By Gary P Jackson
Tag Archives: corruption
Today we learned that our government targeted and harassed conservative Americans who simply wanted to be involved in the national discussion. Is it any wonder why Americans are so distrustful of D.C.? I’m sure President Obama is grateful for all the help the IRS gave his reelection campaign, but, still, you have to wonder how the bureaucrats who tried to pull this off can sleep at night.
So many Americans knew this was happening, but many felt defenseless and even helpless against a government that seems to roll along without accountability or sense of obligation to the people it’s supposed to serve. These Americans were mocked for being concerned about this, but now we see light shining on the truth, finally.
This IRS revelation is another step in the unraveling of the Obama administration’s self-proclaimed “hope and change.” Between the Benghazi cover-up and the IRS targeting Obama’s political opponents, we see the corruption at the heart of big government.
Americans should remember that this same corrupt IRS will be in charge of enforcing Obamacare. And this same inept and corrupt government will supposedly secure our now unsecured borders in advance of immigration reform and will implement a completely ethical and non-political IPAB panel to make life and death health care decisions for you and your family. Forgive me for not trusting these big government promises any more than I trust the White House’s latest Benghazi spin or the IRS’ fairness.
Despite all of this, I still believe that this “fundamental transformation of America” is temporary. This attempted transformation into a disheartened, weakened, unrecognizable nation is so far below anything Americans deserve. It becomes permanent only if we throw up our hands and surrender to the corruption and cover-ups.
We must demand more light shine on all that’s transpiring in D.C.’s self-absorbed bubble. On the IRS scandal, we must have accountability and a full investigation. On Benghazi, Speaker Boehner must create a Select Committee with full investigative and subpoena authority to get to the bottom of the cover-up. Keep the faith, friends.
By Gary P Jackson
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Sarah Palin has often said one of her favorite movies is the 1939 classic Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart, the movie follows newly appointed Senator Jefferson Smith [Stewart] , a naive and idealistic young man. As the story unfolds, Senator Smith runs up against the political machine, massive corruption and cronyism.
Before taking office, Smith was the leader of the Boy Rangers a fictional group akin to the Boy Scouts of America. It’s his goal, as Senator, to create a national boys camp, a noble idea that turns into a battle. It’s a great movie that I firmly believe all Americans should see. Like all Capra films, it has a strong message.
It’s easy to understand why Sarah Palin loves this movie. Sarah is a proven reformer, having gone after questionable politicians since her earliest days as a member of the Wasilla, Alaska city council.
In a move that kinda mirrors the movie, after an unsuccessful bid to be Alaska’s Lt. Governor, Sarah, whose political star was definitely on the rise, was appointed by Governor Frank Murkowski as Chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. This is one of the most powerful positions in the state. It was here that Sarah uncovered massive corruption at almost every level.
After uncovering all of this corruption, Sarah went to the Governor and demanded action. After being told to let it go, she told the Governor to either get something done, or she would go to the media with the facts. This, of course led to Murkowski sending then Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who was also neck deep in his own corrupt dealings, to pay Sarah a visit, threatening her with legal consequences if she blew the whistle.
In the end, Sarah resigned from her high paying gig at the AOGCC and took on the entire corrupt Republican Party in Alaska. The rest is history. The FBI would eventually get involved, and two years later, months into Governor Palin’s term, corrupt Republicans were still being hauled off to prison.
It’s easy to see why Governor Palin relates to the struggles of Senator Smith. She’s lived the movie, and then some!
For me though, it’s another Capra film that hits all of the right notes. Meet John Doe is a wonderful film starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. I relate to the film because of the parallels between the film and what is going on between the Republican Party and the Tea Party today.
Full Disclosure: I’m a huge Gary Cooper fan, something helped along by the fact that he was my mother’s favorite actor, and who I’m named after. And I simply adore Barbara Stanwyck. She is one of the greatest actresses ever to appear on film, and one of the most beautiful. As such, I love every film both of them made.
It’s interesting to note that Cooper and Stanwyck, as well as actors Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers, John Wayne, and Irene Dunne [among others] were members of The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. Within Stanwyck’s online bio, the Internet Movie Database describes this group as “a rabidly right-wing political action group during the McCarthy-era ‘blacklisting’ period in the early and mid-1950s.” Wonderful actors and Conservative to boot. Good enough for me! If they were alive today they would likely be Tea Party members themselves. BTW, as we now know, MaCarthy was spot on!
Released in 1941, while America was still in shambles due to Roosevelt’s failed liberal policies, that turned a bad recession into what is now known as The Great Depression, the movie opens in the town’s newspaper office. The local newspaper has been bought out by oil tycoon D. B. Norton, deliciously played by Edward Arnold, and the first order of business is firing almost everyone, including popular columnist Ann Mitchell. [Stanwyck]
Angered, especially after being told to make sure her last column is done before she hits the door, Mitchell decides to leave a parting shot. She quickly types up a fictional letter to the editor in which a desperate, unemployed man, who calls himself “John Doe,” goes on and on about the state of the country, the political corruption, and the decline of the American way. As a gesture, this fictional “John Doe” promises to commit suicide by jumping off the city’s municipal building on New Year’s Eve.
