IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is in the spotlight as he is set to further testify to Congress regarding the IRS targeting of conservative groups. It is important to remember that Koskinen has shelled out nearly $100,000 to Democratic candidates and groups.
Koskinen has been contributing to Democrats for four decades, starting with a $1000 contribution to Democratic candidate for Colorado Senate candidate Gary Hart in 1979.
Koskinen has been a reliable donor over the years, contributing a total of $19,000 to the Democratic National Committee from 1988 to 2008. He has made a contribution to the Democratic candidate for president in each election since 1980, including $2,300 to Obama in 2008, and $5000 to Obama in 2012.
Koskinen’s most recent contribution was $2,500 to Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) in February of 2013.
Koskinen was appointed IRS commissioner later that year, and was tasked with revamping the tax agency in the wake of criticism that it was allowing partisanship dictate which groups applying for tax-exempt status would receive extra scrutiny.
“John is an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform,” Obama said in the statement announcing Koskinen’s appointment. “With decades of experience, in both the private and public sectors, John knows how to lead in difficult times, whether that means ensuring new management or implementing new checks and balances.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) said at the time that he was “more than a little mystified” at the partisan appointment in a time that the agency was under fire for just that.
At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing last week, Koskinen was berated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) over his claim that IRS email records have been permanently lost.
“I’m sitting here, listening to this testimony, I don’t believe it,” Ryan told Koskinen. “That’s your problem. Nobody believes you.”
Koskinen will face congressional hearings again this week. He will testify Monday evening for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and then face the same committee for a follow-up hearing on Tuesday.
I know it’s not fun to pick on people for their age. Unfortunately, Thad Cochran’s refusal to let go of power all too long past his prime mitigates my concern in that regard. Sources on the ground in MS tell me the Cochran campaign is looking increasingly cartoonish in trying to eek out a win in what most are coming to realize is a lost cause. So, no, it doesn’t surprise me that Team Cochran would hire a Democrat named “Scooby Doo” to work for him at this point.
This is just getting sad…
A Democratic political operative says he is working with Mississippi Conservatives PAC to drum up votes for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.
James “Scooby Doo” Warren said he has put together a get-out-the-vote GOTV plan and is “putting it in place across the whole state.” Warren said he is not working with the Cochran campaign itself but for the PAC and Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr.
Crudup is the pastor at New Horizon Church, which shares an address and chief financial officer with a newly formed super PAC that ran print advertising in the primary supporting Cochran.
More via The Clarion Ledger.
I wish I could say I am sorry to hear Rep. Cummings appears to have some MAJOR involvement in the I.R.S. scandal. With all of his incessant pissing and moaning about claims of a partisan witch hunt, and his attempts to stonewall Darrell Issa every time he had the MIC, I hope he is at the top of the list for people to be sent to prison. Remember this incident?
At the very LEAST, he better resign (OR BE RESIGNED by Trey Gowdy) from the Benghazi Panel where the Democrats have one goal: Obstruct Justice. Needless to say he’s lost the privilege of being able to sit on that panel in my humble opinion.
True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht responded Wednesday to reports that Rep. Elijah Cummings’ office may have prompted the IRS to target her group for additional scrutiny.
“Today’s committee action reveals what we knew all along. Partisan politics and the weaponization of government against opponents of this administration is real and continues,” Engelbrecht said in a statement. “Elijah Cummings has blocked the IRS abuse investigation all along. We now see clearly that two branches of government have colluded to target and silence private citizens.”
“America has come to a tipping point,” she added. “No more lies. No more cover-ups. No more collusion. Enough is enough. Finally, we have a chance for the rule of law to be re-established, thanks to the bold efforts of Chairman Issa and Rep. Jordan.”
She concluded: “We filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Cummings in February. Today we’re amending that filing to include this latest revelation. As I have said in my testimony before Congress; I will not retreat, I will not surrender, I will not be intimidated. I will not ask Rep. Cummings, Lois Lerner, Barack Obama, or anyone else, for permission to exercise my constitutional rights.”
The top Democrat on a House committee tasked with investigating the IRS scandal may have been involved in the targeting of a Texas-based conservative group, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Wednesday.
Citing documents obtained last week, Issa suggested in a memo that Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-Md.) supposed eagerness to end the IRS investigation may be due to the fact that the Maryland congressman’s office in August 2012 communicated with the IRS about True the Vote, a non-profit group dedicated to preventing voter fraud.
“The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” the Oversight panel said in a statement on its website.
The communications between Cummings’ office and the IRS included Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the targeting scandal. However, Issa’s documents show that she didn’t get involved in the True the Vote matter until January 2013.
The documents obtained by Issa show that Cummings’ staff told the IRS it was interested in obtaining “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” from True the Vote.
About five days after Cummings’ office mentioned its interest in the conservative group, True the Vote received an email from the IRS requesting “a copy of [True the Vote’s] volunteer registration form,” “…the process you use to assign volunteers,” “how you keep your volunteers in teams,” and “how your volunteers are deployed… following the training they receive by you.”
Holly Paz, the former director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Cincinnati, later sent True the Vote’s 990 forms to Cummings’ staff.
An email obtained by Issa’s office shows that Lerner at one point asked Paz of the True the Vote investigation: “Did we find anything?”
Paz responded that she had not.
“[T]hanks – check tomorrow please,” Lerner responded in an email.
True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht has testified before Congress about her experiences dealing with dozens of visits and intrusive questions from the IRS and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives.
Cummings has previously stated that his office never asked the IRS about True the Vote, saying at one point in February that the suggestion was “absolutely incorrect and untrue.”
“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” Issa said.
“As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS,” he added
The Maryland congressman has been sent a copy of Issa’s letter, which has been co-signed by Reps. John Mica (R-N.Y.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), James Lankford (R-Texas) and Blake Ferenthold (R-Texas).
The House Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to decide on whether Lerner should be held in contempt for her refusal to answer questions regarding the scandal. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that he would be willing to bring the matter up to the House.
Here’s a copy of the communications between Cummings and the IRS:
2014 04 09 OGR Chairmen to EEC True the Vote (1)
On Monday the Center for Competitive Politics filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against nine U.S. senators: for interfering with IRS tax proceedings; for misusing official resources for campaign purposes; and for improper conduct that reflects poorly upon the Senate. Attempting to use the IRS to advance a partisan, electoral agenda is a fundamental assault on good government. We believe these elected officials have staged such an assault.
The complaint documents how the senators improperly interfered with IRS adjudications to further their party’s electoral prospects. They pressured the IRS to undertake income-tax investigations of specific organizations, to find that specific organizations were in violation of the law, to reach predetermined results pertaining to pending applications by individual organizations for nonprofit status, and to adopt specific regulatory interpretations and policies to further their campaign goals.
A year ago in May it became public knowledge that the IRS had improperly targeted conservative organizations. Republicans have since attempted to find a “smoking gun” directly linking the scandal to the White House. That likely does not exist, because that’s not the way these things are done. Meanwhile, their quest has helped enable the press to ignore obvious abuses of power emanating from the Senate.
After the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on Jan. 21, 2010, Democrats adopted a campaign strategy of attempting to squelch the speech of conservative groups. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) – named in our complaint – introduced the so-called Disclose Act, saying on Feb. 11 that it would make targeted speakers “think twice” before speaking out. “The deterrent effect should not be underestimated,” he added.
At campaign fundraisers in the summer of 2010, President Obama repeatedly denounced conservative organizations for “running millions of dollars of attack ads against Democratic candidates,” identifying Americans for Prosperity by name. On Aug. 27 the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed a complaint with the IRS against Americans for Prosperity.
Senate Democrats twice failed, on straight party-line votes, to end a filibuster of the Disclose Act. Mr. Obama told Democratic donors that they had “tried to fix” the problem but failed.
The attempt to silence opponents through legislation may be ugly, but such hardball politics are not a violation of Senate ethics rules. After failing to pass Disclose, however, the senators in our complaint began a pattern of improper conduct aimed at pressuring the IRS to harass and investigate their political opponents.
Senators may inquire about agency practices and operations. But they cross an ethical line when they interfere in pending tax exemption applications or pressure an agency to investigate or prosecute specific organizations.
Just days after the final defeat of the Disclose Act in October 2010, Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) – another senator in our complaint – wrote to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman on his official letterhead to demand that the IRS “quickly examine the tax status of Crossroads GPS,” a major conservative nonprofit.
Mr. Durbin accused Crossroads GPS of breaking the law. He later admitted to Chris Wallace on Fox News that he sought the investigation because “they were boastful about how much money they were going to raise and beat Democrats with.”
Pressure on the IRS increased after the 2010 midterm Republican landslide. Mr. Schumer stated in one speech, “It’s clear we’re not going to pass anything legislatively,” due to “Republican control” of the House. “But there are many things that can be done by the IRS… and we have to redouble our efforts. We have not worked hard enough on this.” In a letter to the IRS on March 12, 2012, Mr. Schumer urged the service to investigate various groups identified through reference to news articles.
