DECEMBER 12, 2011
Barney Frank Flees Congress
Another perennial member of Judicial Watch’s list of “Washington’s Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” will soon be saying goodbye to Congress. (By the way, look for our 2011 list before the end of the year!) According to CBS News:
Citing the political challenges he faced because of congressional redistricting, prominent Democratic Rep. Barney Frank on Monday announced he will not seek re-election in 2012. “I don’t want to be torn a full-fledged campaign… and my obligation to my current constituents,” Frank said from the Newton, Massachusetts City Hall.
Frank may try to use the excuse of “redistricting” for his decision to leave office, but I suspect he also feared being dragged down by the congressional ethics investigation of the OneUnited Bank scandal that also implicates Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). Both members of Congress improperly interfered to secure a Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) grant for the struggling Massachusetts bank. (You can read more here.)
When initially asked about the OneUnited Bank scandal, Frank admitted he spoke to a “federal regulator” about his home state bank but, according to The Wall Street Journal “he didn’t remember which federal regulator he spoke with.” That seemed a lie at the time, so we investigated. Sure enough, according to explosive Treasury Department emails uncovered by Judicial Watch in 2010, this nameless bureaucrat was none other than then-Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson!
(Frank and Paulson, it appears, became quite chummy during the financial crisis, which is perhaps not all that surprising considering that both of them responded to the financial crisis by having the government seize control of large sectors of the private economy. And their mutual admiration has continued long past the end of the Bush administration. Frank even wrote the forward to Paulson’s book On the Brink, in which the former Treasury Secretary praises Frank for being “scary-smart.” Well, Paulson’s half right.)
Frank’s decision to leave Congress will soon bring to an end a 32-year run for the bombastic and flagrantly corrupt congressman who will forever be tied to the implosion at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Frank was a key Congressional member on the “take” from Fannie and Freddie, which resisted any effort to subject the two quasi-governmentl entities to any oversight.
The liberal media and the Washington establishment will overlook his corruption. Liberals in the media love his nasty attacks on conservatives, and won’t bother to focus on his abuse of office that included fixing parking tickets for his boyfriend – who was running a prostitution ring out of Frank’s home. And you can be sure Frank won’t be held to account for his singular role in the socialist housing polices that continue to decimate the housing market.
For example, during a hearing on September 10, 2003, before the House Committee on Financial Services that was considering a Bush administration proposal to further regulate Fannie and Freddie Rep. Frank stated:
I want to begin by saying that I am glad to consider the legislation, but I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis…I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury.
Frank received $42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. (Judicial Watch continues to battle with the Obama administration to uncover additional details on Fannie and Freddie’s attempts to influence members of Congress with political contributions and other favors. We’re still getting the stiff-arm.)
In the recently published book, Reckless Endangerment, Frank also admits that he helped obtain for his ex-lover a lucrative position with Fannie and Freddie, a clear conflict of interest. When confronted on the controversy, Frank said, “If it is a [conflict of interest] then much of Washington is involved in [ conflicts].”
That might be the most factual statement Barney Frank has ever made.
Speaking of conflicts of interest, Frank’s partner in crime on the OneUnited affair, Maxine Waters, has made clear her intent to take over Frank’s position as the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. (The more things change…, right?) Of course, there is the House Ethics Committee investigation to consider. It has been stuck in the mud for over a year, but an outside counsel has been retained, and he is expected to make his recommendation to the committee on or about January 2, 2012.
In the meantime, we can look forward to Congress becoming incrementally less corrupt due the retirement of the execrable Mr. Frank.
A Victory in our Campaign to Allow Voters to Consider Taxpayer Funded Perks for Illegal Aliens!
I have an exciting new development to report in our legal action on behalf of our client MDPetitions.com that would allow Maryland voters the opportunity to directly consider “tuition benefits” for illegal alien students.
Casa de Maryland and illegal alien activists signed a Joint Stipulation on December 5, 2011, saying they will no longer challenge the “sufficiency and number of the petition signatures” collected by MDPetitions.com to place the repeal of the illegal alien tuition benefits policy on the November 2012 Maryland ballot.
Now that both sides agree that MDPetitions.com’s petition signatures are sufficient in number and valid, illegal alien activists are running out of arguments to shield the Maryland DREAM Act from the voters. In fact, they are left with one very weak argument – that the Maryland DREAM Act cannot legally be subject to referendum – an argument that simply does not hold water.
