From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Judge Sotomayor’s Radical Connections
Judicial Watch’s investigation of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor continues. This week, our investigations team unearthed some interesting and disturbing information related to Sotomayor’s connection to the radical organization, Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund (PRLDF). Sotomayor served on the Board from 1980 until 1992, which is a significant period of time.
According to The American Spectator: "Among radical left-wing groups, [the PRLDF] has a fairly garden-variety agenda. A captive of identity politics, it pushes for enforced multiculturalism, diversity, bilingual public education, race-based gerrymandering of electoral districts, race-based employment quotas, tenants’ rights, and illegal immigrants’ rights."
Check out some of the group’s activities during Sotomayor’s tenure as the "top policy maker" on the PRLDF’s Board of Directors:
In 1988, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund engaged in a battle with the New York City Police Department over its "racist" promotion exam, ultimately presiding over a radical redesign to allow more minorities to achieve a passing grade. According to The New York Times: "The new test, a four-part exam prepared with the help of an expert designated by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund…involved changes in format, including the addition of open-book questions and a video portion."
In 1990, the PRLDF attacked then-New York Mayor David Dinkins after the mayor labeled three Puerto Rican "nationalists" who shot five members of Congress in 1954 "assassins." The radicals were members of a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional). The PRLDF said the mayor’s comments "lacked sensitivity." Reuben Franco, President of the PRLDF said: "[Mayor Dinkins] doesn’t recognize that to many people in Puerto Rico, these are fighters for freedom and justice, for liberation, just as is Nelson Mandela, who himself advocated bearing arms."
In 1981, the PRLDF filed a complaint against Elizabeth, New Jersey Mayor Thomas Dunn following a City Hall directive requiring staff to speak English while on the job. In 1990, the organization also opposed a law to require merchants to post an English sign in the storefront explaining the nature of business.
Trust me, this is a very small sampling of a very large universe of radical activity by PRLDF during Judge Sotomayor’s tenure. I’ve reviewed her responses to the U.S. Senate questionnaire in preparation for her nomination. The judge does not disclose much at all about her significant work the PRLDF. We aim to help fill in the gaps. And I will have much more for you in the coming weeks as we continue to delve deeply into Judge Sotomayor’s history and affiliations.
Judicial Watch Probes Overseas Trips by DC Mayor
Washington, DC, Mayor Adrian Fenty found himself in hot water recently related to two overseas trips that were bankrolled by foreign governments. (Even the liberal Washington Post took a swipe at the DC Democrat.) The first, a trip to China during the Olympic Games in 2008. And the second, an "unannounced trip" to Dubai February 15-22, 2009.
Of course, these trips provoked a number of questions. What was Mayor Fenty doing on these trips? Were these elaborate vacations or was the mayor on official business? Why were two foreign governments so keen on paying for Mayor Fenty to travel overseas?
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the mayor’s office earlier this year. Recently we obtained documents from the Office of the Secretary for the District of Columbia that shed some light on the matter.
Included among the documents is the original "application to approve donations" from the Office of Partnerships and Grants in the mayor’s office detailing the $25,000 February 13th in-kind donation made by Yousef Al-Otaiba, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States and Mexico, to cover the mayor’s travel expenses during the Dubai trip.
The documents describe the Dubai trip as follows: "Cultural and economic exchange, including the Mayor’s travel and accommodations for the official portion of his trip to Dubai, UAE, during which he will be representing the District of Columbia and acting in his official capacity at meetings with UAE local government and business leaders."
Mayor Fenty sustained heavy criticism for making the "unannounced" trip to Dubai in February after he attended the Dubai Tennis Championships, where a female Israeli tennis player was prohibited from competing in the tournament. As a member of the DC City Council, Fenty had harshly criticized then-Mayor Anthony Williams for taking overseas trips, many of which were funded by foreign governments.
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch, also detail a separate trip made by Mayor Fenty to China during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Mayor Fenty’s trip to China, which cost $11,300 according to the documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, was paid for by the governments of Shanghai and Beijing, as well as the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship, a Chinese government entity.
