The secretive court that rules on the legality of NSA domestic surveillance programs has members holding stakes in the telecommunications companies affected by the court’s decisions. This conflict of interest poses a serious risk to the actual and perceived impartiality of the shadowy court.
|By: DSWright Monday July 28, 2014 12:12 pm|
|By: DSWright Thursday July 24, 2014 10:06 am|
How is that Working Families Party endorsement looking now? Members of the administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly interfered with investigators trying to get to the bottom of political corruption in New York State.
|By: DSWright Thursday July 17, 2014 1:28 pm|
Ernst & Young, one the largest and most prestigious accounting firms in the country, has agreed to pay the SEC $4 million to settle charges of illegally lobbying Congress. Though in the institutional role of independent auditor, Ernst & Young employees lobbied congressional staff on behalf of two of their clients providing “prohibited legislative advisory services.”
|By: DSWright Wednesday July 16, 2014 2:15 pm|
Though other scandals may be more prominent in New Jersey at present, the investigation into the corrupt practices of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation (NWCDC) is slowly but surely making progress with Senator Cory Booker coming under scrutiny. The NWCDC was charged with managing Newark’s water and was paid by the City of Newark $10 million a year to ensure the city had access to potable water.
|By: Juan Cole Sunday June 22, 2014 1:59 pm|
Anand Gopal’s No Good Men Among the Living is a deconstruction of the American “War on Terror” as it pertained to Afghanistan. It is an argument that the US military allowed itself to fall into chasing phantoms, put up to search and destroy missions by tribal allies mainly interested in using the Americans to settle feuds and deflect rivals. They got drawn into what anthropologists call the segmentary lineage political system of rural Afghanistan.
In short, as Gopal tells the story, there was no Taliban activity in Afghanistan to speak of by 2002, but the US military machine required an enemy.
|By: DSWright Wednesday June 4, 2014 1:06 pm|
Recently Pando Daily broke a story about Governor Christie’s Administration violating pay to play laws by rewarding political donors with New Jersey Pension Fund contracts. The gist being that after General Catalyst employee Charles Baker donated money to the NJ GOP, General Catalyst received roughly $15 million to invest on behalf of retirees.
While the focus of the story was on violations of New Jersey’s pay to play laws, another facet of the scandal worth exploring is the increasing role alternative investment vehicles like General Catalyst – which is a venture capital firm – play in managing pension wealth. Private equity and hedge funds have begun to play an increasing role in pension investments as a recent Pew study points out.
The previously boring and safe strategy of buying government and top tier corporate bonds has been supplanted by the high flying big risk strategy of hedge funds.
|By: DSWright Friday May 9, 2014 9:00 am|
A report that broke early today at Pando Daily lays out a case that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie violated state and federal laws for giving benefits in exchange for campaign contributions or pay to play.
|By: DSWright Monday April 14, 2014 7:00 am|
So much for don’t be evil. According to a report in the Washington Post Google has become a powerhouse in the game of corporate influence peddling. From lobbying to contributions to funding think tanks Google has been cynically buying influence to influence regulators in the federal government even to the point of organizing Google friendly professors to defend Google from charges of monopolizing search before officials at the Federal Trade Commission under the guise of academic events at George Mason University.
|By: DSWright Friday April 11, 2014 1:28 pm|
Though recent Supreme Court decisions have many focused on new avenues for money to influence American politics it is worth keeping in mind that the old avenues are pretty expansive. There is perhaps no clearer recent example of legalized bribery than the report today by Ars Technica that Comcast’s PAC gave money to every senator examining the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.
|By: DSWright Wednesday April 2, 2014 11:50 am|
In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission the Supreme Court gave us – in a 5-4 vote along ideological lines – Citizens United 2: Plutocratic Boogaloo. The ruling removes limits on how many candidates and PACs the rich can give money to.