Duh, John, wouldn’t you want to read it so you could, uh, work on it?
Politics, rantings, comments and such!
December 16, 2010
Stupid Politicians Caught On Tape, You Gotta Be Kidding Me Crooked Politicians, Democrat Controlled Congress, John Kerry Comments Off on RealClearPolitics – Video – John Kerry Complains About “Reading” Omnibus “Rather Than Working On It”
Duh, John, wouldn’t you want to read it so you could, uh, work on it?
December 15, 2010
One of the most eye opening things to see is how we, the people, are totally ignored…even with the overwhelming voice that was shared in November. You, me, everyone in this country is taken for granted that we won’t do it again. Well, Senate and Congress, if you didn’t think the voice was freakin loud enough this past November, you WILL hear it in 2012. Don’t think for a minute that we won’t remember what you have done, the time and effort you have wasted, and the absolute slap in the face we received just a little over 30 days later,
Here is a link to the FY11 Omnibus Earmark Database. Dang near every Demorat, right along with sellout RINO’s including Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander, Olympia Snow and Saxby Chambliss. I scanned for Bob Corker and John Boehner, and I got about 3/4 of the way and saw neither. Jeff Sessions of Alabama signed on for military funding, and I agree it must be funded, but here was the deal…fund the government, forget the pork….the country is in a RECESSION, and you were supposed to set the example. You didn’t…you lied, you cheated, and once again, you stole from our grandbabies. I WILL NOT FORGET…
Look for yourselves…but be ready to be really angry!
December 1, 2010
August 31, 2010
I’ve watched my home decrease in value, can’t trade cars…borrowing money is harder than ever, but my congressman, well, he got richer, another raise this year…See the full list at the bottom…from The Hill:
By Kevin Bogardus and Barbra Kim – 08/31/10 06:00 AM ET
The wealthiest members of Congress grew richer in 2009 even as the economy struggled to recover from a deep recession.
The 50 wealthiest lawmakers were worth almost $1.4 billion in 2009, about $85.1 million more than 12 months earlier, according to The Hill’s annual review of lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) tops the list for the second year in a row. His minimum net worth was $188.6 million at the end of 2009, up by more than $20 million from 2008, according to his financial disclosure form.While the economy struggled through a recession during much of 2009 and the nation’s unemployment rate soared to 10 percent, the stock market rebounded, helping lawmakers with large investments. The S&P 500 rose by about 28 percent in 2009.
Total assets for the 50 wealthiest lawmakers in 2009 was $1.5 billion — that’s actually a nearly $36 million drop from a year ago. But lawmakers reduced their liabilities by even more, cutting debts by $120 million last year.
There are various reasons why asset values dropped. Some lawmakers saw their real estate holdings fall as the housing crisis intensified. A handful of lawmakers also had other investments or businesses that turned sour.
The only newcomer to the Top 10 list is Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who came straight in at No. 5. He replaced Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.), the 10th wealthiest member in 2008. Teague fell off the top 50 list after the value of a company he has a stake in — Teaco Energy Services Inc. — fell in value from $39.6 million in 2008 to at the least $1 million in 2009.
There were a few other new faces in the Top 50, including Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who received an inheritance after his late father, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), died in 2009.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) also made the list.
Twenty-seven Democrats along with 23 Republicans make up the 50 richest in Congress; 30 House members and 20 senators are on the list.
The bulk of Kerry’s wealth is credited to his spouse, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars after her late husband, the ketchup heir Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.), died in a plane crash in 1991.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), with a net worth of $160.1 million, is the second-richest member of Congress under The Hill’s formula, even though his wealth declined by more than $4 million in 2009.
He is followed by Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who saw her net wealth leap to $152.3 million, a jump of more than $40 million from a year ago.
The rest of the top 10 are Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), McCaul, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
To calculate its rankings, The Hill used only the lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms that cover the 2009 calendar year.Lawmakers are only required to report their finances in broad ranges. For example, a $2.5 million vacation home in Aspen, Colo., would be reported as being valued at between $1 and $5 million on a congressional financial disclosure form.
