JW Acts on White House Bribery Scandal
June 18, 2010
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Judicial Watch Files Complaint re: Obama White House “Bribery Scandals”
According to a recent Fox News poll, a majority of Americans believe there should be an independent investigation into a scheme by White House officials to influence federal elections in Pennsylvania and Colorado.
So does Judicial Watch. That’s why this week we filed an official complaint with the Office of Special Counsel specifically requesting an investigation into violations of the Hatch Act by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina.
As I noted in two recent installments of the Weekly Update, Emanuel and Messina allegedly attempted to manipulate Senate elections in Pennsylvania and Colorado respectively by offering federal appointments to Rep. Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff in order to persuade the Senate candidates to abandon their campaigns.
Here’s a quick excerpt from our complaint, filed on June 15, 2010:
As widely reported in the media, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, on behalf of the Obama Administration, have both used their position and influence as highly placed federal employees to affect the outcome of federal elections in direct violation of the Hatch Act, which states that an employee may not “use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”
According to the Fox News poll, overall, 12% believe the Obama White House officials broke the law while 40% believe they acted unethically. I would expect those numbers to go up significantly if an independent investigation commences and we learn all of the facts.
Because what we have learned so far is disturbing.
On May 27, 2009, Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak indicated in an interview with CNN that he intended to challenge Senator Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic Primary. According to a White House memo authored by White House Counsel Robert Bauer, “efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary.”
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The memo further notes that Emanuel enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton “to raise the executive branch positions with Congressman Sestak.” Sestak rebuffed the Obama White House offers and defeated Specter in the primary.
Regarding Andrew Romanoff, the Colorado Independent reported on August 29, 2009, that Romanoff planned to challenge Colorado Democratic Senator Steve Bennet in the 2010 Democratic primary. According to The Washington Post, Messina allegedly called Romanoff on September 11, 2009, and suggested that Romanoff’s time might be better spent working for the U.S. Agency for International Development instead of running for the Senate.
Romanoff released to the press an email from Messina dated that same day listing three jobs that “would be available” if Romanoff were not running for the Senate against Bennet. Two of them were with USAID and the other was the position of director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Romanoff rebuffed the Obama White House offers and defeated Bennet in the primary.
Top Obama White House officials attempted to manipulate federal elections in at least two states, which is a clear violation of the law. They must be held accountable. And an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel is a good first step.
If you’ve been following the news coverage on these scandals, you’ll see the tone has changed substantially. The liberal media rallied to protect the Obama White House, trying to convince us that this is all just “business as usual” in Washington, DC. This city’s corrupt establishment has decided that serious allegations of criminal conduct by top officials of the White House take a back seat to the effort to destroy BP in order to protect Obama’s poll numbers.
It is an absolute disgrace that Attorney General Holder has not appointed a special counsel to investigate these scandals. Congress, meanwhile, has remained largely silent on this serious Obama scandal — with notable exceptions such as Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who also filed an OSC complaint. No wonder the public holds the institution in such low esteem.
In the meantime, please contact the Office of Special Counsel directly and encourage it to act on Judicial Watch’s complaint. Its Hatch Act Unit can be reached by phone at 1-800-85-HATCH.
Good News for Arizona: Appellate Court Upholds Redondo Beach Ordinance Banning Job Solicitation by Illegals in City Streets
I have good news to report in the battle against illegal alien sanctuary cities. A California appellate court ruled that an ordinance in Redondo Beach, CA, that prohibits street-side solicitation by illegal aliens is consistent with the First Amendment and may be enforced. According to NBC Los Angeles:
Redondo Beach police can now enforce a 23-year-old local law that prohibits day laborers from seeking jobs on the city’s streets.
A federal appeals court ruled that the law can be enforced after it reversed a lower-court decision. City officials said the ordinance would help ensure traffic safety and reduce nuisance crimes.
The appeals court said the law was a reasonable response to traffic congestion. Redondo Beach officials said the traffic problems are caused when job seekers gather at city intersections.
Of course, this is exactly the outcome we hoped for when we filed an amicus curiae brief with the appellate court back in June 2007. Like the appellate court, we agreed that the Redondo Beach ordinance was fully consistent with the First Amendment. However, we used a different legal analysis in our brief supporting Redondo Beach’s efforts to rein in the problem of illegal aliens seeking illegal work. The appellate court argued that the Redondo Beach ordinance represents a legitimate restriction on the First Amendment rights of illegal alien solicitors because the ordinance was narrow in scope, served a legitimate government interest, and allowed for “alternative channels of communication.” (Redondo Beach allows illegal aliens to distribute literature and solicit employment on sidewalks and in parking lots.)
