Everyone in Washington favors “reform.” Unfortunately, the term can be highly deceptive. Such is the case of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 (S.1217), a bill that would abolish troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in favor of a federally-backed private insurance system. Last Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee approved the measure by a 13-9 vote. Yet the bill, sponsored by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho (in photo), may never reach the Senate floor – and not undeservedly. For the real problem with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which now are profitable and have more than repaid their federal bailout debt, is not their existence; it is their subjection to tight federal control. The “new” system would retain and even expand this control, while not restoring the rights of shareholders left high and dry.
National Legal and Policy Center several times … Read More ➡
The axiom that “all that rises must converge” is upside down in New York State where all that falls is now converging. According to the New York Post, Rep. Charles Rangel’s campaign manager helped incorporate a nonprofit group that was plundered by New York City Councilman Ruben Wills, who was arrested last week. From the article:
Rasheida Smith, a longtime southeast Queens Democratic operative, is listed on the incorporation papers of New York 4 Life, the group that state authorities say Wills looted for more than $30,000 to buy such luxuries as a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag.
The group was the recipient of $33,000 in taxpayer funds in the form of “members items,” the New York equivalent of earmarks, arranged by former Senator Shirley Huntley, who is now incarcerated for stealing $87,000 from another nonprofit group called the Parents Workshop. Wills served as Huntley’s chief of staff at the … Read More ➡
NLPC is requesting that General Motors recall vehicles with a dangerous rusted brake line defect. The request is based on a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation of GM trucks for model years 1999 to 2003 that included Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras. We are also asking NHTSA to order a recall without further delay.
Further investigation finds that NHTSA has received many additional complaints for newer model GM trucks that appear to be afflicted with the same defect.
A search of NHTSA’s website found 112 complaints of corroded brake lines for model year 2006 Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras. It stands to reason that there are many more complaints for model years 2004 and 2005. In fact, I counted 240 complaints for corroded brake lines for the 2004 Chevy Silverado before calling it quits and realizing that there are more than enough documented cases to warrant an … Read More ➡
Today, I sent this letter to David Friedman (in photo), Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
On March 30, 2010 NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigations opened Preliminary Investigation PE10010, into corrosion-related brake line failures in General Motors full-size pickups made between 1999 and 2003. In January 2011, that investigation was upgraded to ODI Engineering Analysis EA11001, which in part appears to determine if corrosion-related brake line failures were a General Motors-specific issue or industry-wide. The “Engineering Analysis” investigation remains open to this day after over three years, making it NHTSA’s longest-running open investigation, and the second longest investigation in its history.
In response to media coverage of our recent letter to General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra calling for the recall of full-size trucks made from 1999 until 2003 for brake line corrosion, GM spokesman Alan Adler told the Detroit News that “brake line wear … Read More ➡
Washington’s metaphorical “revolving door” keeps on spinning. A recent case involving a former Air Force procurement official is at the center of a high-stakes dispute over the launching of rockets into space, and the huge contracts that go with them.
From March 2011 to January of this year, Roger “Scott” Correll (in photo) was the official at the Pentagon responsible for procuring launch services from private companies. One of his last official acts before his “retirement” in January was to oversee a deal with a company called United Launch Alliance (ULA) for a whopping 36 future launches. ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed.
This month, Correll popped up with a new job with Aerojet Rocketdyne, which just happens to supply rocket engines to ULA. His title is Vice President for Government Acquisition and Policy, seemingly more than befitting of his role.
Granted, there are not a lot … Read More ➡
GM’s initial response to our request yesterday for a recall of vehicles with a brake corrosion problem is completely unacceptable. It was contained in a Detroit News article about our call for the carmaker to recall 6 million pickups and SUVs that are the subject of an open investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
GM spokesman Alan Adler, in photo, claimed that the brake corrosion problem is industry-wide, and suggested it was a normal wear-and-tear issue. He told the News:
The trucks in question are long out of factory warranty and owners manuals urge customers to have their brake lines inspected the same way brake pads need replacement for wear. In fact, more than 20 states require brake-line inspections at one- or two-year intervals or when stopped for a violation.
Adler is the same GM spokesman who made outrageous and inaccurate claims when the ignition switch … Read More ➡
Here’s the text of a letter I sent today to GM CEO Mary Barra. As I indicate, we welcomed her affirmative response to our request last month for a recall of a separate set of vehicles with a different problem.
Dear Ms. Barra:
We ask General Motors (the Company) to recall model years 1999 through 2003 for the following vehicles: Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Sierra, GMC Tahoe and GMC Yukon.
These six million pickups and SUVs endanger the lives and safety of their owners due to a loss of braking related to brake line corrosion.
According to an ongoing investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it has received 890 complaints of brake line corrosion involving 13 crashes and two injuries. From the summary:
In approximately 25 percent of the complaints, the brake pipe failure has allegedly occurred suddenly, with no warning to the driver
… Read More ➡
It looks like there is yet another problem with GM vehicles that has been left unresolved. Chevy Silverados and other GM vehicles are being investigated for brake line corrosion by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA reports 890 complaints for brake failure resulting from “brake pipe corrosion.”
Following is an excerpt from the NHTSA website regarding the investigation:
The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received Defect Petition DP10-003 on March 2, 2010, requesting the investigation of model year (MY) 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD pickup trucks for corrosion failures of the vehicle brake lines. DP10-003 was granted and on March 30, 2010, Preliminary Evaluation PE10-010 was opened on more than six million model year 1999 through 2003 light trucks and sport utility vehicles manufactured and sold by General Motors Corporation (GM)…
…Of the 890 total complaints for brake pipe corrosion identified, 761 were located in Salt Belt states
… Read More ➡
New York City Councilman Ruben Wills of Queens was arrested today on corruption charges, the latest New York politician to be caught up in investigations apparently triggered by NLPC. According to the New York Daily News:
Wills had been under investigation by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli over tens of thousands of dollars in missing state funds given to a not-for-profit group he once headed, New York 4 Life.
Wills was chief-of staff to former State Senator Shirley Huntley when she arranged for “member items,” the New York State equivalent of an earmark, to Wills’ group. He apparently took a page out of Huntley’s book.
Huntley was arrested in 2012 after a New York Post story, based on information provided by NLPC, detailed how she siphoned off money for personal use from a group that she founded called The Parents Workshop, for which she … Read More ➡
After the global warming-battling Edwardsport coal gasification power plant used more power than it generated during the September-to-November timeframe, earlier this month information filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission showed the Duke Energy facility operated at less than 1 percent of capacity in February.
As Duke wants to recover $1.5 million in costs related to the plant, the state office that advocates for its customers – the Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor – wants IURC to more closely scrutinize why Edwardsport’s operation has been such a miserable failure. The much-delayed and fought-over plant had a $1.4 billion cost overrun and as a result is adding an average 16 percent increase to Hoosier State customers’ electric bills.
“The ratepayers of Duke Energy should not be mandated to bear the risks and most of the costs of this boondoggle,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition, to … Read More ➡