Categories
Congress Corruption Elections

Madison Cawthorn Is Flat Broke, Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars In Debt And Facing Criminal Charges: Report

North Carolina GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn’s life is in complete shambles, and it’s hard to feel sorry for him considering the bad shit he’s done over the past couple of years.

First and foremost, Cawthorn is broke and cannot pay his campaign debts, which, it just so happened, he incurred for illegal purposes, meaning that in addition to soon being unemployed, he’s also facing indictment and time in prison if found guilty.

Roger Sollenberger of The Daily Beast reports that everything that can go wrong for Cawthorn is doing exactly that

With two weeks to go until a primary election he was fated to lose, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) was already underwater. His campaign held more than twice as much debt as it had cash on hand, the donor well was dry, and he and his staff were months into a madcap spending streak that one campaign source called “baffling.”

And now, after indeed losing that primary, there’s no money to pay the piper.

Specifically, there’s no money to repay the supporters who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in advance to Cawthorn’s election efforts beyond the primary—to the general election he now won’t be competing in.

That shuffling of money is illegal, and that complicates matters considerably for the soon-to-be ex-congressman, who is going to be hard-pressed to find an attorney who will represent him without a retainer:

The breach of fiduciary obligations follows a string of personal and professional embarrassments that hounded the one-term congressman across the weeks and months leading up to his primary defeat—accusations of insider trading, multiple alleged ethics violations, unforced public gaffes, and photo and video leaks designed to humiliate him.

But the campaign’s financial washout is more than another embarrassment; it’s against the law.

To borrow a phrase from Homer Simpson, D’oh!

But perhaps most confounding and embarrassing for Cawthorn is the spending reports which show how he managed to burn through so much cash so quickly. The details in federal reports sound like something a college frat boy would have done:

This person pointed to a spree of frivolous charges over the last year that all accelerated into 2022, such as $1,500 in “egregiously” frequent trips to Chick-Fil-A, almost $3,000 at a place called Papa’s Beer, three separate charges at a high-end cigar shop, $21,000 for lodging in Florida and—the biggest drain—hundreds of thousands of dollars in sky-high consulting and fundraising fees, including for Cawthorn’s friend and campaign manager, Blake Harp, who was drawing a salary beyond federal limits.

Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, says Cawthorn is screwed:

“There are few more ironclad rules in campaign finance than you can’t spend general election funds in a primary. There are strict limits on how much may be given and spent in each. If Cawthorn spent funds raised for the general during the primary and made no attempt to refund the general donations, he’ll likely be in a lot of trouble with the FEC.”

Beginning in January of next year, Cawthorn will no longer have his congressional salary, so he’s quite literally going to be jobless, penniless, and facing the prospect of legal action against him.

Sometimes karma is a very beautiful thing.

Categories
Corruption Crime Donald Trump Elections

Special Grand Jury Likely For Racketeering Investigation Of Donald Trump: Report

While grand juries meeting in New York have drawn most of the attention of the national media, a move on the horizon in the state of Georgia could wind up presenting the greatest legal threat to failed, one-term former President Donald Trump, according to the New York Times.

The Times reports that Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is on the verge of impaneling a special grand jury to investigate Trump on charges of racketeering for his attempts to have the results of the 2020 election in the Peach State overturned:

A special grand jury, which by Georgia statute would include 16 to 23 members, could focus solely on the potential case against Mr. Trump and his allies. Ms. Willis is likely to soon take the step, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deliberations, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the decision is not final. Though such a jury could issue subpoenas, Ms. Willis would need to return to a regular grand jury to seek criminal indictments.

A recording of Trump’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (in which Trump asked Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes”) is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence against the former president and proves that Trump’s intent was to ignore the will of Georgia voters so that he could be declared the victor, setting up a pattern that could then be repeated in other states such as Arizona and Pennsylvania, which also went for President Joe Biden.

Willis has already said that she may well prosecute Trump for racketeering:

Ms. Willis has said a racketeering charge is on the table. Such cases are often associated with prosecutions of mob bosses, using the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, and Georgia has its own state version of the law.

