Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $3.15 billion to resolve claims that it misled U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about risky mortgage securities it sold them before the housing market collapsed in 2007.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, announced the settlement Friday with the Wall Street powerhouse.
Newly released court documents include excerpts from emails showing that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election campaign team told him to instruct donors to give to a key conservative group that would run ads for Walker and distribute money to other conservative groups backing him.
The documents released Friday by a federal appeals court also show that prosecutors believe Walker personally solicited donations for conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth to get around campaign finance limits and disclosure requirements as he fended off the recall attempt in 2012.
According to a new Consumer Reports investigative study published Thursday, there is rampant variation in the price of generic drugs as large U.S. pharmacy chains — including CVS, Rite Aid, and Target — mark up the prices of generic drug versions for common medications by as much as 18 times what wholesale chains like Costco charge. That price variance ends up costing Americans, who spend an average of $758 out-of-pocket on drugs every year, hundreds of dollars in unnecessary spending each month.
Dale Peterson, the Alabama Republican best known for his viral campaign videos railing against “thugs and criminals,” is calling his second shoplifting arrest in five months “so bizarre and so idiotic” and is suggesting his political enemies are somehow behind his woes.
Las Vegas Sands Corp said it “likely” violated the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws the bribery of foreign officials, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday.
The filing marks the first disclosure by the casino operator, controlled by founder and billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, that is was under investigation.
The SEC subpoenaed company documents in February 2011 relating to its compliance with the antibribery act while the U.S. Department of Justice also advised Sands it was conducting an investigation, the company said in its annual report filing.
“There were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA,” the company said.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick took money meant for seniors and children and drove up costs for taxpayers under a long-running criminal enterprise that forced contractors to reward his friends and family, a federal prosecutor said on Monday.
Voters had hoped Kilpatrick would reverse decades of decline in Detroit when he was elected the youngest mayor in city history in 2001. Instead, he faces 30 charges including racketeering conspiracy, bribery, extortion and tax fraud.
“Everything you need to know about this case is in this sentence: No deal without me,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta said in closing arguments on Monday to jurors in the five-month long trial in Detroit federal court.
ProPublica reported earlier this week that the co-op was looking into whether credit card companies, retailers such as Target, or other commercial interests might be interested in buying their data. The state parties collect voters’ names, addresses and party registrations from public records, but also gather their own records about voters’ political opinions and other data. The co-op, formed by state Democratic chairs in 2011, started off by selling its voter data to approved groups like the NAACP. But the group had begun looking for potential clients, including for-profit corporations, according to the co-op’s marketing expert, as well as a member of the co-op’s governing board. Although there were no firm plans to sell the data for commercial uses, Drew Brighton of TargetSmart Communications, which helps administer and market the co-op’s data, told ProPublica that he was planning to make the rounds with corporate prospects.
Good-ole Chicago politics:
It’s been nearly three months since Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress, but now NBC News confirms that Jackson has signed papers in a plea deal within the past several days.
Jackson’s case is being handled by the US Attorney’s office in Washington DC. While no public announcement is expected today, those with knowledge of the investigation believe the loose ends now deal with Jackson’s wife, former Alderman Sandi Jackson, and whether or not she is ultimately charged.
Under the terms of the deal Jackson signed, he pleads guilty and his fate – as to jail time – would be in the hands of a federal judge, not yet assigned.
He would repay the government hundreds of thousands of dollars – for items like the $40,000 Rolex watch, travel expenses for a woman he described as a “social acquaintance” and furniture purchased for his home.
Converting campaign contributions for personal use is strictly prohibited by federal law. It opens Jackson up to “not more than 5 years” in prison.
But no one will go to jail, of course:
The Justice Department and state prosecutors intend to file civil charges alleging wrongdoing by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services in its rating of mortgage bonds before the financial crisis erupted in 2008, according to people familiar with the matter.
The allegations likely would be made in lawsuits by federal and state officials that are expected to be filed as soon as this week, the people said. The alleged wrongdoing by S&P, a unit of McGraw-Hill Cos., MHP -12.48% centers on allegations related to the model used by S&P to rate mortgage bonds.
On March 16, 2007, Morgan Stanley employees working on one of the toxic assets that helped blow up the world economy discussed what to name it. Among the team members’ suggestions: “Subprime Meltdown,” “Hitman,” “Nuclear Holocaust,” “Mike Tyson’s Punchout,” and the simple-yet-direct: “Shitbag.”Ha ha. Those hilarious investment bankers.
Then they gave it its real name and sold it to a Chinese bank.
We are never going to have a full understanding of what bad behavior bankers conducted in the years leading up to the financial crisis. The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have failed to hold big wrongdoers to account.
Four years ago, the committee for President Obama’s first swearing-in proudly announced that no corporate cash would be accepted for the festivities, presenting the decision as “a commitment to change business as usual in Washington.” Nor was money taken from registered lobbyists and foreign agents, non-U.S. citizens or political action committees. What’s more, individual contributions were capped at $50,000.
This year, there’s a new attitude and a new push for dollars — the goal is set at $50 million. The rules against lobbyists, PACs and non-citizens are still in effect, but now, contributions of as much as a million are being solicited from individuals as well as businesses (although you’re banned from giving if you received taxpayer bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program – TARP — and haven’t paid it back!).
A former campaign aide to Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says the lawmaker made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her failed 2012 presidential campaign, in a complaint filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission.