Judicial Watch argued in its brief that the ordinance is consistent with the First Amendment because “commercial” speech, such as soliciting employment, is not entitled to the same level of protection as “political or expressive speech.” Here’s an excerpt:
Numerous communities across the nation have attempted to address the burgeoning problem of street-side solicitation of employment by enacting anti-solicitation ordinances. Based upon erroneous application of First Amendment jurisprudence, however, many local governments have mistakenly believed that, in order to regulate street-side solicitation of employment, it is necessary to establish a taxpayer-funded day laborer hiring site.
Much of this mistaken belief arises from decisions by trial courts…that fail to differentiate between commercial speech, which is entitled to lesser protection under the First Amendment, and political or expressive speech, which enjoys greater protection under the First Amendment.
The Redondo Beach decision is an important victory over the illegal immigration lobby. And the decision came out of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the most liberal appellate court in the nation. The other side is screaming about the decision and will try to have it overturned. The bottom line is that police officers will be allowed to arrest illegal alien day laborers when they attempt to solicit employment in the streets of Redondo Beach.
The decision will not only apply to Redondo Beach, but also to SB-1070, the Arizona immigration law under coordinated attack by the Obama administration and its leftist allies, which has an anti-solicitation provision. This provision should survive any challenge to it as a result of this Ninth Circuit decision. (The Ninth Circuit covers Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho.) And you can be sure that jurisdictions in other parts of the country will feel more confident in addressing the problem of illegal aliens seeking illegal work in their towns and cities. So the next time you hear an Obama official (such as Hillary) attack the Arizona law, know that there’s now a powerful court precedent that a key portion of the law is constitutional.
FBI Releases Kennedy Files Following Judicial Watch Lawsuit
On June 10th, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to obtain the agency’s files of the late Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy. The FBI had stonewalled JW’s original FOIA request. And according to the press, the Bureau made a rare exception and allowed the Kennedy family to participate in the decision regarding which documents would be released. (Part of Judicial Watch’s request involves correspondence between the Kennedy family and the FBI.)
The Washington Post reported that Kennedy family lawyer Kenneth Feinberg (Obama’s pay “czar” and Obama’s $20 billion BP-shakedown-fund “czar”) told the Justice Department on April 23rd that all of Kennedy’s files should be kept secret: “Absent a specific reason why such files should be disclosed to the public, it is our position that these files should remain sealed and unavailable,” Feinberg wrote.
But immediately following Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the FBI finally made the decision to post 2,200 pages of Kennedy’s FBI files to the Internet, covering years 1961 to 1985.
As you might expect, some in the media focused on titillating documents about alleged “sex parties” involving the Kennedy brothers, Marilyn Monroe and others. But the majority of news coverage related to the numerous death threats to which Kennedy was subjected throughout his career. For example, check out this take published in The Washington Post entitled, “Ted Kennedy: A Leader Strengthened by Threats.”
Until yesterday, we didn’t know how pervasive the death threats were during Kennedy’s lifetime, how much they colored so much of what he did, and how they may have contributed to his reckless behavior over the years.
Well, that’s certainly an interesting theory. Ted Kennedy was corrupt and reckless because he was the subject of death threats!
But while many in the press focused on the death threats, here are a few nuggets that our investigators found interesting.
According to the FBI files, Kennedy’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, called the Bureau in 1954 to complain about a news story about to be published indicating that “Teddy” was denied the opportunity to attend school at Ft. Holabird, MD, while in the U.S. Army because of “an adverse FBI report which linked him to a group of ‘pinkos.’”
The report further indicates that during a 1961 tour to Central and South American countries, Kennedy “expressed an interest in meeting with ‘Leftists’ to talk with them and determine why they think as they do. Kennedy met with a number of individuals known to have communist sympathies,” the report notes. While in Mexico City, Kennedy asked the Ambassador to set up interviews at the Embassy with communists. The Ambassador refused.
The report also documents a 1961 meeting between Kennedy and Dr. Lauchlin Bernard Currie, an alleged Soviet spy.
These meetings took place just months before Kennedy entered national politics and laid the groundwork for the radical leftist policies he advocated during his almost 47 years in the U.S. Senate.
While we are of course pleased that our lawsuit forced much of the Kennedy FBI files to have been made public, numerous documents remain withheld. And we still need to know more about what role the Kennedy family played in determining which documents were released and which were withheld. For that reason, we will continue to pursue our lawsuit.
Join Us in Person or On the Web: “Conservative Preview of the Kagan Confirmation Battle”
Please join us for a special educational event: Tuesday, June 22, beginning at 2 pm in the National Press Club’s Murrow Room, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC.
Our goal is to provide a preview of concerns that conservatives are raising about President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Our esteemed panelists are: Brian Darling, Director of Senate Relations for The Heritage Foundation; Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director for The Judicial Crisis Network and Curt A. Levey, Executive Director of the Committee for Justice.
This program is part of Judicial Watch’s “Judicial Nominations Project” to monitor appointments for the federal judiciary bench and oppose liberal judicial activism.
I hope you can attend but for your convenience (and by popular demand) this panel will be also be broadcast live on the Internet at http://www.visualwebcaster.com/judicialwatch.
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.