Judicial Watch • Voters: No Secrecy, No Bailouts

Voters: No Secrecy, No Bailouts

Voters: No Secrecy, No Bailouts

NOVEMBER 05, 2010

November 5, 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

JW Election Day Poll: Voters Repudiate Bailouts, Bailout Secrecy and Warn Republicans

The balance of power shifted in dramatic fashion on Capitol Hill on November 2, as Republicans rode the Tea Party wave, seizing control of the House of Representatives and earning significant gains in the U.S. Senate.

Of course the spin from Obama/Pelosi/Reid on their historic thrashing was that voters were simply frustrated by the pace of the economic recovery. And there’s no doubt the state of the economy was top in the minds of voters as they took to the polls on Tuesday.

But according to an Election Day poll we conducted in partnership with the polling company™, inc./WomanTrend, the liberal spin on the election results doesn’t even begin to tell the full story.

Here’s the takeaway from our poll: The American people think the government is too big, too secret and too corrupt. And they do not want any more government bailouts, ever. Make no mistake. This was a complete repudiation of the Obama Big Government agenda and the corrupt manner in which this agenda has been implemented.

Here are some of the other highlights from the poll which we pulled from an excellent summary prepared by our polling partners:

  1. Nearly two in three actual voters surveyed (63%) said the new Congress should “never” authorize using taxpayer funds to bailout or to buyout privately-owned businesses. Only 10% of voters support bailing out companies “too big to fail.”
  2. 68% of actual voters surveyed said corruption played a major role in the financial crisis, with 47% saying corruption played a “very major role.”
  3. 67% of actual voters said they believe the records regarding how the Treasury Department has spent bailout funds should “definitely be made available” to the public, while only 13% of voters said the records should “definitely be kept secret” — a ratio of 5:1.
  4. 82% of actual voters said they believed the level of government corruption in Washington has either increased (43%) or stayed the same (39%) over the last two years. 68% of actual voters said they believe the level of government corruption in Washington will either increase (24%) or stay the same (44%) over the next two years.
  5. A total of 50 points separated those voters who say the average American has too little information about how their tax dollars are spent, and those who say such access to this information is “about right” (71%-21%).
  6. By a 2-to-1 ratio, respondents believed that major legislation from the last two years (healthcare, economic stimulus and bailouts) made it more difficult to make the government account for the use of taxpayer dollars — (62%-28%).
  7. Nearly 80% of actual voters who participated in the 2010 elections sensed that government grew larger during the first two years of the Obama administration, a development that a 51%-majority of viewed negatively.

See any ambiguity here? I don’t. The American people, by astonishingly large majorities, rejected the corruption, the secrecy and the massive expansion of government that has taken place under Obama/Pelosi/Reid. The American people want it to stop now.

But, before Republicans get too comfortable with their new status on Capitol Hill, they should pay attention to our voter poll numbers that show little hope that corruption will be curtailed in the next two years.

Clearly Republicans have major work to do — even their own supporters don’t believe Washington will get any less corrupt on their watch. This poll is a warning to Republicans (and Democrats) in the new Congress that they had better shrink the size of government, make it more transparent, end bailouts and rein in corruption.

But will they? Will the new Congress embrace the Judicial Watch/Tea Party mainstream values of smaller, cleaner, more accountable government? This can only happen if new Members of Congress do not repeat the mistakes of the recent past.

After all, it was just four years ago that Democrats assumed control of Congress with Democratic Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi famously promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington.

Of course, that did not happen. Instead the nation watched as numerous members of Congress became entangled in political corruption scandals while the congressional ethics process ground to a halt. (See Reps. Charlie Rangel [D-NY], William Jefferson [D-LA], Senators Chris Dodd [D-CT], Larry Craig [R-ID], and too many others to list.) Even Nancy Pelosi herself was nabbed by Judicial Watch in a major scandal involving her abuse of military air craft.

And just two years ago, President Barack Obama promised “hope,” “change,” and a new era of ethics and transparency in Washington. Instead, the nation watched as Obama presided over the greatest expansion of government power in our nation’s history, set new records for government secrecy, installed unconstitutional and unaccountable “czars,” and attacked the state of Arizona for trying to protect its citizens from the scourge of rampant illegal immigration, among many other scandals.

Then there was the November 2 earthquake. Voters across the country repudiated the corruption and secrecy that have characterized the Obama administration and the Pelosi-led Congress. Now a new Congress will come to town. And while some names may change on Capitol Hill, Judicial Watch’s mission remains the same.

Judicial Watch neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office. We have battled government corruption in Washington through three presidential administrations and half a dozen congressional elections so far. No matter which party has been in power, this much we know: corruption is a pervasive, corrosive problem on Capitol Hill and it only gets worse when the government grows. Major changes need to be made if we’re going to root it out — not the “tweaking” the President talked about in his post-election remarks.

Judicial Watch will continue to hold corrupt members of Congress accountable to the rule of law no matter their political affiliations. And, at the same time, Judicial Watch will also seize this opportunity to educate new Members of Congress about how business should be done in Washington and remind them of their ethical responsibilities. I’ll have more on congressional oversight over the next few weeks, but be assured we will endeavor to work with the new leadership to hold the out-of-control Obama administration more accountable to the American people.

The American people sent a message to Washington in historic fashion on November 2. Judicial Watch will do all it can to make sure this message is received.

Judicial Watch Files Supreme Court Brief for Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce in Defense of Arizona E-Verify Law

One of the key issues the new Congress must face is the illegal alien crisis, an issue that is already front and center at the nation’s High Court.

