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American author Mark Twain once remarked about the US: " We have the best government that money can buy."


US presidential election 2012

Global meltdown

Pig Book

Open Secrets

Open the Books  


Emails released

WASHINGTON - Thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails while US secretary of state have been released, including many that have been censored after being deemed classified.   (BBC)   DOCUMENTS:   Clinton Email August   Hillary Clinton email controversy


Right to accept bribes

FRANKFORD - Politicians in Kentucky are claiming they have a Constitutional right to receive gifts from lobbyists.  (The Intercept)   MORE:   State senator suing   John Schickel   Gift for US lawmakers


Government deal

WASHINGTON - The US Postal Service plans to sell 56 buildings and the real estate company of Senator Dianne Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, is set to pocket about $1B in commissions.   (NY Post)   Dianne Feinstein


    Ethics looking at panel

WASHINGTON -  The appropriations subcommittee on defense has been under scrutiny since federal agents raided the now-defunct lobbying firm PMA Group late last year.  (LA Times)  MORE:  CREW statement   Congressional ethics report leaked   US House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct


Federal charges

NEW YORK - Rep. Michael G. Grimm surrendered to federal authorities in New York as prosecutors unveiled a 20-count indictment connected to a restaurant business he operated before entering Congress in 2011.  (Washington Post)   MORE:    Michael Grimm 


No donor limits

WASHINGTON - In another blow to federal election laws, the Supreme Court eliminated limits on the total amount people can donate to various political campaigns in a single election season.   (CNN)  JUDGMENT:   #12-536  .pdf    More political money allowed    Good news for those who buy legislators in bulk


America's defiance revolution

Increasingly, and openly, ordinary Americans are committing a legal act that some police nonetheless regard as among the most heinous of all offences: it's called contempt of cop.   (CBC)  RELATED:   Effect of today's technology will be immense - and no country is ready for it


Signs of a failed system

WASHINGTON - In the fourth quarter of 2011, 49.2% of Americans received benefits from one or more government programs, according to data released by the Census Bureau.  (CNS News)    MORE:   $3.7T on welfare   Subterranean capitalist blues


Insider trading ban

WASHINGTON - A CBS 60 Minutes report found several representatives and senators, including senior figures on both sides of the political divide, had made trades shortly after receiving information not available to the public.  (BBC)


Spotlight on perks

SACRAMENTO - For many who join the select club of 120 known as the California Legislature, everything changes.  Once inside, they find an army of lobbyists and corporate executives at their disposal, more than eager to shower them with food, drink, travel and sex.  (LA Times) 

US is an oligarchy

WASHINGTON - A new study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern Universities is showing that, although America is always going on about how it is a Democracy, it is, in fact, an Oligarchy. Or, rather, it is a Plutocratic Oligarchy, meaning that the vast majority of decisions are made to benefit a small amount of very rich people.  (Death and Taxes)  REPORT:   Testing Theories of US politics   .pdf   The Power Elite   Explore the Power Elite   US elections are rigged


Pardon still paying

WASHINGTON - On Jan. 20, 2001, his last day in office, Bill Clinton issued a pardon for international fugitive Marc Rich.  (NY Post)  Bill Clinton    Marc Rich


CIA spying on Senate

WASHINGTON - The CIA Inspector General's Office has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of malfeasance at the spy agency in connection with a yet-to-be released Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA's secret detention and interrogation program.   (McClatchy DC)   MORE:   Obama knew CIA was spying    


Deported 'illegals'

WASHINGTON - Only 637 of the 17,689 people deported from the US in the first 2 months of the 2014 fiscal year were removed n the basis of convictions for aggravated felonies, TRAC said.   (LAHT)  REPORT:   2013 immigration removals    .pdf   Refugee roulette   'You can come out of the shadows'   Obama acts on immigration     Immigration to the US    Illegal immigration to the US 


