NOVEMBER 20, 2009
November 20, 2009
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
JW Obtains Documents on Obama FCC “Diversity Czar” Mark Lloyd’s Official Mission, Duties and Responsibilities
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Judicial Watch has launched a comprehensive investigation of all of President Obama’s czars by filing a FOIA request with the Office of Management and Budget, as well as requests with each separate “czar” office.
This week we obtained documents from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding “Diversity Czar” Mark Lloyd. Specifically, the documents describe Lloyd’s mission, responsibilities and duties.
According to the documents, Lloyd’s mission is: “to open up opportunities for all Americans, in particular women, minorities, small business owners, to participate in and benefit from a robust communications marketplace.” Among Lloyd’s duties and responsibilities: “To work with the Consumer Bureau (and other bureaus as appropriate) to collect relevant data and assess the interaction between communications service providers and consumers in minority communities…to consult with other federal agencies to determine best practices for advancing the goal of greater inclusion and diversity in government programs.”
There’s that word again, “diversity.”
You may recall in May, we uncovered documents that demonstrate that the FCC plans to use this professed goal of “diversity” to regulate free speech in the media. For example, in December 2007, the FCC proposed new “localism” measures to force broadcast stations to offer programming more “responsive to the needs and interests of the communities that they are licensed to serve.” Many legal analysts have said such “localism” policies represent a backdoor into the controversial Fairness Doctrine, which the Obama administration claims to oppose.
Now let me tell you why Mark Lloyd is a very dangerous person to have presiding over such a massive underhanded effort.
Lloyd has gotten himself into hot water repeatedly for making a number of controversial (and revealing) statements on race. For example, during a conference in 2005, Lloyd said:
There’s nothing more difficult than this. Because we have really, truly good white people in important positions. And the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions. And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem. We’re in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power.
During a 2008 National Conference for Media Reform, Lloyd also said Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez’s rise to power was “really an incredible revolution – a democratic revolution.”
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By the way, Judicial Watch also requested information pertaining to Lloyd’s office staffing and budget for operation and administration. However, according to FCC Associate General Counsel Joel Kaufman, “We could locate no records responsive to…parts of your request. While Mr. Lloyd shares support staff with others in OGC (Office of General Counsel), no one was hired or assigned specifically to support him in his work. His position is funded out of the agency’s fiscal year budget…but he has no separate budget for operation and administration.”
Too many of Obama’s czars appear to be serving in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Article II section 2 of the Constitution, states that, “…[the President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.”
Unlike the heads of other executive departments (such as the Secretaries of Energy, Transportation, etc.), most of Obama’s “czars” have not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate or had their positions authorized by Congress. Some of these appointees might not have even been subjected to a basic FBI background check. Importantly, some of these “czars” work for the president in the White House – this means they would be highly unlikely that they would testify before Congress. And they may not be subject to transparency laws.
Obama seems to have a “czar” for everything, and too many wield power with zero congressional or public accountability. Considering the radical views of “czars” like Mark Lloyd, the more information the American people can get the better. Do we really want a race-baiting promoter of Hugo Chavez presiding over questionable diversity programs at the FCC? Well that’s exactly what we’ve got.
Obama’s Broken Promises on Transparency
This week we filed two separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve in our continuing effort to bring transparency to the federal government’s massive taxpayer funded bailouts.
Our request with the Treasury Department on June 19, 2009, relates to a congressional briefing on the financial crisis held by former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on September 18, 2008, as they tried desperately to win congressional approval for their financial bailout plan.
Specifically, we’re seeking access to “any and all records pertaining to the September 18, 2008, meeting concerning financially troubled banks. (Participants of this meeting included Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd, and Richard Shelby. The meeting indicated that the economy may be in a meltdown and legislation needed to be drafted quickly.) Records should include, but are not limited to meeting notes, presentations, transcripts, agendas, correspondence, and supplemental material.”
You can be sure that Congress was sold a bill of goods. And you can be sure that’s why the Treasury Department has not produced any documents, nor has Treasury indicated when documents are forthcoming. (I’m sure the congressional leadership is nervous about how foolish these documents may make them seem.)
