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Congress Corruption Crime

Marjorie Taylor Greene Accused Of Violating Federal Corruption Laws

Shortly after she was elected to Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) appeared in an ad for the “Stop Socialism Now PAC” in which she specifically asked for donations.

That ask was in violation of federal corruption laws, according to a report from ProPublica:

“Under federal law, candidates and elected officials cannot ‘solicit, receive, direct, transfer, or spend funds in connection with an election … unless the funds are subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements’ of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.”

Super PACs such as the one Greene appeared in the ad for, are not subject to limitations, but Greene is, and that’s where she could well be in trouble under federal campaign finance laws.

Did Greene break the law?

Paul S. Ryan of Common Cause said the ad Greene starred in is very clearly in violation of the law:

“This communication constitutes an illegal solicitation by a member of Congress of unlimited funds.”

The U.S. Supreme Court agrees with Ryan, and has ruled that there are indeed limitations on candidates soliciting funds outside of the set campaign limits because large contributions lead to corruption and undermine faith in the political process.

Greene appeared in the Super PACs ads at the behest of Rick Shaftan, a political consultant who also made ads for Greene’s 2020 congressional campaign. Shaftan has a history of making racist comments, so it’s no surprise that he and Greene became such fast friends.

Shaftan’s ads were seen as instrumental in helping Green win the GOP nomination in her district, and the TV spots also pandered to right-wing sensibilities. One of them simulated “an explosion at an enormous Confederate monument in Stone Mountain, Georgia, as Greene says, ‘The socialist left won’t stop until America is destroyed.’ In another ad, Greene brandishes an assault rifle and appears to blow up targets labeled ‘gun control’ and ‘socialism.'”

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has received a complaint about Greene’s ad for the Super PAC, but it remains unclear if the often toothless FEC will make a case of the matter.

Whatever happens with the FEC, the ProPublica report is yet more evidence of why Marjorie Taylor Greene needs to be beaten in the 2022 midterm elections.

Categories
Corruption Crime U.S. Senate

FBI Suspects Susan Collins Received Illegal Campaign Contributions From A Defense Contractor: Report

In the 2020 election, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Many said it to be a miracle that she managed to beat her Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, by over eight percentage points.

But could Collins have won in part because she took illegal campaign contributions from a major defense contractor that has operations in Maine?

Ken Vogel of the New York Times noted Tuesday on Twitter that he’d run across a search warrant for the phones of two executives of the Martin Defense Group. The FBI, it should be noted, obtained the search warrants back in April:

It remains unclear if either Collins or her campaign knew about the contributions from the two men who work for Martin Defense.

 

Categories
Corruption Crime GOP Justice Department

Here’s How Merrick Garland Is Becoming Every Republican’s Worst Nightmare

Though he’s only been on the job for a few months, 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 recently 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.
  • Filing suit against states such as Georgia and Texas that have passed new voter suppression legislation.
  • 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.