WASHINGTON, May 12, 2017 — Do you remember Janet Napolitano? She is the former governor of Arizona and the third person to serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You may recall the controversy that swirled around her and her office when a 2009 DHS report warned of the threat posed to the nation by “rightwing extremists”:
“Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn – including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit – could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists…” (emphasis added).
Having established under the heading “Key Findings” that what followed was not actually occurring in America but night terrors disrupting the sleep of Obama administration officials, the document added:
“Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.”
As it turned out, “rightwing” opposition to the Obama administration came in the form of the peaceful Tea Party movement, whose non-violent demonstrators were notorious for leaving protest venues cleaner than they found them.
This populist movement did find America to be “a fertile recruiting environment,” capitalizing on the nation’s outrage over the passage of Obamacare, in answer to which the Tea Party eventually robbed Democrats of their control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the White House.
As a bonus, that last victory preserved the conservative (some might say “rightwing”) majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.
It also began the dismantling of President Obama’s single accomplishment as president: the laughably titled Affordable Care Act.
The Tea Party did this with ballots and not bullets.
So, you ask, what has Janet Napolitano been up to since leaving Washington?
According to an exclusive report in the San Francisco Chronicle, it appears Napolitano’s new vocation is robbing California taxpayers and university students blind.
Now serving as the University of California President, overseeing the Golden State’s 10-campus university system, state auditors discovered “$175 million in secret reserves in the office of the president [Napolitano].”
For the uninitiated, “secret reserves” is a kinder, gentler way of saying slush fund.
And, you ask, on what were these secret reserves being spent?
The answer is parties and nice digs for the president.
There may be more disturbing news to come because, as the Chronicle noted, “Auditors who examined the finances of Napolitano’s office said they were blocked from accessing many documents they say would have shed light on how some of the $175 million was spent.”
Stonewalling investigators, as was done in the Obama administration’s Mexican gunrunning caper Operation Fast and Furious, was a hallmark of administration appointees.
What is known is that Napolitano’s office spent $13,000 “for dinner and security at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco for 86 people,” with her office forking over $36,400 for lavish dinners in the merry month of May in 2016.
“Other spending highlighted in the audit was $862,000 spent on Napolitano’s Oakland apartment over the past four years. That cost includes the $11,500 monthly rent for the 3,400-square-foot apartment, which is also paid through endowment funds,” said the Chronicle.
In response, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced that his state budget will withhold $50 million from the university system budget as a means to “hold their feet to the fire… and we will keep the money until they perform to the auditor’s satisfaction,” said Brown at a press conference.
Recently, UC students saw a 2.5 percent hike in their tuition.
“California students have faced rising tuition costs and unfair competition from out-of-state students for years,” said Republican members of the State Assembly in a letter to the legislature’s Democratic leaders. “These students deserve better than $175 million in undisclosed funds, excessive administrative costs, increased tuition and fees and weak budget controls.”
Nothing will change, of course, while Democrats hold legislative control. And that will only change when Californian’s hold a statewide, old-fashioned tea party.