The Daily Muck


The infamous Allen Stanford hired a lawyer Tuesday to defend him against SEC charges that he defrauded investors out of $8 billion. The Dallas-based lawyer, Charles Meadows, specializes in tax litigation and white collar crime. The SEC has accused Stanford and two top aides of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that it called a “massive ongoing fraud.” We’d advise Meadows to keep a receipt. (Reuters)

Lawmakers are stepping up their efforts to go after offshore taxhavens. An executive of UBS, Mark Branson, will appear before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations today. Reuters reports that the Subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), will urge Branson to disclose the names of American investors accused of dodging U.S. taxes. Last month, UBS admitted to protecting clients from U.S. taxes and agreed to turn over 19,000 names to U.S. investigators, who are seeking information on nearly 52,000 concealed UBS clients. (Reuters)

Former California Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim received $900,000 in salary and benefits during the 2007-2008 election cycle, according to reports filed with the IRS. Sundheim received this money, including more than $43,000 per month for medical and automobile expenses, while launching the 527 political group California Republicans Aligned for Tomorrow. Sundheim’s earnings drew criticism from state Republicans, including the former chairman of CRAFT, Jon Fleischman, who said, “It would appear from these filings that the sole purpose of CRAFT is to pay Sundheim’s salary.” (Sacramento Bee)The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could establish rules for when elected judges should remain neutral in cases that concern their campaign contributors. A senior executive of Massey Coal Company spent more than $3 million to elect West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin, who ruled in Massey’s favor in a case that concerned a feud between two West Virginia oil companies. Massey’s opponent appealed, claiming that Justice Benjamin’s involvement violated a constitutional right to due process. (Washington Post)

A South Carolina-based contractor, has been sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to repay $15.5 million to the Pentagon, after pleading guilty to defrauding the U.S. government. Among other infractions, Charlene Corley charged the Pentagon nearly $1 million to ship two 19 cent washers to a base in Texas. Corley used her profits – nearly $20 million – for cosmetic surgery and vacations to Hawaii. (Bloomberg)

Buried within the stimulus bill is $212 million to fund what a U.S. district judge called an “environmental bridge to nowhere.” The provision for the bridge flies in the face of a court order that construction be halted due to the danger of flooding and damage to reservation land and opposition to the project from the Miccosukee Native American reservation. Proponents of the bridge, including Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), say it’s needed to maintain the flow of water to the Everglades. (Washington Times)