Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#551

Post by tek » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:29 pm

call me a dreamer, but I'm lookin' for LaPierre.


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#552

Post by Kendra » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:49 pm

tek wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:29 pm
call me a dreamer, but I'm lookin' for LaPierre.
:pray:



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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#553

Post by Azastan » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:46 pm

tek wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:29 pm
call me a dreamer, but I'm lookin' for LaPierre.
You know he must be up to his slimy little eyeballs in this.



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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#554

Post by RVInit » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:34 am

Northland10 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:31 am
RTH10260 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:18 am
Volkonski wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:22 pm
https:// twitter.com/funder/status/1093318054472224769?s=19
Did it really take law enforcment two decades to catch up with this guy?
I have been noticing that a bunch of the creme of the Trump crap crop have been getting hit for various behaviors that they were doing for a while. Looks like riding Trump coattails to the limelight is not productive in their line of work. If you are going to be involved in fraud and money laundering, it helps to keep a lower profile. There seems to be a growing disruption in the money laundering economic sector.

Thanks Trump.
So, you are telling me that crimes that are mostly committed by the historically most privileged class in our society have routinely not been prosecuted by prosecutors that historically have mostly belonged to that same class in society? Well, knock me over with a feather!


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#555

Post by fierceredpanda » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:00 am

RVInit wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:34 am
So, you are telling me that crimes that are mostly committed by the historically most privileged class in our society have routinely not been prosecuted by prosecutors that historically have mostly belonged to that same class in society? Well, knock me over with a feather!
I totally agree with the gist of this comment, but I do want to somewhat come to the defense of prosecutors. Bear in mind that white-collar crimes are typically crimes that involve conduct that is legal under some or even most circumstances, but becomes illegal by virtue of the mental state of the defendant. Often, white-collar crimes require specific knowledge and intent to break the law. Intent is a beast to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

So, if you're a prosecutor whose career will be advanced if you win cases, and hindered if you take on big fish and lose, you have a tremendous incentive to focus on violent and possession crimes that are easier to prove, even leaving out any class or race considerations. It's just a whole lot easier to convict someone who was caught with 20 kilos of heroin in a personal suitcase at the airport than it is to prove that someone was, for instance, accepting an all-cash offer for real estate at an above market price while knowing full well that the intent was to conceal the origin of the buy money. As a defense attorney, I can tell you the first defendant has virtually no chance at trial, while the second defendant has a pretty good argument at trial - "I was just trying to get the most money for that piece of real estate, like anyone selling anything would do" - and it's going to be difficult to get a jury to convict without lots of work to dig up any correspondence that might shed light on the defendant's intent. In a world of limited resources and a "just win, baby" mentality, it's no surprise that prosecutors go for the low-hanging fruit.


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#556

Post by Northland10 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:11 pm

fierceredpanda wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:00 am
In a world of limited resources and a "just win, baby" mentality, it's no surprise that prosecutors go for the low-hanging fruit.
Excellent post. Thanks.


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#557

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:12 pm

Northland10 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:11 pm
fierceredpanda wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:00 am
In a world of limited resources and a "just win, baby" mentality, it's no surprise that prosecutors go for the low-hanging fruit.
Excellent post. Thanks.
:thumbs:


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#558

Post by Sam the Centipede » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:35 pm

:think: So, FRP, perhaps prosecutors need to be incentivized to chase down the richet, whiter, criminals? Perhaps a quota system that says that at least (say) 10‰ of convicted and imprisoned felons must have an assessed annual income of more that $100K or assesed wealth of $1M? If the target is met, a bonus for the prosecution team!

Tricky when rich folk tend to have the best defense attorneys, those who can help them slime out of their crimes.



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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#559

Post by Foggy » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:30 pm

In theory at least, anyone can get justice in this great land of ours.


But it takes real money in order to buy yourself some injustice. :blink:


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#560

Post by Whip » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:30 pm

Foggy wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:30 pm
In theory at least, anyone can get justice in this great land of ours.


But it takes real money in order to buy yourself some injustice. :blink:
didn't work for John Goodman in Fla



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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#561

Post by RVInit » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:53 am

Sam the Centipede wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:35 pm
:think: So, FRP, perhaps prosecutors need to be incentivized to chase down the richet, whiter, criminals? Perhaps a quota system that says that at least (say) 10‰ of convicted and imprisoned felons must have an assessed annual income of more that $100K or assesed wealth of $1M? If the target is met, a bonus for the prosecution team!

Tricky when rich folk tend to have the best defense attorneys, those who can help them slime out of their crimes.
:thumbs:

White collar crimes are exactly the type that are investigated by the law enforcement agency with the most resources - the FBI. It does seem we can and should do a better job of prosecuting these guys as well. It's about time we insist that they do it.


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#562

Post by Gregg » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:48 am

Ima' gonna hold my breath until we start putting more rich white males in prison..... :eek2:


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#563

Post by RVInit » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:41 am

Gregg wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:48 am
Ima' gonna hold my breath until we start putting more rich white males in prison..... :eek2:
:lol: I sense some sarcasm there. Believe me, I'm not either.


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#564

Post by Gregg » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm

And seriously, I say that as a rich white male.


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#565

Post by Jcolvin2 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:11 pm

RVInit wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:53 am
Sam the Centipede wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:35 pm
:think: So, FRP, perhaps prosecutors need to be incentivized to chase down the richet, whiter, criminals? Perhaps a quota system that says that at least (say) 10‰ of convicted and imprisoned felons must have an assessed annual income of more that $100K or assesed wealth of $1M? If the target is met, a bonus for the prosecution team!

Tricky when rich folk tend to have the best defense attorneys, those who can help them slime out of their crimes.
:thumbs:

White collar crimes are exactly the type that are investigated by the law enforcement agency with the most resources - the FBI. It does seem we can and should do a better job of prosecuting these guys as well. It's about time we insist that they do it.
A significant portion of white collar crimes are tax crimes. The number of IRS Special Agents (who investigate tax crimes) has fallen from about 3,000 ten or fifteen years ago to barely over 2,000 today. While this is dramatic, it pales in comparison with the havok that IRS defunding has caused on the civil side. While the number of regular audits has declined significantly, the number of criminal referrals (civil auditors finding indications of fraud and suggesting that the criminal side take a closer look) has declined even more precipitously.
Gregg wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm
And seriously, I say that as a rich white male.
And I say this as a tax lawyer.



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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#566

Post by Gregg » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:33 pm

I don't disagree, the IRS is stripped and its going to stay that way because at the moment, boosting the number of IRS agents in charge of catching tax cheats isn't real popular and isn't anyone's priority.

That means ''Free Day'' for people who cheat on their taxes in meaningful ways. Poots and tax protesters are kind of different because they try to figure out ways to cheat that have great big "This is total bullshit, audit me please" stamps on every page, whereas the aforementioned rich (mostly) white guys who are cutting corners, as we call it, are paying big bucks to accountants and tax lawyers to make it a lot harder to catch and a lot easier to defend if they are caught.

Pete Hendrickson, who I assume has someone at the IRS just waiting to read whatever he files every year, probably would only owe $5,000 or less if he just forked it over instead of making every April 15th "let's see if they send me to prison for this" day. I'm relatively affluent more than fuck you rich and I pay 6 figures in taxes. Some really rich guy, who has a 200 page return and still pays $100,000 in taxes might well be hiding or lying or otherwise evading half a million or more in income tax, but isn't anywhere near as likely as Hendrickson to ever be held to book for it, just because that 200 page return is darn hard to figure out for a poor guy who has a stack of them 3 feet high on his desk to look into.

I wonder, and I really don't know, but I do wonder, if filing a return prepared by a CPA/Tax Attorney makes you less likely to draw attention to you, and the odds get better the more you paid to have it done. Sort of like, filed yourself, 1 in 1,000, filed by Jackson Hewitt, 1 in 1200, done by the local CPA, 1 in 1500, done by Deloitte 1 in 500,000 and done by a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, well, they'll audit you but just for show, don't worry about it.

Ya think?


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#567

Post by woodworker » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:47 pm

Gregg wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:33 pm
I don't disagree, the IRS is stripped and its going to stay that way because at the moment, boosting the number of IRS agents in charge of catching tax cheats isn't real popular and isn't anyone's priority.

That means ''Free Day'' for people who cheat on their taxes in meaningful ways. Poots and tax protesters are kind of different because they try to figure out ways to cheat that have great big "This is total bullshit, audit me please" stamps on every page, whereas the aforementioned rich (mostly) white guys who are cutting corners, as we call it, are paying big bucks to accountants and tax lawyers to make it a lot harder to catch and a lot easier to defend if they are caught.

Pete Hendrickson, who I assume has someone at the IRS just waiting to read whatever he files every year, probably would only owe $5,000 or less if he just forked it over instead of making every April 15th "let's see if they send me to prison for this" day. I'm relatively affluent more than fuck you rich and I pay 6 figures in taxes. Some really rich guy, who has a 200 page return and still pays $100,000 in taxes might well be hiding or lying or otherwise evading half a million or more in income tax, but isn't anywhere near as likely as Hendrickson to ever be held to book for it, just because that 200 page return is darn hard to figure out for a poor guy who has a stack of them 3 feet high on his desk to look into.

