Michael Patrick Leahy reports: In its indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida opthalmologist, the Department of Justice cites Melgen’s $600,000 donation to Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) Senate Majority PAC in 2012. That money, the feds charge, was earmarked for the successful re-election of Menendez, and was part of “hundreds of thousands of dollars and contributions to entities that benefitted MENENDEZ’s 2012 Senate campaign, in exchange for specific requested exercises of MENENDEZ’s official authority.”
“Having worked for the Justice Department for many years, I was taken aback, upon carefully reviewing the indictment, at the lengths to which prosecutors went to downplay or omit salient details of Sen. Reid’s participation in a corruption scheme for which they’ve charged Sen. Menendez.”
— Former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy
The indictment makes no mention of the additional $100,000 Melgen contributed to the Senate Majority PAC a mere two weeks before Reid arranged an August 2, 2012 meeting among himself, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Menendez.
At that meeting, Menendez advocated directly to Secretary Sebelius on behalf of Melgen’s appeal of an HHS finding that he owed $8.9 million for overbilling Medicare in 2007 and 2008. That advocacy, the indictment charges, was the influence Melgen received from Menendez in return for his $600,000 contribution to Reid’s Senate Majority PAC.
That charge leads to an obvious question.
If Melgen’s $600,000 contribution to Senate Majority PAC was an illegal quid-pro-quo between Melgen and Menendez, does it not stand to reason that Melgen’s $100,000 contribution to the same Senate Majority PAC was an illegal quid-pro-quo between Melgen and Reid in which the influence Melgen received was Reid’s arrangement of and participation in the August 2, 2012 meeting attended by Reid, Sebelius, and Menendez?
“I don’t understand, for example, how you go to the trouble of itemizing trivial gifts like Melgen’s buying Menendez a $360 steakhouse dinner but leave out Melgen’s giving $100,000 to a Reid-controlled super PAC just a few days before Reid — not Menendez — arranged a meeting with the HHS secretary to intervene in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute.”
— Former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy
Menendez benefited from the $600,000 that was earmarked to his campaign because it helped him sail to a 19-point re-election victory in deep-blue New Jersey. Reid benefited from the $100,000 that was not earmarked because he was able to allocate it as he wished to assist more vulnerable Democrat candidates in 2012. Those efforts were successful, and Reid emerged from the general elections with his position of Senate Majority Leader still intact.
“The facts and circumstances outlined in the Menendez indictment clearly implicate the current Democratic Senate Minority Leader in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions.”
Two former federal prosecutors tell Breitbart News that the Department of Justice, which indicted Menendez on Wednesday for his role “in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions,” has chosen “to downplay or omit salient details of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) participation in [that] corruption scheme.”
“It is obvious that the Justice Department chose to calibrate its charges so as to skip Reid. The timing and size of the contributions to Reid’s PAC coupled with his personal attendance at a meeting with Secretary Sebelius along with Menendez on behalf of the Doctor demonstrate facts sufficient to warrant further investigation.”
— Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova
“The facts and circumstances outlined in the Menendez indictment clearly implicate the current Democratic Senate Minority Leader in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions,” former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova tells Breitbart News.
“It is obvious that the Justice Department chose to calibrate its charges so as to skip Reid. The timing and size of the contributions to Reid’s PAC coupled with his personal attendance at a meeting with Secretary Sebelius along with Menendez on behalf of the Doctor demonstrate facts sufficient to warrant further investigation,” di Genova adds.
“The fundraiser referenced in the indictment as ‘Fundraiser 2′ and Dr. Melgen are personal friends, and we were not aware of the full extent of their communication until the indictment came out [Wednesday] night. While we are confident that this was an isolated incident, the fundraiser in question is no longer with Senate Majority PAC.”
— Stephanie Potter, executive director of Senate Majority PAC
“Having worked for the Justice Department for many years, I was taken aback, upon carefully reviewing the indictment, at the lengths to which prosecutors went to downplay or omit salient details of Sen. Reid’s participation in a corruption scheme for which they’ve charged Sen. Menendez,” former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy tells Breitbart News.
“I don’t understand, for example, how you go to the trouble of itemizing trivial gifts like Melgen’s buying Menendez a $360 steakhouse dinner but leave out Melgen’s giving $100,000 to a Reid-controlled super PAC just a few days before Reid — not Menendez — arranged a meeting with the HHS secretary to intervene in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute,” McCarthy says.
