Tag: Feds

12 Detroit School Principals Charged With Bribery By Feds

Feds Charge 12 Detroit School Principals With Bribery – USA Today

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In its latest crackdown on school corruption here, the federal government Tuesday dropped a legal bomb on 12 current and former principals, one administrator and a vendor – all charged with running a nearly $1 million bribery and kickback scheme involving school supplies that rarely were delivered.

Among those charged: Ronald Alexander, principal at Charles L. Spain Elementary-Middle School that’s scheduled to receive more than $500,000 in donations from TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Alexander’s charge, unrelated to DeGeneres’ announcement in February, is bribery for allegedly pocketing $23,000 money from Norman Shy in exchange for using the owner of Allstate Sales as a school-supply vendor, according to federal court records.

Shy, 74, of Franklin, Mich., is at the heart of the accusations. For 13 years, he is accused of paying $908,500 in kickbacks and bribes to at least a dozen Detroit Public Schools principals, scamming schools to the tune of $2.7 million with the help of those principals, prosecutors allege. Each defendant faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

The announcement came nearly two months after ex-principal Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp, once hailed as a rising education star and turnaround specialist in city schools, pleaded guilty to bribery. Snapp admitted she pocketed a $58,050 bribe from a vendor and spent it on herself while working for the embattled Education Achievement Authority, a state-formed agency that was supposed to help Detroit’s most troubled schools.

News of the larger corruption case comes at a critical time as the state grapples with fixing the finances of the struggling Detroit district, the largest school system in Michigan. The schools have been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since 2009 and have accumulated an operating deficit of at least $515 million.

Last week, Michigan lawmakers passed $48.7 million in emergency financing to ensure that the school system doesn’t run out of cash early next month. They also put the district under the authority of a financial review commission.

“This is exactly why House Republicans were so adamant that strong fiscal oversight be a prerequisite to any additional state funding for Detroit’s corrupt and broken school administration,” state Rep. Kevin Cotter, a Republican from Mount Pleasant and speaker of the state House, said in a news release Tuesday. “And it is why we will continue to insist that strong financial and academic reforms be a part of any long-term solution to decades of DPS failures.”

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced the sweeping charges at a news conference, calling the case “a punch in the gut.”

She stressed that the charges have nothing to do with the schools’ existing financial troubles or the political debate surrounding whether the state should help the city’s struggling school system.

“Public corruption never comes at a good time,” McQuade said. “This case is not about DPS. It is not about emergency managers. It is about these 14 individuals who breached their trust.”

The charges stem from a 2-year-old audit of the Education Achievement Authority, she said. That audit raised red flags, including one that led to Snapp’s eventual indictment.

Snapp, who is set to be sentenced June 1, faces up to 46 months in prison for bribery. Another women, Paulette Horton, an independent contractor who was involved in a deal to provide tutoring services at two high schools, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit program bribery. The 60-year-old consultant admitted that she was the middleman who handed over bribes to Snapp.

Vendor Glynis Thornton also pleaded guilty in January, admitting she gave Snapp money in exchange for awarding her company the tutoring contract. In her guilty plea, Thornton explained how the scheme worked: Thornton would give an independent contractor the bribe money for Snapp, that contractor would meet Snapp at a bank, give her the money, and keep some for herself.

McQuade would not say whether Snapp’s cooperation led to any of the new charges, only that the Education Achievement Authority investigation revealed more evidence of Detroit school officials’ wrongdoing.

Vendor Glynis Thornton also pleaded guilty in January, admitting she gave Snapp money in exchange for awarding her company the tutoring contract. In her guilty plea, Thornton explained how the scheme worked: Thornton would give an independent contractor the bribe money for Snapp, that contractor would meet Snapp at a bank, give her the money, and keep some for herself.

McQuade would not say whether Snapp’s cooperation led to any of the new charges, only that the Education Achievement Authority investigation revealed more evidence of Detroit school officials’ wrongdoing.

Among those charged Tuesday was Detroit resident Clara Flowers, 61, an assistant superintendent in the schools’ Office of Specialized Student Services. She is charged with pocketing $324,785 in kickbacks from Shy for using him as a school-supply vendor.

The kickbacks came in the form of cash, gift cards and payments to contractors who put a new roof on Flowers’ house, painted it and did gutter work.

Flowers first used Shy sometime before 2009, when as principal of Henderson Academy she chose his company as that school’s school-supply vendor. She would continue to use Shy as a vendor when she became an assistant superintendent.

Shy maintained a ledger to keep track of how much money he owed Flowers in kickbacks, according to court documents. The two regularly met to discuss how much Flowers was owed for her favors, and Shy was careful not to get caught, disguising his payments to Flowers in a variety of methods.

The Free Press attempted to contact lawyers for all 14 defendants. Only one offered to comment.

Most were unavailable. Two declined comment, saying it was too premature to discuss the case.

“Let’s not rush to judgment. These are merely allegations,” said Doraid Elder, who is representing Stanley Johnson, 62. The former principal of Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School is charged with accepting $84,170 in kickbacks.

“I don’t want people to forget that he’s put over two decades of his heart and soul into giving kids the best education possible,” Elder said of Johnson.

Johnson ordered school supplies from Shy then submitted false invoices to DPS, which in turn paid for goods that were rarely delivered, according to court documents. Shy would secretly funnel money back to Johnson by issuing payments to sham companies that Johnson created to conceal the kickbacks, prosecutors allege.

Johnson is “obviously devastated by the charges,” Elder said.

“At times, he’s reached in his own pocket and paid for things to help get the kids certain resources that they normally would not be able to get,” Elder said. “He’s had decades of a stellar record. I’m sure this is not easy for the students, the parents nor the individuals charged.”

City school officials and the defendants are cooperating, McQuade said. They all were charged in a document known as an “information,” which is similar to an indictment but does not involve a grand jury.

Prosecutors often bring charges by way of an information in cases where the government believes a plea deal will be reached. McQuade would not comment on any prospective plea deals in this case.

The charges angered retired federal Judge Steven Rhodes, who is serving as the transition manager for Detroit Public Schools.

“I cannot overstate the outrage that I feel,” he said. The school system has suspended business with Shy and all of his companies.

School officials also have put new policies in place related to purchases, such as suspending all purchases by individual schools and requiring all school-based purchases to have central office approval.

“We want do whatever is necessary to prevent this from happening again,” Rhodes said.

The six principals who are current employees have been placed on unpaid administrative and replaced with new interim leaders, he said. The other principals already have left the district.

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Commie Swine Update: Feds Say Thousands Of Bernie Sanders Contributions Violated Campaign Finance Laws

Feds Flag Thousands Of Illegal Bernie Sanders Contributions – Washington Free Beacon

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Thousands of contributions to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign in January violated federal campaign finance laws, election regulators said on Thursday.

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter to the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign committee on Thursday with a 90-page spreadsheet listing 3,457 “excessive, prohibited, and impermissible contributions.”

The campaign’s January financial disclosure filing listed contributions from foreign nationals and unregistered political committees, the FEC said. Other contributions came from donors who exceeded the $2,700 per-election limit.

“Although the Commission may take further legal action concerning the acceptance of [excessive or prohibited] contributions, your prompt action to refund the prohibited amount will be taken into consideration,” the FEC told the campaign.

