Categories
Corruption Crime GOP Justice Department

Merrick Garland Is About To Become Every Republican’s Worst Nightmare

Though he’s only been on the job for a few weeks, Attorney General Merrick Garland has already made it clear that he plans to start dismantling some of the most disgusting tenets of the Trump administration and run the Department of Justice (DOJ) in strict adherence with the U.S. Constitution.

For example, the DOJ announced this week that it would be restoring the use of consent decrees for abuses committed by police departments across the country:

“In easing restrictions placed on the use of consent decrees, the Justice Department is making it easier for its prosecutors to use the tool to force changes at police departments and other government agencies with widespread abuse and misconduct.”

The DOJ under Garland is also going after longtime Trump stooge Roger Stone, who owes nearly $2 million in back taxes to the IRS. Justice filed suit against Stone demanding immediate repayment of the money he and his wife owe the government, which means that Stone can either comply or face imprisonment for failure to comply.

Those two moves alone are antithetical to everything Republicans have been pushing for the past four years with Trump as president: That police can abuse or kill anyone and get away scot-free and that friends of the Donald are immune to facing any consequences for their actions. Under Trump, the GOP ran roughshod over the rights of anyone who wasn’t on their side while coddling those who supported their neo-fascist agenda of hatred, scapegoating, and grift.

What does this tell us about what to expect from Merrick Garland and the DOJ in the months ahead? Well, consider what remains on the agenda:

  • The conclusion of an investigation into the January 6 Capitol insurrection, which could well result in criminal charges being filed against Donald Trump and his son, Don Jr., along with some Congressional Republicans such as Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley.
  • A second look at the Russia investigation and the release of the full, unredacted report from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller
  • Possible criminal charges against the Trump family, the Trump Organization, and others associated with the Trump corporation.
  • Charges being filed against Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, and other close Trump associates who may have served in the administration, i.e. Stephen Miller.
  • A return to the rule of law without interference from the White House and in accord with the way things are supposed to be done.

Attention, Republicans: The days of lawlessness that existed for you under Trump are over with. Merrick Garland is going to flush some of you right down the crapper.

Categories
Corruption Justice Department U.S. Senate

Is Merrick Garland’s DOJ About To Investigate Mitch McConnell And His Wife For Corruption?

We recently learned that the Inspector General for the Department of Transportation recommended that the Department of Justice investigate the then-Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, for using her office to personally enrich herself and her family.

According to the New York Times:

“In a report made public on Wednesday, the inspector general said the Justice Department’s criminal and public integrity divisions both declined to take up the matter in the closing weeks of the Trump administration, even after the inspector general found repeated examples of Ms. Chao using her staff and her office to help benefit her family and their business operations and revealed that staff members at the agency had raised ethics concerns.

“’A formal investigation into potential misuses of position was warranted,’ Mitch Behm, the department’s deputy inspector general, said on Tuesday in a letter to House lawmakers, accompanying a 44-page report detailing the investigation and the findings of wrongdoing.”

Not surprisingly, the Trump DOJ refused to open a criminal investigation of Chao, who just so happens to be married to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who may have also enriched himself as a result of his wife’s actions.

However, there’s about to be a new, ethical AG leading the Justice Department: Merrick Garland, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate within the next few days. Will Garland’s DOJ take a closer look at Chao and McConnell?

Keep in mind that McConnell refused to even hold confirmation hearings for Garland when he was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court by Barack Obama. Might that still be sticking in the craw of the new attorney general?

More importantly, however, is a much more fundamental issue: Should public officials be subject to the same laws and rules as the rest of us? If not, then there’s clearly two tiers of justice: One for the connected and one for everyone else.

Merrick Garland needs to take a hard look at the Chao file and make his own determination. And if the evidence suggests filing charges against the former head of the Department of Transportation and her husband, then they should be held accountable.

 

Categories
Congress Corruption WTF?!

Jim Jordan In Major Legal Jeopardy For Hiding Almost $3 Million In Campaign Contributions

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has long been one of Donald Trump’s most devoted supporters in Congress, always willing to defend the failed one-term former president no matter what he says or does.

But it now appears that Jordan may have decided to emulate his political idol by engaging in highly illegal behavior by hiding nearly $3 million in campaign contributions from federal authorities, according to a startling report from The Daily Beast:

“This week, the campaign committee for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), received ten notices from the Federal Election Commission flagging discrepancies on its books totaling nearly $3 million dollars, and dating back over two years. The campaign claims that the errors slipped through the cracks amid a record fundraising surge, and that it actually has more money on the books now, but experts say that the dollar amount — errors totaling some $2.87 million — may trigger an FEC investigation.

“The errors also appear connected to newly developed, largely hidden payment systems in the murky world of Republican digital advertising, where vendors not only receive direct spending, but take cuts from fundraising as well.”

The FEC has given Jordan until April to respond to their inquiries, making it clear that if the congressman’s campaign refuses to comply, an audit or other “enforcement action” will be the penalty.

Experts on campaign finance law said the amount of money not reported by Jordan is certain to trigger some form of severe pushback from the FEC.

