The Obama campaign announced Monday that former lobbyist and veteran Democratic attorney Broderick Johnson will serve as senior adviser to the President's 2012 reelection team. Before founding a communications company this spring, Johnson worked for the powerhouse lobbying firm Bryan Cave LLP, where he represented a number of high-profile clients, including FedEx, Comcast, Microsoft, and TransCanada, the Calgary-based energy company planning to build the controversial 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline which would transport Canadian crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast. Johnson has some experience in campaign politics, as he was "closely involved" in past Democratic presidential bids, and in 2008, he "served as an informal advisor to the Obama presidential campaign," according to his communications firm's website.
Former Massachusetts Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is now under fire for a provision in his 2006 healthcare law commonly known as RomneyCare that allows illegal immigrants to access medical care along with other uninsured residents. Because of the law’s Health Safety Net program, poor, uninsured immigrants may receive taxpayer-subsidized care at a hospital or health clinic in Massachusetts at basically no cost, regardless of their immigration status.
An investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has confirmed that more than seven million dollars in federal stimulus money went to an Oregon forestry project that generated not a single U.S. job. Instead, precisely $7,140,782 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), President Obama's 2009 economic stimulus plan, was siphoned off to four Oregon forestry services to pay wages for 254 foreign workers.
In moving to combat in-state welfare fraud, Michigan is requiring food stamp recipients to provide information on their assets to determine whether they should continue to qualify for benefits. Under the new rules launched earlier this month, current recipients are obligated to report the values on their homes, vehicles, stocks, bonds, and even lottery winnings. Residents with $5,000 in liquid assets or driving a vehicle worth over $15,000 may no longer qualify for benefits. So far, the state has identified about 15,000 people who could lose their food stamp benefits.
President Obama is venturing to charm American voters this week during an East Coast bus tour that will intersect parts of North Carolina and Virginia. Beginning Monday, the three-day junket will traverse through suburbs, rural towns, and several cities, as the trip spans two key electoral states that could prove essential for Obama’s 2012 campaign pursuits. In considering the tour’s seemingly strategic route and voter-targeted audiences, observers contend that the East Coast excursion is clearly an attempt to resurrect the President’s waning support support in two southern states that Republicans controlled before the 2008 election.
Tom Cross (left) the House Republican leader in the Illinois legislature, filed a bill Wednesday to probe a "charitable interpretation" of state law that granted at least eight Chicago labor officials eligibility for both city pensions and union pensions covering the same work periods. A Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV investigation discovered that some of these union officials await millions of dollars more in retirement due to double and even triple dipping on pensions.
A Maryland commission will be offering a recommendation to increase the state's gas taxes, raise vehicle registration fees, and employ a catalog of new tax hikes to augment roughly $870 million a year in new transportation revenue. Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding settled on a 15-cents-a-gallon tax hike over three consecutive years, which if approved, would inflate the current 23.5-cents-a-gallon tax to 38.5 cents. Maryland officials plead that the state needs $12 billion to fulfill its transportation needs, and they are predicting a $1 billion shortfall in fiscal 2013.
Developments relating to the Solyndra debacle continue to surface as newly-surfaced internal government emails reveal that an Obama administration appointee at the Department of Energy (DOE) — and major Obama fundraiser — pushed to expedite a $535-million loan guarantee to the now-defunct solar firm. The emails expose "a disturbingly close relationship" among the White House, top campaign donors, and prominent Solyndra investors, according to a senior congressional Republican.
President Obama is traveling to Pittsburgh today to discuss with prominent American business leaders the lingering economic barrier of high unemployment. The gathering will consist of members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council), which was established in January to "provide non-partisan advice to the President on continuing to strengthen the Nation’s economy and ensure competitiveness of the United States and on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people."
Added to the expanding catalog of federal embarrassments, such as gunrunning scandals and bankrupt green energy companies, are taxpayer-funded trips taken by a Justice Department official to "facilitate a physical relationship with a woman in Florida." Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa, left), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, wrote U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on September 28, asking why a federal official, Darryl Foster, was not required to reimburse the government for money he spent visiting an unidentified woman in Miami, including expenses for hotels and rental vehicles.