Michigan Sen. Carl Levin wrote at least seven letters to the IRS, and demanded that it investigate specific nonprofits. The IRS’s failure to launch these investigations, he wrote in one, was “unacceptable.” Mr. Levin also sought confidential nonprofit tax return information from the IRS, even after being warned, repeatedly, by IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steven T. Miller, that such information could not be legally divulged.
These are just a few examples of abuse of power for electoral gain. The other six senators named in the complaint are Michael Bennet (D., Colo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), Al Franken (D., Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) and Tom Udall (D., N.M.). Under the Senate Ethics Committee rules, when such a complaint is received – including by private individuals – “The Committee shall promptly commence a preliminary inquiry… of such duration and scope as is necessary” to find whether ethics rules were violated.
There is ample evidence that these efforts affected IRS policy, but the senators’ behavior is improper even if it did not. Senate rules require that the Ethics Committee take action. And we as citizens must make sure that the IRS is not abused by Democrats or Republicans for partisan electoral gain.
Rep. Joe Garcia (D., Fla.) suggested “communism works” while discussing the U.S.-Mexico border and the amount of money and federal government jobs that are offered in border towns such as El Paso, Texas.
“The safest city in America is El Paso, Texas. It happens to be across the border from the most dangerous city in the America’s, which is Juarez. Right?” Garcia asked a Google Hangout participant.
“Two of the safest cities in America are on the border with Mexico. Of course, the reason is we’ve proved that communism works. If you give everybody a good government job, there is no crime,” Garcia said.
It should be noted that Rep. Garcia has had a rough two weeks. Last week, he was exposed for eating his own ear wax.
All Frank Otero wanted was a little help getting the word out about his campaign.
After meeting with Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, at a political event, Garcia reached out.
“We talked on the phone he said he really wanted to help me and help my campaign,” Otero said.
And Garcia stayed true to his word, sending an email addressed to “Fellow House Members, Senate Colleagues, Elected Official Friends” Monday night.
That email enthusiastically backed Otero and fellow Valencia County Democrat Andrew Barreras in their bids in neighboring districts to unseat Republican Reps Kelly Fajardo and Alonzo Baldonado.
But Garcia also lobbed race-based attacks against Otero and Barreras’ primary opponents, fellow Democrats Jim Danner and Teresa Smith de Cherif. Under a section titled “Treachery in Our Ranks Undermine Barreras and Otero”, Garcia wrote:
A minority of unsuspecting Democratic leaders are supporting the Democratic Anglo newcomer opponents in Andrew’s and Frank’s primary races. Anglo Democrats with egos as big as Texas, mouths as big as the Grand Canyon, and much “green” [moolah] from the East and the West Coast.
Garcia’s money reference appears to be more to Smith de Cherif, who has raised more than $10,000 of her campaign funds from out of state per finance records posted online.
Otero immediately condemned Garcia’s racial comments against his opponent Tuesday.
“I just don’t believe in that,” Otero said. “My grandmother was half-Hispanic and half-Anglo. Some of those comments are offensive even to my family.”
“Those kind of comments just don’t fly in any capacity.”
Otero says he believes Garcia owes Danner an apology.
The remarks also caught the attention of House Speaker Ken Martinez, D-Grants, who says he’ll have a talk with Garcia.
“I just have to tell you I’m a little troubled by it and it really doesn’t reflect House Democratic values,” Martinez said in a phone interview. “I just don’t like race to raise its head as one of the issues you should vote one way or the other.”
Garcia declined to answer questions on his comments in the email or back off.
“I did not send the email to the media,” Garcia wrote in a text message. “I have nothing to share regarding my email seeking support for two outstanding candidates.”
Reached by phone, Andrew Barreras said he hadn’t seen the email yet. Also reached by phone, Danner declined to comment on Garcia’s attack on him. Smith de Cherif did not respond to an emailed request for comment in time for this story.
Garcia’s email also included another strange attack on a fellow Democratic representative. In talking about the balance of power in the House, Garcia said Democrats had a 37-33 edge over Republicans but currently “have a renegade Democrat who licks the Governor’s [armpits].”
That reference appears to be to Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint, who has sided with the Governor on several key issues. Jeff was tossed off the Democratic primary ballot after it was ruled she didn’t have enough valid petition signatures.
H/T Weasel Zippers
Do-nothing Queens Councilman Ruben Wills stole more than $30,000 in taxpayer money – and used some of the cash for department-store shopping sprees that included the purchase of a Louis Vuitton handbag, authorities charged Wednesday.
Wills, 42, was arrested on charges including fraud, theft and falsifying records as part of a scheme to fund a lavish lifestyle by pocketing money meant for causes such as childhood weight loss.
“[He’s] taking money that’s supposed to help kids who are suffering from obesity and all of the medical problems that arise out of that and using it to buy things at Macy’s and Nordstrom’s,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.
“This is about as low as you can get.”
Wills, who has missed more than a fourth of all City Council meetings since taking office after a special election in 2010, allegedly siphoned about $19,000 in pork-barrel funds arranged by his former boss, state Sen. Shirley Huntley, for whom he served as chief-of-staff.
Wills also scammed $11,500 in matching funds from the city Campaign Finance Board by submitting a phony invoice tied to his failed 2009 race for the council, authorities said.
Schneiderman said the Democrat pulled off the “very calculating scheme” through a nonprofit he founded, NY 4 Life.
The charity supposedly helps single mothers and needy kids but was actually used to “defraud New York taxpayers while lining the councilman’s own pockets,” Schneiderman said.
Although Huntley, now imprisoned herself for corruption, obtained funding for Wills for four separate programs, Wills only followed through on a luncheon that cost $14,000.
While he lived high on the hog, he failed to execute an “obesity initiative” for which he received funding, Schneiderman said.
Wills refused to cooperate with the probe by Schneiderman and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, invoking the Fifth Amendment.
At Wills’ arraignment in Queens Supreme Court, he pleaded not guilty to a dozen counts. The top charge carries up to seven years in prison. He was released without bail and defiantly proclaimed his innocence.
“I am not resigning on charges. This is America, people. We are presumed innocent before we are proven guilty,” Wills said.
“But because I know what I am, where I come from and the color I am, it doesn’t really work like that with you guys.”
Wills also boasted that, “I have full support from my district, and I have full support across the City Council.” But council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito immediately booted him from the chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Drug Abuse.
In 2011, Wills pleaded guilty to criminal mischief for stealing a fan and lights from a former contracting client 15 years earlier.
A candidate for Mayor of a small New Jersey town was caught on tape allegedly spewing a racist rant in which she said she didn’t want her village to become a “fucking nigger town.”
Marie Strumolo Burke, who is running for mayor in Belleville, N.J. as a Democrat, was reportedly heard making the vitriolic comments on a voicemail from 2013, according to NJ.com.
In the voicemail, left by the former chairman of Belleville’s planning board, Sam Papa, on the phone of Councilman Kevin Kennedy, a voice thought to be Burke’s can be heard in the background screaming the angry racist comment.
“This is terrible. This is terrible. This is gonna be a fucking nigger town,” Burke is allegedly heard yelling in the background, as Papa is heard discussing tax changes.
A forensics lab based in Michigan confirmed the voice on the tape was Burke’s, according to NJ.com.
Burke, who is currently a councilwoman for the Newark suburb of about 36,000, didn’t immediately respond to a request by the Daily News to comment on the situation, but she has reportedly denied the voice on the tape is hers.
Burke is running against incumbent Mayor Raymond Kimble in the June election. Kimble told NJ.com he was “disturbed” by the alleged comments.
Earlier this week, Belleville council members voted to request a censure from the Democratic National Committee of Strumolo Burke due to the purported comments.
Democrat Keith Farnham was a champion against kiddie porn – Until he wasn’t.
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.
In stunning audio posted at TMZ, Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling chides a person who is apparently his girlfriend for “taking pictures with minorities” and “associating with black people.” Sterling sees her as a “delicate” “Latina or white girl,” and as such doesn’t understand why she should “associate with black people.” He doesn’t want her bringing black people to games, including NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Assuming the audio is authentic – What kind of crazy, reactionary mindset would cause an owner who works in an industry dominated by black players to have such opinions and feelings? The evidence is admittedly thin and a bit dated, but to the extent it exists, that answer is, apparently, “one who supports and donates to liberal Democrats” (HT Gateway Pundit):
Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers
Records show Sterling has donated just $6,000, with no activity since the early 1990s. He supported Gray Davis early in his career, as well as Bill Bradley.
As noted, this is not definitive evidence of Sterling’s current political leanings. But if the Clippers’ owner had a 20 year-old record of donating to Republican candidates, it would not only be included in mainstream media stories about the controversy; it would also be considered prima facie evidence of racism.
So far, there’s stone silence about Sterling’s politics in stories found at the Associated Press, which notes that Sterling “has a decades-long history of alleged discrimination and offensive behavior”; the New York Times; and the Washington Post, which has included a quote from the Clippers’ team president noting that the woman involved “is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million.”
…if msnbc doesn’t focus on him exclusively for the next 2 weeks… he’s not a Republican.
He was scheduled to receive his second lifetime achievement award from the NAACP but it has been cancelled in the wake of the comments he made to his girlfriend.
