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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Personnel is policy, and the Obama administration knows it.  That’s why they hired swarms of committed leftist lawyers to populate the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

Bobby Jindal and school choice advocates are finding out the hard way how it works.

Mike Flynn at Breitbart covers a lawsuit filed last week to block school choice in Louisiana by the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division. (Copy of complaint is here.)  The lawsuit alleges that school choice in Louisiana means too many white kids are going to private schools.  Never mind the fact that black children can do the same thing.

People regularly underestimate the enormous power held by radical bureaucrats.  People often wrongly assume Eric Holder or President Obama are masterminding these radical and absurd policies.  They are wrong. Holder and his downstream political appointees often only green-light radical legal theories cooked up by lifelong radicals.

So let’s meet the lifelong radicals attacking Bobby Jindal’s state education policies, as profiled in the PJ Media Every Single One  series.

Anurima Bhargava: Ms. Bhargava was hired as the new chief of the Section after working for the previous six years at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Although her days were likely busy there, she managed to find time to make a $250 contribution to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. She also produced the “Jazz for Obama” concert back in October 2008.

During her tenure at the NAACP LDF she litigated cases across the country seeking to defend and expand the use of racial preferences and racial quotas in public secondary schools and universities. One of the highlights of her work was her coordination of the filing of amicus briefs and other advocacy efforts in support of two Supreme Court cases in which liberal coalitions insisted that local schools be permitted to assign public students to different schools on the basis of race. Fortunately, the Supreme Court rejected this argument as unconstitutional.

In remarks to the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues (yes, such a waste of time and money really does exist) just before joining the Justice Department, Ms. Bhargava described how imperative it was for schools to promote “integration and social cohesion” by considering race, language, immigration status, and religion in placement decisions. Imagine what your communities would be like if courts actually permitted government bureaucrats to engage in such racial engineering.

One wonders if she has even read the Constitution. This woman is running the Educational Opportunities Section.

When it comes to the rights of non-traditional minorities, like whites, Ms. Bhargava’s ideology of inclusion begins to crumble. Indeed, after the Bush Civil Rights Division negotiated a consent decree with Southern Illinois University to end racially discriminatory paid fellowships for which white graduates were told they were not eligible based on their skin color, Ms. Bhargava publicly blasted the decision as “hinder[ing] the legitimate efforts of colleges and universities to create equal educational opportunity.”

And some deniers still think this Justice Department will enforce the law to protect all Americans from racial discrimination.

Shortly thereafter, she was ironically honored for her aggressive battles to prevent state referendums (i.e., real democracy at work) opposing racial preferences. Once again, rights for me, but not for thee.

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Ginni Thomas and I recently sat down for a video interview. In her latest Daily Caller column, she was kind enough to write:

J. Christian Adams is a talented lawyer who worked inside Eric Holder’s Justice Department until he could take it no longer. He left in 2010 and wrote a New York Times bestselling book, “Injustice,” to expose what he saw and learned.

Today, he is practicing law, speaking out against the Justice Department, writing for PJ Media and battling his first Internal Revenue Service audit on the side. In the second of this three-part interview, Adams says he believes the institution of law is under attack like never before.

“[The law is] meant to be a leveler, and that’s what’s unique about our country, about America, is we’re the first country ever founded for the principle that every individual has individual dignity, divine inspired individual dignity, to be treated by their government as an individual, not differently than somebody whose brother is an earl,” he said. “These people in power reject at its core that principle. They believe that power is given out based on political donations, ideology, opposition to coal — name it. It’s something that you gain favor and are treated differently by your government based on who you are, and that’s so anti-American.”

Adams went on to say that Republicans and their consultants are stuck in the ’90s and not battling the left effectively.

Watch/read the whole thing.

Big wasteful government isn’t only a federal phenomenon.  And if you’re an honest government employee in the city of Alexandria in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., you better watch out.  Because if you “blow the whistle” on inappropriate, unethical, or improper government spending, your bosses will retaliate and fire you for speaking up on behalf of the tax-payers.  

All across America, billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted or mismanaged by local governments because of little to no government transparency or accountability.  Alexandria, Virginia, provides an example of why.

Ironically, local government, which is arguably the “closest to the people,” is in many ways shielded and protected from public scrutiny and questioning.  Only a select few who either work in local government or watch the actions of their local representatives closely catch these cases of waste, fraud, and abuse. Their stories are often ignored because the media is more drawn to high-profile cases at the state and federal levels.

Take the case of former Alexandria city architect Henry Lewis. 

As the project manager on one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken by the city of Alexandria, Lewis was responsible for “watching the dollars.”  Building a high-tech police headquarters, estimated to cost roughly $80 million plus another $20 million for furnishings, required the oversight of a skilled and experienced project manager, and Lewis was handpicked by top city officials to lead the project.

