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    SACRAMENTO —  A campaign finance investigation against a top official at California’s political watchdog agency sat in limbo and hidden from public view for months, raising questions about whether the government organization holds its own members to the same standard as candidates and campaigns across the state. The complaint filed against Catharine Baker, a member of the California Fair Political Practices Commission and former Republican legislator, was filed in April with the agency’s enforcement division. On Nov. 12 — the same day The Times requested information regarding the case — the FPPC enforcement division recused itself from the investigation and asked Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta to assume control. “I’m very surprised by this,” said Bob Stern, former FPPC general counsel. “The question then becomes, what other cases are they not disclosing? Is this one bad example or typical of how they are operating?” Fair Political Practices Commission Chairman Richard Miadich said he instructed staff members months ago to move the case to the attorney general and provided a copy of an email dated April 29 confirming that direction. But he said...
    The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog organization, will file a complaint Friday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) seeking an immediate investigation into California state Rep. Rudy Salas (D) and his campaign for allegedly using state campaign resources for his federal congressional race. Salas, a state elected official in California, on October 18, announced his candidacy for the House of Representatives in the state’s 21st congressional district to take on Republican incumbent Rep. David Valadao (R-CA). The complaint shared exclusively with Breitbart News before its filing outlines the allegations against Salas, using “state campaign assets for his federal campaign,” which “violates federal election laws, including contribution limits and reporting requirements.” The allegation is centered on the accusation that Salas used old signage from his state campaign for his federal election, which “violates federal election laws” due to not being allowed to mix resources. During Salas’s House campaign launch, the Democrat was at a podium with campaign signs around him, some being held by “positioned supporters,” which said “Rudy Salas for Congress.” However, FACT’s complaint noted, “The campaign signs appear to be Salas’...
                        The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) on Friday released its findings of an audit on the state’s November 2020 election. Based on its findings, the group recommended 30 suggestions to the Wisconsin Elections Commission for improving the election process, 18 of which are “issues for legislative consideration.” After the release of the report, members of The Amistad Project furthered their calls for an additional investigation into the process. “The LAB report confirms what The Amistad Project’s ongoing investigations have already revealed, which is that election officials in Wisconsin ignored and violated established state laws governing the administration of elections, usurping the state legislature’s constitutional authority to manage the election process,” said Phill Kline, director of The Amistad Project, in an emailed release. For example, on some machines, ballots that contained creases were sometimes identified as an additional mark on the ballots. “When absentee ballots were folded for mailing and creases ran through the write-in fields for certain contests, the equipment considered the creases to be votes because it...
    The State Department’s inspector general has begun a series of investigations into the chaotic conclusion of diplomatic operations in Afghanistan. The investigations will look into several different issues ranging from the State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa program to the processing of Afghan refugees and their resettlement, according to an Oct. 15 memo to Secretary of State Antony Blinken . The inspector general’s office will also look into the emergency evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. ARMY CHIEF PUSHES BACK ON FORMER SOFTWARE CHIEF’S CLAIM US LOST THE TECHNOLOGY BATTLE TO CHINA Diana Shaw, the State Department’s acting inspector general, notified Congress on Monday of the “several oversight projects.” “Given the elevated interest in this work by Congress and the unique circumstances requiring coordination across the Inspector General community, I wanted to notify our committees of jurisdiction of this important work,” she wrote in her letter sent to various leaders, including the Foreign Affairs and Intel committees in both the House and Senate. There are also a number of investigations into the U.S. military’s final days in Afghanistan after...
                      by Andrew Kerr  A government watchdog group demanded that the Department of the Interior Inspector General launch an investigation into whether President Joe Biden’s Senate-confirmed Bureau of Land Management director nominee violated the False Statement Act with statements she made to Congress about her involvement in a 1989 eco-terrorism case during her confirmation process. Tracy Stone-Manning was confirmed to lead the agency along a party-line vote on Sept. 30 amid strong opposition from Republicans who accused her of lying to the Senate Energy Committee about her involvement in an eco-terrorism case. Stone-Manning testified in federal court in 1993 that she sent an anonymous, threatening letter to the Forest Service in 1989 on behalf of her former roommate and friend which warned that a local forest in Idaho had been sabotaged with tree spikes to make the trees unsafe to log. Stone-Manning told the committee in writing in May that she had never been the target of a federal criminal investigation, but the lead Forest Service investigator in the case informed the committee...
    Government watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking records from the Department of Justice (DOJ) showing the timeline surrounding Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to sic the FBI on parents opposed to Critical Race Theory. Garland’s directive was seemingly in response to a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) deeming such parents “domestic terrorists.” Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), PPT is also seeking corroborating records from the Department of Education and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to ascertain if these federal agencies colluded with the NSBA to achieve a political end. As Breitbart News previously reported, “Days after a national organization representing school board officials lamented to the Biden administration about ‘hate groups’ intimidating education officials, Attorney General Merrick Garland has directed the FBI to combat ‘threats of violence’ against administrators.” People hold up signs during a rally against “critical race theory” (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) “The timing of the Attorney General’s letter contributes to...
