Conflict of Interest

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Definition of “Conflict of Interest:”

a situation in which the concerns or aims of two different parties are incompatible. Or a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity.
In the case of the Mueller investigation and for all those who are either active in it or complicit or hold a personal interest in it achieving removal of President Trump, there is very obvious as defined by public statute “Conflict of Interest.”
Let’s look closely:

Washington D.C.: “For Sale” Part II

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In “Washington D.C.: For Sale Part I,” we defined political corruption and gave multiple examples of political corruption from long ago. In this offering we turn the calendar forward to reveal more recent political corruption underway. NOTE: Today you have both the WRITTEN and AUDIO versions of this story. Enjoy — Your choice….or BOTH!

Joe Biden and John Kerry. Both former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry were deeply involved in trade and security talks with China even as that country began its aggressive campaign to expand its military and physical presence in the South China Sea. Contrary to standard diplomatic practice, however, both played “good cop,” not seriously confronting China on its misbehavior. Biden and Kerry were close friends from their years spent together in the Senate. So there was little surprise when Biden’s son, Hunter, and Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz, one of the heirs to the Heinz ketchup fortune, went into business together in 2009. They created a number of equity and real estate investment firms allied to Rosemont Capital, “the alternative investment fund of the Heinz Family Office.”

Over the next seven years, as both Joe Biden and John Kerry negotiated sensitive and high-stakes deals with foreign governments, Rosemont entities secured a series of exclusive deals with those same foreign governments. In December of 2013, Biden traveled to China for talks. He brought Hunter Biden along. While there, the senior Biden soft-pedaled China’s clear aggression, and played up the bilateral trade partnership. Ten days after the trip concluded, China’s central bank, the Bank of China, set up a $1 billion investment joint venture called Bohai Harvest RST. For the record, the “RS” referred to Biden’s son’s firm, Rosemont Seneca.

Months later, in July 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to China, also for talks. Kerry talked little of China’s clear aggression, but did conspicuously note that “China and the United States represent the greatest economic alliance trading partnership in the history of humankind. In the ensuing months, Chinese government-linked firms took major stakes in several of the firms owned or controlled by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz, and provided them with massive funding totaling billions of dollars.

New Black Panther Party.  During Bush (“W”) administration, career and line prosecutors at the Department of Justice had prepared a prosecution of a group called the New Black Panther Party for crimes including voter intimidation.  (Perhaps you can recall the pictures of the NBBP members with rifles standing outside voting places in Philadelphia.)  On assuming office, Obama and his new AG Eric Holder promptly shut down the case.  The Civil Rights Commission investigated, and in 2011 issued a scathing report.  Jennifer Rubin summarized the findings in the Washington Post (quoted at PowerLine): “1) the New Black Panther Party case brought by career Justice Department employees was meritorious on the law and the facts; 2) there is voluminous evidence of the Obama administration’s political interference in the prosecution of the New Black Panther Party case; 3) there is ample evidence that the Obama administration directed Justice Department employees not to bring cases against minority defendants who violated voting rights laws or to enforce a provision requiring that states and localities clean up their voting rolls to prevent fraud . . . .  “

IRS.  In the run-up to the 2012 election, the IRS delayed the granting of tax-exempt status to pro-life and Tea Party groups, with the clear purpose and effect of suppressing the ability of those groups to participate in the political discussion relating to a presidential election.  From this collection of Obama-era scandals: “[P]ro-life and Tea Party groups were deliberately targeted for extra scrutiny, their tax exemption applications outrageously delayed until after the 2012 election without actually being refused. . . .  [I]n the follow-up scandal, . . .  IRS officials brazenly lied about having backups of relevant computer data. The American people were expected to believe that multiple state-of-the-art hard drives failed, and were instantly shredded instead of being subjected to data recovery procedures. . . .  [S]candal kingpin Lois Lerner got to enjoy her taxpayer-funded retirement after taking the Fifth to thwart lawful congressional investigation.”

Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder Departmet of Justice. The Obama/Holder/Lynch Justice Department pursued dozens of “prosecutions” of the biggest banks, mostly on the thinnest of charges, with complete confidence that the banks would never take a case to trial.  The correct word for the process was “shakedowns.”  Something like $100 billion was collected in total.  Here area few examples:

“[A] settlement by CitiBank with Fannie and Freddie for $968 million for losses in the financial crisis, even though it was F&F that had set the terms of the loans; and another settlement by Bank of America for $2.8 billion for essentially the same thing; and a settlement of those two plus five other banks for $8.5 billion for alleged improper documenting of mortgages (“robosigning”);

Ten settlements by J.P. Morgan with various federal agencies between 2011 and 2013, all of them over $50 million (and some over a billion).  In September 2013 it was a $920 million settlement with J.P. Morgan over trading losses that should have been none of the government’s business.  In August 2014 it was a settlement with Bank of America of $17 billion for, supposedly, ‘failing to have third party loan level due diligence’ as to loans going into securitization deals.”

