“Justice For Sale” Under Obama And Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Department Of Justice Not Prosecuting Wall Street Execs Represented By Law Firms Where Holder And His Top Aides Worked

May 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In an explosive Newsweek article set to rock official Washington, reporter Peter Boyer and Breitbart contributing editor and Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer reveal how Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are operating under a “justice for sale” strategy by forgoing criminal prosecution of Wall Street executives at big financial institutions who just so happen to be clients of the white-shoe law firms where Holder and his top DOJ lieutenants worked.

There’s more.

Even as President Barack Obama and Holder co-opt the Occupy Wall Street rhetoric of getting “tough” on the Big Banks and Big Finance, the Newsweek investigative report reveals that Eric Holder has not criminally charged or prosecuted a single top executive from any of the elite financial institutions thought responsible for the financial crash. And why would they? As Boyer and Schweizer report, “through last fall, Obama had collected more donations from Wall Street than any of the Republican candidates; employees of Bain Capital donated more than twice as much to Obama as they did to Romney, who founded the firm.”

Collecting millions from Wall Street was hardly the plan Obama and Holder telegraphed upon entering office. In 2009, the new Attorney General said boldly:

We face unprecedented challenges in responding to the financial crisis that has gripped our economy for the past year. Mortgage, securities, and corporate fraud schemes have eroded the public’s confidence in the nation’s financial markets and have led to a growing sentiment that Wall Street does not play by the same rules as Main Street. Unscrupulous executives, Ponzi scheme operators, and common criminals alike have targeted the pocketbooks and retirement accounts of middle class Americans, and in many cases, devastated entire families’ futures. We will not allow these actions to go unpunished….This Task Force’s mission is not just to hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial meltdown, but to prevent another meltdown from happening.

Obama unloaded on Wall Street too. In 2009, Obama created the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and announced that its purpose was to hold “accountable those who helped bring about the last financial crisis as well as those who would attempt to take advantage of the efforts at economic recovery.”

But Holder and Obama’s anti-Wall Street “law and order” rhetoric has turned out to be a smokescreen that allows the Obama campaign to talk the talk of the 99% while taking money from Wall Street’s 1%. The result is extortion by proxy. As President Obama put it to the Big Finance executives who met with him at the White House just two months into his presidency, “My Administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Not surprisingly, of the elite bundlers who made up Obama’s 2008 campaign, the second most represented industry after law was the securities and investment industry. It’s a level of hypocrisy that has outraged even committed leftists. Industrial Areas Foundation activist Mike Gecan put it squarely: “I’m from Chicago, I’ve seen this game played my whole life.”

So what have the securities and banking industries received for their political contributions?

As Boyer and Schweizer report, Department of Justice criminal prosecutions are at 20-year lows for corporate securities and bank fraud. And while large financial institutions have faced civil prosecution, those typically end in settlement fees with the major banks that represent a fraction of their profits, often paid through special taxes on mortgage-backed securities.

It’s the most crass and cynical brand of politics imaginable, the Chicago Way writ large: pay to play justice from the nation’s highest law enforcement official.

Appeared Here

Advertisements

Social Security Administration Tells Disability Judges To Stay Off Websites And Social Media While Deciding Cases

May 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Social Security Administration last month told its disability-claims judges they are no longer to seek out information from websites when deciding cases — taking away a tool some of those judges say would help in uncovering fraud.

Agency officials said reviewers can’t trust information posted online, and also said the mere act of typing in queries could compromise protected private information, so they shouldn’t try to access anything.

Social Security’s ban covers all Internet sites, including social media such as Facebook.

But Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and a top taxpayer watchdog, said avoiding the Internet means giving up a valuable anti-fraud weapon — one that he said even federal courts have relied upon in some disability cases.

“If an individual claims to be disabled, and then publicly posts a picture participating in a sport or physical activity on a social media website, such information should be used by [adjudicators] to determine if the claimant was truly disabled,” Mr. Coburn wrote in a letter last week to Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue.

The dispute raises Internet-age questions about the information people make available about themselves online, and how proactive government agencies should be in seeking out that information when it comes to granting taxpayer-funded benefits.

Social Security officials said they don’t object to using information gleaned from the Internet, but they don’t want the front-line deciders going out looking for it. They said that’s a job for fraud investigators to follow up on later in the process.

