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General News    H1'ed 5/5/14

U.S. Corruption: A Summary of Recent Reports

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On 24 April 2014, Jake Bernstein at ProPublica headlined, "Judge Tosses Retaliation Lawsuit by Fired N.Y. Fed Examiner," and reported that when Carmen Segarra, "a lawyer, was hired [on 31 October 2011] along with other examiners for her expertise in compliance," as part of the N.Y. Fed's new initiative to "ramp up its supervision of nine so-called 'Too-Big-To-Fail' financial institutions" and she found that "Goldman Sachs lacked a firm-wide conflict-of-interest policy," her three bosses ordered her to eliminate her finding, she refused to do so, and she was fired on 23 May 2012. She then filed charges against them and the N.Y. Fed; she "argued that numerous laws and regulations underpinned" her findings in the case; and the judge, whose husband was an attorney "representing Goldman Sachs in an advisory capacity" in the case, wrote in her ruling, that "Plaintiff [Segarra] has failed to state a cause of action." This judge "had also previously worked at a law firm with the Fed's lead counsel in the case." In other words: Don't whistle-blow if you're hired as a regulator and you find that a firm you're regulating isn't doing what the laws and regulations say they should. The judge ordered "to terminate the motions ... and to close the case." This was "regulation," in today's United States: Don't do your job -- or else! (Or else you'll be fired for doing it.)

Also on 24 April 2014, the Center for Public Integrity headlined "Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington: Lawmakers help industry donors beat back tougher rules," and a team reported that: "Members of this Banking Caucus receive massive financial support from the industry and collaborate with industry lobbyists to block or roll back efforts to tighten oversight of financial firms. Lobbyists help draft legislation and write questions for lawmakers to ask at hearings. Lawmakers help drum up support for lobbyists' pet issues."

The next day, yet another team at the Center for Public Integrity bannered, "What Happens When a Dark Money Group Blows Off IRS Rules? Nothing. The Government Integrity Fund spent most of its money on election ads, despite IRS rules prohibiting a social welfare nonprofit from doing so." The Government Integrity Fund was an Ohio nonprofit set up by aristocrats to oust the most progressive U.S. Senator, Ohio's Senator Sherrod Brown, and to install in his place a very conservative Republican, Josh Mandel. You can see the top 20 known contributors to each of these two contenders at where the biggest two for Brown were Ohio State University ($113,980), and JStreet PAC ($110,990), and the biggest two for Mandel were Senate Conservatives Fund (former Republican U.S. Senator Jim DeMint's bundling operation) ($360,319), and Club For Growth (a Wall Street front) ($301,553). However, the Government Integrity Fund reported too late to make that list, and when they finally did report at, they reported spending $1.3 million for Mandel, who nonetheless ended up with only 45% of the vote. Somehow, the most progressive U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, just kept on winning, even in his middle-of-the-road state of Ohio, despite everything that conservative aristocrats have been able to throw at him. Barack Obama's IRS refused to enforce the law against the clear legal violation by Mandel's largest donor-group: Government Integrity Fund.

On 26 April 2014, William K. Black at New Economic Perspectives bannered "Corporate CEOs Demand that They Be Tipped Off When a Whistleblower Reports Their Crimes," and he noted that, "The degree of hostility against regulators and whistleblowers, and intense sympathy for the CEOs leading the control frauds [i.e., heading the frauds against investors and consumers], is palpable among large numbers of Reagan and Bush judicial appointees," as a consequence of which there was now a raging war against whistleblowers. A reader-comment observed: "Enlisting the government to help whack rats is brazen even for the money industry." President Obama stood aside silently, while the "rats" who wanted clean and honest corporate governance, got "whacked" by judges, with his Administration's quiet complicity.

On 28 April 2014, yet a different team at the Center for Public Integrity bannered "Law-Breaking Judges Took Cases That Could Make Them Even Richer: Federal judges aren't supposed to hear cases in which they have a financial stake" but some "do it anyway," because "Judges face no formal punishment for breaking these rules." Consequently, for example: "When Linda Wolicki-Gables and her husband appealed a lawsuit all the way to the second-highest court in the nation against Johnson & Johnson over a malfunctioning medication pump that had been implanted in her body, the couple had no idea that one of the judges who decided their case had a financial stake in the giant multinational company. Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Hill owned as much as $100,000 in Johnson & Johnson stock when he and two other judges ruled against the Gables' appeal in the precedent-setting case."

Also on April 28th, the American Constitution Society headlined, "Federal Judge Says Big Donors' Money Drowning Out 'We the People'," and Jeremy Leaming reported an April 24th decision by U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Crotty: "'In effect' Crotty wrote, 'it is only direct bribery -- not influence -- that the [U.S. Supreme] Court views as crossing the line into quid pro quo corruption'"; and, so, Crotty was compelled to rule in a case that there was no corruption, even though he thought that there actually was.

These are 6 news reports during 24-28 April 2014, about federal corruption, that did not appear at the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox "News," NBC, etc., but that seem to indicate the U.S. is a very corrupt country, perhaps including in its corruption major news-media themselves (if, that is, you and others find this to be a type of news-reporting that's more interesting than much of what those major news-media actually are reporting on -- because they virtually ignore it). If you would want to see more coverage of this type of news, you may indicate that in a reader-comment here, and I shall be happy to pass it along to major news-media, as a suggestion to them, that they should be covering this.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that (more...)
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