Room 8's story on Iraq War opponent Rep. [sw: Gary Ackerman]'s war profiteering made it to print today in Newsday.
Additionally, the records - reported on www.r8ny.com, a New York City political Web site - show Ackerman (D-Jamaica Estates) accepted a "personal loan" last year for as much as $100,000 from Selig Zises, a large investor in a California-based company that Ackerman called Xenonics Options. However, Ackerman, who denies any improprieties, said the alleged loan was actually a sale of stock that he accidentally misreported. ... On March 9, 2002, Ackerman, a senior member on the International Relations Committee, purchased between $1,001 to $15,000 of stock in Xenonics, which is today valued at between $100,000 and $250,000, according to financial records.The stock had ballooned to as much as $1 million as Room 8 had previously reported. It has since fallen to level reported by Newsday. Ackerman's attempt at playing dumb -- "If I was smart or really knew something, I would have sold it then" -- is pretty lame since, as Gur at Room 8 points out, "said questionable dude not only sits on the House Financial Services Committee, but also on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets - which has oversight on the Securities and Exchange Commission." Ackerman says that he "played no role in steering federal dollars to Xenonics." The real, moral question remains: how does one square opposition to a war with profiting from it? If you oppose said war what would the ethical use of the profits be? Should he give it away to charity? Perhaps an organization trying to bring peace and understanding to said war-torn nation. Or should he spend those war profits on an absolutely awesome bat mitzvah for his little tatalah? It's decision time Ackerman: mensch or schlemeil? Continue reading
A woman's rights advocate is slain by gunmen in post-invasion Iraq. A corrupt defense contractor dispensed large sums of money to her. The money is missing and the contractor cannot account for it. The New York Times has more on this sordid tale in Iraq ruled by the American Coalition Provisional Authority.Continue reading
- The Associated Press reports that Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) has publicly blamed his early Thursday morning car crash on a combination of prescription drugs (Phenergan and Ambien) that his doctor prescribed him. He has said that no alcohol was involved in the crash. Note to Congressmen: Don't drive on Ambien, it's a sleeping pill!
- According to the Wall Street Journal, authorites are investigating "whether a senior Navy official tried to steer business to" Custer Battles, a defense contractor that has already been ordered to pay $10 million in fines for defrauding the U.S. government. The Navy official is Douglas Combs, who served as "special assistant to then-acting Secretary of the Navy Hansford Johnson in 2003".
- Missouri Governor Matt Blunt (R) has imposed a ban on administration employees from receiving any lobbyist gifts amidst an FBI probe of his administration, according to the Kansas City Star.
- The Associated Press reports on the ongoing fight between the defense and prosecution in the David Safavian case over the prosecution's release of emails between Safavian and ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
- Alternet provides a one-stop round-up of all the information regarding the Duke Cunningham-Brent Wilkes-Prostitution scandal. Continue reading