    A government watchdog group demanded that the Department of the Interior Inspector General launch an investigation into whether President Joe Biden’s Senate-confirmed Bureau of Land Management director nominee violated the False Statement Act with statements she made to Congress about her involvement in a 1989 eco-terrorism case during her confirmation process. Tracy Stone-Manning was confirmed to lead the agency along a party-line vote on Sept. 30 amid strong opposition from Republicans who accused her of lying to the Senate Energy Committee about her involvement in an eco-terrorism case. Stone-Manning testified in federal court in 1993 that she sent an anonymous, threatening letter to the Forest Service in 1989 on behalf of her former roommate and friend which warned that a local forest in Idaho had been sabotaged with tree spikes to make the trees unsafe to log. Stone-Manning told the committee in writing in May that she had never been the target of a federal criminal investigation, but the lead Forest Service investigator in the case informed the committee in June that she was very nearly indicted on criminal charges...
    A non-partisan ethics watchdog sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) calling for an investigation for another Democrat, Rep. Susan Lee (D-NV), for allegedly violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012 and House ethics rules. The complaint filed with the OCE outlined that the congresswoman failed to adequately disclose over 200 stock transactions on time since early 2020, made by her and her husband, valued up to $3.3 million, and in doing so allegedly violated Federal Law and House ethics rules. Breitbart News reported on Lee’s disclosures allegedly being “several days after deadlines mandated”: Lee, a member in a battleground district, did not correctly disclose over 200 of her personal stock trades since early last year, according to Business Insiderwho reviewed her congressional records. The transactions are estimated to be worth as little as $267,000 with a maximum of $3.3 million. The report noted that the congresswoman and her husband — in seven filings between February and May of last year — did not disclose trades where they either bought or sold stocks in companies such as Planet Fitness Inc., Wayfair Inc., Marriott International,...
    A non-partisan ethics watchdog sent a complaint to Lisa Stevenson, the acting General Counsel for the Federal Election Commission (FEC), calling for an investigation into the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and its chairman, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), for allegedly violating the Federal Election Campaign Act. Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) stated that the FEC should investigate the DCCC and Patrick Maloney for “suspect spending” by using “campaign funds for personal use is prohibited,” which could be a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act. FACT cited the FEC’s interpretation of “using campaign funds for personal use”: Commission regulations provide a test, called the “irrespective test,” to differentiate legitimate campaign and officeholder expenses from personal expenses. Under the “irrespective test,” personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder. More simply, if the expense would exist even in the absence of the candidacy or even if the officeholder were not in office, then the personal use...
                        The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) alleges that Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) may have failed to file periodic reports disclosing up to $60,000 in stock transactions. On Wednesday, the CLC filed a complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) requesting an investigation into possible violations of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. “In 2019 and 2020, Rep. Scott appears to have purchased at least four assets with a total value ranging from approximately $4,004 to $60,000 without disclosing the transactions. While Rep. Scott disclosed the ownership of these assets on his annual financial disclosures, he did not file periodic transaction reports (‘PTRs’) for the transactions that resulted in the changes in his stock holdings, as required pursuant to the STOCK Act and House rules. An OCE investigation is necessary to determine whether his failure to file was a violation,” the complaint states. There is a potential explanation for the lack of a periodic report, due 45 days after a transaction, according to the CLC complaint....
    Rigoberta Vásquez holds a photo of her son Carlos Gregorio Hernández Vásquez, who died while in US custody in 2019. In a one-page press release Friday, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog said that U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) officials failed to conduct “regular and frequent physical checks as required” on Carlos Gregorio Hernández Vásquez, a 16-year-old Indigenous child from Guatemala who died alone while in U.S. custody in May 2019. “The investigation determined that USBP did not conduct regular and frequent physical checks as required by the Customs and Border Protection National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search policy,” the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) said. The release noted that “recorded hourly welfare checks” claimed by officials “had not actually occurred.” Video obtained by ProPublica in late 2019 had already confirmed that Carlos died amid neglect while in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody—and that officials had lied about it. "Contrary to the agency’s press release, it was Carlos’ cellmate who found him, not agents doing an early morning check,” the report said at the time. The boy had developed a 103-degree fever while in custody but was only prescribed Tamiflu, with staff...
    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was hit with a third ethics complaint this week, this time from the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), demanding an investigation into the congresswoman’s Met Gala attendance which allegedly violated House ethics rules. The non-partisan ethics watchdog sent a complaint to demand an immediate investigation with the Office of Congressional Ethics. FACT stated that “House Rule 25 prohibits a Member from accepting any gift unless the gift is specifically allowed under one of the listed exceptions.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (L) and Aurora James attend The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York City. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images) They noted that a “gift” in the House rules are defined in “an extremely broad manner” that includes a “gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other item having monetary value.” The watchdog group noted that it also includes “gifts of service, training, transportation, lodging, and meals, whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.” The complaint...
