Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How Barack Obama gave top campaign donors government jobs

Left-leaning Politico reports on corruption, cronyism, nepotism and patronage appointments in the Obama administration.

Excerpt:

Telecom executive Donald H. Gips raised a big bundle of cash to help finance his friend Barack Obama’s run for the presidency.

Gips, a vice president of Colorado-based Level 3 Communications, delivered more than $500,000 in contributions for the Obama war chest, while two other company executives collected at least $150,000 more.

After the election, Gips was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House, helping to place loyalists and fundraisers in many key positions. Then, in mid-2009, Obama named him ambassador to South Africa. Meanwhile, Level 3 Communications, in which Gips retained stock, received millions of dollars of government stimulus contracts for broadband projects in six states — though Gips said he had been “completely unaware” that the company had received the contracts.

More than two years after Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, an investigation by iWatch News has found.

These “bundlers” raised at least $50,000 — and sometimes more than $500,000 — in campaign donations for Obama’s campaign. Many of those in the “Class of 2008” are now being asked to bundle contributions for Obama’s reelection, an effort that could cost $1 billion.

As a candidate, Obama spoke passionately about diminishing the clout of moneyed interests. Kicking off his presidential run on Feb. 10, 2007, he blasted “the cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests,” who had “turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.”

“We’re here today to take it back,” he said.

Say one thing in public, and do the opposite in private. Don’t believe the words of a candidate in their stump speeches. Look at their voting record, and their legislative initiatives, and their ratings from non-partisan organizations, such as the Club For Growth, Citizens Against Government Waste, and the National Taxpayer’s Union. Don’t vote based on pleasant sounding words and pleasant appearances, do the research.

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Democrat Congresswoman awards scholarships to her own relatives

Story from the Dallas News.

Excerpt:

Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide’s two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers’ causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member’s district.

Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so “unknowingly” and would work with the foundation to “rectify the financial situation.”

Initially, she said, “I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one.” Had there been more “very worthy applicants in my district,” she added, “then I probably wouldn’t have given it” to the relatives.

The Democrat party thinks that it is OK to take the lives of innocent babies so they don’t have to put moral brakes on their irresponsible pursuit of sexual pleasure outside of marriage. Is it any wonder then that they would break lesser moral rules? When you throw God out from your reasoning, as the Democrats have done, anything is permissible – so long as you pursue your own interests and don’t get caught. Her only regret is that she was caught. They justify it by claiming to be “victims”.

UPDATE:

She’s up to 23 scholarships now.

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CRISIS! Obama fires Inspector General after investigation of Democrat corruption

UPDATE: Hot Air says 2 IGs have been fired, and a 3rd is in trouble.

Michelle Malkin’s latest column explains the incident from the beginning. But I’ll jump to the middle for the excerpt.

Excerpt:

The second program Walpin challenged is the non-profit St. HOPE Academy, run by Obama supporter Kevin Johnson, the Democrat mayor of Sacramento and a former NBA basketball star. In a special May 2009 report, Walpin’s office blew the whistle on a highly politicized U.S. Attorney’s Office settlement with Johnson and his deputy, Dana Gonzalez. The pair exploited nearly $900,000 in AmeriCorps funding for personal and political gain.

But in the wake of Johnson’s mayoral victory and President Obama’s election in November, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento rushed to settle with the new mayor so he could avail himself of federal stimulus funds and other government money. It was, Walpin said in his special report last month, “akin to deciding that, while one should not put a fox in a small chicken coop, it is fine to do so in a large chicken coop! The settlement…leaves the unmistakable impression that relief from a suspension can be bought.”

Shortly after, the White House announced that it had “lost confidence” in Walpin. With Walpin’s removal, the top management positions at AmeriCorps’ parent organization are now all open. The decks are clear to install lackeys who will protect the government volunteerism industry and its Democrat cronies. And a chilling effect has undoubtedly taken hold in every other inspector general’s office in Washington.

This is a MUST-READ.

Let’s see what hope and change really means. Nothing like this abuse of power ever happened in 8 years under George W. Bush. Bush was an evangelical Christian who took morality and honor seriously. Even if he sometimes made mistakes, they were generally mistakes of policy – not abusing his power to cover up corruption.