As MDPetitions.com argues in its court filings, Maryland voters are merely exercising their rights under Article XVI, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution, which unambiguously states:
The people reserve to themselves power known as The Referendum, by petition to have submitted to the registered voters of the State, to approve or reject at the polls, any Act, or part of any Act of the General Assembly, if approved by the Governor, or, if passed by the General Assembly over the veto of the Governor.
By way of review, the Maryland DREAM Act was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 10, 2011. The law makes certain illegal aliens eligible to pay reduced tuition rates at Maryland community colleges and public higher education institutions, including the University of Maryland.
The MDPetitions.com petition drive collected 132,071 signatures, nearly twice the amount required by law to put the new benefit to voters in a referendum. In fact, it is one of the most successful petition drives in Maryland State history. And given the partisan, purportedly liberal bent of Maryland voters, the petition drive’s success highlights the bipartisan, cross-ideological appeal of standing for the rule of law in immigration matters. Nonetheless, illegal aliens and the activist group Casa de Maryland challenged the petition drive in court in order to give taxpayer dollar subsidies for college tuition to certain illegal aliens.
On October 7, 2011, MDPetitions.com was granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit that seeks to deny voters an up-or-down vote on the Maryland DREAM Act (John Doe, et al., v. Maryland State Board of Elections (No. 02-C-11-163050)).
The chairman of MDPetitions.com, Maryland Assembly Delegate Neil Parrott of Washington County, and honorary chairman Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore and Harford Counties were pleased with this latest development, which brings Maryland voters “one step closer” to having their voices heard in this critical issue:
“While Casa de Maryland wanted to throw out literally tens of thousands of valid signatures in an effort to short circuit the democratic process in our state, they simply could not do it. The hard work of Marylanders from the Eastern Shore, to the Baltimore region, to Southern Maryland, to the mountains in Western Maryland paid off, resulting in over 130,000 signatures submitted and over 109,000 validated signatures. These strong numbers, almost twice the required validated signatures, proved to be an obstacle that the opposition could not be overcome. This victory shows that Marylanders do have a voice, and that by working together we can defeat legislation that just doesn’t make sense,” stated Delegate Parrott.
“This is the People’s Petition and the most historic referendum drive in the state of Maryland. We needed to collect 55,736 valid signatures of registered voters in less than 60 days to send SB 167 to referendum. The citizens submitted over 132,000, and the State Board of Elections validated over 108,000. Today is a great day for the people of Maryland, who are one step closer to voting on the referendum they have clearly asked for and are legally due,” said Delegate McDonough.
As I told the press, Casa de Maryland’s political lawsuit is designed for one purpose: to deny Maryland voters their right to have their voices heard on the issue of taxpayer-funded perks for illegal aliens. We are confident the courts will uphold our client’s petition drive and that democracy will not be subverted.
And a word of congratulations to our legal team, whose diligence and careful legal analysis helped lead to this latest victory.
And lest anyone believe this victory is only relevant to the State of Maryland and its citizens, remember that illegal immigration is a 50-state problem. Through “precedence,” what happens in Maryland in the issue of discounted tuition for illegal aliens could have ripple effects across the country, including in Rhode Island, yet another front in Judicial Watch’s battle against taxpayer-funded perks for illegal aliens.
Judicial Watch to Host Panel on Kagan and Obamacare as Issue Heats Up
Two weeks ago, I told you about some potentially “game-changing” emails obtained by Judicial Watch detailing Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s participation in Obamacare discussions while she served as Solicitor General for Obama. These emails exploded into the news at the same time the High Court announced it would decide the fate of Obamacare next spring.
Members of Congress quickly seized upon our emails and turned up the heat on the Obama administration over its obfuscation, while calling attention to Kagan’s clear “conflict of interest.”
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), chastised Attorney General Eric Holder over the decision to shield these emails from disclosure to the Senate Judiciary Committee during Kagan’s confirmation hearing:
“I am deeply disturbed by these developments and believe that the Justice Department should have provided these documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee during Justice Kagan’s confirmation hearing,” Sessions wrote to Holder in a series of questions for the record. “The Department’s failure to provide this information to Congress and to comply with FOIA requests, as well as your apparent inattention to these matters, is unacceptable.”
(Senator Sessions was a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Kagan’s confirmation hearing.)
