What about Bob?
Bob Menendez – Senator, Attorney, Victim. That’s what he would want us to believe. The comical congressman continued his charade yesterday, claiming that that fact that he had half a million dollars in cash and a few dozen gold bars in his house is perfectly normal.
Not only was he targeted by the government because of his Hispanic heritage (of course), but that Hispanic heritage is the very reason he had envelopes full of cash secreted around his mansion. You see the New York City born Senator is of Cuban descent. As we all know, the Cuban Government confiscated money from political enemies in the past, both under Castro and his corrupt predecessor, Fulgencio Batista.
It was the fear of the Batista regime rising to power in 2023 America, to then confiscate money from powerful three-term senators, that drove Menendez to keep his money out of the banking system. General Batista died in exile in 1973, but you can’t completely rule out his return to power here in our United States.
We are wishing the wayward legislator all the best in his (second) fight for his right to steal money. Perhaps all the sheep who voted for him after his first corruption trial will come out to the polls again in 2024.
In the Ops Desk’s own very unscientific poll on The Social Media Page Formerly Known As Twitter – X (is this whole renaming thing an homage to Prince?), a shocking 96% of respondents felt that more that 50% of the United States Congress was committing corruption-related crimes. We would like to thank old Bob for helping sway that remarkable poll in a very depressing direction.
It seems like this level of corruption is becoming the norm in our government. Menendez’s dalliances almost seem like a slow news day. What is remarkable is the fact that we are just finding out about it now. The FBI hit this search warrant in June of 2022. Not a peep. No CNN news crews met the FBI at the Senator’s door. Not much in the way of leaks. Even if there were, who would cover them? A few articles in the NY Times about an investigation, but nothing like what would have leaked about Trump, Roger Stone, et al.
So let’s see how it plays out. Will Menendez be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat, or in this case, the halal cart? Will voters keep pulling the lever for rank corruption?
SNAP up some free money
As we see so many politicians making money, you would think that they are good at managing finances for the government as well. But you would be wrong. A recent article in the Washington Times shows how badly managed the government can be.
The food stamp program, called SNAP to avoid stigmatizing people who collect benefits, is a miasma of mismanagement and waste. The Times article informs us that across the nation as much as $3 billion a month is stolen or misappropriated though the SNAP fund. It is also estimated that about 10% of SNAP program recipients are “overpaid” or receive too much. What’s more, when the overpayment is caught (although no one’s really trying to catch anything), authorities just let the recipient keep the money. It seems like identity thieves and other fraudsters look at the SNAP program as a cash cow. Maybe the Obama administration shouldn’t have been paying for airtime pushing the SNAP program on anyone who turned on the radio.
This disgraceful waste is piled on top of the bad news we get on the COVID assistance front daily. Look at any federal indictment press release and you have a 50/50 shot at seeing a COVID fraud case. Good for the DOJ trying to claw back some of those stolen funds, but let’s face it: the largest money giveaway in history isn’t going to be resolved with a few hundred collars.
The total fraud bill for the CARES act is over $400 billion and counting. And as a financial crimes investigator, I would bet you could double that amount at least. The trillion-dollar CARES act funding was thrown around with absolutely no oversight. They couldn’t even stop the website from crashing as everyone tried to get their money.
So, although it seems like most of our elected officials leave government with a lot more money than when they started, they can’t seem to replicate their personal success at work. The taxpayer loses out again.
Trump’s shrinking wallet
Speaking of government economics, it seems like Trump’s enemies have latched on to an innovative tactic to defeat The Donald. They have exploited most of Trump’s weaknesses to little effect but this one has a good chance of working. Hit him in the wallet.
Trump’s ability to pay mounting legal bills took a huge hit yesterday with New York Judge Arthur Engoron sending several of his LLC’s into receivership. He also paved the way for New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ civil suit to proceed. That suit is looking to collect $250 million from Trump’s businesses on the premise that he inflated property values to get better insurance and borrow more money.
If Trump is really overleveraged as many claim, this could send Trump into financial ruin. Add that to his legal bills from his four criminal cases and it seems impossible for anyone to afford that bill. Perhaps they finally found a weakness that they can exploit.
But Donald Trump has one tactic to stave off financial ruin: win the Presidency. Meanwhile, Biden stays in the race to pardon his family and, potentially, himself. It seems both of our likely nominees have motives beyond a profound commitment to public service.
Thanks for reading The Ops Desk. Stay safe!