The function of an Inspector General (IG) in the federal government is to detect waste, mismanagement, fraud, abuse, and even criminality. Each federal department or agency has an IG. But not all IGs are created equal. Some are fair minded watch-dogs who protect the taxpayer and follow the law in a nonpartisan way. But some are not. NASA’s Inspector General, Paul Martin, has repeatedly proven himself to be a defender of cronyism and a partisan hack.
Congressional leaders passed along whistleblower information to Martin that NASA had employed a Chinese spy and that Obama NASA appointees sought to circumvent the rules prohibiting the hiring of foreign nationals at NASA. Martin was angry with congressional leaders for revealing the spy problem, not with NASA officials for breaching our national security. He did nothing. Within days, the FBI arrested the Chinese spy, Bo Jiang, at the airport as he was fleeing to China on a one-way ticket with a treasure trove of sensitive information. Sadly, this was not the spy’s first data dump. But Martin wasn’t interested in investigating.
Martin isn’t just soft on spying at NASA. He has not protected the taxpayer, or rooted out waste or fraud. For example, NASA employees objected to the special treatment given SpaceX and provided evidence of favoritism, bid-rigging, and a long list of unethical and illegal actions. The entire process was subverted to benefit SpaceX, while the taxpayer was fleeced and competitors locked out. Long before the process was completed, top NASA officials were directing staff to give the award to SpaceX. In other words, the process was backwards — “Fire! Aim! Ready!” Continue reading
By Richard M. Ebeling • Foundation for Economic Education
In August of 1993, I was invited to participate in a conference in Vilnius, Lithuania on “Liberty and Private Business.” This was less than two years after the formal disappearance of the Soviet Union as a political entity on the map of the world.
During our time there, my wife and I were offered the opportunity to be given a tour of the building that had served as the headquarters of the local KGB, the infamous Soviet secret police. Our guide was a man who had been a prisoner in its walls in the late 1950s. The most nightmarish part of the tour was the basement containing the prison cells and the interrogation rooms.
Going Through Hell at the Hands of the KGB
As we reached the bottom Continue reading
By Margot Cleveland • The Federalist
The media has focused almost exclusively on the conclusion of the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, which found bias did not impact the probe, as well as the lack of any newly announced indictments or criminal referrals. The goal of course being to downplay the negative findings of the report.
At the same time, the press gave, at most, passing mention to the statement Attorney General Jeff Sessions simultaneously released. But his statement and the findings of the report make one thing clear: This isn’t over.
Here’s why. Throughout the 568-page report, the IG highlighted several areas meriting additional investigation. And Sessions said the report “reveals a number of significant errors by the senior leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI during the previous administration,” and stressed “this is not the end of the process.” Continue reading
Few individuals would take comfort in Wall Street spearheading an investigation into its own misuse of bailout funds or Congress self-investigating itself for political corruption. Why then do so many tech enthusiasts look the other way each time Elon Musk unapologetically takes part in similar grotesque conflicts-of-interest?
At the end of last month, a Tesla Model X self-driving car crashed, causing a fatality and prompting an investigation from the National Transportation Safety Board. Given how his company’s stock price recently plummeted due to its high debt, numerous vehicle recalls, and credit downgrade, Musk had clear reason to privately seek prompt closure of this report. But instead of letting this critical investigation run its course, the Tesla CEO irresponsibly acted on impulse and short-circuited the NTSB’s incomplete analysis. Continue reading
By Mona Charen • National Review
When 450 students arrived at Anacostia High School in the District of Columbia’s southeast neighborhood on April 4, they found that few of the sinks or toilets were functioning and the cafeteria was flooded. They were advised by the Department of General Services to use the facilities at a middle school two blocks away until repairs could be completed.
Exasperated teachers organized an impromptu, hour-long walkout to protest, which is why this particular dysfunction made the news. A casual reader might note the plumbing fiasco and chalk it up to neglect of poor students and poor neighborhoods. That is the interpretation urged by D.C. Council member Trayon White, Sr. who attended the walkout and declared that, “The students and teachers need support from the leaders of the city because of the constant neglect happening at Anacostia.”
But it’s far from so simple. The District of Columbia has one of the worst-performing public-school systems in the country. It is also one of the most generously funded. Anacostia High School itself received a $63 million renovation in 2013. According to the Department of General Services website, the project included “Full modernization and renovation of the existing high school using an adaptive re-use approach. Continue reading
By Margot Cleveland • The Federalist
For six years, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has fought for the release of documents related to Operation Fast and Furious — the botched gun-running sting that put nearly 2,000 firearms into the hands of criminals and Mexican drug cartels members, including the semi-automatic rifle used to kill Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed Wednesday to release the requested documents and to “conduct a new search” of government databases and to provide previously withheld responsive documents or to “certify the completeness of the preceding production.” The Trump Administration’s promise to redo the search of government files likely sought to assuage the House Oversight Committee, which said during litigation with the Obama administration that it did not have “sufficient trust” in the Department of Justice to take the agency’s word it had complied.