Brendan Fischer, director of reform at the Campaign Legal Center, noted:

“Jordan’s campaign appears to have had systemic reporting problems over multiple years, and these amendments represent substantial shifts in the campaign’s disclosed fundraising and spending. I suspect that the FEC will closely review discrepancies of such a significant amount.”

Brett Kappel, campaign finance attorney at Harmon Curran, said he expects an audit of Jordan will be coming in the very near future:

“The legal standard to trigger an FEC audit is high: Whether filings meet the threshold for ‘substantial compliance’ with the law. Jordan’s FEC reports were so substantially incorrect over such a long period of time that they may meet the standard.”

Asked for comment on the FEC letters and investigation, campaign spokesperson Kevin Eichinger rattled off what sounded like gobbledegook:

“The campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports. The error occurred when the former campaign treasurer inadvertently double-reported certain fundraising expenses. When the error was discovered, the campaign hired an outside expert to conduct a comprehensive audit and file the appropriate amendments.”

Jim Jordan, much like Donald Trump, appears to be a crook. Seems most Republicans these days are.

 

Categories
Corruption Elections Greed Money Politics

New Investigation Of Devin Nunes Could Spell The End Of His Congressional Career

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is in very big trouble, and it could wind up costing him his congressional seat.

The Fresno Bee reports that a non-partisan group, the Campaign Legal Center, is alleging that Nunes has been receiving gifts in direct violation of House ethics rules. Specifically, Nunes is accused of receiving legal services:

“A nonpartisan watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Devin Nunes Wednesday, calling for a congressional investigation into how the California Republican is paying for his lawsuits against media companies and critics.

“Nunes, (along) with Virginia attorney Steven Biss, filed six lawsuits and sent two letters implying possible legal action in 2019. He has not disclosed how he is paying for the legal work, and the kind of lawsuits he is filing — alleging defamation and conspiracies against him — can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”


Nunes, who earns $174,000 a year as a congressman, could never afford to file such expensive lawsuits, meaning he likely accepted free or reduced price legal work that he failed to report. That could lead to Nunes being expelled from the House or endanger his chances of being reelected in November:

“The group argues he’d only be able to pay if he received legal services for free, at a discounted rate, or based on a contingency fee, meaning the lawyer would get compensated from Nunes’ winnings if he prevails in his lawsuits.”


If Nunes is receiving such legal help, he is required by House rules to file a legal defense fund or be charged with accepting an illegal gift, which is a very serious allegation if made against any member of Congress. Records show, however, that Congressman Nunes has not claimed a legal defense fund, meaning he has already violated ethics rules and is subject to punishment by the House Ethics Committee and full House if they were to take a vote to reprimand Nunes or remove him from his seat in Congress.


Over the past three years, Nunes has been one of President Donald Trump’s most eager and dogged defenders, even going so far as to update the White House on investigations being conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes is the ranking Republican on the intelligence committee.

Now, however, Nunes appears to have painted himself in a corner he’ll have trouble extricating himself from. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving Republican.

Categories
Corruption Elections

Susan Collins Caught Taking Illegal Money From Shady Company

Susan Collins (R-ME) has the dubious distinction of being the most unpopular member of the United States Senate, edging out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by two percentage points — 52 to 50 percent — in a recent Morning Consult poll.

Being that disliked means that Collins is facing a tough bid to keep her Senate seat in November, when she’s up for reelection, and it may well have led her campaign to accept a gigantic contribution from a shady company that appears to have been set up for no other reason than to serve as conduit for dark money to bolster the chances of the Maine senator.


The Daily Beast reports that the Campaign Legal Center has filed a complaint against the Collins for Senate 2020 campaign, and their complaint is based on the company that recently made a substantial contribution:

“The company, Society of Young Women Scientist and Engineers LLC, was formed in late November, according to corporate records in Hawaii. Just over a month later, on December 31, the company donated $150,000 to 1820 PAC, a deep-pocketed super PAC with ties to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that was created to help reelect Sen. Susan Collins.”


Here’s what we know about this questionable company that gave $150,000 to Collins:

  • It has no website or social media presence
  • Its address is listed as P.O. box in Honolulu

All of this has led the Campaign Legal Center to note in the compliant it filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC):

“The available facts do not suggest that SYWSE conducted any business or had sufficient income from assets, investment earnings, business revenues, or bona fide capital investments to cover the $150,000 contribution to 1820 PAC at the time the contribution was made, without an infusion of funds provided to them for that purpose.”


The questionable donation first came to the attention of ProPublica, which has been following the Collins campaign closely:

Here’s the bottom line: The SYWSE is nothing more than a shell corporation set up for the purpose of making a straw donation to Collins with the intention of keeping the real donor hidden. For all we know, the company may be controlled by Russia or China, or even an organized crime figure. Granted, we have no proof of that, but we also don’t have proof that it didn’t come from a foreign government or nefarious source.

Collins can insist that the money be returned, but she hasn’t yet. Or she can let us know exactly who is really behind the Society of Young Women Scientist and Engineers. Of course, we won’t hold our breath waiting for either one.