    A group of families who lost loved ones on 9/11 urged a U.S. government watchdog to investigate whether the FBI intentionally tried to obscure Saudi Arabia’s role in the terrorist attacks. The families composed a letter to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Thursday alleging that “circumstances make it likely that one or more FBI officials committed willful misconduct with intent to destroy or secrete evidence to avoid its disclosure.” HOUSE PANEL BACKS PROPOSAL AIMED AT COUNTERING 'WOKENESS' IN THE MILITARY Approximately 3,500 people — family members of victims, first responders, and survivors — signed the letter that calls for an investigation to the FBI’s response to a subpoena, in which officials said the agency “lost or is simply no longer able to find key evidence about the individuals who provided substantial support inside the U.S. to the 9/11 hijackers." “It appears that the motive for these acts was to hinder review of the FBI’s 9/11 investigation and avoid embarrassment of the FBI for its failure to pursue cases against the terror co-conspirators who provided critical support...
    A non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), sent three letters to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) calling for an investigation of three Democrats for “apparently violating Federal Law and United States House of Representatives ethics rules.” The three Democrat Reps. Lori Trahan (MA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), and Kathy Castor (FL) are being accused of not disclosing “financial disclosure reports that provide a ‘full and complete’ statement of the Member’s assets, debts, and income,” which violates Federal law and House Ethics rules. Members are supposed to file “full and complete” statements of the member’s and their spouse’s assets, debts, and income as well as file “periodic reports” when transactions are made that exceed $1,000. Every member is required to do so within 30 to 45 days of the transaction. WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 06: Clockwise from right, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) pause during a markup hearing before the House Budget Committee April 6, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a markup hearing on the concurrent...
    Rudy Giuliani's 2018 interview with the Justice Department inspector general's team in which he explained his "big surprises" tease during the 2016 election cycle was released for the public to see on Wednesday. The Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog group, sued for the transcript and shared it with the Washington Post. Giuliani, who spoke with agents for DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz in a room at former President Donald Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., in February 2018, said it was okay to “throw a fake” when campaigning, the notes show. Marc Mukasey, Giuliani’s then-law partner and counselor, said, "there’s no obligation to tell the truth.” The release of the transcript, which is lightly redacted, comes less than a week after the release of a DOJ inspector general report on the FBI’s “culture of unauthorized media contacts” in 2016, revealing investigators failed to identify FBI leakers from the 2016 presidential campaign while casting doubt on the notion that Giuliani was the benefactor of leaks related to the bureau investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of an unauthorized email server....
    THE NSA watchdog is reportedly investigating whether the agency spied on Fox News host Tucker Carlson - despite it initially dismissing his claims as "untrue". NSA Inspector General Robert Storch confirmed that the internal watchdog would “review related to recent allegations that the NSA improperly targeted the communications of a member of the U.S. news media,” according to a statement.
    The internal watchdog for the National Security Agency (NSA) has launched an investigation into its 'unmasking' of Tucker Carlson - after the spy agency initially denied he was ever under surveillance. NSA Inspector General Robert Storch released a statement Tuesday announcing a review into recent allegations that the NSA 'improperly targeted the communications of a member of the US news media.' The IG did not mention Carlson by name but a source confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it relates to the Fox News host.   News of the probe comes weeks after NSA sources said there was no evidence that Carlson was being spied on by the agency, but admitted his identity was 'unmasked' in communications between third parties.  Carlson made the bombshell accusation that the security agency was spying on him and reading his emails in an effort to take him off the air on his show back on June 28. He later said he had been trying to arrange an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the time of the alleged spying and that he learned about it when he...
    The National Security Agency’s (NSA) internal watchdog announced Tuesday it is investigating allegations that the agency improperly unmasked Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson’s identity after an intelligence intercept. “The National Security Agency Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced that it is conducting a review related to recent allegations that the NSA improperly targeted the communications of a member of the U.S. news media,” NSA Inspector General Robert Storch said in a press release Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal confirmed that the probe is focused on Carlson’s unmasking. Carlson first accused the NSA of spying on him on June 28, saying a source from the federal government had repeated information about a story he was working on that could have only been gathered from his private texts and emails. Axios later reported that Carlson was in communications with the Kremlin to set up an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin just before he accused the NSA of spying on him. The NSA responded to Carlson’s allegation in a June 29 statement, saying the Fox News host had...
    A watchdog group on Monday sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for dismissing a complaint alleging that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) unlawfully used a super PAC to support his 2018 Senate run. In a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Democratic group End Citizens United, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) Action challenged the decision by Republican FEC commissioners to close an investigation into Scott against the recommendation of the agency’s nonpartisan lawyers. End Citizens United had alleged that Scott and the New Republican PAC, a group he formerly chaired, violated election laws prohibiting coordination between candidates and outside groups.  Scott became chairman of the New Republican PAC in May 2017 and tapped several of his closest aides to run it. He stepped down as chairman before announcing his Senate run in 2018, but continued to host events for the super PAC, including a fundraiser in his own home. While New Republican PAC initially said its mission was to support former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump ally who backed calls to overturn election launches bid for Georgia lt. governor Trump campaign, RNC refund donors another...
