NLPC “blows the whistle” on government officials and interest groups engaged in questionable activities. NLPC has filed formal Complaints with a variety of authorities and regulators, including the Federal Election Commission, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Congressional Ethics Committees.
NLPC supports government integrity in two additional ways: by promoting the First Amendment as the basis for campaign finance reform, and by promoting use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Senate Ethics Committee has “severely admonished” Robert Menendez, once again demonstrating its uselessness. Of course, the Committee did not have the authority to put Menendez where he really belongs — in prison — but it could have recommended something of a little more consequence, like Censure or expulsion.
Once again, the Senate has proven that it is the world’s most exclusive club, and membership has its privileges. The Ethics Committee — chaired by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and consisting of three members of each party — probably never wanted to render judgment on Menendez and probably never thought they would have to.
The Senate investigation began in late 2012 but was put on hold when the Justice Department initiated a criminal probe. It resumed late last year when the criminal trial in New Jersey resulted in a hung jury. The Justice Department first declared that it would retry Menendez … Read More ➡
“People who make a living off other people’s fortunes or misfortunes are parasites,” Frank Sinatra once observed. It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid putting stripper/porn star Stormy Daniels in that category. Last month Ms. Daniels filed a civil suit in Manhattan federal court against President Donald Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, claiming that weeks before the 2016 election, each had pressured her to keep silent about a sexual one-nighter between her and Trump a decade earlier, paying her $130,000 as an inducement. The complaint appears highly specious. Yet many in the media prefer to see her as speaking truth to power.
Stephanie Clifford aka “Stormy Daniels,” now 39, a native of Baton Rouge, is a giant of the porn industry, assuming the industry can be considered the land of giants. She’s appeared in more than 250 adult film reels, directing any number of them. But lately her … Read More ➡
Sometimes ulterior motives aren’t that hard to figure out. In the case of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, appointed last May as independent special counsel by the Justice Department to probe alleged Russian government meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the end game has become clear: Impeach President Donald Trump. Much of the focus now is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, determined to give Mueller and his staff a vote of confidence. “It would be suicide” for Trump to fire Mueller, noted Sen. Grassley, who, despite objections from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, seeks a committee vote this week on a bill to protect Mueller’s job. Actually, it might be suicidal for Trump not to fire Mueller.
The accusations that certain unnamed Russian officials conspired with Trump and his top campaign aides to steal the 2016 election isn’t going away anytime soon. That’s the way … Read More ➡
During his two days on Capitol Hill, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly denied that the company censors information and opinion with which it disagrees, despite extensive evidence to the contrary.
Facebook censorship is real. The National Legal and Policy Center has regularly had our Facebook postings suppressed when they pertain to Black Lives Matter, which we have regularly criticized.
It just so happens that Zuckerberg has a different view of Black Lives Matter. Zuckerberg purports to value free expression, famously allowing the “signature wall” at Facebook headquarters. But when in 2016 “Black Lives Matter” graffiti was met with “All Lives Matter,” Zuckerberg just could not have it. He issued a memo calling such sentiments “unacceptable” and “malicious” and assured everyone that the company was “investigating the current incidents.”
There’s a rich irony to last Monday’s announcement by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., that she would not seek reelection in the face of revelations that she had averted her eyes from clear evidence of sexual harassment occurring in her own office. For during these past several months, Rep. Esty has been an outspoken supporter of #MeToo, an ad hoc movement that went viral last October in the wake of growing accusations – or revelations, if one will – of harassment against women. While “serves her right” might not be the right response to Esty’s pending departure, it would be difficult to deny she embodies a certain hypocrisy underlying much of political feminism.
The phrase “me too” is a classic expression of group conformity. It’s also the hottest hashtag in America, a war cry of women speaking out against a putative conspiracy of silence on the subject of male-on-female sexual harassment. … Read More ➡
Today we asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Ana Matosantos, a member of the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board, and to seek her removal. We cited apparent violations of federal conflict of interest statutes by Matosantos. According to information that we unearthed, Matosantos’ family business and other private companies with which she has a financial relationship stand to directly benefit from actions of the board.
The unelected board was established in 2016 to oversee the response Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, and was granted powers by Congress akin to a bankruptcy court. As we have helped to expose in the past, political corruption is endemic in Puerto Rico. Apparently, the Commonwealth can’t even go broke without someone trying to take advantage of the situation. Here is the full text of our letter to the Attorney General:
Dear General Sessions:
National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) respectfully … Read More ➡
As if President Donald Trump isn’t facing enough challenges to his administration’s legitimacy, now he’s got another one. On March 28, U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte granted standing to a lawsuit by the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland alleging that the president, by continuing to profit from his Washington, D.C. hotel, is violating the constitutional ban on federal officials receiving gifts from domestic and foreign entities. According to Judge Messitte, his actions are causing “economic harm.” Yet evidence suggests that neither economics nor constitutional principle has much to do with this case.
Public officials in this country from the start have faced the pressure of being “bought and paid for.” Our Framers, recognizing the ever-present temptations of corruption, created safeguards to bar office holders from receiving presents, or “emoluments,” from outside parties. Article I, Section 6, Clause 2 of the Constitution, for example, bars sitting members … Read More ➡
When it comes to ethically compromised congressmen, Chicago seems to produce a bumper crop. Last Thursday, March 22, the House Ethics Committee released separate reports admonishing Reps. Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez, both Democrats from Chicago districts, for violating House rules concerning outside financial activities of members. The committee ordered Rush (in photo, on left) and Gutierrez (in photo, on right) to pay respective sums of $13,310 and $9,700 to the U.S. Treasury. The investigations were triggered by a probe by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Given the facts, the sanctions appear to be slaps on the wrist. The case of Gutierrez, who is retiring after the current term, is especially disturbing in the context of other conflicts of interest.
Bobby Rush, now in his 13th term, represents the 1st District of Illinois, which covers a large portion of Chicago’s South Side. To many, he is best-known … Read More ➡
If ever a federal agency was ripe for termination, the Bureau of Indian Affairs should qualify for consideration. The bureau has a justly-earned reputation as a patronage machine for tribal leaders and their cronies. The Trump administration has been emphasizing its intent to reform the agency. Tribal sovereignty, the product of several 19th-century treaties, is a fact of life. But there are ways of “draining the swamp” that would not require abrogating any treaties.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), created in 1824 and housed under the Department of the Interior since 1849, has much to manage with its current $2.5 billion annual budget. There are 567 federally-recognized Indian and Alaska Native tribes representing about two million persons. Many live on reservations comprising 55.7 million acres. Each tribe elects its own sovereign government to oversee such activities as courts, schools, job training, health care, infrastructure and gambling casinos.
The federal government is currently on the hook for over $1.35 trillion in higher education loans, over half of which has accumulated since 2009. A number of Capitol Hill lawmakers have come up with legislation to reduce public exposure in the event of a calamity: the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform Act, or PROSPER. The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved the bill in mid-December in a 23-17 party-line vote; the Senate now is taking up its own measure. The context underscores the unsoundness of the Obama-inspired higher education overhaul of 2010 that has played no small role in bringing about this situation.
Taking on debt to attend college or graduate school is a way of life. According to a quarterly Federal Reserve Board data base, fully 42.6 million U.S. adults by the close of 2017 owed an outstanding $1,366.9 trillion in federal student loan … Read More ➡