This swamp still needs draining

There isn’t a shortage of stories, or lists of stories about corrupt Republicans. The MSM is only too happy to oblige.

Fine with me. I’m sick and tired of corrupt politicians.

Interestingly enough, a quick google search reveals that stories about corrupt Republicans outnumber those about corrupt Democrats by 3 – 1. I don’t think that is because there are more corrupt Republicans. I think it’s because Democrats get a pass from the MSM on all but the most egregious cases. So, I thought I might start my own list in this era of transparency in government, and hope and change.

More and more these days, my morning newspaper reads like an ensemble comedy of errors cast entirely with Democrats: Bill Richardson probed! Blago busted! Charlie Rangel investigated! Eliot Spitzer ruined! Kwame Kilpatrick jailed! Bill “Freezer” Jefferson indicted! … and so on. Ugh. Are the Democrats … developing their own “culture of corruption” problem? (Eve Fairbanks)

demscandalposterboys

Ms. Fairbanks has a good point. The growing list of corrupt Democrat politicians promises to give Republicans a substantial target to shoot at for the ’10 midterms. And, the list is growing. Daily.

Further, none of this stuff is “old news” (if the Rezko-Ayers-Wright kind of stuff, or Harry Reid land deals, can truly be said to be “old news”).

Here is a quick look at some of the links I’ve been bookmarking. Maybe you’ve been saving some cool links as well.

Please share them with us in the comments section.

1) Another cabinet nominee with tax issues

There’s yet more tax trouble for President Obama’s cabinet picks.

Hilda Solis, his selection for labor secretary, had her confirmation hearing delayed today by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, whose chairman is Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

2) Obama names “most fined” Washington State bureaucrat to HUD

Obama’s appointment of Ron Sims to the #2 position at HUD sends exactly the opposite message. A court levied the biggest fine for illegal record withholding against Sims in Washington State history — and that record hasn’t finished yet:

Sims is culpable for what may well become the largest fine for violations of public records laws in U.S. history: (see Yousoufian, Armen)

3) Rangel’s Financial Disclosures Omitted Data Over 30 Years, a Report Says

Representative Charles B. Rangel’s financial disclosure forms had at least 28 omissions in the past 30 years and failed to account for what became of more than $239,000 in assets, according to a report issued Wednesday by a private government-ethics group.

4) Rangel faces questions about book royalties

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) is facing new questions about why he has not disclosed any royalty income on his 2007 memoir … And I Haven’t Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress.

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocate for government transparency, wants to know why the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee has failed to report royalty income and has not voluntarily disclosed details of his book contract.

5) ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos is engaged in daily private phone briefings with Obama Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel.

He then presents himself as a credible journalist and nonpartisan commentator in reporting about the administration. Such a move crosses journalistic lines, is a clear conflict of interest and must be stopped immediately.

6) John Conyers wife offers to sell her vote for $25,000

And you thought Democrat politics in Illinois was stinky and sleazy? Well, move over Blagojevitch. Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers, wife of House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (DEMOCRAT-MI) (famous for accusing Republicans of wrongdoing), is in hot water…

Detroit News: A lawyer for a strip club official says his client told a federal grand jury Wednesday that a top aide to then-City Councilwoman Monica Conyers offered to deliver her vote on a permit transfer for $25,000. …

Congressman Conyers has had his own ethical problems. Accusations that he used his congressional staff for illegal campaign related work and to perform personal services like babysitting was “business as usual” according to one former aide.

Worse still, Conyers staff was accused of stealing the Thanksgiving turkeys a Detroit food bank donated to feed the poor. Instead they gave them to friends and political cronies.

7) Blago: Emmanuel a co-conspirator

In an impassioned speech before the Illinois Senate Thursday, Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich placed responsibility for one key impeachment charge just a door away from the Oval Office. Blagojevich said before the Senate vote that, if he’s impeached, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel should be a “co-conspirator.”

“If you’re impeaching me,” Blagojevich told lawmakers,” … let’s demand that President Obama fire Rahm Emanuel, because Rahm Emanuel is the one who gave me this idea.”

8 ) Bill Richardson’s Pay-to-play scandal

A federal grand jury is investigating whether a financial firm improperly won more than $1.4 million in work for the state of New Mexico shortly after making contributions to political action committees of Gov. Bill Richardson (D).

The probe focuses on whether the governor’s office urged a state agency to hire CDR Financial Products. The probe is in a highly active stage at a time when President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Richardson as his nominee for secretary of commerce, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

9) Analysis: Obama is tarnished by nominees’ tax problems
Instead of ‘change you can believe in,’ Americans could see business as usual when it comes to the problems of some of President Barack Obama’s personnel choices.

10) NY state leaders pay up tax bills

And, Dems on the state level don’t want to pay their taxes either. …

Former NY gubernatorial aide Charles O’Byrne isn’t the only prominent New Yorker with a history of tax troubles.

