Archive for ethics? what ethics?

Chris Christie accused of interfering with New Jersey ethics agency

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ethics schmethics

Three former New Jersey Ethics Commission officials are accusing that stalwart of honesty and decency, Chris Christie, of messing with a state agency. A member of Christie’s staff-- an executive assistant who worked for Bill Stepien and Bridget Anne Kelly, just by the way-- "used her state email account to influence her county health department to handle some feral felines on her property." Allegedly. And that would be a no-no.

Yes, stray cats are now part of the Christie saga. The story picks up from there. NJ.com has the goods:

By the time it was over, the executive director of the ethics commission was out of a job at the request of the governor’s office, replaced by one of Christie’s own lawyers, who was later given a judgeship by the governor.

Now, three former commission officials, breaking four years of silence, are accusing the governor’s office of unprecedented interference with an agency set up to be free of political influence.

Christie, they say, pushed the agency commissioners to replace the executive director — at a time when she was investigating a member of his own staff — thus crossing a line no other governor had before.

What? Governor Ethics played political chess with jobs for cronies, because "the governor wants his own person"? Governor Heartbroken meddled in an ongoing investigation? Governor I Know Nothing... crossed a line? Who'da thunk it?

Did I mention that the person he wanted to kick out was a Democrat?

One former state senator and former Ethics Commission vice chairman, a Republican, said it was the first time a governor had "asked for the commission’s top investigator to be removed, or suggested his own candidate lead the agency."

Of course, Governor Who Moi? is denying everything, as he is wont to do.

Speaking of scandals, the AP is reporting that "a judge has given New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other defendants more time to file a response to two lawsuits related to lane closures at the George Washington Bridge."

Much more on the ethics complaint story here.

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Even if Chris #Christie skates on #Bridgegate, "his ethics troubles won’t be over."

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New Jersey Gov. Chris "Cleared and Still Heartbroken" Christie has more ethics issues to deal with. Yes, more. Bet you didn't think that was even possible, did you? Guess again.

This time his problems stem from questionable campaign contributions. Surprise! And by that I mean, not surprised in the least. Words like "secretive" and "little-regulated" popped up in this latest report.

Roll Call has the whole story:

Christie’s complicated relationship with campaign contributors and state contractors, in particular, will draw scrutiny as he continues to mull a 2016 presidential bid. Christie’s donors have a history of gravitating to secretive and little-regulated political groups to promote the GOP governor and his agenda.

These include tax-exempt organizations that spent millions on Christie’s gubernatorial election and re-election campaigns, and that operate outside the disclosure rules. [...]

...Christie’s big backers, who have bankrolled several pro-Christie operations, stand out because many of them are state contractors otherwise barred from contributing to his campaign. New Jersey “pay-to-play” laws, considered the strictest in the nation, bar large state contractors, utilities and financial services firms that manage state pension funds from donating to state candidates.

Yet a long list of New Jersey contractors and pension fund managers have given generously to groups that either back or are closely linked with Christie. Such contributions have repeatedly raised questions as to whether Christie supporters are skirting the state’s pay-to-play laws.

Before Governor "Who Moi?" became chairman of the RGA, the organization raised over $500,000 from "New Jersey utilities, individuals and businesses with significant state contracts," according to the New York Times..

Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, said, “Government contractors cannot make contributions directly to Christie, but what they can do is give contributions to the RGA. And the RGA can use those contributions to promote Christie.” It sure did, to the tune of $1.7 million for his re-election.

[Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts] referred CQ Roll Call to Christie’s public comments on Reform Jersey Now in 2009: “There are a group of citizens who are out there to advocate policies in line with mine, and that’s great.”

As with Christie’s more recent troubles, that’s a response that is likely to beg further questions.

Christie's likely response will be, "Ethics schmethics. Shut up, you idiots." And then he'll clear himself.

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WI Gov. Scott Walker: No comment on new criminal investigation

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our lips are sealed

This month we posted two TPC Scott Walker items that are worthy of your attention:

Those are just the tip of the Walker ethics iceberg. Sorry, did I say ethics? I meant ethic-less.

That second story was from yesterday. It was reported that possible violations may have occurred during the Wisconsin recall elections awhile back, and that a secret probe in five Wisconsin counties is underway. A special prosecutor is looking into  possible campaign violations during the recall elections.

But this is a super duper ultra double secret probe, so for now, we have no further information.

Today Scotty Walker is refusing comment. Of course he is. Imagine that...Walker's being tight-lipped yet again on yet another probe into his sneaky little doings.

Via the LaCrosse Tribune:

Walker would not say Monday during a stop at Beechwood Sales and Service in New Berlin whether he, his attorneys or any staff members have been contacted in the probe. His spokesman referred questions to Walker’s campaign, which did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate said this in a written statement:

“The public has a right to know if their governor is a target of this criminal probe, if he’s provided testimony or if his actions spurred this probe.”

But true to form, Walker isn't talking.

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Oops! Rafael "Ted" Cruz failed to disclose financial ties to Caribbean-based company

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ethics

Raffy is all over the place these days, physically, politically, and psychologically... and now ethically. Time is reporting that he "potentially" broke some rulesies! Ruh roh!

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz potentially violated ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with a Caribbean-based holding company during the 2012 campaign, a review of financial disclosure and company documents by TIME shows. The relationship originated with a $6,000 investment Cruz made more than a decade ago in a Jamaican private equity firm founded by his college roommate.

When Cruz later reported the financial relationship in 2013, he failed to comply with Senate rules requiring full identification of the holding company and its location, triggering an inquiry by Senate Select Committee on Ethics staff and a second amended disclosure. After additional inquiries by TIME this week, Cruz said he is now in the process making further corrections to his disclosure. [...]

Cruz says he severed his ties with the company when his wife went to work at the Treasury Department during the administration of George W. Bush.

Raffy called it an "oversight." Kind of like his tea tantrum government shutdown costing the United States $24 billion was an oversight.

Raffy World

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WI Gov. Scott Walker used phantom jobs to hand out pay raises

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walker world

Why oh why is Scott Walker supported by anyone in Wisconsin (or anywhere else, for that matter)? Have they not learned a thing since this happened in 2011?

He is, inexplicably, an early favorite for re-election (but not a lock) despite his voter suppressing, privatizing, union busting ways.

And don't get me started on his lack of ethics, including a years-long John Doe probe.

Including Walker's campaign and county staff collaborating after a teenage boy was killed by a 13-ton concrete panel that fell on him.

Including the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia warning Walker on giving misleading data on the WI economy.

Via JSOnline, we now see Scotty playing favorites/Checkers with jobs:

Madison Gov. Scott Walker's administration used phantom job transfers this year to give double-digit pay raises to two employees and a smaller raise to a third, quickly switching them from one post to as many as three others and then back to their original jobs.

The biggest pay increase — $14,416 a year — went to a longtime state economist who helped expose flaws in jobs statistics that were hurting the governor's recall election chances, a Journal Sentinel review has found.

Team Walker reversed the retroactive pay raise they gave to the head of the Capitol Police "after the newspaper reported that Chief Dave Erwin and his top deputy had been moved on paper to ghost jobs for two weeks and then back to their real posts at much higher salaries."

At last count, at least five state employees were given raises that skirted state limits. Five. And JSOnline is reporting that they were never expected to do any work at these shadow jobs.

He should never hold public office again. Wise up, Wisconsin (and potentially, all American voters).

More details at the link.

ethics schmethics

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Paging Olivia Pope! Michele Bachmann hires "fixer" to "clean up mess"

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scandal olivia pope kerry washington

Michele Bachmann's been in hot water lately. For example:

It is now getting so jittery in Michele World that she has summoned her very own quasi-Olivia Pope, because her crises certainly need management.

Via Roll Call:

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has brought in a new treasurer for her congressional campaign and leadership political action committee in the wake of a federal grand jury probe, a potential House Ethics investigation and a possible inquiry from the Federal Election Commission.

Nancy Watkins, a well-known campaign finance treasurer in GOP circles, submitted paperwork a few weeks ago naming her the new treasurer of both campaign accounts for the Minnesota Republican. Watkins is still the treasurer for Bachmann’s failed 2011 presidential bid, and despite allegations of impropriety surrounding that campaign, Watkins’ stewardship of that account has not been questioned.

She is a fixer, in terms of coming in and cleaning-up the mess that other people left behind,” said Brett Kappel, a campaign finance lawyer at Arent Fox.

Yes indeedy, Bachmann's in legal trouble. That sound you hear is Rep. Family Values' hypocrisy hitting the fan.

An Office of Congressional Ethics report released Wednesday said there was “substantial reason” to believe that Bachmann authorized or failed to prevent illegal contributions between her campaign committees, and that she improperly mixed promotion of her book, “Core of Conviction,” with her presidential campaign activities.

As Rachel Maddow says, "Watch this space."

bachmann bye bye

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WI Gov. Scott Walker suggests stripping police and firefighter union rights

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walker koch call

Why, it was only yesterday that I posted about how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and county staff collaborated after a teenage boy was killed by a 13-ton concrete panel that fell on him. Oops! Where's all that conservative compassion we used to hear so much about, hmm?

Now Scotty is once again doing his best to make himself as unappealing as possible by further alienating workers, the middle class, union members, Democratic voters, the usual. He's talking about extending the state ban on public sector union rights to police and firefighters. He must have gotten a call from one of the Koch brothers.

Then he backtracked the next day, because-- surprise!-- that plan bothered a few people.

Via the Wisconsin State Journal:

At a public event in Milwaukee on Monday, Walker said he would consider expanding the law, and that police and fire workers may now be willing to forgo union rights taken from other government workers — collective bargaining, paycheck dues withdrawals and arbitration to settle disputes with management.

“I think now, for those areas, having seen that the world didn’t come to an end for other municipal employees, there might be a greater opening going forward because they’d say, ‘Hey, you know, things worked out,’” Walker said at the annual Governmental Research Association policy conference.

Leaders of two police unions said their members wouldn’t accept any such change, and they believe the governor knows that.

I'msorrywhat?! "The world didn't come to an end for other municipal employees"?! Interrobang!

Nahh, those workers and their families are just dandy now that you yanked their rights out from under them, making it impossible to improve their situation, their lives, their livelihood as well as their children's, destroyed their dignity, all while spitting on democracy and Wisconsin families. Pfft, big deal, no skin off Scotty's nose.

Family values my ass.

Those union slobs and their kvetching. Honestly.

There you have it, voters: Walker 2016. Some might say he was appealing to his base. I say he is as appalling as his base.

Here's what else Scotty had the unmitigated gall to say: "The position I pushed is not unlike the principle that Franklin Delano Roosevelt — not exactly a conservative — pushed as well when it came to public sector collective bargaining.”

Yes, he said that. No, I'm not kidding.

Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the state AFL-CIO, didn't take kindly to that either, saying (among other things), "Scott Walker is drowning in a jobs deficit and to compare himself to FDR is laughably delusional.”

Truer words were never spoken...

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