In an excruciating example of bad timing, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP was scheduled to bestow its Lifetime Achievement Award to Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, at its May 15 banquet. Sterling is now under fire for racist comments caught on a recording that surfaced on the TMZ website. Even President Barack Obama weighed in, condemning Sterling’s remarks as “incredibly offensive.” The NBA is now investigating Sterling’s remarks and could invoke sanctions, including removing him as Clippers’ owner. [...]
Yes, there’s no way that the NAACP could have known that Sterling would be caught making those comments. But there’s also no way that the NAACP could not have known that Sterling has a long history of racist comments and racial discrimination in his rental properties.
Indeed, the NAACP seems to suffer from amnesia. Almost exactly five years ago, a similar controversy arose when the civil rights group honored Sterling with the same award! At the time, Elgin Baylor, who served as the Clippers general manager from 1986 to 2008, had just filed an age and racial discrimination suit against Sterling. According to Baylor, Sterling had a “Southern plantation” view, preferring to field a team of “poor black boys from the South… playing for a white coach.”
Despite the controversy, the NAACP proceeded to give Sterling its award, even though the billionaire’s track record of housing discrimination against African Americans, compounded by the brouhaha with Baylor, was already well-known. To justify the 2009 award, the president of the Los Angeles branch told the Los Angeles Times that Sterling “has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A.,” revealing that the owner donates anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 tickets a game to youth groups for nearly every Clippers home game.” (Of course, Sterling may simply have wanted to fill the many empty seats at the woeful Clippers’ home games).
Last month, Alabama State Rep. Alvin Holmes (D) made some controversial and racially-charged statements that could cost him $100,000 if he is willing to put his money where his mouth is
During a legislative session discussion on abortion rights, Holmes speculated that members of the GOP would be supportive of abortion if their daughters were impregnated by black men. The elected official, who has served in the state house since 1974, then offered to pay $100,000 cash to anyone who could show him a “bunch of whites” who have adopted black children in Alabama.
Those comments sparked the formation of a group of families in Alabama who are easily able to disprove Holmes’ theory.
Faces of Families in Alabama is the name of the Facebook group dedicated to showing Holmes and the world that families – adoptive families – are not as racially divided as he believes. In less than a month, Faces of Families has earned more than 7000 “likes” on the social media outlet and photos are coming into the group daily, showing off the mosaic of families made up of all colors.
On Wednesday, Faces of Families in Alabama gathered on the steps of the State House to demonstrate just how many multi-racial, adoptive families were in the state. By all accounts, the rally was peaceful and positive.
After the group showed up, Holmes doubled down on his comments, telling a local television station, ”The majority of the white people in the state of Alabama are against adopting black children.” The group has asked for an apology from Holmes and some are calling for his resignation.
What about the $100,000 in cash that he offered to anyone who could show him a “bunch of whites” who have adopted black babies in Alabama?
It would appear that Faces of Families in Alabama met his challenge. One adoptive mom, Beverly Owings, who has a 13-year-old bi-racial daughter told the local ABC affiliate, “he should have to put his money where his mouth is.”
We did speak with Beverly Owings on Thursday afternoon and she confirmed that Holmes had been invited to attend the event, but did not appear. Beverly and her husband Jeromy, are parents to four adopted children, one is bi-racial children.
“This was not about money, but about changing Holmes opinion,” she told TheBlaze, “and about getting out the word about how many children are available for adoption in Alabama.”
A few hours after the rally, Holmes reportedly called into a local radio show where the Ownings were slated to be guests for 30 minutes to talk about the event. That appearance reportedly turned into a one-hour show with more call-ins than the station had seen in quite some time. We have requested a copy of the audio and will attach it when it comes available.
TheBlaze has made several calls to the offices and home of the representative. The state legislature is currently not in session and no voice mail messaging options were available on his home or district phone numbers. When we get a response from Holmes we will update this story.
California State Rep. Jackie Speier, a democrat of course, is calling on President Obama to ban the importation of all foreign-made firearms, and her reason defies logic. Because of Leland Yee’s arrest last week, where her fellow democrat was accused of trying to import illegal machine guns and rocket launchers, Speier thinks we should stop the importation of legal semi-automatic rifles.
Speier released a statement yesterday, blissfully unaware of her hypocrisy and apples-to-oranges comparison:
“This FBI investigation of Leland Yee reveals how easy it is to import lethal assault weapons that were previously banned. This case should be a warning to us all that even the most trusted appearing among us are ready to do real harm. Since Congress can pass no meaningful gun-control laws, even after the mass killing in Newtown, President Obama should use his pen to slow the import of these weapons, which have no place in our homes.”
