Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) held a press conference Friday to refute charges that she gave political help to a bank with ties to her husband, just days after another House Democrat, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), also defended himself against ethics charges in an unusually public manner.
“What I’m doing now is outside of the box, beyond what’s normally done,” said Waters at the 90-minute press conference, which included an extensive slide-show disputing House Ethics Committee allegations that she helped secure over $12 million in federal bailout funds for OneUnited Bank, a bank in which her husband had a substantial financial stake.
Isabel Vincent and Ginger Adams Otis report in today’s New York Post that New York City has cut off funding for Alianza Dominicana, a nonprofit group for which Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) secured a $2.6 million federal earmark in June. In addition, the Post reports that Alianza Dominicana, which is Spanish for Dominican Alliance, is now the subject of a probe by the Department of Investigation (DOI), the City’s version of the FBI.
Last week, NLPC filed a Complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Rangel detailing his involvement with Alianza and its CEO Moises Perez. Alianza is an ACORN-like community action group for Dominicans that has become politically powerful after gorging on taxpayer funds for 25 years. As reported in the New York Post last Sunday, the group is facing a host of financial problems, including a failure to pay state and federal taxes. Click here to download a 10-page pdf of the Complaint.
Former Murtha crony Paul Magliocchetti was indicted yesterday on 11 counts. The indictment was not unexpected and relates primarily to Magliocchetti’s rather hamhanded manuevers to evade campaign contribution limits by having family members, employees and friends make contributions for which they were paid back.
The indictment certainly relates the PMA “pay to play” scheme, but it does not address the underlying possible crimes by members of Congress who secured earmarks for PMA clients in return for campaign contributions and other benefits. It is not known to what extent, if any, the Justice Department has sought a plea bargain with Magliocchetti in return for information about members of Congress. Maggliocchetti’s son Mark is cooperating with prosecutors but it is not known if his information goes beyond his father to members of Congress.
Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) was defeated in a Democratic primary yesterday. Kilpatrick was one of six members of Congress investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee for accepting a corporate-sponsored Caribbean junket in November 2008. I attended the event in St. Maarten before organizers had me detained by the Police Korps of St. Maarten. The investigations were launched on the basis of my photographs, audio recordings and other evidence of sponsorship by companies like Citigroup.
The House ethics committee announced Monday that it is charging Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) with congressional rules violations, just days after another House Democrat, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), was also hit with ethics charges by the committee.
The ethics committee has not released the details of Rep. Waters’ alleged violations, but the charges are believed to stem from the congresswoman’s suspected attempt to obtain bailout funds for a bank where her husband served as a boardmember.
Rep. Waters has denied the allegations, and said she will fight them in a public hearing.
One of the more serious violations was Rangel’s failure to disclose or pay taxes on rental income from a vacation home at the Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic. Following a review of Rangel’s financial disclosures in August of 2008, NLPC dispatched an investigator to the Dominican Republic who established that Rangel’s beachfront “villa” was continuously rented out.
The eight members of the House Ethics Committee sit in judgment on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), but it is hard to see how at least two of them can be impartial when they have received campaign funds from Rangel’s National Leadership PAC.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY), in photo, received two contributions of $5,000 each during the 2004 election cycle, on 12/15/03 and 1/20/04. Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) received contributions of $1,000 and $2,000 during the 2004 cycle, on 6/29/04 and 7/13/04 respectively.
The House Ethics Committee announced today that its subcommittee investigating allegations against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has “transmitted a Statement of Alleged Violation” to the Committee Chair and Ranking Republican, and formed an “adjudicatory subcommittee” to consider them. In other words, they have alleged that Rangel violated House rules, and now another subcommittee will try Rangel and determine guilt and the penalty, if any.
NLPC is the source of the most damaging allegations against Rangel, particularly his failure to disclose or pay taxes on rental income from his beach house in the Dominican Republic. Rangel has admitted that he did not report or disclose $75,000 but we have alleged in Complaints to the IRS and U.S. Attorney for D.C. that the total is likely much higher. NLPC is also the source of the information on which the Committee admonished Rangel earlier this year for accepting corporate-funded Caribbean junkets. Following his admonishment, Rangel resigned from his Chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Edul Ahmad, the Guyanese-born businessman who made an unsecured $40,000 loan to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), is today scrutinized by the New York Times and New York Post. Reporters started digging on Meeks after NLPC raised questions about the Queens congressman’s finances, beginning in January.