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Movies Piracy Entertainment

Former Senator Chris Dodd Set To Head MPAA 181

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Hill reports that former Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut is set to become the new chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, taking over the $1.2 million position and the job of coordinating the policy goals of the various member studios. Interim CEO and president Bob Pisano says the organization's unwavering focus on its top priority will remain: increasing the federal government's efforts to stop online film piracy. The MPAA is optimistic about its legislative prospects this Congress, thanks to the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee (headed by Dodd's close friend Senator Patrick Leahy) last year before stalling in the full Senate. The bipartisan bill would make it easier for the Justice Department to shut down websites that traffic pirated music, movies and counterfeit goods. While a member of the Senate, Dodd was an adamant opponent of the FISA bill that granted retroactive immunity to telecoms who engaged in warrantless wiretapping."
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Former Senator Chris Dodd Set To Head MPAA

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  • ...is this good or bad?

    • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:42AM (#35277448)
      Depends if your upper class or not: Interlocking directorate [wikipedia.org]

      Interlocks allow for upper class cohesion, coordinated action, and unified political-economic power[3]. They allow corporations to increase their influence by exerting power as a group, and to work together towards common goals.[4] They help the upper class maintain a class advantage, and gain more power over workers and consumers, by reducing intra-class competition and increasing cooperation.[2][5] In the words of Scott R. Bowman, interlocks "facilitate a community of interest among the elite of the corporate world that supplants the competitive and socially divisive ethos of an earlier stage of capitalism with an ethic of cooperation and a sense of shared values and goals."[6]

      • by commodore6502 ( 1981532 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:46AM (#35277776)

        "Corporatism" for short. Government leaders and Corporate leaders working together. (whispers) It's also what Mussolini created in his country. (normal voice). Anyway this comes as no surprise to me. Democrats are just like Republicans, but instead of military they work with Hollywood, recording studios, and celebrities.

        Democrats have sold-out to the Authors Guild, SAG, MPAA, and RIAA.

        And this is why I feel no guilt taking product from these corporations. They bought special privileges from government that they don't deserve to get, rarely pay any taxes on their profit ("what profit? Avatar lost money"), screw the writers/actors that work for them by not paying residuals, and eat-out at the substance of our citizens in onerous life-destroying lawsuits. If they produce a DVD or CD that's good, I'll buy it, but I feel no qualms about downloading everything else for free.

        If it were up to me, every corporate license would be immediately revoked. Let them operate as regular companies without the immunity (aka golden parachutes) afforded by limited liability.

        • by VanGarrett ( 1269030 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @07:04AM (#35277866) Homepage

          What I want to know is this: At what point, exactly, did it become lawful for all of the largest corporations of an industry to organize in their collective best interests? How is it that Anti-Trust laws don't take organizations such as the MPAA and RIAA into account? Is it not a tenant of Capitalism, that entities offering the same type of product in an industry are meant to compete with one another, rather than band together to bully their consumer base into making purchases they might not otherwise?

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Premises are tenets. Tenants live in premises.

            • And by the transitive power of 'are':

              Tenants live in tenets.

              QED

              • Your Analytica is alright, but it seems neither did you meditate very much on Categoriae I, where homonymy is defined (which can be forgiven, as things are not so concrete there), nor have you reached De Sophisticis Elenchis where its sophistical use is described (which cannot be forgiven as you should know your entire Organon before you employ any part of it.)

          • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @07:46AM (#35278066) Journal

            At what point, exactly, did it become lawful for all of the largest corporations of an industry to organize in their collective best interests

            At the same time the democracy became merely formal, and not real. We have a democracy mostly as a formality. The campaign, elections, and changes in government are carried out. Nobody cares because the results matter little, change little. The parties, candidates, proposals and the policies are fixed outside of elections, in various channels. Real decisions, of things that matter, are made in these various "associations", some publicly known, some secretive, some open meetings that are limited or manipulated, some closed meetings, and so on. The more you want real democratic decisions in a merely formal democracy, the more you will find yourself being pushed towards the side of powerless, parallel, unofficial, or underground organizations. There is really only one principle - whatever the goal, to get real democracy, you *must* get millions of participants. Otherwise you have some small, formal or unrepresentative group. If we'd have a "day of copyright rage", getting millions of civil-disobedience copyright-breakers in public squares, with (logically) police trying to break them up, we'd get real policy debate.

            • What a bunch of conspiracy theory nonsense. 'Parties and candidates fixed outside of elections in various channels'? You mean channels like primaries, which in 2010 were so contentious that we got goofballs like O'Donnell in Delaware despite what the power-brokers in DC wanted?

