by Jon DeVore, 12/27/2009, 11:50 PM

In case you didn’t catch this item, it seems that the situation involving indicted financier Allen Stanford and his wooing of Congress-creatures from both parties is about to get a whole lot more interesting. From The Miami Herald:

The Justice Department is investigating millions of dollars Stanford and his staff contributed to lawmakers over the past decade to determine if the banker received special favors from politicians while building his spectacular offshore bank in Antigua, The Miami Herald has learned.

Agents are examining campaign dollars, as well as lavish Caribbean trips funded by Stanford for politicians and their spouses, feting them with lobster dinners and caviar.

The money Stanford gave Sessions and other lawmakers was stolen from his clients while he carried out what prosecutors now say was one of the nation’s largest Ponzi schemes.

There is an obvious and basic problem with money itself being equated with free speech, although until the Supremes might be persuaded to change their minds on that score, I guess nothing much is going to change.

In the Stanford case it appears a criminal was able to thwart legislation that might have uncovered his crimes, by using his ill-gotten gains. Sweet!

Al Capone was an idiot, of course, because he was basically a street thug. The modern thug uses offshore banks and impresses Congress creatures with his wealth and taste. Er, pleased to meet you…

A lot of normal people are scraping the grape jelly jar clean to get one more PBJ sandwich, and these suited thugs were slobbering all over themselves for caviar at tropical resorts. Nice image heading into 2010, I must say. “But…but…but…but…that’s how the world works!”

Yeah, I know. That’s the problem. If the only action average people feel they can take is to vote in a blind rage, they will do it. Whether that hurts Democrats or Republicans more is starting to become irrelevant. The country is being harmed terribly by the current system of campaign finance and lobbying, not just on health care but on every issue.

Frankly I’m surprised and not a little alarmed that this major story by the Miami Herald isn’t getting more traction, although hopefully that will change with a new work week, albeit a shortened holiday one.

29 Responses to “America’s only native criminal class”

1. Roger Rabbit spews:

That reference to “Sessions” — would that be Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-AL)?

2. Roger Rabbit spews:

Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, R-AL, sat out the Vietam War at Huntingdon College (1965-1969) and University of Alabama Law School (1970-1973). He did, however, magnanimously serve in the Army Reserve after the shooting war was over. I was unable to find any record of whether he donated $100 to Operation Helmet, like I did, to buy a combat helmet for a U.S. soldier in Iraq that a government run by Republicans was too cheap to provide to our troops because giving tax breaks to millionaires was higher priority for them than the lives of our soldiers.

3. Roger Rabbit spews:

“scraping the grape jelly jar clean to get one more PBJ sandwich”

Let ‘em eat lobster and caviar!

4. Roger Rabbit spews:

I like lobster and caviar, especially when it’s free. Sure, you have to become a lawyer, dress up in a business suit, and go to conferences so that the people paying for the lobster and caviar will think you’re important (or, at least, a potential customer), but that’s a small sacrifice to make in order to eat like a Republican.

5. Roger Rabbit spews:

The Greening Of Detroit

A third of Detroit’s real estate parcels are vacant or abandoned. Now, proposals are being floated to turn unused land into farms to grow fresh produce and other crops. Detroit has no chain grocery stores, and three-fourths of the city’s residents buy their groceries at gas stations or convenience stores, so the new farms have a built-in market.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010026290_apwabiomassplant.html?prmid=obinsite

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Can you imagine a big city with no grocery stores?

6. Emily spews:

The Sessions mentioned in the article is Pete Sessions, not ol’ Jeff. I was hoping it was Jeff, but it’s not.

7. Max Rockatansky spews:

@5….Detroit is a dead city. Can you figure out which political party has been running it for the last 40 years?

Do a search on “ruins of detroit”….shocking to say the least.

8. Puddybud Remembers Progressives Forget spews:

Once again you HA libtardos have no memories. Puddy gave you the low-down on Allen Stanford long ago when Jon DeVore tried to make hay of him being from Texas. Most of his money went to your Dummocraptic friends. Allen was part of the new Dummocraptic Club for Growth: Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, Johnny Chung, Norman Hsu, Charlie Trie, and Raj Rajaratnam. Hey aren’t most of these guys wearing solid color uniforms in metal cages?

Here it is again from Open Secrets

“Between its PAC and its employees, Stanford Financial Group has given $2.4 million to federal candidates (including both candidate committees and leadership PACs), parties and committees since 2000, with 65 percent of that going to Democrats. Stanford and his wife, Susan, have given $931,100 out of their own pockets, with 78 percent going to Democrats.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte $965,500

9. rhp6033 spews:

I’ve never understood how anybody could suspend their integrety for the price of a steak or lobster dinner, regardless of whether caviar was added or not. I mean, what’s the price? $100 per plate? $250 per plate (that’s got to be pretty good caviar)? Any Congressman who’s willing to sell his vote for such a measily sum must also be willing to plung into the spittoon to grab an errant dime.

Vendors regularly treat me to a steak or seafood dinner, but I’m not about to make a major spending decision based upon that. Sure, I’ll return the favor by inviting them to our open house at the end of each year, but that’s about it.

10. Alki Postings spews:

Money and politics is ALWAYS a toxic mix. Google “Neil Bush S&L” and find the ties of the Bush family to the Reagan S&L scandals and bailouts. Look at the Bush family ties to the Bin Laden family and oil money. All politicians (left, right and center) are corruptible with enough cash. The idiots on here (like Puddy) who believe in magic and think ONE party is magically good and another is magically bad because of JUST what political party they belong to is laughably childish.

It’s reminds of me how everytime a politician cheats someone points to their PARTY and says LOOK HOW CORRUPT they are, whether it’s Clinton getting bjs or a Republican “hiking the old Appalachian Trail”. The ONLY reason I enjoy getting on (some) Republicans more about their cheating is because they’re pretending to be the moral guardians of America and the protectors of marriage (even though the highest failed families/marriage rates are in the most conservative states). In other words, you can cheat or steal, and that’s bad, but don’t cheat and steal WHILE preaching to me about how cheating and stealing is bad. LOL

#9 I don’t think MOST of the politicians are corrupted by a nice $250 dinner (they’ll take it like you said). But enough are bribed or otherwise suckered in by money to make them all suspect. Maybe not fair, but it’s that’s how it works.

House of Representative approval rating: 23%
House of Representative re-elect rate: 95%

That’s our problem. Everyone from conservatives in Texas, to liberals in New York, love THEIR Congressmen, they just know all the others are corrupt.

11. lauramae spews:

The leap is not large between Sanford’s thug actions and Wall Street thug actions. The accepted way we do “business” ensures that back patting favor getting will stay in place. Voting for one candidate over the other won’t change it. Harry Reid is a dick, but he’s Nevada’s dick. There’s nothing I can do about Harry Reid and his fucking smug deal with the corn hole from Nebraska.

12. Puddybud Remembers Progressives Forget spews:

The idiots on here (like Alki Postings) seldom say anything important.

What a moron Alki is. Did Puddy write this thread back on February 2009? What was Jon DeVore trying to say when he wrote “This time it’s a Texas banker (yeah, what are the odds?)”

Are you always this moronic or do you play the moronic fool only on HA?

PS Alki – We know the Democratics are NOT the moral party. Peeps like Herr Goebbels Dumb Bunny have told us this with his “I like our crooks better than your crooks” commentary. Also when you have fools like Steve of Steve’s Stupid Solution who said

wingnut hatred towards all things good and decent

when Puddy was discussing Democratic billionaire friend of Hill and Bill Jeffrey Epstein who was sexually using girls as young as 14. That’s a good and decent use per Steve.

The bribery starts in the Congressional leadership. We all saw it when Mary Landrieu was bought off for a few $$$ and when Ben Nelson was bought off for a few $$$$ more. We saw it when Chuck Schumer said every state got special treatment. Yep Puddy know why Herr Goebbels Dumb Bunny likes his crooks!

Strange… CantVoteWell or Fast Sneakers didn’t get squat for WA State when the healthcare largess $$$$ were being spread around. Similar to their immediate support of the Porkulus Bill. Michigan got more in ferry support $$$ than WA State. These two WA Democratic senators are worthless.

13. Mr. Cynical spews:

Alki Postings @10–
It is mighty interesting the low Congress approval rating and how high the re-elected rate is. I guess it shows pretty clearly that elections can be bought with favors after being elected and bringing home the pork–

Check this out from today’s Rasmussen:

Expectations that Congress will pass health care reform in the coming year soared following the Senate’s Christmas Eve vote. Sixty-seven percent (67%) now expect it to pass. Still, most voters continue to oppose the health care plan and 63% believe it will raise the cost of care. Most voters (54%) also believe they personally will be worse off if the health care plan passes. Just 25% think they will be better off. A commentary by Michael Barone notes that it been more than 150 years since such significant but unpopular legislation was passed through Congress on a partisan basis. Thirty-eight percent (38%) now believe the economic stimulus plan passed earlier this year has hurt the economy. Just 30% believe it helped.

I believe Republicans will do everything they can to NATIONALIZE issues in Congressional & Senate Races. They will try hard to get Americans to understand the farcical temporary feel-good of Massive Deficit Spending by the Democrats with Porkulous, Bailouts and Health Care. That ultimately the bill will come due…just like it does for individuals who misuse credit cards. It’s no different.
The chickens ultimately come home to roost.

Will Republicans be effective?
I’m not so sure.
If people feel good at the time they vote…probably not too successful.

I would love to see 5 Party’s.
Tea Party
Progressives
Democrats
Republicans
Greens

BTW, in a 5-way race, the above is the way they would finish 1–5.

14. Mr. Cynical spews:

Rabbit @ 1 and 2–
What an idiot you are.
Spewing before you even read the article.
Here is part of the article you KLOWN–

Sanford gave $500,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2002 — his largest-ever contribution.

Ouch!@

Thanks for posting this Jon.
There are both R’s and D’s involved…but that contribution to the Senate Dems in the largest.

The story also mentions Congressman Greg Meeks..a Democrat.

15. Mr. Cynical spews:

Here is another blurb from the Miami Herald article–


In addition, Democratic House member Charlie Rangel returned $11,800 to charities, and Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson $45,000 to charities, half of which came from a fundraiser at Stanford’s Miami office in 2006.

“Just like a number of people, [they] started to run for cover the minute Allen was under scrutiny,” said Schaffer, Stanford’s attorney.

They took the money and only gave it back AFTER the investigation began.
Also mentioned are Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Max Sandlin (D-TX), Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

I think the biggest political points will be made regarding the $500,000 to the Democrat Senate Committee. It is by far the largest $$$ amount….and went to help ALL Democrat Senators!

16. headless lucy spews:

re 12: “What a moron Alki is.”

I’ll bet you pray to Jesus to help Alki with his problems. You are just that kind of large hearted Prince of a human being.

17. Mr. Baker spews:

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Can you imagine a big city with no grocery stores?

@5, yes, it was Manhattan, when I was there with my wife, Easter of 1993. That was one of the things that stood out to me. If there was a grocery store, we did not see it (and we covered a lot of ground on foot).

18. rhp6033 spews:

So, since Cynical & Puddy are so convinced that it is Democratic congressmen who are the recipients of influence-peddling, would they both agree that money should be taken out of the political equation? Shouldn’t this mean that corporations should continue to be prohibited in making political contributions, and “independent expenditures” should be counted within campaign contribution limits?

How about it, Cynical & Puddy?

19. Steve spews:

Is it even possible for Puddy to make a comment here without bearing false witness? And to think that he and his KLOWN, two asswipe denizens of some alternate Puddyverse where men fuck goats, want sit in judgement of our lives, our beliefs, and our faiths.

20. Mr. Cynical spews:

Steve-
How about a New Year’s Resolution where you leave the goat fornication out of the Blog??
And we can discuss….Tollycraft Yachts instead!
OK??

21. headless lucy spews:

How did the goat fornication discussion get started? It sure has legs!! Four, to be exact.

22. Roger Rabbit spews:

@7 Nice non sequiter. Who ran Detroit’s city government has absolutely nothing to do with the auto industry’s management failures or Bush’s economic bungling.

23. Roger Rabbit spews:

@11 The basic problem is that we’ve allowed our business leaders to propagandize themselves into believing that maximizing profits for shareholders is their only responsibility and keeping the profit motive from destroying the fabric of society is government’s responsibility — and then they turn around and support a political party whose governing philosophy is to gut government’s regulatory functions.

