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September 18, 2009
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
ACORN on the Run
The radical community organization ACORN finally and deservedly has fallen on some hard times. In just the last week, the U.S. Census Bureau severed its ties with ACORN, the U.S. Senate denied the organization access to housing funds, and — to top it all off — the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to deny ACORN all federal funds yesterday.
So, why is ACORN getting the cold shoulder in Washington with their former lawyer currently occupying the White House and liberals running Congress?
The tipping point was the release of the hidden camera videos that quickly became an Internet (www.BigGovernment.com) and Fox News Channel sensation last week. Young conservative journalists caught ACORN workers red-handed trying to advise the undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, AND child prostitution laws!
Even the “ACORN President” in the White House couldn’t ignore this one. “The conduct that you see on those tapes is completely unacceptable,” said Obama White House spokesman Robert Gibbs after the videos surfaced.
Apparently, voter registration fraud is of no concern to the Obama administration. But fraudulent loans to fake pimps, now that crosses the line!
Judicial Watch launched an aggressive investigation of ACORN following press reports suggesting the U.S. Census had decided to partner with the organization. The Obama administration tried to downplay the ACORN-Census connection – calling the allegations “baseless.” But Judicial Watch persisted.
And, as you may recall, we obtained smoking gun documents from the Census Bureau detailing the substantial partnership with ACORN, including ACORN’s original Census partnership application. The document described 18 different areas of responsibility requested by ACORN, which, at the time, was under investigation in multiple states for illegal activity during the 2008 election, including voter registration fraud.
Under the partnership agreement, the Census Bureau offered ACORN the opportunity to “recruit Census workers” who would participate in the count. And, as an “executive level” partner, ACORN would have had the ability to “organize and/or serve as a member on a Complete Count Committee,” which, according to Census documents, helps “develop and implement locally based outreach and recruitment campaigns.”
We found this unacceptable. And the documents we uncovered, coupled with a massive public education campaign, led to an avalanche of negative publicity for ACORN and the Census Bureau. For example, I appeared twice on Fox News to discuss the scandal — Megyn Kelly and Glenn Beck highlighted our work.
Sure enough, in a letter to ACORN, Census Director Robert Groves wrote: “It is clear that ACORN’s affiliation with the 2010 census promotion has caused sufficient public concern in the general public…and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 census efforts.”
Judicial Watch’s ACORN-Census investigation is just one component of a larger campaign to expose the organization. Overall, we’ve filed over two dozen Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding allegations of ACORN misconduct with various agencies.
The good news from all of this is that ACORN is finally on the run. Its funding was cut. It was exposed as a complete fraud (again). And Judicial Watch helped force the U.S. Census to kick the organization to the curb where they belong. It’s about time.
ACORN is not going to disappear. They have leftist supporters throughout this administration and in Congress. In addition to being their lawyer in the past, Obama also worked for an ACORN affiliate “getting out the vote,” trained their people in left-wing pressure tactics, and his presidential campaign paid $800,000 to another ACORN group to help him beat Hillary.
The liberals who voted to keep funding ACORN included powerful Democratic Chairman Charles Rangel and Henry Waxman. ACORN advocate Barney Frank evidently went into hiding for the vote yesterday, but he surely remains a supporter and runs the powerful Financial Services Committee (a key committee for the ACORN housing operations).
Meanwhile, Judicial Watch’s other ACORN investigations continue. I sent you a solicitation earlier this week and I ask you to consider giving Judicial Watch a contribution as we review our next steps – to include possible FOIA litigation to uncover the various ACORN tentacles into our federal, state and local governments. We filed over two dozen FOIAs on ACORN with various federal agencies over the last few months. And now is the time to decide whether your Judicial Watch will begin suing in federal court to gain access to documents.
So let me hear from you. To help us build on the recent victories against ACORN, click here.
Obama’s Two-Faced Stance on Health Care for Illegals
Facing enormous public opposition galvanized by Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) outburst, the White House initially backtracked on illegal aliens and healthcare reform. The latest Obama administration position is this: Illegal aliens will not only be ineligible to receive taxpayer funded subsidies for healthcare, now they will not even be able to purchase health insurance with their own funds in a government-created marketplace.
Here’s the story according to The Associated Press:
“The White House said last week that President Barack Obama will oppose allowing illegal immigrants to buy insurance through the purchasing exchanges, including from participating private companies…Also, a system would be created to verify people buying from the exchange are in the country legally, he said.”
Of course, the White House claims this was the Obama policy from the very beginning. Not true. Even Congressional Democrats were confused by the switch.
“I’m not sure if Gibbs misspoke,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Tuesday.