              We have the largest anti-incumbent wave in the United States in recent history. To say 'nobody cares' and that 'results don't matter' just shows ignorance.

              Chris Dodd is one of many old-school politicians (and both sides of the aisle h

              • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @08:53AM (#35278536) Homepage Journal

                'Parties and candidates fixed outside of elections in various channels'? You mean channels like primaries

                The MPAA manipulates its co-owned news media [pineight.com] to keep candidates proposing real change out of U.S. primary voters' mind. Look at how Ron Paul wasn't given much of a chance to speak even in those 2008 presidential debates to which he was invited. He ended up mathematically eliminated from the race before the primaries even got to my state.

              • by Hatta ( 162192 )

                You're proving him with your own counter examples. What exactly do you expect O'Donnell to do? Nothing that really matters, that's what. We have the largest anti-incumbent wave in recent US history today. Is anything important going to change? No!

                • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @10:34AM (#35279640) Journal
                  One word - HBGary. I think the fact that there are dozens of government spy groups doing what is now clearly proven by the HBGary leaks is a great demonstration of the "paper democracy" system we all are fooled to believe in. Sabotage, espionage, public opinion manipulation, lies and deceit are all integral and, worse, fully accepted and primordial parts of the current political system. Informed, knowledgeable, open, fair and vigorous debate on real issues, are now the equivalent of naive, foolish, utopian, sidelined idealists. If you neutrally compare the "debate" of left-vs-right common-man activists, you will find many common complaints, although they fight each other like mortal enemies. They both claim control of the wealthy elites, and abuse of the common people, manipulation by the media, favor of corporations, and they are both saying the truth there. They are only mistaken in their belief that the other side is responsible, while they don't actually combat their stated foe - the wealthy, controlling elites, the 1% who own 90% of everything, who are actively funding their confusion, fanning their flames toward each other. Standard divide and conquer, the old British rulers passed the manipulation skills to the new American rulers, the same as the old rulers.

                  People in western-aligned countries feel inspired by Egypt, by rebelling. They feel oppressed too, but they don't know where or who to rebel against. It's simple, the rulers everywhere have big outdoor signs with fake faces, fake logos, fake slogans - propaganda. They lie to people, have them work for little, and give them false dreams and trash in return. Some rule with guns, some rule with lies, but the result is the same. People are used. Their life feels empty. Future prospects of real change seem small. Eating from garbage or colorful paper McDonalds food changes nothing important in your hopes and aspirations. Some feel trapped by the body, some feel trapped by the mind. All are trapped and used. We are ruled by money, guns, and lies, whether hidden or visible, pretty or ugly, manipulative or grotesque.
              • Hey hey hey now. What's your problem with Barney Frank? The guy is a goddamn hero as far as I'm concerned, one of the very few politicians who speaks his mind and has thoughtful discourse with constituents. He actually went to town hall meetings with the healthcare proposal in hand and answered very specific questions by consulting the text directly. Brilliant, decent guy.

                Anyway, that's my perception - what's yours?

            • If we'd have a "day of copyright rage", getting millions of civil-disobedience copyright-breakers in public squares, with (logically) police trying to break them up, we'd get real policy debate.

              Fucking right. A mass protest in this circumstance is to have a letter signed by people across the country which states that on such-and-such a day everyone will pirate some specific piece of media. I would suggest the oldest movie available that is still under copyright. My source at the venerable and precise Answers.com suggests (URL below):

              "Anything from a movie prior to 1923 or prior to 1964 and not properly renewed is in the public domain and can be used freely, without copyright restriction. Most othe

          • by Moryath ( 553296 )

            Just change the headline to "Fascist dick joins group of fascist dicks" and be done with it.

          • If the RIAA and MPAA became outlawed "cartels" by Congress, then so too would other legit organizations like IEEE, ASME, ISO, the Underwriters Laboratory, and so on. (Also such an act would probably violate the first amendment right to assembly.)

            Note the forming a cartel is still illegal. It's why the record companies were sued ~10 years ago - for price fixing of CDs, restriction of trade, and forced to issue refunds back to customers (I and other family members received ~$20 checks).

            • I think you are confusing a standards setting body with a lobbying and business collusion entity.
            • UL isn't a body of like minded companies working towards a common goal. They're a testing/certifying body that ensures that products meet certain minimum safety standards.

              They began as an insurance backed lab. Companies get an insurance discount on products tested through UL as it's less likely to actually have a major claim against it.

