Cover-up, Corruption and Czars
April 22, 2011
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Another Obama Administration Cover-up?
There’s something fishy going on over there at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). And we’re trying to get to the bottom of it.
On April 14, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against DHS to obtain records detailing its investigation of Carlos Martinelly-Montano. This is the illegal alien who is charged with striking and killing a Virginia Benedictine nun in a drunk driving accident on August 1, 2010.
Now, as you may recall, Judicial Watch obtained an internal DHS report on the Martinelly-Montano investigation in response to a previous lawsuit. But now we want to get our hands on all communications between the DHS and the Obama White House, as well as internal DHS records regarding the investigation and the report.
Specifically, here’s what we’ve asked for pursuant to a February 16, 2011, FOIA request:
- Any and all records of communications, contacts, or correspondence with the White House and/or Executive Office of the President concerning a report/memorandum prepared at the direction of the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, related to Carlos Martinelly-Montano, an unlawfully present alien charged with killing a Benedictine nun and injuring two others in a August 2010 drunk driving incident in Prince William County, Virginia for the period of October 1, 2010 through February 15, 2011.
- Any and all records of communications, contacts, or correspondence within the Department of Homeland Security concerning a report/memorandum prepared at the direction of the Unite States Secretary for Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, related to Carlos Martinelly-Montano for the period of October 1, 2010 through February 15, 2011.
In a letter dated February 24, 2011, DHS indicated that it received Judicial Watch’s request on February 17, 2011. DHS was required to respond by March 17, 2011. However, to date, DHS has failed to produce responsive documents or indicate when a response is forthcoming. In other words, the typical Obama stonewall.
And why are we exploring contacts between the Obama White House and DHS over this report? Because of the suspicious manner in which DHS handled the report release. Let’s backtrack and I’ll show you what I mean.
On March 3, 2011, we obtained an edited “final” DHS report detailing the agency’s investigation of Martinelly-Montano. The DHS had promised a federal court that it would release the report earlier in the year. And, in fact, Judicial Watch received word via email from DHS that the document had been cleared and would be released per a court order.
But that’s when DHS pulled an “about face,” claiming the document was in “draft” form and therefore would not be released. (Reporting by The Associated Press suggests that DHS political appointees have improperly delayed FOIA requests on politically sensitive topics.) And then when we did get the “final” report last month, it was curiously dated November 24, 2010.
The report, which supposedly was produced for DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, details the policies and actions of the Obama administration and local governments that allowed Martinelly-Montano, an illegal alien who committed a series of crimes, to remain on the streets despite being subject to deportation. Even in its edited form, the report confirms that the Obama administration decided not to detain the illegal alien after he served his jail sentence for drunk driving, and released him onto the streets.
But the suspicious manner in which DHS handled the release of this report definitely merits further investigation. There is no question the “final” report released to the public was edited and polished by DHS. This all smacks of a cover-up.
Of course, we know why the Obama administration has been playing the stonewall game. The facts show Obama’s lax approach to illegal immigration enforcement most certainly will lead to the deaths of innocents at the hands of illegal aliens. Illegal alien sanctuary policies led to the release of Martinelly-Montano and therefore the death of Sister Denise Mosier. That is something the Obama administration would rather you not know. But we also want to know who was involved in keeping the report from being released. That’s the reason for this lawsuit.
By way of review, Carlos Martinelly-Montano, who entered the country illegally as a child from Bolivia, allegedly killed Sister Denise Mosier and critically injured two other nuns while driving drunk in Prince William County, Virginia. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and drunk driving, but he never should have been on the road in the first place. Martinelly-Montano had previously been arrested in October 2008 for another drunk driving incident, and was placed in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Though he was scheduled for deportation, his hearing was delayed three times, and deportation never occurred. And now an innocent nun is dead.
You can be sure we will work to find out what other human time bombs the Obama administration’s failure to enforce basic immigration laws has let loose upon the American people.
Obama’s Sordid Past Back in the News
There is an old saying in politics: “What’s old is new.” And with a presidential election around the corner, some of Obama’s sordid connections are now back in the news and being investigated with renewed fervor.
