Tag Archives: Peter Schweizer

Sarah Palin: Congress Has America Caught Up in ‘Endless Extortion Scheme’

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By Sarah Palin

America is suffering from an epic case of Armageddon fatigue.

Budget showdown, government shutdown, debt ceiling debacle—the stakes are real but the establishment seems to feed off the chaos they create as a means to foment fear and outrage and translate it into campaign donations for themselves.

Look closely and you’ll see that something seismic is going on under the surface of the manufactured chaos in D.C.

Washington has morphed into an extortion racket, a place where members of the permanent political class threaten to inflict legislative and regulatory pain to extract campaign donations that they can then siphon into the pockets of themselves and their family members.

In a new book featured this Sunday on 60 Minutes titled Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets, Peter Schweizer explains how Washington politicians use a set of mafia-style legislative tactics to extort people and industries into donating to them out of fear of political and legal reprisals.

Schweizer interviewed former Chairman of Apache Corporation Ray Plank. Plank said campaign cash and lobbying contracts now function as “protection money” to keep lawmakers and regulators from going after you.

It’s what you expect from the mafia,” said Plank. “They basically come to you and say, ‘We are going to shove this bat up your ass and give you an enema. You better play ball.We saw a great deal of it. It’s an insidious blight.”

There are left-wing progressives on Wall Street and in the high-tech world who bankrolled President Obama’s campaign because they love his radical agenda. But as Schweizer points out, many gave because they know they have to; if they don’t, Obama will come after them.

That’s a lesson the Tea Party knows all too well. After the Tea Party’s historic 2010 midterm victory, Obama unleashed Attorney General Eric Holder to go after the oil and gas sector, which had given four times as much to Republicans as to Democrats. As Obama said in October 2010, “We are going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.

Of course, not everyone gets subjected to these Godfather-style shakedowns. Case in point: Obama bundler and former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine of MF Global shame. After “losing” $1.6 billion of MF Global customer money, Corzine walked away without a scratch. In Extortion, Schweizer publishes a devastating quote from Lisa Timmerman, a 17-year MF Global employee who served as the firm’s assistant comptroller for five years, saying: “Corzine is a major Obama fundraiser [which] is keeping prosecutors from bringing criminal charges against him.

But what about the rest of us? What about the average American mom and dad just trying to stay afloat in the disastrous Obama economy? We don’t have the funds to throw “protection money” at the political extortionists in Washington who are eager to foist things like Obamacare on us. Only Obama’s union cronies and members of the permanent political class are given Obamacare waivers and spared the pain of the policies D.C. inflicts on the rest of us. Big business got an Obamacare exemption that Obama refuses to give ordinary individuals who can’t even sign up for Obamacare on the broken exchange websites, but they’ll still be fined for not doing so!

And what about the GOP establishment? Why haven’t they been able to clean up the extortion racket in Washington? You have to ask yourself, has the party machine fought this corruption or does it participate in it? As a senior House Republican told Fox News on Thursday, it’s “highly unlikely” Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will be challenged because few have the muscle to match his ability to “raise money.”

In fact, the ability to raise money is apparently key to all the power in Washington. Here’s how bad it’s gotten: the Democratic and Republican Parties actually have a secret price list—officially known as “party dues”—that tells members of Congress how much money they must extract from donors in order to win a chairmanship or a top slot on a powerful Congressional committee. Schweizer somehow obtained the top-secret lists and included the never-before-published documents in Extortion.

But fundraising isn’t the only thing D.C. employs to keep people in line. Over in the Senate, Democrats like Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) use thug tactics on Tea Party members and activists who stand in their way. In a devastating chapter on Harry Reid, Schweizer includes a quote from Reid’s former chief of staff Susan McCue, who in 2005 said Reid seizes on a person’s weaknesses to “disarm, to endear, to threaten, but most of all to instill fear.

The fact that these strong-arm tactics take place in Washington doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve fought this type of corruption my entire political career. And those who disagreed with me politically used thug-like tactics to try to bankrupt my family with frivolous lawsuits in Alaska, and it hasn’t stopped to this day.

It’s time for Washington to stop threatening citizens and scaring up dollars through an endless extortion scheme of manufactured crises. It’s time for leaders to lead. That means doing right by voters without requiring them to pay protection money in advance.

You have to wonder whether Constitutional rule of law even exists when separate rules apply for powerful and well-connected men like Jon Corzine. And you have to wonder whether we really have government of the people, by the people, and for the people when the only way We the People can be heard is if we grease the palms of the ruling class.

Enough is enough. If the permanent political class won’t drain the swamp, we will. We should follow the advice in the title of Schweizer’s last book and “Throw Them All Out.” 2014 is just around the corner.

