Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

Dukes Plea Deal Expires, Headed for Trial

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

The plea deal for Austin Democratic State Rep. Dawnna Dukes on corruption charges has expired.

The Travis County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday said its offer to drop all corruption charges against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, in exchange for her agreeing to resign immediately had expired.

In a statement sent to The Texas Tribune after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said she’d had no contact from the attorneys for Dukes.

“The offer to resolve this matter has expired and is no longer available,” Moore said in a statement. “We will be ready for trial.”

As a part of the deal, Dukes would’ve had to also pay $3,500 in fines and restitution and agree to a drug and alcohol assessment. Dukes has previously denied charges that she had her legislative staff run personal errands and that she was compensated for days she did not work at the Texas Capitol.

Dukes seems awful confident of beating the rap, especially since her previous legal team bailed:

On July 25, two of Dukes’ Houston-based lawyers filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, citing an inability to “effectively communicate with the defendant on matters essential to the representation.”

State Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, put out a statement Tuesday night indicating he was representing Dukes, writing that the 12-term representative rejected the Travis County DA’s proposal because she “strongly reiterates her innocence,” adding that the “inexplicable request that she undergo some drug assessment is absurd.” He said neither Dukes nor her attorneys plan on commenting further.

Oliveira has been practicing law since 1979, so presumably he knows what he’s doing.

Maybe Dukes saw that John Wiley Price beat a federal rap and figured she could so the same for the comparatively piddling local charges. Given how quickly DA Margaret Moore was willing to sweep away the cobwebs of the Ronnie Earle/Rosemary Lehmberg era at the DA’s office, she may have miscalculated.

The trial is currently scheduled to start October 16.

DA to Dukes: Resign or Else

Monday, July 31st, 2017

There’s been a new development in Democrat State Rep. Dawnna Dukes corruption case:

Beleaguered state Rep. Dawnna Dukes has until the end of the day Tuesday to resign from office — and submit to a drug and alcohol assessment — as part of a plea offer in her criminal corruption case.

The plea offer is similar to one Dukes rejected last year prior to the Texas Rangers launching an investigation that led to a Travis County grand jury indicting Dukes on 13 felony charges and two misdemeanors.

Dukes did not respond to messages left by the American-Statesman on Monday morning. She told reporters in June after pleading not guilty that she would not take any plea deals and instead will proceed to trial on Oct. 16.

The deal expires at the close of the business day on Tuesday and will not be re-offered, according to Justin Wood of the district attorney’s office. In addition to her resignation, the plea offer calls for Dukes to:

  • Submit to a drug and alcohol assessment and complete any treatment and counseling recommended as a result of the assessment. In a March 29 meeting of the House Appropriations Committee, Dukes showed up late and, after posing a rambling question, referred to medication she was on — “I know I’m talking a lot. I’m full of morphine and will be headed out of here soon,” she said.
  • Pay restitution in the amount of $3,000 related to charges of tampering with governmental records and abuse of official capacity. Dukes is alleged to have collected pay for days she did not travel to the Capitol in the 2014 Legislative session. She’s also charged with using her legislative staff for personal chores.
  • Pay a $500 fine to the Texas Ethics Commission. Dukes was sued by the commission earlier this month for missing a deadline for an elections finance report and then not paying the fine.
  • Waive her right to a speedy trial in any future litigation related to these matters
  • In exchange for accepting the offer, the DA’s office has agreed to drop all charges, but only after Dukes has complied with all conditions.

    If found guilty at trial, Dukes could face a maximum punishment of 28 years in prison.

    Dukes’ attorney, Dane Ball, of Houston, declined comment Monday morning and would not say if he is still representing Dukes in this case.

    Dukes was indicted in January and pled not guilty June 30. Her continuing in the legislature was a surprise, as she had been absent from from the legislature for more than a year for “medical reasons,” and had previously said she would step down, but then changed her mind and was sworn in for the 85th Texas legislature.

    Dukes previously stated she wanted to go to trial, but she has continually delayed the case, most recently on the grounds of legislative continuance, a cause that would still presumably hold while the special session is active.

    And if she beats the rap, Dukes says she’s considering running for reelection again in 2018.

    Stay tuned…

    (Hat tip: Dwight.)

