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04/03/2012 - 01:38

One thing that I have realized about the rhetoric surrounding green energy initiatives and the proclamations by Team Obama glorifying companies like General Motors while vilifying others like ExxonMobil is that the claims and the facts are worlds apart. Voters are led to believe that evil oil companies like ExxonMobil are getting a free pass and not paying their fair share while the supposedly patriotic GM is an American success story which now contributes to society and builds miracle cars like the Chevy Volt which will free the US from foreign oil dependence. One set of facts that is very easy to check on is the amount of taxes each of these companies pays. Following are the facts from the SEC annual financial reports (10Ks) of GM and ExxonMobil.

03/28/2012 - 13:13

Blankfein and Buffett photoThe Securities and Exchange Commission recently notified us that it will allow Goldman Sachs to exclude our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the company's lobbying priorities. The basis for the exclusion was that another shareholder, The Needmoor Fund, had already submitted a similar proposal. We disagree that the proposals duplicate each other. We hope that Needmoor will raise the issues that prompted our proposal, especially Goldman's endorsement of Dodd-Frank, but we doubt they will.

03/27/2012 - 10:42

Rangel photoIn response to a Complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has entered into a conciliation agreement with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and his so-called National Leadership PAC (NLP). The FEC found that "there was reason to believe" that Rangel and NLP violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by using a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office. Rangel and NLP agreed to pay a fine of $23,000. Click here to download a 23-page pdf of the Conciliation Agreement. Click here to download a 16-page pdf of NLPC's Complaint.

03/26/2012 - 07:42

Volt power cord photoBeing a politician means never having to say you're sorry. It now seems that the same philosophy holds true with government-owned General Motors. About eight months ago some owners of Chevy Volts complained that charging cords were overheating, sometimes to the point of melting. At the time, GM blamed owners, saying the wall outlets were the culprits. We now finally have GM addressing the safety concerns and agreeing to replace charging cords for all 9,500 Volts that have been sold since production began. But in what is becoming a new public relations precedent, the move is not being called a "recall."

 

03/24/2012 - 15:14

Corzine photoToday's headlines that Jon Corzine gave "direct instructions" for MF Global customer money to be moved to another account to cover a $175 million overdraft raises big questions about how this case is being handled. Congressional Committee's are imperfect investigative vehicles, but this time the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation has really scored. By digging out and making public an email from MF Global assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien, the Committee has done a huge public service.

03/22/2012 - 13:55

LSC logoNLPC Chairman Ken Boehm has submitted this written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, which is holding a hearing today on funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC):

Members of the House Committee on Appropriations are certainly used to hearing from representatives of federally-funded programs about the good work done by such programs and why they need many millions more in taxpayer funds, despite the unsustainable national debt. This year the Legal Services Corporation has submitted a FY2013 budget request for $470 million.

03/21/2012 - 12:24

ForeclosureOne takes a certain liberty in treating an extreme anecdote as indicative of a pattern. But in the context of the ongoing residential mortgage crisis, it is justifiable. The Washington Post thinks so. The paper's March 4 print edition features a lengthy cover story on a suburban Maryland couple, Keith and Janet Ritter, who readily admit to their freeloader status. The Ritters in 2006 bought their home for nearly $1.3 million with almost no money down and, in the ensuing years, haven't made a single mortgage payment, having adroitly used state law to avoid foreclosure and eviction. "We don't believe in living for free," says Mr. Ritter, without irony. He and his wife, after interminable legal wrangling, face eviction. Yet even now, they're mounting a last-ditch effort to get their property back. They're an extreme example of what's become a common syndrome across the U.S.

03/20/2012 - 08:32

03/19/2012 - 01:32

First Solar Logo

Securities law firms are lining up to get a piece of the action after a class action lawsuit was filed against federally subsidized First Solar, Inc., allegedly because the company failed to disclose the massive costs it was incurring due to defects in its solar panels, leading investors to believe the company’s stock was worth more than its actual value.

03/19/2012 - 01:20

Ally ad imageAlly Financial seldom gets mentioned when the auto bailouts are discussed. The company was formerly known as GMAC and the 17 billion dollars that taxpayers sunk into the company was crucial for the perceived success at both General Motors and Chrysler. We now learn that Ally Financial has failed a government stress test and, according to Reuters, "fared by far the worst of 19 banks examined."

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