Then they put provisions into the settlement agreements allowing the settling banks to get credit on their settlements by “contributing” large amounts of money to a favored list of Democrat-supporting groups.  From Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2015: “The [Justice] department is in the process of funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups, at least some of which will actively support Democrats in the coming election.  It works likes this: The Justice Department prosecutes cases against supposed corporate bad actors. Those companies agree to settlements that include financial penalties. Then Justice mandates that at least some of that penalty money be paid in the form of “donations” to nonprofits that supposedly aid consumers and bolster neighborhoods.  The Justice Department maintains a list of government-approved nonprofit beneficiaries. And surprise, surprise: Many of them are liberal activist groups. The National Council of La Raza. The National Urban League. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition. NeighborWorks America . . . . ”   The transfer, at the behest of the “Justice Department,” of this vast amount of money belonging to the taxpayers to Democrat-supporting groups was in clear violation — actually, outright defiance — of the provision of the Constitution stating that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law. . . . “

Attorney General Eric Holder “Fast and Furious.” Gunwalking,” or “letting guns walk,” was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations between 2006 and 2011 in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them”. These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. The Jacob Chambers Case began in October 2009 and eventually became known in February 2010 as “Operation Fast and Furious” after agents discovered Chambers and the other suspects under investigation belonged to a car club.

The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels. The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers. During Operation Fast and Furious, the largest “gunwalking” probe, the ATF monitored the sale of about 2,000 firearms, of which only 710 were recovered as of February 2012. A number of straw purchasers have been arrested and indicted; however, as of October 2011, none of the targeted high-level cartel figures had been arrested.

Guns tracked by the ATF have been found at crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico–United States border, and the scene where United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. The “gunwalking” operations became public in the aftermath of Terry’s murder.Dissenting ATF agents came forward to Congress in response.According to Humberto Benítez Treviño, former Mexican Attorney General and chair of the justice committee in the Chamber of Deputies, related firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico where at least 150 Mexican civilians were maimed or killed. Revelations of “gunwalking” led to controversy in both countries, and diplomatic relations were damaged.

As a result of a dispute over the release of Justice Department documents related to the scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress on June 28, 2012.Earlier that month, President Barack Obama had invoked executive privilege for the first time in his presidency in order to withhold the same documents.

Barack Obama In National Review, Andrew McCarthy made a compelling case that President Obama had to have been personally involved in making the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for misuse of classified information.  It seems that some of Hillary’s transmission of classified information over non-secure lines went right to Obama himself at his own secret personal email account:

Obama, using a pseudonymous email account, had repeatedly communicated with Secretary Clinton over her private, non-secure email account. These emails must have involved some classified information. . . .  If classified information was mishandled, it was necessarily mishandled on both ends of these email exchanges. If Clinton had been charged, Obama’s culpable involvement would have been patent. In any prosecution of Clinton, the Clinton–Obama emails would have been in the spotlight. For the prosecution, they would be more proof of willful (or, if you prefer, grossly negligent) mishandling of intelligence. More significantly, for Clinton’s defense, they would show that Obama was complicit in Clinton’s conduct yet faced no criminal charges. That is why such an indictment of Hillary Clinton was never going to happen.

Summary

We’ve only scratched the surface of the political corruption that has and is plaguing the government in Washington D.C. that supposedly belongs to the American people. Unfortunately, evil in the hearts of men and women take frantic hold of those who are consumed by a quest for power and money. Those men and women — sadly for American citizens — have found it far to easy to “use” that power and money to line their pockets and the pockets of those to which they owe for “favors” given for political jobs in D.C.

There’s more to come in this sad saga. Stay tuned for Washington D.C.: “For Sale” Part III.

Washington D.C.: “For Sale” Part I

How much corruption is there in D.C.?How can corruption be exposed? How about some political corruption examples.

Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered political corruption.

Examples of Political Corruption

Billy Tauzin Recent American history is full of examples. For instance, in 2002 Rep. Billy Tauzin, a Republican from Louisiana and then Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, drafted the Medicare prescription drug bill, which created Medicare’s prescription drug benefit. In his final Congressional election for Congress that same year, Tauzin received close to $300,000 in campaign contributions from health professionals, drug makers and other health products companies. The bill Tauzin drafted in 2003 followed the industry’s desires. It steered clear of price controls and forbade our government, the largest purchaser of prescription drugs, from negotiating with drug manufacturers to secure lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries, which is why today we still pay the highest prices in the world for our prescription medicines.

But, that’s not all. The year after Tauzin drafted the Medicare drug benefit act, he left Congress and went through the revolving door between government and K Street, where a great many lobbyists work, and was hired by the drug industry. PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying arm, rewarded Tauzin for writing the drug bill to its liking by hiring him as its president with a salary of approximately $2 million a year.