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Congress Clouds the Already Weak Transparency of the STOCK Act;Updated

by Whitney Pitcher
CapitolBuilding
At the end of last week without even a vote, both the House and the Senate approved a repeal of a portion of the STOCK Act.  The STOCK Act, signed into law last Spring, is a transparency and ethics law aimed primarily at Congress and their staff. The law requires those individuals to disclose their conflicts of interests (such as stock purchases) and  prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit. However, the bill also applies to many higher ranking federal employees as well. With the repeal of the portion of this bill (if signed by the President),  two components of transparency will become opaque, as detailed by the Sunshine Foundation (emphasis added):

The bill enacted last year would require already public financial disclosures of senior congressional and executive branch officials to be put online in order to prevent or root out insider trading. There were concerns that some provisions of the bill were overbroad and would put some government employees at risk. Rather than craft narrow exemptions, or even delay implementation until proper protections could be created, the Senate decided instead to exclude legislative and executive staffers from the online disclosure requirements.  

The sweeping exemption goes even farther than critics of the disclosure requirements requested. For those to whom online disclosure would still apply (the president, vice president, members of Congress, congressional candidates and individuals subject to Senate confirmation) the Senate bill made electronic filing of the information optional and struck the requirement that online information be searchable, sortable and downloadable, making even the disclosures that remain in the bill tepid and relatively unusable.

Even prior to the aforementioned legislation, implementation of the STOCK Act had already been delayed multiple times. Additionally, the bill was not even available for public consumption on the  Library of Congress website until after the measure was approved by Congress. Imagine that–a bill that would repeal transparency passed through Congress in a non-transparent manner.

In today’s data-driven, information age, if such government information is not online, it is essentially useless to the American public. How will constituents be able to hold their leaders and their leaders’ staff accountable if such information in not available online? If such online disclosure is merely optional, there is little motivation for politicians to be voluntarily transparent.

The STOCK Act was the ultimately a hybrid of two bills proposed by Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. When the STOCK Act was being discussed in Congress, Governor Sarah Palin called the bill ” particularly weak” because they did not require Congress to disclose their stock purchase or trades immediately. Governor Palin supported a more stringent bill from Congressman Sean Duffy,which would have required all Congressmen to create blind trusts or disclose stock trades within three days. Duffy’s bill never made it out of committee.

The research and work of Peter Schweizer led to such legislation being seriously considered at all. Legislation banning insider trading never got any traction until Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out was released in 2011. Schweizer called the passage of the STOCK Act a “victory”, but noted that the bill did not go “nearly far enough to deal with the problems of cronyism and corruption that we face.”

What must Governor Palin and Peter Schweizer think of the non-transparent weakening of an already weak bill?

The STOCK Act only received 5 “nay” votes total between the House and the Senate when it passed in early 2012. Why did a bill that received overwhelming support now engender such an overwhelming response for its weakening? Why didn’t the co-author of the original bill, Senator Gillibrand, call for at least a legitimate vote on the weakening of her bill? Why did Congressman Duffy, who proposed a stronger piece of legislation, not reject such a bill?

It seems that the political forecast in Washington D.C. remains cloudy with little chance of sunlight and transparency.

Updated:President Obama has now signed this bill only further confirming that the “most transparent  administration” is nothing but.

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Peter Schweizer’s Report Details “Compassionate Corporatism”

by Whitney Pitcher

On Friday, FoxNews ran a second “Boomtown” special featuring Stephen Bannon and Peter Schweizer and highlighting the research done by Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute on food stamps. The federal government currently funds 126 separate anti-poverty programs, ranging from Medicaid to Pell Grants to food stamps. Since President Johnson declared the “war on poverty” in the 1960s, $15 trillion has been spent to combat it. Despite this, there are still 50 million Americans in poverty, including 20% of all children. 47 million are on food stamps–more than 15 times as many as in 1969. Anti-poverty programs have expanded greatly under the guise of “compassionate” conservatism and unveiled socialism. These programs, intended at least in word, to be a safety net for the poor, have actually become a hammock for large corporations. In essence, such programs are really “compassionate” corporatism.

Below is a table from a CATO Institute report detailing the failures of programs aimed at fight poverty:

During the Reagan administration, welfare spending remained relatively constant only to jump from about $200 billion a year to $300 billion a year during President George HW Bush’s tenure. During President Clinton’s two terms, welfare spending remained constant at around $300 billion a year. However, while President George W. Bush was in office, welfare spending jumped to around $500 billion a year by 2008. This upward trend has continued under President Obama.  According to Schweizer’s report, both Bushes and Obama expanded eligibility for food stamps specifically. The welfare reform championed by Speaker Newt Gingrich and signed by President Clinton reduced the number of people on food stamps from 25.5 million to 17 million between 1996 and 2000. In the next four years under President Bush however, those numbers grew again from 23.8 million Americans under the more palatable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This was the “compassionate” conservatism touted by President Bush, but who really received the compassion?

