January 25th, 2010
10:13 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Crooks getting cash?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://cnnpreview.turner.com:82/2010/US/01/25/stimulus.breaking.law/story.boston.construction.file.gi.jpg caption="An investigation shows that some companies receiving stimulus funds to do road work in Massachusetts have a histories of misconduct." width=300 height=169]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Why is stimulus money going to companies that have histories of misconduct?

Tonight we begin a week-long special on the Stimulus Program. According to our polls, the stimulus bill has lost popularity with the American public because many people believe a lot of money has been wasted. In fact, six in ten believe that the projects in the stimulus bill were included purely for political reasons.

We’re taking a look at some stimulus-funded projects in Massachusetts. It turns out more than half of the companies awarded taxpayer-funded contracts have histories of breaking the law. So how did they manage to secure millions of dollars in new contracts? Drew Griffin is keeping them honest tonight.

Thousands of people were pushing for rescue efforts in Haiti to continue over the weekend, after a 24-year-old man was pulled alive from the ruins on Saturday – 11 days after the earthquake rocked the nation. The Haitian government says it will be switching from a search and rescue operation to a search and recovery mission. But some American families, whose relatives have yet to be discovered, started an online petition to continue search efforts “until all the survivors are accounted for.”

Reports indicate that 9,288 Americans and family members were evacuated from Haiti and there are 46 confirmed private American fatalities. One U.S. government official is confirmed dead and 24 private Americans are presumed dead. But there are still close to 5,000 unresolved cases. What will the U.S. do to track down these people?

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and representatives from 19 other nations will meet in Montreal today to discuss long-term aid to Haiti. They plan to discuss initiatives to rebuilt the country, but three countries – Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela – are boycotting the summit. They say they oppose the U.S. military role in Haiti.

Anderson is still in Haiti where he is reporting on how people are getting on with their lives and getting through the misery. We’re also following up on what happens to newly-orphaned children. What kind of system is in place to make sure they’re cared for?

A new audio tape allegedly from Osama bin Laden hit the airwaves over the weekend. The al Qaeda leader praised an attempt to blow up the plane en route from Amsterdam to Detroit last month. He said the message was from “Osama to Obama” and warns the U.S. of more attacks. How much influence does bin Laden have? What do you think of the release of this audiotape?

Last night an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed off the coast of Lebanon with 90 people aboard. British, French and Cypriot aircraft joined rescue crews searching the Mediterranean Sea and crews had found 23 bodies – but no survivors - by midday on Monday. The plane disappeared from radar just minutes after takeoff but authorities did not immediately know the cause of the crash.

What else are you following? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Travis M.

    It's no surprise that Usama would praise terrorist attacks on the US. He is no doubt an enemy and would have it no other way. However, I do think that the wrong branch of American justice is being used to try and attack him. As was once so eloquently put: "The army is a broadsword, not a scalpel."

    A CIA task force should seek international carte-blanche in order to track him down in conjunction with Interpol, Mosad (whom I'm sure would be more than happy to help), and capture him. Other than that, the US has no business letting its alternative interests in the middle east bleed into their rationale for using the army for this purpose.

    As to misuse of stimulus funds, I will be watching the series with interest. Those who were in need of it were also those who had grown used to a certain standard of living that they can no longer afford, and must be called to account with full consequences. But likewise, a great deal of conditions should have been placed upon the funds given to ensure its proper use.. I should be interested to see what AC360 has to say about that.

    January 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  2. Boomer in Mo

    You made fun of us, but Tuscumbia, MO, and Miller County are getting a great benefit from the stimulus money. Our "bridge in the middle of nowhere" is progressing, with the third pier being topped off this week. We'll have a new bridge for our livestock, grain and timber trucks by summer, no thanks to CNN's biased report. Tuscumbia may have only 125 people but Miller County has more than 25,000 and a significant amount of the pork and turkey YOU eat comes from this area. You all suffer from the "fly over" syndrome and know next to nothing of rural America or where the food you eat comes from.

    January 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  3. Cindy

    Righhtfully based on history and performance, no one trusts the govt., the banks, or big corporations. Ever since the bailout, which the majority of americans disapproved, voters/taxpayers are outraged. The majority is supposed to rule here. No one has explained sufficiently why thebailout was needed and how, if at all, it has helped. Most people feel that they are in a terrible situation regarless of whether the banks failed.

