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.
Constituents of six House Republicans can expect to receive an automated phone call from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) informing them of their representative's allegedly unethical practices. But DCCC's accusations follow in the wake of many Democratic mishaps including the scandals involving ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner and Rep. Maxine Waters.
Out of the six representatives under fire, four of them are new to the House. The congressmen include: Charlie Bass (N.H.), Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), David Rivera (Fla.) and Scott Tipton (Colo.).
The Detroit Free Press reports that the House committee holding hearings on the auto bailout process wants clarification from former head of President Obama's Auto Task Force, Ron Bloom, regarding testimony he gave about a statement he allegedly made at a 2009 celebratory dinner. According to a news article written at the time and fellow ex-car czar, Steve Rattner, Bloom stated that he "did this all for the unions." Bloom denied making the statement while under oath. The congressional panel isn't buying it and has written a letter to Bloom requesting that he amend his testimony.
Last August, things looked sunny for former Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. He and his lawyers had just obtained a hung jury on 23 of 24 corruption charges. But Justice Department prosecutors, confident they had their man, continued to pursue the case - and this time with different results. Last Monday, June 27, a Chicago federal jury, after nine days of deliberation, found the man known as "Blago" guilty on 17 of 20 charges, nearly a dozen of them related to his attempts during the fall of 2008 to fill the pending Senate vacancy left by President-Elect Barack Obama in return for campaign cash.
Last week's announcement by the House Ethics Committee that it is investigating Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), a year after questions about his finances were in the headlines, has put the spotlight back on the Committee's ability to do its job.
The Committee recently hired 10 new and internal counsels, bumping their staff up to 23 members. But even with the beefed-up staff, the status of other, more high profile cases is still unknown.
It looks like General Motors is up to its old tricks as it stuffs inventory channels with higher profit trucks. GM is able to record revenue when vehicles are shipped to dealerships as opposed to actually being sold to consumers, so the move will help to paint a false picture of positive second quarter earnings.