Government Integrity Project

NLPC “blows the whistle” on government officials and interest groups engaged in questionable activities. NLPC has filed formal Complaints with a variety of authorities and regulators, including the Federal Election Commission, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Congressional Ethics Committees.

NLPC supports government integrity in two additional ways: by promoting the First Amendment as the basis for campaign finance reform, and by promoting use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Ken Boehm
11/12/2010 - 15:02

According to a front-page Wall Street Journal story today, the Obama Administration is “preparing a stepped-up approach to policing internet privacy,” including the creation of a new watchdog agency. Ironically, this comes in the wake of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) dropping its investigation of the Google “WiSpy” operation just days after the President attended a fundraiser at the home of a Google executive.

As part of its “Street View” data collection activities, Google cars collected passwords, e-mails and other personal information wirelessly from unsuspecting people in several countries. The government should get to the bottom of this massive invasion of personal privacy before the administration talks about setting up new agencies.

Peter Flaherty
11/12/2010 - 14:42

Today, I debated whether GM should set aside IPO shares for taxpayers with Julian Epstein, LMG CEO and Democratic strategist. CNBC hosts are Trish Regan and Melissa Francis. Here's a transcript:

Peter Flaherty
11/11/2010 - 13:08

John Boehner photoIn the previous years, NLPC has demanded an end to taxpayer funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), AARP and George Soros’ private foundations, only to be rebuffed by Democratic and Republican Congresses. The incoming Congress was elected to cut out inappropriate spending. The practice of collecting money from all taxpayers and using it to promote political causes with which many disagree is simply unethical. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) must put a stop to it.

Legal Services Corporation- This year, LSC is receiving $420 million in tax dollars. LSC funds 136 local groups to provide civil (not criminal) day-to-day legal help to poor people. Unfortunately, many LSC-funded lawyers instead spend their time on liberal political and social causes.

Ken Boehm
11/11/2010 - 11:57

Jeff Bliss of Bloomberg reported yesterday:

A U.S. House committee chairman asked the Federal Trade Commission to provide details of Google Inc.’s collection of data from unsecured wireless networks.

The FTC on Oct. 27 announced it was ending its investigation into possible privacy violations by Google in its gathering of data for its Street View mapping project.

“I am sending a request to the FTC for a staff briefing on a number of privacy investigations including Google Street View,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns said in an e-mailed statement.

Ken Boehm
11/10/2010 - 09:01

Obama Schmidt photoYesterday I wrote Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Darryl Issa (R-CA), the chair and ranking member of the House Government Oversight Committee, urging a thorough investigation of both Google Street View and the FTC’s recent conduct during its investigation of the program. Click here for a 6-page pdf of the letter that includes additional background on Google’s extensive and close lobbying connections with the Obama Administration.

As part of Google’s “Street View” operation, fleets of specially outfitted cars drove through multiple countries collecting photos, video and, as Google now admits, sensitive personal information from WiFi connections. Yet in late October, the Federal Trade Commission abruptly ended its investigation of “Street View” – a decision that came on the heels not only of Google’s admission that its surveillance was much more serious than previously disclosed but only days after a $30,000-a-head fundraiser for President Obama at the home of a Google executive.

Mark Modica
11/09/2010 - 08:51

UAW/GM logosThe term "wealth redistribution" has been used by political pundits on the right who accuse Democrats of having a misguided agenda wherein the wealthiest Americans will be able to subsidize a government spending spree in order to redistribute wealth to the less affluent populace. General Motors, through its reorganization plan, has contrived its own version of wealth redistribution. This action was orchestrated by the Obama Administration as it took control of the GM bankruptcy process. Old GM shareholders and bondholders, along with taxpayers, lose out as new wealth is created for bankruptcy attorneys and advisers, investment banks and the politically connected UAW.

Peter Flaherty
11/03/2010 - 06:50

BernankeThe Fed is supposed to be insulated from politics but it is not supposed to be divorced from reality. In the face of the election results, Ben Bernanke's reported plan for hundreds of billions in additional government bond purchases seems ill advised.

The American people have spoken. Government spends and borrows too much. The electoral repudiation of Big Government was preceded by the emergence of the Tea Party movement, which is transforming debate over our financial nation's future. Public debt has become Public Enemy #1.

Carl Horowitz
11/02/2010 - 12:36

money photoThe scenario is all too familiar: A corporation or government agency, having knuckled under to a group of "civil rights" activists and their lawyers, renders itself an easy target for successful copycat shakedowns. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for over a decade has epitomized such capitulation. And once again it has come through. On October 19 the department announced the settlement of a longstanding lawsuit in which thousands of American Indian farmers and ranchers had claimed discrimination by USDA credit program administrators. The $760 million agreement, which gained preliminary court approval yesterday, follows the agency's capitulation earlier this year in separate lawsuits filed by black and Hispanic farmers. Taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.

Mark Modica
11/01/2010 - 22:56

According to unnamed sources, the GM IPO will offer approximately 22% of the company for proceeds of about 10 billion dollars. Shares will be sold at $26 to $29 after a stock split. This puts the company's value at approximately 50 billion dollars, in the same area as Ford's market cap. Arguments can be made whether or not GM is worth more than Ford, but there are other more important facts to ponder. Why did Ed Whitacre recently disclose that the IPO would price between $20 and $25, only to see the media hype a higher figure based on leaks that no doubt came from the company itself.

Probably because today is Election Day. The auto bailout is even more unpopular than the stimulis spending or ObamaCare. The pressure is on GM to shed the "Goverment Motors" label.

Ken Boehm
10/29/2010 - 20:24

Obama Schmidt photoYesterday we reported that the FTC's decision to close its investigation into the Google WiSpy affair came less than a week after President Obama attended a $30,000-plate fundraiser at the California home of senior Google executive Marissa Mayer. It also came four days after Google, after months of denials, admitted for the first time that its "Street View" video cameras were intercepting emails, passwords and website addresses sent by unsuspecting Internet users.

Now we've learned that on September 28, 2009, Becky Burr, a Google lobbyist at Wilmer Hale, emailed White House officials Susan Crawford and Andrew McLaughlin asking for a meeting to request the White House's assistance in urging the Federal Trade Commission to back off on privacy. Her email reads in part:

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