SPOTLIGHT: Changing Business As Usual
We celebrated a victory earlier this month when President Obama signed the STOCK Act, curbing some of the ridiculous loopholes that exempted Congress from insider trading laws. Passing the bill proves that when citizens are outraged and organizations like ours demand reform, politicians will take notice - especially in an election year. CREW worked hard for a strong STOCK Act, efforts the president acknowledged when he invited Melanie and some of our staff to the signing ceremony, but the new law is no panacea.
Just last week, a second proposal we were working to pass was approved by the Federal Communications Commission, which voted to make local television stations post information about political advertisements in an online database. With so many anonymous groups flooding our airwaves with political attack ads, it's more important than ever that we know who is trying to influence our votes.
CREW to FBI: Investigate the Leaky Labor Lawyer
Americans have the right to expect more of government officials than simply avoiding indictment. We've asked the FBI to open a criminal investigation into the conduct of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Terence Flynn after a recent report (.pdf) detailed how the former NLRB chief counsel funneled confidential information to those seeking to discredit the agency. Additionally, the DC Bar Counsel should consider whether Mr. Flynn violated the rules of professional responsibility for lawyers.
Where Did Georgia Rep. Paul Broun Get the Money?
Spurred on by new information brought to light by our Family Affair report, we've called on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate and sanction Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) for illegally concealing the source of more than $300,000 in loans to his campaign. Rep. Broun told the FEC he had personally loaned his campaign the money, but after we pointed out that he collected over $28,000 in interest from his campaign cofffers, the congressman suddenly claimed an unnamed bank had made the loans.
In response, a spokeswoman for Rep. Broun said the congressman would file amended FEC reports disclosing the true source of the money. It's been more than two weeks and the congressman still hasn't done so. What will he say next?
FBI Files Indicate Rep. Don Young Still May Be Under Investigation
After we got a court order to back our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the FBI finally released documents from its criminal investigation of Rep. Don Young (R-AK). The FBI withheld some records, claiming they relate to an ongoing law enforcement investigation. This suggests Rep. Young may be the subject of a current criminal inquiry, something not previously reported.
Rep. Young’s lawyer claims the congressman has no knowledge of the investigation. Whatever the truth, the documents show the FBI expected Rep. Young to be indicted, but DOJ quashed the prosecution at the last minute.
IRS Must Investigate the Commission on Hope Growth and Opportunity
For the second time in less than a year, we’ve called on the IRS and FEC to investigate the Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity (CHGO), a phony tax-exempt group whose real work is partisan politics. CHGO violated its tax status by spending more than half its budget on targeted political ads during the 2010 elections. The group also failed to report any of its spending on political advertising to the IRS or the FEC. While there is nothing wrong with working to elect Republicans to Congress, CHGO cannot violate the law to do it.