During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning with Attorney General William Barr discussing the Mueller Report, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pressed Attorney General Barr about whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice by ordering White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Special Counsel Mueller.
Barr responded that Trump merely ordered McGahn to contact Deputy AG Rosenstein to raise the issue that Mueller has a conflict of interest and that Rosenstein should decide whether that conflict justifies removing Mueller. Barr said that action by the President does not constitute an obstruction of justice. When asked by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to identify the conflict, Barr did not describe it but instead discussed the legal difference between firing a Special Counsel outright and removing him for a conflict to be replaced by another special counsel.
The answer to key question of what was Mueller’s conflict of interest will be answered in … Read More ➡
The delivery of Robert Mueller’s report to Attorney General William Barr does not mean the end of the constitutional challenge to the Special Counsel’s authority by Andrew Miller, who has been subpoenaed as a witness in the investigation.
Paul Kamenar, who represents Miller, commented, “Several days ago the Special Counsel notified us that they are still interested in having Andrew Miller testify before the grand jury regarding Roger Stone whose case is also being handled by the local U.S. Attorney.
We are pursuing further judicial review of our challenge to Mueller’s constitutional authority to issue his subpoena last June despite today’s action that indicates the Special Counsel has terminated his investigation.
Thus, it is not clear at this point whether any further request for Mr. Miller’s testimony will come from the U.S. Attorney’s office should we not prevail, or whether they will decide his testimony is no longer needed.”
“Regardless … Read More ➡
NLPC Chairman Emeritus Ken Boehm passed away early Friday morning after an eight-year battle with cancer. Funeral arrangements appear at the end of this post.
Ken co-founded the National Legal and Policy Center in 1991 with Peter Flaherty. From 1994 to until March of this year, he served as full-time Chairman. A 2013 front-page Sunday New York Times profile of NLPC described Ken as:
“…a master of poring over court records and other public filings to find questionable links between politicians and their patrons. “
Ken’s ability to “connect the dots” of political corruption was on display in 2004 when he singlehandedly exposed the Boeing Tanker Deal Scandal.
Ken went online and found that an Air Force official named Darleen Druyun sold her home to a Boeing lawyer with whom she was negotiating a multibillion dollar contract. He also found that Boeing hired Druyun’s daughter at the same time … Read More ➡
The following letter was sent today by NLPC President Peter Flaherty to Peter S. Prichard, Chairman of the Newseum:
We ask the Newseum to rescind the 2017 Free Expression Award conferred on Apple CEO Tim Cook on April 18 in order to preserve the integrity of Newseum mission, as well as the integrity of the Award itself.
Since Cook accepted the Award, he has struck two blows against free expression, either one of which renders him as a completely inappropriate recipient.
Complicity in Chinese government censorship– On July 29, Apple removed all major VPN apps from the China apps store. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. According to Jon Russell, a reporter for TechCrunch:
The App Store purge is hugely impactful because VPNs represent the only way that a China-based individual can bypass state censorship controls to access the internet without restrictions. The Chinese government effectively illegalized VPNs
… Read More ➡
Last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a summit with “leading conservatives” at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif. offices, in which he sought to ease concerns about a liberal bias in the social media company’s “trending” features.
Whether that problem has been fixed or not, it appears that Facebook is currently engaging in “viewpoint discrimination” in another way, namely in its service which allows users to “boost” a story, for which Facebook receives a fee.
On Friday of last week, we posted a story on our website and on our Facebook page titled “Prosecutors Clear Police in Jamar Clark Death; Demagogues Cry Foul.” Authored by Carl Horowitz of our staff, it is the story of the exploitation of the shooting of a black suspect by two white police officers in Minneapolis by Black Lives Matter and other extremists to inflame racial tension.
Almost simultaneously, we posted another story titled “House Thwarts … Read More ➡
New York physician Dorothy Ogundu has been sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison for ripping off City, State and federal programs for a fake health clinic. The Nigerian-born Ogundu was convicted in October on 29 counts, including second-degree grand larceny, forgery in the second degree, and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.
The prosecution was based on information uncovered by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), and made public through a New York Post article in April 2012. The Ogundu exposé was a spinoff of our investigation of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who secured a $380,500 earmark for the "clinic."
After reviewing Meeks' earmarks in 2011, NLPC decided to take a closer look at Angeldocs, Inc., which operated the fake clinic in Queens, called the Aki Life Health Center. Soonafter, NLPC filed a Complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Angeldocs, alleging self-dealing and inurnment by … Read More ➡
The following letter was sent today by NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
I am writing regarding the recent hearing the Judiciary Committee held on December 1, 2015, “Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Problems: Examining the Sources and Exploring the Solution.”
As you correctly noted in your opening statement, part of the confusion that reigns is because Puerto Rico has failed to provide audited financial statements for the past two years.
National Legal and Policy Center has been focusing on ethics and accountability issues associated with the Puerto Rican debt crisis. As you probably know, just two days after your hearing, the U.S. Attorney for Puerto Rico and the F.B.I. jointly announced the indictment of ten individuals, including both businessmen and government officials, in a series of major corruption schemes to commit Federal programs bribery, honest services wire fraud and extortion.
With respect … Read More ➡
Ex-New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted this week on corruption charges, is the latest domino to fall as New York’s culture of political corruption unravels. The next is likely to be Dean Skelos, the former Senate Majority Leader, who is on trial now.
NLPC was not the source of the evidence on which the charges against Republican Skelos and Democrat Silver were based, but the investigations would not have taken place if not for NLPC’s exposés of a slew of other corrupt officials.
Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo disbanded the so-called “Moreland Commission,” an anti-corruption panel he named in 2013 to root out graft in response to all the headlines generated by NLPC. Cuomo shut down the Commission because it was apparently getting too close to his friends.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, opened a criminal investigation of Cuomo … Read More ➡
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) is challenging the independence and objectivity of Freedom House in its recently-released Freedom on the Net Index.
Today, NLPC President Ken Boehm sent Freedom House President Mark Lagon a letter detailing the following points:
- Google is a major funder of the Index
- Authors of several country reports have financial ties to Google
- The Index is annually released at Google headquarters
- The criteria used to rate nations seem to reflect Google business priorities
Below is the full text of the Boehm letter:
As one of the premier independent watchdog organizations dedicated to the protection of freedom and democracy around the globe, Freedom House has a special responsibility to shine the light on examples of governments undermining the causes of freedom, human rights, and civil liberties.
At the same time, Freedom House has a special and indeed unique challenge to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest in … Read More ➡
CNN reports today on the recently passed “democracy voucher” initiative in Seattle, and other proposals for taxpayer funding of election campaigns. From the story:
But Ken Boehm, chairman of the right-leaning National Legal and Policy Center, argues the reform movement has a basic flaw, as candidates who accept the vouchers are blown out of the water by bigger spenders.
"If the opponent signs up for this, they get their little vouchers and they can send out some posters and stuff, but in terms of voter contact, they're getting creamed," Boehm said. "I don't know how they address that and they can't, because constitutionally you can't put an overall cap on spending."
Of course, there are other reasons why taxpayer funding is a bad idea. First and foremost, citizens should not be forced to fund political expression with which they may disagree.… Read More ➡