From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
California Battles: Oral Arguments This Week in Two Judicial Watch Immigration Lawsuits
This was an amazingly busy week for your Judicial Watch. Our legal team went to court this week in California to make oral arguments in two landmark immigration enforcement (and sanctuary busting) lawsuits:
Fonseca v. Fong, Case No. A120206: Judicial Watch filed an appeal on behalf of a San Francisco resident challenging the San Francisco Police Department’s sanctuary policy that, in violation of state and federal law, prohibits police officers from notifying federal immigration authorities when they arrest a person for various narcotics offenses whom they suspect to be an alien (legal or illegal).
On Tuesday, our own Jim Peterson took on lawyers for the City of San Francisco as they tried to argue that San Francisco is above the law and should not have to follow a state law requiring certain reporting to ICE. The appellate panel was energetic and gave an extraordinary amount of extra time to our case’s oral argument, with one member of the court commenting that the matter was “important.” Our lawyers are cautiously optimistic that we could prevail and San Francisco’s sanctuary policy could receive a serious blow.
Garcia v. Dicterow, Case No. G039824: Judicial Watch filed a taxpayer lawsuit in the Orange County Superior Court against the City of Laguna Beach for spending taxpayer funds to operate the Laguna Beach Day Worker Center, a day labor site that helps illegal aliens find jobs and provides other public benefits, including English language instruction. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of residents Eileen Garcia and George Riviere.
Our lawyers tell me that the panel was interested in the issue and asked many questions. Our litigation director Paul Orfanedes made the argument on behalf of our taxpayer clients. This is groundbreaking litigation and we expect the appellate court will carefully grapple with the legal issue of whether California local taxpayers can be forced to subsidize the hiring of illegal aliens, an activity that is in obvious violation of federal law. Let’s hope they rule in our favor and local governments in California and elsewhere get out the business of misusing tax dollars to help illegal aliens obtain illegal jobs.
We expect decisions in both cases within 90 days.
I’m proud of our work in California. To be sure, Judicial Watch has taken its battle against illegal immigration to almost every corner of the country. Our goal is to put an end to illegal alien sanctuary policies that not only violate our nation’s federal immigration laws, but also worsen an already out-of-control illegal immigration crisis.
You can see that we are on the front lines of the battle, and we can’t do this excellent legal and education work without your support. To make a donation to help our good fight for the rule of law and to expose and prosecute those who abuse the public trust, please click here.
Judicial Watch Campaign Forces New Warnings for Gardasil
I have mixed news to report this week on Gardasil, the deadly and dangerous vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV) currently being administered to young girls. On the one hand, the vaccine is now approved for use against other forms of cancer. On the other, the vaccine now comes with new warnings, thanks to Judicial Watch’s investigation and public education campaign.
Merck & Co. won U.S. approval to market its cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil to help prevent cancer of the vagina and vulva, giving the shot an advantage over potential rivals.
The Food and Drug Administration expanded Gardasil’s approved uses to include the two tumor types, the agency said today in documents on its Web site. The FDA also added new information to Gardasil’s prescribing information about reports of deaths and illnesses among those getting the shot.
This is a big victory for the public health, including the young girls that represent Gardasil’s target market. As you know by now, Judicial Watch has taken the lead in exposing the ugly truth about the dangerous reactions that may be related to Gardasil. (Read more by clicking here.)
In fact, a couple of months ago Judicial Watch released a special report based on “adverse event reports” and other information obtained from the FDA under the Freedom of Information Act. These reports documented 10 reported deaths since September, 2007. (The total number of deaths reported is at least 18 and as many as 20.) The FDA also produced 140 “serious” reports (27 of which were categorized as “life threatening”), 10 spontaneous abortions and six cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome – all since January 2008.
Judicial Watch’s discoveries were widely covered in the news media, including on “CBS Evening News” with Katie Couric and on the Fox News Channel. All the attention Judicial Watch brought to the FDA’s gruesome adverse event reports forced the agency’s hand with respect to these new warnings.
