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).
One of the more irritating aspects of what passes for civil-rights activism in this country is the constant clamoring for a “national conversation on race.” In practice, what this amounts to is blacks accusing and whites apologizing. About a dozen years ago, President Bill Clinton explicitly called for this sort of “dialogue.” Now President Barack Obama has jumped into the fray. At the close of his press conference this evening, Obama denounced Cambridge, Massachusetts police for acting “stupidly” in arresting Harvard African-American Studies Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. on July 16 for disorderly behavior. Yet the facts of the case – beginning with the fact that police and prosecutors soon dropped the charge – speak more about the disregard for logic and context among blacks eager to locate the latest evidence of institutional “racism.”
Henry Louis (“Skip”) Gates is a reasonably competent scholar who owes his heavyweight credentials primarily to … Read More ➡
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
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) has been under investigation for more than three years after NLPC exposed his cozy relationships with the recipients of earmarks that he sponsored. Yet, as chairman of an Appropriations subcommittee, he has jurisdiction over the budget of the Justice Department, which includes the FBI, the very entity that is investigating him.
Mollohan claims he recused himself in a January 2007 letter to the full Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) but he refuses to release the letter. Republicans say they have never seen it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is AWOL on the issue, having said nothing since she forced Mollohan out as ranking member of the Ethics Committee in 2006. At the time, she blamed NLPC for Mollohan’s problems.
The controversy flared on June 17 during a debate on the $64 billion Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) accused Mollohan of a continued … Read More ➡
On July 13, NLPC’s Carl Horowitz discussed proposals to use TARP money to fund Small Business Administration loans with Fox Business Network host Charles Payne. Carl’s interview starts at about 2:45 following interview with David Ruder, former SEC Chairman. Click here to download 2-page pdf transcript.… Read More ➡
Paula Reed Ward and Dennis B. Roddy reported today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Federal prosecutors filed corruption charges yesterday against a onetime defense contractor who has ties to both John Murtha and a suburban Johnstown defense contractor currently under criminal investigation.
Richard S. Ianieri, former president and CEO of Coherent Systems International Corp., was accused of accepting $200,000 in kickbacks. He is charged through a criminal information and is expected to plead guilty.
The indictment of Ianieri represents the first charges leveled as a result of investigations into firms receiving defense earmarks – many of which benefited former aides and associates of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA).
Ianieri’s ties to Murtha go back to his role as the former president and CEO of Coherent Systems International Corporation. When Coherent decided to get involved in defense contracts in 2006, it hired KSA Consulting, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that once employed Murtha’s … Read More ➡
The chairman of a House ethics probe into a Caribbean conference attended by members of the Congressional Black Caucus is himself a CBC member who attended the same event in 2005.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the former judge chosen to chair the ethics probe, has vowed to lead a fair investigation into trips taken by CBC members to St. Maarten in 2008 and Antigua and Barbuda in 2007.
NLPC exposed the 2008 junket. The Hillnoted my reaction:
“The CBC really sticks together — you can see their solidarity in the face of these ethics charges,” Flaherty said. “To put one of their own members in charge of the investigation just shows that nothing has changed — the ethics process is still a complete mockery.”
The junket to sunny St. Maarten took place the weekend after the election in 2008. I attended … Read More ➡
Self-investigation has never been a signature virtue of Congress. So taxpayers should closely monitor the House ethics committee’s inquiry into the lucrative relationships between defense appropriators and military contractors.
The committee finally confirmed the inquiry — not yet a full-blown investigation — into suspicions that members and staffers earmarked hundreds of millions in defense contracts for favored companies in return for tens of millions in political donations. In a separate matter, the ethics committee opened an inquiry into whether Caribbean trips taken by Representative Charles Rangel and four other lawmakers violated House gift rules. It is encouraging to see such curiosity from the traditionally somnolent panel.
The head of an ethics watchdog organization is skeptical of the claim by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) that he didn’t know his wife was taking political bribes.
Monica Conyers has resigned from her post on the Detroit City Council after admitting she took cash bribes in exchange for her vote on a lucrative city contract. Conyers is the wife of powerful Democratic Congressman John Conyers, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee.
While prosecutors say Congressman Conyers knew nothing of what his wife was doing, Ken Boehm of the National Legal and Policy Center, thinks otherwise.
“They’ve been married for a number of years. They’ve worked together as a political team,” he contends. “We have protections that go back centuries that a spouse can’t be made to testify against their other spouse. But I think from a common-sense standpoint, people can look at this and just wonder,
NLPC research is referenced in a new book titled Pay to Play: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow. Its by Elizabeth Brackett, a longtime correspondent for The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer and a winner of the Peabody Award for political coverage.
In February, NLPC released a study showing that interests owned or affiliated with Illinois race track owner John Johnston contributed more than $343,000 to Blagojevich’s campaign committee during 2002-2007. This total was $183,000 more than alleged in previous news accounts. Johnson owns Balmoral Park and Maywood Park, two Chicago-area harness racing tracks.
As described on page 39 of the December 2008 FBI affidavit outlining the criminal case against Blagojevich, Johnson supported legislation directing a percentage of casino revenue to horse racing tracks. The casinos would pay out almost $90 million and file a RICO suit to recover the money.