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Corruption

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Washington Times

A former Treasury official has told the watchdog for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout program that President Obama's promise to restrict lobbyist access to the bailout was made purely for political reasons. Months after the administration's pledge, the lobbyist rules haven't been implemented and Neel Kashkari, the one-time czar of the agency's Troubled Asset Relief Program, told the office of the special inspector general for TARP that the pledge to craft safeguards against lobbyist influence was a defensive move. "Mr. Kashkari believed that this statement was purely for political reasons with Obama's new entering administration, and that there was no substantive reason for this announcement," the office wrote in a document obtained by The Washington Times in which the inspector general recounted Mr. Kashkari's April 30 interview with the auditors. "He noted that, at that time, there had been headlines in the press regarding lobbyists

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The Examiner

It hasn't gotten much attention amid news of Ted Kennedy, Obamacare and the worsening outlook in Afghanistan, but an extraordinary situation is developing in the House of Representatives. With each passing day, it's becoming more clear that the powerful committee chairman in charge of writing America's tax laws is a financial wheeler-dealer, a serial asset-hider, and a tax offender. Rep. Charles Rangel has been in the House since 1971. He's as old bull as you get in the Democratic hierarchy, and he waited through 12 long years of Republican rule to take over as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in 2007. Along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democratic power brokers Henry Waxman and Barney Frank, Rangel is playing a key role in the effort to push the president's health care, environmental, and financial initiatives through the House. Last week, we learned that Rangel filed a grossly misleading financial disclosure report for 2007 -- failing to report at

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The New American

Because of the nature of federalism (government divided among local, state, and national entities) and the instructions Congress has given to the states and municipalities for the disbursement of funds, criminal elements are finding a cornucopia of opportunities to siphon money into their coffers. Many of these criminal organizations are old hands at manipulating loopholes and giving overseers the slip when it comes to winning contracts with government agencies. For its part, the FBI has begun instructing some of the 28 inspectors general who oversee the local agencies handing out the stimulus money to remind applicants that lying to a federal officer is a crime. Finally, In typical government fashion, Congress has decided to address the issue by spending $220 million to make sure no more contracts are awarded to companies or individuals with ties to organized crime. Instead of slowing the pace of the procedures already in place, the government has decided to try and cut back o

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Associated Press

 Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says in a new book that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel wanted his help in arranging to leave the Obama administration after two years to reclaim his seat in Congress.

Blagojevich writes in "The Governor" that Emanuel spoke with him about whether it was possible to appoint a "placeholder" to the congressional seat Emanuel was giving up so that he could win back the seat in 2010 and continue his efforts to become speaker some day.

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Associated Press

 

Neither Democratic Mayor Eddie Perez nor his attorney has detailed the charges, which are expected to involve a no-bid contract to former Democratic state Rep. Abraham Giles.

State investigators have been looking into a parking lot deal between the city and Giles since 2007. The deal included a $100,000 lease termination fee for Giles to vacate a city lot.

Perez proclaimed his innocence at a news conference Monday. He says he will not resign. He vows to complete his term and restore his reputation.

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The Examiner

Howard Dean proved last week at Rep. Jim Moran’s health care town hall meeting that even a veteran Washington politician can level with people once in a while. The former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential aspirant was a practicing physician before he got into politics, so perhaps we should not be surprised by his explanation for why medical malpractice caps [i.e. tort reform] is not in Obamacare: “The reason tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on. And that’s the plain and simple truth.” Put otherwise, trial lawyers have effectively bought themselves veto power. In the ranking by OpenSecrets.org of campaign contributions by the top 100 special interests during the past 20 years, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) – formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America – ranks sixth overall. The AAJ is the trial lawyers’ Washington lobbying group, and

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ProPublica

Sweet Friends of Angelo gave dirty dodd, townend and bo special loans look how it is paying off! The company, whose top management consists mostly of former Countrywide executives, now stands to receive up to $6.2 million in taxpayer money to modify those loans, through the Making Home Affordable program. The government’s incentive payments go primarily to the participating servicer, but some of the money could also go to borrowers and investors. But PennyMac may have a hard time leaving behind its ties to the scandal-ridden Countrywide. PennyMac’s founder and CEO, Stanford Kurland, is facing a civil suit (PDF) brought by the New York state comptroller and New York City pension funds, blaming him for helping push Countrywide into risky lending practices and lax underwriting standards as president. Kurland admitted to the Times that he had advocated a foray into higher-risk lending but said that the riskiest practices occurred after he left the company, in September 2006. Kurland

