Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

July 2019
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: Scandal

Four top Secret Service Executives To Be Removed in Shake-up

secret service photo

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The Secret Service has decided to remove four of its most senior officials while a fifth has decided to retire, the biggest management shake-up at the troubled agency since its director resigned in October after a string of security lapses, according to people familiar with internal discussions.

The departures would gut much of the Secret Service’s upper management, which has been criticized by lawmakers and administration officials in recent months for fostering a culture of distrust between agency leaders and its rank-and-file, and for making poor decisions that helped erode quality.

To read the full story click here.

Ogden Editorial: Secret Service Needs New Leader Who Won’t Tolerate Inefficiency

Ogden Newspapers
Editorial Board

Unless the Secret Service is shaken up at the very top, the agency charged with protecting the president and other top officials will not correct problems that threaten its mission, an investigation has concluded.

After scandal after scandal – including lapses in which the president was put at risk – a group of former government officials was asked to examine the Secret Service and propose solutions. Earlier this month, their report was released.

Reform will not occur unless a new director from outside the agency is placed in charge of the Secret Service, those who studied it emphasize. They referred to the agency as “insular.”

In other words, the Secret Service is a bureaucracy where inefficiency has become acceptable.

The outside director proposal certainly touches on the problem of insiders unwilling to rock the boat. But it does not go far enough.

Much of the federal bureaucracy has problems similar to those plaguing the Secret Service.

Sending someone from another agency there may merely replace someone knowledgeable about it with someone else who is not – but who has the same sort of “insular” mindset.

To read more click here.

White House Aides Accused of Trying to Cover Up Secret Service Prostitution Scandal

secret service photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Obama administration has repeatedly denied that anyone from his administration was involved with the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal in Columbia.

But the Washington Post reports that new information suggests one of the presidential advance-team members was involved but never thorough investigated.

In fact, the White House continued to say no one from the administration was involved, despite evidence that includes hotel records and firsthand accounts.

The lead investigator said he was pressured to withhold evidence.

“We were directed at the time . . . to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement.

According to Nieland, his supervisors told him “to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”

 

Ex-Secret Service Agent: Lousy Leadership – Not Alcohol – Is Agency’s Real Prolem

By Dan Emmett
Washington Post

These are disturbing days for the agency charged with protecting the president of the United States. From prostitutes in Colombia to drunkenness in Amsterdam, it is no wonder that so many members of Congress — as well as former agents — have lost patience with a Secret Service that can’t seem to stay out of the news with embarrassing and high-profile cases of misconduct.

I was a Secret Service agent for 21 years, spent two tours of duty on the Presidential Protective Division and four years on the Counter Assault Team (CAT), and was part of trips for three presidents. I retired 10 years ago and have no dog in today’s agency fights. I do not believe that alcohol abuse is a cultural problem within the Secret Service. (In fact, many agents do not drink at all, and those who do tend to consume in moderation.)

The problem in the agency is not alcohol or debauchery, but weak leadership. There are too many incompetent managers who want the title, pay and perks of management while performing no duties of leadership. The problem is not bad Secret Service agents but bad leaders of Secret Service agents.

The United States Secret Service was created in 1865 and began protecting the president in 1902. During 110 years of presidential protection, the agency accompanied presidents on hundreds of thousands of domestic and overseas trips without bringing any unwanted attention upon itself. That is because, in my experience, agents tend to be intelligent, well-trained and fiercely patriotic Americans — nearly fanatical in their devotion to the mission at hand.

Yet, history shows that even the best units perform poorly with poor leaders, and the Secret Service is a prime example. The most disturbing common thread among the recent episodes of misconduct is that supervisors or team leaders have been involved. While it is unacceptable for any agent to commit infractions such as those in Amsterdam and Colombia, it is utterly inexcusable for those in charge to be involved. If managers show continued lapses in judgment, how and why would anyone expect the rank and file to behave better?

To read more click here.

Socialite Jill Kelley Appears in Public After Long Absence Following Petraeus Scandal

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Socialite Jill Kelley, who has shunned the limelight since the scandal that cost David Petraeus his job as head of the CIA, is reportedly back in the public eye, News Track India reports.

Kelley and her husband were spotted handing out holiday meals during a charity event on Thanksgiving.

Kelley’s complaints about receiving harassing emails led to Petraeus’ resignation.

Kelley file suit against the government, saying her privacy was violated.

ProPublica: Six Facts Lost in the IRS Scandal

By  Kim Barker and Justin Elliott
ProPublica
In the furious fallout from the revelation that the IRS flagged applications from conservative nonprofits for extra review because of their political activity, some points about the big picture — and big donors — have fallen through the cracks.

Consider this our Top 6 list of need-to-know facts on social welfare nonprofits, also known as dark money groups because they don’t have to disclose their donors. The groups poured more than $256 million into the 2012 federal elections.

 1. Social welfare nonprofits are supposed to have social welfare, and not politics, as their “primary” purpose.

A century ago, Congress created a tax exemption for social welfare nonprofits. The statute defining the groups says they are supposed to be “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.” But in 1959, the regulators interpreted the “exclusively” part of the statute to mean groups had to be “primarily” engaged in enhancing social welfare. This later opened the door to political spending.

So what does “primarily” mean?  It’s not clear. The IRS has said it uses a “facts and circumstances” test to say whether a group mostly works to benefit the community or not. In short: If a group walks and talks like a social welfare nonprofit, then it’s a social welfare nonprofit.