Last week Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on behalf of Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce in the United States Supreme Court supporting Arizona’s “Legal Arizona Workers Act,” legislation crafted by State Senator Pearce to penalize Arizona businesses that knowingly hiring illegal aliens.

The Arizona law, which was upheld by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is being challenged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic groups, among others. Senator Pearce is the author of, and the driving force behind, the “Legal Arizona Workers Act.”
We filed our brief on October 28, 2010. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on December 8.

Judicial Watch argues in Senator Pearce’s amicus curiae brief that the “Legal Arizona Workers Act” is constitutional and should not be preempted by federal law:

  • Petitioners assert that the “Legal Arizona Workers Act” is preempted by federal law regulating the employment of aliens. Nearly thirty-five years ago, however, this Court unequivocally affirmed that States possess broad authority under their police powers to regulate employment even if such regulation touches on immigration.
  • Despite this well-established precedent, Petitioners assert that the State of Arizona lacks the authority to penalize employers for hiring unauthorized workers, allegedly because the legislation burdens employers. In other words, employers who put profits over patriotism by hiring unlawfully present aliens would be “burdened” by losing the substantial benefit of paying sub-standard wages.
  • Senator Pearce authored legislation that is consistent with federal law. The “Legal Arizona Workers Act” prohibits employers from knowingly or intentionally employing unauthorized workers. Additionally, all Arizona employers must use the federal “E-Verify” program to confirm the employment eligibility of new employees. The “Legal Arizona Workers Act” falls well within the traditional police powers of the State. This Court therefore must reject Petitioners’ attempt to protect scofflaw employers at the expense of legal Arizona workers by overturning well-established law.

Business interests and left-wing groups are in an unholy alliance to attack another common sense law to defend Arizona and America by confronting the illegal alien crisis. It is shameful that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would put the profits of industries that exploit illegal alien labor above the interests of the American people and the rule of law.

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will have an enormous impact on states across the country dealing with the scourge of rampant illegal immigration. At issue in this case is whether a state has the right to take actions to protect citizens from illegal immigration when such actions are consistent with federal law. Certainly the common sense, rule-of-law answer is “yes” to this question.

The Obama administration has decided to employ a dangerous and nonsensical approach to illegal immigration: fail to protect the borders, and then attack any state that attempts to enforce federal immigration law. No wonder the situation at the nation’s southern border continues to deteriorate. We hope the Supreme Court upholds the appellate court ruling and finds that this Arizona law is constitutional.

As you will recall, Judicial Watch represents State Senator Pearce in the Obama administration’s separate lawsuit challenging Arizona’s get-tough illegal immigration law, SB1070. That lawsuit is also destined to reach the Supreme Court. When it does, we will be there once again arguing on the side of the rule of law.

Justice Department Improperly Funneling Settlement Funds to Leftist Groups

In August, Byron York of The Washington Examiner exposed yet another scandal at the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Judicial Watch has followed up with a lawsuit.

Here’s a squib from York’s piece:

The Justice Department has found a new way to pursue civil rights lawsuits, using the powers of the Civil Rights Division not just to win compensation for victims of alleged discrimination but also to direct large sums of money to activist groups that are not discrimination victims and not connected to a particular suit.

In the past, when the Civil Rights Division filed suit against, say, a bank or a landlord, alleging discrimination in lending or rentals, the cases were often settled by the defendant paying a fine to the U.S. Treasury and agreeing to put aside a sum of money to compensate the alleged discrimination victims…

Now, Attorney General Eric Holder and Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez have a new plan. Any unspent money will not go back to the defendant but will instead go to a "qualified organization" approved by the Justice Department. And if there is not enough unspent money — that will be determined by the Department — then the defendant might be required to come up with more money to give to the "qualified organization."

York’s piece specifically mentions two specific cases: United States v. AIG Federal Savings Bank and Wilmington Finance and United States v. Sterling.

AIG was accused of allowing third party mortgage brokers to jack up mortgage fees on blacks, charging a higher fee than for white borrowers. AIG disputed the claims and there was no factual finding of any wrongdoing, York notes. Nonetheless, by consent decree, AIG agreed to pay $6.1 million to aggrieved victims of this never-proven crime and guaranteed that $1 million of these funds would be distributed to “qualified organization(s) to provide credit counseling, financial literacy, and other related educational programs targeted at African-American borrowers."

What organizations? Well that’s up to Eric Holder. And do we really want the corrupt Holder making these kinds of decisions?

In the Sterling lawsuit (filed in 2006), The DOJ accused a California landlord of discriminating against prospective Korean tenants, among other things. Again, the defendants said it never happened and there was never any factual finding of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, by consent decree, they agreed to pay $2.65 million to alleged victims. And if enough victims could not be located, the remaining funds would be distributed to “qualified organizations.”

The DOJ selected the California Housing Rights Center to receive a portion of the funds. (Doesn’t that sound like one of those ACORN spin-off groups I’ve been talking about recently?)

As soon as we learned of this new DOJ scandal, we launched an investigation into the matter, filing separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the DOJ on August 6 and August 31. The DOJ acknowledged receipt of both requests and was required to respond by September 14 and October 5 respectively. But to date, we’ve received nothing. And so, we filed a lawsuit on October 25. The list of documents we’re seeking is too long to include in this space. But click here to read our lawsuit for yourself.

I am personally very concerned about this burgeoning scandal. This policy effectively allows the DOJ to use its vast resources to use baseless lawsuits in order to funnel huge financial rewards for its leftist allies (such as ACORN). And, as our lawsuit shows, the Obama-Holder team wants to do it in secret. Let’s hope a federal lawsuit stops the cover-up.

Until next week…


Tom Fitton
President

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