Obama, Dems and Repubs Decline to Return Ponzi Scheme Donations

National fundraising committees for President Obama, the Democratic and Republican parties and other major politicians have declined to return $1.8 million in campaign donations from Houston financier R. Allen Stanford. Stanford is now on trial for allegedly masterminding a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Ralph Janvey, a court-appointed receiver has been placed in charge of returning the money to investors defrauded by Stanford. Janvey obtained a federal court order last June against five Democratic and Republican campaigns, but they have not as of yet returned the money.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received $950,500; the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), $238,500; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $200,000; the Republican National Committee $128,500, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) $83,345.

The contributions to the campaign committees and candidates were given by Stanford himself, Stanford executives, and a political action committee associated with the financier.

Mr. Janvey, is also trying to get back money Stanford donated to individual politicians. The list of recipients includes President Obama – who received $4,600 from Stanford in his 2008 election campaign, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of the NRCC, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. Janvey is seeking these funds informally, and has not filed lawsuits.

Money has already been returned by House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain, among others. But the roughly $154,000 recovered from elected officials is a fraction of the $1.8 million still outstanding.

The $4,600 Janvey is seeking from the Obama campaign only reflects contributions that Stanford himself personally made. The actual total amount may be as high $31,000 when taking into account Stanford’s contributions to Obama’s other campaign committees, along with money from senior Stanford executives, and the Stanford Financial Group’s now defunct PAC, according to campaign finance records and an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. The Obama campaign donated the $4,600 to charity on February 18, 2009, just days after Stanford’s alleged fraud came to light.

The Obama campaign officially has no comment on the matter, but a source familiar with the campaign says that it does not intend to return the money to the receiver or Stanford investors.

Kevin Sadler, lead counsel for the Stanford receivership, condemned the failure by the Obama campaign to turn over the contributions to the receiver. He said “the money was never theirs to begin with,” so they have no more right to the money than an ordinary person who was given it from “a guy who goes into a Seven Eleven and robs the store.”

Ralph Janvey wrote to the Obama campaign five days after it gave the money to charity in 2009, asking that it instead be returned to investors.

“If you have already donated such amounts to charity, we request you consider donating an equal amount to the Receivership,” Janvey wrote back on February 23, 2009. “By returning such amounts to the Receivership Estate, you will help reduce the losses suffered by victims of the alleged fraud.”

This is not the first time the president’s campaign contributions have come under scrutiny. Just recently Obama’s reelection campaign returned more than $200,000 in contributions from the American brothers of a Mexican casino magnate who has been in trouble with the law. Juan Jose Rojas Cardona jumped bail in the U.S. in 1994 after being charged with drug trafficking and fraud, according to the New York Times. The campaign said it did not know the background of the Cardona brothers when it accepted the contribution.

According to former U.S. State Department and federal law enforcement officials, Stanford spent considerable sums of money on lobbying members of Congress with the goal of blocking legislation and regulations that would have strengthened money laundering laws relating to offshore banking.

As a U.S. Senator from Illinois, Obama was one of three senators who in February 2007, along with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and then Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), sponsored their own version of offshore banking legislation.

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Congress sees 25% increase in wealth since economic collapse

Members of Congress enjoyed a collective net worth of more than $2 billion dollars in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase in two years, according to a Roll Call analysis of Members’ financial disclosure forms.

Roughly 90 percent of that increase sits in the pockets of the 50 richest Congressmen.

In 08 the minimum net worth of House Members was slightly more than $1 billion while Senators had a combined minimum worth of $651 million for a Congressional total of $1.65 billion. The minimum net worth in the House has jumped to $1.26 billion, and at least $784 million for the Senate, for a total of $2.04 billion this year.

These wealth totals do not include homes and other non-income-generating property, which is likely to tally hundreds of millions of uncounted dollars.

While wealth overall is scattered fairly evenly between the two parties Democrats hold about 80 percent of the wealth in the Senate with Republicans controling about 78 percent of the wealth in the House.

The 50 richest Members of Congress accounted for 78 percent of the net worth in the institution in 2008 ($1.29 billion of the $1.65 billion total); by 2010 the share of the 50 richest had risen to 80 percent ($1.63 billion of the $2.04 billion total). The pie of Congressional wealth got bigger, and the richest Members are getting a bigger slice.

If you were to divide the total wealth of Congress by the number of Members you would get an average net worth of about $3.8 million (excluding non-income-producing property such as personal residences) for each Congressman. By comparison, for the rest of the country, based on statistics released by the Federal Reserve, average household net worth is around $500,000 this year (including personal residences), according to David Rosnick, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Congress is also getting richer faster than the rest of the nation. According to Federal Reserve data, from the end of 2008 to end of 2010, aggregate household worth increased 12 percent.” which is about half the increase Congress achieved during the same time period.

Alan Ziobrowski, a professor of real estate at Georgia State University, has produced studies of Congressional investment patterns indicating that lawmakers in both chambers tend to fare better in their investment portfolios than the average American, in part because “[t]here is no doubt in my mind that they are trading in some way on information that is there.”