This deliberate vagueness has led some groups to say that “primarily” simply means they must spend 51 percent of their money on a social welfare idea — say, on something as vague as “education,” which could also include issue ads criticizing certain politicians. And then, the reasoning goes, a group can spend as much as 49 percent of its expenditures on ads directly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate for office.

Nowhere in tax regulations or rulings does it mention 49 percent, though. Some nonprofit lawyers have argued that the IRS should set hard limits for social welfare nonprofits — setting out, for instance, that they cannot spend more than 20 percent of their money on election ads or even limiting spending to a fixed amount, like no more than $250,000.

So far, the IRS has avoided clarifying any limits.

2. Donors to social welfare nonprofits are anonymous for a reason.

Unlike donors who give directly to politicians or even to super PACs, donors who give to social welfare nonprofits can stay secret. In large part, this is because of an attempt by Alabama to force the NAACP, then a social welfare nonprofit, to disclose its donors in the 1950s. In 1958, the Supreme Court sided with the NAACP, saying that public identification of its members made them at risk of reprisal and threats.

The ACLU, which is itself a social welfare nonprofit, has long made similar arguments. So has Karl Rove, the GOP strategist and brains behind Crossroads GPS, which has spent more money on elections than any other social welfare nonprofit. In early April 2012, Rove invoked the NAACP in defending his organization against attempts to reveal donors.

The Federal Election Commission could in theory push for some disclosure from social welfare nonprofits — for their election ads, at least. But the FEC has been paralyzed by a 3-3 partisan split, and its interpretations of older court decisions have given nonprofits wiggle room to avoid saying who donated money, as long as a donation wasn’t specifically made for a political ad.

New rulings indicate that higher courts, including the Supreme Court, favor disclosure for political ads, and states are also stepping into the fray. During the 2012 elections, courts in two states — Montana and Idaho — ruled that two nonprofits engaged in state campaigns needed to disclose donors.

But sometimes, when nonprofits funnel donations, the answers raise more questions. It’s the Russian nesting doll phenomenon. Last election, for instance, California’s election agency pushed for an Arizona social welfare nonprofit to disclose donors for $11 million spent on two California ballot initiatives. The answer? Another social welfare nonprofit, which in turn got the money from a trade association, which also doesn’t have to reveal its donors.

3. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision meant that corporations could pay for political ads, anonymously, using social welfare nonprofits.

In January 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions could spend money directly on election ads. A later court decision made possible super PACs, the political committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from donors, as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates and as long as they report their donors and spending.

Initially, campaign finance watchdogs believed corporations would give directly to super PACs. And in some cases, that happened. But not as much as anyone thought, and maybe for a reason: Disclosure isn’t necessarily good for business. Target famously faced a consumer and shareholder backlash after it gave money in 2010 to a group backing a Minnesota candidate who opposed gay rights.

Many watchdogs now believe that large public corporations are giving money to support candidates through social welfare nonprofits and trade associations, partly to avoid disclosure. Although the tax-exempt groups were allowed to spend money on election ads before Citizens United, their spending skyrocketed in 2010 and again in 2012.

A New York Times article based on rare cases in which donors have been disclosed, sometimes accidentally, explored the issue of corporations giving to these groups last year. Insurance giant Aetna, for example, accidentally revealed it gave $3 million in 2011 to the American Action Network, a social welfare group founded by former Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, that runs election ads.

Groups that favor more disclosure have so far failed to force action by the FEC, the IRS, or Congress, although some corporations have voluntarily reported their political spending. Advocates have now turned to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is studying a proposal to require public companies to disclose political contributions.

The idea is already facing strong opposition from House Republicans.

Read more »

Top Assistant New Orleans U.S. Attorney Retires Amid Controversy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

 Jan Mann, the first Assistant U.S. Attorney in the New Orelans office, who was embroiled in controversy, has retired from the office, along with her husband, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon Russell of the Times-Picayune reports:

 Jan Mann was demoted from her dual management posts last month — she had been both first assistant U.S. attorney and chief of the office’s criminal division — after she admitted commenting pseudonymously on stories about federal cases posted at NOLA.com.

The revelation came more than six months after Sal Perricone, another high-ranking member of the office, confessed to authoring a raft of online rants.

The scandal resulted in the resignation of U.S. Attorney Letten.

To read more click here.

New Orleans U.S. Attorneys Falls in Online Scandal

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By NOLA.com
The Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Abruptly ending an 11-year run highlighted by the convictions of more than a dozen crooked politicians, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten resigned Thursday morning amid a metastasizing scandal in his office that started with prosecutors posting anonymous screeds on NOLA.com. Letten was the nation’s longest-serving U.S. attorney, having been kept in the job by President Barack Obama despite his Republican affiliation.

Ironically, his fall was engineered by Fred Heebe, the landfill magnate who very nearly became U.S. attorney himself after George W. Bush was elected president — and then, years later, found himself a target of the office.

While it was Heebe’s filing of a defamation lawsuit that set Letten’s downfall in motion, he was finally done in by the failure of his most trusted lieutenant — First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann — to admit that she, too, had been posting vituperative online comments about federal targets.

In an emotional and strident 11-minute speech, Letten said his resignation would be effective Tuesday, but that he would stay on for a “very, very short time” to aid in the transition. He spoke of his pride in having served as the region’s top federal law enforcement officer for more than a decade.

To read full story click here.