    Arrest Uresti

    Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

    Democratic State Senator Carlos Uresti’s offices were raided by the FBI and IRS in February. Today, the other shoe finally dropped:

    A federal grand jury has indicted Texas state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of securities fraud, among other charges, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

    There were 13 charges in all, stemming from two separate corruption cases:

    The Four Winds indictment

    Uresti served as general counsel in 2014 for the now-defunct San Antonio company Four Winds Logistics. Investors have claimed that company CEO Stan Bates wasted their money on personal expenses and vacations, and the investigation has so far led to at least three guilty pleas from officials at Four Winds.

    The grand jury also indicted Bates and Four Winds consultant Gary L. Cain, federal investigators said.

    Bates founded the company to trade “frac sand,” which is used in hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas from shale rock. Documents filed months ago that outline the investigation claim that company officials in 2014 wired money from the company to personal bank accounts controlled by conspirators or their spouses; sent altered bank statements for the Four Winds’ general operating account to potential investors; and emailed an investor a spreadsheet that falsely showed the investor’s investment was used to buy fracking sands.

    “The indictment alleges that the defendants’ scheme developed an investment Ponzi to market hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) sand for oil production,” federal officials said in their statement Tuesday. “It further alleges that the defendants made false statements and representations to solicit investors in Four Winds. The defendants allegedly used funds from more recent investors to pay earlier investors and for personal expenses.”

    Uresti, Bates and Cain face the following charges in this indictment:

  • Uresti: One count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, five substantive counts of wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud, one count of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity, and one count of being an unregistered securities broker.
  • Bates: One count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud, and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity.
  • Cain: One count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and seven counts of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity.
  • Uresti would face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of being an unregistered securities broker. Additionally, each man could face up to 20 years in prison for each fraud charge and up to 10 years in prison for each money laundering charge.

    The Reeves County indictment

    This indictment alleges that, from January 2006 to September 2016, Uresti and Vernon C. Farthing III, of Lubbock, conspired with others to pay and accept bribes in order to secure a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract for Farthing’s company, federal officials said.

    The indictment specifically alleges that Farthing paid Uresti $10,000 a month as a marketing consultant and that half of that sum was then given to a Reeves County official for his support and vote to award the contract to Farthing’s company, federal officials said.

    Uresti and Farthing face the following charges in this indictment:

  • Uresti: One count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Farthing: One count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • If convicted of both charges, both men would each face up to 25 years in prison.

    (Hat tip: Dwight.)

    The post title is mainly there for the alliteration, as Uresti is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad at 11 AM in San Antonio.

    LinkSwarm for April 28, 2017

    Friday, April 28th, 2017

    It’s been a week, so enjoy an extra-late Friday LinkSwarm

  • There’s lots of meat in President Trump’s tax reform proposal:

    Individual Reform

    Tax relief for American families, especially middle-income families:

  • Reducing the 7 tax brackets to 3 tax brackets of to%, 25% and 35%
  • Doubling the standard deduction
  • Providing tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses
  • Simplification:

  • Eliminate targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers
  • Protect the home ownership and charitable gift tax deductions
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Repeal the death tax
  • Repeal the 3.8% Obamacare tax that hits small businesses and investment income
  • Business Reform

  • 15% business tax rate
  • Territorial tax system to level the playing field for American companies
  • One-time tax on trillions of dollars held overseas
  • Eliminate tax breaks for special interests
  • Texas House passes anti-Santuary City bill that fines officials for violating federal immigration laws.
  • North Korean ballistic missile test fails. Cue the sad trombone.

  • Obama’s Iran deal was even worse than we thought. “By dropping charges against major arms targets, the administration infuriated Justice Department officials — and undermined its own counterproliferation task forces.”
  • If Democrats keep moving left, they could experience another election like 1972:

    The highest-profile Democratic-party supporters are increasingly smug Hollywood actors, rich Wall Street and Silicon Valley elitists, and embittered members of the media, along with careerist identity groups and assorted protest movements — a fossilized 1972 echo chamber.

    Democrats’ politically correct messaging derides opponents as deplorable racists, sexists, bigots, xenophobes, homophobes, Islamophobes, and nativists. That shrill invective only further turns off Middle America. Being merely anti-Trump is no more a successful Democratic agenda than being anti-Nixon was in 1972.

