• When auctioning offshore drilling rights to oil and gas companies, the Interior Department is supposed to reject bids that are lower than its own estimates of what the drilling rights are worth.

    Instead, when bids come in lower than Interior’s valuations, Interior often lowers its valuations and then accepts the bids on the basis of the altered valuations, a new study by a federal watchdog found.

    The Interior Department “could be forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars” in auction revenue “by accepting bids that are too low,” the study found.

    The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an investigative arm of Congress, paints a picture of the Interior Department bending over backwards to award drilling rights to energy companies.

    The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) spotlighted some of that conduct...

    #POGO #GAO #InteriorDepartment #NaturalResources #Lobbying #RevolvingDoor #CampaignFinance #PoliticalBribery #FossilFuel #Oil
    When auctioning offshore drilling rights to oil and gas companies, the Interior Department is supposed to reject bids that are lower than its own estimates of what the drilling rights are worth. Instead, when bids come in lower than Interior’s valuations, Interior often lowers its valuations and then accepts the bids on the basis of the altered valuations, a new study by a federal watchdog found. The Interior Department “could be forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars” in auction revenue “by accepting bids that are too low,” the study found. The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an investigative arm of Congress, paints a picture of the Interior Department bending over backwards to award drilling rights to energy companies. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) spotlighted some of that conduct... #POGO #GAO #InteriorDepartment #NaturalResources #Lobbying #RevolvingDoor #CampaignFinance #PoliticalBribery #FossilFuel #Oil
    Report: Interior Gives Oil Companies Discounts on Drilling Rights
    The Interior Department has been awarding offshore drilling rights to oil and gas companies for less money than it initially estimates they are worth, a GAO study found.
    WWW.POGO.ORG
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  • How is 97 percent of Congress able to get re-elected each year even though only 17 percent of the American people believe our representatives are doing a good job?

    It’s called an incumbent protection system. Taxpayers have a right to know how it works.

    Recently, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com, mashed up the federal checkbook with the congressional campaign donor database (source: OpenSecrets.org). We found powerful members of Congress soliciting campaign donations from federal contractors based in their districts.

    We followed the money and found a culture of conflict-of-interest. The confluence of federal money, campaign cash, private employment, investments, prestigious committee appointments, political power, nepotism, and other conflicts are a fact pattern.

    Furthermore, members of Congress own investment stock in, are employed by, and receive retirement pensions from federal contractors to whom they direct billions of taxpayer dollars.

    Moreover, members sponsor legislation that affects these contractors. The contractor’s lobbyists then advocate for the legislation that helps the member and the contractor. Oftentimes, the contractor’s lobbyist also donates campaign cash to the member.

    Here are five case examples detailing the conflict-of-interest among five powerful members of Congress...

    #CampaignFinance #PeakCorruption #Congress #Election
    How is 97 percent of Congress able to get re-elected each year even though only 17 percent of the American people believe our representatives are doing a good job? It’s called an incumbent protection system. Taxpayers have a right to know how it works. Recently, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com, mashed up the federal checkbook with the congressional campaign donor database (source: OpenSecrets.org). We found powerful members of Congress soliciting campaign donations from federal contractors based in their districts. We followed the money and found a culture of conflict-of-interest. The confluence of federal money, campaign cash, private employment, investments, prestigious committee appointments, political power, nepotism, and other conflicts are a fact pattern. Furthermore, members of Congress own investment stock in, are employed by, and receive retirement pensions from federal contractors to whom they direct billions of taxpayer dollars. Moreover, members sponsor legislation that affects these contractors. The contractor’s lobbyists then advocate for the legislation that helps the member and the contractor. Oftentimes, the contractor’s lobbyist also donates campaign cash to the member. Here are five case examples detailing the conflict-of-interest among five powerful members of Congress... #CampaignFinance #PeakCorruption #Congress #Election
    Re-Elected. These Five Powerful Members of Congress Have Figured It All Out
    Congress writes the rules and the laws are lax. Nothing we found is illegal, and that's the problem.
    WWW.FORBES.COM
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  • U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from making those sorts of political contributions. But the donations Sheikh Mohammed Al Rahbani tried to send to Obama’s inaugural committee were funneled through a seasoned straw donor, the records and the AP analysis show.

