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Archive for the ‘Supriya Jinda Foundation’ Category

If you think Gov. Bobby Jindal has bankrupted this state with his squirrely economic policies, you need to read this.

If you are the least bit concerned about his decimation of higher education, you need to read this.

If his repetitive patchwork budgets and annual budget cuts alarm you, you need to read this.

If it bothers you that he has given away state hospitals, raided the reserves of the health plan for public employees and attempted to slash state employees’ retirement benefits while secretly having legislation introduced to augment the retirement of the state police commander by some $55,000 a year, you definitely need to read this.

If you believe he should have stayed at home to tend to the state’s business instead of gallivanting off to Iowa and New Hampshire in pursuit of a Republican presidential nomination, then by all means, you should read this.

In short, if you believe he has been a major disappointment in administering the affairs of a single state—Louisiana—you need to examine his grandiose plans for America, his plans to do to the nation what he has done to our state. You owe that much to yourselves and your children.

You see, an outfit called Friends of Bobby Jindal has a web blog of its own which, of course, is certainly their right. But curiously, in addition to touting the latest pronouncements, op-ed pieces written by Jindal and his appearances on Fox News, the page has a “DONATE” button that allows supporters to contribute to Jindal’s political campaign.

Jindal Weekly Update

But wait. What’s he running for? He is term-limited and cannot run for re-election as governor next year and he has steadfastly refused to divulge whether or he plans to run for President (though there are few who doubt it; his family members were discussing openly during his first inauguration in 2008).

We don’t know how we got on the mailing list, but we’re certainly glad we did. Otherwise, how else could we keep up with the activities of a man on the run like Bobby Jindal?

On the latest mail-out, a “quick recap of the news about the governor’s week,” we have stories about:

  • The First Lady’s travels to Eunice to promote the Supriya Jindal Foundation;
  • Gov. Jindal’s announcement of the expansion of Oxlean Manufacturing in Livingston Parish;
  • Louisiana’s joining other states in suing President Obama over his immigration order;
  • An op-ed piece by (yawn) Jindal criticizing Obama and calling for a repeal of Obamacare;
  • Jindal’s appearance on (yawn again) Fox News where he criticized Obama for trying to redefine the American Dream;
  • Another op-ed criticizing Obama for the president’s apparent failure to believe in American exceptionalism;
  • Jindal’s speech at a foreign policy form in Washington, D.C. in which he called for increased military spending.

It was that last one (actually first on the Friends web blog because we listed them in reverse order) that caught our attention. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/2016-gop-hopefuls-call-for-boost-in-defense-spending/

Our first reaction was: What the hell is he thinking, commenting on foreign policy and military spending when he can’t even balance the budget of a single state? But then we remembered it was Jindal and typically, he panders to the fringe element that adheres to the concept that we are the world’s policeman and that we must impose our will on others despite their resentment of our failure to respect their traditions and cultures. And we’re not just talking about Islam here. Remember Vietnam? For that matter, go back and familiarize yourself with how we took land north of the Rio Grande from Mexico. And to the American Indians (Native Americans, we one insists on political correctness), we are the original illegal immigrants.

Okay, we got off-track and started talking about his American exceptionalism op-ed and while the two issues are interlinked, let’s get back to his advocacy of increased military spending.

First and foremost, it is important to know that America already spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. President George W. Bush’s defense spending, for example, eclipsed that of the Cold War.

Historian Paul Kennedy, in his book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, noted that powerful nations have an unsettling habit throughout history of becoming the leading economic and leading military power and then “overreaching with their military ambitions while their economies sputter past their prime.”

Kennedy said that even as the economic strengths are on the decline, growing foreign challenges force greater and greater military expenditures at the sacrifice of productive investment which he said leads to the “downward spiral of slower growth, heavier taxes, deepening domestic splits over spending priorities and a weakening capacity to bear the burdens of defense.”

He said the U.S. currently runs the risk of “imperial overstretch where our global interests and obligations are larger than our ability to defend them all simultaneously.

