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Dingell’s Family Income— Almost Entirely Paid by General Motors

January 11th, 2010 No comments

Rep. Dingell, longtime Energy and Commerce chairman, has amazing conflict of interest, the
Washington Post
tells us. His wife is vice chairman of GM’s s foundation and executive director of its public affairs division. She earns a large salary and owned millions of dollars worth of stock. She was a GM lobbyist before she married Rep. Dingell in 1981, though she stepped down formally. She was “a board member in 2001 for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry trade group that spends millions each year lobbying Congress.” All this is perfectly legal, but it is silly to have rules preventing Congressmen from doing all these things if their wives can do it. We should get rid of all those ethics rules, and just require transparency.

Categories: corruption, g406 Tags:

Multiple Millions to Secy.of State Clinton by Saudi Arabia, Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan,Oman, Jamaica, Mrs. Rich

January 2nd, 2010 No comments

From NR:

In recent years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave between $10 million and $25 million to the foundation run by the husband of our current Secretary of State.

“Friends of Saudi Arabia” donated at least another million, perhaps another $5 million. So in short, since 1997, the Saudi Kingdom and its affiliated organizations have provided the Clinton Foundation at least $11 million, and perhaps as much as $35 million.

But I’m sure our Secretary of State held a hard line against them. Remember, it was the last President who was a pawn of the Saudis, or at least the left insisted that was so.

Other foreign governments contributing to the husband of the nation’s chief diplomat: The government of Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan’s Economic and Cultural Office, Ministry for the Environment & Territory, Italy and the Sultanate of Oman.

Jamaica is listed as a donation between $50,000 and $100,000, with the specification, “100% pass through for commodity procurement.”

For foreign countries to be able to put money into an account controlled by the household of our top diplomat is an egregious conflict of interest, and I cannot believe that the Obama administration shrugged its shoulders at this. The Foundation should have been put into a blind trust; there’s just too much potential for foreign governments to try to buy friendship (or access!) under this arrangement.

Also donating $250,000 to $500,000? Denise Rich, wife of infamous Bill Clinton pardon subject Marc Rich.

UPDATE: Freddie Mac donated between $50,001 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Insert your own punchline here: The Clinton Foundation received between $10,001 and $25,000 from the ‘I Won’t Cheat’ Foundation.

This one surprises me: between $10,001 and $25,000 from “Newsmax Media, Inc.” That Newsmax?

Categories: clinton, corruption, nonprofits Tags:

The Stevens Prosecution

April 2nd, 2009 No comments

April 8. The Justice Dept. seems to have decided to make it hard to get info on the case by removing files from their website, but I found the 10-02-2008 GOVERNMENT’S MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO
DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS OR FOR A NEW TRIAL
and have posted it. This is worth having because it is said that the prosecutors lie in it. I haven’t been following closely enough to know where.

The place to go for info on this case is the blog Crime and Federalism.

April 7. I see another motivation for dropping the case. I read now that the judge is ordering the prosecutors to give him their background materials even though they want to drop the case. It looks to me as if the judge is outraged and wants to hold the prosecutors in criminal contempt, perhaps sending them to jail for a while. The FBI is accused of misbehavior too. If Holder can stop the proceedings, he’ll be able to hold the threat of punishment ordered by himself over the Public Integrity Section and the FBI, and use that as leverage. Thus, the Stevens case might be dropped even if Holder was sure he could get a conviction. What we may have here is that the attorney-general is willing for one criminal to go free (Stevens) to prevent another group of criminals from going to jail (the prosecutors). Stevens, of course, would not object to this– it’s a perfect opportunity for prosecution-defense collusion. The judge, however, has less reason to approve the deal.

I posted this comment at VC.

Brenda Morris joined the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice in September 1991. After working for twelve years as a Trial Attorney with the Public Integrity Section, she was promoted in March 2004 to Deputy Chief for Litigation. In August 2006, Professor Morris was promoted to the position of Principal Deputy Chief.

The acting head of the Criminal Division, who rushed the indictment unethically, was also a career civil servant. It does look as if the careerists have scored another scalp with Stevens.

