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Tag Archives: bribes

How Putin Bought His B&((*&

Follow the money. Turns out Putin not only punked Trump,,,He punked a good bit of the Republican Party.

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Chumph’s treason money

Putin’s allies pump millions into GOP campaigns through proxies — thanks to Citizens United

The landmark Citizens United case and related campaign finance laws may be facilitating Russia’s attempt to subvert U.S. democracy, the Dallas News reports.

According to an analysis of public campaign finance reports, a group of Russian-linked political donors with ties to Vladimir Putin funnel money to Donald Trump and the GOP through legal campaign contributions that have, thus far, faced little-to-no scrutiny by the federal government.

That could be changing. In September, it was reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating three donors with ties to Russia who contributed a combined total of $2 million to funds controlled by Trump. All three of the men have financial and business ties to Russian oligarchs who are intricately linked with Putin.

As the Dallas News explains, one of those men is Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, who holds dual American and British citizenship. Blavatnik at one time offered political donations on a bipartisan basis, giving small contributions to both parties from 2009 to 2014.

From 2015 to 2016, Blavatnik stopped donating to both political parties, and instead contributed $6.35 million to GOP political action committees. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Blavatnik and two other Russian-linked donors began pumping donations to the Republican National Committee “just as Trump was on the verge of securing the Republican nomination.”

Since April 2016, Blavatnik has donated $383,000 to the RNC, with $12,700 going to the RNC legal fund. That account paid Trump’s legal bills in the Russia investigation until November. Blavatnik also donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund, ABC reports.

By all accounts, Blavatnik is a success story. Having grown up in the U.S.S.R, he moved to the United States in the ’70s, then returned just before the fall of the Soviet Union, amassing his fortune in oil, gas and heavy industry in Putin’s Russia.

He also has extensive ties to Russian oligarchs that are directly linked to Putin. Blavatnik holds a stake in Rusal, which was founded by Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska. As the Dallas News notes, Putin’s state-controlled bank owns “nearly 4 percent of Deripaska’s stake in Rusal.”

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort—who’s been indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges as part of Mueller’s probe—had a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska through his lobbying firm. He reportedly offered the Russian oligarch “private briefings” two weeks before Trump secured the Republican nomination.

Blavatnik is also publicly associated with Viktor Vekselberg, a Putin ally who owns part of the Bank of Cyprus—which handed over Manafort’s bank records to Mueller in November, Bloomberg reports. Blavatnik and Vekselberg are co-founders of the Renova Group.

Along with Blavatnik, Mueller is also reportedly scrutinizing $285,000 in donations from U.S. citizen Andrew Intrater, the head of Columbus Nova—which a subsidiary of Renova Group. Intrater is Vekselberg’s cousin.

The third identified as a possible target of Mueller’s investigation is oil magnate Simon Kukes, a Russian-born American chemist who Open Secrets reports “contributed more than $150,000 to Trump’s campaign and joint fundraising committee, Trump Victory.”

Dallas News identifies a fourth major donor with known ties to the Russian government as IMG Artists chief executive Alexander Shustorovich. In total, those four men “made $10.4 million in political contributions from the start of the 2015-16 election cycle through September 2017, and 99 percent of their contributions went to Republicans,” according to the report.

Perhaps the most insidious connection, however, is the one to Trump’s campaign and Citizens United. U.S. corporations and individuals can donate as much money as they want to political campaigns through political action committees and non-profit organizations thanks to David Bossie, chairman of the conservative group Citizens United. Bossie led the effort to remove limits on campaign finance laws. He was also deputy campaign manager to the Trump presidential campaign.

The Dallas News notes that many of Trump’s most prominent backers, including Robert and Rebekah Mercer and Erik Prince, benefit immensely from the Citizens United ruling. Dan Backer, and Russian-born emigre and the general counsel for three pro-Trump political action committees, was also the lead attorney for the 2014 Supreme Court case that removed a cap on the number of candidates and political parties wealthy donors can contribute to.

The campaign finance laws currently in place mean the donations from these Russia-linked businessmen fall within our current framework. As House intelligence committee ranking member (D-CA) Adam Schiff explained to ABC News, “unless the contributions were directed by a foreigner, they would be legal.”

Still, Schiff argued, they could “be of interest to investigators examining allegations of Russian influence on the 2016 campaign.”

