The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against Treasury, include correspondence between Frank and Treasury as well as internal Treasury emails referencing attempts by Frank and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), whose husband, Sidney Williams, served on the OneUnited Board of Directors, to intervene on behalf of the Massachusetts Bank.
The documents suggest Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) personally called former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson regarding a cash infusion from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) for the Boston-based OneUnited Bank. On November 25, 2008, following Frank’s intervention, the Treasury Department awarded $12,063,000 in bailout funds to OneUnited, which is located in Frank’s district. According to the Wall Street Journal, Frank publicly admitted he spoke to a “federal regulator” regarding OneUnited, but “he didn’t remember which federal regulator he spoke with.”
In May 2008, Judicial Watch filed a campaign finance complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) against Nancy Pelosi for her appearance in an advertisement which was part of the “We Campaign” paid for by Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. In June 2009, the FEC announced that it had dismissed our complaint and that the advertisement was not electioneering nor an “in-kind” donation.
In March 2009, Judicial Watch received documents from the Department of Defense detailing Nancy Pelosi’s abuse of a system which provided military aircraft for the transportation of the Speaker of the House. The documents, which were acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), detail the attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes.
While much of the mainstream media seems to blame conservatives in Congress for driving liberal Democrat Barney Frank—a two-time Judicial Watch Most Wanted Corrupt Politician—out of office, the truth is that a number of corruption scandals have probably caught up with the veteran Massachusetts lawmaker who announced his abrupt retirement this week.
It was not that long ago that Frank assured his constituents that he would definitely run for re-election in 2012, mainly to defend his disastrous financial regulatory overhaul from Republican attempts to repeal it. He also said he needed to continue fighting for “full legal equality for all citizens” and to provide for the “housing needs of low-income people.”
But this week he threw in the towel after more than three decades in Congress, claiming in a statement posted on his House website that he would like to do some writing, though he remains concerned about “right-wing assaults” on his financial reform bill. Two of the nation’s largest newspapers followed up with puff pieces describing Frank as a victim of scorching partisan battles and a politician known for his sharp intellect and intense, rapid-fire delivery.
The reality is that Frank, the powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has been embroiled in two of the largest financial scandals in recent history. The first is the collapse of government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack, which triggered the nation’s financial crisis. Judicial Watch obtained internal government documents proving that members of Congress, including — and perhaps especially — Frank, were well aware that Fannie and Freddie were in deep trouble due to corruption and incompetence and yet they did nothing to stop it.
Judicial Watch also obtained internal documents from the Treasury Department that prove Frank helped steer $12 million in federal bailout funds to a Boston bank (OneUnited) that eventually got shut down by the government. Frank intervened on behalf of his equally corrupt friend, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who held shares in the failing bank that also listed her husband (Sidney Williams) as a board member.
The Treasury documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit suggest Frank personally called former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson regarding a cash infusion from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) for OneUnited Bank. On November 25, 2008, following Frank’s intervention, the Treasury Department awarded $12,063,000 in bailout funds to OneUnited, which is located in Frank’s district.
As if this weren’t bad enough, a mainstream newspaper reporter recently exposed Frank’s unethical relationship with the government-run mortgage giants he supposedly regulated by revealing that he got his live-in companion a job at Fannie Mae while Congress was writing legislation to improve oversight of the lender. Frank actually called up and asked that his companion be hired, according to the report, which also says that Frank aggressively defended Fannie Mae after it hired his live-in partner.
Records Also Detail Massive Pelosi-Led Bipartisan Congressional Junket to Detroit Auto Show
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Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the United States Air Force (USAF) detailing then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of USAF aircraft in 2010. The records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which include flight manifests, expense summaries, copies of receipts and Congressional correspondence, detail a number of trips made by Speaker Pelosi in 2010, including:
- A May 6-10, 2010, Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan and Germany “to discuss issues of mutual interest in Qatar and Afghanistan, as well as conduct oversight on women’s issues (troops) in Afghanistan and to visit with US troops and meet with government officials in Germany.” The total cost of military travel was $204,135.00. The records indicate then-Speaker Pelosi made a personal request that the “maximum per diem allowance be made available at the enhanced rate of an additional $50.”
- Numerous trips were made by Speaker Pelosi between San Francisco and Andrews Air Force Base. Several of these trips included members of Speaker Pelosi’s family, including her husband, daughter, granddaughters and son-in law. For example, one “Staff Summary Sheet” detailing a January 4, 2010, flight from San Francisco to Andrews Air Force Base notes that Pelosi’s daughter Christina “owes for $99.00 (flight) and $7.82 (meal).” The documents suggest that the Speaker’s office was billed for the fees but do not indicate whether the bills were paid.
- A January 7-11, 2010, Congressional Delegation to Detroit, Michigan, for the expressed purpose of reviewing “the impact of congressional appropriations and policy in promoting innovation, technological development and job creation in US auto industry.” The Detroit trip required $24,336.60 in commercial air travel and an additional $10,046.87 in expenses. The Pentagon also paid for military escorts for the trip.
- One document notes that the mode of transportation for the trip would be “Comair and Milair,” (commercial air travel and military air travel). However, the only cost related to the military portion of the transportation detailed in the records is a $15,000 advance secured for ground transportation, meals and lodging. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) drove himself to Detroit and sought $228 in mileage reimbursement. A total of 24 House Members (16 Democrats, 8 Republicans), led by then-Speaker Pelosi and then-Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), were on the list of trip participants.
Overall, according to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch in January 2011, Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. Judicial Watch, through FOIA, continues to pursue other records related to Pelosi’s use of Air Force aircraft.Previous documents obtained by Judicial Watch show the former Speaker’s military travel cost the USAF $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008 included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.Judicial Watch also previously uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) documents email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes. For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one DOD official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”Judicial Watch also uncovered emails from the DOD that show the Pentagon worked hand-in-hand with congressional offices prior to releasing documents regarding congressional military travel under the FOIA. These “heads up” emails involved FOIA requests filed by Judicial Watch, The Wall Street Journal, Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, among other organizations, related to the use of military aircraft by a number of congressional members, including Pelosi.Following numerous press reports documenting Pelosi’s misuse of military air craft, current House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would fly commercial between his home district and Washington, DC. Nevertheless, Judicial Watch has initiated a separate investigation into travel since Republicans took control of the House.“These documents further detail former Speaker Pelosi’s shameless abuse of military air craft during her tenure as House Speaker. Providing sweetheart travel deals for her adult children are an abuse of her high public office,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “But this scandal is much larger than Speaker Pelosi, as the massive Detroit Auto Show junket shows. Members of the House are able to obtain permission from the Office of the Speaker for the use of military luxury and military-supported travel for congressional delegation trips. These trips, known as CODELs, have exploded in number and cost. Speaker Boehner needs to reform this abuse of our military’s assets. For all the recent talk about corporate luxury jets here in Washington, the American people might be surprised to learn the Air Force has an entire wing of luxury jets (in addition to President Obama’s Air Force One planes) for the use of congressmen and top administration officials.”