Countrywide Probe is Chance for Ethics Committee to do ‘Something Significant’

Edolphus Towns photoIt appears that four current members of the United States House of Representatives received loans via the VIP program of Countrywide Financial Corporation. Once again the motives of the former giant mortgage institution have been brought into question. Where they trying to peddle influence with these loans?

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he has been investigating the VIP program for a number years. Issa reportedly learned about the four loans after issuing a subpoena to Bank of America. Countrywide was purchased by Bank of America in 2008 and was at the forefront of the financial crisis that came to a head that year. At one point Countrywide was the nation’s largest mortgage lender.

In 2009 the Security and Exchange Commission brought a fraud suit against a number of former executives of Countrywide including its former chief executive Angelo Mozilo. … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Sales Figures Inflated With Fleet Purchases

Last night on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox News Channel, NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica discussed disappointing sales of the Chevy Volt, and GM’s apparent goosing of sales figures through fleet sales. Here’s a transcript:

Neil Cavuto: Ten thousand Volts. That was the sales jolt that GM was hoping for this year. But with less than two weeks to go, lets just say that this puppy may be about to short circuit big time. Volt watcher Mark Modica says the numbers may be even worse than they appear. They are going to be well shy of that right, Mark?

Mark Modica (National Legal and Policy Center): Correct.

Neil Cavuto: What is the real story?

Mark Modica: Well, not only are they not hitting the goal, but it seems like a lot of these purchases, once again are being purchased by taxpayers, who through federal funds are giving … Read More ➡

Blago Gets 14 Years; Ethics Committee Must Now Act on Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. photoYesterday, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison for, among other things, attempting to “sell” the US Senate seat that was once held by President Barack Obama. Blagojevich’s punishment comes on the heels of the U.S. House Ethics Committee’s decision to continue its investigation into Congressman Jesse Jackson’s role in the same scheme.

On December 2, the House Ethics Committee announced that it was continuing its investigation of Jackson for his alleged public campaign to “buy” the Senate seat in question. It is alleged by investigators that Jackson may have made unlawful use of his congressional office for these political activities as House rules prohibit the use of official resources for any political purposes. The investigation of Congressman has been underway for over two years.

Congressman Jackson, the son of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, is in his 9th term in the United States House … Read More ➡

Grassley: FCC Stonewalling on LightSquared Scandal Documents

Grassley photoHas Julius Genachowski, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), met his match in Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)? Genachowski, a buddy of President Obama from Harvard Law School, has brought a culture of wheeling and dealing to the FCC, on whose decisions billions of telecom dollars often ride.

Grassley says that he will hold up two nominations for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) until the Commission provides documents that he has requested relating to LightSquared, a broadband company owned by the Harbinger Capital hedge fund.

LightSquared is at the center of a scandal involving accusations made first by NLPC in February that political influence and campaign contributions played a role in the FCC granting LightSquared a waiver allowing it to deploy a national 4G wireless network.

LightSquared is headed by billionaire Phil Falcone. According to the Wall Street Journal, Soros Fund Management is a major investor in Harbinger.… Read More ➡

Rush Echoes NLPC Criticism of Coca-Cola’s Polar Bear Campaign

Rush Coca-Cola graphicYesterday, Rush Limbaugh criticized Coca-Cola’s polar bear campaign as “idiotic,” based on a posting on this website by NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser. Rush’s commentary appears below. The sections in bold below were read verbatim from the posting.

RUSH: Coca-Cola, by the way, it’s so sad, but it’s great for my tea company.  Well, they’re changing their packaging.  They’re going to white cans.  They’ve aligned with the World Wildlife Fund.  They’re going to repackage Coke over the holiday season to go to white cans featuring an image of a mother polar bear and her cubs on the side.  They’re going to try to sell Coke and Diet Coke on the basis that we’re killing polar bears.  Kid you not.  Kid you not.  Each purchase of a white Coca-Cola can supports false testimony on global warming perpetration of the myth about endangered polar bears.  It’s a hoax and they are … Read More ➡

Rep. Richardson to Face Full Ethics Probe?