The FBI investigation had nothing to do with the import of weapons that were previously banned. Yee is accused of trying to bring in full-auto rifles and shoulder-fire rockets. These things have always been banned.
What she is confusing here is the Clinton-era ban on imported semi-auto rifles. Under George W. Bush that ban was allowed to expire. Military-grade weapons and consumer-level firearms are not the same thing. Speier is purposefully erasing the line to push further gun ownership limitations on the people.
In addition, the FBI investigation does not show how easy it is to import illegal guns. It was a complex criminal organization involved in this scheme. Your average Joe would not be able to get the Chinese Triads to ship him a case of M4 rifles or Javelin missiles. Even the legal importation of semi-auto rifles is beyond an average person’s ability. It requires a license and all kinds of hoops to jump through.
Best line in her rant: This case should be a warning to us all that even the most trusted appearing among us are ready to do real harm.
What she must mean are that democrat gun grabbers can’t be trusted because I can’t think of one Republican that ever tried to raise campaign funds by selling illegal weapons. I fail to see how the dishonesty and hypocrisy of democrats should lead to a further erosion of the 2nd Amendment. Also, she should speak for herself; I never trusted Yee.
There is a subtle little twist in the gun grabber’s rhetoric included as well. Usually, the enemies of freedom like to say these guns don’t belong on our streets. Speier has switched it up and says they “have no place in our homes.” I sense this is a shift in strategy by the anti-gun crowd to convince us that not only don’t we not have a right to protect ourselves in public, but that we no longer enjoy that protection at home.
Lelenad Yee did a bad bad thing. He tried to illegally import weapons that themselves were illegal. Leave it to a democrat to use this situation as a reason to halt the legal importation of legal firearms.
That didn’t take long…
After only 115 days in office, Democrat Charlotte Mayor Arrested, Faces 20 Years In Prison
Democrat Mayor Patrick D. Cannon is accused of bribery and extortion.
FBI agents on Wednesday arrested the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, for allegedly taking tens of thousands of dollars worth of bribes “in exchange for the use of his official position,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Patrick D. Cannon, 47, faces federal charges of theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins of western North Carolina.
The Charlotte mayor’s office declined a CNN request for comment. However, CNN obtained a copy of Cannon’s resignation letter, sent to City of Charlotte Manager Ron Carlee and City Attorney Bob Hagemann.
“I hereby give notice of my resignation from the position of the Mayor of the City of Charlotte, effective immediately. In light of the charges that have been brought against me, it is my judgment that the pendency of these charges will create too much of a distraction for the business of the City to go forward smoothly and without interruption,” Cannon wrote in the letter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prosecutors say former Bolivar City Council member Brenda Woods has been convicted of procuring illegal voters in municipal elections.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich says in a news release that Woods was found guilty Tuesday in a McNairy County court.
Witnesses said Woods took them to the polls to vote for her in early elections for mayor and city council in May 2009. They said they told Woods about their felony convictions, but she assured them they could still vote.
An investigation showed the three voters had cast ballots illegally because their voting rights had not been restored.
Woods was convicted on the charges in 2010 but was awarded a new trial on appeal two years later. She faces up to six years in prison at sentencing April 11,
The decision of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane to drop the investigation and potential prosecution of Philadelphia Democrats who were recorded accepting cash, money orders, or jewelry certainly seems suspicious. According to news reports, investigators collected over 400 hours of audio and video of five Democrats, including four state lawmakers, before Kane, also a Democrat, secretly killed the investigation last fall. When confronted with this troubling story by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kane cited racism and mismanagement in the investigation, but the detailed descriptions of the recordings certainly seem to indicate that the payments were made.
Kane’s reaction to reports about her decision went from bad to worse. At first, she complained that white men were attacking her:
In the statement, Kane provided only one quote, dismissing those who questioned her decisions as “nothing more than the Good Ol’ Boys club playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.”
The statement cited Kane’s pursuit of political-corruption cases, including the pay-to-play scandal involving Democrats tied to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the corruption charges brought last week against Democratic State Sen. LeAnna Washington.
That was a pretty astounding escalation. It is not out of line to wonder why a state’s attorney general would drop an investigation which is said to have obtained detailed recordings of lawmakers taking bribes. The decision to dismiss the investigation under seal combined with Kane’s accusation that it was tainted by racism certainly is newsworthy and gives rise to an inference that, although we may not know exactly what went on here, something unusual did. That’s ordinarily a reason to give something more examination, not less.
But Kane, apparently frustrated by continuing scrutiny of her decision, has now escalated further, hiring counsel and suggesting that if the Inquirer continues to pursue the story, she would start suing people!
