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This Administration doesn’t like oversight!

Now why would they do this?

Congress Closes Federal Accounting Agency In Iraq…

Was it because they were finding too much graft, incompetence and mismanagement of money!?!

Here’s more from CQ:

Investigators Say Appropriations Panel Lost Appetite for Oversight

Last month’s mass firing of House Appropriations Committee investigators followed years of declining appetite for tough oversight and partisan squabbles that the investigators say often stalled their work.

Several members of the team, some of whom spoke on the condition that they not be identified by name, defend their record against committee spokesman John Scofield’s charge that recent work was not good. They suggest instead that majority Republicans had no appetite for oversight of the Bush administration.

The investigators said they identified billions of dollars in potential savings every year, particularly in the Defense budget, and that they heard no complaints until Chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., dismissed 60 contractors on Oct. 16.
Joseph Stehr, a retired FBI agent who had been a member of the team off and on since 1985, said he remains stunned by Lewis’ action. “It reeks, it really does,” he said. “It just amazes me that after 60 some years, that just with the swipe of a pencil the thing could all go away.”

Stehr said the team gave the committee a unique window into Defense programs. “Who is going to look into all of this? GAO? I don’t think so. They’re slow-pitch Wiffle ball, where we throw 90 miles an hour.”

Scofield said the dismissals were part of a review of the team, and that the investigators might be rehired.

But Stehr, who worked on a now-stalled study of Katrina relief spending as well as on Pentagon budget scrubs, said many of the former investigators are so disillusioned that they would not return if the committee decides to reconstitute its investigative team in the 110th Congress.

Much more to this article here:

This admin has been secretive, lying, scandal ridden, and has morphed into arrogant.

Wake up America!!! Please!

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November 4, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Iraq, Op Ed, Scandals, World News | Leave a comment

Foley Campaign Money Could Become His Legal Defense Fund

Have you had enough???  Again, why are these congressmen allowed to use  their campaign money for a defense fund?  I think we should tell them that they will not get one red dime until they change this.  If they are corrupt or involved in a scandal, like Foley, they should pay for their own defense.

From ABC’s the Blotter:

 Disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley has almost $2 million in campaign funds to play with, and he can use the money to defend himself if it comes to that.  The money can cover the cost of travel or any other expenses having to do with being a congressman, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Foley’s campaign committee currently has $1,865,386 of “cash on hand,” according to the latest FEC report.

Foley can use the money to cover the costs of “winding down his office, make unlimited transfers to national, state and local party committees and contribute to other candidates,” said Michelle Ryan, a spokeswoman for the FEC.

 Another former congressman, Randall “Duke” Cunningham, who is now in prison for taking bribes, used his campaign funds for legal fees incurred during the federal investigation against him.

The FEC takes requests to use campaign funds for legal fees on a case-by-case basis.  There is no information that Foley’s campaign committee has made such a request. 

 The “Friends of Mark Foley” Committee did not return calls for comment. 

   The loophole through which congressmen could transfer campaign finance funds to their own bank accounts was closed in 1993, before which such transfers were widespread, according to Gary Ruskin, Director of the Congressional Accountability Project, a nonprofit group which monitors congressional spending and ethics.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/heaven_knows_wh.html

October 24, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Scandals | 1 Comment

Why are politicians allowed to use Campaign funds for legal fees?

Good question.  This has to be changed just as eliminating the benefits from indicted Congressional office holders. I wouldn’t want to donate money for a campaign only for it to be used as a defense fund for wrong doing.  Those funds should be stipulated to be used only for what it is intended.

From TPM Muckraker:

Burns’ Legal Fees Top $90,000
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) has spent at least $91,500 in campaign funds on a white collar defense lawyer this year.

Last November, both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported that Burns is on the short list for Abramoff investigators. Burns finally hired defense attorney Ralph Caccia of Powell Goldstein in April of this year. At the time, Burns’ spokesman said that Caccia had been retained to “[help] review all the facts in this matter.”

The review must be continuing, as Burns’ recent FEC disclosure shows a $27,460 payment to Caccia’s firm in September. Together with the $64,000 that Burns had paid out since April, that makes approximately $91,500 in fees.

