Tag Archives: corruption

Menendez faces Senate ethics probe after mistrial

Source: Politico

"The Senate Ethics Committee will resume its investigation into Sen. Bob Menendez, a move that came just hours after a mistrial was announced in the New Jersey Democrat's bribery and corruption case. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had called for an ethics probe of Menendez as soon as a mistrial was declared by U.S. District Judge William Walls. The deadlock in the criminal proceedings was a huge legal victory for Menendez, who grew emotional as he spoke about the case with reporters." (11/16/17)


Source: FBI opens inquiry into Whitefish's Puerto Rico contract

Source: CNN

"The FBI has opened a preliminary inquiry into the $300 million Whitefish Energy Holdings contract secured by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, according to a source with knowledge of the inquiry. The energy firm was contracted to rebuild the damaged electrical grid that was destroyed by hurricanes that struck the island. … The company is based in and named after the small hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and the CEO is an acquaintance of the secretary. An investment firm that owns a major stake in the company is run by a donor to Trump's presidential campaign." (10/31/17)


Menendez formally seeks mistrial in bribery case

Source: Politico

"Lawyers for Sen. Bob Menendez — on trial in federal court for bribery and other corruption charges — formally declared in a new court filing Sunday that they will seek a mistrial, declaring the judge overseeing the case is biased and has prevented the New Jersey Democrat from presenting his case. Menendez and his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen, were charged in April 2015 with bribery following a lengthy FBI probe. Menendez is alleged to have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper gifts and campaign contributions as bribes in exchange for using his office to help Melgen, a close friend and donor." (10/29/17)


Puerto Rico's utility cancels controversial $300 million contract with Montana firm hired to repair electrical grid

Source: Washington Post

"Puerto Rico’s utility canceled the controversial $300 million contract with a Montana firm hired to repair its electrical grid. The announcement by the island state-owned utility came hours after Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello called for the contract with Whitefish Energy to be canceled. … Whitefish Energy, which had just two employees the day Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, now has about 325 people working on restringing transmission lines, clearing debris and erecting fallen poles. It has been working under contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Whitefish, Mont., is the home of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, although the company said he played no role in securing the business. One of Zinke’s sons worked for Whitefish Energy over the summer." (10/29/17)


Pakistan: Court issues arrest warrant for Sharif

Source: US News & World Report

"A Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after he failed to appear before the court over anti-corruption allegations, local media said on Thursday, but he can avoid arrest by paying bail. In Pakistan, 'bailable arrest warrants' often act as a warning to deter absences from court, but a judge can later issue non-bailable warrants that are more serious and could see Sharif arrested when he returns to Pakistan. Sharif missed the hearing as he is undertaking a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Dawn and other English-language newspapers reported. Sharif had spent previous weeks tending to his wife in London, where she is receiving cancer treatment." (10/26/17)


The Whitefish no-bid Puerto Rico contract stinks

Source: National Review
by Kevin D Williamson

"Meet Whitefish Energy, which has just been awarded a $300 million project to rebuild storm-smacked Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. Whitefish is based in the hometown of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who knows the firm’s chief executive and whose son once worked for Whitefish in a modest capacity. Whitefish Energy has two full-time employees, and its largest government contract prior to this was a $1.3 million job fixing 4.8 miles of power line. Its biggest government job other than that was replacing a pole. Whitefish Energy is a two-year-old firm, and it reported $1 million in revenue on its procurement documents. The firm plans to charge Uncle Stupid more than $300 an hour for a subcontracted lineman and $462 an hour for a subcontracted supervisor. (Subcontractors will make up the bulk of its work force, since — let’s repeat — the firm has two full-time employees.) The company will also charge about $400 per worker in per diem food and housing costs. A former Department of Energy official calls the arrangement 'odd.' Indeed."


Puerto Rico: $300 million recovery contract awarded to tiny utility company linked to major Trump donor

Source: The Daily Beast

"Puerto Rico has agreed to pay a reported $300 million for the restoration of its power grid to a tiny utility company which is primarily financed by a private equity firm founded and run by a man who contributed large sums of money to President Trump, an investigation conducted by The Daily Beast has found. Whitefish Energy Holdings, which had a reported staff of only two full-time employees when Hurricane Maria touched down, appears ill-equipped to handle the daunting task of restoring electricity to Puerto Rico’s over 3 million residents. … The private equity firm that finances Whitefish, HBC Investments, was founded by Joe Colonnetta, who serves as its general partner. FEC data compiled by The Daily Beast shows that Colonnetta contributed $20,000 to the 'Trump Victory' PAC during the general election, $27,000 to Trump’s primary election campaign (then the maximum amount permitted), $27,000 to Trump’s general election campaign (also the maximum), and a total of $30,700 to the Republican National Committee in 2016 alone." (10/24/17)


Pakistan: Sharif indicted on corruption charges

Source: US News & World Report

"A Pakistani court on Thursday indicted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as his daughter and son-in-law on corruption charges stemming from documents leaked from a Panama law firm. A lawyer for the 67-year-old Sharif, who is currently in London, where his wife is receiving medical treatment, entered a plea of not guilty. The former prime minister's daughter, Maryam Sharif, and her husband, Mohammad Safdar, attended Thursday's hearing at the Accountability Court and also pleaded not guilty. The charges stem from a trove of documents, known as the Panama Papers, that investigators say showed the family held unreported assets overseas. The family has denied any wrongdoing." (10/19/17)


FBI informant blocked from telling Congress about Russia/Clinton nuclear corruption case, lawyer says

Source: The Hill

"An American businessman who worked for years undercover as an FBI confidential witness was blocked by the Obama Justice Department from telling Congress about conversations and transactions he witnessed related to the Russian nuclear industry's efforts to win favor with Bill and Hillary Clinton and influence Obama administration decisions, his lawyer tells The Hill. Attorney Victoria Toensing, a former Reagan Justice Department official and former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday she is working with members of Congress to see if they can get the Trump Justice Department or the FBI to free her client to talk to lawmakers. … Toensing said she also possesses memos that recount how the Justice Department last year threatened her client when he attempted to file a lawsuit that could have drawn attention to the Russian corruption during the 2016 election as well as helped him recover some of the monies Russians stole from him through kickbacks during the FBI probe." (10/18/17)


Hillary Clinton: Cold creepiness with a side of corruption

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"On October 16, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took her public pity party (and not so subtle hopes of somehow magically overturning the 2016 election) abroad, calling out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as 'a tool of Russian intelligence …. a kind of nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator' in an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s show 'Four Corners.' Clinton’s evidenceless accusations don’t seem to carry much weight with Assange himself. He doesn’t find her 'a credible person.' 'It is not just her constant lying,' he says. 'It is not just that she throws off menacing glares and seethes thwarted entitlement. Something much darker rides along with it. A cold creepiness rarely seen.' Was Clinton’s latest lunge at Assange and WikiLeaks a preemptive strike? An attempt, perhaps, to get ahead of extreme ugliness in the coming news cycle?" (10/18/17)