June 4, 2010
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Smoking Gun in White House-Romanoff Bribery Scandal?
The White House tried desperately — and failed miserably — to wiggle out of the Joe Sestak bribery scandal last Friday by releasing a memo claiming that impeached President Bill Clinton, at the behest of the Obama White House, merely offered a “non-paid” position in the Obama administration to Sestak.
But there should not be any way to wiggle out of another bribery scandal involving Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff; not with the revelations that exploded into the news on Wednesday.
According to Politico:
The White House acknowledged Thursday that it made overtures to Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff about a possible administration job as it was trying to steer him away from a primary challenge against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
The statement by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came the day after Romanoff revealed that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina offered to consider Romanoff for three posts as an alternative to his Senate campaign…The revelation comes just days after the White House confirmed that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had enlisted former President Bill Clinton to approach Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) about an unpaid position in the administration if he dropped his primary campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).
Romanoff actually released an email from Messina to the press — dated Sept. 11, 2009, — listing the three jobs that “would be available” if Romanoff were not running for the Senate against Obama’s handpicked candidate. Two of them were with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the other was the position of director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
- Obama Asks Supreme Court To Ax Ariz. Employer Sanction Law
- Lobbyists Raise Big Bucks For Politicians
- $3 Billion Military Jet Engine Will Never Be Used
- Bill Clinton May Never Release Kagan Files
- City Assures Illegal Aliens’ Safety
- Obama Tried Bribing Another Senate Candidate
- Black Lawmakers Try To Restrict Ethics Probes
So we have the name of a top White House official (Jim Messina, who is Rahm Emanuel’s deputy), three specific “paid” jobs offered and clear evidence of the offer. How in the world will Attorney General Eric Holder find a way to ignore this massive scandal? (Click here to read last week’s Update, which includes a detailed discussion of some of the criminal laws likely violated by the Obama gang.)
Meanwhile, if White House officials thought the quick and dirty memo (authored by White House Counsel Robert Bauer) was going to settle the Sestak matter, they thought wrong. It raised more questions than it answered.
First off, as noted by CNS News:
[The White House memo] says that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel recruited Bill Clinton to offer Sestak an unpaid position on a presidential advisory board while remaining a U.S. congressman.
But as a House member, Sestak could not serve on an Executive Branch board. As the White House Web site says, the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board “consists of not more than 16 members appointed by the President from among individuals who are not employed by the Federal Government.” (Emphasis added [in CNS article])
Moreover, the memo mentions that “efforts” were made in June and July 2009 to persuade Sestak to take the position. However, both Sestak and the memo reference one conversation with Clinton. What about the other “efforts?”
There has been no explanation regarding what President Obama knew or didn’t know about the Sestak offer.
As I said, there are many questions about the underlying alleged crimes and, now, the cover-up. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs answered none of them during a useless press conference on Tuesday. When questioned on the matter, Gibbs simply stated, “Whatever is in the memo is accurate” — which, as I’ve pointed out, is impossible given the inconsistencies in the document.
As I said in my statement to the press, it is a disgrace that Holder has not appointed a special counsel to investigate these scandals. Perhaps now that we have evidence of the White House’s lawbreaking, the calls will grow too loud for even Holder to ignore.
Judicial Watch is doing what it can to independently investigate this matter.
The White House has admittedly offered federal appointments in order to persuade at least two candidates to drop out of campaigns. This Obama White House sees the federal government as a mere tool to be used for the benefit of the Democrat Party. Seeing government and the “Party” as one in the same may be the rule in some countries, but we have a different standard here in the United States. If you violate these standards, you ought to go to jail.
Much more to come…
Holder Launches Criminal Investigation of BP
This week we did learn one factor that will prod Attorney General Eric Holder to take action: sagging poll numbers for the President. The Obama administration, under heavy fire for failing to adequately address the BP oil spill, announced this week that it would take legal action against the company.
According to the New York Daily News:
The BP oil disaster is spilling into the courts.
Attorney General Eric Holder has opened a criminal and civil investigation into possible negligence or malfeasance in the ongoing Gulf of Mexico catastrophe.
“We will closely examine the actions of those involved in the spill. If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be extremely forceful in our response,” Holder said.
