Report: Mollohan Should Have Been Indicted

Alan MollohanDocuments obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) from the Department of Justice provide “hard evidence” that former Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) should have been prosecuted after NLPC exposed his questionable financial dealings, and triggered a Justice Department investigation.

CREW executive director Melanie Sloan told Politico yesterday, “It was clear the Justice Department should have indicted Mollohan.”

Mollohan was defeated for re-election in 2010 in a Democratic primary. His ethics woes were a key issue in the campaign.

Although we have not yet had the opportunity to study the underlying documents, CREW has released a very concise summary of their own review. The CREW summary confirms the key accusations made by NLPC against Mollohan. It is also a serious indictment of the Justice Department for failing to prosecute Mollohan.

The investigation began in February 2006 after NLPC filed a 500-page Complaint with the U.S. Attorney for the …

Watchdog Rejects Pelosi Explanation of Late Disclosure

Paul and Nancy Pelsosii photoPaul Pelosi, husband of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will reportedly make millions of dollars from a previously undisclosed real estate venture in Mrs. Pelosi’s home state of California. Mr. Pelosi is a real estate developer and an investment banker and entered into this project with the father of the current Ambassador to Hungary, as reported by The Washington Times earlier this week. Mrs. Pelosi helped the ambassador secure her the post.

Angelo Tsakopoulos, a longtime associate of Mr. Pelosi put together the deal that involves Russell Ranch, a residential real estate project. Mr. Pelosi’s investment has been reported to be worth $5 million and maybe as high as $25 million. He claims to have invested between $1 and $5 million in Russell Ranch about a dozen years ago.

It is important to note that Mrs. Pelosi did not list the investment on her federal disclosure forms until 2010, …

Rep. Wu to Resign After Debt-Ceiling Resolution

David Wu photoRep. David Wu, D-Ore., announced his resignation following accusations that he engaged in an unwanted sexual encounter with a young woman.

Moments after Oregon’s two United States Senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, asked the congressman to step down, Wu addressed the House and said his resignation would go into effect after the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.

Wu came under fire for allegedly having an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the 18-year-old daughter of a friend over last Thanksgiving. Wu insists that he did nothing illegal with the teenager. The seven-term representative said he would not be running for an eighth term after the allegations came out last week.

Merkley and Wyden released a statement four days after reports on the Wu’s accusations surfaced:

The accusations against David Wu are both jarring and exceptionally serious. … While no one takes pleasure in asking a colleague to resign, we believe he can

House Censures Charles Rangel; Ex-Ways and Means Chair DID Profit From Corruption

On the House floor tonight, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) again asserted that he did not personally gain from the acts of which he is accused, notwithstanding the fact that he failed to report, or pay taxes on, rental income received from his Dominican Republic beach house. Rangel seems to believe that if you repeatedly say something, it becomes true, no matter how absurd.

After we exposed this tax evasion, we took an even closer look at Rangel’s finances and history. In September 2009, we filed a Complaint with the Ethics Committee alleging that Rangel hid more income from a six-unit brownstone apartment building in Harlem.  We have also assembled other information that we have not made public painting a picture of a hustler who has cut corners his entire career.

Rangel turned the microphone over to Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) who referenced Ethics Committee staff director Blake Chisam who said …

Why Government Shouldn’t Block Home Foreclosures

foreclosure photoIf one word best summarizes the current housing market, “foreclosure” would be it. Despite record-low interest rates, American homeowners are losing their properties with greater frequency than at any time since the Great Depression. Yet banks and other financial institutions, until very recently on track to seize 1.2 million homes this year, are facing growing pressure to impose “voluntary” nationwide moratoria on foreclosure repossessions and sales. If they don’t do the job themselves, say critics, government should do it. Several major lenders in fact have ceased property seizures in the wake of widespread revelations of foreclosures lacking proper documentation. The calls for action are understandable. Yet a moratorium, rather than restore integrity to our financial system, would further imperil it. 