Former Bush speechwriter, Michael Gerson defined compassionate conservatism as “the theory that the government should encourage the effective provision of social services without providing the service itself.” Additionally, the Bush White House claimed that faith based organizations would be empowered to provide these services, but in practice, it was large corporations–like JP Morgan–who were empowered. Schweizer’s report details the role of JP Morgan in food stamp programs. When they acquired Citicorp Electronic Financial Services in 2003, they also received the contracts of what is now nearly half of all states EBT (akin to a food stamp debit card) programs. Since they became involved in the EBT business, JP Morgan has more than tripled their donations to Congressional members who sit on the Agriculture committees (The Department of Agriculture administers the program). Additionally, President Obama received more than $800,000 in campaign contributions from JP Morgan, which he promptly rewarded with an expansion of SNAP through the “stimulus” program and further expansion in 2010. What has this yielded for JP Morgan? According to Schweizer, they have made more than half a billion dollars off of SNAP since 2004, and their profit is expected to grow as SNAP continues to expand.

The very etymology of the word “compassion” indicates that  it cannot be provided by government. The word, compassion, really means to suffer with. How much can government empathize with the poor when their campaign accounts are being padded while their cronies’ profits rise? Additionally, government cannot be compassionate with other people’s money. American is known for being very generous. A study published last August noted that Americans gave over $214 billion to charity in 2008. “Red” states comprised the top eight states for charitable giving, while “blue” states made up the seven least charitable states. This is what compassion is–giving of one’s own money to help those in need. It isn’t using taxpayer dollars to perpetuate poverty while politicians’ cronies profit.

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Video: Peter Schweizer and Sean Hannity Discuss Obama’s “District of Corruption”

By Gary P Jackson

Over the holidays Sean Hannity ran a special on Victory Film’s new movie District of Corruption. Here Sean and Peter Schweizer talk about Obama’s vicious circle of crony capitalism. Corruption on a massive scale.

It’s not just Obama who is corrupt though. It’s every major politician in Washington. Though many are democrats, as they are the ones in power, there are Republicans involved as well.

If you haven’t read Peter’s book Throw Them All Out I highly recommend you do so. You can also check out the Government Accountability Institute here. Plenty of solid information on the who, what, when, and where of corruption in government.

Video courtesy SarahNet.

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Peter Schweizer, Peter J Boyer, and Stephen K Bannon Expose Obama’s Illegal Foreign Campaign Donations

By Gary P Jackson

Peter Schweizer and the Government Accountability Institute are all over the latest criminal activity from the Obama regime. Though it was suspected that the Obama campaign was getting millions in illegal foreign donations in 2008, the actions of the regime this campaign season leave no doubt. The Obama campaign is actually soliciting donation from foreigners, this is incredibly illegal.

Of course, as the report below says, the FEC generally looks the other way, rather than do it’s job. Even if it does investigate, the FEC rarely takes action.

Unscrupulous actors like Barack Obama are able to push the rules well past the breaking point, because they know nothing will happen to them. Nothing at all.

Peter and Stephen K Bannon appeared on The Sean Hannity Show Monday night to talk about this:

Video courtesy SarahNet.

Schweizer and Peter J Boyer wrote an extensive piece for Newsweek:[emphasis mine]

The Illegal-Donor Loophole

There has been no shortage of media attention paid to the role of money in the current presidential contest. Super PACs, bundlers, 527s, and mega-donors have attracted abundant notice. But there has been surprisingly little focus on perhaps the most secretive and influential financial force in politics today: the wide-open coffers of the Internet.

With millions of online campaign donations ricocheting through cyberspace, one might think the Federal Election Commission would have erected serious walls to guard federal elections from foreign or fraudulent Internet contributions. But that’s far from true. In fact, campaigns are largely expected to police these matters themselves.

There’s certainly ample historical reason to worry about foreign donations: in the 1990s, for instance, there were allegations that Chinese officials had funneled money into U.S. campaigns.

The solicitation of campaign donations from foreign nationals is prohibited by the Federal Election Campaign Act. But that law, passed in the 1970s, did not anticipate the Internet, or the creative uses that can be made of such social media as Facebook.

Campaigns that aggressively raise money online are soliciting donations from people around the world—whether they intend to or not. People repost campaign solicitations on blogs that send them sprawling around the globe like digital kudzu. For example, an Obama campaign official posting ended up on Arabic Facebook, complete with a hyperlink to a donation page. In another instance, someone posted videos on Latin American websites featuring Sen. Marco Rubio, and included embedded advertisements asking for campaign donations.

In addition, people around the world are being asked for donations by the campaigns themselves, simply because they signed up for information on campaign websites. The problem: candidate webpages don’t ask visitors from foreign IP addresses to enter a military ID or passport number. Instead, the websites use auto-responder email systems that simply gather up email addresses and automatically spit out solicitations.

The FEC, meanwhile, has taken the position that this sort of passive internet solicitation is not illegal, because the campaigns, presumably, are not intentionally targeting foreign nationals with their online money pleas.

