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If you read one thing today . . .
The wining and dining that lobbyists imparted on lawmakers hardly surprise Washington insiders. But when a glimpse of the influence infiltrated outside the Beltway during the trial of former House majority leader Tom DeLay, Texas jurors didn’t like what they saw. They learned of DeLay’s flights on corporate jets, meetings at resorts and a flood of corporate cash fluffing his campaign coffers. In the end, they convicted him on felony charges of conspiracy and money-laundering. What does this mean on a larger scale?
“We tried to present the context,” Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis, Texas, district attorney who oversaw the prosecution, told The Washington Post. This included DeLay’s role in founding the PAC and its solicitations of corporations, as well as the political rewards that he reaped. She said, however, that while it’s true “citizens are tired of the large amounts of money and particularly corporate money that are being put into the political arena,” the jury’s judgment was based on evidence that such funds were sent to Washington and then brought back to Texas in a deliberate effort to evade the state’s absolute prohibition on their use in elections.
Wikileaks again topped headlines this week when the group released a host of cables revealing insights into American diplomacy. What’s on tap next for the controversial nonprofit media organization? Rumor has it, Bank of America is on deck to be Wikileaks’ next target. Although BofA refutes the whispers, that didn’t stop its shares from tumbling 3 percent yesterday. As financial blogger Barry Ritholtz put it,
Here is the sad reality: Can you really embarrass any of these banks? They were incompetently run, with criminally inept risk management. They blew themselves up, and exist today only due to the largesse of the taxpayer. They gratefully took all they could grab and more.
What else can you release to embarrass them?