June 27, 2012- The New York Attorney General has launched an investigation to determine if organizations are secretly channeling money to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to be used to impact political campaigns.
The tax-exempt chamber is a major player in U.S. politics, but not required to disclose the identities of its donors. AG Eric Schneiderman yesterday issued a subpoena to officials of a foundation affiliated with the chamber, seeking emails and bank records to determine if the foundation illegally funneled $18 million to the chamber for political and lobbying activities, sources tell the New York Times.
Investigators are examining grants totaling $19 million from the philanthropic Starr Foundation-which is based in New York-to the chamber's National Chamber Foundation, which loaned the Chamber of Commerce $18 million during the same period of time.
Though the money was supposed to be used for a "capital campaign," watchdog groups say the funds financed lobbying for “tort reform” legislation in Congress and to run largely anti-Democrat issue ads in the 2004 presidential and congressional campaigns.
-By Mike Sacks
June 21, 2012- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is undefeated at the Supreme Court this term, continuing to improve its success in securing business-friendly judgments since Chief Justice John Roberts took the bench in 2005.
The Constitutional Accountability Center, a left-leaning think tank and law firm, reported its findings on Thursday, noting that this term, which began in October and will likely conclude by the end of June, could be the chamber's "first 'perfect' term before the Supreme Court since at least 1994."
-By: Lou Colagiovanni
June 21, 2012- Republicans often complain about the cost of food subsidization for the poor, but the reality is some of their biggest and most powerful constituents are profiting from SNAP, aka Foodstamps, in several sinister ways. The total budget for The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is $72 billion a year.
Democracy NOW! Breaking '08 Pledge, Leaked Doc Shows Obama Wants to Help Corporations Avoid Regulations
-By Sen. Bernie Sanders
June 13, 2012- More than $4 trillion in near zero-interest Federal Reserve loans and other financial assistance went to the banks and businesses of at least 18 current and former Federal Reserve regional bank directors in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse, according to Government Accountability Office records made public for the first time today by Sen. Bernie Sanders.
On the eve of Senate testimony by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Sanders (I-Vt.) released the detailed findings on Dimon and other Fed board members whose banks and businesses benefited from Fed actions.
A Sanders provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act required the Government Accountability Office to investigate potential conflicts of interest. The Oct. 19, 2011 report by the non-partisan investigative arm of Congress laid out the findings, but did not name names. Sanders today released the names.
Huffington Post: Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises
-By Zach Carter
June 13, 2012- WASHINGTON -- A critical document from President Barack Obama's free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises.
The leaked document has been posted on the website of Public Citizen, a long-time critic of the administration's trade objectives. The new leak follows substantial controversy surrounding the secrecy of the talks, in which some members of Congress have complained they are not being given the same access to trade documents that corporate officials receive.
"The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of [trade] negotiations," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch in a written statement.
-by Cora Currier
June 4, 2012- When Bank of America announced it was buying Merrill Lynch in September 2008, bank execs told their shareholders that the merger might hurt earnings a touch. It didn't turn out that way. Losses at Merrill piled up over the next two months, before the deal even closed. Yet the execs kept painting a prettier picture to shareholders — even though it turns out they knew better.
As the New York Times detailed this morning, a brief in a new lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan recounts sworn testimony and internal emails in which execs admitted to giving bad information to shareholders and that they had worried about the legal ramifications of doing so.
According to the filing, Bank of America's then-CEO Kenneth Lewis admitted in a deposition that what he told shareholders about the financials of the merger was "no longer accurate" on the day they approved it.