OCTOBER 15, 2010
October 15, 2010
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
New Documents Shed Light on Pelosi’s Abuse of Air Force Aircraft
Talk about arrogance. Even in the face of a Judicial Watch investigation spotlighting Nancy Pelosi’s abuse of military air craft, the House Speaker shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, Speaker Pelosi may have set a frequent flyer record for taxpayer-financed luxury jet travel.
We recently obtained new documents from the United States Air Force detailing Speaker Pelosi’s use of United States Air Force aircraft between March 2009 and June 2010. And they pretty much tell the same, outrageous story as previous documents we’ve uncovered and released.
Here are the highlights from the newest batch of documents, which we obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on January 25, 2009:
- Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 85 trips, covering 206,264 miles, from March 2, 2009 through June 7, 2010. Pelosi, her guests and Air Force personnel logged a total of 428.6 hours on these flights.
- Members of Pelosi’s family were guests on at least two flights. On June 20, 2009, Speaker Pelosi’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons joined a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to San Francisco International Air Port. That flight included $143 in on-flight expenses for food and other items. On July 2, 2010, Pelosi took her grandson on a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, which is northeast of San Francisco.
As regular readers of the Update may recall, according to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. Seriously, review these documents for yourself and you can see that Nancy Pelosi repeatedly turned indispensible Air Force aircraft into congressional party planes.
For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
Judicial Watch also previously uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the Speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes.
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For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?… [T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’….” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”
(By the way, you may remember that Judicial Watch also uncovered a scandal at the Pentagon related to investigations into congressional military travel. According to documents we uncovered, Pentagon officials were colluding with congressional members, including staff at Pelosi’s office, prior to releasing documents related to military travel. Click here to read more.)
All of the documents uncovered by Judicial Watch lead to one conclusion: Pelosi’s abusive use of military aircraft demonstrates a shocking lack of regard for the American taxpayer and the men and women who serve in the U.S. Air Force.
I know our story was picked up by talk radio. And thankfully, the Drudge Report highlighted a story at The Washington Examiner on our documents, so countless Americans were educated as a result of the good work you support.
Fannie Mae’s Lobbyist to Lead Obama National Security Council
National Security Advisor General Jim Jones stepped down last week, and Obama wasted no time in naming a successor, Democratic Party activist and Fannie Mae lobbying hack Tom Donilon.
Here’s the scoop according to Politico:
President Barack Obama announced Friday that his national security adviser, retired Gen. James Jones, will step down in two weeks and will be replaced by his deputy, Tom Donilon…The president hailed Donilon as a brilliant, hard-working adviser who “has a wealth of experience” in the White House and global security issues and is suited to run the NSC during a challenging era.
Of course, as Politico further notes, many disagree with the president’s rosy assessment of Donilon’s preparedness starting with the nation’s Defense Secretary:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told associates that Donilon’s appointment to NSC would be a disaster, according to journalist Bob Woodard’s recently published book, “Obama’s Wars.” Donilon, Woodward reported, was deeply skeptical of the military’s chain of command — and the feeling was mutual, with many commanders viewing him as a politically-connected dilettante in over his head.
And why would our military leaders, including the Defense Secretary, say that Donilon is in over his head? Let’s take a look at his bio.
According to NPR, Donilon “cut his teeth in Democratic Party politics,” working for the Carter administration and five subsequent Democratic presidential campaigns (Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Bill Clinton and Obama). He also served in the Clinton administration for three years as assistant Secretary of Public Affairs and then Chief of Staff at the State Department under Warren Christopher. Donilon was also a partner in a powerful Washington, DC law firm.
But here’s the worst of it. From 1999 to 2005, Tom Donilon was a top official at Fannie Mae who — get this — was in charge of “managing” government oversight of the two government sponsored enterprises! According to a 2005 Washington Post article:
Thomas E. Donilon, Fannie Mae’s executive vice president for law and policy, joined Fannie Mae in 1999 as its general counsel during a time of historic growth for the company and when it was at the zenith of its political influence in Washington. One of Donilon’s duties was to oversee Fannie Mae’s relations with regulators and Congress, where the company had comfortably deflected repeated efforts to increase its regulatory oversight. In 2003, he became a member of the office of the chairman, comprised of four Fannie Mae executives: former chairman and chief executive Franklin D. Raines, former chief financial officer J. Timothy Howard, Daniel H. Mudd and Donilon.
