OBAMA WATCH CENTRAL
Encore! Obama repeats appearance on 'most corrupt' list
Joined by Boxer, Emanuel, Ensign, Pelosi, Rangel, Waters
By Bob Unruh
Barack Obama has been encored on the "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2010, a list published annually by the a Washington-based organization that focuses on transparency, accountability and integrity in the government, politics and law of the United States.
"Remember the promise President Obama made just after his inauguration in 2009? 'Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,'" said Judicial Watch in today's announcement.
"Instead, Americans have suffered through lies, stonewalling, cover-ups, corruption, secrecy, scandal and blatant disregard for the rule of law … this has been the Obama legacy in its first two years."
The full list, in alphabetical order, names:
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.;
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel;
Sen. John Ensign, R-N.V.;
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.;
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill.;
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.;
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.;
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.; and
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
About Obama, the report said he was "caught in a lie" over what he knew about Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's "scheme to sell the president's vacated Senate seate."
The report explained, "Blagojevich's former Chief of Staff John Harris testified that Obama had personal knowledge of Blago's plot to obtain a presidential cabinet position in exchange for appointing a candidate handpicked by the president. In fact, according to Harris's court testimony, Obama sent Blagojevich a list of 'acceptable' Senate candidates to fill his old seat. Obama was interviewed by the FBI even before he was sworn into office. He claimed he and his staff had no contact with Blagojevich's office."
The White House did not respond to a WND request for comment.
According to Judicial Watch, "Unfortunately federal prosecutors never called the president or his staff to testify under oath."
Further, Obama broke "his famous pledge to televise health-care negotiations."
"In 2010, we learned why he broke his pledge. In what is now known as the 'Cornhusker Kickback' scheme, Obama and the Democrats in the Senate 'purchased' the vote of one of the last Democrat hold-outs, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, who opposed Obamacare over the issue of covering abortions with taxpayer funds," the report said.
"Nelson abandoned his opposition to Obamacare after receiving millions of dollars in federal aid for his home state, helping to give the Democrats the 60 votes they needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Same goes for Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who received a $100 million payoff in what has been called 'The Louisiana Purchase.' (The Kickback was so corrupt that Democrats stripped it out at the last minute. The Louisiana Purchase, on the other hand, became law of the land.)" the report said.
"Obama lied about his White House's involvement in this legislative bribery that helped lead to the passage of the signature policy achievement of his presidency," the report said.
Founded in 1994, Judicial Watch describes itself as a constitutionally conservative, nonpartisan education foundation that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law."
The other celebrities "honored" on the list:
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. – who, it appears, "still needs an ethics lesson," the report said. She's chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, and presided over a year-long investigation into the "preferential treatment" Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., may have gotten from Countrywide Financial. Senate rules prohibit members from getting loan terms not available to the general public, Judicial Watch said.
"The evidence clearly showed that Dodd and Conrad knew they were receiving preferential treatment despite repeated denials. Yet Boxer's Senate Ethics Committee allowed Dodd and Conrad to wriggle off the hook with a light admonition that suggested the two senators should have exercised better judgment.
But that's not all, the report said. "Boxer failed to mention (or disclose on her official Senate Financial Disclosure documents) that she and her husband have signed no less than seven mortgages with Countrywide! At the time of the hearing, Boxer reportedly indicated she had paid off two Countrywide mortgages, but did not mention the others.
Former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel – who "didn't earn the nickname 'Rahmbo' for being a mild-mannered shrinking violet," Judicial Watch said. Among his issues cited: He served as Bill Clinton's chief money-man when the Clinton campaign was "corrupted by foreign money." He was a "ruthless political combatant" in defending Clinton in the Lewinsky scandal. He allegedly interfered with Senate elections in Pennsylvania and Colorado by offering federal appointments to Rep. Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff and participated "in the Blagojevich scandal."
"According to sworn testimony during the 'Blago' trial, Emanuel served as Obama's chief negotiator with the Blagojevich team as the former Illinois governor attempted to illegally sell Obama's former Senate seat to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, the federal prosecutor cut short the case against Blagojevich and Emanuel and other Obama insiders were never called to testify," Judicial Watch reported.
And, regarding the elections, "Sestak and Romanoff were not Obama's favored candidates, so Emanuel and Messina apparently attempted to unlawfully persuade them to abandon their campaigns.