A question for the lawyers: Is prosecutorial misconduct in a previous trial for the same offence admissible? If it is, Stevens would surely be acquitted in a second trial. Second question: Should it be? (Yes, I would think.)

What has received little discussion here are Holder’s motives. I wonder if it has any connection with Senator Dodd. Is failure to report a favorable mortgage a crime? It is, I suppose if favorable mortgage terms are defined as a gift.

Here is an article on the Dodd mortgage.

I called Robert Feinberg, the former Countrywide executive who blew the whistle on Dodd last summer, but he declined to speak on the record. What he said to me last October is still relevant.

Dodd “got the best of the best,” Feinberg told me in the fall, saying that the deal would have saved the Dodds about $77,000 over the life of the loan. It means, for example, that Dodd got a free-of-charge “floatdown” to a better interest rate and that he paid no points.

“There isn’t one person that was in my pipeline during that four and a half years that didn’t know they were getting VIP service,” Feinberg said.

I would really like to find out who is in the Justice Dept. as career and political appointees. The same goes for the rest of the government. How many are Democrats? The public has a right to the info of who is running our government.


April 7.
I hadn’t been following the Stevens case, and believed the conventional wisdom that he was guilty. Now I really wonder. It seems as if this is the story: Stevens had his friend Allen renovate his house. Allen billed Stevens for $160,000. Allen also let his construction company provide free work, bought furniture, a grill, etc. The government, it seems (this is not clear, and in any case, I don’t trust the government at all on this) values the free stuff at $240,000, and I couldn’t figure out what the defense valued it at. Allen claims that Stevens knew he was getting renovations cheap; Allen claims he didn’t know it.

I believe Stevens, on the renovations. He was not closely involved– he even gave a power of attorney to a neighbor to sign all the permits and suchlike— and he did, after all, pay $160,000 for not an entire new house, but just renovations. I don’t see how anyone could find him guilty there beyond a reasonable doubt.

On the other hand, he seems clearly guilty of smaller infractions. He knew he had gotten new furniture, a new grill, a salmon statute, etc. If the value of that was over the ridiculously small statutory limit– $320, I think— then he is guilty in not reporting it.

The government could easily have proved guilt on the gifts of chattels, without even using Allen as a witness. But that was too small a violation to make the prosecution seem reasonable. In fact, I bet half the Senate is guilty of not reporting $400 gifts from old friends. I hope the Federal Sentencing Guidelines don’t impose a big minimum sentence for that. Of course, prosecutorial discretion is supposed to help by preventing de minimis prosecutions.

Here are the exempt categories of gifts:

(1) Bequests and other forms of inheritance; (2) Political campaign contributions; (3) Communications to your offices including subscriptions to
newspapers and periodicals; (4) Consumable products provided by home state businesses to your offices, if those products are intended for consumption
by persons other than yourself; (5) Gifts received prior to your Federal employment; (6) Gifts to your spouse or dependent child totally independent of his or
her relationship to you; (7) Gifts from relatives;
(8) Personal hospitality of any individual (see instructions); (9) meals and beverages unless consumed in
connection with a gift of overnight lodging; and (10) Food, lodging, transportation, and entertainment provided by a foreign government within a foreign
country, or by federal, state, D.C., or local governments.

Categories: corruption, dodd, government, Holder, law, stevens Tags:

Obama Appointee Richard Holbrooke as an AIG Director

March 24th, 2009 No comments

Richard Painter writes at VC:

When I was at the White House, we looked carefully at corporate directorships. Membership on the board of a company with serious corporate governance problems was a strike against a potential nominee….

How then could a high ranking position it the State Department in 2009 go to Richard Holbrooke who was a director of AIG between 2001 and 2008, who was on AIG’s compensation committee, and who resigned from AIG in the summer of 2008 just as things were falling apart? Holbrooke is a talented if controversial diplomat with a track record in Kosovo, and he brings this experience to his present position as liaison between the United States and parties interested in the War in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, news reports suggest that the White House did not think about AIG when appointing Holbrooke, and did not consider whether a man who could not keep AIG’s risk prone management in check can effectively deal with a geographic region riddled with corruption, not to mention Al Queda and the Taliban.