During the meeting, Sprague [Kane's new lawyer] suggested that The Inquirer may have been used by the sources of its stories – “wittingly or unwittingly” as a “weapon” to attack Kane to defend themselves from potential charges of wrongdoing in the management of the probe.
“I intend to look at the investigation from the very beginning to the conclusion of it, and in terms of what has been published, by this paper and others, to take appropriate action on behalf of the attorney general against those responsible for the defamatory and the false publications that have been made,” Sprague said.
It sounds like Kane or her new lawyer thinks the folks providing detailed information about the investigation into bribe-taking Democrats are the very investigators she claims were impermissibly motivated by race in the investigation.
The decision to lawyer up and take “appropriate action” against either the leakers or the papers goes far beyond the bounds of a reasonable response. This is indisputably a newsworthy story. The public deserves to know what happened with this investigation and why it happened. Kane’s acceleration from “it was racism” to “it’s the Good Ol’ Boys” to “I will start suing people” is despicable in any public servant, but even more so from the state’s top prosecutor.
The Inquirer’s editor, William K. Marimow, gets this exactly right:
“Our lead reporters, Angela Couloumbis and Craig McCoy, have interviewed many people with in-depth knowledge of the investigation, including members of Attorney General Kane’s staff, in order to ensure that the stories are accurate, thorough, and fair,” Marimow said. “These stories are the product of months of diligent and dogged reporting – not a leak from a person with a political agenda.”
He added, “In my opinion, this is precisely the kind of issue that requires public scrutiny, specifically the conduct of public officials who accepted cash or gifts from an undercover agent and the quality of a three-year investigation launched and ended by a state law enforcement agency.”
Bravo, Inquirer. That’s journalism.
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.
“This is probably why Harry Reid’s been going after the Kochs so much,” muses Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds as he delivers news of top Democrat money man Jeffrey Thompson’s guilty plea for campaign finance violations. It sure does sound like a gigantic case of projection, which has always been a major component of Democrat psychology – they love to cast their own sins at their enemies.
If you don’t spend any time in the left-wing fever swamps, you might be surprised at how large the demonic Koch Brothers loom in their mythology, and probably thought it was a bit odd for Senate Majority Leader Reid to rail against these private citizens from the Senate floor. Were you taken aback to learn that the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body would be used for purposes higher than partisan primal scream therapy, in which the controlling party shrieks insults at law-abiding Americans who have the nerve to participate in our national political discussion? One reason for Reid’s conduct is that hurling his slander from the Senate floor immunizes him against legal retaliation. Another might be that he knew the Thompson story was brewing, and wanted to ratchet up the Koch hatred to cushion its impact.
Here, as the Washington Free Beacon reports, we have a Democrat-supporting fat cat who is what they like to accuse the Koch Brothers of being:
A major Democratic donor pleaded guilty on Monday to funneling millions of dollars in illegal campaign donations to federal and local politicians, including an unnamed 2008 presidential candidate believed to be Hillary Clinton.
District of Columbia businessman Jeffrey Thompson, who federal prosecutors say financed a “shadow campaign” for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray in 2010, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws.
Thompson claimed some of the candidates, including Gray, were aware of the illegal fundraising.
According to prosecutors, Gray decided to invent a phony name for Thompson, “Uncle Earl,” to protect his identity. It evidently didn’t work. Gray’s people deny that he had any knowledge of Thompson’s illegal activities… which would make his use of the pseudonym more than a little odd, wouldn’t it? Is Gray really going to make the case that he didn’t notice almost half a million dollars pouring into his campaign? Is Hillary Clinton going to try the same “Vote For Me – I’m Oblivious!” strategy in 2016?
Gray’s campaign objected to the prosecutors’ focus on the D.C. mayor, and said Thompson’s claims that Gray knew about the scheme are not believable.
“We’re talking about millions of dollars [Thompson allegedly distributed] to subvert democracy, including a presidential election, an historic presidential election,” Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies told the Washington Free Beacon. “It’s dumbfounding… I think he should spend a decade or more in prison.”
“The message to people who seek to skew the outcome of a presidential election is ‘eh, if we catch you you’ll get six months in jail,’” Thies added. “It’s a frightening message.”
Actually, I think the current message would be more like, “If you seek to skew the outcome of a presidential election without going to jail, use the IRS.”
Today’s developments present an immediate crisis for Gray, who’s going into a fairly crowded primary in a couple of weeks as he seeks re-election to the mayor’s office. Fox News finds the residents of D.C. holding their breath and waiting to learn if prosecutors decide to file charges against Gray. Their public statements certainly make him sound indictable, but they might lack the evidence to take the case any further.
