Democrat Senator Landrieu Illegally Charged Taxpayers For 43 Private Flights

Landrieu Internal Review Reveals 43 Trips Inappropriately Funded – The Hill

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Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) found that over $33,700 in campaign flights were inappropriately charged to her official account in an internal review of her finances released Friday.

The report is sure to draw added scrutiny to her use of charter planes just as her main opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), is set to introduce a resolution meant to highlight such spending, which he calls a “waste of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.”

The review, which was released four days after her self-imposed deadline of Sept. 8, found that the senator took 43 trips, which amounted to 136 campaign functions, that were paid for by funds meant for official business only. Eleven percent of the total amount Landrieu’s office paid for chartered flights should have been paid out of her campaign funds, the review found.

Landrieu’s office said she fully reimbursed the Treasury with campaign funds and has notified the Senate Ethics Committee of the errors. She also said in a statement that she’s implemented a new bookkeeping system to prevent similar errors from happening again.

“The review I ordered last month found these mistakes stemming from sloppy book keeping. I take full responsibility. They should have never happened, and I apologize for this,” Landrieu said. “A new system has been established that has been successfully used by a number of senate offices to provide a safeguard from this happening in the future.”

Landrieu ordered the internal review after it was reported that she inappropriately used $3,200 in official funds to pay for a flight to and from a campaign event in November. That report sparked criticism from Republicans, and inspired an attack ad that claimed Landrieu “lives like a movie star.”

The release of Landrieu’s internal review again prompted Republicans to hammer Landrieu on the issue.

“With 43 illegal flights and more than 100 campaign events, this was clearly policy of her office to use taxpayer means whenever possible to attend events,” said Louisiana Republican Party Executive Director Jason Dore. “Mary’s staff has changed. The donors have changed. The one thing that has been constant is this is Mary Landrieu’s office. She’s the one responsible for this practice going on in her office.”

Cassidy’s bill would require members of Congress to report any funds used to pay for private chartered planes to the Ethics Committee or the Committee on House Administration within 30 days of the flight.

“Taking charter planes unnecessarily is a waste of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. It makes no sense to fly on a $3,000 private jet if you can get to the same location in a few hours’ drive time and a $50 tank of gas,” he said in a statement obtained by The Hill. “Washington’s spending is out of control and this is one of the reasons why. Ensuring that Washington is transparent and tax dollars are spent wisely is a priority.”

Cassidy’s office said constituents had expressed alarm at Landrieu’s use of chartered planes, which had partially inspired the resolution.

Landrieu remains one of Democrats’ most vulnerable senators, and the most recent poll showed a tight race, with Cassidy leading Landrieu by two points. Many expect the three-way primary fight, between Cassidy, Landrieu and Tea Party-backed Rob Maness, to head to a runoff this fall.

Polling shows a tight race.

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Suspected Terrorist Charged In Plot To Derail Train Allowed To Plead Down To Lying On A Visa Application

Tunisian Man Gets Plea Deal For Amtrak Terror Plot – New York Post

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A Tunisian man​ charged in an unsuccessful plot to derail an Amtrak train en route from Penn Station to Toronto copped a plea Wednesday to less serious immigration charges.

Ahmed Abassi, 27, avoided terrorism charges by pleading guilty in Manhattan federal court to lying on his visa application and to immigration officials when asked why he flew to the United States in 2013.

“I stated on my visa application that my intention was to enter the United States to engage in business” as a real estate agent, Abassi told Judge Miriam Cedarbaum. “I lied because my entire purpose was to return to Canada.”

Abassi, who previously lived in Canada, “radicalized” one of the alleged train plotters, Chiheb Esseghaier, and met with him in New York City after traveling here in mid-March of 2013, prosecutors said last year in court filings. An undercover agent recorded both men discussing a plot to release bacteria in the air or water to kill up to 100,000 people. the feds said.

Abassi faces up six years in prison at sentencing on July 23 but could be released from jail and immediately deported if Cedarbaum agrees to a defense request for time served. His lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, claimed the undercover agent entrapped her client.

Abassi had faced up to 50 years in prison on terror charges.

The plea deal is a far cry from how Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara previously portrayed him in a statement last year in which he referred to Abassi as radical planning to “commit acts of terror and develop a network of terrorists here.”

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Democrat State Rep. From Illinois Charged With Possession Of Kiddie Porn

Breaking: IL Democrat Rep. Charged With Possession Of Child Porn On State Office Computer – Gateway Pundit

Democrat Keith Farnham was a champion against kiddie porn – Until he wasn’t.

