Is Justice Dept. Covering Short-Seller Tracks in For-Profit College Scheme?

Holder photoBeginning in 2009, the Department of Education — mightily aided by Senator Tom Harkin’s HELP Committee and a coterie of Wall Street short sellers — laid siege to the for-profit college sector in a knock-down, drag-out battle to the finish. Their strategic objective was to seriously hobble the profitability of career schools that had devised a competitive, career pathway for predominantly at-risk, low-income, non-traditional and minority students. On June 2, in the infamous Battle of the Beltway, the Department issued its (you should excuse the expression) ‘Gainful Employment’ rule, which was heralded as a major blow to career schools, whose recruitment rates have since dropped precipitously.

For anyone who viewed ‘Gainful Employment’ as an honest effort to address the educational needs of students preparing to enter the workforce at the worst moment since 1930, the latest salvo by the Justice Department will dispel that wishful thinking.

With a one-two punch, … Read More ➡

LightSquared Scandal Explodes

Obama photoAllegations that we first made in February about White House political favors for a company called LightSquared are starting to get the attention they deserve.

LightSquared is owned by the Harbinger Capital hedge fund, headed by billionaire investor Phil Falcone. He visited the White House and made large donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Soon after, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted LightSquared a highly unusual waiver that allows the company to build out a national 4G wireless network on the cheap.

The deal has been criticized not only for its ‘pay to play’ appearance but also because the LightSquared network would interfere with the part of the wireless spectrum that is used by Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

On its iwatch news website, the Center for Public Integrity published a blockbuster special report on Wednesday confirming that LightSquared “pressed its case… at times citing its fundraising for Democratic causes … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt is Automotive Version of Solyndra

Akerson and VoltThe story of bankrupt solar company, Solyndra, has turned into a major scandal for the Obama Administration as questions arise about the government’s free spending of taxpayer money on failing so-called green initiatives. A $535 million federal loan was initially rushed through for the company as Obama touted Solyndra as being a prime example of how the bold new green-energy driven economy would create jobs while saving the environment. Now the results bring into question how dangerous the green economy strategy may be.

1,100 jobs were created at Solyndra at a cost to taxpayers of about half a million dollars per job. Both the jobs and the money are now gone. White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, dismissed the failure by pointing out that there are no guarantees in the business world. Well here’s a novel thought; ventures that are getting taxpayer money poured into them should actually be able … Read More ➡

Bailed-Out GM Fumbling with Marketing Themes

Chevy Runs DeepThe weakness of General Motor’s management team regarding one of the most basic concepts of car sales has surfaced as the company tries to learn how to effectively market its vehicles. An article on points out that GM’s “Chevy Runs Deep” ad campaign has not resonated well with consumers. No big surprise there. Management, led by an Obama appointed non-car guy, CEO Dan Akerson, continues to try and sell cars through the use of ineffective ads that focus on patriotism and politically driven themes as opposed to focusing on specific product offerings.

According to the piece, the “Chevy Runs Deep” campaign has not boosted showroom traffic and data from confirms that the ads have done little to boost consumer shopping for Chevy. Considering that GM has an annual ad budget of about $4 billion, the taxpayer supplied funds are not being spent wisely. While it may buy some … Read More ➡

Did Obama’s Brother Get Special Treatment From IRS?

Obongo and Barack Obama photoThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has unexpectedly and retroactively granted tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation following our formal Complaint that the Foundation was soliciting tax-deductible contributions without such status.

The Foundation is headed by Abon’go Malik Obama, President Obama’s half-brother, and named for their common father. It came under scrutiny earlier this year when NLPC raised questions about its tax status and what has happened to the money it has raised.

It normally takes at least six months, and usually longer, for the IRS to grant tax-exempt status to an organization following its application. It appears that the earliest that it could have applied was May of this year, yet it received a determination letter in June, retroactive to 2008.

