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Ex-FBI Official Don Clark Comments on Mexican Drug Cartel Truce

Wealth Manager Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Fund Hillary Clinton Campaign Through Elton John Concert

Hillary Clinton/state dept. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The operator of a wealth management firm pleaded guilty Monday in Washington federal court to causing the Hillary Clinton for President Committee to unwittingly submit false statements to the Federal Election Commission involving campaign contributions totaling $48,300. The scheme involved an Elton John concert.

Evan Snapper, 46, of Fairfield, Conn., pleaded guilty in a scheme in which 21 individuals bought Elton John tickets for $2,300 each, knowing they would all be reimbursed by one person, and the money would go to the Clinton campaign,  the Justice Department said.

According to authorities, Snapper admitted that in March 2008, he informed a certain individual that Elton John was to perform in New York City on April 9, 2008, with ticket proceeds going to the Clinton committee.

Knowing the individual was a Clinton supporter, Snapper suggested he get people to buy tickets.

Authorities said Snapper admitted that he and 20 people agreed to purchase a ticket to the concert, knowing the individual would reimburse them in violation of campaign finance laws.

Snapper then worked to disguise the reimbursements. False statements were subsequently made to the Federal Elections Commission, authorities said. Snapper also pleaded guilty to campaign violations involving Jim Gilmore campaigns for Senate and President.

Sentencing is set for April 7.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Game of Musical Chairs at Justice as Deputy Atty. Gen. Gets Sworn In

Gary Grindler/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s a game of musical chairs over at the Justice Department at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Gary G. Grindler, who had been filling in as acting deputy attorney general, the number two spot, becomes chief of staff to the Attorney General, the department announced Monday.

Grindler is being replaced by James Cole, who was installed as deputy Attorney General through a recess appointment by President Obama. Cole was sworn in on Monday.

James Cole/law firm

And Grindler replaces Kevin Ohlson, who will be “resuming his career service with the department,” the Justice Department announced in a press release.

“Kevin Ohlson has been an extraordinary public servant through a long career at the department, and while I am sorry to lose him from my office, I am grateful for his tireless work leading my staff the past two years,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

“As he has throughout his career, Gary Grindler showed remarkable leadership under difficult circumstances as Acting Deputy Attorney General over the past year, and I could not be more pleased that he has agreed to continue that service in this new role as my chief of staff.”

Grindler had served as Acting Deputy Attorney General since Feb. 5. Ohlson had served as Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Attorney General since February 2009. He had previously served as the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, chief of staff to the Deputy Attorney General and Assistant U.S. Attorney, the Justice Department said.

Column: Defense Attorney Says Some Fed Prosecutors Need to be Fired and Indicted for Their Acts

James Burdick is a former Wayne County prosecutor in Detroit and is a criminal defense attorney who also practices health care discipline and is a reinstatement expert at the firm of Burdick Law, P.C. in Bloomfield Hills, Mi. He has also appeared regularly on Larry King Live, Court TV, Geraldo, Good Morning America and other national shows.

James Burdick

By James Burdick

I was reading a recent USA Today article cited in ticklethewire.com, which found 201 cases since 1997 in which courts concluded that federal prosecutors violated laws or ethics rules. In some of  those instances, cases were tossed or sentences were reduced.

It’s good to see those facts unearthed. Still, someone needs to ask the Justice Department: How many of the ASUAs (assistant U.S. Attorneys) who got caught doing these things were fired? (I’m sure only a fraction of offensive behavior was ever discovered, just as few ever get caught pulling off their first bank robbery.)

The other pressing question for the Justice Department is: How many were indicted as they should have been for obstruction or related charges? Answer: Few, if any.

Example: In a drug case I tried in the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids, the U.S. Attorney ADMITTED to the Court that the trial AUSA and case agent had withheld “potentially exculpatory evidence.”

In May of 2009, the government filed a motion that said: “A preliminary inquiry had indicated that the Government was in possession of information which may have corroborated the claim of this defendant that he presented at trial, that he himself provided the information which led to his arrest and this indictment. In the interest of justice…..the government will thereafter move to dismiss the indictment…Furthermore, an investigation of Defendant’s allegations has been initiated.”  (Read document)

The case was dismissed against that defendant as a result, but the AUSA is still prosecuting cases and the promised “internal investigation” has resulted in nothing at all (no public disclosure) or has concluded that the AUSA could stay, continue to prosecute, and not get indicted.

What do you think would have happened to a defense attorney who acted that way? He/she would have lost their license, been prosecuted for sure, and landed in prison.