Apologizes for Obamacare

WASHINGTON - Stressing that improvements are happening daily, the senior Obama official closest to the US administration's malfunctioning health care website apologized for problems that have kept Americans from successfully signing up for coverage.  (AP)   MORE:   Affordable Care Act   CGI Group   CGI's woes   Obamacares magical thinkers


Tangled up in green tape

WASHINGTON - The EPA, Congress, activists, the courts and power companies themselves all share the blame for the chaotic nature of environmental regulation in America.  (Economist)   MORE:  Over-regulated America   Too big not to fail   


Raiding the Icebox

WASHINGTON - Invading Canada won't be like invading Iraq: When we invade Canada, nobody will be able to grumble that we didn't have a plan.  (Washington Post)     


Budget scam exposed

ALBANY - Gov. Cuomo condemned the entire state budget process as a scam ginned up by special interests that added as much as $9B to the deficit before anyone - the governor included - laid a hand on the upcoming spending plan.    (NY Post)  MORE:  'Deficit' deceit 



IRS targeting

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court spanked the IRS saying it has taken laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and turned them on their head, using them to try to protect the tax agency from the groups it targeted.  (Washington Times)

'Insider threat program' 

White House, IRS exchanged taxpayer info

White House meetings  

Feds flunk secrecy test

Sunshine Week

Access to information scorecard 2014

Secrecy up

Transparency complaints

Mixed picture for Sunshine Week

Information officers blocking information 

Group sues for logs

So much for transparency


Why are Americans so angry?

WASHINGTON - Americans are generally known for having a positive outlook on life, but with the countdown for Nov's presidential election now well under way, polls show voters are angry.   (BBC)

Internet has widened political divisions

US presidential election 2016 

 US migrants flee to Canada

 Democracy of the US billionaires

US shutdown of 2013

US debt ceiling crisis

With a whimper

super committee

Terrible swift sword

Budget Control Act of 2011

The Hollow Men

Less pork spending this year

Citizens Against Government Waste

US avoids default 

US visa change

Spending bill

Appropriations act 2016

Congress passes US spending bill

Looting social security

Social Security

Irresponsible tax deal      

Americans 'completely fed up' with Washington

US Congress still spending

Tom Coburn

Wastebook 2014   .pdf 

Wastebook 2013   .pdf 

'Buying' US green cards for $1M

US congress approves budget

$98B wasted

$634B interim spending bill

Current state of 'science'

White House skewed drilling-ban report  



US lobbyist battleground

WASHINGTON - One of the fiercest attacks involves a little-noticed provision requiring that companies disclose the ratio between the average pay of all employees and that of the CEO.   (LA Times)   

Bureau of Labor Statistics and elsewhere .pdf

Saez data

Golden decade ending   

Lobbying working to undermine Iraqi PM

US report see precarious Iraqi government  

Value of lobbyists and lawmakers

F-22 Raptor

F-22 armored in pork: can't fly, won’t die  

Cash flows to health-reform senators

Congress cannot operate without bribes



Democratic party 'culture of corruption'

Republican party 'culture of corruption'  

Bill exempting politicians from arrest


Best election money can buy

WASHINGTON - The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that the money spent on congressional and presidential races this year will come close to $6B dollars.  (Digital Journal)



US presidential election 2012

2012 Presidential race

Campaign 2012

America's scary non-voters


Obama wins

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama says he will return to the White House "more determined and inspired than ever" after defeating Republican rival Mitt Romney and winning a second term as president.  (CBC)  

Barack Obama 

4 more years

Payback time


Post-election lobby boom 

2012 defined by legislative gridlock in US

Obama faces divided Congress

2 states legalize pot

US elections 2012

Starve the campaign spending beast 

Time for a price check

US presidential election 2008

44th President of the US elected

President of the United States

Democrats score Congress win

US voters hit the polls in huge numbers  


Gonzales OK'd firings

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several US attorneys in a November meeting, according to documents released.  (AP)  

Dismissal of US attorneys controversy

Embattled Gonzales resigns

Federal agents raid office

Scott J. Bloch  

Six strikes and you’re out

AG apologies over how prosecutors were fired

White House subpoena showdown

Battle of partisan buffoons

White House Ok'd mass US attorney firing    



WASHINGTON - The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency.  (Huffington Post)  



Federal contractor misconduct database

ACORN rule may trap defense contractors

Senate cuts off funding

Scandal is just nutty

ACORN does it again


What's wrong with signing statements?