    That intermediary, Imaad Zuberi, agreed this month to plead guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to several American political candidates on behalf of foreign nationals. He is also set to plead guilty to concealing his work as a foreign agent as he lobbied high-level U.S. government officials.

    The prosecution by the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles is the latest in a string of cases that highlight the prevalence of banned foreign money in American politics and the often lax approach campaigns take in vetting contributions.

    Zuberi, a jet-setting fundraiser and venture capitalist, has raised millions of dollars for Democrats and Republicans alike over the years. Prosecutors say he has worked on behalf of several foreigners, not just Rahbani.

    He served as a top fundraiser for both Obama and Hillary Clinton during their presidential runs, including stints on both of their campaign finance committees, before switching his support to President Donald Trump immediately after his 2016 victory, pumping nearly $1 million into the Republican’s inaugural committee.

    #SaudiArabia #Obama #CampaignFinance #HillaryClinton #Trump #DNC #RNC #TwoPartyOligarchy
    U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from making those sorts of political contributions. But the donations Sheikh Mohammed Al Rahbani tried to send to Obama’s inaugural committee were funneled through a seasoned straw donor, the records and the AP analysis show. That intermediary, Imaad Zuberi, agreed this month to plead guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to several American political candidates on behalf of foreign nationals. He is also set to plead guilty to concealing his work as a foreign agent as he lobbied high-level U.S. government officials. The prosecution by the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles is the latest in a string of cases that highlight the prevalence of banned foreign money in American politics and the often lax approach campaigns take in vetting contributions. Zuberi, a jet-setting fundraiser and venture capitalist, has raised millions of dollars for Democrats and Republicans alike over the years. Prosecutors say he has worked on behalf of several foreigners, not just Rahbani. He served as a top fundraiser for both Obama and Hillary Clinton during their presidential runs, including stints on both of their campaign finance committees, before switching his support to President Donald Trump immediately after his 2016 victory, pumping nearly $1 million into the Republican’s inaugural committee. #SaudiArabia #Obama #CampaignFinance #HillaryClinton #Trump #DNC #RNC #TwoPartyOligarchy
    AP Exclusive: Middleman helped Saudi give to Obama inaugural
    When President Barack Obama was reelected in 2012, a Saudi tycoon and his business associate sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to the U.S. to help pay for the inaugural celebration and get a...
    APNEWS.COM
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  • the organization that runs our nation’s largest wholesale electricity market may keep secret how it spends millions of Americans’ utility-bill dollars on lobbying and political contributions.

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, ostensibly independent, slapped down a complaint by a watchdog group known as Public Citizen. The watchdog wanted PJM Interconnection to disclose spending.

    “We will not require PJM to itemize and disclose all political-related spending and deny the complaint on this issue,” commissioners wrote.

    PJM gave at least $456,500 to the Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association from October 2007 to August 2017, according to Public Citizen’s complaint.

    Such donations, said Public Citizen, are “the wild, wild West of campaign finance” because they aren’t limited by state or federal rules and can be used to funnel large amounts of money to candidates for office.

    #Energy #RevolvingDoor #FossilFuel #News #CampaignFinance #Lobbying

    the organization that runs our nation’s largest wholesale electricity market may keep secret how it spends millions of Americans’ utility-bill dollars on lobbying and political contributions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, ostensibly independent, slapped down a complaint by a watchdog group known as Public Citizen. The watchdog wanted PJM Interconnection to disclose spending. “We will not require PJM to itemize and disclose all political-related spending and deny the complaint on this issue,” commissioners wrote. PJM gave at least $456,500 to the Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association from October 2007 to August 2017, according to Public Citizen’s complaint. Such donations, said Public Citizen, are “the wild, wild West of campaign finance” because they aren’t limited by state or federal rules and can be used to funnel large amounts of money to candidates for office. #Energy #RevolvingDoor #FossilFuel #News #CampaignFinance #Lobbying
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