Sanders’ campaign has relied on small-dollar individual contributions to a far greater extent than any other presidential campaign, including the Super PAC– and dark money-fueled efforts of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The Vermont Senator and self-described socialist is running on a platform of transparency and campaign finance reform, contrasting his grassroots support with Clinton’s high-dollar donors and use of loopholes in federal election laws that allow her campaign to coordinate with outside groups that can accept unlimited contributions.

However, Sanders’ donors have also run afoul of federal campaign finance laws, and his financial disclosure reports have been riddled with errors.

The FEC sent a letter to the Sanders campaign earlier this month flagging an additional 1,316 “excessive, prohibited, and impermissible contributions” in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The commission also noted disbursements from the campaign that failed to include required documentation.

The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some of the campaign’s legal problems stem from enthusiasm for Sanders’ candidacy from foreign nationals, many of whom have publicly revealed donations to the campaign in violation of U.S. election laws.

“I am German, live in Germany and just donated to Bernie Sanders’ campaign on BernieSanders.com simply using my credit card – Is this illegal in any way?” asked a user on the website Quora.

“UPDATE: Donation rescinded based on your answers,” the user later added.

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Connecticut High School Student Pledges Allegiance To ISIS – Feds Investigating

Student Says ‘ISIS’ In Pledge, Gets Pulled From High School – WTNH

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A 15-year-old high school student in Ansonia is under federal investigation for comments he made during class.

In a statement to News 8, the Ansonia Police Department said that; “The allegation is that the male was allegedly making pro-ISIS statements during the Pledge of Allegiance.”

Ansonia High School officials alerted police who passed the incident report on to the Department of Homeland Security. New Haven Civil Rights Attorney John Williams called the whole situation a shame.

“This is in my view exactly what the terrorists want,” Williams said. “They want to scare us so much that we become crazy and turn on each other.”

The Ansonia Superintendent of Schools also declined an on-camera interview, but released a statement that reads in part; “ …we did not deem the incident a legitimate threat to the safety of students or staff. Out of an abundance of caution, the incident was reported to the appropriate authorities. As far as the Ansonia Public Schools is concerned, the matter is resolved.”

The 15 year-old student is now at an alternative school. Williams – who is not involved in this case – calls this a clear violation of the student’s First Amendment rights to free speech. He said the teenager is being punished for the content of his words.

“It’s pure speech. Not like the proverbial shouting fire in a crowded theater. No harm to anybody, except to himself, because he looks silly.”

According to the minutes from the school board meeting, the student’s mother calls the decision to investigate her son “irrational and impulsive.”

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Obamanomics Update: Feds Take In Record $3,248,723,000,000 In Tax Revenues; Still Run $438,899,000,000 Deficit

$3,248,723,000,000: Federal Taxes Set Record In FY 2015; $21,833 Per Worker; Feds Still Run $438.9B Deficit – CNS

The federal government took in a record of approximately $3,248,723,000,000 in taxes in fiscal 2015 (which ended on Sept. 30), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

That equaled approximately $21,833 for every person in the country who had either a full-time or part-time job in September.

It is also up about $212,927,100,000 in constant 2015 dollars from the $3,035,795,900,000 in revenue (in 2015 dollars) that the Treasury raked in during fiscal 2014.

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Even as the Treasury was hauling in a record $3,248,723,000,000 in tax revenues in fiscal 2015, the federal government was spending $3,687,622,000,000. So, the federal government ran a deficit of $438,899,000,000 for the fiscal year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total seasonally adjusted employment in the United States in September (including both full and part-time workers) was 148,800,000. That means that the federal tax haul for fiscal 2015 equaled about $21,832.82 for every person in the United States with a job.

In 2012, President Barack Obama struck a deal with Republicans in Congress to enact legislation that increased taxes. That included increasing the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, increasing the top tax rate on dividends and capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent, and phasing out personal exemptions and deductions starting at an annual income level of $250,000.

An additional 3.8 percent tax on dividends, interest, capital gains and royalties – that was embedded in the Obamacare law – also took effect in 2013.

The largest share of fiscal 2015’s record-setting tax haul came from the individual income tax. That yielded the Treasury $1,540,802,000,000. Payroll taxes for “social insurance and retirement receipts” took in another $1,065,277,000,000. The corporate income tax brought in $343,797,000,000.

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Feds Forcing Certain States To Require Passports At Airports For Domestic Flights

If You Live In These States You’ll Soon Need A Passport For Domestic Flights – Zero Hedge

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To comply with the 2005 Real ID Act, which the U.S. government has been slowly implementing for the past decade, citizens in a number of different U.S. states will now be forced to obtain a passport if they want to board an airplane – even for domestic flights.

The Department of Homeland Security and representatives with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have declined to comment on why certain states have been singled out, but starting in 2016, residents of New York, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and American Samoa will need a passport to fly domestically. All other states will still be able to use their state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs – for now, at least.

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on enforcement of the Real ID Act,

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on December 20, 2013 a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act (the Act), as passed by Congress, that will implement the Act in a measured, fair, and responsible way.

Secure driver’s licenses and identification documents are a vital component of our national security framework. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government ‘set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.’ The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

States and other jurisdictions have made significant progress in enhancing the security of their licenses over the last number of years. As a result, approximately 70-80% of all U.S. drivers hold licenses from jurisdictions: (1) determined to meet the Act’s standards; or (2) that have received extensions. Individuals holding driver’s licenses or identification cards from these jurisdiction may continue to use them as before.

Individuals holding licenses from noncompliant jurisdictions will need to follow alternative access control procedures for purposes covered by the Act. As described below, enforcement for boarding aircraft will occur no sooner than 2016.”

According to the fine print, not all 50 states have driver’s licences that meet the Real ID requirements, which could possibly explain why the aforementioned regions will not qualify in 2016. However, there is no specific mention of what the requirements actually are.

The Real ID act has been controversial since its initial proposal over ten years ago and is seen by many as a massive violation of privacy. One of the primary reasons it has taken the government so long to roll this program out is that the program is wildly unpopular and creates heavy backlash every time it appears in the news.

The tightening of the Real ID restrictions are seemingly intended to push people towards attaining the newly issued “enhanced ID,” which adds more unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy to the already tedious process involved in identification applications.

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Feds Cover Up Rampant Crime In $1.6B Job Corps Program

Govt. Covers Up Rampant Crime In $1.6 Bil Antipoverty Job Program – Judicial Watch

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The U.S. government’s $1.6 billion vocational program for at-risk youth was created decades ago to end poverty by offering poor teenagers free job training, but it’s a seriously mismanaged hotbed of violence rife with violent crimes that are routinely covered up by officials in charge.

The crisis appears to have plateaued recently when four youths participating in the program, known as Job Corps, brutally murdered a fellow student in a Miami, Florida job training center. The area’s mainstream newspaper reported that the Job Corps students confessed to luring a 17-year-old to the woods, where he was repeatedly hacked with a machete and forced into a shallow grave as he lay mortally wounded. The sickening details came right out of the police report. Months earlier a murder occurred at a Job Corps facility in St. Louis, Missouri.

The recent crimes are part of a much broader problem within the Job Corps, which serves about 60,000 low-income students ages 16-24 at 125 centers nationwide. The Department of Labor (DOL) administers Job Corps, which has also been plagued with fraud and corruption over the years, and insists it has a strict policy forbidding any kind of violence or illegal drugs. The reality is however, that crime is rampant at local centers around the country and seldom do cases get reported or adequately investigated. Often officials sweep incidents under the rug or downplay them to prevent the offenders from getting booted out of the taxpayer-funded program.

