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Easton Green
Easton Green

Minority Report Torrent

Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.

Minority Report torrent

Haley Barbour Former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Barbour led the GOP charge in mid-October 1996 that the DNC was attempting to cover up wrongdoing by refusing to release a pre-election spending report with the Federal Election Commission (which the DNC eventually did). Since then, however, he's had to play defense as allegations surfaced a think tank Barbour heads may have funneled overseas funds to GOP campaigns.

Bill Clinton When reports surfaced in February 1997 that foreign donations may have been coordinated from the Chinese Embassy, Clinton called for a "vigorous" and "thorough" investigation. Provoking a spat with the FBI, the president complained he should have been briefed about possible Chinese funding schemes. Regarding the torrent of revelation concerning Democratic fund-raising practices, Clinton conceded during a Jan. 28 news conference that "mistakes were made", though he carefully skirted any personal culpability. Soon, however, the White House admitted the president had himself erred, having approved a White House coffee guest list that included DNC officials, Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig, and several banking executives. As the most powerful Democrat in the country and the de facto leader of the party, Clinton's numerous meetings with former DNC fund-raiser John Huang, his ties to the Riady family, and the maze of Southeast Asian businesses anchored in Little Rock, Ark., are being scrutinized. Most damaging, if true, would be the finding that Clinton allowed U.S. foreign policy to be affected by Riady or other non-U.S. contributors. Clinton has vehemently denied the suggestion.

Don Fowler Former co-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Fowler appeared before reporters on Nov. 11, 1996 to defend the DNC's fund-raising practices. "Never has there been any desire, plan or intent to evade requirements of applicable laws and regulations," Fowler said. He said the DNC's "mistakes" were the result of the high volume of donations received during the election year. In February, he conceded that guests at White House coffees were routinely solicited for funds, raising some $27 million for the DNC. Fowler's successor is Colorado Gov. Roy Romer.

Mark Grobmyer -- A golf friend of the president, Grobmyer has worked for the Lippo Group and other Asian firms. On one Indonesia trip, there were reports he distributed business cards identifying himself as "White House Liaison," which he has denied.

An essential part of the mystification which allows the minority bourgeois class to dominate our lives is the "smoke and mirrors" trickery embedded in the democratic system. The myriad elections and, increasingly, referendums serve to provide a veneer of validity for the role of politicians as they help maintain the system of oppression and exploitation.

While the media lie machine continues to spin their mesmerising narrative around the political chaos, they have ignored the reality that is the result of capitalist crisis. When the UN published a damning report about the condition of the working class in Britain4 it was hidden under the torrent of media reports about the factional infighting.

When I learned that another GSA division, one which was in failing financial condition, was required to supplement the OIG with an additional $5 million above and beyond the budget that Congress had approved and appropriated, I quickly moved to address this imbalance. The IG fiercely resisted this effort and many of the visits, information and reports that have been provided to you and other members of Congress over the past several months stem from this disagreement. This disagreement would continue to grow and fester as I attempted to bring a little sunshine to all GSA spending decisions. Moreover, it was my desire to strengthen the internal oversight of all spending in an effort to make sure all decisions were cost efficient and duplicative operations were eliminated.

Providing Minority and Disadvantaged Small Businesses OpportunitiesDuring my first days at GSA I began championing the cause of minority and small businesses. This is a personal and professional passion for me, and I will continue the effort to help minorities start their own successful businesses in their communities. There are enough obstacles in the world for minorities, working with the Federal Government should not be one of them. This is why I wanted the study. GSA needed to discover what it was doing well and what it was doing poorly so that it could do more of the one and less of the other.

The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses discussed their issues with Diversity Best Practices over the next few weeks, and arrived at a recommendation to develop a study on what GSA currently was doing to help disadvantaged and minority businesses and what GSA could do to improve its performance in this area.

To suggest there was any wrongdoing is inaccurate and misleading. Certainly, I made a mistake in my eagerness to move quickly to begin to solve an urgent problem of creating more opportunities for minority and small business owners. But there was no intentional wrongdoing.

There appears to be an unarticulated allegation that there was ulterior motivation in my recommendation of Diversity Best Practices. Ms. Fraser has a special passion for championing small minority and woman owned businesses, and it was this shared passion which first brought us together a few years ago, prior to my arrival at GSA. Most people working on promoting small and minority businesses would call Ms. Fraser a friend and I am proud to do so as well.

I did appear at an event on July 12, 2006, organized by Diversity Best Practices, and held at the Russell Senate Office Building. Once more, I freely admit that I was pleased to attend. This was an occasion to promote the accomplishments of women, and in particular, women owned and minority businesses. This event was attended by a few hundred women, gathered to listen to Senators Clinton, Feinstein, Landrieu, Lincoln, Obama, Stabenow, Stevens, me and other association officials speak in support of the important role that women play in the United States. The most outrageous claim, in the March 6, 2007 letter, has been a statement by Committee staff bringing my then 14 year old daughter into this hearing by accusing her of improperly obtaining an internship. Over three years ago, as a high school junior, my daughter participated in a mandatory, school sponsored community service program. School counselors worked directly with members of the House and Senate to arrange for entry level, non-paying positions. My innocent daughter was assigned to the staff of Senator Debbie Stabenow and participated for one day per week for six months in this mandatory, school program. To suggest otherwise and to imply impropriety is despicable. I would urge the Committee to leave my children out of this.

Sadly, I believe that the real losers here are the small, women and minority business community. Small, minority and woman owned firms already face a daunting task to compete fairly for Federal business, and I think GSA has to do what it can to help.

As this Committee knows, the Agency IG and I have been discussing other concerns that I have about the operation and tactics of the OIG. Unfortunately, some of these concerns have been leaked to, or mischaracterized in, the press. As I have stated previously, while I strongly support the role of all Inspectors General to ferret out waste, fraud and abuse in Government programs. I would hope that our IG and I can work more productively in the future. This, unfortunately, has been part of a larger, systemic pattern involving the failure of the GSA IG to keep me and key staff informed of significant Agency activities. In January 2007, I directed that the IG provide a written monthly report to me of significant activities, consistent with the IG Act. I have yet to receive a report.

There are actually two very distinct issues here that I believe need to be fully understood. First, my discussion on the hostile work environment was made in private and was the direct result of a specific incident that had just been reported. It is my firm belief that all Government employees deserve to work in a supportive and nurturing environment. The work that they do is important and, as it becomes harder and harder to attract the next generation into public service, we must strive to retain the employees we currently have.

Financial technology firms abdicated their responsibility to screen out fraud in applications for a federal program designed to help small businesses stay open and keep workers employed during the pandemic, a report by a House investigations panel said Thursday.

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis launched its investigation of the firms in May 2021 after public reports that the firms were linked to disproportionate numbers of fraudulent loans issued under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Former President Donald Trump rolled out the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses stay open and keep their workers employed. President Joe Biden maintained the program and directed money to more low-income and minority-owned companies. All told, $800 billion was spent on the program.

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