    The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog, sent a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics calling for the immediate investigation of Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock (GA) for allegedly violating “Senate ethics prohibition on soliciting campaign contributions linked to official Senate action.” In the letter, FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold outlined that Warnock, on July 24, sent out an email to receipts with “I just testified at a special Senate hearing in Georgia on voting rights” as the subject line. They wrote that the email showed “urgency” and “importance” for what he will have the recipients do. The letter also noted that Warnock included a “direct solicitation for campaign donations” at the bottom of the email, for which he was “personally” requesting the readers click on a “petition” and sign their name. “Senators must conduct themselves according to the Senate Ethics rules,” Arnold outlined in the letter to the committee: Under the Senate Ethics Manual’s Scope of Authority, the Senate “may discipline a Member for any misconduct, including conduct or activity which does not directly relate to official...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department’s inspector general said Thursday that it did not find evidence that FBI agents shared inside information about the Hillary Clinton email investigation with Rudy Giuliani. The question of whether anyone had leaked information to Giuliani arose after the former New York mayor said in an Oct. 26, 2016, television appearance that then-candidate Donald Trump had “some pretty big surprises” in the coming days. Two days later, James Comey, the FBI director at the time, revealed that the FBI would reopen the Clinton email investigation following the discovery of new emails. The inspector general looked into whether anyone had improperly tipped off Giuliani, and more broadly examined contacts between FBI officials and reporters during the course of the investigation into whether Clinton had mishandled classified information on her personal email server. According to a report issued Thursday, Giuliani told the watchdog office that he had not received any information about the Clinton investigation and that Comey’s comments reopening the probe were a “shock to me. I had no foreknowledge of them.” He said he hadn’t...
                        The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a Nashville-based policy institute and fiscal watchdog, has added its voice to those calling for an investigation into Metro Nashville Public Schools’ (MNPS) contract with Meharry Medical College Ventures.  The contract provided COVID-19 testing and other services, including a COVID website for the school district—one that cost about $1.8 million. It is that expense, along with the absence of specific invoices supporting the expenses paid to the contractor, that has especially alarmed the Beacon Center.  “Anybody who works on websites—even understands the basics of websites—will look at this site and say, there is absolutely no way this should cost over $75,000; that is the absolute maximum,” Beacon Center Vice President Mark Cunningham said on Fox 17 News this week. “When you say $75,000 and then $1.8 million, there’s a big middle ground there. Where is that money going? We need to know.” Other critics of the contract—which amounted to $18 million—include MNPS Board of Education member Fran Bush (District 6), who has questioned...
    A top House Republican seeks more information about a former senior FBI official who made unauthorized contact and accepted unapproved gifts from members of the media in the run-up to the 2016 election. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter on Wednesday to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who released a summary this week that said his investigation into allegations of misconduct against an unnamed then-senior FBI employee uncovered evidence to substantiate them. The congressman asked for an unredacted case file for the summary, including all relevant documents and communications and any other evidence that would help the panel ascertain "the extent of this serious misconduct" and "evaluate the FBI's handling of the matter." He highlighted two paragraphs in the brief investigative summary: The OIG investigation substantiated the allegation that the Senior FBI Official had numerous unauthorized contacts with the media from 2014 through 2016, in violation of FBI policy. In addition to substantive communications with reporters, this media contact included unauthorized social engagements outside of FBI Headquarters involving...
    A government watchdog group filed a complaint Tuesday demanding the Department of the Interior investigate whether a Biden administration political appointee committed an “egregious” ethics violation when he rescinded a directive in June. The appointee, Deputy Solicitor for Water Resources Daniel Cordalis, rescinded a Jan. 14 memo that, according to watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust, likely delivered a financial boon to the Northern California-based Yurok Tribe, a group that he used to represent in legal matters and that currently employs his wife. The memo Cordalis rescinded was penned by nonpolitical career officials and would have reduced revenue for the Central Valley Project Improvement (CVPIA), a program that has delivered at least $30.8 million in grants to the Yurok Tribe since 2013. Cordalis rescinded the memo June 11 and ordered staff at the Interior Department to reconsider the decision in light of an executive order signed by President Joe Biden on his first day in office ordering all executive departments to rescind Trump-era actions that don’t advance “environmental justice.” However, the move could benefit the Yurok Tribe, and thus likely...
    The FBI made numerous serious errors in investigating allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, failing to act for months and attempting to cover up the bungling missteps, according to the Justice Department's inspector general. The watchdog report on Wednesday raises serious questions about how the Justice Department and the FBI handled the case and highlights serious mistakes at the FBI between the time the allegations were first reported until Nassar's arrest. The inspector general´s investigation was spurred by allegations that the FBI failed to promptly address complaints made in 2015 against Nassar.  USA Gymnastics contacted the FBI about the allegations in July 2015, but it took months before the agency opened a formal investigation. Larry Nassar listens during his sentencing at Eaton County Circuit Court in Michigan in 2018 At least 40 girls and women said they were molested over a 14-month period while the FBI was aware of other sexual abuse allegations involving Nassar. Nassar was ultimately charged in 2016 with federal child porn offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan. He is now serving...
