8:37 AM, Jun 17, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Neil S. Rodgers, a former D.C. government official, was sentenced Tuesday for his role in the misappropriation of $110,000 earmarked for D.C.'s Children at Risk and Drug Prevention Fund to cover a deficit for the 51st State Inaugural Ball for President Obama's inauguration in 2009. Rodgers, found guilty of fraud in March, was sentenced to 36 days (served on weekends) plus two years of probation. Rodgers must also repay the entire $110,000 as restitution for his crime.
In 2008, as arrangements were underway for inauguration celebrations, the Washington City Paper reported on former council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s early plans for the 51st State Inaugural Ball, noting that "there would have to be a plan to raise funds for the event, and security and cleanup concerns would also have to dealt with. Thomas says all that will be taken care of; he says he plans to seek private donations to cover the difference between the event's cost and the revenues raised by the $51 ticket cost." Donations, however, came up short. Justice Department officials described Rodgers's role in the misappropriation scheme in a Tuesday press release:
“Neil Rodgers worked with former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas to perpetrate a fraud that diverted money from at-risk children to throw a black-tie ball for adults,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen. “His conviction at trial brings to seven the number of people convicted as part of Harry Thomas’s chronic abuse of the public trust. Neil Rodgers refused to acknowledge that there was anything wrong in the cavalier way that he and Harry Thomas stole from a program for children. He now will be required to pay back every penny he stole from the children of the District. Those children, who were most harmed by this, deserve better from our public officials.”
“Today, Mr. Rodgers accepted his penalty for illegally steering money meant to fund District of Columbia government programs to pay for a Presidential inauguration party,” said Assistant Director in Charge McCabe. “The FBI and our partners at the IRS have worked countless hours to investigate the trail of money that was intended to help youth in the District and how the corrupt actions of a public servant resulted in a loss to the community he served.”
Thomas and Rodgers mischaracterized the ball as a youth event to convince the private-public partnership organization in charge of funding the ball to cover the approximate $100,000 shortfall. That organization used the Children at Risk and Drug Prevention Fund to pay off creditors. The conspirators used "multiple copies of budgets and supporting narratives" to fool the organization into approving use of that fund to pay the remaining bills.
Six others have already pled guilty in cases involving the activities of Thomas, who himself pled guilty to misuse of $375,000 in taxpayer dollars intended for arts and youth programs. Thomas was forced to resign his seat and served 38-months in prison.
According to the Washington City Paper, Thomas said of the ball's location at the John A. Wilson Building, the D.C. government seat, "Why not use the people's building for a people's purpose?" But in the end, both Thomas and Rodgers used the people's money for their own purposes, a decision that ultimately landed both men in jail.
10:27 AM, Jan 11, 2014 • By JIM SWIFT
A 2008 documentary reveals that Terry McAuliffe, who is being sworn in today as governor of Virginia, thinks that members of the Bush family “should all have been put away in jail.”
6:07 PM, Jan 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Barack Obama's speechwriter, John Favreau, takes credit for the president's Second Inaugural Address in an interview with the Huffington Post.
"It was one of the hardest speeches I've written," Favreau tells the left-leaning website.
Sam Stein of Huffington Post reports:
8:40 AM, Jan 23, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In his second inaugural address, President Obama made every effort to tie his political philosophy to the ideals and principles of the American Founding, even as he made clear how little he understands those ideals and principles. The gist of Obama’s speech was that only government can grant freedom. Or as he put it, “[W]e have always understood…that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
Hosted by Michael Graham.3:20 PM, Jan 22, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Bill Kristol, hosted by Michael Graham:
1:01 PM, Jan 22, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for "shadowbox[ing] a straw man" in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama's statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
Ryan called Obama's insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits "takers" a "switcheroo."
11:45 AM, Jan 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At 10:12 p.m. last night, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle returned to the White House after a long day of inaugural festivities. Twenty minutes later, aides to the president relieved the on-duty pool reporter, who was sent home as the president would no longer be leaving the White House or appearing publicly.
But was there a party going on there, a private bash to celebrate Obama's Second Inaugural? It seems like it. San Antonio mayor Julián Castro tweeted this picture of himself and his twin brother Joaquin:
9:06 AM, Jan 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Fred Barnes writes:
President Obama wants more government. In his second inaugural address, he masked the message with phrases like "collective action" and doing "things together." But these were stand-ins—euphemisms, really—for a bigger and more ambitious federal government. That's the unmistakable goal of his second term, and his inaugural address was devoted to his determination to achieve it.
To those Americans serving in Afghanistan.7:40 AM, Jan 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama gave a shout out last night at an Inaugural ball to our "comrades in arms" in Afghanistan. After hearing from troops in Afghanistan through a video a satellite, the commander in chief said, "I can tell you that you've got a room full of patriots here. And although I've got to admit that they're a little spiffied up right now -- their heart and soul, their dedication, their sense of duty is at one with every single one of the folks who are in Kandahar right now."
Ignores debt and deficits. 6:30 AM, Jan 22, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
President Barack Obama used his second inaugural address Monday to offer an aggressive, unapologetic defense of activist government and to call for a new spirit of unity even as he seeks to move the country even further left.
6:06 PM, Jan 21, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
In an otherwise unmemorable second inaugural speech, I was struck by one sentence: "But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well."
5:53 PM, Jan 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The New York Times, which endorsed President Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, offers "condensed" Inaugural Address on its website. Titled, "The Eight-Minute Inaugural Address," the "condensed" version whacks off 60 percent of the speech, which the Times suggests is not worth reading.
Hosted by Michael Graham5:45 PM, Jan 21, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Jim Swift, hosted by Michael Graham:
4:55 PM, Jan 21, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The speech has been subjected to instant analysis and placed in proper historical context by, among others, Andrea Mitchell who thought it recalled Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" masterpiece. Others saw it as a call to arms for the progressive agenda. And so forth.
4:32 PM, Jan 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The vice president stole NBC's show of the Inaugural parade when he ran over to shake weatherman Al Roker's hand: