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October 1, 2010
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Inspector General Slams ACORN Spin-off, But Will it Matter?
ACORN may be renamed and rebranded but a new government report details how the organization is up to its same old corrupt practices.
According to Fox News:
An official report released this week says an ACORN offshoot group cannot properly account for how it has spent millions of federal dollars and recommends that the group repay the government and be put on standby mode until it cleans up its act.
The report from the inspector general for the Department of Housing and Urban Development reviewed how ACORN Housing Corporation — now called Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) — has spent federal grant money over the past two decades. The report described the group’s book-keeping as “problematic and unsupported,” and claimed that more than $65,000 in “ineligible” salary expenses were charged to a federal grant last year, including costs for six employees after they were terminated.
(You can read the inspector general’s report in its entirety here.)
Overall, 80% of taxpayer funds distributed to ACORN in 2008 and 2009 were used to pay salaries — even for employees who no longer worked for the organization! That’s right, in a response letter to the inspector general’s office, a representative of the new ACORN spin-off said the organization “does not dispute” the fact that it “erroneously charged” the federal government (read: taxpayers) for employees who had been terminated.
Now, you may be asking yourself: Didn’t the Senate already vote to cut off housing funds for ACORN after videos surfaced last year depicting ACORN workers providing advice on purchasing a house to run as a brothel for underage, illegal alien girls? And didn’t the House of Representatives cut off all funding? And didn’t a federal appeals court rule last month that the government’s ACORN funding bans were legally permissible?
Yes, to all three questions. But apparently all it takes is a name change and a fresh coat of paint for ACORN to remain in the Obama administration’s good graces. And apparently, even with these latest findings, ACORN might still have an opportunity to misuse taxpayer funds.
The inspector general only suggested a temporary suspension of future HUD grants: “We recommended that Single Family’s Program Support Division consider placing AHCOA in ‘inactive’ status while it initiates corrective actions to address the exceptions and recommendations in the report…”
More federal taxpayer dollars could be waiting if the ACORN offshoot is able to repay some of the funds and bring its operations into “full compliance with applicable laws.”
You may recall Judicial Watch already has a lawsuit filed against HUD to obtain documents regarding these ACORN grants. We found it extremely suspicious that the government continued to fund the ACORN Housing Corporation despite its corrupt activities. We still do.
Instead of slapping ACORN on the wrist, the Obama Department of Justice should immediately initiate a full investigation of ACORN and all of its rebranded affiliates. Of course, given the fact that ACORN is “working for the Democratic Party,” I would not expect any investigations from this administration anytime soon.
Is the Obama Justice Department Racist?
What started as a mild headache for the Obama administration has now turned into a raging migraine — all because of the Black Panther scandal that exploded into the news in recent weeks.
In the last installment of the Update, I told you how Judicial Watch has uncovered evidence that the Obama administration lied when it said no political leadership at the Department of Justice (DOJ) was involved in the DOJ’s decision to abandon the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. In fact, we provided the evidence that the second and third ranking officials at the DOJ — and perhaps even Attorney General Holder himself — were involved in deliberations over the Black Panther case.
After the press hammered the DOJ last week in response to the new evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch, DOJ attorney Christopher Coates rocked his agency when he testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission has been trying to investigate the scandal in the face of Obama Justice stonewalling and disinformation.
Coates courageously testified despite being told by his superiors not to testify (and to ignore the Commission’s subpoena!). Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez tried to keep Coates from blowing the whistle. You will recall Perez was the DOJ official who himself testified — falsely, I might add — that no political appointees were involved in the Black Panther decision.
I was able to attend his testimony in person, and I can tell you it was shocking.
Coates, former head of the voting section that brought the case, testified in defiance of his supervisor’s instructions and has been granted whistleblower protection. Coates criticized what he called the “gutting” of the New Black Panthers case for “irrational reasons,” saying the decision was part of “deep-seated” opposition among the department’s leaders to filing voting-rights cases against minorities and cases that protect whites.
“I had people who told me point-blank that [they] didn’t come to the voting rights section to sue African American people,” said Coates, who transferred to the U.S. attorney’s office in South Carolina in January. “When you are paid by the taxpayer, that is totally indefensible.”
Oh, it’s indefensible alright. But that doesn’t mean the DOJ won’t defend it:
“The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler. “We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation.”