"Emanuel left the White House under an ethical cloud and has decided to throw his hat in the ring for mayor of Chicago, where he again stands accused of ignoring the rules and violating the law regarding candidate residency requirements," the report said.
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. – publicly admitted an affair with the wife of a staff member, and evidence "indicates" he tried to cover up his shenanigans "by bribing the couple with lucrative gifts and political favors," Judicial Watch said.
The New York Times said, JW reported, that, "Payments of $96,000 to the Hamptons also were made by Sen. Ensign's parents, who insist this was a gift, not hush money. Once a lobbying job was secured, Senator Ensign and his chief of staff continued to help [Doug] Hampton, advocating his clients' cases directly with federal agencies."
But Judicial Watch reported not only did the lobbying apparently violate Senate rules, the "$96,000 in 'gifts' provided to the Hamptons were clearly hush payments."
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. – Where to start? He allegedly "intervened" for Rep. Waters on behalf of his home-state OneUnited Bank to get Troubled Asset Relief Program money, and "to this day, Barney Frnak 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."
But the report said The Boston Globe documented that Frank should have known.
"Frank wasn't wrong," said Judicial Watch. "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," the report said.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. – was described by the Chicago Sun-Times as directing "a major political fundraiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate." Judicial Watch said while "Blago" was convicted on one of 24 charges related to the scheme, it is Jackson "who should be on the hot-seat."
"According to Jackson's fundraiser, Raghuveer Nayak, the Illinois congressman asked him to offer not $1.5 million, but a whopping $6 million in campaign cash to Blagojevich to secure the Senate seat!" Judicial Watch said. "In addition to his corrupt deal-making, in 2010 Jackson was also nailed for conducting an improper and potentially criminal relationship with a female 'social acquaintance.'"
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – Judicial Watch said "Air Pelosi" now is grounded.
"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," the report said.
Among the purchases were 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," the report said.
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., – Earlier this month the U.S. House voted 333-79 to "censure" Rangel, which, the report said, is next to expulsion as the most serious sanction that can be taken. Judicial Watch said Rangel's ethics violations included forgetting to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income, misusing his congressional office to raise money for his private center, misusing his residentially zoned Harlem apartment as a campaign headquarters and failing to report $600,000 in income.
"It is worth noting that the [House] committee did not consider other serious corruption charges against Rangel. For example, it has been alleged that Rangel preserved a tax loophole for an oil company in exchange for a Rangel Center donation. The committee also did not consider the charge that Rangel used improper influence to maintain ownership of his highly coveted rent-controlled apartment – the same apartment he improperly used for campaign activities," Judicial Watch said.
"As this is Washington, politicians of both parties will pretend that censure is a serious punishment. But it is a 'punishment' that simply requires Rangel to come to the well of the House and hear a disapproving statement read by lame-duck House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the real world, you get fired or thrown in jail for abusing your office and not paying your taxes," the report said.
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky. – Judicial Watch said Rogers, even though the 2010 election focused on cutting government spending, was named chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and according to ABC, "In two years, Rogers pushed through 135 earmarks worth $246 million. He's brought tens of millions of dollars into his hometown of Somerset, Ky., so much so that the town has been dubbed 'Mr. Rogers' neighborhood.'" Judicial Watch said those earmarks included $17 million for an airport that is so disused the last commercial airline pulled out in February .
Other expenditures he sought included $5 million for a Namibia-based group that employs his daughter.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. – The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (known informally as the House Ethics Committee) plans to hold hearings on Waters, according to the AP, on allegations "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 e-mails from the Treasury that provide documented evidence to support the charges against Waters.
It also reported a lobbyist reportedly paid Waters' husband $15,000 in consulting fees at the time she was co-sponsoring legislation that would help save a client.
Judicial reported among those listed on the "most wanted" list in earlier years was former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, later sentenced to nearly six years in prison for a fraudulent casino deal.
Another individual previously cited was former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who recently was convicted of funneling corporate money to Texas candidates. He's planning an appeal.
A third is Dodd, who announced he would not run for re-election and as of January, will be out of office.
The 2009 list included Dodd, Obama, Frank, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Attorney General Eric Holder, Pelosi, Rep. John Murtha, Ensign, Jackson and Rangel.