And there is more. Holbrooke left the Clinton Administration for investment banking. The Department of Justice Public Integrity Division later charged that he violated post-employment conflict of interest rules by representing back to the State Department on behalf of an investment bank. The charges were settled with payment of a $5,000 fine. Details are in an August 14, 2000 memo titled 1999 Conflict of Interest Prosecution Survey sent by the Office of Government Ethics to designated agency ethics officials:

http://www.cs.indiana.edu/sudoc/image_32000000478091/32000000478091/DAEOGRAM/00/Do00029.pdf

In 2001 Holbrooke became a director of AIG. According to the Associated Press, SEC filings indicate that AIG paid Holbrooke hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and stock in 2006 and 2007 (2008 compensation figures are not yet available).

Also:

AIG and the until recently AIG-affiliated Starr Foundation contributed a lot of money over several years to the American Academy in Berlin, itself a good cause. Dig deeper, however, and one finds that the American Academy was founded by none other than Holbrooke who also served as its Chairman. Is it pure coincidence that Holbrooke was one of AIG ‘s outside directors who helped decided how much money AIG’s senior executives got paid? Conflicts of interest of this sort are not per se illegal (perhaps they should be) but they do not reflect well on corporations or the directors who run them.

Categories: corporate governance, corruption, obama Tags:

Firing U.S. Attorneys

March 14th, 2009 No comments

One aspect of the Clinton scandals was that Clinton fired all the US Attorneys immediately upon coming to office, rather than waiting until he had nominated new people to replace the Bush appointees. This was widely thought to have been to aimed at replacing the Arkansas district attorney who was a threat to him personally, but who couldn’t have been fired as a single case without looking even worse. I just learned something new: the Clinton transition team lied to the Bush Administration about their intentions. Probably that was so the district attorneys couldn’t speed up investigations or take papers away with them. See The Washington Post:

Advisers to Obama say they have learned from past mistakes, including Clinton’s decision to require all U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations.

Critics said that move threw law enforcement efforts into disarray. And Richard Cullen, who was a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia under President George H.W. Bush, said that crossed signals during the Clinton transition left some prosecutors on the street unexpectedly.

“We just got a call one day: Resign right away,” said Cullen, now chairman of the law firm McGuire Woods. “That was at odds with what the Clinton transition people told the Bush transition people. Some people didn’t have jobs to go back to, and had families to feed.”

Of course, one of the oddities of liberals is how outraged they were when Bush fired a handful of U.S. attorneys later on without giving any reason.

Categories: clinton, corruption, government, law, prosecutors Tags:

High Pay for Administrators in Undemanding Jobs

February 18th, 2009 No comments

It looks as if it would be worth looking for corruption in the adminstration of the UC system. This reminds me of Michelle Obama’s high-paid job for the University of Chicago, a different UC.

UC Berkeley officials have acknowledged misleading the public in the controversial case of a high-paid executive aide who left her job at the university’s headquarters and the next day began a new job on the Cal campus – qualifying for a $100,202 severance check along the way.

Categories: corruption, universities Tags:

Kennedy Family Scandals

February 6th, 2009 No comments

The Weekly Standard has an article listing many of the Kennedy family crimes and scandals. It’s weak on Teddy, Joe, and John Sr. scandals, though. What a family!

Categories: corruption, crime, Kennedy, politics Tags:

Ron Sims, Another "Obama Nominee"

February 4th, 2009 No comments

Via Instapundit, we have a new tainted Obama appointee: Ron Sims, for no. 2 at HUD. Sims is King County Executive, which is the county Seattle is in in Washington State. That means he has involvement in the 2004 theft of the gubernatorial election. Apparently he also stonewalled freedom-of-info requests for studies of a certain county project and got the county fined over $100,000 because the denial of the documents was so blatantly illegal.

