February 11, 2011- Today, Michael Scanlon was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison for his role in the Abramoff scandal. Mr. Scanlon served as communications director for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), before leaving Capitol Hill to join forces with convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Despite the lavish trips, meals and tickets provided to Rep. DeLay by Mr. Abramoff, the congressman was never charged by federal prosecutors. He was recently convicted on state charges in Texas and sentenced to three years in jail, but is free pending appeal.
February 11, 2011-
Stunning Statistics of the Week:
•$1.2 million: The amount that congressional Republicans collected toward the end of the midterms for a new fundraising committee called the Founders Joint Candidate Committee
•30: The number of families who contributed that amount
•2.5: The number of weeks it took to collect that cash
•$31,170: The average amount collected from each donor
How much does a Senate seat cost? $18 million in Washington state
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) told a journalist that she expects her 2012 re-election campaign to cost $18 million. “Anybody can have several million dollars thrown at them at any given moment,” Cantwell said. “Everybody is looking at this cycle differently that the last one: At least I am.”
The president decries the unraveling of the nation's campaign-finance laws, but he's done zero to reform the agency charged with enforcing what's left of them.
February 9, 2011- When the Supreme Court handed down its controversial Citizens United decision, President Barack Obama ripped the high court's ruling for giving "a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics." But while denouncing the destruction of the nation's campaign finance laws, Obama has done nothing to bolster the dysfunctional agency responsible for enforcing what remains of them.
Since mid-2008, the Federal Election Commission has epitomized political gridlock. Crackdowns by the bipartisan FEC have plummeted. Now, the advocacy group Public Citizen is plotting a "full court press," demanding that President Obama begin to fix the FEC by ditching its Republican ringleader, Donald McGahn.
February 1, 2011- Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate whether the American Future Fund (AFF) has violated tax law. AFF, organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, burst onto the political scene in the 2010 election, spending millions of dollars asking voters to vote against Democratic candidates for federal office. 501(c)(4) organizations like AFF may not have as their “primary purpose” the participation in political campaigns in support of, or in opposition to, candidates for public office.
“There is nothing wrong with working to elect Republicans, but you can’t violate the law to do it,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Given the amount of money the American Future Fund spent on ads in the 2010 congressional elections, it seems clear the primary – if not only – goal of the group is to elect Republicans to Congress.”
January 29, 2011- The Detroit Tigers are retiring the great baseball manager Sparky Anderson's number 11 this season. "It's a wonderful gesture," Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg wrote. "I just wish Sparky could see it."
Anderson won three World Series - one managing the Tigers, two with the Cincinnati Reds - and passed away this past November. Rosenberg said, "Retiring his number now is the baseball version of waiting until a relative dies to say thank you."
Contra Costa Times: Grand jury probes what Edwards knew about 'cover-up' money
Note: This is just the sort of investigation we are requesting for the US Chamber of Commerce, American Crossroads, American Future Fund, and other groups who have violated campaign finance laws.
January 17, 2011- A federal criminal investigation targeting John Edwards is examining how much the two-time presidential candidate knew about money used to cover up his extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock child and whether other practices of his violated campaign finance laws, people involved in the case have told The Associated Press.
A federal grand jury in Raleigh, N.C., is sifting records and testimony involving several political organizations and individuals connected to Edwards to determine if the former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee broke any laws. A recently issued subpoena focuses on a web of these Edwards-affiliated groups, according to subpoena details provided to the AP that offer a glimpse behind the closed doors of the investigation.
January 24, 2011- The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a “political boiler room” that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide, a report issued Monday by an independent federal agency concludes.
The report by the Office of Special Counsel finds that the Bush administration’s Office of Political Affairs — overseen by Karl Rove — served almost as an extension of the Republican National Committee, developing a “target list” of Congressional races, organizing dozens of briefings for political appointees to press them to work for party candidates, and sending cabinet officials out to help these campaigns.
The report, based on about 100,000 pages of documents and interviews with 80 Bush administration officials in an investigation of more than three years, documented how these political activities accelerated before the 2006 midterm elections.
January 17, 2011- In a rare blistering attack on the Department of Justice, a career veteran of the agency recently told Raw Story that the Obama administration handing Bush-era officials "a get out of jail free card” sets “a dangerous precedent" that could encourage other offenses by future leaders.
J. Gerald Hebert, a former acting Justice Department chief who served the government's enforcement wing in various capacities between 1973 and 1994, said in an exclusive interview that the failure of federal prosecutors to charge former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) with even a single crime was indicative of a greater problem.
On the heels of the successful prosecution of DeLay for money laundering and conspiracy in Texas, Hebert said he hoped it was clear that the Department of Justice had nothing to do with that conviction.
Rather, the Obama administration's Justice Department in August closed down a six-year investigation into DeLay -- without filing a single charge.