Judicial Watch • Letterman Scandal Lessons

Letterman Scandal Lessons

Letterman Scandal Lessons

OCTOBER 09, 2009

October 9, 2009

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Obama Administration Hostile to Illegal Immigration Enforcement

The Obama administration is once again undermining the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.

Last week I told you about the administration’s attempts to undermine 287(g), a highly successful federal program that trains local law enforcement officers in illegal immigration enforcement techniques. Well, this week, two stories hit the press that show just how far the administration is willing to go to protect illegal alien criminals and punish law enforcement officers who are simply doing their jobs.

First, as reported by The Associated Press, the Obama administration is taking another swipe at one of its favorite bogeymen, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known as “America’s toughest Sheriff” for his no-nonsense approach to enforcing the law, including laws against illegal immigration. Here’s the scoop:

An Arizona sheriff known for aggressively cracking down on illegal immigration has been stripped of some of his special power to enforce federal immigration law, and he claims the Obama administration is taking away his authority for political reasons.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose office faces racial profiling allegations over crime and immigration sweeps in some heavily Latino areas of metro Phoenix, said officials from Washington won’t let him renew a deal that let his deputies make federal immigration arrests.

Make no mistake. This move by the Obama administration is a strong message to local police departments: “If you seek to enforce immigration laws, we will strip you of your power.” When taken in context with the “reforms” to 287(g) that we discussed last week, it is clear the administration is intent on not only undermining, but completely dismantling the 287(g) program and any effort by local law enforcement officers to assist the relatively small cadre of federal agents responsible for enforcing immigration laws.

(By the way, you may recall Judicial Watch Director of Research and Investigations Chris Farrell led a congressional delegation to Arizona in July to assess the situation at the nation’s southern border. This included a tour of Sheriff Arpaio’s “Tent City Jail.” Click here for more information.)

The good news is Sheriff Arpaio won’t back down and will continue to enforce the law.

But the attack on 287(g) and the good sheriff is not the only tactic by this administration to undermine the rule of law. The Wall Street Journal reported this nugget earlier in the week:

The Obama administration is expected on Tuesday to unveil an outline of sweeping changes for the nation’s immigration-detention system, saying it will decide whom to lock up and for how long based on the danger and flight risk posed by detainees…

…Until now, the Obama administration has been reluctant to revise detention standards, which were updated late in the administration of former President George W. Bush. The immigration detention system expanded dramatically during the Bush years as the government took a much tougher line against illegal immigrants.

The Obama administration’s reforms include the construction of new and improved detention facilities, increased medical care, improved “custodial conditions” and a new “classification system” for illegal alien detainees. (The Obama administration believes holding illegal aliens who are marked for deportation in jail cells is cruel and unusual punishment. One proposed reform suggests putting them up in hotels and nursing homes instead!)

Leftists and their media allies have systematically been attacking the current detention system for the last two years. They are seemingly opposed to any detention system (hence, the Obama administration’s emphasis on getting alien criminals out of jail).

The fact is many of the illegal aliens being “detained” in jails are simply awaiting deportation after having served time for other crimes, including crimes of violence. The federal government reimburses localities for jailing these bad guys. Certainly makes sense from a public safety perspective.

Of course, the whole idea of the Obama plan is to bring the entire system under federal control, which apparently means more money and less enforcement. Signs point to expensive “Club Feds” for illegal alien criminals.

So the twofer from the Obama administration this week is this: don’t arrest illegal aliens and coddle them if they are arrested.

And so the illegal alien crisis will continue.

The Lesson from the Letterman Scandal

Last week CBS’ David Letterman publicly confessed to a string of “creepy” affairs with former employees after the boyfriend of one of his “partners” attempted to extort $2 million from the late night talk show host. Despite the embarrassing admission, Letterman appears to be secure in his job and, in fact, experienced a double-digit ratings bump in the days following the disclosure.

When it comes to corrupt politicians, there is a lesson to be learned from the Letterman scandal.

Consider Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence.

According to The New York Times:

The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide, current and former officials said Friday…

…The inquiries will most likely examine whether Mr. Ensign, a Nevada Republican, or Douglas Hampton, his one-time administrative assistant, broke the law after Mr. Hampton, immediately upon leaving his Congressional job last year, began to lobby Mr. Ensign’s office. Mr. Hampton, as a senior aide, was subject to a one-year lobbying ban, lawyers who specialize in ethics law said.

