Dark Money

LIT’s Lobbyist and Legal Non-Profit Scandal Series Continues: Who is Jack Abramoff?

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, who initially denied it.

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, apart from the fact he’s in the State of Texas where corruption reigns supreme?

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
http://www.ethics.harvard.edu/lab
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.

123

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).

124

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,

and

Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

126

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

127

and ten thousand dollars in 1996 alone.

128

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,

129

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.

130

123 Peter H. Stone, Casino Jack and the United States of Money : Superlobbyist Jack Abramoff and the Buying of Washington (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Melville House, 2010).

124 Franklin Foer, “Writers’ Bloc,” New Republic, 16 May, 2005; Paul McCleary, “They’re Coming out of the Woodwork,” Columbia Journalism Review, 16 December, 2005; Eamon Javers, “Op-Eds for Sale,” Bloomberg Buisinessweek, 15 December, 2005; and Paul McCleary, “Jack Abramoff’s Press Corps,” Columbia Journalism Review, 21 December, 2005.

125 McCleary, “Jack Abramoff’s Press Corps.”

126 Amy Moritz, “Free Market Advocates Praise Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,” news release, 12 July, 1996.

127Javers, “Op-Eds for Sale.” Bandow says the correct amount for this particular article was $1,000, although that apparently excludes the cost of the trip to the South Pacific. Doug Bandow, “The Lesson Jack Abramoff Taught Me,” Los Angeles Times, 4 January, 2006.

128 Stone, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, 128.

When BusinessWeek asked Ferrara’s boss, Tom Giovanetti, president of the Institute for Policy Innovation. to comment on Ferrara’s relationship with Abramoff, he replied:

“I have a sense that there are a lot of people at think tanks who have similar arrangements.”

131

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)?”

132

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.”

133

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.)”

134

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.

129 “Peter J. Ferrara”, Sourcewatch, http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Peter_Ferrara.

130 Foer, “Writers’ Bloc.”

131 Javers, “Op-Eds for Sale. ”

132 Bandow, “The Lesson Jack Abramoff Taught Me.”

133 McCleary, “Jack Abramoff’s Press Corps.”

134 Franklin Foer to The New Republic’s blog 19 December, 2005, (Archived at http://carmichaellink.blogspot.com/2005/12/12172005-402-pm-larger-proportion-of.html.)

New Texas Appellate Justice April Farris Discusses Her Family, Career and “Imposter Syndrome”

One of the biggest barriers April Farris faced was a personal barrier: imposter syndrome after growing up in a small West Texas town.

The Jack Abramoff Scandal Series: United States v. Andrade

Private Attorneys for Rowland M. Andrade Seek to Remove Themselves from Representation of Andrade After LIT Spotlights this Criminal Case.

Why the Chief Can’t Judge Everything – Even with Judicial Immunity

No [wo]man in this country is so high that [s]he is above the law. No officer of the law may set that law at defiance with impunity.

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.”

A version of this article appears in print on June 26, 2020, Section A, Page 20 of the New York edition with the headline: Lobbyist Faces Prison For Flouting Changed Law.

Who is Ilya Shapiro, an Employee for a Billionaires ‘Non-Profit’ Entity in Washington, DC?

Ilya Shapiro is VP & Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at Cato Institute founded by Charles G. Koch of Koch Industries.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Slew of Amicus Briefs at SCOTUS

There’s a long list of amici backing AFPF, which is not surprising as these legal non-profits are representing the billionaires who effectively own them via funding.

The Pacific Research Institute (PRI) Donors – Or Should We Call ‘Em Owners?

LIT believes that non-profits – where the majority of revenue comes from only a handful of donors – is deceptive and demands full disclosure.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff And CEO Rowland Marcus Andrade Charged With Fraud In Connection With $5 Million Initial Coin Offering Of Cryptocurrency AML Bitcoin

Abramoff Also Agrees to Enter Guilty Plea to First-Ever Criminal Prosecution
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.

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.

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.

Attachment(s):
Download Abramoff Information
Download Andrade Indictment
Topic(s):
Financial Fraud
Component(s):
USAO – California, Northern

United States v. Abramoff (3:20-cr-00260)

District Court, N.D. California

Latest Update, June 13, 2021;

Hearing rescheduled to Sept 14, 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.
Begins: 7/13/2021.
Ends: 7/20/2021.
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)

United States v. Andrade (3:20-cr-00249)

District Court, N.D. California

Latest Update, June 13, 2021;

Hearing rescheduled to July 13, 2021

LIT’s Lobbyist and Legal Non-Profit Scandal Series Continues: Who is Jack Abramoff?
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Laws In Texas is a blog about the Financial Crisis and how the banks and government are colluding against the citizens and homeowners of the State of Texas and relying on a system of #FakeDocs and post-crisis legal precedents, specially created by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to foreclose on homeowners around this great State. We are not lawyers. We do not offer legal advice. We are citizens of the State of Texas who have spent a decade in the court system in Texas and have been party to during this period to the good, the bad and the very ugly.

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