Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that banned anyone from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States regardless if they are current Visa holders. The seven countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The order put a halt to accepting any refugees seeking asylum, no matter their country of origin, for 120 days. Update: A Federal District Court put an injunction on the ban. Update No. 2: Trump amended the ban and took Iraq off the list. Update No. 3: The Supreme Court allowed a portion of the ban to go into effect pending a full hearing on the ban in its term beginning in October.
Donald Trump pressured former FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation into Michael Flynn, telling Mr. Comey that he "hopes you can let this go," according to a recently released memo Comey wrote immediately after the conversation. It is illegal, even for the President of the United States, to impede an investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice or the FBI.
Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey "with cause" because Trump said he mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail server. That explanation defies logic considering Trump praised Comey for his handling of the investigation back in early November. The real reason Trump fired Comey may have more to do with the fact that Comey and the FBI have been investigating Trump and his associates ties to Russia and whether or not they colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 Presidential election.
Representative Aaron Schock is under investigation for improper use of taxpayer funds on a host of expenditures ranging from a lavish office themed after the PBS series Downton Abbey to billing the taxpayer for multiple vacations and other events. The Office of Congressional Ethics has opened an investigation into Mr. Schock and will report it's finding tot he House Ethics Committee. Representative Schock is already being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly soliciting contributions for an independent expenditure-only political committee in excess of $5,000 per donor. Update: Aaron Schock announced that he will be resigning from office on 3/31/2015
Representative Don Young has been ordered to repay $60,000 in illegally spent campaign donations he received over a period of twelve years. Young was found to have violated House ethics rules by illegally using campaign funds to go on fifteen trips to hunting lodges during that time. The Ethics Committee found that Young used more than $30,000 of his own campaigns funds and $28,000 in gifts he failed to disclose in his annual financial disclosures.
Federal investigators are looking into whether Governor Chris Christie's administration committed securities law violations by spending nearly $2 billion of Port Authority funds on a state owned bridge. It is illegal to spend Port Authority funds on state owned infrastructure, but the Christie administration lobbied heavily to classify the bridge as an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel even though they are not connected. Investigators are attempting to determine if Governor Christie violated the Martin Act, which enables the state of New York to file suit if they feel Christie intentionally misled bond holders.
A judge seated a grand jury in Austin last week to consider whether Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is weighing another run for the White House, abused his power when he carried out a threat to veto $7.5 million in state funding for public corruption prosecutors last summer. Aides to Perry say he legally exercised his veto power. Others say Perry was abusing his state office and is finally getting his comeuppance. The grand jury is impaneled for three months. In the original complaint, McDonald accused Perry of breaking laws related to coercion of a public servant and abuse of official capacity.
Shortly after his election, Governor Christie appointed two of his friends and political donors, John and Mary Kay Strangfeld, to the typically ceremonial positions of chairman and vice chairman at the Drumthwacket Foundation, a nonprofit that has restored and maintains the New Jersey Governors mansion. John Strangfeld is also the chairman of the insurance agency Prudential, a company that received a record-setting $250 million dollar tax incentive to move its Newark headquarters only a few blocks down the street. The number averages out to the taxpayers spending $527,000 per job that was created in the handout.
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the number four Republican in House leadership, is facing a House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations that she illegally combined campaign and Congressional funds to help her win her 2012 House leadership race. The Office Of Congressional Ethics recommended that the House Ethics Committee conduct a full investigation into the allegations and the committee reported that they will begin their preliminary investigation into the matter.
The state Ethics Commission has approved Governor Chris Christie's recommendation of Susana Espasa Guerrero, a longtime loyalist and former employee of the Governor, to head the ethics panel that will investigate the bridge closure scandal the Governor finds himself in. Ms. Guerrero has also worked with every single individual who has been subpoenaed in the case.
A former prosecutor in New Jersey has come forward to claim that he was fired after refusing to drop a criminal case against a friend of Governor Chris Christie. Ben Barlyn, the former prosecutor in question, claimed that he was fired shortly after filing multiple charges against Republican Sheriff Deborah Trout. He was replaced with a Christie ally that quickly dropped the charges. Mr. Barlyn has petitioned the state Attorney General's office to release grand jury testimony that he says will back up his accusations.
The Administration of Chris Christie has been accused of withholding millions of Sandy emergency relief funds for a New Jersey town that refused to approve a massive redevelopment plan that the governor favored. The mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, claimed that Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, who is Governor Christie’s community affairs commissioner spoke on behalf of the Governor in making the demand. While the two officials in question have denied the allegations, recently released documents seem to say otherwise. Dawn Zimmer, who is the mayor, also said that she will be happy to speak under oath and take a lie detector in order to prove her claims.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett campaigned on a promise to bring ethics and integrity to the governorship, but his actions have spoken louder than his words after recent ethics disclosures show that he has accepted thousands of dollars in gifts and other expenditures from a variety of executives who then received lucrative state contracts. His actions as governor has earned him the distinction of being called one of the "Worst Governors in America" by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.
Rick Renzi, a former US Congressman from Arizona, was found guilty of 17 felony charges in his federal corruption trial. Mr. Renzi was accused of embezzling money from his insurance brokerage firm and funneling the cash to his election campaign, and of extortion in connection with a proposed federal land exchange in an ore-rich area of Arizona. Mr. Renzi is free on bail until his sentencing hearing on August 19th.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is being investigated by the FBI regarding his connections with a major campaign donor that is also under investigation for questionable securities transactions. The FBI is looking into a $15,000 catering bill that campaign donor Jonnie R. Williams Sr. paid at Mr. McDonnell's daughters wedding, as well as various undisclosed gifts that Mr. McDonnell's wife received from Mr. Williams.
During the Hurricane Sandy clean up process, Governor Christie awarded a no bid, multi-million dollar contract to a company that contributed more than $50,000 to a PAC that invested heavily in electing Christie to the Governor's mansion. In total, at least four companies that donated heavily to New Jersey Republicans received state contracts to help in the clean up process.
The FCBOE met Nov. 5 and determined that True the Vote had likely falsified the forms submitted for general election observers. The new observer forms, filed over the past few days by True the Vote representative (and Hilliard Tea Party Member) Jan Loar, used candidate signatures copied from a previous set of forms filed in early October All but one of the six candidates whose names appeared on the original form had withdrawn permission to use their signatures prior to the submission of today’s forms.
There is an upcoming junk study from a Koch-funded think tank that has taken on the format and appearance of a truly scientific report from the US Government, but is loaded with lies and misrepresentation of actual climate change science.
When Mitt Romney campaigned at an Ohio coal mine earlier this month, he might not have realized that the miners were forced to be there — without pay — by the owner, Murray Energy. Miners said,"Just for the record, if we did not go, we knew what would happen,” if they didn't attend. Ohio has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission accusing the owner of Murray Energy Corporation of an illegal corporate contribution in the form of his employees.
Joe Arpaio opened an investigation to determine whether or not Obama was born a U.S. citizen. Since this is not in his jurisdiction as Sheriff, he assured everyone that the investigation was privately funded. Turns out that the Sheriff's Office, and in-turn the taxpayers, have been footing the bill for airfare and hotel room for the investigators. This is made worse by the fact that the investigation is frivolous since the 'birther' conspiracy has long been debunked.