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Entries in Scandal (9)

Sunday
Jun022013

Rep. Issa Says Washington Directed IRS Targetting Out of Cincinnati

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The IRS agents in Cincinnati who were involved in the targeting of conservative groups were “being directly ordered from Washington,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said on Sunday, as he accused the White House of lying about the involvement of IRS headquarters officials in the scandal, calling White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar.”

“The administration is still — their paid liar, their spokesperson, picture behind — he’s still making up things about what happens and calling this local rogue,” Issa said on CNN’s State of the Union. “The reason that Lois Lerner tried to take the Fifth [Amendment when called to testify before Congress] is not because there’s a rogue in Cincinnati, it’s because this is a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters and we’re getting to proving it."

“The administration is still trying to say there’s a few rogue agents in Cincinnati, when in fact the indication is they were directly being ordered from Washington,” he said.

Investigators from two House committees — Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means — are questioning IRS workers from the Cincinnati office, and Issa said these interviews provide evidence that the orders stemmed from Washington.

“My gut tells me that too many people knew that this wrongdoing was going on before the election, and at least by some sort of convenient benign neglect allowed it to go on through the election, allowed these groups, these conservative groups, these, if you will, not friends of the president to be disenfranchised through an election,” he said. “Now, I’m not making any allegations as to motive, that they set out to do it. But certainly, people knew it was happening.”

Congress is scheduled to hold a series of hearings this week on the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. On Monday, J. Russell George, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General, and IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel are expected to testify before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the progress the IRS is making in addressing the controversial practices that came to light last month. Representatives of conservative organizations that were targeted by the IRS are scheduled to appear Tuesday before the House Ways and Means committee.

On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee, which Issa chairs, has a hearing scheduled for questioning about excessive spending at IRS conferences. The hearing comes nearly a week after the release of a video showing IRS officials line dancing to the “Cupid Shuffle” at a 2010 agency conference in California.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep212012

White House Denies IG’s Suggestion Advance Team Volunteer Was Involved in Colombia Scandal

USSS(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Friday rejected an inspector general’s suggestion that a White House Advance Staff volunteer may have been involved in the U.S. Secret Service scandal involving Colombian prostitutes.

In a letter to Congress, Charles Edwards, the Acting Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, noted that while the scope of his “investigation was limited to the conduct of the DHS personnel in Cartagena, we did find a hotel registry that suggests that two non-USSS personnel may have had contact with foreign nationals.” Since the two instances were outside his area of inquiry, Edwards “did not conduct any additional investigation into this finding and has made no determination related to these individuals because they are not DHS personnel.”

One “of these employees is a Department of Defense employee affiliated with the White House Communication Agency,” Edwards said, “and the other, whose employment status was not verified, may have been affiliated with the White House advance operation.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz responded, saying, “As we’ve said for months, the White House review concluded that no members of the White House advance team, either staff or volunteers, engaged in inappropriate conduct during the President’s trip to Colombia.”

A senior administration official pointed out that the U.S. Secret Service noted that one of its agents had been falsely accused in the scandal because, according to a letter from Secret Service director Mark Sullivan to Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., in May, a Pentagon “employee admitted to writing a USSS room number on the registration card when he brought his female guest into the El Caribe Hotel.”

The Obama administration suggests that an internal White House investigation concluded that the same happened to this other individual -- a civilian volunteer with the White House Advance Team.

“Based on an inaccurate hotel records, at least two people were wrongly implicated in Colombia -- one of which was Secret Service personnel, as Director Sullivan has made clear, and the other was a White House volunteer for the advance team,” the senior administration official noted. “In the White House review, we found no other corroborating materials, and concluded that the hotel record was erroneous and that the volunteer did not engage in any inappropriate behavior.”

The White House would not name the individual in question.

The April scandal -- which came to light because one of the Secret Service agents refused to pay his bill -- resulted in eight agents losing their jobs and another losing his security clearance. More than 10 members of the U.S. military were punished for their participation in the scandal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec062011

NJ Mayor Resigns Amid Male Prostitution Scandal

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MEDFORD, N.J.) -- The mayor of Medford, N.J., Chris Myers, has resigned following months of allegations that the married father had hired a male prostitute while on a trip to California in October 2010.

