In “Washington D.C.: For Sale Part I,” we defined political corruption and gave multiple examples of political corruption from long ago. In this offering we turn the calendar forward to reveal more recent political corruption underway. NOTE: Today you have both the WRITTEN and AUDIO versions of this story. Enjoy — Your choice….or BOTH!
Joe Biden and John Kerry. Both former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry were deeply involved in trade and security talks with China even as that country began its aggressive campaign to expand its military and physical presence in the South China Sea. Contrary to standard diplomatic practice, however, both played “good cop,” not seriously confronting China on its misbehavior. Biden and Kerry were close friends from their years spent together in the Senate. So there was little surprise when Biden’s son, Hunter, and Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz, one of the heirs to the Heinz ketchup fortune, went into business together in 2009. They created a number of equity and real estate investment firms allied to Rosemont Capital, “the alternative investment fund of the Heinz Family Office.”
Over the next seven years, as both Joe Biden and John Kerry negotiated sensitive and high-stakes deals with foreign governments, Rosemont entities secured a series of exclusive deals with those same foreign governments. In December of 2013, Biden traveled to China for talks. He brought Hunter Biden along. While there, the senior Biden soft-pedaled China’s clear aggression, and played up the bilateral trade partnership. Ten days after the trip concluded, China’s central bank, the Bank of China, set up a $1 billion investment joint venture called Bohai Harvest RST. For the record, the “RS” referred to Biden’s son’s firm, Rosemont Seneca.
Months later, in July 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to China, also for talks. Kerry talked little of China’s clear aggression, but did conspicuously note that “China and the United States represent the greatest economic alliance trading partnership in the history of humankind. In the ensuing months, Chinese government-linked firms took major stakes in several of the firms owned or controlled by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz, and provided them with massive funding totaling billions of dollars.
New Black Panther Party. During Bush (“W”) administration, career and line prosecutors at the Department of Justice had prepared a prosecution of a group called the New Black Panther Party for crimes including voter intimidation. (Perhaps you can recall the pictures of the NBBP members with rifles standing outside voting places in Philadelphia.) On assuming office, Obama and his new AG Eric Holder promptly shut down the case. The Civil Rights Commission investigated, and in 2011 issued a scathing report. Jennifer Rubin summarized the findings in the Washington Post (quoted at PowerLine): “1) the New Black Panther Party case brought by career Justice Department employees was meritorious on the law and the facts; 2) there is voluminous evidence of the Obama administration’s political interference in the prosecution of the New Black Panther Party case; 3) there is ample evidence that the Obama administration directed Justice Department employees not to bring cases against minority defendants who violated voting rights laws or to enforce a provision requiring that states and localities clean up their voting rolls to prevent fraud . . . . “
IRS. In the run-up to the 2012 election, the IRS delayed the granting of tax-exempt status to pro-life and Tea Party groups, with the clear purpose and effect of suppressing the ability of those groups to participate in the political discussion relating to a presidential election. From this collection of Obama-era scandals: “[P]ro-life and Tea Party groups were deliberately targeted for extra scrutiny, their tax exemption applications outrageously delayed until after the 2012 election without actually being refused. . . . [I]n the follow-up scandal, . . . IRS officials brazenly lied about having backups of relevant computer data. The American people were expected to believe that multiple state-of-the-art hard drives failed, and were instantly shredded instead of being subjected to data recovery procedures. . . . [S]candal kingpin Lois Lerner got to enjoy her taxpayer-funded retirement after taking the Fifth to thwart lawful congressional investigation.”
Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder Departmet of Justice. The Obama/Holder/Lynch Justice Department pursued dozens of “prosecutions” of the biggest banks, mostly on the thinnest of charges, with complete confidence that the banks would never take a case to trial. The correct word for the process was “shakedowns.” Something like $100 billion was collected in total. Here area few examples:
“[A] settlement by CitiBank with Fannie and Freddie for $968 million for losses in the financial crisis, even though it was F&F that had set the terms of the loans; and another settlement by Bank of America for $2.8 billion for essentially the same thing; and a settlement of those two plus five other banks for $8.5 billion for alleged improper documenting of mortgages (“robosigning”);
Ten settlements by J.P. Morgan with various federal agencies between 2011 and 2013, all of them over $50 million (and some over a billion). In September 2013 it was a $920 million settlement with J.P. Morgan over trading losses that should have been none of the government’s business. In August 2014 it was a settlement with Bank of America of $17 billion for, supposedly, ‘failing to have third party loan level due diligence’ as to loans going into securitization deals.”
