Today we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking documents pertaining to the prosecution of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on bribery and related charges, and the Justice Department decision not to retry him. Menendez was tried once but that trial ended in a mistrial on November 16, 2017.
Why did the Justice Department let Menendez escape after pouring so many resources into the investigation, prosecution, and trial? One possible explanation is that political influence was exercised on Menendez’ behalf. Menendez’ lawyer is Abbe Lowell, who also represents Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner and his family are longtime donors to Democratic politicians in New Jersey, including Menendez. Someone made the decision to save Menendez’ career and possibly keep him out of prison. We want to know who made the decision and on what basis.
The Justice Department announcement was made in a terse statement on January 31, citing … Read More ➡
Hon. Beryl Howell, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has denied a Motion to Quash a subpoena to a Grand Jury witness in the Russia collusion probe headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The Motion was made by attorneys for a witness on the basis that Mueller’s appointment was not constitutional under the Appointments Clause. The Motion was argued during a 90-minute hearing on July 18. The names of the witness and the attorneys were redacted in the decision, which was made public today.
Howell’s denial was expected. Attorneys for the witness will appeal the ruling to a higher court.
Legal scholars Seth Barrett Tillman and Josh Blackman have weighed in on the increasingly relevant question of whether Robert Mueller’s appointment as Special Counsel is constitutional. I made my views known when I told the New York Times, “The founders feared exactly what we see in Mueller: a runaway federal official. We hope to see Mueller’s operation disbanded, once and for all.”
In an article titled “Is Robert Mueller an ‘Officer of the United States’ or an ‘Employee of the United States'”? appearing on the Lawfare website, Tillman and Blackman examine a number of arguments and offer some of their own:
Recent debates over the constitutionality of Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel turn on whether he is a principal or inferior “officer of the United States.” Steven Calabresi contends that Mueller is in fact a principal officer, who, as a result, must be nominated by the president, and … Read More ➡
The question of whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is constitutional is examined by George Will in his latest column:
The president, who might not be fully acquainted with the pertinent Supreme Court case law, says the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel was unconstitutional. The president’s opinion, because it is his, is prima facie evidence for the opposite conclusion. It is, however, not sufficient evidence. Consider the debate between two serious people who have immersed themselves in the history of the appointments clause, which says:
“[The president] shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the … Read More ➡
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), the fourth ranking Democrat in the House, lost his re-election bid to a political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Working with the New York Post and other media outlets, NLPC helped expose corruption in Crowley’s office. In addition, NLPC has exposed corruption in the Queens political machine that Crowley heads, sending several local politicians to prison.
Crowley, whose supporters were promoting him as a future House Speaker, clearly underestimated Ocasio-Cortez. If she were perceived to be any kind of threat, the machine would have simply kept her off the ballot, the time-honored way dissidents are thwarted in Queens.
Ocasio-Cortez ran at Crowley from the left, and is unlikely to support real Congressional reform or to help drain the swamp, but she has an interesting personal story that underscores how the Queens machine operates — through corruption, cronyism and nepotism in the local courts.
This is rich. Robert Mueller now says that if he turns over evidence to the lawyers of defendants he has charged with crimes, the documents might find their way to foreign intelligence services. Mueller is right, especially when the defendants are Russians with close ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
The problem is of Mueller’s creation. When he indicted three business entities and 13 individuals in February, he knew it was unlikely they would ever show up in the United States to face trial. The indictments were nice window dressing because they had to do with actual Russian meddling in the 2016 election, unlike the rest of the investigation.
The only problem is that one of the defendants, a firm called Concord Management and Consulting LLC, called Mueller’s bluff in April and had its American attorneys show up to enter a not guilty plea. That makes Concord a … Read More ➡
Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller has detailed the relationship between Eric Schneiderman while he was New York Attorney General, and his ex-wife Jennifer Cunningham, a lobbyist with the firm SKDKnickerbockder. As we noted the day after Schneiderman’s resignation, the two had a lucrative business relationship even though they were divorced. The business was selling influence. From the article:
Schneiderman’s office defended the contacts at the time, saying they were legal under New York law. But that’s just the problem, says Tom Anderson, the executive director of the National Legal & Policy Center — a good government watchdog that has uncovered corruption in New York.
“If you wanted something from the Attorney General’s office, you had to go through her, and you had to bring your checkbook. The real scandal in New York is that all of this is legal,” Anderson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Seldom has a political career imploded as swiftly or completely as that of Eric Schneiderman, Attorney General for the State of New York. He was already toast by last evening after the New Yorker published a devastating portrayal earlier that day of Schneiderman as a drunken, pill-popping sadist. His instant demise could not be more appropriate or satisfying.
There was not a trendy liberal cause that Schneiderman did not champion, including of course, the #MeToo movement. Schneiderman substituted ideological activism for his actual duties as New York’s top law enforcement official. We saw this first-hand.
Beginning in 2010, our staff provided information to the New York Post, New York Times and the New York Daily News about corrupt state and local officials in New York. The headlines prompted a series of investigations by federal and state prosecutors that resulted in jail for several politicians. It puzzled us that New … Read More ➡
The Senate Ethics Committee has “severely admonished” Robert Menendez, once again demonstrating its uselessness. Of course, the Committee did not have the authority to put Menendez where he really belongs — in prison — but it could have recommended something of a little more consequence, like Censure or expulsion.
Once again, the Senate has proven that it is the world’s most exclusive club, and membership has its privileges. The Ethics Committee — chaired by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and consisting of three members of each party — probably never wanted to render judgment on Menendez and probably never thought they would have to.
The Senate investigation began in late 2012 but was put on hold when the Justice Department initiated a criminal probe. It resumed late last year when the criminal trial in New Jersey resulted in a hung jury. The Justice Department first declared that it would retry Menendez … Read More ➡
During his two days on Capitol Hill, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly denied that the company censors information and opinion with which it disagrees, despite extensive evidence to the contrary.
Facebook censorship is real. The National Legal and Policy Center has regularly had our Facebook postings suppressed when they pertain to Black Lives Matter, which we have regularly criticized.
It just so happens that Zuckerberg has a different view of Black Lives Matter. Zuckerberg purports to value free expression, famously allowing the “signature wall” at Facebook headquarters. But when in 2016 “Black Lives Matter” graffiti was met with “All Lives Matter,” Zuckerberg just could not have it. He issued a memo calling such sentiments “unacceptable” and “malicious” and assured everyone that the company was “investigating the current incidents.”