In his letter to the FEC, Peter Waldron said Bachmann for President paid state Sen. Kent Sorenson $7,500 a month, including through a PAC associated with the congresswoman. Sorenson, a Republican from Milo, quit Bachmann’s campaign on the eve of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and gave his support for the GOP presidential nomination to former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Waldron’s letter alleges the campaign also violated other FEC rules. The letter says MichelePAC paid C&M Strategies Inc. — a Colorado-based PAC accused of paying Sorenson — while it was operated by the same person who worked as the campaign’s national political director.
Obama has been very good for big business. But that’s his job after all. Unfortunately, his supporters don’t understand that. They can’t seem to put 2 and 2 together. Corporate America is thriving while the poor and middle class struggles to make ends meet. They are falling for the propaganda that says only the Republicans represent big business:
JP Morgan Chase, the largest American bank, announced record third-quarter profits today of $5.7
billion. Those billions were made even as the bank is still working out the multi-billion dollar “London Whale” trading debacle.
But to hear JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon tell it, regulations are killing his bank. During an appearance in Washington this week, Dimon opined that new regulations — both on the international level and due to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law here in the U.S. — will cost JP Morgan $1 billion per year (compared to quarterly profits of nearly $6 billion).
Business as usual in local government, especially in Jersey:
Federal authorities arrested Trenton, N.J., Mayor Tony Mack and more than half a dozen other people early Monday in connection with an ongoing corruption probe, NBC 4 New York has learned.
Mack faces federal charges including conspiracy to obstruct commerce by extortion. Joseph “JoJo” Giorgianni, a top campaign contributor, and six others were also taken into custody. Information on their attorneys wasn’t immediately available. Specific charges against the suspects are expected to be outlined by Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, later Monday.
It’s all one big corrupt mess. And the victims of are working people and consumers:
Restaurants and other businesses in this food-loving tourist mecca collected almost $14 million dollars in extra fees last year from their patrons, as they sought to comply with the progressive city’s landmark universal health-care ordinance.
But an Associated Press analysis of records showed that roughly 40 percent of that money hasn’t been spent on their workers’ health care.
The surcharges, which range from 3 to 5 percent and often appear in fine print on receipts, are one result of San Francisco’s five-year-old health care program, which includes some of the most far-reaching such requirements mandated by any U.S. city.
The law applies to more than 4,000 businesses with as few as 20 part-time workers, from nail salons to international banks with local branches, requiring them to set aside for workers an extra $1 to $3 an hour for health care.
The city’s mandate is unrelated to the federal health care law that takes effect in 2014 and will apply only to companies with 50 or more employees. They could face fines if they don’t provide coverage. And the IRS will collect the money, minimizing the chances of gaming the system.
Politicians believe they can get away with anything. After all they dupe voters every election cycle. This is true up to a point. They break the law until caught. And even
then politicians will insist they are innocent. NY State has a long history of corruption. In addition the State legislature here is well known for being dysfunctional. But what we are seeing now is institutionalized corruption. They exist only to serve their corporate masters. After that they behave like Roman emperors. Nothing is too depraved for them. The only question is whether Illinois is more debauched or is it New York. Who cares? We just let it happen and shake our heads:
Five women who worked for Vito J. Lopez, the assemblyman at the center of a growing sexual harassment scandal, described in interviews an atmosphere of sexual pressure and crude language in his office, with frequent unwanted advances by him and others, requests for provocative dress, personal questions about their boyfriends and fears of reprisals if they complained.
By their accounts, Mr. Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat, told some women not to wear bras to work. He requested they wear short skirts and high heels. He gave them cash to buy jewelry and complimented them on their figures, giving special attention to those he called “well endowed.”
He asked about their personal lives, urging them to break up with boyfriends, and berated those women — all of whom were new to politics — who did not compliment him effusively enough, according to several of the women interviewed.
The lobbyists rule over the government. And it is why we are headed for ruin. It explains why elections have become essentially meaningless in America. Because the politicians don’t listen to the people just the lobbyists who own them:
Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg has been pounding Democratic Sen. Jon Tester over lobbyist fundraising in
their tight Senate race, but Rehberg declared last year in a meeting with the influence peddlers that he probably would have chosen their profession over his own if he had been “smart.”
And further, he declared they were not only honorable, but that he could not do his job without them.
Rehberg made those assertions speaking to the Association of Lobbyists in October at an event that was recorded. The recording was forwarded to The Huffington Post by the Tester campaign.
Top defense industry bosses are earning more than their counterparts in banking, and their pay probably won’t slide even if the U.S. trims military spending.
Chief executives of the top five U.S. military contractors were paid a total of $107 million last year, 43 percent more than the heads of the five biggest U.S. banks, who made $75 million. That’s a reversal from 2007, when the defense executives received $97 million, 41 percent less than the $163 million that went to the top banking chief executives.
Well the government is to blame here. Everybody knows North Carolina businesses are over regulated:
Federal securities regulators have filed fraud charges and an emergency order to freeze the assets of a North Carolina company officials say operated a $600 million Ponzi scheme that is on the verge of collapse.
The action by the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday is intended to help investors recoup money and avoid devastating losses.
Online marketer Paul Burks of Lexington, N.C., is accused in a federal complaint of raising money from more than 1 million customers through ZeekRewards.com, a website in operation less than two years.
An Israeli who helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Congressman Michael Grimm during his 2010 campaign has been arrested in New York on immigration fraud charges.
Businessman Ofer Biton (OH’-fur BEE’-tohn) was arraigned Friday in Brooklyn. He is charged with lying about his finances two years ago when he applied for a visa for foreign investors.
The arrest comes as the FBI probes money donated to Grimm’s campaign by followers of an Israeli rabbi, Yoshiyahu (yoh-shee-AH’-hoo) Pinto.
Biton was formerly a top aide to Pinto. He acted in 2010 as a liaison between Grimm and potential donors in the congregation.