Ethics Committee to Probe Fraudster’s Loan to Meeks

Meeks photoOn August 5, the House Ethics Committee announced that it has accepted a recommendation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to “further review an allegation that Representative (Gregory) Meeks failed to disclose a payment he received in 2007 in a timely manner.”

The payment was an unsecured $40,000 “loan” from Edul Ahmad, a Guyanese businessman who was last month arrested in a massive mortgage-fraud scheme. On July 22, the FBI reportedly removed Ahmad in handcuffs from a Guyana-bound aircraft on the tarmac at JFK International Airport.

According to a report issued by OCE and released by Ethics Committee, Meeks “refused to cooperate with the OCE investigation.”

Meeks first disclosed the “loan” in June 2010 after the FBI began investigating his finances. In January 2010, we exposed Meeks involvement in a charity called New Direction Local Development Corporation that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received it, among … Read More ➡

GM’s ‘Crown Jewel’ Losing Luster as China Sales Fall

A few months back General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, made claims that future profits at GM would be driven by China sales and the Chevy Volt. It has become apparent that the Volt is a non-issue, so let’s take a look at the performance of what Akerson described as the “crown jewel” of GM.

China sales in July for GM actually fell 1.8% year over year. GM and its “joint ventures” sold 173,398 vehicles in China for the month of July. Of this number, 77,944 units were sold by SAIC-GM-Wuling. It is another overlooked half-truth by GM that they count these as GM sales, even though GM is a minority owner of the division.

Second quarter earnings from the region were roughly flat from the previous year’s quarter. The region, which includes India, contributed approximately 20% of total earnings and was only about one fourth that of North American … Read More ➡

Taxpayers To Get Hosed as GM Shares Hit New Low

Today’s drop in GM’s share price to a new low represents a one-day, half-billion dollar loss for taxpayers. From the time that Treasury could first file to sell the taxpayers’ stake in GM, the losses have reached about 2.5 billion dollars. Of course the total cost of the bailout was well above this, but the Obama Administration does not seem to want to cut its losses.

GM announced earnings this morning and the numbers appeared to be good on the surface. Media friends of GM trumpeted the good news but the celebration did not last long. The festive mood was replaced with GM apologists trying to explain the negative share price reaction.The obvious overhang of UAW obligations seemed to be ignored, as did the lack of management credibility. One TV commentator known for his defense of GM attributed the sell-off to “bankruptcy fatigue”, claiming that investors are still punishing … Read More ➡

Taxpayers Get Hosed on Duke Energy’s Wind Farm Buying Spree

Jim Rogers photoDuke Energy, along with General Electric and General Motors, are three of the major companies that are often criticized for their rent-seeking ways by free-market minded people, because their corporate earnings focus seems to depend more on subsidies and tax breaks from government rather than sales of their products. That all three support cap-and-trade policies (although it appears GM has left the US Climate Action Partnership) – as long as the gaming of the credit-trading system falls in their favor – is one example of this.

Duke’s, and its CEO Jim Rogers’s, appetites for government giveaways seem to be particularly insatiable among investor-owned utilities. The company is not shy about pursuing unproven, costly technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, just so long as taxpayers foot a lot of the bill.

For a few years now, Duke has been on what looks like a wind and solar Read More ➡

GM Confirms Slow Chevy Volt Sales

Chevy Volt photoSales of the much-hyped Chevy Volt fell to new lows as did GM share price as July auto sales figures came in. Only 125 Volts were sold during the month of July. Recent reports attributed the slump to supply constraints as GM spokeswoman, Michelle Bunker, was quoted as saying that the Volt was “virtually sold out” and only a “few” were available nationwide. I have confirmed that this statement is not entirely truthful and have gotten clarification from GM through Director of Communications, Greg Martin.

A search of site showed nearly 500 Chevy Volts listed for sale. I had originally assumed that GM dealers were advertising vehicles that were not actually available for sale, since GM has stated that there were only a “few” Volts available. I decided to call a few dealers within 75 miles of my location to determine what the true situation was. I stopped my … Read More ➡

GE’s Immelt Blames at Home, Employs Abroad

Immelt Obama photoGeneral Electric announced this week it will relocate its X-ray business to Beijing in order to capitalize on the burgeoning Chinese health care market.

Bravo for them. Kudos. I’m sure it’s a smart business move for the company – just like not paying taxes in the U.S., rent seeking for “Green” subsidies and mandates, and reducing American jobs are also bottom-line wise.

But let’s please stop listening to GE CEO Jeffery Immelt (if he ever was really taken seriously), who is the head of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, whenever he tries to lecture other American corporations on how to conduct their businesses. His hypocrisy is astounding, as illustrated in a Wall Street Journal report about his visit to one of his own gas turbine factories in South Carolina just two weeks ago:

Mr. Immelt said the wage differential between the U.S. and China and India

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Treasury Losing Taxpayer Money on GM Market Timing Gamble

Wall Street casino photoThe latest reports from Reuters state that the US Treasury Department will wait until after September to sell its GM stake. Just why is Treasury gambling taxpayer money by trying to market time its exit of General Motors’ shares? The lock-up period for GM expired at the end of May. This was the earliest time that insiders (such as Treasury) involved in the GM IPO would be allowed to file to sell shares. At that time, GM shares were hovering around $31. Today’s price is closer to $28. Calculating the loss from late May to now on the taxpayers’ approximate 500 million shares, we come up with a loss of about $1.5 billion. What is leading the executive branch of our government to believe it has the right to play investment adviser and market timer for taxpayers on the GM gamble?

The idea of investing taxpayer money in equity markets … Read More ➡

Rep. Wu to Resign After Debt-Ceiling Resolution

David Wu photoRep. David Wu, D-Ore., announced his resignation following accusations that he engaged in an unwanted sexual encounter with a young woman.

Moments after Oregon’s two United States Senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, asked the congressman to step down, Wu addressed the House and said his resignation would go into effect after the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.

Wu came under fire for allegedly having an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the 18-year-old daughter of a friend over last Thanksgiving. Wu insists that he did nothing illegal with the teenager. The seven-term representative said he would not be running for an eighth term after the allegations came out last week.

Merkley and Wyden released a statement four days after reports on the Wu’s accusations surfaced:

The accusations against David Wu are both jarring and exceptionally serious. … While no one takes pleasure in asking a colleague to resign, we believe he can

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Shafted Delphi Retirees Suing Treasury, Auto Task Force

GM UAW Delphi logosThe unprecedented intrusion of the executive branch of the US government into the American auto industry when the Obama Administration orchestrated the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcy processes is now leading to unprecedented responses. Groups that were clearly discriminated against and had their rights subordinated to politically powerful unions may actually have a winnable case against our own government as lawsuits are being brought against the US Treasury Dept. and others.

The Delphi salaried retirees who saw their pension benefits disintegrate after the GM bankruptcy are now suing the US Treasury, the Auto Task Force, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and ex-Auto Task Force heads, Steve Rattner and Ron Bloom. The first hearing against the Treasury Dept. and others will occur on August 17th. The basis of the suit is that the Obama Administration wrongfully used taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers in the GM bankruptcy. I had … Read More ➡

Meeks’ Crony Ahmad Busted by FBI

Meeks photoOn Friday, the FBI arrested Ed Ahmad, the Guyanese businessman who made an unsecured $40,000 loan to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) that Meeks failed to publicly disclose as required. Ahmad was charged with mortgage fraud in connection to a wide-ranging scheme that involved faking income for applicants and the use of straw buyers. He was reportedly released on $2.5 million bail.

According to one report, “Ahmad had already boarded Delta 383 at JFK International to head to Guyana when Federal agents boarded the aircraft, handcuffed him and removed him from the aircraft.”

As first reported in the New York Daily News, Meeks made no payments on the loan, and repaid it only after the FBI started asking questions. Meeks used the money to finish paying off his new home, sources told the Daily News.

Meeks first disclosed the loan on his financial disclosure report that all members … Read More ➡

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