Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the IRS on Wednesday alleging that Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform violated federal tax law.
“It appears ATR and Mr. Norquist declared less than half of the political activity it conducted in 2010 on its tax return,” the complaint said. “Therefore, the IRS should investigate ATR and Mr. Norquist and, should it find they violated federal law, take appropriate action, including but not limited to referring this matter to the Department of Justice for prosecution.”
CREW found that ATR spent more than $4.2 million on ads in 2010, which urged people to vote against a number of Democratic representatives. The independent expenditures were reported to the Federal Election Commission. But on its tax return, ATR claimed it spent only $1.85 million on political activities. Continue Reading »
Let’s hope that other companies will stop making excuses and work to catch up:
In a new video, Intel took a significant step beyond the commitments of other electronics companies by publicly stating its intent “to manufacture the world’s first verified, conflict-free microprocessor by 2013.” No other company from the electronics, jewelry, or automotive sectors have made a similar commitment, so this goal represents a serious step forward.
The video, released by Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich, is part of Intel’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, which is “intended to inspire employees and set a challenging target” for the company. “At the beginning of the project we considered banning all material from the country, but we quickly came to the conclusion that that wasn’t the right thing to do,” said Intel’s Jerry Meyers, in the video:
What we found when we were over there [in Congo] is that there’s really only two major industries: it’s farming, and it’s mining. So, if we were to ban materials from that country, we would be depriving the local people of one of two of their main sources of livelihood, and we wanted to avoid that at all cost. But we did want to ensure that we had a good conflict-free source of all minerals.
Instead of pulling its business out of Congo, Intel has decided to begin a ‘bagging and tagging’ system, in which bags of minerals from certified conflict-free mines are tagged, making it easy for companies to trace them and assure that the minerals they receive are clean. Of course, this system is not yet perfect. Meyers explains how, during Intel’s pilot run of the program, they discovered that someone had acquired a number of tags and was selling them illicitly, undermining their entire purpose and function. However, Intel was able to detect and halt this activity within a week.
By taking such determined steps towards creating a conflict-free product, Intel has essentially thwarted other companies who claim that implementing such traceability measures for their products is not feasible. Although manufacturing Intel’s microprocessors mainly requires tracing and auditing tantalum, and not the three other conflict minerals (tin, tungsten and gold), their projected timeframe for releasing a conflict-free product by next year clearly indicates the possibility for other companies to make similar strides with any or all of the minerals in question.
Did you hear about this thing called the military-industrial complex, a deep-seated alliance between the U.S. government and American corporations that makes sure we are almost always involved in wars, declared or undeclared? Dwight Eisenhower identified it in 1961, and this week CNN caught on. More here.
The HUD Inspector General report appended to the mortgage foreclosure fraud settlement filed Monday shows that yes, managers were actively directing fraud. What you may not know? The robosigning continues:
Managers at major banks ignored widespread errors in the foreclosure process, in some cases instructing employees to adopt make-believe titles and speed documents through the system despite internal objections, according to a wide-ranging review by federal investigators.
The banks have largely focused the blame for mistakes on low-level employees, attributing many of the problems to the surge in the volume of foreclosures after the housing market collapsed and the economy weakened in 2008.
But the report concludes that managers were aware of the problems and did nothing to correct them. The shortcuts were directed by managers in some cases, according to the report, which is by the inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development […]
“I believe the reports we just released will leave the reader asking one question — how could so many people have participated in this misconduct?” David Montoya, the inspector general of the housing department, said in a statement. “The answer — simple greed.”
by Odd Man Out
Pull yourself together, David Cameron! Don’t you know those hot-tempered redheads — Daily Beast called Rebekah Brooks the “flame-haired Murdoch favorite” — are nothing but trouble? I thought you were a stalwart advocate of austerity… or did you merely mean austerity for the poor? More here.