March 25, 2011
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Judicial Watch Sues Obama HHS for Records Related to Obamacare Propaganda Campaign
Wednesday was the first anniversary of Obama signing the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, into law. Want to know how we celebrated Obamacare’s birthday at Judicial Watch?
We filed a lawsuit against the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to obtain records related to a taxpayer funded Obamacare propaganda campaign. And here’s why this lawsuit was necessary.
On December 15, 2010, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with HHS seeking the following information: “All records concerning the creation and/or funding of advertisements on the Affordable Care Act.”
Two days later, on December 17, 2010, Judicial Watch received confirmation from HHS that its request was received. And then on January 14, 2011, we received additional confirmation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a component of HHS. So by law, a response to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request was due no later than February 14, 2011. But the response from HHS has been predictable. We’ve received no documents, and HHS has failed to even tell us when a response is forthcoming; hence our lawsuit.
It is important to note, this FOIA is by no means a shot in the dark. We already know the Obama administration has produced “misleading” advertisements using taxpayer dollars.
In November 2010, Judicial Watch separately obtained documents from the Obama HHS regarding a series of three Medicare television advertisements featuring actor Andy Griffith. The Obama administration spent $3,184,000 in taxpayer funds to produce and air the advertisements on national television in September and October 2010 to — in the Obama administration’s words — educate “Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members about forthcoming changes to Medicare as a result of the Affordable Care Act.”
However, the intent of the ads was much more sinister, according to FactCheck.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center:
Would the sheriff of Mayberry mislead you about Medicare? Alas, yes. In a new TV spot from the Obama administration, actor Andy Griffith, famous for his 1960s portrayal of the top law enforcement official in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., touts benefits of the new health care law. Griffith tells his fellow senior citizens, “like always, we’ll have our guaranteed [Medicare] benefits.” But the truth is that the new [Obamacare] law is guaranteed to result in benefit cuts for one class of Medicare beneficiaries — those in private Medicare Advantage plans.
We know why the Obama administration has had to make such a hard sell. The American people have been opposed to Obama’s socialist takeover of our nation’s healthcare system from the beginning. And, with all of its constitutional troubles, it has even less support today. So, the Obama administration decided to trot out a beloved TV star to try to make the pitch for them. We want to know what else they’ve been up to in their hyper-aggressive drive to force socialized medicine down our throats.
- Taxpayers Spend Millions To Educate Convicts
- $60 Mil To Study Climate Change Effects On Crops, Forests
- IRS Sits By As Inmates Collect Fraudulent Tax Refunds
- Congress Asked To Pledge Respect To Latinos
- Senate Hearing To Protect Muslim Civil Rights
- Obama’s Judicial Pick Gets Million$ In Settlements Till 2024
- Napolitano: Mexican Border Violence A Mistaken “Perception”
Despite the best efforts of the Obama administration, Obamacare is in legal limbo. A federal judge in Florida has ruled Obamacare unconstitutional in a consolidated lawsuit that involved 26 states challenging the law and now it is set for a show-down at the nation’s High Court. The main constitutional sticking point is the “individual mandate” to purchase health insurance, a component of the law the Obama administration has said is indispensable.
Here’s what Judge Vinson said on this point in his summary judgment:
It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power” [Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.
As you know, Judicial Watch has taken the lead in launching a comprehensive investigation of Obamacare. We’re probing the Obamacare waivers (a list that has now soared past 1,000). We’ve uncovered details related to secret healthcare meetings between powerful unions and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as well as others from the Obama administration. We’re probing whether or not the government decided to place a prostate cancer medicine Provenge under review solely based on its cost — an unprecedented and prohibited move that caused some panic considering all of the talk about Obamacare death panels.
A few weeks ago I told you we sued the Justice Department to obtain all records related to Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s participation in Obamacare discussions while she served as Solicitor General. We want to know if the case should be made that Kagan should recuse herself when the law ultimately reaches the Supreme Court.
The first year of Obamacare has been marked by lies, secrecy, and contempt for the rule of law. And now we have our most recent lawsuit over Obamacare taxpayer-funded propaganda. Especially now that the courts have put Obamacare in legal limbo, the last thing the Obama administration should be doing is using taxpayer dollars to run an Obamacare misinformation campaign. Stay tuned. We’ll let you know what we find out.
Extremist Hispanic Group Releases Racist Death Threat Video Attacking Black Civil Rights Activist
In all my 20 plus years in Washington, I’m not sure I’ve seen anything as hateful as the video we obtained recently from a radical Mexican separatist group.
The video, which was posted to the Internet and then subsequently removed, viciously attacked black civil rights activist Ted Hayes with racist smears and death threats. The video was released after Mr. Hayes testified by invitation on March 15 before the Judiciary Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates against providing taxpayer dollar for in-state tuition benefits for illegal aliens. And it is vile.
The video begins with the message “[expletive] you ‘Mayate,’” which is reportedly a racist and derogatory term used to smear African Americans and “dark skinned” people. The video then streams a series of racist images including: The silhouette of a man hanging from a noose; photos of Mr. Hayes adjacent to photos of monkeys and bananas; and doctored photos of Mr. Hayes pictured with a gun next to his head. The video, which runs two minutes and nine seconds, concludes with the message “Your (sic) FREE Now Mayate go back to Africa.”
This hate video was initially posted to the video website YouTube by a group with the moniker “The Timmytop,” and was subsequently removed. The Timmytop YouTube channel (now removed by YouTube for “multiple or severe violations” of the site’s Community Guidelines) included a number of extremist propaganda videos with messages such as “This Is Our Land Whiteboy [expletive] you Gringo.” The videos seemed to express support for the La Raza/Aztlan movement, which seeks to conquer the American Southwest and “return” it to Mexico. Notably, the videos attacked black and white Americans.
