America's top elected leader makes ethically challenged list yet again
By Bob Unruh © 2011 WND
In a capital city where the U.S. Constitution apparently fast is becoming an anachronism, both the nation's chief executive, Barack Obama, and his buddy, chief law enforcer Attorney General Eric Holder, have been named to a list of the nation's "most corrupt politicians."
"Barack Obama apparently believes it is his 'prerogative' to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law," said the report compiled by Judicial Watch, the Washington-based watchdog on government behavior.
And the allegations connected to Holder go far beyond the cerebral world of political position, statement and argument – into the lives and deaths of real people.
"Revelations from the Operation Fast and Furious scandal suggest that programs approved by the Holder DOJ may have resulted in the needless deaths of many, including a federal law enforcement officer," Judicial Watch said.
This year's list, alphabetically, includes: Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.; former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.; Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.; Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.; Barack Obama; Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif.; Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla.; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.
Dishonorable mentions for 2011 includes a potential GOP presidential candidate, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as well as former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.; and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
Obama made last year's list after Judicial Watch reminded Washington watchers of Obama's promise regarding "transparency and the rule of law."
"Instead, Americans have suffered through lies, stonewalling, cover-ups, corruption, secrecy, scandal and blatant disregard for the rule of law … this has been the Obama legacy in its first two years," the report said then.
This year's was not a significant improvement.
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"Obama makes Judicial Watch's 'Ten Most Wanted' list for a fifth consecutive year. (The former Illinois senator was also a 'Dishonorable Mention' in 2006.) And when it comes to Obama corruption, it may not get any bigger than Solyndra," the 2011 report said.
"Solyndra was once known as the poster child for the Obama administration's massive 'green energy' 'initiative, but it has become the poster child for the corruption that ensues when the government meddles," the report today said. "Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, leaving 1,100 workers without jobs and the American taxpayers on the hook for $535 million thanks to an Obama administration stimulus loan guarantee."
Judicial Watch cited Obama's "reticence to release details" but said it's abundantly clear that the Obama administration rushed the Solyndra loan through the approve process "so it could make a splash at a press event."
"The company's main financial backer was a major Obama campaign donor named George Kaiser. While the White House said Kaiser never discussed the loan with White House officials, the evidence suggests this is a lie. … Further demonstrating the political nature of the Obama administration's activities, the Energy Department pressured Solyndra to delay an announcement on layoffs until after the 2010 elections."
Even now, Judicial Watch said, Obama "continues to defend the indefensible."
Other problems for Obama:
- "Despite a ban on funding that Obama signed into law, his administration continues to fund the corrupt and allegedly defunct 'community' organization ACORN," the report said. It cited a grant of nearly $80,000 to the Affordable Housing Centers of America, "the renamed ACORN Housing which has a long history of corrupt activity." Then there's nearly another three-quarters of a million dollars involved, too.
- On Obama's "czars," Judicial Watch said Obama's actions are simply not allowed under the Constitution. The report cited a Politico documentation that Obama is ignoring 2011 spending package requirements to ban certain advisory posts. "In other words, Barack Obama believes he must ignore the U.S. Constitution to protect the U.S. Constitution."
- "In an historic victory for Judicial Watch and an embarrassing defeat for the Obama White House, a federal court ruled on August 17, 2011, that Secret Service White House visitor logs are agency records that are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. … The Obama administration now will have to release all records of all visitors to the White House – or explain why White House visits should be kept secret."
- Obama also applied a politics-first attitude toward a labor dispute over Boeing's plan to open a $750 million assembly line in South Carolina. Obama's friends in organized labor objected and labor's friends in the White House responded with a legal action against Boeing.
- "Obama's corrupt Chicago dealings continued to haunt him in 2011," Judicial Watch said, citing Obama's real estate partner, Tony Rezko, who was sentenced to jail. "The FBI continues to withhold from Judicial Watch documents of its historic interview of then-Sen. Obama about the Illinois corruption scandal," the group said.
The list of evidence against Holder was nearly as long as that against Obama. Judicial Watch said his actions regarding the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, "in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels and others, alone should have brought about Holder's departure."
"This reckless insanity seems to have resulted in, among other crimes, the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican criminals in December 2010. Fast and Furious guns were found at the scene of his death. The Fast and Furious operation by itself should have resulted in Holder's resignation, but it is the cover-up that has prompted serious calls for Holder's ouster," Judicial Watch said.