Of course, if you’ve been following the news, you know billionaire businessman and star of the show Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump, has been banging the drums the loudest on some of these issues. The press has focused heavily on his criticism of Obama on the subject of his birth certificate, an issue first raised by supporters of Hillary Clinton that continues to dog the president. But there were other comments by Trump this week that caught my attention, specifically Obama’s ties to Antoin “Tony” Rezko and William Ayers.
As Newsmax reported, Trump suggested the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s book “Dreams of My Father.” (Though the terrorist may have been joking, Ayers actually said the same thing in a speech at Montclair State University last month.) Judicial Watch has highlighted Obama’s ties to radicals such as Ayers, race-baiter “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright and convicted felon Rezko. But the Big Media (and too many Republicans) seems uninterested that Obama was a close ally and funder of an unrepentant terrorist or entered into a shady real estate deal with Rezko, who everyone knew at the time to be under criminal investigation. So it is good that Trump highlighted the corruption issue that is so important to Judicial Watch and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who support our cause: “So you got Reverend Wright, you got Bill Ayers, you got Tony Rezko. He drops these guys, and the press leaves him alone,” Trump told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity.
While Trump may be just now coming to some new revelations regarding Obama’s suspect ties, Judicial Watch has been investigating them for years. In fact, we put boots on the ground in Chicago to get to the truth in the matter. Now that these characters are back in the news, I think it’s a good idea to review some of what we’ve already uncovered:
- Judicial Watch obtained documents regarding the Annenberg Challenge, a school program designed by Ayers, who is a known domestic terrorist. Ayers, who is now a retired university professor, was once a member of the Communist domestic terrorist group Weather Underground that planted bombs in government buildings such as the Pentagon. Ayers has publicly stated that he doesn’t regret setting the bombs and that his violent group actually “didn’t do enough.” Obama served as Chairman of the organization for eight years (1995-2002). The documents include a fundraising letter signed by Obama requesting a $22,500 grant noting, “we [the Annenberg Challenge] are launched.”
- Judicial Watch uncovered documents that further establish Obama’s connection to convicted felon Antoin “Tony” Rezko. The documents show Barack Obama supported a housing development project known as Cottage View Terrace, which yielded $900,000 in developers’ fees for Rezko and Obama’s employer, lawyer Allison Davis. (The project application states, “State Senator Barack Obama has provided support.”) Rezko, who was involved in Obama’s questionable “super jumbo home loan,” was ultimately convicted on 16 counts of fraud and money laundering. He has personally donated at least $21,000 to Obama’s campaigns, and raised over two hundred thousand dollars in additional support.
- Judicial Watch obtained documents that raise questions about Michelle Obama and the Rezko-Cottage View land deal as well. One document that lists the number of community institutions involved with the Cottage View Terrace project includes the University of Chicago. In 1998, Michelle Obama was working for the University of Chicago as Associate Dean of Student Services. She was also in charge of developing the University’s Community Service Center. The university wrote three letters in which it “enthusiastically supports” the project. The university supported other Rezko projects as well.
- Other documents we found show that Obama “Special Advisor” czar Valerie Jarrett, whom CBS News once called “the other side of Barack Obama’s brain,” is also connected to Rezko. She served on the Board of Directors for the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization, an organization that worked with Rezko and Allison Davis, and also voiced her support for other Rezko projects.
And then, of course, when it comes to Obama’s crooked friends, we can’t forget about former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is also back in the news now that his second corruption trial is underway. (Blago was arrested and hauled off in handcuffs for attempting to “sell” the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama when he ascended to the White House.)
JW has aggressively investigated the Blagojevich scandal. Our own Corruption Chronicles blogger Irene Garcia was on the ground in Illinois for the Blago trial. You can read some of her excellent reporting here. But let me bottom line this for you: According to sworn testimony during the “Blago” trial, former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a.k.a. “Rhambo”) served as Obama’s chief negotiator with the Blagojevich team as the then Illinois Governor attempted to illegally sell Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Of course this squares with documents we obtained from Blago’s office related to the then Illinois governor’s contacts with then-President-elect Obama and his transition team. The documents include a December 3, 2008, letter from Barack Obama following a December 2, 2008, meeting with Blagojevich as well as a November 17, 2008, letter signed by Presidential Transition Team co-chairs Valerie Jarrett and John Podesta providing Blagojevich with a list of transition team contacts. “I want to make it a priority of my Administration to work closely with you,” Obama wrote to Blagojevich.
