North Carolina Democratic Congressman Melvin Watt has a dream job: running a federal agency that controls around $5 trillion in financial assets. For now, he'll have to keep dreaming about it. On October 31, the Senate, by a 57-41 margin, fell three votes shy of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture (i.e., end debate) over President Obama's nomination of Watt as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which for over five years has been conservator for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Republicans, with two exceptions, voted to filibuster, believing he wasn't qualified to run the agency. Yet the main problem with Watt is less his qualifications than his view that FHFA should be a permanent agency, and one with favoritism toward nonwhites.
Among the criticisms of the new Senate immigration bill is the secretive manner in which it was written. And given the details, it's hardly any wonder that the eight senators overseeing the proceedings - the "Gang of Eight" - refused to hold hearings or debates until after the bill's release. Case in point: Tucked away in the measure are two sections that would route a combined $150 million or more to "public or private, non-profit organizations" that are "community, faith-based or other immigrant-serving." Recipient groups could use funds to aid potentially tens of millions of illegal immigrants and family members to obtain lawful permanent resident status and eventual citizenship.
If there were any doubts that the oft-used term "comprehensive immigration reform" is a stalking-horse for amnesty, a new Senate proposal unveiled yesterday should dispel them. The measure, touted as a way to fix our "broken" immigration system, will do the opposite. Not only will it demean U.S. citizenship and rule of law, it also likely will produce adverse economic effects. The main feature of the 844-page bill is that it would allow millions of illegal immigrants to apply for legal residency and eventual citizenship. Significantly, the bill bears a strong union influence. And labor officials aren't bashful about it. Ana Avendano, AFL-CIO director of immigration, declared last week: "Politicians know that if they stand in the way of citizenship we will steamroller them."
The New York Times has a front-page story today on a political giver named James Robert Williams, who has no visible means of support, but is very generous to both parties and to politicians of different stripes. From the article:
...one government watchdog group called the pattern of donations extremely troubling. Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, said, "In more than 15 years of investigating political corruption, I've never seen a more suspicious set of facts."
Last week NLPC reported that an international law firm, whose employees provided significant campaign support for President Obama, was paid $1.8 million from the stimulus to review and conduct “due diligence” for the Department of Energy’s suspended loan to Fisker Automotive, an electric vehicle start-up company. Fisker sent 65 workers to the unemployment lines.
Debevoise and Plimpton, which employs top Obama bundler and fundraiser David Rivkin, wasn’t the only largely Democratic law firm to reap such rewards. At least four other major law practices also analyzed DOE’s loan programs and its grantees – three of which gave large sums of money to the campaigns of President Obama and fellow Democrats.
An international law firm, which gave substantial political donations to President Obama and fellow Democrats over the last three campaign cycles, received its own significant stimulus award to advise on a controversial Department of Energy loan transaction with a struggling electric vehicle manufacturer.
NLPC has piled pixels in reporting the crony capitalism and gaming of government regulations by Duke Energy CEO James Rogers, who has favored a political engagement approach to the conduct of business rather than the delivery of services to consumers at affordable prices. That’s how the electricity business works: when you have monopoly control and are guaranteed a profit by your regulators, then you don’t have to worry about besting your competition to earn your customers.
Say what you want about Duke Energy and the often-injudicious CEO James Rogers, but at least he is focused on his company’s profitability and the interests of shareholders.
Last week he composed an op-ed for The News & Observer of Raleigh in which he praised Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Sen. John McCain for their introduction of the Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act. The bill would give American companies a “holiday” from the 35 percent U.S. corporate income tax, enabling businesses to – as James Valvo of Americans for Prosperity explained – invest in capital and R&D, hire and train employees, and pay dividends to shareholders.
To many of its critics, the National Labor Relations Board might well be renamed the National Organized Labor Relations Board. That's because this ostensibly impartial federal adjudication body frequently has displayed a discernible pro-union tilt. President Obama is primed to push the NLRB further in that direction given that fully three positions on the five-person board are now vacant. Of the nominees who face final confirmation to fill those slots, by far the most controversial is Craig Becker, approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions this past Thursday by a 13-10 margin. As associate general counsel to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO, and as a well-published law professor, Becker has amassed a substantial track record of union partisanship.
Who could argue with so noble an idea as "national service?" On the surface, the idea is irresistible. By persuading people, especially youths, to voluntarily devote a portion of their lives to cleaning up city streets, working in homeless shelters, or mentoring children, to name a few worthy activities, we can convey moral responsibility to the next generation, broaden human experience, and make a positive difference in communities across America.