Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Red Alert: The bizarre earmark of Blago's Senate Candidate 3

Remember hearing about "Senate Candidate 3" in the complaint filed by the U.S. District Attorney against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich?

You may recall that "Senate Candidate 1" was Barack Obama's choice: his friend, the ultra-qualified Valerie Jarrett. And "Senate Candidate 5" was Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., a man with a better sense of "fundraising" than Carolyn-esque entitlement. But who was "Senate Candidate 3"?

That would appear to be none other than Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL, what else?). Schakowsky and her family have a deeply troubling history with non-profits.

• In 2006 Anne Leary reported that Schakowsky's husband -- Robert Creamer -- was sentenced to five months in prison and eleven months of house arrest for bank fraud and tax violations involving a non-profit called the "Illinois Public Action Council" (IPAC). The indictment charged Creamer with floating "check and wire transfer deposits between bank accounts to... hide their deficiencies... [and used] the inflated balances to pay expenses of his organization, as well as his own salary and discretionary expenses." Creamer resigned his longtime leadership positions after "the FBI questioned him about a $1 million overdraft... [he was also charged] with failing to pay more than $300,000 in federal income taxes for employees of the group and for himself between 1996 and 2000. Four other counts allege he filed false income tax returns between 1996 and 1999... Each count of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and $1 million fine. Each count of failing to collect and pay withholding taxes carries a penalty of five years, and each count of filing a false tax return carries a penalty of 3 years."

• Schakowsky served on the board of IPAC while her husband was committing various felonies. But we're betting she was completely unaware of her hubby's scams. Hubby was "swindling nine financial institutions of at least $2.3 million while he ran a public interest group in the 1990s." And Schakowsky "co-signed the fraudulent tax returns".

Schakowsky's curious earmark: SALF

• Rep. Schakowsky authored a 2009 earmark for another Chicago-area nonprofit called The Save A Life Foundation (SALF), which is described on her website as a "Community Response Systems Initiative". Run that by me again?

• A 2006 ABC investigation revealed that while Save a Life received millions of dollars in government funds and corporate donations, it made a series of "misleading claims [including] deceptive credentials that raise doubts about [its] integrity, funding and training." According to ABC, founder Carol Spizzirri represented herself as a registered nurse specializing in kidney transplants. But ABC claims she never received a degree of any kind nor was she ever registered as a nurse.

The president of the National Council Against Health Fraud, a watchdog organization of medical professionals, says that federal and state funding agencies have been defrauded by Spizzirri's claims that she has a nursing degree and license... Save-A-Life charged [Chicago schools] $50,000 the past two years.

...Spizzirri pays herself an annual salary of $120,000, according to Save-A-Life records on file with the Illinois attorney general. She travels on a generous expense account while working to obtain additional government funding for expansion of her organization nationally.

ABC also reported that Spizzirri fabricated circumstances of her daughter's death when lobbying lawmakers.

• A subsequent ABC investigation in 2007 revealed more problematic activities linked to Save-a-Life and possible misuse of public funds.

SALF and Emil Jones

During its 2007 investigation ABC questioned Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones, who was listed as a spokesperson for the organization.

Save-A-Life has received millions of dollars in state and federal funding, and has listed powerful State Senate President Emil Jones as one of its major backers...

"I've never supported it funding-wise," Jones said.

And Jones says the charity is not currently slated to receive money in next year's state budget. The apparent cut-off of government funds follows I-Team disclosures about Save-A-Life founder Carol Spizzirri.

...Both senators Trotter and Jones have been given awards by Save-A-Life, Jones for saving someone from choking in a Springfield restaurant. Since then, Jones says he has been wrongly listed as Save-A-Life's "Illinois spokesman" and that he has never even helped fund the group.

"What do you mean support? I saved a woman's life down here in Springfield and this group came together, and they want to honor me for the woman choking to death in the Globe restaurant. Remember that?" Jones said.

Problem for Jones is a little-known Internet tool called Google.

Why is Jones important? Not only is he known as "The Godfather of the Southside", last month -- just before the Blago scandal broke -- Illinois State Senator Emil Jones was leaked as the front-runner to take Obama's empty Senate seat.

Someone is lying about Jones' funding of SALF

Put simply, someone is lying about Jones' funding of SALF. A perusal of SALF's website and a review of its IRS forms show that Jones was intimately involved with SALF.

In 2004 SALF claimed Jones had "yet again... led the Illinois State delegation in securing a spot for SALF in this year's budget."

In 2005 SALF named Jones its spokesperson and thanked him for his funding of its efforts.

"President Jones has lead [sic] the challenge in helping SALF pass an Illinois mandate for all police and firefighters to be trained in CPR and First aid prior to graduating from their academy in 1993, He has supported state funds to allow SALF to train over one million Illinois school children in these life saving skills. President Jones is a true humanitarian by saving the lives of three individuals by using the Heimlich maneuver. As our State Spokesman he will encourage others to follow his example of bravery to learn vital skills, especially our school children, should they ever be faced with a life-threatening emergency" – Carol Spizzirri, SALF President/Founder.

And on SALF's IRS 990 forms (non-profit tax returns), Jones was listed as director in both 2004 and 2005.

Put simply, someone is lying. Jones appears on official IRS forms as a SALF director and is described in numerous articles and press releases as funding SALF.

Despite these questions, SALF is on target to receive yet another bundle of cash -- this time at federal taxpayers' expense, no less -- courtesy of a bizarre Illinois earmark.

Shouldn't Jan Schakowsky be investigating SALF, not funding them?

A whole bunch of questions come to mind:

• Why is Schakowsky funding SALF and not investigating them?

• Why is either SALF or Emil Jones lying about his involvement with the group?

• Did someone lie to the IRS about Jones' directorship and thereby falsify a tax return?

• Why is Schakowsky avoiding questions about her SALF earmark?

• Why is Spizzirri avoiding questions about her background?

• And where did all the millions already sent to SALF go?

Someone needs to stop this madness before it gets even worse. Schakowsky's earmark needs to be shot down and investigated.

And I thought the Clintons were bad.

Linked by: Marathon Pundit and Right Side of Life. Thanks!

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