More details from Fox about the activities Gray was allegedly involved in:
[Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Atkinson] said Gray personally requested the funds from Thompson, who pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges. Atkinson said that Gray presented Thompson with a one-page budget for $425,000 and asked him to “pay for a get-out-the-vote campaign,” to which Thompson agreed.
Gray has not been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing in the 2010 campaign. Robert Bennett, Gray’s lawyer, said Monday the mayor continued to maintain his innocence, calling the claims mere “allegations.”
“The mayor’s position on that is that it is absolutely not true,” Bennett said. “That has not changed one bit.”
Thompson in pleading guilty reportedly admitted to channeling hundreds of thousands of dollars into a campaign operation for somebody identified in court papers as “Mayoral Candidate A,” in the 2010 mayoral race in the District.
I would surmise that much of Gray’s fate will hang on whether prosecutors can get their hands on a copy of that “one-page budget for $425,000.” If I might indulge in a bit of further speculation, I doubt they currently have the paper in their possession, or they would have charged him already – with a primary only weeks away, they have every reason to move quickly. Especially since another of the candidates, Vincent Orange, has a bit of history with Thompson:
According to the document, Thompson, the former owner of a well-connected accounting firm, funded illicit campaign activity for Clinton, Gray and seven other candidates for local office in the district. All told, the efforts were valued at more than $2 million.
Prosecutors also said Thompson exceeded contribution limits by using straw donors and funneling money from his corporation through intermediaries. Thompson contributed more than $500,000 to local candidates and more than $250,000 to federal candidates and political-action committees over a six-year period, according to the 10-page document.
Thompson, 58, had long been suspected of giving money to Gray’s 2010 campaign to fund get-out-the vote and other efforts, and the document put the value of the shadow campaign at $668,000. He was also charged with pouring $608,750 into Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. The efforts to help Clinton were detailed in a previous case against a Thompson associate.
The document details shadow campaigns for eight candidates for office in the district, with a total value of nearly $1.5 million. The most recent race Thompson sought to influence, the document shows, was a race for an at-large City Council seat in 2011, which Democrat Vincent Orange won with support from Thompson’s network of donors. Orange, who has acknowledged handing over documents related to his 2011 campaign to federal investigators, is also running for mayor this year. He did not immediately return a call seeking comment but also has denied wrongdoing.
Thompson also ran a $278,000 shadow effort for a mayoral candidate in 2006, the document shows. Adrian Fenty defeated Linda Cropp in that year’s mayoral primary, and Cropp received contributions that year from Thompson and his associates.
Prosecutors are reportedly also investigating what might have been a quid pro quo for Thompson’s shady campaign support, as detailed by the Washington Post:
After the election, prosecutors said, Thompson gave a $10,000 check to Gray’s “close family member” to settle debts with campaign workers. At Gray’s request, Thompson also gave $10,000 to fund a unnamed union election campaign.
Later, after Gray was inaugurated, Thompson gave $40,000 to the mayor’s “close personal friend” in part to finance home improvements, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Atkinson said.
Subsequently, prosecutors said, Thompson appealed to Gray, through an associate, Jeanne Clarke Harris, to “expedite” a pending settlement with the city involving his firm, D.C. Chartered Health Plan.
When asked in court whether Harris had talked to the mayor, Thompson said, “Based on what Miss Harris told me, yes.”
Thompson soon learned that the District government was “resolving the matter,” according to his plea agreement.
Investigators have been looking at the city’s decision to pay Thompson’s health-care company $7.5 million to settle a dispute over reimbursements that had begun during the Fenty administration. Investigators have explored what role, if any, Gray and his deputies played in the 2011 deal.
The mayor has said that Thompson never asked him for any favors, and city officials have defended the Chartered settlement as aboveboard and equitable.
Of course, whatever prosecutors decide to do next, Gray will likely be tried in the court of public opinion, where the requirements for evidence are much more flexible. An interesting detail from the Washington Post: prosecutors only named Gray in court as their suspect for “Mayoral Candidate A” because the judge insisted on it. No doubt observers familiar with the case would have connected the dots on their own, but it’s significant that Gray’s name was dropped in the courtroom.
Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post sees today’s revelations as a reset button for the mayor race, where Gray previous held a significant lead over his seven Democrat challengers, with good approval ratings from his previous term in office. His opponents pounced; the specter of the disgraced Marion Barry was raised; and a new independent candidacy was declared for the general election.
But unless prosecutors get serious about indicting Gray, it’s probably a bit much to declare the mayoral race shaken to its core. This is D.C., after all. It has a very high threshold for permanent disgrace. Just ask City Councilman Marion Barry, last heard complaining about traffic jams caused by presidential motorcades.