Tauzin’s payoff would be unbelievable except for the fact that that is the way Washington actually functions. Retiring from Congress and becoming a lobbyist for a much heftier salary is a fairly common practice. According to one study, 42 percent of House members and 50 percent of senators become lobbyists when they leave office. Not only do they make a lot more money when they “retire,” so to speak, but also they automatically have built-in access to members of Congress, having worked with many of them when they themselves were in office. You might say many of our representatives, with the help of corporate America, have made corrupting their public service standard operating procedure.

2008 Recession Corruption. A few years after the Tauzin corruption, the Great Recession of 2008 struck our nation. Millions of innocent people lost their homes and/or jobs when the economy crashed. Though the economic disaster was mostly due to the unscrupulous and fraudulent practices of Wall Street’s big banks, the Obama administration allowed practically all of those bankers to get off scot-free. Could the facts that some of Obama’s biggest donors during his 2008 campaign were Wall Street banks, and that he appointed a number of Goldman Sachs people, like Larry Summers, Gene Sperling and Rahm Emanuel, to important positions in his administration have had something to do with his failure to hold the bankers accountable?

In addition, despite the fact that the TARP legislation (Troubled Asset Relief Program) included instructions to use a portion of the funds to prevent the foreclosure of people’s homes, President Obama not only used little or none of it to assist those distressed homeowners, but he also refused to extract foreclosure relief measures from our nation’s biggest banks in return for the huge bailout they received. Was neither prosecuting the big bankers nor extracting foreclosure relief from them Obama’s way of paying back Wall Street for their helping him win the White House?

Housing Scandal A former Goldman Sachs co-chairman, Rubin used his influential position to gain repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated investment banking from commercial banking since the days of FDR, and had thus protected ordinary Americans’ bank deposits from being wagered by investment bankers in the risky trading of future derivative swaps and other exotic, often fraudulent securities. Rather than protecting the interests of average American investors and homeowners, Secretary Rubin’s efforts supported his Wall Street friends. Repealing Glass-Steagall allowed the Big Banks to gamble with depositors’ money. Consequently, to a great degree, we have Pres. Clinton, Rubin and his bank buddies to thank for the crash of the housing market and the Great Recession of 2008. Even today, many Americans are still struggling to recover while the big bankers are doing better than ever.

Edwin Edwards served four terms as Democratic governor of Louisiana in a time span ranging from 1972 to 1996. The New Orleans Times-Picayune recently described Edwards as such: “He was a swashbuckling figure of engaging charm and dubious ethics whom critics blame for cementing the popular national image of Louisiana as a captivating but corrupt backwater, the province of rogues and scoundrels.” Despite accusations of impropriety beginning early in his career — a former associate claimed he was involved in several corrupt practices, including the sale of Louisiana agency posts; and he was accused of accepting money from a South Korean rice broker while serving in the U.S. House — his political career continued. Then in 1997, FBI agents raided his house and seized records and more than $400,000 in cash. The FBI had monitored over 1,500 hours of telephone conversations, and Edwards was charged for his involvement in extorting payments from businessmen — including San Francisco 49ers owner Edward Debartolo Jr. — in return for riverboat casino licenses.

Clinton Foundation We are told investigations into Clinton dealings are underway. Almost certainly these investigations will unearth some ugly dealings — many think there are multiple cases of corruption by the Clintons.  How does one generate 3 Billion dollars in 10 years with no product to sell? Or more accurately, what precisely was the Clinton Foundation/Global Initiative et. al selling? Their two highest profile most often cited humanitarian efforts are Haiti – where they robbed the Haitians of both millions of dollars in disaster relief as well as stole millions more in Haitian gold. The second crowning humanitarian achievement is the distribution of an HIV/Aids vaccine in Africa. The vaccine was faulty and the officials of the Indian company which were responsible went to jail. These folks were in conspiracy with the Clintons. The # 1 achievement of the Clinton Foundation Hillary Clinton’s Russian Ghost Stories was the sale of 20% of US uranium to the Russians in a sale that was approved not only by HRC herself as Secretary of State but numerous other Obama administration officials all during an FBI criminal corruption probe which was headed up by none other than FBI Director Mueller.  He was appointed to this role by Rod Rosenstein, currently deputy US Attorney General but at the time he was US Attorney overseeing the corruption investigation of FBI/Clinton/Russia/US uranium sale.

The FBI has a special undercover informant FBI informant in Obama-era Russian nuclear bribery who has documents and recordings of hundreds of US officials and business persons who were bribed with 145 million dollars by the Russians for this transaction. This undercover informant personally delivered envelopes stuffed with cash and has recordings of Russian spies openly discussing the bribery of numerous Obama administration officials. Perhaps not surprisingly the transaction was approved unanimously by all parties.

Tomorrow we will turn the calendar forward and report details of D.C. scandals. We’ll even give you links to fact-check our political corruption.

 

 

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