The Daily Muck

A congressional investigation released Thursday into a 2004 NASA study, which interviewed 30,000 pilots and was allegedly shut down by the FAA, failed to elaborate on the pilots’ statements. The FAA reportedly stopped the study, claiming that the pilots over-reported instances where they hit large flocks of birds in the air, which caused a US Airways jet to land in the Hudson River in January. The investigation came to light in 2007, when the AP reported that it was shut down to avoid harming the FAA’s image and profits. Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) told the AP that the study failed partially because it “didn’t have the support it needed from the primary customer – the FAA.” (AP)Allen Stanford’s #2 Jim Davis will enter plea negotiations with federal prosecutors, his lawyer said Thursday. Federal regulators have accused Davis of helping Stanford operate an $8 billion Ponzi scheme, but Davis has said that he will cooperate fully with the investigation — very bad news for Stanford. Dick DeGuerin, the lawyer Stanford is working with, told Bloomberg that Davis is simply “rolling over and saying anything they want him to.” (Bloomberg)

The trustee assigned to liquidate Bernard Madoff’s assets will ask one of Madoff’s clients to return $150 million, the first time previously withdrawn funds have been recalled from a client of Madoff’s. The complaint filed by lawyers of Irving Picard asks the London-based firm Banque Jacob Safra to refund the money to help repay defrauded customers of the British Virgin Islands-based Vizcaya Partners Ltd. Picard’s mission is to liquidate Madoff’s assets to repay his victims to the fullest extent possible. Picard, who has already recovered nearly $1 billion, said in court papers that he plans to “pursue recovery from customers who received preferences and/or payouts of fictitious profits to the detriment of other defrauded customers” (Bloomberg)

Michigan County Clerk Cathy Garrett has asked state officials to investigate whether former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick inappropriately used funds from his political campaign to pay lawyers, according to a letter released Thursday. Kilpatrick’s attorney said that the use of campaign funds was permissible because they were raised to keep the former mayor in office, which was only possible if he was released from jail. If officials find that Kilpatrick broke the law, he will face fines an IRS bill. (Detroit Free Press)

Connecticut Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell said Thursday that his office cannot roll back the $165 million in bonuses paid to AIG employees after the failed insurance giant received billions in bailout funds last year. AIG Financial Products division, where employees received the massive bonuses, is based in Connecticut and subject to Connecticut law. Farrell said that the Connecticut unfair trade practice law applies to consumers, not the taxpayers responsible for paying bonuses to AIG employees. Taking action on behalf of taxpayers, he said, “would be stretching the law beyond its original intent and logical reading.” (Reuters)

Texas officials misused their authority by adopting rules that prevent foreign nationals from obtaining identification, including drivers’ licenses, a Texas judge ruled Thursday. Under the regulation, legal immigrants cannot obtain identification if their visa has not been valid for a full year. The judge found that it is unfair to deny drivers’ licenses to legal residents who have lived in this country for less than a year. A Texas ACLU official said that the regulation “opened the door to harassment of anyone whose name or face looked ‘foreign.'” (AP)