For a man who cherishes his privacy, the attention Jeffry Picower received on Thursday must have made him wince. On the same day that Forbes revealed he had earned a coveted spot in the magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, a new court filing added $2.1 billion to the $5.1 billion he is alleged to have earned from his participation in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
When it comes to golf, Sen. Saxby Chambliss has champagne taste. In California, he’s putted with his back to the thundering surf near the 7th hole at Pebble Beach, where a round of golf costs $495. In Florida, he’s driven the ball down the fairways of the Boca Raton Resort, with its signature island green on the 18th hole and its Waldorf Astoria interior. These are among the dozen premiere resorts where Chambliss played golf in 2007 and 2008 at a cost of a quarter-million dollars. Chambliss paid those golf expenses from a political fund, supported almost exclusively by lobbyists, political action committees (PACs) and corporate leaders.
By JENNIFER LaFLEUR/ProPublica
Hillcrest Rural Schools in north-central Kansas is set to get nearly $7,000 in federal stimulus money to help its disadvantaged students. Only one glitch: The district doesn’t exist anymore. It closed in 2006 when it was merged into another nearby district.
New York state put hundreds of dollars in federal stimulus money into food stamp accounts, causing a literal run on the bank last month. Families of about 800,000 low-income children qualified for the one-time payments — $200 per child for back-to-school supplies and clothes. Critics said the state bungled it by attaching no strings to how the money could be spent. But equally problematic, 23 states haven’t applied for these stimulus dollars yet, many because they can’t afford to appropriate the 20 percent matching funds that are required.
By PAUL KIEL, ProPublica
Among the crowd of government agencies that have rushed to aid the economy, the Federal Housing Administration often gets overlooked. And yet, along with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the FHA has played a huge role in preventing a complete housing collapse. All together, those three currently buy or guarantee more than 90 percent of mortgages. But the FHA is facing mounting losses and, The Wall Street Journal reports, it may soon be forced to notify Congress that its reserves have slipped below the mandated level. What will happen at that point, nobody seems to know.
By PAUL KIEL, ProPublica
Starting with this post, we’ll be updating you every month on the status of the taxpayer-funded bailouts we track in our database — namely the TARP and government rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Recent reports by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have drawn attention to the billions in revenue that the Treasury Department has collected from companies early in returning their TARP investments. While those returns have been encouraging, there’s no question that the taxpayer remains deep in the red.
about this page
Some criminals have their photos and crimes plastered all over the Internet, so people know who they are and what they did. Not politicians -- until now. The Crooked Politician Registry is an archive of info on public servants who crossed the line.
do it yourself corruption investigation
Most public corruption cases in Georgia are prosecuted in federal court. The U.S. attorney for North Georgia, including metro Atlanta, has an excellent Web site with archived news releases on prominent cases.
Federal court files may be searched online for a nominal fee through PACER. (The first $10 a year of searches are free.)
With the right keywords, online search engines will also turn up news releases or court rulings on a particular case at no cost.