NLPC “blows the whistle” on government officials and interest groups engaged in questionable activities. NLPC has filed formal Complaints with a variety of authorities and regulators, including the Federal Election Commission, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Congressional Ethics Committees.
NLPC supports government integrity in two additional ways: by promoting the First Amendment as the basis for campaign finance reform, and by promoting use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
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.
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 ➡
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.
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 ➡
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., a Somalian-born Muslim, is plainly hostile to Israel. But her Twitter messages of Sunday evening, February 10, calling into question the legitimacy of Israel, a reliable U.S. ally, were way out of bounds. To their credit, Democratic Party leaders issued a written rebuke. They now should take action.
The controversy revolves around a pair of retweets sent by Congresswoman Omar, who represents the Left-leaning 5thCongressional District of Minnesota, which encompasses Minneapolis and several suburbs. In the first instance, she favorably commented on an absurd allegation by radical blogger Glenn Greenwald that GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was attacking the freedom of speech of anti-Israeli (and fellow Muslim) Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. Rep. Omar remarked about Israel’s supporters, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” (Note: A Benjamin is slang for a $100 bill). In the second instance, she contemptuously responded to a tweet by Batya … Read More ➡
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has a habit of redoubling her efforts when her ideas fail. That’s especially true given that she now chairs the House Financial Services Committee. One of her top priorities is bullying banks into boosting mortgage lending to marginally qualified borrowers based on race or ethnicity. And her main vehicle for that now is a proposed subcommittee on diversity and inclusion. In a prepared statement on January 30, she declared, “I am proud to say that this will be the first Subcommittee of its kind in Congress.” One hopes it will be the last. For if she gets her way, the outcome, taken to its logical conclusion, may be a financial meltdown rivaling the one a decade ago.
Rep. Maxine Waters took the helm of the Financial Services Committee this month after easily winning re-election as part of the Democrats’ House takeover. But according to the California Democrat’s post-election filing – which has prompted fresh calls for a full audit – her campaign may have some financial issues of its own to sort out.
The Citizens for Waters report to the Federal Election Commission from Dec. 11 lists $183,022 in debt to her daughter Karen Waters, who is in charge of distributing “slate mailers.”
The mailers have faced scrutiny since 2010 because the campaign, beginning in 2004, has paid Waters’ daughter or her public relations firm Progressive Connections to produce, print and mail the sample ballots. Watchdog groups have raised questions about the propriety of campaign funds financially supporting a family member, as well as Waters raising contributions in excess of federal limits through an unusual process. Since … Read More ➡
The dramatic, predawn arrest of Roger Stone demonstrates how Robert Mueller’s investigation has devolved into political theater. Helmets and flak vests, really, were they afraid Roger would hurl martini glasses at them? Or maybe Roger would come out blazing with his tennis racket? This show of force — with CNN’s camera’s conveniently present — was meant to suggest that Stone was some kind of dangerous criminal.
But the indictment itself is proof positive that Mueller probe has come up empty. Finding Stone’s role in the release of DNC emails by WikiLeaks was always Mueller’s Plan B. If he could not directly implicate Trump in Russian campaign interference, he could at least link a prominent Trump supporter to the email release, but he hasn’t even been able to do that. Mueller poured an enormous amount of time and resources into the pursuit of Stone, but it turned out to be a … Read More ➡
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has a well-earned reputation for vindictiveness. But she’s now reaped poetic justice. Yesterday the Texas Democrat resigned her posts as chairman of a House Judiciary subcommittee and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation following a wrongful termination suit filed earlier this month by an ex-female staffer identified in court documents as “Jane Doe.” The former aide, who seeks $75,000 in damages, had been fired last spring after stating her intent to pursue legal action against a former foundation employee, Damien Jones, who allegedly raped her back in the fall of 2015, a time during which she interned for another House member. Lee has denied wrongdoing from the start. But increasing pressure from black colleagues helped persuade her to step down.
Now in her 13th term in office, Sheila Jackson Lee represents the heavily black 18th District of Texas, which encompasses a large portion of Houston. … Read More ➡
Kamala Harris, the junior U.S. senator from California, is a woman in a hurry. Elected in 2016, Harris today announced her candidacy for president in 2020. “I’m running for president of the United States, and I’m very excited about it,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Her track record, however, suggests she would be the kind of president who among other things would cut ethical corners on behalf of labor unions. Back in 2015, Harris, as California attorney general, helped a powerful affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) scotch the purchase of a half-dozen nonprofit health care facilities by a corporate buyer to protect union jobs. While a federal judge twice has dismissed allegations by the buyer, Prime Healthcare, that she abused her office, the case deserves another look.