That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg, the report said.
For example, Holder announced his office no longer would defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act – a constitutional responsibility of his office.
"This failure to defend this federal law is unprecedented and raises serious questions as to whether President Obama and Eric Holder are upholding their oaths of office and following the Constitution's command to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed.'"
There also are the questions about now-Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's participating in discussions about Obamacare, which is pending before the high court. And the DOJ's decision to drop a case of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party was found likely to have been influenced by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the report said.
Further, Judicial Watch has found that Holder's DOJ may be conspiring with Project Vote to boost welfare voter registrations, and Holder has announced his strategy to attack states where lawmakers want to protect against fraud in the voting booth.
For the others on the list:
- Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. – "He has become the face of a congressional 'insider trading' scandal that has rocked the Washington establishment as 2011 draws to a close. Bachus, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was one of the principal targets of a '60 Minutes' investigative report on the scandal, which aired on CBS in September 2011. The report was based, at least in part, on the book 'Throw Them All Out' by author Peter Schweizer, which outed a slew of members of Congress who allegedly profited in the financial markets by trading on insider information. Bachus was not the only congressman cited by '60 Minutes' – others included Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – but the Alabama Republican stood out for his remarkable 'good fortune' in shorting the stock market."
- Former Sen John Ensign, R-Nev. – "John Ensign, former U.S. senator from Nevada and former chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, was forced to resign from office in May 2011 as the result of an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. In a scandal that first broke in 2009, Sen. Ensign publicly admitted to an affair with the wife of long-time staffer Douglas Hampton. Ensign then allegedly tried to cover up the affair by bribing the couple with lucrative gifts and political favors. According to 'The New York Times,' after Hampton discovered the affair involving his wife Cynthia, the senator bought his silence by giving him 'a strong boost into a lobbying career.' Ensign asked political backers to find Hampton a job. 'Payments of $96,000 to the Hamptons also were made by Sen. Ensign's parents, who insist this was a gift, not hush money. Once a lobbying job was secured, Sen. Ensign and his chief of staff continued to help Mr. Hampton, advocating his clients' cases directly with federal agencies."
- Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. – "In a year full of shocking congressional sex scandals, perhaps none is more serious than that involving Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, who allegedly sexually harassed a female government employee and then engaged in a cruel campaign of retaliation when she rebuffed his advances. (On March 7, 2011, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Hastings on behalf of the victim, Ms. Winsome Packer.) The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008 when Hastings (formerly an impeached federal judge) served as chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ms. Packer served as his employee. According to Judicial Watch's complaint, 'Mr. Hastings' intention was crystal clear: he was sexually attracted to Ms. Packer, wanted a sexual relationship with her, and would help progress her career if she acquiesced to his sexual advances.'"
- Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. – "It took more than two years and two trials, but disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod 'Blago' Blagojevich was finally brought to justice on June 27, 2011, for a number of crimes, including his efforts to 'sell' President Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. He became the state's fourth governor, and one of at least 79 Illinois public officials, to be found guilty of a crime since 1972, proving that Illinois has certainly lived up to its reputation as a cesspool of corruption. As the trial unfolded, it became clear that many hands were dirty in the Blago scandal. (See Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm 'Rahmbo' Emanuel, who was finally forced to testify during this second Blago trial – for a whopping five minutes – and President Obama himself, who was interviewed by the FBI in the scandal even before he took office.) But all of the focus now seems to center on Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. The House Ethics Committee announced on December 2, 2011, that it will continue its investigation into allegations that Jackson or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment in 2008. The committee also released an initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics that said there was 'probable cause' to believe that Jackson either directed a third party or had knowledge of a third party's effort to convince the since-convicted Blagojevich to appoint Jackson Jr. in exchange for campaign cash."
- Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif. – "A first-timer on Judicial Watch's 'Ten Most Wanted' list, Rep. Laura Richardson is in hot water for reportedly misusing her congressional staff for personal and political gain. Rep. Richardson is now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee regarding allegations by former staff member Maria Angel Macias. Macias alleges that she was required by Richardson to order other staffers to run personal errands for the Democrat congresswoman – such as picking up her dry cleaning – and to work on her re-election campaign at taxpayer expense. Richardson's alleged behavior would violate federal law, which protects federal employees from 'being forced by job-related threats or reprisals to donate to political candidates or causes.' House ethics rules also specify that 'in no event may a member or office compel a House employee to do campaign work.'"
- Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla. – Rep. David Rivera, U.S. representative for Florida's 25th congressional district, is mired in numerous ethics controversies stemming from charges of money laundering and tax evasion schemes initiated when Rivera served in the Florida House of Representatives. The Republican congressman, serving his first term, is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami-Dade Police public corruption unit, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office. Of particular interest is the investigation by the FBI and the IRS regarding Rep. Rivera's dealings with the Flagler Dog Track, now known as the Magic City Casino. The basis for the investigation relates to payments reportedly totaling as much as $1 million made by the casino to Millennium Marketing in the guise of a consulting contract. Most of the money is said to have been paid in 2008."
- Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. – Rep. Maxine Waters is one of the most senior and one of the most outspoken members of Congress. She is also one of the most corrupt. In August 2010, an investigative subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee charged Rep. Waters with three counts of violating House rules and ethics regulations in connection with her use of power and influence on behalf of OneUnited Bank. She was expected to face an ethics trial in late 2010, but the committee delayed the trial indefinitely on November 29, 2010, citing newly discovered documentary evidence that may impact proceedings. The delay apparently has less to do with evidence and more to do with infighting on the panel. Ultimately, an outside counsel was retained and a recommendation was expected by January 2, 2012. However, the committee announced that the Waters probe will be extended until July 31, 2012. According to The Associated Press, the charges currently under the House Ethics Committee microscope 'focus on whether Waters broke the rules in requesting federal help [bailout money] for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on the board of directors.'"
- Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska – Rep. Don Young may have achieved a new level of corruption in 2011. The House Ethics Committee announced just before Christmas that the Alaska Republican Congressman was cleared of allegations by the House Ethics Committee that he exceeded the limit on campaign donations to his legal defense fund – which was set up to defend Young against an entirely different set of corruption charges! There was good reason the House Ethics Committee released this decision after most of official Washington left for the Christmas holiday: because the committee's 'exoneration' is a joke. House ethics rules prohibit contributions from any single source that exceed $5,000. Young received $63,000 from 'twelve companies that…were in fact owned by Gary Chouest, his wife, and his five children, or some combination of those seven individuals.' Despite an independent analysis by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) that the shell-game was a rather transparent violation of the contribution limit, the House Ethics Committee gave Young a free pass because the 12 companies controlled by essentially one individual were 'separate legal entities.'"
Among those givens "mentions," Edwards was picked for being indicted by a grand jury on six felony charges apparently linked to the coverup of an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter. Gingrich, now running for the GOP nomination for president, previously was reprimanded in Congress for "reckless" disregard for House rules and was targeted in a "scathing special counsel report."
"Gingrich insinuated during one presidential debate that some members of Congress who took money from Fannie and Freddie should go to jail. And yet, over a span of eight years, according to 'Bloomberg News,' The Gingrich Group was paid between $1.6 and $1.8 million by the home mortgage company. At the same time, Freddie Mac was engaged in massive fraud. Gingrich suggested he was a 'historian' for Freddie Mac. But the evidence clearly shows he was 'throwing his weight' behind the two Government Sponsored Enterprises to prop them up, saying in one interview that Fannie and Freddie provided a more 'liquid and stable housing finance system than we would have' without them. Ironically, President Obama, the man who Gingrich is seeking to oust from office, is keeping secret each and every Freddie Mac (and Fannie Mae) document, including those that could shed light on Gingrich's relationship with Freddie," the Judicial Watch report said.
Napolitano, the report said, "presided over a campaign to bypass Congress and provide amnesty to millions of illegal alien lawbreakers all in an obvious attempt to garner more Hispanic votes for Obama's re-election. At first, Napolitano's campaign was begun in stealth. But in 2011 the Obama administration finally admitted that illegal alien amnesty is now the official policy of the United States of America, courtesy of Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security (DHS)."
And Sebelius has kept shrouded in secrecy some 1,472 waivers of Obamacare's requirements given to unions and various companies, Judicial Watch said.
"Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against HHS on December 30, 2010, and yet the agency refuses to explain to the American people how decisions were made regarding which organizations received or did not receive a waiver. While HHS was disproportionately doling out waivers to unions, JW also obtained documents from HHS that provide new details on a massive, taxpayer-funded, multimedia campaign designed to promote Obamacare. The total cost of this campaign, which notably targets Obama's electoral coalition, could reach as much as $200 million over the next five years."