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).
Last week, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook about his firm’s removal of VPN apps from the China app store in July. VPN stands for Virtual Private Networks, which when accessed through apps, allow Internet users in China to bypass government censorship.
NLPC raised this issue on September 19 when we asked the Newseum to rescind its 2017 “Free Expression Award “ that it made to Cook in April. The Senators’ letter also seizes on the Award and quotes Cook from that evening when he declared, “At Apple, we are just not allowing others to speak up, we are doing so ourselves.” The letter asks Cook to “Please provide copies of any statements that Apple has issued either promoting freedom of speech in China or condemning China’s censorship and surveillance mechanisms…”
The rest of the letter is equally pointed, and includes nine other … Read More ➡
In a big defeat for Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the judge at his corruption trial Monday refused to throw out any of the charges against him in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowing the definition of bribery.
The decision by U.S. District Judge William Walls was a major victory for federal prosecutors, who had warned that dismissing the charges would torpedo nearly all other bribery cases and open the door wide to graft.
Walls rejected defense lawyers’ arguments that the allegations against Menendez didn’t meet the new definition of bribery contained in the 2016 Supreme Court ruling that reversed the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Menendez and his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen, are on trial for bribery. Among other allegations, the prosecution says that Menendez pressured U.S. officials to get the Dominican Republic government to honor a long-dormant port security deal … Read More ➡
The two months that have passed since the August 17 indictment of Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, former technology staffers for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), have yielded little except more mystery.
The mainstream media has largely ignored the story. Most of what we know has been reported by Luke Rosiak in the Daily Caller. The revelations have become a staple of conservative media, providing fuel for a social media brushfire. In apparent response, an informal hearing was held on October 10 by a handful of members of the Freedom Caucus. The lead witness was Rosiak who complained of an “extraordinary level of silence from official channels” about the scandal.
You would think that House Republican leaders would give the Awan mess a much bigger stage. This GOP disinterest is the biggest mystery of all. The media and Democrats in Congress created a frenzy over vague accusations … Read More ➡
Last week’s testimony in the trial of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) about a port security deal in the Dominican Republic may provide the basis for a bribery conviction. A State Department official, Todd Robinson, described how Menendez threatened to hold a Senate hearing if the Department did not pressure the Dominican government to honor a long-dormant contract with Menendez’ largest donor, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.
Last year, the Supreme Court significantly narrowed the grounds on which a public official can be prosecuted for bribery. The public official’s actions must include an “official act” in exchange for some consideration. It cannot simply be setting up a meeting, making a phone call, or other actions generally thought to be “constituent services.” Calling a meeting of a Senate subcommittee on Melgen’s behalf, however, would classify as an “official act.”
In May of 2012, Menendez set up a meeting with State Department officials, … Read More ➡
The trial of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez began earlier this month, but NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm says the media is so far missing the most important part of the case.
The New Jersey Democrat is facing six counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, one count of falsifying congressional travel disclosures, and one count of interstate travel to carry out bribery.
The charges stem from Menendez’s relationship with Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist and a major donor to Menendez’s re-election campaign. According to the testimony of Melgen’s former pilot, Menendez took at least 16 separate trips on the private jet between 2008 and 2010, which prosecutors claim constituted bribes to the senator.
The indictment also alleges that, in exchange for these favors, the senator helped Dr. Melgen’s two mistresses gain visas to the United States. Menendez’s lawyers claim that the women obtained the visas on merit.
“Equal pay for equal work” – the phrase has a nice ring to it. But like other unsound egalitarian ideas, this one hasn’t earned the hype. And the Trump administration recognizes as much. On August 29, the White House announced it was temporarily blocking an Obama-era rule from taking effect that would require businesses with at least 100 employees to report payroll data by sex to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Defending the move, the Office of Management and Budget noted that parts of the rule “lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.” Supporters are outraged. Even President Trump’s daughter Ivanka is trying to find a politically acceptable substitute. Such critics, true to form, are overlooking some practical economic realities.
Pay discrimination by sex has been illegal in this country for more than a half-century. And the strictures have become increasingly … Read More ➡
Congressman John Conyers is the subject of a recent review of his conduct by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a semi-independent organization charged with investigating misconduct by members of Congress and their staff. The Office has referred Conyers’ case to the House Ethics Committee.
In their initial report, the OCE found that there was “strong evidence” that Representative Conyers had continued to pay his Chief of Staff, after she had left his office, between April and August of last year.
According to NLPC President Peter Flaherty, “It is an open question whether the Ethics Committee will do anything about Conyers, whose corruption now spans decades. The Committee more often functions as a cover-up committee. Its whitewashes seem to be just one more service that the House leadership offers incumbents.”
According to the report, Conyers told the House Payroll Office that his Chief of Staff, Cynthia Martin, would be on “leave … Read More ➡
On DailyMail.com today, Alana Goodman and Shekhar Bhatia provide important new information about Imran Awan, who has been indicted in the House IT scandal, along with his wife Hina Alvi. Awan relatives contradicted reports that the former House IT workers were victims of anti-Muslim discrimination as charged by their main sponsor, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. From the story:
“They are not being picked up because they are Muslims. They are being picked up because they did something wrong,” said Syed Ahmed, who is related to them through their stepmother.
“There are possibilities that [Imran] or them might have been selling this information to anybody who is not authorized to have them. For the sake of money they would have done anything,” he added. ‘They were not living an honest life. They were living like they were gangsters.”
The story also describes problems with the Awans’ used car dealership, first reported … Read More ➡
This commentary was first published by the Daily Caller.
A member of my staff was in Charlottesville the day of the clash. The University of Virginia campus, where he was tasked with delivering a table to his sister’s dorm room, was mostly deserted. It was like any other slow, muggy summer afternoon. So how did a bunch of racists and so-called counter-demonstrators come to descend on the place to create the ugliest of spectacles?
Simply put, they needed each other. For some, their passion was sufficient enough that traveling hundreds of miles was no impediment to confronting each other. Both wear their alienation from mainstream American society on their sleeve. Most significantly, they make group identity the basis for their activism.
Both also promote resentment and violence, although the media regularly fails to report this persistent fact about “anti-racist” demonstrators. They have been embraced (and funded) by philanthropists like George … Read More ➡
Paul Mulshine of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, the hometown newspaper of Senator Robert Menendez, has penned a column titled, “Will the eye doctor see his way clear to singing on the senator?”
It’s about what a judge did in Thursday in Florida. Dr. Salomon Melgen, Menendez’ co-defendant on bribery charges, was supposed to be sentenced for his conviction on separate charges of Medicare fraud. The judge agreed to delay sentencing until after the bribery trial, scheduled for September in New Jersey, suggesting that Melgen may be cooperating with prosecutors and will testify against Menendez. From the column:
There was no immediate indication that such a deal is in the offing. But one close observer of the case said that such a deal looks like the obvious option for Melgen.
“Melgen played all of his cards and he’s got one card left, one and that’s