To come up with the most conservative estimate for each lawmaker’s wealth, researchers took the bottom number of each range reported. Then, to calculate the minimum net worth for each senator and member, the sum of liabilities was subtracted from the sum of assets.
As a result, the methodology used to find the Top 50 wealthiest in Congress can miss some of the richest lawmakers.
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) is certainly one of the wealthiest lawmakers on Capitol Hill. As owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, Kohl has a $254 million asset on his hands, according to Forbes magazine.
But under The Hill’s methodology, his team ownership only counts for $50 million, the highest range reported on the congressional financial disclosure form. Because of high liabilities on his 2009 form, Kohl actually is listed as being more than $4.6 million in debt on the 2009 form.
August 29, 2010
I always try to look for it, and there it is…I didn’t know what I was doing…unknowingly….yeah, right….
From The Dallas News:
By TODD J. GILLMAN and CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News
firstname.lastname@example.orgLongtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide’s two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers’ causes.Eddie Bernice Johnson
The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member’s district.
Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so “unknowingly” and would work with the foundation to “rectify the financial situation.”
Initially, she said, “I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one.” Had there been more “very worthy applicants in my district,” she added, “then I probably wouldn’t have given it” to the relatives.
Her handling of the scholarships puts a rare spotlight on the program and how it is overseen. Caucus members have great leeway in how they pick winners and how aggressively they publicize the awards. Some lawmakers promote the program online, for instance, while Johnson does not.
Philanthropy experts said such lax oversight of scholarship money doesn’t match the standards for charities.
The foundation – which is supported by private and corporate donations, not taxpayer money – provides $10,000 annually for each member of the Congressional Black Caucus to award in scholarships. Each gets to decide how many ways to split the money and whether to create a judging panel, choose personally or delegate the task.
Johnson, a former chairwoman of the caucus who has served on the board that oversees the foundation, said she wasn’t fully aware of the program rules and emphasized that she didn’t “personally benefit.”
In her interview with The Dallas Morning News, on Wednesday, Johnson said “hundreds of kids got scholarships since I have been here.” Her district covers much of southern Dallas County, including many of the area’s less affluent precincts.
“The most that any kid normally gets is from $1,000 to $1,200. … If it was a secret or if I was trying to hide it, I wouldn’t have done it,” she said.
The foundation’s general counsel, Amy Goldson, said Saturday that the scholarships Johnson awarded violated eligibility rules regarding relatives and residency and are “of great concern.”
The program “operates on an honor system,” so the foundation hadn’t known that money went to Johnson’s relatives, she said. But when a recipient fails to meet eligibility requirements or “misrepresents their eligibility, the scholarship funds must be returned.”
Further, Goldson said, the failure of a lawmaker or aides to follow eligibility rules “is a violation of the letter and spirit of [the Foundation’s] requirements.”
“It is inappropriate for a lawmaker to certify the award of a scholarship to a relative in a situation where the lawmaker or their staff is involved in the selection of the recipient,” she said.
Apart from the residency requirements, the scholarship rules state that students must have a 2.5-grade-point average, but there are no explicit judging criteria.
Johnson awarded nine to 11 scholarships a year from 2005 to 2008, the most recent years for which information was available. Each of those years, three or four winners were related to her or her district director, Rod Givens. Johnson said she divided the available funds equally among recipients, and every qualified applicant got a scholarship.
The foundation asks applicants to certify that they aren’t related to those associated with the caucus or the foundation, but it does not specify which relationships that includes.
Scholarships have gone to two of the congresswoman’s grandsons, Kirk and David Johnson; to two of her great-nephews, Gregory and Preston Moore; and to Givens’ son and daughter. Givens did not respond to requests for comment, and none of the scholarship recipients could be reached.‘Not … proper’
Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, said that, ideally, scholarship and grant decisions should be made by disinterested arbiters, preferably on the basis of excellence or need.