    January 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  4. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    When Anderson was in Afghanistan, he anchored all the 360 stories and even headed the discussions. I found that exciting– state-of-the-art technology in action–the instantaneous overseas transmission. It adds energy (no pun intended) to the show. Also, though I'm totally in favor of AC's work in Haiti for as long as he decides to stay there, I missed seeing him throughout the whole broadcast last week. It's great that he can actually be several different places at one time.

    January 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  5. Jim

    With what is wasted by the Government in just one hour I could pay off all my debts,pay my needs ahead for a couple of years.I have worked for over 20 years paid my taxes but when I need a little help all I get is the middle finger salute.

    January 25, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  6. Tim Gibson

    Without doubt the stimilus funds have been misused with no real impact upon the economy. Look at the results in real numbers not political implants, real numbers will tell the real story. Like the old song said, "don't come home a drinking, with loving on your mind."

    Our efforts in Haiti must be only about aide, not nation building.

    As to the message from Osama to Obama, any questions left regarding the real security of our nation and our skies. Exactly why or who feels it is within not only their right, but their moral obligation, to kill american people is a terrorist of war. And one by one they are being given, what appears to be from Holder, the right to "civil" rights through actions of jihad, of war, in a personal power building attempt by Holder. A make me famous throw of the dice in the war being fought against us. Personal opinion, that makes me very nervous.

    January 25, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  7. russ

    I know very little about the projects that have been approved for funding, but I issues about construction projects that have no provision for contractors to hire US citizens. The truth is that in our area almost all landscaping, bricklaying, stonework, framing, wallboard, cement work and roofing is done by Mexican labor. The primary reason is that they work hard, do a nice job, and don't complain. Also they come to work on time and sober. But they send most of their paycheck back home. We will get nice things and an updated infrastructure, but it will not pump money into our economy. Perhaps the labor costs will be more for these projects using US citizens, but all the money will recirculate.

    January 25, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  8. April

    I thought Obama suspended Habeas Corpus on Dec 16/09 so INTERPOL could go after these crooks without fear of who or how they seized and arrested, and so the crooks have no avenue of escape? They are cracking down on 'Economic Terrorists'. Obama is tired of these companies that have raped Americans for years. Could you report on that? Could you also report on Massachusetts new law that everyone must get a flu shot or suffer jail and fines? And that this will eventually move into all States? That's a good news story. Sometimes I think Canadians know more about American politics than Americans.

    January 25, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  9. Cindy

    Most of the stimulus money went to companies that senators owed favors to. That is why the crooked companies were allowed to get our money with no questions asked. It's no shock how that works!

    Looking forward to more reports from Cooper in Haiti. I am glad that he decided to stay another week. He is at his best reporting from the field. Anxious to see how things move along and I also want to see about that church service that Cooper went to.


    January 25, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  10. Isabel - Brazil •

    Hello Eliza!

    I agree that the search for survivors should continue, perhaps in a smaller scale, but never stop them.
    Life is too valuable to give up like that!

    I would like about Projects for the reconstruction of Haiti.
    How are these projects? Which organizations will work it? This is already being done or planed?

    The redevelopment project must include mass in the Haitians workers. These people who roam the Streets and without direction, they need a goal. After years of settlers, dictators and international stakeholders telling the Haitian people what to do, it's time to put the Haitians in the practical control of Haiti.

    This is an opportunity to generate stable jobs for the population. The population need to be part of this reconstruction effort.

    See you later!

    January 25, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  11. Michelle D . Fonthill,Ontario

    Good Morning Eliza

    The stimulus money has not helped anyone get thier jobs back or helped the economy to back on track it's all the CEO's who have benefited from this cash they are crooks for sure thanks for keeping them honest ..

    Anderson has been in Haiti for 3 weeks now he has been doing such a great job and the level of comapssion he has showed has been so moving .Thanks fo keeping the people of Haiti in the news and not forgetting them as more time goes by there are so many shattered lives and haertbreaking stories i pray for them asnd thier families that they will rebuild thier country soon .

    Thanks for the buzz
    Michelle D.

    January 25, 2010 at 10:36 am |