Extra Extra : Politics

Extra Extra Monday: Tracking charges for cops, undocumented overtime, police failure in Sharper case

A record of trouble | The Marshall Project

As California prepares to greatly expand its use of halfway houses for people leaving its overcrowded prisons, state officials have turned for help to a private halfway house operator that has been cited in other states for inadequate care, unchecked violence and repeated escapes at its facilities.

State DNR veterinarian says she was forced our over ‘on-the-record’ moose calf study objections | Timberjay

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources veterinarian found herself the subject of an internal investigation within days of expressing “on-the-record” concerns about the inhumane treatment of moose calves during the first ...

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U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades

The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans' international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed. According to an investigation by USA TODAY, for more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Buffett's mobile-home trap, Rolling Stone's UVA failures, women incarcerated

City doesn’t track return on incentives | Cincinnati Enquirer

When the Enquirer asked Cincinnati about $250 million in incentives granted to business and developers since 2008 and how return on that massive investment is tracked, city officials couldn't provide answers. The newspaper's reporters then created and scoured a database of seven years' worth of deals and determined the city gave tax breaks and other types of incentives more than 200 times since 2008, with beneficiaries ranging from Procter & Gamble to the owners of fraternity houses.

 

The mobile-home trap: How a Warren Buffett empire preys on the poor | The ...

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Extra Extra Monday: National Guard cronyism, forfeiture abuse, a web of lawyers

Racial bias, cronyism tearing apart N.J. National Guard, senior officers allege | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The New Jersey National Guard prides itself on rigor and readiness, and, from its sprawling base southeast of Trenton, its members became a beacon of help after Tropical Storm Irene and Hurricane Sandy ravaged portions of the state. But internal records obtained by NJ Advance Media show the Guard now faces a storm of its own, with at least four senior officers, including two top minorities, alleging a "toxic command climate," fueled by racial discrimination and retaliatory actions.

Iowa forfeiture: A ‘system ...

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Municipal courts are well-oiled money machine

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigated the municipal court system and found a money-driven system favoring connections and cash over justice.

The report reveals the system is set up to operate in secret and to direct business to lawyers. It expands on the Department of Justice’s findings that Ferguson’s police department acted as a collection agency for a "constitutionally deficient" court.

To read the full story, click here.

Aaron Schock's ethics under scrutiny

The list of questionable practices keeps growing for Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock. In 2013, the House Ethics Committee revealed that Schock may have violated House rules by soliciting campaign contributions for a committee that supported fellow Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger. 
 
Recently, the Associated Press has reported that Schock has spent taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors. The AP has discovered at least a dozen of these flights, totaling more than $40,000. 
 
In addition, Schock has remodeled his office after the popular television program "Downtown Abbey" and even used funds ...

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Snow plows hit a Chicago alderman's street - five times

Snow removal crews hit a Chicago alderman’s quiet block five times in three days, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Teaming with the plow tracker service clearstreets.org, the Sun-Times found that crews visited the alderman’s street twice on Sunday, twice Monday and a final time Tuesday morning, clearing the street down to the pavement. Meanwhile, nearby side streets remained unattended to and covered by deep snow as late as Monday afternoon.

The area of West 51st Street is home to Ed Burke, Chicago’s longest-serving alderman, and his wife, Anne, a justice of the Illinois ...

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Oklahoma Parole Board grants few approvals

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended for parole just 30 of the 322 inmates that came before them in January, according to a report by The Oklahoman.

In recent months Gov. Mary Fallin appointed three board members – all with ties to the Oklahoma City Police Department or former Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy. There are five seats on the board, although one is currently vacant.

Some defense attorneys believe the board is now stacked against inmate seeking clemency.

County consultant awarded contract despite not paying rent

Tom Akers and his consulting firm have enjoyed a long, lucrative relationship with Clark County.

Akers & Associates has a two-year, $227,500 county contract, the most recent in a line of business arrangements since 2007, when he was hired to teach small and dis­advantaged businesses how to navigate the county’s procurement process and secure county contracts. Under Akers’ guidance, the county's program offers classes on fundamental business practices such as cash-flow management.

But while paying Akers to teach others how to run their businesses and work with the county, the county has sued its favored consultant over ...

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Money stolen in the U.S. flowed to Cuba through criminal pipeline

U.S. policy created for humanitarian reasons 50 years ago has fueled a criminal pipeline from Cuba to Florida, enabling crooks from the island to rob American businesses and taxpayers of more than $2 billion over two decades.

A yearlong Sun Sentinel investigation found money stolen in the United States streaming back to Cuba, and a revolving door that allows thieves to come here, make a quick buck and return.

The Sun Sentinel traveled to Cuba, examined hundreds of court documents, and obtained federal data never before made public to provide the first comprehensive look at a criminal network facilitated ...

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