ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON MEEKS’S CORRUPTION
* “Sweetheart Deal” on a Home Purchase: Meeks in 2006 paid $830,000 for a two-story house in Queens, New York whose fair market value at the time was well over $1 million. In January 2007—only a few months after the purchase—the city listed the home’s market value as $1.239 million.
* Questionable and Illegally Obtained Loans: (A) Meeks initially said that he had no documents to substantiate the $40,000 loan from Ahmad in 2007. He later changed his story, telling the House Ethics Committee that the loan interest rate and repayment schedule had in fact been spelled out in writing, but that he had misplaced the documents. Ahmad’s lawyer, by contrast, told the House Ethics Committee that no loan documents existed. The attorney also stated that Ahmad, if subpoenaed by the Committee, would invoke the Fifth Amendment unless he was given immunity from prosecution. (B) The Mehiel loan in 2007 was legitimate and had a 7.3% interest rate. But federal law required that Meeks obtain permission from the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct before entering into that transaction, and he failed to do this.
* Shady Relationships with Nonprofit Groups: The New Direction Local Development Corporation (NDLDC)—whose official address was the office of Joan Flowers, a former campaign treasurer for both Meeks and State Senator Malcolm Smith—initially announced (in 2005) that it intended to raise $270,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims, and that none of the money would be used for administrative costs; i.e., all of it would go directly to the people who desperately needed it. NDLDC directed all donations to the offices of Rep. Meeks, Senator Smith, and Democratic New York Assemblywoman Barbara Clark. In 2005, Meeks’s congressional campaign gave $10,000 to NDLDC’s Katrina fund, though half of that money was later refunded to the campaign in 2006. All told, NDLDC raised just over $30,000in the name of Katrina victims. Some $11,210 of this derived from a fundraising concert organized by Assemblywoman Clark. But according to NDLDC’s tax returns, only $1,392 ever found its way to the victims of Katrina. All other funds remain unaccounted for.
* Ties to a Corrupt Financier: When the New York Daily News in 2006 asked Meeks about the Caribbean trips which were funded by R. Allen Stanford, the congressman claimed that they were for business. When it was pointed out that his wife often traveled with him, Meeks replied, “It helps my marriage.”
* Possible Crimes Committed by Meeks: If Meeks took any official action in exchange for: (a) the $170,000+ discount he received on his 2006 home purchase; or (b) exchanged any official action for the $40,000 he received from Ahmad in 2007; or (c) used his position in Congress to benefit Albert Baldeo in exchange for the discounted rent he (Meeks) received in 2002-04; or (d) used his position in Congress for the benefit of R. Allen Stanford in exchange for campaign contributions or luxury trips, he (Meeks) may have been guilty of such crimes as: Accepting a Bribe, Accepting an Illegal Gratuity, Receiving Compensation For Exerting Improper Influence, Taking Official Action for Personal Gain, Unfairly Discriminating by Dispensing Special Favors, and Violating Federal Gift Rules.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON MEEKS
* In 2007, Meeks was one of 90 Members of Congress who formed a Peace Pledge Coalition that stated, in an open letter to President Bush: “We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.” The letter was initiated by such notables as Medea Benjamin, Kevin Zeese, and representatives of AfterDowningStreet.org, the Backbone Campaign, the Center for Labor Renewal, Democracy Rising, Democrats.com, the Progressive Democrats of America, Velvet Revolution, and Voters for Peace.
* On December 6, 2006—three days before the 25th anniversary of the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner by former Black Panther Party member Mumia Abu-Jamal—Meeks was one of 31 U.S. House Members (all Democrats) who voted against a resolution “condemning the decision of St. Denis, France, to name a street in honor of … Abu-Jamal.” To view a list of all 31 House members who voted this way, click here.
* When the House of Representatives voted by a 345-75 margin to defund the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN in September 2009, Meeks was one of the 75—all Democrats—who voted to continue funding the group. For a list of other legislators who voted as Meeks did, click here.
* In December 2014, Meeks was outraged by the announcement that a grand jury had decided not to indict a white New York City police officer whose July 2014 confrontation with a black New Yorker named Eric Garner, had resulted in Garner’s death. (Click here for details of that incident, which was recorded on video by an onlooker.) Meeks drew parallels between the manner of Garner’s death—as well as other recent instances of black suspects dying at the hands of white police officers—and the racist law-enforcement tactics of the Jim Crow South. Said the congressman: “I refer back to the ’60s when you had Bull Conner and they were beating folks back then. And no police officer was being arrested…. Well, clearly if we have this kind of video tape and you have no indictment – but we need Americans to speak up and say that we don’t want this to happen because this is a violation of human rights right here in America …”
* In early 2015, Meeks objected strenuously when Republican House Speaker John Boehner—without first asking President Obama for his approval—invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress about the gravity of the growing Iranian nuclear threat and his “profound disagreement” with the negotiated deal that the Obama Administration was pursuing with Iran. Meeks was one of numerous Congressional Black Caucusmembers who, citing Netanyahu’s act of “disrespect” against Obama, boycotted the speech.