Wednesday, July 26, 2006

BANK BATTLE GONE BAD -- "Independence Federal Savings Bank officials created a front group to influence shareholders and secretly offered to buy out one large investor in exchange for his support in a racially tinged battle last year for control of the historically black D.C. thrift, a federal judge has concluded."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

IMPACT OF HOUSE ANTI-GAMBLING BILL -- "The question of further curbing Internet gambling has been a perennial issue in Congress in recent years. But people involved with the legislation say the reason for its success, at least in the House, is mainly explained by lawmakers wanting to distance themselves from the corruption scandal involving the convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his association with Indian casinos. Mr. Abramoff had lobbied vigorously against versions of the bill in the past. Still, some politicians in the House came out strongly against the bill, including Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who called it 'cultural authoritarianism.'"
Two former executives of a failed Southern Baptist foundation were convicted here Monday in what prosecutors said was the nation's largest fraud ever targeting members of a religious group.

William Pierre Crotts, who was president of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, and Thomas Dale Grabinski, the group's former chief legal counsel, were each convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of conducting an illegal enterprise in a scheme that lasted decades and cheated 11,000 investors across the country of about $585 million.
BUDGET WOES -- Apparently U.S. Attorney's offices are getting shorted by DOJ.

Monday, July 24, 2006

POLITICS OF CORRUPTION -- "The defeat of former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed in a Georgia primary last week has raised Democratic hopes there may be further fallout from the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal. Reed, once a rising GOP star, lost his race for lieutenant governor after being hammered in campaign ads over his ties to the "convicted felon" Abramoff. Dem strategists are now betting that an anti-Abramoff backlash may prove a factor in three to six races—a potentially significant number, since a 15-seat gain would give them control in the House."
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce Monday an effort to write guidelines detailing the kind of industry ties that are permitted for those who serve on its powerful advisory boards.

The agency is hoping the move will appease some of its critics who have complained for years that those who sit on its boards often have such deep financial ties to drug makers that their advice is tainted. Advisory boards recommend drugs for approval, and their votes can have enormous influence on drug company stock prices.
"I think you should investigate mutual funds," said a clearly nervous female voice.

The anonymous phone message, left with a staff lawyer for New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer, touched off an intense investigation of the mutual fund industry in the summer of 2003. Spitzer, the ambitious prosecutor who had just nailed Wall Street investment banks for sending out biased stock research to investors, was looking for a new target. The $7 trillion mutual fund industry, which had been largely scandal-free for decades, was ripe for exploration, especially given the fees they charge investors for handling their money.
AUDITOR JOBS CUT -- "The federal government is moving to eliminate the jobs of nearly half of the lawyers at the Internal Revenue Service who audit tax returns of some of the wealthiest Americans, specifically those who are subject to gift and estate taxes when they transfer parts of their fortunes to their children and others."
S.E.C. QUIZ MORGAN STANLEY CHIEF -- "Federal regulators will interview Morgan Stanley chief executive John J. Mack within the next two weeks as part of an investigation into possible insider trading at the prominent hedge fund Pequot Capital Management Inc., the investment bank said yesterday."