In fact, earlier this year a scathing DOL Inspector General report blasted the agency for failing to take action involving lax enforcement of Job Corps disciplinary policies that had been well documented in previous investigations. The “continuing deficiencies” have allowed “potentially dangerous students in the program,” investigators wrote, further revealing that an astounding 35,021 serious misconduct incidents occurred at 11 centers alone. In many cases serious infractions were not reported or were improperly downgraded to lesser infractions, the agency watchdog found. They include assault, illegal drugs and fighting among the students.

For instance, at a North Carolina center a violent physical altercation landed one student with enough injuries to require hospitalization yet the crime was downgraded and no disciplinary action was taken, in violation of established rules. At an Oklahoma center a student struck another student in the head with an object yet remained enrolled as if nothing ever happened, even though the injury required five stitches. At a Pennsylvania facility a student was busted with drugs on the Job Corps property yet faced no consequences. There are many more examples in fact, 51 students who should have been automatically discharged, remained in the program. Not surprisingly, they went on to commit other crimes, the IG confirms in its report.

Some of the Job Corps centers are operated by independent contractors, but many are directly run by the U.S. government which makes the violations all the more outrageous. For instance, of 47 centers that retained 177 students who should have been discharged for disciplinary reasons, eight were federally operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The public funds wasted to keep the 177 thugs enrolled could have been used to house and educate other at-risk youth who are more committed to be in the program, the DOL watchdog points out.

Job Corps has been in trouble for more than just covering up serious crimes over the years. There has also been fraud involving the waste of public funds and abuse of prepaid debit cards as well as unscrupulous contract practices. Last year a federal audit identified nearly a quarter of a million dollars in questionable personal purchases made by staff and students on government debit cards. A separate probe determined that Job Corps doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable contracts and failed to keep proper documentation for others worth tens of millions of dollars.

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Feds Refuse To Name Official Who Misused Government Computers, Tampered With Evidence And Threatened A Witness

Watchdog: Senior Official Let Household Watch Porn On 7 Government-Owned Computers – Daily Caller

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An unnamed high-ranking Department of Commerce official kept at least seven government-issued computers at her home where somebody used the equipment for months to view pornography and web sites featuring racial slurs.

Then, when the department’s Office of Inspector General began investigating, she tampered with evidence and proposed disciplining an employee who cooperated with the investigation, according to a new OIG report.

Federal taxpayers also funded her “wasteful foreign travel,” and a full eight-hour workday when she only worked about 20 minutes.

“The investigation revealed a troubling pattern of conduct that was abusive of government resources and evidenced a disregard for conservation of such resources, as well as misconduct by senior official in response to the OIG’s investigation,” the report said.

The IG refused to identify the individual’s name or position, or clarify who viewed and downloaded pornography and racial slurs.

“Our report speaks for itself,” said spokesman Clark Reid, citing privacy concerns for not disclosing the senior executive’s name or title. A department spokesman declined to comment.

The senior-level official kept two desktop computers, three laptops and two iPads at her home for at least six months and allowed members of her household access, “which resulted in inappropriate use of such equipment to view and/or store pornographic, sexually suggestive, and racially offensive materials,” the report said.

She also inappropriately booked a flight abroad, “permitting her to seek reimbursement from the government for the expenses associated with her own personal, non-official travel plans.” Investigators calculated that cost taxpayers about $1,365.

Investigators also found “numerous” discrepancies in her attendance record, including a day when she claimed she worked an eight-hour day via telework, but evidence suggests she worked about 20 minutes.

What happened next created more work for federal investigators.

“This included evidence that the senior official failed to comply with a preservation order issued by the OIG, which resulted in impeding the OIG’s access to information and materials relevant to its investigation, as well as credible evidence that the senior official’s belief that one of her subordinates cooperated with the OIG’s investigation was a significant factor in senior official’s proposal to take disciplinary action against the subordinate,” the report said.

“This evidence is deeply troubling to the OIG as it calls into question Senior Official’s compliance with her obligations as a government employee.”

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Feds Overpaid $371.5 Million In Benefits To Disability Recipients

Social Security Administration Overpaid $371.5 Million In Disability Benefits – Washington Free Beacon

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) overpaid individuals a total of $371.5 million in disability benefits from fiscal year 2009 through fiscal 2013, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

These overpayments are cause for concern, as the Social Security’s Disability Insurance Trust Fund is expected to go broke by 2016, according to SSA’s 2015 annual report.

“During a time of growing concern about the solvency of the DI trust fund, it is important for SSA to take every opportunity to help improve the financial status of the program,” the GAO said. The report examined how these concurrent Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) payments affect Disability Insurance (DI) overpayments.

The GAO found that SSA did not detect concurrent FECA payments for about 1,040 individuals during at least one month from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014.

To test SSA’s internal controls, GAO randomly selected 20 beneficiaries for review. In all 20 cases, SSA’s controls failed to detect and prevent overpayments. In seven of the cases, SSA did not detect overpayments for more than a decade, and each of these individuals received $100,000 in overpaid benefits.

One of these seven individuals received FECA benefits in the 1980s and was approved for disability benefits 14 years later in 1994. The GAO found that this individual received $200,000 in overpayments for more than 20 years.

The SSA’s “internal controls” rely on beneficiaries to self-report overpayments.

“SSA officials told us that if beneficiaries do not self-report benefits, there are no system prompts that would alert SSA staff to ask beneficiaries if they are receiving any workers’ compensation benefits, including FECA payments,” states GAO. “SSA officials agreed that relying on beneficiaries to self-report benefits presents a challenge in identifying overpayments related to the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits.”

The disability insurance program is the nation’s largest cash assistance program for workers with disabilities. In fiscal year 2014 it paid $142 billion to 11 million beneficiaries.

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Feds Paid Black Comedian To Deliver Anti-White, Racist Tirade At Census Bureau

U.S. Pays Black Comedian To Deliver Anti-White Racist Tirade At Fed Agency – Judicial Watch

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The U.S. government paid a controversial civil rights activist/comedian to deliver an anti-white racist tirade at a major federal agency during Black History month and Judicial Watch has obtained the disturbing transcript of the offensive political rant.

It took place at the United States Census Bureau earlier this year and the paid speaker was Dick Gregory, a self-professed humanitarian and drum major for justice who claims that his social satire changed the way white Americans perceive African American comedians. But Gregory’s angry outburst at the Census Bureau was not funny to some employees and the agency was forced to explain that it will thoroughly review its procedures for selecting future speakers to “ensure their views are appropriate for the federal workplace.”

Based on Gregory’s well-known reputation as a fiery race-baiter, it’s unlikely that the government officials who booked him didn’t know about his discriminating, shock-based performances. The Census Bureau paid Gregory $1,400 to “share a wealth of history as a Civil Rights Activist,” according to the records obtained by JW under the federal public records law known as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Instead, American taxpayers funded a disgusting stand-up routine filled with the “N word” and replete with conspiracy theories about whites and the U.S. government targeting prominent blacks – including Martin Luther King and Malcom X – for assassination or career destruction (golfer Tiger Woods and beleaguered comedian Bill Cosby).

Gregory also said whites stole black inventions, such as ice hockey and the cotton gin, and accused the U.S. government of conspiring to kill Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio. The movie King Kong is really a depiction of former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson dating white women, Gregory claimed at the Census Bureau performance, and whites treat President Obama “like dirt” and “like he’s a Redneck Cracker that can’t read or write.” Gregory delivered most of his routine in Ebonics (also known as African American Vernacular English) and advised his black audience not to obey “white racist cops,” which he also referred to as “filth.”