              ISO,ASME, and IEEE are all standards setting bodies. They have no influence on end product costs, sales venue, etc. The only lobbying they do is for safety standards.

            • by zill ( 1690130 )

              If the RIAA and MPAA became outlawed "cartels" by Congress, then so too would other legit organizations like IEEE, ASME, ISO, the Underwriters Laboratory, and so on.

              RIAA and MPAA are trusts whose purpose is to maximize profit for their member companies. IEEE and ASME are non-profit organizations of natural persons.

              ISO

              ISO is outside the jurisdiction of US courts. Furthermore they are a standardization agency, not a trust.

              Underwriters Laboratory

              UL is actually one of the smallest among the nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories [wikipedia.org] SGS S.A. for example, is 10 times larger in terms of employees.

          • At the point that our Congressmen started being run by lobbyists. This is a perfect example. My question is "when was Dodd promised this position in exchange for favors?" He's probably been in the back pocket of the MPAA for awhile now, is my guess. I think a lot of Congressmen are, too. Lobbyists and corrupt Congressmen are just the West's version of a totalitarian regime. How long will it take for the US people to take note of Tunisia and Egypt?
            • Actually I give us another 10 years tops before we reenact what is happening in Egypt and the rich either find a way to pull a tiananmen square or do their own reenactment of the fall of Saigon.

              For a look at how badly the government has worked against the people you might want read this [businessinsider.com] but I warn you it ain't a pretty picture. The numbers simply aren't sustainable, and never in our history has the gap between the rich and the poor been so wide. What is the answer our great leaders give us? "Get more educat

          • The supreme court has said that it is not possible to be a cartel or monopoly in the entertainment business because customers can always switch to another form of entertainment.
            • The supreme court has said that it is not possible to be a cartel or monopoly in the entertainment business because customers can always switch to another form of entertainment.

              This may not be the case for much longer, considering the convergence of the corporations behind all major commercial forms of entertainment.

              You already have movies on your television, political commentary/discussion on your radio, and books which either narrate existing movies, or become movies. Video games come out based on movies or books now, and vice-versa. songs are written specifically for movies, and movies almost always come out with a soundtrack CD. Everyone has their sticky little fingers in the

          • Nine tenths of the law is enforcement. The choice to not enforce the law for your "buddies" is perfectly legal. A DA can and does choose who and who not to charge with a crime. This principal can be applied at any level.
        • If you want to stop them then you must stop consuming from them, both through legitimate purchasing and piracy.
          • I can understand ceasing to buy their media in the future, but why must you stop downloading it, too? You're not giving them any money, and in almost all cases, they don't even know you exist.

            • I can understand ceasing to buy their media in the future, but why must you stop downloading it, too? You're not giving them any money, and in almost all cases, they don't even know you exist.

              For the same reason that piracy frequently promotes sales rather than reduces them - the network effect. Even if you don't buy, if you like it and you talk about liking it, you've increased the chances that someone you've talked to, or that they've talked to, etc, will buy.

              Also, if you boycott the bad guys, you are more likely to fill the void with products from the good guys. Its not just about tearing down the bad guys, its about building up the good guys.

              • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @08:12AM (#35278206) Homepage

                "Also, if you boycott the bad guys, you are more likely to fill the void with products from the good guys. Its not just about tearing down the bad guys, its about building up the good guys."

                Does not work. build up the good guys, and they junp to the bad guys side the second the bad guys offer them a pile of money. Want examples? Metallica, Green Day, Ramones, etc....

                They were all anti-establishment and against the RIAA and their evil practices until a big pile of money was shoved at them. Suddently you have lars wiggling his uneducated mouth all over the place whining about piracy, something they ENCOURAGED when they were a real band, I have several tapes of their early performances that were what CREATED Them.

                • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )
                  Counter-examples? Johnathan Coulton, Cory Doctorow, for two. "Does not work" is not right, although perhaps a higher-quality product is needed for success than with traditional media outlets who own your soul...
                • It was probably not just hush money.

                  I wouldn't put it past the MAFIAA to threaten lawsuits or the like if he *didn't* take it.

                  We've already seen what Sony is willing to go through to get its way.

                • Sheesh, I'm tired of people having a problem with small acts growing up. In the mind of people like you, are they ironically too good to become successful?
                  May not be hardcore anymore, but they're still good rock bands (we seem to just be talking a matter of personal preference.)
                  Never got the hate for American Idiot anyway, although 21st Century Breakdown was a bit of a dud.

