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Archive for December, 2010

Treasurer of Nat. Republican Congressional Committee Off to Prison for Stealing $844,718


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s off to prison for 37 months for Christopher J. Ward for defrauding the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and other political committees out of $844,718. He was the treasurer of the committees.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of Washington sentenced  Ward,42, formerly of Bethesda, Md., on Thursday and ordered him to forfeit $844,718.

Authorities said the political committees were clients of his consulting business.

Ward worked in the NRCC’s accounting department and in 2003 became the NRCC’s Treasurer. Additionally, he operated a business specializing in accounting services and compliance with Federal Election Commission regulations for political committees and candidates.

Authorities said from 2001 through 2006, he served as Treasurer for the President’s Dinner Committees, which ran the annual joint fund-raising dinners sponsored by the NRCC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), featuring a keynote address by the `President of the United States.

Authorities said Ward admitted that from March 5, 2001 until December 2007 he stole about $844,718 by issuing unauthorized checks and wire transfers from the NRCC and political committees who were his clients.

Police Chiefs Endorse Andrew Traver to Head ATF

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) on Friday voiced its “strong support” for the nomination of Andrew Traver as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Traver, who was nominated to the post by President Obama last month, currently heads up ATF’s Chicago division.

“A career law enforcement professional like Andrew Traver is an ideal selection to lead ATF, IACP President Mark Marshall, chief of the Smithfield, Va. Police Department, said in a statement.

“Throughout his career, Special Agent Traver has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to protecting public safety. His 23 years of experience at ATF have provided him the opportunity to work with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.”

“He has gained a unique understanding of the challenges and complexities they face in combating firearms violence, gang crime and other threats to our communities.”

“The IACP urges the Judiciary Committee and the members of the United States Senate to confirm Special Agent Traver’s nomination in a timely fashion.”

CBS Radio News Reporter in Washington Pleads to Pot Posession


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Attorney’s Office says a CBS Radio News correspondent in Washington pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of marijuana last week, the Washington Post reported.

The Post reported that Howard Arenstein, 60, was sentenced to probation, drug testing and a small fine. Arenstein and his wife Orly Katz, an Israeli newspaper correspondent, were arrested Oct. 1 following an anonymous tip that they were growing marijuana plants in their backyard in their Georgetown area home, the Post reported. Distribution charges were dropped in the case.

The Post reported that the case against Katz has not been resolved yet.

Government Has Violated Spying Limits on U.S. Citizens, Documents Show


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — When it comes to listening  in on conversations or reading emails, the feds have repeatedly violated legal limits of surveillance of U.S. citizens, the Washington Post reports.

The Post reports that the conclusion comes from the release of 900 pages of documents obtained by the ACLU in a court battle. The paper reported that U.S. government agencies refused to say how many Americans’ rights were violated or intercepted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – or FISA.

“The documents note that although oversight teams did not find evidence of “intentional or willful attempts to violate or circumvent the law . . . certain types of compliance incidents continue to occur,” as a March 2009 report stated,” the Post reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Probing Cases of Fed Judge Who Had Relation with Stripper and Drugs

Judge Jack Camp/daily report

Judge Jack Camp/daily report

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Now comes more fallout from the federal judge in Atlanta who pleaded guilty last month to buying drugs for a felon — a stripper — he was having an affair with after meeting her at the Goldrush Showbar.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillen Yates announced in Atlanta Thursday that her office is investigating whether any of the cases U.S. District Judge Jack Camp handled were influenced by the use of drugs or racial bias.

“From May of 2010 forward, there is evidence that Camp’s judicial decision making process may have been impacted by bias and/or impairment and it has been established that he was involved in criminal conduct during this period,” Yates said in a statement. “Therefore, we will not object to a defendant’s request for a resentencing in any case in which the defendant was sentenced during this time.”

Yates said a woman — she referred to only as “Witness 1” — alleged that Camp, 67, used drugs, expressed racial bias about court cases and used a racial epithet in private. Her office declined to confirm that Witness 1 was the stripper Camp had an affair with, though court documents show that the stripper cooperated with investigators, which resulted in Camp’s arrest in October, and his eventual downfall.

On Nov. 19, Camp, who was on senior status, pleaded guilty to aiding a felon in possessing illegal drugs, possessing illegal drugs and giving his government issued lap top to the stripper he was having an affair with. He has resigned as a federal judge, which is lifetime presidential appointment. Sentencing is set for March 4.

To read more click here.

Milwaukee FBI Agent Credited With Bringing Down King of Spam

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent from Milwaukee is credited with taking down the “king of spam”, the Associated Press is reporting. Authorities say he allegedly generated 10 billion unwanted emails a day.

The suspected spam king, Oleg Nikolaenko, 23, of Russia, was arrested last month during a visit to Las Vegas, AP reported. The FBI and the Federal Trade Commission had been tracking him since 2007.

AP reported that Nikolaenko is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee on Friday.

His attorney, Christopher Van Wagner, says he’s prepared to put up “a rigorous defense,” AP reported.

A 13-page affidavit was filed by FBI agent Brett E. Banner, assigned to the Cyber Crimes Squad in Milwaukee (read below).

Read FBI Affidavit

Ex-New Orleans Cop Gets 8 Years For Role in Danziger Bridge Shootings of Civilians

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former New Orleans cop Michael Hunter was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday for covering up and participating in the shootings on the infamous Danziger Bridge of unarmed citizens days after Katrina hit. Two civilians died and four were wounded.

In one of the more disgraceful chapters in the police department’s history, authorities said Hunter, 33, drove to the Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005, in a large Budget rental truck packed with officers responding to a radio call that said cops on the nearby I-10 bridge had come under fire.

The Justice Department said Hunter, who pleaded guilty in April, admitted that officers on the east side of the Danziger Bridge fired at civilians even though the civilians did not appear to have any weapons.

Hunter said one officer leaned over a concrete barrier, held out an assault rifle and, in a sweeping motion, fired repeatedly at the civilians, who were at that point lying wounded and apparently unarmed on the ground, according to the Justice Department press release.

Hunter also admitted firing his weapon repeatedly at civilians who were running away over the bridge. He admitted that he did not see the civilians carrying weapons and none appeared to pose a threat.

Hunter told authorities he was present when an officer shot and killed one of the citizens, Ronald Madison.

After the incident, Hunter admitted that he and other officers provided false statements about the incident.

Hunter, in a quivering voice, apologized to relatives in the courtroom, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance also offered condolences to the relatives of the victims and lambasted Hunter, the paper reported.

“It is hard to imagine a more profound breach of public trust than what happened here,” Vance told Hunter. She described the cover-up and coercion in the case as “appalling perversion” and shocking “savagery.”

Column: Feds Drop Tainted Star Witness In Politicized NJ Witch-Hunt

Andrew Kreig is Executive Director of the Justice Integrity Project. Kreig has two decades experience as an attorney and non-profit executive in Washington, DC and is an author and longtime investigative reporter.

Andrew Kreig

By Andrew Kreig

The Justice Department is dropping its disreputable star witness in the latest trial of the 46-defendant “Bid Rig III” corruption case that helped propel former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to his state’s governorship last year. Christie’s image as a crime-fighting, cost-conscious reformer worthy of 2012 Presidential consideration has taken big hits during the last month.

More generally, the case illustrates a bipartisan pattern by which DOJ officials waste vast sums to help their cronies and themselves, with scant meaningful oversight by leaders of either party or career officials who lend their names to whitewashed internal investigations.

The first image-blow to the DOJ was the Oct. 27 acquittal of a former Ridgefield mayor after the defense exposed mind-boggling ways that Christie’s team funded bank fraudster and brothel owner Solomon Dwek to inveigle local political candidates, rabbis and others into corruption schemes.

Then the DOJ’s Inspector General Glenn Fine exposed Christie, right, on Nov. 9 as the nation’s leading abuser among federal prosecutors of wasting taxpayer money on government-funded trips that exceed spending limits.

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

Bid Rig III federal prosecutors last week removed Dwek for unexplained reasons from the witness list for the trial of former state assemblyman Harvey Smith, 61.

Authorities this week will try to prove in Newark’s federal courthouse that Dwek bribed Smith with $15,000 during the defendant’s unsuccessful 2009 campaign to become mayor of Jersey City.

To read more click here.