The rioters who destroyed Ferguson after a cop fatally shot a black man with an extensive criminal record who had just committed a robbery, didn’t steal enough merchandise from the businesses they looted, Gregory told his government audience. “I was complaining about Ferguson because the Nigger wasn’t getting enough,” Gregory said, according to the transcript obtained by JW. “Did you see the brother go in there and walk out with a half-pint, I said ‘Get some tips.’ And, y’all be trying to trick them White folks and say rebellion. No rebellion is put together, predicated, on some White person shooting a Black person and that tips it off. Those was riots, riots.”

Gregory also told his audience of public servants that if he were president of the United States no white people would be in his cabinet. “Had I been elected to be the President, listen good White folks, none of y’all would be in my cabinet,” he says. “Now don’t worry about Black folks who be saying ‘oh, he didn’t mean it.’ So, I’ll say it ten times, non of y’all be in my cabinet, none of y’all be in my cabinet, none of y’all be in my cabinet.”

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Feds To Issue More Green Cards Than The Populations Of Iowa, New Hampshire And South Carolina Combined

USA To Issue More Green Cards Than Populations Of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina Combined – Big Government

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Breitbart News has exclusively obtained text and a chart from the Senate’s Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), concerning America’s ongoing policy of massive legal immigration:

The overwhelming majority of immigration to the United States is the result of our visa policies. Each year, millions of visas are issued to temporary workers, foreign students, refugees, asylees, and permanent immigrants for admission into the United States. The lion’s share of these visas are for lesser-skilled and lower-paid workers and their dependents who, because they are here on work-authorized visas, are added directly to the same labor pool occupied by current unemployed jobseekers. Expressly because they arrive on legal immigrant visas, most will be able to draw a wide range of taxpayer-funded benefits, and corporations will be allowed to directly substitute these workers for Americans. Improved border security would have no effect on the continued arrival of these foreign workers, refugees, and permanent immigrants – because they are all invited here by the federal government.

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The most significant of all immigration documents issued by the U.S. is, by far, the “green card.” When a foreign citizen is issued a green card it guarantees them the following benefits inside the United States: lifetime work authorization, access to federal welfare, access to Social Security and Medicare, the ability to obtain citizenship and voting privileges, and the immigration of their family members and elderly relatives.

Under current federal policy, the U.S. issues green cards to approximately 1 million new Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) every single year. For instance, Department of Homeland Security statistics show that the U.S. issued 5.25 million green cards in the last five years, for an average of 1.05 million new legal permanent immigrants annually.

These ongoing visa issuances are the result of federal law, and their number can be adjusted at any time. However, unlike other autopilot policies – such as tax rates or spending programs – there is virtually no national discussion or media coverage over how many visas we issue, to whom we issue them and on what basis, or how the issuance of these visas to individuals living in foreign countries impacts the interests of people already living in this country.

If Congress does not pass legislation to reduce the number of green cards issued each year, the U.S. will legally add 10 million or more new permanent immigrants over the next 10 years – a bloc of new permanent residents larger than populations of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina combined.

This has substantial economic implications.

The post-World War II boom decades of the 1950s and 1960s averaged together less than 3 million green cards per decade – or about 285,000 annually. Due to lower immigration rates, the total foreign-born population in the United States dropped from about 10.8 million in 1945 to 9.7 million in 1960 and 9.6 million in 1970.

These lower midcentury immigration levels were the product of a federal policy change: after the last period of large-scale immigration that had begun in roughly 1880, immigration rates were lowered to reduce admissions. The foreign-born share of the U.S. population fell for six consecutive decades, from 1910 through 1960.

Legislation enacted in 1965, among other factors, substantially increased low-skilled immigration. Since 1970, the foreign-born population in the United States has increased more than four-fold – to a record 42.1 million today. The foreign-born share of the population has risen from fewer than 1 in 21 in 1970, to presently approaching 1 in 7. As the supply of available labor has increased, so too has downward pressure on wages.

Georgetown and Hebrew University economics professor Eric Gould has observed that “the last four decades have witnessed a dramatic change in the wage and employment structure in the United States… The overall evidence suggests that the manufacturing and immigration trends have hollowed-out the overall demand for middle-skilled workers in all sectors, while increasing the supply of workers in lower skilled jobs. Both phenomena are producing downward pressure on the relative wages of workers at the low end of the income distribution.”

During the low-immigration period from 1948-1973, real median compensation for U.S. workers increased more than 90 percent. By contrast, real average hourly wages were lower in 2014 than they were in 1973, four decades earlier. Harvard Economist George Borjas also documented the effects of high immigration rates on African-American workers, writing that “a 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of workers in a particular skill group reduced the black wage of that group by 2.5 percent.” Past immigrants are additionally among those most economically impacted by the arrival of large numbers of new workers brought in to compete for the same jobs. In Los Angeles County, for example, 1 in 3 recent immigrants are living below the poverty line. And this federal policy of new large-scale admissions continues unaltered at a time when automation is reducing hiring, and when a record share of our own workers here in America are not employed.

President Coolidge articulated how a slowing of immigration would benefit both U.S.-born and immigrant-workers: “We want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here. As a nation, our first duty must be to those who are already our inhabitants, whether native or immigrants. To them we owe an especial and a weighty obligation.”

It is worth observing that the 10 million grants of new permanent residency under current law is not an estimate of total immigration. In fact, the increased distribution of legal immigrant visas tend to correlate with increased flows of immigration illegally: the former helps provide networks and pull factors for the latter. Most of the countries who send the largest numbers of citizens with green cards are also the countries who send the most citizens illegally. The Census Bureau estimates 13 million new immigrants will arrive, on net, between now and 2024 – hurtling the U.S. past all recorded figures in terms of the foreign-born share of total population, quickly eclipsing the watermark recorded 105 years ago during the 1880-1920 immigration wave before immigration rates were lowered. Absent new legislation to reduce unprecedented levels of future immigration, the Census Bureau projects immigration as a share of population will continue setting new records each year, for all time.

Yet the immigration “reform” considered by Congress most recently – the 2013 Senate “Gang of Eight” comprehensive immigration bill – would have tripled the number of green cards issued over the next 10 years. Instead of issuing 10 million green cards, the Gang of Eight proposal would have issued at least 30 million green cards during the next decade (or more than 11 times the population of the City of Chicago).

Polling from Gallup and Fox shows that Americans want lawmakers to reduce, not increase, immigration rates by a stark 2:1 margin. Reuters puts it at a 3:1 margin. And polling from GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway shows that by the huge margin of nearly 10:1 people of all backgrounds are united in their belief that U.S. companies seeking workers should raise wages for those already living here – instead of bringing in new labor from abroad.

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Government Malfeasance Update: Feds Spend Over $3.5M To Find Out Why Most Lesbians Are Fat

U.S. Taxpayers Fork Out More Than $3.5M To Find Out Why 75% Of Lesbians Are Obese – Daily Mail

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has now spent over $3.5 million of taxpayer’s money to try and determine why the majority of lesbians in the US are obese.

The study entitled, ‘Sexual Orientation and Obesity: A Test of a Gendered Biopsychosocial Model,’ is aimed at concluding why nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians are dangerously overweight.

The study is also investigating why heterosexual men are twice as likely to be obese when compared to gay males.

