Boxer failed to declare million-dollar house on disclosures?

posted at 10:02 am on October 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

She chairs the Senate Ethics Committee, so Barbara Boxer should know her obligations for disclosure as a member of the upper chamber.  Roger Simon reports exclusively at Pajamas Media that Boxer neglected to disclose her ownership interest in a million-dollar residence in Oakland, as well as the mortgage — both required under Senate rules.  The Foundation for Ethics in Public Service has asked the Department of Justice to investigate Boxer’s lack of disclosure:

In a breaking development that may affect the close California Senate race, Pajamas Media has learned The Foundation for Ethics in Public Service sent a letter to Eric Holder last Thursday requesting the attorney general “begin an investigation to determine whether United States Senator Barbara Boxer violated any criminal laws or should be liable for any civil penalty for failure to disclose real property on her Personal Financial Disclosure Reports between 2002 and 2010.”

The Foundation for Ethics in Public Service is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization “that seeks to bring a new level of transparency, accountability and integrity to all levels of government in the United States.”  Boxer is the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.

The specific property FEPS is referring to is an Oakland, California, home valued at over a million dollars and co-owned by Boxer, her husband Stewart, their son Douglas, and his wife Amy.

I hadn’t heard of the Foundation for Ethics in Public Service until now.  FEPS operates out of North Carolina, run by Les Merritt, a one-time state auditor in NC and an occasional contributor to Republicans, although only less than $1400 in the last six years and nothing since a March 2008 contribution to Liddy Dole.  Also on the FEPS board is David Levinson, who worked for Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.  If there is a partisan bent to the organization, it’s well hidden.

On the other hand, the letter to Eric Holder seems like a grandstanding play.  A failure to disclose assets does violate the Ethics  in Government Act, but the usual remedy is to the Ethics Committee first.  While Boxer chairs the panel, it does have Republicans who can make the case first in that body, and at least force Boxer to stonewall a probe first (if she dared) before asking the DoJ to assume jurisdiction over the allegation.  The letter seems more motivated at getting attention than a serious effort to get the Attorney General to open a criminal probe of Boxer.

None of this, though, lets Boxer off the hook.  If she has an ownership interest in a million-dollar house, she has to disclose that, along with the mortgage.  It’s rather routine, which would prompt a question about why she would avoid disclosing it in the first place.  Roger Simon has a theory about that:

The Oakland home is currently lived in by Douglas and his wife.  This is not the first time Senator Boxer’s son has been the center of controversy.  The senator reportedly paid out nearly $500,000 from her campaign contributions to her son’s public relations firm between 2001 and 2009.  Those moneys could have been used to pay off the mortgage on the Oakland property, adding urgency to the DOJ investigation sought by The Foundation for Ethics in Public Service and further complicating the legal and ethical issues involved.

One may not be connected to the other.  The payout of campaign funds to Boxer’s son has already drawn interest regardless of whether the money went into the house they apparently own jointly.  If the payout was a conduit to funding the mortgage, perhaps Boxer would have wanted its existence to be “off the books” in terms of disclosure, but that presumes illegality in Boxer’s hiring of her son for her campaigns.  It’s not illegal to own a home with a child or a parent, and it’s not illegal to hire them for campaigns, either — as long as they actually do work equal to the value of the compensation.  It is illegal to fail to disclose the arrangement and the ownership of the home, the latter of which Boxer apparently kept hidden for some reason.

I suspect that Boxer will be filing amended disclosures by the end of the week, and that the DoJ will not show much interest in the case.


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Hey, she “worked hard” for that house.

BYE-BYE BARBARA !!

stenwin77 on October 26, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Dear Babs,

Use this line …… “I live off of a fixed annual income”.

Hugs,

Dingy

fogw on October 26, 2010 at 10:06 AM

“We love her even more now!”

-liberal Californians, the stupidest of the stupid

Bishop on October 26, 2010 at 10:06 AM

“I think I’ve earned the title of Unethical Senator”

BobMbx on October 26, 2010 at 10:06 AM

I’m sure it’s an honest mistake.

Because Boxer is an idiot. She probably can’t read or write.

NoDonkey on October 26, 2010 at 10:07 AM

As we well know, our superiors need to own multiple homes and vehicles, and a couple of private jets. Therefore, it is easy to forget a couple of them.

