Archive for December, 2013


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Wednesday, December, 4th, 2013, 11:19 am

ALEC begins their 3 day nationwide meeting today, Wednesday the 4th. All of the big deals in the GOP will be there — including former VP candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Ted Shutdown Cruz (R-TX).

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which claims it does not lobby even though it creates model legislation that its Republican legislative members like John Boehner and Paul Ryan then implement, is concerned about being investigated by the IRS for their charitable tax status claims, according to internal documents from ALEC published by The Guardian.

The documents seen by the Guardian show that Alec is hoping to avoid legal, tax and ethical challenges by creating a separate sister organisation it calls the “Jeffersonian Project”. The new body would be categorised as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organisation, a designation that would allow Alec to be far more overt in its lobbying activities than its current charitable status as a 501(c)(3).

After losing corporate donors who expressed a need to contribute to a tax exempt organization and concern over ALEC’s status, ALEC (with its 501(c)(3) charitable status) has set up a new 501(c)(4) entity, the “Jeffersonian Project”. It will be able to lobby to its hearts content.

In the document, they list benefits of setting up the Jeffersonian Project as removing questions of ethical violations and providing further legal protection. They also clearly lay out how they will use the Jeffersonian Project to further their policy goals: “All ALEC Policy briefs can be sent out as Issue Alerts by the Jeffersonian Project, which can include legislative bill numbers and Support or Oppose positions.”

They continue proving that they are a lobbying group with this, “ALEC can again freely provide testimony on pending legislation.” “Lessens restrictions on our Public Affairs Department by allowing increased communications to the public.”

Included in the documents is a letter from their legal counsel advising that the main activities of the Jeffersonian Project must be devoted to the promotion of social welfare. They lay out that ALEC does not wish to be “perceived” as a lobbying group, and they do not wish to register as a lobbying group in any state. So for states with tougher standards, they will use the Project.


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Reuters  |  Posted: 12/04/2013 7:01 am EST  |  Updated: 12/04/2013 9:11 am EST 

Via: HuffPost

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators fined six financial institutions including Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Citigroup a record total of 1.71 billion euros ($2.3 billion) on Wednesday for rigging financial benchmarks.

The move confirms what a source familiar with the matter had previously told Reuters.

The penalty is the biggest yet to be handed down to banks for rigging the benchmarks used to determine the cost of lending, one of the most brazen violations of conduct since the financial crisis. It is also the highest antitrust penalty ever imposed by the Commission, the EU’s competition regulator.

The other banks penalized are Societe Generale, JPMorgan and brokerage RP Martin.

Deutsche Bank received the biggest fine of 725.36 million euros.

The European Commission said it would continue to investigate Credit Agricole, HSBC, JPMorgan and brokerage ICAP for similar offences.

The benchmarks involved are the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the Tokyo interbank offered rate and the euro area equivalents. They are used to price hundreds of trillions of dollars in assets ranging from mortgages to derivatives.

“What is shocking about the Libor and Euribor scandals is not only the manipulation of benchmarks, which is being tackled by financial regulators worldwide, but also the collusion between banks who are supposed to be competing with each other,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.


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California Republicans created a fake healthcare website with the specific purpose of misleading people about the Affordable Care Act.
Addington Info  Author: December 3, 2013 10:40 pm

Starting in mid-November, Republican members of the California State Assembly began sending out mailings to CA residents. The mailings, titled “Covering California, A Resource Guide,” are meant to steer people away from the state’s real healthcare exchange, pointing them instead to a fake healthcare website.
State resources were used for the flier and fake website.

The fake healthcare website appears to have been created by CA state Assembly member staff and paid for with state funds. It is nothing more than a right wing propaganda site.

The misleading flier “Covering California,” which directs people to the fake healthcare website, was also paid for by the state’s taxpayers. The flier is clearly marked with a standard mailing label, “US postage paid California State Assembly.”
The flier is meant to mislead voters about the ACA.

The mailing itself gives constituents bad information. For instance, it claims that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains “18 separate tax increases, estimated to cost taxpayers $503 billion dollars between 2010 and 2019.” The flier does not mention that the majority of new taxes will be paid by the medical and pharmaceutical industries, not the average taxpayer. It also does not mention the $5,548 tax credit that an average taxpayer will get, to help offset the cost of health insurance.

But the purpose of the mailer isn’t to educate. It is to mislead. More importantly, the flier is being used to direct people to the fake healthcare website, instead of the state’s real healthcare exchange.


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