  • If the election were held today, Trump would still beat Clinton.
  • Former Mayor of Hubbard, Ohio pleads guilty to raping a four year old. Go ahead, guess which party he’s a member of.
  • The Other McCain does his part for sexual assault awareness month.
  • The media does indeed live in a bubble, both geographic and ideological, of its own making.
  • Hundreds of illegal voters in North Carolina. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Nancy Pelosi: tried, drunk or stroke? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • 107 Cancer Papers Retracted Due To Peer Review Fraud. But don’t worry: All climate science is completely on the level…
  • When Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke swore up and down he never hire any campaign consultants, what he meant was he’d hire some.
  • “Facebook and Google confirmed as victims of $100M phishing scam.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • President Trump as a systems thinking President.
  • NYPD corruption scandal. Bribes? Check. Guns? Check. Prostitutes? Check. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Marine Le Pen heads to a runoff with Emmanuel Macron on May 7. Is there a better figurehead for modern Globalism than a Socialist investment banker?
  • Dishonest medical equipment startup Theranos used a shell company to secretly buy outside lab equipment to actually run the lab tests they were faking as coming from their own equipment. And check out that picture caption: “[CEO] Elizabeth Holmes speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.” Because of course she did.
  • Liberals love denouncing the imaginary Christian theocracy of The Handmaid’s Tale (now a miniseries) because it keeps them from having to think about the real Islamic ones oppressing women all over the world right at this very moment.
  • Related: “Lesbian Couple Discover Islamic Culture During Exciting International Trip.”
  • “When God sends a Plague of Wild Boars against you, he’s done sending messages, and is now sending armored bacon.”
  • Less than half of Democrats know a gun owner.
  • Richard Gere blacklisted in Hollywood on China’s orders.
  • Sonny Bunch has some “helpful” advice for Democrats. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Nordstrom selling $425 fake muddy jeans. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • You too can own a baseball inscribed to Justice Antonin Scalia by Joe DiMaggio.
  • “My Boyfriend Ate Nothing But Pineapple For A Week And Now His Dick Is Covered In Bees.”
  • Andrew Cuomo’s Fishy Book Royalties

    Monday, April 24th, 2017

    A few days ago news broke of New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fishy book royalties:

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported his income last year more than doubled from the previous year, thanks to another round of royalty payments on a 2014 HarperCollins memoir [All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life] that saw lackluster sales.

    In all, Cuomo has made $783,000 from HarperCollins for his book. The book sold 3,200 copies since it was published in the fall of 2014, according to tracking company NPD BookScan.

    That works out to royalty payments to Cuomo of $245 per book.

    It’s not unknown for a political book to get a big advance and bomb. What is unknown is getting big royalties on such a book two years after publication, since it will not have “earned out” its advance and thus no royalties should be forthcoming.

    So how could a book earn royalties if it wasn’t selling enough copies to according to BookScan?

    One possibility is that HarperCollins is somehow passing money on to Cuomo for political favors. Since HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., this seems unlikely

    Another, far more likely possibility is that Cuomo is pulling a Jim Wright. Wright, then Democratic Speaker of the House, published a slim volume of supposedly pithy aphorisms, Reflections of a Public Man, the vast majority of copies being sold via bulk sales to Wright’s political cronies (including unions) for which he was paid an unheard of 55% royalties on the cover price. Stephen King and J. K. Rowling don’t even get remotely that much per hardback. (E-book sales are a different matter, but physical books still outsell e-books.)

    Wright Reflections

    It’s quite likely that bulk sales of Cuomo’s book to unions wouldn’t show up on BookScan, which only tracks regular book channel sales. (Amazon, for example, shows that Cuomo’s book is the 337,666 best-selling book they stock.) And, like Wright’s, those sales would likely count as an illegal campaign contribution, assuming the unions in question had already hit New York state contribution limits.

    Even by the standards of the Democratic Party, Cumo has gone out of his way to do special favors for unions.

    The book royalty mystery is just another in the long list ethical lapses and corruption swirling around Cuomo. He famously created a commission to root out state corruption, then abruptly shut it down when it got too close to his own honeypots.

    Andrew Cuomo is, of course, the son of a far more charismatic New York governor, Mario Cuomo, as well as the brother of CNN host Chris Cuomo. (He also happens to be married to a Kennedy.) If he had any more silver spoons he’d he could open a shop on Martha’s Vineyard. I would suggest that the overclass cease foisting their hellish drop as future politicians, but we all know they’re not going to stop…

    Clinton Corruption Update for April 13, 2017

    Thursday, April 13th, 2017

    With Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign due out April 18, it’s high time for a Clinton Corruption update. (And you may quibble that “Hillary being a nasty person” doesn’t qualify as “corruption,” but if I started doing separate “Hillary Clinton is a horrible human being” updates, I’d never have time to sleep…)

    The book excerpts show that Hillary was every bit as much a joy to work with as we all suspected:

    Hillary was so mad she couldn’t think straight. She was supposed to be focused on the prep session for that night’s Univision debate in Miami, but a potent mix of exhaustion and exasperation bubbled up inside.