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Former Rep. Keith Farnham, 66, announced his resignation in March, one day after he won the Democratic primary, running unopposed. (E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune)

In March 2014 authorities from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations seized electronics from Illinois Democrat Keith Farnham’s state office.

Today Democrat Keith Farnham was charged with possession of child pornography on his work computer in his state office in Elgin.

The Chicago Tribune reported:

Former Illinois State Rep. Keith Farnham was charged today with possession of child pornography more than a month after he abruptly resigned after federal agents raided his home and state office.

The federal charges alleged that Farnham, 66, of Elgin, possessed two videos depicting child pornography on a computer that was seized from his state office in Elgin in March. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in downtown Chicago on Wednesday.

When he resigned his seat on March 19, Farnham told the Tribune he was stepping down due to serious health concerns. A Navy veteran who ran a painting business in Elgin before running for office in 2009, Farnham said he is receiving treatment for bladder cancer and also struggles with pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that causes lung tissue to scar.

Federal agents executed a search warrant at Farnham’s office and residence in Elgin on March 13. Several computers and electronic storage devices were recovered that contained child pornography images, including the two charged videos, according to the complaint unsealed today.

The office computer that contained the videos was labeled “PROPERTY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.”

According to a criminal complaint, homeland security agents were investigating information received from its Cyber Crimes Center that an email address was being used to trade child pornography on the Internet.

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Muslim Student Charged With Fabricating Hate Crime

Montclair State University: Muslim Charged Over False Claim That He Was Assaulted And Called An “Islamic Terrorist” – Jihad Watch

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Yet another fake “Islamophobic” hate crime. Hamas-linked CAIR and other Muslims have not hesitated to stoop even to fabricating “hate crimes,” including attacks on mosques. CAIR and other groups like it want and need hate crimes against Muslims, because they can use them for political points and as weapons to intimidate people into remaining silent about the jihad threat.

“State University, Man Attacked and Referred to as an ‘Islamic terrorist,’” Baristanet, April 25, 2014 (thanks to Martin):

UPDATE 4:16 pm: Montclair State University has confirmed that the alleged assault of a male student on April 24, 2014 was a fabrication. The student is being charged with creating a false public alarm and filing a false police report.

This in from Montclair State University Police Department:

At approximately 9:30 PM this evening, April 24, 2014, the University Police Department received a report of an assault that occurred at approximately 7:30 pm in front of Whitman Hall. The male victim reported being assaulted by three unknown white males after being referred to as an “Islamic terrorist.” The only description of the three males is that they all were wearing blue jeans and black hoodie jackets. The males fled in an unknown direction.

If you have any information about this incident we urge you to contact the University Police at (973) 655-5222, the Confidential Tips Line at 973-655-8477, or utilize the Hawk Eyewitness E-tip via text message to 67283 from any cell phone.

Chief Paul M. Cell

Montclair State University Police Department

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Gun-Grabbing Democrat State Senator From California Charged With Arms Trafficking And Corruption

Dem State Senator Who Authored Gun Control Legislation Arrested For Conspiring To Traffic Firearms – The Blaze

A California state senator who authored gun control legislation asked for campaign donations in exchange for introducing an undercover FBI agent to an arms trafficker, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.

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The allegations against State Sen. Leland Yee were outlined in an FBI affidavit in support of a criminal complaint. The affidavit accuses Yee of conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms. He was arrested Wednesday.

Yee is also accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and cash payments to provide introductions, help a client get a contract and influence legislation. He or members of his campaign staff accepted at least $42,800 in cash or campaign contributions from undercover FBI agents in exchange for carrying out the agents’ specific requests, the court documents allege.

Yee discussed helping the agent get weapons worth $500,000 to $2.5 million, including shoulder fired automatic weapons and missiles, and took him through the entire process of acquiring them from a Muslim separatist group in the Philippines to bringing them to the United States, according to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Emmanuel V. Pascua.

He was unhappy with his life and told the agent he wanted to hide out in the Philippines, according to the affidavit.

“There’s a part of me that wants to be like you,” he told the undercover agent, according to the affidavit. “You know how I’m going to be like you? Just be a free agent there.”

The introduction with the trafficker took place at a San Francisco restaurant earlier this month, according to the documents. Yee said he wouldn’t go to the Philippines until November.

“Once things start to move, it’s going to attract attention. We just got to be extra-extra careful,” he said, according to court documents.

The affidavit names Yee and 25 others, including Raymond Chow, a onetime gang leader with ties to San Francisco’s Chinatown known as “Shrimp Boy,” and Keith Jackson, Yee’s campaign aide. Jackson is accused of multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Chow and Yee were arrested Wednesday during a series of raids in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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According to court documents, Yee performed “official acts” in exchange for donations from undercover FBI agents, as he sought to dig himself out of a $70,000 debt incurred during a failed San Francisco mayoral bid.