                  Even if someone talks trash about torrents or has other negative traits not related to their work, I can still like the work itself.

              • >>>not just about tearing down the bad guys; its about building up the good guys.

                What good guys? (Not musicians but things I care about - like movies, TV shows, and books.)

              • Also, if you boycott the bad guys

                In music: How do I boycott the bad guys when grocery stores pay to play the bad guys' music over their speaker systems? How do I convince people to boycott the bad guys when FM radio plays only the bad guys' music and Internet radio would cost a lot of people $60 per month to upgrade their phones?

                In TV series, feature films, and video games: Who are the good guys? Or did you mean boycott these media entirely and <hyperbole>join the Amish</hyperbole>?

              • you talk about liking it

                Solution: download it and don't talk about it to people who would actually buy it.

                Also, if you boycott the bad guys, you are more likely to fill the void with products from the good guys.

                You can do that, anyway. Don't buy products from the "bad guys," but buy products from the "good guys" to support them.

        • by hitmark ( 640295 )

          And both "sides" have sold out to wall street.

        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

          It's worth noting that "corporatism" is nothing but an attempt to clear out the heavy legacy that comes with the actual (and factual) name that was associated with that economic system.

          Fascism. It's exactly what Mussolini installed in Italy, and what Hitler tried (and partially succeeded) to install in Germany. It's quite close to what we have now in US and several Western European countries.

      • Depends if your upper class or not: Interlocking directorate [wikipedia.org]

        Thomas Dodd did more to defend his class: he had the Nazi gun control law translated [jpfo.net] to English to form the basis of the US Gun Control Law of 1968.

    • by pieterh ( 196118 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:24AM (#35277654) Homepage

      The Revolving Door is always bad. It's a major tool for vested interests to bribe law makers and regulators to be nice to them. Play nice while you're in office and you get a lucrative gig afterwards. This is why Wall St. isn't in jail, because SEC regulators know they will get million dollar jobs later on. It's why Europe's regulators kowtow to large foreign businesses, over the heads of the economic majority of small-to-medium European firms, because it's how they get lucrative consultancy work afterwards.

      So it's bad, yes. Even if this particular appointment isn't worse than any other, it's the signal it sends. "$1.2 per year, be nice and you too could get this".

      That pays for a whole lot of college fees for the kids or grandkids.

    • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @07:36AM (#35278004) Homepage

      Look, this is just a way for the film industry to reward an old man for his many decades of service to their bottom lines^H^H^Hhis country.

    • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @08:42AM (#35278438) Homepage

      Bad. Chris "Countrywide" Dodd was one of the most corrupt members of the Senate, which is why he quit rather than be defeated last November. He took sweetheart loan deals from Countrywide in exchange for NOT regulating their out of control bogus mortgages, helping create the housing bubble which led to the Great Recession.

      But then I guess a corrupt cartel like the MPAA needs someone who knows corruption to lead it.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      It just means that now they can pay him *openly*, instead of just through campaign contributions.

  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:21AM (#35277354) Homepage Journal

    I always figured he was on the take and owned by the banking industry. So is he on loan to the motion picture industry, or are they the actual owners of record? Or perhaps a time-sharing sort of deal?

  • You don't get to lead one of the largest organized bullying organizations ever to exist by being a nice guy. What's his history as a senator? Is he loudly outspoken against teh evuls of piracy? Did the MPAA cut him a big campaign contributions check?

    Yeah, the bit about stalling a bill that retroactively gives the OK on ISPs who warrantlessly wiretap is good, but we can't go off of just that. There is always a catch with these sorts of appointments, so let's have the dirt, please.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Walzmyn ( 913748 )

      He was one of the ones that created the rules leading to the collapse of the housing market. THEN he came in and began making the rules to FIX the housing market, blaming the problem on someone else.
      I say he's a perfect fit at the MPAA.

      • I didn't know he created the deregulation of the derivatives market for mortgage securities (which is what cause the collapse - otherwise it was just an annoying bubble). Or are you simply trolling that he supported the gov't sponsorship of mortgages?

        • he was the main advocate of Fannie and Freddie in Congress (number one recipient in Congress of campaign funds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and to the end he claimed that everything is peachy and downplayed the problems. It's really hard to find someone more corrupt.
          You may know or not know but FM&FM was one of biggest enablers of the bubble.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        Yea it must be hard to recurit qualified employees for them. Few people are capable of the congnative disonence required to produce their propoganda.

