Judicial Watch • czars

czars Archives | Judicial Watch

Article II section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that:

“
the President shall nominate, an by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.”

 

However, President Barack Obama has been taking advantage of a recent precedent by appointing government officials who are not subject to Senate approval. These “czars” have tremendous power to regulate and control enormous parts of the American economy and government. And, as powerful as these czars are, some of them may not have even been subjected to a basic FBI background check.

This has allowed Obama to appoint several people with radical left-wing views, including one who supported the “9/11 truthers” movement (which believes the Bush administration may have been behind the 9/11 terror attacks on America) and another who called for “white people” to be removed from powerful positions in the media to make way for “people of color” and gays and voiced support for virulently anti-American Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. These czars have responsibilities that include managing America’s Middle Eastern policy, “diversity,” the auto industry, science, so-called climate change, “safe schools,” health care and even the dispersal of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Judicial Watch is concerned that some of these czar appointments raise significant constitutional questions. Our goal is to find out exactly what these czars are up to, what their missions are, and how much taxpayer money and government personnel they have at their disposal. In that effort, Judicial Watch has filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and document requests for all 41 of the czars that Obama has appointed so far. Several of these investigations have already resulted in lawsuits due to the Obama Administration’s stonewalling with regard to the release of relevant documents. Judicial Watch has also been key in publicizing the connections some of Obama’s czars have had to radical, racist and even communist organizations.

The ousted Obama “Green Czar” who describes himself as a “rowdy black nationalist” turned communist has found a job as the official spokesperson and leader of the national movement to end economic segregation and social injustice in the United States.

Widely known as Occupy Wall Street, the movement has gained momentum with mass, often violent protests that have paralyzed cities across the nation. In New York more than 150 people were arrested and several police officers suffered injuries. In Oakland California police were forced to use riot gear and tear gas to disperse the huge, violent crowds and in Las Vegas nearly two dozen protesters were arrested.

Among the movement’s goals is to get major banks to stop preying on the poor and people of color, according to the organizer of a Massachusetts rally promoted as Take Back Boston. Protesters also demand that politicians stop giving tax breaks to the rich while slashing vital services families depend on. In short, they want to “rebuild” the American dream to make it more inclusive.

Leading the campaign is President Obama’s good friend, civil rights lawyer Van Jones, the highly-touted “Green Czar” who was booted amid controversy over his radical history. A Yale Law School grad, Jones became a communist after the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles and says he loathes capitalism because it exploits nonwhite minorities worldwide. Jones is a committed Marxist-Leninist-Maoist who became a revolutionary after meeting “young radical people of color” in jail and views police officers as the arch enemies of black people.

Jones’s proudest moments include publicly supporting convicted cop killer Mumia abu-Jamal, signing a petition suggesting the U.S. government had a hand in the 2001 terrorist attacks, accusing “white polluters” of “environmental racism” for steering poison into poor black communities and referring to Republicans in vulgar terms unbecoming of a presidential advisor.

How appropriate that he’s the self-appointed Occupy Wall Street principal and founder of a new community group (Rebuild the Dream) that’s capitalizing on the protests with its special brand, the “American Dream Movement.” The group’s website describes it as an unstoppable coalition of progressive organized workers, students, civil rights fighters, women’s rights champions, immigrant rights defenders and community activists, among others.  

“We are rallying Americans to stand up for our founding values, and make America, once again, a land where it is safe for everyday people to dream,” according to the group’s mission statement. “By standing up for dignity, equal opportunity and fair play, we are reclaiming what is best in our nations’ moral fabric, and creating a country truly grounded in liberty and justice for all.”

Jones is booking every media interview he can get to promote his new group, which is closely affiliated with other leftist nonprofits like Common Cause, Hip Hop Caucus, Move On and Code Pink as well as the influential Service Employees International Union (SEIU). During a segment on a major cable news show this week, he assured that his movement would dwarf the 2010 “earthquake” created by the Tea Party’s appearance on the political scene.  

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Jones confidently said on national television, further warning: “Wait until the 99 percent movement moves over into politics.” The protests will evolve from anger to answers, from pointing out the problem to pointing out the solution, Jones explained. The movement is also in the process of recruiting 2,000 candidates to run for office under the 99 percent banner, he said.

New Czars Exercise Unprecedented Control over Government Policies and Programs While Operating Under a “Veil of Secrecy”

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Washington, DC — October 10, 2011Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released “President Obama’s Czars,” a special report on the President’s appointing of “policy advisors,” many of whom enjoy positions of power and authority in the administration and yet have not been subjected to vetting and confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Judicial Watch’s extensive investigation exhaustively documents these czar appointments and details the control these czars exercise over government operations.From the report’s introduction:“This Judicial Watch Special Report analyzes the proliferation of so-called ‘czars’ in the Obama administration. President Barack Obama has installed personal advisors in czar positions in the White House and has created new czar positions elsewhere in the Executive Branch. As of the date of this report, the number of czars that have been appointed by the President, or by others in his administration, appears to total 45. In addition, there are as many as 18 other unfilled or planned czar positions.“Many of these ‘czars’ are unconfirmed by the Senate and are largely unaccountable to Congress. Further, their activities are often outside the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), creating a veil of secrecy about their precise role in the administration.”The new report is available at Judicial Watch’s website

  • Czars appointees have seized unprecedented control over major aspects of government policy and programs. In some instances, unconfirmed czars have authority, in seeming violation of the U.S. Constitution, over certain Senate-confirmed officers.
  • A number of the czars have been linked to scandals, thefts and kickbacks, flagrant and offensive statements, conflicts of interest, and radical leftist political ideologies and policies.