I wonder, and I really don't know, but I do wonder, if filing a return prepared by a CPA/Tax Attorney makes you less likely to draw attention to you, and the odds get better the more you paid to have it done. Sort of like, filed yourself, 1 in 1,000, filed by Jackson Hewitt, 1 in 1200, done by the local CPA, 1 in 1500, done by Deloitte 1 in 500,000 and done by a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, well, they'll audit you but just for show, don't worry about it.

Ya think?
As a semi-retired big firm lawyer (primarily securities and corporate transactional work, but interacting some with the tax people), you are absolutely correct. Not just because the return is handled by a big firm partner, but also because the firm has lots of resources to throw at a case. For example, if wealthy asshole transfers property (could be real property, art, corporate interests, etc.), the firm will provide an opinion as to the value of the property being transferred, which opinion will be backed up by appraisals from tame appraisers. If the IRS wants to dispute the valuation, then they have to find other qualified appraisers (and the qualified appraisers know who has the money to pay them, and it ain't the IRS) to dispute the original valuation and then pay to litigate that issue. Much easier to ignore/cave and go after a smaller fish.

Also, as you noted, the more complicated the return the easier it is to hide things or maybe not include them at all. IMO, it used to be the more complicated a return the more likely the IRS would be suspicious, but not anymore. There's a reason top tax partners bill out at $1,000 an hour (or more).


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#568

Post by Jcolvin2 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:52 pm

woodworker wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:47 pm
Gregg wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:33 pm
I don't disagree, the IRS is stripped and its going to stay that way because at the moment, boosting the number of IRS agents in charge of catching tax cheats isn't real popular and isn't anyone's priority.

That means ''Free Day'' for people who cheat on their taxes in meaningful ways. Poots and tax protesters are kind of different because they try to figure out ways to cheat that have great big "This is total bullshit, audit me please" stamps on every page, whereas the aforementioned rich (mostly) white guys who are cutting corners, as we call it, are paying big bucks to accountants and tax lawyers to make it a lot harder to catch and a lot easier to defend if they are caught.

Pete Hendrickson, who I assume has someone at the IRS just waiting to read whatever he files every year, probably would only owe $5,000 or less if he just forked it over instead of making every April 15th "let's see if they send me to prison for this" day. I'm relatively affluent more than fuck you rich and I pay 6 figures in taxes. Some really rich guy, who has a 200 page return and still pays $100,000 in taxes might well be hiding or lying or otherwise evading half a million or more in income tax, but isn't anywhere near as likely as Hendrickson to ever be held to book for it, just because that 200 page return is darn hard to figure out for a poor guy who has a stack of them 3 feet high on his desk to look into.

I wonder, and I really don't know, but I do wonder, if filing a return prepared by a CPA/Tax Attorney makes you less likely to draw attention to you, and the odds get better the more you paid to have it done. Sort of like, filed yourself, 1 in 1,000, filed by Jackson Hewitt, 1 in 1200, done by the local CPA, 1 in 1500, done by Deloitte 1 in 500,000 and done by a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, well, they'll audit you but just for show, don't worry about it.

Ya think?
As a semi-retired big firm lawyer (primarily securities and corporate transactional work, but interacting some with the tax people), you are absolutely correct. Not just because the return is handled by a big firm partner, but also because the firm has lots of resources to throw at a case. For example, if wealthy asshole transfers property (could be real property, art, corporate interests, etc.), the firm will provide an opinion as to the value of the property being transferred, which opinion will be backed up by appraisals from tame appraisers. If the IRS wants to dispute the valuation, then they have to find other qualified appraisers (and the qualified appraisers know who has the money to pay them, and it ain't the IRS) to dispute the original valuation and then pay to litigate that issue. Much easier to ignore/cave and go after a smaller fish.

Also, as you noted, the more complicated the return the easier it is to hide things or maybe not include them at all. IMO, it used to be the more complicated a return the more likely the IRS would be suspicious, but not anymore. There's a reason top tax partners bill out at $1,000 an hour (or more).
I don't think the audit selection process is much influenced by the identity of the return preparer. Sure there are situations where the IRS identifies a bad preparer and goes after a raft of the preparer's clients, but those are not really typical. Usually, returns are selected for audit based on the existence of "audit potential." The IRS attempts to continuously refine who should be audited by doing a relatively small (but statistically valid) number of very invasive "research audits" on various segments of the filing population. The more a taxpayer's returns look like prior taxpayers who were subject a significant adjustments, the greater the likelihood of audit. The IRS often identifes LUQ (large, unusual or questionable) items before making contact with the taxpayer, and then the audit is focused on those issues.