According to a May 8 New York Post story by Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein:

Alton Ray Baysden, a former State Department employee at whose

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Infrastructure Spending Promotes Inefficiency, Corruption

corruption cartoonPresident Obama will not use the word “stimulus” in apparent recognition that his previous policies have failed. Instead, he will use the word “investment,” which is a complete misnomer. An expenditure can only be called an investment if there exists the possibility of a profit.

Infrastructure spending by the federal government promotes corruption because the work goes to the most politically well-connected contractors. At the state level where the money is spent, it is often “pay to play.”

Since decisions about infrastructure spending often result from a brokered process (witness Congressional earmarks), there is often a disconnect between the spending and where it is needed most.

Politicians collude with unions to increase the costs of construction through what are called Project Labor Agreements. These pacts are supposed to guarantee labor peace, but what they actually do is pad the costs of labor to the benefit of politically well-connected unions.

Federal … Read More ➡

Bailed-Out GM Returning to Failed Past?

GM logoIt seems that what is new is old again at General Motors. New GM has rehired Old GM executive, Bob Lutz, to advise New GM executives on how to run a car company. Certainly, the new executives could use the help as GM share price has fallen about 40% year to date. While there are some negative aspects of having one of the leaders of a failed company giving advice on how to run the business, Mr. Lutz (unlike current GM leadership) at least knows the auto industry.

While Bob Lutz is generally well regarded in the auto world, GM should be careful relying on any one source of guidance to plot their future course. It should be remembered that Lutz was part of a regime that drove GM into bankruptcy and he was a big proponent of the Chevy Volt, which is not exactly knocking the cover off the … Read More ➡

GM Continues Chevy Volt Folly at Taxpayers’ Expense

Akerson and VoltAugust sales figures for General Motors’ much-hyped Chevy Volt came in at a paltry 302 units. While evidence mounts that consumer demand for the Volt is not what it was projected to be, GM continues to blame supply rather than demand for the dismal sales performance. Could the fact that billions of taxpayer dollars are being funneled to GM for production of green vehicles be behind the continued misrepresentation of the Chevy Volt sales performance?

I tuned in to GM’s August sales conference call yesterday. Beyond the standard optimistic views given (which must not have impressed Wall Street, since shares fell over 4% on the day), I heard an interesting exchange during the media questions segment towards the end of the call. When James Amend from Wards questioned the amount of salable Volts, GM responded that it would take another month or two to fill retail inventory and that it … Read More ➡

Rep. Carson Stands By Tea Party/Lynching Remarks

Carson photoRep. Andre Carson (D-IN), the second Muslim to serve in Congress, has created an enormous controversy by following Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) lead and lashing out at the Tea Party and its supporters in Congress.

Carson told a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and some of its supporters last week in Miami that, “some of them in Congress right now, of this Tea Party, would love to see you and me…hanging on a tree.” He also stated that some members of Congress would like to see blacks as second-class citizens.

These remarks come shortly after Waters stated that the “Tea Party should go straight to hell.”

Both supporters of the Tea Party and the lone GOP member of the Congressional Black Caucus are outraged. Congressman Allen West, a black Republican from Florida, called Carson’s comments racist and desperate. West, who has threatened to resign from the CBC if … Read More ➡

NLPC’s Anderson Scrutinizes Miami Football Story

Nevin Shapiro photoTom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, has raised questions about the recent Yahoo Sports exposé of the University of Miami football program. The explosive July 16 story by Charles Robinson has already led to suspensions by the NCAA of eight current Miami players.

Anderson does not argue that the players are innocent of NCAA rules violations, but cites evidence that current and former players may been targeted by Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro (in photo) in order to direct blame away from other parties, including coaches. Anderson became involved in the issue due the overlap of this sports scandal with political corruption in south Florida.

Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock has highlighted some of Anderson’s criticisms of the original Yahoo/Robinson piece. For instance, one of Robinson sources is Shapiro’s ex-girlfriend who is unidentified because she is allegedly “afraid of reprisals from Miami football players.” Whitlock writes:

“Why didn’t Yahoo! ask

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