The Dark Money in American Government is Pervasive
Every day at LIT we are becoming more enlightened and more concerned as to whether there is any honest individuals in politics, the judiciary or government.
From state to federal, certain individuals are hung out to dry and yet others in high positions and who appear to be guilty of the same acts, or even worse, are never punished or are slapped for their ‘mistakes’ and then rehired.
Dark money, shell companies and ‘legal’ non-profits from the Cato Institute to the Federalist Society are peddling their one-sided and sponsored posts to change the laws by using the courts (amicus briefs) and lobbying as well as partisan paid for posts and articles in the press to spread their propaganda.
Billionaires like Charles Koch of Koch Industries and Warren Buffett setup and fund these entities full of lawyers and “law professors” to promote their political agenda(s). The names of these non-profits and the brand message is wholly inappropriate. They claim to be constitutionalists for the people but LIT has found quite the opposite to be true.
These legal ‘educators’ are all about cash for comments and sponsored posts.
There is no transparency or consistency in judgments for those who are caught and those who are left unscathed by their misdeeds.
LIT is highlighting their findings for the people to make their own informed decisions.
Do you trust your government and those who represent liberty, justice and freedom?
JUN 13, 2021
Is there really any difference between Michael Quinn Sullivan’s non-registration as a lobbyist and that of Jack Abramoff, (page now deleted by CSPAN) apart from the fact he’s in the State of Texas where corruption reigns supreme?
Case Study: Cato, Collateral Damage from the Jack Abramoff Scandal
An extract from the SSRN Paper;
Think Tanks’ Dirty Little Secret:
Power, Public Policy, and Plagiarism
J.H. Snider, Lab Fellow,
Edmond J. Safra Working Papers, No. 17
August 8, 2013
AUG 8, 2013 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUN 13, 2021
In the mid-2000s, the Jack Abramoff scandal rocketed through the American press, attracting the attention of many talented investigative reporters.
As collateral damage in that investigation, it was discovered that Abramoff was cultivating think tank scholars to support his lobbying agenda.
One of Abramoff’s clients was the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and one of the think tanks he secretly funded was the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR).
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands had a favorable regulatory status as a US Commonwealth, but without some of the financial obligations imposed on US states.
Businesses seeking to exploit this special status were a major fraction of its economy.
The Commonwealth paid Abramoff millions of dollars to ensure that Congress didn’t take it away.
In July 1996, NCPPR funded a fact-finding trip to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, what some writers called a “junket,”125 including three think tankers:
Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute,
Marlo Lewis, executive director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute,
Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
After they returned, Bandow and Mitchell wrote op-eds favorable to Abramoff’s clients.
As part of the investigation into the Abramoff scandal, it was revealed that over the course of a decade Abramoff paid Bandow one to two thousand dollars apiece for his op-eds
and ten thousand dollars in 1996 alone.
Another think tank scholar, Peter Ferrera, a senior policy advisor at the Institute for Policy Innovation and a former senior fellow at the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, and National Center for Policy Analysis,
also took money to write favorably on the Northern Mariana Islands questions.
No press reports indicate that Mitchell took any money for his op-ed, other than presumably receiving a free trip to an appealing South Pacific Island destination.
The Author here is Doug Bandow, a fmr syndicated columnist with Copley News Service and a senior fellow of the Cato Institute. Following revelations that he had accepted payments from lobbyist Jack Abramoff he resigned from Cato and suspended from Copley News Service. He’s back. pic.twitter.com/TUqivvY2Nm
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) June 13, 2021
“I have a sense that there are a lot of people at think tanks who have similar arrangements.”
Explaining his behavior, Bandow expressed a similar sentiment in a Los Angeles Times op-ed:
“Isn’t it a little unseemly for Washington to be suddenly shocked, shocked at the fact that those with interests in what government does (such as Abramoff and his clients) seek out like-minded advocates (such as me and hundreds of other commentators and organizations)?”
This echoed Abramoff’s own PR to potential clients, which alluded to his clout with think tanks:
“Our firm has facilitated hundreds of such articles and editorials as well as speeches and floor statements in the Congress and other effective communications on behalf of our clients.”
From 1999 to 2008, the financial sector expended $2.7 billion in reported federal lobbying expenses; individuals and political action committees in the sector made more than $1 billion in campaign contributions.
