The unprecedented intrusion of the executive branch of the US government into the American auto industry when the Obama Administration orchestrated the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcy processes is now leading to unprecedented responses. Groups that were clearly discriminated against and had their rights subordinated to politically powerful unions may actually have a winnable case against our own government as lawsuits are being brought against the US Treasury Dept. and others.
On Friday, the FBI arrested Ed Ahmad, the Guyanese businessman who made an unsecured $40,000 loan to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) that Meeks failed to publicly disclose as required. Ahmad was charged with mortgage fraud in connection to a wide-ranging scheme that involved faking income for applicants and the use of straw buyers. He was reportedly released on $2.5 million bail.
According to one report, "Ahmad had already boarded Delta 383 at JFK International to head to Guyana when Federal agents boarded the aircraft, handcuffed him and removed him from the aircraft."
Back in April some on the Internet tried (and failed) to argue that Walmart had abandoned political correctness – especially with regard to environmental causes – because the company had suffered seven (now eight) straight quarters of same store sales declines. NLPC showed that if anything, Walmart was more committed to “sustainability” than ever.
Those priorities, under CEO Mike Duke (in photo), may have reached absurd new heights last week as the world’s largest retailer announced a partnership with utility giant American Electric Power to give away electricity. That’s right – free electricity! But as you might imagine, there’s a catch.
Karl Rodney, the organizer of the Caribbean junkets that contributed to the downfall of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), was sentenced today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to two years probation and 500 hours of community service. He was also fined $2,500. District Judge Emmet Sullivan included no jail time in the sentence.
The courtroom was filled with Rodney's supporters, many of whom made the trip down from New York City. Singer Harry Belafonte offered good wishes by letter. NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm was also in attendance. Boehm said, "I believe that at least some jail time would have been appropriate, but at the same time, Rangel himself has not even been prosecuted and he was guilty of far worse."
According to a report by the Detroit News, General Motors claims that it now has fewer than 100 Chevy Volts sitting on dealer lots. In addition, only 1 in 9 dealers are offering the vehicles for sale. However, a search for Volt inventory on the cars.com website uncovers 500 new Chevy Volts advertised for sale to the public. This data confirms that GM dealerships are using a version of "bait and switch" to lure consumers into showrooms by advertising Chevy Volts that are not truly available for purchase.
On Monday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) asked the House Ethics Committee to dismiss the pending case against her. In the meantime, the Ethics Committee announced that it has hired an outside counsel to pursue the case.
John Bresnahan reported on documents obtained by the Politico that Waters' attorney, Stanley Brand, say compromise the case. Late last year, former chief counsel of the Ethics Committee, Blake Chisam, advised then-Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) that two lead attorneys in the case, Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign, provided confidential materials to Republicans on the Ethics Committee.
As a tactic for generating federal subsidies, "bait and switch" works. Case in point: The now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. The blogosphere has been alive during the past week over the release this past March by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of a grant of nearly $80,000 to Affordable Housing Centers of America, which until 18 months ago operated as ACORN Housing Corporation. Though the grant was a carryover from fiscal year 2010, the revelation notwithstanding raises the possibility that the Obama administration is ignoring a 2009 congressional ban on federal support to ACORN and its affiliates, a ban overturned by a lower court but restored by a federal appeals court.
On Friday night, I discussed White House staffer Ron Bloom's statement that the auto bailout was done for the unions, and his subsequent denial of making such a claim, only to now back off his denial. The show was America's Nightly Scorecard on Fox Business Channel. Here's a transcript:
A watchdog group continues to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release documents from a four-year investigation of Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.). Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) previously filed Freedom of Information Act requests and administrative appeals seeking information about why the DOJ did not bring charges against Mollohan.
In 2006, the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched an investigation on Mollohan and his connections to five non-profit organizations he created that were managed by close friends and real estate partners.
General Motors recently launched a pilot program in the Pacific Northwest offering free auto insurance on GM vehicle purchases. The move immediately drew criticism from independent insurance agents who point to possible legal problems with the move, as reported by liveinsurancenews.com. The agents are obviously concerned with the potential loss of business, but they make valid points that there are regulatory and licensing requirements that go with the offering of insurance products.