IG: Little Evidence Former Rep. Wilson Did Work for National Laboratories

Heather Wilson photoAn investigation by Department of Energy Inspector General Gregory Friedman has revealed that a consulting firm owned by former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson, who left Congress in 2009, was paid for work for which there was little evidence it had been done, all under what is described as a vague contract.

The inspector was called upon by the National Nuclear Security Administration to examine whether Heather Wilson and Company, LLC provided consulting services to four contractor-managed laboratories: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Nevada National Security Site,

Among the reasons for the audit were questions about what, if any, work she did in exchange for $10,000 monthly payments, and whether a contracting officer for NNSA was pressured when Los Alamos sought to work with HWC. Friedman could not find any evidence of the latter concern.

But in the course of his investigation, Friedman … Read More ➡

A123 and Fisker Fire at Each Other as Taxpayers Run for Cover

A123 logoFisker logoAs if taxpayers didn’t already have to stomach enough corruption, incompetence and dysfunction in the government’s promotion of “green” energy, two past exemplars failure have returned to discharge blame at each other.

Fisker Automotive and A123 Systems are the costly malfunctions that zap you over and over again.

The latest, from a FoxBusiness.com report, reveals that sparks flew between the two as both of the Department of Energy-financed companies plummeted in their production, public profiles and value. According to an anonymous source the network says was “familiar with the situation,” when Fisker announced last fall it would cease production, the manufacturer of the $102,000 plug-in Karma blamed the bankruptcy of its battery manufacturer – A123 – for its downfall. The last of Fisker’s only model was produced in July last year.

As Fox Business recounted, Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz told Bloomberg News in November, “Because we have no batteries, … Read More ➡

GM Ups Chevy Volt Incentives as Demand Wanes

General Motors has announced a $4,000 rebate (or $3,000 and a four year, zero interest loan from government-owned Ally Financial) on the slow-selling Chevy Volt. The company had a choice regarding how to deal with an excess supply of Volts that is growing faster than demand. GM could have, once again, temporarily halted production until inventory (currently at about a 6 month supply) came down to reasonable levels. It instead chooses to lose more millions of dollars by spending on incentives designed to manufacture demand that otherwise is practically nonexistent.

The much-hyped Chevy Volt was originally presented by GM as a green wonder-car that would be a savior for the company with sales expected in the 10,000 per month range by now. Almost three years after first hitting showrooms, the Volt now sees sales stabilizing at a dismal rate of approximately 1,500 per month. That’s roughly one Volt every two … Read More ➡

NY Senator Sampson’s Missing Money

Isabel Vincent and Michael Gartland report in the New York Post today:

Embattled state Sen. John Sampson’s campaign filings are peppered with missing cash and phantom refunds, The Post has found.

In three cases, money paid by political action committees to Sampson’s re-election campaign from 2009 to 2012 does not show up on his records.

From the story:

“Since New York state Senator John Sampson was indicted last month on multiple federal charges of embezzlement, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to the FBI, the media is justified in taking a very close look at Sampson’s finances,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a political watchdog group.”

“If Sampson’s political bookkeeping is off by tens of thousands of dollars, the public deserves an explanation.”

 

Related:

John Sampson Busted; He Also Got Loan From Fraudster Ed Ahmad

Queens Politics Paralyzed Amid Reports Read More ➡

Treasury and UAW Hand in Hand on GM Offering

It looks like the Obama Administration and the UAW are again working hand in hand as the two entities are coordinating on an offering of a total of 50 million General Motors shares. Treasury is planning on selling 30 million shares as the UAW’s VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) Trust will sell 20 million shares. The VEBA Trust was formed to cover retiree’s medical benefits for the UAW and received about a 17.5% ownership stake in GM as part of the 2009 bankruptcy process.