Johnson’s system “is not an appropriate or proper way to distribute scholarship funds,” he said.
“It’s totally fine if the congressman or -woman wants to reach inside their own pocket and give, but to use money that people got tax deductions on to then benefit their family – it would just be setting up nonprofit organizations to get tax benefits to put their kids through college. It would wreck the whole system if that kind of thing were allowed,” Borochoff said.
He said a scholarship with so few criteria for recipients would normally attract dozens if not hundreds of applicants if it were well publicized.
“There should be outrage because there are probably students who are more deserving and more needy of the funds,” Borochoff said.
The combined scholarship total for the six students over four years was less than $20,000, based on Johnson’s accounting of the scholarships. That appears to be less than half the total Johnson awarded over that time. Of 43 scholarships her office awarded between 2005 and 2008, 15 went to relatives of Johnson or Givens, according to foundation annual reports.
Johnson, in the interview Wednesday, dismissed concerns about the propriety of giving to her relatives or her staffers.
“We look at the kids that apply, look at their qualifications, and if they have the application there with all the ingredients, we try to help,” she said. “I doubt if there is anybody in my district going to question me giving $1,000 to a kid to help him with college.”
The congresswoman, 74, who is expected to handily win a 10th term this fall over a relatively unknown Republican, said flatly that there was no favoritism for her aide’s children or for her grandsons or great-nephews.
“Same application. Same requirements,” she said.Rules clear, lawyer says
The foundation is a separate, nonprofit charitable organization whose board at any time includes only a few caucus members.
The foundation, which awarded $716,000 to 556 students last year, has been criticized for spending less on scholarships than on galas and conferences that allow lobbyists to rub elbows with influential lawmakers. Fundraising for the caucus itself and its members is tightly regulated, but the closely related foundation faces few restrictions.
In 2002, Johnson chaired the caucus and served on its board.
She continued to serve on the foundation board through 2005 – a year when both great-nephews and grandson Kirk Johnson received scholarships through her office, despite a rule explicitly forbidding awards to relatives of foundation board members.
Goldson, the foundation attorney, said the rules make clear that applicants cannot be related to any member of the black caucus, the foundation’s staff, directors, members of its corporate advisory council or any sponsor, a list that includes scores of major companies. “Any misrepresentation will result in disqualification of the application,” she said.
Each caucus member who participates in the foundation’s scholarship program is responsible for publicizing the competition locally. Some do so more aggressively than others. Many list the opportunity on their official U.S. House websites, often under a tab dedicated to “students.”
Johnson’s website makes no mention of the scholarships.
“This has been going on long before there was any websites,” she said. “We send information to the high schools. I haven’t known anybody who didn’t know about it, to tell you the truth.”
Counselors at four southern Dallas high schools didn’t return calls last week to discuss the matter.Selection process varies
The foundation raises the funds, sets requirements and provides application forms. But the process for picking winners varies among lawmakers.
Apart from the GPA of at least 2.5, students must submit personal and financial information, a transcript, letters of recommendation, an essay on goals, and a copy of their federal student aid report to their local member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Johnson said aides in Dallas – where Givens is her senior aide – review applications and forward to her all those that qualify.
“When they come to this office, there’s hardly much decision to be made. We find out how many applicants, how much money, divide it up, send it in,” she said. “I’ve not given any money where there was no need. And I don’t think a $1,000 scholarship’s going to do too much, but it helps when you need it.”
Johnson’s assets – not counting a blind trust that owns a newsstand concession at Dallas Love Field – amounted to less than $97,000 in 2008. Her wealth puts her in the bottom quarter of House members, according to Center for Responsive Politics data. Apart from her $174,000-a-year congressional salary, she reported a $35,000 pension for her previous service in the state Legislature, and $22,000 from Social Security last year. (SHE DRAWS SOCIAL SECURITY WITH A $174,000 SALARY????)