Further complicating the issue are websites like Obama.com—which is owned not by the Obama campaign but by Robert Roche, an American businessman and Obama fundraiser who lives in Shanghai. Roche’s China-based media company, Acorn International, runs infomercials on Chinese state television. Obama.com redirects to a specific donation page on BarackObama.com, the official campaign website. Unlike BarackObama.com, Obama.com’s traffic is 68 percent foreign, according to markosweb.com, a traffic-analysis website. According to France-based web analytics site Mustat.com, Obama.com receives over 2,000 visitors every day.

The name Robert W. Roche appears 11 times in the White House visitors log during the Obama administration. Roche also sits on the Obama administration’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, and is a co-chair of Technology for Obama, a fundraising effort. (In an email exchange, Roche declined to discuss his website, or his support for the Obama reelection effort, referring the inquiries to the Obama campaign team. The Obama campaign, in turn, says it has no control over Roche’s website; it also says only 2 percent of the donations associated with Obama.com come from overseas.)

But it isn’t just foreign donations that are a concern. So are fraudulent donations. In the age of digital contributions, fraudsters can deploy so-called robo-donations, computer programs that use false names to spew hundreds of donations a day in small increments, in order to evade reporting requirements. According to an October 2008 Washington Post article, Mary Biskup of Missouri appeared to give more than $170,000 in small donations to the 2008 Obama campaign. Yet Biskup said she never gave any money to the campaign. Some other contributor gave the donations using her name, without her knowledge. (The Obama campaign explained to the Post that it caught the donations and returned them.)

This makes it all the more surprising that the Obama campaign does not use a standard security tool, the card verification value (CVV) system—the three- or four-digit number often imprinted on the back of a credit card, whose purpose is to verify that the person executing the purchase (or, in this case, donation) physically possesses the card. The Romney campaign, by contrast, does use the CVV—as has almost every other candidate who has run for president in recent years, from Hillary Clinton in 2008 to Ron Paul this year. (The Obama campaign says it doesn’t use the CVV because it can be an inhibiting factor for some small donors.) Interestingly, the Obama campaign’s online store requires the CVV to purchase items like hats or hoodies (the campaign points out that its merchandise vendor requires the tool).

We also focused on the Obama campaign because it is far more successful than Romney when it comes to small donors—which the Internet greatly helps to facilitate. In September the Obama campaign brought in its biggest fundraising haul—$181 million. Nearly all of that amount (98 percent) came from small donations, through 1.8 million transactions.

The Obama campaign says that it is rigorous in its self-regulation effort. “We take great care to make sure that every one of our more than three million donors are eligible to donate and that our fundraising efforts fully comply with all U.S. laws and regulations,” says campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher. Campaign officials say they use multiple security tools to screen all online credit-card contributions, and then review, by hand, those donations that are flagged by their automated system. Potentially improper donations, such as those originating from foreign Internet addresses, are returned to any donors who cannot provide a copy of their current U.S. passport photo pages, the campaign says.

But the weakness of the current system isn’t particular to any campaign. It’s a broad reliance on self-policing combined with a lack of transparency. Foreign or fraudulent donations might be less of a concern if it were possible for outsiders—the press, the public, good government watchdog groups, or the Federal Election Commission—to independently determine whether they were taking place. But it isn’t. Candidates need only publicly report campaign contributions over $200. For donations between $50 and $200 (the average donation in Obama’s huge September haul was $53), candidates are simply required to make an effort to obtain accurate identifying information—information they aren’t required to report. And for donations under $50, regulations don’t even require campaigns to keep a record of identifying information.

The FEC, to be sure, does occasionally conduct investigations into foreign or fraudulent donations. But the majority of these investigations only result in civil fines or closure without action. There is much more that could be done to remedy this situation. First, campaigns should be required to disclose identifying information on all their donors, not just those who give over $200. Second, campaigns should be required to ask for the CVV number when accepting donations. Finally, campaigns should be required to ask people signing up for campaign information whether they are able to legally donate. There is simply no reason non-Americans should be solicited for donations via email.

Until such measures are enacted, however, the integrity of our campaign-donation system will remain mostly in the hands of political consultants and campaign managers. Is that wise?

For more on the subject, see this new report from Peter Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute.

Here’s even more from CBS Market Watch:

Many of us remember how Doodad Pro” and “O.J. Simpson” gave money to Obama during his first presidential campaign. And how this was no accident. From 2008:

The Obama campaign has turned a blind eye to the possibility of donor fraud. Reportedly, during the heated primary battle with Hillary Clinton, the Obama campaign “turned off” many of the security features on its online donor page, allowing any person with a valid credit card number to donate using any name or address.

Typically, card merchants require a cardholder’s name to match critical personal details, such as an address or, at the least, a ZIP code.

And of course some of the money came from the credit cards of real people. It’s just that they didn’t authorize the donations.

Well, in the wake of news that Obama is headed towards raising $1 billion as a candidate this time around, there has been word of a new scandal regarding foreign contributions, which Katie Pavlich says could break as early as tonight.