Yes, I do hold business leaders responsible for the total lack of ethics and social conscience in today’s business.

24. rhp6033 spews:

Roger @ 23: In a perverse way, the growth of 401(k) retirement plans has been partly responsible for the short-term vision of business executives.

Over the past couple of decades, businesses have departed from defined-benefit plans (usually called “pensions”) and switched instead to 401(K) plans. It was a big issue in the last Boeing strike. Businesses like 401(K) plans because once they contribute the money into the plan (employer contributions often being limited to 3% of gross pay), they don’t have to worry about it any more. The 401(K) plans also helps some employees, in that they don’t have to worry about their pensions evaporating as their employer goes under or if they get laid off before their pensions mature.

But most 401(K) plans don’t allow contributions to be invested in the form of individual stocks. Most provide only a limited number of mutual funds in which to invest, sometimes along with the company’s own stock.

This results in (at least) three problems. The first is that the employee has limited investment options. Second, the employer’s management and the mutual fund companies might have a rather cozy relationship which causes the mutual funds to be selected for the potential profit to the mutual fund company, rather than the best interest of the employees. Third – and this is the point of this comment – the very large and increasing amount of money in mutual funds give mutual fund managers an increasingly large role over the economy of the U.S.

The result? Mutual fund managers hold the proxys for huge blocks of shares in large companies. They could use these to vote in directors who will manage for the fund’s benefit. But they rarely do – they only have to vote with their money, moving it in and out of corporate stock on a whim, resulting in large movements of the stock exchanges based upon their guesstimate of whether the company will meet the end-of-quarter projections.

Of course, the mutual fund managers have their own problems. They know that finicky investers will switch back and forth between mutual funds based upon last quarter’s financial performance. Even employees in 401(K) plans have at least some limited ability to make such changes. So everyone is “chasing returns” – making decisions based upon last quarter’s results. Nobody is looking at the individual companies because you never know what companies a mutual fund is CURRENTLY invested in – only which companies it WAS invested in at the last reporting cycle.

So rather than managing for long-term growth of the company, the managers are managing based upon short term (quarterly) returns. The key is to meet or slightly exceed the market’s estimate in return for that quarter, even if it means making long-term decisions which are sure to cause problems in the future.

So Boeing’s Stonecipher, who was at an age when most would have retired anyway, had no reason to be interested in the long-term survivability of Boeing. He laid off the employees with the most experience, shut down the parts production facilities, scrapped the tooling, and would have burned the plans if the FAA would have let him do it. Building a brand-new airplane on an almost entirely out-sourced basis made the assett ratio look very good to investors, but at the expense of giving away profit to other companies at each stage of the process. But his stock options available when he was forced into retirement must have looked very good.

25. ArtFart spews:

@19 “Is it even possible for Puddy to make a comment here without bearing false witness?”

Well….no. As has been pointed out by several participants here who personally know the real-world person who’s responsible for the “puddy” posts, the character is an artifically constructed alter ego. Therefore each post he makes is based on a false pretense. If he’s lying about himself, how can he be expected to tell the truth about anything else?

26. Max Rockatansky spews:

@22…nice try Goebbels Rabbit…do a little research before opening your trap. You obviously know very little about Detroit and what happened/is happening there.

go stick your head back under the pillow..

27. headless lucy spews:

re 26: Are you an expert on Detroit?

Why is it ‘obvious’ that RR knows little about Detroit other than your unreferenced assertion that he doesn’t?

28. Lovenguth spews:

Good to see more stories about the greed and exposure of the corpration financing the so-called representatives of the people.

This helps prove my point that candidates financed by corporations are the representatives of the corporations, not the people of Florda.

Jorge Antonio Lovenguth

29. Broadway Joe spews:

And there are other losers in this tale as well. Primarily the West Indies Cricket Board, the governing body for that most British of sports in the English-speaking Caribbean. Stanford fell in love with the game in his time on Antigua, and put millions into WICB to help them out of tough times, as well as promoting the short-format Twenty20 version of the game, which is much more TV-friendly than five-day-long Test matches or eight-hour-long One Day matches. The WICB has expressed very public concerns about how they will cover the gap in funding created by Stanford’s arrest.