The Hill: Ethics Panel Probes Allegation Involving Rangel

Isenberg photoFrom The Hill today:

The House ethics committee is investigating an alleged quid pro quo between Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and an oil company executive, the subject of a lengthy New York Times article published in December.

Eugene Isenberg, the oil executive accused of trying to influence Rangel through a $1 million donation to the education center bearing Rangel’s name, is cooperating with an ethics committee investigation into the matter and predicts that the panel will find no wrongdoing.

The story by Susan Crabtree continues:

The assertion was caught on tape during a conversation with Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog that has investigated several ethics stories about Rangel. Flaherty approached Isenberg at the company’s annual meeting in Houston last week, taped the conversation and provided The Hill a transcript and audio recording.

As detailed in a previous entry, I actually questioned … Read More ➡

Flaherty Rips Barney Frank & ‘Government Gone Wild’

NLPC President Peter Flaherty debates Julie Roginsky of Comprehensive Communications Group on June 5, 2009. CNBC’s host is Dennis Kneale.

UPDATE 6/9/09– Ian Swanson of The Hill is reporting:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he doesn’t think his intervention on behalf of a General Motors center in his district will lead other lawmakers to do the same thing.

“I don’t think this will lead to a pattern,” said Frank, who convinced GM CEO Fritz Henderson to keep a distribution center in Norton, Mass., open for at least another 14 months.


The intervention has drawn criticism from those who question whether other lawmakers will ask for favorable treatment for GM entities in their states given the government’s pending plan to take a 60 percent ownership stake in the company after it emerges from a managed bankruptcy proceeding.

Barney claimed his intervention is good for the environment:

Closing it, he

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Will Tax Label Sink Cap-and-Trade?

Waxman PhotoThe Waxman-Markey bill, currently under consideration by several House committees, would impose a huge energy tax on the American people in the name of combating the scientifically unproven global warming threat. The Heritage Foundation estimates the average household will have to pay an extra $1,500 per year for gas and electricity while the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) puts that number at about $1,600.

That is why congressional Democrats and liberal advocates are trying to avoid this unpleasant fact by simply not admitting that the Waxman-Markey bill is a tax increase. They understand that if the public perceives this legislation for what it is – an energy tax – then it will fail.

 

The Waxman-Markey bill, formally called the American Clean Energy and Security Act and sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), would put a cost on carbon dioxide by imposing a cap on greenhouse … Read More ➡

Nabors Chairman Gets Testy With Flaherty About Rangel Center Donation; Calls NY Times ‘Full of Malarkey’

Eugene Isenberg photoEugene Isenberg, Chairman and CEO of Nabors Industries, is smiling in the photo at right but he wasn’t happy when I questioned him at the company’s annual meeting in Houston on Tuesday, June 2.

Isenberg’s controversial $1 million pledge to the so-called Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York came at a time when Rangel helped preserve a loophole that allowed Nabors to save tens of millions in taxes after moving to the Bahamas. These facts were first reported in the New York Times in an article by David Kocieniewski in late 2008.

Under my questioning, Isenberg again denied any quid pro quo. He also denied that there was any “understanding” or a “wink and a nod.” He would not even concede an appearance problem.

Click here to download a 7-page pdf transcript of our exchange.

Isenberg was clearly annoyed … Read More ➡

House Ethics Committee Asks NLPC For Info on Rangel-Led, Citigroup-Funded Caribbean Junket

Carib junket photoOn May 22, the House Ethics Committee asked NLPC if to provide photographs, audio recordings and other materials related to a trip to the sunny Caribbean island of St. Maarten in November 2008 by the following five House members: Charles Rangel (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Donna Christensen (D-VI).

I was present in St. Maarten, where I documented violations of House Rules that prohibit corporate sponsorship of travel and hospitality.

When I inquired whether this matter was under investigation, I was told that House Rules prevented the Committee from confirming an investigation. We provided the material on May 29 along with a formal request for an investigation.

Click here to download a 4-page pdf of the Complaint, without exhibits.

The sponsor of the trip was the Carib News Foundation, but it was funded by “lead sponsor” Citigroup, a major … Read More ➡

GM is Now ‘Appendage of Obama’s Political Machine’

GM logoBarack Obama argued that if GM collapsed, jobs would be lost and shipped overseas, dealers would close, and the taxpayer would be saddled with all kinds of costs. Well, Obama is “saving” GM and all those things are happening anyway.

This is not a bankruptcy; it’s the moral equivalent of a bank robbery. The White House didn’t “broker” a deal, but it BROKE the things that make our economic system work: rule of law, respect for contracts, and bankruptcy supervised by the judiciary, as specified in the Constitution.

The discussion today misses the point. It’s should not be about the economy but about what this raw exercise of power means for the future of democracy.

GM and Chrysler are being turned into appendages of Obama’s political machine. Nothing would be more harmful to the automakers than this cap-and-trade scheme being considered in Congress, but the companies are up there lobbying Read More ➡

Sotomayor, Sharpton and ‘Post-Racial’ Claptrap

Sharpton/Holder photoThis picture of Al Sharpton talking to Attorney General Eric Holder was taken yesterday at the White House where Barack Obama announced his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. The White House has been giving Sharpton a surprisingly high profile lately. Al has practically moved in.

Barack Obama was supposed to be our first “post-racial” president. After all, he won the Democratic primaries and the general election with white votes. Obama’s supporters argued that Obama was just the leader to move the country beyond race. Sharpton’s mentor Jesse Jackson became so flustered at this possibility that he wished to cut off Obama’s privates.

Obama’s “post-racial” presidency is nonsense as long as he hobnobs with a racial bully like Sharpton, not to mention his nomination of Sotomayor, whose primary qualification for Obama may be her ethnicity. The headline in today’s Wall Street Journal is “Hispanic Picked for Top Court.”… Read More ➡