By the way, Obama’s incredible $181 million take in September was especially notable because only 2% of it was reportable:

The campaign said that just over 1.8 million people made donations to the campaign last month. According to the campaign, over 500k of these were brand-new donors, having neither given in 2008 nor 2012. 98% of contributions were under the reporting threshold of $250. Of these, the average contribution was $53.

That means up to 98% of the September take could be from illegal sources. I’m not saying it is — in fact, it’s virtually certain that any illegal amount is nowhere near that much. But it still could be a lot.

If money is coming from foreign sources, it might be interesting to see how much is coming from Russia. Remember: In March, Obama told Russia he could be more . . . flexible with Russia after the election:

President Barack Obama was caught on camera on Monday assuring outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will have “more flexibility” to deal with contentious issues like missile defense after the U.S. presidential election.

Obama, during talks in Seoul, urged Moscow to give him “space” until after the November ballot, and Medvedev said he would relay the message to incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin.

More foreign money could lead to more flexibility. It’s amazing how flexible politicians can become when there is enough cash to loosen things up.

We’ll stay on top of this story.

UPDATE: Commenter John Cunningham says:

There can be no doubt that the Obama web site is wide open for foreign money and fraud. I was over at a buddy’s house a month ago, I watched him log onto the Obama site, use his Visa card to donate $5, with no request for security code. he was moved to a page that asked for his personal info.

He entered Josef Stalin, Apt. 2, the Kremlin, Red Square, Moscow. Job–General Secretary. Employer: Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

It took the donation. his account was charged a couple of days later.

I just tried this, up the point where they wanted me to hit the donate button. I entered this information:

Then I entered my credit card number and expiration date, and I got this page, asking for my employer and occupation, which I duly filled in:

More here.

While it’s obvious the Obama campaign is breaking the law, just as it did in 2008, it’s just as obvious those in charge of stopping these illegal activities are asleep at the wheel, and that’s the real scandal.

Corruption in politics have hit critical mass. We need to send real reformers to Washington and create laws with real teeth that will see corrupt politicians pay for their crimes. Right now there is so much corruption because there is no real penalties if anyone gets caught.

This is a dangerous situation. With all of the money buying so much influence, the very existence of our Republic is threatened. Again, this is nothing new, but we are a point now that it can no longer be tolerated. Politicians are able to get away with illegal activities that would sens an ordinary citizen to prison for a long, long time.

Things MUST change and they must change now.

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Government For Sale! Peter Schweizer: Meet the Bundlers

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
eScription Inc.

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.

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Essential Listening: Peter Schweizer on The Victory Sessions: Exposing Crony Capitalism

Peter Schweizer, President and co-founder of  the Government Accountability Institute returns to The Victory Sessions with host Stephen K. Bannon to discuss GAI’s mission to detect and expose crony capitalism. FULL INTERVIEW!

By Gary P Jackson

Stephen K Bannon has an amazing interview with Peter Schweizer. Stephen and Peter have created the Government Accountability Institute. Peter, of course is well know for exposing corruption and cronyism. He’s written numerous best sellers including Throw Them All Out and Architects of Ruin.

Above is a link to the full interview, and I’m telling you, it’s essential listening. Peter talks about the way politicians have gotten rich using their positions of power, and how, once retiring from politics, end up with high paying gigs at large corporations.

Peter lays it all out, and pulls no punches. This is a bi-partisan issue. There is massive corruption in both parties. Leadership in both parties is as corrupt as the day is long. It’s mind-blowing.

Peter also notes Sarah Palin, who has a storied career as a corruption buster, was on top of this from the start, and very supportive of his efforts.

Again, click on the link above and listen to the full interview. It’s essential for everyone to understand what is going on, and what must be done to save our nation. It’s worth every second of your time.

Corruption is rampant in government, and it’s in BOTH parties. It’s really time to drain the swamp.

Here’s a little taste of what Peter and Stephen talk about: “How Nancy Pelosi and family rips off the “99%’” courtesy SarahNet:

Here’s more from Peter via Victory Sessions:

President Barack Obama has admitted to being obsessed with seeking a solution to the nation’s economic woes. “You should know,” the president recently told UPS workers, “that keeping the economy growing and making sure jobs are available is the first thing I think about when I wake up every morning. It’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed each night.

You can’t measure how much time a president spends “thinking” about the economy. But how much time has Obama spent working on rebuilding America’s crumbling economy? Researchers at the Government Accountability Institute looked into this for a new report into Obama’s official public schedule from his Inauguration until June 30, 2012. They uncovered startling facts that reveal just how little time Obama has actually spent on economic matters.

Here are a few findings for the first 1,257 days of Obama’s presidency, based on the president’s official schedule as posted on the White House website and POLITICO:

He has spent less than 4 percent of his total time in economic meetings or briefings of any kind (assuming a six day, 10-hour workweek).

Obama spent 412 hours (or 41 10-hour workdays) in economic meetings or briefings of any kind.

There were 773 days (72 percent), excluding Sundays, in which he had no economic meetings.