  • Government --> lucrative private lobbying position --> contacts in government

    • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:46AM (#35277464)
      You're just jealous because *you* can't afford to buy your very own government officials.
      • I was a private ("Public") school, old money, old boys' club cunt. In England, that's pretty much necessary and sufficient.

        But I hated it and have told pretty much everyone I've known over the years in that environment to go fuck themselves, implicitly or explicitly. So I guess I'm in the same boat as everyone else now. I feel human for it, though. I sometimes lie awake at night wondering whether that counts for anything, but the fact that I'm still alive suggests that some part of me must think it does.

      • Of course I'm jealous.

        It means that my vote as an american citizen is completely worthless.

  • I voted for Kodos
  • I'm shocked. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:45AM (#35277456)

    By and by, Chris Dodd was a pretty good Senator. He was good friends with Ted Kennedy but worked with both sides of the aisle. His stands on technology [ontheissues.org] generally opposed mega-conglomerations and proposed net nuetrality legislation. In other words, from what I know about the guy, I'd say he's a friend of "our side".

    What he's doing heading the MPAA, I have no idea. Then again, Jack Valenti worked in the Johnson administration. He established the completely asinine ratings system and fought to make video recording at home illegal. I think Dodd is way more clueful than Valenti was-- although at least Valenti was able to keep the government out of censoring films, which it was threatening to do at the time...

    • As someone who knows nothing about this guy what's the say he doesn't tell the public one thing while acting another way out of sight?

  • COICA should really be called the Combating Legal, Open Access for Corporate Aggrandizement... or... CLOACA. A perfect fit for Dodd, well-known corporate-whore.
    • that all elected positions in Washington required Corporate sponsorship.

      Dodd is just as rotten as the rest but what most people overlook is that even some saintly looking ones get plum jobs for their spouses which tends to influence regulations just as much if not more so.

  • Feel the love (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bbbaldie ( 935205 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:16AM (#35277616) Homepage
    "Interim CEO and president Bob Pisano says the organization's unwavering focus on its top priority will remain: increasing the federal government's efforts to stop online film piracy"

    Makes me feel good about getting a flick for a buck at red Box and doing a quickie rip. I didn't used to be this way, I thought five bucks for an older DVD was a good buy, but add the general assholeishness of the MPAA as stated above to that inane FBI warning I have to sit through before the movie starts (anyone else find it ironic that, in the very opposite paradigm of shareware, you get nagged if you pay for it?), and I'm a renter-and-ripper now.

    Sure nice to watch mp4's on my phone sans that dumbass warning...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "that inane FBI warning I have to sit through before the movie starts"

      This was the first thing that *really* turned me on to HandBrake -- I rent a dvd from netflix and I have no choice over which portions of the disk will be played for me? Really?? There must be another option... Oh, look, shiny happy freedom-of-speech software! Take that, corporate-government directorate!

      Sure i like previews, but I hate that someone somewhere thought they could *force* me to watch them. You know when the disk has a smudg

    • They must have cut out the part of the quote where it says MPAA companies will also let their taxes go up to pay for protecting their IP.

      I mean I'm sure he said it. The writer forgot to include it is all. Right?

  • They're interchangeable nowadays.

  • the way he and Bawney Fwank ran Fanny Mae & Freddy Mac then the movie pirates wont have anything to worry about. the MPAA will be bankrupt or get a government bailout soon,
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @07:44AM (#35278060)

    http://www.judicialwatch.org/news/2009/dec/judicial-watch-announces-list-washington-s-ten-most-wanted-corrupt-politicians-2009

    Contact Information:
    Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

    Washington, DC

    Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2009 list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

          1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 "Ten Most Corrupt" list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch's complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head the Senate Banking Committee.

          2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. The year's worst offender might just be Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: "The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide" The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign's office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.

          3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Judicial Watch is investigating a $12 million TARP cash injection provided to the Boston-based OneUnited Bank at the urging of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. As reported in the January 22, 2009, edition of the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department indicated it would only provide funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. Not only was OneUnited Bank in massive financial turmoil, but it was also "under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives' use." Rep. Frank admitted he spoke to a "federal regulator," and Treasury granted the funds. (The bank continues to flounder despite Frank's intervention for federal dollars.) Moreover, Judicial Watch uncovered documents in 2009 that showed that members of Congress for years were aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were playing fast and loose with accounting issues, risk assessment issues and executive compensation issues, even as liberals led by Rep. Frank continued to block attempts to rein in the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). For example, during a hearing on September 10, 2003, before the House Committee on Financial Services considering a Bush administration proposal to further regulate Fannie and Freddie, Rep. Frank stated: "I want to begin by saying that I am glad to consider the legislation, but I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis. We have recently had an accounting problem with Freddie Mac that has led to people being dismissed, as appears to be appropriate. I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury." Frank received $42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. Frank also engaged in a relationship with a Fannie Mae Executive while serving on the House Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