Few would deny that the foreclosure crisis is real and getting worse. Monthly data released last Thursday by the Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac indicates that 102,134 bank repossessions of residential properties took …

Ethics Committee Delays Rangel, Waters Trials as New Poll Says Pelosi Failed to Drain the Swamp

Rangel and PelosiIt’s official. The House Ethics Committee will not conduct trials of Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-NY) until safely after the November 2 election. Ethics Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) announced yesterday that Rangel’s trial is scheduled to begin on November 15 and Waters’ on November 19.

Politics have trumped ethics in the final days of this Congress. Notwithstanding her pledge to “drain the swamp” and preside over the most ethical Congress ever, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) simply will not allow high-profile ethics trials during the campaign season. This delay is sure to backfire. A new poll shows that most voters believe Congressional ethics have gotten worse in the last two years.  According to the Hill, which conducted the poll:

The Hill/ANGA 2010 Midterm Election Poll finds that 57 percent of likely voters in 12 competitive districts believe that the ethical situation on Capitol Hill has deteriorated

Ethics Chair Lofgren Can’t Find Time for Rangel Trial But Brings Colbert Comedy Show to Capitol Hill

Lofgren photoRep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) is Chair of the House Ethics Committee, which is supposed to be conducting a trial of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) on the 13 violations of House rules the Committee alleged on July 29.  There is also supposed to be a trial of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Instead, Lofgren played host on Friday to comedian Stephen Colbert who testified “in character” on the plight of migrant farm workers before a Judiciary Committee subcommittee that Lofgren also chairs. I thought Colbert was actually pretty funny but other reviews were mixed.

The episode did confirm the Ethics Committee’s reputation as a joke. With corruption fueling anti-Congress sentiment, you would think that the Committee would be meeting around the clock to demonstrate that Pelosi’s pledge to “drain the swamp” is real. When Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) were asked earlier this year about the embarrassing ethics case involving …

Pelosi to Delay Rangel Ethics Trial Until After Election?

Rangel Pelosi photoSo much for draining the swamp. Several sources report that the House will not try Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) until after the November 2 elections. Rangel won the Democratic primary for his seat yesterday, barely achieving 50% of the vote against five challengers. During his House floor speech on August 10 when he was not attacking NLPC, Rangel pleaded for an expedited hearing on the 13 charges leveled against him by the Ethics Committee. This followed months of maneuvering by Rangel to delay the investigation.

Earlier this year when Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer were asked about the high profile ethics cases against Rangel and others, they claimed that the probes were evidence of the Democrats’ commitment to ethics. If the cases of Rangel and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) are put off to spare the Democrats political damage just before the election, this claim will be proven to be …

New York Papers Scrutinize Meeks Loan Scandal Figure

Meeks photoEdul 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.

According to the New York Times piece by Danny Hakim:

The generous terms of the loan have raised questions about Mr. Ahmad and his political relationships. New details about Mr. Ahmad’s past emerged after The New York Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the New York Department of State, which investigates improprieties by licensed real estate brokers. Mr. Ahmad has been the defendant in five cases investigated by the department involving allegations of fraud and predatory lending.

From the same Times article:

State records lay out a variety of allegations against Mr. Ahmad. In one case he was accused of

Testy Meeks Disclosed Loan Only After FBI Inquiry

Meeks photoAccording to the New York Daily News today:

Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks made no payments for three years on a secret $40,000 personal loan – and repaid the cash only when the FBI started asking questions…

Meeks received a check for $40,000 from Queens businessman Ed Ahmad in January 2007 to finish paying off his new $830,000 home, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Meeks first disclosed the loan on his financial disclosure report that all members of Congress were required to file by May 17 for the preceding 2009 calendar year. Meeks filed late on June 15. Click here to download a 5-page pdf of the report. The Ahmad loan was made in 2007, meaning Meeks failed to disclose it on his 2007 and 2008 forms.

Meeks then filed two letter “amendments,” both dated June 18, but filed separately on June 21 and 23. Both state that …

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