[Axios] Billionaire presidential contender Mike Bloomberg received an extension through March 20 that allows him to keep details about his personal wealth confidential until after Americans vote in the 2020 Democratic primaries, The New York Times reports.
Why it matters: Billionaires have been a focal point so far in the 2020 election, and have been lamented by other candidates for using their vast wealth to buy the nomination.
The state of play: Bloomberg received an extended deadline to file his financial disclosure more than two weeks after Super Tuesday.
He has already poured $200 million into TV and digital ads, the Times notes.
Bloomberg entered the race in November, months after his rivals. If he drops out before March 20, he may never have to share his financial particulars.
The big picture: Transparency has become important to the 2020 race since President Trump has refused to share his tax returns. "Many Democrats do not want to cede their political advantage on the topic in 2020," the Times writes.
Our thought bubble, via Dan Primack: Bloomberg, as one of America's most successful living entrepreneurs, has created and amassed a lot of wealth.
There should be a thorough accounting of how he made his money, and how it affected others along the way.
If there are legitimate criticisms, let 'em fly. Just as they should for any other part of his professional and personal conduct, in both the private and public sectors.
And there is certainly value in a robust debate over the future viability of plutocracy in America, including the idea of taxing wealth (as opposed to only taxing income).
Bloomberg is worth an estimated $50 billion, per the Times.
His campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
[reason] - The FBI's newly released plans to avoid mistakes when seeking permission to wiretap and surveil American citizens is insufficient, according to an expert brought in to advise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
In December, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Justice released a report showing significant problems with the warrants that the FBI submitted to FISC in order to secretly wiretap Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. While the OIG's report concluded that the agency was justified in investigating whether Page was unduly influenced by his connections with the Russian government, it also determined that the FBI withheld important details from the FISC that might have influenced its decision to grant these warrants. These omissions were not in Page's favor, and ultimately the OIG found 17 different errors or omissions in the warrant requests, some of which were not corrected in subsequent applications.
...While the FBI was hammering out this plan, the FISC appointed David Kris, a former Justice Department attorney during President Barack Obama's administration, to advise the court.
...It appears that version of Kris analyzed the FBI's plans. On Wednesday, he responded that Wray's proposals were ultimately insufficient. Part of the larger problem, which Wray has acknowledged, is that it's hard to check the accuracy of information that's not included or deliberately omitted.
[NY Post]- Political figures have long used their families to route power and benefits for their own self-enrichment. In my new book, "Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite," one particular politician ‐ Joe Biden ‐ emerges as the king of the sweetheart deal, with no less than five family members benefiting from his largesse, favorable access and powerful position for commercial gain. In Biden’s case, these deals include foreign partners and, in some cases, even U.S. taxpayer dollars.
The Biden family’s apparent self-enrichment involves no less than five family members: Joe’s son Hunter, son-in-law Howard, brothers James and Frank, and sister Valerie.
When this subject came up in 2019, Biden declared, "I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else ‐ even distant family ‐ about their business interests. Period."
Hidden in plain sight -- Biden's bro is a war profiteer who, without any construction experience at all, was given a major share of ca. $735 million in profits from a billion dollar reconstruction contract in Iraq.
And not one pixel in the mainstream press about the VP's family engaged in war profiteering.
Per Peter Schweizer:
Less than three weeks [after Biden invited his cronies at the construction firm into White House meetings], HillStone announced that James Biden would be joining the firm as an executive vice president. James appeared to have little or no background in housing construction, but that did not seem to matter to HillStone. ...
James Biden was joining HillStone just as the firm was starting negotiations to win a massive contract in war-torn Iraq. Six months later, the firm announced a contract to build 100,000 homes. It was part of a $35 billion, 500,000-unit project deal won by TRAC Development, a South Korean company. HillStone also received a $22 million U.S. federal government contract to manage a construction project for the State Department.
David Richter, son of the parent company’s founder, was not shy in explainingHillStone’s success in securing government contracts. It really helps, he told investors at a private meeting, to have “the brother of the vice president as a partner,” according to someone who was there.
The Iraq project was massive, perhaps the single most lucrative project for the firm ever. In 2012, Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business reported that HillStone officials expected the project to “generate $1.5 billion in revenues over the next three years.” That amounted to more than three times the revenue the company produced in 2011.
A group of minority partners, including James Biden, stood to split about $735 million. “There’s plenty of money for everyone if this project goes through,” said one company official. ...
James Biden remained with Hill International, which accumulated contracts from the federal government for dozens of projects, including projects in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mozambique, and elsewhere.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.