Unfortunately the federal prosecutor cut short the case against Blagojevich and Emanuel and other Obama insiders were never called to testify. Will they get it right this time?
Remember that then-President-elect Obama was interviewed by the FBI in December, 2008, about his Blago dealings. (Usually, corrupt presidents get interviewed by the FBI after they’re in office!)
The point of this review is this: Obama’s suspicious connections were important in 2008. And they’re just as important now, especially since the press has let Obama completely off the hook over these concerns. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this time around, now that Trump is using his various public vehicles to raise these issues once again. (Judicial Watch does not endorse candidates for public office.)
The fact that Trump is doing so well in the polls should be a signal to both Democrats and Republicans that corruption matters.
In the meantime, our investigations continue.
Obama to Ignore Ban on Czars
Would it surprise you to learn that Obama believes it is his “prerogative” to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law when it comes to appointing czars? That’s essentially what he said last Friday.
Here’s the scoop according to Politico:
President Barack Obama is planning to ignore language in the 2011 spending package that would ban several top White House advisory posts.
House Republicans tacked on language to the contentious spending bill to cut the salaries for four so-called czars — policy advisers appointed to assist the president on health care, climate change, autos and manufacturing, and urban affairs.
But in a signing statement issued Friday, Obama said he’s not obligated to comply.
“The president also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it,” the statement said.
The president added that the ban on czars would undermine “the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” (Did you catch that? Obama is telling us he must ignore the Constitution to protect the Constitution. Many Obama administration czars have not been subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate as required by the Constitution.)
Unfortunately for Republicans, the four czars they listed in the bill are no longer serving in their czar positions and will be unaffected by the legislation. (The Obama administration keeps shuffling the deck, moving people in and out of positions of power thereby making them difficult to track.) Still, the main point here is not the fates of these particular four czars, but rather the Obama administration’s willingness to thwart the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Constitution and install unelected, unconfirmed bureaucrats into positions of power with no oversight whatsoever!
The issue isn’t whether President Obama can appoint advisers whose sole responsibility it is to give him advice. It is about whether these czar advisers exercise improper authority over Senate-confirmed cabinet officials and other members of the administration, who are duly authorized under the Constitution to execute the laws passed by Congress.
And for the President to simply shrug his shoulders and say it’s his “prerogative” to do so is the height of arrogance! (Republicans are currently exploring several administrative options to enforce its ban. How effective they will be remains to be seen.)
So, once again Judicial Watch is going to do what neither the press nor congressional Republicans have been able to do – publish a comprehensive report documenting the Obama administration’s czars.
We are just now putting the finishing touches on this explosive new report. One of our main goals is to compile the most up-to-date list of Obama czars so far (which is tricky and ever-changing for reasons I’ve noted), while calling attention to numerous scandals involving former and current czars, as well as the constitutional issues concerned. We haven’t gone to press just yet, but here’s a quick sneak-peek squib from our intro:
This Judicial Watch Special Report analyzes the proliferation of so-called “czars” in the Obama administration. President Barack Obama has installed personal advisors in czar positions in the White House and has created new czar positions elsewhere in the Executive Branch…
Many of these “czars” are unconfirmed by the Senate and are largely unaccountable to Congress. Further, their activities are often outside of the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), creating a veil of secrecy about their precise role in the administration. Considering President Obama’s efforts to skirt constitutionally mandated oversight of his administration, it is not surprising that there has been substantial outcry over his use of czars… The American people, to the extent they understand what is going on, see the appointment of czars as an effort by the President to circumvent Congress and the U.S. Constitution…the message to the President is clear: stop the use of czars to enforce your will on the American people.
As I say, we’re close to releasing this report, and when we do I will let you know in this space.
Until next week…
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