Obviously, I’m concerned Gardasil is now approved to prevent other cancers. In my view, the FDA should not have taken this action until the drug could have been studied further. Until that happens, Judicial Watch’s investigation (and related open records FOIA lawsuit) continues…
Rangel Saga Continues – Refuses to Step Down
Over the last couple of months there has been a steady stream of ethics scandals involving New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel. It has gotten so bad that even Nancy Pelosi, who has made a habit of ignoring Democratic scandals, reportedly urged Rangel to step down from his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Charles Rangel will not step down as chairman of a powerful tax-writing committee as he undergoes an ethics investigation by fellow lawmakers, his lawyer said Tuesday…
“Mr. Rangel has not considered, nor has it ever been on the table, that he would step aside from his current position as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee,” said [Lanny] Davis. “He has no intention of leaving that position, even on a temporary basis…”
Lanny Davis, by the way, is a former Clinton White House White House lawyer who was in charge of damage control for the Clinton scandals.
Here are the facts about Rangel.
Rangel, chairman of the committee in charge of writing tax policy for the entire nation, admitted that he “forgot” to pay taxes on $75,000 in income he received from his rental property in the Dominican Republic.
Rangel also allegedly used his congressional office to secure private funding from companies that do business before the Ways and Means Committee for his Charles B. Rangel Center, a private library that will house his papers after he retires,
Rangel has also been accused of using his influence to keep four extremely rare rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem while his neighbors are being subject to eviction.
(I’d say the facts are pretty clear and do not appear to validate Rangel’s blanket claim that he’s “done nothing wrong.”)
In the AP story, Lanny Davis says of Rangel, “[He] is a simple man. He has not had complicated partnerships, investments, investment strategies. He has a relatively simple financial life…”
I guess that explains why Rangel now has to hire a “forensic accounting firm” to review his taxes for the last 20 years in order to root out all the mistakes and omissions.
Any action by the Ethics Committee aside, let’s hope the Department of Justice initiates a corruption investigation of Rangel.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised a new day for House ethics when she and her party took over leadership of the House in 2006. Two years later, this promise remains unkept and the public trust remains in the hands of thoroughly corrupt members like Charles Rangel.
Heaven help us when it does, but Congress eventually will have to deal with the burgeoning financial crisis. Does Nancy Pelosi seriously think that Charlie Rangel should be among her leadership that deals with this crisis?
Investigation Finds Massive Corruption at Interior Department
The federal government released a report on September 10th following a two year inspector general investigation that details shocking incidents of corruption at the Interior Department.
Government brokers responsible for collecting billions of dollars in federal oil royalties operated in a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” that included having sex with energy company employees, accepting lavish gifts and rigging contracts to favored firms, investigators said Wednesday.
The alleged transgressions involve 13 former and current Interior Department employees in Denver and Washington. Their alleged improprieties include influencing contracts, working part-time as private oil consultants and having sexual relationships with – and accepting golf and ski trips, snowboarding lessons and concert tickets from – oil company employees, according to three reports released Wednesday by the Interior Department’s inspector general.
The investigation included testimony from 233 witnesses and yielded 470,000 pages of documentation. It cost taxpayers $5 million. However, experts estimate corrupt behavior by Interior officials may have deprived the federal government billions in lost revenue. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that “Congressional auditors are questioning whether the Interior Department is collecting all the royalties energy companies owe for petroleum developed on federal property.”
As I said last week regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bigger government leads to more corruption. Some key officials in the Interior Department felt they were above the law and could conduct themselves in whatever manner they saw fit. They felt safe in anonymity of the federal bureaucracy and had absolutely no fear of repercussions and no ethical sensibilities.
According to The Hill, in response to these ethical lapses, lawmakers stuck an “ethics training” provision for Interior Department officials into the energy bill just passed by Congress. This is nothing more than a smokescreen so that members of Congress can pretend they’re doing something about the problem. What we really need is true accountability for lawbreakers. Throw the book at these officials and make examples of them all. Then maybe others will think twice.
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.