It is now official: Puerto Rico is broke. Last Wednesday, on May 3, the island territorial government, unable to meet its commitments on more than $70 billion in bonds and nearly $50 billion in employee pensions, declared bankruptcy. As far as municipal bond defaults go, it is the largest in U.S. history. Mismanagement and corruption have had more than a little to do with this meltdown. Congress paved the way for receivership last June when it passed legislation granting Puerto Rico protection from certain bond creditors. As the island slides toward oblivion and its residents leave in droves, the emergency control board created by the law has begun to oversee budget restructuring. The long-run challenge ought to be weaning the island from its federal fiscal lifeline and ultimately from the United States itself.
NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm told LifeZette that people who claim that President Trump’s contacts with James Comey may constitute obstruction of justice or an impeachable offense don’t know what they are talking about.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told CNN just that on Wednesday night. From LifeZette:
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Ken Boehm, who was a state prosecutor in Pennsylvania in the 1970s and now serves as chairman of the board of directors of the National Legal and Policy Center, said obstruction of justice usually refers to intimidating witnesses or destroying evidence. He said it would not apply to someone asking a law enforcement officer about an investigation unless, perhaps, an overt threat accompanied it.
“Obstruction of justice is a pretty high hurdle,” he said. “Any citizen is welcome to ask any law enforcement person — federal, state, local — ‘Am I the subject of an investigation?’ … Usually, it’s
Crowley has paid at least $69,700 since 2007 to Killean Enterprises LLC, which is controlled by his brother, lobbyist John “Sean” Crowley.
As chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Joseph Crowley is the fourth-highest ranking member of his party in the House.
House rules allow the campaigns of Members to rent office space from family members under certain circumstances, but Crowley rents space outside his Congressional district. Also from the story:
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“It’s not physically in his district — that would be a key point,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. “What he uses it for — it’s as old as politics — it’s called a slush fund. And what do you know? It goes to a family-connected entity.”
President Trump should have relieved FBI director James Comey of his duties on Inauguration Day. The country would have been spared more of Comey’s politically-motivated gyrations that began with his decision not to indict Hillary Clinton.
Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, bet incorrectly that Hillary Clinton would be elected President.
Once the FBI director acts on the basis of politics, he must keep acting on that basis. He cannot put the genie back in the bottle and pretend to be impartial or above the fray. That is why Comey played the role of both hero and villain at various times to different political factions.
We need independent, fair and swift investigations into the Clinton Foundation, Hillary’s handling of emails and Russian interference in the election.
We have brought to light several instances of Clinton Foundation “pay to play” yet no one has been prosecuted.
As much as we welcome … Read More ➡
It wasn’t quite the equivalent of entering the lion’s den. But Omarosa Manigault, a black official in the Trump administration, might not want to reenter. On April 27, Manigault (in photo), communications director for the White House Office of Public Liaison, gave a luncheon talk at the annual confab of Al Sharpton’s nonprofit, National Action Network (NAN). Putting on a game face in defending the initiatives of her boss, Donald Trump, she assured the gathering that she would “fight for you in the White House.” The crowd, unimpressed, groaned or gave muted applause throughout. And a subsequent speaker was outright hostile. That Manigault is a member of the Los Angeles NAN chapter did not win her points. The experience should serve notice to “conservatives” that even an informal partnership with the Reverend Al is a losing proposition.
April is a special month on the social calendar of Al Sharpton and … Read More ➡
One buys stock with an understanding that the rules affecting profit and loss won’t change without warning. The U.S. Court for Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, apparently believes otherwise. On February 21, the court ruled 2-1 that investors in shares of secondary residential mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as managed by Perry Capital LLC, a New York hedge fund, have no right to realize their accrued profits. The decision continues the federal conservatorship of the two companies established in 2008. The case was triggered by the “sweep rule” issued by the Treasury Department in August 2012. That rule confiscated dividends as repayment for $187.5 billion in emergency loans even though the corporations have repaid far more than that. The case, one of many such suits, is a lesson on the perils of government bailouts.
National Legal and Policy Center on many occasions has analyzed the Fannie Mae and … Read More ➡
Former New York State Senator John Sampson, a Democrat of Brooklyn, was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison following his conviction in July 2015 on three counts, including obstruction of justice.
In 2009, Sampson was elected Leader of the Democratic Conference of the State Senate. He served in leadership alongside former Majority Leader and Temporary Senate President Malcolm Smith, who is serving a seven-year prison sentence after his 2015 conviction on corruption charges.
Between 1998 and 2008, Sampson allegedly embezzled approximately $440,000 from the foreclosure sales of four Brooklyn properties on which he was a court-appointed referee. The embezzlement charges were thrown out because the state of limitations expired. The charges on which he was convicted relate to the cover-up.
Reportedly, the Sampson investigation was an extension of the investigation of U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), prompted by newspaper headlines based on information provided by the National Legal … Read More ➡
When it comes to organizing rallies on short notice, Al Sharpton has few peers. The ability of Reverend Al to generate a crowd through his New York City-based nonprofit National Action Network (NAN) was in evidence last Saturday morning, January 14, in the nation’s capital. Billed as the “We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington,” the rain-soaked event (see photo) drew thousands of participants, overwhelmingly black, many of whom arrived by chartered bus. The stated purpose of this grievance convention, timed for Martin Luther King Day and the Donald Trump inauguration, was to pressure Congress into resisting the new administration. Accordingly, the march offered a platform for ritual denunciations of enemies of blacks, Hispanics, gays and other “disenfranchised” groups, and calls for new laws to protect their members. If lawmakers are smart, they’ll take a pass.
Al Sharpton for more than a decade has become a political player of … Read More ➡
Some House Republicans — apparently led by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) — are attempting to emasculate the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The House Conference reportedly voted last night 119-74 to place control of OCE under the Ethics Committee, effectively destroying it. The full House is scheduled today to vote on the larger Rules package of which Goodlatte’s amendment is part.
This is an incredibly stupid start to the new Congress, and badly undercuts President-elect Trump’s efforts to “drain the swamp.”
Media reports suggest that Speaker Paul Ryan opposed the move, but there have been reasons for skepticism about the House leadership’s commitment to OCE. It doesn’t matter what happened last night. It is now up to Ryan to save OCE. He must act with strength and decisiveness.
OCE was established in 2008 and is slightly more independent that the Ethics Committee because its board is comprised of former members … Read More ➡
The violence may be a memory, but there is now a welcome reminder of the consequences. Last Thursday, December 8, a St. Louis County, Mo. jury found a young black male, Jeffrey Williams, guilty on six criminal counts related to the malicious gun wounding of two unnamed police officers in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in March 2015. The incident occurred during a street rally organized by the radical social media network, Black Lives Matter, to protest the shooting death of an “unarmed” black male, Michael Brown, by a white Ferguson cop the previous August. A grand jury months later had decided the evidence was insufficient to indict the officer, an announcement that triggered destructive rioting. Reprehensible as the rioting and shootings were, the Obama administration tacitly encouraged this behavior.
If any one event underscores the futility of achieving a ‘post-racial’ society in contemporary America, the death of Michael … Read More ➡