A spokesperson for Senate Majority PAC attempted to distance the organization from the illegal activity described in the indictment. Read the rest of this entry »
Kurt Schlichter writes: If you’re a conservative, you don’t need to silence the opposition.
In fact, we conservatives want liberals to talk, to make buffoons of themselves, to prove their folly. We want liberals to expound upon their ridiculous ideas, to show the world exactly what they’re about. Nancy Pelosi? Give that tiresome woman a microphone. Chatty liberals are the best advertisement for conservatism.
But liberals just can’t have conservatives speaking. We’ll tell the truth, and that’s why liberals need to shut us up.
Their traditional intimidation tactics are wearing out. Calling someone a “racist” used to be a devastating moral indictment. Liberals’ promiscuous employment of the word first turned it into a cliché and then into an ironic punchline.
I know, saying that out loud is racist. And sexist. And cisgender heteronormative, whatever the hell that means.
So now liberals have stepped up to formal governmental repression. Take the IRS scandal – or ex-scandal, in the eyes of the mainstream media. The Obama administration, at the urging of red state Democrat senators who are about to lose their seats because of their track records of failure, are doing everything they can to turn the taxman loose on the organizations that are pointing out their track records of failure.
Ace nails it:
Obama claims that Benghazi is a false scandal which is only talked about because people on FoxNews keep talking about it. Full video below. He denies everything. He also denies denying everything.
“These kind of things keep resurfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them..”
Deadline Hollywood reports:
Things turned tense quickly today between President Obama and Bill O’Reilly in their Super Bowl pregame interview. “OK, Bill, you’ve got a long list of my mistakes,” Obama said to The O’Reilly Factor host near the start of their 10-minute live interview on Fox. That remark — in response to a question from O’Reilly whether it was the biggest mistake of Obama’s presidency when he told Americans no one would lose their healthcare under Obamacare — was one of a number of points on which the two butted heads. The duo sparred almost from the beginning in the interview live from the White House this afternoon. Obama also took on Fox News Channel when O’Reilly asked him about reports the IRS was investigating Tea Party-related groups for political reasons. “These kind of things keep resurfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them,” Obama said. “When you look there have been multiple hearings.” Obama denied any corruption, just some “boneheaded decisions.” Earlier, the Fox News host interrupted Obama with a “you’re not going to answer that?” as the President replied to a question about why he didn’t fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius after the botched online launch of Obamacare.
“I think of a Conservative, and I take away reason, and accountability”
Consider the recent mess-o-rama. The botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act. The Senate report that deemed the attack in Benghazi, Libya, preventable and raised questions about accountability, or lack thereof. The mounting problems of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Philip Klien writes: I owe Mitt Romney an apology.
During the 2012 Republican presidential primary season, I repeatedly criticized Romney — and personally challenged him during his editorial board meeting with the Washington Examiner — for promising that if elected, on day one of his presidency, he would grant Obamacare waivers to all 50 states.
As I reported, under the text of the law, the ability to offer waivers to states was subject to many restrictions and wouldn’t even be an option until 2017, four years after his hypothetical swearing in.
Though I still believe I was right about what the statute said, as it turns out, I was being old-fashioned by taking the letter of the law so literally.
Lloyd Marcus writes: How many times must we see this movie before realizing that the ending never changes? Act one: An Obama Administration official is found to be incompetent, grossly negligent, or caught blatantly and arrogantly lying to the American people.
Act two: Media and pundits express their outrage and proclaim that the guilty official’s head will surely roll. Confidently, they predict that it is only a matter of time before [fill in the blank] is forced to resign.
Act three: The scandal gradually falls off the media and the public’s radar. The once thought to be doomed Administration official remains on the government payroll, is moved to another position or simply continues on as if nothing ever happened without consequence. No accountability. We all move on.
Talk about deja vu all over again, Kathleen Sebelius is the latest in the growing list of Obama Administration officials who when caught wrongdoing simply politically give the American people the finger. The roll-out of Obamacare has been a disaster.
Arrogantly, Sebelius has refused to accept responsibility for her gross incompetence, even attempting to pass the blame on to the public and Republicans. Further poking her finger in our eye, Sebelius boldly announced that she does not work for We The People.
Please allow me to refresh your memory about a few earlier arrogant Obama Administration untouchables.
Only the pant crease remains
Rich Lowry writes: Barack Obama is the coolest president we’ve had since John F. Kennedy, at least according to conventional standards for such things. Obama has always been a brand as much as a politician, one that has been perceived as sleek, smart, and up to date.
