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."
The indictments resulted from a federal investigation initiated after media reports that Menendez attempted to intervene to thwart a Medicare-fraud investigation of Dr. Salomon Melgen, his largest donor, and that Menendez pressured … Read More ➡
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:
But for some government watchdog groups, this incident raises questions about what led to the discrepancies on Corker’s reports in the first place, and points to broader problems within the disclosure and congressional ethics process.
In 2007, Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, co-wrote a letter to congressional leaders calling for changes to the financial disclosure process, including narrowing or eliminating the form’s value ranges.
“It’s important to know how much it was because
… Read More ➡
When Bob Lutz speaks, automotive journalists listen. Well, at least they usually do. When a recent Automotive News roundtable discussion showed Lutz blasting General Motors’ Chevy Bolt (and electric vehicles like it), mainstream journalists failed to pick up on the story. Lutz was right on the money when he exposed the EV folly, which is costing automakers billions of dollars and driving up prices of conventional, gas-powered vehicles.
Bob Lutz certainly has credibility in the automotive world. As an ex-GM executive he was known as the father of the Chevy Volt, a taxpayer-subsidized vehicle that I have had plenty of criticism for. Now that such a noted figure as Lutz has changed direction and is questioning the logic of lithium-ion battery technology, the automotive community should be taking notice.
So, since Lutz’s criticisms carry much more weight than my own, we can proceed to some of the bombshells that … Read More ➡
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:
The National Legal and Policy Center, a 501(c) (3) organization, opposes the proposed rule “Substantiation Requirement for Certain Contributions.”
It seems more than strange that the IRS would propose this rule in the wake of its illegal and Unconstitutional attempts to impede, delay and/or deny tax-exempt status to Tea Party and conservative groups. The proposed rule seems calculated to achieve the same result by opening donors to intimidation, harassment and vilification.
The voluntary nature of the proposed disclosure does not make it less dangerous. Should the IRS at some future time deem voluntary disclosure a “success,” it will no
… Read More ➡
Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller took 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.”
… Read More ➡
Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon takes 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:
Within the next few months, two for-profit companies were created in Cartagena. One was a job-training center to teach locals how to work at the port. The other was a food supplier that helped support fishers and farmers by selling their products to hotels and supermarkets.
Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra launched both companies using funding from the Clinton Foundation’s Colombia-based private investment fund, Fondo Acceso.
On November 23, Goodman reported on the existence … Read More ➡
Ex-New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted this week on corruption charges, is the latest domino to fall as New York’s culture of political corruption unravels. The next is likely to be Dean Skelos, the former Senate Majority Leader, who is on trial now.
NLPC was not the source of the evidence on which the charges against Republican Skelos and Democrat Silver were based, but the investigations would not have taken place if not for NLPC’s exposés of a slew of other corrupt officials.
Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo disbanded the so-called “Moreland Commission,” an anti-corruption panel he named in 2013 to root out graft in response to all the headlines generated by NLPC. Cuomo shut down the Commission because it was apparently getting too close to his friends.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, opened a criminal investigation of Cuomo … Read More ➡
Railroading innocent persons into prison, or extracting outsized settlements from them, is now a defining feature of civil rights activism. The possibility of such an outcome explains why Kendrick Johnson, a Valdosta, Georgia black teen who died in a freak accident at his high school nearly three years ago, has become a rallying symbol for “anti-racist” activists. Johnson isn’t as familiar as the late Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown. But give it some time. From the start, the Johnson family and supporters have insisted, without evidence, that he was the victim of a racially-motivated murder and cover-up. They’ve convinced the Justice Department to search for the “killer,” and with methods that subvert due process. It’s only fitting that Al Sharpton, a master of racial hoaxes, has left his mark.
The hash tag phrase “#Black Lives Matter” suddenly has become a meme among young blacks across the nation. Strictly speaking, it … Read More ➡
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 Beacon details 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:
Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, said the lack of transparency was a troubling. He said the public has a right to know whether any of Fondo Acceso’s companies received U.S. government support while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
“At the minimum, the Clinton Foundation should
… Read More ➡
CNN reports today on the recently passed “democracy voucher” initiative in Seattle, and other proposals for taxpayer funding of election campaigns. From the story:
But Ken Boehm, chairman of the right-leaning National Legal and Policy Center, argues the reform movement has a basic flaw, as candidates who accept the vouchers are blown out of the water by bigger spenders.
"If the opponent signs up for this, they get their little vouchers and they can send out some posters and stuff, but in terms of voter contact, they're getting creamed," Boehm said. "I don't know how they address that and they can't, because constitutionally you can't put an overall cap on spending."
Of course, there are other reasons why taxpayer funding is a bad idea. First and foremost, citizens should not be forced to fund political expression with which they may disagree.… Read More ➡