Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Bad Guys Again

The bad guys always like to get close to politicians and regulators so that regs are drafted in a way that benefit them. The latest example, Robert Allen Stanford, who the SEC has charged with an $8 billion scam.

NYT reports:

Mr. Stanford and his firm have emerged as recent contributors to various American lawmakers, focusing particularly on legislators considering bills that could change offshore banking rules. In 2008, he made $3,300 in political contributions to Representative Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has presided over legislation easing tax policies for the Virgin Islands as head of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The current S.E.C. charges stem from an inquiry opened in October 2006 after a routine exam of Stanford Group, according to Stephen J. Korotash, an associate regional director of enforcement with the agency’s Fort Worth office.

He said the S.E.C. “stood down” on its investigation at the time at the request of another federal agency, which he declined to name, but resumed the inquiry in December 2008.

Bloomberg writes:

He used his aircraft to build relationships with politicians, sponsoring trips for members of Congress to the Caribbean to talk about economic development through a nonprofit group called the Inter-American Economic Council, according to congressional disclosures and the organization’s Web site.


In a 2006 trip, four Democratic congressmen flew in a Stanford jets to Jamaica’s Montego Bay to stay in a Ritz-Carlton hotel for meetings with Jamaican leaders, the disclosures showed.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s committees paid for flights on Stanford’s jets at least 16 times from 2003 through 2006, according to DeLay’s financial disclosures.

Stanford has donated $16,200 to politicians and political action committees since 2000, according to Federal Election Commission records. He gave $4,200 to DeLay, a Texas Republican, and $3,000 to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat.

DeLay’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said he could not immediately reach the former congressman for comment. Dodd spokeswoman Kate Szostak didn’t immediately respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment.

Rangel Donations

Stanford also donated $2,300 to House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel in 2008, and a total of $10,800 over five years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics and a Rangel spokesman.

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