Politicians who are caught playing around generally have the same defense: “This is personal business and has nothing to do with my ability to do my job.” Then there is usually some platitude about needing to “get back to work on behalf of the American people.” We heard this ad nauseum from Bill Clinton and his apologists.

But the Clinton defense, used since by corrupt politicians of both parties, is complete bunk. Public officials who fool around not only hurt their families but they also subject themselves to blackmail and extortion, and usually commit other improprieties that impact all Americans.

Letterman did the right thing by not giving into any alleged blackmail related to his own misconduct. But you can bet that most politicians are not nearly as brave, especially since they can pay the blackmail with taxpayer money.

Just look at Ensign. He and his staffer apparently violated the lobbying ban which prevents politicians from trading favors and peddling influence. (One can go to jail for this.) This law was put in place to protect the interests of the American people.

And playboy politicians could also be extorted for any number of things, including national security secrets that could put the American people at risk.

When a public official engages in sexual misconduct, the American people and the public are almost always harmed in the process. In the case of Ensign, it is apparent he misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.

I sure won’t shed any tears if David Letterman loses his job for his misconduct. As for Ensign’s misconduct and abuse of office, it disqualifies him from continuing to serve in the United States Senate. Senator Ensign should resign.

Obama Corruption and the Olympics

President Obama took time away from addressing the serious issues of rising unemployment and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to make a big pitch to bring the Olympics to Chicago. It failed. But while some are musing about what Obama’s failure tells us about his global influence, there is another important lesson here, and it is this: President Obama has no problem ignoring his own ethics policies as long as his friends will benefit.

Consider the individual Obama tapped to head his Olympics pitch, slumlord Valerie Jarrett. You may recall, as Chief Executive Officer of the Habitat Company Jarrett managed a controversial housing project located in Obama’s former state senate district called Grove Parc Plaza that was rendered uninhabitable. She also helped fund a number of slum projects for convicted felon and former Obama campaign fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Allison Davis, Obama’s former boss. (Judicial Watch obtained the documents that uncovered this connection.)

Had Valerie Jarrett been successful in bringing the Olympics back to Chicago, just who do you think would have benefitted? That’s right. Jarrett’s Chicago friends, including her old company, Habitat.

I covered all of this in an interview last week with Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck. Here’s a bit of the exchange. (You can check out the full transcript here. The video is here.)

BECK: …Can you make the claim that the 2016 Olympics are about personal enrichment for the friends of Obama?

FITTON: The problem is you have the appearance of conflict of interest, the appearance of personal enrichment. And in the context of the presidency of the United States, you don’t want that happening. Valerie Jarrett needed an ethics waiver to run the Olympics office for Barack Obama. By Barack Obama’s own rules that were going to clean up Washington, she would have been prohibited from working on this because of her prior conflict. They gave her an ethics waiver. Take a minute to think about the phrase “ethics waiver.” Only in Washington could you have a(n)…”ethics waiver.” Waive ethics. It’s incredible. And now she has really hijacked the presidency on behalf of this local operation in Chicago, and everything in Washington has ground to a halt while [Jarrett and the Obamas] take care of their friends back in Chicago.

I mentioned Jarrett’s ethics waiver because this is a very important issue and so far much of the mainstream media has failed to hold Obama to account. Just two days after the president instituted ethics reform in January and boldly promised to “close the revolving door that lets lobbyists come into government freely,” he violated his own pledge, signing two ethics waivers for administration officials. Since then there have been many more. Ten in one day alone last month.

Obama promised to clean up Washington during his successful campaign run. But what we have seen in the first year of his presidency is a disturbing penchant for corrupt favoritism and secrecy.

I suspect that the air of corruption around the Chicago Olympic bid was largely responsible for its abject failure. The Olympic movement has had its fair share of corruption, and I’m guessing the International Olympic Committee didn’t want to be associated with the corrupt “Chicago way.” The Olympic crowd wants its corruption below the radar – and that wasn’t going to happen with this White House and its cronies in Chicago.

By the way, Judicial Watch has already initiated an investigation into the Chicago-Obama White House Olympic connection. We have a Freedom of Information Act request outstanding with the mayor’s office in Chicago. I’ll let you know what else we find.

Until next week…



Tom Fitton
President


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