Here is a video of my remarks at the Wal-Mart annual meeting at the Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas in support of our shareholder proposal asking Wal-Mart for a report on its lobbying priorities. Here is the text of my remarks:
The Office of Congressional Ethics voted unanimously last week to ask the U.S. Justice Department to review documents in the PMA Group pay-to-play scheme.
The OCE, a bipartisan board created by congress and composed of private citizens, released a statement of May 27 saying that it would send the Justice Department "evidence [that] pertains to a factual finding by the OCE Board that certain persons and companies saw their campaign donations as affecting decisions about earmarks."
Even as Attorney General Eric Holder has defanged the Public Integrity section of the Justice Department, and snuffed out prosecutions of members of Congress, he claimed today in Paris that “combating corruption is one of the highest priorities of the Department of Justice.”
Ironically, Holder’s remarks were delivered in support of international efforts to combat bribery. Holder bragged:
U.S. law enforcement has pursued bribe payers of all stripes: large corporations and small companies; powerful CEOs and low-level sales agents; U.S. companies and foreign issuers; citizens and foreign nationals; direct payers and intermediaries.
It’s revealing that the “greenest” of the big international oil companies is now responsible for one of the worst ecological disasters in history. Maybe BP should have concentrated on its core mission of efficiently and safely producing oil instead of trying to make us believe that BP stands for “Beyond Petroleum.”
Most big companies zealously guard their brand names. British Petroleum seems embarrassed by theirs. Even as the Deepwater Horizon gushes into its 42nd day, the BP website proclaims:
Despite mortgage interest rates falling to near all-time lows, America's homeowners are in a state of unease not seen since the Great Depression. In 2009, nearly 4 million foreclosure notices went out to homeowners unable to keep up with their payments, an increase of more than 20 percent from 2008. Many explanations lie behind this collapse, but arguably the most crucial, and underappreciated, has been excessive federal intervention in the housing market. Recent reports and articles from American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Senior Fellow Peter Wallison and AEI Visiting Fellow Charles Calomiris strongly suggest the pileup of bad mortgage paper has the words "Made in Washington" written all over it. In other words, rogue capitalism is partly to blame, but rogue government has played a central enabling role.
“I don’t have anything to add to what I said in March,” said a tight-lipped White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs last Friday. Reporters pressed Gibbs to comment on allegations that the Obama administration offered Joe Sestak (D-PA) a “high ranking” government job if Sestak would drop out of the Senate primary race against Arlen Specter (D-PA).
Gibbs, sounding like a broken record, repeated this or some similar phrase eight times during the White House briefing.
Wind power is not economically feasible. It is only a reality because of tax breaks and government subsidies, which are often the seed corn for political favoritism and cozy dealings.
In Missouri, a company called Wind Capital Group (WCG) is more than well connected. In the photo to the right is the firm’s CEO is Tom Carnahan. His brother is Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO), and his sister is Robin Carnahan, the Missouri Secretary of State. His father was governor and his mother a U.S. Senator.
Last week, McLaughlin was officially reprimanded for violating its ethics policies. A White House investigation found that McLaughlin, a former senior executive at Google, had repeatedly circumvented both the letter and spirit of White House ethics rules by communicating with former colleagues about Administration policies affecting the company.
Steven T. Dennis of CQ-Roll Call interviewed former House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) last week and reports:
The veteran New York Democrat still wants his Ways and Means chairmanship back, but he doesn't want reporters to write that he's planning to fight for it. He wants and needs the ethics committee to clear his name, but he feels it already sandbagged him with an unjustified admonishment that appears nowhere in House rules and gave him no chance to challenge the finding.
Rangel “temporarily” stepped down from his Chairmanship on March 3, the same way that Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) “temporarily” resigned as ranking member on the Ethics Committee in 2006. Mollohan did not come back and neither will Rangel.
Ever so quietly, America passed a milestone in 2009. For the first time in our history the number of employees in the public sector belonging to a labor union exceeded the number in the private sector. Proposed legislation in Congress would push this trend along further. The benignly-named Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R.413, S.1611) would mandate union monopoly bargaining for state and local public-safety employees. Its brand of "cooperation," strongly backed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and other unions, would force police, fire, ambulance, and corrections departments across the country to create collective bargaining units to cover employees. If evidence is any guide, however, this expansion of public-sector unionism is likely to produce higher taxes, strained budgets and more strikes.