Then they put provisions into the settlement agreements allowing the settling banks to get credit on their settlements by “contributing” large amounts of money to a favored list of Democrat-supporting groups. From Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2015: “The [Justice] department is in the process of funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups, at least some of which will actively support Democrats in the coming election. It works likes this: The Justice Department prosecutes cases against supposed corporate bad actors. Those companies agree to settlements that include financial penalties. Then Justice mandates that at least some of that penalty money be paid in the form of “donations” to nonprofits that supposedly aid consumers and bolster neighborhoods. The Justice Department maintains a list of government-approved nonprofit beneficiaries. And surprise, surprise: Many of them are liberal activist groups. The National Council of La Raza. The National Urban League. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition. NeighborWorks America . . . . ” The transfer, at the behest of the “Justice Department,” of this vast amount of money belonging to the taxpayers to Democrat-supporting groups was in clear violation — actually, outright defiance — of the provision of the Constitution stating that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law. . . . “
Attorney General Eric Holder “Fast and Furious.” “Gunwalking,” or “letting guns walk,” was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations between 2006 and 2011 in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them”. These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. The Jacob Chambers Case began in October 2009 and eventually became known in February 2010 as “Operation Fast and Furious” after agents discovered Chambers and the other suspects under investigation belonged to a car club.
The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels. The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers. During Operation Fast and Furious, the largest “gunwalking” probe, the ATF monitored the sale of about 2,000 firearms, of which only 710 were recovered as of February 2012. A number of straw purchasers have been arrested and indicted; however, as of October 2011, none of the targeted high-level cartel figures had been arrested.
Guns tracked by the ATF have been found at crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico–United States border, and the scene where United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. The “gunwalking” operations became public in the aftermath of Terry’s murder.Dissenting ATF agents came forward to Congress in response.According to Humberto Benítez Treviño, former Mexican Attorney General and chair of the justice committee in the Chamber of Deputies, related firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico where at least 150 Mexican civilians were maimed or killed. Revelations of “gunwalking” led to controversy in both countries, and diplomatic relations were damaged.
As a result of a dispute over the release of Justice Department documents related to the scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress on June 28, 2012.Earlier that month, President Barack Obama had invoked executive privilege for the first time in his presidency in order to withhold the same documents.
Barack Obama In National Review, Andrew McCarthy made a compelling case that President Obama had to have been personally involved in making the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for misuse of classified information. It seems that some of Hillary’s transmission of classified information over non-secure lines went right to Obama himself at his own secret personal email account:
Obama, using a pseudonymous email account, had repeatedly communicated with Secretary Clinton over her private, non-secure email account. These emails must have involved some classified information. . . . If classified information was mishandled, it was necessarily mishandled on both ends of these email exchanges. If Clinton had been charged, Obama’s culpable involvement would have been patent. In any prosecution of Clinton, the Clinton–Obama emails would have been in the spotlight. For the prosecution, they would be more proof of willful (or, if you prefer, grossly negligent) mishandling of intelligence. More significantly, for Clinton’s defense, they would show that Obama was complicit in Clinton’s conduct yet faced no criminal charges. That is why such an indictment of Hillary Clinton was never going to happen.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the political corruption that has and is plaguing the government in Washington D.C. that supposedly belongs to the American people. Unfortunately, evil in the hearts of men and women take frantic hold of those who are consumed by a quest for power and money. Those men and women — sadly for American citizens — have found it far to easy to “use” that power and money to line their pockets and the pockets of those to which they owe for “favors” given for political jobs in D.C.
There’s more to come in this sad saga. Stay tuned for Washington D.C.: “For Sale” Part III.