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Corruption hunt targets stimulus
Posted By Bob Unruh On 03/06/2009 @ 12:15 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
A nonprofit watchdog on the U.S. government is demanding documents from the federal Office of Management and Budget on special interest organizations that helped write the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
“We’re looking for corruption,” Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch, told WND today.
And he’s confident he’ll find it.
“Do bears live in the woods?” he asked.
Klayman’s organization announced it has launched “round one” of its investigation with a Freedom of Information Act request with the OMB “seeking information on the non-governmental entities and members of Congress that were involved in the crafting of this latest bailout bill.”
The government has estimated the actual spending under TARP to be about $800 billion.
“For many years, these ‘special interest groups’ have bought favor with each successive administration and members of Congress through campaign donations and other gifts, and in return have exacted special favor from the government, by way of lucrative contracts and appointments to powerful positions,” FreedomWatch said.
Klayman said he’s interested in the $350 billion of the original bank bailout money that simply went missing.
Klayman noted that President Obama has pledged to eliminate influence peddling, “and one of his main campaign talking points was distancing himself from the lobbying machine and Washington ‘politics as usual.’
“The information obtained from this FOIA request will be a litmus test, a report card of sorts for the Obama regime, to see if it is as serious as it claims about limiting the influence of Washington lobbyists and special interest groups,” Klayman said.
“It is important that the American people know who is pulling the strings of our government, especially when those are this nation’s purse strings. With budget projections over the next eight years ranging from such substantial sums of money as $3.5 trillion in 2010 to a whopping $4.9 trillion in 2018, the time for transparency is now, in the initial stages while the budget is still being finalized.”
He said the obvious point is that the government cannot be trusted to monitor itself.
“The accountability has to start now, the exposure has to happen now; otherwise we may find ourselves in another Iraq-like economic and political debacle, only this time it may be a financial insurgency without end. Instead of roadside bombs, it will be bank failure and corporate bankruptcy, instead of sectarian violence, it will be the ‘haves’ clashing against the ‘have-nots,’” he said.
Klayman has taken on the establishment in Washington several times, most recently when the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee interviewed Sen. Hillary Clinton for her appointment by Obama as the next secretary of state.
The senators, however, ignored the shady parts of her background involving “Chinagate” and “Filegate,” he said.
In the Chinagate scandal, documented on the website for Judicial Watch, which Klayman previously led, technology companies allegedly made donations of millions of dollars to various Democratic Party entities, including President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, in return for permission to sell high-tech secrets to China.
“Filegate” developed when President Clinton and Hillary Clinton were accused of violating the privacy rights of their perceived political enemies by wrongly accessing and misusing the FBI files of staffers in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, among others.
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