Blake on October 26, 2010 at 10:08 AM

She worked hard to keep that house hidden and she has earned that house. Now butt out.

bopbottle on October 26, 2010 at 10:09 AM

November 2nd

Harry S on October 26, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Does she have any undeclared submarines?

Blake on October 26, 2010 at 10:10 AM

“Ma’am” was too good for her.

Shy Guy on October 26, 2010 at 10:11 AM

A failure to disclose assets does violate the Ethics in Government Act, but the usual remedy is to the Ethics Committee first. While Boxer chairs the panel, it does have Republicans who can make the case first in that body

I’m sure it would be at the top of her to-do list.

Vashta.Nerada on October 26, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Eric Holder is busy prosecuting voter intimidation across the country…a 70 yr. old Tea Partier was seen in a wheelchair with an American flag trying to vote…that has to be stopped.

right2bright on October 26, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Poor people need houses too!

the_nile on October 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Whoa! The politicized dept of Justice investigating a big-shot democrat? That should restore my faith in politics.

Why is this voice in my head whispering that Che fellow wasn’t really all that bad…..you know, he’s more honest than our leftists.

Don L on October 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM

It is most definitely illegal to use subterfuge to launder campaign funds to pay for your private residence. Christine O’Donnell has gotten hammered for doing the same thing. Tom Delay was hammered for having his wife on his campaign payroll. Whenever Republicans do this sort of thing the media and the DNC clobber them for being at least unethical if not criminal. It is an easy way for politicians to effectively subsidize a lavish lifestyle on a government salary, and most people who contribute to politicians’ campaigns expect their money to be spent on, you know, campaigning and not subsidizing the candidate’s lifestyle.

That being said, a million-dollar house in Oakland may be a 1200-square-foot cottage. But it’s still illegal for Boxer to use her campiang funds to pay for it.

rockmom on October 26, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Holder can look into the matter because she is white, right?

mjbrooks3 on October 26, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Unless SOMEONE runs with this, and gets it out, even the DoJ will look the other way ! (and look even worse than they already do… not a bad thought, that)

PASS IT ON !!

pambi on October 26, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Ed, I don’t care if this is a “grandstanding play”.

If it will damage this detestable woman and help her get removed from our Federal Government, grandstand away.

As a matter of fact, let’s have more grandstanding about this until election day. The fact that she is Chair of Senate Ethics Committee (itself something of an oxymoron) should magnify the damage.

To use a Naval analogy, none of our combat vessels should have any rounds left in the magazine on Nov 3rd.

It is time to tighten the formation and let them have it with all guns blazing.

I hope she fails.

Brian1972 on October 26, 2010 at 10:13 AM

stenwin77 on October 26, 2010 at 10:05 AM

That was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the headline. :D She is SO saddled with this for the rest of her life.

hoosiermama on October 26, 2010 at 10:14 AM

As we well know, our superiors need to own multiple homes and vehicles, and a couple of private jets. Therefore, it is easy to forget a couple of them.

Blake on October 26, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Only if they are Democrats fightin’ hard for the working man. If they are Republicans they are evil fat cats who are out of touch with ordinary Americans who have only one house.

rockmom on October 26, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Boxer is trash, and reading the sordid little tale about her son’s shady dealings just seals that image.

Americans marched into Baghdad and kicked open all of Saddam’s files to get info about his crimes, we need to do the same thing in D.C., I’m sick and tired of being under the thumb of these political thugs.

Bishop on October 26, 2010 at 10:16 AM

To use a Naval analogy, none of our combat vessels should have any rounds left in the magazine on Nov 3rd.

It is time to tighten the formation and let them have it with all guns blazing.

I hope she fails.

Brian1972 on October 26, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Simple, succinct, and awesome.

Darksean on October 26, 2010 at 10:18 AM

It is illegal and unethical to fail to disclose the arrangement and the ownership of the home, the latter of which Boxer apparently kept hidden for some reason.

Ownership interest in an Oakland estate…. $1,000,000
Donation to son’s public relations firm…$500,000
Seeing Senator Ma’am Boxer purchase the length of rope that she’s going to hang with…..priceless.

somewhere Mr. Harry Alford is busting a gut with laughter.

ted c on October 26, 2010 at 10:18 AM

I sent this to tips…hilarious

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixiYZ9DPk8o&feature=player_embedded

scalleywag on October 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM

I suspect that Boxer will be filing amended disclosures by the end of the week, and that the DoJ will not show much interest in the case.

Unfortunately, I think you’re right. Let’s just hope the people of California care more about this.

capejasmine on October 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Here’s the link to the Barbara Boxer “Call me Senator”, parody made by the director of the movie AIRPLANE, David uker. It’s funny!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixiYZ9DPk8o

centre on October 26, 2010 at 10:21 AM

On the other hand, the letter to Eric Holder seems like a grandstanding play.

Ed, Ed, Ed….Rule #4 for Radicals courtesy of Saul Alinksy.

RepubChica on October 26, 2010 at 10:22 AM

I sent this to tips…hilarious

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixiYZ9DPk8o&feature=player_embedded

scalleywag on October 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM

dude, that’s FUNNY!–I hope Ed or AP uses that in a thread. It’d be a perfect cap to the Call Me Senator Ma’am’s career…..

ted c on October 26, 2010 at 10:25 AM

They ran Uncle Ted out of office on a rail over this, but Babs? Not so much.

Trash.

tcn on October 26, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Stupid Californian’s will still vote her in, just like them voting in Jerry Brown..

reshas1 on October 26, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Yea, I had to watch that a couple times! Posted on The Hill so it should get plenty of hits.

David Zucker (Airplane), former liberal who is now embarrassed that he previously donated money to Boxer, created this masterpiece! Thanks, David!

scalleywag on October 26, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Yeah, but Joe Miller Freeped an on-line poll from work.

notropis on October 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Nothing will happen to senator ma’am…
Msm:*yawn*

cmsinaz on October 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Yeah, but Joe Miller Freeped an on-line poll from work.

notropis on October 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM

You’ve got to be kidding! Oh the humanity!!!!///

ted c on October 26, 2010 at 10:32 AM

So, Barbara Boxer is a closet conservative:

She dislikes taxes, specifically property taxes.

But she remains AS A BLUE-BLOODED DEMOCRAT:

SHE EVADES TAXES.

TheAlamos on October 26, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Tax forms, disclosure forms – Democrats sure have a problem filling them out.

GarandFan on October 26, 2010 at 10:34 AM

In 2004, the Democrat Media ignored the massive real estate holdings of the Democrat Power Couple they were trying to steal the election for. 4 years later, they then made a huge deal out of the Republican candidate’s wife owning several condos.

Moral of the story? It’s only bad to own real estate if you’re a Republican running for office. Now wasn’t that simple?

Del Dolemonte on October 26, 2010 at 10:34 AM

What the source for the down payment of the house?

I smell federal taxable gifts from Boxer and her hubby to son and daughter-in-law. Did any gifts exceed the federal gift-tax annual exclusion? Has Boxer been filing federal gift tax returns?

WTF is going on with arrangement?

BuckeyeSam on October 26, 2010 at 10:35 AM

I love that California gets what they deserve.

royzer on October 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM

somewhere Mr. Harry Alford is busting a gut with laughter.

ted c on October 26, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Has Fiorini made an ad out of that committee hearing exchange? I can’t believe it if she hasn’t.

BuckeyeSam on October 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM

“We love her even more now!”

-liberal Californians, the stupidest of the stupid

Bishop on October 26, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Exactly….

The more ignorant and corrupt a democrat is….the better Californians love them.

They are in the worst fiscal crises the state has ever seen and what do they want to do to fix it……sell dope and elect Jerry Brown…..

Absolutely stuck on stupid.

Baxter Greene on October 26, 2010 at 10:38 AM

A letter was sent to Eric Holder ??

Why not send it my pet dachshund? it will do as much good. Although she’ll probably will knaw on it a bit.

kurtzz3 on October 26, 2010 at 10:41 AM

MSM had a few weeks of sport when McShame didn’t know how many houses he and the Mrs owned, but ma’am, not a big f*en deal.

dragondrop on October 26, 2010 at 10:41 AM

They are in the worst fiscal crises the state has ever seen and what do they want to do to fix it……sell dope and elect Jerry Brown…..

PERFECT!!!!! MORE DOPE AND COKE FOR CALIFORNIA!

LET LYING BROWN LEAD WITH “NO PLAN AT ALL”, JUST FAKE PROMISES!

AND … TERMINATOR WILL BE REAL THIS TIME AROUND!!!!

GO ARNULD! SHOW US THE FUTURE!

TheAlamos on October 26, 2010 at 10:43 AM

scalleywag on October 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM

I sent it to Tips, yesterday, but I guess that the powers that be are not going to post it. Oh well…we tried.

centre on October 26, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Ethics are for the little people. Right, SENATOR MA’AM?

UnderstandingisPower on October 26, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Here’s the video produced by Zucker. Classic.

kingsjester on October 26, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Has Fiorini made an ad out of that committee hearing exchange? I can’t believe it if she hasn’t.

BuckeyeSam on October 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM

if she didn’t then I thought the NRSC did…?

ted c on October 26, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I sent it to Tips, yesterday, but I guess that the powers that be are not going to post it. Oh well…we tried.

centre on October 26, 2010 at 10:45 AM

It’s a couple of weeks old…no use in posting something that is old news…

right2bright on October 26, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Seriously folks, there is so much incredibly stupid behavior coming from Congress … something new comes out every day… that I think we should start requiring drug tests.

itsacookbook on October 26, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Boxer is the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.

Fox/Henhouse/Ma’am

ontherocks on October 26, 2010 at 10:55 AM

I have never heard of FEPS before either, but if they are truly concerned with ethics in public service, I wonder if they don’t want to ding Holder every bit as much as they want to ding Boxer. Boxer is a corrupt politician, but Holder is repeatedly enabling corruption by selectively refusing to enforce the law of the land against politically-favored criminals.

Given the abysmal track record of legislators in dealing with corruption among their own, the folks at FEPS may have decided the best way to deal with it is in the court of public opinion. Highlighting Boxer’s corruption and Holder’s ongoing dereliction of duty looks like a two-fer.

novaculus on October 26, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Plus, the NRSC put out a new ad targeting women. Dare to hope we will be free of the “Senator” this time around?

Do women want fewer opportunities to work in California? If they do, then vote for Barbara Boxer. Do women who, work at home taking care of their children, want their husbands to struggle providing for them? If they do, then vote for Barbara Boxer. Do women think that extreme environmental concerns ought to stop good paying jobs coming to California? If they do, then vote for Barbara Boxer. Do women like the fact that 144 companies have left California this year? If they do, then vote for Barbara Boxer.

Blue Collar Todd on October 26, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Seriously folks, there is so much incredibly stupid behavior coming from Congress … something new comes out every day… that I think we should start requiring drug tests.

itsacookbook on October 26, 2010 at 10:53 AM

I’m not sure we need drug tests as much as intelligence tests. I think there are a number of Representatives and Senators whose tests would come back negative.

teke184 on October 26, 2010 at 11:03 AM

I can’t figure out if Carly is sticking close to Boxer in the polls because people are tempted or not.

Interesting race, though.

AnninCA on October 26, 2010 at 11:09 AM

teke184 on October 26, 2010 at 11:03 AM

How about making them take the test for CITIZENSHIP !
Anyone tried that ? It’s KILLER !!

pambi on October 26, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Boxers Disclosure,

Typical I say!!

canopfor on October 26, 2010 at 11:21 AM

centre on October 26, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Maybe they picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue. /s

scalleywag on October 26, 2010 at 11:24 AM

I seriously doubt that Eric Holder will begin any investigation of Boxer a week before the election. But did FEPS send a copy of this letter to the Fiorina campaign?

If she has an ownership interest in a million-dollar house, she has to disclose that, along with the mortgage. It’s rather routine, which would prompt a question about why she would avoid disclosing it in the first place.

A million-dollar house in California probably pales in comparison to what Fiorina owns as former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, but then why would Boxer hide it for 8 years? Maybe Fiorina’s campaign should raise the issue in an ad…

Steve Z on October 26, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Absolutely stuck on stupid.

Baxter Greene on October 26, 2010 at 10:38 AM

So right. California continues to put out the welcome mat for uneducated, pie in the sky people who always have their hands out, while the state does everything it can to shun business. What really gets me is that there are more than 5 million registered republicans who live here, but we are overwhelmed by the 7+ million registered liberals (which doesn’t even count the illegals).

LASue on October 26, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Perhaps Boxer was too busy absolving her cohorts who were Countrywide’s ‘friends’ of Angelo VIP program.