    She’d been humiliated in the Michigan primary the night before, a loss that not only robbed her of a prime opportunity to put Bernie Sanders down for good but also exposed several of her weaknesses. How could she have been left so vulnerable? She knew — or at least she thought she did. The blame belonged to her campaign team, she believed, for failing to hone her message, energize important constituencies and take care of business in getting voters to the polls. And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.

    “That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.

    “Really?” Hillary snapped back.

    The room fell silent.

    “Why don’t you do it?”

    The comment was pointed and sarcastic, but she meant it. So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.

    Every time the Yale lawyer and former high school debate champ opened his mouth, Hillary cut him off. “That isn’t very good,” she’d say. “You can do better.” Then she’d hammer him with a Bernie line.

    It wasn’t just Sullivan in her crosshairs. She let everyone on her team have it that day. “We haven’t made our case,” she fumed. “We haven’t framed the choice. We haven’t done the politics.”

    “She was visibly, unflinchingly pissed off at us as a group,” said one aide who was in the room for the humiliating scene. “And she let us know she felt that way.”

    Hillary had been up into the wee hours the night before, agitating over her loss. This is because we made poor choices about where we traveled, she thought. She emailed Robby Mook to tell him she believed she’d spent too much time in the cities of Detroit and Flint and not enough in the working-class white suburbs around them. Sensing just how angry she was, Mook responded by putting together a morning conference call so that Hillary could vent. But that didn’t settle her; if anything, it left her more perplexed and angry, as her debate-prep team witnessed firsthand.

    Her aides took the browbeating — one of several she delivered in person and on the phone that day — in silence. They had a lot of their own thoughts on what went wrong, some of which echoed Hillary’s assessment: her message was off for Michigan, and she had refused to go hard against trade; Mook had pinched pennies and failed to put organizers on the ground; the polling and analytics were a touch too rosy, meaning the campaign didn’t know Bernie was ahead; she had set up an ambiguous decisionmaking structure on the campaign; and she’d focused too heavily on black and brown voters at the expense of competing for the whites who had formed her base in 2008. The list went on and on.

    The underlying truth — the one that many didn’t want to admit to themselves — was the person ultimately responsible for these decisions, the one whose name was on the ticket, hadn’t corrected these problems, all of which had been brought to her attention before primary day. She’d stuck with the plan, and it had cost her.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

    More on the same theme:

    “Hillary’s been having screaming, child-like tantrums that have left her staff members in tears and unable to work,” a campaign aide told Klein in 2015, according to a New York Post report. “She thought the nomination was hers for the asking, but her mounting problems have been getting to her, and she’s become shrill and, at times, even violent.”

    According to the report, Hillary blasted a low-level campaign worker who had made a scheduling mistake. When Hillary viciously berated her, the worker turned and began to walk away. That’s when Hillary reportedly grabbed her by the arm.

    In one June 2016 report, it was revealed Hillary hurled a Bible at a Secret Service agent’s head, according to former agent Gary Byrne, who said her explosions grew worse as the Clintons’ time in the White House went on.

    Byrne warned Hillary was too “erratic, uncontrollable and occasionally violent” for the presidency.

    In other Clinton corruption news:

  • RussiaGate: Hillary Clinton and John Podesta’s Troubling Ties to Russia. Much will be familiar to regular BattleSwarm readers, but there’s some nice recap for those coming in cold:

    Unlike the revelations so far concerning Russian ties in the Trump camp, the Clinton deals involved hundreds of millions of dollars and enormous favors that benefitted Russian interests.