“Adjudicators should do what they are trained to do — review voluminous files to determine eligibility for disability benefits. Office of Inspector General fraud investigators should do what they are trained to do — vigorously follow up on any evidence of fraud,” said Kia S. Green, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Disability claims make up two parts of the Social Security system, and an entire legal industry has sprung up to help applicants win their claims.

But Mr. Coburn said without unshackling the judges who review the claims, there’s nobody looking out for taxpayers’ interests in the process.

Administrative Law Judge Thomas W. Snook, who is based in Miami, agreed, saying the public has entrusted adjudicators with the responsibility to make good decisions on behalf of the applicants and the public, and the more tools they have, the better.

“After being a judge for over 20 years, I think I can decide on what weight to give the tools available to me,” Judge Snook said.

The Social Security spokeswoman did not say why the policy was implemented just last month, but some judges had already been using information they found on the Internet to deny claims.

The agency’s move to exclude online information comes a year after Mr. Coburn used material he found online to challenge the disability finding of Stanley Thornton Jr., a man who lives part time as an adult baby.

In addition to appearing on a television show building things such as an adult high chair — which Mr. Coburn said showed carpentry skills — Mr. Thornton ran a website for others who want to live the “adult baby” lifestyle. The senator said that showed he had web development skills that could land him a job, too.

In the wake of Mr. Coburn’s complaint, Mr. Thornton said he was visited by federal investigators, but he told The Washington Times last year that he had been cleared of fraud.

Some administrative law judges have come under scrutiny in recent years for appearing to be too lenient.

The Wall Street Journal reported last year on one judge in West Virginia who approved 99.7 percent of his disability claims cases, while the national average is about 60 percent. That judge, David B. Daugherty, resigned soon after the article appeared.

Appeared Here


Effort By House Oversight Committee To Hold Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder In Contempt Making Progress – His Department’s Efforts Armed Mexican Drug Cartels, Then Hid Documents Amid Investigation

May 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Republicans on the House Oversight Committee were to take the first formal step Thursday toward contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” operation, CBS News has learned.

The case for a citation declaring Holder in contempt will be laid out in a briefing paper and 48-page draft citation distributed to Democrats and Republicans on the committee. CBS News has obtained copies of both documents. In them, Republican members use strong language to accuse Holder of obstructing the committee’s investigation, which is now in its second year.

The documents allege that the Justice Department has issued, “false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts.”

“The Justice Department’s demonstrable contempt for the congressional investigation has inflicted harm on the people of two nations seeking the truth – and very pointedly on the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ATF whistleblowers who now face retaliation in the wake of their own heroic efforts to expose wrongdoing,” says the brief to be distributed Thursday.

For its part, the Justice Department says it has complied with the congressional investigations, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

“We’ve done twice-a-month (document) productions since last year, and the Attorney General has testified about this matter no less than seven times,” a Justice official tells CBS News.

There have been at least three House contempt actions against the Executive Branch in the past 30 years.

In 1983, Congress found EPA administrator Anne Gorsuch Burford in contempt for failing to produce subpoenaed documents.

In 1998, the GOP-controlled House Oversight committee found Attorney General Janet Reno in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena on campaign finance law violations.

In 2008, the Democrat-controlled House found former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff John Bolton in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated.

In 2008, the Democratic-led Oversight Committee found two White House officials in contempt in the probe of Bush Administration firings of U.S. Attorneys. Congress went to federal court to seek enforcement of that contempt action, but a compromise was reached with the Executive Branch before any court decision was final.

Appeared Here


Contempt Citation Against Digraced US Attorney General Eric Holder In The Works In Wake Of His Department Supplying Mexican Drug Cartels With Thousands Of Firearms – Holder Still Hiding Documents

April 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republicans investigating the Fast and Furious scandal have gotten the go-ahead by their party leaders to pursue a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder, senior congressional aides told CBS News. The resolution will accuse Holder and his Justice Department of obstructing the congressional probe into the allegations that the government let thousands of weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The citation would attempt to force Holder to turn over tens of thousands of pages documents related to the probe, which has entered its second year.

For months, congressional Republicans probing ATF’s Fast and Furious “Gunwalker” scandal – led by California Republican Darrell Issa, have been investigating a contempt citation. They’ve worked quietly behind the scenes to build support among fellow Republicans, since it could ultimately face a full House vote. CBS News has confirmed that House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, has given Rep. Issa, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the go-ahead to proceed. A 48-page long draft contempt resolution is being prepared.

