Mili Note: For those of you who still believe in voting…
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2010 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.” The list, in alphabetical order, includes: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Rahm Emanuel, Former Obama White House Chief of Staff, Senator John Ensign (R-NV), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), President Barack Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA):
In a story that continued to mushroom throughout 2010, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) improperly intervened for Maxine Waters (D-CA) on behalf of his home-state OneUnited Bank to obtain Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. When asked about the scandal, the Massachusetts Democrat admitted he spoke to a “federal regulator” but, according to The Wall Street Journal he didn’t remember which federal regulator he spoke with.” According to explosive Treasury Department emails uncovered by Judicial Watch in 2010, however, it appears this nameless bureaucrat was none other than then-Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson!
While Frank’s “partner in crime” in the OneUnited scandal, Congressman Maxine Waters, is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee (see below), Frank’s colleagues in the House have inexcusably ignored the Massachusetts Democrat’s connection to the OneUnited grant.
To this day, Barney Frank continues to defend his role in the meltdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying he was just as blindsided as the rest of America when the two government sponsored enterprises collapsed, triggering the financial crisis. Frank has been peddling this fiction ever since the economy collapsed in September 2008. But, as The Boston Globe reported in a devastating article published on October 14, 2010, not many people are buying Frank’s lies anymore. And Frank knows it. Here’s an excerpt from the Globe:
The issue…in 2003 was whether mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were fiscally strong. Frank declared with his trademark confidence that they were, accusing critics and regulators of exaggerating threats to Fannie’s and Freddie’s financial integrity. And, the Massachusetts Democrat maintained, ‘even if there were problems, the federal government doesn’t bail them out.’ Now, it’s clear he was wrong on both points…
Frank wasn’t wrong. He was just lying through his teeth. Frank claims that he “missed” the warning signs with Fannie and Freddie because he was wearing “ideological blinders,” which was just his lame attempt to blame Republicans. But he did not miss them. According to evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch, he just chose to ignore them.
Judicial Watch obtained documents in 2010 proving that members of Congress, including — and perhaps especially — Barney Frank, were well aware that Fannie and Freddie were in deep trouble due to corruption and incompetence and yet they did nothing to stop it.
Moreover, as the Globe notes, in July 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says he called Frank and told him the government would need to spend “billions of taxpayer dollars to backstop the institutions from catastrophic failure.” Frank, despite that conversation, appeared on national television two days later and said the companies were “fundamentally sound, not in danger of going under.” Less than two months later, the government seized Fannie and Freddie and the bailout began.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):
Judicial Watch uncovered documents back in 2009 detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft for herself and her family as well as the speaker’s 11th hour cancellations and changes. In 2010, Judicial Watch kept the pressure on Pelosi, uncovering documents that demonstrated the Speaker was using U.S. Air Force aircraft as her own personal party planes. Overall, the Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.
For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC to Tel Aviv, Israel and Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Maker’s Mark whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
Moreover, Pelosi also abused the rules by allowing members of her family to join her on taxpayer-funded Air Force flights. For example, on June 20, 2009, Speaker Pelosi’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons joined a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to San Francisco International Airport. That flight included $143 for on-flight expenses for food and other items. On July 2, 2010, Pelosi took her grandson on a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, which is northeast of San Francisco.
Judicial Watch’s efforts not only exposed Nancy Pelosi’s corrupt abuse of military aircraft, but they also led to reform when Rep. John Boehner announced after Election Day that, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he will fly commercial to and from Ohio instead of using military aircraft.
Of course, it was Rep. Nancy Pelosi who famously promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC during the campaign of 2006 when the Democrats seized control of power on Capitol Hill. That did not happen. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Pelosi also turned a blind eye to corruption on the part of her Congressional colleagues (see Charlie Rangel entry).
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA):
The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (known informally as the House Ethics Committee) plans to hold hearings, although the committee delayed the trial indefinitely on November 29, 2010, citing newly discovered documentary evidence that may impact proceedings. According to The Associated Press, “The charges focus on whether Waters broke the rules in requesting federal help for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on the board of directors.”
Judicial Watch has investigated the Waters/OneUnited Bank scandal for months. In fact, JW successfully sued the Obama Treasury Department to get documents and obtained explosive emails from the Treasury that provide documented evidence to support the charges against Waters.
For instance, a January 13, 2009, email from Brookly McLaughlin, Treasury’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, expresses surprise at Waters’ apparent conflict of interest:
Further to email below, WSJ [Wall Street Journal] tells me: …Apparently this bank is the only one that has gotten money through section 103-6 of the EESA law. And Maxine Waters’ husband is on the board of the bank. ??????
Judicial Watch also uncovered documents detailing the deplorable financial condition of the bank at the time of the cash infusion, which showed that the bank would have been an unlikely candidate to receive TARP funding without intervention from Waters and Frank.
Aside from OneUnited, there was yet another scandal with Waters’ fingerprints all over it. According to The Washington Times: “A lobbyist known as one of California’s most successful power brokers while serving as a legislative leader in that state paid Rep. Maxine Waters’ husband $15,000 in consulting fees at a time she was co-sponsoring legislation that would help save the real-estate finance business of one of the lobbyist’s best-paying clients, records show.” That “real-estate finance business” was labeled a “scam” by the IRS in a 2006 report.