Journalist Franklin Foer reported that when he interviewed Bandow for a New Republic article he published in May 2005, Bandow claimed not to have received any money from Abramoff:
“I asked Bandow point blank about his relationship with Abramoff, and he denied any financial relationship. (When I brought the matter to the attention of CATO officals, they declined to pursue it.)”
But as the reporting on the Abramoff scandal progressed during the fall of 2005, it was revealed that Bandow had been paid—and been paid for a decade.
When the president of Cato was informed of the payments to Bandow, he said he had no knowledge of them, that they were unacceptable, and that Bandow would have to leave; whereupon another think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, hired the talented, prolific, and popular Bandow.
The Executive Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute had accompanied Bandow on the trip to the Northern Mariana Islands.
Three years later the Cato Institute rehired Bandow as a senior fellow.
Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Headed Back to Jail
JUN 25, 2020 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: JUN 13, 2021
Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist whose corruption became a symbol of the excesses of Washington influence peddling, is set to return to jail for violating the law that was amended in response to his earlier crimes, law enforcement officials said on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Mr. Abramoff, 62, is the first person charged with flouting the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which was amended in 2007 after details of his earlier scheme, one of the biggest corruption scandals in modern times, emerged.
He pleaded guilty to the lobbying violations and to criminal conspiracy for secretive and misleading work he did on behalf of cryptocurrency and marijuana projects, according to court documents.
Prosecutors in San Francisco said that in 2017, Mr. Abramoff secretly agreed to seek changes in federal law — and met with members of Congress — on behalf of the marijuana industry without registering as a lobbyist.
“Abramoff was aware of the obligations to register as a lobbyist in part because Congress amended provisions of the Lobbying Disclosure Act in 2007 in part as a reaction to Abramoff’s past conduct as a lobbyist,” court documents said. The charges against Mr. Abramoff carry a maximum sentence of five years.
Mr. Abramoff was also charged over his involvement with AML BitCoin, a digital token that claimed to solve the problems with anonymity and money laundering that have plagued Bitcoin.
The project was publicly led by a Texas man, Marcus Andrade, who set out to raise $100 million for the project from ordinary investors in 2017 when thousands of similar digital tokens promoted so-called initial coin offerings.
Prosecutors also unsealed federal charges against Mr. Andrade on Thursday; he has pleaded not guilty.
The legal filings indicated that Mr. Abramoff worked behind the scenes with Mr. Andrade to market AML BitCoin to potential investors with a series of false claims. At one point, they said the N.F.L. had rejected a Super Bowl ad for the project, a claim the N.F.L. rebutted.
Prosecutors said that Mr. Abramoff promoted these claims, which he knew were false, in meetings with investors and in articles that he wrote and arranged to have published.
The project eventually raised $5.6 million from investors, some of which was redirected for personal use, officials said. Investors received tokens, but they had “no practical use,” according to the legal filings.
The criminal charges announced by federal prosecutors in San Francisco mark an unhappy U-turn for Mr. Abramoff.
Mr. Abramoff made a public show of having rehabilitated himself when he was released from prison in 2010 after serving nearly four years for a variety of charges related to corrupt lobbying as part of a conglomerate that defrauded Indian tribes of millions of dollars and used much of that money to try to win favor with lawmakers.
But in 2017 he attracted attention when he announced that he would be in a television show, “Capital Makeover: Bitcoin Brigade,” in which he would serve as a tutor and guide to the AML BitCoin project.
“When Marcus approached me, I didn’t know a bitcoin from a sirloin,” he said at the time. “I pledged to do whatever I could to help — short of lobbying Congress myself.”
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff And CEO Rowland Marcus Andrade Charged With Fraud In Connection With $5 Million Initial Coin Offering Of Cryptocurrency AML Bitcoin
JUN 25, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO –Jack Abramoff has been charged in a criminal information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act. In a connected case, a federal grand jury in San Francisco has indicted Rowland Marcus Andrade for wire fraud and money laundering.
The announcements were made by United States Attorney David L. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation John F. Bennett, and Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Kareem Carter.
The allegations underlying the charges against Abramoff, 62, of Silver Spring, Md., and Andrade, 42, of Missouri City, Texas, are contained in two separate documents: the information filed June 25, 2020, charging Abramoff, and the indictment filed June 22, 2020, charging Andrade.