    TWELVE cops are being probed by the police watchdog over allegations that they failed to investigate incidents of indecent exposure allegedly committed by Sarah Everard’s killer.  The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said they had served 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices on cops from several forces as they look into a string of allegations surrounding Wayne Couzens. 2Sarah vanished on March 3 while walking homeCredit: pixel8000 2The monster today admitted murdering Sarah EverardCredit: PA Sarah Everard was abducted while walking home to Brixton, south London in March and her body was later discovered more than 50 miles away in Kent. A post mortem report revealed she had been strangled. Couzens, a former gun cop who served with the Met since 2018, has admitted the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive. Today he entered a guilty plea at the Old Bailey. He had previously admitted charges of kidnapping and rape. Among the ongoing investigations is a probe into alleged Met Police failures to investigate two incidents of indecent exposure linked to Couzens in London in...
    A watchdog group is calling this week for federal prosecutors to investigate allegations that Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management, may have made false statements to Congress regarding a tree spiking plot during her confirmation process. Republican lawmakers say Stone-Manning to be barred from consideration over her ties to environmental activists who placed spikes in trees in an effort to sabotage a timber sale in Boise, Idaho in 1989. Stone-Manning later cooperated with federal authorities and testified against two others who were convicted. The complaint from Protect the Public’s Trust to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington D.C. is focused on Stone-Manning’s written testimony to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 8. In response to a question on her own legal history, Stone-Manning said she had never ‘been the target" of a criminal investigation, though she acknowledged testifying before a grand jury during the federal investigation into the tree-spiking incident. "Common sense and publicly available facts point to the conclusion Ms. Stone-Manning was under investigation for her role in the tree-spiking...
    A watchdog group sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Monday for dismissing its complaint alleging that the Trump campaign unlawfully coordinated with a super PAC during the 2020 election.  In a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Democratic group End Citizens United, Campaign Legal Center Action (CLC) challenged the decision by Republican FEC commissioners to close an investigation into the Trump campaign without providing their reasoning. The groups filed an FEC complaint against former President TrumpDonald TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE’s reelection committees in May 2019 after the Trump campaign stated that America First Action was the only “approved outside non-campaign group” for supporters to donate to.  The groups said the Trump campaign illegally solicited donations to a closely tied super PAC, an allegation the Trump campaign disputed. The FEC’s career attorneys recommended that commissioners investigate the matter, but the FEC’s Republicans voted to dismiss the case, effectively blocking further inquiries. CLC Action wants a federal court to...
    A FEDERAL watchdog is investigating the National Institutes of Health after it was revealed the organization gave over $800,000 in funding to the Chinese lab where the coronavirus is theorized to have been originated. The watchdog will "conduct an extensive audit reviewing how NIH monitored selected grants," according to Department of Health and Human Services inspector general spokesperson Tesia Williams. 2A federal watchdog is opening an investigation into US funds given to the Wuhan lab where the coronavirus is theorized to have originatedCredit: AFP Williams said the HHS-OIG has conducted an initial investigation into the NIH that deemed the investigation necessary. "We share stakeholders’ concerns regarding compliance and oversight of NIH grant funds," Williams said according to the New York Post. "We have been monitoring this issue for some time and consider it a high-priority matter that can pose a threat to the integrity of the NIH grant program." “Based on our preliminary research and analysis, HHS-OIG has decided to conduct an extensive audit reviewing how NIH monitored selected grants and how the grantees and subgrantees used and...
    U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to members of the media outside a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees at the U.S. Capitol on October 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. Also pictured are (L-R) Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).Mark Wilson | Getty Images House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is demanding answers from the Department of Justice on the heels of a bombshell report that the Trump administration had secretly subpoenaed Apple for his data. Schiff, one of two House Democrats whose records were reportedly seized by Trump's Justice Department, called on the agency's internal watchdog to investigate. Former President Donald Trump "tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media," Schiff said in a statement shortly after the report came out Thursday night. "It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears."CNBC PoliticsRead more of CNBC's politics coverage: Bipartisan Senate group reaches infrastructure deal without tax hikes — but...
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced support for an inspector general investigation to look into actions taken by the Trump administration's Justice Department after news broke that federal prosecutors subpoenaed tech giant Apple for communications data from two House Intelligence Committee Democrats, including then-ranking member Adam Schiff, and their aides and family members. The California Democrat issued a statement Thursday night within moments of the New York Times reporting that Justice Department officials, in search of the sources of leaks about Trump associates and their relationships with Russia, seized the data of a dozen people in 2017 and 2018 who were associated with the House committee that was conducting its own investigation into Trump and Russia. “The news about the politicization of the Trump Administration Justice Department is harrowing,” Pelosi said in a statement. “These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president.” “I support Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s call for an investigation into this situation and other acts of the weaponization of law enforcement by the former...
    Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrive to speak to police gathered at Fraternal Order of Police lodge during a campaign event in Statesville, North Carolina, U.S., August 18, 2016.Carlo Allegri | Reuters A federal judge on Friday appointed a special watchdog to review material recently seized from Rudy Giuliani as part of a criminal probe of the former New York mayor, who has served as a personal lawyer for ex-President Donald Trump. The watchdog, former federal judge Barbara Jones, will recommend what electronic files of Giuliani's can be seen by prosecutors, and what material should be exempt as evidence because it is protected by the attorney-client privilege. Jones three years ago served in the same capacity as a so-called special master during the federal criminal investigation of Michael Cohen, who had been Trump's personal lawyer for more than a decade before they had a falling out. Cohen later pleaded guilty in that case to multiple crimes and served for more than a year in prison. Giuliani is under criminal investigation for dealings in...
    Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog, filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, requesting an immediate investigation into Democrat Rep. Marie Newman (IL) for allegedly violating federal law and ethics rules. Kendra Arnold, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust executive director, wrote in her letter attached to the complaint, FACT is requesting an investigation. This is due to recent reports showing Newman allegedly promising Iymen Chehade a six-figure salary, taxpayer-funded, if Chehade reportedly did not run against Newman in the already tight race, in addition to apparently helping her win. Previously reported, Newman, court documents show, in December 2018, two years before Newman was elected to office, Newman and Chehade allegedly signed an agreement. The agreement stated, “in the event that Newman is elected,” Chehade would assume the job of  “Chief Foreign Policy Advisor” with “a salary of no less than between $135,000 and $140,000 per year, less applicable required taxes and withholdings.” In addition, during the second year of his employment, they allegedly agreed, “Newman will provide Chehade cost-of-living and merit raises pursuant to standard office policies.” Newman won, but the job...
    More On: military Ted Cruz mocks ‘woke, emasculated military’ ad, compared to strong Russians Manhunt launched for anti-lockdown sniper who threatened virologist A few good women: Canada taps female generals amid military misconduct cases How Myanmar’s military moved in on the telecoms sector to spy on citizens The Air Force inspector general will look into the removal of a Space Force commander who wrote a book and appeared on a recent podcast to argue that Marxism is infiltrating the military. Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed Thursday that the investigation into whether Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier’s actions constituted “prohibited partisan political activity” had been elevated “due to the complexity and sensitivity of the issues under consideration, as well as potential for [Air Force]-wide impact.” Lohmeier was relieved of command of the 11th Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado after he appeared on the “Information Operation” podcast earlier this month to discuss his book “Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military.” “The diversity, inclusion and equity industry and the trainings...
    A watchdog group filed a complaint with Federal Elections Commission (FEC) Friday, demanding investigation into a Swiss billionaire’s involvement into the U.S. electoral process. Americans for Public Trust’s complaint claims that Swiss-born Hansjörg Wyss, 85, who currently leads a reclusive lifestyle in Wyoming, “indirectly funded federal electoral advocacy through his nonprofit organizations, the Wyss Foundation and the Berger Action Fund,” The New York Post reported. “Mr. Wyss indirectly funded federal electoral advocacy through his nonprofit organizations… The intended recipient of these funds was ultimately a variety of organizations whose primary purpose is to engage in electoral advocacy.”https://t.co/a81M4xfdLf — Americans for Public Trust (@apublictrust) May 17, 2021 “The law prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to political committees whether directly or indirectly,” the complaint reads. Since 2016, Wyss’s non-profit fund and foundation donated $208 million to three non-profit funds that backed progressive causes, helping Democrats win the White House and control of Congress in 2020, according to The New York Times (NYT). (RELATED: Swiss Billionaire Previously Accused Of Sexual Assault Donated To Firm With Ties To Lincoln Project) Although the...
    Chicago's police watchdog, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, has finished a 16-month investigation into the police raid of Anjanette Young, a social worker who was handcuffed naked by police when they wrongfully targeted her home to serve a search warrant for someone else.  CBS Chicago first reported on Young's case as part of an investigation into a pattern of Chicago police raids on the wrong residences. In Young's case, the target of the raid actually lived next door, the station reported, and was wearing an electronic monitoring device which police should have been able to track. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, commonly referred to as COPA, said its investigation involved more than 30 interviews, hundreds of pages of evidence and hours of video material, and revealed "significant deficiencies" in Chicago police policy and training on how to acquire and execute search warrants.  The investigation also produced nearly 100 allegations of misconduct stemming from the actions of more than a dozen officers, a COPA spokesperson said.  A report with full details of the investigation will be published after the...
    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria on Wednesday rejected as fabricated the results of an investigation by the global chemical weapons watchdog, which found “reasonable grounds to believe” that a Syrian air force helicopter dropped a chlorine cylinder on a Syrian town in 2018, In a statement, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said it condemned in the strongest terms the report issued Monday by the Netherlands-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It was the second time the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team has concluded that Syrian government armed forces likely were responsible for a gas attack. Last year, the team also found reasonable grounds to believe that the Syrian Arab Air Force was responsible for attacks using chlorine and the nerve agent sarin in March 2017 in the town of Latamneh. In the latest report, the OPCW investigation team said it found evidence that a military helicopter belonging to the Tiger Forces of the Syrian air force dropped at least one chlorine cylinder on the rebel-held northern Syrian town of Saraqeb on Feb. 4, 2018, sickening 12 people. Syria has...
