FTC Chair Ramirez Asked About Contradictions in Senate Testimony on Google Antitrust Probe

We are asking Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Edith Ramirez to address “contradictions” in testimony she gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 9 regarding the FTC’s dropping of an antitrust action against Google in 2013.

The request points to a variety of evidence obtained through open government laws that suggests that Ramirez and other FTC officials have unusually close relationships with Google, and that those relationships may have helped the company avoid antitrust action.

By highlighting Ramirez' obvious efforts to mislead Congress, we seek to bring public attention to a larger problem. It appears that FTC officials operate much like employees of Google, and that Google calls the shots about its own oversight. This is the most extreme example of “regulatory capture” we have seen in Washington in recent years.

The issue first came to the fore in March 2015 when the Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC …

WSJ Editorial Wrong About Menendez Indictment

It’s been almost a month since the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled “The Menendez Indictment.”  We responded in a letter to the editor that has not been published. It’s a safe bet it never will be, so we post it here.

The Journal got to the point in its opening paragraph:

Ill-defined federal laws now reach into virtually every sphere of human behavior, and thus prosecutors can destroy almost anyone they choose. The recent indictment of Senator Robert Menendez on 14 counts of corruption and “honest services” fraud is a troubling case in point that deserves more than a little skepticism.

Here’s our response:

To the Editor:

The Journal argues that prosecutors have “no evidence” of crimes by Senator Robert Menendez (“The Menendez Indictment,” op-ed, April 16) and points out that the large donations from his chief benefactor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, were “legal and disclosed.”


WSJ Reveals Huge Hidden Union Political Spending

CashPolitical spending can be seen as consisting of the kind that goes recognized and the kind that doesn’t. And when the money comes from unions, the gap between the two can be enormous in favor of the latter. On July 10, the Wall Street Journal published an article by reporters Tom McGinty and Brody Mullins, “Political Spending by Unions Far Exceeds Direct Donations,” concluding that organized labor during 2005-11 spent $4.4 billion on federal election campaigns and lobbying. Only $1.1 billion of that represented sums reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Congress. The “hidden” $3.3 billion, culled from union reports submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, included indirect expenses such as volunteer labor, gratuities and internal communications. As a result, unions may well be the deciding factor in the current presidential race.

It is an intuitive though often uncomfortable observation: Elections, especially presidential elections, are …

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 …

Editorialists Roast Rangel

House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) may have gotten a fleeting break when Edward Kennedy’s death knocked reports of his newly-disclosed wealth off the front page.

But by this morning, editorial writers had caught their breath and were busy at work skewering the Chairman of the committee that writes the nation’s tax laws. And just think how much fresh meat has been left for the weekend crew.

From the New York Daily News:

There are two sets of rules for Rep. Charlie Rangel – the ones he writes for everyone else and the ones that are, or were, beneath his compliance, powerful personage that he is.

From the Wall Street Journal:

When normal people happen to “find” their own money, it might mean a twenty left in a winter coat, or discovering change beneath the sofa cushions. But if you’re Charlie Rangel, it means doubling your