Obama and Another Ethical Lapse

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Pa(b)st Prime, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Seems each day Obama appears scummier.



    BY LYNN SWEET Washington Bureau Chief
    WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Barack Obama was on the defensive Wednesday over stock purchases from companies whose investors included his political donors.

    And Obama revealed that he terminated a "quasi-blind" trust he created for the stock purchases -- called the "Freedom Trust" -- after realizing that it wasn't blind after all.

    Obama's campaign team ramped up a rapid reaction defense after a story about his portfolio hit the front page of Wednesday's New York Times and was the subject of scrutiny Monday on thestreet.com.

    Denies any connection
    The political damage potential is high because one of the firms Obama bought stock in was developing medicine to treat avian flu -- with the purchase coming as Obama started to champion more federal funding to fight the disease. Obama, who has made ethics one of his signature issues, took questions at a news conference in the Capitol called originally to tout an immigration bill. He denied any connection between his investments and legislation.
    Meanwhile, Obama's research team -- aware that every part of his life is under a microscope -- turned up unpaid parking tickets from his days as a Harvard law student. In January, an Obama representative paid $400 in fines and penalties, according to the Somerville News.

    Here's the situation:

    Investing the book windfall: "This was not a lot of money," Obama said.

    Obama had about $100,000 he wanted to invest in 2005. The money was a portion of the $1.2 million he got from a book contract. He said Wednesday he decided the $100,000 could be put into something "more high risk" and asked a friend to recommend a stock broker. That friend was donor George W. Haywood, who held what the New York Times called "major" positions in the two stocks Obama ended up owning, Skyterra and AVI BioPharma.

    Another Obama donor who invested in the same stocks -- which were characterized as "obscure" in thestreet.com story -- was Jared Abbruzzese. He was also a donor to the anti-John Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and is being investigated by the FBI in New York for public corruption. Obama declined to name the UBS broker. Net loss on the investments: $13,000.

    "I thought about going to Warren Buffett, but I decided it would be embarrassing with only $100,000 to invest to ask for his advice," Obama quipped.

    The 'quasi-blind' trust: "Now obviously the thing didn't work the way I wanted it to," Obama said.

    The Senate Ethics manual has detailed rules about blind trusts and qualified blind trusts. Obama did not want to sign on to either of those options because he did not want to wash his hands of the responsibility of investments made in his name, attorney Robert Bauer said.

    Because the off-the-shelf trusts were not satisfactory, "We tried to see if we could jigger it to make it work better," Obama said. He signed papers on May 31, 2005, for the custom trust designed to shield him from knowing how his money was invested -- but let him respond to media inquiries about potential conflicts. Obama realized his system was not working when he received some sort of shareholder letter in fall 2005.

    Katten Muchin Rosenman attorney Michael Hartz in Chicago drew up the papers for and was the trustee of the "Freedom Trust." Bauer said this particular kind of trust did not require any clearance from the Senate Ethics Committee because he did not ask to be relieved from any reporting rule. Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, said that if any kind of blind trust was created, "you should have the Ethics Committee sign off on it."

    The trust was revoked on Dec. 31, 2005. Obama put his money in cash and mutual funds.
  2. i think u missed the real news, same page of NYTimes...


    Captain America Is Dead; National Hero Since 1941

    Published: March 8, 2007
    Captain America, a Marvel Entertainment superhero, is fatally shot by a sniper in the 25th issue of his eponymous comic, which arrived in stores yesterday. The assassination ends the sentinel of liberty’s fight for right, which began in 1941.

    Steve Epting/Marvel Comics
    Captain America, while heading to court, is shot and killed.

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    Forum: Book News and Reviews
    The last episode in Captain America’s life comes after the events of “Civil War,Ea seven-issue mini-series that has affected nearly the entire line of Marvel’s library of titles. In “Civil War,Ethe government began requiring superheroes to register their services, and it outlawed vigilantism after supervillains and superheroes fought during a reality show, accidentally killing hundreds of civilians. The public likened the heroes to weapons of mass destruction that must be controlled.

    The registration act polarized the superhero community. Captain America (whose true identity was Steve Rogers) considered the legislation an erosion of civil liberties; Iron Man, on the other side, believed that training heroes as the military, firefighters or the police are trained would only benefit society. When the factions came to blows and caused more destruction, Captain America chose to fight his battle in court.

    But in the current issue of his title, Captain America takes bullets in the shoulder and stomach while on the courthouse steps. The assassin is alleged to be Sharon Carter, an intelligence agent romantically involved with Captain America. She was apparently under the control of Dr. Faustus, a supervillain. “It seemed a little radical when it was first brought up,Esaid Dan Buckley, the president and publisher of Marvel Entertainment, about the hero’s death. “But sometimes stories just take you places.E/p>

    “We as publishers and as creative people knew where the ending was going to go for a long time,Ehe said. “We knew people might not like it, but I think we delivered a compelling story that made everyone think.E/p>

  3. The Clintons must find this Obama stuff hilarious. Obama had some shady real estate deal in chicago and a couple of stock purchases. Those wouldn't even rank on the top 10 of Clinton scandals. For a Chicago guy Obama is disappointing me with his boring financial life.