Rep. Wilson’s outburst during Obama’s healthcare speech before Congress last week drew heavy and sustained criticism from the liberal press and their hypocritical allies in Congress, but it also brought attention to one of the most objectionable components of Obamacare, and this has clearly had an impact. So have the many polls indicating that the public adamantly opposes extending healthcare benefits to illegals.
In fact, according to a nationwide Pulse Opinion Research poll, 53% of liberals and progressives believe providing healthcare to undocumented aliens is a bad idea. And almost half – 46% – agree with Rep. Wilson that Obama’s plan as described would provide healthcare coverage to illegal immigrants. If Obama can’t even get leftist radicals to buy off on the idea, it has absolutely no shot with mainstream Americans.
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) immediately seized on the Obama administration’s policy reversal, saying that he would include in his bill a provision that would bar illegals from purchasing insurance through these taxpayer-subsidized exchanges, even if illegals are willing and able to pay the full cost.
But hold on. What do you do if you are President Obama and want to give taxpayer-subsidized healthcare to illegal immigrants despite overwhelming public opposition? You make all the illegal aliens into legal immigrants by granting them amnesty! And then you throw out longstanding federal policy and give taxpayer subsidies to legal immigrants who are not citizens!
This Washington Times headline says it all: “Obama: Legalize Illegals To Get Them Health Care.”
This Obama two-step on healthcare for illegals is about the worst example of presidential policy deception I’ve seen in my 23 years in Washington. Congressman Wilson may have been ill-mannered, but I now doubt he was inaccurate.
Make your voice heard on healthcare reform. Call your senators and congressman today. Here’s the number to the Capitol Hill switchboard: 202-224-3121. To let President Obama know your views, the White House comments line is 202-456-1111. (And don’t underestimate the value of letters directly from you to your representatives in Congress and to the White House.)
Judicial Watch Uncovers Documents from Treasury Related to Government-Brokered Acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan
Judicial Watch’s comprehensive investigation of the federal government’s takeover of large swaths or our economy continues to break headlines. This week we uncovered documents from the Treasury Department regarding the March 2008 government-brokered acquisition of Wall Street firm Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase and Co.
This was many months and many bailouts ago, so here’s a bit of the backstory on this deal.
On Sunday, March 16, 2008, JP Morgan announced that it had acquired the troubled Bear Stearns for a price of $2 per share, a fraction of the firm’s $30 market price on Friday, March 14. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (NY FRB) supported the deal with $30 billion in funding at the direction of then-Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson.
Until now, very little was known about the backdoor wheeling and dealing that took place among the Treasury Department, JP Morgan and Bear Stearns.
The documents we recently uncovered, despite the Obama Treasury’s heavy (and improper) redactions, provide some fascinating backdrop to the Bear Stearns deal. They include “confidential” term sheets describing the deal, released to the public for the first time, along with behind-the-scenes email correspondence between Treasury officials showing that JP Morgan officials believed Bear Stearns to be “nearly worthless” just hours before the acquisition deal was announced to the press on Sunday night, May 16.
In fact, to get a sense of the tenuous nature of the negotiations, check out this email sent Sunday morning by NY FRB official Michael Holscher to then-head of the NY FRB and current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, entitled “JPM Findings”:
JPM [JP Morgan] has discovered a large (50bn) structured mortgage position funded by BSC [Bear Stearns Capital], as well as other risk positions that are making them balk on the deal. I have asked for a report on their findings to assess the exposures. They also indicated that BSC’s risk positions are exactly what JPM has avoided in recent years. They estimate the book value of the firm to be nearly worthless…and that risks on other unknowns are to the downside. They inquired about options that the federal government may have to bail out/ purchase BSC, we indicated that options are extremely limited.
Ultimately, of course, JP Morgan received the guarantees it needed from taxpayers to consummate the deal to obtain the “worthless” Bear Stearns later that evening.
These FOIA documents were initially withheld from Judicial Watch in March and were only released after an administrative appeal to the Obama Treasury Department. Nonetheless, Treasury redacted many of these new documents and withheld many others in their entirety.
Judicial Watch is also pursuing a FOIA lawsuit for Vern McKinley, who is seeking documents on, among other bailout topics, the government’s contention that a Bear Stearns collapse would have caused a “contagion” in the financial system. This lawsuit was highlighted in a September 13 editorial in The Wall Street Journal.
With respect to the Bear Stearns deal, this was nothing more than a scam. Paulson sold the American people on the idea that this bailout would help stave off chaos in the financial markets. Of course, we know now that it did nothing of the sort. Since Bear Stearns, the federal government has committed trillions of taxpayer dollars to prop up other “worthless” financial institutions (and a zombie car company or two) with no end in sight.
Rest assured Judicial Watch will continue to force the government to come clean with the American people about “Bailout Nation” and its attendant corruption.
Until next week…
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