Peter Flaherty's blog

Watchdogs Agree: Waters Case Shows Ethics Process is Broken

Maxine Waters photoCarol Leonnig of the Washington Post writes today that the House Ethics Committee is planning to spend $500,000 for an investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and the Committee's own staff.

Last month, the Committee announced the hiring of Billy Martin to review the actions of the Committee's staff that were cited as a reason to push the Waters trial beyond last November's elections. Martin would then proceed to investigate the Waters matter if he determines that the staff's previous conduct was not sufficiently prejudicial to dismiss the case, as she has requested.

Ethics Committee to Probe Fraudster's Loan to Meeks

Meeks photoOn August 5, the House Ethics Committee announced that it has accepted a recommendation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to "further review an allegation that Representative (Gregory) Meeks failed to disclose a payment he received in 2007 in a timely manner."

The payment was an unsecured $40,000 "loan" from Edul Ahmad, a Guyanese businessman who was last month arrested in a massive mortgage-fraud scheme. On July 22, the FBI reportedly removed Ahmad in handcuffs from a Guyana-bound aircraft on the tarmac at JFK International Airport.

Meeks' Crony Ahmad Busted by FBI

Meeks photoOn Friday, the FBI arrested Ed Ahmad, the Guyanese businessman who made an unsecured $40,000 loan to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) that Meeks failed to publicly disclose as required. Ahmad was charged with mortgage fraud in connection to a wide-ranging scheme that involved faking income for applicants and the use of straw buyers. He was reportedly released on $2.5 million bail.

According to one report, "Ahmad had already boarded Delta 383 at JFK International to head to Guyana when Federal agents boarded the aircraft, handcuffed him and removed him from the aircraft."

Rangel Junket Figure Karl Rodney Sentenced Today

Karl Rodney photoKarl Rodney, the organizer of the Caribbean junkets that contributed to the downfall of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), was sentenced today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to two years probation and 500 hours of community service. He was also fined $2,500. District Judge Emmet Sullivan included no jail time in the sentence.

The courtroom was filled with Rodney's supporters, many of whom made the trip down from New York City. Singer Harry Belafonte offered good wishes by letter. NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm was also in attendance. Boehm said, "I believe that at least some jail time would have been appropriate, but at the same time, Rangel himself has not even been prosecuted and he was guilty of far worse."

House Ethics Committee Investigating Rep. Gregory Meeks

Meeks photoThe House Ethics Committee on Friday announced that it would "extend" a previously unacknowledged review of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY).

In January 2010, we exposed Meeks involvement in a charity called New Direction Local Development Corporation that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received it, among other questionable dealings. In March 2010, we asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Meeks for paying $830,000 for a newly built home in 2006 that was worth more than $1.2 million. Click here to download a 26-page pdf of the Complaint.

Congressional Candidate Frankel Accused of Running 'Off-the-Books' Campaign

Lois FrankelNLPC has filed a formal Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Lois Frankel and her campaign committee. Democrat Frankel is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Allen West in Florida's 22nd Congressional District. Frankel is the former mayor of West Palm Beach, and announced her candidacy on March 21. She is opposed in the Democratic primary by businessman Patrick Murphy.

The Complaint alleges that Frankel reported more than $250,000 in income but failed to report virtually all of the expenses connected to fundraising or other campaign activity. The costs that apparently went unreported include direct mail, telephones, web hosting, a post office box, and the pay for a consultant named Brian Smoot. Click here to download a 6-page pdf of the Complaint.

Walmart Ripped for Supporting Cap and Trade at Annual Meeting

Here are my remarks delivered today at the Walmart annual meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas in favor of our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the business risks of climate change:

Mr. Duke, I have some good news for you. You can stop worrying about global warming. The seas are not rising. The sky is not falling. And Al Gore has found a new role - as that crazed sex poodle.

Walmart's Support for Cap and Trade to be Challenged at Annual Meeting

I will speak tomorrow at the Walmart annual meeting in favor of our shareholder proposal asking for a report on the business risks of climate change. The meeting takes place on Friday, June 3 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The supporting statement appearing in the proxy reads, in part:

Wal-Mart has committed itself to dramatic measures to reduce carbon emissions, and to support controversial political positions, even as scientific and political factors related to global warming are rapidly changing.

Gingrich Must Repudiate Sharpton

Sharpton Gingrich photoToday we are asking Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to repudiate Al Sharpton. Gingrich appeared around the country in late 2009 as part of something called the Education Equality Project. At that time, we asked Gingrich to sever ties with Sharpton, only to be ignored.

Now that Gingrich has gone from private citizen to candidate, he must be made accountable for his associations. As Dr. Carl Horowitz of our staff has documented in our 2009 Special Report titled Mainstreaming Demagoguery: Al Sharpton's Rise to Respectability, Sharpton has promoted fake hate crimes against blacks, and has inspired racial antagonism against whites and Jews.

Mollohan Crony Burum Indicted in California Bribery Probe

Mollohan photoA wealthy California developer with close ties to former Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) was indicted today in a burgeoning corruption scandal in San Bernardino County. Jeffrey Burum, co-manager of Colonies Partners, was charged in a scheme to bribe county officials to approve a legal settlement favorable to Colonies. Click here to download a 27-page pdf of the indictment.

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