Rus Thompson Pleads Guilty


Tea Party figurehead and Paladino chauffeur John a.k.a. “Rus” Thompson pled guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count of “offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree”. District Attorney John Flynn offered to withdraw the felony charges, and Thompson’s plea will enable him to avoid the possible 1 year jail sentence for three years of probation. 

You can read about Thompson’s jaunty gallop through the criminal justice system here, here, here, here, and here

Thompson and his wife were evicted from their home on Grand Island in 2014, and in October of that year, his wife notified the Erie County Board of Elections that they were moving out of the county and to remove them from the voter rolls. You don’t get to vote where you feel at home, but where you are actually domiciled. That means Thompson was eligible only to vote at his new home in Niagara County. Instead, when Thompson showed up to vote — improperly — on Grand Island, where he didn’t live — he knowingly and falsely completed a sworn affidavit averring that he was eligible to vote there.

This was a lie made under oath. He was indicted for felony voter fraud – something Thompson once considered to be treason. Thompson was offered a plea, but rejected it despite the overwhelming evidence against him. His defense seems to be: 1. it’s not like he voted twice!; and 2. he just did what the election inspectors told him to do. The real question is whether Thompson committed voter fraud out of stupidity or malicious intent. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t vote twice; he voted to influence elections that have nothing to do with him, and the election inspectors undoubtedly recognized Thompson when he showed up at his former polling place on Grand Island and certainly would have helped him with a provisional ballot — that’s because how are they supposed to know that he no longer lived there? Throughout, he blamed his enemies – real and perceived – for the underlying eviction, for the prosecution, and everything else that could feasibly enable him to avoid responsibility for his own crime; at least until Thursday’s guilty plea. 

The DA’s office sets the facts out succinctly, and confirms that Thompson knew exactly what he was doing, and did it multiple times: 

The misdemeanor crime of offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree is defined as a situation where a person, knowing that a written instrument contains a false statement or false information, offers or presents it to a public office or servant with the knowledge or belief that it will be filed with, registered or recorded in or otherwise become a part of the records of such public office or public servant.

In order to convict someone of this crime, the prosecution would need to prove: 

1. That the defendant offered or presented a written instrument to a public office or public servant;

2. That the defendant did so with the knowledge or belief that it would be filed with, registered, or recorded in, or otherwise become a part of the records of that public office or public servant;

3. That the written instrument contained a false statement or false information; and

4. That the defendant knew that the written instrument contained a false statement or false information.

So this isn’t about something being accidental, or that Thompson can blame some innocent poll worker for telling him to do the wrong thing – pleading guilty to this specifically lays out that Niagara County resident Thompson presented a false statement under oath to an Erie County Board of Elections worker in order to vote illegally in Erie County.

Congratulations, convict! 

Supreme Executive Power


The intragovernmental tug-of-war over Presidential power is as old as the republic; there’s nothing new under the sun. In recent days, however, President Trump’s band of malignant sycophants and apologists have declared that the President wields some sort of supreme power over matters relating to immigration and whatever he deems, “national security” – power so all-consuming and superior that not even the courts have the right to review it. 

To examine these claims, we turn to the courts themselves, and juxtapose the law concerning our uniquely American system of government with three co-equal branches, with the authoritarian claptrap from the haphazard oligarchs who discuss national security matters over dinner at Mar-a-Lago. 

The Government contends that the district court lacked authority to enjoin enforcement of the Executive Order because the President has “unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens.” The Government does not merely argue that courts owe substantial deference to the immigration and national security policy determinations of the political branches—an uncontroversial principle that is well-grounded in our jurisprudence. See, e.g., Cardenas v. United States, 826 F.3d 1164, 1169 (9th Cir. 2016) (recognizing that “the power to expel or exclude aliens [is] a fundamental sovereign attribute exercised by the Government’s political departments largely immune from judicial control” (quoting Fiallo v. Bell, 430 U.S. 787, 792 (1977))); see also Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U.S. 1, 33-34 (2010) (explaining that courts should defer to the political branches with respect to national security and foreign relations). Instead, the Government has taken the position that the President’s decisions about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections. The Government indeed asserts that it violates separation of powers for the judiciary to entertain a constitutional challenge to executive actions such as this one.  – 3 Judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Washington v. Trump

ARTHUR: I am your king!
WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.
WOMAN: Well, ‘ow did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake,
[angels sing]
her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur was to carry Excalibur.
[singing stops]
That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen — strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!

