Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Democrat Culture of Corruption: Gregory Meeks Edition

This one's got it all. Apparently corrupt Democrats, Hugo Chavez, Ponzi-schemer Allen Stanford, freebie luxury vacations, you name it.

Ah, the most ethical Congress ever!
Gregory Meeks, the U.S. Representative for much of Queens, has been accused by the Miami Herald of being a pawn in alleged Ponzi-schemer R. Allen Stanford's efforts to undermine a whistle-blower. It's been known for months that Meeks accepted donations, travel, and lodging from Stanford and his nonprofit Inter-American Economic Council. The latter has spent over $22,000 since 2003 on airfare, hotels, and meals for Meeks and his wife in places like Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Sometimes, the couple even flies on Stanford's private jet. But it was only this week that allegations were made by former Stanford workers that he'd asked Meeks, a friend of Hugo Chavez, to ask the Venezuelan president to punish a man named Gonzalo Tirado. In 2006, Tirado accused Stanford of stealing from his banking operations in Venezuela (of which Tirado was president) and questioned whether his whole enterprise was a fraud. According to workers, Stanford asked Meeks to pressure Chavez into opening a criminal probe of Tirado. According to former federal agents eavesdropping on the call, Meeks agreed to convey the message to Chavez. Now, though, the New York Representative has nothing to say about the story.
The Miami Herald report is dated Sunday and clearly flew under the radar. They were also unsuccessful at eliciting comment from the normally loquacious Meeks. Maybe he's off in the Caribbean hanging out with Charlie Rangel, that other New York City paragon of virtue.
Meeks did not return repeated phone calls and e-mails asking for more information about the trip.

The New York lawmaker's relationship with Stanford dates to at least 2003, when he joined other representatives on a trip funded by Stanford to Antigua. Meeks was an active member of the Caribbean Caucus, a group of lawmakers close to Stanford.

Over the next four years, Meeks took five more trips -- several with his wife to luxury resorts in the Caribbean -- paid for by a nonprofit funded by Stanford.

In 2008, he received $12,100 in contributions from Stanford and his employees.

Meredith McGeehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, said Meeks' ties to Stanford should be reviewed by the Office of Congressional Ethics, especially if the congressman interceded on behalf of a donor with the leader of a foreign country.

``It certainly raises questions about the motivation,'' she said.
Mark it down: Nothing will happen to Meeks. He's got double protection, if you know what I mean, and I know you do.

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