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Keyword: cultureofcorruption

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  • Convenient excuses allow officials to evade public disclosure in times of embarrassment

    03/31/2012 9:32:52 PM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 3/31/12 | Thomas Peele
    "All governments lie," the late muckraker I.F. "Izzy" Stone used to preach. Let's add this: They also deny. Denial of access is a government lie in and of itself -- especially when a bureaucrat tells the public it has no right to view the writings of top officials, particularly when those officials are in trouble. A pair of recent controversies shows how quickly governments become recalcitrant for fear of embarrassment, denying access to information that may further public understanding and full accountability. In one, lawyers have denied access to records involving a California power couple, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer and...
  • Photos, texts and police reports shed new light on Nadia Lockyer's tortured affair

    03/31/2012 3:49:54 AM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 3/31/12 | Josh Richman and Julia Prodis Sulek, Staff Writers
    Sobering photographs of her bruised forehead and neck, new text messages of a tempestuous affair and a police report of a volatile marriage all emerged this week, adding new layers of recklessness and despair to the public fall of Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer. In her first descriptions of the night that made her private troubles public, Lockyer told this newspaper this week through a series of emails that she was "violently assaulted" at a Newark hotel by her ex-lover, Stephen Chikhani, who sent text messages trying to woo her back. "I'll have the room warm candles lit and I'll...
  • Kinde Durkee pleads guilty to $7 million embezzlement scheme

    03/30/2012 2:32:12 PM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 3/30/12 | Torey Van Oot
    Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee pleaded guilty this morning to defrauding her clients of at least $7 million, bringing to a close a case that one official has called the "most extensive campaign treasurer fraud in the history of California." Durkee entered guilty pleas to five counts of mail fraud at the Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse in Sacramento this morning before U.S. District Judge Kimberly J Mueller. Federal prosecutors say the veteran campaign treasurer misappropriated money from the accounts of at least 50 clients, including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Durkee, 59, remains free pending sentencing on June 20....
  • Lawmakers yearning for disdain

    03/30/2012 8:19:00 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 3/30/12 | Dan Walters
    Poll after poll has confirmed that California voters hold their Legislature in contempt. That's why the Legislature's majority Democrats have been forced into political self-flagellation to persuade – or fool – those voters into giving them more authority. We saw a lot of that two years ago when Democrats and their labor union allies sponsored Proposition 25, whose major purpose was to reduce the legislative vote requirement for budgets from two-thirds to a simple majority, thus excluding Republicans from the budget game. The sponsors included a provision they thought Legislature-hating voters might embrace – suspending salaries of lawmakers if they...
  • Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee expected to plead guilty to stealing millions

    03/28/2012 9:05:52 AM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 3/28/12 | Torey Van Oot
    Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee is expected to plead guilty to stealing millions from the accounts she controlled for her California political clients, according to two sources close to the case. The news came as the U.S. attorney's office filed fresh charges against the veteran Democratic treasurer, who was arrested last fall. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Sacramento could not confirm whether Durkee is expected to enter a plea, but said the filing of such documents typically indicates that plea negotiations are in the works. The 17-page complaint, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern...
  • Legislative mischief on 'trailer bills' becomes easier

    03/28/2012 9:01:10 AM PDT · by SmithL · 1 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 3/28/12 | Dan Walters
    Two years ago, when unions and Democratic politicians sponsored a ballot measure to reduce the required legislative vote on the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority, this column and others raised the possibility of ancillary mischief. Proposition 25's vote change applied not only to the budget itself, but other bills containing "appropriations related to the budget bill," known in the Capitol as "trailer bills." We pointed out that trailer bills had morphed from technical vehicles making minor adjustments in law into political Christmas trees that were often written in the dead of night and hastily enacted without their...
  • Calif. Democratic treasurer perpetrated $7M fraud

    03/27/2012 10:32:01 PM PDT · by SmithL · 28 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 3/27/10 | TOM VERDIN and DON THOMPSON, Associated Press
    Sacramento, Calif. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say in a court filing that Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee defrauded at least 50 candidates, officeholders and political organizations out of $7 million in a scheme that dates back more than a decade. The U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento filed the new charges in federal court late Tuesday, providing the most detailed account to date in a case that has left some Democratic candidates scrambling for campaign cash in an election year.
  • Nadia Lockyer makes first public appearance since rehab

