Tag Archives: corruption

Of protests and politicians

Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"Last Friday, I applauded massive protests that erupted in Romania — over a since-rescinded governmental decree to decriminalize graft up to $47,000. On Sunday at Townhall, I wondered why there weren't similar demonstrations against the corruption afflicting Prince George's County, Maryland. The county, bordering the nation's capital, lavishes its nine council members with a take-home car or a $10,315 annual vehicle subsidy. The car allowance comes with free gas. These emoluments might have gone unnoticed had the politicians proven able to drive better than they govern. In the last five years, they racked-up 16 car accidents and 107 traffic violations." (02/14/17)


India: Future chief of Tamil Nadu state sentenced to four years

Source: Deutsche Welle [Germany]

"India's Supreme Court sentenced the incoming leader of Tamil Nadu state to a four-year prison sentence on Tuesday. VK Sasikala was found guilty of corruption in a case that dates back to the 1990s. The verdict will prevent her from taking up her post, and bans her from seeking elected office for another decade. Prosecutors successfully argued that Sasikala and her mentor, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, had possessed 'disproportionate assets' that could not possibly have been obtained with their public salaries. The pair owned bungalows, luxury cars, tea estates, gold and silver, and thousands of saris." (02/14/17)


That's hypocrisy: DC swamp creatures vs. Kellyanne Conway

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, as well as various 'watchdog' groups, are up in arms over $99 textured open-front cardigans, $125 suede slingback pumps, and $98 pebbled leather crossbody bags. Yes, really. In an appearance on Fox and Friends, presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway made the mistake of doing the obvious: When the subject of Ivanka Trump's eponymous clothing line came up (because Nordstrom's department stores are dropping Ivanka's products), she spoke supportively of her boss's daughter: 'Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I would tell you …. I'm going to give it a free commercial here, go buy it today.' Apparently that's a big deal." (02/12/17)


Peru: Judge orders arrest of Toledo for Odebrecht corruption

Source: PanAm Post

"A Peruvian judge issued a national and international arrest warrant for former President Alejandro Toledo for allegedly being involved in the continent's largest corruption case: receiving bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. Toledo is alleged to have received at least $20 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction company." (02/10/17)


Lessons from Odebrecht

Source: Independent Institute
by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

"It was recently revealed that Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant, paid $788 million in bribes to obtain government contracts and/or ensure the passage of friendly legislation in 12 countries. The disclosure is part of a settlement with the authorities of Brazil, the United States, and Switzerland by which Odebrecht will pay $3.5 billion in fines. Odebrecht partook in the corruption scheme known as 'Lava Jato' (Car Wash) involving Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned energy giant, which colluded with Brazilian corporations to inflate contracts, manipulate or avoid bidding processes, and dish out money to politicians and government bureaucrats to secure business. It's a colossal case of old-style cronyism that has sent business tycoons and some politicians to jail, and has former president Lula da Silva in serious trouble." (02/08/17)


Romania: Regime survives no-confidence vote

Source: Bloomberg

"Romania's government saw off a no-confidence motion in parliament and sought to reassure protesters who've rallied every day for more than a week in the biggest demonstrations since the fall of communism. Lawmakers from the Social Democrat-led cabinet boycotted Wednesday's attempt by the opposition to usurp it, avoiding the risk of defections allowing the vote to pass. Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu may also fire his justice minister to placate protesters furious at attempts to weaken anti-corruption efforts. … Romania's third government in two years had incurred public rage by unexpectedly easing punishments for officials who abuse their positions and seeking to free others from prison." (02/08/17)


France: Prosecutors widen Fillon probe amid party calls to quit

Source: Bloomberg

"The pressure is building on Francois Fillon. After more than a week of reports he handed family members unjustified public salaries, prosecutors on Thursday decided to widen … a preliminary criminal probe started last week to include Fillon's employment of two of his children as aides when he was serving in the French Senate, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The decision follows a report Tuesday in the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine that the candidate's wife Penelope and two of the couple's children earned more than 1 million euros ($1.1 million) over more than a decade as parliamentary aides and from Penelope's contributions to a magazine. While it's legal and common for French lawmakers to employ family members, Le Canard said that Penelope Fillon didn't actually do any work." (02/02/17)


Philippines: Duterte suspends war on drugs

Source: United Press International

"Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he ordered the National Police to suspend the country's war on drugs and to 'cleanse' itself from corruption. The move comes after the kidnapping and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, 53, who was abducted from his home in October during a raid by rogue anti-drug officers and brought to a headquarters of the National Police Quezon City. Jee was strangled and then cremated, Philippine Justice Department officials said. … Since Duterte's war on drugs began when he became president in June, more than 7,000 people have been killed by police and suspected vigilante groups, officials said. Human rights organizations fear the death toll could be higher. Duterte last week apologized for Jee's death — promising to punish those responsible to a maximum sentence. Officials said those responsible for Jee's death pretended he was still alive to collect a $100,000 ransom from his wife." [editor's note: Does anyone believe the war on drugs is any less corrupting in the US? If so, let's talk about that ocean-front real estate I have for sale in Kansas – TLK] (01/30/17)


Colombia: International ranking shows huge corruption problem remains

Source: PanAm Post

"According to the Corruption Perceptions Index prepared by the NGO Transparency International, in Latin America, Uruguay is the least corrupt country and Venezuela the most corrupt. For its part, Colombia in the measurement that shows the least corrupt to the most corrupt, took the 90th place among 176 countries that were evaluated. The list of countries shows that New Zealand and Denmark are the least corrupt, while Somalia occupies the last position." (01/25/17)


Big Money’s other casualty: Fair courts

Source: The American Prospect

"Record special-interest spending on state supreme court elections in 2016 drew less notice than Donald Trump’s assault on democracy norms, but the upshot is nevertheless dangerous: an erosion of the impartiality of the nation’s courts. Uncapped and underreported outside spending by interest groups dominated judicial elections in 2016 as never before. Special-interest groups spent nearly 50 percent more on TV ads in contests for powerful state supreme court seats than they had in the previous presidential election cycle—$20 million compared with the previous high of $13.5 million in 2012. For the first time, TV spending by deep-pocketed outside groups outstripped spending by the candidates themselves, hitting 55 percent compared with 38 percent in the last presidential election cycle, and diminishing candidates’ ability to control their own messages. A high proportion of that spending happened with zero public disclosure. Since 2004, 19 states have seen at least one million-dollar-plus contest for their state’s top court. In 11 of those 19 jurisdictions, more than half the judges on the state supreme court bench are survivors of these big money brawls." (01/24/17)