Employee of Corruption Magnet Debbie Wasserman Schultz Under Criminal Investigation
The New York Observer5 hours ago
After her embarrassing resignation from her role as DNC chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz hid from the spotlight for months. However, she is back, and, once again, linked to a corruption scandal. Politico reported on February 6 that Imran Awan, who is currently employed by Wasserman Schultz, is under criminal investigation for “wide-range equipment and data theft.” Wasserman Schultz’s communications director provided Politico with few details into the investigation and refused to answer any followup questions. Relatives of Awan—including Hina Alvi, Abid Awan and Jamal Awan—are implicated in the investigation as well. Hina Alvi is currently employed by Rep. Gregory Meeks.
“Five House staffers are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network, according to multiple sources briefed on the investigation,” Politico reported, noting that no one that they contacted provided any information.
“I am humbled to be able to to participate here in paying tribute to some of the extraordinary Americans, whose footsteps paved the way for me and my generation,” Booker said at the Capitol Visitor Center last year. “I feel blessed and honored to have partnered with Sen. Sessions in being the Senate sponsors of this important award.”
Booker was speaking at the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, at which Sessions was present. The award is presented by Congress to those whose achievements have had a profound impact on American history and culture, and was being given to the 1965 Foot Soldiers for persevering to help see the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
(CNN)Oakland, California’s fire chief acknowledged Thursday the department’s prevention efforts, which include conducting safety inspections of sites such as the Ghost Ship warehouse where at least 36 people died last week, have been hampered by years of budget cuts and hiring freezes.
“Was it the best?” Chief Teresa Deloach Reed said in an exclusive interview with CNN. “No, it wasn’t.”
Reed said department officials were still trying to determine if and when the warehouse on 31st Avenue had ever been inspected by her department. She said it was unclear if the structure was even in the department’s database.
“Right now we are looking through our records,” Deloach Reed said. “I can’t tell you anything right now about that warehouse.”
She added, “But I can tell you that our current fire marshal and the city and the attorneys are all working with the fire department, building and planning, trying to give a definitive answer as to at what point did anyone have access to that warehouse.”
Wendee Crofoot lost her job as a fundraiser for a non-profit in 2011. After exhausting her savings and giving up her Mountain View, California, apartment she ended up working part-time as a restaurant cashier.
The low pay qualified her for food stamps,so she signed up. “It wasn’t something I imagined would ever happen,” said Crofoot, 46. “There just weren’t any jobs.”
During the 2007-2009 recession, state and federal governments actively encouraged people like Crofoot to take advantage of the aid. Millions did, and many are still claiming benefits. Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the formal name for food stamps, remains near record levels, even as the unemployment rate has fallen by half.
“When unemployment was rising people said enrollment would fall sharply when things got better,” said Parke Wilde, an associate professor of nutrition policy at Tufts University in Boston. “That hasn’t happened.”
Another economic downturn could send costs to new heights.
About 45.4 million Americans, roughly one-seventh of the population, received nutrition aid last October, the most recent month of data. Unemployment was 5 percent that month. The last time joblessness fell to that level, in April 2008, 28 million Americans used food stamps, and the program cost less than half of what the government paid out last year.
Even though eligibility rules remained unchanged during the recession, annual spending for the program, administered by states with federal dollars, more than doubled in five years to a record $76.1 billionin 2013.
Several reasons explain the high numbers. Governments have made it easier to sign up for the program. More than 85 percent of eligible food-stamp recipients took assistance in 2013, the most recent year of available data, compared to 70 percent in 2008. The higher sign-up rate among those qualified accounts for 8.6 million more people on food stamps — about half of the program’s total increase.
The uneven recovery has swelled the ranks of long-term unemployed and reduced the number of people working or looking for work, further boosting demand. Even for those with jobs, pay may be lower than in the past: In real dollars, SNAP recipients in 2014 had net incomes of $335 a month, the lowest since at least 1989.
“The economy’s recovery is bifurcated,” said Kevin Concannon, the USDA undersecretary who heads the program. That makes food stamps crucial to “a very challenged safety net,” said Concannon, who previously directed state-level food-stamp programs in Maine, Oregon and Iowa.
Some enrollment-boosting measures, such as the waivers for able-bodied workers, are being discontinued as unemployment declines. But a bigger food stamp program has become part of the U.S. social landscape, as lower-income populations continue to struggle and states use federal aid to support them, said Wilde, the Tufts professor.
“The U.S. is a bit strange among advanced economies in that we don’t like to give people cash,” he said. “SNAP plays a bigger role for low-income Americans because everyone needs food, and it’s an acceptable form of assistance.”
Crofoot’s assistance is ending: She’s found a second part-time job, one she said she hopes will get her career back on track. Her food-stamp benefits stopped last month.
“I called two weeks ago to cancel,” she said. “I’ve lost my savings. All the things you count on for your future, they’re gone.
“But I’m grateful to everyone who helped.”
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The sidewalks of San Francisco will become a battleground for billionaires this election season as a proposition on the ballot, Proposition Q, seeks to tackle the issue of homeless encampments. The measure is sponsored by Supervisor Mark Farrell and supported largely by venture capitalists William Oberndorf, Michael Moritz and Ron Conway according to campaign finance records obtained from the SF Ethics Commission.
Donations to Proposition Q
Oberndorf, a Mill Valley-based investor, spent more than $1.5 million this election cycle in support of Jeb Bush’s race to win the Republican nomination for president.
Moritz, a venture capitalist, drew public attention for his support for and $250,000 donation supporting a 2010 measure that sought to increase city employees’ payments into their generous pension funds……………..