USDA Submits to Shakedown by Hispanic and Women Farmers

Whether as heads of corporations or government agencies, white executives can be counted upon to grovel if they or their organizations stand accused of discrimination. Such especially is the case with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, whose capacity for fecklessness in the face of his accusers is almost limitless. And not for the first time, his timidity will cost taxpayers. On Monday, September 24, Vilsack announced that Hispanic and women farmers who believe they were unjustly denied grants or credit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can file claims over a six-month period, effective immediately, for cash awards and/or tax relief totaling at least $1.33 billion, plus up to $160 million in debt relief. This boodle was made possible by a consolidated settlement of two class-action lawsuits, each a copycat of the Pigford “black farmers” case.

Since early 2010, National Legal and Policy Center has published a series … Read More ➡

Consumer Reports: Fisker Karma the Worst Luxury Sedan

Fisker logoIt’s been six months since the taxpayer-subsidized ($193 million) Fisker Karma broke down at the test facilities of Consumer Reports before the publication could even take it for a review spin, but now the researchers have finally been able to put the luxury electric car through its paces and their assessment is complete.

Verdict: fail.

Why did it take so long for the car loved by Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Al Gore to get the full evaluation? Consumer Reports explains:

“With the Karma, much attention has been paid to our unfortunately routine problems, including an early failure on our track that left the car immobile and led to the battery being replaced, frequent instrument, window and radio glitches, and recurring warning lights. So far our Karma has made multiple trips back to the dealer (who, by the way, has provided excellent service, flat-bedding the car to and … Read More ➡

EPA Sued Over Heinous Experiments on Humans

Lisa JacksonAfter accumulating evidence via the Freedom of Information Act that showed the Environmental Protection Agency conducted disturbing experiments that exposed humans to inhalable particulates the agency has said are deadly, sound science advocate Steven Milloy has sued the federal government

The trials, which were carried out at EPA’s Human Studies Facility at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, exposed subjects to fine particulate matter (called “PM2.5”) at extremely elevated levels for up to two hours at a time. EPA’s Web site on particulate matter and its 2009 “Summary of PM2.5 Risk Estimates,” stated, “an examination of cause-specific risk estimates found that PM2.5 risk estimates for cardiovascular deaths are similar to those for all-cause deaths….” Also, in July 2011 EPA stated in the Federal Register announcement of its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that “a recent EPA analysis estimated that 2005 levels of PM2.5 and ozone were responsible for … Read More ➡

Taxpayer-Funded EV Company Abandons IPO It Thought Would Save It

Frito Lay Electric TruckThe failing British electric vehicle company that pretended to become an American one in order to save its U.K. investors has scrapped its planned initial public offering that it hoped would save it in Kansas City.

Smith Electric Vehicles, recipient of $32 million in taxpayer stimulus, had reportedly fantasized it would raise $76 million (down from $125 million) via an IPO by selling roughly 4 ½ million shares at $16 to $18 each. CEO Bryan Hansel bowed to reality Thursday night and rescinded those plans.

“We received significant interest from potential investors,” he said in a statement. “However, we were unable to complete a transaction at a valuation or size that would be in the best interests of our company and its existing shareholders.”

Hansel said that the company will pursue “private financing opportunities” instead, which is also likely a fantasy – at least one that will enable … Read More ➡

Tax Cheat Rangel Says Higher Taxes Are ‘Paying Your Fair Share’

Rangel Tweet photoThis photo was Tweeted by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) yesterday. Also in the photo is House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Along with the photo, Rangel Tweeted this:

My ears perking up to hear RepCantor saying taxes will go up under Pres Obama. It’s called “paying your fair share”!

In 2008 Rangel admitted not paying taxes on rental income from a Dominican Republic beach house after it was exposed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC). It was one of the counts in his 2010 Censure by the House.

Of course, Rangel used to be Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax laws. He resigned that post after being admonished by the House Ethics Committee for accepting corporate sponsorship of Caribbean junkets. We exposed that, too.

Many months after the Dominican revelation, Rangel amended his financial disclosure forms to show that he failed to … Read More ➡

Edul Ahmad Cops Plea?; Crony of Rep. Gregory Meeks

Edul Ahmad photoMeeks photoFederal Prosecutors and lawyers for Guyanese businessman Edul Ahmad (photo, right), who has been indicted in a $50 million dollar mortgage fraud scheme, have apparently reached a plea arrangement that will be made public next month.

