Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were found guilty yesterday of charges related to their acceptance of gifts from a businessman named Jonnie Williams, Sr. They are most likely going to prison where meals, soap and everything else will be free. Unfortunately, Virginia taxpayers will be paying the price for their misrule long after they are released.
McDonnell's transportation plan, signed in 2013, puts a huge tax burden on ordinary citizens and helped corrupt Virginia politics. It obligates taxpayers to funding projects like the recently opened Metro Silver Line, which will never come close to breaking even. Made possible by the issuance of bonds (debt), these capital-intensive projects cannot simply repealed by the Legislature and another Governor. We are stuck with them, and the costs, forever.
By a wide margin yesterday, Virginia voters nominated State Senator R. Creigh Deeds as the Democratic Party candidate for governor. In so doing, they rejected the candidacy of former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe, a top Clinton confidante with a long history of influence-peddling. With roughly 75 percent of the ballots counted, Deeds had received about 50 percent of the tally, with McAuliffe and State Delegate Brian Moran each with roughly 25 percent. Deeds will face Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell, who ran unopposed, in this November's general election. But the real news may be the defeat of McAuliffe, a powerful and ethically-challenged party fundraiser. Former President Bill Clinton, among other party stalwarts, actively had stumped on his behalf.
Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe has been a leading critic of President Bush's business dealings with the Harken Energy Corporation, as well as the president's corporate-reform efforts. "It's time this CEO, President Bush, took responsibility for his actions as a private businessman," McAuliffe said shortly after the Harken matter appeared in the press.
More than two dozen union presidents were reportedly invited to buy shares in Global Crossing, as the Bermuda-based telecom was first offering its stock to the general public. Now a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., is probing stock transactions by directors of insurance and investment firm ULLICO (f.k.a. Union Labor Life Ins. Co.), a union-dominated firm founded by the AFL. ULLICO's board is chaired by ex-AFL-CIO Building & Construction Trades Dep't president Robert A. Georgine and includes many current and ex-union presidents.
Reportedly, the investigations focus on trading privileges that allegedly allowed ULLICO's board members to profit from the purchase and sale of its shares. The transactions were lucrative because the privately held company's stock price was reset each year based on its book value and the board members could anticipate the change. ULLICO's shares had risen on the strength of several deals, including a $500 million profit on a $7.6 million investment in telecom firm Global Crossing, which declared bankruptcy in Jan. 2002.
U.S. Dist. Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., (D. Md., Clinton) allowed the Dep't of Labor to proceed with its suit June 15 alleging that trustees of the Nat'l Elec. Benefit Fund, which is linked to the Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers, breached their ERISA fiduciary duties by investing in Am. Capitol Group I Assets LP, a Fla. real estate firm, tied to Democratic Nat'l Committee chairman Terence R. McAuliffe and his wife. In 1999, DOL sued trustees Jack Moore and John Grau alleging imprudent real estate deals.
Kenneth E. Bates, convicted of shooting a woman in 1985, has been banned from holding office in LIUNA Local 2 in Chicago. He was nominated to run for executive board member. LIUNA's "in-house trial judge" Peter Vaira, ruled Feb. 23 that Bates is disqualified as a candidate because of his conviction. Federal labor law bars anyone convicted of murder and certain other felonies from holding union office for 13 years after being released from prison. But the federal judge who imposed the sentence can drop the restriction, which Bates said he'll attempt to have done. He was sentenced to prison in 1986 and released in 1997.
Jim McGough of Laborers for Justice, a dissident group, challenged Bates' nomination. McGough has dubbed the opposition the "Organized Crime Slate." Local 2 is part of the Chicago Laborers Dist. Council which voted in 1999 to cooperate with the DOJ and LIUNA's controversial "reform" effort. [Chi. Sun-Times 2/27/01]
The U.S. Dep't of Labor's ERISA suit against two trustees of the Nat'l Elec. Benefit Fund charging improper dealings between NEBF and top Clinton-fundraiser Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to have a settlement conference on Sept. 7, according to a June 27 letter from U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day to the parties. This follows two failed settlement meetings in Jan. and Apr. 1999 before the suit was filed.
Among the May 1999's suit allegations was that NEBF trustee John Grau and ex-trustee Jack F. Moore imprudently lent over $6 million in pension assets. NEBF is operated jointly by the Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers, from which Moore retired as secretary in 1997, and the Nat'l Elec. Contractors Ass'n. The alleged scam involved a questionable $6 million loan in 1992 to a McAuliffe firm. The loan was in default from 1992-97, and DOL says NEBF should have known the loan couldn't be repaid in full with interest. DOL seeks the trustees to reimburse the fund for losses, plus interest.
At Terry McAuliffe's $26 million soft money fundraiser for the Democrat Nat'l Committee on May 24, ten unions each "contributed" $500,000 of union members dues. The event, a National Tribute to President Clinton, was largest political fundraiser ever. The ten unions McAuliffe hooked were:
1) Am. Fed'n of State, County & Mun. Employees, 2) Am. Fed'n of Teachers, 3) Communications Workers of Am., 4) Int'l Ass'n of Machinists 5) Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers, 6) Int'l Union of Painters, 7) Nat'l Education Ass'n, 8) Service Employees Int'l Union, 9) Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Ass'n, 10) United Food & Commercial Workers Int'l Union. [Wash. Post 5/24]
Reportedly, it was as a favor to AFL-CIO boss John J. Sweeney that McAuliffe chaired the event. Sweeney had become so unhappy with DNC leaders that he threatened to stop affiliated unions from donating to the party unless McAuliffe took over. McAuliffe was unwilling to take the full-time job, but agreed to lead the "drive for dollars." [Time 6/5/00]
A federal jury in Manhattan convicted ex-Teamsters political director William W. Hamilton Nov. 19 of union corruption, finding that he helped divert union funds to the 1996 reelection campaign of the union’s ex-boss Ron Carey. The jury reached its verdict after a four-week trial in which the prosecutors linked Hamilton to a scheme that involved $885,000 in union funds being funneled to aid Carey’s campaign. The jury deliberated for nearly two days and found Hamilton guilty on all six counts, including conspiracy, embezzlement, fraud and perjury. Hamilton faces 30 years in prison at his sentencing on Feb. 29, 2000, by U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas P. Griesa. [N.Y. Times 11/20/99]
At the corruption trial of ex-Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters political director William W. Hamilton, Richard Sullivan, ex-DNC finance director, testified that Terence A. McAuliffe, Bill Clinton's friend and chief fundraiser, played a major role in promoting an illegal money-laundering scheme in which Democratic donors were to contribute to ex-IBT boss Ron Carey's 1996 reelection campaign in exchange for IBT's large donations to Democrats. Describing a Oct. 1996 meeting with the Democrats' fundraising staff, Sullivan testified, "[McAuliffe] said that if we could get a $50,000 contribution for the Carey campaign, he knew we could get $500,000 for Unity from the Teamsters." Unity was a joint fund-raising effort by Clinton-Gore 96 and other Democratic campaign committees.