Burns joins Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), his companion on the Justice Department’s short list (which also includes former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and soon-to-be-former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)), in both shelling out money for a top-flight defense lawyer and publicly proclaiming that he’s not a target of the DoJ’s probe. To see why Burns has got investigators so interested, see our reference section.

Recent polls show Burns trailing his Democratic challenger, Jon Tester.

What are your thoughts?

October 23, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Op Ed, Scandals | Leave a comment

Congressional Pensions – There has to be a law

There have been indictments and congressmen going to jail or had to quit because of a scandal or two or three. Yet they get to keep their pensions. This has to change and soon.  They are working for “We  the people” and “We the people” want it changed!

Here, again from ABC’s the Blotter:

Foley Keeps Pension Despite Scandal

Former Congressman Mark Foley may have stepped down in disgrace, but he will be eligible for his congressional pension no matter what, even if he faces jail time, according to Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayer’s Union, a non-partisan taxpayer advocacy group.

snip

In May of this year, the House proposed legislation taking pensions away from members convicted of bribery and corruption, but that bill has been stalled in “conference negotiations” before going to the Senate, meaning that two recently convicted congressmen, Congressman Bob Ney, who is still collecting his full salary, and former Congressman Randall “Duke” Cunningham, will also get their pensions “no matter what,” according to Sepp.

Foley and Ney’s service records are almost identical. Ney will start with $29,000 annually, slightly lower than Foley’s because he is married.  Both can opt for a reduced pension starting at 56, which means they can start collecting their checks in just four years.

Cunningham, who is 64 and now in prison for accepting bribes, immediately began collecting $64,000 annually when he stepped down in November of 2005, after racking up twenty years of service in the military and Congress.

Now is the time to contact your congressman or woman and let them know how you feel about this issue.  This law to take away their pensions will make future congressmen watch their steps.  I also believe that if they are made to leave the congress without being indicted, they should also lose any benefits. The corruption we are hearing from this administration is unbelievable.

October 20, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Op Ed, Scandals | 2 Comments

CREW gets damning Weldon emails

From the CREW blog:

CREW asks DOJ to investigate Weldon for e-mails outlining possible threats of retaliation against his opponent’s contributors

E-mails received by CREW have prompted us to ask the Department of Justice to investigate whether Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) violated the law by intimidating government personnel “in the national security field” who support his opponent, Joe Sestak.

The first e-mail describes a “hit list” compiled of Weldon opponent’s supporters. In addition, that e-mail notes the Weldon said something to the effect of “If they don’t think there will be retribution before or after the election, they’re kidding themselves.” The second e-mail states that Weldon had his staff contact Navy personnel to get information on Sestak.

CREW has asked the Department of Justice to investigate this very serious matter. The e-mails, which are provided below, detail a disturbing, and potentially unlawful, abuse of power. 18 U.S.C. §600 and 18 U.S.C. §610 are implicated with this kind of behavior.

Melanie Sloan stated that, “Not only has Rep. Weldon abused his position to financially benefit his daughter, he has threatened to misuse his position to punish those who support his political opponent. Rep. Weldon needs to learn that no one, not even a powerful member of Congress is above the law.”

Go to the site link to read the emails.

These people think they own the world! They can do whatever they want and think they won’t be caught.  Thank you CREW for staying on top of this.

October 20, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Op Ed, Scandals | Leave a comment

ABC’s News of the day on Hastert and Foleygate

All testimony point back to Hastert’s office.  ABC’s “the Blotter” reports this:

The former clerk of the House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl, who testified for more than four hours before the House Ethics Committee today, is believed to have testified that a top aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert was informed of “all issues dealing with the page program,” according to a Republican familiar with the investigation.

The Republican source said Trandahl planned to name Ted Van Der Meid, the speaker’s counsel and floor manager, as the person who was briefed on a regular basis about any issue that arose in the page program, including a “problem group of members and staff who spent too much time socializing with pages outside of official duties.” One of whom was Mark Foley.

Trandahl’s testimony before the House Ethics Committee could provide additional evidence that key members of the speaker’s staff were aware of problems involving the page program for years.