In Washington v. Trump, the 9th Circuit directly addressed the notion that the President’s actions relating to immigration and security are not subject to judicial review: 

There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy. See Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 765 (2008) (rejecting the idea that, even by congressional statute, Congress and the Executive could eliminate federal court habeas jurisdiction over enemy combatants, because the “political branches” lack “the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will”). Within our system, it is the role of the judiciary to interpret the law, a duty that will sometimes require the “[r]esolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches.” Zivotofsky ex rel. Zivotofsky v. Clinton, 566 U.S. 189, 196 (2012) (quoting INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 943 (1983)). We are called upon to perform that duty in this case. Although our jurisprudence has long counseled deference to the political branches on matters of immigration and national security, neither the Supreme Court nor our court has ever held that courts lack the authority to review executive action in those arenas for compliance with the Constitution. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has repeatedly and explicitly rejected the notion that the political branches have unreviewable authority over immigration or are not subject to the Constitution when policymaking in that context. See Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678, 695 (2001) (emphasizing that the power of the political branches over immigration “is subject to important constitutional limitations”); Chadha, 462 U.S. at 940-41 (rejecting the argument that Congress has “unreviewable authority over the regulation of aliens,” and affirming that courts can review “whether Congress has chosen a constitutionally permissible means of implementing that power”). Our court has likewise made clear that “[a]lthough alienage classifications are closely connected to matters of foreign policy and national security,” courts “can and do review foreign policy arguments that are offered to justify legislative or executive action when constitutional rights are at stake.” American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. Reno, 70 F.3d 1045, 1056 (9th Cir. 1995). 

This is not a new or radical law or phenomenon. We need only to re-read the words of the subject of a hit musical on Broadway, and it’s not King Mongkut or Arthur: 

[T]he courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges as, a fundamental law. It, therefore, belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents. – Alexander Hamilton Federalist No. 78.

If the words of the ten dollar founding father aren’t enough, here’s what the Supreme Court wrote in Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 landmark case dealing with the Constitution and judicial review of statutes and executive acts (and omissions). 

It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already instituted, and does not create the cause.

The authority given to the Supreme Court by the act establishing the judicial system of the United States to issue writs of mandamus to public officers appears not to be warranted by the Constitution.

It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Court must decide on the operation of each.

If courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.

But contrast the words of our Founders and the federal court with those of Trump’s uncanny clone of Roy Cohn, Stephen Miller: 

Well, I think that it’s been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become, in many cases, a supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country. I mean this is just crazy, John, the idea that you have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is — is — is beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.

The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned. – Presidential advisor Stephen Miller.

DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an empereror just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
HELP! HELP! I’m being repressed!
ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you here that, eh? That’s what I’m on about — did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn’t you?

Not to be outdone, Representative Chris Collins (R)(NY-27), Trump’s chief apologist, said this on MSNBC

I think the job that President Trump and his team have done is exceptional, especially given the fact he doesn’t even have his whole team put together. You know, you take one step at a time, in this case a judge ruled on the executive order on the travel ban, pointed out some ambiguities – that he thought were ambiguities – easy enough to fix, easy enough to come forth with a new executive order that addresses that. Call that a very small bump; we move on, we keep the border secure, we keep the country safe. What the press is saying … you know, ‘disarray’ or ‘confusion’ or whatever they may want to say I don’t think is that at all. We just – continuous improvement, we move forward, I think we may see a new executive order coming forward that addresses those concerns, and then we just – again – we move on. I don’t see the disarray, I mean, President Trump’s been in three weeks, he doesn’t have his full cabinet, and, it’s true, what he’s been able to accomplish is extraordinary. 

When it comes to the President’s authority to secure our borders and decide who does or does not come into this country, [the President] does have absolute powers, and there’s no question about it. The ambiguity surrounded Green Card and maybe visa holders…when it comes to immigration, I think if you read it, he does have… that is a power that rests in his hands, and the judge nitpicked Green Card holders and visa holders – that can be easily addressed. But the President of the United States clearly has the authority to close the borders to people that he does not believe should be coming in, that would put our nation’s security at risk, and that is not to be questioned. 

Miller’s and Collins’, “the powers of the president…will not be questioned” is the modern equivalent of the Führerprinzip, the concept of supreme executive power that governs within a fascist totalitarian system: that the leader’s word is above all written law and not subject to review or contradiction. 

To call all of this ignorant and un-American is a dramatic understatement.