    Bill and Hillary Clinton received large sums of money directly and indirectly from Russian officials while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Bill Clinton was paid a cool $500,000 (well above his normal fee) for a speech in Moscow in 2010. Who footed the bill? An investment firm in Moscow called Renaissance Capital, which boasts deep ties to Russian intelligence. The Clinton Foundation itself took money from Russian officials and Putin-connected oligarchs. They also took donations from:

  • Viktor Vekselberg, a Putin confidant who gave through his company, Renova Group
  • Andrey Vavilov, a former Russian government official who was Chairman of SuperOx, a research company that was part of the “nuclear Cluster” at the Russian government’s Skolkovo research facility
  • Elena Baturina, the wife of the former Mayor of Moscow, who apparently gave them money through JSC Inteco, an entity that she controls
  • (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Ditto this National Review piece on the Clintons’ Russian ties:

    The shadiest deal that the Clintons hatched with Russia is called Uranium One. This outrage should mushroom into Hillary and Bill’s radioactive Whitewater scandal.

    Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining mogul and major Clinton Foundation donor, led a group of investors in an enterprise called Uranium One. On June 8, 2010, Rosatom, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, announced plans to purchase a 51.4 percent stake in the Canadian company, whose international assets included some 20 percent of America’s uranium capacity.

    Because this active ingredient in atomic reactors and nuclear weapons is a strategic commodity, this $1.3 billion deal required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Secretary of State Clinton was one of nine federal department and agency heads on that secretive panel.

    On June 29, 2010, three weeks after Rosatom proposed to Uranium One, Bill Clinton keynoted a seminar staged by Renaissance Capital in Moscow, a reputedly Kremlin-controlled investment bank that promoted this transaction. Renaissance Capital paid Clinton $500,000 for his one-hour speech.

    While CFIUS evaluated Rosatom’s offer, Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer observed, “a spontaneous outbreak of philanthropy among eight shareholders in Uranium One” began. “These Canadian mining magnates decide now would be a great time to donate tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.”

    These included Uranium One’s then-chairman, Ian Telfer, whose donations to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI) totaled $3.1 million. Giustra himself gave $131.3 million to the Clinton Foundation. Before, during, and after CFIUS’s review, Schweizer calculates, “shareholders involved in this transaction had transferred approximately $145 million to the Clinton Foundation or its initiatives.”

    Others were less enthused about this deal.

    “Russia’s record of transferring dangerous materials and technologies to rogue regimes, such as those in Iran and Syria, is very troubling,” Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the time, wrote to CFIUS’s then-chairman, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The top Republicans on the Financial Services, Homeland Security, and Armed Services Committees also signed Ros-Lehtinen’s letter of October 5, 2010.

    “We believe that this potential takeover of U.S. nuclear resources by a Russian government–owned agency would pose great potential harm to the national security of the United States,” the letter read, “and we urge the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to block the sale.”

    As a CFIUS member, Hillary could have heeded this warning and stopped Vladimir Putin from controlling a fifth of U.S. uranium supplies. America’s chief diplomat and former first lady either welcomed this prospect or was too uncharacteristically demure to make her objections stick.

    In either case, on October 23, 2010, within three weeks of that letter, CFIUS approved Rosatom’s purchase of a majority stake in Uranium One.

    Thanks to subsequent investments, Rosatom’s share of Uranium One grew to 100 percent by January 2013. Robert Gill of Morrison Williams Investment Management told Canada’s Financial Post: “By doing this acquisition, they can continue to build the company they intended to build, but they can do so without the transparency required by the public markets.”

    Rosatom CEO Sergei Kiriyenko crowed just after taking total control of Uranium One, “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves.”

    A headline in Pravda boasted on January 22, 2013: “Russian nuclear energy conquers the world.”

    My old friend Michael Caputo performed public-relations work for Renaissance Capital in 1999–2000. He says it subsequently became “a practical arm of Vladimir Putin.” Caputo was stunned at the speed with which CFIUS approved Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One.

    “In 2010–2011, I ran acquisition communications for Safran Group, the French government–controlled defense contractor which bought the US biometrics company L-1,” Caputo wrote in PoliticsNY.net. “It took us almost two years to gain CFIUS approval for France, an historic ally, to purchase a biometrics firm, not even remotely a strategic asset.” He added, “These two CFIUS approvals were happening at precisely the same time. Safran couldn’t buy a break and was questioned at every turn. Somehow, Kremlin-controlled Rosatom’s purchase sailed through on a cool breeze.”

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Even more on John Podesta’s Russian ties:

    Rep. Louie Gohmert, an outspoken House Republican from Texas, is calling for a congressional investigation of John Podesta’s role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

    Podesta — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff — first made contact with the Russian firm in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.

    Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano, amounting to $35 million in U.S. currency. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been depicted as a corrupt figure.

  • And how did Podesta react to these charges? He hit the Daily Caller with a cease and desist letter.
  • “Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta grossed more than $500,000 to represent a Chinese company criminally convicted in March of sending illegal shipments of telecom equipment to Iran.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “New Huma Abedin Emails Reveal Additional Instances of Clinton Sending Classified Information through Unsecured Emails, Special Favors for Clinton Donors.”
  • “Hillary Clinton had astonishing access to top secret documents after she left state department“:

    Hillary Clinton may have resigned her secretary role at the State Department in 2013 – but her access to top secret and classified information didn’t end then.

    Under Barack Obama, she was allowed to continue to view highly sensitive intel documents for years – well past her announced run for the presidency in April 2015, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Why? Toward what possible end?

    So she could better write her memoir.

    File this in the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me” folder.

    And it wasn’t just Clinton who kept the power of top secret access. It was six of her former staffers, who went by the tag of “research assistants.”

  • “Hillary has no plans to return to work at Clinton Foundation.” Yes, “work.” Because cashing checks from influence-seekers is so strenuous…
  • The hagiographers at Vanity Fair talk about Hillary coming out of the woods.
  • Bill Maher: Stay in the woods:

    The shrill, annoying woman acting as Social Justice Warrior Policer of Jokes and Defender of the Hillary Faith is evidently Neera Tanden. Every time she speaks, just imagine tiny votes flying on fairy wings from the Democratic to the Republican side of the ledger; she’s that annoying.

  • A tweet, with video:

  • Democratic State Senator Carlos Uresti’s Offices Raided by FBI, IRS

    Thursday, February 16th, 2017

    Via Dwight comes word that the offices of Democratic State Senator Carlos Uresti have been raided by the FBI and the IRS:

    Agents have been confiscating documents from the office of the Democratic lawmaker.

    “I can confirm the FBI and IRS are lawfully present and conducting a lawful law enforcement activity,” FBI spokeswoman Michelle Lee told the Express-News.

    Lee also said no arrests have been made so far.

    Uresti is currently facing a grand jury investigation into possible public corruption charges related to his involvement with FourWinds, a San Antonio oil-field services company accused of defrauding investors.

    While Uresti is “innocent until proven guilty,” having both the FBI and IRS lawfully conducting lawful law enforcement in your office is not a good sign.

    When last we checked on Sen. Uresti, he was sharing a bathroom with a female staffer not his wife and involved in the UT admissions scandal.

    Here’s more on the FourWinds story, which I had not been previously following:

    The one-time marketing director for a bankrupt San Antonio frac-sand company with ties to state Sen. Carlos Uresti has been criminally charged in an alleged scheme to defraud investors.

    On Wednesday, Eric Nelson was charged in an information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud for allegedly altering a FourWinds Logistics’ bank statement to inflate the amount of money in the account. The bank statement was then mailed by an unnamed co-conspirator to prospective investors, according to the charging document.

    Nelson has agreed to a plea deal, according to sources, but records show that it is sealed. His attorneys declined to comment.

    The San Antonio Express-News in August chronicled the demise of FourWinds, which had more than $14 million in claims against it. Investors have alleged that CEO Stan Bates wasted their money on personal expenses, expensive gifts, exotic car rentals and lavish vacation, according to a court document. Bates has denied the allegations.

    Uresti provided legal services for FourWinds and served as its outside general counsel for four or five months in 2014, he said in an interview this summer. He received FourWinds shares, as well as a $40,000 loan from the company that he failed to disclose initially. He also collected a $27,000 commission on a Harlingen woman’s $900,000 investment in a joint venture with FourWinds. The woman ended up losing about $800,000.

    Really, who of us hasn’t forgotten a $40,000 loan? “Oh yeah! That little thing! Sorry, totally slipped my mind!”

    Uncle Sam’s mills grind slowly, but exceedingly fine. One way or another, I suspect Republicans will view Uresti’s west Texas District 19 as a pickup target in 2020…if not sooner…

    Dawnna Dukes Indicted on 15 Counts, Faces 28 Years in Jail

    Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

    The shoe has landed:

    A grand jury has indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes on 13 felony corruption charges and two misdemeanors, with a maximum penalty of 28 years behind bars, a courthouse source said Wednesday.

