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Ken Boehm
08/10/2010 - 11:37

Charles Rangel NLPC yesterday filed a formal Complaint with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, commonly known as the House Ethics Committee. Click here to download a 10-page pdf of the Complaint.

The Complaint focuses on Rep. Rangel's efforts to direct millions of dollars in taxpayers' money to a politically well-connected but financially unstable nonprofit called Alianza Dominicana. Rangel's relationship with the controversial group based in New York City was the subject of a front page story in the Sunday August 8, 2010 New York Post.

08/09/2010 - 21:05

Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business Network reported yesterday that the Obama Administration, Federal Reserve and Wall Street firms (like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, etc.) are exploring a “face-saving” measure by splitting the presidentially beloved ShoreBank Corporation in two, with the community/green jobs lender surviving with the “good” assets while the FDIC and private investors absorb the toxic assets. Another reporter following the story told me that ShoreBank's Friday deadline from the investors has been extended but he didn't know how long. A spokeswoman from Goldman Sachs refused to comment on the issue.

Here's the split-the-baby scenario explained by Gasparino:

08/06/2010 - 16:31

currency transaction reportHis name was Joseph Castello. But for years he was known to his associates as "Joey Checks." That's because for almost a decade Castello handled other peoples' checks - more than $600 million worth, in fact. And about a third of that sum was laundered. On July 7, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, ruled that Castello had to pay forfeiture in the amount of $12,012,924.31 and vacate all claims to his $9 million Greenwich, Connecticut home. The decision reverses an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler who had deemed any forfeiture excessive. Evidence indicates the circuit court made the right call.

08/06/2010 - 11:51

PMA logoFormer Murtha crony Paul Magliocchetti was indicted yesterday on 11 counts. The indictment was not unexpected and relates primarily to Magliocchetti’s rather hamhanded manuevers to evade campaign contribution limits by having family members, employees and friends make contributions for which they were paid back.

The indictment certainly relates the PMA “pay to play” scheme, but it does not address the underlying possible crimes by members of Congress who secured earmarks for PMA clients in return for campaign contributions and other benefits. It is not known to what extent, if any, the Justice Department has sought a plea bargain with Magliocchetti in return for information about members of Congress. Maggliocchetti’s son Mark is cooperating with prosecutors but it is not known if his information goes beyond his father to members of Congress.

08/05/2010 - 15:04

Shorebank logoProbably not. Seems like the more that presidentially-prized ShoreBank gets extensions from private financial institutions (Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, etc.) and from its federal regulators (the FDIC and Federal Reserve), the deeper in the hole it finds itself. Earlier this week the Chicago Tribune reported:

ShoreBank’s capital deficiency worsened in the second quarter, according to newly submitted financial results to regulators, and the Chicago-based lender now needs to raise at least $190 million just to meet targets set out in March by state and U.S. banking regulators….

08/05/2010 - 14:38

Obama Ford plantThe auto bailout is a massive failure. It did not save jobs. It is a fallacy to claim that more jobs exist in an economy because particular firms have been saved from going out of business. Automobile jobs exist in the United State because of consumer demand for automobiles. Bailing out car companies does not increase demand, nor will it increase the number of cars built and sold.

All the auto bailout did was shift jobs from one set of firms to others. Because GM and Chrysler are poorly managed, and are joined at the hip with the United Auto Workers, they will not produce cars as efficiently as competitors. In the long run, the bailout will cost American jobs.

08/04/2010 - 12:15

ShakedownDemanding large financial settlements on behalf of black farmers has been a cottage industry for litigators in this country for more than a dozen years. It has flourished because few in Congress or in successive administrations have chosen to challenge this juggernaut. It appears now, however, that this passivity is beginning to recede. Late last month, the Senate stripped $1.25 billion from a far larger supplemental defense spending bill that would have compensated black farmers for alleged acts of racial discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) going back to the early Eighties. Following Senate passage, the House followed suit; President Obama signed the measure last Thursday. In the context of the recent and highly-publicized forced resignation of a mid-level black USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, the issue has taken on an extra edge.

08/04/2010 - 09:42

Kilpatrick photoRep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) was defeated in a Democratic primary yesterday. Kilpatrick was one of six members of Congress investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee for accepting a corporate-sponsored Caribbean junket in November 2008. I attended the event in St. Maarten before organizers had me detained by the Police Korps of St. Maarten. The investigations were launched on the basis of my photographs, audio recordings and other evidence of sponsorship by companies like Citigroup.

08/03/2010 - 12:26

Ben Chandler photoMark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner reports that 45 members of Congress are clinging to campaign funds received from Rep. Charles Rangel’s National Leadership PAC during the 2008 election cycle. The total of outstanding funds is $303,000.

From the Examiner:

"It just shows how out of touch they are and certainly explains Congress' 11 percent approval rating," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. "It's a case where greed trumps common sense and everybody knows that returning the money is the ethical thing to do."

08/02/2010 - 18:18

Waters photoThe House ethics committee announced Monday that it is charging Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) with congressional rules violations, just days after another House Democrat, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), was also hit with ethics charges by the committee.

The ethics committee has not released the details of Rep. Waters’ alleged violations, but the charges are believed to stem from the congresswoman’s suspected attempt to obtain bailout funds for a bank where her husband served as a boardmember.

Rep. Waters has denied the allegations, and said she will fight them in a public hearing.

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