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Former Airspace Exec Accuses New Mexico’s Dem Governor, Appointees of ‘Serial Lawbreaking’

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Michelle Lujan Grisham
Michelle Lujan Grisham

New Mexico’s Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, as well as many of her political appointees, are being accused of serial lawbreaking. Zach DeGregorio, former Chief Financial Officer of Spaceport America has claimed among other things, that one appointee Alicia Keyes, “encouraged him to falsify an economic impact study” reports the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Keyes also “mishandled a bond refinancing for the purpose of defrauding the state” he alleged. DeGregorio says when he attempted to report the wrongdoing, he was threatened with investigations and a firing. Specifically, DeGregorio believes he was retaliated against after filing the whistleblower complaint.

The complaint is nothing to be taken lightly. Along with defrauding the state, the lawsuit states Spaceport America’s chief client, Virgin Galactic, and its CEO, Richard Branson, had bribed Governor Lujan Grisham in exchange for “essential business” status during COVID-19 shutdowns.

DCNF reports:

The governor’s office met with Virgin Galactic shortly before Grisham “ma[d]e changes to the NM Spaceport Authority board,” “ma[d]e staffing changes at the NM Spaceport Authority,” and “made operational changes at the NM Spaceport Authority that benefited Virgin Galactic at the expense of other customers and the NM taxpayers,” according to the lawsuit.

DeGregorio is requesting $200 million for loss of future earning capacity, emotional distress and back pay. He resigned from his position in June 2020, “shortly after he filed a complaint alleging that Spaceport America Executive Director Daniel Hicks violated several state laws, which led to “possible waste and abuse of taxpayer funds.”

“In the lawsuit, DeGregorio adds that Hicks attempted to break into his email account and accessed emails DeGregorio sent to Keyes about Hicks’ involvement in alleged procurement fraud.”

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SCOTUS Rules Against EPA In Climate Change Case

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On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in West Virginia v. The Environmental Protection Agency that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants because it was not specifically granted that power by Congress.

“The Supreme Court sharply curtails the authority of the EPA to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change,” SCOTUSblog tweeted. “In a 6-3 ruling, the court sides with conservative states and fossil-fuel companies in adopting a narrow reading of the Clean Air Act.”

The Supreme Court ruled that “Congress did not grant the Environmental Protection Agency in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the agency took in the Clean Power Plan,” SCOTUSblog explained, adding that the “dispute began in 2015 with the Obama administration’s adoption of the Clean Power Plan, a rule that sought to combat climate change by reducing carbon pollution from power plants. The plan never went into effect, however: Several states and private plaintiffs challenged it in federal court, and a divided Supreme Court put it on hold in February 2016.”

The former Trump administration’s EPA repealed the Clean Power Plan in 2019 and replaced it with the more lenient Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule).

In January 2021, “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, vacated the ACE Rule, and sent the issue back to the EPA for more proceedings. The Supreme Court then granted a request by Republican-led states and coal companies to review that ruling; meanwhile, the Biden administration EPA has indicated that it will not reinstate the Clean Power Plan and is instead drafting its own rules on greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants,” SCOTUSblog wrote.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority decision for the Court and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch. The three leftist judges dissented.

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,” Roberts wrote. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme in Section 111(d). A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is reversed, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

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Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of High School Football Coach Punished For Praying After Games

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On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District that a public high school football coach in Washington state had his First Amendment rights violated after he was placed on administrative leave and banned from participating in the football program for praying on the field after games where students could see.

“SCOTUS sides with a high school football coach in a First Amendment case about prayer at the 50-yard-line,” SCOTUSblog wrote on Twitter. “In a 6-3 ruling, SCOTUS says the public school district violated the coach’s free speech and free exercise rights when it barred him from praying on the field after games.”

Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch explained, “Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic—whether those expressions take place in a sanctuary or on a field, and whether they manifest through the spoken word or a bowed head.”

“Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment,” Gorsuch added. “And the only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination. Mr. Kennedy is entitled to summary judgment on his First Amendment claims.”

In 2008, high school football coach Joseph Kennedy began a tradition of praying at midfield after each game. Over time, his players and even members of the opposing team began to join him. In September 2015, a school administrator addressed the matter with Kennedy after an opposing team complained and the coach briefly stopped his prayers.

On October 14, 2015, Kennedy told the school district that he was planning on resuming his prayer tradition at the next game. The school district told the coach that his prayers violated the district’s policy, but Kennedy continued to pray at the next two games. The school district subsequently placed him on administrative leave, banned him from participating in the football program, and refused to renew his contract for the following season. Kennedy took the issue to federal district court, arguing that the school district had violated his First Amendment rights.

“Kennedy’s private religious exercise did not come close to crossing any line one might imagine separating protected private expression from impermissible government coercion,” Gorsuch wrote. “Learning how to tolerate speech or prayer of all kinds is part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society, a trait of character essential to a tolerant citizenry.”

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