(Judicial Watch has investigated the Mexican reconquista movement before. And if you don’t think this is a serious problem, our special report about a Mexican separatist school in California will change your mind.)
But Timmytop saved its most despicable venom for Mr. Hayes. Mr. Hayes is a long-time opponent of illegal immigration, noting the fact that the devastating impact on the African American community is largely ignored by other black leaders. The Mexican reconquistas didn’t like what Mr. Hayes had to say, so they set out to silence him with this video attack.
Death threats and intimidation of a witness because of his testimony before the Maryland legislature would violate federal and Maryland criminal statutes. For this reason, I have called on the Holder Justice Department and the Maryland Attorney General to take immediate action to investigate these threats.
In addition to the criminal matter, I don’t think there is any doubt that the debate over in-state tuition for illegal aliens in Maryland has been compromised and chilled by these threats, which was obviously the intent here. It is our hope that the individuals responsible for this evil video will be held accountable to the rule of law. This is an attack on the entire black community, not just Ted Hayes.
By the way, Judicial Watch has obtained the video in question and is making it available here. Be warned, it is terribly offensive. If it were a leftist activist that was subjected to this racist death threat, you’d be hearing about it all over. I encourage you to get the word out about what happens to some brave conservatives who stand up for the truth and the rule of law.
Who is Running the Obama Justice Department?
Who is running the Obama Justice Department? That’s what we’d like to know. You may recall a few months back we discovered the Department of Justice (DOJ) colluded with the radical leftist ACLU on its legal attack against Arizona’s get-tough new illegal immigration law.
So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that press outlets have suggested the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) may be dictating civil rights policies inside DOJ — specifically DOJ’s decision on the infamous New Black Panther Party for Self Defense voter intimidation lawsuit.
A Washington Times report noted that Kristen Clark, a representative of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, reportedly met with representatives from DOJ to discuss the lawsuit just prior to DOJ’s decision to drop the case.
Now Clarke claims she didn’t have anything to do with DOJ’s ultimate decision on the matter. But let’s let the American people be the judge of that.
On November 2, 2010, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the following information:
Any and all records of communication between the Civil Rights Division and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund (including, but not limited to communications with Kristen Clarke, Director of Political Participation) concerning, regarding or relating to U.S. v. New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, et al. (09-CV-0065). The time frame for this request is November 4, 2008 to May 22, 2009.
By law, DOJ was required to respond to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request by December 3, 2010. (But when has the Obama administration ever cared about FOIA law?) To date, no documents have been produced. In fact, DOJ has failed to respond to Judicial Watch’s request at all! And so, on March 23, we filed a lawsuit to force the Obama administration to respond.
The issue at the center of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit is whether or not the NAACP improperly influenced the DOJ, an independent law enforcement agency, to dismiss a lawsuit against members of the New Black Panther Party who allegedly threatened and intimidated white voters outside a polling station during the 2008 election. A DOJ official testified that the NAACP lobbied against using civil rights statutes to protect anyone who is not considered a traditional minority, a position that reportedly found favor inside DOJ.
According to the October 22, 2010, edition of The Washington Post: “Interviews and government documents reviewed by The Washington Post show that the [New Black Panther Party] case tapped into deep divisions within the Justice Department that persist today over whether the agency should focus on protecting historically oppressed minorities or enforce laws without regard to race.”
This conclusion is consistent with testimony from DOJ attorney, Christopher Coates, who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which conducted a year-long investigation of the New Black Panther Party scandal, that there exists at the DOJ “…a deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of whites who have been discriminated against.” Coates had served as chief of the DOJ Voting Rights section that brought the New Black Panthers Party lawsuit. He was forced out of his position by the Obama ideologues at DOJ because, we believe, of his willingness to apply the law regardless of race.
Some inside DOJ apparently agree with the NAACP that our nation’s civil rights laws should only apply to certain races (and political groups), which is outrageous!
By way of review, DOJ filed its lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense and three of its members following an incident that took place outside of a Philadelphia polling station on November 4, 2008. A video of the incident, showing a member of the New Black Panther Party brandishing a police-style baton weapon, was widely distributed on the Internet. According to multiple witnesses, members of the New Black Panthers blocked access to polling stations, harassed voters and hurled racial epithets. Nonetheless, the DOJ ultimately overruled the recommendations of its own staff and dismissed the majority of its charges.
Our latest FOIA lawsuit is part of Judicial Watch’s comprehensive investigation of the New Black Panther Party scandal. Judicial Watch previously uncovered evidence top political appointees at Justice were intimately involved in the decision to dismiss the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers Party. The documents directly contradict sworn testimony by Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that no political leadership was involved in the decision.
And now this.
Personally, I find it outrageous that leftist special interest groups seem to be directing the activities of the nation’s top law enforcement agency. The Obama DOJ has made a mess of the New Black Panther Party lawsuit. We already know the DOJ’s decision to drop the case was tainted by politics and racism.
Clearly, there is something amiss in the Holder DOJ.
For this reason, on Thursday, March 31, Judicial will host a panel discussion at its Washington, DC, headquarters to discuss the New Black Panther Party litigation and other scandals that have plagued the Holder DOJ. The panel is entitled, “Politics and the Holder Justice Department: Rule of Law at Risk?”
We’ll send you an email next week with more details about how you can view the panel live on the Internet or see it in person.
Until next week…
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