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."
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:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed a new rule in September that would allow charities to voluntarily report to the IRS contributions of more than $250. For donors reported to the IRS, the new rule would require the donor's name, address, and Social Security number. Today, we filed this public comment:
Chuck Ross of the Daily Callertook a look at the recently released Hillary Clinton emails. He found even more evidence, now on the scale of an avalanche, that the State Department was turned into sort of a fundraising machine for the Clinton Foundation. From the story:
Clinton’s favors reveal a certain “crassness,” Ken Boehm, the chairman of the ethics watchdog group, National Legal and Policy Center, told TheDC.
“The Hillary Clinton emails confirm that she used her position as Secretary of State as a favor mill for family, friends and — most of all — political supporters,” Boehm said.
“Now we know why she went to such lengths to hide her email traffic. Given the crassness of the disclosed emails, one can’t help but wonder what was on the deleted emails.”
Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacontakes an even closer look at the relationship between controversial Canadian mining tycoon Frank Giustra and the Clinton Foundation. This time, she reports that a company in which Giustra owned a major stake received a $150 million loan from the taxpayer-funded International Finance Corporation (IFC) to build a port and pipeline in Colombia. The loan was made despite IFC concerns about the project’s social and environmental impact. From the story:
The appearance for some time has been that the State Department under Hillary Clinton was turned into sort of a shakedown operation for the Clinton Foundation. Now Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacondetails how the Foundation, supposedly a nonprofit entity, operated a private equity fund in Colombia, one of the most corrupt places on earth.
The fund was known as Fondo Acceso, and its “investors” included Mexican crony capitalist Carlos Slim (in photo), a billionaire. Of course, the Clinton Foundation will not say much about how the fund actually operated. From the story:
Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beaconreports today that emails released by the State Department show that a Clinton Foundation donor asked the State Department to help his company secure loans from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to build Marriott Hotels in Haiti.
The circumstances add to the impression that under Hillary Clinton the State Department often resembled a commercial enterprise, with the proceeds pouring into the Clinton Foundation. As the article details, Marriott International, its partners and affiliates, and the developer, Richard L. Friedman of Boston, flooded the Clinton Foundation with donations. From the article:
The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) who was seeking to overturn his Censure by the House of Representatives. Lower courts had ruled that they have no jurisdiction over internal workings of the House.
Rangel was Censured by the by the entire House of Representatives on December 2, 2010 by a vote of 333-79, the first such action in 27 years.
The action was the result, in part, of investigations by NLPC. Among the counts alleged by the Ethics Committee were Rangel’s failure to pay taxes on rental income from a Dominican Republic beach house, and his failure to report hundreds of thousands in income and assets on his financial disclosure forms.
John Boehner’s Speakership was a setback for Congressional ethics. He backslid on a number of important reforms, and helped to return the Ethics Committee to its traditional role of covering up wrongdoing by incumbent members of Congress.
Boehner ally Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA), the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, is currently orchestrating a whitewash of apparent House rules violations related to a junket by ten House members to Azerbaijan in 2013.
The latest batch of publicly-released State Department emails provide more evidence that a $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to Clinton Foundation donor Claudio Osorio was made as a result of pressure from Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The loan to a company named InnoVida, owned by Osorio, was supposed to be for building houses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, but Osorio used the money to finance a lavish lifestyle. Osorio is currently in prison for fraud. OPIC is an independent agency but submits its budget through the State Department.