Last Week’s testimony:

Last week, Foley’s former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, testified before the Ethics Committee about his public allegations that the speaker’s chief of staff, Scott Palmer, was told about problems with Foley at least three years ago.

Palmer has said that Fordham’s version of events “never happened.”

Now comes Majority Leader John Boehner’s Testimony:

House Majority Leader John Boehner, who spoke to the House ethics committee in closed session Thursday, said he was not backing down from previous statements in which he said he told House Speaker

It’s looking very bad for Hastert.  I can’t believe he didn’t know about this.  Would his staff keep this from him? And if so, why?  There is no good reason to keep this info from Hastert unless the staff were told to do so by some outside person.  But I don’t believe that.  What do you think?

October 20, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Scandals | 1 Comment

And the Winner Is … Me

From the New York Times:

Voters in Ohio can be forgiven if they feel they have been beamed out of the Midwest and dropped into a third-world autocracy. The latest news from the state’s governor’s race is that the Republican nominee, Kenneth Blackwell, who is also the Ohio secretary of state, could rule that his opponent is ineligible to run because of a technicality. We’d like to think that his office would not ultimately do that, or that if it did, such a ruling would not be allowed to stand. But the mere fact that an elected official and political candidate has the authority to toss his opponent out of a race is further evidence of a serious flaw in our democracy.

Ted Strickland, the Democratic nominee, is leading Mr. Blackwell by as much as 28 points, according to one recent poll. In their panic, some Blackwell supporters have hit on the idea of trying to prevent the election from occurring. One of them filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Strickland, who is a member of Congress, does not live in the apartment where he is registered to vote. Mr. Strickland owns a condominium in another part of Ohio, and the complaint alleges that he actually lives there. If Mr. Strickland was not a qualified voter, he would be prohibited from running for governor.

Read the rest here.

October 17, 2006 Posted by | Scandals | Leave a comment

Mehlman tied to Abramoff – Who isn’t lately!

The LA Times has an article, today, linking Ken Mehlman to Abramoff. Here’s an excerpt:

Newly disclosed e-mails suggest that the ax fell after intervention by one of the highest officials at the White House: Ken Mehlman, on behalf of one of the most influential lobbyists in town, Jack Abramoff.

The e-mails show that Abramoff, whose client list included the Northern Mariana Islands, had long opposed Stayman’s work advocating labor changes in that U.S. commonwealth, and considered what his lobbying team called the “Stayman project” a high priority.

“Mehlman said he would get him fired,” an Abramoff associate wrote after meeting with Mehlman, who was then White House political director.

The Abramoff hit list seems to be long and his emails are damaging to many repubs. Now if we could just get Norquist!!

October 15, 2006 Posted by | Scandals | Leave a comment

McClatchy: Curt Weldon Under Investigation

The LA Times broke the story back in 2004 that Rep. Curt Weldon’s (R-PA) daughter Karen, then in her late twenties, ran a lobbying firm that was raking in approximately $1 million a year – and by some strange coincidence, her three main clients all had developed a relationship with her father, Curt.Now McClatchy breaks news that the FBI opened an investigation of the matter in recent months. Just out:

The Justice Department is investigating whether Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, according to sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry.The FBI, which opened an investigation in recent months, has formally referred the matter to the department’s Public Integrity Section for additional scrutiny. At issue are Weldon’s efforts between 2002 and 2004 to aid two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers with ties to strongman Slobodan Milosevic, a federal law enforcement official said…. But McClatchy Newspapers’ sources said the FBI only over the last few months obtained evidence suggesting that the congressman may have broken the law. One of the sources, a federal law enforcement official, said that Weldon had not yet been told about the inquiry. The official said that the FBI recently sought the assistance of federal prosecutors in pressuring an unidentified person to provide evidence about the 59-year-old congressman. The attempt to “squeeze” this individual appeared to be an early step, the two sources said. It is uncertain whether the current investigation will blossom into a full-blown inquiry that will result in criminal charges being filed. It is possible at this stage of the investigation that nothing will come of it. But the FBI typically does not seek the involvement of the Justice Department unless it finds substance to the evidence it has gathered.

Weldon is locked in a tight re-election race with retired Vice Adm. Joe Sestak.

October 14, 2006 Posted by | Scandals | Leave a comment