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The Market Ticker

Watch the above - six minutes and worth every bit of it. From that interview (specifically, at 3:20 in): Paulson told this person (who is writing a biography, apparently) that he intended to use the TARP money to inject into the banks and not buy toxic assets a full ten days before he testified before Congress. He then testified before Congress to exactly the opposite. This is about as clear an allegation of perjury (which, by the way, we've heard before - remember Kashkari making essentially the same allegation in his Congressional testimony?) as I've seen. Now the questions: When will Congress hold Henry Paulson to account for what clearly looks to be a violation of the law, in that he appears to have sworn falsely before Congress. Who else knew of and assisted in this intentional deception? Specifically, were Geithner and/or Bernanke involved? It has been alleged that Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's CEO, was also told in advance. If so that is material non-p

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The Golden Truth

We know that Dodd received a "FOA" mortgage from Countrywide. "FOA" is Friends of Angelo Mozilo, the disgraced and corrupt ex-Countrywide CEO who is under massive class-action lawsuits which total in the $100's of billions. In fact, one of Dodd's mortgages was underwritten in DC stating that it was his "primary" residence, when in fact his primary home is in Connecticut. This means is he received much more favorable terms and a lower mortgage rate. We also know that Dodd was responsible for engineering legislation that helped usher in the proliferation of subprime mortgages, especially with regard to the ability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to underwrite these garbage loans, many of them fraudulent. And now we see via Forbes, that Senator Dodd went to bat for a big Connecticut hedge fund, which also owns a mortgage servicing business, in order for this fund to attain access to the TALF program (Term Asset-Backed Lending Facility). TALF i

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New York Post

House Democrats are willing to rally around Rep. Charles Rangel in his latest spate of tax missteps -- but only as long as no more embarrassing revelations come to light, sources told The Post. The head of the powerful Ways and Means Committee last week amended six years' worth of financial disclosure forms and revealed he'd earned $1.3 million in previously unreported income. That's on top of ongoing House Ethics Committee probes into four other areas of Rangel's financial past -- including failure to properly report income taxes on a Caribbean villa he owns. But unless the Ethics Committee probes hit Rangel with something more than a slap on the wrist -- or a bigger scandal arises -- Democrats are unlikely to push him off the Ways and Means Committee, a Washington insider said. "He doesn't strike me as someone who would go quietly, and he's not afraid to play the race card on his own party," the DC source said. Friends like House Speak

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BlueLoriBlogSpot

Much has been written about Government Sachs but little is heard about JP Morgan the Residents favorite banker.... The Federal Reserve is one of the most powerful and secretive institutions in Washington, long considered beyond the reach of lawmakers. But now, as details emerge of how the Fed secretly doled out YOUR MONEY...(This video combined with the explanation below may help you understand the connection) Look who BO went to for "support" here... Bribes here...

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National Legal and Policy Center

House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) may have gotten a fleeting break when Edward Kennedy’s death knocked reports of his newly-disclosed wealth off the front page. But by this morning, editorial writers had caught their breath and were busy at work skewering the Chairman of the committee that writes the nation’s tax laws. And just think how much fresh meat has been left for the weekend crew. From the New York Daily News: There are two sets of rules for Rep. Charlie Rangel - the ones he writes for everyone else and the ones that are, or were, beneath his compliance, powerful personage that he is. From the Wall Street Journal: When normal people happen to "find" their own money, it might mean a twenty left in a winter coat, or discovering change beneath the sofa cushions. But if you're Charlie Rangel, it means doubling your net worth. From the New York Post: Rep. Charlie Rangel's multimillion-dollar "oops" this month raises

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Washington Post

Never mind about those revised union financial disclosure requirements President Obama inherited from his predecessor. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis now says she won’t make union officials comply. Unions officials complained for eight years that regulations issued by Elaine Chao, President George W. Bush’s Labor Secretary, were more rigorous than required by the Labor Management and Reporting Disclosure Act (LMRDA), which calls for modestly detailed annual financial reports by unions with receipts of $250,000 or more. The Bush-Chao regulations require union officials to disclose financial information that could aid union members’ seeking information on how their union leaders are spending dues money, and to help expose “no show jobs” that put paychecks for ghost employees into union coffers. Before Bush took office, the reports were mostly ignored by the Labor Department. Now, it’s back to business-as-usual. A notice appeared this week on the department’s web site saying the Office

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istockanalyst

I’ve watched with first amusement, then disgust, and ultimately outrage as various pundits proclaimed Bernanke’s efforts “saved the financialsystem” or helped the US “weather the storm.” Bernanke did NO such thing. You could train a chimpanzee to hit the “print money” button at the Fed every-time the Fed phone rings with a Wall Street number and get the same results. To date, Bernanke has spent or put the taxpayer on the hook for some $24 TRILLION in bailouts, lending windows, and off balance sheet arrangements. AND HE’S FIXED NOTHING. Banks remain insolvent (if you marked their assets at market value, they’d all wipe out equity in a second), mortgages remain underwater, hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to lose their jobs every month, foreign investors grow increasingly distrustful of the dollar, and the financial system continues to have multiple black swans… all of which could bring about another CRASH.