Twenty members of the current state Legislature have over the years been hit with state tax warrants, similar to liens, for more than $52,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties, according to state records covering the past two decades obtained under the Freedom of Information law.

Additionally, former lawmakers have owed more than $62,000.

In October, O’Byrne admitted to paying more than $293,000 in state and federal back taxes and interest. He quit his post as Gov. David Paterson’s top adviser after his debts came to light.

While all the sitting legislators’ tax bills have been settled, payments didn’t come before the politicians were listed in state documents as facing tax warrants.

Many lawmakers who received warrants pointed to confusion and mix-ups, often regarding their own employment outside of the state. (Lawmakers in both the state Senate and Assembly earn $79,500 plus extra stipends for special duties such as heading committees; taxes are automatically withheld from those paychecks.)

All of the lawmakers who have received warrants are Democrats.

Feel free to revise and extend the list in the comments section.

Another day,another Obama nominee with tax issues

The swamp continues to fill with tax-challenged Obama cabinet appointees.

Hilda Solis, his selection for labor secretary, had her confirmation hearing delayed today by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, whose chairman is Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

The committee only said in a statement that lawmakers need more time to review documentation submitted in support of Solis, a California congresswoman.

But USA Today reported today that that Solis’ husband paid about $6,400 on Wednesday to settle tax liens that had been outstanding for as long as 16 years against his business.  source

Sixteen years!

Anyone want to bet that absent Ms. Solis’ nomination to head up DOL that these tax liens would have remained outstanding? These people are shameless.

”This tax issue was starting to reach critical mass,” pollster John Zogby said. “One is a mistake. Two is a problem. When you start getting a third, it possibly becomes a question of judgment. How do you ask Americans to sacrifice while Cabinet members don’t sacrifice until they get caught?” source

The Daily Snort

Remember Joe Biden’s campaign statement which implied paying higher taxes was patriotic?

“It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

Just when Timothy Geithner was about to fade from the daily news cycle, along comes HHS nominee, Tom Daschle to remind everyone of yet another Obama nominee with serious tax issues.

If paying higher taxes is the new definition of patriotism, then what does the willful refusal to pay personal taxes by both of these Cabinet appointees tell us about President Obama’s commitment to transparency and ethics in government?

After granting special ethics waivers for Bill Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Bill Corr as Deputy Secretary at HHS, the Obama Administration is poised to push for another tainted Cainet level appointment with Daschle. No word yet if another ethics waiver will be required for Daschle (he a lobbyist at Alston & Bird), or for his lobbyist wife, Linda. One thing is clear, if the Daschle nomination stands, the top two posts at HHS will be filled by men whose past dealings with money and power go against everything that Barack Obama promised in his historic campaign.

I reckon that bust on Mt. Rushmore will have to wait at least another week. Snort.

Update: from Glenn Greenwald, writing at Salon ……

Back in June, 2008, when Barack Obama violated his clear commitment to filibuster any bill containing telecom immunity by doing the opposite: voting for cloture on such a bill and then voting of the bill itself, it was — as Matt Stoller noted at the time — Tom Daschle who defended Obama’s behavior in The Washington Post, by invoking the two leading all-purpose, Obama-justifying clichés: “Those who accomplish the most are those who don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. Barack is a pragmatist.”

What Daschle (and The Washington Post) didn’t note, but Stoller did, is this:

The kicker of course, is that [Daschle’s firm] Alston and Bird did work lobbying on immunity for telecoms on FISA [they were AT&T’s FISA lobbyist – .pdf], even serving as a recruitment bed for the McCain campaign. And that’s what is really going on. Bribery.

Robert Gibbs is a busy guy

President Obama has decided to back off from a trade war for now. Turns out he isn’t quite ready to begin a Trans-Pacific trade war with the Chinese after all.

U. .S. Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner was not making a formal finding last week when he told senators China was manipulating its currency, a White House official said on Monday.

“Mr.Geithner was restating what the president had said during the campaign, not making any determinations,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. source

See? It was just something Obama said, not what he really meant. Or something like that. Kind of like the “No Lobbyists” rule. Yesterday it was William Lynn, and today it was William Corr.

“Even the toughest rules require reasonable exceptions,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told The Associated Press. “Our waiver provisions are designed to allow uniquely qualified individuals like Bill Corr and Bill Lynn to serve the public interest in these critical times.” source

Well, naturally.

Critical times indeed. So critical, that the the Pelosi House has included a wad of money to fund contraception and family planning in the critical economic stimulus package. Because, as we know, elections have consequences, as Obama reminded us yesterday in his “I Won” comment (later explained away by Robert Gibbs as not to be a “cowboy moment”).

Thanks for clearing that up for us Robert.

Update: It looks like Pelosi’s contraceptive stimulus won’t make the final cut after all. Obama appears to be backing off, but Robert Gibbs has been so busy, he sent out the B-team.

“The principles of what he thought should be in the package–that wasn’t part of that,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told CNSNews.com. “They’re working on what the final bill should look like.” source

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