insider corruption

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Paying Yourself with Money You Stole

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Did Viking raiders hire attorneys to stipulate, before each raid, that plundering English monasteries and churches would be hunky-dory?

No. The Vikings just raided and looted. They didn’t also assure their victims, “Hey, we talked to the lawyer and he said it was fine.”

Thanks at least for that, Scandinavian marauders. Because why add insult to injury?

Yet U.S. Senator Kay Hagan hired some high-priced barrister to bleat that looking the other way while her husband scooped up hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars is “appropriate.” Yep. According to senatorial spokesman Sadie Weiner: “Kay . . . had no part in helping [her husband’s company JDC] receive these grants. Her only involvement was when she made sure that a respected ethics attorney was consulted to ensure that it was appropriate. . . .”

No part! Nobody involved in distributing the boodle knew he was married to a U.S. Senator! Had no way to know!

Ugh.

Per investigative work done by Politico and others:

In August 2010, Senator Kay Hagan’s husband Chip and their son founded a solar energy company, Solardyne.

Weeks later, in September, JDC Manufacturing — a company part-owned by Chip Hagan, the senator’s husband — paid $250,000 in federal “stimulus” dollars to Solardyne to install solar panels at a JDC building. Short version of preceding sentence: Mr. Hagan paid himself $250,000 with money taken from us (you, me, your neighbor, my neighbor).

Did I say “ugh”?

Two suggestions:

  1. end all “stimulus” taxing and “stimulus” spending;
  2. eject Senator Hagan from the U.S. Senate.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Learning Lerner’s M.O.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

I fib. We’re not really learning anything new about Lois Lerner’s modus operandi. It’s just the same old wiping of evidence — evidence that she and others at IRS knew was relevant to congressional inquiry into IRS misconduct.

Lerner is the former IRS department head in charge of reviewing applications of non-profits for tax-exempt status. Her department targeted right-leaning applicants for special obstruction and delay. The practice began to come to light a couple of years ago.

Congress has asked for a great deal of documentation from the Internal Revenue Service that has yet to be supplied, including all of Lerner’s pertinent email. As I’ve discussed before, the IRS has claimed that her hard drives accidentally crashed in June of 2011 — and not hers alone — so that much of the relevant email is gone.

No backups on any server, either.

It all sounded pretty bogus back when the story was “hot.” And now, according to testimony of an IRS employee just filed in the case of Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service, it transpires that Ms. Lerner had a BlackBerry on which her email traffic was routinely duplicated … and that this device was wiped in June 2012, months after Congress started asking questions about the ideological targeting of applicants for tax-exempt status.

Judicial Watch, my hero, is now urging the court to require the IRS to divulge the relevant dates of the wiped data, then subpoena BlackBerry for the data. Because we all know that it hasn’t really disappeared forever into the black hole at the center of the galaxy.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

What’s Going On Here?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Sometimes asking “What’s going on here?” (repeatedly) can keep a problem in the public eye — when many who should know better would rather sweep it under the rug. In this case, the problem is $1.6 million unaccounted for in recent Penn Forest Township budgets. The Tennessee township’s annual budget is only $4 million or so.

Former supervisor Paul Montemuro is one of those chastising the current board of supervisors. If they’d “just agree to conduct the forensic audit of the couple of years leading up to 2008, I would shut up,” he says. The board approved that audit in 2012 but has not followed through.

Another fellow not shutting up is township auditor Matt Schutter, elected last November as a Libertarian. Throughout 2014 he has demanded that the audit go forward and township spending be fully accounted for, and has also asked the state attorney general to launch an investigation.

Schutter tells Common Sense that despite sundry harassment, he won’t relax the pressure any time soon. “The board in July meeting voted that no one of the public can speak in a supervisors meeting about the money,” Schutter explains. “At the August meeting, I informed them that they were violating the First Amendment.”

He then formally advised the supervisors that he would pursue further legal action (“under 42 USC 1983!,” pertaining to civil action for deprivation of rights) if they continue violating their oaths of office.

Let’s send about 535 guys like this to Congress.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Texas-sized Trouble

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Texas Governor and 2012 presidential candidate Rick Perry has never been exactly “my guy.” But now he seems like a kindred spirit, having been indicted on two felony counts of . . . well . . . as the indictment states it, “threatening to veto legislation that had been approved and authorized by the Legislature of the State of Texas.”

The indictment is only two pages. Easy to read.

What seems hard to read is why a prosecutor would bring a criminal charge in a case like this.

Last year, Governor Perry publicly and transparently threatened a veto of the $7.5 million in funding for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned her office.

Why should she resign? Lehmberg was arrested and convicted for driving drunk and still found it necessary to behave badly in the process. Which arguably, per Gov. Perry, clashed with her continuation as head of the Public Integrity shop.

Lehmberg refused to resign and Perry vetoed the $7.5 million.

Now Perry is facing two felony charges from the same prosecutor’s office that has had other high profile cases — most famously the prosecution of Tom DeLay — end in acquittal. If convicted, he could face up to a 99-year sentence.

Someone more “my guy,” former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, called the indictment “pure politics” and “a joke.”

He didn’t mean it was funny, though. It is a very serious signal of just how out of control our political process has become.

Governors have the constitutional veto power for a reason. Threatening a veto is standard politics. It’s their job.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

If DADOOJ Existed

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The important group Democrats Against Democratic Obstruction of Justice (DADOOJ) has yet to be formed to denounce ongoing cover-ups by the Obama administration.

If a DADOOJ did exist, though, its two or three members would surely cite a recent Hill column by Rick Manning, “More lost emails—When will Democrats have enough?

Manning, of Americans for Limited Government, notes that some twenty different Obama administration officials have “lost”/destroyed congressionally requested email records. He echoes Darrell Issa, the exasperated chairman of the House Committee on Oversight who says it “defies logic that so many senior administration officials were found to have ignored federal record-keeping requirements only after Congress asked to see their emails.”

What we have here, concurs Manning, is “coordinated and condoned cover-up,” not massive coincidence of careless keystrokes. So why aren’t any prominent Democrats expressing outrage at this “affront to our constitutional system,” and demanding answers? During the Watergate scandal, at least a few Republicans soon joined calls for the Republican president to come clean. Today, though, Dems are mute en masse.

Investigators should find a way to raid the offices of the IRS, DOJ and so forth; don’t just solicit cooperation. Confiscate or clone drives and servers so we can do some exhaustive forensics on the zeroes and ones. If we look real hard — maybe even not that hard — we’ll find the missing email.

I offer this proposal gratis as the first item for the DADOOJ advocacy agenda.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Free Talkers Now

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Ah yes, “criminal schemes.”

The Weekly Standard reminds us that when partisan Democrats declare Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to be “at the center of a ‘criminal scheme’ in which Walker’s campaign illegally coordinated political activity with outside organizations,” they neglect the fact that two judges have already determined that the “case” against Walker is worse than bogus.

“Political coordination” seems to be an infinitely elastic category of pseudo-crime applicable to anyone a political apparatchik chooses to target. You “politically coordinate” if you’re a) political active, b) share political values with any other activists, and c) read the newspapers, talk on television. If “political coordination” is criminal, so is freedom of speech and freedom of association. It’s all the same species of delinquency.

Wisconsin district attorneys abused power to harass reformers like Governor Walker, my colleague Eric O’Keefe, and others into (what they hoped would be) silence and ineffectuality. Despite a gag order intended to shut up the victims, though, Eric has spoken out; and he’s sued Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm.

In May, federal Judge Rudolph Randa observed, for one thing, that the “theory of ‘coordination’ forming the basis of the investigation, including the basis of probable cause for home raids, is not supported under Wisconsin law and, if it were, would violate the United States Constitution.” Randa granted a preliminary injunction (pdf) to stop the probe.

I’m hopeful that the bad guys won’t win here. We still have the First Amendment.*

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


* Though, 44 U.S. Senators are proposing to repeal it.

 

Corruption Reeks

Friday, June 27th, 2014

When I write about “government corruption” I usually mean one of three things:

  1. Government personnel breaking their public trust and “working for themselves,” as in taking kick-backs and the like. You know, like Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) taking $2.3 million in bribes, and Hillary Clinton’s cattle future trades of a generation ago. This is what most people mean by corruption.
  2. Judgment and behavior modified by the practice of or access to power. In recent times, police have been engaging in SWAT team exercises, shooting innocents “by accident,” dogs on purpose — heart-rending examples of Lord Acton’s “power corrupts” maxim.
  3. Ideological corruption, whereby folks change their ideas — including abandoning principles — to fit into their new “class interest.” A balanced-budget talking, pro-term-limits politician enters office and Lo, a few years later, all he’s “learned” would be a shame to waste outside of office and every spending proposal deserves his vote.

But then there’s crazy stuff.

Environmental Protection Agency “Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.”

That’s according to Government Executive’s article “EPA Employees Told to Stop Pooping in the Hallway.”

Seriously.

Brian Doherty, at Reason, quipped that environmental bureaucrats “are just like us! If we like to leave feces around the hallways of our offices, that is.”

It’s a disgusting whiff of . . . something very rotten in the halls of government.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.