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Fat disparity: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has now spent over $3.5 million of taxpayer’s dollars in an effort to determine why the majority of lesbians in the U.S. are obese

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‘It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males,’ says the study.

The NIH has cited public health and the risks associated with obesity in their continued funding of the project.

The study first began in 2011 and it will continue until June of next year.

Free Beacon reports that the total funding for the research is now $3,531,925. Funding has more than doubled since the study was first reported on by CNSNews.com in 2013.

A scientific paper associated with the study asserted that lesbians have lower ‘athletic-self esteem’ that could be linked to higher rates of obesity.

A separate research paper found that lesbians are more likely to see themselves as a healthy weight even if they are not.

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Athletic confidence: A scientific paper associated with the study asserted that lesbians have lower ‘athletic-self esteem’ that could be linked to higher rates of obesity and that they exercised fewer hours when compared to their heterosexual female peers

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A study published last month by the project’s lead investigator, S. Bryn Austin, concluded that young gay and bisexual men were more concerned with being lean than their heterosexual male counterparts . The study found that both heterosexual and homosexual males were concerned with their muscles at a young age.

‘Latent transition analyses revealed that sexual minority males (i.e., mostly heterosexual, gay, and bisexual) were more likely than completely heterosexual males to be lean-concerned at ages 17-18 and 19-20 years and to transition to the lean-concerned class from the healthy class,’ said the scientific paper.

‘There were no sexual orientation differences in odds of being muscle-concerned.’

The study also investigated body issues among young men and suggested that they should be screened to ensure they didn’t have too much of a preoccupation with their biceps.

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Feds Waste Nearly $40 Million Of Potential Ebola Funding On Origami Condoms And Fat Lesbians

$39,643,352 Worth Of NIH Funding That Could Have Gone To The Ebola Vaccine – Washington Free Beacon

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent more than $39 million on obese lesbians, origami condoms, texting drunks, and dozens of other projects that could have been scrapped in favor of developing an Ebola vaccine.

“Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, blaming budget cuts for his agency’s failure to develop a vaccine for the deadly virus.

However, the Washington Free Beacon has uncovered $39,643,352 worth of NIH studies within the past several years that have gone to questionable research.

For instance, the agency has spent $2,873,440 trying to figure out why lesbians are obese, and $466,642 on why fat girls have a tough time getting dates. Another $2,075,611 was spent encouraging old people to join choirs.

Millions have gone to “text message interventions,” including a study where researchers sent texts to drunks at the bar to try to get them to stop drinking. The project received an additional grant this year, for a total of $674,590.

The NIH is also texting older African Americans with HIV ($372,460), HIV and drug users in rural areas ($693,000), HIV smokers ($763,519), pregnant smokers ($380,145), teen moms ($243,839), and meth addicts ($360,113). Text message interventions to try to get obese people to lose weight have cost $2,707,067.

The NIH’s research on obesity has led to spending $2,101,064 on wearable insoles and buttons that can track a person’s weight, and $374,670 to put on fruit and vegetable puppet shows for preschoolers.

A restaurant intervention to develop new children’s menus cost $275,227, and the NIH spent $430,608 for mother-daughter dancing outreach to fight obesity.

Sexual minorities have received a substantial amount from the NIH. The agency has now spent $105,066 following 16 schizophrenic LGBT Canadians around Toronto for a study on their community experiences.

The total for a project on why gay men get syphilis in Peru is now $692,697 after receiving additional $228,425 this year. The NIH is also concerned about postpartum depression in “invisible sexual minority women,” with a study that has cost $718,770.

Millions went to develop “origami condoms,” in male, female, and anal versions. The inventor Danny Resnic, who received $2,466,482 from the NIH, has been accused of massive fraud for using grant money for full-body plastic surgery in Costa Rica and parties at the Playboy mansion.

How transwomen use Facebook is the subject of another NIH study worth $194,788.

The agency has also committed $5 million to “mine and analyze” social media to study American’s attitudes toward drug abuse, and $306,900 to use Twitter for surveillance on depressed people.

The NIH has also spent $15,313,372 on cessation studies devoted to every kind of smoker imaginable. Current studies are targeted at American Indians ($2,899,954); Chinese and Vietnamese men ($424,875); postmenopausal women ($4,151,850); the homeless ($558,576);Korean youth ($94,580); young schizophrenics ($397,802); Brazilian women smokers ($955,368);Latino HIV-positive smokers($471,530); and the LGBT community ($2,364,521).

Yale University is studying how to get “Heavy Drinkers” to stop smoking at a cost of $571,799. Other projects seek to use Twitter to provide “social support to smokers” ($659,469), and yoga ($1,763,048) as a way to quit.

An NIH project studying sighs cost taxpayers $53,282.

On Tuesday, Health and Human Services (HHS) had to outsource efforts at an Ebola vaccine to the Baltimore-based Profectus BioSciences Inc. The company will receive $8.6 million to research and test their vaccine, a fraction of NIH funding that went to the above projects.

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Ted Cruz To Propose Constitutional Amendment Preventing Feds From Nullifying State Marriage Laws

Ted Cruz Is About To Propose A Constitutional Amendment – The Blaze

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will soon propose an amendment to the Constitution that would prevent the federal government or the courts from nullifying state marriage laws.

Cruz said Monday that a new amendment is needed after the Supreme Court decided not to consider cases involving five states that wanted to appeal lower court rulings that invalidated their laws banning same-sex marriage. That decision by the high court effectively allowed those lower rulings to stand, which some gay marriage proponents in those states celebrated by immediately getting married.

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Cruz argued in response that marriage is a question only for the states, and that a new amendment would be needed to protect state decisions from court interference. He said he would propose it once Congress is back in session later this year, after the mid-term election.

“Traditional marriage is an institution whose integrity and vitality are critical to the health of any society,” Cruz said. “We should remain faithful to our moral heritage and never hesitate to defend it.”

Many expected the Supreme Court to take on the controversial issue, but its contrary decision was seen by most as huge and possibly historic victory for gay marriage supporters. The decision legalizes gay marriage in 24 states plus the District of Columbia, and many have said that number could be pushed higher in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to leave in place the lower rulings.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible,” Cruz said. “By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution.”

“The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing,” he added.

Cruz also said it’s “judicial activism” to allow the lower courts to override state laws put in place by various states.

“Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures,” he said.

Cruz’s proposal, like others to amend the Constitution, will face an uphill fight. It would have to be passed by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, and then would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

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Sources Inside Obama’s BLM And LVMPD Say Feds Planning Raid On Bundy Home (Audio)

Exclusive: Sources Inside The BLM And Las Vegas Metro Say Feds Are Planning A Raid On Bundy Home – Ben Swann

As reported yesterday, hundreds of federal agents are still at the Bundy Ranch and the area continues its status as a no-fly zone. Despite major media reports that the Nevada Bureau of Land Management is retreating, the remaining activity that still surrounds the ranch illustrates a different scenario.

Not only is the BLM not actually backing off of Cliven Bundy, Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association has revealed stunning information: on Ben Swann’s radio program, Mack said that he has received intelligence from multiple, credible sources inside the BLM and the Las Vegas Metro that there is “no question” that the federal government is planning a raid on the Bundy home and the homes of their children who live on the property.

According to Mack, the so-called retreat was nothing more than theatrics. “It was a ploy to get people to back off, to get people out of the way. They weren’t expecting us to get this amount of people here. They were surprised by the numbers and so they wanted a way to get us out of here. This was a ploy to get us out of here and then they’re going after the Bundys.” Mack said that when he was at the Bundy ranch on Saturday there were an estimated 600 to 800 protesters present when federal agents were releasing the cattle.

“If they do that kind of raid, I don’t believe there’s any way that could happen without bloodshed,” Mack told Swann.

Mack spoke about the tactic that protesters could use by putting women at the front of the line facing the federal agents to make them think carefully before opening fire.

“I would’ve gone next. I would’ve been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here. I’m willing to die here,” said Mack.

Mack said that he had been told by Bundy that the federal government is actively shutting down the ranching industry, specifically in Clark County. He also revealed that there used to be 53 ranches in Clark County. All of those ranchers have been put out of business, except for Bundy who is still trying to hold on. “Every American should be outraged by it,” said Mack. The ranch has been in Bundy’s family since 1877.

Mack decried Nevada governor Brian Sandoval for declaring this situation unconstutional while doing nothing to stop it. “He could have called in the state’s national guard, could have called in the sheriff’s office, could have called in highway patrol, and he’s done nothing except assail what’s going on. That’s easy, that’s cowardly.”

Sheriff Mack also called out media including radio host Glenn Beck who he says is siding with the BLM on this issue.

“I can’t believe that there are some Americans, and some media like Glenn Beck, that are supporting the BLM in this and it’s absolutely disgraceful.”

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Armed Guards Surround Bundy, Supporters Fear Imminent Threat – KLAS

Local rancher Cliven Bundy may have his cattle back, but his supporters say they are still preparing for an imminent threat.

Militia groups from all over the country say they are flocking to the Bundy ranch to protect the family from a feared federal government raid.

The Bureau of Land Management allowed Bundy to release his cattle Saturday, after they felt threatened.

Bundy now has a whole contingent of armed guards surrounding him 24 hours a day.

“They’re just there, trying to make sure something crazy doesn’t happen to him,” Bundy’s son Ammon Bundy said.

His security detail and family feel he is someone to be protected because of what the federal government could do.

“There were snipers on the hills and armed guards and you know, military forces with cameras all over.” Ammon Bundy said.

Cliven Bundy fears that the government could gather up again because they never reached a formal deal.

He is also trying to determine whether federal agents damaged any of his cattle before they released them.

The BLM only allowed the family to open up the gate of the pen where the animals were being held because officers were afraid of violence. As of now, no one has cleared him to take back his cattle for good.

Taking the stage to address supporters Monday, Bundy was quickly obscured behind his guards. The detail told 8 News NOW they are now patrolling the area 24 hours a day looking for federal snipers.

“You never know, you never know,” Ammon Bundy said.

According to the BLM, Bundy has allowed his cattle to graze public land illegally for the past 20 years. Following two court orders, the feds started rounding up the cattle last week.

The agency also says Bundy owes more than $1 million in grazing fees for trespassing on federal lands since the 1990s.

Saturday, the BLM agreed to pull out of the area but hundreds of protesters flooded a BLM holding station, aiming to release hundreds of Bundy’s cattle.

Monday, Bundy says he never told his supporters to flood a federal cattle pen, using weapons. Members of Bundy’s security details say more militia groups are on their way and will be there for weeks to come.

Ammon Bundy says he was awake last night fearful the feds were going to come in and arrest his family.

No law enforcement have talked about arresting anyone in this dispute, and there is still no clear resolution to the fact that Bundy is grazing cattle on federal land without paying fees.

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Harry Reid On Bundy Ranch Situation: ‘It’s Not Over’ – National Review

Clive Bundy may have prevailed over the weekend in his standoff with the Bureau of Land Management regarding his Nevada ranch and disputed ranch, but that’s just the first phase, according to Harry Reid.

“Well, it’s not over,” he told Reno’s KRNV. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and just walk away from it, so it’s not over.”

Last week, the BLM began rounding up Bundy’s cattle amid controversy over whether he owed the federal government millions in grazing fees for his cattle being on their land. Bundy and his supporters, who gathered in Bunkerville, Nev., say that the rancher and his family have had rights to the land for over a century.

With tensions high, the BLM and federal agents backed off on Sunday, prompting some to think Bundy had prevailed. Reid’s comments may mean the government’s withdrawal was temporary, or that it will take a different approach to addressing the situation.

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Judge Orders Feds To Help Enforce Proof-Of-Citizenship Voter Requirement In Kansas And Arizona

Federal Officials Ordered To Help Enforce Ariz., Kan., Voter Citizenship Laws – Fox News

Federal officials must help Kansas and Arizona enforce laws requiring new voters to document their U.S. citizenship, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, in a decision that could encourage other Republican-led states to consider similar policies.

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U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita, Kan., ordered the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to immediately modify a national voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about their states’ proof-of-citizenship requirements.

Both require new voters to provide a birth certificate, passport or other documentation to prove their U.S. citizenship to election officials. The federal registration form requires only that prospective voters sign a statement declaring they are citizens.

Kansas and Arizona asked the federal agency for state-specific modifications, but it refused. The states and their top elected officials – Secretaries of State Kris Kobach of Kansas and Ken Bennett of Arizona, both conservative Republicans – sued the agency last year.

Most voters in both states register with state forms, but their officials said the availability of the federal form created a loophole in enforcement of proof-of-citizenship requirements. Supporters argue the requirements preclude voter fraud by preventing noncitizens from voting, particularly those in the country illegally.

“This is a really big victory, not just for Kansas and Arizona but for all 50 states,” Kobach told The Associated Press. “Kansas has paved the way for all states to enact proof-of-citizenship requirements.”

Arizona enacted its proof-of-citizenship requirement by voter initiative in 2004, and Alabama, Georgia and Kansas followed with similar laws. Kansas’ rule took effect last year.

Critics of such laws view them as suppressing voter participation. They also said the federal National Voter Registration Act, enacted in the 1990s, was meant to simplify registration across the country and allowed federal officials to reject a modification of the national form.

Jonathan Brater, legal counsel for the New York-based Brennan Center for Justice, said Melgren’s ruling, if it stands, would erode Congress’ power to protect voting rights. The center represented the national League of Women Voters and its Arizona and Kansas chapters, which intervened in the lawsuit.

“There is a concern that other states could move to pass some of these misguided laws,” Brater said. “There can be a copycat effect.”

Melgren said the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to set voter qualifications, and Congress has not pre-empted it, even in enacting the 1990s law.

The federal commission and the national League of Women Voters were reviewing the decision Wednesday and not saying whether they’d appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

But league President Elisabeth MacNamara said: “Our first impression is that it’s a harsh decision and it’s a decision that will harm voters.”

The federal commission also had rejected a request for a state-specific change in the national form from Georgia, and Jared Thomas, chief of staff to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, said his state will ask the commission to reconsider.

“We applaud Judge Melgren’s decision and the good work of Kansas and Arizona in litigating this important issue,” Thomas said in an email to the AP.

The proof-of-citizenship laws are part of broader attempt by Republicans nationally to tighten up state voting requirements in the name of fighting election fraud.

“We must ensure citizens are the only ones who vote if we are to have honest elections,” said Republican Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason.

But critics contend it can be difficult for some poor, minority and elderly voters to obtain copies of their birth certificates or other citizenship documents.

Brater said college students registering to vote away from their previous homes also may have trouble finding the necessary papers quickly. And Democratic Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo, who joined the lawsuit on the side of the federal commission, said a proof-of-citizenship requirement is designed to weed out progressive voters, particularly college students.