So far this year, Obama has spent 24 total hours in economic meetings of any kind.

Throughout his presidency, Obama has spent an average of 138 minutes a week in economic meetings. For comparison, consider that dog owners spend an average of 130 minutes a week walking their dogs.

The researchers used a broad definition of what counted as economic meetings. For example, “Obama meets with Cabinet secretaries” counted as an economic meeting. So did “Obama meets with Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee” and “Obama meets with Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum.

On the days where an economic meeting listed no ending time, the researchers spotted Obama a full two hours — though most presidential meetings run much shorter. Still, the totals for time spent on the worst economy since the Great Depression came in shockingly low.

via Opinion: Hard facts vs. mind over fiscal matters – Peter Schweizer – POLITICO.com.

Read Throw Them All Out, Architects of Ruin and get active demanding this corruption is cleaned up, or else.

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Peter Schweizer: Obama’s DOJ And Wall Street: Too Big For Jail?

By Gary P Jackson

Peter Schweizer once again exposes the corruption and double standards that exist in our federal government. The rich and powerful can literally get away with murder, especially if the are democrats. Thanks to Eric Holder and his Fast and Furious scheme, there are many dead in Mexico, and along our border, including our own border agents. Holder and his boss Barack Obama are not being held responsible.

Here Peter talks about the way Holder’s Justice Department has prosecuted many others for fraud, but has no time to go after the big banks and brokerage firms who are directly responsible for the financial crisis our nation is in.

Many of these “Friends of Obama” have committed the same crimes others are spending hard time in prison for, and have done so on a far more massive scale.

The appearance of conflict is as dangerous to public confidence in the administration of justice as true conflict itself. Justice must not only be done; justice must also be seen to be done.” –Lloyd Cutler, 1981

Over the past three years, the Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against hundreds of ordinary Americans for financial fraud. But no one from the largest banks and firms on Wall Street have been similarly charged for events leading up to the financial crisis. Could that be because those banks are clients of the firms from which top DOJ officials hail?

In November 2009, President Obama established the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to deal with financial crimes related to the 2008 financial crisis. As Attorney General Eric Holder, chairman of the Task Force, explained at the time: “This Task Force’s mission is not just to hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial meltdown, but to prevent another meltdown from happening. We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and will not hesitate to bring charges, where appropriate, for criminal misconduct on the part of businesses and business executives.”

None of that happened. The Task Force is still humming along almost three years later, but its highlighted successes are less “business executives” than ordinary Americans who have had the book thrown at them. From their website:

Three Connecticut Women Charged with Overseeing ‘Gifting Tables’ Pyramid Scheme.” Three women in their 50s and 60s have been indicted on conspiracy, tax and wire fraud charges. “These arrests should send a strong message to all who threaten the financial health of our communities,” said one federal agent.

Ten people in Las Vegas have been criminally charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a “scheme to fraudulently control” Condominium Home Owners Associations. They have pled guilty and face up to 30 years in prison.

Justice Department Sues Princeton Review for Claiming Reimbursement for Tutoring Services It Did Not Provide.” The educational publisher apparently billed the federal government for reimbursements in connection with a federally-funded program for underprivileged children.

Alabama Real Estate Investor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Conspiracies to Rig Bids and Commit Mail Fraud for the Purchase of Real Estate at Public Foreclosure Auctions.” Steven Cox will get one year in prison because he and some friends agreed not to bid against each other at public auctions and then hold a second secret auction with the properties they purchased. This meant that they “artificially suppressed prices…[and] homeowners and others with a legal interest in rigged foreclosure properties receive less than the competitive price for the properties,” reads the Task Force press release. People in several other states have been similarly charged.

Former Real Estate Appraiser Sentenced in Washington, D.C. to 65 months in Prison for Mortgage Fraud.” A property appraiser goes to jail for fraudulently manipulating mortgage applications while flipping real estate properties. The fraud scheme cost mortgage lenders $2.3 million. A Florida man was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for obstructing an SEC investigation.

Certainly there have been opportunities to aggressively investigate criminal acts of fraud involving the largest banks and investment houses. The SEC has alleged that half a dozen banks “knowingly” passed fraudulent information along to government agencies and investors. The same charges have been leveled against several of the largest investment houses as it relates to subprime mortgages.

The SEC has accused a number of banks including JP Morgan, Wachovia Securities, UBS, and Bank of America, of “fraudulently” rigging municipal bond auctions by “entering into secret arrangements with bidding agents to get an illegal ‘last look’ at competitors’ bids.” And they won bids because “the bidding agent deliberately obtained non-winning bids from other provides, and it facilitated bids rigged for others to win by deliberately submitting non-winning bids.” All of these investment houses faced civil charges and paid fines. Meanwhile those fixing HOA elections or residential foreclosure auctions go to jail.

Read more here.

Peter Schweizer is a best selling author, including the groundbreaking Throw them All Out and is a top adviser to Governor Sarah Palin.