Once published, the letter creates an uproar in the community. The new editor Henry Connell [James Gleason] summons Mitchell back. Connell figures the letter is bogus, and the town’s other newspaper is already saying as much. Ann’s a fast talker though and convinces Connell that his only course of action is to run with the story, as any admission that the whole thing was made up would harm the paper’s credibility. Mitchell then convinces Connell to hire her back, with a substantial raise.
It’s decided they will run an article asking “John Doe” to come to the newspaper office, and that they have employment for him. The thinking here is people would show up claiming to be “John” and they could pick someone to play the part. It works, as a long line of sad looking tramps parade through the office claiming to be “John.” Of course, none of these characters will do, but as luck will have it, an injured baseball player “Long John” Willoughby [Gary Cooper] walks through the door. Unlike the rest, the humble Willoughby doesn’t claim to be “John Doe.” He tells Mitchell and Connell that he just figured if there was one job, maybe there was two. The newspaper just found itself a sucker to play “John Doe.”
As it turns out, Willoughby is a good speaker, and inspires people all over the nation, when he goes on a nation radio show with his message, a message written by Mitchell. In an organic movement that mirrors the formation of the Tea Party, “John Doe Clubs” start popping up across the country, built on the ideals that Willoughby, speaking the words written by Mitchell, sets forth.
Seeing what he has, D. B. Norton starts outlaying his own cash to fund a national tour with Willoughby and Mitchell, and to help start up these “John Doe Clubs” everywhere. Norton also puts a plan in motion for a national “John Doe” convention.
There are several plot twists, and Willoughby starts having feelings for Mitchell, but we’ll skip past that. Besides, if you haven’t seen the movie, you simply must, not only because you’ll better get where I’m going with all of this, but because this is simply a damned good movie and I want you to experience it yourself!
Moving along, we learn that the kindly D.B. Norton really isn’t kindly at all. The oil man has bought up newspapers and radio stations across the country and plans to use them, as well as the now powerful “John Doe” movement, to launch his political career. It seems Norton has his sights on the White House.
The plan is for Willoughby, as “John Doe” to deliver the keynote speech at the convention, and endorse Norton for president. At least that’s Norton’s plan. Meanwhile Mitchell has actually bought into the “John Doe” movement and has written a wonderful and inspiring speech for the convention.
It all comes to a head when the newspaper’s editor, Henry Connell, gets wind of what Norton is up to and grows a conscience, though not before getting all liquored up. He informs Mitchell of Norton’s plan, and catches Willoughby before the speech. Willoughby then approaches Norton and tells him he refuses to go along. Norton informs Willoughby that if he doesn’t go through with it, he will expose him as a fraud to the world, and destroy him.
At the convention Norton has his union thugs placed throughout the audience, and newspapers pre-printed exposing Willoughby, just in case. He also has Ann Mitchell on lockdown, so she can’t blow the whistle.
It’s cold and rainy as Willoughby takes to the stage. His conscience simply won’t allow him to do Norton’s bidding. As promised, Norton’s union thugs start calling him a fraud, when he starts with the speech Mitchell wrote, rather than the one Norton wanted him to give, and newspapers magically appeared exposing Willoughby, conveniently leaving out Norton and his newspaper’s part in it all. Pretty soon the entire crowd turns on Willoughby.
Destroyed, Willoughby takes the role of “John Doe” all of the way to the top of the town’s municipal building on New Year’s Eve, where he intends to jump.
Much like the fictional “John Doe” movement, the Tea Party is an organic movement that got it’s inspiration from a man who was fed up. On February 19, 2009 CNBC anchor Rick Santelli, reporting from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, went into a well deserved rant about the corrupt dealings going on in the financial markets and called for a new Boston Tea Party. This rant, heard around the world, spoke to tens of millions of fed up Americans who would form thousands of Tea Party groups nationwide.
Though mostly without a formal structure, and no national leadership unifying all of it’s members, the Tea Party has become a powerful force in American politics. It didn’t take long for politicians to try and co-opt the movement for their own gains. For the most part though, Tea Party members turned out to be more sophisticated than the politicians hoped, and with only a few notable exceptions, weren’t fooled by the phonies in the least.
That didn’t stop the GOP from riding the Tea Party’s coattails into 2010 and historic victories nationwide. With the help of Conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, we saw the greatest nationwide political turnover of power since Reconstruction after the Civil War.
