An upstate New York developer donated $100,000 to former President Bill Clinton's foundation in November 2004, around the same time that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessman's mall project.
Mrs. Clinton helped enact legislation allowing the developer, Robert J. Congel, to use tax-exempt bonds to help finance the construction of the Destiny USA entertainment and shopping complex, an expansion of the Carousel ...Continue reading
...this time from The Hill about the funding of Caribbean junkets that potentially run afoul of House ethics rules. It's not like Rangel hasn't had this problem before...Continue reading
It's been interesting to watch the stories that have described multiple ethics problems for Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and someone identified by The Hill as the top fundraiser for House Democrats. The Washington Post seems to have kicked things off with a story on July 14 saying that Rangel used official House stationary to solicit big donations for his Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York. There followed a series of revelations that he wasn't properly declaring income on a vacation property ...Continue reading
A couple of interesting stories on the financial crises. The Washington Post's Jill Drew writes a solid piece explaining how players in the financial system spread the risk from subprime mortgages through the economy. A bit light on the role played by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which get attention only in the accompanying interactive graphic). The article itself is probably a bit long to read online, but worth the effort.Continue reading
Time Magazine offers its list of the top ten wasteful earmarks proposed in 2008 (note that many of these were proposed but not funded -- download a complete list of earmarks that were funded by going here.
Surprisingly, there's not a single Defense earmark on the list. While $98,000 earmarks for walking tours to colonial era taverns and race tracks might seem ridiculous, how about the $2 million Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., secured for UH-60 transmission drip pans, which Anu wrote about here (and note that this is a new earmark).
Past examples aren't hard to find --Continue reading
Here's the summary from Congress Daily (subscription only):
Federal prosecutors say Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich engaged in a "staggering" conspiracy to sell or trade the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Obama in return for jobs and other personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti. Blogojevich and Chief of Staff John Harris were arrested this morning. A 76-page FBI affidavit said the 51-year-old Democratic governor was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat. "I want to make money," the affidavit quotes the governor as saying. U.S. Attorney ...Continue reading
It's old news now: yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama announced he was picking Timothy Geithner, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as his Treasury Secretary.
Geithner's New York Fed, according to Bloomberg.com, has been "accepting [securities from banks] on behalf of American taxpayers as collateral for $1.5 trillion of loans. (Bear in mind that link is several weeks old, and, due to rounding and additional bailouts, may be off by a trillion dollars or two).
Bloomberg filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for documents related to that $1.5 trillion ...Continue reading
The Washington Post reports that defense attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, have accused prosecutors of withholding potentially exculpatory information. It appears that the judge hearing the case agrees:
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said the powerful 40-year senator "would not be getting a fair trial if it were up to the government." He halted trial testimony so lawyers could prepare for a 4:30 p.m. hearing on motions to end the case or impose sanctions on the government.
The indictment against Stevens seemed weak -- arguing that Stevens had failed to disclose information about his residence on ...Continue reading
When I read accounts like this, I'm not surprised that Congress has such low approval ratings:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pressed for passage, with the alarming news that one of the country's premier insurance companies was about to go bankrupt if the crisis was not quickly resolved.
"We don't have a lot of leeway on time," Reid told reporters in the Capitol. "One of the individuals in the caucus today talked about a major insurance company -- a major insurance company -- one with a name that everyone knows that's on the verge of going bankrupt ...Continue reading