Trump: The Tchotchke Presidency


Whither the EOs? 

During his first week in office, President Donald Trump’s executive orders produced unprecedented chaos. Trump’s ban on travel to the United States imposed upon Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Druze, and Baha’i passport holders of certain countries has received the most attention, including its deliberately cruel exclusion of permanent resident aliens – immigrant holders of “Green Cards” who live and work in the U.S. Receiving a smaller amount of attention has been Trump’s re-configuration of the principals committee of the National Security Council, effectively replacing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence with his senior advisor, former Breitbart editor Stephen Bannon.

While the inclusion of Green Card holders in the sudden, immediate ban on U.S. entry for passport holders from Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Iran seemed at first to have been accidental or inadvertent, it was anything but. It was a deliberate act to trigger outrage on that one point and to distract your attention. It’s why citizens with Muslim names are being detained without explanation upon entry to the US

The travel ban has been stayed, and a government appeal of that stay is now before a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

But Trump’s rookie blizzard of clumsy and thinly vetted diktats suddenly stopped. For instance, the promised executive order to investigate “voter fraud” never materialized. This appears to be the governmental equivalent of taking away Trump’s smartphone to keep him from Tweeting. The chaos, however, wasn’t a flaw but a feature. One need only read this piece, which quotes Bannon promising exactly that

He never called himself a “populist” or an “American nationalist,” as so many think of him today. “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.

Shocked, I asked him what he meant.

“Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

The difference, however, is that Lenin sought to destroy a decrepit, corrupt, and brutal monarchy that had brought war and famine at the expense of the peasants. The United States has its problems, but is a pluralist democratic representative republic with individual freedoms that were codified and protected by an independent judiciary. We have a system of three co-equal branches of government that act to prevent harmful and illegal excesses by any one of them. 

But Leninism wasn’t just about destroying one state and creating something new, because Lenin ultimately replaced one corrupt autocracy with something arguably worse. Russia wasn’t industrialized in 1917, so it had no real proletariat to speak of, yet Lenin’s governing principle was vanguard-party takeover. With the party at the helm, a “dictatorship of the proletariat” would be created whereby absolute and complete control over every aspect of public and private life – government and individuals – became subordinate to the party.

This isn’t to say Bannon or Trump are revolutionary communists – far from it. They are, instead, nascent oligarchs. By smashing existing institutions of party, media, and government, they can bring about a new one-party hegemony that will obliterate our American freedoms as we’ve recognized them since at least the middle of the last century. This isn’t just about economic insecurity in a changing world economy, or “anti-globalism” and protectionist capitalism; this isn’t just about the changing face of America, or rolling back the New Deal, or the decline of the boomer generation and the ascent of its successors. It’s all of these things. 

Anti-democratic leaders and movements are generally fueled by grievance; real, imagined, or magnified. In order to wield power in a post-democratic country drunk on nationalism, you need to identify the victims and the culprits. The Trump Administration is running a huge surplus on enemies – liberals, intellectuals, the media, Gold Star parents, refugees, immigrants, and Muslims, just to name a few. But think back to the 2016 election – Trump’s win was secured through vicious clashes with competitors and enemies, whereby it wasn’t enough to just win, he had to dominate. It’s why things like Obama’s larger inaugural crowd are such triggers for Trump’s intemperate early-morning Tweets on an unsecured Android phone: only when he is dominating his enemies is he winning. 

Trump and his coterie of malignant sycophants will continue this “us or them” game throughout the pendency of this administration. The world as black and white is much easier to deal with than shades of grey, after all. 

Supporters of Trump’s executive orders on immigration will lecture you on social media, claiming that they are no different from things President Obama did, yet liberals remained mum. This is a lie. Trump himself said,

“My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.”

While it’s hilariously ironic for Trump to seek cover behind President Obama, his action is dissimilar from Obama’s. The 2011 Obama action applied only to one certain type of immigrant visa applicant from one country – Iraq – and only for a 6-month period. It was implemented in direct response to two arrests of Iraqi refugees 

Generally, passport holders from every country on Earth need a visa to enter to the United States for any reason – pleasure, business, or immigration. There is a visa waiver program in effect for the citizens of certain – mostly wealthy – countries who are not required to obtain a visa for business or vacation travel. In February 2016, the Department of Homeland Security suspended the visa waiver program for passport holders from waiver countries who had traveled to Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran – the same countries covered in Trump’s executive order. However, the 2016 action was not a complete or indefinite ban

Individuals impacted will still be able to apply for a visa using the regular immigration process at our embassies or consulates. For those who need a U.S. visa for urgent business, medical, or humanitarian travel to the United States, U.S. embassies and consulates stand ready to provide visa interview appointments on an expedited basis. The new law does not ban travel to the United States, or admission into the United States, and the great majority of Visa Waiver Program travelers will not be affected.