Kennedy wrote that back in 1987 but during her run for the Democratic nomination in 2008, Hillary Clinton, like her or not, said if $1 trillion spent in Iraq had been applied instead to domestic programs, it would:

  • Provide healthcare for all 47 million uninsured Americans;
  • Provide quality pre-kindergarten for every American child;
  • Solve the housing crisis once and for all;
  • Make college affordable for every American student, and
  • Provide tax relief to tens of millions of middle-class families.

A classic example of our failure to heed the warning of President Dwight Eisenhower when he warned of the importance of resisting the influence of the “military-industrial complex” is the tar baby this country is stuck to in the Mideast.

Ike warned the country during his farewell address of Jan. 17, 1961, when he said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

Back during the elder Bush’s administration, it was the defense of Kuwait against Saddam Hussein and Iraq—way back in 1991. That’s a quarter-century ago. Later, with Bush II, it was Saddam Hussein and WMD that have yet to be found. No sooner did W announce “Mission accomplished,” than we found ourselves in a conflict that, believe it or not, has now lasted longer than the Vietnam War—with no end in sight. That war has expanded into Afghanistan and now Iran with an invisible enemy called the Islamic State (IS) whom we cannot find, let alone fight.

And how much have those skirmishes cost this country? Click on this link to find out.

http://costsofwar.org/article/economic-cost-summary

That $4.4 trillion includes not only the immediate $1.7 trillion cost of America’s Mideast policy, but the interest on loans to finance the war, the cost of support bases elsewhere in the world, homeland security, nation building (building infrastructure on the war-torn countries while neglecting our own infrastructure), retirement, disability and medical benefits for war veterans, etc., costs our grandchildren will be paying off after we are long gone.

And just how do we pay for these wars in Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan? World War II was financed by raising taxes or selling war bonds. Not so these modern wars, beginning with Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam; they’re financed almost entirely by borrowing which has raised the U.S. budget deficit (something of which Jindal should have a working knowledge), increased the national debt. The interest alone on Pentagon spending from 2001 through 2013 is approximately $316 billion.

To put expenditures in better perspective, consider that American taxpayers are paying:

  • $312,500 every hour for military action against ISIS (total thus far almost $1.4 billion);
  • $10.17 million per hour for the cost of the war in Afghanistan (nearly $800 million to date);
  • $365,000 per hour for the cost of the war in Iraq ($818 billion so far);
  • $10.54 million per hour for the total cost of wars since 2001 ($1.6 trillion);
  • $58 million per hour for the Department of Defense ($602.7 billion budget);
  • $861,000 per hour for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ($9 billion);
  • $2.12 million per hour for our nuclear weapon arsenal ($22 billion);
  • $37,000 each hour for Tomahawk Cruise Missiles ($385 million);
  • $1.33 million every hour for foreign military assistance ($13.8 billion to date);
  • $8.43 million per hour for Homeland Security ($804.5 billion since 9/11);

By comparison, here are some hourly expenditures by U.S. taxpayers for other services in 2014 (with the year-to-date expenditures in parenthesis):

  • $7.81 million for education ($81.14 billion, and don’t forget, Rick Perry wanted to abolish the Dept. of Education);
  • $3.04 million on the environment ($31.6 billion–ditto Perry on the EPA);
  • $2.71 million on foreign aid ($28.2 billion);
  • $4.9 million on housing assistance ($50.8 billion);
  • $36.91 million for Medicaid and CHIP ($383.6 billion);
  • $13.3 million for nutrition assistance ($138.1 billion).

https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/

And Gov. Jindal would have the U.S. commit even more money to the Pentagon, according to a grizzled old reporter a whole year out of college (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill).

Daniel Wiser, writing for something called the Washington Free Beacon (a sister publication to the Hooterville World Guardian of the TV series Green Acres, no doubt), placed Jindal squarely in the same camp as gunslingers John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a couple of veteran Senate saber rattlers.

Wiser said that Jindal released a paper in October calling for allocating 4 percent of the nation’s GDP to defense spending.

Jindal said the U.S. is “in the process of hollowing out our military,” the article said. Jindal added that “The best way for America to lead… is for America to rebuild our tools of hard power.”

It would be bad enough if an otherwise comparatively level-headed candidate like Rick Perry or Rand Paul (everything, after all, is relative) were elected, but if Jindal had a prayer of becoming president, this would be some horrifyingly scary stuff.

The good news is we don’t have to worry about that. Perry or Paul, on the other hand…

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While we normally do not delve into national politics (we have quite enough to do to keep up with the jesters on the fourth floor of the State Capitol), we have decided to offer up our solution to the impasse in Washington, aka the federal government shutdown.

If the board of a larger corporation like, say, Wal-Mart disagrees with the company’s CEO or president, there are no closures of Wal-Mart stores. That would be self-defeating in every respect. Corporate profits would plummet, consumers would buy elsewhere and the stockholders would elect new board members and new officers.

So how is it that Congress—America’s corporate board—can shut down company operations because of disagreements among themselves and with the President—the country’s CEO? Is our national company that near bankruptcy, financial collapse, that hysteria is now the order of the day when it comes to running the store?

To borrow a line from the television sitcom Two and a Half Men, our elected representatives appear to have the emotional stability of a sack of rats in a burning meth lab. Come to think of it, the analogy might not be that far off.

When either side of the aisle in Congress, whether Republicans or Democrats, takes it upon itself to hold the entire country hostage over its inability or unwillingness to compromise, drastic measures are in order.

When 535 men and women can cancel services to more than 300 million Americans on a whim, the system is broken and is in immediate need of repair.

When either side of the issue comments that it is “winning” and that it “doesn’t matter” to them how long the shutdown lasts—and please remember that there are cancer patients and wounded veterans who run the risk of not receiving needed medical treatments—then arrogance has supplanted diplomacy and common sense in our nation’s capital and something must be done.

When Rep. Randy Neugegauer (R-TX) can publicly insult a park ranger for doing her job in closing access to the temporarily closed World War II Memorial in Washington because of the government shutdown—a shutdown brought about by congressional stupidity and not by any action of the park ranger—then he, not she, should be ashamed.

And then we have Rep. Lee Terry (R-NEB) who said he cannot afford to give up his salary during the shutdown. He was dismissive of those who are declining their pay, saying, “Whatever gets them good press.” Good press seems the do-all, end-all for elected officials these days but they often miss the mark by a wide margin. “I’ve got a nice house and a kid in college,” Terry sniffed in refusing for relinquish his salary. “Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That’s just not going to fly.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) expressed similar sentiments, saying he’s keeping his money because he’s “working to earn it.”

Certainly not like those federal employees who also have houses and kids in college and credit card debt and utility and grocery bills but who aren’t working because they were furloughed as a result of increasingly recurring—and tiresome—congressional gridlock and 535 megalomaniacs jockeying for “good press.”

Unfortunately, the solution to this idiocy cannot be implemented overnight; it will take several years.

Nevertheless, here is our solution:

Fire every damned one of them.

That’s right. Put them on the street for a change. Let them struggle to make ends meet each month. In short, put them back in touch with their constituents by making them one of us. We at LouisianaVoice have long felt that if we sent the politicians into battle before sacrificing our young men and women, there well might be fewer unnecessary, foolish, and costly wars like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Syria that benefit only the defense contractors.

So why not take that idea further and whenever federal employees are placed on furlough because of a federal shutdown resulting from sheer pigheadedness and some philosophical point, stop the pay for members of Congress and put them on furlough—permanently.

Constitutionally, it cannot be done in one fell swoop. Senators are elected on a rotating basis—one-third every two years. But in 2014, we could fire 468 of ‘em—all 435 members of the House and one-third, or 33 senators. Two years later, in 2016, send another one-third of the senators home and the final one-third in 2018. (Somewhere along the way, of course, there would be 34 senators up for re-election to account for all 100, but it should be just as easy to fire 34 as 33.)

None are righteous, no not one. All 535 have lost touch with the American people. Witness the shabby way in which 5th District Congressman Rodney Alexander “retired” with little advance notice, all so that (a) Gov. Bobby Jindal could install his choice, State Sen. Neil Riser, into Alexander’s seat and (b) Alexander could be rewarded for opening the door to Jindal’s boy via his appointment as head of the State Department of Veterans Affairs, a position which, incidentally, will bump his state retirement from his tenure in the state legislature before his election to Congress from approximately $7500 to about $82,000 per year.

He’s not alone, of course. Far too many members of Congress have parlayed their time in Washington into small—and not-so-small—fortunes.

Jindal, for example, spent a tad more than three years in Congress and emerged a multi-millionaire, a status he was far from enjoying when he entered.

And at least four of our own former congressmen—Sen. John Breaux and congressmen Bob Livingston, Richard Baker and Billy Tauzin—simply retired and moved over to K Street as highly paid lobbyists. There are others, but those come to mind quickly. Tauzin, it should be noted, used his position in Congress to set up his future employer—and himself—in a way we can only dream of. He rammed through a Medicare bill that prohibited the federal government from negotiating the cost of prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies, meaning that the pharmaceutical companies set the prices—and that was that. And then he resigned and went to work as a lobbyist for (you guessed it) the pharmaceutical industry.

Other members of Congress (and some governors) establish non-profit, tax-exempt foundations that allow well-heeled donors to circumvent laws that limit campaign contributions to $5,000 per election cycle. Donations to foundations such as the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children and Jindal’s Believe in Louisiana, however, have no such restrictions placed on them.

As might be expected, contributions to these foundations from individuals seeking lucrative appointments and corporations seeking favorable legislation tend to spiral out of control.

And there are members of Congress, Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid among them, who use their positions to garner inside information that allows them to anticipate and profit from stock market fluctuations or to make property investments that enrich them personally.

There is less controversy in Congress over the issue of the NSA’s spying on American citizens—an issue that should prompt outrage on the part of the American people.

And now these self-righteous hypocrites beat their breasts as each side waits for the other to blink—all over the issue of ObamaCare which, good or bad, passed Congress and was ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American people should be asked to tolerate only so much from these miscreants. Our patience should be wearing a bit then with these spoiled brats.

The only reasonable solution, therefore, is to fire them all.

No exceptions.

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Remember last year’s incredible fiasco precipitated by Gov. Piyush Jindal when he spurned that $80.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to provide high speed broadband internet to rural areas of Louisiana?

Well, it’s back—perhaps to bite him in the gluteus maximus.

State Superintendent of Education John White has released a report that shows Louisiana public school students and teachers are lacking the technology to enter the digital age.

The Louisiana Technology Footprint report discusses technology guidelines that provide a snapshot of the current state of digital readiness of school districts and campuses in the state.

Louisiana Believes, the highly-touted plan by the department includes, among other goals, one for all schools to be digital-ready by 2014-2015.

The report provides districts with an initial footprint picture of network, bandwidth and device requirements need to fully implement online assessments by the 2014-2015 school year and full digital readiness thereafter.

“Data and technology specifications…indicate school campuses in Louisiana have 197,898 devices available for online testing but only 67,038 (33.9 percent) met new device standards,” the report says.

Only five districts—Ascension, City of Bogalusa, Red River, St. James and FirstLine Schools of New Orleans—meet the minimum device readiness requirements and only two—Ascension and St. James—meet both device and network readiness guidelines for online testing, it said.

It was last Oct. 26 that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Division (NOAA) issued its final termination letter for the grant after repeated efforts to get the state to comply with its request for additional information.

The project, which LouisianaVoice learned was opposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), would have created 900 miles of cable over 21 rural parishes in Louisiana and would have supported several Louisiana universities with expanded optical fiber networking capacity.

That could have complimented the Board of Regents’ $20 million Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI) project, designed to extend high-speed networking capabilities in the state.

