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CORRUPTION

Watch: Here’s EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Just Now Admitting to (Probably) Breaking the Law

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may get the award for more scandals, and in less time, than any cabinet-level appointee in U.S. history. Perhaps world history. In the middle of April, nearly two months ago, CNN put the list of Scott Pruitt scandals at 15. It’s grown substantially since then. Huffpost on Tuesday reports that in the past four weeks alone Pruitt has racked up “at least 10 new scandals.”

His most recent scandal?

“Three months after Scott Pruitt was sworn in as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, his scheduler emailed Dan Cathy, chief executive of the fast-food company Chick-fil-A, with an unusual request: Would Cathy meet with Pruitt to discuss ‘a potential business opportunity’?” The Washington Post reports.

“A call was arranged, then canceled, and Pruitt eventually spoke with someone from the company’s legal department. Only then did he reveal that the ‘opportunity’ on his mind was a job for his wife, Marlyn.”

In short, he wanted his wife to become a Chick-fil-A franchise owner, and saw nothing wrong with using his federal government office, title, regulatory powers, staff, and even government email, to help his wife make money.

Does he deny it?

Nope.

Minutes ago a Fox Business D.C. correspondent posted video (below) of her asking the EPA chief about reports he tried to get a Chick-fil-A franchise for his spouse.

Pruitt actually suggests it’s only a story because he’s making big changes and “with great change comes significant opposition.”

He also says his wife is an entrepreneur, as if somehow that makes breaking the law OK.

“I love, she loves, we love Chick-fil-A as a franchise, as a faith, and it’s one of the best in the country,” he offers in defense of breaking the law.

Watch:

“Federal ethics laws bar public officials from using their position or staff for private gain,” The Post adds. Using his assistant to line up the meetings with the fast food chain’s chief is also a violation, according to the ethics expert the Post interviewed.

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CORRUPTION

White House Alters Mission of Strategic National Stockpile to Reflect Kushner’s Lie Supplies Are ‘Ours’ – Not the States’

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The Trump White House has changed the official stated mission of the Strategic National Stockpile after Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner lied during Thursday’s nationally televised coronavirus task force briefing. Kushner’s words immediately caused outrage as video of his false claim circulated quickly on social media. By Friday morning #JaredKushnerForPrison was trending on social media.

The mission of the Strategic National Stockpile, according to its website which was changed late Friday morning, had read:

“Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.”

“When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”

Kushner blasted the nation’s governors and other local elected officials on Thursday, saying:

“The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

The Strategic National Stockpile’s mission on its federal government website now reads:

“The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.”

Note the very obvious deletion of “state, local, tribal, and territorial responders.” It also makes clear the federal government has little intention of helping state, local, tribal, and territorial responders.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake was first to report on the alteration.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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CORRUPTION

Head of Office Managing Security Clearances ‘Abruptly Resigns’ After Trump Rehires Fired Body Man as Top WH Official: Report

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The director of the U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is in charge of human resources policy and the management of security clearances, resigned abruptly on Tuesday after just six months on the job.

Dale Cabaniss quit because of “poor treatment from the 29-year-old head of the Presidential Personnel Office, John McEntee (photo), and a powerful appointee at OPM, Paul Dans, the new White House liaison and senior adviser to the director of OPM,” Politico reports.

McEntee had been President Donald Trump’s body man. He was fired by then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after a reported gambling issue made his security clearance untenable.

Business Insider reported last month that McEntee “was fired in 2018 amid an investigation into allegations of financial crimes,” and “was also the focus of a financial-crimes investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Politico adds that “McEntee’s return to the White House has roiled the administration with some officials criticizing the former Trump campaign staffer for what they see as an effort to stock the administration with his friends, including at least three college seniors.”

After Kelly’s ouster President Trump rehired McEntee during a recent wave of loyalty hiring that included members of his original team who Trump feels most comfortable around. Among those rehires was Hope Hicks, who resigned the day after she admitted to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that she has lied for Trump.

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CORRUPTION

Trump’s Company Paid Bribes to Lower Property Tax Bills: Report

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Real estate mogul Donald Trump’s firm, The Trump Organization, paid bribes through middlemen to New York City tax assessors to lower its property tax bills, according to a damning report by ProPublica.

Trump’s company paid the bribes in exchange for lowered tax bills “for several Manhattan buildings in the 1980s and 1990s, according to five former tax assessors and city employees as well as a former Trump Organization employee.”

Among those buildings is 40 Wall Street, pictured above.

Two of the five former city employees admitted they personally took the bribes. The other three said they knew about the bribes.

“The city employees were among 18 indicted in 2002 for taking bribes in exchange for lowering the valuations of properties, which in turn reduced the taxes owed for the buildings. All of the 18 eventually pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan except for one, who died before his case was resolved.”

The moment that corrupt assessors told their co-conspirators that the Trump Organization had agreed to pay bribes was memorable, said Frank Valvo, a former city assessor who served a year and a half in prison for his role in the scheme.

The excitement was palpable in the office, Valvo recalled, as one of the assessors broached the news. “He says, ‘We got Trump!’” Valvo recalled. “Wow. Holy Smokes.”

ProPublica notes that the Trump organization denies bribes were paid, and adds that there is no evidence that Donald Trump knew about them.

Trump Organization chief legal officer Alan Garten wrote in a statement: “If anything, the Trump Organization was a victim of the scandal.”

Read the full report here.

Image by Ken Lund via Flickr and a CC license

 

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