Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

NY AG Has NRA in the Crosshairs

August 7, 2020

NY AG Has NRA in the Crosshairs

New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleging years of fraud and corruption by National Rifle Association executives, filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to dissolve the NRA. Attorney General James has jurisdiction since the purportedly nonprofit NRA was chartered in New York State in 1871. The suit outlines decades of self-dealing, questionable contracts to family and friends of NRA leaders, payoffs, luxury executive perks, lavish compensation, and tens of millions in financial misconduct. Since the allegations involve tax fraud, the state is sharing its information with the IRS. Bewhiskered General Ambrose Burnside, first NRA President, is no doubt rolling around in his grave.

The DC Attorney General, claiming that the NRA raided its own NRA Foundation to stem the losses of the NRA proper, filed a second lawsuit against the gun group.

More:

“New York Attorney General Sues N.R.A. and Seeks Its Closure,” Danny Hakim, New York Times

“New York AG sues to dissolve the NRA, alleging widespread fraud,” Betsy Woodruff Swan, Max Cohen, and Michelle Bocanegra, Politico

“Wayne LaPierre allegedly used NRA as a ‘personal piggy bank,’ N.Y. AG says,” Erik Ortiz, NBC News

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Trump Springs Convicted Felon Roger Stone From Prison

July 14, 2020

Trump Springs Convicted Felon Roger Stone From Prison

Odious operative Roger Stone, convicted of 7 felony counts of perjury, obstruction, and witness tampering, has been spared a prison sentence by President Donald Trump in his latest abuse of executive power. After receiving the grant of clemency, Mr. Stone vowed to campaign for the president’s re-election, probably among his fellow reptiles in the Central Florida Herpetarium near his home.

More:

“Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” Robert Mueller, Washington Post

“Trump’s clemency for Roger Stone also commuted his 2-year probation and $20,000 fine, order shows,” Kevin Breuninger, CNBC

“Trump Adds Roger Stone to His List of Pardons and Commutations,” Katie Rogers, Derrick Bryson Taylor and Heather Murphy, New York Times

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Blagojevich Jailbreak!

February 19, 2020

Blagojevich Jailbreak!

President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of one-time Celebrity Apprentice contestant and disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the Chicago Democrat who tried to sell Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat after the 2004 election. Mr. Blagojevich was also convicted of shaking down a childrens’ hospital to try to get a $50,000 contribution from the hospital CEO, and extorting a $100,000 bribe from a racetrack owner. He was convicted of the schemes on the evidence of his phone calls, so the president can surely relate.

“Blago,” a devoted Elvis fan, had been scheduled to do the Jailhouse Rock until May 2024.

More:

“Who Is Rod Blagojevich? And Why Did President Trump Commute His Sentence?” Monica Davey and Mitch Smith, New York Times

“The Rod Blagojevich scandal and Trump’s commutation of his sentence, explained,” Andrew Prokop, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Doral Golf: Trump Whiffs on G7

October 22, 2019

Doral Golf: Trump Whiffs on G7

U.S. President, hotelier, and celebrity golf cheat Donald Trump wanted the 2020 G7 meeting held at the Trump National Doral resort in Florida, but it’s not happening. For some reason people thought holding the June meeting at Trump-owned Doral (“Come for the golf, stay for the Zika“) reeked of self-dealing just because it certainly does. It would also violate the Constitution.

Mr. Trump may think the “G” in G7 stands for “golf,” but it’s the Group of Seven finance summit. Speaking of finance, the Doral could have used the money. During the Trump presidency its net operating income fell 69%, and the Doral’s debts are international, since it was financed through loans from Deutsche Bank. The president nixed consideration of the enviroment during the 2020 G7 meeting, but there’s an environmental issue at Doral. The swimming pools haven’t been inspected in the past year.

More:

“Trump Dismisses Doral Criticism: ‘You People With This Phony Emoluments Clause,’” Julia Arciga, Daily Beast

“Trump says his Doral golf resort will no longer host next year’s G-7 summit, bowing to criticism,” Philip Rucker and David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

Related:

“Trump’s G7 and trade adviser Kelly Ann Shaw departing the White House,” Rebecca Falconer, Axios

Updates:

“Trump’s Doral resort was added as possible G-7 site at last minute, secret service email reveals,” Eileen AJ Connelly, New York Post

“RNC to hold winter meetings at Trump resort that was considered for G-7 summit,” David A. Fahrenthold and Michael Scherer,  Washington Post

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Top image (“President Trump Addresses the Issues”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Rudy Giuliani’s Expert Consultant on Ukrainian Corruption

October 4, 2019

Rudy Giuliani's Expert Consultant on Ukrainian Corruption

If you want expert advice on Ukrainian corruption, check with convicted felon Paul Manafort, former consultant to Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president removed from office for rampant corruption. That’s what Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, did in an attempt to corroberate yet another conspracy theory about the Mueller Investigation. That probe caught Mr. Manafort with secret foreign bank accounts stuffed with Ukrainian cash and sent him to the slammer. Before he began serving time, Paul Manafort served as Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman and chief strategist.