One letter, signed by the Director General of Beijing’s Foreign Affairs Office states: "…The City of Beijing will, as always, attach great importance to the sister-city relationship between our two cities, and will further enhance this relationship in an effort to promote our common prosperity and development." At the time, Mayor Fenty described the Beijing trip as a "private vacation."
The bottom line is this: Mayor Fenty works for the taxpayers of Washington, DC, not the UAE or the Communist Chinese government. His decision to take these donations through his office from foreign governments demonstrates an appalling lack of judgment. The Mayor ought to be taking vacations on his own dime.
Judicial Watch Briefs: Border Security and Bailouts
I will close this week with two brief takes on two very important issues:
Obama Administration Asleep at the Switch While Situation at Border Deteriorates
As I’ve told you in recent weeks, the Obama administration seems completely tone deaf when it comes to the chaotic and dangerous nature of the nation’s southern border.
Just a few weeks ago, Judicial Watch recently released a U.S. Customs and Border Protection report titled, BorderStat Violence, FY 2008 Year in Review, which documents a sharp increase in violence on the U.S. border with Mexico. Here’s just one statistic: Illegal incursions into the United States by members of the Mexican military and/or police are up an astonishing 357%.
"U.S. counterterrorism officials have authenticated a video by an al Qaeda recruiter threatening to smuggle a biological weapon into the United States via tunnels under the Mexico border, the latest sign of the terrorist group’s determination to stage another mass-casualty attack on the U.S. homeland."
In the face of what is obviously an indisputable crisis on our border with Mexico, what has been the Obama administration’s response?
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently turned down an offer for increased funding from the Senate Committee on Homeland Defense to address the problem of violence on the southern border. The Obama administration also rejected an appeal from Texas Governor Rick Perry and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to help quell border violence. Instead, the Obama administration announced a plan to temporarily send 360 federal agents to the border, a plan which has little chance of succeeding. And then the president rolled out the welcome mat to illegals by announcing support for an amnesty program.
I hope it doesn’t take a catastrophic terrorist attack to convince the president that he must take drastic measures to secure the U.S. border with Mexico.
Lobbyists in the Obama White House
The Obama administration finds itself in an inherently corrupt situation now that the president has seized large stakes in private corporations.
General Motors Corp. began canceling contracts with outside lobbyists Tuesday but made clear its intention to maintain its in-house advocacy corps, beginning a delicate balancing act between GM and its soon-to-be majority shareholder: the White House.
"It may cause some unique situations,’" said Dave Wenhold, president of the American League of Lobbyists. Complicating the relationship are President Barack Obama’s own set of tough standards for dealings between the administration and federal lobbyists.
While setting rules that attempt to make dealings between the two sides more transparent, he now finds himself in a position of controlling more shares in GM than anyone else.
As the nation’s largest shareholder in GM, the company’s lobbyists are now working for the Obama White House! That means the government will be lobbying itself! Ford, which has not yet been nationalized, is at an obvious disadvantage. Ford won’t have White House officials acting as their lobbyists. And nor will the "foreign" auto companies that employ tens of thousands of Americans.
Does anyone remember the Executive Order signed by Barack Obama on January 21st effectively banning lobbyists from serving in his administration? Not worth the paper it was written on, obviously, as it seems this policy will not apply to the president’s auto companies.
The fact is the White House has no business – none whatsoever – seizing large stakes in private enterprises. This unprecedented government intervention is a fundamental attack on our constitutional and economic systems, and is a recipe for disaster.
And as I reported to you just a few weeks ago, there was nothing voluntary about the government’s scheme to "bailout" the nation’s largest banks. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told these companies they had no choice but to take the deal. Details are still emerging as to how the GM deal was made, but it has all the hallmarks of government action unrestrained by law and ethics. I will have updates regarding this ongoing crisis as events warrant.
Until next week…
Tom Fitton President
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