But is there evidence Donilon’s office actually blocked (or “comfortably deflected”) attempts to expose Fannie and Freddie corruption? Yes, says The Washington Times:
Years before Fannie Mae foundered amid a massive accounting scandal, President Obama’s choice for national security adviser oversaw an office inside the mortgage giant that orchestrated a negative publicity blitz to fight attempts by Congress to increase government oversight, records show.
A 2006 report from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) covered this smear campaign in some detail. It concluded, “Fannie Mae succeeded in creating a large volume of negative publicity about the OFHEO examination report, in an effort to distract attention from its multibillion-dollar accounting errors.” You can read the devastating report in its entirety here.
Yet another 2006 report from Fannie’s regulators reminded Congress “that Fannie Mae senior management presented an image of the Enterprise as one of the lowest-risk financial institutions in the world and as ‘best-in-class’ in terms of risk management, financial reporting internal controls and corporate governance. The reality was that the image presented was false. The risks at Fannie Mae were greatly understated and senior management manipulated accounting and earnings.” (And yes, this report was addressed to Barney Frank, too!)
So, there you have it. Obama’s new National Security Advisor has a “wealth” of experience running Democratic campaigns and a “wealth” of experience in helping to run the corrupt Fannie Mae into the ground by presenting “false” information to the American public. And he has virtually zero national security experience.
So, this being Washington, he’s being promoted to one our nation’s most sensitive national security positions.
Donilon is another Sandy Berger waiting to happen, and that is not a compliment.
You remember Berger, right? He was Clinton’s former National Security Advisor. The last time we saw him in the news he was stuffing top secret documents down his pants at the National Archives before shredding some of them with scissors and then lying to investigators. For this deplorable and criminal act Berger got a whopping 100 hours of community service, a temporary suspension of his security clearance and a slap-on-the-wrist fine.
Like Donilon, Berger had little national security experience before becoming Clinton’s National Security Advisor. What he did have was a “wealth” of experience as a political operator at the highest levels in one of the most corrupt presidential administrations in our nation’s history.
When Donilon’s appointment was first announced, I tweeted, “Let’s hope Obama’s new NSC adviser doesn’t do for national security what he did for housing market — destroy it.”
I wasn’t joking.
Judicial Watch Probes “Religious Outreach Trips” For Ground Zero Mosque Imam
The artist renderings for the mammoth Ground Zero Mosque were revealed last week. Actually, it’s much, much more than a mosque. The 16-story monstrosity will include a daycare center, an auditorium, and a culinary school with a sports and fitness center thrown in for good measure.
Meanwhile, Judicial Watch continues to investigate one of the men behind the mosque, radical Islamic Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
On Wednesday we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Obama State Department to obtain information on the government sponsored trips taken by Rauf. The Obama administration recently sent Rauf on a trip to the Middle East to “discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance.”
Here’s what we’re after according in FOIA request filed on August 16, 2010:
Any and all records concerning travel conducted by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. This includes but is not limited to:
a) Travel to the U.S. — Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar in February 2006
b) Travel to Bahrain, Morocco, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates in 2007
c) Travel to Egypt sponsored by the Bureau of International Information Programs in January 2010
d) Upcoming travel to Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates
The State Department acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on August 26, 2010. By law, the agency was required to respond to the request by September 24, 2010. However, to date, the State Department has failed to provide any records responsive to the request or demonstrate that records are exempt from production.
And so, here we are once again forced to file a lawsuit against the “transparent” Obama administration to get to the truth in the matter.
Now, I’m sure you’re asking yourselves, why would the Obama administration seek to slow pedal the release of documents regarding Rauf? Because they know all about Rauf’s history and extreme views. And they don’t want the American people to know a radical Muslim extremist is traipsing around the globe at their expense.
Rauf has made numerous radical and controversial statements regarding Islamic terrorism, particularly with respect to the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
For example, during a 60 Minutes interview about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to CBS News, Rauf said: “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened…we have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.”
(Click here to read a summary of Rauf’s other radical statements, courtesy of Human Events.)
Look, the Obama administration can sugarcoat this any way they want, but Rauf is an extremist who blames America for the 9/11 attacks. And the last thing the Obama administration should be spending our money on is a “religious tolerance” tour led by an apologist for Islamic terrorists.
True, this was a scandal that began in the Bush administration, which also subsidized trips for this radical. But now the onus is on the Obama administration to come clean. The American people have a right to know the details surrounding this scandalous waste of taxpayer funds. Rather than getting transparency, we’ve been met by a stonewall from the Obama administration, as per usual.
And that’s why we’re in federal court.
Until next week…
Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.
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