Of course, not everyone the Tea Party helped put in power stayed true to their mandate, and those who have are despised by the Republican Elite. You see, true Conservatives cannot be corrupted by Washington, nor can they be controlled by the party bosses. The more the GOP has tried to get Tea Party members to “play ball” the more resistance they have met. The Republican Party bosses want to keeps the status quo. They want to keep their little power bases and corrupt deals alive and producing. They want nothing to do with real reform and real reformers.
True reformers, like Sarah Palin, are attacked unmercifully by the Republican Party Elite. The last thing they want are strong, powerful men and women who, if elected, would dismantle the entire corrupt establishment machine. [in both parties] Something that must be done if America is to survive.
Since they can’t control the Tea Party, the Republicans are again imitating the movie, and have moved into the seek and destroy phase. Recently we’ve seen Speaker of the House John Boehner purge Tea Party Republicans from leadership positions in Congress, and his minions bad mouth the Tea Party to any and all who would listen. As you can imagine, the democrats, and their corrupt media partners, are loving it all, and reporting it breathlessly.
History is being rewritten, and losses by establishment hacks are now being blamed on the Tea Party. The GOP is blaming the Tea Party for all of the loses in 2012, never mind it was their standard bearer, Mitt Romney, who lost to the worst president in American history, and it was their candidates who failed to win 10 seats. Seats that would have put the Senate in Republican hands.
Now we have Karl Rove, one of the most despicable human beings in politics today, renaming his failed political action group the “Conservative Victory Fund” in an attempt to not only co-opt the Conservative movement, but stop the Tea Party as well.
As we reported last November, Rove’s group spent between $100 million and $400 million [depending on who you ask] on various establishment candidates. Rove had a 1% success rate. In comparison, Sarah Palin had a 75% endorsement success rate and America Grizzlies United [Organize for Palin] a group of Palin supporters nationwide, had a 66% success rate, putting candidates in office locally, statewide, and of course, in national office. Thomas S Schmitz, Chairman of the Board of American Grizzlies United, tells me the group spent less that $1000 total, the rest was just good old fashioned hard work.
No wonder Rove wants to destroy the Tea Party and other Conservative groups. They are making him look like the worthless hack he is!
Though establishment candidates lost big in 2010, and Tea Party candidates won huge gains all over the country, the Rove wing of the GOP love to bring up two candidates who lost: Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle.
The elites use these two ladies as examples of why the Tea Party is a failure and can’t be taken seriously. For the establishment, this is a twofer, because they can bash Sarah Palin at the same time. The GOP lies when they bash Sarah, and they lie about Angle and O’Donnell.
First let’s look at Sharron Angle. For one thing, Sarah Palin didn’t endorse her in the primary. She didn’t endorse any candidate in that race, as both her dad and brother had endorsed Danny Tarkanian. BTW, Mitt Romney DID endorse Angle in the primary, something the GOP Elite never mention. Now Sarah did endorse Angle once she was the nominee, but so what. Who else was she gonna to endorse? Angle lost because many liberal Republicans in Nevada backed Harry Reid. Plain and simple.
Christine O’Donnell is another matter altogether, and if anyone is to blame for her loss it’s Karl Rove. Yeah, she was, and is, quirky. But O’Donnell was sincere and had a real Conservative message, and no doubt would have made a good Senator.
As it was, you had George Soros’ boy, Republican Congressman Mike Castle, who only voted like a Conservative at election time, and voted like a socialist democrat the rest of the time, or Mike Coons, the self-proclaimed “bearded Marxist” on the democrat side. Quirks and all, Christine O’Donnell would have made a far superior Senator then either one of those two idiots!
Karl Rove didn’t quite see it that way. You see, Rove had dealings with Congressman Castle, and had hoped to further them along with a Senator Castle. As Michelle Malkin reported at the time, Rove had met with Tea Party leaders in Delaware and tried to convince them to leave his boy Castle alone, and NOT support O’Donnell’s bid for the Senate. As it happened, the Tea Party told Rove to shove it, and O’Donnell got massive Tea Party support from around the country. She won the nomination handily.
O’Donnell was still giving her victory speech when Karl Rove took to the airwaves on Fox’s Sean Hannity Show and proceeded to rip her to shreds. In Fact, Fox [and Hannity] allowed Rove to bash O’Donnell for three nights in a row. As you can imagine, the left ate this up, and their media partners reported it all breathlessly.
Had Rove kept his yap shut, we’d probably be addressing her as Senator O’Donnell to this day. We’ll never know. What we do know, is before Rove’s despicable attacks, O’Donnell was favored to win over Coons by a respectable amount.
Now Rove, along with the rest of the Republican Party machine has targeted Conservatives for defeat. It’s Rove and the GOP’s intention to destroy the Tea Party, and stop Conservatives from winning primaries. Never mind that Conservatives have traditionally won, where the unprincipled squishes the establishment is in love with, do not, and cannot.
This is where you, the American People, come in. It’s time to hold ALL politicians accountable. All politicians from BOTH parties.
