NASCAR Asked to End Sharpton Support in Wake of Ferguson Police Shootings

I have sent this letter to Brian France, Chief Executive Office of NASCAR:

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

According to programs for the NAN national convention, NASCAR has served as a sponsor of the event in recent years, which is Sharpton’s primary annual fundraising event.

The cold-blooded murder of two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, followed weeks of Sharpton’s vilification of law enforcement personnel. Now two police officers have been gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri.

This is not the first time that violence and loss of life have followed Sharpton’s agitation, such as in the 1991 Crown Heights riots and the 1995 Freddy’s Fashion Mart incident. Sharpton’s involvement in these and other abhorrent episodes, such as the Tawana Brawley hoax, are a matter of record.

I have enclosed a new book … Read More ➡

Harry Reid’s ‘Pay-to-Play’ Green Energy Project

Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon website today details the saga of something called the Clean Energy Project. Founded and staffed by for former aides to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the nonprofit collected donations from corporations which received hundreds of millions in federal grants and loan guarantees at Reid’s urging. From the article:

Their donations to the CEP suggest “a vehicle to promote pay-to-play politics,” says Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group.

“It is run by Reid insiders, funded by those who want Reid’s political favors, and there’s a track record of Reid dispensing favors to those who fund it,” Boehm said in an email. “As the late Senator [Sam] Ervin said, sometimes things are what they look like.”

Also from the article:

Rebecca Lambe, Reid’s top political strategist who has been directed by Reid to take the lead

Read More ➡

GM Ignores Steering Defect on Chevy Malibu and Cruze

A Consumer Watchdog is trying to expose another unaddressed safety issue with some General Motors’ vehicles. The problem, once again, involves loss of steering and occurs on later model year Chevy Malibus, Chevy Cruzes and Buick Veranos. Also, once again, GM and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are aware of the dangerous defect and choose to issue a “service bulletin” instead of recalling the vehicles with safety problems.

Christine Young is the Consumer Watchdog that has written about the newest GM safety concern on timesleader.com. Ms. Young tells the story of a frustrated Chevy Cruze owner who is afraid to drive his vehicle because of problems with power steering. GM’s response to the problem belies the perception that the company is properly addressing safety issues on its vehicles.

You see, GM has sent letters and issued a service bulletin that admits a dangerous defect exists. However, owners are … Read More ➡

WSJ Confirms Earlier NLPC Story on Plummeting Chevy Volt Resale Values

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that electric car resale values are plunging. The report confirms what I had reported back in August of last year when I examined auction sales for the rapidly depreciating Chevy Volt. The resale values of cars like the Chevy Volt continue to suffer, further bringing in to question the wisdom of government subsidies for green vehicles that are unable to succeed in the free marketplace without the taxpayers' support.

A recent search of Manheim’s auction site gives the best indicator of Chevy Volt’s wholesale value. A whopping 138 model year 2012 Volts sold in just one week at the auction. That’s about the same amount of NEW Chevy Volts that are sold by General Motors in a week!

The news for Volt owners is not good. The average sale price for a 2012 Volt at auction was below $12,000. That’s about $3,000 less … Read More ➡

Apple Accused of Poaching Chinese Know-How Paid for by US Taxpayers

Lu GuanqiuSince 2011 NLPC has tracked the stimulus-funded fiascoes that were/are battery-maker A123 Systems and luxury electric automaker Fisker Automotive, who at one point were business partners (or stuck with each other, depending on your perspective). Both eventually went bankrupt, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars from Department of Energy awards that were never paid back. Chinese company Wanxiang Group ended up with both failed enterprises, buying their assets for cheap.

While the Obama administration declared the two bankruptcies (among others, such as Solyndra) part of their “successful” green energy investment strategy, two Republican Senators – Charles Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota – have applied pressure to DOE over the fate of American jobs and intellectual property created by A123 and Fisker, but paid for with U.S. tax dollars.

Now, as the Senators continue to express concern about DOE policy over innovations … Read More ➡

Bad Earnings and Subsidy Controversy Hound Musk, Tesla

Elon Musk ModelSLast time NLPC checked on Tesla Motors – as 2014 closed – we noted a growing skepticism largely due to CEO Elon Musk’s consistent habit of overpromising production and results, without delivering.

Then ten days ago he reported year-end earnings, and matters have worsened, although you wouldn’t know it from most of the undeterred “rah-rah” media and Wall Street fanboys. But there are exceptions.

First, the brutal basics – Tesla suffered a fourth-quarter loss of $107.6 million, which was nearly seven times the loss ($16.3 million) during the same period last year. The company lost $294 million for the whole year, compared to a $74 million loss in 2013, and has not recorded a profit in its history (except in a couple of quarters where it employed accounting gimmickry and depended heavily on subsidies). According to Associated Press, analysts expected a profit of 30 cents per share, but Tesla … Read More ➡

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:

Commonwealth Edison spent $27,000 in ratepayer money in 2013 for a golf outing hosted by members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, which was raising money for the legislative body's foundation.

ComEd used $736,000 in ratepayer money in 2011 to fund World Business Chicago, an economic development organization chaired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The CEO

Read More ➡

Harry Wilson’s Teamsters Connection and the Return of Government Motors

Harry WilsonIs the fix in? General Motors is acting like it faces a major decision in responding to the self-nomination of Harry Wilson for its board of directors. Wilson was one of the key members of President Obama’s Auto Task Force, and purports to be acting at the behest of hedge funds who want GM to spend the “cash hoard” that was made possible by US taxpayers.

Ironically, Wilson was one of the people who determined how much of a “hoard” GM would accumulate, an amount he now criticizes as being excessive. During, and just prior to, GM’s bankruptcy process, taxpayers supplied about $50 billion to “invest” in the company. Canadian taxpayers chipped in about $10 billion while GM had its balance sheet cleared of about $30 billion of debt. The liabilities owed to the politically-favored UAW remained intact.

Why did the Auto Task Force that Wilson served believe that GM … Read More ➡

Watchdog Criticizes Harry Wilson GM Buyback Plan as Favor to UAW

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica was a guest on Closing Bell today on CNBC. He was joined by Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank.

Here is a transcript:

Sara Eisen:  At first it seemed like it was just another activist investors at work but our next guest says something else is in play here. We're talking about Harry Wilson, the restructuring expert who served on President Obama's auto industry task force during the financial crisis and was instrumental in bringing GM out of bankruptcy. Now Wilson is a GM activist investor and represents hedge funds holding a total of 34 million shares asking General Motors' CEO Mary Barra for a seat on the board and is pressing for a stock buyback, Simon.

Simon Hobbs: Our next guest is a former GM bondholder who says the company isn't so financially healthy, that it shouldn't burn through its reserves with buybacks … Read More ➡

Harry Wilson to the Rescue of GM— or UAW?

Harry WilsonHarry Wilson, the nemesis of General Motors bondholders who were wiped out in the government-orchestrated GM bankruptcy, is back on the scene. On the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal, Wilson is portrayed as an “activist” investor, who seeks to maximize shareholder value. While his suggestion that GM buy back $8 billion of common shares would give a temporary boost to share price, Wilson’s motivations may not be entirely pure. His real agenda could be to expand the already-favored position of UAW shareholders, and to bolster the political fortunes of unions in general.

Wilson was a retired banker elected to serve on President Obama’s Auto Task Force and was the driving force behind preventing old GM bondholders from receiving due process during the GM bankruptcy process. His involvement led to his current status as a “restructuring expert” and CEO of the MAEVA Group. It now seems that our … Read More ➡
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