Boeing Tanker Scandals Never Go Away

A KC-46 Pegasus refuels an A-10 Thunderbolt II. (Boeing photo/John D. Parker)

It has now been more than fifteen years since the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) first exposed the “cozy dealings” between Boeing and an Air Force procurement officer named Darleen Druyun. The dealings were connected to the replacement of the nation’s fleet of mid-air refueling tankers. The aircraft, now known as the KC-46 Pegasus, refuels bombers and fighter jets on long-range missions.

The scandal that followed saw Druyun go to prison along with then-Boeing CFO Michael Sears, and the resignation of then-CEO Phil Condit.

In the intervening years, the original plan for the Air Force to lease the tankers from Boeing was scrapped. Boeing then lost the contract to an Airbus/Northrop consortium, only to pry it back through the exercise of raw political influence by the Obama administration.

A summary of the scandal that I put together … Read More ➡ “Boeing Tanker Scandals Never Go Away”

Ocasio-Cortez’s Fundraising Tangle Included 527 Soft Money Operation

From the Washington Examiner, by Alana Goodman:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., sat on the board of a political action committee that operated the type of “soft money” group she wants to abolish through a constitutional amendment, according to federal records reviewed by the Washington Examiner.

“Soft money” is cash that goes to an interest group or PAC. This means it is largely unregulated and avoids the firm limits placed on “hard money” that usually goes directly to candidates or parties.

Ocasio-Cortez was a board member of Justice Democrats, a group that sought to get progressive candidates elected, from November 2017 to 2018. The group was founded by Saikat Chakrabarti, a Harvard graduate and technology entrepreneur who became an organizer for Bernie Sanders during the socialist’s 2016 presidential campaign, and progressive media personality Cenk Uyger. Chakrabarti is now Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff

Click here to read the rest in the Read More ➡ “Ocasio-Cortez’s Fundraising Tangle Included 527 Soft Money Operation”

Ocasio-Cortez Attacks NLPC; Gets it Wrong— Twice

The following by Alex Griswold appeared in the Washington Free-Beacon:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) sent a false tweet Monday when attempting to correct a tweet that was also false.

A conservative nonprofit recently filed an FEC complaint against Ocasio-Cortez, arguing that the candidate violated campaign laws in her relationship with a PAC and business operated by her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti. Luke Thompson, vice president of the Republican analytics firm Applecart, was the first to call attention to Chakrabarti’s role as architect of the opaque fundraising scheme.

Left-wing Intercept reporter Jon Schwarz noted in response that Thompson had once worked at Right to Rise, a 2016 pro-Jeb Bush super PAC that was recently fined by the FEC for accepting foreign donations. Ocasio-Cortez quote-tweeted his tweet and crowed that “the creepy org filing bogus ethics complaints against me just *actually* got hit with one of the biggest fines … Read More ➡ “Ocasio-Cortez Attacks NLPC; Gets it Wrong— Twice”

‘This Isn’t Dark Money, It’s Pitch Black Money’

NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty appeared on Fox Business Network’s Evening Edit With Liz MacDonald on Wednesday, March 6 to discuss the Complaint by the National Legal and Policy Center’s Complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).… Read More ➡ “‘This Isn’t Dark Money, It’s Pitch Black Money’”

FEC Complaint Filed Against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for ‘Extensive Off-the-Books’ Campaign

National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) filed a formal Complaint today with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, and several other individuals and groups who orchestrated an extensive operation to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign spending during the 2018 campaign, in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended.

The funds were expended in support of ten or more Congressional candidates by a for-profit entity called Brand New Congress LLC, apparently operated by Chakrabarti. The Act requires that all expenditures of $200 or more to be disclosed to the FEC, and their purpose identified. The Complaint alleges that Chakrabarti’s LLC served as a “cutout,” for at least $885,735 received from Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and two federal political action committees, Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC.

The final disposition of the funds is unknown … Read More ➡ “FEC Complaint Filed Against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for ‘Extensive Off-the-Books’ Campaign”

Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Staff Salary Cap a Way to Avoid Disclosure?

