Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’
NEW YORK TIMES: The 1,100 full- and part-time employees who were abruptly laid off two weeks ago aren’t the only ones whose paychecks have been affected by the sudden and dramatic failure of bankrupt solar energy company, Solyndra Inc.
Because for its brief lifespan, Solyndra proved to be pretty good for the lobbying community.
According to records filed with the Clerk of the House and a search of disclosure forms compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Solyndra spent nearly $1.9 million on lobbying activities over a period of 43 months from 2008 to 2011.
About $1 million of that was earned by the company’s two in-house lobbyists, Joseph Pasetti and Victoria Sanville, over an 18-month period from 2010 until this year. But Solyndra has also had several big-name lobbying shops on its payroll, including established powerhouses Dutko Worldwide and Holland and Knight, which began representing the then-fledgling company in 2008.
My humble opinion: Yes he will.
REUTERS: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp could face probes by U.S. authorities for possibly violating bribery laws, compounding the media mogul’s problems after a phone-hacking scandal in Britain.
The Obama administration has significantly stepped up enforcement of anti-bribery laws in the last two years, winning big settlements from the likes of Daimler AG and BAE Systems Plc by focusing on bribes they paid to foreign officials to win lucrative contracts.
Bribes for business have represented the bulk of these anti-bribery cases brought by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is unclear whether U.S. authorities would use scarce resources to probe News Corp over bribes allegedly paid to British police and other officials for information that became news scoops.
Employees of Murdoch’s now-shuttered News of the World tabloid have been accused of hacking into personal voicemail and paying bribes. British authorities are investigating.
The Internet is working fine without Obama. Does anyone think Obama will improve it with these new rules?
ASSOCIATED PRESS: The White House on Thursday is expected to unveil its proposal to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity, laying out plans to require industry to better protect systems that run critical infrastructure like the electrical grid, financial systems and nuclear power plants.
The Obama administration also is insisting that companies tell consumers when their personal information has been compromised.
According to cybersecurity experts familiar with the plan, the administration’s proposed legislation also would instruct federal agencies to more closely monitor their computer networks.
THE HILL: The Congressional Budget Office on Friday released its analysis of President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal and found it does less to rein in deficits and the debt than the administration had estimated.
CBO estimates Obama’s plan would produce 10 years of deficits totaling $9.5 trillion. By 2021, it would increase the debt held by the public to 87 percent of gross domestic product.
The administration, using different methods, estimated budget deficits would total $7.2 trillion over the next 10 years under the 2012 budget. It forecast that total debt in 2021 would be 77 percent of GDP.
The White House also said total deficits over the next decade would be $1.1 trillion more without the recommendations included in Obama’s budget.
Marc Goldwein, policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said that CBO has found the effects to be almost nil.
He explained that the difference between the CBO’s $9.5 trillion estimate and OMB’s $7.2 trillion estimate comes from two sources: rosy economic growth assumptions by OMB and offsets for the Medicare doc fix as well as transportation spending OMB did not specify in the budget and which CBO will not factor in.
POLITICO: Former President Bill Clinton said Friday that delays in offshore oil and gas drilling permits are “ridiculous” at a time when the economy is still rebuilding, according to attendees at the IHS CERAWeek conference.
Clinton spoke on a panel with former President George W. Bush that was closed to the media. Video of their moderated talk with IHS CERA Chairman Daniel Yergin was also prohibited.
LA TIMES: Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby on Wednesday blasted efforts by federal and state officials to reach a settlement with mortgage servicers over botched foreclosures as a “regulatory shakedown” by the Obama administration that goes far beyond rectifying the damage caused to homeowners.
“This proposed settlement appears to be an attempt to advance the administration’s political agenda, rather than an effort to help homeowners who were harmed by a servicer’s actual conduct,” Shelby said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the housing market.
Attorneys general from all 50 states and federal regulators are working to settle a broad investigation into problems in home foreclosures by leading mortgage servicers. Last week, officials from the states and the U.S. Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Trade Commission and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau presented the banks with 27 pages of demands for changes in mortgage servicing procedures.
The government officials also are pushing for financial penalties of $5 billion to $20 billion or more.
TURTLE BAY: The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.
But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.
Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements. U.S. officials were not available for comment, but two Security Council diplomats confirmed the proposal.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: The White House projected Monday that the federal deficit would spike to $1.65 trillion in the current fiscal year, the largest dollar amount ever, adding pressure on Democrats and Republicans to tackle growing levels of debt.
The projected deficit for 2011 is fueled in part by a tax-cut extension that President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers brokered in December, two senior administration officials said. It would equal 10.9% of gross domestic product, the largest deficit as a share of the economy since World War II.
The new estimate is part of Mr. Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2012, which becomes public Monday morning.
Mr. Obama is proposing $3.73 trillion in government spending in the next fiscal year, part of a plan that includes budget cuts and tax increases that administration officials believe will sharply bring down the federal deficit over 10 years.
ASSOCIATED PRESS: President Barack Obama’s response to the crisis in Egypt is drawing fierce criticism in Israel, where many view the U.S. leader as a political naif whose pressure on a stalwart ally to hand over power is liable to backfire.
Critics – including senior Israeli officials who have shied from saying so publicly – say Obama is repeating the same mistakes of predecessors whose calls for human rights and democracy in the Middle East have often backfired by bringing anti-West regimes to power.
Israeli officials, while refraining from open criticism of Obama, have made no secret of their view that shunning Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and pushing for swift elections in Egypt could bring unintended results.
“I don’t think the Americans understand yet the disaster they have pushed the Middle East into,” said lawmaker Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who until recently was a Cabinet minister and who is a longtime friend of Mubarak.