More:

“Who Would Be the Worst Possible Person to Help You Avoid Ukraine-Related Crimes?” Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone

“Giuliani consulted on Ukraine with imprisoned Paul Manafort via a lawyer,” Josh Dawsey, Tom Hamburger, Paul Sonne, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

“Five fantasies Trump is pushing about the Ukraine scandal – and the truth,” Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

Related:

“Trump Removed Ambassador to Ukraine After Giuliani Insisted: Report,” Julia Arciga, Daily Beast

“Giuliani Claims The State Department Warned Him Not To Meet With A Top Ukrainian Official,” Hayes Brown, BuzzFeed News

“Judge Andrew Napolitano: Trump’s call with Ukraine president manifests criminal and impeachable behavior,” Fox News

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Adam Schock Legal Shocker

March 8, 2019

Adam Schock Legal Shocker

Adam Schock, the disgraced former GOP congressman, fraudster, and ticket scalper indicted on 24 felony counts, reached a sweetheart deal with Federal prosecuters in Chicago on Wednesday without actually pleading guilty. He agreed to pay a $25,000 FEC fine, will repay his campaign committees $67,956, and fork over unpaid 2010–2015 taxes and taxes on the $42,375 he made by scalping sports tickets. Mr. Schock has already repaid Congress $40,000 for redecorating his House office as Downton Abbey and $88,000 in phony mileage expense claims. In the “deferred prosecution” arrangement, if Aaron Schock doesn’t re-offend for six months, charges will be dropped and his criminal record wiped clean. He won’t rule out another run for public office.

It did not go unnoticed that Mr. Schock, the Prince of Peoria, avoided jail time, while another former Illinois Congrssman, Jesse Jackson Jr., was sentenced to 30 months in prison for misusing campaign funds.

More:

“Ex-congressman Aaron Schock strikes deal to avert prosecution,” Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Donald Trump, Banana Republican

September 4, 2018

Donald Trump, Banana Republican

On Monday President Trump attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Federal indictments of two sitting Republican congressmen, both strong Trump supporters:

Republican Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded: to the President’s partisan attack on the rule of law:

“The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice – one for the majority party and one for the minority party. These two men have been charged with crimes because of evidence, not because of who the President was when the investigations began. Instead of commenting on ongoing investigations and prosecutions, the job of the President of the United States is to defend the Constitution and protect the impartial administration of justice.”

“This is not the conduct of a President committed to defending and upholding the constitution,” tweeted Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, “but rather a President looking to use the Department of Justice to settle political scores.”

Contrary to Mr. Trump’s tweet, at least one of the investigations began during his own administration. Rep. Christopher Collins (R, NY-27) is charged with participating in an insider trading scheme, and phoned insider stock tips while picnicking on the White House lawn in June 2017. He has denied wrongdoing but is not seeking re-election. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R, CA-50) and his wife were indicted for allegedly using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. Mr. Hunter is still on the midterm ballot.

More:

“Trump Twitter attack on Sessions and Justice is most serious impeachment fodder yet,” Chris Truax, USA Today

“Trump’s Attacks on Jeff Sessions and the DOJ Are Reaching Absurd New Levels,” Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone

“Trump sets up rule-of-law crisis,” Jonathan Swan, Axios

“The Proud Corruption of Donald Trump,” David A. Graham, The Atlantic

“Sorry, Mr. Trump, the Attorney General Is America’s Lawyer,” New York Times editors

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Image: Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Pruitt Family Values

June 18, 2018

Pruitt Family Values

Recent discussion of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s brilliant Washington career has concentrated on his abuses of science, taxpayer dollars, and the power of his office, but he’s not so selfish that he neglected the Republican love of Family Values. Mr. Pruitt assigned EPA aides to try to get his wife a job with a conservative group and a Chick-fil-A franchise, and his daughter a White House Internship and a place in a good law school.

More:

“Why Scott Pruitt’s effort to get his wife a job could be his most consequential scandal,” Amber Phillips, Washington Post

“For Pruitt Aides, the Boss’s Personal Life Was Part of the Job,” Eric Lipton, Steve Eder, Lisa Friedman and Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times

Background:

“Scott Pruitt’s [dirty] laundry list,” Mike Allen, Axios

Update:

“Whistleblower: EPA’s Pruitt kept secret calendar to hide meetings,” Scott Bronstein, Curt Devine and Drew Griffin, CNN

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Soccer Trial In Brooklyn: Guilty

December 23, 2017

Soccer Trial In Brooklyn: Guilty

Two former officials of the South American soccer association were found guilty in U.S. Federal Court on Friday of accepting millions of dollars in bribes. The jury will deliberate on a third defendant next week. 24 other people tied to FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, have pleaded guilty, and 15 more charged in the racketeering  and money-laundering probe are fighting extradition to the U.S.

More:

“2 Top Soccer Officials Found Guilty in FIFA Case,” Rebecca R. Ruiz, New York Times

“Fifa trial: two ex-soccer officials found guilty on multiple charges of corruption,” Oliver Laughland, The Guardian

Update:

“Fifa trial: ex-president of Peru soccer acquitted of corruption charge,” AP via The Guardian

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Swiss Cops Eyeball FIFA’s Sepp Blatter

September 27, 2015

Swiss Cops Eyeball FIFA's Sepp Blatter

Zurich’s Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, recently reelected President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), will be leaving that position in a few months — if he is not arrested first. On Thursday, investigators from the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) quietly initiated criminal proceedings against Herr Blatter on suspicion of criminal mismanagement under Articles 158 and 138 of the Swiss Criminal Code. On Friday they surprised him at FIFA HQ, interrogating him and other top soccer execs, looking into the specifics of the 2005 TV rights deal Herr Blatter cut with Caribbean football chief Jack Warner and his $2 million payoff to underling Michel Platini in 2011.

Herr Blatter has ruled the international sports empire since 1998 and has helped FIFA bring the lucrative World Cup matches to places like Russia and the North Pole Qatar. His resignation followed news that Herr Blatter’s top assistant, Jérôme Valcke, was involved in a questionable $10 million money transfer.

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