The Howard University-educated architect was a diligent project manager who worked to ensure that this massive project came in on time and on budget and he excelled at this role, receiving several sterling performance reviews and even a pay raise.

However, things began to change after “Director of General Services” Jeremy McPike got involved.

mcpike

Jeremy McPike

Jeremy McPike, as a top government bureaucrat in Alexandria’s “Department of General Services,” was ultimately responsible for oversight of the project.  As McPike took the reins, Lewis started to notice that Whiting-Turner, the contractor, began submitting suspect invoices for materials stored off-site which hadn’t been verified to actually exist.  They started to bill extra for work that should have been covered by the original contract. 

McPike became actively involved in approving these invoices for phantom materials—totaling over $2 million.

One of the invoices that Lewis questioned was for a substantial sum of money and had been post-dated by McPike a week in the future. But time and again, Lewis’ concerns were silenced and McPike approved invoices and change orders over his project manager’s professional objections.

Refusing to sign his name to fraudulent activity, Lewis made his suspicions known to his superiors. 

That’s when things got really bad for Henry Lewis. 

McPike was enraged that Lewis had gone “above his head” to report this suspicious activity.  He became personally abusive and began to maneuver to get Lewis to resign his position with the city. 

Because Lewis continued to push back against these improper invoices, McPike ultimately took action to have Lewis fired by the city.   Henry Lewis has since sued Jeremy McPike and the city of Alexandria, citing Virginia’s whistle-blower statute, which was passed to protect genuine watchdogs of public tax dollars  

But whistleblowers shouldn’t have to go to court to protect the taxpayer.

During the recent Circuit Court proceedings, evidence was introduced that clearly showed that, on numerous occasions, McPike attempted to intimidate and force Lewis to sign off on improper invoices from a contractor the government employee McPike favored.  The trial detailed how McPike verbally abused and threatened Lewis with termination.  

In collaboration with Whiting-Turner, who was tired of dealing with Lewis’ unwillingness to simply “rubber stamp” all invoices, Henry Lewis was fired and thrown to the curb.  In a parting and spiteful insult to Lewis, McPike and Alexandria refused to place Lewis’ name on a plaque, an honor always extended to the project manager and architect.

To Henry Lewis’ credit, a jury found that Lewis had been wrongfully terminated under anti-retaliation provisions of the Virginia Fraud against Taxpayers Act, a law passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2011, and was awarded back pay, benefits, and legal fees.  And it should be no surprise that city of Alexandria officials have announced their intention to appeal the Circuit Court’s decision to the Virginia Court of Appeals and continue their harassment of the whistleblower Henry Lewis.

But has there been any outrage about McPike by elected officials in Alexandria?  Has the dishonest government official been fired?  Do the citizens of Alexandria even know or care?

No, no, and no.

Has the paper of record for Alexandria, the Washington Post, covered the story of millions of dollars in waste?  No, again.

The Washington Post was too busy covering the tight space for animals at a local shelter and seeking public input on “building the most insane cheeseburger.”

Nothing but buns and circuses at the Post when Democrat-run cities have massive graft and corruption.

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Holder Loses Another Attack on Pro-Lifers

August 16th, 2013 - 10:41 am

PJ Media has covered the abusive attacks by Attorney General Eric Holder on peaceful pro-life protesters around the country.  Case after case has been thrown out of federal court by judges, often with lectures about how meritless the cases were.

Add another to Holder’s loss column.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten summarily found in favor of Angel Dillard in the 2011 civil lawsuit brought by the Justice Department under a law aimed at protecting access to abortion services. The 25-page decision handed down comes after a flurry of sealed filings seeking summary judgment.

The judge wrote that the government supplied no evidence that actual violence against Dr. Mila Means was likely or imminent.

“It was a great victory for the First Amendment,” said her attorney, Don McKinney. “Obviously, we agree with the opinion. I appreciate the court held the U.S. Department of Justice accountable to the law and the evidence.”

But this one is worse than just a loss, it’s a loss that the FBI agents on the case knew was coming.  The most troubling part of the Dillard case is that the FBI felt pressure from Washington to bring the case:
Her husband, Dr. Robert Dillard, also testified in his deposition that the agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation who called them about the letter in April 2011 told the couple that he personally, and the FBI in general, were frustrated by the Justice Department’s lawsuit because they “felt it was undermining the trust and relationships that they were trying to develop with people who were not extremists but were still pro-life,” according to the court filing.

Judicial Watch has sued the United States Department of Justice for refusing to turn over information related to the Lavender Law society, a group of gay and transgender Justice Department lawyers.  PJ Media reported on “Gay Day at DOJ” in June 2013 when the Justice Department brought singer and “human rights activist” Melissa Etheridge to hold a concert at the Great Hall at the Justice Department building in Washington.  Such an event certainly cost the American taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, even though only a few hundred DOJ lawyers were in attendance.