“We will be meticulous, we will be comprehensive, and we will be aggressive. We will not rest until justice is done.”
(Now don’t you wish Holder would say similar things about, say, illegal immigration? Don’t hold your breath.)
It may be appropriate to conduct a criminal investigation of BP but Holder’s political announcement was disgraceful and undermines the rule of law. I have a bridge to nowhere to sell to anyone who believes that the Holder Justice Department can conduct a politics-free investigation of the BP spill. Frankly, when you hear Obama officials talk of keeping their “boot on the throat of BP,” it is fair to wonder whether this administration understands what having a republican form of government means.
And just in case a criminal investigation won’t placate the radical left, we’re starting to hear that familiar rally cry from liberals close to the Obama administration: “When in doubt bail it out!” Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich blogged this week that the government should put BP under “temporary receivership” while a grassroots group called “Seize BP” launched protests in 50 cities nationwide.
Of course all of this talk of a BP bailout reminds me of Rahm Emanuel’s famous quote: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste…it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” Most people see oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as a crisis that needs to be addressed. Emanuel and liberals in Congress see it as an opportunity to extend the reach of government into the private sector. This has become the permanent policy of the Obama White House.
More Bailout Cash for Fannie and Freddie?
The American people remain in the dark regarding the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This untenable secrecy continues despite mounting costs associated with the Fannie/Freddie bailout.
Check out Bloomberg:
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies operating under U.S. conservatorship, will require additional government aid amid losses stemming from the 2008 credit crisis, the nation’s top housing regulator said in its annual report to Congress.
“While critical to supporting the ongoing functioning of the nation’s housing finance system, the enterprises would be unable to serve the mortgage market in the absence of the ongoing financial support,” said Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency…
For those of you concerned about pouring good money after bad as we increase our nation’s debt, the new “government aid” requested by Fannie Mae is about $19 billion!
While the Obama Federal Housing Finance Agency pushes for additional (and unlimited) bailout funds, the agency continues to stonewall Judicial Watch’s repeated requests for documents, and Obama administration lawyers assert the shocking and ridiculous claim in court that Fannie and Freddie are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
As regular readers of the Weekly Update know, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to try to get its hands on documents related to political contributions made by Fannie and Freddie to their congressional co-conspirators. This effort is more important now than ever given that the very same politicians who turned a blind eye to rampant corruption and incompetence at Fannie and Freddie are now in charge of “reforming” the institutions.
According to The Associated Press:
“U.S. lawmakers are starting to wrestle with how to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants that nearly collapsed at the start of the financial meltdown.
In September 2008, the government seized control of Fannie and Freddie — massive companies that purchase home loans, package them into investments and guarantee them against default. Since then, the government has pumped a combined $126 billion into the companies to keep them afloat.
House lawmakers…took tentative steps toward figuring out what to do next, holding their first hearing about how to restructure the mortgage system in the wake of the financial crisis…Since the government took over Fannie and Freddie, Obama officials have given few details on their long-term thinking. In the meantime, officials plan to seek public comment on a list of questions…”
The Associated Press goes on to note that “[Massachusetts Rep. Barney] Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said there is consensus about replacing Fannie and Freddie, but little agreement on what should take their place. ‘You can’t really tear down the old jail until you’ve built a new one,’ said Frank.” Of course, Frank and Obama are happy with the current state of affairs. Fannie and Freddie are their vehicles for government control of the American housing market.
Keep in mind this is the same Barney Frank who blocked attempts by the Bush administration to reform Fannie and Freddie in 2003 — and the same Barney Frank who raked in $42,350 from Fannie and Freddie in campaign contributions between 1989 and 2008.
Of course, that amount is far less than that raised by President Obama, who hauled in $126,349 from 1989-2008, good for second on the list of top congressional recipients of Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions.
So here’s where we stand on all of this: The American people are supposed to fork over another $19 billion while trusting the “reform” of the mortgage lending industry to President Obama and Barney Frank. The first step the Obama administration needs to take to reform these institutions is to release all documents regarding the corruption that contributed to the collapse of Fannie and Freddie. Let’s turn off the money spigot, open the books, and get accountability.
Until next week…
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