In doling out their scholarship money, some lawmakers pick one winner, others as many as 18.
Johnson gave out nine scholarships in 2005, 11 in 2006 and 10 in 2007. Every qualified applicant got a piece of the pie, she said, though her office did not provide details on the number of applications submitted each year.
Johnson said she never asked the foundation or anyone else if it was acceptable for her to award scholarships to relatives.
“It’s never come up with me,” she said. “But let me just say this: None of these people are my immediate family. Immediate family doesn’t include grandchildren.”‘As best I could’
But the Johnsons, Moores and Givenses weren’t eligible under other foundation rules requiring recipients to reside or go to school in a congressional district represented by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
None of the six lived or attended school in Johnson’s district. They lived in districts represented by white Republicans.
The Johnsons lived in Plano, in a district represented by Rep. Sam Johnson (no relation). The Moores lived in Manor, near Austin, Rep. Michael McCaul’s district. The Givenses, who live in Mesquite, are represented by Rep. Jeb Hensarling.
The recipients’ colleges – Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Baylor in Waco, Texas Christian in Fort Worth, Texas State in San Marcos and Sam Houston State in Huntsville – also fall outside any district held by a caucus member.
“I haven’t seen those rules,” Johnson said, “but let me just say this: I take the responsibility for as many kids as I can help in the North Texas area.”
Even though her grandchildren grew up near Austin, she added, there was nothing untoward about giving scholarships to students outside her district.
District residency, Johnson said, has never been a critical factor in her selection process.
“I’ve tried to use it as best I could, but when there’s a needy kid living outside my district, and somebody recommends or calls and asks for help, I try to give it if I can, and I’ve been doing it 18 years,” she said.
“If there had been very worthy applicants in my district, then I probably wouldn’t have given it” to relatives, she added. “But, when you have enough money to give one additional scholarship and that person’s well-qualified, I have never considered it a violation of anything to give a little help.”
James Ferris, director of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California, said most nonprofits seek to avoid even the perception of conflicts of interest by establishing review boards to help make selections on scholarships or grants.
They avoid sole decision makers.
“In this case, it sounds like the power to make those grants rests in one person,” he said. “The member can allocate it without any kind of oversight or checks and balances. That’s sort of the nub of the problem.”
Ferris said the system invites skepticism.
“Basically, it’s whether you’re using money that was raised in the public interest for private gain,” he said.
Researcher Angelica Cortez in Dallas contributed to this report.SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED BY JOHNSON
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded at least 15 scholarships to her relatives and to children of an aide since 2005. The scholarships were provided by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Scholarship year Recipient Relationship to Johnson Age School 2005 2006 2007 2008 Kirk Johnson Grandson 23 Sam Houston State University (Huntsville) ● ● ● ● David E. Johnson Grandson 22 Texas State University(San Marcos) ● ● ● Preston A. Moore Great-nephew 23 Texas ChristianUniversity (Fort Worth) ● ● ● Gregory D. Moore II Great-nephew 26 TCU ● ● Julian Givens Son of aide 21 Southern Methodist University (Dallas) ● ● Mariyah Givens Daughter of aide 19 Baylor University (Waco) ●
SOURCES: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Dallas Morning News researchWHAT THEY SAID
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
When first asked about the scholarships for her relatives and those of an aide:”I doubt if there is anybody in my district going to question me giving $1,000 to a kid to help him with college.”
Two days later, she issued a statement:
“I have recently been made aware that I unknowingly violated [Congressional Black Caucus Foundation] Scholarship rules by recommending that my grandsons and a staff person’s children qualify for [foundation] scholarships. I was further informed that my recommendation for students who do not live in my district to receive [foundation] scholarships was also a violation of rules.
