Culture of Corruption

Congressmen Got Countrywide Loans But Where is Ethics Committee?

Towns photoNLPC Chairman Ken Boehm reacted yesterday to the release of a report detailing how members of Congress and their staffs received discounted mortgage loans from Countrywide Financial. Boehm told the Washington Examiner:

"It certainly doesn't look good when reports come out based on legitimate investigations that show all kinds of special treatment, and not only is there no action, the Ethics Committee doesn't even take it up," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. "What part of unethical don't they understand?"

Jesse Jackson Jr. Denies Role in $6M Scheme to Bankroll Blagojevich

Jesse Jackson, Jr. photoRep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., like his famous father, has become a Democratic Party kingmaker, both in Chicago and on Capitol Hill. He's also, according to the September 21 Chicago Sun-Times, the mastermind behind a scheme to raise $6 million in campaign contributions for then-Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich in return for a U.S. Senate appointment. The allegation, made by a Chicago-area businessman-fundraiser, Raghuveer Nayak, contradicts Jackson's assertions that he hadn't tried to buy Barack Obama's pending vacant Senate seat in the weeks prior to Election Day 2008. The actual version of events may well determine whether federal prosecutors can secure multiple guilty verdicts against Blagojevich, convicted in August on only one of 24 corruption charges (lying to federal agents), with the other 23 resulting in a hung jury.

'Out of Touch' Lawmakers Keep Rangel Cash

Ben Chandler photoMark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner reports that 45 members of Congress are clinging to campaign funds received from Rep. Charles Rangel’s National Leadership PAC during the 2008 election cycle. The total of outstanding funds is $303,000.

From the Examiner:

"It just shows how out of touch they are and certainly explains Congress' 11 percent approval rating," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. "It's a case where greed trumps common sense and everybody knows that returning the money is the ethical thing to do."

House Ethics Office Sends PMA Case to Justice Department

The Office of Congressional Ethics voted unanimously last week to ask the U.S. Justice Department to review documents in the PMA Group pay-to-play scheme.

The OCE, a bipartisan board created by congress and composed of private citizens, released a statement of May 27 saying that it would send the Justice Department "evidence [that] pertains to a factual finding by the OCE Board that certain persons and companies saw their campaign donations as affecting decisions about earmarks."

Photo Casts More Doubt on Rangel Claims

The admonishment last week of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) was based in part on photos, audio recordings and other materials that I provided the Ethics Committee from the 2008 St. Maarten junket. Rangel still claims, however, that he did not know of the corporate involvement. I went back today and found this photo. I did not provide it to the Ethics Committee because I never imagined that Rangel would make such a claim. This photo is more proof that Rangel’s protestation of ignorance is simply not plausible.

Rangel Carib photo

Here’s another photo that shows the gentleman above in the blue jacket is Rangel. In both photos, to his right is former New York mayor David Dinkins. To his left is Carl McCall, the former Comptroller New York state.

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