But Jindal, whose wife’s charitable foundation received considerable funding from AT&T, apparently preferred that the project be carried out by private companies—such as…oh, say AT&T, for example.

The governor refused to re-apply for the grant because what he termed a “heavy-handed approach from the federal government that would have undermined and taken over private business.”

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu call Jindal’s stated reason “hogwash.” She said the grant would not have interfered with private enterprise and in fact, would have granted money for private companies to lay the cable. “We weren’t trying to create a government broadband system,” she said.

Almost a year before the final rejection of the grant, ALEC, at its annual meeting in San Diego in August of 2010, passed a resolution opposing initiatives targeted at providing universally accessible broadband service because of “the unnecessary, burdensome and economically harmful regulation of broadband internet service companies, including the providers of the infrastructure that supports and enables internet services…”

Looks like someone forgot to tell White about Jindal’s opposition to expanded availability to that evil internet.

In fact, White, in his report, encourages school districts to join a statewide consortium that will aid in consolidated purchasing and contracts as well as providing technology services and support.

Wonder who’ll get the contract to form that consortium?

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BATON ROUGE (CNS)—The Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children received nine individual contributions totaling $511,500 during 2010, according to the latest tax returns filed by the non-profit foundation.

During 2010, the organization distributed more than 100 interactive whiteboard systems with computers across the state and provided school supplies to more than 5,300 students in 16 different schools in coastal Louisiana, the tax return said.

The foundation came under some criticism earlier this year when it was revealed that several contributors to the foundation received large contracts or favorable legislation from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.

Among those contributors were Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($400 million contract), Marathon Oil (subsidiaries received $5.2 million in state funds), Northrop Grumman ($11.4 million contract), and AT&T (17 contracts totaling $32.2 million, plus cable television legislation favoring AT&T).

The 2010 tax return was prepared by Faulk & Winkler, a Baton Rouge certified public accounting firm. David Winkler, a principal in the firm, contributed $1,000 to Gov. Jindal’s gubernatorial campaign in June of 2007 and contributed an identical another $1,000 in December of 2010.

One unidentified contributor in 2010 gave the foundation $170,000. Others, all unidentified, gave $75,000, $70,000, $62,500, $19,065, $10,000, $5,000, and two who gave $50,000 each, the tax return shows.

The return shows total revenues of nearly $545,000 against $565,655 in expenses for the year.

The tax return indicates interactive whiteboard systems and laptop computers for educational purposes were distributed to the following schools:

Briarfield Academy in Lake Providence, Central School Corp. of Grand Cane, Old Bethel Christian Academy of Clarks, Tallulah Academy/Delta Christian School of Tallulah, St. Charles Borromeo Elementary of Destrehan, St. Edward Catholic School of New Iberia, Tensas Academy of St. Joseph, A.L. Smith Elementary of Sterlington, Bridge City Elementary of Westwego, Calvin High School, Claiborne Elementary of West Monroe, Downsville High School, Emily C. Watkins Elementary of LaPlace, Fairview High School of Grant, Garyville/Mount Airy Math & Science Magnet School, Haynesville Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary of Ruston, James Ward Elementary of Jennings, K.R. Hanchey Elementary of DeRidder, Krotz Springs Elementary, Many Elementary, Monterrey High School, Mulberry Elementary School of Houma, Oak Grove Elementary, Olla-Standard Elementary School, Peabody Montessori Elementary of Alexandria, Pollock Elementary, Port Barre Elementary, Quitman High School, Shongaloo High School, Sicily Island Elementary, South Highlands Elementary Magnet of Shreveport, Start Elementary, and W.W. Stewart Elementary of Basile.

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Federal income tax returns show that the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children had receipts of more than $278,000 in 2009 but spent less than $67,000 on 60 interactive whiteboards donated to public school classrooms across Louisiana.

Returns for two other years, 2008 and 2010 were not immediately available but apparently reflect much larger donations to the foundation, according to other sources.