“These are new voters that are getting active,” Gallardo said. “They tend to be a lot more progressive and liberal… particularly when it comes to issues like medical marijuana, same-sex marriage, more progressive-type issues.”

In Kansas, the registrations of nearly 15,700 prospective voters – enough to decide a close statewide race – remained on hold Wednesday because they hadn’t yet complied with the proof-of-citizenship requirement.

Kobach said the state has found “20 or so” noncitizens on its voter registration rolls, but he believes that’s only a fraction of the potential number. Kansas has about 1.73 million registered voters.

In Arizona, Attorney General Tom Horne, another conservative Republican, said election officials learned they had more than 200 noncitizens on their rolls when court officials forwarded the names of people who sought exemptions from jury duty because they weren’t citizens. Arizona has 3.25 million registered voters.

“There’s been a cover-up by the media of the extent to which voter fraud is a problem,” Horne said.

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Report: Oregon Obamacare Managers Used Dummy Web Pages To Fool Feds Into Continued Funding

Report: Oregon Obamacare Officials Lied To The Feds To Keep Money Flowing, Used Dummy Web Pages – Weasel Zippers

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Just a tad illegal.

PORTLAND, Ore. – You already know the process that led to the failed rollout of the Cover Oregon website was bad.

But was it criminally bad?

Former Republican state Rep. Patrick Sheehan told the KATU Investigators he has gone to the FBI with allegations that Cover Oregon project managers initiated the design of dummy web pages to convince the federal government the project was further along than it actually was.

If Sheehan’s allegations are true, those managers could face time in jail for fraud.

“One of the allegations that was made was so alarming that it went way beyond a legislative oversight committee and so I did reach out and contact the FBI,” Sheehan said.

“The issue had to do with federal funding and proving some amount of compliance with the federal regulation in order to get funding.”

To which funding is he referring?

Early in its life, Cover Oregon was given a $48 million “early innovator” grant from the federal government. That amount would later grow to $59 million.

There were a few strings attached though.

To keep the money flowing, the website would have to hit specific benchmarks between 2011 and 2013. The state needed to show the feds it had picked a company to provide software and technical assistance; it had to demonstrate that the website was safe from hackers; and, most importantly, it had to show that people could actually sign up for insurance on the website.

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Your Tax Dollars At Work: Feds Paid Nearly $175M For Penis Pumps Between 2006 And 2011

Taxpayers Paid Nearly $175M For Penis Pumps Between 2006 And 2011 – Washington Free Beacon

Taxpayers paid nearly $175 million for vacuum erection systems (VES), commonly known as “penis pumps,” from 2006 to 2011, according to an inspector general report released on Monday.

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The federal government paid more than double the retail price for VES, the Department of Health and Human Services IG found. Medicare prices for the systems, the report said, “remain grossly excessive compared with the amounts that non-Medicare payers pay.”

Medicare paid 473,620 VES claims during calendar years 2006 through 2011, according to the IG report.

Health care policy experts said the revelations in the IG report are a troubling indication of what they describe as wasteful spending in federal health programs.

“The fact that taxpayers have spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the past decade on penis pumps via Medicare is obscene and insulting – even more so when you consider that this is an arena of Medicare expenditures rife with fraud and where the government doesn’t even bother to assess medical necessity,” said Ben Domenech, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute.

“This is a perfect example of what happens when government becomes the be all and end all of human existence – a system where everyone has a right to a taxpayer-funded penis pump.”

Vacuum erection systems, which are used to treat impotence, are covered by Medicare Part B under its Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program.

Medicare payments for VES have swelled in recent years. The Department of Health and Human Services paid $20.6 million for 61,589 claims in 2006. It paid $38.6 million for 103,448 claims in 2011.

That increase came despite recommendations from federal watchdogs that HHS limit payments for certain DMEPOS claims, including those made for VES.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommended changing the fee schedule for VES and five other DMEPOS products in a 1999 notice in the federal register.

Existing fee schedules, CMS said, were “grossly excessive.” Medical device manufacturers, though, “expressed concerns about the payment limits,” the IG noted.

Congress instructed the Government Accountability Office to examine the issue. It mostly concurred in 2000 with CMS’s recommendations for a revised fee schedule. HHS issued regulations granting CMS the authority to adjust the pay schedule, but the agency never actually did so.

Most VES, the IG noted, are purchased through mail-order services online, over the phone, or by mail. The authors examined retail prices through Google and Yahoo! search results.

“Medicare currently pays suppliers more than twice as much for VES as the Department of Veterans Affairs and consumers over the Internet pay for these types of devices,” the IG found.

By exercising that authority and limiting Medicare payments for VES, the IG found, CMS could save taxpayers millions. For the six years examined in the report, a pay schedule on par with standard consumer prices would have saved Medicare, on average, $14.4 million per year.

Because Medicare covers 80 percent of DMEPOS claims, with consumers footing the other 20 percent, a revised fee schedule could also provide direct savings for Medicare beneficiaries themselves, to the tune of $3.6 million per year.

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Your Daley Gator WTF Story O’ The Day

Feds Arrest Mentally Disabled Man After Paying Him To Get Neck Tattoo Advertising Their Undercover Storefront – Weasel Zippers

Insanity.

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Via Watchdog Report:

Aaron Key wasn’t sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck. Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.

But the guys running Squid’s Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced him: It would be a perfect way to promote their store.

They would even pay him and a friend $150 apiece if they agreed to turn their bodies into walking billboards.

Key, who is mentally disabled, was swayed.

He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid’s. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, “Squid,” and the store clerks.

So they took the money and got the ink etched on their necks, tentacles creeping down to their collarbones.

It would be months before the young men learned the whole thing was a setup. The guys running Squid’s were actually undercover ATF agents conducting a sting to get guns away from criminals and drugs off the street.

The tattoos had been sponsored by the U.S. government; advertisements for a fake storefront.

The teens found out as they were arrested and booked into jail.

Earlier this year when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exposed a botched ATF sting in Milwaukee – that included agents hiring a brain-damaged man to promote an undercover storefront and then arresting him forhis work – ATF officials told Congress the failed Milwaukee operation was an isolated case of inadequate supervision.

It wasn’t.

The Journal Sentinel reviewed thousands of pages of court records, police reports and other documents and interviewed dozens of people involved in six ATF operations nationwide that were publicly praised by the ATF in recent years for nabbing violent criminals and making cities safer.

Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employed rogue tactics similar to those used in Milwaukee in every operation, from Portland, Ore., to Pensacola, Fla.

Keep reading

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Feds To Sell GM Shares By Year’s End… And Screw Taxpayers Out Of $10 Billion

The Government’s Getting Out Of GM, But It’ll Cost Taxpayers – ChicoER

The U.S. government Thursday said it plans to sell the last of its stake in General Motors by the end of the year, ending a financial crisis era bailout that ultimately couldn’t help save Detroit from bankruptcy.

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The Treasury Department still owns GM shares equal to less than 2 percent of the company, but said in a statement that it intends to sell them by the end of the year.

The government received 912 million shares in exchange for a $49.5 billion bailout during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. So far it has recovered $38.4 billion of the money, but selling the remaining shares at Wednesday’s $37.69 closing price gets the government $1.17 billion, leaving taxpayers short by roughly $10 billion.

GM shares would need to rise to $95.51 each, more than double Thursday’s price , for taxpayers to break even on the bailout.