Ahmad made a $40,000 payment to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) in 2007 that the Congressman failed to disclose on his Financial Disclosure Reports for 2007, 2008, and 2009. Meeks subsequently claimed the $40,000 payment was a loan, but there were no note or payments until several years after the payment was made. Last year the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate the matter.  The OCE reported that Rep. Meeks “refused to cooperate with the OCE’s investigation.”

In 2011, Ahmad was reportedly removed from a Guyanese-bound airplane on the tarmac at JFK airport by the FBI and was indicted in connection with a massive $50 million mortgage fraud scheme.… Read More ➡

Government Stimulus Can’t Overcome 100 Years of EV Battery Shortcomings

Nissan logoIt’s the battery.

Contrary to the excuses that Nissan has supplied about the loss of capacity for owners of the all-electric Leaf in the desert Southwest – especially super-hot Phoenix – a tightly-controlled test of a dozen of the vehicles showed that all of them experienced reduced range. Even a month-old Leaf could not recharge to 100 percent.

GreenCarReports.com revealed the dismal development this week. That the power reduction came so rapidly and so quickly debunked the claims of Nissan executives Carla Bailo and Andy Palmer, who suggested the problems could lie either with owners who were charging their vehicles improperly or that the power gauges were providing faulty readings.

The Arizona tests weren’t run by a bunch of skeptics out to prove what a failure President Obama’s electric car stimulus initiative is – even though it is. Leaf owners, led by EV advocate Tony Williams, ran the tests.… Read More ➡

SEC Issues Big Fines, Penalties Against Green-Tech Investment Firm

A123 logoThe venture capital redistributionist game that surrounds President Obama’s green energy stimulus doesn’t necessarily require the actual delivery of taxpayer cash to crony corporations. Sometimes the malfeasance appears simply based upon the false promise of government “investment.”

Such was the case with the co-founders of Chicago-based Advanced Equities, Inc., who just received a severe reprimand (including big fines) from the Securities and Exchange Commission for dispensing false information to potential funders in attempts to gain private equity investment. In two separate offerings in 2009 and 2010, co-founder Dwight Badger (who left the firm in June) was accused of telling investors that the financial condition and business orders for Advanced Equities’ client – revealed to be fuel cell manufacturer Bloom Energy by Crain’s Chicago Business – far exceeded reality. Badger’s partner, co-founder and Board Chairman Keith Daubenspeck, was fined for “failing to reasonably supervise Badger.”

Advanced Equities also was the … Read More ➡

General Motors Makes Obama an Offer He Can’t Accept

Here we go again. Déjà vu all over again as General Motors spreads rumors that they are tired of being Government Motors and they are so cash rich that they offered to buy Treasury’s taxpayer-funded stake in the company. In typical deceptive GM fashion, sources were not named and spokesman Jim Cain refused to confirm the rumors. This is not the first time GM played the rumor game, as I previously wrote about over a year ago.

Supposedly, GM wants to buy back about $5 billion of shares from Treasury, but Treasury just won’t sell. No kidding. As if GM honestly believes the Obama Administration would sell shares at a loss to taxpayers before election time. But honest and GM are two words that, when used together, seem to be oxymoronic since the company became known as Government Motors. Are we to believe that there were good faith meetings between … Read More ➡

VIDEO: Treasury Rejects Sale of GM Stake

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica was interviewed last night on Fox Business Network’s Willis Report. Here’s a transcript:

Cheryl Casone: Government Motors. Trying to shed its ties to Uncle Sam once and for all, pushing the sale of the U.S. stake in the company altogether. But saying goodbye is hard to do. The government’s digging in its heals, saying taxpayers would have faced a massive multibillion dollar loss. Joining me now with more is Mark Modica, associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center. This was a bad deal. I mean this was a bad deal for the taxpayers. Of course, Treasury said no to it.

Mark Modica: Hi, Cheryl, well, they have been saying no. Actually, they could have first sold the stake almost a year and a half ago when share price was over thirty, and we heard the same story. They’re not going to … Read More ➡