“I always tell people when they hear the word racketeering, they think of ‘The Godfather,’” Ms. Willis said earlier this year, explaining that the concept could also extend to otherwise lawful organizations that are used to break the law. “If you have various overt acts for an illegal purpose, I think you can — you may — get there.”

One of her best-known prosecutions came in 2014 when, as an assistant district attorney, she helped lead a racketeering case against a group of educators involved in a cheating scandal in the Atlanta public schools.

Since there is physical evidence in the form of tapes and recordings of Trump and others inside the administration and his inner circle, Willis would appear to have a slam-dunk case against the former president, who has already admitted his voice is indeed on the recording with Georgia’s secretary of state. Other efforts made by the ex-president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, also point to a larger conspiracy which strengthens Willis’ hand if she goes after Trump on racketeering charges. Such charges also carry enhanced sentences for those convicted under the statute.

For now, Manhattan will continue to explore Trump’s business and finances, but in the end it may well be a black woman in Atlanta who winds up bringing down the nefarious Mr. Trump. How’s that for irony?

 

Categories
Corruption GOP U.S. Senate

Ted Cruz Caught Using Taxpayer Money To Employ Family Members

Proving that he’s just as corrupt as almost every member of the GOP, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has been caught employing members of his family with taxpayer money in direct violation of federal law.

According to Business Insider:

“Cruz employed the daughter of his first cousin in his Senate office as a paid press assistant and gave his cousin’s son a coveted Senate internship. Cruz put his cousin on the payroll for his 2016 presidential campaign and later for his Senate campaign, records show.”

Federal law could not be more clear. U.S Code § 3110 states:

“A public official may not appoint, employ,
promote, advance, or advocate for appointment,
employment, promotion, or advancement, in or
to a civilian position in the agency in which he
is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction
or control any individual who is a relative of the
public official. An individual may not be appointed, employed, promoted, or advanced in or
to a civilian position in an agency if such appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement has been advocated by a public official,
serving in or exercising jurisdiction or control
over the agency, who is a relative of the individual.
(c) An individual appointed, employed, promoted, or advanced in violation of this section
is not entitled to pay, and money may not be
paid from the Treasury as pay to an individual
so appointed, employed, promoted, or advanced.”

When confronted with the information about his employment of relatives with taxpayer funds, members of his staff resorted to the ad hominem attack line used so often by failed, one-term former President Donald Trump, calling the article “fake news” and refusing further comment.

How do you suppose Cruz and his fellow Republicans in the Senate would act if say the son or daughter of President Joe Biden’s first cousin was suddenly given a plum job in the White House and drew a salary paid for with tax dollars? There’d likely be a hue and cry not heard since the days of the bogus Benghazi hearings, and it’s even safe to suggest that some extremists in the GOP (like Sen. Cruz) would recommend impeachment.

Ted Cruz is a liar, a fraud, and a man who gave aid and comfort to insurrectionists by refusing to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election even though he had no proof of any irregularities in the balloting.

 

Categories
Corruption Crime Donald Trump The Trump Adminstration

Court Documents Reveal Giuliani’s ‘Associates’ Are Likely To Flip On Him And Others: Report

New court filings in the case against one of Rudy Giuliani’s former “associates” suggest that he’s facing increasing pressure to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against the former New York City mayor for alleged fraud and illegal foreign contacts made by Giuliani in an attempt to bolster the campaign of former President Donald Trump.

Marcy Wheeler explains at her Empty Wheel blog that Giuliani associate Lev Parnas has managed to get his hands on documents from his former boss, but the documents also suggest he’s being pushed to flip on Giuliani in order to lessen his own legal exposure:

“We know the materials withheld under a Rule 16(d) extension are the files seized from Rudy Giuliani and Victoria Toensing’s iCloud accounts (as well as those of some Ukrainians) three ways. First, that’s what Parnas’ lawyer Joseph Bondy demanded in the May 20 request referenced in the footnote. And the government’s response to Bondy’s request explained that Oetken had authorized them under Rule 16(d) to delay sharing the material with the defendants on November 8, 2019. Finally, this is the July 14 order Judge Oetken issued denying Parnas and others the materials.”

