Washington Prowler

Obama’s Foursome

Men of honor need not apply. Plus: Obama's propagandist bloggers.

By 1.25.10

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MEN OF HONOR
Apparently, if you want to cheat on your wife or spurn the mother of your unborn child, cover up and easily settle your institution's criminal efforts to help Americans avoid paying their federal income taxes, or just avoid paying your own fair share, the place to be is on President Barack Obama's economic-recovery advisory board. Because that's where Robert Wolf, chief executive of UBS Group Americas, the U.S. arm of one of Switzerland's largest banks, UBS AG, sits, as do Charles E. Phillips, President of Oracle Corporation, Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management of and Budget, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. One imagines that's where they can get together to compare notes.

Roberts' parent bank, UBS AG, agreed last year to pay the U.S. government $780 million to settle accusations that it assisted more than 52,000 American clients to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by hiding their wealth overseas to avoid paying income taxes. The White House claims that it determined that Wolf's wing of the company was not involved, but according to a former Obama White House Counsel staffer, internal White House research determined that just about every client involved in this scam at one time or another was a client of UBS Group America.

Phillips became an instant celebrity last week, when his former mistress paid for billboards highlighting his philandering ways to go up in San Francisco, Atlanta and New York. Phillips, who reportedly has reconciled with his wife, kept his mistress housed in an $11 million estate near his corporate headquarters in the Bay Area, and bought the estate through the use of shell corporations in Nevada.

Orszag recently dumped his pregnant girlfriend to become engaged with an ABC News reporter he recently met at a Washington dinner. And finally Geithner famously was found to have not properly paid his federal incomes taxes prior to his confirmation to the Obama administration's Cabinet.

According to the former White House Counsel aide, who was transferred from that office after the resignation of White House Counsel Gregory Craig, each of the above executives answered "No" to Question 10S of the SF-86 supplement form traditionally filled out by potential nominees for presidential appointments.

The question:

10S. Is there anything in your personal life that could be used by someone to coerce or blackmail you or is there anything in your life that could cause an embarrassment to you or the President if publicly known?

____ Yes ___ No

If so, please provide full details.

But to date, neither Roberts or Phillips have been formally vetted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "There may have been preliminary work done, but those kinds of commissions aren't a high priority," says the former counsel office aide. "Then again, Van Jones wasn't properly vetted, either."

BLOGGERS PROPANDISTS
As Attorney General Eric Holder hunkers down to avoid questions about his decision to try the Christmas Day bomber in federal criminal court and to have the bomber's Miranda Rights protected, more information emerges on the Obama Administration's decision to house propagandist "new media specialists" in most major Cabinet-level Offices of Public Affairs. These bloggers, paid with taxpayer funds, routinely pass along "Administration approved" talking points to bloggers and online journalists, monitor conservative or "adversarial" websites, and post comments in support of the Administration on a number of those sites.

In the case of Justice, that "blogger," as reported by the Muffled Oar blog is Tracy Russo, a former Democrat National Committee staffer, with ties to Sen. John Edwards' campaigns. But similar jobs also exist at the Department of Treasury, the Department of State and the Department of Education.

According to a reporter, who has covered the Department of Justice for a major financial wire service during the current administration, a number of daily newspaper reporters were aware of the work Russo was undertaking at DOJ, and yet withheld reporting the situation, "because those reporters were being given access and information from OPA that helped them with their daily news filings."

Meanwhile, according to a career employee in the Department of Justice, both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees sent formal letters of inquiry to the Department of Justice regarding its "blogging" policies, but DOJ officials have yet to even acknowledge the letters.

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