    The Capitol Police absolutely did know that the crowd of Trump supporters on January 6 was threatening violence, and that “Congress itself is the target,” a new inspector general’s report confirms. But the agency’s leadership not only failed to act on that, it did the reverse, not allowing the Civil Disturbance Unit to use its most serious crowd-control equipment and techniques. The warning from a Capitol Police intelligence assessment three days before the attack could not have been much more explicit, noting that a map of the Capitol’s underground tunnels had been posted online. “Unlike previous postelection protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” the inspector general’s report quotes the threat assessment. “Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.” Skip forward to January 5—the day the FBI’s Norfolk field office forwarded a social media thread with threats like “Get violent …...
    Data of at least 500million LinkedIn users has been taken off the platform and is currently for sale online, prompting investigation from an Italian watchdog group, according to tech media sources.  The dataset breach was confirmed by a spokesperson from LinkedIn who said that 'scraping' members data violated terms and services. The Italian data protection authority is investigating the breach.  'While we're still investigating this issue, the posted dataset appears to include publicly viewable information that was scraped from LinkedIn combined with data aggregated from other websites or companies,' a LinkedIn spokesperson said in a statement to Insider.  Approximately two-thirds of the platform's 740million user base has been affected by the breach Italian data protection authority is investigating the breach 'Scraping our members' data from LinkedIn violates our terms of service and we are constantly working to protect our members and their data.'   Approximately two-thirds of the platform's 740million user base has been affected by the breach.    RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next MSNBC legal analyst Midwin Charles posted that she was 'not... Fourth-grade...
    Scandal-prone Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing an ethics complaint from a liberal watchdog group alleging the Democrat used his campaign organization to promote his book about his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington submitted the grievance on April 1 to the New York State Board of Elections, seeking an investigation into whether Cuomo violated a law that prohibits "the use of campaign funds for personal use." The governor used his campaign, Cuomo for New York, to advertise his biography, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the group said. CREW cited an archived fundraising email, which claimed to be from his daughters, Cara, Mariah, and Michaela, that said Cuomo's book "will be published this week." The message also included a link to purchase the book. "Dad’s new book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic, will be published this week," the email read. "The book tells the story of how his team and all New Yorkers met the moment when the pandemic hit our state. We hope you enjoy reading it...
    Alex Chung, Founder, GIPHY, on ContentMakers stage during day two of Web Summit 2019 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.Sam Barnes | Getty Images LONDON — The U.K.'s competition watchdog announced Thursday that Facebook's acquisition of popular GIF website Giphy raises concerns around digital ads and the supply of the short video clips. The Competition and Markets Authority announced that it has completed the first phase of its investigation, which launched Jan. 28. The CMA said that Giphy competed with Facebook outside the U.K. in digital advertising through paid partnerships with brands like Pepsi and Dunkin' prior to the deal, which was announced in May last year and is reportedly valued at $400 million. The CMA said that Giphy may have "less incentive" to expand its digital advertising if it remains merged with Facebook, adding that such an outcome would lead to a loss of potential competition in the market. It is now planning to progress the investigation to a second phase, unless the companies provide "legally binding proposals" that address its competition concerns in the next five working days. A Facebook...
    (CNN)The Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General found that former Auditor General of the Navy Ronnie J. Booth "engaged in a pervasive and egregious pattern of sexual harassment toward multiple female employees over a period of more than 20 years," a release of the investigation's findings states. The report "substantiated the allegations" that Booth had sexually harassed 12 women who were Naval Audit Service employees.The Defense Department's inspector general opened an investigation into claims that Booth had sexually harassed employees after the internal watchdog received 10 anonymous complaints alleging "sexual harassment or waste of government funds" by Booth between February and July 2019. The office also received information from a Naval Audit Service employee through Democratic California Rep. Jackie Speier's office. The IG opened an investigation into Booth in July 2019."He propositioned five female employees -- four of which propositions were clear examples of quid pro quo, requesting sexual favors in exchange for career advancement, all under the guise of professional career 'mentoring' that the employees expected from a senior leader," the report states.The report found that Booth...
    The Department of Justice’s internal watchdog is investigating former lead prosecutor Michael Sherwin over comments he made to “60 Minutes” about the Capitol riot investigation. The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Professional Responsibility opened its investigation into Michael Sherwin after the “60 Minutes” interview aired on Sunday, DOJ Criminal Division Chief John Crabb said in court Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. Crabb said that it appeared Sherwin’s comments to “60 Minutes” regarding possible sedition charges against Capitol rioters weren’t in accordance with DOJ guidelines. “As far as we can determine at this point, those rules and procedures were not complied with in respect to that ‘60 Minutes’ interview,” Crabb said during the court hearing, according to the Post. (RELATED: ‘Deal With The Monster You Created’: Proud Boys Leaders Charged With Conspiracy To Invade Capitol) U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta called the hearing on short notice to reprimand the DOJ for Sherwin’s comments and public statements made by other prosecutors regarding the Capitol riot investigation, according to the Post. Mehta stated that the defendants are entitled to a fair trial and...
