Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was convicted yesterday of making illegal campaign contributions. Earlier this month, Hsu pled guilty to operating a Ponzi scheme in which investors were swindled out of $20 million. Hsu’s favorite politician was Hillary Rodham Clinton, for whom he raised $850,000.
Hillary is Secretary of State. That would seem to invite at least some media attention, if not a full-blown firestorm, but nary a word is heard about Hillary’s ethical suitability for the post.
At the Hsu trial, the jury was played a phone message left by Hillary for Hsu that went like this:
What am I going to do with you, Norman? You are working so hard for me.
I just don’t even know what to say anymore. I’ve never seen anybody who has been more loyal and more effective and really just having greater success supporting someone like you.
Hillary says that she did not … Read More ➡
At her press conference last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that she had learned of waterboarding in 2003, contradicting her earlier claims. Pelosi’s lie is getting the attention it deserves, but getting less attention is her remarkable explanations for her actions. At several points, she stated that her goal was to elect a Democratic Congress and a new president. She seemed to plead with the reporters to understand that torture was most important as an issue with which to defeat Republicans.
Well then, if the torture issue is a political weapon, and its actual practice is of secondary concern, we must ask the question about Pelosi’s sincerity when it comes to Congressional ethics. After all, she promised to “drain the swamp.” Democrats have a majority in large part because of the ethics issue.
While Pelosi dissembled before reporters, a firestorm raged around Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), her unsuccessful candidate … Read More ➡
Wall Street Journal reporter John Wilke passed away last week at the age of 54.
NLPC served as a source for Wilke on a number of articles including an October 30, 2007 front-page story titled “How Lawmaker Rebuilt Hometown on Earmarks; Johnstown Gets Billions With Power Broker’s Aid; FBI Questions a Contract.” It detailed how Murtha has steered as much as $2 billion to his district.
Wilke’s scrutiny of Murtha was an outgrowth of earlier stories on Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), including an April 7, 2006 front-page story titled “Appropriations, Local Ties And Now a Probe of a Legislator.” It touched off a firestorm that resulted in Mollohan’s resignation from the House Ethics Committee on April 21, 2006.
Five weeks earlier, NLPC had filed a Complaint with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia detailing more than 250 misrepresentations and omissions on Mollohan’s disclosure reports, prompting an extensive probe … Read More ➡
Earlier in the week, we noted that Rep. John Murtha’s taxpayer-funded empire was becoming a family affair with the hiring of his nephew, Col. Brian Murtha, as a lobbyist for the Marines on Capitol Hill.
Now the Washington Post has put the spotlight on another nephew, Brian’s brother Robert, who owns a company called Murtech. Carol D. Leonnig and Alice Crites reported on May 5:
…last year, Murtech received $4 million in Pentagon work, all of it without competition, for a variety of warehousing and engineering services. With its long corridor of sparsely occupied offices and an unmanned reception area, Murtech’s most striking feature is its owner — Robert C. Murtha Jr., 49. He is the nephew of Rep. John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has significant sway over the Defense Department’s spending as chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
Robert Murtha said he is not at liberty
… Read More ➡
House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) is all for Barack Obama’s proposal to tax the income of subsidiaries of American companies earned abroad. Bloomberg quoted Rangel as saying:
Our tax code should reward companies that thrive by continuing to invest in America and American workers. I applaud President Obama’s commitment to simplifying our tax code and look forward to working with the administration to close these loopholes.
Does this mean Charlie will refund the $200,000 (of a million dollar pledge) he’s received from Bermuda-based Nabors Industries, formerly of Houston? It would only be fair.
David Kocieniewski reported in the New York Times on November 24, 2008:
…Rangel was instrumental in preserving a lucrative tax loophole that benefited an oil-drilling company last year, while at the same time its chief executive was pledging $1 million to the project, the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at C.C.N.Y.
… Read More ➡
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. Underlying such noble intentions, however, is that the track record of service programs has been less than stellar. And “voluntary” service, as supporters themselves have admitted in unguarded moments, contains more than a whiff of compulsion. That’s why, if fully realized, national service programs would capture an enormous portion of the entry-level labor market and militarize our national identity.
Such concerns weren’t in evidence at the April 21 signing ceremony of a bill, co-sponsored by Senators Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and … Read More ➡
Despite promises by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of rigorous enforcement of House ethics rules, the top staff position on the Ethics Committee stayed vacant for eight months. Now the Committee has hired Blake Chisam (photo at right), who was already a staffer for Ethics Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and a member of the search committee that selected him.
Isabel Vincent of the New York Post reported yesterday:
According to his latest disclosure statements, Chisam owes up to $300,000 in student loans and filed for bankruptcy in 2000 in Pennsylvania and 2001 in Georgia.
The Post continued:
Ken Boehm, of the watchdog National Legal and Policy Center was quick to rip the eyebrow-raising pick.
“No wonder the House Ethics Committee is considered something of a joke,” Boehm said. “Despite having to investigate…a powerful congressman like Charlie Rangel, [it] goes many months without a staff director and then picks
… Read More ➡
Al Sharpton and his group, the National Action Network (NAN), have been fined $285,000 by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for violating a host of election laws during Sharpton’s 2004 presidential campaign during which he received 2% of the Democratic primary vote.
NLPC, which filed Complaints against Sharpton on February 2, 2004 and February 6, 2004, was notified of the FEC action last week and made it public today. As NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm was quoted in the New York Post today:
We are pleased that the FEC has ruled on our Complaint and found that Sharpton ran an “off the books’ presidential campaign.
Previously, the FEC ordered Sharpton to return $100,000 in taxpayer matching funds, and denied him an additional $79,000 for which he qualified, for the 2004 campaign.
Also previously, Sharpton was fined $5,500 for late filing of disclosure documents reports as a result of a separate Complaint … Read More ➡