Peter Flaherty's blog

Report: Mollohan Should Have Been Indicted

Alan MollohanDocuments obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) from the Department of Justice provide "hard evidence" that former Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) should have been prosecuted after NLPC exposed his questionable financial dealings, and triggered a Justice Department investigation.

CREW executive director Melanie Sloan told Politico yesterday, "It was clear the Justice Department should have indicted Mollohan."

Mollohan was defeated for re-election in 2010 in a Democratic primary. His ethics woes were a key issue in the campaign.

GM CEO Mary Barra Forced to Give Up Award

General Motors announced today that CEO Mary Barra will not attend a ceremony on November 17 at which she was scheduled to receive an award from the National Women's History Museum (NWHM).

On Monday, we asked the museum to rescind the planned award to Barra in light of questions about her "credibility and veracity" in the wake of Sunday's report that GM ordered 500,000 ignition switches from a supplier almost two months before it reported the safety defect to the government.

Women's Museum Asked to Rescind Mary Barra Award; GM CEO Made History 'of Wrong Kind'

Mary BarraToday I sent the following letter to Dr. Gretchen Green, the Acting Chair of the National Women's History Museum:

We ask the National Women's History Museum (NWHM) to withdraw its planned award to General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

As you know, Barra is scheduled to receive the Katharine Graham Living Legacy Award on November 17 as part of your annual de Pizan Honors at The Mead Center for American Theater at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.

Barra has indeed made history - of the wrong kind.

Divestment Campaign Targets Fossil Fuels

fossil fuel divestment HarvardAmerica is on the verge of energy independence. We now pump as much oil as Saudi Arabia. Investments in new technologies are paying off, buoying our economy with new jobs and lower energy prices. What's not to like?

Well plenty, if you are an activist who takes your lead from an organization called 350.org that wants to end the use of oil, gas and coal. The "350" comes from the group's goal of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere from its present level of 400 parts per million to 350. Its unclear what good such a reduction would do. CO2 is naturally occurring and is always present in the atmosphere. It's what we exhale.

Rep. Michael Grimm's Campaign Shakedown Scheme

Gregory Meeks and Michael GrimmToday's New York Post reports that Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), already under indictment, sought out and allegedly accepted campaign contributions in his initial 2010 race for Congress that exceeded contribution limits.

He asked for $10,000 donations from six people, when the legal limit for individual contributions is $2,400. The contributions were not disclosed on Grimm's campaign disclosure forms, evidence that Grimm may have been aware that they were illegal.

From the article by Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Must Resign

Roger GoodellNational Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell should resign or be fired. Goodell either saw, or should have seen, the elevator video of Baltimore Raven running back Ray Rice clocking his fiancé.

Goodell's should be KO'ed by this episode. It would be an appropriate irony. Domestic violence is a serious issue. Goodell has jumped on a number of causes where there is far less consensus either within the NFL or society at large. He has obligated the NFL to politically correct stances on issues that seem to reflect his personal political beliefs.

McDonnell Going to Jail, but We're Stuck With His Taxes

McDonnellFormer Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were found guilty yesterday of charges related to their acceptance of gifts from a businessman named Jonnie Williams, Sr. They are most likely going to prison where meals, soap and everything else will be free. Unfortunately, Virginia taxpayers will be paying the price for their misrule long after they are released.

McDonnell's transportation plan, signed in 2013, puts a huge tax burden on ordinary citizens and helped corrupt Virginia politics. It obligates taxpayers to funding projects like the recently opened Metro Silver Line, which will never come close to breaking even. Made possible by the issuance of bonds (debt), these capital-intensive projects cannot simply repealed by the Legislature and another Governor. We are stuck with them, and the costs, forever.

Meeks Pushed for Iran Sanction Exemption After Azerbaijan Junket

There’s fallout from the July 27 Houston Chronicle exposé of a trip to Azerbaijan by 10 member of the House that violated House rules. The trip was ostensibly sponsored by nonprofit groups but was actually funded by oil companies BP, Conoco Phillips and SOCAR, the national oil company of Azerbaijan. According to the New York Post today:

Rep. Gregory Meeks pushed to let an Iran-backed natural-gas project dodge US sanctions — after attending an illicit junket paid for by energy companies.

Azerbaijan Trip by House Members Broke Rules

Gregory MeeksThe Houston Chronicle yesterday published an account of a 2013 trip by 10 members of the House of Representatives to Azerbaijan that violates a House rule that prohibits the acceptance of overnight travel from corporations that employ lobbyists. The trip was indirectly paid for by companies doing business in Azerbaijan through nonprofit groups.

The fact set is similar to the 2008 case involving a trip to the Caribbean by then-Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), exposed by NLPC, and investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). OCE referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee, which "admonished" Rangel, prompting his resignation as House Ways and Means Chairman. The head of the nonprofit that sponsored the event was eventually convicted of lying to Congress.

McCaskill and Blumenthal Must Press GM's Barra for Brake Corrosion Recall

Claire McCaskillOn Thursday, July 17, General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be back as a witness on Capitol Hill, this time before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance.

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who has been an outspoken critic of GM's response to the deadly ignition switch defect, chairs the Subcommittee. Indeed, the hearing is titled, "Examining Accountability and Corporate Culture in Wake of the GM Recalls." Another subcommittee member, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), has been even more outspoken. Both deserve credit for seeking to make GM accountable, especially since some members on both House and Senate committees have pulled their punches on Barra and GM.

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