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Big Win for Sarah Palin and Peter Schweizer: Congress Passes STOCK Act

By Gary P Jackson

Back in November, CBS’ 60 Minutes ran an exposé featuring Peter Schweiser and information from his new book Throw Them All Out. 60 Minutes exposed massive insider trading schemes that were going on in Congress.

Though illegal for us mere mortals to engage in [ask Martha Stewart about that] members of Congress were exempted from these laws, and were actually writing legislation based on, not what was best for America, but what would enlarge their bank accounts.

Legislation banning this criminal activity has languished for years. Louise Slaughter, a N.Y. democrat, has been trying for years to get something done. The 60 Minutes broadcast lit a fire under members of Congress.

As Politico reports, not everyone was happy though, as some, such as Senators Patrick Leahy, John Cornyn, and Chuck Grassley wanted stronger language, and even tougher rules:

After weeks of delays, the Senate on Thursday sent a bill banning congressional insider trading to President Barack Obama for his expected signature.
The Senate voted 96 to 3 to pass a watered-down STOCK Act, which would bar members of Congress, their staff and some federal workers from profiting from non-public information obtained through their jobs.

I believe those who make the laws should live under the same laws as everyone else,” Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who authored an early version of the bill last fall, said in a statement. “The passage of this legislation is an important step toward restoring trust in our government.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who was also involved in shaping the STOCK Act, echoed Brown, calling it “a strong bill with teeth” and a “good step forward” to begin reestablishing trust with the American people.

Others downplayed the significance of the legislation. “It’s a modest gesture,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told POLITICO, adding that he believes lawmakers are already prohibited from insider trading under existing law.

In a statement, President Obama said: “After I sign this bill into law, Members of Congress will not be able to trade stocks based on nonpublic information they gleaned on Capitol Hill.  It’s a good first step.  And in the months ahead, Congress should do even more to help fight the destructive influence of money in politics and rebuild the trust between Washington and the American people.

In early February, the Senate approved a tougher version of the legislation on a near-unanimous vote. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed this week to move forward on the House-passed bill, which dropped two provisions that had been in the Senate-passed package — a move that infuriated a handful of lawmakers from both parties.

One of those proposals, authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), would have expanded federal laws against bribery, theft of public money and other types of public corruption.

The other provision by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) would have required greater disclosure from so-called “political intelligence consultants” who seek information from Congress or the executive branch to trade stocks.

Before the vote, Grassley lashed out at Senate leaders for striking a deal to take up the House measure. Grassley, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) all voted no.

This is bipartisanship, but it’s not the kind of bipartisanship, cooperation, intended or not, that this nation deserves,” Grassley said during in a 20-minute floor speech. “I know that today’s actions only serve the desires of obscure and powerful Wall Street interests, and it undercuts the will of the overwhelming majority of Congress.

For her part, Slaughter vows to continue the push for tougher measures.

It’s a disappointment that Mitch McConnell, once again, caved.

This isn’t as tough of a measure as hoped for, but it’s a solid start. Both Sarah Palin and Peter Schweizer [a top Palin adviser] have been pushing for major ethics reforms like this for some time. Had Peter’s book, and 60 Minutes appearance not been there to expose this activity, it’s unlikely this legislation would have come to pass.

It’s an important win for all of us who seek to hold Congress accountable.

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Peter Schweizer: Warren Buffett: Baptist and Bootlegger

US President Barack Obama awards the 201

By Gary P Jackson

Here’s just a taste of Peter Schweizer’s exposé on Warren Buffett from Reason Magazine:

Warren Buffett: Baptist and Bootlegger

How America’s favorite billionaire plays politics to make money

In 19th-century America, there was a concerted effort to ban alcohol sales on Sunday. “Blue laws,” intended to protect the sanctity and sobriety of the Sabbath, were pushed by what seemed like an odd alliance: Baptists and bootleggers. Baptists backed the ban publicly on moral and religious grounds, while the bootleggers lobbied for the ban privately to boost their own bottom lines. Blocking legal alcohol purchases for even one day each week meant more opportunities for their illegal sales. Bans were enacted state by state, and many blue laws still exist (in Arkansas, Indiana, Minnesota, and Mississippi, for example), although restrictions have been steadily disappearing in recent years. Economist Bruce Yandle immortalized the phrase “Bootleggers and Baptists” in a 1983 Regulation magazine article of the same name, making the point that ostensibly opposing sides will happily collude when it serves their mutual interests.

The old paradox continues in modern-day Washington. Politicians enrich their friends and allies—and sometimes themselves—by coming off as earnest “Baptists” for a worthy cause. Lobbyists for big corporate interests, by contrast, are widely considered bootleggers, no matter how nobly they cloak their arguments. This arrangement has created an opening for a third way: What if a capitalist could somehow manage to sound like a Baptist?

Consider Warren Buffett. Often seen as a grandfatherly figure above the rough-and-tumble of politics, Buffett appears to be immune to the folly and excess of finance as well. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska, in a house he purchased in 1958 for $31,000. He made a fortune for himself and his investors at the business conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway through the humble-sounding approach of value-based investing. He uses folksy expressions: “You don’t know who’s swimming naked,” he said during the height of the financial crisis, “until the tide goes out.” He frequently takes to the nation’s op-ed pages with populist-sounding arguments, such as his August 2010 plea in The New York Times for the government to stop “coddling” the “super-rich” and start raising their taxes.

Buffett the Bootlegger

But this image does not always reflect reality. Warren Buffett is very much a political entrepreneur; his best investments are often in political relationships. In recent years, Buffett has used taxpayer money as a vehicle to even greater profit and wealth. Indeed, the success of some of his biggest bets and the profitability of some of his largest investments rely on government largesse and “coddling” with taxpayer money.

During the financial crisis in the fall of 2008, Buffett became an important symbol on television. He filled the role of fiscal adult, a responsible father figure in the midst of irresponsible Wall Street speculators. While pushing for calm and advocating specific market interventions in both public and private, however, he was also investing (sometimes quietly) so he could profit once his policy advice was implemented. This put Buffett in the position of being both Baptist and bootlegger, praised for his moral character while shaking his finger all the way to the bank.

In the summer of 2008, when several investment houses and the government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac teetered on the brink of financial collapse, Buffett was “uncharacteristically quiet,” as the London Guardian observed. It was only on September 23 that he became a highly visible player in the drama, investing $5 billion in Goldman Sachs, which was overleveraged and short on cash. Buffett’s play gave the investment bank a much-needed cash infusion, making a heck of a deal for himself in return: Berkshire Hathaway received preferred stock with a 10 percent dividend yield and an attractive option to buy another $5 billion in stock at $115 a share.

Wall Street was on fire, and Buffett was running toward the flames. But he was doing so with the expectation that the fire department (that is, the federal government) was right behind him with buckets of bailout money. As he admitted on CNBC at the time, “If I didn’t think the government was going to act, I wouldn’t be doing anything this week.”

Buffett needed the bailout. In addition to Goldman Sachs, which was not as badly leveraged as some of its competitors, Buffett was heavily invested in several other banks, such as Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, that were also at risk and in need of federal cash.

So it’s no surprise that Buffett began campaigning for the $700 billion Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) that was being hammered out in Washington. The first vote on the bill failed in the House of Representatives on September 29. But Buffett was in a unique position to help reverse its fate.

During the 2008 presidential campaign Buffett was mentioned as a candidate for Treasury secretary by both John McCain and Barack Obama. But it was clear where his loyalties lay: He had been a financial supporter of Barack Obama going back to 2004, when Obama ran for the U.S. Senate. Each had been impressed when they met, and Buffett said at a 2007 fundraiser in Nebraska that the two “had a lot of time to talk.” During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama made it clear that while he received plenty of advice on the campaign trail, “Warren Buffett is one of those people that I listen to.” Obama added that the Oracle of Omaha was one of his “economic advisers.”

Several senators and congressmen were shareholders in Berkshire Hathaway and therefore in a position to earn big returns by passing the bailout bill. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), for example, held between $1 million and $6 million in Berkshire stock, by far the largest asset in his portfolio. Initially resistant to the bailout bill, Nelson ended up voting in favor of it. Buffett’s support was hardly the deciding factor in passing the bill. But his Baptist-bootlegger position was strong in both directions: Many people heeded his advice, then he (and they) made a lot of money after the bailout.

Throughout the financial crisis and the debate over the stimulus in early 2009, several members of Congress were buying and trading Berkshire stock. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) bought Berkshire shares four times over a three-week period in September and October 2008, up to $130,000 worth. He bought shares during the debate over the bailout, during the vote, and after the vote. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) bought the stock, as did Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who bought up to $500,000 worth just days after the bailout bill was signed. Some legislators also followed Buffett’s example by buying shares in Goldman Sachs after the bailout. Among them were Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.).

Early in the financial crisis, Obama, then a senator and his party’s presidential nominee, had been cautious and lukewarm about a possible bailout. But in the days following Buffett’s multibillion-dollar play for Goldman Sachs, and with fears of economic collapse mounting, Obama became a powerful champion of the government rescue. As the top Democrat in the country, he had an important vote. The New York Times reported that Obama “intensified” his efforts to “rally support for the $700 billion financial bailout package” after September 28, 2008. The plan was necessary, said Obama, “to safeguard the economy.”

Publicly, Buffett struck a posture of cheering on the bailout from the sidelines. “I’m not brave enough to try to influence the Congress,” he told The New York Times in a September 24 article. But Buffett’s actions directly contradicted his words. Days later, he participated in a conference call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House Democrats during which he pushed them to pass the bill, warning that otherwise the country faces “the biggest financial meltdown in American history.”

Read it all here.

If you haven’t already, make sure to order Peter Schweizer’s book: Throw Them All Out.

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