Sunday, April 5, 2020
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Democratic Party of Virginia Sues State Board of Elections to Stop...

From attorney @marceelias - "BREAKING: GOP Congressman Taylor's staff/operatives collected forged signatures to help an independent candidate who is under federal indictment get on the ballot...

Environmental Groups Challenge Virginia’s Unlawful Approval of Fracked Gas Pipeline

From Appalachian Mountain Advocates; note which Virginia "environmental group," last name rhymes with "boaters," is STILL neither calling to kill the pipeline(s) nor is...

Wall Street Banks Still As Greedy As Ever

It seems that Eric Cantor has found a new sweetheart donor, Bank of New York Mellon. While Mellon only gave Cantor $1,500 in 2009, it gave him $15,000 two months after his wife Diana was picked by Bob McDonnell to head the Virginia Retirement System and added $5,000 to the total this year. There's no telling what Cantor might get next year. However, Ken Cuccinelli can write off any money from the same source.

The Roanoke Times in its editorial today praises Cuccinelli for finally filing a lawsuit that means something to Virginia taxpayers. The Bank of New York Mellon holds billions of VRS assets and, as custodian, executes all foreign currency trading necessary for VRS to buy and sell on foreign stock exchanges. Well, it seems that Mellon has been squeezing extra money out of the pension funds it holds for Virginia, Florida, Arlington, Fairfax, and God knows who else, with a scheme to get more profit by cheating on currency trades.

The Wall Street Journal explains how the scheme worked. VRS needed $12.5 million to make a trade on the Canadian exchange. Mellon sold $12.5 million in pension fund holdings and bought Canadian dollars at a conversion rate of 1.0795, getting $13.5 million. However, Mellon waited until the exchange rate dropped to 1.068 before moving money back into the VRS account and pocketed a profit of $141,250 instead of the fee it should have gotten, $6,250.

The cheating was uncovered by a whistleblower, and with our corporate-friendly courts, who knows what the outcome of the Virginia and Florida lawsuits will be. Watch very carefully, however, and see what Eric Cantor does. If he slips an amendment into a piece of legislation that lets custodial banks off the hook for their shady dealings, we will know that Mellon bought itself a friend. At the very least, I agree with the Roanoke Times. Cantor should immediately return all Mellon money received since his wife was appointed to the VRS board. The contributions smack of an sleazy "asset" purchase.

Attention Cuccinelli: Professor Mann Exonerated

It will, I am sure, be a tremendous relief to Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia's Attorney General, to learn that a prestigious panel has completed a thorough review of Professor Michael Mann's climate research, and concluded that there is "no substance" to allegations of misconduct levied against him last year by climate science deniers, which of course includes Mr. Cuccinelli.  Mr. Cuccinelli, as you recall, used his office to enter a law suit against Professor Mann for "fraud" while using a grant to investigate climate change when he was at the University of Virginia.  The Attorney General demanded every communication, e-mail, and scrap of paper relating to Mann held by the University as part of the evidentiary discovery phase of his law suit (i.e., he went on a fishing expedition). As reported in The Washington Post today. The Penn State Investigatory Committee's final report determined that
"Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities."