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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Obama White House Exports Corruption Back to Chicago

October 8, 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Is Scandal-Ridden Rahmbo Chicago’s Next Mayor

Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel left his job at the White House last week to run for Mayor of Chicago. According to The Washington Post:

President Obama… announced his highest-level changing of the guard, naming a longtime aide of few words, Pete Rouse, to replace on an interim basis the irrepressible Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff.

In an East Room event attended by senior staff and Cabinet members, Obama called Emanuel, who resigned to begin an expected run for mayor of Chicago, someone “I could count on day and night to get the job done.”

Obama might have added, “at all costs.” Given that the liberal media will gloss over Rahm’s record in the Obama White House, just as they did when he was installed there, let’s take a look at his terrible record of corruption.

After all, Emanuel didn’t earn the nickname “Rahmbo” for being a mild-mannered shrinking violet. He served as Bill Clinton’s chief money-man at a time when the Clinton campaign was corrupted by foreign money. He defended the “worst of the worst” Clinton scandals, and, in fact, earned his reputation as a ruthless political combatant by fiercely defending President Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky investigation. (Notably, Emanuel also served on the board of Freddie Mac when the company was involved in fraudulent activity.)

The bottom line is that when the Clintons’ dirty work needed to be done, Emanuel did it and apparently without question.

And that didn’t change under Obama.

Remember when the Obama White House wanted to manipulate Democratic primaries earlier this year? They tapped Rahmbo to do the dirty work.

Emanuel teamed with his Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina to allegedly interfere with Senate elections in Pennsylvania and Colorado by offering federal appointments to Rep. Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff. Sestak and Romanoff were not Obama’s favored candidates, so Emanuel and Messina attempted to unlawfully persuade them to abandon their campaigns.

Our complaint, filed on June 15, 2010, tells the story:

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.”

And then, of course, there’s Emanuel’s connection to the Blagojevich scandal.

According to sworn testimony during the “Blago” trial, which was covered by our own JW blogger Irene Garcia, Emanuel served as Obama’s chief negotiator with the Blagojevich team as the former Illinois Governor attempted to illegally sell Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Folks in Illinois (and elsewhere in America) were absorbed by the controversial and very public trial. Emanuel’s participation in the Blagojevich scheme will certainly not help him in Chicago, where he already faces an uphill climb.

Remember, it was just two weeks ago that Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s political future was sent into a tailspin by new evidence that the Illinois Congressman offered Blagojevich a $6 million bribe to secure the Senate Seat (among other more salacious charges).

Now the government is preparing to retry Blagojevich. And if the government decides to present a real case this time around, instead of the watered down version designed to protect White House officials, Rahm Emanuel will have some explaining to do.

Of course, it is not clear whether Rahm can even run for Chicago mayor as he may not meet the resident eligibility requirements for that office.

(By the way, if you want some more details regarding Emanuel’s reckless and ruthless behavior, check out this Update piece I wrote when Emanuel was first tapped to serve as Obama’s Chief of Staff. It includes some pretty frightening stuff.)

Court Denies JW Access to Fannie/Freddie Political Records

Judicial Watch recently suffered a temporary setback in its pursuit of records related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s political contributions. On September 30, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled, in effect, that the Obama administration may keep the records of these two government-controlled enterprises secret.

Here is the statement I offered to the press in response:

This [ruling] shows that the Obama Administration’s commitment to transparency is a big lie. It is incredible that taxpayers are on the line for at least $400 billion, yet cannot access one document from these agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

As you’ll recall, we filed a lawsuit against the Federal Housing Financial Authority (FHFA) to force the agency’s compliance with a FOIA request, which Judicial Watch submitted on May 29, 2009.

According to Judicial Watch’s motion filed on March 5, 2009, Fannie and Freddie are no longer private enterprises, and therefore their records should be subject to FOIA law:

Until they were seized by FHFA in September 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were private corporations with independent directors, officers, and shareholders. Since that time, however, FHFA, a federal agency subject to FOIA, has assumed full legal custody and control of the records of these previously independent entities. Hence, these records are subject to FOIA like any other agency records.

The court agreed, in large part, with Judicial Watch’s principle arguments, but in the end ruled in favor or the Obama administration in what could perhaps be described as a “split decision.”

Since we’re considering our option to appeal the decision, I think it’s worth a quick review of what the court has said in some detail. Hang with me here as this gets a bit technical in spots.