The government says the bailout was needed five years ago to save the American auto industry and more than a million jobs. It never expected to get all of the money back.

“Had we not acted to support the automotive industry, the cost to the country would have been substantial – in terms of lost jobs, lost tax revenue, reduced economic production and other consequences,” Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Tim Bowler said in the statement.

Taxpayers’ initially got a 61 percent stake in GM in exchange for the bailout. Treasury gradually has sold off its stake since a November 2010 initial public offering.

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Feds Confiscate Completely Unrelated Files Of Reporter During Raid To Seize Husband’s Guns

Feds Confiscate Investigative Reporter’s Confidential Files During Raid – Daily Caller

A veteran Washington D.C. investigative journalist says the Department of Homeland Security confiscated a stack of her confidential files during a raid of her home in August – leading her to fear that a number of her sources inside the federal government have now been exposed.

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In an interview with The Daily Caller, journalist Audrey Hudson revealed that the Department of Homeland Security and Maryland State Police were involved in a predawn raid of her Shady Side, Md. home on Aug. 6. Hudson is a former Washington Times reporter and current freelance reporter.

A search warrant obtained by TheDC indicates that the August raid allowed law enforcement to search for firearms inside her home.

The document notes that her husband, Paul Flanagan, was found guilty in 1986 to resisting arrest in Prince George’s County. The warrant called for police to search the residence they share and seize all weapons and ammunition because he is prohibited under the law from possessing firearms.

But without Hudson’s knowledge, the agents also confiscated a batch of documents that contained information about sources inside the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, she said.

Outraged over the seizure, Hudson is now speaking out. She said no subpoena for the notes was presented during the raid and argues the confiscation was outside of the search warrant’s parameter.

“They took my notes without my knowledge and without legal authority to do so,” Hudson said this week. “The search warrant they presented said nothing about walking out of here with a single sheet of paper.”

She provided TheDC with a photo showing the stack of file folders in a bag marked “evidence/property.”

On Thursday, a spokesman for the Maryland State Police declined to address any specifics about the search.

“Due to the ongoing criminal investigation and the potential for pending criminal charges at the state and/or federal level, the Maryland State Police will not discuss specific information about this investigation at this time,” spokesman Greg Shipley said in a statement to TheDC.

At about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, Hudson said officers dressed in full body armor presented a search warrant to enter the home she shares on the bay with her husband. She estimates that at least seven officers took part in the raid.

After the search began, Hudson said she was asked by an investigator with the Coast Guard Investigative Service if she was the same Audrey Hudson who had written a series of critical stories about air marshals for The Washington Times over the last decade. The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security.

Hudson said that investigator, Miguel Bosch, identified himself as a former air marshal official.

But it wasn’t until a month later, on Sept. 10, that Hudson was informed by Bosch that five files including her handwritten and typed notes from interviews with numerous confidential sources and other documents had been taken during the raid.

“In particular, the files included notes that were used to expose how the Federal Air Marshal Service had lied to Congress about the number of airline flights there were actually protecting against another terrorist attack,” Hudson wrote in a summary about the raid provided to TheDC.

Recalling the experience during an interview this week, Hudson said: “When they called and told me about it, I just about had a heart attack.”

She said she asked Bosch why they took the files. He responded that they needed to run them by TSA to make sure it was “legitimate” for her to have them.

“‘Legitimate’ for me to have my own notes?” she said incredulously on Wednesday.

Asked how many sources she thinks may have been exposed, Hudson said: “A lot. More than one. There were a lot of names in those files.”

“This guy basically came in here and took my anonymous sources and turned them over – took my whistleblowers – and turned it over to the agency they were blowing the whistle on,” Hudson said. “And these guys still work there.”

The Daily Caller reached Bosch on his cell phone on Thursday. “Before I talk to you, I’m probably going to have to run this by our legal department,” he said.

Carlos Díaz, the chief of media relations for the Coast Guard, said in a statement that the Coast Guard Investigative Service was asked to participate in the raid because the search involved a Coast Guard employee. Flanagan is an ordinance technician for the Coast Guard in Baltimore.

Díaz explained that the files were taken because they found official government papers, which Hudson had obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“During the course of the search, the CGIS agent discovered government documents labeled FOUO – For Official Use Only (FOUO) – and LES – Law Enforcement Sensitive. The files that contained these documents were cataloged on the search warrant inventory and taken from the premises,” Díaz said.

“The documents were reviewed with the source agency and determined to be obtained properly through the Freedom of Information Act,” he said.

Diaz said Flanagan was notified that the documents were cleared and he later picked them up after signing for the files.

But Hudson doesn’t buy the explanation: “That explains the one file they took but does not explain why they took four other files with my handwritten and typed interview notes with confidential sources, that I staked my reputation as a journalist to protect under the auspices of the First Amendment of the Constitution,” she said.

Hudson said she and her husband knew something was up in February when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wanted to talk about a purchase Flanagan made about five years ago.

The court documents note that ATF investigators asked Flanagan if he obtained “possible machine gun parts from a Swedish National.” Flanagan responded that he once purchased a potato gun but threw it away because it didn’t work.

In July, according to the documents, Bosch interviewed several of Flanagan’s Coast Guard colleagues, who said Flanagan spoke often about being a “firearms collector.”

“One party that was interviewed remembered distinctly about Flanagan advising he had recently purchased a Bersa .380 handgun, and observed pictures of firearms similar to AK-47 semi-automatic rifles which were identified by Flanagan as being his,” the court documents state.

The documents also note that Victor Hodgin, the trooper in the criminal investigation division of the Maryland State Police whose name is on the search warrant, accessed Flanagan’s Facebook account in his investigation.

“Records maintained by Facebook.com will allow him to further implicate Paul Roland Flanagan in the illegal possession [of] firearms,” he wrote.

Hodgin didn’t return a voicemail left on his phone. Shipley, the spokesman with the Maryland State Police, said the “evidence and information developed during this investigation is currently under review by both the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office.”

“A determination will be made by officials in these offices regarding the state and or federal charges that may be placed as a result of this investigation,” he said.

Hudson told TheDC that the couple had a run-in with the Maryland State Police about six years ago. “A neighbor complained on New Years Eve about one of us shooting a gun off the pier here,” she said. “We live right on the bay.”

Hudson said the police gave them a slap on the wrist then. “They knew then we had these guns,” she said. “If this was a problem – that he wasn’t supposed to be around them – they should’ve told us then.”

During the raid, the officers also went after Hudson’s three pistols and three long guns, which she obtained legally.

“I’m a Kentucky girl,” she said. “I come kitchen trained, and firearm ready. I grew up with guns and I’ve always been around guns.”

Hudson has been a reporter in Washington, D.C. for nearly 15 years and was nominated twice by The Washington Times for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a freelancer for Newsmax and the Colorado Observer.

While at the Times, Hudson reported extensively on the air marshal program – specifically about whether Homeland Security officials had lied to Congress and reported protecting more flights than they really were. Using her sources inside the government, Hudson has also reported for years about possible terrorist “dry-runs” on airplanes.

Unlike some other reporters whose sources have been targeted in recent years by the government, Hudson said none of the information she had was classified or given to her by someone who broke the law.

“None of the documents were classified,” she said. “There were no laws broken in me obtaining these files.”

Hudson said she wants to let her sources know that they may have been exposed.

“Part of the reason I’m coming forward with this is I’m scared to contact them,” she said. “I’m terrified to contact them…I’ve got to let these guys know somehow.”

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