Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha have retreated half way on their plan to spend $550 million on private jets for use by members of Congress. This is not good enough. Plans for the remaining four aircraft must be abandoned as well.
Murtha was quoted by AP as saying, “If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill.” I guess the public uproar over the jet purchase had nothing to do with it. After years of ramming unwanted projects down the throat of the Defense Department, Murtha this time just wants to defer to the Pentagon.
It is amazing that Pelosi continues to allow Murtha such a high visability as his cronies get indicted one by one, and he unapologetically defends earmarks for projects like the Airport for No One in his district.
The fact that these aircraft purchases were even contemplated shows … Read More ➡
A new book by Barron’s reporter Erin Arvedlund asserts that banking giant JPMorgan Chase became aware of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme months before his arrest, prompting the bank to liquidate its positions in a Madoff-related fund. Yet, the bank continued to accept deposits into Madoff’s main account at the bank from unsuspecting investors who were about to lose everything.
NLPC is a critic of JPMorgan Chase’s support for political and social causes that are contrary to the bank’s interests and hostile to the capitalist system itself, such as ACORN. Although these new revelations are a separate controversy, both reflect an apparent willingness by the firm to work with shady enterprises if it is perceived to be in its own interest.
The book is titled Too Good to be True. Excerpts appeared in Barron’s over the weekend. Arvedlund has a great deal of credibility on anything Madoff-related, having written a story … Read More ➡
Associated Press reports:
The Senate ethics committee cleared Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad of breaking rules by getting mortgages through a VIP program, even as it scolded them Friday for not being more careful to avoid the appearance of sweetheart deals.
Apparently, the Committee was so proud of its work that it released its decision on a Friday afternoon in August. This will do nothing to undermine the reputation of both the House and Senate Ethics Committees as laughingstocks.
The Select Committee on Ethics told Dodd of Connecticut and Conrad of North Dakota in separate letters that it found “no substantial credible evidence” after a yearlong investigation that their mortgages from Countrywide Financial Corp. broke Senate gift rules. The two influential Democrats got their mortgages through a VIP program for those designated as “friends” of then-Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo.
We should acknowledge a debt of gratitude to … Read More ➡
Hillary Chabot reports in the Boston Herald today:
Attorney General Martha Coakley donned a cap and gown to receive an honorary law degree from Suffolk University as her office actively probed a school trustee for conflict of interest – and maintains she did not have to get ethics clearance first.
But Ken Boehm of the ethics watchdog agency National Legal and Policy Center blasted Coakley over the Suffolk honor: “By any ethical yardstick, that’s way over the line and it shouldn’t have happened. Anything of value received from someone under investigation is wholly inappropriate.”
The Herald story continues:
Coakley, widely viewed as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate and a strong backer of ethics reform, was awarded the honorary degree May 7, telling graduates, “If your reputation for integrity is impaired, set that diploma on fire.”
Suffolk spokesman Greg Gatlin said in a statement:
Attorney General Martha Coakley is
… Read More ➡
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) better watch out. It is not just Republicans who are now complaining about his conflict of interest in controlling the budgets of the Justice Department and the FBI while under investigation by those entities.
From a blogger today known as texasrabble on the left-wing Daily Kos website:
Amazingly — despite credible allegations of numerous violations of federal law — Mollohan is still the Chairman of the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. That subcommittee, according to Cong. Mollohan’s own website, “funds the departments of Justice and Commerce.”
So let’s get this straight: The highest-level legislator responsible for funding the Justice Department is himself the subject of a very serious Justice Department investigation. Was there ever a bigger conflict of interest?
As texasrabble points out:
For over three years, the U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating West Virginia Congressman
… Read More ➡
In a letter to the editor, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel responds today to the Wall Street Journal’s Monday editorial. He writes:
Your July 27 editorial “Morality and Charlie Rangel’s Taxes” insulted me in an attempt to undermine my work on health-care reform legislation. But your slurs can’t change the fact that the Ways and Means Committee, which I chair, has already succeeded in negotiating and passing its portion of the health-care bill without a hint of the rancor you’ve resorted to in your mean-spirited editorial attack. (emphasis ours)
Rangel’s indignation in the wake of his own admissions of failing to pay his taxes is the clearest evidence yet that he is divorced from political reality, and will become an increasing liability for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.
He whines on:
Your editorial said more about your journalistic practices than it did about the issues under investigation in
… Read More ➡
The lead editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal is titled “Morality and Charlie Rangel’s Taxes.” It begins:
Ever notice that those who endorse high taxes and those who actually pay them aren’t the same people? Consider the curious case of Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, who is leading the charge for a new 5.4-percentage point income tax surcharge and recently called it “the moral thing to do.” About his own tax liability he seems less, well, fervent.
Exhibit A concerns a rental property Mr. Rangel purchased in 1987 at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic. The rental income from that property ought to be substantial since it is a luxury beach-front villa and is more often than not rented out. But when the National Legal and Policy Center looked at Mr. Rangel’s House financial disclosure forms in August, it noted that his reported income looked suspiciously
… Read More ➡
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Betsy McCaughey writes:
The Congressional majority wants to pay for its $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion health bills with new taxes and a $500 billion cut to Medicare. This cut will come just as baby boomers turn 65 and increase Medicare enrollment by 30%. Less money and more patients will necessitate rationing.
You would think that AARP would be up in arms. Nope. As Barack Obama proudly pointed out last night, AARP supports his plan.
What Obama didn’t say is that AARP receives millions in federal funds, and hopes to get even more by becoming a vendor under his plan. In January 2007, NLPC published Special Report documenting taxpayer support for AARP. The study found that federal funding accounted for $83 million, or about 10 percent, of AARP’s then-annual revenue of $878 million.
McCaughey explains what is really at stake for seniors:… Read More ➡
John Bresnahan reported in Politico on July 15:
Embattled House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, facing a multi-pronged investigation by the House ethics committee, shelled out nearly $280,000 to four different law firms over the last quarter, according to his newest campaign disclosure report.
Overall, Rangel has paid $928,000 to his attorneys during the last year as his personal finances have come under scrutiny on a variety of fronts.
Much of the money was spent fending off allegations by NLPC.
We exposed Rangel’s 1) evading of taxes on rental income on his Dominican Republic beach house; 2) cheating on his DC property taxes by improperly claiming homestead exemption; and 3) leading a Citigroup-funded junket to the Caribbean in violation of House Rules.
There are two outrages here. First, Rangel gets to pay his legal bills out of his campaign funds while ordinary citizens who get into tax trouble … Read More ➡
In the wake of the indictment of Richard Ianieri of Coherent Systems International, for whom Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) secured earmarks, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm has offered some thoughts. From OneNewsNow yesterday:
“These are crummy little firms. Many of them are located in Murtha’s district. That’s part of the game,” he explains. “But if they have anything substantial to do, they sub it out to some real company and keep a big chunk for themselves. And out of that chunk they pay the political contributions that go hand-in-hand with this kind of operation.”
Murtha, Boehm contends, is like the center of a target that prosecutors will not reach until they penetrate the outer layers of corruption.
“I think what’s going to happen is we’re seeing the outer ring of the target fall first. That’s the corrupt little defense contractors who couldn’t survive but for this sort of political connection,” he
… Read More ➡