“Obviously, if there were those that had associations with the Kremlin that were contributing, that would be of keen concern,” Schiff added. “… The oligarchs are really part and parcel of service to the Kremlin. They can be called upon at basically Putin’s will to do what he needs done. It gives them some distance from the Kremlin, it gives them some plausible deniability.”

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Pay Your Trump Bribes Here!

The official location and counter to buy Trump off. The most corrupt government in the world not in a 3rd world country.A wholly owned subsidiary of Putin, Inc.

Artist Projects ‘Pay Trump Bribes Here’ Message On President’s D.C. Hotel

A multimedia artist caused a commotion in Washington, D.C., late Monday when he projected a series of images on Trump International Hotel that skewered the president over accusations about his business ties with foreign governments.

Robin Bell, a Washington-based artist known for his political projections, said the work was meant to highlight benefits Donald Trump continues to reap since his ascension to the presidency, including revenue generated at his D.C. hotel. The artwork, which went up around 10 p.m. local time, quickly spread on Twitter before it was shut down by hotel security.

“It seems like a very clear case of his impropriety,” Bell said. “It’s a great visualization of a clear-cut example of the laws that he’s breaking.”

Staff reached at Trump International Hotel declined to comment about the messages.

Legal experts have said they aren’t certain if Trump has actually violated the so-called Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits those holding office from accepting gifts from foreign governments. However, a watchdog group filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year accusing Trump of doing just that through his vast empire of property holdings, which he still owns while they’re being managed by his two adult sons.

The president’s lawyers have contended that paying for a hotel room is not a gift.

Monday’s artwork cycled through three projections: One read, “Pay Trump bribes here”; another, “Emoluments welcome” on top of the flags of Russia, Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia; and a third showed the Emoluments Clause in its entirety.

Bell’s work has targeted others in the Trump administration in recent months, including a projection on the EPA headquarters aimed at noted climate change denier Myron Ebell. Another, crasser message simply read, “Experts agree: Trump is a pig.”

Bell said his work is a simple act of resistance in the nation’s capital, where, he noted, it’s “sad to see the old post office being used” as a Trump business. The hotel has become the go-to destination for foreign diplomats.

“Maybe in the history books it’ll show that we were not for this,” he said.

 

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Six Federal Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies Investigating Putin Financing Trumps Campaign

Follow the money!

Of course, to cover his tracks, the Chumph is going to nix all investigations and order the evidence destroyed.

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Report: 6 federal agencies investigating possible Kremlin financial support of Trump

But with Trump about to be sworn in, how long will they stay on the case?

On Wednesday, the McClatchy Washington Bureau, citing multiple unnamed sources, broke news that “the FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump.”

According to McClatchy, the involved agencies are the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and representatives of the Director of National Intelligence.

The news is not altogether unexpected. During a hearing before a Senate panel last week, FBI director James Comey refused to answer questionsabout whether the bureau has investigated links between the Trump campaign and Russia. A day later, Trump himself dodged a reporter’s question about whether he or his campaign had any contact with Russia during the presidential campaign. And as far back as last September, news was circulating that federal agencies were looking into Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s meetings with high-ranking Russian officials.

Earlier this month, U.S. intelligence agencies released a declassified reportconcluding that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

“We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the report continues. “Moscow’s influence campaign following a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with overt effort by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls.’”

During the same presser where he dodged the question about alleged Russia ties, Trump acknowledged that Russia may have meddled in the election, but described an unverified dossier that alleged his campaign had colluded with the country as a “complete and total fabrication.”

The McClatchy report indicates that the Kremlin’s effort to help Trump may have gone further than hacking and anti-Clinton propaganda.

“Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win,” McClatchy reports. “One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.”

That’s an explosive allegation. If true, it could implicate Trump officials in activities violating the Logan Act, which bars American citizens from interacting “with any foreign government” in an effort to manipulate U.S. foreign policy. But with Trump set to be sworn in on Friday, it’s unclear whether his administration will move forward with an investigation that could undermine the legitimacy of his presidency.

Trump hasn’t yet announced whether Comey will be retained as FBI director. During his confirmation hearing last week, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, dodged a question about whether he accepts the intelligence community’s conclusions regarding Russia’s alleged meddling. That prompted Senate Judiciary Democrats to write Sessions a letter asking him to pledge to not interfere with investigations into the meddling if he’s confirmed.

Asked about the intelligence report during his confirmation hearing, Trump’s pick to run the CIA, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), went further than Sessions in affirming his faith in the intelligence community’s findings.

“Everything I’ve seen suggests to me that the report has an analytical product that is sound,” Pompeo said. “My obligation as director of CIA is to tell every policy maker the facts as best the intelligence agency has developed them.

But Trump’s pick for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, reportedly wants to eliminate the Director of National Intelligence and instead have intelligence agencies report directly to him. And as we’ve previously detailed, Flynn has close ties to Putin and his regime.

 

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Ex-Republican Gov, Bob McDonnell Charged For Fraud in Federal Court

Looks like Gov Chris Christie may have a Republican roommate waiting for him in the Federal Prison. Headed for the next “Orange Jumpsuit Award for Politicians” is the former (3 days) Governor of Virginia…And is wife.

And since the  former Republican Virginia Attorney General and losing Gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli also accepted “gifts” from the same folks…He may well be next.

The only thing that is missing from this one is Mrs. Mcdonnell stuffing cash in her bra ala Orange Jumpsuited former Prince Georges executive Jack Johnson’s wife… So far. Republicans are just so much more classy with their ill gotten money!

Bob McDonnell, Wife Charged In Gifts Case

Days after he left office, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were charged Tuesday in federal court with illegally accepting gifts, trips, and loans from a Virginia businessman and political donor.

The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., charging them each with 13 federal crimes.

Prosecutors had spent months investigating the relationship between the McDonnell family and Jonnie Williams, the now-former CEO of an embattled dietary supplements company called Star Scientific. Williams gave McDonnell and his family more than $150,000 in gifts and payments in recent years, at the same time that McDonnell and his wife took steps to support the company.

When their ties to the businessman became a public scandal in 2013, the McDonnells returned the gifts and repaid the money given to them by Williams.

 

You can read the gory details of the Charging Document here.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Orange Jumsuit Politicians

 

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Orange Jumpsuit Politicians? Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Seems that Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife have been playing fancy-free with “gifts” from corporate interests in Va. There was the matter of a $6500 Rolex, A $15,000 “donation” to pay McDonnell’s daughter’s wedding expenses at the Governor’s Mansion. $10,000 gift to McDonnells other daughter before her wedding.  Trips on private planes. A family “vacation”. A $1500 catered Thanksgiving Dinner and $3,000 “vacation”…

And that is just the “$125,000” or so McDonnell has admitted taking from one wealthy businessman.

Then there is the issue of McDonnell’s wife using campaign funds as a personal piggy bank to buy clothes, furnish the mansion, and finance a lavish lifestyle. While not exactly illegal under Virginia law – it does raise some questions as to propriety.

Prosecutors are investigating what exactly these many gifts paid for.

McDonnell has been on a lot of the Republican Party potential Presidential candidates “short list” of VP picks. There also is some currency that McDonnell would make a run for a Senate seat or the big Kahuna – the Presidency.

Perhaps even more explosive is the fact that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli also benefitted from the largesse of the same group of business interests. Cuccinelli says Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams didn’t give him the kind of presents that can be returned. Gifts from Williams listed in Cuccinelli’s financial disclosure forms include a $1,500 catered Thanksgiving dinner, private jet trips and vacation lodging. When asked about the list of gifts—totaling $18,000—the attorney general responded by saying that “there are some bells you can’t un-ring.” The “Cuch” just happens to be running for Governor this term.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when the State’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer is taking gifts under the table… The Attorney General of all people in a Government is supposed to conduct themselves within the law to be above reproach.

There is the consideration that the uncovered monies may just be the tip of the iceberg…

Donor Jonnie Williams, Star Scientific are cooperating in probe of Gov. Robert McDonnell

A prominent political donor and his dietary supplement company have been cooperating for several months with federal prosecutors in a fast-moving public corruption investigation of Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, according to three people familiar with the probe.

Jonnie R. Williams Sr., chief executive of Star Scientific, has turned over personal financial records and sat for interviews in which he provided firsthand accounts of luxury gifts andmore than $120,000 given to McDonnell (R) and his family members since 2011, the people said.

Star has given prosecutors access to corporate records and offered information from other company officials. The three spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is in a sensitive stage.