If the president signs a bill into law, he is, as head of the executive, responsible for implementing it so that, according to the Constitution, it ‘be faithfully executed.’ But here is the catch: the president can now sign a bill into law and manipulate his way out of his duty of implementation. He can do that by adding a ‘signing statement’ .  (Open Democracy)


Signing statements  

Presidential Signing Statements


Corruption probe

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is investigating whether former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton illegally used her position to benefit Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the company that later hired her, according to officials in federal law enforcement and the Interior Department.  (LA Times)

Guilty of public corruption

RICHMOND, VA - A federal trial mired in soap-opera details of a broken marriage inside the governor's mansion ended in the harsh light of a jury convicting former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, on multiple public corruption charges.  (USA Today)  Bob McDonnell    2 years   Lenient punishment    



Prosecutors detail abuse

CHICAGO - Federal prosecutors provided for the first time a detailed account of the sexual abuse allegations against former House speaker Dennis Hastert.  Hastert is not being charged with abuse because of statutes of limitation but he pleaded guilty last year to illegally structuring bank withdrawals to pay one of his victims.  (Slate) 


Dennis Hastert



Loses lobbying job

It was sex

How the feds uncovered Hastert's sordid past



Another dirty US senator

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.  (CNN)  

Bob Menendez

Who is Salomon Melgen?

Senator expected to face criminal charges

US vs Senator Menendez

Charged with corruption


Leave of absence

WASHINGTON - Trey Radel, a Florida congressman who received a year's probation after pleading guilty to cocaine possession has announced he is taking a leave of absence.  (BBC) 

Bribe bra

BOSTON - Sen. Dianne Wilkerson  stood alone and soberly attired in federal court after being charged with accepting $23,500 in bribes - including $10,000 to fund her write-in campaign.  (AP) 


Assembly speaker charged 

ALBANY - New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the state's most powerful Democrats for more than two decades, was charged with fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and other criminal counts after a lengthy corruption investigation.  (Reuters)

Sheldon Silver


Speaker charged  


How to run a successful business

WASHINGTON - Robert C. Murtha Jr., 49, is the nephew of Rep. John Murtha, who has significant sway over the Defense Department's spending as chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. (Washington Post) 

Nonprofit connects Murtha, lobbyists

John P. Murtha

Congressman resigns

WASHINGTON - Rep. Christopher Lee, a second-term Republican lawmaker representing western New York, abruptly resigned after flirtatious e-mails, including a photo of him shirtless, were posted online by a gossip website.  (LA Times) 

Pol was warned to 'knock it off'

Chris Lee 


Bush commutes Libby's sentence

WASHINGTON - President Bush spared I Lewis "Scooter" Libby  from prison, commuting the former White House aide's 30-month prison term.   The prison time was imposed after a federal court convicted Libby of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the probe of the leak of the name of a CIA operative.  (CNN)    

Commutation fits pattern set by predecessors

FBI to examine Foley's e-mails

WASHINGTON, DC - The FBI announced last night that it is looking into whether former representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) broke federal law by sending inappropriate e-mails and instant messages to teenage House pages. (Washington Post)  PREVIOUS:   

Foley checks into alcohol rehab

Congressman quits over e-mails to teen


Fundraiser gets 18 years in prison

TOLEDO, Ohio -  Thomas Noe, a prominent coin dealer accused of taking at least $2 million, was convicted of theft, corrupt activity, money laundering, forgery and tampering with records.  (AP)  PREVIOUS:  Noe refused 10-year term in plea deal  