Trump has wide latitude and discretion to exclude classes of people from entry to the US based on national security concerns. President Obama, for instance, banned entry for people accused of crimes against humanity, and people who were subject to a UN Security Council travel ban.  President Bush barred entry to people who would thwart the implementation of the 1995 Dayton Accords, ending the pre-Kosovo wars in the former Yugoslavia. 

The Trump action against immigrants and refugees has nothing to do with the law or security. Like everything Trump is doing, it’s about feelings – making people FEEL safe, making people FEEL like something is being done, making people FEEL like their own insecurities and fears are being recognized and addressed. Fighting populist authoritarian leaders can’t just be done with marches, mockery, or litigation. A few pointers from a Venezuelan:

1. Trump says the media are the enemy. Then the muslim immigrants/refugees from some failed states, soon it will be the liberals or intellectuals. Your very Americanness will be attacked.

2. Do not show contempt for Trump or his supporters or try to shame them – it feeds their narrative of “us vs. them”.

3. Don’t lose your cool and constantly demand his removal because what he does is abhorrent, but not impeachable. This will alienate independents, whom you’ll need in the coming elections.

I think a newly elected President has the right to announce a fresh look at our immigration and refugee vetting processes, and to make changes that experts believe are appropriate. Pausing new applications for a period of time would be acceptable – thwarting the travel of people already approved for visas and whose travel plans are set is cruel. Keeping students away from returning to their classes is cruel. Keeping permanent resident alien green card holders out is cruel. Unless there is some imminent threat of harm from this class of people, it shouldn’t have happened. This is all part of a wider anti-immigrant furore that the new President is leading, and it doesn’t stop at so-called, “illegals”. 

The sudden and unexplained halt of the executive orders following the chaotic roll-out of the Muslim ban is probably a net good thing for the country. 

The Tchotchke President

Last week, President Trump Tweeted this: 

What stood out for me first was the admission that Ivanka has to “push” him to “do the right thing”, thus revealing that his impulse and instinct must be to do the opposite. But look at the Nordstrom thing – Ivanka Trump licenses her name to a bunch of cheap Chinese-made schmattes and tchotchkes, and they weren’t selling well at the high-end Nordstrom chain of stores. So, Nordstrom made a business decision and dropped the brand. (Incidentally, TJ Maxx and Marshalls also made news with Ivanka’s clothing line). But Trump’s reaction here is astonishing: Nordstrom insulted Ivanka and treated her “unfairly” – a complaint echoed by toddlers to their parents daily. As if private businesses now owe some bizarre, feudal loyalty oath to the new lord of the manor. Sean Spicer doubled down on this later in the day, prompting a response from Nordstrom directly. 

The following day, his spokeswoman said, from the White House, “buy Ivanka’s stuff!” 

This is unspeakably corrupt and illegal. Specifically, all this puffery of Ivanka’s merch is a likely violation of the ban on federal employees using their public office to endorseme products. 5 CFR 2635.702.

Imagine if Sasha or Malia Obama had profited off their surname and President Obama had publicly complained about a private business deal in this way. Heads on the right would have exploded. Here, they’re angry not at the Trump family’s blatant profiteering off of the government, but at Nordstrom for its lack of fealty. Not to be outdone, when filing a defamation lawsuit against someone who accused her of having once been a prostitute, First Lady Melania Trump’s complaint averred that, 

The economic damage to the plaintiff’s brand, and licensing, marketing and endorsement opportunities caused by the publication of Mail Online’s defamatory article, is multiple millions of dollars

[The] plaintiff had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model, brand spokesperson and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multimillion-dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.

Republicans howled at “Moochelle” (whom they notably referred to as a man, if not an ape), for daring to try and get kids to eat fruits and vegetables. They have nothing whatsoever to say when Melania Trump blatantly admits her desire to profit from her position as First Lady. Incidentally, Mrs. Trump does not live with her husband in the White House, but has stayed behind in Trump Tower. This arrangement costs the taxpayers of this country hundreds of thousands of dollars per day in extra Secret Service protection. The Trumps can live however they want – I don’t care. I also don’t mind that Trump’s family receive the protection to which they’re entitled. Imagine, however, if “Moochelle” had done something similar. She caught flak when taking her daughters on vacation. 

