From my commentary today in the Daily Caller:
More than anything else, the indictments of Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates demonstrate the fraudulent nature of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The probe has little to do with Russian interference in last year’s election. Instead, it is calculated to protect Mueller and a cabal within the FBI and Justice Department who covered up crimes by Hillary Clinton because they believed it was likely that she would be elected president.
And once Mueller and then his friend and successor James Comey covered for Hillary, they had to keep covering. There was a reason that Mueller was so available when he was so swiftly appointed Special Counsel in May by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Comey firing threatened to expose all that these same officials had swept under the rug. Yes, Rosenstein bit the bullet and drafted the memo … Read More ➡
Ride-sharing giant Uber has hired former Associate Attorney General Tony West as its Chief Legal Officer because “he’s well equipped to handle the investigations of our past practices,” according to an email from Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
West is at the center of a burgeoning scandal involving $1 billion collected by the government from big banks as settlements in mortgage-fraud cases. The money was not used to compensate victims or turned over to the Treasury. Instead, it was diverted to left-wing activist groups and political allies of the Obama administration. West served in the Justice Department from 2009 until 2014 when he joined PepsiCo.
Reaction to the looting of the settlements has been such that the House passed legislation this week that would prohibit payments to private third parties from settlement monies. The Justice Department had already adopted a policy barring such payments.
Khosrowshahi’s email also asserted:
… Read More ➡
Last week, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook about his firm’s removal of VPN apps from the China app store in July. VPN stands for Virtual Private Networks, which when accessed through apps, allow Internet users in China to bypass government censorship.
NLPC raised this issue on September 19 when we asked the Newseum to rescind its 2017 “Free Expression Award “ that it made to Cook in April. The Senators’ letter also seizes on the Award and quotes Cook from that evening when he declared, “At Apple, we are just not allowing others to speak up, we are doing so ourselves.” The letter asks Cook to “Please provide copies of any statements that Apple has issued either promoting freedom of speech in China or condemning China’s censorship and surveillance mechanisms…”
The rest of the letter is equally pointed, and includes nine other … Read More ➡
From the Associated Press yesterday:
In a big defeat for Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the judge at his corruption trial Monday refused to throw out any of the charges against him in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowing the definition of bribery.
The decision by U.S. District Judge William Walls was a major victory for federal prosecutors, who had warned that dismissing the charges would torpedo nearly all other bribery cases and open the door wide to graft.
Walls rejected defense lawyers’ arguments that the allegations against Menendez didn’t meet the new definition of bribery contained in the 2016 Supreme Court ruling that reversed the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Menendez and his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen, are on trial for bribery. Among other allegations, the prosecution says that Menendez pressured U.S. officials to get the Dominican Republic government to honor a long-dormant port security deal … Read More ➡
The two months that have passed since the August 17 indictment of Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, former technology staffers for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), have yielded little except more mystery.
The mainstream media has largely ignored the story. Most of what we know has been reported by Luke Rosiak in the Daily Caller. The revelations have become a staple of conservative media, providing fuel for a social media brushfire. In apparent response, an informal hearing was held on October 10 by a handful of members of the Freedom Caucus. The lead witness was Rosiak who complained of an “extraordinary level of silence from official channels” about the scandal.
You would think that House Republican leaders would give the Awan mess a much bigger stage. This GOP disinterest is the biggest mystery of all. The media and Democrats in Congress created a frenzy over vague accusations … Read More ➡
Last week’s testimony in the trial of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) about a port security deal in the Dominican Republic may provide the basis for a bribery conviction. A State Department official, Todd Robinson, described how Menendez threatened to hold a Senate hearing if the Department did not pressure the Dominican government to honor a long-dormant contract with Menendez’ largest donor, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.
Last year, the Supreme Court significantly narrowed the grounds on which a public official can be prosecuted for bribery. The public official’s actions must include an “official act” in exchange for some consideration. It cannot simply be setting up a meeting, making a phone call, or other actions generally thought to be “constituent services.” Calling a meeting of a Senate subcommittee on Melgen’s behalf, however, would classify as an “official act.”
In May of 2012, Menendez set up a meeting with State Department officials, … Read More ➡
The trial of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez began earlier this month, but NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm says the media is so far missing the most important part of the case.
The New Jersey Democrat is facing six counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, one count of falsifying congressional travel disclosures, and one count of interstate travel to carry out bribery.
The charges stem from Menendez’s relationship with Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist and a major donor to Menendez’s re-election campaign. According to the testimony of Melgen’s former pilot, Menendez took at least 16 separate trips on the private jet between 2008 and 2010, which prosecutors claim constituted bribes to the senator.
The indictment also alleges that, in exchange for these favors, the senator helped Dr. Melgen’s two mistresses gain visas to the United States. Menendez’s lawyers claim that the women obtained the visas on merit.
Menendez has … Read More ➡
“Equal pay for equal work” – the phrase has a nice ring to it. But like other unsound egalitarian ideas, this one hasn’t earned the hype. And the Trump administration recognizes as much. On August 29, the White House announced it was temporarily blocking an Obama-era rule from taking effect that would require businesses with at least 100 employees to report payroll data by sex to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Defending the move, the Office of Management and Budget noted that parts of the rule “lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.” Supporters are outraged, and no more so than at President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, supposedly their ally. Such critics, true to form, are overlooking some practical economic realities.
Pay discrimination by sex has been illegal in this country for more than a half-century. And the strictures have become increasingly … Read More ➡
Congressman John Conyers is the subject of a recent review of his conduct by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a semi-independent organization charged with investigating misconduct by members of Congress and their staff. The Office has referred Conyers’ case to the House Ethics Committee.
In their initial report, the OCE found that there was “strong evidence” that Representative Conyers had continued to pay his Chief of Staff, after she had left his office, between April and August of last year.
According to NLPC President Peter Flaherty, “It is an open question whether the Ethics Committee will do anything about Conyers, whose corruption now spans decades. The Committee more often functions as a cover-up committee. Its whitewashes seem to be just one more service that the House leadership offers incumbents.”
According to the report, Conyers told the House Payroll Office that his Chief of Staff, Cynthia Martin, would be on “leave … Read More ➡
On DailyMail.com today, Alana Goodman and Shekhar Bhatia provide important new information about Imran Awan, who has been indicted in the House IT scandal, along with his wife Hina Alvi. Awan relatives contradicted reports that the former House IT workers were victims of anti-Muslim discrimination as charged by their main sponsor, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. From the story:
“They are not being picked up because they are Muslims. They are being picked up because they did something wrong,” said Syed Ahmed, who is related to them through their stepmother.
“There are possibilities that [Imran] or them might have been selling this information to anybody who is not authorized to have them. For the sake of money they would have done anything,” he added. ‘They were not living an honest life. They were living like they were gangsters.”
The story also describes problems with the Awans’ used car dealership, first reported … Read More ➡