Archive for ethics? what ethics?

TX GOP Rep. Steve Stockman investigated over campaign donations, cover-up


steve stockman twitter bio

If a congressional staff member donates to their boss, it's a no-no. If two congressional staff members donated to their boss, Republican Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, then wouldn't that be a no-no-no-no?

magic 8 ball yes

Via The New York Times:

The House Ethics Committee is investigating accusations that a Republican lawmaker from Texas — who lost a recent bid for a United States Senate seat — took illegal contributions from two of his staff members and may have made false statements in an effort to cover it up. [...]

The staff members — Jason Posey, the director of special projects, and Thomas Dodd, a special assistant — admitted to contributing $7,500 each to Mr. Stockman’s campaign in February 2013, although they were first reported as having been made by Mr. Dodd’s mother and Mr. Posey’s father.

Stockman fired the two staff  members and returned the contributions. Stockman's lawyer said there was not so much as "a breath of unethical action by Congressman Stockman." Pshyeah. What's he going to say, "Hey! My client's guilty as sin! You must punish him now!"?

Follow the link for more, including how, since he's not running for re-election, it's doubtful that the investigation will go very far. That's because the Ethics Committee "will lose its jurisdiction in the case once he leaves office."

Business as usual.


Another sweetheart deal: Donor "has complete access to #Christie, gets whatever he wants”


sweetheart deal

Another day, another sweetheart deal between New Jersey Governor Chris "Who Moi?" Christie and one of his wealthy BFFs. This time it appears that the rules were changed only a couple of months before a land deal could be deemed eligible for funding. Guess who benefited? If you said a Christie crony, you would be correct.

Via The Guardian:

Chris Christie’s New Jersey administration awarded a $105.6m public subsidy to a property venture involving a close friend and financial backer of the governor, after state law was amended to enable the project to qualify for the money.

The venture, in one of the state’s poorest cities, appears potentially lucrative for the friend, Jon Hanson, a wealthy real estate tycoon who headed the fundraising operations for Christie's election campaigns, chairs a policy commission for the governor, and is a longstanding Republican donor. [...]

The site is located outside a city zone in which businesses were originally eligible for the state funding program. It did not appear to meet the usual requirements for creating jobs and future tax revenues that were placed on other projects that were seeking the funding. Yet a series of amendments were made to New Jersey law that made funding easier to obtain... Paterson’s mayor, Jeffery Jones, said he was concerned that Hanson’s firm, The Hampshire Companies, may have received a “special sweetheart deal”. He said: “Somebody wanted this thing done, and they got it done.”[...]

He has complete access to the governor,” another property mogul told the publication. “He just gets whatever he wants.

Per the Guardian, one of the EDA’s (economic development authority) board members is Hanson’s son-in-law and a senior executive at The Hampshire Companies. So is his wife, Deborah. She's Hanson’s daughter.

One hand washes the other, yet none are clean. Funny that.

More here. The last line is amusing.


Chris Christie accused of interfering with New Jersey ethics agency


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. 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.


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



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.


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


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.


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



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


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


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