Seattle seems to be quite a corrupt place. It is also where Bush fired a US attorney, John McKay, for refusing to investigate the 2004 election. I looked into that a bit, and it seems that McKay is a liberal Republican who headed the Clinton Legal Services Corporation and whose brother is active in state politics. It also seems that his refusal to look at the 2004 election was political, despite his posture of high-mindedness. For info on McKay and the 2004 election coverup, see here. His Seattle U. School of Law bio (rather a come-down in status, isn’t it?) is here. I also found a lengthy blog entry on John McKay and his brother Michael McKay, who was Bush Senior’s US Attorney in Seattle.

For info on the $124,000 fine, see the Seattle Times. The article doesn’t mention King, even though he apparently was the politician in charge of the decision, but it does say that the trial judge was going to impose a trivial fine, but the State Supreme Court, in an unusual move, overruled him. The Seattle Times doesn’t mention that record-setting fine in its adulatory article on the HUD nomination.

I bet a look at Mr. Sims’s tax returns would be enlightening.

Categories: corruption, elections, obama, vote fraud Tags:

The Daschles as An Example of Legal Corruption

February 4th, 2009 1 comment

Even tho its subject is not so topical now, The Daschles: feeding at the Beltway trough by Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com is a good article.

Categories: corruption, lobbying, obama, politics Tags:

Game Theory and Blackmail of Politicians

January 23rd, 2009 No comments

The FBI had highly incriminating tapes of Martin Luther King indulging in adultery, dirty jokes, etc. This was illegal, I think, since it was not taped at his office but at home or sleeping place, so it has been suppressed by court order till 2027.

Why, though, didn’t the FBI leak this information back in 1964? I can think of two reasons:

1. The FBI really wasn’t trying to snoop on King’s personal life. The FBI was just doing its job, checking out his communist connections, and having found that though he did consort with communists, he wasn’t one, they figured their job was done.

2. The FBI (i.e., J. Edgar Hoover) blackmailed King, somehow changing his behavior.

I don’t know why the FBI would like to blackmail King, but if you think J. Edgar Hoover was anti-King, reason 2 is your only explanation. If he was anti-King, why didn’t he leak the adultery info– or somehow set up King to be exposed by a third party?

Reason 2 might be verifiable. After the dates when the FBI adultery tapes were made, did King somehow change his behavior?

The idea of blackmail is important in other contexts too.

1. I had the impression that Dole was going easy on Clinton in the 1996 campaign. Was this because Clinton had info on Dole?

2. Rep. Rangel has gotten away with tax evasion for years, it seems. Did presidents use his vulnerability to prosecution to get him to be cooperative on tax policy?

Categories: corruption, game theory, politics Tags:

Geithner’s Tax Cheating

January 22nd, 2009 No comments

I just retired from the IRS this past summer. I can verily state we would have been fired on the spot if unreported income was discovered on our tax return. It is shocking that Timothy Geithner would head the IRS, the same organization that would have fired me for ANY unreported income. I am sure shock waves are rippling through my former IRS office right now to think that the new head of the IRS failed to pay $30,000 in taxes. (a comment here)

Tim Geithner really is a man in the spirit of Bill and Hillary Clinton: rules are for little people, but they don’t apply to me.

Oh, those hapless Republicans! They don’t realize that what they have here– a knowing (that is, known since before the nomination was made public), deliberate, attempt to put a tax cheat in charge of tax enforcement– is the ticket to victory in 2010.

I know everybody says good things about Geithner, but keep in mind two other things:

1. He was at the New York Fed while it totally botched oversight of the financial system.

2. Cheaters never cheat just once.

Categories: corruption, obama, politics, taxes Tags:

A List of Prominent Democrats in Trouble

January 21st, 2009 No comments
  1. Senator Dodd, Chairman of Senate Finance Committee, (preferential mortgage treatment)
  2. Tom Daschle, nominee for Secy. of HHS, tax evasion.
  3. Rep. Rangel, Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Taxes.
  4. Blagojevich,Governor of Illinois, selling a Senate seat.
  5. Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, Obama Cabinet pick, grand jury investigation.
  6. Spitzer, Mayor of New York, hiring a prostitute.
  7. Larry Langford, Mayor of Birmingham (2008). Indicted for bribery.
  8. Marion Barry, former Mayor of Washington (2009)(current City Councilor). Failure to file income taxes (his cocaine conviction was a long time ago).
  9. Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland, Oregon (2009). Homosexual relations with a teenager.
  10. Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit Mayor (2008). Charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and official misconduct stemming from a sex scandal and a whistle-blower lawsuit
  11. Sheila Dixon, Mayor of Baltimore (2009) indicted
    for perjury, theft, misconduct in office
    .

  12. Bernie Madoff (2008).
  13. William Jefferson (D-La). Racketeering, soliciting bribes, money laundering
  14. Attorney-General nominee Eric Holder (2008). (Marc Rich pardon, Puerto Rican terrorist pardon, testimony under oath that he’d not heard of Rich when in fact his office had litigated against a Rich company in 1995, while Rich was on the 10 Most Wanted list)
  15. Treasury nominee: Geithner (2008). Cheating on taxes.

An earlier post said this:

A WSJ op-ed made me realize that the list of post-election scandals has gotten amazingingly long. What good timing luck the Democrats have had!

We might include the Acorn, Minnesota recount, and Ohio plumber-disclosure small-fry Democratss.

Name That Party is a website that looks at new stories about politicians in trouble with attention to whether their party affiliation is mentioned (yes, if Republican) or not (if Democratic).

There are some Reublicans too, but fewer and less prominent (Senator Stevens being the exception):

  1. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) 2008 False statements on Senate disclosure forms
  2. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) 2008 Extortion, wire fraud, money laundering
  3. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) 2007 Bathroom homosexual solicitation
  4. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) 2007. Trading political favors for gifts. Convicted, sentenced to 2.5 years in prison
  5. Don Young (R-Alaska) 2008. “Under investigation”. Four separate federal investigations: a $10 million earmark for a road in Florida, assistance to convicted VECO executive Bill Allen, ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, financial relationship with indicted businessman Dennis Troha.
  6. Vito J. Fossella (R-NY) (2008). Drunk driving, adultery.
  7. Joseph L. Bruno former New York Senate Majority Leader for New York: indicted for mail fraud, January 2009.

Looking at just what has been revealed about Rep. Rangel so far, he seems to have done far worse than Senator Stevens.

Categories: corruption, crime, democrats, law, liberals Tags:

Wealth and Power

January 14th, 2009 No comments

Walter Williams writes on power:

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, with about $60 billion in assets each, are America’s richest men. With all that money, what can they force us to do? Can they take our house to make room so that another person can build an auto dealership or a casino parking lot? Can they force us to pay money into the government-run retirement Ponzi scheme called Social Security? Can Buffett and Gates force us to bus our children to schools out of our neighborhood in the name of diversity? Unless they are granted power by politicians, rich people have little power to force us to do anything.

A GS-9, or a lowly municipal clerk, has far more life-and-death power over us. It’s they to whom we must turn to for permission to build a house, ply a trade, open a restaurant and myriad other activities. It’s government people, not rich people, who have the power to coerce and make our lives miserable.

Categories: corruption, freedom, government, regulation Tags:

Criminal Congressmen

January 14th, 2009 No comments
Categories: corruption, crime, politics Tags:

Governor Blagojevich

January 1st, 2009 No comments

Some good articles on Governor Blagojevich are:

Rod Blagojevich, the Stupidest Governor in the Country, Puts Obama in a Bad Light, Dec. 11, Michael Barone.

A Little Blago for Everyone:
A cornucopia of corrupt crapulence,
by Jonah Goldberg at NR.

Rod Gives ‘Em the Shaft; From Vacant Lot to Hot Spot
The governor has wasted no time alienating the very people who helped him get elected.
from the Chicago Reader, Ben Joravsky, May 7, 2004, which is very good on Chicago politics and the Mell family.

Categories: chicago, corruption, politics Tags:

A List of Prominent Democrats in Trouble

December 19th, 2008 No comments

January 21: Let’s start a list.

  1. Dodd
  2. Rangel
  3. Blagojevich
  4. Richardson
  5. Spitzer
  6. Jefferson

  7. Madoff
  8. Gutierrez
  9. Chief of Staff Emmanuel (talks with Blagojevich)
  10. Attorney-General nominee: Holder (Marc Rich pardon, Porto Rican terrorist pardon, testimony under oath that he’d not heard of Rich when in fact his office had litigated against a Rich company in 1995, while Rich was on the 10 Most Wanted list)
  11. Treasury nominee: Geithner

A WSJ op-ed made me realize that the list of post-election scandals has gotten amazingingly long. What good timing luck the Democrats have had!

Here’s a list of just the biggest names in trouble:

Dodd, Rangel, Blagojevich, Richardson, Spitzer, Jefferson, Madoff, Gutierrez, Emmanuel, Holder

I think there’s mayors of Birmingham and Detroit too, and maybe some more Congressmen. And we might include the Acorn, Minnesota recount, and Ohio plumber-disclosure small-fry Dems.

Of course, the Republicans have their scandals too: Ted Stevens and Don Young. We seem to have localized the problem to Alaska, though.

January 1, 2009: Name That Party is a website that looks at new stories about politicians in trouble with attention to whether their party affiliation is mentioned (yes, if Republican) or not (if Democratic).

Looking at just what has been revealed about Rep. Rangel so far, he seems to have done far worse than Senator Stevens.

Categories: corruption, liberals Tags:

Blagojevich Bribes the Tribune with State Money

December 9th, 2008 No comments

The charges against Illinois Gov. Blagojevich show why we have to worry about government bailouts resulting in political interference. He conditioned aid to the Chicago Tribune on the support of its editorial page.

…Intercepted calls allegedly show that Blagojevich directed Harris to inform Tribune Owner and an associate, identified as Tribune Financial Advisor, that state financial assistance would be withheld unless members of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board were fired, primarily because Blagojevich viewed them as driving discussion of his possible impeachment. In a November 4 phone call, Blagojevich allegedly told Harris that he should say to Tribune Financial Advisor, Cubs Chairman and Tribune Owner, “our recommendation is fire all those [expletive] people, get ‘em the [expletive] out of there and get us some editorial support.”

On November 6, the day of a Tribune editorial critical of Blagojevich , Harris told Blagojevich that he told Tribune Financial Advisor the previous day that things “look like they could move ahead fine but, you know, there is a risk that all of this is going to get derailed by your own editorial page.” Harris also told Blagojevich that he was meeting with Tribune Financial Advisor on November 10.

In a November 11 intercepted call, Harris allegedly told Blagojevich that Tribune Financial Advisor talked to Tribune Owner and Tribune Owner “got the message and is very sensitive to the issue.” Harris told Blagojevich that according to Tribune Financial Advisor, there would be “certain corporate reorganizations and budget cuts coming and, reading between the lines, he’s going after that section.” Blagojevich allegedly responded. “Oh. That’s fantastic.” After further discussion, Blagojevich said, “Wow. Okay, keep our fingers crossed. You’re the man. Good job, John.”

In a further conversation on November 21, Harris told Blagojevich that he had singled out to Tribune Financial Advisor the Tribune’s deputy editorial page editor, John McCormick, “as somebody who was the most biased and unfair.” After hearing that Tribune Financial Advisor had assured Harris that the Tribune would be making changes affecting the editorial board, Blagojevich allegedly had a series of conversations with Chicago Cubs representatives regarding efforts to provide state financing for Wrigley Field. …

Categories: corruption, government, politics Tags:

Election Fraud and Fired US Attorney John McKay

October 5th, 2007 No comments

I have read people saying that election fraud has trivial importance in the United States, so the Republicans’ desire for investigations and for identity to be verified for voting is unjustified. Here’s clear evidence against that. Note, too, the behavior of US Attorney John McKay, who was later fired.Click here to read more