“Barack Obama’s unconstitutional use of czars to help run his administration is at odds with republican, limited, and accountable government. Obama has simply installed his radical leftist allies in various positions of power while thumbing his nose at Congress and the American people. As we document in this report, too many of these czars have proven to be corrupt or radicals (or sometimes both). No wonder the Obama administration fights tooth and nail to allow these czars to operate in secret. Nevertheless, Judicial Watch managed to develop this comprehensive list of czars as part of efforts to ensure government accountability.”

Raise Questions About Consumer Czar Elizabeth Warren’s Congressional Testimony

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Washington, DC — June 16, 2011
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has uncovered documents indicating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) headed by interim “Consumer Czar” Elizabeth Warren has been intensely involved in a 50-state settlement underway with the nation’s largest mortgage lenders related to alleged improper foreclosure procedures. The documents, obtained in response to open records requests with CFPB and the offices of attorneys general from all 50 states, seem to contradict Warren’s statements before Congress suggesting her office responded to requests for advice, but did not seek to push its views. Judicial Watch initiated its investigation into the controversies surrounding Ms. Warren and the CFPB on March 22, 2011.
During a March 16, 2011, hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Ms. Warren characterized her agency’s involvement in the state settlement negotiations: “We have been asked for advice by the Department of Justice, by the Secretary of the Treasury, and by other federal agencies. And when asked for advice, we have given our advice.” However, emails obtained by Judicial Watch from several states suggest her agency’s participation was far more intense and aggressive. Warren called emergency meetings by phone and in person with attorneys general nationwide to contribute unsolicited input on the matter. The documents also indicate that Warren’s office insisted on keeping its contact with the state attorneys general secret.
For example, in a February 25, 2011, email to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), Iowa Assistant Attorney General Patrick Madigan wrote: “Elizabeth Warren would like to present the CFPB’s view on loan modifications.” And two weeks earlier, a similar email was distributed to NAAG’s Loss Mitigation Subgroup on Warren’s behalf. In an email on February 15 regarding that meeting, Madigan points out that “The CFPB wanted me to stress the confidential nature of this briefing.”
The March 22, 2011, FOIA request to the CFPB for all records of Warren’s communications with each state’s attorney general produced a single heavily-redacted document respecting a February 24 meeting with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
But state attorneys general nationwide have supplied dozens of documents to Judicial Watch showing contact between their offices and Warren’s, including emails establishing closed-door meetings between Warren and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on February 14 and March 7. Several states refused to turn over responsive documents in their possession based on confidentiality concerns arising from, as the State of Colorado put it, “the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s participation in the ongoing investigation into bank and loan servicers mortgage processes.”
The CFPB is a new federal agency arising out of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. The new agency officially gains its authority under the law on July 21, 2011.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Board is being born in an atmosphere of secrecy and cover-up,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And the fact that the CFPB has been unwilling to abide by FOIA law certainly makes it appear the agency has something to hide from the American people. Given Warren’s radical tendencies and the fact that she was not subject to vetting by the U.S. Senate, we need absolute transparency from the CFPB, an agency which will give the federal government an unprecedented level of control of the private sector.”
Elizabeth Warren, an ardent “progressive,” was named by President Obama as the interim head of the CFPB to avoid the likelihood of her not being confirmed by the U.S. Senate because of her left-of-center views. For example, in a blog she authored on the mortgage lending industry, Warren wrote, “…big corporate interests, led by the consumer finance industry, are devouring families and spitting out the bones.”
(Judicial Watch and other open government advocates were invited to meet with Ms. Warren to discuss transparency and other policy issues on April 16, 2011.)

President Obama’s unconstitutional czar-fest may come to a screeching halt now that the U.S. House has voted to block funding for the officials—many of them radical leftists—he assigned to run government without congressional approval.In all, the president has appointed 41 czars who have enormous power to regulate and control the American economy and government without any sort of oversight. The czars answer only to the president even though they manage crucial areas of national policy and that violates the constitutional system of checks and balances and its separation of powers, according to the longest serving U.S. Senator in history (Democrat Robert Byrd).Before passing away last summer Byrd, a nine-term senator who twice chaired the powerful Appropriations Committee, blasted the president’s czar appointments as unconstitutional and a clear attempt to evade congressional oversight. He referred to Obama’s “czar strategy” as an unprecedented power grab centralizing authority in the White House.Obama has appointed czars to oversee everything from healthcare to energy, science, terrorism, education, diversity, AIDS, Medicare, technology and cyberspace, among others. The president even assigned the family’s personal cook from Chicago (Sam Kass) to be Health Foods Czar. The Windy City gourmet chef’s official title is actually “Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives.”Judicial Watch has been a frontrunner in probing Obama’s czars and has requested public records on all of them in an effort to reveal their actual mission and how much taxpayer money and government personnel they have at their disposal. As part of the ongoing investigation, last fall Judicial Watch uncovered U.S. Treasury Department documents that revealed “Pay Czar” Kenneth Feinberg got a six-figure salary to establish executive compensation at bailed out companies even though the administration said Feinberg was performing his duties for free.Czar compensation is a big issue because the House amendment (Sunset All Czars Act) that passed Thursday night defunds their offices and, as we all know, none of them are working pro bono. The measure passed 249-179 with the support of 13 Democrats. The Louisiana Republican who introduced it says its time to end Obama’s practice of creating a “shadow government” run by officials with cabinet-level powers who circumvent the accountability and scrutiny that comes with Senate confirmation required by the Constitution.

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