The foundation, headed by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s wife generated considerable controversy last month when it was learned that several corporate contributors had profited either through lucrative state contracts, favorable legislation, or lax enforcement of penalties against polluters.

The foundation was founded in mid-2008, six months after Jindal took office. Capitol News Service requested complete tax returns from the foundation but received only the return for 2009. No returns for 2008 or 2010 were provided.

Charter members pledged $250,000, according to the foundation’s web page which contains a photo of Gov. Jindal and his wife. Platinum members pledge $100,000, Gold members $50,000, Silver members $25,000, and bronze members $10,000. Circle of Friends members give a one-time gift of up to $10,000, the web page says.

Individuals and corporate donors are limited to maximum political contributions of $5,000 during each election cycle, but there is no limit on the amount that can be given a foundation run by either a candidate or a spouse.

Depending on the news source quoted, Mrs. Jindal’s foundation has received $1 million overall and has spent that same amount on the installation of about 170 interactive whiteboards that enable teachers to download multimedia lesson plans to aid them in teaching math or science.

A report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said nine companies that collectively contributed $100,000 to Jindal’s campaign over several election cycles donated at least $790,000 to the foundation.

The foundation received $250,000 from Marathon Oil. Marathon subsidiaries have received $5.2 million in state funds, according to a report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

BlueCross/BlueShield contributed $100,000 and won a questionable $400 million contract to provide health insurance for state employees and retirees and their dependants. A state court judge later ordered the state to re-bid the contract after Humana challenged the contract in a lawsuit that said the plan bid on by BlueCross/BlueShield was not what the state request for proposals (RFP) specified.

Northrop Grumman contributed $10,000 and was awarded a consulting contract of $11.4 million.

Dow Chemical pledged $100,000 and efforts by the administration to fine Dow’s Union Carbide subsidiary for allowing the release of a toxic pollutant and failing to notify state authorities of the leak in a timely manner were apparently dropped.

AT&T may have been the big winner, though.

The corporation contributed $10,000 to Jindal’s campaign since 2007 but gave $250,000 to the Jindal Foundation after Gov. Jindal signed SB- 807 into law (Act 433) in 2008 over the objections of the Louisiana Municipal and the State Police Jury associations. The bill, the Consumer Choice for Television Act removed from local and parish governments their authority and responsibility to negotiate cable franchise agreements with companies that relied largely on locally-owned public infrastructure such as utility poles. The bill also allows AT&T to sell cable television service without the necessity of obtaining local franchises.

In addition to benefitting from the newly enacted cable television law, Capitol News Service found that AT&T also had a minimum of 17 separate contracts with the state totaling $32.2 million.

In addition to contracts, lax enforcement, and favorable legislation, the foundation’s tax return shows that the foundation’s treasurer is Alexandra Bautsch who also is Gov. Jindal’s chief fundraiser, an association that is a little too close for CREW Director Melanie Sloan, who called it “an awfully close relationship between the charity and the governor.”

Sloan, a former prosecutor, said, “Donations that come in to charities like this are almost always from folks who want something from a politician. The donations are made not because of the great work of the charity, but because of connections.

“Foundations tied to politicians see their donations dry up when the politician is no longer in power,” she said. “That demonstrates the real reason the charities get the donations is their political position, not because of the good works they do.”

“If it is not an actual conflict, it is an appearance of conflict,” she said.

Claude “Buddy” Leach, Jr., chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, said it was “the perception that you can have influence with the governor’s office through this foundation.”

Jindal press secretary Kyle Plotkin said Jindal has never solicited donations for his wife’s foundation. But Jindal does appear with his wife in a photograph pasted on the foundation’s web page which could be interpreted by some as a subtle come-on by the governor aimed at potential donors.

Another spokesperson for Gov. Jindal said anything other than the reality that the charity is a “completely nonpolitical, nonpartisan organization created by the first lady….has plainly been dreamed up by partisan hacks living in a fantasy land.”

Pot, kettle.

Gov. Jindal simply said allegations of influence peddling through his wife’s foundation were “silly.”

Kettle, pot.

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