corruption | WAMC

corruption

Book cover for "High Crimes"
Thomas Dunne Books

As part of a team of journalists from Newsday, Michael D'antonio won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. His latest book is: "High Crimes: The Corruption, Impunity, and Impeachment of Donald Trump."

He joins us this morning to discuss the 2nd Impeachment trial of the 45th President. The only president ever to be impeached twice, Trump will be tried in the Senate on the charge of "inciting violence against the government of the United States."

His incitements included months of false claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him and a call for his supporters to "fight like hell," which they heeded by immediately launching a bloody and fatal mob attack on the US Capitol. If found guilty, Trump will almost certainly be punished, in a second vote the that requires merely a majority of Senators present, by a lifetime ban on his ever again holding federal office. It is a big IF.

Joe Donahue: From the prize-winning journalist Sarah Chayes, internationally recognized as an expert on government corruption throughout the world, the new book, "On Corruption in America," offers an unflinching look at how corruption has taken hold in our own country and how the corrupt operate: through sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector interests, and out-and-out criminals interweave. Their main objective: not to serve the public, but to maximize returns for network members.

Bringing to bear all of her knowledge, grasp, sense of history and observation, Sarah Chayes writes in her new book, that the United States is showing signs similar to some of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Sarah Chayes’ remarkable trajectory has led her from reporting from Paris for National Public Radio, to working on the ground in Kandahar, Afghanistan in the midst of a burgeoning insurgency, to serving as special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Book cover for "High Crimes"
MacMillan Publishers / https://us.macmillan.com/

Award-winning journalists Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner join us to discuss their new book "High Crimes: The Corruption, Impunity, and Impeachment of Donald Trump." The book offers the most comprehensive inside story behind our most significant modern political drama: the House impeachment of Donald Trump.

Having spent a year essentially embedded inside several House committees, D'Antonio and Eisner draw on many sources to expose the politicking, playcalling, and strategies debated backstage and to explain the Democrats' successes and apparent public failures during the show itself.

Donald Trump did not sell his business when he took office, nor did he give it away. By holding onto his empire, he launched an unprecedented experiment: What happens to a multi-billion-dollar business when its leader ascends to the presidency of the United States? And more importantly, what happens to the United States?

Upon the bombshell of Trump’s taxes, journalist Dan Alexander’s new book, "White House, Inc.," lasers in on a five-year period from Trump’s first days on the campaign trail in 2015 to the ramp up of his reelection bid in 2020. For the first time, readers can see how much money is flowing into Trump’s coffers, how much of that turns into profit for the president, and what it all means for American democracy.

Dan Alexander is a senior editor at Forbes, where he leads the magazine's coverage of Donald Trump.

Joshua L. Powell is the NRA--a lifelong gun advocate, in 2016, he began his new role as a senior strategist and chief of staff to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. What Powell uncovered was horrifying: "the waste and dysfunction at the NRA was staggering."

'"Inside the NRA" reveals for the first time the rise and fall of the most powerful political organization in America - how the NRA became feared as the Death Star of Washington lobbies and so militant and extreme as "to create and fuel the toxicity of the gun debate until it became outright explosive."

The book explains this intentional toxic messaging was wholly the product of LaPierre's leadership and the extremist branding by his longtime PR puppet master Angus McQueen. In damning detail, Powell exposes the NRA's plan to "pour gasoline" on the fire in the fight against gun control, to sow discord to fill its coffers, and to secure the presidency for Donald J. Trump.

"Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump" is the final book in Seth Abramson’s Proof series following "Proof of Collusion" and "Proof of Conspiracy," both national bestsellers.

"Proof of Corruption" looks to connect the dots between worldwide headlines to create a comprehensive history and analysis of the Trump administration. The book is a searing indictment of Trump’s brazen behavior in office and the dire consequences for the world.

Seth Abramson is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches journalism and legal advocacy at the University of New Hampshire. A graduate of Harvard Law School and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is a political columnist at Newsweek and the author.

Revealing misconduct of the powerful is always dangerous. Whistleblowers, therefore, face a difficult choice: by challenging and exposing corruption, they perform a vital public service yet they historically suffer for it.

In "Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump," author and scholar Allison Stanger frames whistleblowing as an important but unrecognized cousin of civil disobedience. She shows how its practice has held powerful elites accountable in America across the centuries.

She asserts its goal: to prevent the abuse of power by those who hold it; is rooted in the very DNA of America, dating back to the country’s founding. Allison Stanger is a Professor of International Politics and Economics at Middlebury College, New America Cybersecurity Fellow, and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

Ken Bensinger has been a journalist for more than twenty years. He has worked at The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and, since 2014, for BuzzFeed News, as a member of its investigations team, and has written about sports, labor, art, automobiles, and politics, among other topics. He has been a winner of the ASME National Magazine award and the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Finance & Business Reporting, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting.

In his first book, "Red Card," Bensinger explores the FIFA scandal; the biggest international corruption case of recent years, spearheaded by US investigators, involving dozens of countries, and implicating nearly every aspect of the world’s most popular sport, soccer, including its biggest event, the World Cup.

Jake Bernstein was a senior reporter on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that broke the Panama Papers story. In 2017, the project won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. Bernstein earned his first Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for National Reporting, for coverage of the financial crisis.

In "Secrecy World," Bernstein explores this shadow economy and how it evolved, drawing on millions of leaked documents from the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca ― a trove now known as the Panama Papers ― as well as other journalistic and government investigations. Bernstein shows how shell companies operate, how they allow the super-wealthy and celebrities to escape taxes, and how they provide cover for illicit activities on a massive scale by crime bosses and corrupt politicians across the globe.