    03/27/2012 8:32:08 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Embattled Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer made her first public appearance Tuesday since returning from drug rehabilitation. Lockyer attended Tuesday's regularly scheduled supervisors meeting. She returned to work last week after treatment for alcohol abuse, which followed her claim that she was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend...
  • Oakland city attorney tells council to follow rules

    03/27/2012 5:27:58 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 3/27/12 | Chip Johnson
    Stay in your own lane. It's not too much to ask. Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker last week reminded City Council members that there are some things they better not do - because they're illegal. And, if they do them, they're going to be out of a job. In a March 22 memo to the council and all city staff, Parker laid down the law. Specifically, she cited from the noninterference clause of the Oakland City Charter. She basically told them unfettered council access to city staff, little favors - or worse: threats, bullying and intimidation - will not be...
  • CA GOP decries Legislature passing 'shell' bills

    03/27/2012 1:26:47 PM PDT · by CounterCounterCulture · 9 replies
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | 22 March 2012 | Don Thompson
    SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Republican state lawmakers stood in united but futile opposition Thursday to the practice of approving empty bills that contain no real legislation but will be amended later to include budget legislation. Democrats, who control both houses, each approved several so-called "shell" bills—the Senate 40 of them, and the Assembly 38. The bills contain no actual budget details but will be amended later to include specific language needed to enact the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Passing the bills now makes it quicker and easier to approve a state spending plan before the constitutional deadline in...
  • FEC fines Charlie Rangel $23K for apartment misuse

    03/27/2012 10:24:39 AM PDT · by Free ThinkerNY · 4 replies
    Politico ^ | March 27, 2012 | DARIUS DIXON
    Rep. Charlie Rangel has agreed to pay a $23,000 civil fine for effectively taking campaign contributions in the form of a rent-regulated apartment turned campaign office, according to Federal Election Commission documents. An FEC letter dated Friday says that Rangel, a 21-term New York Democrat, accepted “excessive in-kind contributions” in the form of leasing a rent-stabilized Harlem apartment at a price below market rate from the property owner. Four years ago, Rangel faced scrutiny over living in three neighboring rent-stabilized apartments on the 16th floor of a luxury building in Harlem. But the new FEC findings were instead related to...
  • Ex-judge Richard Baumgartner under federal probe

    03/24/2012 9:15:10 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Knoxville News Sentinel ^ | 3/24/12 | Jamie Satterfield
    Former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner is now under federal probe, officials confirmed Friday. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which spearheaded an investigation of the disgraced judge for violations of state law, is continuing its probe. This time, however, agents are working at the direction of federal prosecutors, spokeswoman Kristin Helm said. "The case remains open and ongoing, and TBI agents are continuing to investigate Baumgartner," Helm said in an email. "Specifically, we are looking at possible federal violations with the U.S. Attorney's Office." David Jennings, a supervisor with the Knoxville U.S. Attorney's Office, said he could "neither...
  • March Madness: Public Officials Behaving Badly Edition

    03/22/2012 9:43:35 AM PDT · by SmithL · 7 replies · 1+ views
    East Bay Express ^ | 3/22/12 | Robert Gammon
    It’s hard to remember a time when so many public officials in the Bay Area were caught in embarrassing situations or accused of misdeeds at the same time. Indeed, demands for resignations, whether coming from the press or the public, seem to have reached an unprecedented level. But not every transgression is equal, of course (although many of them are depressing). So in an effort to sort out which public official has behaved the worst, the Express staff decided it was time to do some head-to-head comparisons. And to make it a bit more interesting, we decided to do it...
  • Nadia Lockyer lied about offering legal advice to ex-lover, attorney says

    03/21/2012 7:19:44 PM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 3/21/12 | Josh Richman, Oakland Tribune
    Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer is lying when she says she visited ex-lover Stephen Chikhani in jail last summer in her professional capacity as an lawyer, Chikhani's attorney said Wednesday. "I know she signed in as a lawyer, but they were not legal visits," said attorney Adrienne Dell, of San Jose. "She definitely abused that; there's no question in my mind. They were still in a relationship." The Bay Area News Group's public-records request uncovered jail logs denoting two of Lockyer's visits to Chikhani in Santa Clara County's Elmwood jail in Milpitas, on June 15 and June 22, 2011. Dell...
  • SAN FRANCISCO: Mayor suspends defiant sheriff over abuse

