What I Think of This Headline

“It truly a shame that in the wake of the most recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that the left is calling it an issue of gun control, rather than calling it what it is. What happened in San Bernardino is a terrorist attack perpetrated by radical Islamist.”

“I am also appalled by the left saying that the various calls for prayer by people of faith isn’t enough. All of those who said that prayer isn’t enough, I have one question for you, how much time have you spent in prayer asking for God to soften the hearts of the Islamic terrorist? How much time have you spent on your knees asking God to bring this to an end? You can’t complain that prayer isn’t working if you are not actually praying yourself”

“The Bible is clear that in Deuteronomy chapter 32, one person praying can put a thousand dark angels to flight; two people praying fervent prayers can put ten thousand to flight, so imagine the power of all the people of God praying to God for peace and for the welfare of this nation.”

“If you haven’t tried prayer, don’t knock it.”

 

Clinton Foundation May Have an Enron Problem

by David A. Ridenour

The Clinton Foundation just announced that it will revise its tax returns for 2010, 2011, and 2012 after revelations by the Reuters news organization that it neglected to report foreign government grants on its tax returns as required by law.

Charities are required to provide a breakout of their government grants, including from domestic and foreign sources, in Part VII, line 1e of IRS form 990.

In a statement on its website, the Clinton Foundation explained that it had apparently “mistakenly combined” its foreign government funding with other funding.

This isn’t just highly questionable… it’s downright improbable.

Having served in senior management of a non-profit with the same tax status as the Clinton Foundation for nearly 30 years, I can testify that it’s very hard to mess this up year after year.

Not only would the Clinton Foundation’s management need to get it wrong repeatedly, but its CPA would as well.

And even if the CPA messed up, the errors most certainly would have been caught during an annual audit.

Auditors don’t just take a charity’s word for the sources and amounts of grants, but contact the sources to verify the information supplied is correct.

So, I wondered which firms could have served the Clinton Foundation so poorly from 2010-2012.

It turns out that it wasn’t two firms, but a single firm: the Little Rock, Arkansas branch of BKD, LLP.

That the Clinton Foundation chose to use a single firm for both CPA services and its independent audit for multiple years is significant as it violates charitable best practices.

Ever since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (formally, the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act) was adopted in 2002, the splitting of general accounting and auditing services has become standard practice, not just for publicly-held corporations but charities, too.

The splitting of accounting and auditing services was a direct result of the Enron scandal.

And now, it appears that the Clinton Foundation may be the charitable equivalent of Enron.

The accounting firm Arthur Andersen helped Enron cook its books because by doing so it could also keep much more lucrative contracts with the company.

During the early 1990s, Arthur Andersen learned that it could considerably boost its profits if its auditors approved what the Wall Street Journal called, in a 2002 article, “aggressive accounting tactics” by some of its clients.

One of its first big financial successes from using these tactics was when it helped Boston Chicken hide franchise losses in advance of an IPO.

In the auditor’s performance review, he was praised for turning “a $50,000 audit fee into a $3 million full-service engagement.”

BKD could have been the Clinton Foundation’s Arthur Andersen, approving “aggressive accounting tactics” to hide millions of dollars in controversial government grants in the one document that the public has an absolute right to see – the Clinton Foundation’s federal tax return.

It is troubling, too, that like Arthur Andersen, BKD’s professional conduct has been questioned by government regulators.

The Little Rock Arkansas branch of BKD, the very branch the Clinton Foundation used for its audit and other accounting services, is currently being sued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for $17.5 million in connection with the failure of the First Southern Bank of Batesville.

Between December 2008 and September 2010, First Southern Bank purchased $23 million in fraudulent district improvement bonds from Little Rock attorney Kevin Lewis. BKD was the bank’s accounting firm at the time and the FDIC says the firm failed to do its job.

Lewis was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2011 and BKD’s association with the case certainly became widely known at that time.

Yet, the Clinton Foundation did not make its curiously-timed switch to the firm Price Waterhouse Coopers until 2013.

If the IRS can free itself for a moment from its witch hunt of conservative non-profits, it might want to examine the books of the Clinton Foundation.

With so much smoke, there’s likely to be one heck of a fire.

General Electric’s Jeff Immelt Says GE Will Not Make Public Written Communications with State Department During Period When It Made a Major Donation to the Clinton Foundation and then-Secretary of State Clinton Secured a $1.9 Billion Contract with the Algerian Government

For Release: April 22, 2015
Contact:
Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or jkent@nationalcenter.org or David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or (703) 568-4727 (text enabled) or dalmasi@nationalcenter.org

General Electric’s Jeff Immelt Says GE Will Not Make Public Written Communications with State Department During Period When It Made a Major Donation to the Clinton Foundation and then-Secretary of State Clinton Secured a $1.9 Billion Contract with the Algerian Government

Donation to Clinton Foundation Raises Potential Honest Services Fraud Questions

Oklahoma City, OK / Washington, D.C. – At today’s annual meeting of General Electric shareholders in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the National Center for Public Policy Research asked the industrial giant about the apparent conflict of interest between its philanthropy and the actions of top government officials, and raised the question of whether GE needlessly exposed itself to potential prosecution for honest services fraud.

The National Center’s Justin Danhof asked GE CEO Jeff Immelt to make public emails and other written communications between the State Department and GE during the period when it made a generous contribution to the Clinton Foundation and the State Department arranged a major contract for GE.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt replied: “That’s not something we would do.”

“There is no evidence that GE did anything wrong – but that’s the point – there is no evidence period,” said Danhof. “When one of the world’s most powerful companies teams with the Secretary of State and the end result is a massive donation going one way and a multi-billion-dollar foreign contract coming back the other way, the company’s investors are right to ask questions. Now it is up to the media and Congress to do their part and investigate and use subpoenas if necessary to find the truth.”