And so it begins: Call it the kick off to New York’s “corruption palooza; the first of the now seven corruption cases go to trial. It is expected that there will be seven high-profile corruption cases going to trial in each of the first seven months of the year.

Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for a re-trial of ex-New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos
Karen DeWitt

Federal appeals court judges don't seem eager to embrace the arguments of lawyers seeking a new trial for Republican former New York Senate leader Dean Skelos.

Westchester County Exec Addresses Bharara Probe

Jul 25, 2016
Office of the Westchester County Executive

A corruption probe being conducted by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has extended to Westchester County. That’s according to a report in the New York Post. Now Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is responding.

Blair Horner: Another Albany Pol Bites The Dust

May 16, 2016

Some of the big news in state politics last week was the sentencing of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.  Skelos, like the former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was convicted of corruption.  Skelos was sentenced for five years in prison for his activities in shaking down businesses for often no-show jobs for his son.  A couple of weeks earlier, Silver received 12 years for his corrupt schemes that enriched him by millions of dollars.

Another week, another series of ethics controversies in New York.  The week began with the leak of a confidential report by the state’s elections enforcer that alleged that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had engaged in an illegal effort to circumvent campaign contribution limits in his 2014 push to bolster the re-election prospects of some sitting state Senate Democrats, who presumably would be more favorable to the democrat mayor’s city agenda in Albany.

Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

Prosecutors have asked a judge to send former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to prison for over a decade while his defense lawyers say he deserves little or no time behind bars.

Tuesday is not only New York’s Presidential primary. It also the day for two special elections to replace the disgraced former leaders of the legislature, who lost their seats after being convicted on multiple felony corruption charges.

Despite the gloom over many upstate New York businesses, there has been one very bright light – its lobbying industry. For decades, New York’s lobbying industry has had an almost unbroken streak of growth – with almost each year setting a new spending record.

HV Assemblywoman Unveils Ethics Reform Package

Feb 26, 2016
Courtesy of the Office of Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

With one good-government leader calling this session Albany’s “Watergate moment,” a lawmaker from the Hudson Valley has introduced an ethics reform package trying to create distance between those who seek to influence the law and those who make the laws. Her effort comes a few months after the former Senate and Assembly leaders were convicted of corruption.

Alan Chartock

With the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, one question that remains is what state lawmakers will actually do to prevent corruption.

WAMC's political observer Dr. Alan Chartock offered his thoughts to Lucas Willard on Midday Magazine.


Blair Horner: The Former Speaker Is Convicted

Dec 7, 2015

When former Assembly Speaker Silver was convicted of corruption on all counts, there was also a second conviction: Albany’s way of conducting the public’s business.  From the court proceedings’ first days, it was clear that Albany’s ethics were also on trial.

Sheldon Silver
WAMC file photo

Governor Cuomo and the current legislative leaders have downplayed efforts for new reforms in Albany, following the conviction of the former Assembly Speaker on seven counts of corruption. 

Former Speaker Assembly Silver is now facing up to 20 years in prison for illegally gaining millions of dollars through his outside employment. The former Senate Leader. Dean Skelos, is in the midst of another federal corruption trial, accused of misusing his influence to gain jobs and money for his son.

Blair Horner: Albany On Trial

Nov 16, 2015

As the former New York State Senate Majority Leader goes to trial and his former counterpart Assembly Speaker is still in court, it has become clear that whatever the outcome, Albany’s ethics is on trial.

Schneiderman To Sit Out Politics For Now

Oct 23, 2015
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he’s made a decision to stay out of politics for now, due to a climate of corruption and ongoing investigations by his office.

A former New York state assemblyman has been sentenced to 14 years in prison after he was caught in a sting operation accepting bribes from a carnival promoter and two undercover FBI agents posing as out-of-town real estate investors.

  In his 60-plus years as a trial lawyer, Gerry Spence has never represented a person accused of a crime in which the police hadn't themselves violated the law. The police and prosecutors won't charge or convict themselves, and so the crimes of the criminal justice system are swept under the rug. Nothing changes.

According to Spence, too many police officers are killers on the loose, and every uninformed American is a potential next victim. He discusses this in his new book, Police State: How America's Cops Get Away with Murder.

An ex-chairman of New York's short-lived Moreland anti-corruption commission says it has altered scandal-scarred Albany's landscape despite its early shutdown.

Blair Horner: Is Albany Throwing In The Towel On Ethics?

Aug 3, 2015

  Even by Albany’s scandal-stained record, last week was unique: 2 state Senators were found guilty of corruption in two separate trials.  Former State Senate Majority Leader John Sampson and current Deputy Majority leader Tom Libous are now facing prison time for violating the public’s trust.

Given the historic nature of those convictions, it would be reasonable to expect reaction from Albany’s political leadership.  But that was not the case.  Instead of news releases and calls for action, only the sounds of crickets were heard from the state Capitol. 

  Gary Hart is an American politician and a former Colorado senator, serving in Congress from 1975 to 1987.

His new book, The Republic of Conscience, is a meditation on the growing gap between the founding principles of the United States Constitution and our current political landscape.

Cuomo Admits Corruption Cloud Hampering Deals

Jun 10, 2015
Governor Andrew Cuomo
Matt Ryan

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledges that the cloud of corruption over the capitol is making it harder to achieve end of session deals. Cuomo says currently, there are no deals on any end of session issues, including renewal of New York City rent laws and a related property tax cap, or an education tax credit the governor is pushing.

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