As Conservatives, we have very few places to go. The democrat party has been taken over by Marxists. The party of the KKK, Jim Crow, and Margret Sanger is beyond redemption. Thing is, the party of Lincoln and Reagan ain’t much better.
Since the days of Barry Goldwater, Conservatives have tried to reform the Republican Party, and force it to live up to the principles it pretends to stand for. The only brief moment of victory was the Reagan presidency, but Republican Elites have been trying to erase Reagan’s triumphs since the day he left office.
So what are we to do? There are dozens of registered political parties, but none have proven viable. I think at this point, a real reformer COULD win the presidency as an independent, but then what? A president without a party would have both the GOP and the democrats doing everything possible to stifle any attempts at real reform, both parties hoping to get back in power quickly. It would be a frustrating situation.
How about creating a new and vibrant alternative? I’m of the mindset that the Republican Party has become just as morally bankrupt and beyond redemption as the democrat party, but for different reasons. I personally think it’s time for the GOP to go the way of the Whigs, the party it replaced.
It takes time and money to create a new party, and one would have to convince many solid Conservatives already in office to leave the GOP and join that new party. Can it be done? I don’t know. It would take a dynamic leader, and a solid message of real reform. Sudden, and relentless reform. The American people thirst for that message and no-bullshit leaders who would deliver on it. But is it really possible to start a new party?
One thing I do know is the Republican Party machine, with the help of the corrupt media, and much to the delight of the democrats, aims to destroy the Tea Party and the entire Conservative movement, once and for all.
The question is, are you just going to stand by and let them get away with it?
The final scenes of Meet John Doe have D.B. Norton and all of his cronies atop the city municipal building waiting to see if Willoughby will show up and jump. In fact, Willoughby does show up, ready to make good on his threat, after mailing off a letter exposing everyone and everything.
Norton greets Willoughby and tells him that if he jumps, his people are already down there, ready to grab his body, and bury it in an unmarked grave, and no one will ever know. It’s at this point that Ann Mitchell, who has broken free of her captors, shows up and begs Willoughby not to jump, and in tears professes her undying love for him.
Willoughby is dead set on jumping, when members of the “John Doe Club,” folks we’d met earlier in the movie, make their way to the top of the building where Willoughby, Mitchell, and Norton are. They are accompanied by Henry Connell, the newspaper editor.
These “John Does” all plead with Willoughby not to jump. They tell him they don’t care how it all came to be, that they believe in his message, because they have used it in their own lives, and seen positive change in their own communities. It’s then that Ann Mitchell, crying, collapses in Willoughby’s arms and he picks her up and starts carrying her toward the crowd of “John Does“
In the very last scene Henry Connell looks at D.B. Norton
and says with a dare: “The people, you just TRY and lick ‘em!“
By Gary P Jackson
Evidently there is no such thing in Illinois as an honest politician, or intelligent voter. Jessie Jackson Jr just won re-election in a landslide, and now has resigned, and could face jail time. Of course, we can count on Illinois to replace him with an equally corrupt Anti-American political hack, so this will change nothing but the name on the office door.
From Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government:
Jesse Jackson Jr. has resigned from Congress just weeks after winning reelection for a ninth term.
Jackson Jr. has been in treatment for bipolar disorder since June. The timing of his treatment coincides with an FBI investigation into misuse of campaign funds which also reportedly began in June.
The FBI has been looking into claims that Jackson Jr. allegedly used $100,000 in campaign funds to decorate his Washington D.C. home and also purchased a $40,000 Rolex watch for “a female friend.”
Days after his reelection, reports revealed that Jackson Jr. had hired attorney Dan Webb to work out a plea agreement with the Department of Justice. Though voters didn’t know it when they went to the polls, the pleas deal negotiations had supposedly been taking place “for months” behind the scenes. The possible deal was said to include jail time and to require Jackson Jr.’s resignation from Congress.
Even before the FBI investigation, Jackson Jr. was being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for his alleged attempts to raise money for disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich in an attempt to get himself appointed to the US Senate.
By Gary P Jackson
Peter Schweizer has put together an extensive list of Barack Obama’s top campaign bundlers. Peter and the Government Accountability Institute also disclose what, if anything, these top bundlers got for their efforts:
The term “bundlers” is as mysterious as it is ubiquitous. Bundlers are fundraisers who gather high-dollar donations and “bundle” them together for their favored candidates.
Recently, we at the Government Accountability Institute decided to look at some bundlers to see whether they, their relatives, or their businesses have received government contracts, loans, or other perks.
This list consists of the 50 bundlers who (along with their immediate families) have given the most to all federal campaigns, parties, and PACs in the past 22 years—and who bundled for President Obama in either 2008 or 2012.
Next week, we’ll look at some of Romney’s bundlers, although identifying them is more complicated because—unlike the Obama campaign—Romney has refused to release the names of his top fundraisers.
Note: The total contributions listed, as well as bundlers’ employers, are based on research by the Center for Responsive Politics. Bundlers’ names and contributions during the 2008 and 2012 cycles are based on information available on the Obama campaign’s website on April 20, 2012.
Here are several noteworthy bundlers. Government is, most definitely FOR SALE:
Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO DreamWorks Animation
08 bundled $500K + ’12 bundled $500K +
Katzenberg was a guest at a February 2012 luncheon for the likely future Chinese president, Xi Jinping, attended by Vice President Biden and Secretary Clinton. DreamWorks’s $2 billion proposal to create a China-based studio required Xi’s signoff. (The administration told The Washington Post that the lunch did not facilitate this agreement.)
Paul Egerman [right] Co-Chairman and Co-CEO
2012 bundled $50K-$100K
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka, the stimulus) included a $19.2 billion dollar pool to incentivize physicians to upgrade to electronic medical records–up to $44,000 per physician. eScription’s parent company, Nuance Communications, helped launch the “EHR Stimulus Alliance,” which encouraged physicians to upgrade. If the physicians upgraded, one of their product choices was eScription. Egerman is listed 6 times as a visitor in the White House visitors database. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Doug & Lisa Goldman Chairman (Doug) Certain Software Inc. (Doug)
08 bundled $200K – $500K ’12 bundled $500k +
Certain Software has received $325,330 in contracts from the Energy Department since Obama took office–although similar contracts exist from before he took office. Lisa is listed 4 times since April 2010 as a visitor in the White House visitors database. Doug is listed once. They attended the October 13, 2011 state dinner. Doug did not respond to a request for comment.
For the complete list, click here.
By Gary P Jackson
All I can say is someone, maybe a whole bunch of someones, needs an extended stay at the grey-bar hotel! This is outrageous and unacceptable. It’s another case of Government gone wild, and no one in either party paying attention until it’s too late.
It’s disgusting and immoral.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) – The U.S. Government won’t explain, but a 9 News Now investigation has found $30 million in unreported bonuses for fiscal year 2011 – making the already troubled General Services Administration’s total bonus pool nearly $44 million.
Click here to search GSA payroll records uncovered in WUSA9 investigation by name, city, and job title: http://www.wusa9.com/news/database/
“Just outrageous,” said U.S. Rep John Mica, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “All put on the taxpayers tab. There are very serious problems for GSA. ”
GSA does not respond to interview requests
GSA officials did not respond to interview requests, but issued a statement saying Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini “is reviewing all bonuses and the entire performance award system.“
Mica shares GSA oversight responsibility with Congressman Jeff Denham.
“We’ve known that there is a culture of waste, fraud and abuse,” said U.S. Rep Jeff Denham (R-Ca.), Chairman of the House Subcommitte on Oversight. “This proves that this is a systemic problem that is rooted deeply within this organization.“
Mica plans to bring out the bonus records uncovered by 9 Wants to Know during a congressional hearing into GSA mismanagement scheduled to begin Wednesday morning.
WUSA9 investigation reviewed over 13,000 payroll records
The $44 million in bonuses should have been released in May, when the Office of Personnel Management released GSA payroll and bonus information, but until WUSA9 sorted through the newly obtained 13,000 GSA pay records, the troubled agency had reported less than a third of its bonus pay.
“It’s very significant,” Mica said. “People have to be held accountable“
The GSA statement said the agency has identified more than 15 different bonus structures, questions about the agency’s high award rate, and questions as to whether performance goals are set to high enough levels.
GSA suspended a bonus program to senior executives after a May WUSA investigation uncovered 67 bonuses of about $10,000 a piece, including payouts to officials suspended for poor performance.
WUSA9 has published the newly obtained 13,710 individual payroll records of GSA employees showing bonuses and wages the agency did not release in response in May.
“I want to be commissioner, so freaking bad,” crooned the GSA rapper made infamous in videos released as the agency’s $823,000 Las Vegas convention scandal unfolded. “When I’m commissioner, oh, oh, oh,” goes the refrain about easy government money at GSA.
The findings of our analysis indicate the rapper may as well have been singing about former Acting Administrator and Denver Regional Commissioner Paul Prouty.
Congressional sources say Prouty, who officials suspended shortly after the scandal broke, helped organize that lavish $823,000 Las Vegas GSA convention – working with Commissioner Jeffrey Neely who is better known for that shirtless convention bathtub shot.
It wasn’t not Prouty’s first dustup in a GSA controversy.
Official earns $100,000 in bonuses during years of controversies
In 2009 , Prouty was the acting Administrator who received the GSA death list, an e-mail warning about fears Kansas City workers had cancer related illnesses caused by toxins at a GSA complex. GSA ignored the warning, and Prouty got a bonus.
The GSA cash bonuses referred to in the highly publicized rap videos paid out big for Prouty following the unexplained deaths of workers in Kansas City and the lavish spending at the Las Vegas Convention.