“The Department of Justice under my watch is committed to transparency and the rule of law,” Sessions said in a statement announcing the DOJ’s conditional settlement agreement with the House Oversight Committee. “This settlement agreement is an important step to make sure that the public finally receives all the facts related to Operation Fast and Furious.” Continue reading
By James Robbins • USA Today
The American people are being forced to confront a fundamental political question that was first asked centuries ago by the Roman satirist Juvenal: Who shall guard the guardians? What to do when the tools meant to protect the people are used to harm them? The memo released Friday by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is the first step in answering that question.
The memo’s central indictment is that top Obama administration officials knowingly and willfully used unverified information paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, some of which came from Russian intelligence, in a secret court document to justify a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. This corrupt process was later the basis for a campaign to sabotage the incoming Trump administration and to fuel a witch hunt against the president.
According to the memo, high-ranking FBI officials repeatedly sought, received and renewed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to engage in surveillance of members of the Trump campaign during the election. These officials, including then-Director James Comey and recently removed Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, justified the warrant requests before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in part with information generated by Christopher Steele, who was working on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the firm Fusion GPS. Steele’s main contact at the Justice Department was Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, whose wife was also employed by Fusion GPS as a Russia expert working on anti-Trump opposition research.
By Susan Crabtree • Washington Free Beacon
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), who often rails against income inequality and calls on the wealthy to pay its “fair share” in taxes, took pains in late December to try to preserve tax breaks for two of her multi-million-dollar homes one last time before the new tax law kicked in.
Largely thanks to her husband Paul, a real-estate and venture-capital investor, Pelosi is the wealthiest woman in Congress with a net worth of more than $100 million and the seventh wealthiest member overall, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In fact, assets and cash disclosed in her 2016 financial-disclosure statement places Pelosi in the top one-tenth of the 1 percent of Americans.
Pelosi’s annual property tax bill alone on three luxury homes last year—$137,000—is more than twice the 2016 U.S. median household income of $59,039, which the U.S. Census reported last fall.
Like most taxpayers, she also apparently wants to keep as much of her money as U.S. tax law allows, though she did not mention those plans during the contentious months-long debate on the GOP tax bill last fall or how it would impact her personally.
At the time, Pelosi accused Republicans and President Trump of hiking taxes on the middle-class while Continue reading
by Ethan Barton • The Daily Caller
Former President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign advertising agency received nearly $60 million in federal contracts after he took office, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group.
The gravy train for the Washington, D.C.-based agency, GMMB, hasn’t slowed since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the analysis found. The liberal Democratic communications powerhouse was awarded nearly $15 million in a new contract in June, after Trump entered the Oval Office.
GMMB received a total of $58.4 million in federal contracts from 2009 to 2017, according to USASpending, which tracks federal spending through contracts, grants, loans and other forms. GMMB’s annual revenue is an estimated $32.6 million, according to D&B Hoovers, a private business research and rating firm. Continue reading
by Natalie Johnson • Washington Free Beacon
The Clinton Foundation is closing down its New York City-based Clinton Global Initiative office amid drops in foreign donations following Hillary Clinton’s election night loss.
The foundation filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice with the New York Department of Labor on Thursday announcing it would lay off 22 employees as part of a “discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative,” the New York Observer reported.
The WARN Act requires employers to notify workers 60 days “in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.” Continue reading
By Stephen Dinan • The Washington Times
Hillary Clinton admitted under oath that she doesn’t recall asking anyone for permission to use a secret server and email account during her time in the State Department, contradicting previous public pronouncements that she had received approval.
Mrs. Clinton said she didn’t recall seeing a 2011 warning about increased hacking attempts on senior department officials’ private accounts and that she didn’t actually write another warning that was sent under her name.
“Secretary Clinton states that she does not recall being advised, cautioned, or warned during her tenure as Secretary of State about hacking or attempted hacking of her clintonemail.com e-mail account or the server that hosted her clintonemail.com account,” she said in sworn testimony dated Monday and filed in federal court Thursday. Continue reading
by Natalie Johnson • Washington Free Beacon
A billionaire Clinton Foundation donor was denied entry into the United States last year for suspected links to terrorism, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
Gilbert Chagoury, who contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation and gave $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, was barred entry into the U.S. because of his connection to a Lebanese organization allied with Hezbollah, a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization.