How does a contempt proceeding against the executive branch work?

Both Democrats and Republicans have used it, but rarely. After former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten refused to comply with congressional subpoenas on the George W. Bush administration firing of U.S. attorneys in 2008, the Democrat-led House voted to hold them in contempt.

The House then went to a federal district court seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction ordering Miers and Bolten to comply with the subpoenas. The district court ruled in favor of the House, the ruling was subsequently stayed, and a compromise was reached.

Under President Clinton, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General Janet Reno in contempt over documents regarding campaign finance law violations.

In the case of Holder and Fast and Furious, the Oversight Committee’s contempt resolution would eventually have a full House vote and, if passed, Congress could seek enforcement through federal courts. Passage of the resolution itself could, however, encourage the Justice Department to comply even without a court order.

The Justice Department has maintained it is cooperating with the investigation and has made more than 6,400 pages of documents available for congressional review. However, congressional investigators say the Justice Department has supplied the documents piecemeal and highly redacted, and that tens of thousands of pages of internal documents are responsive to congressional subpoenas.

A contempt citing by Congress against the executive branch, a strong sanction, is considered by some to be politically risky; especially if it doesn’t succeed. Sources say that’s why Republican staffers have taken a great deal of time trying to build support among colleagues in advance of the citation’s formal release, which could come in the next few weeks if not sooner.

Appeared Here


Obama’s Attorney Chokes Again As Federal Government Finds Itself On Thin Ice While Attacking Arizona Immigration Laws – Claims Feds Have Limited Resources And Should Have The Right To Limit Calls About Possible Illegal Immigrants

April 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Supreme Court justices took a dim view of the Obama administration’s claim that it can stop Arizona from enforcing immigration laws, telling government lawyers during oral argument Wednesday that the state appears to want to push federal officials, not conflict with them.

The court was hearing arguments on Arizona’s immigration crackdown law, which requires police to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally, and would also write new state penalties for illegal immigrants who try to apply for jobs.

The Obama administration has sued, arguing that those provisions conflict with the federal government’s role in setting immigration policy, but justices on both sides of the aisle struggled to understand that argument.

“It seems to me the federal government just doesn’t want to know who’s here illegally,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said at one point.

The Arizona law requires all police to check with federal officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. The government argues that is OK when it’s on a limited basis, but said having a state mandate for all of its law enforcement is essentially a method of trying to force the federal government to change its priorities.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. said the federal government has limited resources and should have the right to determine the extent of calls it gets about possible illegal immigrants.

“These decisions have to be made at the national level,” he said.

But even Democratic-appointed justices were uncertain of that.

“I’m terribly confused by your answer,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who went on to say that the federal government can always decline to pick up illegal immigrants when Arizona officials call.

The Obama administration was on its firmest ground when it argued Arizona should not be allowed to impose state penalties such as jail time against illegal immigrants who try to seek jobs.

Federal law chiefly targets employers, not employees, and Mr. Verrilli said adding stiffer penalties at the state level is not coordination. He said Congress’s 1986 immigration law laying out legal penalties was meant to be a comprehensive scheme, and Congress left employees untouched — and Justice Sotomayor seemed to agree.

“It seems odd to think the federal government is deciding on employer sanctions and has unconsciously decided not to punish employees,” she told Paul D. Clement, who argued the case on behalf of Arizona.

A decision is expected before the end of the court’s term this summer.

Only eight justices were present for the arguments. Justice Elana Kagan recused herself from the case, presumably because she was the Obama administration’s solicitor general in 2010, when the law was being debated in Arizona.

Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the measure into law, was present for the arguments, as were members of Congress who follow the immigration issue: Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, the top Democrat on the House immigration subcommittee, and Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who has fought for an immigration crackdown.

Appeared Here


Obama Lawyer Worried That Inforcing AZ State Laws, That Parallel Federal Laws, Will Result In “Mass Incarceration” Of Illegal Immigrants And Will Cause “Significant Foreign Relations Problems”

April 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The lawyer arguing for the Obama administration against provisions in Arizona’s controversial immigration law said Wednesday that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds S.B. 1070 “mass incarceration” of Latinos would cause “significant foreign relations problems.”