The cooperation is an ominous sign for McDonnell, suggesting that federal prosecutors are focused on trying to build a potential criminal case against him.

McDonnell has not been charged, and prosecutors ultimately must determine whether they have the evidence to proceed against him.

But Williams is a critical witness who can offer investigators insight into the key issue for such a case: whether the governor and first lady agreed to take official actions that could help Williams’s company in exchange for his gifts.

McDonnell has repeatedly said he has broken no laws, insisting that he did nothing to help Williams’s company that he would not have done for any state-based enterprise. He has said he was not required by state law to disclose gifts given to his family members or a corporate loan that he said Williams provided. He has said he properly disclosed $50,000 given by Williams to his wife as a loan.

Still, McDonnell recently apologized for breaching the public’s trust and said he had repaid money he received from Williams, along with interest. Last week, he said he was working to return all of Williams’s gifts to his family.

But the federal probe is ongoing, as is an investigation by a state prosecutor in Richmond into whether the governor followed Virginia’s gift disclosure laws. Star Scientific has also told investors that it faces a securities probe.

Rich Galen, a spokesman for McDonnell, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office and an attorney for Williams.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2013 in Orange Jumsuit Politicians

 

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Justice For Sale – Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Bribes…

One of the “abilities to rule by the law” of the conservative justices appointed by the Bushes is the wealth their family members suddenly came into when they were appointed to he bench. Need a vote in a critical case? Drop $500k in Virginia Thomas’ PAC. Hire a judges kids for a high paying job…

By all rights, Scalia and Thomas (and Roberts) should be removed from the bench and join the ranks of Orange Jumpsuited criminal politicians.

Clarence Thomas failed to report wife’s income, watchdog says

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to report his wife’s income from a conservative think tank on financial disclosure forms for at least five years, the watchdog group Common Cause said Friday.

Between 2003 and 2007, Virginia Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the foundation’s IRS records. Thomas failed to note the income in his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms for those years, instead checking a box labeled “none” where “spousal noninvestment income” would be disclosed.

A Supreme Court spokesperson could not be reached for comment late Friday. But Virginia Thomas’ employment by the Heritage Foundation was well known at the time.

Virginia Thomas also has been active in the group Liberty Central, an organization she founded to restore the “founding principles” of limited government and individual liberty.

In his 2009 disclosure, Justice Thomas also reported spousal income as “none.” Common Cause contends that Liberty Central paid Virginia Thomas an unknown salary that year.

Federal judges are bound by law to disclose the source of spousal income, according to Stephen Gillers, a professor at NYU School of Law. Thomas’ omission — which could be interpreted as a violation of that law — could lead to some form of penalty, Gillers said.

Then there is the relationship between Scalia and Thomas and Koch Industries. Koch Industries is the principal funder of the Tea Party, as well as the Federalist Society and a number of other right wing organizations… including millions to the Heritage Foundation which Virginia Thomas “worked” for..

Charles Koch’s invitation to their 2011 secretive retreat, to be held in Palm Springs, Ca., on January 30-31, states that the “action-oriented program brings together top experts and leaders to discuss – and offer solutions to counter – the most critical threats to our free society.” It added that past “meetings have featured such notable leaders as Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas,” along with a host conservative leaders and elected officials, like Glenn Beck, Haley Barbour and Jim DeMint.

Campaign finance ruling: Should Supreme Court justices have recused themselves?

Common Cause President Bob Edgar said the group has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to examine whether Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have stepped aside rather than vote in the Citizens United case.

The case, handed down a year ago on Friday (Jan. 21), struck down a portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law that had barred corporate expenditures for political advertisements during campaign season.

Mr. Edgar said the justices were featured speakers at invitation-only retreats sponsored by Koch Industries, a private company whose officials have played an active role supporting Republican candidates and conservative causes.

He also said Justice Thomas may have had an undisclosed financial conflict of interest through his wife’s work as founder and CEO of a conservative advocacy group, Liberty Central. Edgar said the group stood to benefit from the Citizens United decision through easier fundraising and easier political spending. [Ms. Thomas has since stepped down as CEO of the group.]

Let’s not forget two anonymous doners’ largesse when Virginia Thomas formed her PAC “Liberty Central” – suddenly coming into $500,000 from a single un-named donor  before the Citizen’s United case

 

 

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