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Fox

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former high-ranking members of his administration won't be criminally charged in a yearlong federal investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving one of the Democratic governor's large political donors, someone familiar with the case said. The decision not to pursue indictments was made by top Justice Department officials, according to a person familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because federal officials had not disclosed results of the probe. "It's over. There's nothing. It was killed in Washington," the person told The Associated Press. A federal grand jury began an investigation in 2008 into a possible pay-to-play scheme in which lucrative work on state bond deals went to a Richardson donor. The federal probe derailed Richardson's appointment as commerce secretary in President Barack Obama's administration

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Reuters

 "We have the ability. I know that I am telling people we are allowed to," he said. "What I don't know is if people (employees) are willing to. A lot of them feel hurt, embarrassed, a lot of people have lived in fear because of what I call lynch mobs with pitchforks." Benmosche was referring to severe criticism of the bonuses paid to some AIG staff at the financial products unit at the center of its meltdown. The verbal assaults by politicians and in the media led to several demonstrations, including a bus tour of employee homes near the unit's Wilton, Connecticut headquarters, and threats to others.

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USA Today

More than two dozen firms that have surfaced in a broad corruption investigation of public pension funds gave at least $1.97 million in campaign contributions to officials with potential influence over the funds' investments, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The givers included private-equity giants such as the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group and the Quadrangle Group, the firm founded by Steven Rattner, who in July resigned as the White House point man for the auto industry rescue. The contributions are legal, and the firms haven't been accused of wrongdoing related to the giving. Conflicts of interest Even in cases with no charges of illegality, watchdogs argue that the campaign contributions — known as pay-to-play — create conflicts of interest.

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Economic Policy Journal

While Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has a day job printing money by writing checks out of thin air that he shovels to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, which then dilutes the value of the money in everyonelse's pocket, Bernanke reportedly doesn't like anyone diluting his personal checking account funds. His wife, Anna, had her pocketbook stolen in a Starbucks by a tool, Lee Reid, of a "master criminal". Sounds just like Bernanke so far, doesn't it, "master criminal" and all? Since he alerted his bank, Bernanke didn't lose any money. So how is he handling the situation? "It's fair to say he was not pleased," Newsweek quotes one close associate of Bernanke. Hey, just like the people who are not pleased with Bernanke's act and want to end the Fed.

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Zero Hedge

"The fundamental problem is that conflicted ratings have and are causing massive harm to investors and now, unfortunately, to the American taxpayer as well. The current credit crisis might cost taxpayers $23.7 trillion according to the TARP reviewer Neil Barofsky and inflated ratings are universally cited as one of the primary culprits in this collapse of the credit markets." - Sean Egan "Dear SEC - continue abusing the public's increasingly declining patience with your lack of integrity and inability to prosecute those at fault for the current crisis at your own peril." - Tyler Durden Remember when in the days after the Lehman bankruptcy the financial system almost collapsed and the Fed was forced to pump several trillion of dollars into various swap arrangement almost overnight to prevent a so-called cataclysm? A primary culprit for this was the Reserve Fund "breaking the buck" due to its extensive investments in Lehman Brothers, which finall

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The Philadelphia Bulletin

Hassan Nemazee, chairman of Nemazee Capital Corp. and a fundraiser for President Obama and Hillary Clinton, was arrested on charges that he tricked Citigroup Inc. into lending him as much as $74 million using phony documents. Nemazee got the loan by telling Citibank that he held accounts with hundreds of millions of dollars that could serve as collateral, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said today in a statement. He used fake addresses and phone numbers controlled by him to mislead the bank, prosecutors said. The accounts “either never existed or had been closed years before Nemazee submitted the documents referencing those accounts,” Bharara said in the statement. Nemazee, 59, repaid the loan to Citibank yesterday, a day after he was interviewed by FBI agents, prosecutors said. The interview took place at Newark Liberty International Airport as Nemazee was checking in for a flight to Rome.

