Today we asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Ana Matosantos, a member of the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board, and to seek her removal. We cited apparent violations of federal conflict of interest statutes by Matosantos. According to information that we unearthed, Matosantos’ family business and other private companies with which she has a financial relationship stand to directly benefit from actions of the board.
The unelected board was established in 2016 to oversee the response Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, and was granted powers by Congress akin to a bankruptcy court. As we have helped to expose in the past, political corruption is endemic in Puerto Rico. Apparently, the Commonwealth can’t even go broke without someone trying to take advantage of the situation. Here is the full text of our letter to the Attorney General:
As if President Donald Trump isn’t facing enough challenges to his administration’s legitimacy, now he’s got another one. On March 28, U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte granted standing to a lawsuit by the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland alleging that the president, by continuing to profit from his Washington, D.C. hotel, is violating the constitutional ban on federal officials receiving gifts from domestic and foreign entities. According to Judge Messitte, his actions are causing “economic harm.” Yet evidence suggests that neither economics nor constitutional principle has much to do with this case.
Public officials in this country from the start have faced the pressure of being “bought and paid for.” Our Framers, recognizing the ever-present temptations of corruption, created safeguards to bar office holders from receiving presents, or “emoluments,” from outside parties. Article I, Section 6, Clause 2 of the Constitution, for example, bars sitting members … Read More ➡ “Judge Gives Standing to Shaky ‘Emoluments’ Suit against Trump”
When it comes to ethically compromised congressmen, Chicago seems to produce a bumper crop. Last Thursday, March 22, the House Ethics Committee released separate reports admonishing Reps. Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez, both Democrats from Chicago districts, for violating House rules concerning outside financial activities of members. The committee ordered Rush (in photo, on left) and Gutierrez (in photo, on right) to pay respective sums of $13,310 and $9,700 to the U.S. Treasury. The investigations were triggered by a probe by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Given the facts, the sanctions appear to be slaps on the wrist. The case of Gutierrez, who is retiring after the current term, is especially disturbing in the context of other conflicts of interest.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has received accolades for free speech advocacy by respected institutions such as the Newseum, but the company is being called on the carpet for consigning its data storage services – especially crucial encrypted access keys – to a bunch of communists.
Amnesty International announced Thursday it would initiate a social media campaign against Apple, because the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant caved to the Chinese government and agreed to allow its customers’ data to be housed on servers there.
The effort coincides with a visit by Cook to the China Development Forum, where he is co-chairing an event sponsored by the government in which business leaders meet with public officials in an effort to improve relations.
It also follows only a month after Reuters reported that Apple agreed to store encrypted keys used to access customers’ (or, users’) data storage accounts (such as iCloud).
If ever a federal agency was ripe for termination, the Bureau of Indian Affairs should qualify for consideration. The bureau has a justly-earned reputation as a patronage machine for tribal leaders and their cronies. The Trump administration has been emphasizing its intent to reform the agency. Tribal sovereignty, the product of several 19th-century treaties, is a fact of life. But there are ways of “draining the swamp” that would not require abrogating any treaties.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), created in 1824 and housed under the Department of the Interior since 1849, has much to manage with its current $2.5 billion annual budget. There are 567 federally-recognized Indian and Alaska Native tribes representing about two million persons. Many live on reservations comprising 55.7 million acres. Each tribe elects its own sovereign government to oversee such activities as courts, schools, job training, health care, infrastructure and gambling casinos.
Union corruption long has contributed to cost overruns on urban real estate projects, especially in New York City where developers tend to think big. But area labor leaders now are getting some well-deserved comeuppance. On Monday, March 5, Related Companies, the general contractor of the Hudson Yards mega-development on Manhattan’s West Side, sued the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and its president, Gary LaBarbera, in State Supreme Court for actions that allegedly inflated costs by over $100 million. The defendants, reads the suit, were “condoning, if not actively participating in, various corrupt practices.” Allegations include tortious interference, time sheet fraud and wage fraud, the latter offense highlighted by a scam in which two union members received a wage of over $40 an hour for fetching coffee. Nice work if you can get it.
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.
There’s nothing unusual about a corporation offering employees paid leave for vacations, illness or personal emergencies. That’s a fact of the modern workplace. But lately employers have begun to provide a far less justifiable benefit: paid leave for social justice activism. Very often, employees themselves, backed by social media mobs, demand that management take stands on gun control, global warming, immigration and other major issues. And these shakedowns can result in the termination of less than compliant executives. It’s another example of why business should not be a vehicle for political advocacy.
The Left always has been resourceful in building cadres. And the workplace has become the new frontier. Not that many companies aren’t already on board with this. At Luxe, a San Francisco-based valet parking smart phone app, founder and CEO Curtis Lee, angered over President Trump’s January 2017 executive order temporarily barring entry into the U.S. … Read More ➡ “Corporations Paying for Employee Protest: Does the Tail Wag the Dog?”
The horrific shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. – other than the obvious evil present in killer Nikolas Cruz – have been the result of a massive breakdown of government institutions – from deputies who didn’t enter the school, to the many warnings about Cruz that were ignored by authorities, to the failure of federal, state and local lawmakers to fortify their schools with armed security to protect students and faculty after too many incidents already.
Nonetheless the pressure groups of the Left and the legacy media, in the immediate days following the incident, trained their sights on the National Rifle Association, its millions of members, its finances, its influence, and its corporate partners.
It’s official: The Teamsters are involved in organized crime. No, it’s not the Old School variety, where the union farms out its dirty work to the Mafia. It’s the kind where the union subverts immigration law and calls it social justice. And it might succeed. Earlier this month, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16, representing about 120,000 workers mainly in the New York City area, sponsored a series of seminars on how to thwart Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workplace raids for the purpose of arresting unauthorized immigrants. The campaign, supported by the AFL-CIO, follows a council resolution of last September. Council President George Miranda stated then: “Our members can be confident that we stand behind them 100 percent regardless of where they were born or what kinds of papers they have.”