With our FOIA request filed with the Fed on September 2, 2009, we’re seeking access to any and all visitor logs for meetings with Chairman Bernanke and any and all visitor logs for meetings with Kevin Warsh from August 2007 to the present.
Warsh, who is not an economist by training, currently serves on the prestigious and powerful seven-member Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and has been described by Bloomberg as part of the government’s “front-line crisis team” in dealing with the economic crisis.
Again, no documents.
We are now more than a year and trillions of dollars into the government bailout and answers are in short supply. We deserve to know: What was Congress told about the so-called financial crisis and who was lobbying the Fed for taxpayer cash? The American people are growing tired of President Obama’s broken promises on transparency.
The Obama administration’s stonewalling notwithstanding, we keep pushing forward. Judicial Watch has filed at least 53 FOIA requests related to the government bailouts and at least five related FOIA lawsuits against the Obama administration. More to come for sure.
Judicial Watch Calls on President Obama to Overrule Attorney General Holder’s Decision on Khalid Sheik Mohammed Trial
This week, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is set to be tried in a New York civil courtroom instead of in front of a military commission in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Why? Because the Obama administration has decided to treat the 9/11 attack as a mere criminal act instead of a war crime.
Simply put, President Obama should overturn Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision and bring Mohammed to justice in a military tribunal. Here’s the statement I offered to the press on Wednesday:
The decision to bring Mohammed and other Al Qaeda terrorists to New York for a civilian criminal trial is not Eric Holder’s to make. President Obama is the Commander in Chief and he is ultimately responsible for the safety and security of this county.
President Obama already reversed Holder on the release of prisoner abuse photos on national security grounds and he should reverse Holder now in the interest of national security. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should remain in military custody, be kept outside the United States and be brought to justice in the military tribunal system.
An unprecedented civilian trial for the 9/11 terrorists will harm our national security, place government officials and civilians at risk, and provide a propaganda platform to rally and recruit terrorists. And it is no small risk that civilian criminal proceeding may result in the release of these terrorists onto American soil. No one elected Eric Holder to make these types of national security decisions. Eric Holder is making a dangerous mistake, and the President needs to act to protect the country and overrule the Attorney General.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Holder defended his decision to try Mohammed in a federal court, saying, “I know we are at war…The 9/11 attacks were both an act of war and a violation of our federal criminal law, and they could have been prosecuted in either federal courts or military commissions.” Holder made the wrong choice.
Judicial Watch has been active on a number of fronts related to national security and terrorism.
Judicial Watch is representing a 9/11 victim in various litigation. And with respect to the military tribunal process, in 2008, Judicial Watch was selected by the Pentagon to monitor the arraignments at Guantanamo Bay of the five terrorist prisoners who are now set to be brought to New York. (Judicial Watch Director of Litigation Paul Orfanedes had nothing but good things to say about the integrity of the military tribunal process. You can read an interview with Paul here.)
And, most recently, in August Judicial Watch obtained a CIA report entitled, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al Qa’ida, which documented the information gained by interrogations of Mohammed:
KSM’s (Khalid Shaykh Muhammad’s) decade-long career as a terrorist, during which he met with a broad range of Islamic extremists from around the world, has made him a key source of information on numerous al Qa’ida operatives and other mujahidin. He has provided intelligence that has led directly to the capture of operatives or fleshed out our understanding of the activities of important detainees, which in turn assisted in the debriefings of these individuals.
This document was obtained through a FOIA lawsuit.
According to a CBS News poll, a majority of Americans want terrorists like Mohammed tried in a closed military court. Let’s hope the President sees the wisdom in this position and fixes Holder’s mistake before too much damage is done.
Judicial Watch strongly opposed Holder’s appointment as Attorney General because, among other reasons, he was soft on terrorism. Despite his terrible political and ethics record, he was confirmed. Now some of the same senators (including some conservatives) who voted for him should regret it.
But as is almost always the case in Washington, it will be the American people who pay for the mistake of allowing this corrupt ideologue to serve in high office.
Until next week…
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