Yee is also accused of accepting $10,000 in January 2013 from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for making a call to the California Department of Public Health in support of a contract was considering.

The agent who discussed arms with Yee presented himself as a member of Ghee Kung Tong, a fraternal organization in San Francisco’s Chinatown that Chow reportedly headed. It was among the sites searched Wednesday.

Firefighters were seen going inside with a circular saw and later said they had cracked a safe. FBI agents were seen coming out with boxes and trash bags full of evidence that they loaded into an SUV.

Chow is accused of money laundering, conspiracy to receive and transport stolen property and conspiracy to traffic contraband cigarettes.

Yee is the third Democratic senator to face charges this year. Sen. Rod Wright was convicted of perjury and voter fraud for lying about his legal residence in Los Angeles County, and Sen. Ron Calderon has been indicted on federal corruption charges. Wright and Calderon are taking a voluntary leave of absence, with pay, although Republicans have called for them to be suspended or expelled from the Legislature.

Mark Hedlund, spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, confirmed that the FBI searched Yee’s office in the state capitol on Wednesday.

Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he had no comment and did not know anything about the investigation.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol and Senate sergeant-at-arms details were standing guard outside Yee’s office, where a morning newspaper remained untouched.

Yee, 65, represents western San Francisco and much of San Mateo County. A spokesman for the senator, Dan Lieberman, said he had no comment, but the senator’s office would release a statement in the afternoon.

He is best known for his efforts to strengthen open records, government transparency and whistleblower protection laws, including legislation to close a loophole in state public records laws after the CSU Stanislaus Foundation refused to release its $75,000 speaking contract with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2010.

Chow ran a Chinese criminal organization with ties to Hong Kong and was convicted of gun charges. But he had recently been held up as an example of successful rehabilitation and was praised for his work in the community.

Yee’s arrest came as a shock to Chinese-Americans who see the senator as a pioneering leader in the community and a mainstay of San Francisco politics, said David Lee, director of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee.

“People are waiting to see what happens, and they are hoping for the best, that the charges turn out not to be true,” said Lee, whose organization just held a get-out-the-vote event with Yee and other Chinese-American elected officials last week.

For his efforts to uphold the California Public Records Act, Yee was honored last week by the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which awarded him its public official citation for his efforts to maintain the requirements of the California Public Records Act.

Yee has at times clashed with fellow Democrats for casting votes of conscience, refusing to support the Democratic budget proposal in 2011 because of its deep cuts to education, social services and education. He also opposed legislation by a fellow Democrat, Assemblyman Paul Fong of Cupertino, that banned the sale of shark fins used for Chinese shark fin soup, saying that it unfairly targeted the Chinese-American community.

Yee is among three Democrats running this year for secretary of state, the office that oversees elections and campaign finance reporting. He lost a bid for mayor of San Francisco in 2011.

A man was charged last year for threatening Yee over legislation that he proposed to limit rapid reloading of assault weapons. The bill would have prohibited the use of devices that allow users to swiftly reload military-style assault weapons. Lee also authored legislation that that would have required the state to study safe storage of firearms.

Chow acknowledged in an unpublished autobiography that he ran prostitution rings in the 1980s, smuggled drugs and extorted thousands from business owners as a Chinatown gang member, KGO-TV reported two years ago.

In 1992, Chow was among more than two-dozen people indicted on racketeering charges for their alleged involvement in crimes ranging from teenage prostitution to an international drug trade mostly involving heroin.

He was later convicted of gun charges and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He spent 11 years in prison and was released in 2003 after he cut a deal with the government to testify against another high-ranking associate, Peter Chong. Chong was later convicted of racketeering.

Chow told KGO-TV in a 2012 interview that he had changed and was working with at-risk children in San Francisco.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California issued a statement in 2012 recognizing Chow as a former offender who had become an asset to his community, the Sacramento Bee reported. Chow was also praised by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee for his “willingness to give back to the community,” the Bee reported.

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Leland Yee Dem Political Consultant Keith Jackson Also Arrested In FBI Sweep, Accused Of Murder For Hire, Blames Racism – Weasel Zippers

Yesterday was a festival of Democrats getting arrested. We brought you the story of Leland Yee. Here now is his buddy, Keith Jackson, who was named in the Leland Yee affidavit. Jackson claims the inquiry was racist.