In a Hot Air post we learn that Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill isn’t happy about Walpin’s dismissal.

“The White House has failed to follow the proper procedure in notifying Congress as to the removal of the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service.  The legislation which was passed last year requires that the president give a reason for the removal. ‘Loss of confidence’ is not a sufficient reason.  I’m hopeful the White House will provide a more substantive rationale, in writing, as quickly as possible,” McCaskill said.

Ed Morrissey writes “They can’t provide the real reason, which is that Walpin went after a political ally of the President’s.”

Fox News has more about Walpin. (H/T Hot Air)

In the letter, White House Special Counsel Norman Eisen wrote that Walpin was “confused” and “disoriented” at a May board meeting, was “unduly disruptive,” and exhibited a “lack of candor” in providing information to decision makers.

“That’s a total lie,” Walpin said of the latter charge. And he said the accusation that he was dazed and confused at one meeting out of many was not only false, but poor rationale for his ouster.

“It appears to suggest that I was removed because I was disabled — based on one occasion out of hundreds,” he said.

“I would never say President Obama doesn’t have the capacity to continue to serve because of his (statement) that there are 57 states,” Walpin said, adding that the same holds for Vice President Biden and his “many express confusions that have been highlighted by the media.” Obama mistakenly said once on the campaign trail that he had traveled to 57 states.

When tyranny comes to a nation, the honest men are the first against the wall.

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Who did Obama pick to handle the re-organization of General Motors?

Look!Obama is appointing the best and the brightest person possible to oversee the bankruptcy re-organization of GM!

First, you need to know about Obama’s take-over of GM, which is pure communism.

Here’s the story from CNSNews:

Without the prior approval of Congress or any legislation authorizing the act, President Obama plans to announce on Monday that the federal government will take a 60-percent ownership stake in General Motors as part of a bankruptcy and reorganization plan for the company.

The White House on Sunday night announced that the plan will require the federal government to provide another $30 billion of taxpayer money to General Motors, on top of the $20 billion in aid the federal government already has given the company.

And guess who Obama’s picked to supervise the bankruptcy and reorganization?

Here’s the left-wing New York Times article: (H/T Hot Air)

It is not every 31-year-old who, in a first government job, finds himself dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism.

But that, in short, is the job description for Brian Deese, a not-quite graduate of Yale Law School who had never set foot in an automotive assembly plant until he took on his nearly unseen role in remaking the American automotive industry.

Nor, for that matter, had he given much thought to what ailed an industry that had been in decline ever since he was born. A bit laconic and looking every bit the just-out-of-graduate-school student adjusting to life in the West Wing — “he’s got this beard that appears and disappears,” says Steven Rattner, one of the leaders of President Obama’s automotive task force — Mr. Deese was thrown into the auto industry’s maelstrom as soon the election-night parties ended.

“There was a time between Nov. 4 and mid-February when I was the only full-time member of the auto task force,” Mr. Deese, a special assistant to the president for economic policy, acknowledged recently as he hurried between his desk at the White House and the Treasury building next door. “It was a little scary.”

Ed Morrissey comments:

Scary?  Well, yes, and not just for Mr. Deese, whose executive experience actually is less than Obama’s.  He’s never run any business, let alone worked in the auto industry.  He joined the Hillary Clinton campaign by taking a hiatus from law school, which he began after working as an assistant to Gene Sperling, now an advisor to Tim Geithner.  His entire resume consists of campaign work.

Perhaps Deese will do a good job, but I’m not terribly sanguine about the prospects of GM prospering under the guidance of someone who hasn’t ever met a payroll or sold a car.  A President who took his own job seriously would never have appointed a second-tier adviser to this position. A national media who took their jobs seriously wouldn’t let him get away with it, and don’t count this NYT piece in their favor.  They give a glowing report to this political-hackery appointment.

Heck of a job, Deesie!

Nice Deb has reactions from around the blogosphere here. Here’s one from the Heritage Foundation:

Will the new majority owner of General Motors — the United States Government — take an active role in managing the firm as it struggles for viability? In a statement earlier today, President Obama insisted that the government wouldn’t impose it’s own political agenda on GM.