    Dukes, an Austin Democrat, faces two misdemeanor counts of abuse of official capacity and 13 felony counts of tampering with public records, a source with knowledge of the case said. Travis County prosecutors and investigators from the Texas Rangers presented the evidence to the grand jurors Tuesday, who indicted Dukes on the first day that they met to consider the case.

    The indictment comes seven days after Dukes reneged on a promise to step down and took the oath of office for a 12th two-year term representing parts of North Austin, East Austin, Pflugerville and Manor.

    Dukes posted a statement on Facebook following the indictment, which was first reported by Spectrum News: “Of course, I am disappointed but I expected that if I was sworn into office in January 10th that this indictment would follow. All I can say today is that I will be entering a plea of Not Guilty.”

    One abuse of official capacity charge deals with Dukes using her legislative staff for personal purposes. In April, the American-Statesman reported that Dukes had arranged to give a taxpayer-funded raise to an aide to cover gas money for driving Dukes’ daughter to and from school.

    With the other abuse of official capacity charge, the grand jury accused Dukes of using money raised from campaign contributors for personal purposes. Politicians may use campaign money to pay for election activities or for expenses related to carrying out their elected office, but state law forbids them from using it for personal purposes.

    Dukes has made numerous questionable expenditures from her campaign account over the years, including $13,000 in payments to family members, $30,000 on gas and $2,700 to a seamstress, a Statesman investigation in June found.

    $13,000 to family members? Yeah, that’s gonna raise red flags.

    The grand jury accused Dukes of converting to personal use campaign expenditures that were earmarked for the African-American Community Heritage Festival, an East Austin event Dukes co-founded 18 years ago but ended last year after negative attention caused by the investigation. Dukes has listed at least $17,600 in campaign expenditures for the festival, including $303 to an electronics store for “replacement of digital camera broken by staff,” $146 for Mardi Gras beads and more than $7,000 for musical performers, the Statesman investigation found.

    The 13 charges for tampering with public records concerns an allegation that Dukes collected pay from the state during the 2014 legislative interim for days that she did not travel to the Capitol, which is required under House rules. The American-Statesman in May reported that a former Dukes staffer had accused the legislator of filing requests for per diem payments for days that she never traveled to the Capitol and may not have worked at all.

    So Dukes was getting paid for not working. In other words, she was living the Democratic Party dream…

    (Previously.)

    (Hat tip: Dwight.)

    Dawnna Dukes Case Headed to Grand Jury

    Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

    In an update to the Dawnna Dukes story, her case is headed to a grand jury:

    Travis County prosecutors and Texas Rangers will present evidence to a grand jury that state Rep. Dawnna Dukes abused the power of her office, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore told the American-Statesman.

    Among possible charges: abuse of official capacity and tampering with public records, Moore said.

    Dukes was sworn into office for a 12th term Tuesday after reneging on a plan to step down before the Legislature convened.

    Moore said that the grand jury proceedings will begin next Tuesday.

    Snip.

    Shortly after the Texas Rangers presented their case against Dukes to Travis County prosecutors in September, the Austin Democrat announced she would step down when her term expired, citing medical issues related to a 2013 car crash had made it impossible for her to serve.

    Days ago, however, Dukes changed her mind. She was sworn in to a 12th term on Tuesday with the rest of her House colleagues.

    The Travis County DA doesn’t have a great reputation (see also: Rosemary Lehmberg and Ronnie Earl), but the Rangers are in a different league entirely.

    (Previously.)

    Corrupt Democrat Sentenced (No, Not Her)

    Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

    Remember Philadelphia Democratic congressman Chaka Fattah, who “used millions of dollars from nonprofits, some of them taxpayer-backed, to pay ex-staffers, friends, and their relatives“?

    Well, he’s been convicted and sentenced:

    Former Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison on federal corruption charges, including fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.

    Fattah, who represented several areas of Philadelphia in Congress, was convicted in June on 23 charges of corruption. His prison sentence will begin on Jan. 25

    Snip.

    Fattah’s case primarily stems from a failed mayoral bid in 2007 during which Fattah took an illegal $1 million contribution. He was also accused of misusing campaign funds to pay off his son’s college debts, funneling money through a fake nonprofit to pay a political strategist, and taking $27,000 in bribes from a fundraiser.

    The Philadelphia Democrat was elected to Congress in 1994 and only resigned his seat after he was convicted on the corruption charges in June.

    If only he had blamed it on “Russian hackers”…