    A conservative watchdog group sued the District of Columbia for the autopsy report of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who died after defending the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 siege of Congress. The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, also seeks related records about Sicknick, whose death is under investigation, but more than two months after the attack remains shrouded in mystery, as a cause of death has yet to be released. Judicial Watch, which filed the suit with the clerk of the court on Friday, said it sued after the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the District of Columbia denied the group's Feb. 16 FOIA request for: "All records, including but not limited to autopsy reports, toxicology reports, notes, photographs, and OCME officials’ electronic communications, related to the death on Jan. 6, 2021 of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and its related investigation." TWO MEN CHARGED WITH CHEMICAL SPRAY ASSAULT OF OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK Capitol Police announced that Sicknick, a 42-year-old who joined the agency in 2008, died around...
    The Army is reviewing a probe from the Department of Defense’s (DOD) internal watchdog into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s international dealings, according to multiple reports. The review could bring tens of thousands of dollars in penalties against Flynn, according to The Washington Post. Dwrena Allen, a spokesperson for the Pentagon’s inspector general, told CNN in a statement that the watchdog began its investigation in April 2017 into an allegation that Flynn “failed to obtain required approval from the Army and the Department of State before receiving any emolument from a foreign government or a foreign government-controlled entity.” The probe was placed in “abeyance,” or temporary suspension, in June 2017 amid criminal allegations into Flynn by the Department of Justice, Allen told the news outlet. Allen further said the DOJ permitted the watchdog to pick up its investigation after former President TrumpDonald TrumpPentagon takes heat for extending Guard's time at Capitol Fundraising spat points to Trump-GOP fissures Trump rally organizer claims Alex Jones threatened to throw her off stage: report MORE pardoned Flynn in late November. "On January...
    (CNN)A nonprofit watchdog group has filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics, requesting an investigation into 13 Republican House members who used the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to skip in-person votes to attend a conservative conference last month.The Campaign for Accountability in its complaint requested guidance "explaining that members of Congress may not claim that the public health emergency wrought by Covid-19 prevents them from personally voting on the House floor when, in fact, they simply prefer to attend other political events.""Submitting such untruthful statements to the Clerk of the House should be considered conduct that does not reflect creditably upon the House," the group added in its letter.The complaint comes after more than a dozen of former President Donald Trump's closest Republican allies in the House skipped votes last month and enlisted their colleagues to vote on their behalf, signing letters saying they couldn't attend "due to the ongoing public health emergency."The members were in Orlando speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual meeting aimed at energizing conservative activists and boosting their own profiles.Read...
    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An employee of Virginia’s government watchdog agency filed a lawsuit Monday seeking whistleblower status and alleging she faced retaliation after coming forward with details of perceived wrongdoing arising from an investigation of the state parole board. Jennifer Moschetti, an investigator with the Office of the State Inspector General who was tasked with looking into complaints about the board, says in her lawsuit that she was put on “pre-disciplinary leave” Friday. The lawsuit alleges the move came days after she sought to come forward to state lawmakers as a whistleblower by providing documents related to her work on the investigation. Moschetti alleges that her boss, Michael Westfall, suspended her “in an effort to insulate his own position as State Inspector General.” A spokeswoman for Westfall’s office declined comment. The lawsuit is the latest development in a controversy that’s been simmering for nearly a year. Westfall’s office has been investigating the parole board since last spring, when prosecutors and victims’ families across the state began raising concerns about the handling of a number of high-profile cases. Recently, differences...
    By DENISE LAVOIE and SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An employee of Virginia's government watchdog agency filed a lawsuit Monday seeking whistleblower status and alleging she faced retaliation after coming forward with details of perceived wrongdoing arising from an investigation of the state parole board. Jennifer Moschetti, an investigator with the Office of the State Inspector General who was tasked with looking into complaints about the board, says in her lawsuit that she was put on “pre-disciplinary leave” Friday. The lawsuit alleges the move came days after she sought to come forward to state lawmakers as a whistleblower by providing documents related to her work on the investigation. Moschetti alleges that her boss, Michael Westfall, suspended her “in an effort to insulate his own position as State Inspector General." A spokeswoman for Westfall's office declined comment. The lawsuit is the latest development in a controversy that's been simmering for nearly a year. Westfall's office has been investigating the parole board since last spring, when since prosecutors and victims’ families across the state began raising concerns about the...
    Washington (CNN)The Transportation Department's inspector general asked the Justice Department in December to consider a criminal probe into then-Secretary Elaine Chao over her alleged misuse of office, documents made public Wednesday said, including her alleged use of staff for personal tasks like sending Christmas ornaments to family. The Justice Department and the US Attorney's Office in Washington, however, declined to pursue the case in the final weeks of the Trump administration, stating there "may be ethical and/or administrative issues to address but there is not predication to open a criminal investigation," according to Transportation Department Deputy Inspector General Mitch Behm's 38-page report detailing his office's extensive ethics concerns surrounding Chao's conduct."We concluded that a formal investigation into potential misuses of position was warranted," Behm wrote in a letter accompanying the report. The probe had been requested by the Democratic leadership of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which asked the IG's office to investigate Chao's "possible conflicts of interest," including various reports that her office was giving "preferential treatment to Kentucky." Behm wrote that his preliminary review did not...
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