Laura Richardson photoThe House Ethics Committee may soon conduct a complete investigation of Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA). She has been under investigation for some time now for allegations that her staff undertook political activities while working on government time.

As reported this week by John Bresnahan in Politico, Ethics Committee staff members have been looking into potential Richardson violations since last year. At isssue is whether some of Richardson senior staff pressured subordinates to work on her reelection campaign matters during official time. This is against House rules and federal law.

This is not the first time Richardson has been under Ethics Committee investigation since winning a special election to fill a vacancy in 2007. The Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics committee both investigated a situation in which it appeared Richardson may have had an unethical deal worked out to maintain a home of hers that had gone … Read More ➡

FBI Files Detail Murtha Corruption

Murtha photoAccusations of corruption directed against the late Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) look like they were true. Recently released files seem to confirm that the Federal Bureau of Investigation suspected that Murtha schemed to route federal dollars to bogus companies and other operations that would benefit his friends and former employees and ultimately his own campaigns.

As reported by Paul Singer in Roll Call, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice on Mr. Murtha (who passed away in February of 2010) and other Members of Congress. CREW’s requests for the files from living Members of Congress were rejected as the Department stated that these Members have a right to privacy. However, Murtha’s death did allow for files to be handed over to CREW as his passing eliminated any exemption for Murtha. CREW Executive Director … Read More ➡

Watchdog Rejects Pelosi Explanation of Late Disclosure

Paul and Nancy Pelsosii photoPaul Pelosi, husband of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will reportedly make millions of dollars from a previously undisclosed real estate venture in Mrs. Pelosi’s home state of California. Mr. Pelosi is a real estate developer and an investment banker and entered into this project with the father of the current Ambassador to Hungary, as reported by The Washington Times earlier this week. Mrs. Pelosi helped the ambassador secure her the post.

Angelo Tsakopoulos, a longtime associate of Mr. Pelosi put together the deal that involves Russell Ranch, a residential real estate project. Mr. Pelosi’s investment has been reported to be worth $5 million and maybe as high as $25 million. He claims to have invested between $1 and $5 million in Russell Ranch about a dozen years ago.

It is important to note that Mrs. Pelosi did not list the investment on her federal disclosure forms until 2010, … Read More ➡

Documents Sought on Union-Inspired Assault on Homebuilders by Administration

Solis Shulman photoToday we filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Labor Department, its Wage and Hour Division, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We ask for all third-party communications related to this week’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies and eleven state governments.

The MOU is the basis for a crackdown on employers who allegedly misclassify employees as independent contractors, but the action appears calculated to assist the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) in a campaign directed at the nation’s homebuilders.

According to NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm, “At a time when the Obama administration has a number of initiatives to help the housing industry to rebound from the recession, along comes this political favor to LIUNA. As we have documented for many years, LIUNA is one of the nation’s most corrupt unions.”

We ask for communications with outside individuals and groups that … Read More ➡

Rep. Carson Stands By Tea Party/Lynching Remarks

Carson photoRep. Andre Carson (D-IN), the second Muslim to serve in Congress, has created an enormous controversy by following Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) lead and lashing out at the Tea Party and its supporters in Congress.

Carson told a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and some of its supporters last week in Miami that, “some of them in Congress right now, of this Tea Party, would love to see you and me…hanging on a tree.” He also stated that some members of Congress would like to see blacks as second-class citizens.

These remarks come shortly after Waters stated that the “Tea Party should go straight to hell.”

Both supporters of the Tea Party and the lone GOP member of the Congressional Black Caucus are outraged. Congressman Allen West, a black Republican from Florida, called Carson’s comments racist and desperate. West, who has threatened to resign from the CBC if … Read More ➡