From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Conventions: Hits and Misses
The political conventions are over. Democrats are excited about Barack Obama and Republicans and conservatives have found a new heroine in Gov. Sarah Palin. Both parties had good convention weeks, and the race over the next few months is sure to be exciting and momentous. But let me throw a bit of cold (or cool) water on both parties’ parties. (Judicial Watch does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office.)
Let’s cover two issues.
The Democrats gave half of their convention to the most corrupt couple to ever occupy the White House – Bill and Hillary Clinton. Now I know politically that Obama (who has some Clintonian ethical problems) had little choice but to allow the Clinton gang free run. But where was the media (and the “principled” Republican opposition)? If the Clinton record of corruption was ever mentioned in any of the television coverage, I missed it. A major party nominee receiving a special endorsement from an impeached president and no one asks if this is appropriate?
The Republicans talked a better game on combating corruption and Gov. Palin, at first glance, has a relatively strong record in this regard. The problem for Republicans is that they had plenty of corrupt “Clintonite” members in Congress (and still do), so their nominee’s promise for reform will be met with some skepticism. But the renewed debate on Washington corruption is certainly an interesting political development, and I can’t think of a more valuable debate between McCain and Obama than over who would do a better job at combating public corruption. Voters and independent voices should demand specifics in answers in the run-up to Election Day.
In the meantime, your Judicial Watch will be on the job fighting for more honest and open government.
I couldn’t help but notice while watching the coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions that there has been virtually no mention of one of the most important issues facing the American people – illegal immigration. If anyone in primetime mentioned it, I missed it.
There has been virtually no mention of the 12-20 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. No mention of a porous southern border and the illegal alien drug runners and smugglers flooding into the United States. No mention of the Mexican military incursions that continue to place our nation’s Border Patrol agents at great risk. No mention taxpayer-funded day labor sites that provide a magnet for illegals to cross the border in the first place.
And, of course, no mention of sanctuary city policies, which allow illegal alien criminals to roam the streets victimizing American citizens. (As you may have read in this space before, in just the last few months sanctuary policies in San Francisco and Culver City allowed two illegal aliens out of jail and back on the streets. Four innocent American citizens were murdered as a result.)
Now, I think there is a good reason why both political parties are ignoring this issue. Both political parties have failed to do anything to address the illegal immigration problem. In fact, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain have actually expressed support for illegal alien amnesty, which would bestow citizenship on illegal aliens (and bring more in).
As Judicial Watch showed with a Zogby poll last year, by widespread margins, the American people want more law enforcement to address the illegal immigration crisis, not less, and are adamantly opposed to amnesty.
Both candidates talk of the need for bipartisan solutions to problems. The people of America — blacks, whites, Hispanics, liberals, conservatives, Republicans, and Democrats – want our laws against illegal immigration enforced. But Obama and McCain would rather kowtow to the open borders ideologues than the majority of Americans who want the rule of law upheld. (I was outraged to see on MSNBC this morning John McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis slander most Americans by complaining of the “nativism” of the last two years and then promote the fact that Peter Espinoza of the racist group La Raza had a speaking slot at the convention.)
By contrast, Judicial Watch has launched a nationwide campaign to enforce our nation’s immigration laws. Click here to read more about our efforts and successes in this regard. And be sure to visit Judicial Watch’s new Internet site, www.sanctuarybusters.org.
Detroit Mayor Pleads Guilty
On Thursday, Detroit Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick struck a plea deal in high profile scandal that will pull him out of office and put him straight in a jail cell. This according to The Detroit Free Press:
“Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who will lose his job because he lied while under oath at a police whistle-blower trial, has just pledged to tell the truth as he prepares to admit his guilt as part of a plea deal he just struck with the Wayne County Prosecutor.
“The deal calls for Kilpatrick to plead guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of justice by committing perjury, agreeing to serve four months in jail, pay up to $1 million in restitution, and serve five years’ probation. He also agreed not to run for office during that five-year span…
“The mayor was charged with eight felony counts ranging from conspiracy to perjury to misconduct in office to obstruction of justice after the Free Press [sic] revealed that the mayor lied on the witness stand during a police whistle-blower trial…”
Here’s a bit of the back story, which we’ve been covering on our Corruption Chronicles blog.
In 2002, rumors swirled in Detroit that a wild party took place at Kilpatrick’s home involving strippers (one of which was later found shot to death in her car). There were also allegations that members of Kilpatrick’s security team were engaging in corrupt behavior, including damage to city cars and fraudulent overtime claims.
The Detroit Police Department, led by officer and former Kilpatrick bodyguard Harold Nelthrope and Gary Brown, head of the police department’s internal affairs department, launched an investigation of the alleged inappropriate behavior. While the state’s attorney general and state police ultimately whitewashed the incident, Kilpatrick fired Nelthrope and Brown for initiating the investigation. The two police officers filed a whistleblower lawsuit and were awarded $8.4 million.
Kilpatrick’s guilty plea on Thursday relates to what he said (or perhaps didn’t say) during the trial.
Kilpatrick lied under oath, denying an affair he had with then chief of staff Christine Beatty. (Initially, Kilpatrick angrily blamed the allegations on racism.) The problem with Kilpatrick’s denial? About 14,000 text messages he and Beatty sent back and forth on city-issued pagers. The messages mostly contain steamy details about the affair, and their attempts to cover up their relationship, but some messages mention the decision to fire Brown in retaliation.
Kilpatrick tried desperately to keep the lawsuit against him from moving forward, filing a last minute appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. The justices did not respond, forcing Kilpatrick’s plea bargain and resignation.
I’m glad Kilpatrick was held accountable, but let’s face it. Four months in jail is a light punishment for Kilpatrick’s abuse of the public trust and illegal behavior. And this scandal also highlights the problem of public corruption at the state and local level, which is often more pervasive then the corruption that infects Washington, DC. That’s why Judicial Watch initiates investigations and lawsuits to prosecute corruption not only in Washington DC, but across the nation – from Virginia to Illinois to Texas and to California.
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.