During oral arguments before the high court on the law – which allows state police to check the immigration status of individuals stopped, detained or arrested for other reasons – Solicitor General Donald Verrilli responded to Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks that Arizona seems to be merely enacting laws that are already federal statutes.

“Well, what I think they are going to do in Arizona is something quite extraordinary, that has significant real and practical foreign relations effects,” Verrilli said. “And that’s the problem, and it’s the reason why this power needs to be vested exclusively in the federal government.”

Verrilli said Arizona’s “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” takes that power away from the government and gives it to the state.

“And so – so, you’re going to have a situation of mass incarceration of people who are unlawfully present,” he argued. “That is going to raise – poses a very serious risk of raising significant foreign relations problems.

“And these problems are real,” Verrilli continued. “It is the problem of reciprocal treatment of the United States’ citizens in other countries.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy responded: “So you’re saying the government has a legitimate interest in not enforcing its laws?”

“No,” Verrilli replied. “We have a legitimate interest in enforcing the law, of course, but it needs to be – but these – this court has said over and over again, has recognized that the balance of interest that has to be achieved in enforcing the immigration laws is exceedingly delicate and complex, and it involves consideration of foreign relations, it involves humanitarian concerns, and it also involves public order …”

Of two million Latinos in Arizona, Verrilli told the court, “only 400,000 at most are there illegally.”

Scalia suggested that the government could take action to prevent the incarceration of illegal aliens.

“Well, can’t we avoid that particular foreign relations problem by simply deporting these people?” Scalia asked. “Look, free them from the jails.”

During the one-hour session both conservative and liberal justices seemed skeptical of the government’s case. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was nominated by President Obama and is the first Hispanic to serve, told Verrilli at one point that she was “terribly confused” by his remarks.

“It seems to me that the federal government just doesn’t want to know who’s here illegally,” commented Chief Justice John Roberts.

Attorney Paul Clement, arguing on behalf of Arizona, said the Ninth Circuit federal court decision that set in motion the case coming before the Supreme Court was “inverting fundamental principles of federalism.”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law two years ago. Several groups, including the Department of Justice, challenged the law in court.

Only eight justices will decide the case since Justice Elena Kagan recused herself because of her work on immigration during her tenure as Solicitor General.

The court is expected to rule on the case by the end of its current term this summer. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah have proposed or enacted similar legislation.

Appeared Here


Brooklyn New York District Attorney’s Office Hid Rape Recantation From Defense Lawyers For A Year While Two Men Sat In Jail

April 19, 2012

The Brooklyn DA’s office sat on a rape recantation for nearly a year while two men accused of the crime sat behind bars, documents reveal.

Last June, Damien Crooks and Jamali Brockett were arrested for forcing a 13-year-old Jewish Orthodox girl into prostitution in 2003, and then raping, assaulting and sexually trafficking her for the next 8 years.

Two other men, Jawara Brockett and Darrell Dula, were also arrested and charged with raping the girl.

A day after accusing Jawara Brockett and Dula, however, the girl, then 22-years-old, went back to the police, and told detectives she was simply a prostitute for 5 years and made up the allegations against Brockett and Dula.

“I once again asked [her] if she was raped,” a detective wrote in a police report after the interview. “She told me ‘no’ and stated to me, ‘Can’t a ho change her ways?’ ”

The woman also signed a recantation, but the case proceeded and in spring 2011, a grand jury voted to indict Dula, Crooks and two others who were allegedly part of the crew.

Defense attorneys for the men didn’t receive the woman’s recantation until April 2012, when prosecutor Rebecca Gingold, who replaced Assistant District Attorney Abbie Greenberger, discovered the documents and turned them over.

“[The girl] indicated the night of the alleged rape that she had made up the story,” Crooks’ lawyer, Elliot Kay, told The New York Post. “She indicated that she was in a consensual relationship, as opposed to being the victim of sex trafficking.”

The Brooklyn DA’s office–who publicized the big bust last year–has yet to comment on the newly-discovered documents.

“How do they go on TV talking about this huge sex-trafficking bust when they had written documentation from police officers in which she admitted lying?” Kay asked.

Dula was released from prison Tuesday and spent time with his family in Crown Heights.

“I’m glad to be home with my family,” he told The Daily News. “I’m still in shock. I’m traumatized. It wasn’t a good experience. They took me away on my son’s birthday. It was heartbreaking.”

Appeared Here