The VEBA Trust was formed as part of GM’s negotiations with the UAW back in 2007, well before the GM bankruptcy. The UAW agreed to take responsibility for health care costs for retirees in exchange for GM funding the VEBA account to the tune of about $30 billion. The only problem was that GM didn’t have the cash flow to fund the account. The VEBA deal … Read More ➡

Apple CEO Tim Cook Contradicts Himself with Lisa Jackson Hire

Tim Cook photoAfter last week’s announcement that Apple would hire former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to handle environmental issues, a series of videos released  last week by Duke University were amusingly timed.

The six clips featured interviews with CEO Tim Cook, who succeeded the late, popular Steve Jobs, and were released by his alma mater’s Fuqua School of Business, where he earned his MBA. Cook had returned for a class reunion in April and while there Duke recorded discussions about topics such as inspiration, career planning, intuition, and other aspects of business management.

But comments he made in excerpts about ethical leadership and collaboration, in light of Jackson’s new employment, were guffaw-worthy. As NLPC outlined on Monday, Jackson fled EPA after undergoing harsh scrutiny about the agency’s – and her personal – practices of evading transparency. Under that cloak she conducted a highly political and destructive implementation of President Read More ➡

Did IRS Target Homebuilders on Behalf of Laborers Union?

Ray LaHood photoIn the fall of 2011 the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) submitted Freedom of Information requests to the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service following an announcement that the administration was investigating homebuilders in an attempt to bolster union membership at the expense of housing sector jobs.

To read article by John Ransom at Townhall.com, click here.

 … Read More ➡

Why Does Apple Want Lisa Jackson and Her Ethical Cloud?

Lisa Jackson phptpApple’s hiring of former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last week gives her a soft landing place, after she fled her cabinet role spurred by a flurry of evasions and deceits over alias email accounts she and her underlings used to hide correspondence from the public. Her would-be successor, Gina McCarthy, seeks to be confirmed under the same cloud.

It’s unclear why Apple would want or need Jackson, as its (faux) environmentalist credibility is already well established, and the Mac maker already boasts the top figurehead of eco-figureheads on its board of directors, Al Gore.

That’s not to say the evasive, deceptive Jackson isn’t a fit for Apple, a company with a reputation for falsely claiming “green”-friendly policies when the truth shows otherwise. Also like Jackson, the Cupertino, Calif. clan isn’t shy about piling on sky-high costs for the massive amounts of electricity it needs for services like iCloud … Read More ➡

EPA Regulations Responsible for Eco-Boost Engine Problems

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica was interviewed on the Willis Report on May 28, 2013. Here’s a transcript:

Gerri Willis: Federal government finally, finally revving up an investigation into the Ford F150 pickup trucks with Eco-Boost engines. Now if you watch this show you would have known this was coming because earlier this month we reported consumer complaints about Eco-Boost engines. They shake or lose power during acceleration. That is a complaint. But little has been done about it from Ford or the federal government, for that matter. With more on this Mark Modica associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center. Mark, welcome to the show. You know, we’ve talking about this for a long time. Why is the federal government been so slow to act?

Mark Modica: Hi, Gerri. Well, I don’t know. There have been about a hundred complaints. As you said, the vehicles … Read More ➡

Obama Extends HAMP Mortgage Plan Despite Data Showing Lack of Effectiveness, Need

mortgage-modification-formThe housing market has been on a roll this past year. Prices are rising; vacancy rates are falling; and homeowners are spending small fortunes on upgrading properties. In this context, a White House initiative, the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, launched in 2009 to reduce mortgage payments for millions of owners at risk of foreclosure, appears downright irrelevant. But Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced this morning that his boss will extend the program for two years beyond its scheduled December 31, 2013 expiration date for new applicants. In April, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) released a quarterly report (see pdf) concluding HAMP is rife with delays and alarming default rates. “This is a significant problem,” noted Inspector General Christy Romero. “When homeowners fall out of these modifications, all of a sudden they’re facing huge mortgage payments.” … Read More ➡