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Seeking Alpha

The bankruptcy of Colonial Bank (CNB) was the largest bank-bankruptcy in the U.S. since several large, U.S. financial institutions collapsed last year – with the most recent being Washington Mutual, last fall. However, there is one huge difference between the mega-bankruptcies of last year and the collapse of Colonial Bank a week ago. During the large bank-failures of 2008, the acquiring institutions wrote-down the “assets” on the books of these banks by an average of 18% - according to a Bloomberg article. However, when BB&T Corp purchased Colonial, it immediately wrote-down Colonial's assets by 37%, double the amount of discounting done last year. What has changed between now and then? The legitimizing of fraudulent accounting, when the supposed “watch-dog” of U.S. accounting, the Financial Accountability Standards Board brought in new “mark-to-fantasy” accounting rules in the U.S. this spring ( see “FASB strong-armed into mark-to-fantasy accounting”). As the Bloomberg a

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Economic Policy Journal

Well it's not a ACORN, but pretty damn close, the Obama influence is clear with this choice. A top labor union leader, Denis Hughes, has become the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Board of Directors. The New York Fed’s board comprises nine members, and is set up to reflect banking and community interests. Hughes has been on the board since 2003, but a union leader as New York Fed Chairman? Hughes is president of the 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO. According to the New York state AFL-CIO site: As President of the New York State AFL-CIO, Mr. Hughes has made creating a more mobile, active and aggressive statewide labor movement a top priority. He has set a tone for organizing new members into the movement and has led the way in developing proactive legislative and political statewide strategy. Hughes clearly doesn't understand basic supply and demand economics, since he "has been successful in helping to pass historic legislation that

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The Market Ticker

Oh no, we don't cheat: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. research analyst Marc Irizarry's published rating on mutual-fund manager Janus Capital Group Inc. was a lackluster "neutral" in early April 2008. But at an internal meeting that month, the analyst told dozens of Goldman's traders the stock was likely to head higher, company documents show. Nothing like selling bonds out the front door and shorting them on your prop desk, right? Oh wait, Goldman did that too! Securities laws require firms like Goldman to engage in "fair dealing with customers," and prohibit analysts from issuing opinions that are at odds with their true beliefs about a stock. Steven Strongin, Goldman's stock research chief, says no one gains an unfair advantage from its trading huddles, and that the short-term-trading ideas are not contrary to the longer-term stock forecasts in its written research. Riiiight. And I'm the Easter Bunny. The tips usually go to top clien

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BlueLoriBlogSpot

Here we go again the Banking Casino is Open for business this video may be a "Spoof" or a case of Art Imitating Life Actors include JP Morgan and Government Sachs! JP Morgan the Residents Favorite Banker and Government Sachs have re-opened the Casino responsible for helping crash the Worlds Economy. No this is not a "Jewish Cabal" ruining the World Jamie Dimon the residents favorite banker is Greek the head bagman tax cheat Geithner is German United Church Church of Christ and Government Sachs Ringleader Paulson is a Christian Scientist. You can have the "Elitisim" mindset explained to you here. These two firms are the top two largest dealers in Credit Default Swaps CDS. Credit Default Swaps are what brought down AIG because they could not cover the bets. Yes, cover the bets as trading CDS is a legalized form of gambling. While this corrupt congress complains about it nothing is really being done. Bloomberg.com JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Lead CDS

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Time

One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's favorite boasts is that she "cleaned out the swamp of Washington," a none too subtle swipe at what she calls the G.O.P.'s "culture of corruption" as evidenced by imprisoned former Rep. Duke Cunningham, disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff or the coterie of members he tainted, including Rep. Bob Ney who is also in prison and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is still fighting charges that he violated Texas campaign finance laws. Unfortunately for Pelosi, the Democrats' record is far from clean, and her bold words could well come back to haunt her and her party in next year's midterm elections. According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a congressional watchdog group, 15 lawmakers are currently under investigation for allegedly violating ethical standards. Of those four are Republicans and 11 are Democrats. That doesn't even include former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson, wh

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Judicial Watch

Barney Frank is no stranger to scandal. As you may recall, Judicial Watch uncovered documents proving that Frank was well aware of massive problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, even while he blocked attempts by Congress to rein them in. Frank, of course, has been the beneficiary of tens of thousands of dollars from the two mortgage giants over the last decade in campaign contributions, which might help explain why he allowed the Fannie and Freddie to run wild. (As you may recall, just weeks ago, Frank called on Fannie and Freddie to relax mortgage standards yet again, even though such risky lending practices facilitated the collapse of the economy.) Now there is a fresh influence peddling scandal brewing, this time involving the allocation of funds from TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program).

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