What all of this reminds me of is Central Asia – specifically, Uzbekistan, which was a constituent republic of the USSR until its independence in 1991. From independence, Uzbekistan was ruled by a dictator named Islam Karimov, whose term ended when he died last year. The US tolerated Karimov’s domestic oppression because he was an ally in the “war on terror”. He outlawed dissent, tortured opponents, forbade freedom of speech and assembly, and and rigged elections so he would be re-elected by incredible, Soviet-style hyper-majorities.

Take a look at Trump’s systematic attempts to de-legitimize the judiciary, the media – indeed anything and anyone – which contradict his lies. Trump claims to be not only the sole arbiter of truth, but the only person who can “solve” our problems. This is downright Soviet. 

Karimov did what corrupt, third-world dictators usually do: enriched himself and his family. Notably, his daughter Gulnara Karimova was appointed to various diplomatic and government posts, and took the stage name, “Googoosha” to try her hand at becoming a pop star. Alas, Karimova had a falling-out with her father and found herself accused of becoming a billionaire thanks to rampant corruption: 

One U.S. businessmen claimed that after his company turned down Karimova’s offer to buy in to his telecommunications firm, “the company’s frequency [was] jammed by an Uzbek government agency.” A Swedish television investigation this month found she forced a Swedish telecom to pay bribes in order to enter the Uzbek market. In July, the Russian mobile-phone operator MTS claimed that Karimova orchestrated the hostile takeover of the company’s Uzbek branch, Uzdunrobita, according to Foreign Policy.

“She plays a role in most business deals in Tashkent, and if she gets angry, she has the power to impose really severe consequences,” Foust said.

Karimova is accused of taking over $1 billion in bribes during her time at the top of her late father’s autocratic kleptocracy. Her father imposed an indefinite house arrest on her in 2014. The Karimov family treated their political position as a way to enrich themselves. Karimov assumed complete power and enabled his friends and family to profit due to whom they knew, not what they did. 

When Donald Trump and his aides promote Ivanka Trump’s clothing line and demean a retailer that dropped it, they are engaged in the very same type of kleptocracy, albeit on a smaller scale. For now. 

When Jimmy Carter became President, he put his family business in a blind trust

While he serves as president, Jimmy Carter placed the family farm supply business into the protection of a blind trust before he left for Washington, D.C. in 1977. This trust allowed for a law firm in Atlanta to take full administration of the farm supply business during his years in the White House. The Carters felt that relinquishing the business to someone else’s care would separate them from these affairs and avoid the possibility of their financial holdings resembling any conflict of interest while President Carter was in office. Their personal counsel, Charles Kirbo of the Atlanta law firm, was their financial trustee. Following the election loss in 1981, the Carters were informed by Charles Kirbo that because of three years of drought and several changes in warehouse management, they were over $1 million in debt.

Donald Trump couldn’t be bothered to do the same thing and follow President Carter’s selfless example. Trump and his daughter have both claimed that they no longer handle the day-to-day affairs of their private enterprises. If so, why is the President tweeting insults at Nordstrom? Why are Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway exhorting Americans to buy Trump-emblazoned tchotchkes? 

The corruption is swift and breathtaking. It is Uzbeki in its brazenness.  

Grading Chris Collins


Kathy Hochul served as Congresswoman for the 26th Congressional district from 2011 – 2012. She defeated former Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in a special election, but later lost to Chris Collins, who was sworn in on January 3, 2013. 

Here’s an October 2014 letter to the editor of the Buffalo News I found. It avers that, while running against Hochul, Collins was asked in a debate to,

…give a letter grade to incumbent Kathy Hochul’s performance. Collins gave her an “I for ineffective” for failing (by that point) to pass any bills of her own. Collins promised, “As a member of the majority, I guarantee voters when I introduce a bill, I’m gonna have the kind of support that gets those bills passed.”

Collins has now been in Congress for four years. He has been in the majority in the House for that entire time. In those four years, only two of the bills he introduced have been signed into law; each of them involve the naming of a post office.

That is clearly an impressive record of achievement that more than justifies the $174,000 annual salary and federal benefits package that this distinguished gentleman from New York “earns” for the important legislation that he has introduced and “guaranteed” passed. 

