Misguided Schumer-Lee Bill Offers Visas for Foreign-Born Homebuyers

schumer“Jobs that Americans won’t do” is a weak, if common rationale for high levels of immigration. Get set for an equally dubious idea to justify immigration: “housing that Americans can’t buy.” Senators Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are believers. And they’re offering a sweet deal. On Thursday, October 20, the two lawmakers unveiled legislation, the Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America Act, or VISIT-USA Act (S.1746), one of whose elements would provide renewable three-year resident visas to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in residential real estate here. The plan thus assumes both the need for a housing industry bailout and a large injection of foreign capital toward that end. Supporters should spend some time pondering the downside.

Since the collapse of the home mortgage industry during 2007-08 (and the only modest recovery since), reversing the collapse has become a … Read More ➡

Watchdog Files FEC Complaint Against Rep. Meeks for Stanford Fundraiser

Meeks photoOn October 28, NLPC filed a formal Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), his campaign, and his “leadership” political action committee called Build America PAC.

The Complaint alleges that Stanford Financial Group made illegal, in-kind contributions to Meeks’ campaign for a 2008 fundraiser in the Virgin Islands. The event was hosted by R. Allen Stanford, who is currently in prison awaiting trial for charges related to his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The Complaint also alleges that Meeks appears to have disguised a personal gambling junket to Las Vegas as a leadership PAC fundraiser. In December 2010, Build America PAC paid expenses for an event at the ARIA Resort and Casino, but disclosed no contributions from the event.

The Complaint also asks the FEC to investigate a voided $5,000 check from Build America PAC to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The check was voided on … Read More ➡

GM Struggling to Meet Chevy Volt Goal

Akerson and Volt photoGeneral Motors has staked much of its credibility on the Chevy Volt. GM has a goal of selling 10,000 of the vehicles in 2011 and is only about half way there with two months remaining. Ad spending seems to have ramped up faster than sales though with much of GM’s marketing dollars going towards Volt commercials while only 1,108 of the vehicles sold in October. I can’t remember ever seeing as many TV ads for a vehicle that has sold in such low numbers. Despite the low proportionate sales to hype ratio for the Volt, sites like Mother Nature Network are proclaiming success for the Volt with the headline reading “October was a great month for Chevy Volt Sales.”

So just how great a month was it for the Volt and for the taxpayers who continue to be bilked out of billions of dollars for the misguided greening of America? … Read More ➡

Rep. Richardson to Face Full Ethics Probe?

Laura Richardson photoThe House Ethics Committee may soon conduct a complete investigation of Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA). She has been under investigation for some time now for allegations that her staff undertook political activities while working on government time.

As reported this week by John Bresnahan in Politico, Ethics Committee staff members have been looking into potential Richardson violations since last year. At isssue is whether some of Richardson senior staff pressured subordinates to work on her reelection campaign matters during official time. This is against House rules and federal law.

This is not the first time Richardson has been under Ethics Committee investigation since winning a special election to fill a vacancy in 2007. The Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics committee both investigated a situation in which it appeared Richardson may have had an unethical deal worked out to maintain a home of hers that had gone … Read More ➡

FBI Files Detail Murtha Corruption

Murtha photoAccusations of corruption directed against the late Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) look like they were true. Recently released files seem to confirm that the Federal Bureau of Investigation suspected that Murtha schemed to route federal dollars to bogus companies and other operations that would benefit his friends and former employees and ultimately his own campaigns.

As reported by Paul Singer in Roll Call, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice on Mr. Murtha (who passed away in February of 2010) and other Members of Congress. CREW’s requests for the files from living Members of Congress were rejected as the Department stated that these Members have a right to privacy. However, Murtha’s death did allow for files to be handed over to CREW as his passing eliminated any exemption for Murtha. CREW Executive Director … Read More ➡

Green Ideologues Defend Fisker Boondoggle

Fisker Karma photoRepublican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has called for a congressional investigation into the Obama Administration’s green energy loans to start-up electric/hybrid carmakers, Fisker and Tesla. Romney rightfully criticizes the wasteful spending on risky green initiatives that are costing Americans billions of dollars while offering little in the way of job creation, environmental benefits or foreign oil independence.  Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa) also called for an investigation. And while Romney and Murphy deserve kudos for trying to bring some sanity to the wasteful green policies of the White House, there are many with extreme environmental and political views who are trying to defend the indefensible.

