A part of the Financial Reform Bill that passed through Congress this past week grants an unprecedented power to a Federal Agency. The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) is the main overseer of the financial system in the US. It is responsible for enforcing most of the financial 'reforms' in the bill. There has been sharp criticism of the SEC over their lack of action to prevent the economic collapse.
Financial Reform has now granted the SEC immunity from external oversight of their operations/communications/enforcement. No citizen can petition for any records from the SEC now. It can laugh at Freedom of Information Act requests. It can do anything it wants to now, without the public knowing anything about it. We have no way of knowing what they are controlling, what they are looking at, who they are investigating. It doesn't have to disclose anything it doesn't want to, thanks to Obama, Barney Clark, and Chris Dodd. How's that for transparency in government?
The Military Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) was passed by Congress last year. It lays out rules for helping military personnel posted overseas to be able to vote, and to make sure their vote is counted. The legislation was co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) - truly a bi-partisan bill.
Obama's DoJ has been actively instructing interested states and individuals how to circumvent the new regulations. They are encouraging states to apply for waivers to exempt them from having to comply with the law. So far, according to the DoJ, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Alaska, and the Virgin Islands had applied for waivers so far.
Not only is the DoJ not enforcing this law, they are actively fighting it. There is only one possible reason, and it is pretty simple. Members of the military vote overwhelmingly Republican. Past elections have seen thousands of military ballots discounted for various reasons, mostly because they are late being counted. MOVE was written specifically to fight that - and the DoJ is fighting MOVE.
Sen. Cornyn wrote a letter to Eric Holder asking for an explanation:
Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was brought up on ethics charges by the House Ethics Committee, the end result of a long, protracted process that saw Rangel trying to defend himself from multiple infractions of the ethics rules and several laws. This is a bad time for this to surface for Democrats - with the mid-term elections right around the corner. Rangel is trying to 'plea-bargain' with the ethics committee's leadership (all Democrats) that would allow him to say 'I'm guilty' of some small issue, while having all the major stuff dismissed. This would allow Democrats to sweep this under the rug as quickly as possible and remove it as a campaign issue. Look for this to happen within the next week.
As a side, lobbyists and unions are lining up to pay for Rangel's legal fees.
Update - Rangel wasn't allowed to cut a deal, but he received something even better. The 'investigators' who came up with the 13 ethics violation charges (controlled by the Democrat leadership of the ethics committee) have recommended that Rangel receive a 'reprimand' from the House. This is the most lenient 'punishment' that can be levied against Rangel. This is PERFECT from a Democrat standpoint. First, it lets Rangel off the hook with no punishment whatsoever. Second, it lets Rangel save face by letting him off the hook without him having to 'cut a deal'. Third, it allows Pelosi to stand by her charade of ethics reform - she can now say they investigated and punished one of their own - that shows how serious they are. Fourth, it takes Rangel off the table as an issue during November's elections. This is an absolutely brilliant move by the Democrat leadership.
I don't believe Charlie Rangel is a 'bad guy'. He's served in the House for over 40 years. He was a Marine, serving during the Korean War. I don't like his politics, but I respect him - he says what he thinks, and doesn't try to hide what his political stances/motives are. I hav3e no doubt that he has served his constituents well - in their eyes.
Republicans will cry foul over this, but it will be hollow and short lived. I hate it, but what should have been 2010's Democrat equivalent of the Mark Foley mess just fizzled out ....
Chelsea Clinton's upcoming wedding is said to be costing over $5,000,000, and includes such gems as a $11,000 cake. Can you imagine the left wing outrage if the Bushes had spent anything close to this on their daughter's wedding?
Despite Obama's repeated assertions that Obamacare would not supply any Federal funds for elective abortions, it does. A 'loophole' has been found that would allow individual states to fund abortions with Federal funds in their high risk insurance pool. I don't know the nuts and bolts of this, but it is serious enough to prompt 13 Senators to write to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebilious, asking her to issue directives forbidding states from using the Federal funds for elective abortion procedures. Now, I am not saying that this loophole was left in Obamacare on purpose - it may very well have been, or it may have just been a detail missed because of the huge, overarching nature of Obamacare. Who knows what other little bombs are lurking in that 2300 page document?
Update - Another one surfaced today. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who represents the central Florida area, sent out 100,000 copies of a self-promoting DVD touting his accomplishments in office (some real, some imagined). Thess DVDs were mailed to voters in his district. With the mid-term elections coming up, this might be seen as normal campaign advertising. However, Rep. Grayson doesn't see it that way, and charged the expenses of making and shipping the DVD ($73,000) to the taxpayers. Comgressional rules allow Representatives and Senators to send out newsletters and such to the voters they represent at taxpayer expense. However Grayson's misuse of that priviledge to send out blatant campaign materials has crossed the line.