JW Obtains More Documents Regarding NEA’s Conference Call Encouraging Artists to Promote Obama Political Agenda
NOVEMBER 02, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it obtained more documents from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests related to the NEA’s controversial August 10 conference call encouraging artists to create work that promotes the Obama agenda. The documents consist of internal NEA emails indicating the idea for the NEA propaganda effort grew out the Obama campaign while also providing new details regarding White House involvement. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs the AmeriCorps program, was represented during the call. The agencies and the White House were supposedly promoting the administration’s United We Serve political initiative. The emails include the actual conference call invitation, which details the controversial policy agenda that was being promoted. (The controversial call was first uncovered by www.BigGovernment.com. Other documents about the call were first released last week by Judicial Watch.)
The following are email excerpts:
- July 28, 2009, 4:47 pm, Email from unknown Obama campaign activist to Yosi Sergant, former NEA Communications Director: “It was good to see you a few weeks ago in Washington. After our conversation, I thought it would be a really good idea to convene via a conference call some significant tastemakers/producers who can support United We Serve. As many of us contributed our services to the campaign, I would love to gather some of those folks to use their enthusiasm to get behind the President’s very important service initiative. Here are some people who I think should be part of the call. [Names redacted.]“
- August 6, 2009, Conference Call Invitation sent via email by Yosi Sergant: “A call has come in to our generation. A call from the top. A call from a house that is White. A call that we must answer. And to answer it, we need you…United We Serve is President Obama’s call to service challenging all Americans to engage in sustained, meaningful community service. With the knowledge that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things when given the proper tools, President Obama is asking us to come together to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda – health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.”
- August 6, 2009, 9:46 pm, Email from Unknown to Yosi Sergeant: “How can I get down Yosi? I’m working with [redacted] doing brand consulting and event production for [redacted]. Love to see how we could collaborate our corporate funds with what you’re working on.”
- August 12, 2009, 3:30 pm, Follow-up Email from Unknown participant to Yosi Sergant: “As per a suggestion on the call, below is a list of action items that might be helpful to inspire an idea on how you can participate in the campaign…Ex) If you are a graphic designer tap into your professional network and organize other designers to create a series of United We Serve posters that can be featured in print, through social media and on serv.gov. Ex) If you are a DJ, tap into your professional network and organize other DJs to promote Serve.gov or a specific local opportunity on the radio or at a club.”
The documents also detail the use of the 9/11 anniversary as a vehicle for this political effort.
“These new documents leave little doubt that the NEA conference call and the ongoing United We Serve effort are direct extensions of the Obama presidential campaign. Taxpayers should be outraged that their tax dollars were used to promote political ‘art’ for the Obama big government agenda,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
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