A 2013 FBI intelligence report said Chagoury donated funds to Michel Aoun, a Lebanese Christian politician whose party has been part of a decade-long political coalition with Hezbollah. A source told the FBI that Aoun was “facilitating fundraising for Hezbollah” and had transferred Chagoury’s donation to the terrorist group. Continue reading
by David Rutz • Washington Free Beacon
Hillary Clinton told the FBI she didn’t “recall” 39 times according to the investigation report about her email server practices released Friday.
According to CNN correspondent Evan Perez, the response generally came to questions about “whether or not she was aware of the propriety of using her unclassified system to discuss some of these issues” and whether she’d gotten security training to use such a system to discuss sensitive programs. Continue reading
by Bre Payton • Washington Free Beacon
The FBI just released notes from its July 2 interview with Hillary Clinton about her use of a private, unsecured email server during her tenure as secretary of State. Their findings don’t look good for Clinton.
Days after the interview, which was not recorded, FBI director James Comey publicly held a press conference urging the Department of Justice not to press any criminal charges against Clinton, despite her “extremely careless” handling of classified information.
In the FBI report, Clinton made statements that appear to either contradict her earlier remarks about the email scandal or to be flat-out lies.
Clinton has repeatedly said she has turned over all of her work-related emails on her private server, but the FBI report stated they found 17,448 emails she failed to turn over to the Inspector General.
There were 17,448 work-related emails that Clinton didn’t turn over to the State Inspector General pic.twitter.com/aTINI54PBh
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) September 2, 2016
Several weeks after the initial New York Times story broke in March 2015, revealing the existence of Clinton’s private email server, a bunch of these emails were deleted.
“I want the public to see my email.”
::three weeks later::
“OH SHIT DELETE DELETE DELETE” pic.twitter.com/DgROas6jN4
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) September 2, 2016
Clinton told the FBI that she didn’t pay attention to the different levels of classification, and that she didn’t understand that an email containing a “(C)” meant “confidential,” but that she thought they were marked “alphabetical order.”
Her claims of ignorance — whether they’re true or not — violate an agreement she signed during her first day on the job in the State Department.
From the very beginning of her tenure as secretary of State, Clinton signed a non-disclosure agreement acknowledging that it was her responsibility to ascertain whether documents contained sensitive information. She also acknowledged the criminal penalties she would face if she disclosed government secrets.
Clinton told FBI she didn’t know a “(C)” denoted classified information. She “could only speculate it was… marked in alphabetical order.”
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) September 2, 2016
You worked 8 years in the Senate and 4 as Sec State.
Ms. Clinton, What does the “C” stand for within your emails? pic.twitter.com/wkaYkbj6oQ
— MaxR.S (@Randy_Shannon) September 2, 2016
In 2011, State Department employees reportedly received a memo sent on Clinton’s behalf warning them against using personal email accounts for official business, as it could put sensitive information at risk. She told the FBI she didn’t remember sending that memo.
Whenever she upgraded to a new device, the State Department would sometimes lose track of her old ones. On two occasions, staffers destroyed her old devices by beating it with a hammer.
Clinton had a “will-they-won’t-they” relationship with her old Blackberries, until they were beaten with a hammer. pic.twitter.com/IYpOZI0UCt
— Jaime Fuller (@j_fuller) September 2, 2016
This is literally… LITERALLY… Hillary’s info security strategy pic.twitter.com/c43Zdn3ASC
— (((Political Math))) (@politicalmath) September 2, 2016
Throughout her time in the State Department, Hillary Clinton went through 13 different Blackberry devices — none of which she found or turned over to the FBI.
Former secretary of State Colin Powell warned Clinton about the dangers of using a personal device, because if it came out, then all her private emails would be subject to public scrutiny — a conversation she refuses to talk about publicly.
You can read the FBI’s notes of their interview with Clinton here.
FBI Hillary Clinton Email Notes 1/2 by Justin Gren on Scribd
FBI Hillary Clinton Email Notes 2/2 by Justin Gren on Scribd
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
The FBI on Friday publicly released files from its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, including a summary of the bureau’s interview with Clinton in July.
The documents undermine Clinton’s claims that she used her personal email for official business out of the convenience of carrying only one device.
According to the documents, the FBI identified 13 different mobile devices associated with Clinton’s two known phone numbers that could have been used to send or receive emails on her personal system. Investigators found that Clinton used 11 different BlackBerry devices “in succession,” eight of them during her tenure at the State Department. Continue reading