By Jamie Reno, International Business Times
The skyline of New York’s Lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center.
Since terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, victims’ loved ones, injured survivors, and members of the media have all tried without much success to discover the true nature of the relationship between the 19 hijackers – 15 of them Saudi nationals – and the Saudi Arabian government. Many news organizations reported that some of the terrorists were linked to the Saudi royals and that they even may have received financial support from them as well as from several mysterious, moneyed Saudi men living in San Diego.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any connection, and neither President George W. Bush nor President Obama has been forthcoming on this issue. (more…)
By Reity O’Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young, Center for Public Integrity
Last December, the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by a couple who had accused financial giant Wells Fargo & Co. of predatory lending.
One justice, who owned stock in the bank, recused himself from the case. But Justice Kathryn Werdegar, who owned as much as $1 million of Wells Fargo stock, participated — and shouldn’t have. (more…)
By Michael Hudson, Center for Public Integrity
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom talk in the Oval Office before their meeting in March 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In June 2000, international groups rolled out blacklists targeting offshore refuges that shelter tax dodging and money laundering. Some observers predicted “the death of tax havens.”
By 2002 the campaign had, as one tax analyst put it, “dissolved into a series of toothless pronouncements.”
In 2009, offshore centers faced new attacks as the United States pursued an investigation of Swiss banks and nations hit by economic crisis sought to boost tax revenues. “Tax havens and bank secrecy are finished,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared. (more…)
By Michael Beckel, Center for Public Integrity
Billionaire David Koch speaks at a 2013 Americans for Prosperity Foundation event.
Americans for Prosperity — the main political arm of billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch — spent a staggering $122 million last year as it unsuccessfully attempted to defeat President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of documents filed in Colorado. (more…)
By Charles Ornstein, ProPublica
San Francisco architect Lee Hammack says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are “cradle Democrats.” They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.
Since 1995, Hammack and Brothers have received their health coverage from Kaiser Permanente, where Brothers worked until 2009 as a dietician and diabetes educator. “We’ve both been in very good health all of our lives – exercise, don’t smoke, drink lightly, healthy weight, no health issues, and so on,” Hammack told me. (more…)
By Lilly Fowler, FairWarning
Leading consumer and media organizations asked a federal appeals court today to unseal dozens of documents related to a closely watched product safety and business confidentiality dispute cloaked in extraordinary secrecy.
In a brief submitted to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., the consumer groups said there was no significant reason for the judicial secrecy in the case. (more…)
By Michael Beckel, Center for Public Integrity
Mark Gilbert, right, and wife Nancy flank former Pinecrest School head Robert Goldberg
President Barack Obama has named two more of his top campaign fundraisers for plumb diplomatic posts, nominating Boca Raton’s Mark Gilbert to be U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Rob Barber to the same position in Iceland.
With the choices, Obama continues his aggressive push to elevate major bundlers and loyalists to top diplomatic jobs. (more…)
By Nicholas Kusnetz, Center for Public Integrity
Governor Jan Brewer and Jerry Colangelo cut the ribbon at an Arizona Commerce Authority event in 2012.
The offices of the Arizona Commerce Authority are housed in downtown Phoenix at the Freeport-McMoRan Center, the gleaming glass headquarters of an international mining firm of the same name.
The authority, which oversees state corporate tax incentives and grants worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is not quite a public agency, as its location two miles east of the state government complex suggests. It’s led by a board of directors run by the governor and Jerry Colangelo, who, after four decades as an Arizona sports and real estate mogul, is a local icon. (more…)
By Cora Currier, ProPublica
Black Hawk helicopters are among the items that may now be subject to fewer export restrictions. Photo: Flickr
The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.
Starting Tuesday, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries. (more…)
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