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More to come…

Via SF Gate:

Keith Jackson, accused by the FBI on Wednesday of being involved in a murder-for-hire scheme and a gun- and drug-trafficking conspiracy, was San Francisco’s top elected educator during the late 1990s.

Jackson, 49, is a former president of the San Francisco Board of Education, having run for the board in 1994 on a pro-family slate.

But his tenure on the board was not trouble-free.

In 1997, The Chronicle revealed that Jackson owed more than $5,000 in child-support payments and that the courts were garnisheeing his wages. In an odd twist, Jackson blamed his child-support troubles on being fired from a job he’d held for just four days – as an investigator tracking down deadbeat dads for the San Francisco district attorney.

One of Jackson’s sons, Brandon Jamell Jackson, 28, is also accused in the FBI complaint of conspiracies to commit murder for hire and trafficking in guns and drugs.

As an elected official in the 1990s, Keith Jackson declined to discuss his money problems with The Chronicle. The problems included five federal and state liens totaling $4,369 for tax debts between 1989 and 1994, and a missed payment to the University of Phoenix in San Jose that a court ordered him to pay up with interest.

Jackson called the inquiry a racially motivated attack. Jackson is black.

Today, Jackson runs the Jackson Consultancy business, according to the federal complaint, and he has been helping raise money for state Sen. Leland Yee‘s election campaigns since 2011. Yee was also arrested in the FBI sweep on Wednesday.

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Democrat State Senator From Pennsylvania Charged With Theft, Felony Conflict Of Interest

PA State Senator Charged With Theft, Conflict Of Interest – Weasel Zippers

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In her defense, the anniversary of her birthin was only once a year.

Via Watch Dog:

A Pennsylvania state senator is accused of using taxpayer money to throw her annual birthday bash, a campaign event.

State Sen. LeAnna Washington, D-Philadelphia, is charged with theft of services and felony conflict of interest after a grand jury found she may have used her office for political and financial gain, Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced Wednesday.

Washington is accused of directing Senate staff to perform campaign work over eight years and using intimidation and verbal abuse to coerce them, even though staff knew the practice was illegal, according to the grand jury. Washington allegedly cut salaries or fired staff who disagreed with the practice, according to a news release announcing the charges.

“The evidence will show that Senator Washington pressured her staff into performing political activities using taxpayer dollars for her own personal benefit,” Kane said in the release.

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25 People Charged In Largest Medicaid Fraud Bust In History Of Washington D.C.

25 Charged In Largest Medicaid Fraud Bust In D.C. History – WNEW

Federal authorities say 25 people have been charged in a wide-ranging scheme to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicaid payments from the District of Columbia government.

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U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen calls it the largest health-care fraud case in the city’s history. It involved bogus claims for home care services, a category of Medicaid claim that has grown dramatically in the city over the past eight years. Machen says fraud is largely responsible for the increase in those claims. The uptick in billings for home care – from $40 million in 2006 to $280 million last year – was part of what tipped off authorities to illegal activity, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said.

“We concluded that much of the growth was due to aggressive networks of fraudsters paying kickbacks to beneficiaries to manufacture false claims for nonexistent services,” Machen said, later adding: “Medicaid fraud in the District of Columbia is at epidemic levels.”

Among those charged Thursday was Florence Bikundi, 51, of Bowie, Md., the owner of a home care agency in suburban Maryland who had lost her nursing license and was ineligible to receive Medicaid payments. Authorities say that by using different names, she was able to bill the city for $75 million in Medicaid payments.

Prosecutors say many of the defendants persuaded patients to fake illness or injury so they could bill Medicaid for home care they didn’t receive. Some of those patients received kickbacks, authorities said, although no patients have been charged.

Machen said it wasn’t clear whether any of those payments went to legitimate home care services, but Bikundi was able to amass significant personal wealth, authorities said. Among the property seized from her were millions of dollars from 46 bank accounts, a 7,300-square-foot home valued at $927,000 and five luxury vehicles.

No attorney was listed in court records for Bikundi, who is in custody, and no one answered a call to her home Thursday afternoon.

Machen said there wasn’t any particular weakness in the district’s Medicaid program that made it vulnerable to bogus claims, and he noted that similar schemes have been perpetrated in other cities, including Detroit and Miami. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities said it was impossible to put a dollar amount on the fraudulent billings, although the indictments not involving Bikundi outlined schemes valued at less than $500,000.

“These numbers could likely grow. This is what we know so far,” Machen said.

A dozen people were charged in five federal indictments that were unsealed Thursday. Thirteen others were charged with fraud in D.C. Superior Court. All but three were in custody Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Many of those charged are immigrants from Cameroon in west Africa, but authorities did not go into detail about their nationalities.

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