Then along came HealthCare.gov. Its failure to launch is a signal event in the long political battle over Obamacare and perhaps an inflection point in the president’s image. It’s hard to maintain a sense of truly being on the cutting edge of change when you can’t build a website.
Obama’s cool was, in part, an artifact of world-class marketing. Graphic designer Michael Bierut writes in the book Designing Obama (yes, there’s such a book) of how impressed he was watching Obama rallies in 2008: “The awe-inspiring part was the way all the signs were faithfully, and beautifully, set in Hoefler & Frere-Jones’s typeface Gotham.” If only the folks at Health and Human Services were consumed with such attention to detail.
‘Burn their fingers’
Jonathan Easley reports: Sen. Bill Nelson lashed out Wednesday at the contractors charged with building the ObamaCare website. Addressing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a Senate Finance Committee hearing, the Florida Democrat said the contractors should be held to account for the site’s disastrous launch. “As someone who has fought and bled for this … I want you to hold them to account,” Nelson said.
“I want you to burn their fingers and make them pay for not being responsible and producing a product that all of us could be proud of.”
Nelson asked Sebelius if she had any legal authority to withhold payments from the contractors.
Debra Heine writes: A new Rasmussen poll finds that an overwhelming majority of voters think the president probably lied to them about his “signature achievement”, and would like to see it scrapped or changed.
Asked how likely it is that Obama or senior officials in his administration were aware long before ObamaCare was implemented, that health insurance costs would go up for some, 71 percent of voters responded that “it’s at least somewhat likely.”
When the vast majority of American voters can agree they were lied to in order pass a controversial bill on a party line vote that amounts to a takeover of nearly 1/6 of the economy, and a large percent of them say, yeah, so what? – Our country is in deep trouble. According to Rasmussen, 48% of Likely U.S. Voters still approveof Obama’s job performance. Unbelievable. Read the rest of this entry »
Jonah Goldberg writes: Often in error but never in doubt, Barack Obama could walk into the Rose Garden and step on a half-dozen rakes like Foghorn Leghorn in an old Looney Tunes cartoon, and the official line would be, “He meant to do that.”
And the amazing thing is that so many people believe it. “Mr. Obama is like a championship chess player, always several moves ahead of friend and foe alike. He’s smart, deft, elegant and subtle,” proclaimed then–New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in 2009. It’s an image of the president that his biggest fans, in and out of the press, have been terribly reluctant to relinquish — because it confirms the faith they invested in him. Nobody ever likes to admit they were suckered.
Fox’s Megyn Kelly Rocks Cable News Ratings Top Spot
Dominic Patten reports: A busy news day of combative Congressional Obamacare hearings and Presidential speeches did CNN no favors in primetime last night. The Jeff Zucker-run cable network hit its lowest primetime time result among adults 25-54 in over a year Wednesday despite all the cable newers being up double digits over the day before during Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius’ morning testimony. Between 8 PM and 11 PM last night, CNN had a mere 67,000 viewers among the key news demo. That’s the worst its done in the demo since August 10 last year. With the Olympics were on NBC last August, CNN drew just 62,000 among the 25-54s that Friday. Not only was CNN behind rivals Fox News Channel (396,000) and MSNBC (127,000) but also it did worse than sister station HLN (93,000) and CNBC (79,000). The most watched show on CNN last night was Piers Morgan Liveat 9 PM which got a soft 83,000 in the demo and 340,000 viewers overall. Overall CNN had 285,000 viewers in primetime last night compared to MSNBC’s 683,000 and FNC’s 2.312 million.
Obama’s ideology is the politics of the personal cram down
Daniel Henninger writes: A reader remarked last week that Barack Obama is running out of human shields. With the father of ObamaCare unavailable to explain the greatest fiasco of his presidency to Congress, the American people had to settle Wednesday for his surrogate, Kathleen Sebelius.
Let us try to understand clearly what is happening now with the Obama presidency. On display to everyone watching this week is not merely the failure of a federal website or a software program or Ms. Sebelius’s management skills. This is the failure of the very idea of progressive government. Not liberal government. Progressive government.
Eric Pianin and Brianna Ehley report: Shortly before Obamacare’s nerve system crashed over the weekend, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted the data services Hub as a “model of efficiency and security.”
The giant router funnels tax and income information to the new federal and state government websites designed to sell medical coverage; it is critical to the success of the HHS in attracting enough consumers – and the right mix of ages — to make the system financially feasible.