According to the allegations in the charging documents, Andrade and Abramoff conspired to make false and misleading statements to potential purchasers of a proposed new cryptocurrency called AML Bitcoin.
According to the indictment, Andrade was the founder and chief executive officer of NAC Foundation, also referred to as the “National AtenCoin Foundation,” an organization that was intended to develop and manage the new cryptocurrency AML Bitcoin.
Andrade claimed to be the creator of AML Bitcoin and inventor of its technology that purportedly would prevent money laundering and anonymous use through “biometric technologies.”
The charging documents allege Andrade claimed this technology would allow the AML Bitcoin cryptocurrency to comply with anti-money laundering and know-your-customer laws and regulations. According to the charging documents, the defendants misled purchasers through various means when raising money to fund the venture.
In addition, the charging documents allege Andrade defrauded investors by misusing funds that were raised and laundered funds that were illegally obtained.
The indictment and information allege that beginning in July 2017 Andrade and his company NAC Foundation began raising money for the development of AML Bitcoin by selling AML Bitcoin to purchasers in the United States and elsewhere, and that sales continued through at least December 2018.
According to the charging documents, NAC Foundation raised more than $5 million through the sale of AML Bitcoin.
The charging documents allege the defendants engaged in the following criminal conduct.
In January and February 2018, Andrade and Abramoff allegedly engaged in a false “rejection campaign” regarding a television commercial that they falsely stated was going to be aired during the 2018 Super Bowl television broadcast.
The television commercial portrayed AML Bitcoin as impervious to hacking efforts by the North Korean government and its leader in a manner demeaning to the North Korean government and its leader.
Andrade and Abramoff falsely claimed that the advertisement would have aired during the Super Bowl if the television network airing the Super Bowl and the National Football League had not rejected the advertisement as being too politically controversial.
In fact, as Abramoff and Andrade knew, the NAC Foundation did not have the funds to purchase the advertising time, did not intend to air the television commercial, and the advertisement was not reviewed or rejected by the television network or the NFL.
Abramoff and Andrade used paid op-ed articles, social media, and AML Bitcoin press releases to make statements that the commercial had been rejected in order to promote AML Bitcoin to prospective purchasers.
Fl. Gov. @RonDeSantisFL gloats about how he changed the courts to ensure Koch, Blackock and Wall St Bankers never lose a case from a Partisan and Bias judiciary at the @flcourts during his visit to Texas @TPPF, funded by Koch and Dark Money. #txlege #Koch https://t.co/u53UAovBOW pic.twitter.com/ySmqIdiO8a
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) June 10, 2021
Andrade, Abramoff, and Andrade’s NAC Foundation allegedly made false statements to the public and potential purchasers of AML Bitcoin that misrepresented the state of the development of the technology and the viability and timeline for the release of AML Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Andrade, with assistance of Abramoff, allegedly made statements that falsely stated and implied NAC Foundation had reached or was about to finalize agreements with various government agencies for the use of AML Bitcoin or AML Bitcoin technology. The statements were intended to convince prospective purchasers that the cryptocurrency was progressing toward widespread adoption. In addition, Abramoff allegedly retained writers to disseminate these statements as op-eds published on various news and financial websites. Included among the false claims were claims that the NAC Foundation was near a partnership with the Panama Canal Authority to permit AML Bitcoin to be used for ships passing through the Panama Canal when no such agreement or negotiations existed.
Andrade allegedly diverted more than $1 million obtained through the sale of AML Bitcoin and spent it on personal expenses, including the purchase of two properties in Texas.
Andrade allegedly laundered funds from the venture by steering investor assets through various bank accounts before moving them into an account for Andrade’s personal expenses and the purchase of the two properties.
Did you know…in less than 5 years, the number of complaints against judges in the 11th Circuit has more than DOUBLED in less than 5 years?
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) June 13, 2021
The information filed against Abramoff also alleges that he knowingly and corruptly failed to register as a lobbyist, as required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, after being retained for lobbying efforts that would involve one or more lobbying communications with a federal official.
This is the first ever known prosecution of a lobbyist for a criminal violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
The information alleges that during part of 2017, Abramoff was retained by a client in the marijuana industry, and that the engagement in part involved efforts to advocate for changes in federal law and policy.