According to documents and a database obtained by 9 Wants to Know under the Freedom of Information Act, in addition to his $167,700 annual salary, Prouty pocketed over $100,000 in bonuses over the past three years.
The day we met Congressman Mica, he was literally humming as he walked out of his Rayburn building office, but it was to tune quite different than the GSA’s “I want to be a commissioner.“
“You’ve helped uncover incredible abuse of a bonus system,” Mica said after reviewing documents obtained by 9 Wants to Know. “This is, uh, This is very revealing.“
A GSA official say Prouty left the agency June 25th, but declined to provide details of the separation.
It’s not just Prouty’s bonus that shocked Mica.
OPM FOIA response didn’t include GSA’s extra $30M bonuses
It’s the $30 million dollars in bonuses the government did not report in a May Freedom of Information Act to WUSA9 sister publication Asbury Park Press.
In it, OPM reported GSA paying out only $13,100,951 in bonuses.
Click here to see individual GSA worker pay records, and records of other federal employees reported to Asbury Park Press in May in response to the original Freedom of Information Act.
Editors note: Despite repeated requests, GSA offered no comment on the missing until after publication of this story.
“GSA accurately reports salary and personnel information to the Office of Personnel Management on a biweekly and annual basis,” said GSA spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara after publication.
OPM did not respond to interview requests, and an official there said the agency could not speak to GSA’s process for releasing bonus information.
Read much more here.
Insider Trading: John Boehner, Ben Nelson, Barney Frank, and 31 Other Lawmakers Adjusted Financial Portfolios During 2008 Financial Meltdown
By Gary P Jackson
Imagine this: In early 2008, as the financial markets were in free-fall, members of Congress, including John Boehner, Ben Nelson, Mitch McConnell, and Barney Frank, were burning up the phone lines between their offices and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s and Tim Geithner’s offices. The results of these calls saw them using the insider information given to them by Paulson in order to make adjustments to their financial portfolios. All in all, 34 members of Congress used insider information to save their own stock portfolios, while the rest America took a bath on their investments, losing big time.
The Washington Post has published an explosive [and lengthy] accounting of the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing that was going on as America teetered on total financial collapse. [emphasis mine]
Lawmakers reworked financial portfolios after talks with Fed, Treasury officials
In January 2008, President George W. Bush was scrambling to bolster the American economy. The subprime mortgage industry was collapsing, and the Dow Jones industrial average had lost more than 2,000 points in less than three months.
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner became the Bush administration’s point person on Capitol Hill to negotiate a $150 billion stimulus package.
In the days that followed, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. made frequent phone calls and visits to Boehner. Neither Paulson nor Boehner would publicly discuss the progress of their negotiations to shore up the nation’s financial portfolio.
On Jan. 23, Boehner (R-Ohio) met Paulson for breakfast. Boehner would later report the rearrangement of a portion of his own financial portfolio made on that same day. He sold between $50,000 and $100,000 from a more aggressive mutual fund and moved money into a safer investment.
The next day, the White House unveiled the stimulus package.
Boehner is one of 34 members of Congress who took steps to recast their financial portfolios during the financial crisis after phone calls or meetings with Paulson; his successor, Timothy F. Geithner; or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, according to a Washington Post examination of appointment calendars and congressional disclosure forms.
The lawmakers, many of whom held leadership positions and committee chairmanships in the House and Senate, changed portions of their portfolios a total of 166 times within two business days of speaking or meeting with the administration officials. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 19 to 15.
The period covered by The Post analysis was a grim one for the U.S. economy, and many people rushed to reconfigure their investment portfolios. The financial moves by the members of Congress are permitted under congressional ethics rules, but some ethics experts said they should refrain from taking actions in their financial portfolios when they might know more than the public.
“They shouldn’t be making these trades when they know what they are going to do,” said Richard W. Painter, who was chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush. “And what they are going to do is then going to influence the market. If this was going on in the private sector or it was going on in the executive branch, I think the SEC would be investigating.”
Boehner, now the speaker of the House, declined to discuss his transactions. His spokesman said they did not pose a conflict because a financial adviser executed them and they were made in diversified mutual funds. Other lawmakers also said their financial advisers handled their trades. They said that the timing of the trades and the conversations was “coincidental” and that they did not adjust their portfolios based on what they were told by the administration officials.
Questions about conflicts of interest and possible insider trading on Capitol Hill prompted Congress to pass the Stock Act this year. The act specifically bans lawmakers, their staffs and top executive branch officials from knowingly using confidential information gleaned from their legislative roles to benefit themselves, their family members or friends.
The act does not prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks in companies that appear before them or from reworking their portfolios after briefings with senior administration officials. Top executive branch officials are banned from investing in industries they oversee and can influence — for example, Fed chairmen are prohibited from investing in the financial sector.