According to the July 2009 AP story, “Boxer asked whether Dodd and Conrad received VIP treatment because they were senators. Feinberg said that was not the case; they received breaks as other influential people in Countrywide’s ‘friends’ of Angelo VIP program.”

Her committee absolved Dodd and Conrad of violating Senate rules. It criticized them for not vigilantly enough questioning the company about how they became VIPs, but held the Senate at fault for not offering “specific guidance to senators, officers and employees on the matters they should consider when negotiating mortgages and other financial transactions.”

If Boxer received preferential treatment, it would be like President Bill Clinton ruling on the definition of “is.” And given that her committee sanctioned no member in 2008 and 2009, issuing only three letters of admonition during that time period in spite of receiving notice of nearly 200 potential violations of Senate rules, the culture of non-inquiry makes it seem as if she specifically chose to address this issue to absolve herself and fellow colleagues of any wrongdoing.

This is hard work, Senator Maaaaam!

Rovin on October 26, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Ethics are for the little people.

ajacksonian on October 26, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Fiorina is toast! Boxer will win by 20 points. The fix is in!

technopeasant on October 26, 2010 at 12:25 PM

What month is it, again?

Surprise!

James on October 26, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Million dollar house? Fighting for the “little guy”. Vote these frauds out California!

Hummer53 on October 26, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Ed, are you going to continue to refer to the Senate as the “upper” chamber if the House flips and the Senate doesn’t?

Tres Angelas on October 26, 2010 at 12:53 PM

IN this state, she is Teflon. Nothing sticks to her. The kited checks while she was in the House, the lack of any meaningful bill sponsorship, her disrespect of the military, her kooky allegiance to environmentalism, nothing sticks.

Our one big hope is this cycle, and this wave. Believe me, people are not compelled to vote for Fiorina, they are voting against Boxer.

Last best hope.

juanito on October 26, 2010 at 1:06 PM

I was just reading another article that states Boxer is ahead in the polls “among women” voters.

My question is, what KIND of “women”? Because I can’t imagine what KIND of “women” would appear in majority to vote for Boxer. About or for anything.

Lourdes on October 26, 2010 at 1:06 PM

And, I’m thinking Eric Holder is busy investigating whoever complains about Boxer. If he was going to investigate Boxer, he’d have been investigating Boxer.

Lourdes on October 26, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Stupid Californian’s will still vote her in, just like them voting in Jerry Brown..

reshas1 on October 26, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Voters who think about issues and how candidates’ positions are on those issues, and who they are, don’t support people like Boxer and/or Brown or numbers of the other Leftwing Progressives continuing to plague the state of CA into ruin (and keep it there).

The people who vote FOR Boxer, Brown, other Progressives are those who are TOLD who to vote for by “influential forces” such as SEIU and other unions. CA, unfortunately, is infested with unions, infested with them. That includes Hollywood.

Factor in the illegal aliens and you get people like Boxer and Brown and other Progressives re-elected by other communists in the state of CA from other communist areas.

Actual AMERICANS who vote — and are not among those two areas ^^ — don’t vote for people like Boxer, Brown or other Progressives.

Lourdes on October 26, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Just wanted to add here that I noticed actor Kevin Spacey has provided voice-over work to a recent ad by Jerry Brown attacking Meg Whitman.

Utter fail.

Lourdes on October 26, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Basically here in CA, it’s us folks in the sticks vs. the city people. Since lots of city people retire to the country, there’s some overlap.

We redneck hicks have been pounded to a pulp in voting over the years, and usually are resigned to defeat. But this time we’re going to vote in huge numbers, and hope to God it matters.

jodetoad on October 26, 2010 at 2:20 PM

IF we could throw Boxer or Reid out it would seem like Christmas in November
To see her ,Reid , and Barney all thrown out , be careful what you wish for ,that might cause a polar shift……..

ELMO Q on October 26, 2010 at 3:15 PM

call her ‘CHEAT’, she worked hard at hiding assets.

Wade on October 26, 2010 at 4:22 PM

What a disgrace…

Khun Joe on October 26, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Anyone want to bet it’s because they had a ‘special deal’ mortgage, like the Friends of Angelo?

slickwillie2001 on October 26, 2010 at 6:49 PM

We need to socialize homes so these details won’t be an issue. :)

drfredc on October 26, 2010 at 9:50 PM