NLPC Uncovers $183,000 in Additional Contributions to Friends of Blagojevich from Johnston Horse Racing Interests

Today the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) publicly released an in-depth analysis of financial contributions made to Friends of Blagojevich from Balmoral and Maywood race track owner John Johnston and other Johnston-owned/affiliated interests. The new analysis reveals that previous accounts of Johnston contributions to Friends of Blagojevich greatly under-reported the actual contributions by Johnston family interests and far exceed the $160,000 in contributions that have been reported previously.

According to the latest analysis which was sent to the House Impeachment Committee last Thursday afternoon, Johnston-owned/affiliated interests contributed more than $343,000 to Governor Blagojevich’s campaign committee from 2002-2007. The new analysis uncovered several significant and large contributions from Johnston businesses or affiliates that heretofore had not been factored into official news accounts, including contributions from Coast to Coast Food Services Ltd. ($60,000), Racing Research ($15,000), the Egyptian Trotting Association ($45,000), and Associates Racing Association, Inc. ($40,000). All businesses are either … Read More ➡ “NLPC Uncovers $183,000 in Additional Contributions to Friends of Blagojevich from Johnston Horse Racing Interests”

Newspaper Says Big Shots on Wall Street, in Congress Still Don’t Get It

NLPC research is cited in an editorial appearing today’s edition of the Binghampton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin:

Bad habits are hard to break, but some people in America’s corporate and political worlds don’t even seem to be trying in the midst of the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. […]

New York’s Charles Rangel and five other Democratic members of the House enjoyed a trip to the Caribbean sponsored in part by Citigroup (see above) in November – after Congress had approved the $700 bailout for financial firms (including Citigroup).

The members no doubt will object to the terms “junket,” but that shoe fits. The National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group, has asked Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to investigate the Nov. 6-9 excursion to the island of St. Maarten.

It was called the Caribbean Multi-Cultural Business Conference, but

Read More ➡ “Newspaper Says Big Shots on Wall Street, in Congress Still Don’t Get It”

In the News: Obama Insists Ex-Lobbyists Don’t Undermine Ethics Policies

NLPC chairman Ken Boehm is cited in a CNSNews.com story about the number of former lobbyists that are being hired to work in the Barack Obama White House:

The Obama administration is defending its commitment to strict ethical policies even after appointing lobbyists to key posts.
 
Mark Patterson, a former lobbyist with the financial firm Goldman Sachs, will be chief of staff for newly appointed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, according to the National Journal.
 
The news comes a week after some government watchdog groups objected to the nomination of William J. Lynn III, a former Raytheon Company lobbyist, to be deputy secretary at the Department of Defense.
 
“There is no question that the policy is right out of step when you get to make exceptions for major departments like Defense and Treasury,” Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, told CNSNews.com.
 
“It cuts

Read More ➡ “In the News: Obama Insists Ex-Lobbyists Don’t Undermine Ethics Policies”

TARP Inspector General Asked to Investigate Citigroup and Bank of America Donations to Rainbow/PUSH

Today the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) asked Neil M. Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), for a formal review of the sponsorship by Bank of America and Citigroup of the Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Conference currently taking place in New York City. The January 13-16 event is one of two of Jesse Jackson’s annual fundraisers.

According to official conference materials, Citigroup is a “Gold Sponsor,” a designation costing $50,000. Bank of America is identified as a “Silver Sponsor,” a designation costing $30,000.

Both Citigroup and Bank of America are major recipients of TARP funds. Taxpayers are now Citigroup’s largest shareholder after infusions of $45 billion. Bank of America has already received $25 billion. According to today’s Wall Street Journal, it is seeking billions more in order to make possible its acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

NLPC’s Complaint reads, in part:

“When the TARP was … Read More ➡ “TARP Inspector General Asked to Investigate Citigroup and Bank of America Donations to Rainbow/PUSH”

Obama Must Withdraw Geithner Nomination

Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today made the following statement:

President-elect Obama should withdraw Timothy Geithner’s nomination for Treasury Secretary. Obama says that middle–class families with incomes of $250,000 are wealthy and their taxes should be raised, but he wants a Wall Streeter who didn’t pay his taxes to be his point man on the economy.