“While I did not personally benefit, I never intentionally violated any rules and I have never restricted my helping a student based on his/her residence. In order to avoid any further appearance of impropriety, I will work with the [foundation] to rectify the financial situation. ”
Amy Goldson, counsel to Congressional Black Caucus Foundation:
“The [foundation] expects that those participating in the scholarship programs will abide by the eligibility criteria for recipients. Like most other charitable organizations, the [foundation] operates on an honor system and relies upon a recipient’s signed certification of eligibility. … The current situation is of great concern to the [foundation]. … It is inappropriate for a lawmaker to certify the award of a scholarship to a relative in a situation where the lawmaker (or their staff) is involved in the selection of the recipient. … Scholarship funds awarded to an ineligible student must be returned to the [foundation].”
August 13, 2010
Stupid Politicians Caught On Tape, You Gotta Be Kidding Me Crooked Politicians, Democratic Party, ethics, George Bush, Maxine Waters Comments Off on Facing Ethics Charges, Rep. Waters Points Finger at Bush Administration
You know, if this wasn’t real, it would be laughable. How much more are they going to blame on Bush? Granted, he wasn’t good…but dammit, they’re a lot worse. From Fox:
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) holds a press conference to defend herself on ethics charges, Friday, August 13, 2010. (FNC)
Embattled Rep. Maxine Waters on Friday blamed the Bush administration for her ethics problems — saying she had to intervene with the Treasury Department on behalf of minority-owned banks seeking federal bailout funds — including one tied to her husband — because the Treasury Department wouldn’t schedule its own appointments.
The California Democrat said in a Capitol Hill news conference — an event rarely held during a congressional recess — that she reached out to then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in late 2008 when his department failed to respond to the National Bank Association’s request for a meeting.
“The question at this point should not be why I called Secretary Paulson, but why I had to,” she said. “The question at this point should be why a trade association representing over 100 minority banks could not get a meeting at the height of the crisis.”
But the House ethics committee, which is investigating Waters for allegedly improperly using her position for personal gain, says in its report of charges that when the meeting was held, the officers of only one bank came — OneUnited.
That’s a problem for Waters since her husband, Sidney Williams, served as a member of OneUnited’s board of directors from January 2004 until April 2008, and was a stockholder in the bank.
OneUnited eventually got $12 million of the $50 million in bailout money it requested, enough to keep the bank afloat. The ethics panel says that kept Waters’ family stock from becoming worthless, which the committee says shows that she personally benefited by using her office.
Waters said she wasn’t concerned about her husband’s stocks in the bank, which were worth about $350,000 at the time and which her husband still owns, if only because he can’t unload them.
“No one wants to buy them,” she said.
Waters said the media need to distinguish between making a call on behalf of one bank and making a call for an entire trade association. She added that even Paulson told the ethics committee that she never approached his office to speak about only one bank.
“When Paulson responded as a witness, he didn’t tell anybody I called him and asked for a meeting with OneUnited,” she said.
The 10-term representative from Los Angeles, insisted that she hasn’t done anything to violate House rules, and she “will not cut a deal.”
“I am teetering on a border here. What I am doing here is rare and unprecedented. I won’t go behind closed doors,” she said.
Waters pushed for a speedy trial, slamming the ethics committee for not setting a date for the hearing.
“Such a delay is unacceptable, considering that the investigation has dragged on for almost one year,” she said. “It does not provide due process.”
She added that neither her staff nor she “engaged in any improper behavior.”
“We did not influence anyone and we did not gain any benefit,” she said, reading from a written statement.
Waters, who holds a senior position on the Financial Services Committee, is the second prominent Democrat lawmaker facing ethics charges during a fiery election season. New York Rep. Charles Rangel of New York is facing 13 charges, including failing to disclose assets and income and delayed payment of federal taxes.
August 2, 2010
Politics, Stupid Politicians Caught On Tape, You Gotta Be Kidding Me Constitution, Crooked Politicians, pete stark Comments Off on Rep. PETE STARK: – The Federal Government can do most anything in this country –
Just another reason to send em all packing