On a similar note, Mr. Collins stands accused of using his knowledge and power as a congressman to promote legislation that might help his own personal investments; particularly in a small Australian penny stock trading at 70 cents per share called “Innate Immunotherapeutics”. (See here, here, and here). 

A CNN reporter caught Collins replying to “all” in an email when he meant only to reply to the CEO of Innate, who was coming to Collins’ defense. 

“Simon. Yellow journalism. Making the story fit a bias regardless of the facts. Distorted,” the email began, in apparent reference to the WSJ report. “In fact the offer was made available to every US shareholder who had ever participated in any share offering in the US. Interesting how he somehow distorted that.”

Collins, who both invests in and sits on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, continued on to say that “many US shareholders” — including his own children — declined to participate “because of the perceived risk.”

He went on to whine, 

Collins confirmed in a follow-up email to CNN Tuesday morning that he had “replied all by mistake,” before venting his frustrations about a “witch hunt where the press goes after my friends and family.” In the case of Price’s investment in Innate Immunotherapeutics, a “standard private placement” has been incorrectly portrayed as “some kind of insider special deal,” Collins said. “I was venting to Simon as he shares my frustration.”

Get the whaambulance. 

The Australian reports that Congressman Collins appears to be in violation of Australian law

A US Republican congressman has allegedly breached Australia’s corporations law by failing to make key disclosures about his family’s significant investment in a listed, Sydney-based health company, including that two of his children and other close associates bought parcels of the company’s stock.


The Australian can reveal ­allegations that Mr Collins has breached Australian corporate law by disclosing he was a “substantial shareholder” — that is owning more than 5 per cent of a company’s shares — only after almos­t 18 months, instead of within two business days of acquis­ition, as required by law.

Mr Collins has owned more than 15 per cent of Innate Immunotherapeutics shares — three times the threshold — since before its December 2013 float, but only made the disclosure in May 2015.

His US associates — including family members, political donors and employees — have also bought shares in Innate Immunotherapeutics in recent years, many in private offerings at a 12 per cent discount to the traded share price at the time.

Mr Collins has also allegedly breached section 606 of the Corporations Act — known as the “20 per cent rule” — which prevent­s any party holding a “rele­vant interest” in more than 20 per cent of a company’s shares without gaining shareholders’ approv­al and making disclosures. The maximum penalty for breaching the 20 per cent rule and for breaching substantial shareholder disclosure laws is sixth months’ jail.

Law and order! The Australian report seems to contradict Collins’ allegation that HHS nominee Tom Price and others didn’t get a special price on this junk stock in a company with no products or revenue. As for Innate, the Australian reports that its CEO, Michael Quinn, used to run a company that delivered a flawed, smelly waste treatment plant to the Cairns city council in North Queensland

In its first year of operations, the plant’s Bedminster rubbish ­digesters repeatedly crashed, two were put “out of commission indefinitely” and the council later sued the company for contractual ­issues.

Later, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the plant reduce odours following problems with filters — which had to be ­replaced at a cost of $100,000 — and in 2010 the plant was again deemed inoperable after a large section of suspended concrete collapsed.


In a highly unusual move for a listed company, EWT has gone to ground in recent days, with calls to its offices in

Sydney and Auckland ringing out and ­executives failing to respond to ­repeated texts and emails.

The Australian revealed on Monday that Mr Collins had ­allegedly breached Australia’s corpor­ations laws by failing to make key disclosures about significant investments in Innate made by two of his children and other close ­associates.

Sydney barrister James Wheeldon wrote to Innate last Friday, highlighting the alleged breaches, but was yet to receive any ­response.

To sum up: 

1. Chris Collins once derided Kathy Hochul as “ineffective” for having passed no laws in her less than one year in office. In four years in office, Collins has passed two laws, both to name a post office. 

2. Collins allegedly broke Australian securities law and could be prosecuted and sentenced there to 6 months in jail. 

3. The company for which Collins is an evangelist is run by guys who couldn’t properly build and run a garbage dump. 

Incidentally, Collins has never – not once – held an in-person town hall meeting that was open to the general public, and which was publicized in any way to his constituency at-large. People have been trying to set one up with him, to no avail. In Geneseo and Lancaster, people have been unsuccessful in getting a meeting with him. So, be sure to contribute to this Gofundme to get a billboard up asking Rep. Collins to show his face in the district and answer constituents’ questions. He works, after all, for us. 

I’d grade that an “I” for ineffective, an “F” for failure, and “G” for garbage. 

The kakocracy is working great for some, at the expense of everyone else.