A Politico report quotes a column Romney wrote for the Orange County Register where he blasts the crony capitalism that is being evidenced in deals like Fisker and Tesla. “Alas, like Solyndra, these loans are turning out to be historic opportunities to line the pockets … Read More ➡

Duke Energy Gouges Ratepayers, Taxpayers

Jim Rogers and windmill photoRather than big policies like cap-and-trade and federal tax credits, sometimes it’s the little ways that corporations snooker taxpayers and their own customers that really annoy the masses.

As has been well documented by NLPC, Duke Energy’s Jim Rogers has been a big advocate for levies on carbon dioxide emissions, government giveaways for renewable energy, and Democratic conventions.

Each example shows how the Charlotte-based utility is far more interested in gaming government regulations in its favor – keeping its bottom line and shareholder returns healthy – rather than delivery of its product efficiently and affordably, which is a better and more American way to maintain profitability.

This attitude of Duke and Rogers has manifested itself in two absurd situations in North Carolina. First is the revelation that Duke has a sweet contract with Charlotte that gives the utility nearly $10 per month to maintain and operate … Read More ➡

Case of Jesse Jackson, Jr. is Test for House Ethics Commitee

Jesse Jackson Jr. photoLast week, the United States House of Representatives Ethics Committee voted to end its temporary deferral of a case against Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL). The US Justice Department had requested the deferral but has since withdrawn that request. The case had been deferred for over two years.

Jackson, the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, is in his ninth term in the US House and is under investigation for allegations that he attempted to buy the open US Senate seat that was vacated by President Barack Obama. It has been reported that Jackson’s supporters were willing to raise $1.5 million on behalf of Governor Blagojevich’s re-election campaign.

While Jackson has maintained that he did no wrong, the investigation will continue. According to Associated Press and reported on theGrio.com, Jackson’s office had no comment on the announcement and his attorney was unavailable for comment. In Chicago, the US Attorney’s office had … Read More ➡

The Inconvenient Truth Behind Fisker Funding Fiasco

Al GoreThe wasteful and incomprehensible “green” energy policies of the Obama Administration continue to be exposed as a rip-off of American taxpayers. The latest insane venture involves hybrid auto start-up company, Fisker. While the story of Fisker receiving a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy has been widely reported, less known is the fact that green energy charlatan, Al Gore, may have played a key role in obtaining the loan.

Before we move on to Gore’s involvement in the Fisker fiasco, let’s review what taxpayers are paying for regarding the White House’s so-called green car “investment.” The Fisker Karma is expected to go about 30 miles on an electric charge and then gets only about 20 MPG. The car can go from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds and comes in at a price tag of $97,000. To add insult to taxpayer injury,  even though Fisker initially purchased a … Read More ➡

Ghosn: Nissan Business Plan Now Based on Government Subsidies

Nissan LeafWhile sales of the Chevy Volt languish, the maker of the all-electric and better-selling (but not great-selling) Nissan Leaf maintains that his company’s fortunes and that of his alternative vehicle have a promising future – with two big “ifs.”

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn told Reuters he expects 2012 sales to surpass this year, barring “economic ‘armageddon’” and “ a ‘Lehman-style’ crisis.” According to Ghosn, “the highest level of uncertainty is Europe,” but he is confident “that 2012 will be another record year for the car industry no matter what Europe does.” But anyone paying attention to the debt crisis knows it has the potential for total economic collapse and to spread to other continents, including North America. 

Ghosn also attributes his optimism to the prospects for electric vehicles. Reuters reported that Renault-Nissan is investing 4 billion euros ($5.57 billion) in the technology, and Ghosn has predicted sales of 1.5 million … Read More ➡