On April 11, Edward Cranston, former secretary-treasurer for Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 1421, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to three years of probation for filing a false financial report for the year 2014 to conceal his thefts from the Beecher (Will County), Ill.-based union in the sum of $28,220. He also was ordered to pay the remaining nearly $10,000 of the $28,084 in restitution plus a $25 assessment. Cranston had pleaded guilty in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Later this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook will co-chair something called the China Development Forum, sponsored by Communist Chinese government. It was only in December that Cook keynoted the World Internet Conference, another Chinese government event held to promote a more censored Internet.
Apple’s relationship with Beijing now looks more like a partnership. On February 28, Apple transferred operation of its iCloud data center in mainland China to a state-owned enterprise called Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD).
Apple will continue to market its iCloud services in China and will take care of the billing, but its new partner will possess and manage all the data. Everything that any Apple customer in China puts up to iCloud, which often means anything that is stored on their devices, will be under the ultimate control of their government.
Michael Gartland of the New York Post is applying more scrutiny to Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), the leader of the corrupt Queens, New York political machine. This time, Crowley is enriching his brother (and himself?) by successfully seeking $10 million in federal funding for a co-op for Bronx merchants. From the story:
The federal infrastructure money, which Crowley (D-Queens) and Rep. José Serrano (D-Bronx) led the effort to secure, came just months after Crowley’s brother, Sean, lobbied the House and the US Department of Transportation on behalf of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative, records show.
The merchant co-op, which was awarded the federal funding in August 2013, has shelled out at least $827,000 to the lobbying firm Davidoff, Hutcher and Citron since 2009, federal and state records show.
Its unclear what purpose is served by a near-bankrupt federal government subsidizing particular businesses, but the arrangement serves the Crowleys … Read More ➡
(This piece was first published by The Hill, where I am an Opinion Contributor.)
As the Justice Department puts it, former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been tasked to “oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.”
No effort should be spared in getting to the bottom of what actually occurred, and whether Russia presently seeks to interfere with our political process.
No investigation will be complete or credible, however, if it does not include a review of the relationship between the Russian government and its favored business entities with former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and political and business associates of the Clintons.
Unlike the inferences that have been made about President Trump and his campaign, many of which rely on rumor, innuendo, conspiracy theories and deliberate falsehoods, the Clintons’ extensive … Read More ➡
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.”
On Friday, Dr. Salomon Melgen was found guilty of 67 counts of Medicare fraud. According to federal sentencing guidelines, he faces 15-20 years on prison.
In the end, Melgen’s defense consisted of arguments that he was a lousy and incompetent doctor, but not a fraudster. Given the choice, the jury went with fraud, although both could certainly be true.
Melgen will also be tried on bribery charges in New Jersey in September, along with Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Of course, one way for Melgen to reduce his sentence in the Medicare case would be to testify against Menendez in the bribery case.
The bribery charges relate to Menendez’ attempts to derail the Medicare fraud investigation and for pushing a port security deal in the Dominican Republic that would have provided a windfall for Melgen. In return, the indictment alleges, Melgen provided Menendez with private jet ride rides, … Read More ➡
Indicted Senator Robert Menendez’ biggest donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, is on trial in West Palm Beach for on 76 charges of defrauding Medicare of $105 million. These charges are separate from those that Melgen bribed Menendez, on which the duo will be tried in New Jersey later in the year.
Of course, there is a connection between the two proceedings. Melgen wouldn’t have been able to shower favors on Menendez, or kick in $700,000 to a super PAC that spent most of the money to re-elect Menendez in 2012, if he wasn’t getting gobs of money from somewhere. And that somewhere was you and me, the taxpayers.
But it’s being treated like two separate local stories, one in Florida and one in New Jersey. Despite increasingly colorful — and disturbing — testimony at Melgen’s trial, it has not broken through to the national media, … Read More ➡
The following letter has been delivered to Senator John McCain (R-NM) and Senator Jack Redd (D-RI), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee:
As leading organizations promoting ethics and accountability, we strongly urge you to vote against the nomination of Heather Wilson to be Secretary of the Air Force.
Recently published articles by Patrick Malone of the Center for Public Integrity and others have underscored the questionable actions of former Rep. Heather Wilson in connection with the activities of her firm, Heather Wilson LLC, in its work for Lockheed subsidiary Sandia Corp.
A Politico article of last month, “Records show how Air Force nominee skirted lobbying restrictions” details how emails and other materials show Wilson was deeply involved in the strategic plan to “help the Sandia Corp. win a noncompetitive contract for continued nuclear weapons work…”
The article went on to note that Lockheed does “more business with … Read More ➡
The Daily Signal included this reaction to President-elect Trump’s hints yesterday that he is backing away from further legal pursuit of the Clintons:
“It was a premature decision [not to continue investigating Clinton] because we don’t know what evidence on the email server or Clinton Foundation will emerge,” said Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group, told The Daily Signal.
“It shouldn’t be the call of the White House anyway, but should be left up to the new attorney general—and IRS commissioner—whether to investigate,” Flaherty continued, noting the IRS should look into the nonprofit status of the Clinton Foundation. “Prosecuting Hillary might seem like piling on from a political sense, but if she broke the law, this is a decision that should be left to law enforcement.”
NLPC has exposed through the media four separate instances of apparent pay to play involving the … Read More ➡