guest on “Fox and Friends” on the Fox News Channel.

I was also a guest on Money With Melissa Francis on the Fox Business Network.

Walmart Asked to Stop Bankrolling Sharpton After New York Police Murders

WalmartHere is a letter I sent today to C. Douglas McMillon, Walmart President and CEO:

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

The cold-blooded murder of two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, follows weeks of Sharpton's vilification of law enforcement personnel.

As you know, Walmart has helped bankroll Sharpton for years. Most recently, the company was a sponsor of Sharpton's 60th birthday party in New York City, which reportedly was a fundraiser for NAN that raised a million dollars.

Mayor di Blasio Hires NJ Corruption Figure for NYC Housing Authority

Mayor Bill di BlasioAs if New York City did not have enough corruption of it own, the administration of Mayor Bill di Blasio has reached into New Jersey and recruited an operative named Bill Crawley for a key post in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). As pointed out by investigative reporter Gerard Flynn on the Gothamist website:

Bill Crawley is the former CEO of a controversial Newark non-profit disbanded in 2011 amid allegations of millions of dollars in graft and a pay-to-play scandal that sent Newark's deputy mayor to federal prison.

Immigration Waiver for Rich Donors Followed Sen. Menendez Pressure

Senator Robert MenendezThe New York Times reports in a front-page story today that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) successfully pressed Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton's chief of staff at the State Department, to grant a visa to an Ecuadoran woman whose family made significant donations to his campaign and other Democratic campaign groups, including the Obama Victory Fund.

The woman, Estefania Isaias, is the daughter of Roberto Isaias, a wealthy Ecuadoran who is wanted along with his brother, William Isaias, for allegedly looting a bank in their home country. Estefania was barred from entering the United State because she previously had illegally brought her maids into this country.

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