The information also alleges that in June 2017, an FBI undercover agent, posing as a business person seeking to fund lobbying efforts, agreed to retain Abramoff for lobbying activities including lobbying contacts.
After being retained, and after having a later lobbying contact with a federal elected official, Abramoff failed to register as a lobbyist with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives within 45 days of the retention or the contact, as required by the Act.
In sum, Andrade is charged in the indictment with one count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and one count of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1).
Abramoff is charged in the information with one count of conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and one count of violating the provisions of the Lobbying Disclosure Act, in violation of 2 U.S.C. § 1606(b).
Andrade was arrested on June 23, 2020, in Missouri City, Texas, and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Houston, Texas.
He was released on bond pending his initial San Francisco federal court appearance, which is set before the duty U.S. Magistrate Judge on July 1, 2020.
Abramoff has filed a stipulated notice of an intent to change plea pursuant to a plea agreement. The hearing for intended change of plea has not yet been scheduled.
An information and an indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Andrade faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate, for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and a maximum sentence of 20 years and a fine of $500,000 for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1).
Abramoff faces a maximum sentence of 5 years, and a fine of $250,000 for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and a maximum sentence of 5 years and a fine of $250,000, for violation of 2 U.S.C. § 1606(b). However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
In separate civil actions filed on June 25, 2020, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against Andrade and Abramoff, alleging securities fraud and acting as unregistered brokers of securities, among other charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lloyd Farnham and Andrew Dawson are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kimberly Richardson. The prosecution is being conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office new Corporate Fraud Strike Force.
The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations with the assistance of the San Francisco Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
United States v. Abramoff (3:20-cr-00260)
District Court, N.D. California
Latest Update, June 13, 2021;
Hearing rescheduled to Sept 14, 2021
STIPULATION AND ORDER RE 26 STIPULATION TO CONTINUE STATUS HEARING. Status Conference previously set for 9/14/2021 is continued to 3/16/2022 at 09:30 AM in San Francisco, Courtroom 03, 17th Floor before Judge Richard Seeborg. Signed by Judge Richard Seeborg on 9/3/2021. (clS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/3/2021)
U.S. District Court
California Northern District (San Francisco)
CRIMINAL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 3:20-cr-00249-RS-1
|Case title: USA v. Andrade||Date Filed: 06/22/2020|
|Date Filed||#||Docket Text|
|06/23/2021||50||CLERK’S NOTICE ADVANCING THE TIME FOR THE STATUS HEARING as to Rowland Marcus Andrade. Status Conference set for 7/13/2021 at 09:30 AM in San Francisco, Courtroom 03, 17th Floor before Judge Richard Seeborg. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (clS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/23/2021) (Entered: 06/23/2021)|
|06/24/2021||51||CLERKS NOTICE SETTING ZOOM STATUS HEARING. Status Conference set for 7/13/2021 at 02:30 PM in San Francisco, – Videoconference Only before Judge Richard Seeborg. This proceeding will be held via a Zoom webinar.
Webinar Access: All counsel, members of the public, and media may access the webinar information at https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/rs
General Order 58. Persons granted access to court proceedi ngs held by telephone or videoconference are reminded that photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings, including screenshots or other visual copying of a hearing, is absolutely prohibited.
Zoom Guidance and Setup: https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/zoom/.
(This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (clS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/2 4/2021) (Entered: 06/24/2021)
|07/13/2021||52||Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Richard Seeborg: Status Conference as to Rowland Marcus Andrade held via Zoom on 7/13/2021.Court proceedings held by zoom. General Order 74 authorizes the Court to proceed by way of video conference hearing.
Counsel will inform the Court by Monday, July 19, 2021 re: status of their legal representation.
Status Conference set for 7/20/2021 at 02:30 PM in San Francisco, – Videoconference Only before Judge Richard Seeborg.
Total Time in Court 8 minutes.
Court Reporter: Ana Dub.Plaintiff Attorney: Andrew Dawson.
Defendant Attorney: Manuel Medrano, Katherine Cooper, Lionel Andre.
Probation Officer: n/a.
Pretrial Officer: n/a.
Defendant Present: Yes.
Defendant in Custody: No.Excludable Delay:
Category: Effective Preparation of Counsel.
Government to prepare an exclusion order.(This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (clS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/13/2021) (Entered: 07/13/2021)