          4. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner: In 2009, Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted that he failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes from 2001-2004 on his lucrative salary at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization with 185 member countries that oversees the global financial system. (Did we mention Geithner now runs the IRS?) It wasn't until President Obama tapped Geithner to head the Treasury Department that he paid back most of the money, although the IRS kindly waived the hefty penalties. In March 2009, Geithner also came under fire for his handling of the AIG bonus scandal, where the company used $165 million of its bailout funds to pay out executive bonuses, resulting in a massive public backlash. Of course as head of the New York Federal Reserve, Geithner helped craft the AIG deal in September 2008. However, when the AIG scandal broke, Geithner claimed he knew nothing of the bonuses until March 10, 2009. The timing is important. According to CNN: "Although Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he learned of AIG's impending $160 million bonus payments to members of its troubled financial-products unit on March 10, sources tell TIME that the New York Federal Reserve informed Treasury staff that the payments were imminent on Feb. 28. That is ten days before Treasury staffers say they first learned 'full details' of the bonus plan, and three days before the [Obama] Administration launched a new $30 billion infusion of cash for AIG." Throw in another embarrassing disclosure in 2009 that Geithner employed "household help" ineligible to work in the United States, and it becomes clear why the Treasury Secretary has earned a spot on the "Ten Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington" list.

          5. Attorney General Eric Holder: Tim Geithner can be sure he won't be hounded about his tax-dodging by his colleague Eric Holder, US Attorney General. Judicial Watch strongly opposed Holder because of his terrible ethics record, which includes: obstructing an FBI investigation of the theft of nuclear secrets from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory; rejecting multiple requests for an independent counsel to investigate alleged fundraising abuses by then-Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton White House; undermining the criminal investigation of President Clinton by Kenneth Starr in the midst of the Lewinsky investigation; and planning the violent raid to seize then-six-year-old Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint in order to return him to Castro's Cuba. Moreover, there is his soft record on terrorism. Holder bypassed Justice Department procedures to push through Bill Clinton's scandalous presidential pardons and commutations, including for 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that orchestrated approximately 120 bombings in the United States, killing at least six people and permanently maiming dozens of others, including law enforcement officers. His record in the current administration is no better. As he did during the Clinton administration, Holder continues to ignore serious incidents of corruption that could impact his political bosses at the White House. For example, Holder has refused to investigate charges that the Obama political machine traded VIP access to the White House in exchange for campaign contributions – a scheme eerily similar to one hatched by Holder's former boss, Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The Holder Justice Department also came under fire for dropping a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. On Election Day 2008, Black Panthers dressed in paramilitary garb threatened voters as they approached polling stations. Holder has also failed to initiate a comprehensive Justice investigation of the notorious organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which is closely tied to President Obama. There were allegedly more than 400,000 fraudulent ACORN voter registrations in the 2008 campaign. And then there were the journalist videos catching ACORN Housing workers advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, and child prostitution laws. Holder's controversial decisions on new rights for terrorists and his attacks on previous efforts to combat terrorism remind many of the fact that his former law firm has provided and continues to provide pro bono representation to terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Holder's politicization of the Justice Department makes one long for the days of Alberto Gonzales.

          6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL): One of the most serious scandals of 2009 involved a scheme by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to sell President Obama's then-vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Two men caught smack dab in the middle of the scandal: Senator Roland Burris, who ultimately got the job, and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, emissaries for Jesse Jackson Jr., named "Senate Candidate A" in the Blagojevich indictment, reportedly offered $1.5 million to Blagojevich during a fundraiser if he named Jackson Jr. to Obama's seat. Three days later federal authorities arrested Blagojevich. Burris, for his part, apparently lied about his contacts with Blagojevich, who was arrested in December 2008 for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. According to Reuters: "Roland Burris came under fresh scrutinyafter disclosing he tried to raise money for the disgraced former Illinois governor who named him to the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack ObamaIn the latest of those admissions, Burris said he looked into mounting a fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich -- later charged with trying to sell Obama's Senate seat -- at the same time he was expressing interest to the then-governor's aides about his desire to be appointed." Burris changed his story five times regarding his contacts with Blagojevich prior to the Illinois governor appointing him to the U.S. Senate. Three of those changing explanations came under oath.

