Recall Expense Not Reason For GM’s Poor Earnings

head in sandGeneral Motors reported lackluster first quarter earnings’ results as the company took a $1.3 billion charge related to recalls. Most of the expenses for the approximately 7 million vehicles recalled, however, were not actually incurred during the first quarter.

In addition, the $1.3 billion figure is far lower than what the recall will cost GM. The power steering recall alone of about 1.5 million vehicles (which was prompted by NLPC’s exposure of the recall delay) is likely to cost more than that. The estimated cost for replacement of power steering columns is in the area of $1,300 per unit, bringing the total for this single recall to roughly $2 billion. That doesn’t include loaner cars.

There will also be legal costs and settlements which are likely to measure in the billions of dollars. Regardless of the extend of what the total costs of GM’s recent recalls will be, …

Bill Lann Lee Involved With Group That Defended Terror Lawyer

Bill Lann LeeBill Lann Lee, a former U.S. Assistant Attorney General who served during the Clinton administration, is deeply involved with a group that donated thousands of dollars for the legal defense of convicted terrorist lawyer Lynne Stewart.

Five-and-a-half years after being convicted of providing material support for terrorism, Stewart last month was resentenced to ten years.

Lee, who was Bill Clinton’s top civil rights officer from 1997-2000, is a donor to, and serves on the advisory board of, the Impact Fund. The Berkeley-based foundation directed a $5,000 grant to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee in 2006.

The grant came as Stewart was appealing her February 2005 conviction on five felonies, including providing material support for terrorism and obstruction of justice. A jury found she had passed messages from her client, “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman – the man convicted in 1993 of plotting to blow up the United Nations, …

New Study Justifies Arrest of Henry Louis Gates

Henry Louis Gates photoCould the headline-making arrest last July of Harvard African-American Studies Professor Henry Louis Gates by a white Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer be justified? While the official civil-rights narrative continues to cast Gates as a victim, the facts, as National Legal and Policy Center reported in detail at the time, appear to vindicate Police Sergeant James Crowley. Now a new report by a Boston University-affiliated journalism think tank is providing even more fuel for the latter view. The study, which examined arrests for disorderly conduct in Cambridge over several years, concludes that local police have not engaged in a pattern of racial profiling. One hopes that President Obama, who played no small role in this affair, will give it a close read. 

A recap is in order. On the afternoon of July 16, 2009, Henry Louis Gates, fresh from a research trip to China, found the front door of his home …

Court Temporarily Restores Ban on ACORN Funding

ACORN scandalThe Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known by the acronym ACORN, exists only in shell form, having formally disbanded on April 1. Yet whatever name(s) the radical nonprofit organizing network and its countless affiliates currently go under, the issue of its right to receive federal funds is anything but a dead letter. A court ruling several days ago ensures as much. On Wednesday, April 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit temporarily reinstated a congressional ban on further public funding of the scandal-ridden group. The three-judge panel in Manhattan effectively overturned a lower court order barring enforcement of the cutoff, concluding that full arguments must be heard first. And they will be this summer. 

National Legal and Policy Center on many occasions has skewered ACORN and its hundreds of state and local chapters for internal mismanagement and flagrant lawbreaking in the service of its professed higher idealism. …

‘New’ Al Sharpton Draws Praise from Obama, Top Officials

Sharpton photoIf Reverend Al Sharpton was radioactive to future President Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, he’s become a shadow member of the Obama cabinet in 2010. The close working relationship between the radical black civil rights leader and leading administration officials was very much in evidence last week at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers where Sharpton’s nonprofit group, National Action Network (NAN), held its 12th annual convention.

Three Obama cabinet members – Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan – spoke at the heavily corporate-bankrolled four-day event, which featured top-echelon personalities drawn from the worlds of politics, business, labor, clergy, philanthropy and entertainment. The Obama administration believes the radical black civil-rights leader’s newfound “pragmatic” style is a political asset. Yet the older, incendiary Al Sharpton remains just beneath the surface.