“What we are not doing, what I have no interest in doing, is running GM,” he declared. Calling the government a “reluctant shareholder”, he declared that “GM will be run by a private board of directors and management team with a track record in American manufacturing that reflects a commitment to innovation and quality…They and not the government will call the shots and make the decisions about how to turn this company around… When a difficult decision has to be made like where to open a new plant or what type of new car to make, the new GM, not the US government will make that decision”.

This sounds reassuring, but in fact this non-interference pledge was broken even before he started speaking, as the White House was already trumpeting a pledge extracted from GM to “build a new small car in an idled UAW factory”, furthering the President’s environmental goals as well as pleasing his labor allies.

I think a law student/Hillary campaign lackey is the best candidate available. He’s a Democrat, at least, so you know you’re getting superior economic reasoning power. And GM just asked for another 30 billion, presumably to pay for their union member pensions and benefits. What do you expect when the President and Democrat Congress are running trillion-dollar deficits?

His Supreme Court nominee has similar qualifications. She’s Hispanic and female – female and Hispanic. And she thinks her sex and race will make her a better judge than white male candidates. The best and brightest!

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CRISIS! British politicians caught abusing expense accounts

I remember when Stephen Harper took over from the corrupt left-wing Liberal party in Canada, the first thing he did was to pass the Federal Accountability Act, which requires all expense claims to posted on government web sites for the public to see. Conservative MPs could be seen having business meetings at Subway, while Liberals bilked the public for thousands for various junkets. I was so happy for the Canadians.

But the Conservative Party isn’t running things in secular socialist Britain…

Muddling Towards Maturity posted on the whole sordid story, which appeared in the National Review.

David Pryce-Jones writes:

It turns out that the Blair-Brown Labour government could not bring itself to raise salaries for MPs, but instead set up “the system” of allowances that were privileged and kept secret. An MP could claim thousands of pounds more or less on his own say-so, with shaky receipts for dubious expenditure, and the result is that some have built property portfolios worth a million pounds or more.

Supervising this milking of “the system” was Michael Martin, the Speaker. In the early days of Tony Blair, this man was press-ganged into a job for which he was unfit. An old hardline socialist and trade-union man, he saw himself as defender of entitlements rather than liberty and proper government. He put in outrageous claims for himself and his wife. He did his very best to suppress information about the embezzling and spivery going on under him, in the classic manner of a trade unionist getting whatever he could for his comrades.

READ. THE. WHOLE. THING.

And Muddling also linked to this updated story in the New York Post, entitled “The Mother of All British Scandals”.

…A government minister, one of the richest men in the House of Commons, claimed $150,000 from the taxpayer to finance the mortgage on a “second home.” (He already had seven.) A leading Tory repaired the moat around his stately home on expenses.

Sometimes, the claims were trivial and comically embarrassing: tampons, diapers, the repair of leaky pipes, ice-cube trays ($2.50), hair straighteners ($150) and Scotch eggs ($1.25). Taxpayers unknowingly rented two pornographic movies for the husband of another Cabinet minister. A Tory spokesman on “skills and education” hired an electrician to change his light bulbs. (Cost to the taxpayer? About $225.)

The worst claims bordered on the fraudulent — and some stepped over that border. One MP claimed mortgage-interest payments of about $17,000 on a house that had no mortgage. Another took $55,000 in expenses on a necessary “second home” near Parliament, when his primary home was only a few hundred yards away.

Many MPs “flipped” — i.e., changed their homes from primary to secondary in order to receive second-home allowances. One MP flipped three times and got more than $150,000 of public money.

…Prime Minister Gordon Brown claimed $8,000 to pay for his brother to clean his London apartment. My favorite example, though, is the case of Sinn Fein MPs from Northern Ireland who claimed about $750,000 in expenses to attend a Parliament that they refuse to attend on principle.

This is absolutely amazing. Read the whole thing!

Ed West has more on this story. First of all, the British government hands out taxpayer money to lobbying firms, in order to be lobbied for policies they really want to enact anyway. And here, he talks more about solutions to the problem of government entitlements.

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