Category Archives: corruptopn

As Rick Santorum Secured Earmarks, 2006 Donations Flowed In – NYTimes.com

As Rick Santorum Secured Earmarks, 2006 Donations Flowed In – NYTimes.com.

Donors Gave as Santorum Won Earmarks

The announcements flowed out of Rick Santorum’s Senate office: a $3.5 million federal grant to Piasecki Aircraft to help it test a new helicopter propeller technology; another $3.5 million to JLG Industries to bolster its bid to build all-terrain forklifts for the military; $1.4 million to Medico Industries to upgrade equipment for its munitions work.

Each of the news releases represented an earmark or, in some cases, multiple ones — the practice by which members of Congress set aside money in federal spending bills for what critics often denounce as pet projects back home.

[…]

But an examination of Mr. Santorum’s earmark record sheds light on another aspect of his political personality, one that is at odds with the reformer image he has tried to convey on the trail: his prowess as a Washington insider.

A review of some of his earmarks, viewed alongside his political donations, suggests that the river of federal money Mr. Santorum helped direct to Pennsylvania paid off handsomely in the form of campaign cash.

[…]

In just one piece of legislation, the defense appropriations bill for the 2006 fiscal year, Mr. Santorum helped secure $124 million in federal financing for 54 earmarks, according to a tally by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group. In that year’s election cycle, Mr. Santorum’s Senate campaign committee and his “leadership PAC” took in more than $200,000 in contributions from people associated with the companies that benefited or their lobbyists, an analysis of campaign finance records by The New York Times shows.

[…]

Read the full article here: The New York Times

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Donors, Secrecy and That Loophole – NYTimes.com

Donors, Secrecy and That Loophole – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Donors, Secrecy and That Loophole

The Federal Election Commission ended another abysmal year with its three Republican commissioners blocking an attempt to unmask the secret donors flooding the 2012 hustings with unlimited special-interest money.

The three Democratic commissioners favored closing an F.E.C. loophole from 2007 that requires disclosure only if a donor’s stated “purpose” is to electioneer — as if any would-be secret donor would admit that. It has been particularly exploited in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allows corporations, unions and other heavy hitters to spend unlimited amounts.

[…]

Read the full article here: The New York Times

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Super PACs are a dangerous new weapon – The Washington Post

Super PACs are a dangerous new weapon – The Washington Post.

Ruth Marcus
Opinion Writer

Super PACs are a dangerous new weapon

DES MOINESThe barrage of commercials tells the story: This is a presidential election without meaningful contribution limits or timely disclosure, outsourced to political action committees whose spending often dwarfs that of the candidates they support.

[…]

Read the full article here: The Washington Post

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Some Real Issues for 2012 – NYTimes.com

Some Real Issues for 2012 – NYTimes.com.

January 3, 2012, 9:00 pm

Beyond Elections: People Power

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Deep Pockets, Deeply Political – NYTimes.com

Deep Pockets, Deeply Political – NYTimes.com.

December 19, 2011, 10:08 pm

Deep Pockets, Deeply Political

A tiny number of wealthy Americans are playing an ever-increasing role in financing our politics. This is not a good thing for a democracy.

[…]

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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The Trouble With That Revolving Door – NYTimes.com

The Trouble With That Revolving Door – NYTimes.com.

December 18, 2011, 9:00 pm

The Trouble With That Revolving Door

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New York Developers Take Advantage of Financing-for-Visas Program – NYTimes.com

New York Developers Take Advantage of Financing-for-Visas Program – NYTimes.com.

Rules Stretched as Green Cards Go to Investors

Affluent foreigners are rushing to take advantage of a federal immigration program that offers them the chance to obtain a green card in return for investing in construction projects in the United States. With credit tight, the program has unexpectedly turned into a mainstay for the financing of these projects in New York, California, Texas and other states.

The number of foreign applicants, each of whom must invest at least $500,000 in a project, has nearly quadrupled in the last two years, to more than 3,800 in the 2011 fiscal year, officials said. Demand has grown so fast that the Obama administration, which is championing the program, is seeking to streamline the application process.

Still, some critics of the program have described it as an improper use of the immigration system to spur economic development — a cash-for-visas scheme. And an examination of the program by The New York Times suggests that in New York, developers and state officials are stretching the rules to qualify projects for this foreign financing.