“It is disappointing to see Immelt put GE in the same boat as Mrs. Clinton in hiding the company’s communications from public view,” added Danhof. “We even broke from tradition and provided Immelt with our question in advance, which means that Immelt’s choice to keep these communications hidden was a calculated one. That raises the specter of suspicion on GE’s dealings with the Clinton Foundation even more. Presumably if the company has nothing to hide, it wouldn’t hide anything.”

Danhof asked GE CEO Jeff Immelt, in part:

…while Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton lobbied foreign governments on behalf of companies including General Electric at a time when those companies were making donations to the Clinton Foundation. In late 2012, for example, Clinton urged the Algerian government to award a power plant contract to GE. GE contributed to the Clinton Foundation. Then in 2013, Algeria awarded the power plant contract to GE.

By donating to the Clinton Foundation while receiving a huge favor from the Secretary of State, did we not expose our company to the risk of being charged with honest services fraud?

Danhof further asked:

Since Mrs. Clinton had control of her business emails during this time and has said she deleted many of them, GE presumably is the only entity with evidence that everything was above board. To prevent the company from being the focus of any media or public investigation, would you consider making public all the Company’s written communications with the State Department during the relevant period?

An audio recording of the entire exchange is available on YouTube here.

To read Danhof’s full question, as prepared for delivery, click here.

“The company’s actions are really the focus here, not Mrs. Clinton’s,” said Danhof. “Lobbyists have been imprisoned under honest services fraud for far less than the sum that changed hands between GE and the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal reported that GE donated between $500,000 and $1 million to a health partnership with the Clinton Foundation. Clinton’s subsequent actions helped GE obtain a contract with the Algerian government to supply turbines for six power plants to the tune of $1.9 billion.”

“As I am sure GE’s lawyers are well aware, interpretations and enforcement of honest services fraud are murky at best,” added Danhof. “GE should be able to provide documentation that would prove to even the most skeptical judge or jury that all of its actions with the Clinton Foundation and the State Department do not meet even the most limited definition of honest services fraud.”

“Ideally,” added Danhof, “GE should eliminate the likelihood that it is involved in any embarrassing federal or media investigation, and the damage that would do to investors, by being completely transparent and making all relevant written communications public.”

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group focusing on corporations. In 2014, Free Enterprise Project representatives participated in 52 shareholder meetings, and today’s General Electric meeting marks the eighth shareholder meeting for the National Center in 2015.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here.

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Middle East Violence Serves Arrogant Men and Not God

us-consulate-in-benghazi_siby Archbishop Council Nedd II

To those who are attacking our embassies and are convinced they are committing an act of justice on behalf of the one true faith, I would say to you, that the one true God does not need mankind to seek justice on his behalf.

If you think your God needs human assistance, we are not worshiping the same God.  My God doesn’t need my help. I need his.

I have been blessed with a gift for languages and an ability to travel abroad without people immediately recognizing me as an American.  This affords me an opportunity to be privy to things people might not otherwise say in front of an American.  I have heard things about Americans and Christians, for example, that I was offended by.  Yet I have sat and listened, with these people eventually learning who I am. While they would usually apologize, these sometimes awkward situations could create opportunities for dialogues, teaching and new understandings of differing cultures.

I am not blind to sensitivities about the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), but there are more productive ways to get people to respect what you hold dear than death, destruction and chaos.

While the timing of the events in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf is clearly not coincidental, we must be careful to not paint all of these attacks with a broad brush.  This is not a monolithic Muslim conspiracy.

Current news today I find most interesting are about those in Egypt and Libya embarrassed by the actions of their own countrymen.  The Egyptians and Libyans I have met during my extensive travels in the region have always maintained that the majority of their fellow citizens love the American people despite having issues with American foreign policy.  The situation in Lebanon, for instance, could easily be attributed to a spill-over from the war in Syria — and Hezbollah and others taking advantage of the situation.

In Yemen, it is quite different in that there seems to be a deep-seated hatred of all things Western in general and American in particular.

I live in an isolated and rural part of Pennsylvania where certain prejudices die hard, long and slow deaths — where there are still people who can tell you about when the Irish Catholics immigrants fought a long and deadly war with the Ku Klux Klan because of prejudice and the arrogance of blind certainty.

The same arrogance of blind certainty had “Sam Bacile” produce an offensive film — “Innocence of the Muslims” — about a religion he believes to be a cancer.  This arrogance of blind certainty had Egyptians tearing down an American flag and replacing it with a black flag in protest of the film.  Arrogance of blind certainty led a small group of Libyans to murder a man, U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, whom many more Libyans believed was a hero of their revolution. The arrogance of blind certainty has the US embassy in Yemen under siege. And the arrogance of blind certainty has my neighbors referring to all Arabs by names I had believed, hoped and prayed had been removed from their vocabularies for good.

Our government officials will respond to these attacks abroad in the manner they deem necessary.  For the rest of us, it is time for people of faith to pray that the Holy Spirit changes the hearts of those who believe they have a direct and unique access into the heart of God and can speak and act on his behalf.

Galatians 6:7-8 says: “[D]o not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, so shall he reap.   For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Those who coordinated the attacks should apologize to their God (astigfru allah) for what they have wrought. For those so easily duped in to going along with what increasingly seem to be coordinated attacks, those people must spend time reading their scripture and pay attention to what is really written. What is happening is a radical departure from any of the Abrahamic teachings.

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Archbishop Council Nedd II, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, has travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf and helped in the creation of a new Episcopal parish in the United Arab Emirates. He is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church in the United States and the Archbishop of Abu Dhabi. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org .

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.