A Congressional ethics board opened an investigation last week into Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) to probe the Congressman’s role in the scandal of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat. Investigators have asked parties related to the ex-governor to release documents showing correspondence with Jackson. The head of the Office of Congressional Ethics said that Jackson has not been accused of wrongdoing, and that the probe is only a fact-gathering entity that does not have subpoena power. (Chicago Sun-Times)
Rev. Al Sharpton entered the fight against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has become a hero of the anti-immigration movement for leading a three-year crackdown on illegal immigrants in Arizona, which has included controversial tactics like occasional crime sweeps in mostly Hispanic neighborhoods. Sharpton told reporters that many of the 1,500 arrests Arpaio approved were based on racial profiling and called on Arpaio to resign. In response, Arpaio said that Sharpton is “living in a fantasy land if he thinks he is going to pressure me into anything.” (Reuters)
A federal appeals court denied a request by investors with Sir Allen Stanford’s company to release $1.7 billion in assets, which were frozen indefinitely by a lower court. Ralph Janvey, a court appointed lawyer who oversees Stanford’s assets, has released 28,000 accounts but said in court papers that unfreezing these particular assets would be disruptive to the case against Stanford, who has been charged with running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme. (Reuters)
The SEC will consider limiting short-selling in its first policymaking session of the year today. One of the SEC’s Democratic commissioners said that SEC head Mary Schapiro decided to review short-selling to address the “very serious concern about investor confidence in the market,” specifically related to the practice. Though many executives and financial investors have blamed short-selling for depressing the stock levels of banks and Wall Street companies, SEC economists say that limiting the practice could have little effect on the economy.
The U.S. government does not have to give a group of 17 Chinese Muslims 30-day notice of where they will be sent upon their release from Guantanamo Bay, a federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday. The Uighurs, who were detained for seven years without charges, are no longer classified as “enemy combatants,” but have not been cleared for release within the United States. U.S. authorities have refused to return the Uighurs to China, where they could face religious persecution. One of the panel members, Judge Thomas Griffith dissented from the court’s decision, saying that “the law requires that the detainees have notice of their transfers and some opportunity to challenge the government’s assurances.” (Associated Press)
Up to fifteen potential bidders have surfaced to buy Bernard Madoff’s securities trading business, a lawyer for Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Madoff’s assets, said Tuesday. The funds exchanged in the sale will help to repay victims of Madoff’s multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Last month, the Boston-based financial firm Castor Pollux offered to buy Madoff’s business for $15 million, but Picard hopes to get a better offer. (New York Times)