For an examination of how we got to this …

Dodd’s Financial Services ‘Reform’ Would Mean More Bailouts

Sen. Christpher Dodd, D-Conn.The word “reform” in the age of Obama has taken on a clear meaning: aggressive expansion of government control over economic decision-making by businesses and consumers. The recently-passed health care bill, rammed through Congress via highly unorthodox parliamentary procedures, is evidence enough of that. Yet even supporters of new financial services reform legislation now before the full Senate may be hard-pressed to explain how the mammoth 1,336-page measure is supposed to improve efficiency and integrity in credit markets.

To the contrary, the bill’s most likely legacy, if passed into law, would be the creation of powerful federal bureaucracies that in the long run not only would fail to avert future banking crises, but may well increase their likelihood. The House of Representatives, led by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., passed its own somewhat different package last December 11 by a 223-202 vote. 

The Senate bill, unveiled last Monday, March 15, is …

ACORN Formally Disbands; May Reform Under New Name

ACORN's Bertha Lewis If character is destiny, then the demise of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, was almost inevitable. ACORN, or what’s left of it, yesterday announced that it will officially cease to exist as of next Thursday, April 1. The move wasn’t entirely unexpected. Only a week earlier, the nationwide nonprofit anti-poverty group’s Maryland chapter announced it had closed shop, with no plans to reopen; the New York and California state chapters did likewise shortly before, reopening under new names. The national group is currently considering whether to file for bankruptcy.

A virtual adjunct of the Democratic Party’s hard Left, the 400,000-member nationwide nonprofit anti-poverty network had undergone a severe loss of credibility in the wake of publicized investigations into embezzlement, tax fraud and voter registration fraud by its members. As a result, much of its funding has dried up. The ACORN national board on Sunday closed its …

Wall Street Journal Is Wrong About New, ‘Pragmatic’ Al Sharpton

Sharpton report coverIs Reverend Al Sharpton giving up confrontation for pragmatism? An article appearing in the Wall Street Journal yesterday suggests the media-hungry civil-rights leader, with a long history of intimidation and demagoguery, has become a beacon of political moderation in his advancing years. The article, authored by Peter Wallsten, “Obama’s New Partner: Al Sharpton,” notes that President Obama, stung by criticism from the Congressional Black Caucus and other sources of black political opinion, has turned to the New York-based activist and radio talk-show host for advice. The piece is informative and well-researched. Yet it can’t come to grips with the fact that the “new” Sharpton isn’t really different from the old. 

The truth about Sharpton can be found in my 2009 special report titled Mainstreaming Demagoguery: Al Sharpton’s Rise to Respectability. Click here or on the cover above to download a 50-page pdf version.  Thoroughly up to date, it reveals how Reverend …

Maryland’s ACORN Chapter Closes Operations

ACORN conferenceAs far as operations in Maryland go, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is no more. On Monday the group’s former state co-chairwoman, Sonja Merchant-Jones, announced that the group has shut down all of its offices and in the foreseeable future would not operate under a new name. The announcement is a coda to the wave of bad publicity befalling the parent organization since last September following the airing of videos filmed by a young conservative activist couple, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute. The hidden camera sting, posted on the Web and Fox News Channel, caught ACORN office employees in Baltimore and other U.S. cities giving advice on how to skirt around the law in order to obtain small business loans. 

In a sense, the announcement was anticlimactic. The Maryland offices of the New Orleans-based nonprofit anti-poverty network …

Federal Judge in N.Y. Protects ACORN Government Funding

Steve Kest, Hugh AlleyneRadicals long have used the judicial system as a last-ditch weapon to circumvent legislative decisions.  Last Friday, one of their leading lights, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, showed the advantages of having a federal judge in one’s corner. U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York, a Clinton appointee, issued a preliminary injunction against the recent congressional cutoff of funds for the New Orleans-based nonprofit network. Judge Gershon ruled that Congress back in September violated the rights of the scandal-plagued ACORN by cutting off its funding. As ACORN and/or affiliates have received $53 million from Washington over the past 15 years, the ruling has ramifications for taxpayer funding of the Left generally.  Barack Obama, long a supporter even before becoming president, may be taking special notice.

Over the course of nearly 40 years, ACORN has arguably grown into the central …