Beyond that, the Hub will be vital to the Internal Revenue Service as it assumes responsibility for administering a multitude of tax increases and tax credits and collecting and verifying data from employers and individuals to determine eligibility for federal subsidies. Read the rest of this entry »
Peggy Noonan: ObamaCare Is Taking On Water: It’s not just a buggy website, it’s a disaster of Titanic proportions.
“We should not lose The Headline in the day-to-day headlines. This is big history, not small. The ObamaCare rollout is a disaster for the White House, not a problem or a challenge or an embarrassment, not a gaffe or a bad few weeks. It is a political disaster, and the only question is whether it is partially recoverable, meaning the system can be made to work in a generally satisfactory way in the next few weeks. But—it has to be repeated—they had 3½ years after passage of the Affordable Care Act to make the program into something the American people could register for and feel they were benefiting from. Three and a half years! They had a long-declared start date: It would all go live Oct. 1, 2013, and everyone in the government, every contractor and consultant, knew it.
The president put the meaning of his presidency into the program—it informally carries his name, it is his brand. It was unveiled with great fanfare, and it didn’t work. For almost anybody. Crashed systems, frozen screens, phone registration that prompted you back to the site that sent you to the 800 number, like a high-tech Möbius strip.
All this from the world’s greatest, most technologically sophisticated nation, the one that invented the computer and the Internet. And from a government that is able to demand and channel a great deal of the people’s wealth.
So you’d think it would sort of work. And it didn’t. Which is a disaster. . . . It was Bill Daley — accomplished political player, former commerce secretary and, most killingly, former chief of staff of President Obama — who Thursday, on “CBS This Morning,” admitted the scale of the problem. Asked whether Kathleen Sebelius should be fired, he said: “To me that’s kind of like firing Captain Smith on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.”
The Titanic. Some will see his comments as disloyal. Actually they were candid and realistic. Although in fairness, the Titanic at least had three good days, and Edward Smith chose to go down with the ship.”
We used to launch men to the Moon. Now the U.S. government can’t launch a website.
“And there is the enduring mystery of why the president, who in his career has attempted to persuade the American people to have greater faith in and reliance on the federal government’s ability to help, continues to go forward with an astounding lack of interest in the reputation of government.
He talks but he doesn’t implement, never makes it work. He allows the IRS under his watch to be humiliated by scandal, waste, ill judgements prompted by ideological assumptions. He allows his signature program, the one that will make his name in the history books, to debut in failure. In response he says bland, rounded words that leave you wondering what just got said.
We’re all reading of Jack Kennedy. He stayed up nights with self-recrimination after failure. “How could I have been so stupid?” he asked about the Bay of Pigs. A foreseeable mistake and he’d blown it, listened to the wrong people, made the wrong judgments. That man suffered over his missteps. He worried about his reputation, and the reputation of his government, and of America.
It is disorienting to not see this in a president. It is another thing about this story that feels not only historic, but historically strange.”
Our president is historically strange, and I predict that future historians will find themselves marveling at just how strange.
Just kidding. The title of the following Rich Lowry NRO article is “Heckuva Job, Kathleen Sebelius”. But it wouldn’t surprise anyone, would it? Career success formula in the Obama era: Incompetence + Catastrophe + Taking Heat + Lying on National Television = Reward, Success, Promotion. Is Kathleen Sebelius following in the footsteps of Susan Rice?
Rich Lowry writes: Little did they know it, but Republicans fighting to defund or delay Obamacare had an ally in spirit in Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Her explanation for the Obamacare website is that she couldn’t possibly have been expected to make it work in the mere three and a half years since the law passed. She told the Wall Street Journal that the website ideally needed five years of construction and one year of testing, and instead had only two years of construction and almost no testing.
That means with the proper development time, Healthcare.gov would have had a flawless launch . . . on October 1, 2017. Had Senator Ted Cruz suggested a four-year delay in Obamacare as his fallback in the defunding fight, he would have been scorned as an unbending fanatic, although he might have been giving Sebelius the breathing room she needed.
Kristen Welker, NBC News White House Correspondent, reports: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will not testify at a congressional hearing Thursday into breakdowns in the rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act.
An HHS official confirmed Saturday that the secretary would not attend, citing a conflict in her schedule.
“We are in close communication with the committee and have expressed our desire to be responsive to their request,” the official said. Read the rest of this entry »