The Court considered two main questions in determining whether the FHFA records relating to Fannie and Freddie are subject to FOIA.

First, were the records created or obtained by a federal agency?

The Court answered “yes” to this question and in favor of Judicial Watch’s position: “Because the FHFA has title to the records and access to them, the Court concludes that it has ‘obtained’ the records,” presiding U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman wrote.

Second, does the FHFA control the records?

Now here’s where it gets a bit tricky. The courts have established a four-pronged test to determine whether or not a federal agency has “control” over records:

(1) the intent of the document’s creator to [either] retain or relinquish control over the records; (2) the ability of the agency to use and dispose of the record as it sees fit; (3) the extent to which agency personnel have read or relied upon the document; and (4) the degree to which the document was integrated into the agency’s record system or files.

The Court ruled that the first two factors weigh in favor of Judicial Watch and the latter two weigh in favor of the Obama administration. However, Judge Friedman deemed the latter two factors “most important,” tipping the scale in favor of the government. Ultimately, therefore, the Court ruled FHFA did not control the records, and could therefore continue to keep them secret. I suggest you check out the ruling for yourself, as well as Judicial Watch’s detailed court filings. But we believe, particularly with respect to the fourth factor, there is no question the Fannie and Freddie records were integrated into the agency’s files and are therefore subject to FOIA.

The Court essentially ruled that the records are not public documents because they were created before the government took control of Fannie and Freddie. The Court also ruled that because, supposedly, no one in the Obama administration’s agency “uses” the documents, that they be kept secret from the American people. Respectfully, I’m not persuaded.

Fannie and Freddie used political contributions to protect themselves as they set up the housing market for collapse. Now, as a result, taxpayers are on the hook to Fannie and Freddie for at least $400 billion — and $5 trillion in mortgage liabilities. The Obama administration has taken over the mortgage market through Fannie and Freddie. And not one document from these two monstrosities is subject to disclosure under our open records law? No wonder the Tea Parties are growing. The Obama administration is out of control and argues to courts for radical secrecy and lack of accountability.

Stay tuned as we make our decision regarding an appeal. (Trust me, we won’t stop fighting.)

Is the Obama Justice Department Being Run by Radical Leftist Organizations?

So who is actually calling the shots over there at the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ)? Are misguided political appointees acting on their own accord in undermining the rule of law? Do radical leftist organizations call the shots for the nation’s top law enforcement agency?

That’s what we aim to find out with our new FOIA lawsuit filed against the Obama DOJ. In general, we’re interested in knowing if the ACLU had any influence over the Obama DOJ’s decision to attack Arizona over its new get-tough illegal immigration law SB 1070. Here are the specific documents we’re after with our FOIA request, originally filed on June 17, 2010:

Any and all communications between the Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), concerning, regarding, or relating to Arizona’s “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” also referred to as “Arizona SB 1070.”

We also want “any and all communications between the Department of Justice and any third parties” related to the SB 1070 lawsuit.

Why are we so interested in contacts between the Obama DOJ, the ACLU and its radical leftist allies?

Well, as some of you may recall, on May 17, 2010, a coalition of “civil rights groups,” including the ACLU, filed a class action lawsuit against the State of Arizona over SB 1070. According to the ACLU’s press release announcing the lawsuit, this coalition included: “…the ACLU, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) — a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.”

Then, on July 6, 2010, the Obama DOJ filed a lawsuit of its own. And according to Congressman Steve King (R-NY), the Obama administration’s lawsuit was bound to be pretty much a “cut and paste” version of the ACLU’s lawsuit, prompting Congressman King to conclude: “The ACLU and their radical affiliates are dictating the policy of the White House and the Department of Justice.”

A serious charge, no doubt. But I suspect it’s true.

Look no further than Arizona, where the Obama DOJ is attacking the state for simply trying to protect its citizens from the scourge of rampant illegal immigration. It certainly appears to me that the Obama DOJ is making decisions on behalf of its leftist allies instead of in the public interest. The DOJ needs to obey the law for a change and release the documents. This is a simple request for basic information. The Obama DOJ’s stonewalling reeks of politics and cover-up.

As you may recall, Judicial Watch has been in the middle of this critical Arizona legal battle with the Obama administration right from the beginning. We represent Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, in the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging the law. Click here to read all about our efforts.

Until next week…

Tom Fitton

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.

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