          7. President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However, in his first year in office, the President has delivered corruption and secrecy, bringing Chicago-style political corruption to the White House. Consider just a few Obama administration "lowlights" from year one: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's scheme to sell the President's former Senate seat to the highest bidder. (Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and slumlord Valerie Jarrett, both from Chicago, are also tangled up in the Blagojevich scandal.) Moreover, the Obama administration made the startling claim that the Privacy Act does not apply to the White House. The Obama White House believes it can violate the privacy rights of American citizens without any legal consequences or accountability. President Obama boldly proclaimed that "transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," but his administration is addicted to secrecy, stonewalling far too many of Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act requests and is refusing to make public White House visitor logs as federal law requires. The Obama administration turned the National Endowment of the Arts (as well as the agency that runs the AmeriCorps program) into propaganda machines, using tax dollars to persuade "artists" to promote the Obama agenda. According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the idea emerged as a direct result of the Obama campaign and enjoyed White House approval and participation. President Obama has installed a record number of "czars" in positions of power. Too many of these individuals are leftist radicals who answer to no one but the president. And too many of the czars are not subject to Senate confirmation (which raises serious constitutional questions). Under the President's bailout schemes, the federal government continues to appropriate or control — through fiat and threats — large sectors of the private economy, prompting conservative columnist George Will to write: "The administration's central activity — the political allocation of wealth and opportunity — is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption." Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors — this is Obama's "ethics" record — and we haven't even gotten through the first year of his presidency.

          8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): At the heart of the corruption problem in Washington is a sense of entitlement. Politicians believe laws and rules (even the U.S. Constitution) apply to the rest of us but not to them. Case in point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her excessive and boorish demands for military travel. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Pentagon in 2009 that suggest Pelosi has been treating the Air Force like her own personal airline. These documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, include internal Pentagon email correspondence detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi's numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker's 11th hour cancellations and changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came under fire in April 2009, when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA's use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002, that suggests otherwise. Judicial Watch also obtained documents, including a CIA Inspector General report, which further confirmed that Congress was fully briefed on the enhanced interrogation techniques. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Nancy Pelosi has ignored serious incidents of corruption within her own party, including many of the individuals on this list. (See Rangel, Murtha, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc.)

          9. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven: Rep. John Murtha made headlines in 2009 for all the wrong reasons. The Pennsylvania congressman is under federal investigation for his corrupt relationship with the now-defunct defense lobbyist PMA Group. PMA, founded by a former Murtha associate, has been the congressman's largest campaign contributor. Since 2002, Murtha has raised $1.7 million from PMA and its clients. And what did PMA and its clients receive from Murtha in return for their generosity? Earmarks -- tens of millions of dollars in earmarks. In fact, even with all of the attention surrounding his alleged influence peddling, Murtha kept at it. Following an FBI raid of PMA's offices earlier in 2009, Murtha continued to seek congressional earmarks for PMA clients, while also hitting them up for campaign contributions. According to The Hill, in April, "Murtha reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills." When it comes to the PMA scandal, Murtha is not alone. As many as six other Members of Congress are currently under scrutiny according to The Washington Post. They include: Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA), Norm Dicks (D-WA.), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS.). Of course rather than investigate this serious scandal, according to Roll Call House Democrats circled the wagons, "cobbling together a defense to offer political cover to their rank and file." The Washington Post also reported in 2009 that Murtha's nephew received $4 million in Defense Department no-bid contracts: "Newly obtained documentsshow Robert Murtha mentioning his influential family connection as leverage in his business dealings and holding unusual power with the military."

        10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly "forget" to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding. On top of all that, Rangel recently amended his financial disclosure reports, which doubled his reported wealth. (He somehow "forgot" about $1 million in assets.) And what did he do when the House Ethics Committee started looking into all of this? He apparently resorted to making "campaign contributions" to dig his way out of trouble. According to WCBS TV, a New York CBS affiliate: "The reigning member of Congress' top tax committee is apparently 'wrangling' other politicos to get him out of his own financial and tax troubles...Since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him." Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and he knows it. That's why he felt the need to disburse campaign contributions to Ethics Committee members and other congressional colleagues.

    • by uncanny ( 954868 )
      Who wrote up this list, a republican?
    • by Bucc5062 ( 856482 ) <(bucc5062) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @09:28AM (#35278844)

      Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation,

      Somehow the words conservative and non-partisan do not go well together. I took a look at the web site and was willing to give some believe that they had no agenda, even though nine of the ten most wanted are democrats. When I saw they were representing "Joe the Plumber" they lost the credibility for non-partisan. With all the lucre flying around, it would stand to reason that more then one republican would have the same level of corruption as these top ten.

