Culture of Corruption

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."

Maxine Waters Asks for Dismissal as Ethics Committee Hires Outside Counsel

Waters photoOn Monday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) asked the House Ethics Committee to dismiss the pending case against her. In the meantime, the Ethics Committee announced that it has hired an outside counsel to pursue the case.

John Bresnahan reported on documents obtained by the Politico that Waters' attorney, Stanley Brand, say compromise the case. Late last year, former chief counsel of the Ethics Committee, Blake Chisam, advised then-Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) that two lead attorneys in the case, Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign, provided confidential materials to Republicans on the Ethics Committee.

Justice Dept. STILL Refuses to Disclose Mollohan Documents

Mollohan photoA watchdog group continues to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release documents from a four-year investigation of Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.). Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) previously filed Freedom of Information Act requests and administrative appeals seeking information about why the DOJ did not bring charges against Mollohan.

In 2006, the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched an investigation on Mollohan and his connections to five non-profit organizations he created that were managed by close friends and real estate partners.

House Democrats Attack Republicans — On Ethics

Weiner photoConstituents of six House Republicans can expect to receive an automated phone call from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) informing them of their representative's allegedly unethical practices. But DCCC's accusations follow in the wake of many Democratic mishaps including the scandals involving ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner and Rep. Maxine Waters.

Out of the six representatives under fire, four of them are new to the House. The congressmen include: Charlie Bass (N.H.), Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), David Rivera (Fla.) and Scott Tipton (Colo.).

Ethics Committee (Finally) Staffs Up Amid Trial Delays

Waters photoLast week's announcement by the House Ethics Committee that it is investigating Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), a year after questions about his finances were in the headlines, has put the spotlight back on the Committee's ability to do its job.

The Committee recently hired 10 new and internal counsels, bumping their staff up to 23 members. But even with the beefed-up staff, the status of other, more high profile cases is still unknown.

House Ethics Committee Investigating Rep. Gregory Meeks

Meeks photoThe House Ethics Committee on Friday announced that it would "extend" a previously unacknowledged review of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY).

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 other questionable dealings. In March 2010, we asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Meeks for paying $830,000 for a newly built home in 2006 that was worth more than $1.2 million. Click here to download a 26-page pdf of the Complaint.

FBI Asked to Investigate Rep. Laura Richardson

Laura RichardsonA Congressional watchdog group has asked the FBI to open a criminal investigation of Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.). Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) exposed internal emails and press reports that show Richardson repeatedly coerced her congressional staffers to work on her campaign or risk getting fired. "Richardson was vicious to her staff," CREW's Executive Director Melanie Sloan said. "She went through a lot of members."

We Were Right About Maxine Waters' Trial Delay

Maxine Waters photoNancy Pelosi was quick to refer the Anthony Weiner scandal to the House Ethics Committee. Yet other more substantial matters, like the Maxine Waters trial, have languished for months.

In 2008, Waters, D-Calif., arranged a meeting with the U.S. Department of Treasury and OneUnited Bank. OneUnited claimed it was in dire need of federal cash as a result of its failed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae investments. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) provided $12 million to the bank.

Congressional Candidate Frankel Accused of Running 'Off-the-Books' Campaign

Lois FrankelNLPC has filed a formal Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Lois Frankel and her campaign committee. Democrat Frankel is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Allen West in Florida's 22nd Congressional District. Frankel is the former mayor of West Palm Beach, and announced her candidacy on March 21. She is opposed in the Democratic primary by businessman Patrick Murphy.

The Complaint alleges that Frankel reported more than $250,000 in income but failed to report virtually all of the expenses connected to fundraising or other campaign activity. The costs that apparently went unreported include direct mail, telephones, web hosting, a post office box, and the pay for a consultant named Brian Smoot. Click here to download a 6-page pdf of the Complaint.

Rangel Claims United States is 'Not Broke'

Pete Kasperowicz of The Hill reported yesterday:

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) on Wednesday said the federal government is not broke, and that Congress should not begin cutting programs in the way that Republicans have proposed.

"Make no mistake about it, we're not broke," Rangel said in a floor discussion with Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) "It wasn't that we overcompensated public employees. They didn't cause this deficit."

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