The Post analysis did not turn up evidence of insider trading. Instead, the review shows that lawmakers routinely make trades that raise questions about whether members of Congress have an investing advantage over members of the public.
“Members of Congress are still loosey-goosey about what they require of themselves,” said Painter, who teaches securities law at the University of Minnesota. “I think it’s time for Congress to impose the same rules on themselves that they impose on others. The Stock Act doesn’t do that.”
A shift to Treasury securities
In late 2006, Congress started crafting legislation to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a major effort to stem a rising tide of defaults on risky loans given to home buyers with poor credit.
As Congress worked to rein in the two government-sponsored lenders, Fannie and Freddie pushed back with aggressive lobbying campaigns, stalling the effort in early 2007.
Paulson started working the Hill, trying to break the deadlock and win support for the revisions. He called and met with a number of members of Congress, including Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), on this and other reform efforts.
Paulson and Nelson spoke on Jan. 10. The next day, Nelson sold between $250,000 and $500,000 in Lehman Brothers certificates of deposit. (Congressional financial disclosure forms list only approximate ranges.) Nelson also purchased between $100,000 and $200,000 in Treasury notes, a safer investment.
On Feb. 12, Paulson met at 4 p.m. with Nelson in the lawmaker’s office in the Hart Senate Office Building. That day, Nelson bought $50,000 to $100,000 in Treasury bills.
That year, Nelson had only one other call with Paulson and no other meetings, records show. He made 103 other trades during the year, eight of which exceeded $100,000.
Nelson declined to be interviewed. A spokesman said that the senator discussed only policy matters related to disabled veterans during the call and meeting with the Treasury secretary and that the senator learned nothing that would have influenced his trades.
“Like everyone in Congress, Senator Nelson is bound by the laws, rules and guidelines established for members of Congress,” Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson said in a statement. “He carefully follows both the spirit and intent of them. He has not, and would not, have conversations with Executive Branch officials about matters affecting his personal finances.”
Under congressionally imposed ethics laws that cover Treasury secretaries, Paulson and Geithner would have been prohibited from making the same investments. Congress prohibits Treasury secretaries from investing in financial institutions or Treasury securities.
Nelson “has often sought and had one-on-one conversations with numerous cabinet secretaries under both President Bush and Obama on dozens of issues before Congress,” Thompson said in an e-mail. “That’s what good legislators do, they seek dialogue and understanding at the senior level about local, state and federal policy matters, as well as foreign policy issues.”
Read much more, starting here.
The article goes on to lay out more of these trades, and while it doesn’t name all 34 lawmakers, it does expose ranking members from both parties. It seems in Washington, the one thing that is always bi-partisan, is corruption.
Though the post claims then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wasn’t involved in these schemes, as we reported in November of last year, she is up to her ears in corruption.
Though they might not meet the legal definition of insider trading, these actions by trusted lawmakers certainly do in spirit. Members of both parties have bee writing legislation, or in some cases defeating legislation, depending on nothing more than how it effects their personal fortune.
In December of last year, Sarah Palin, who made her bones sending corrupt politicians to prison, wrote:Congress, It’s Time to Stop Lining Your Pockets demanding reform. She championed a much tougher law than what was eventually passed. The law we have now is weak and mostly window dressing. It was passed to make it look like Congress cared what the people want, but doesn’t actually do much.
No one begrudges anyone, even lawmakers, for making money, but it’s quite troubling to see how many come to Washington with little or no money, and become multi-millionaires while in office.
It’s beyond time we stop putting up with this nonsense. We need sudden and relentless reform. Congress must be made to live under the same rules as the rest of us, and that includes going to jail when they break these rules.
Make no mistake about this, corruption exists in both political parties and at the highest levels. The democrat party is unacceptable for so many reasons beyond the corruption, but if the Republican Party doesn’t get it’s act together, it may well be time to start working on a serious, viable third party. Or should I say a strong viable replacement for the Republican Party.
When the new Congress convenes in January, the first order of business will be to elect a Speaker of the House. In my opinion John Boehner must be replaced. The same goes for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Surely, out of 535 Senators and Congressmen, there are suitable replacements for both. If not, we have bigger problems than just a few corrupt lawmakers, that’s for sure.
Congress needs to take up sudden and relentless reform and they need to do it now. What Congress is doing now is unacceptable.
Houston venture capitalist Charles Tate, who is wielding big influence in cancer grant decisions by a state agency, was named to the agency’s board by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. But although Tate has given $465,000 to Dewhurst’s state campaigns, a Dewhurst spokesman said late Monday he was appointed solely because of his business savvy and biotech credentials. (Texas Life Science Center)
By Gary P Jackson
We’ve become used to politicians appointing friends and even donors to various boards and other positions. Honestly, I don’t always have a problem with this, as often the people really are the best for the job. However, when there is an appearance of a conflict of interests between the appointee, and the people, politicians must avoid these pitfalls, or be prepared to be replaced.
