Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Tour of Walberg’s Financial Ethics Conflicts

This report was originally posted by me today on Twitter: @TakeCareTim

[New Findings Thread 1/15] – Since 2013, @RepWalberg appears to have leveraged the power of our Congressional office to broker partnerships between his campaign supporters and Ugandan officials for the benefit of his family’s Ugandan tourism business.

[2/15] – Last week, April 15, @RepWalberg requested the maximum 90-day extension for his annual financial disclosure. Walberg has never requested such a long delay, and to date has failed to list his family’s international business asset on his financial disclosures.

[3/15] – Oct. 17, 2018, @RepWalberg’s daughter & son-in-law, Heidi & Prince Sabena filed for a MI license for the Ugandan-based business, “Red Road Tours”. The business office is Walberg’s home & his spouse, Sue paid the filing fee, and is the resident agent.

[4/15] – The most prominent customers, as featured across the business’s website & social media, are students of Spring Arbor University, from our Congressional District.

[5/15] – Originally, the business’s name, “Trinity Tours & Travel”, had a focus & tagline, “ensuring pleasure at your leisure”, with a wine glass in their logo. Back then, the website & social media didn’t feature any large groups of students or educational tours.

[6/15] – May 20, 2013, the business announced that they landed a major customer, Spring Arbor University, who has provided them with repeated business ever since.

[7/15] – Three months earlier, on Feb. 19, 2013, @RepWalberg’ government social media page posted having met with Spring Arbor/Hillsdale Professor, David Rawson, a leading figure in the partnership between the school & the business.

[8/15] – At least two of the people in that meeting, including David Rawson were longtime financial contributors to Walberg’s political campaigns.

[9/15] – March 2015, Heidi & Prince Sabena spoke with David Rawson’s class at Hillsdale College, shortly before they returned to Uganda from a yearlong stay in the USA. This article described Spring Arbor University & Sabena’s business as “partners”.

[10/15] – September 7, 2015, @RepWalberg, Sue Walberg, & Prince Sabena met privately with the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. Neither Walberg, nor any US outlets reported anything about this meeting, but it was reported in Ugandan outlets.

[11/15] – The trip was not reported in House/CODEL travel disclosures either, yet Walberg met with Ugandan officials in his official Congressional capacity to “apologize on behalf of the people of the United States”, & tossed around various business prospects.

[12/15] – Shortly after those meetings with President Museveni and Ugandan Parliamentarians, the business rebranded and changed its name from “Trinity Tours and Travel” to “Red Road Tours”, and launched a new website emphasizing education tours.

[13/15] - November 21, 2017, @RepWalberg and Sue Walberg had a meeting in the Ugandan Embassy in Washington DC with “key opinion leaders” from the “Private Sector”. Once again, Walberg never announced anything about this meeting.

[14/15] – January 31, 2020, @RepWalberg said, “my staff constantly pushes back” on his unethical inclinations, & based on his financial disclosures, “I’m a walking felony or misdemeanor waiting to happen”. Video:

[15/15] – @RepWalberg’s latest financial disclosure, signed May 6, 2019 did not mention that he established an international business at his house in 2018. So, Walberg’s benefits, stakes, and brokerings with his family business needs a lot more “fine-tooth” scrutiny.

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