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George Ryan Trial, Part 4

Today was interesting in only one respect. The testimony and cross was laborious and boring, but fireworks resulted from a request by the defense to admit into evidence the fact that Ryan was not paying for his defense out of his pocket. Rather, his representation was provided pro bono from…

Discipline United Nations Style

Not long ago we reported the scandalous findings of the independent investigation into the corrupt United Nations oil-for-food program. It was so badly managed that more than half of the 4,500 companies doing business with Iraq paid Saddam Hussein illegal surcharges and kickbacks and the U.N. did nothing to stop…

Felon Voting Rights

What do Florida, California and Iowa have in common? All three states have recently been involved in the controversy relating to laws that ban felons from voting. Let’s start with Florida, one of three states (along with Kentucky and Virginia) that doesn’t automatically restore a felon’s voting right upon prison…

Justice Department Violations

When the man (Karl Warner) that President George W. Bush had named United States Attorney for southern West Virginia abruptly left office a few months ago, the Justice Department had no comment. Now the results of a legislative audit help explain the sudden resignation. It turns out that Warner offered…

The $90,000 Portable Classroom

The latest no-bid contract awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, involves 450 portable classrooms in Mississippi at a whopping $90,000 each (New York Times). The politically-connected Alaskan company that got the very profitable contract is called Akima and the cost to…

Army Colonel Indicted

A recently retired Army colonel, who played a key role in the war on terror, has been indicted in an ongoing bribery scandal involving contracts at the United States Special Operations Command (SOCom), which is based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida. The indictment accuses the retired colonel,…

George Ryan Trial, Part 3

I should apologize that I have not written anything after attending several Ryan trial sessions. Unfortunately, after the testimony of Scott Fawell, Ryan’s campaign manager, there was nothing of interest to report. After one such session I talked to another faithful observer of the proceedings. “Was it me,” I asked,…

Extortion in New Mexico

Last month we reported how New Mexico’s state treasurer, Robert Vigil, was still collecting his annual salary of $85,000 even though he stepped down after being charged with federal extortion. Not surprisingly, Vigil denies the charges. But the government’s case against him has gained momentum now that former New Mexico…

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