[…]

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Will Congress Ban Corruption in Its Midst? – NYTimes.com

Will Congress Ban Corruption in Its Midst? – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Will Congress Ban Corruption in Its Midst?

In a rare instance of Congressional bipartisanship, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees have quietly approved badly needed measures to tighten the anticorruption laws applicable to members of Congress. These laws have eroded across a decade of court decisions, and it remains to be seen whether the full Congress will tighten bans on fraud and bribe-taking by those in its ranks.

With public approval of Congress in the single digits, the two houses would be wise to pass the Clean Up Government Act of 2011. The measure would strengthen the federal anti-bribery law that was considerably narrowed by a 2010 Supreme Court decision saying the statute covers only cases of outright kickback schemes, requiring proof of quid pro quo corruption. That lets conniving officials off the hook if they engage in undisclosed self-dealing — like quietly steering a valuable road plan through land they secretly acquired

[…]

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Detailing the Koch brothers’ influence on environmental politics | The American Independent

Detailing the Koch brothers’ influence on environmental politics | The American Independent.

Detailing the Koch brothers’ influence on environmental politics

By Troy Hooper | 10.31.11 | 11:16 am | More from The Colorado Independent

Koch Industries Inc. isn’t just in Kansas anymore, Toto.

The nation’s second largest private company and its subsidiaries are also in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and just about every other state in the nation. But the locale where Koch Industries is making its presence felt the most isn’t a state at all. It’s Washington, D.C.

The Wichita-based conglomerate has spent a fortune lobbying for its oil, gas, mineral and chemical interests this past decade while bankrolling the campaigns of sympathetic congressmen. It has paid special attention to lawmakers that make up the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Koch Industries is diversified — it manufactures household staples such as Angel Soft toilet paper, Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Lycra fabrics and Stainmaster carpets — but its main investment is in oil.

While the influence of Koch Industries has been ongoing for years, it wasn’t until after 2008 that it captured mainstream attention for the tornado of dollars it funneled into campaign coffers as the Democrats — buoyed by House, Senate and White House control — pushed for cap and trade. What followed was a conservative takeover of the House in 2010 that capitalized on widespread voter frustration with the job-hemorrhaging economy and the government’s inability to put a stop to it.

In the 2010 elections, Koch Industries and its partners spent tens of millions of dollars to elect politicians who would roll back environmental and financial regulations that benefit their businesses.

The men behind the curtain are Charles and David Koch who, with an estimated net worth of $25 billion a piece, are tied for fourth in Forbes magazine’s annual list of The Richest People in America.

[…]

Read the full story here: The American Independent

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Did You Hear the One About the Bankers? – NYTimes.com

Did You Hear the One About the Bankers? – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Columnist

Did You Hear the One About the Bankers?

CITIGROUP is lucky that Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed when he was. The Libyan leader’s death diverted attention from a lethal article involving Citigroup that deserved more attention because it helps to explain why many average Americans have expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The news was that Citigroup had to pay a $285 million fine to settle a case in which, with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.

It doesn’t get any more immoral than this. […]

But, then, what happened to us? Our financial industry has grown so large and rich it has corrupted our real institutions through political donations. As Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, bluntly said in a 2009 radio interview, despite having caused this crisis, these same financial firms “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they, frankly, own the place.”

Our Congress today is a forum for legalized bribery. […] Why are there 61 members on the House Committee on Financial Services? So many congressmen want to be in a position to sell votes to Wall Street.

We can’t afford this any longer. We need to focus on four reforms that don’t require new bureaucracies to implement. 1) If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big and needs to be broken up. We can’t risk another trillion-dollar bailout. 2) If your bank’s deposits are federally insured by U.S. taxpayers, you can’t do any proprietary trading with those deposits — period. 3) Derivatives have to be traded on transparent exchanges where we can see if another A.I.G. is building up enormous risk. 4) Finally, an idea from the blogosphere: U.S. congressmen should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms that they’re taking money from. The public needs to know.

Capitalism and free markets are the best engines for generating growth and relieving poverty — provided they are balanced with meaningful transparency, regulation and oversight. […]

Read the full stroy here: The New York Times

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