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), meanwhile, expanded his aggressive investigation of the Kagan/Obamacare matter by sending letters to Attorney General Eric Holder and White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler demanding additional records and interviews with White House staff. (He also penned an excellent opinion editorial in The Washington Post on December 1, 2011.)
Referring to Judicial Watch’s emails and his own request for records, Rep. Smith wrote to Holder on November 22, 2011:
“While refusing to comply with my request, the Department, pursuant to a FOIA request [by Judicial Watch] released a series of emails between then-Solicitor General Kagan and other Department officials. These emails confirm that then Solicitor General Kagan was not “walled off” from this matter as has been claimed, and that she personally supported the legislation. For example, in a March 21, 2010 email to a Department colleague discussing the legislation, she writes, “I hear they have the votes Larry!! Simply amazing.” “These emails were specifically included in my July 6 document request but never provided to me before they were publicly released on November 9, 2011.
“Why did the Department withhold these emails from the Committee and who made that decision? Is the Department withholding any additional documents which are responsive to my July 6 request?
“The public has a right to know both the full extent of Justice Kagan’s involvement with this legislation while she was Solicitor General as well as her previously stated views and opinions about the legislation while she was serving as Solicitor General.”
Rep. Smith then closes by repeating his earlier request to interview Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli (of Black Panther scandal fame) and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Tony West. The Attorney General previously denied this request without “providing any legal privilege to support this decision,” according to Rep. Smith.
(Holder, meanwhile, went before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. He affirmed
his agency’s stonewalling. Rep. Smith highlighted a two month gap in the emails provided to Judicial Watch and compared it to the infamous 18 ½ minutes gap in the Nixon tapes. (Holder was slammed on the Fast and Furious “Obama-administration-gives-guns-to-Mexican-drug-cartels-to-use- for-crimes” scandal, too.)
In its continued efforts to educate the public about the Obamacare Supreme Court controversy, JW will host a panel discussion entitled “Justice Kagan, Obamacare and Recusal” at Judicial Watch headquarters. It takes place on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at 11:00 am.
Panelists include Edward Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director to the Judicial Crisis Network; Ronald D. Rotunda, the Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at Chapman University; and Russell Wheeler, Visiting Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings Institute.
Please feel free to attend if you are in the area. You can also view the presentation over the Internet via this link.
Next spring the High Court will decide if the socialist monstrosity known as Obamacare will become the law of the land. Stay tuned. There is a lot at stake. And this debate is only going to get hotter in the coming months.
Blago to Serve 14 Years
Illinois has just sent its second consecutive governor to prison. On Wednesday, Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in a slew of scandals, including the scheme to sell Barack Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. According to The Guardian:
Rod Blagojevich, the ousted Illinois governor whose three-year battle against criminal charges became a national spectacle, was sentenced to 14 years in prison Wednesday, one of the stiffest penalties imposed for corruption in a state with a history of crooked politics.
Blagojevich’s 18 convictions included allegations of trying to leverage his power to appoint someone to President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to raise campaign cash or land a high-paying job.
The twice-elected Democrat is now the second former Illinois governor in a row to be sentenced to prison, and the fourth Illinois governor in the last four decades. His Republican predecessor, George Ryan, currently is serving a sentence of 6 1/2 years, also for corruption.
This was an appropriately stiff penalty, considering the gravity of the crimes he committed. Blago was impeached and removed from office, in part, because he refused to follow the FOIA law in Illinois in response to a Judicial Watch request.
I’ve covered the Blagojevich scandal on a number of occasions, so I won’t recount all of the evidence against him here. For an excellent summary, however, please click here to read reports by our blogger Irene Garcia, who was on the ground in Illinois to observe the Blago trial.
In short, Blagojevich deserved his sentence. But others are paying the price, too. One of his corrupt henchmen, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, also a real estate partner and crony of the corrupt Barack Obama, got 10 1/2 years.
Now that Blagojevich has received his sentence, the focus shifts to Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. The House Ethics Committee announced on December 2, 2011, that it will continue its investigation into allegations that “Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment in 2008.”
Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was unfortunately allowed to skate, even though he was intimately involved in Blago’s crooked scheme. “Rhambo” served as the liaison between Blago and Barack Obama, who was interviewed by the FBI even before he took office but was never asked to testify. And we still don’t know the full truth about Obama’s role in all this. That’s why we’re pressuring the FBI to release to us the notes of their historic interview with him.
Make no mistake: Blago is going to jail, but Chicago-style coruuption still dogs Illinois – and the White House.
Until next week…