But he also points out that the Membership of Congress has turned over since 2008, making it difficult to compare wealth over time. “You’ve got different people,” he said.

In the aftermath of the 2010 elections that swept Republicans to power, about 20 percent of the Members included in the 2010 survey were not included in the 2008 survey.

Dylan Ratigan speaks truth to power…

Dylan Ratigan host of “The Dylan Ratigan” show on MSNBC went on the most epic truth telling rant on his show yesterday. Ratigan called out the President and both corrupt parties that make up our congress. He expressed the frustration and contempt most Americans have with our broken political system with the emotion and passion that is rarely heard in the echo chamber ditto head world that is 24 cable news.

 

Progressives being left out of budget talks?

Have you heard of “The People’s Budget“? If you only watch the “liberal” media for your political news chances are you haven’t. We all know about the ongoing budget talks between the Republicans and Democrats but one proposed budget that seems to be being completely ignored is the Progressive Caucus’s People’s Budget.

In response to President Obama’s statement “if you are a progressive, you should be concerned about debt and deficit just as much as if you’re a conservative.” CPC Co-Chair Raul Grijalva said the following:

“The Progressive Caucus has introduced the only budget that creates a surplus by 2021 because we take seriously the need for a strong economy and manageable debt. Our budget eliminates the deficit in 10 years and creates jobs while protecting the programs our constituents rely on. We stand ready to work with you, as we have throughout this process, to solve the budget impasse in a way that helps rather than punishes the American people. With the House under tea party control and the Senate held hostage by Mitch McConnell, it is up to you to fly the standard of the people who elected you. We feel our budget achieves your policy goals, and we look forward to producing a successful outcome for our economy and our constituents at home.”

The People’s Budget includes a stimulus package of public works and infrastructure funding to get people working immediately. It brings taxes back to the Clinton era level and makes them more progressive. It reduces military spending to a little less than the rest of the world combined on the military, rather than more than it. It taxes financial speculation and includes a public option in health care.In other words, the People’s Budget addresses every single root cause that President Obama said drove the deficit to the heights we see now.

Mr. Krugman tells liberals what Obama wants…

Noted economist Paul Krugman’s OP-ED piece entitled “What Obama wants” regarding the debt deal negotiations with republicans is a must read for any Obama supporter.

Check it out here.

The historic budget deal that wasn’t…

President Obama has been singing the praises of the Democrats and Republicans since last weekend because of their coming together at the 11th hour to avert a government shutdown by agreeing to a historic $38 billion dollars worth of federal budget spending cuts. As it turns out all the pats on the back may be celebrating a deal that was more smoke and mirrors than actual cuts to the deficit.

According to The Congressional Budget Office the spending bill would cut spending by only a mere $352 million through Sept. 30. A far cry from the $38 billion cited. There is $8 billion in immediate cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid but they are offset by increases in defense spending. In actuality, when the funding of our current wars are taking into consideration we would actually see an increase in total federal outlays by $3.3 billion relative to current levels. $38 billion in new spending would be reduced in comparison to current levels, but a majority of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts like water-and-sewer grants which do not have an immediate effect on our debt. The $5.7 billion in savings that come by way of cutting bonuses to states enrolling more children while reducing monies available to subsidize health care cooperatives authorized under the new health care law will not produce any actual savings. The CBO believes that that money wasn’t going to be used anyway. Even if they do not actually reduce the deficit, cuts to mandatory benefit programs can be claimed under budget rules to pay for spending increases elsewhere. In total there is $17.8 billion in savings that is being claimed using these rules with only a small portion of that money actually reducing the deficit. The CBO says the elimination of year-round Pell Grants while slash more than $40 billion from the deficit over the next decade.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky, said of the budget deal “With this bill we not only are arresting that growth but we are reducing actual discretionary spending by a record amount, nearly $40 billion in actual cuts in spending that has not ever been accomplished by this body in its history, in the history of the country, The cuts in this bill exceed anything ever passed by the House.” while Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a 2012 presidential candidate, said the budget deal has less cuts than advertised and should be rejected.

Don’t know what defunding Planned Parenthood has to do with creating jobs? You’re not the only one…

The federal government almost came grinding down to a halt a couple of days ago over the Democrats and Republicans inability to reach a deal on the budget until the 11th hour. The Democrats had already agreed to over 70 billion in spending cuts, but there was one issue that was holding up the deal being finalized. It was the Republicans demand for policy riders that would take away federal funds from Planned Parenthood. You know, that crazy hipster organization that does thing like provide cancer screenings for women, HIV counseling, STD treatment, provide contraceptives and abortions. When the Republicans swept into office last election they did so while chanting ” JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” but many people are asking what exactly does defunding Planned Parenthood have to do with creating jobs?

Watch as Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) tries, and fails miserably, to make the connection via TPMTV Youtube channel.

 

 

Doesn’t he sound a little like Foghorn Leghorn?