The Judicial Watch press release about the lawsuit Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed:

Judicial Watch Sues DOJ for LGBT Bar Association’s 2012 Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair Documents

 

DOJ “cover up” has continued for 11 months since filing of original FOIA request in August, 2012

 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:13-cv-00949)) on June 21, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) for all records of communications between the DOJ and the LGBT Bar Association (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) relating to the August 23, 2012, LGBT “Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair.” The Conference featured Attorney General Eric Holder as its keynote speaker.

On August 27, 2012, Judicial Watch had submitted a FOIA request to the DOJ Office of Information Policy (OIP) requesting the following information:

 

All records concerning, referring to, or relating to the National LGBT Bar Association’s 2012 Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair.

 

By a letter dated September 26, 2012, OIP acknowledged receiving the Judicial Watch FOIA request and on September 26, 2012, responded that the request fell within the “unusual circumstances” of the Act, but failed to provide “a date on which determination is expected to be dispatched,” as required by law. After OIP failed to provide any further communications, Judicial Watch, on March 18, 2013, contacted OIP asking that the records be provided without further delay.

 

On March 19, 2013, Judicial Watch received a letter from OIP saying that the search of the Office of the Attorney General had completed and that OIP was now reviewing the records that had been located. The letter also stated that because the records contained information of interest to other DOJ offices, OIP could respond only after consulting those offices. No information was provided as to the status of searches for records with other offices.

 

On March 22, 2013, Judicial Watch filed an administrative appeal seeking compliance with the original FOIA request. OIP acknowledged receiving the appeal on the same day and was required to make a determination on the appeal within 20 working days. To date OIP has failed to provide any further information concerning the FOIA request or the subsequent appeal. 

 

On August 23, 2012, in his keynote address at the LGBT Lavender Law Conference, Attorney General Eric Holder congratulated “the tireless work of advocates and attorneys in and far beyond this room” who advanced the LGBT agenda, and called for the passion of its members to continue the “momentum.” Holder also reminded the audience that the Obama DOJ was refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, though at the time, it was still prevailing law of the land.

 

A month previous to his LGBT Lavender Conference appearance, Holder led a group of DOJ employees in honoring Anoka-Hennepin School District of Minnesota students involved in a lawsuit to force the district to endorse homosexual conduct. Five of the students received an award at DOJ’s annual LGBT Pride Month program in the Great Hall of the Main Justice Building. In March, 2013, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (DOE) on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC) for records regarding their involvement in the Anoka-Hennepin suit.

 

“The Department of Justice is increasingly home to a bevy of leftist activists pursuing narrow ideological agendas at the expense of the public interest,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And Justice officials want to keep this all a secret – as shown by the fact that we had to file a FOIA lawsuit to get basic information about the Attorney General’s collusion with homosexual activists/government employees.”

 

I was on with Lou Dobbs last night talking drugs, Eric Holder and the magic words that get an illegal alien a free night in a San Diego hotel.

The aviation and legal world was shocked by Eric Holder’s latest action — a lawsuit to block the proposed merger of US Airways and American Airlines. Most had expected the DOJ to stand pat, especially after the same Antitrust Division allowed mergers with United/Continental, Southwest/AirTran, and Delta/Northwest.

Also surprising was that the attorneys general from Texas, Virginia, and Florida joined Holder’s lawsuit. Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a press release saying the merger would affect fares to Florida. As of this writing, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office has not issued a statement.

Some consider the DOJ lawsuit to be a fatal blow to the proposed merger. If so, that’s bad news for American Airlines in particular as they struggle to emerge from bankruptcy — the merger was the lifeboat out of bankruptcy. US Airways, looking for a mid-nation presence to accommodate expansive and dominant routes in the northeast and southeast, would likely remain a “dumbbell” airline without a merger — with hubs in Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, and little presence in between.

US Airways has transformed its product over the last decade, winning in on-time arrival and other metrics. Meanwhile, American has struggled with labor agreements and a fleet of old, unreliable, and expensive MD-80s. The new American Airlines was going to be US Airways-managed with a new bold AA logo.

But is DOJ justified in suing to stop this merger?

The proposed merger may be the “Operation Market Garden” of airline consolidation — the merger too far. Perhaps the DOJ should have sued to block one of the previous mergers, but it didn’t. The proposed merger certainly increases consolidation and concentrates power in one airline at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA). American would control almost seventy percent of the flights there.

Some have interpreted the DOJ lawsuit as a power play to force American and US Airways divesture of slots at DCA.  Congressmen rely on nice cheap flights out of DCA to get home for the weekend; so do federal government workers looking to travel on both business and pleasure.

The DOJ action might send a message to industries everywhere: if you are thinking about merging, you better do it quickly. Because if you are one of the last two competitors standing, the DOJ will stand in your way.