    03/21/2012 8:43:54 AM PDT · by SmithL · 26 replies
    San Francisco Examiner ^ | 3/21/12 | Dan Schreiber
    Mayor Ed Lee has suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi without pay while he awaits an ethics hearing on whether he should be permanently removed from office. The suspension came a day after Mirkarimi was sentenced to probation and counseling as a result of pleading guilty to false imprisonment in a high-profile domestic violence case involving his wife. Just hours after Monday’s sentencing, the mayor met with Mirkarimi and gave him a day to contemplate resigning, but the sheriff said Tuesday his conviction is not grounds for removal. “He has chosen not to resign, and now I must act,” Lee solemnly told...
  • Nadia Lockyer shows up for board retreat

    03/21/2012 8:31:55 AM PDT · by SmithL · 7 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 3/20/12 | Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnists
    A little more than a month after enrolling in a substance-abuse program following a violent clash with an ex-boyfriend in a Newark hotel, Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer unexpectedly showed up for work Tuesday at a board retreat - and stepped right back into a controversy. Her husband, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, accompanied her to the Alameda County Conference Center in downtown Oakland and returned later in the day to pick her up. The supervisor's return, however, was marred by a new report that she had visited her ex-boyfriend, Stephen Chikhani, three times last summer while he was in lockup...
  • Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer visited ex-lover in jail, records show

    03/20/2012 10:02:27 PM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies · 1+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 3/20/12 | Josh Richman and Angela Woodall
    Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer visited her ex-lover in a Santa Clara County jail twice last year and signed in as his lawyer, allowing her to see him more privately and for a longer time than if she were a friend or family member. Lockyer faced questions from the Bay Area News Group -- which learned about the visits through a public-records request -- when she returned to work Tuesday, more than a month after announcing she was entering rehabilitation for an undisclosed addiction following an purported assault by the former lover in a Newark hotel room. "His dad asked...
  • UC Berkeley professors condemn light punishment for administrator

    03/16/2012 7:50:14 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 3/16/12 | Matt Krupnick
    BERKELEY -- A growing chorus of voices is calling for the firing of a UC Berkeley administrator who helped triple her secret sex partner's pay over five years. Calling Diane Leite's punishment "an affront" to the university, several UC Berkeley professors have asked the school's provost to investigate how the matter was handled. They are aghast that, instead of firing her, the university reassigned Leite from her assistant vice chancellor post and will still pay her $175,000 a year. "It's an outrage," said engineering professor Samer Madanat, one of at least 13 professors who signed the letter to Provost George...
  • Nadia Lockyer should take an unpaid leave

    03/16/2012 7:38:06 AM PDT · by SmithL · 1 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 3/16/12 | Chip Johnson
    Success in life is a wonderful thing, but it's always sweeter when you earn it. Nadia Lockyer, an Alameda County supervisor currently enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program, has yet to earn the success she has enjoyed in the political world. The goodwill that's been extended to her by voters, colleagues and employers, and even her annual $143,000 salary, seem more like an honorarium paid on behalf of her husband, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, one of the state's most powerful Democrats. Supervisor Lockyer has attended only 17 of the 31 board meetings held since she took office in January...
  • Beijing on the Potomac (WaPo teams up with their ChiCom Buddies)

    03/15/2012 12:14:18 PM PDT · by mojito · 4 replies
    The Washington Free Beacon ^ | 3/15/2012 | Adam Kredo
    An advertising partnership between the Washington Post and a Chinese government propaganda outlet is raising questions about the propriety—and legality—of an American news outlet publishing foreign propaganda under its masthead. At issue is the Post’s China Watch publication, a print and online advertising supplement that purports to deliver the news about China. The site hosts numerous articles and feature pieces that portray the Chinese government—particularly its human rights record—in a glowing light. Some journalism experts and China observers say the partnership crosses ethical boundaries and misleads unassuming readers about the Chinese government’s lackluster record on a host of important issues....