      If Judicial Watch has all this evidence then please, work to get indictments, bring these people to justice and stop wasting time on Joe the plumber. However, if all you have is innuendo, conspiracy theories, rumors, and circumstantial evidence then please Shut The Fuck Up. Accusing my neighbor of being an extraterrestrial means nothing unless I got a picture of him or her climbing into a spaceship. Barring evidence I would be considered a loon and crazy. Currently, the conservative, non-partisan education foundation looks like the crazy neighbor...prove it, in court.

      (God I am so sick of this shit. From Rush, to Glenn, to who on the left...making shit up and spewing it out makes for bad entertainment and clouds any chance to attempts to find out the real truth)

      • From Rush, to Glenn...making shit up and spewing it out makes for bad entertainment...

        One good thing is that their ratings numbers are going down as their original fan base gets old and dies off. Their shtick is too boring for long-term consumption by any but total mouth-breathers and certainly too long-winded for a modern audience. People who listen to talk radio idiots for any length of time do it only out of force of habit - if they get distracted by anyone/anything else, it's goodbye. Really, what of

  • What is the MPAA's definition of "traffic" exactly? I mean, one could argue that making available a link to a torrent of a movie is merely providing a service to those who would like to backup their movie collections. It's not the Pirate Bay or whichever site the kids are using now that's responsible for the use that people make of their service.

    There's a lot of PDF books to download and nobody's going against the libraries for providing free books that people can scan.

  • Government official accepts campaign money from corporate interests - legally sound, ethically questionable.
    Government official backs legislation favorable to corporate interests - legally sound, ethically icky.
    Government official leaves government, goes to work for corporate interests for 7+ figure salary - legally sound, ethically repugnant.
    Ex-government official offers campaign donations to new government official on behalf of corporate interests - the cycle is complete.

  • Timeline? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jank1887 ( 815982 ) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @09:35AM (#35278926)

    So, from his wikipedia page, I find out that Senator Chris Dodd was in office from January 3, 1981 – January 3, 2011. That's just over 7 weeks ago, and his successor took over the same day.

    If I go to the Office of Government Ethics website [usoge.gov], I see that they only oversee the Executive Branch, and that in the Legislative Branch, the Senate is overseen by The Senate Select Committee on Ethics [senate.gov].

    A that site, I notice a series of postings about proper behavior regarding gifts, training, and Job Negotiations, Post-employment and Influencing Hiring.

    Two documents in particular are of interest. First, we have a Feb 4 2008 Memo on Employment Negotiations and Arrangements [PDF] [senate.gov]. Second, further down the page we have a Sept 25 2007 bulletin regarding New Ethics Rules regarding Job Negotiations, Post-employment and Influencing Hiring [PDF] [senate.gov].

    In the Bulletin, it states that "If Senators want to engage in negotiations or make any arrangements for jobs involving lobbying, they must wait to do so until their successors have been elected. There are no exceptions to this rule... What about for other types of private employment that don’t involve lobbying? The same
    rule applies unless the Senator files a signed statement with the Secretary of the Senate within three days of beginning such negotiations or arrangements. This statement, which is public, must include the name of the entities involved in these job discussions and the date they began."

    Also, "For two years after leaving office, Senators cannot contact any Member, officer, or employee of the Congress on someone else’s behalf (except the United States) in order to influence their official activities."

    In the memo, it reiterates the first item, stating that official notice must be given to the secretary of the senate. Of course, there is no nice web searchable index that I found for the Secretary of the Senate [senate.gov] or the Office of Public Records [senate.gov]. Those might require FOIA requests from anyone who would care to really dig.

    • by ildon ( 413912 )

      He's been free and clear to perform his job search since Nov. 2nd of last year. It says when his replacement is "elected" not "enters office". He just can't directly lobby anyone for 2 years. But hey, if one of his old senate buddies wants to have him over for a BBQ.... that's fine and dandy.

  • The MPAA is optimistic about its legislative prospects this Congress

    Well, at least we know the politicians will not investigate the ilegal movie and music cartels and their protection rackets. You buy our crap or else.....

  • We have the best government money can buy.

  • Dog bites man. Chris Dodd continues to do evil. This is newsworthy?

  • We can only hope he manages the MPAA as well as he managed the oversight responsibilities of the Senate Banking Committee.

    That worked out so well for us all.

  • Aren't they just grand?

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"

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