Culture of Corruption

Inside Edition Looks at Weiner's Wedding

Weiner photoThe syndicated TV program Inside Edition tonight ran a report on the questions we have raised about who paid for New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner's wedding. Tom Anderson, the director of the our Government Integrity Project, was interviewed on-air. Click here to read a transcript of the story.

Who Paid for Weiner's Wedding?

Weiner and HumaCharles Johnson of the Daily Caller reports:

Anthony Weiner may have violated federal law when he failed to disclose his lavish six-figure wedding in his financial disclosure forms, says a government accountability group.

Ethics watchdog group National Legal and Policy Center examined the federal Financial Disclosure Reports for both Weiner and long-suffering wife Huma Abedin for 2010, the year of their wedding.

The cost for the ceremony was at least $100,000 but probably ran closer to $250,000 including all accommodations, clothing and extras. Neither Weiner nor Abedin had the resources to pay for the ultra-expensive wedding, yet neither recorded gifts on their Financial Disclosure Reports for that year.

Click here to read the entire article.

Sen. Menendez Took Married Girlfriend on Junket to Puerto Rico; Stayed at Taxpayer-Supported Governor's House

Menendez/Reynolds photoNew Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and a married New Jersey woman named Cecelia Reynolds traveled to Puerto Rico in 2007, where they were guests at the Governor's beach house, owned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Photographic evidence appears to place them both at the beach house, and on the nearby beach, which is private and closed to the public.

It is not known how they traveled to Puerto Rico. In January, Menendez said he reimbursed $58,500 to Salomon Melgen, his largest political donor, for two private jet trips to the Caribbean, a substantial portion of his net worth. At the time Menendez said that there were no other trips.

As reported in the New York Post today:

Cuomo Calls it "Scandalmania"

John Sampson and Andrew CuomoThank you, Governor Cuomo, for giving a name to the epidemic of corruption that's coming to light in New York, much of it exposed by the National Legal and Policy Center. We don't even have an office or staff in the state. The graft is so rampant that we spotted it from hundreds of miles away by reviewing public documents and with, of course, help from some of the few honest people on the ground.

Cuomo yesterday told Susan Arbetter, a reporter with public broadcasting station WCNY:

John Sampson Busted; He Also Got Loan From Fraudster Ed Ahmad

John SampsonNew York State Senator John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) was arrested today, charged with embezzelment, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI.

Also, the New York Daily News reports today that the FBI is investigating a $188,500 "loan" to Sampson from Edul Ahmad, the Guyanese-American businessman who pled guilty to charges in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

Queens Politics Paralyzed Amid Reports Ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley Wore FBI Wire

Shirley Huntley photoYesterday, the New York Times reported:

On Friday, prosecutors disclosed that Shirley L. Huntley, when she was a Democratic state senator from Queens, had secretly recorded conversations with seven elected officials and two other people after she was confronted by the F.B.I. and asked about her alleged participation in criminal schemes involving embezzlement and bribery.

NLPC exposed a sham charity Huntley founded called The Parent Workshop, to which she steered tens of thousands in taxpayer money. Our research was first reported in the New York Post of March 6, 2011, apparently triggering the criminal probe.

Grand Jury Investigating New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez

Robert MenendezThe Washington Post today reports that a federal grand jury is investigating Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for pushing a Dominican port security deal that would have meant a windfall for Dr. Salomon Melgen, a major donor. The post security deal was first reported in the New York Times on February 1, based on information provided by NLPC.

Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Peter Wallsten cited unnamed sources for the existence of the grand jury and a related investigation. According to the story:

New York Times Came to Us For Info on Menendez, Not The Other Way Around

Lipton photoThe New York Times has an article today titled, "Inquiry of Democratic Senator Started With Partisan Push." The story by Eric Lipton describes our success in getting media coverage for our original research about Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and his relationship with a major donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen. Lipton then states that to Menendez and his staff our work is "proof that the news media frenzy focusing on his actions to help a Florida eye doctor is at least in part a political smear."

The only problem with this story line is that the New York Times approached us shortly before the January 29 FBI raid on Melgen's eye practice in Florida and asked us if we had any information on Melgen. We did not seek to place it with any news organization because there was (and is) even more to the story, and we were (and are) still researching it.

Sen. Menendez Claims He Didn't Know Ex-Aide Was Part of Port Deal

Menendez photoFrances Robles reports in the New York Times that an ex-aide to Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) stood to benefit from a Dominican port security deal, along with Menendez benefactor Salomon Melgen. From the Times:

Mr. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, has pushed United States government officials to help enforce a contract that a company owned in part by one of his major donors, Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, has with the Dominican government, which has refused to honor it.

A top executive at Dr. Melgen's security company will be Pedro Pablo Permuy, a former national security adviser and senior legislative aide to Mr. Menendez, according to a cousin of Dr. Melgen. Mr. Permuy's ties to the senator go back at least 20 years.

But Menendez' office told the Times that this is all news to the Senator:

Boehm Warns About Special Interest Funding of Congressional Travel

Rangel in lounge chairAmanda Becker reports in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call today that outside groups spent $3.6 million to sponsor foreign trips for members of Congress and their staffs in 2012.  The article includes my comments:

"Congressmen are frequently accused of living inside a bubble. So you can make a good case that members should be traveling and getting to see certain things overseas," Boehm said.

"But all too often they have been arranged by groups that have very pronounced legislative interests," he added. "And what's more enticing than having the possibility of talking [to lawmakers] in a relaxed, vacation resort-type setting?"

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