While most of the documents have little or no relevance to the fraud trial against Parnas (which will begin on Oct. 4), they clearly show a pattern of behavior in efforts to get Ukrainian ambassador Marie Yovanovitch dismissed from her post, which was the impetus for Trump’s first impeachment:

“That means a substantial amount of what the government is sharing is discovery on the additional charges [another Giuliani associate Igor] Fruman and especially Parnas face, after they’re done with October’s trial and even after Parnas is done with a second, Fraud Guarantee trial. The government is effectively showing Rudy’s grifters what they have to look forward to in a Foreign Agent case involving Rudy Giuliani.

“This is, almost certainly, an effort to convince them to plead guilty and flip on Rudy, which explains why the government is so intent on keeping the trial scheduled for October, to increase the pressure on the grifters.”

However, Giuliani isn’t the only person Parnas may have dirt on. There’s also the possibility that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may have played a role, and Trump could also be facing charges for his actions in the attempt to extort Ukraine for damaging information on Joe Biden and members of his family.

The upcoming trial of Parnas could wind up precipitating more criminal charges against Giuliani and people in the orbit of former President Trump. No matter how you slice it, it’s clear that prosecutors are tightening the noose around anyone with a connection to Rudy.

 

Categories
Corruption Crime Donald Trump Russia The Trump Adminstration

Court Filings Suggest Giuliani And His ‘Associates’ Are In Bed With The Russian Mafia

When his attorney made a court filing ago to convince a judge that Rudy Giuliani’s electronic devices contain confidential information such as discussions with clients, the documents that wound up in the public record shed new light on the full scale of unsavory characters Rudy has been rubbing elbows with and also point to a larger conspiracy which involves the Russian mafia.

Giuliani’s attorney, Robert J. Costello, notes that the former New York City mayor should never have been raided by the FBI late last month, the New York Times reports:

“In a 17-page letter to the judge who authorized the searches, Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers argued that it would have been more appropriate — and less invasive — for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan to seek information through a subpoena, which, unlike a warrant, would have given him an opportunity to review the documents and respond.

“The defense lawyers wrote that prosecutors ‘simply chose to treat a distinguished lawyer as if he was the head of a drug cartel or a terrorist, in order to create maximum prejudicial coverage of both Giuliani and his most well-known client — the former president of the United States.'”

Though Rudy may not be the head of a drug cartel, it seems he travels in the same circles and does business with members of organized criminal organizations that do indeed traffic in narcotics, engage in sexual trafficking of young girls, and have people killed for daring to report on their illegal activities.

At one point in the court documents that became public, there’s a tantalizing tidbit that refers to Dmitro Firtash, a Ukrainian businessman with extensive ties to Russian organized crime, legal analyst Marcy Wheeler pointed out on Twitter. It also mentions possible associates of Giuliani who worked in the United States as unregistered foreign agents of Firtash:

Firtash, it should be added, gave a $1 million loan to Lev Parnas, who was working for Giuliani at the time in an attempt to dig up dirt on the Biden family:

“A billionaire with alleged ties to the Russian mob, Firtash is facing bribery-related charges in the U.S. and fighting extradition from Vienna. He once attempted to buy and redevelop the famous Drake Hotel in New York with the now-incarcerated Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman. And he’s seen by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists and Western governments as a corrupt instrument of Russia.”

 

So former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney — the man who was actively working to sabotage Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign — was also doing business with a man who has deep ties to the Kremlin and the Russian mob.

The mention of Firtash in the court filings is also yet another connection that Trump has to Russia, despite his protestations that he has never done business with Russian entities or sought assistance from the Russian government.

If nothing else, the ongoing legal case against Giuliani could give us greater insight into just how deeply Donald Trump is tied to Russia, the Kremlin, and Russian organized crime. It may also wind up leading to criminal charges against the former president, his children, and members of the Trump Organization.