People don’t want to believe that some guardians of justice in this Country can be as corrupt as the criminals they pursue. There’s a reason why prosecutors often joke: “Anyone can convict the guilty; it takes real work to convict the innocent.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so scary.

Column: In 2011 it’s Time to Stop “Acting” and Confirm Leaders

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Something seems terribly wrong when we see federal law enforcement agencies headed up for years by people who are “acting” heads.

Michele Leonhart of the DEA was the acting head since 2007 — up until the end of December.  Finally, just before the holidays, the Senate confirmed her appointment as the DEA administrator.  Sorry, but that’s  way way too long to have an acting head of any agency.

And now we have to wait for the appointment of a number two person at DEA, which requires Senate approval as well.

At ATF, Kenneth Melson has been acting head since April 2009. It’s now 2011. Just recently President Obama nominated Andrew Traver of the Chicago ATF office to head up that agency. Who knows how long that will take for the Senate to decide his fate?

Elsewhere, two years into the Obama administration, only 76 U.S. Attorneys have been confirmed. There are 94 U.S. Attorney offices. And to boot, there are plenty of federal judicial seats that remain vacant.

It’s 2011. It’s time to step it up. The Obama administration needs to step it up. The Senate needs to step it up.  Whatever the reason for the delays — the political bickering, procrastination —   it needs to stop.

The American people are getting screwed. Organizations need permanent heads.  “Acting” heads seldom have the same juice, the same influence needed to make an organization operate at peak efficiency.

Sure there are plenty of other things weighing on the minds of the White House and Congress.  A dearth of jobs. A wimpering economy.  Afghanistan. Iraq. On and on and on.

But last I checked, the American people cared about fraud and scams and  murder and gun trafficking to Mexico and terrorism. Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, black or white,  Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu,  lover of Sarah Palin or  hater of Sarah Palin,  meat eater or vegetarian, it’s fair to say these people care about quality of life issues. They want to be protected from the Madoffs and the bin Ladins and the deadly Mexican cartels.

The White House and Congress need to step on the gas and get to where they need to go.

Now!

Homeland’s Napolitano Plans to Add More Agency Agents to Afghanistan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced over the weekend that her agency plans to add up to 54 agents in the coming year to Afghanistan to compliment the current lot of 25, the Washington Post reported.

The announcement came during Napolitano’s two-day visit to Afghanistan. The added agents will help to border control and train Afghan officials in anti-smuggling techniques, the Post reported.

The country has been hurt by the smuggling of cash, drugs, gems, historic artifacts and timber out of Afghanistan, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

Napolitano’s Trip to Afghanistan

President Obama Uses Recess Appointment to Install #2 Justice Dept. Official

James Cole/law firm

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Following months of frustration and opposition from Republicans, President Obama last week used a recess appointment to install James Cole to the number two spot at the Justice Department. On Monday, he was sworn in.

The post, deputy attorney general, has been vacant since February. Cole, 58, is a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave LLP since 1995. Republicans have raised concerns about his views on terrorism and his legal work representing the highly problematic American International Group.

Cole began working for the Justice Department in 1979 as part of Attorney General’s Honors Program and served there for 13 years. First he was a trial attorney in the Criminal Division and later he served as the Deputy Chief of the Division’s Public Integrity Section.

He entered private practice in 1992.

“I am pleased to welcome Jim back to the Department of Justice,” Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said Monday.  “He will be critical in our work to keep the American people safe, ensure the fairness and integrity of our financial markets, and restore the traditional missions of the Department.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Cole’s nomination in July.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Helped New Year’s in Times Square Come Off Without a Major Incident

New Year's Eve in Times Square/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One of the more intense events of the year — New Year’s Eve in Times Square — came off without any major incidents.

The New York FBI office said it deployed hundreds of employees including agents, analysts and professional staff to deal with the event.  It also worked with other law enforcement agencies like the New York Police Dept. and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

“We are constantly working to help keep this city safe. At high profile events, like New Year’s Eve, the FBI works tirelessly to prevent and thwart any possible attacks,” said assistant director in charge of the New York FBI office Janice K. Fedarcyk.

Agents in the mobile command post/fbi photo

“We worked closely with our law enforcement partners and as we look back on the fact that last night was only filled with good memories, we can say job well done.”

Fedarcyk’s office posted some photo on the N.Y. FBI website from the evening.  Here they are.

SWAT team leader Dan Feither talks to reporter

Agent Kristy Kottis speaks to colleague in joint operation center

Special Agent in Charge Greg Fowler gives briefing

FBI's mobile command center

Special agent bomb tech Pete Licata

NYPD's command post

SAC Mary Galligan (center)briefs head of NY office Janice Fedarcyk at joint operation center (right)