Then, taking a page from the well-worn leftist playbook, Schmaler managed to find a way to blame former President Bush and conservatives for the scandal.
Coates is hard to caricature as a Bush conservative. He was hired at the DOJ during the Clinton administration and had gotten his start working for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He also received an award for his voting rights work from the NAACP. And his testimony corroborates J. Christian Adams’ testimony to the Commission a few months ago. Adams also testified that Obama political appointees were openly opposed to bringing voting rights litigation against minorities. (Adams had to resign from the DOJ over its lawless handling of the Black Panther scandal and its cover-up.)
And as for the Obama DOJ’s “vigorous enforcement” of laws against voter intimidation, here you have members of the Black Panthers brandishing weapons and hurling insults at would-be voters to intimidate them. And DOJ officials overruled their own staff attorneys and dismissed the case.
Well, if you ask Coates, the reason is simple: “…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.”
In fact, Coates was told by his supervisor to stop asking prospective DOJ attorneys whether they would enforce the law without regard to race.
And, to top it off, Coates accused the Obama DOJ of repeatedly dissembling (under oath) about how the Black Panther case was handled. Coates simply refused to sit still in the face of the “incorrect representations” being made by his superiors at the Obama Justice Department. Judicial Watch commends Mr. Coates for his public service.
So now we now know that the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division ought to be subject to a civil rights investigation. And if Coates, Adams, and what we’ve been able to uncover through our FOIA lawsuit are any guide, the investigation ought to be a criminal one.
Judicial Watch Uncovers FDA Records Detailing 16 New Deaths Tied to Gardasil
If young girls were dying or becoming permanently disabled after receiving a vaccine approved by the FDA, wouldn’t you want the agency to pull the vaccine off the shelves and conduct more research?
That’s exactly the situation we’re in today. But unfortunately calls to the FDA to do something about it have fallen on deaf ears — even as the situation appears to worsen.
Last week we received yet another batch of documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detailing reports of adverse reactions to the vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV), Gardasil.
These most recent adverse reactions include 16 new deaths (including four suicides) between May 2009 and September 2010. The FDA also produced 789 “serious” reports, with 213 cases resulting in permanent disability and 25 resulting in a diagnosis of Guillain Barre Syndrome.
Here are a few excerpts from the documents uncovered by Judicial Watch:
- A nineteen year old girl with no medical history except occasional cases bronchitis received Gardasil and in 53 days, had “Headache, Nausea, dizziness, chilling, tiredness, shortness of breath, complained of chest plain, severe cramps.” She experienced an Acute Cardiac Arrhythmia. Attempts to resuscitate her resulted in a sternal fracture, but were unsuccessful and the patient died. — V. 356938
- A thirteen year old girl was vaccinated on July 17th, 2009. Ten days later, she developed a fever and was treated. However, “the patient did not recover and was admitted to the hospital on [August 8th]…She developed dyspnoea and went into a coma…she expired [that day] at around 9:00 pm. The cause of death was determined as ‘death due to viral fever.’ … This event occurred after 23 days of receiving first dose of Gardasil. — V. 380081
- Thirteen days after vaccination, a ten year old girl developed “progressive loss of strength in lower and upper extremities almost totally…Nerve conduction studies [showed Guillain Barre Syndrome].” Case was “considered to be immediately life-threatening.” — V. 339375
One mother of a 13-year old girl, who died 37 days after receiving the vaccination, noted in a report: “I first declined getting her the vaccination but her doctor ensured me that it was safe…” After her daughter complained of a severe headache, no feeling in her foot and a tingling feeling in her leg, a doctor’s appointment was set for October 23, 2009. “My daughter never made it to Oct[ober] 23rd, which is also her birthday,” the mother noted. “She passed on Oct[ober] 17th, I found her cold unresponsive in her room at 7am….”
To say Gardasil has a suspect safety record is a big understatement. These reports are troubling and show that the FDA and other public health authorities may be asleep at the switch. In the meantime, the public relations push for Gardasil by Merck and by politicians on Capitol Hill continues. No one should be pushing this vaccine for young children.
By the way, if you want to check out all of the FDA documents previously uncovered by Judicial Watch, or our special report entitled “Examining the FDA’s HPV Vaccine Records: Detailing the Approval Process, Side-Effects, Safety Concerns & Marketing Practices of a Large Scale Health Experiment,” click here.
Until next week…
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