FBI investigating Specter staff member

WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating whether a member of Sen. Arlen Specter's staff broke the law by helping her husband, a lobbyist, secure almost $50 million in Pentagon spending for his clients, the senator acknowledged Tuesday.  (USA Today)


Charity records raise questions

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's AIDS charity paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, according to tax returns providing the first financial accounting of the presidential hopeful's nonprofit. (MSNBC)

Kentucky governor indicted

Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher was indicted on misdemeanor charges that he directed a scheme to illegally award state jobs to political supporters, the latest twist in a year-long probe into hiring practices in his administration.  (CNN)


Chairman steps down

WASHINGTON - New York Rep. Charles Rangel temporarily stepped aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee as he struggled with mounting ethics woes that left his political future uncertain at best.   (AP) 

Rangel broke ethics rules

'Resignation is accepted'

Firms with business before panel solicited

Rangel will give up apartment

Apartment bargain


Money and muscle 

WASHINGTON - In 1998, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid paid $400,000 for two pieces of residential land outside Las Vegas. It was a complicated deal.  In 2004, Brown sold it to a group of developers and Reid walked away with $1.1M.   Business deals like that allowed Reid to do very well during his years in the Senate.   (Washington Examiner)

Complicated legacy

Accident story does not add up

Whoa if true

Harry Reid

Mike Lee

FBI blocked in corruption probe

Reid, Lee come up in probe

Criminal charges likely

Utah report of investigative committee

Key findings

No federal charges for Utah AG’s

Subsidies for donors  

Solar panel deal

Harry Reid

Clark County commissioners

Reid and son called crooks  


All charges dropped

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is dropping all charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens, the 85-year-old Alaska Republican convicted of lying on Senate financial disclosure forms to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovations from a businessman.  (LA Times)

Ted Stevens

Stevens convicted on 7 counts

Stevens out

Stevens convicted

Stevens wins Alaska primary

Alaska's corruption scandal

FBI taped Stevens' calls in sting

New ethics rules haven't squashed pet projects


Nonprofit groups funnelled funds

WASHINGTON - Newly released documents in the Jack Abramoff investigation shed light on how the lobbyist secretly routed his clients' funds through tax-exempt organizations with the acquiescence of those in charge.   (Washington Post)  

Jack Abramoff

Jack Abramoff scandals

Ney pleads guilty in Abramoff case 

New guilty plea in lobbyist scandal

Teeth or NO teeth

Top lobbyist makes a deal

Independent Counsel report gets sliced up

Coins, contributions and BWC

Judge sentences ex-Bush official

David Safavian 

Former deputy Interior secretary pleads guilty

Report says nonprofits sold clout to Abramoff

Investigation of Jack Abramoff's use of tax-exempt organizations  .pdf  


Lawmaker convicted

WASHINGTON - Former Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), who gained national attention after federal agents found $90,000 in his freezer, was convicted of political corruption. (LA Times)

William J. Jefferson

House approves speedy Jefferson ethics probe

'Cold Cash' Jefferson indicted

CEO sentenced for bribing Congressman



Ex-congressman begins prison sentence

SAN DIEGO - Former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham began his first day in prison after being sentenced to eight years and four months for taking $2.4 million in homes, yachts and other bribes in a corruption scheme unmatched in the annals of Congress.  (AP)

Corrupt congressman's loot to be auctioned off

Defense contractor pleads guilty to bribery

Call for corruption crackdown



Prison sentence

AUSTIN - Former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, once one of the most powerful politicians in Texas and Washington, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.   (WSJ)  

Tom DeLay  

US politician guilty

DeLay to announce Resignation

Ex-DeLay aide pleads guilty

US Family Network

Premium on lobbyists who served in Congress

US House leader DeLay resigns

It didn't start with Tom DeLay


Congress should read bills before voting

  Lawmakers cash in on way out

Political bias affects brain activity


Lobbying database

Tracking campaign money

FOX Fraud File


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