a Clockwork Orange

Pukke has been accused by the Federal Trade Commission and several state attorneys general of defrauding thousands of financially strapped consumers out of $172 million when they sought help from the credit-counseling firm. Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service is seeking $300 million from Pukke, whose assets were frozen by a U.S. district judge in April, pending a decision on the FTC case.

The Washington Post reports Sept. 27 that, despite the freeze, Pukke managed to buy the Laguna pad, the receiver's attorney Gary Owen Caris alleged. The receiver is trying to document Pukke's assets, which the FTC hopes to use to make refunds to consumers.

*unless he is later acquired by the Angels, in which case, hey, Barry, cool show!

Posted Sept. 26, 5:25 p.m.

A story about who could be the next Michael Brown--or unqualified, cronied, in-over-his-head, Bush-appointed federal official, in honor of the disgraced ex-FEMA chief--in the current Time Magazine Online Edition ends with this interesting nugget:
Joseph Schmitz, Ari Fleisher/
Michael Kinsley sandwich
Couresty Department of Defense

"Three weeks ago, however, Joseph Schmitz supplanted Rehnquist as the most notorious Bush IG (Defense department inspector general). Schmitz, who worked as an aide to former Reagan Administration Attorney General Ed Meese and whose father John was a Republican Congressman from Orange County, Calif., quit his post at the Pentagon following complaints from Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa. In particular, Grassley questioned Schmitz's acceptance of a trip to South Korea, paid for in part by a former lobbying client, according to Senate staff members and public lobbying records, and Schmitz's use of eight tickets to a Washington Nationals baseball game. But those issues aren't the ones that led to questions about his independence from the White House. Those concerns came to light after Schmitz chose to show the White House his department's final report on a multiyear investigation into the Air Force's plan to lease air-refueling tankers from Boeing for much more than it would have cost to buy them. After two weeks of talks with the Administration, Schmitz agreed to black out the names of senior White House officials who appeared to have played a role in pushing and approving what turned out to be a controversial procurement arrangement. Schmitz ultimately sent the report to Capitol Hill, but Senators are irked that they have not yet received an original, unredacted copy.

"Congressional aides said they are still scratching their heads about how Schmitz got his job. He now works for the parent company of Blackwater USA, a military contractor that, in his old job, he might have been responsible for investigating."

So Time wants to know how Schmitz got his job? In this administration, how could he not have got that job? This boy's got pedigree, just like his boss, W. Joseph Schmitz's father, of course, is the late John G. Schmitz, the ultraconservative firebrand and former Orange County lawmaker whose career highlights included membership in the John Birch Society; loss of the presidency by a mere 44 million votes as the 1972 American Independent Party nominee; his 1982 press release titled "Senator Schmitz and His Committee Survive Attack of the Bulldykes�"; that missive's description of feminist attorney Gloria Allred as "a slick, butch lawyeress"; his apology to Allred to settle a $10 million defamation suit; his announcement of his 1982 candidacy for the U.S. Senate with Yasser Arafat at his side; revelations that the staunch critic of declining American morals and father of six also had two more kids with a mistress; and revelations that his then-35-year-old daughter (and Joey's big sis) Mary Kay LeTourneau, a Seattle schoolteacher, had sex--and later two babies--with a 13-year-old boy.

According to the Department of Defense (DoD) website, the Inspector General reports directly to Rummy. Reached for comment from Clockwork, the Rummy doll just beyond our computer keyboard had this reaction:

"I suspect some of these deadenders will be down there shooting people and doing that kind of thing."

Deep, Mr. Secretary, very deep.

The DoD goes on to say, "The statutorily 'independent and objective' Office of Inspector General . . ." -- HAH! And there's more about that office being the sole DoD representative on the President's Council on Integrity & Efficiency (PCIE) and, by law, "the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense for matters relating to the prevention of fraud, waste, and abuse in the programs and operations of the Department."

Like that $4 billion missing in Iraq?

The DoD site claims that Scmitz is qualified for his post because from 1987 to 2002, he was in a private-sector law practice "focused on complex civil litigation, aviation regulatory matters, international trade, administrative law, and constitutional appellate litigation." The 27 years before that included naval service, first on active duty and then as a reserve officer, attaining the rank of Captain; Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States, Honorable Edwin Meese III; and law clerk to Honorable James L. Buckley, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Red flag:

He has also served on the Steering Committee of the Washington Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.

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