Buying one’s way into power in Texas is nothing new. In researching a story on a money laundering scheme Texas Governor Rick Perry concocted with the Republican Governors Association, a matter that was eventually settled in court, we came across one such appointment.
This money laundering scheme involved contributions from home builder Bob Perry [no relation to the Governor] to the RGA, which were then funneled to Rick Perry’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
It was researching this story that we learned of another payback to homebuilder Perry, as Governor Perry appointed appointed one of Perry Homes top executives to the newly created Texas Residential Construction Commission, a board so corrupt and full of problems, it was later abolished.
From our report:
In 2003, after a rash of mold-related lawsuits against home construction companies, Mr. Perry championed the creation of a state board, the Texas Residential Construction Commission. The new commission was a priority of Mr. Perry’s most generous contributor: Bob Perry, a homebuilder who has contributed more than $2 million to the governor over his career. (The two men are not related.)
The legislation creating the board also sharply limited the rights of homeowners to sue contractors for faulty construction, shunting most disputes to the commission. After its passage, Bob Perry and his wife sent two $50,000 checks to the governor’s campaign. Three weeks later, the governor appointed an executive of Perry Homes, Bob Perry’s company, to the commission, which was abolished in 2009.
Read the entire article here.
There are other examples of these sort of appointments by Governor Perry. [which is why we opposed him so strongly when he ran for president]
This brings us to Lt Governor David Dewhurst and an appointment he made. Now Team Dewhurst claims this is all on the up and up, but the appointee, Charles Tate, is directly responsible for handling grant money that has gone to project he has a personal and professional interest in.
Tate may be as pure as the driven snow, but when you’ve handed a politician nearly a half million dollars in campaign contributions, and then get put in charge of $3 billion bond fund, questions arise.
From the Dallas Morning News:
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who’s received $465,000 for his state races from Houston venture capitalist Charles Tate, says he didn’t name Tate to a state cancer research board as pay-back for all the political contributions.
Dewhurst spokesman Mike Walz said late Monday that Tate — who’s also given, after refunds, a net of $5,000 to Dewhurst’s current campaign for U.S. Senate — was strictly a merit appointment.
Six years ago this month, Dewhurst named Tate to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas board, which oversees an assault on the disease that is backed by $3 billion in state bonds.
“Charles Tate was one of the first appointments made to the CPRIT board back in 2008, and he was asked to serve because of his impeccable business credentials and extensive experience with medical research and biotechnology funding,” Walz said, ticking off Tate’s formation of a group to scrutinize bioscience proposals and his service on a University of Texas advisory board on biomedical engineering, the board the oversees investing of UT’s endowment and the board of visitors at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Over the past six weeks, the state cancer institute has been generating headlines, after The Dallas Morning News reported that chief scientific reviewer Alfred Gilman quit in protest of geographic-quota politics and a short-circuiting of grant reviews by panels of out-of-state scientists.
Among other things, Gilman criticized the institute’s hasty award in March of $20 million to a business incubator partnership between Rice University and M.D. Anderson. Over the weekend, the Houston Chronicle reported emails suggest Tate was instrumental in shepherding the incubator grant, which will help fund cancer researcher Lynda Chin, wife of M.D. Anderson president Ronald DePinho, through the institute’s approval process.
Tate is on the executive committee of M.D. Anderson’s Board of Visitors, which raises funds for the institution, the Chronicle reported, and he also has ties to M.D. Anderson through his venture capital firm, Capital Royalty.
First let me say that M.D. Anderson is the premier cancer hospital in Texas, if not the world. In the 1970s, my Dad was dying of cancer, and our local hospital, which is no slouch, said they could make him “comfortable” but there was nothing they could do for him. M.D. Anderson was able to treat the cancer, and give my dad four more years of quality life before the cancer came back and eventually took his life.
I’ve had several friends who’ve been treated there with great success.
That said, Tate, has both a personal and professional stake in seeing M.D. Anderson succeed. This is quite OK, except for one thing. He controls the board that hands out the money, and it seems he has been short-stopping some of the approval processes, and possibly giving M.D. Anderson, a hospital his venture capital firm has a financial stake in, preferential treatment.
This is unacceptable, but typical of the corrupt mentality of many politicians.
Again, I’m not going to say Tate is guilty of anything illegal, but the evidence certainly shows there is, at best, a clear conflict of interest. A conflict of interest that doesn’t seem to bother Lt Governor and senatorial candidate, David Dewhurst.
As we look at the Obama regime, as well as Congress, I feel we already have enough corrupt bastards in Washington. It would be insane to send them reinforcements.
On July 31, we will choose who we send to Washington to represent the Great State of Texas. Do we want more of the same, or someone with integrity? It’s quite obvious that David Dewhurst represents more of the same.