The scandal began when the apparently disgruntled prostitute posted a picture of a man that looked like Republican Mayor Chris Myers lying on a bed, wearing only blue Calvin Klein briefs.  The man who claimed to be the male escort alleged that Myers, 46, had paid him $500 for the encounter, but did not fulfill promises he made to give the man gifts and a car.

The website created by the alleged male prostitute was taken down at the end of October, but a screen shot of the site shows the original post titled, “NJ Medford Mayor Christopher Myers Hired Me From Rentboy.com…All I Got Were Lies & Broken Promises!!!”

In an interview with New Jersey’s Courier-Post in October, Myers refused to comment on the claims but did not deny them. But at a council meeting in November, he denied the allegations and called the Internet “a murky, anonymous place.”

Neither Myers nor other members of the Medford Township Council responded to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Myers resigned Monday through a letter to the town’s clerk and manager, posted in full on ABC News’ Philadelphia affiliate WPVI. Medford Township is about 20 miles east of Philadelphia.

“At this time, I feel it’s time to pass the baton, and allow others to take the reins and lead our town forward,” he wrote. “My work commitments will not allow me to devote the time that is needed in the months ahead. That is why, today, I am resigning from the Medford Township Council, effective immediately.”

Medford Councilman Bob Martin was selected to assume the vacant mayor’s seat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun182011

Worse Than Weiner? Some Delinquent Lawmakers Kept Their Jobs

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following his admission to engaging in inappropriate electronic relationships with several women, Anthony Weiner announced Thursday that he would be resigning from office.

While Weiner’s actions cost him his job, there were some politicians in the past who found themselves in hot water and managed to keep their jobs while not having to deal with calls to resign.

When Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana was indicted on 16 federal counts in 2007, neither then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi nor Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ever explicitly called on him to step down.

Jefferson, who denied wrongdoing, served out his term despite the swirling allegations and intensive ethics investigations, and was only later tried, found guilty and sentenced to prison.

Pelosi and other party leaders also avoided public calls for the resignation of Rep. Jim Traficant of Ohio before he was expelled from Congress in 2002 after a felony conviction, or of Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who was found guilty of 11 violations of House ethics rules and formally censured late last year.

Few political historians could recall when a sitting U.S. president so directly suggested that a member of Congress step down, as President Obama did regarding Weiner.

"Usually, presidents stay out of this stuff because it's just tradition for Congress to decide its own matters," said Princeton University political historian Julian Zelizer.

"The irony of the Weiner situation is that there have been scandals when the leadership has been much more quiet in both parties," he added.

Prominent Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who had also called on Weiner to resign, have declined to make similar pronouncements following alleged transgressions of their conservative peers.

Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, who admitted ties to the so-called D.C. Madam prostitution ring and later apologized, may have actually committed a crime of soliciting a prostitute. But he remains in office.

During the months-long investigation into Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., and his alleged cover up of a sex scandal with the wife of his former top aide, there were similarly no prominent public calls for him to resign.

The Senate Ethics Committee eventually concluded that Ensign made false statements to the Federal Election Commission and violated campaign finance laws and referred the case to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges. Ensign abruptly resigned just before the findings were released

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun172011

Anthony Weiner Spotted Singing, Shopping with Pregnant Wife

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hours after Rep. Anthony Weiner announced his resignation from the House, he was spotted grocery shopping in Long Island with his pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, according to the New York Post.

Another shopper told the Post that while Weiner "sang quietly along to a '50s doo-wop song blaring from the store's speakers," and despite the shocking event in her life, Abedlin "was all smiles. She didn't look upset or anything."

Weiner resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday amid a growing sexting scandal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun122011

More Photos of Weiner Pop Up

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The scandal involving Rep. Anthony Weiner continues to grab headlines, with new photos of the congressman surfacing on the internet on Sunday.

The latest set of photos was posted on the website TMZ.com and shows Weiner in a series of snapshots that were reportedly taken while he was at a gym. In the photos, taken by Weiner using a Blackberry device and a mirror, the congressman appears partially-nude in some shots and dressed in more clothing in others.