The amount of unpaid taxes — $42,000 — may sound like pocket change to Geithner and his Wall Street buddies, but it is a lot of money on Main Street.

Geithner’s claim that he didn’t know he was supposed to pay taxes doesn’t pass the laugh test. It is true that American citizens who work for the IMF are responsible for the employer’s share of the payroll tax, but IMF employment includes generous pay and a host of other perks. Anyone who has ever worked there is well … Read More ➡ “Obama Must Withdraw Geithner Nomination”

Obama Invited Blagojevich Appointment of Roland Burris By Backing Off Call for Special Election

Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today reacted to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris to Barack Obama’s Senate seat by saying:

It’s getting more difficult for Barack Obama to extricate himself from the political mess in Illinois. Obama and other leading Democrats should have stuck to their calls for a special election to fill his Senate seat, instead of reverting to a brokered process. It only invited this kind of shenanigans from Blagojevich.

It is hard to see how Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris has less credibility or moral standing than one brokered by other Illinois politicians. They all come out of the same corrupt culture that includes both parties.

Much of the initial media coverage of Blagojevich missed the point. I don’t believe was he was out of control or some sort of lone wolf. I believe his intercepted conversations are typical … Read More ➡ “Obama Invited Blagojevich Appointment of Roland Burris By Backing Off Call for Special Election”

Obama Labor Nominee Hilda Solis Supports Coercive Card Check and Says Illegal Aliens are Americans

Dr. Carl Horowitz, director of the Organized Labor Accountability Project of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today reacted to Barack Obama’s nomination of Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) for Labor Secretary. He said:

This is a terrible nomination. Solis is a total flack for the union bosses. I predict an explosion of union corruption, especially with infrastructure stimulus funds flowing to unions like the Laborers and Teamsters, which still have not freed themselves from the influence of organized crime.

Solis is a co-sponsor of the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the unions’ top legislative priority. EFCA would force private-sector employers to recognize a particular union as the sole bargaining agent if its organizers can get at least 50 percent of affected workers to sign a card indicating their desire to join, ending secret elections.

This “card check” is inherently coercive. There have been many documented instances of union … Read More ➡ “Obama Labor Nominee Hilda Solis Supports Coercive Card Check and Says Illegal Aliens are Americans”

Obama’s Choice of Eric Holder for Attorney General Criticized Because of Holder’s Role in Health Care Task Force Cover-Up

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a plaintiff in the successful 1993 lawsuit to open the meetings and records of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care task force, today criticized Barack Obama for selecting Eric Holder as his Attorney General nominee.

According to NLPC President Peter Flaherty, “Holder is not ethically qualified to serve as Attorney General. His track record is not one of independence or objectivity. Instead, he has been guided by politics and self-interest.”

On December 21, 1994, federal Judge Royce Lamberth, who presided over the litigation to open the health care task force, asked Holder, who at the time was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to investigate Ira Magaziner for possible perjury and criminal contempt of court. He also suggested that Attorney General Janet Reno should appoint an independent counsel to investigate.

Reno announced on March 3, 1995 that she would not appoint an … Read More ➡ “Obama’s Choice of Eric Holder for Attorney General Criticized Because of Holder’s Role in Health Care Task Force Cover-Up”

Obama Support for Auto Bailout Characterized as Payoff to United Auto Workers

UAW logoPeter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today criticized proposals to bailout GM, Chrysler and Ford, arguing that the plans are actually intended to bailout the United Auto Workers (UAW). Flaherty said:

The $700-billion Wall Street bailout was not meant to be a prize for special interest groups that were on the winning side of the election. It is a mistake to use TARP to reward high-tax, non-right to work states like Michigan. It was argued that failure of financial firms posed systemic risk; no such risk exists with the automakers.

The automaker bailout is actually a UAW bailout. The union will not allow companies to deploy capital in ways that the market would dictate such as closing plants and layoffs. That’s why UAW opposed the GM/Chrysler merger and a government role in it.

UAW wants to instead enrich health and retirement plans they control, like … Read More ➡ “Obama Support for Auto Bailout Characterized as Payoff to United Auto Workers”