Moreover, given the different type of work done by the various auditors, its not like the auditor assigned to audit a Skadden client will get a local CPA client if he wraps up the Skadden client's audit without adjustemnts. The next taxpayer in the queue will probably be a Baker & McKenzie client, or at least a Deloitte client.

I think the statistics show that the IRS produces about $10 in revenue (audit adjustments and collections) for every dollar given to the agency. Revenue Agents who are Financial Products specialists (who audit very sophistical transactions) produce adjustments several orders of magnitude above their costs. If I recall the numbers correctly (from several years ago), I think each hour of time spent by a Financial Products specialist on a case was correlated with a $70k recovery by the government.



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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#569

Post by pipistrelle » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:15 pm

:hijacked:



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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#570

Post by HilltownGrrl » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:46 am

pipistrelle wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:15 pm
:hijacked:
Yes, but in a really interesting way. Thanks for the tax digression - it was fascinating. :wave:


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#571

Post by NMgirl » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:13 am

Back on the Butina track, but not in an interesting way...
MINUTE ORDER as to MARIIA BUTINA: The Joint Motion to Continue Status Conference 83 is GRANTED. The hearing is now scheduled for February 26, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 9. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 2/8/2019. (lctsc3)


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#572

Post by Northland10 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:37 pm

NMgirl wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:13 am
Back on the Butina track, but not in an interesting way...
MINUTE ORDER as to MARIIA BUTINA: The Joint Motion to Continue Status Conference 83 is GRANTED. The hearing is now scheduled for February 26, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 9. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 2/8/2019. (lctsc3)
I sure hope her attorney tweeted and made multiple blog posts about this, along with a fundraising pitch. That is what Orly and GIL do so it must be SOP.


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#573

Post by NMgirl » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:37 pm

Northland10 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:37 pm
:snippity:
I sure hope her attorney tweeted and made multiple blog posts about this, along with a fundraising pitch. That is what Orly and GIL do so it must be SOP.
Maria's attorney, Robert Driscoll, is pricey, to say the least. Who is paying him :?: Unknown, just as with Manafort, who has a team of extremely expensive attorneys, plus an official spokesperson.


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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#574

Post by pipistrelle » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:42 pm

Where the money comes from is none of our bizness. She’s in charge.




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Re: Maria Butina - NRA's Back Door to Russia

#575

Post by Kendra » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:40 am

https://www.thedailybeast.com/boyfriend ... itter_page

The boyfriend of confessed Russian agent Maria Butina wrote that she “manipulated” a Russian spy agency when arranging NRA bigwigs’ trip to Moscow, The Daily Beast has learned.
Paul Erickson, Butina’s boyfriend, made this claim on Nov. 25, 2015 in an email to a trip participant. The light-hearted, chummy tone of the email, which was subsequently read to The Daily Beast, contrasts significantly with how Erickson characterized Butina’s relationship with the FSB to The New Republic: tense, bordering on hostile.

It also shows that at least one trip attendee was led to believe that Russia’s FSB—whose predecessor was the KGB—helped lay the groundwork for the trip.

Erickson began the email, sent to then-incoming NRA President Pete Brownell, with florid language.

“Dear International Man of Mystery or should we just start calling you “Austin Powers” to your face??” he wrote, with a smiley face.

“Miss Butina has (apparently) moved heaven and earth and manipulated the Russian FSB (the current incarnation of the old KGB) and gotten you cleared for a tour of one (1) Russian arms factory the day before the NRA delegation arrives in Moscow,” he continued. “She found a way to shrink a normally 3-week process into about 3-days (probably because most of the FSB agents ‘assigned’ to her want to marry her).”

“The right thing to do would have been to inform the FBI and cancel the trip,” Sipher said. “Cavorting with those who claim to be at war with you is unpatriotic at best. Mr. Erickson’s actions are especially abhorrent.”

A spokesperson for Brownell, who runs a guns-and-ammo retail business, said he checked with the State Department before traveling to Russia.

“Pete accepted the invitation to join this trip with the understanding that it was an NRA-related event organized with the support of the organization,” the spokesperson said. “He welcomed the opportunity to meet with folks who share his passion for hunting, and to further understand how Brownells can continue to be successful in overseas markets. He had his company’s compliance team review the itinerary with the State Department ahead of time and carefully followed their guidance before, during and after the trip. He has made clear that he stands ready to assist with any bipartisan inquiries.”



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