On Saturday a spokesperson said Weiner will seek professional treatment to “to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person” and would be requesting a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives as part of the process.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi along with other party leaders are calling for Weiner to resign.

Weiner has admitted to engaging in inappropriate electronic relationships with several women over a three-year period.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun112011

Authorities Investigating Messages Between Weiner and Teen

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There was nothing salacious or inappropriate in the tweets that Rep. Anthony Weiner exchanged with a 17-year-old Delaware girl, according to her family's lawyer, and police said the girl told them nothing about any criminal activity.

Police in New Castle, Del., began investigating Weiner's online communication with the girl after he admitted earlier in the week that he sent lewd photos of himself to several women via social media.

Authorities visited the high school student's home Friday to talk to her mother and request access to the girl's phone and computer.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Saturday that Philadelphia lawyer Daniel P. McElhatton, who represents the girl's family, issued a statement saying: "The 'Tweets' in question between the student in question and the Congressman were not salacious or in any manner inappropriate. No photographers were ever sent to her or from her."

New Castle police say their investigation thus far has turned up no wrongdoing on Weiner's part. The girl's mother also told the New York Post there was nothing obscene in the two communications Weiner sent her daughter.

The girl, whose identity has been confirmed by ABC News but is being withheld due to her age, has commented publicly on Twitter that she had been in direct contact with the congressman.

Through a spokesperson, Weiner admitted he exchanged messages with the girl but added "his communications with this person were neither explicit nor indecent."

The contact between Weiner and the teen reportedly started in April after her class took a trip to Washington D.C. and saw him speak.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun042011

Experts Weigh in on Politicians' Approach to Damage Control

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The recent brouhahas over New York Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter picture and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's helicopter ride have underscored the do's and don'ts of personal crisis management for the nation's leading political figures.

Experts say Weiner could have taken a page from Christie's playbook on how to keep potentially damaging publicity contained.

"The contemporary approach in crisis management is to get it all out, essentially an information dump, plead insanity and say, 'I was stupid.' Then just wait for it to go away," said Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University communications professor who advises politicians on crisis situations.

"The other school of thought is to not do anything, don't give anyone any information, hard ball it, stonewall it. Weiner obviously split the difference, and talked and talked and talked but didn't answer anything," Berhovitz said. "Basically, his strategy was the worst of both worlds."

Weiner's sarcasm and hard-charging personality, which have helped to make him a popular figure, may have compounded what several public relations specialists called his poor handling of the situation.

"He's so used to his sarcasm and wit going over well with his Twitter followers, but what he doesn't understand is that sarcasm doesn't play well on camera with the media, and he can't control it," said Patti Wood, a media coach and author of Success Signals: Understanding Body Signals.

Wood said Gov. Christie offered a swift and resolute response to his controversy when he spoke from behind a podium at his office Thursday, a move which helped stem a burgeoning public and media frenzy.

"He took the mantle of his office -- all the officialdom and the pageantry and symbolism of his office -- and he kept referencing his importance," Wood said after reviewing footage of the governor's press conference. "People commonly use their power of office to get out of a sticky situation. I think that did work well for him."

Christie directly and immediately responded to criticism of his use of the state helicopter and pledged to reimburse the state for the flight. Both steps helped temper negative response to the situation, Wood said, noting also that Christie's body language was also strong and symmetrical.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec072010

Sanford Says Affair Helped Him Govern

Photo Courtesy - Governor [dot] SC [dot] gov(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – As South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford prepares to leave office next month, he came to a somewhat startling conclusion on how his much-publicized affair affected his ability to lead.

“A lot of people at times would push against certain things based on their fear that my political star was climbing,” Sanford told Columbia, S.C., television station WIS.

After the scandal, however, Stanford said opposition no longer viewed him as a rising threat, which he believes allowed him an easier passage to get legislation through. 

“I was less the issue, and the issue was more the issue.”

In June 2009, Sanford abruptly disappeared from his post for a five-day period during which, he later admitted, he had an affair with a woman in Argentina. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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