With great fanfare, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently announced that she would pay members of her staff a “living wage,” of at least $52,000 per year, and no staffer would make more than $80,000.

Alana Goodman in the Washington Examiner today raised the question of whether the cap served another purpose. From the story:

The National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, said the $80,000 salary cap for Ocasio-Cortez’ senior staffers was concerning because it could be used to intentionally evade financial disclosure laws.

“Purposefully underpaying staffers in order to avoid transparency is an old trick some of the most corrupt members of Congress have used time and again,” said Tom Anderson, director of the NLPC’s Government Integrity Project.

 … Read More ➡ “Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Staff Salary Cap a Way to Avoid Disclosure?”

Appeals Court Turns Back Constitutional Challenge to Mueller

Andrew Miller

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge to the authority of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a case brought by Andrew Miller, a former aide to Roger Stone during the 2016 Republican Convention who challenged a subpoena to appear before the grand jury last June.

“We are disappointed with the decision and will be considering future legal action, whether before the full court of appeals or the Supreme Court,” said Paul Kamenar, attorney for Mr. Miller. “The fact that the court took more than three months to decide this appeal after oral argument compared to the three days it took in December to decide another challenge to a Mueller subpoena issued to an unnamed foreign corporation, demonstrates that this was a serious and substantial challenge,” Kamenar added.

“We’re committed to continue supporting this legal challenge and any related actions“ … Read More ➡ “Appeals Court Turns Back Constitutional Challenge to Mueller”

Sorry Starbucks, You’re Stuck With Howard Schultz

Now that Howard Schultz supposedly has disengaged himself from Starbucks and is considering a run for the presidency in 2020, the company fears his political pursuits will hurt their bottom line.

Well too bad.

After decades of liberal activism and supporting Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton, Schultz now says he may run as an independent. Some Democratic Party loyalists have gone ballistic, hurling invectives at Schultz and claiming that he will ensure the re-election of the president by splitting the anti-Trump vote.

Moreover, they are threatening boycotts. Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore urged everyone to avoid Starbucks until Schultz “announces he’s not running.”

And raising the stakes, Democratic Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century – backed by billionaire George Soros – recently targeted Starbucks, casting doubts on Schultz’s leadership. Among the charges: The company paid $46 million in settlements to employees over wage and compensation grievances. “[American Bridge] is clearly trying … Read More ➡ “Sorry Starbucks, You’re Stuck With Howard Schultz”

Congressional Black Caucus Members Make ‘Mockery’ of Travel Rules with South Africa Junket

Beyonce and Jay-Z in South Africa

From Washington Examiner by Alana Goodman:

Five members of the Congressional Black Caucus took an official three-day trip to South Africa to be feted as VIPs at a Beyonce and Jay Z concert, according to congressional disclosure records.

The stated purpose of the $60,000 trip in December was to attend the “Global Citizen Mandela 100” concert, the stated purpose of which was to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the late Nelson Mandela and raise awareness of global poverty. The extravaganza was headlined by Beyonce, Jay Z, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, and Chris Martin.

Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Terri Sewell, and Hank Johnson attended the event with VIP backstage passes. Also at the concert was Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS coordinator and special representative for Global Health Diplomacy.

Click here to read the rest in the Washington Examiner.Read More ➡ “Congressional Black Caucus Members Make ‘Mockery’ of Travel Rules with South Africa Junket”

‘Unwelcome Surprise’ for Mueller?

The U.S. Court of Appeals has not yet ruled on the constitutional challenge to Special Counsel Robert Mueller by Andrew Miller. The case was argued on November 8. We had expected a decision much sooner and certainly by now.

So what is going on? The short answer is that we do not know. But the delay has led to speculation by reporters who are covering the story. On Monday Josh Gerstein wrote this in Politico:

A wait of more than three months for the first appeals court ruling on the legality of special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment is fueling suspicion among court watchers that the decision might contain an unwelcome surprise for Mueller’s team.

We have never predicted that Miller would win at this level, the second highest court in the land. Miller’s attorney, Paul Kamenar, has said that the case may reach the Supreme Court. A loss could … Read More ➡ “‘Unwelcome Surprise’ for Mueller?”