Thursday, August 6, 2020

Last Call For Going In Guns Blazing

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is suing the NRA out of existence, and it couldn't be happening to a more deserving criminal enterprise.

The Attorney General of New York took action today to dissolve the National Rifle Association, following an 18-month investigation that found evidence the powerful gun rights group is "fraught with fraud and abuse."

Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars, and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three year period.
The suit alleges that top NRA executives misused charitable funds for personal gain, awarded contracts to friends and family members, and provided contracts to former employees to ensure loyalty.

Seeking to dissolve the NRA is the most aggressive sanction James could have sought against the not-for-profit organization, which James has jurisdiction over because it is registered in New York. James has a wide range of authorities relating to nonprofits in the state, including the authority to force organizations to cease operations or dissolve. The NRA is all but certain to contest it.

NPR has reached out to the NRA for comment, but has not received a response.

"The NRA's influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets," James said in a statement. "The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law."

James' complaint names the National Rifle Association as a whole, but also names four current and former NRA executives: Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, general counsel John Frazer, former CFO Woody Phillips, and former chief of staff Joshua Powell.

It lists dozens of examples of alleged financial malfeasance, including the use of NRA funds for vacations, private jets, and expensive meals. In a statement, her office said that the charitable organization's executives "instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight" that contributed to "the waste and loss of millions in assets."

The lawsuit seeks to dissolve the NRA in its entirety and asks the court to order LaPierre and other current and former executives to pay back unlawful profits. It also seeks to remove LaPierre and Frazer from the organization's leadership and prevent the four named individuals from ever serving again on the board of a charity in New York.

My question though is "What's stopping the NRA from setting up shop in Texas or North Dakota?"

We'll find out.

Retribution Execution, Con't

The comically blatant corruption at the Trump regime continues as the "new" Inspector General brought in to bury the previous IG's investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's criminality is now resigning after just three months.

After less than three months on the job, the internal watchdog of the State Department has resigned, U.S. officials said, marking another significant shake-up for an office sworn to investigate malfeasance and wrongdoing.

Stephen Akard’s departure was announced to staff by his deputy, Diana R. Shaw, who told colleagues that she will become the temporary acting inspector general effective on Friday.

Akard became inspector general after President Trump abruptly fired Steve Linick in May at the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. That decision immediately prompted criticism from lawmakers because Linick had been investigating allegations that Pompeo and his wife, Susan, had improperly used State Department resources. Linick was also examining several other issues, including Pompeo’s decision to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the objections of Congress.
Trump and his administration have come under increasing criticism for trying to evade oversight because the president has fired five officials in recent months who lead inspector general offices across the federal government.

In a note to her inspector general’s office colleagues that was obtained by The Washington Post, Shaw said Akard was taking a position with a law firm in Indiana, his home state. It’s unclear whether there were other factors in his decision.

Pompeo dismissed a question about Akard’s departure during a news conference on Wednesday. “He left to go back home,” Pompeo said. “This happens. I don’t have anything more to add to that.”

Akard’s resignation again throws into turmoil an office responsible for ongoing investigations into wrongdoing at the department, including those started by Linick. Shaw told colleagues: “I will do my best not to let this latest change negatively affect our operations.”

So who knows.  We'll be on the State Department's third IG in three months, and Pompeo will continue to flout federal law while he should be in prison along with Trump and most of the rest of his Cabinet of Corruption.

Just another day in the broken executive branch.

Biden, His Time

The race for Biden's running mate is apparently down to Sen. Kamala Harris and former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, after Rep. Karen Bass blew her shot last weekend over Cuba and Scientology and while I have to imagine both Liz Warren and Tammy Duckworth are still in play, it looks to be a two-woman race. But Republicans are especially salivating over Susan Rice so they can spend the next 90 days yelling BENGHAZI as loudly as possible.

Trump’s aides and allies accuse Rice — without delving too deeply into the evidence — of helping cover up crimes for two of the president’s favorite foils, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, making her just the kind of "deep state" villain who could fire up his MAGA base.

“She is absolutely our No. 1 draft pick,” a Trump campaign official said.
Rice, a former ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser for Obama, is accused of revealing the identities of top Trump associates in 2016 after they were picked up as part of U.S. surveillance of foreign officials.

Four years earlier, she faced allegations that she misled Americans when she announced on national TV that the fatal attacks in Benghazi, Libya, occurred after spontaneous protests in response to an anti-Muslim video. That was determined to be inaccurate.

On Monday night, Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host influential in Trump’s orbit, opened his show with a lengthy diatribe about Rice and her role in the 2012 Benghazi raid — strikingly similar to the attack Republicans lodged against Clinton in the 2016 race against Trump.

“I can’t think of anyone that is more polarizing who would fire up the base than Susan Rice,” said former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican who investigated the Obama administration as chairman of the House oversight committee. “They know her, and they don’t like her.”

Biden is nearing the end of his search for a vice president, with in-person interviews expected this week. Attention has focused on Rice, Rep. Karen Bass and Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth. Aides said Biden has pushed back his planned announcement to next week. An outside Trump adviser described Rice as the "most target-rich environment."

Biden’s campaign and Rice declined to comment. But Democrats and others have dismissed the attacks against Rice as outdated and unsubstantiated, and said they won’t matter to Americans struggling with the coronavirus outbreak.

No offense, but I'm really, really, really hoping that Biden absolutely does not pick Susan Rice.  Huckleberry Graham will have her in hearings tout suite and Bill Barr is absolutely waiting for the opportunity to make his Durham investigation dog-and-pony show into the October Surprise and "Biden Running Mate Under DOJ Investigation" would be something I absolutely expect Bill Barr to do.

And it will hurt Biden down the stretch.  I'm sorry, but our media will blow it out of proportion and it will only help Trump.

Biden's call is Biden's call, whomever he picks I will support.  And all of the running mates come with built-in GOP attack angles.  Rice seems to be the largest violation of the "first do no harm with the pick" theory.

We'll see what happens.


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