Thursday, January 19, 2017

Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch
127 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
The motto of Judicial Watch is “Because no one is above the law”. To this end, Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws and other tools to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities.

by -

The FBI has confirmed what Judicial Watch reported last week, that the Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooter has ties to radical Islam and carried out the attack on behalf of a terrorist group. During a bond hearing in a south Florida federal court this week, an FBI special agent testified that the shooter, Esteban Santiago, communicated with Islamic terrorists in “jihadi chat rooms” and committed the massacre on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Santiago killed five people and wounded six others during the bloody rampage in the baggage claim area of the Ft. Lauderdale Airport earlier this month. Authorities immediately attributed the attack to mental illness, saying that Santiago was a Hispanic Army veteran that became unhinged after a tour in Iraq. Santiago has been charged with an act of violence at an international airport, which could get him a death sentence. According to the federal complaint, Santiago fired 10 to 15 rounds of ammunition from his firearm, aiming at his victims’ heads and walking while shooting in a methodical manner. At this week’s bond hearing, FBI special agent Michael Ferlazzo testified that Santiago said he was fighting for ISIS and had been in touch with other terrorists who were planning attacks in jihadi internet chat rooms. The judge ruled that Santiago be held without bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for January 30.

Last week Judicial Watch ignited a ruckus after revealing that Santiago is a Muslim convert who years before joining the U.S. Army took on an Islamic name (Aashiq Hammad), downloaded terrorist propaganda and recorded Islamic religious music online. The Obama administration’s efforts to keep the pertinent information quiet in the aftermath of the shooting brought up memories of the Benghazi cover up, in which the president and his cohorts knowingly lied to conceal that Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S. Special Mission in Libya. In the Ft. Lauderdale attack the traditional mainstream media coverage promoted the government rhetoric that omitted any ties to terrorism even though early on a photo surfaced of Santiago making an ISIS salute while wearing a keffiyeh, a Palestinian Arab scarf.

Records uncovered in the days after the massacre suggest Santiago (Hammad) is a radical Islamic terrorist that’s seriously committed to Islam. Besides taking on a Muslim name, he recorded three Islamic religious songs, including the Muslim declaration faith (“there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”) known as the Shahada. He also posted a thread about downloading propaganda videos from Islamic terrorists on a weapons and explosives forum. The investigative news site that unearthed this disturbing information connected the dots between Santiago, who is of Puerto Rican descent, and Hammad, an identity he created in 2007.

It’s still not clear why Santiago chose Ft. Lauderdale, out of all the nation’s airports, to carry out his attack. The facility is situated in Broward County, which has a large and growing Islamic community and questions remain involving who Santiago knows in the area. In 2015 Judicial Watch obtained records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) that show an Al Qaeda terrorist who helped plan several U.S. attacks lived in Broward County and graduated from the local community college with a degree in computer engineering. His name is Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, but he also has a Hispanic identity, Javier Robles, and for years he appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list. Back in 2012 Judicial Watch reported on a terrorist front group’s demands that Broward County public schools close twice a year to celebrate Islamic holy days, illustrating the influence that Muslims have in the region.

by -

A deadly shootout at the construction site of the new American Consulate occurred this week in a Mexican border town where Islamic terrorists and drug cartels plan to launch attacks against the U.S. during the period surrounding the presidential inauguration, high-level government sources tell Judicial Watch. An unknown number of gunmen fired multiple rounds adjacent to the new U.S. Consulate compound in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a crime-infested city in the state of Tamaulipas that lies directly across from Laredo, Texas.

The Mexican military responded to the attack, law enforcement sources on both sides of the border confirm insisting that their identities be kept confidential for security reasons, and at least three soldiers were either killed or critically wounded in the ambush. A local newspaper in Tamaulipas reported that 13 people died during a shootout in Nuevo Laredo, referring to the deceased as heavily armed “delinquents” with an arsenal that includes 12 automatic weapons, a rocket launcher, grenade, loads of ammunition and drugs in three vehicles, one of them armored. The deceased have not been identified and Mexican authorities will continue to investigate, the article states, attributing the information to a press release issued by Mexico’s Defense Secretary.

Judicial Watch’s law enforcement and intelligence sources say the barrage outside what’s soon to be the new U.S. Consulate is connected to a broad operation between Islamic terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to send President-elect Donald Trump a message by engaging in attacks at border ports. “Cartels usually don’t work with jihadists for fear of having the border shut down,” a veteran federal law enforcement official told Judicial Watch. “But Trump is causing so much disruption in Mexico that they are partnering to send a message as to who is in control. This is as outrageous as a small group of guys crashing planes into U.S. buildings.” Another official who has worked in the region for years said “Trump is causing a huge amount of fear in Mexico throughout all sectors; private, government, business, criminal, police….”

Nuevo Laredo is among the border towns that the terrorists and narcotraffickers plan to launch attacks in, according to intelligence gathered by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Mexico. Others include Matamoros, Reynosa and Ciudad Juárez. In 2015 Judicial Watch reported that ISIS is operating a camp just west of Ciudad Juárez, around eight miles from El Paso. Sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and Mexican Federal Police inspector revealed that, during a joint operation, they discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation in El Paso that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.

Just last week Judicial Watch reported that a Jihadi-cartel alliance in the Mexican state of Nuevo León is collaborating to carry out attacks in American cities and ports of entry along the southern border. Confidential U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources said that, as part of the plan, militant Islamists have arrived recently at the Monterrey International Airport situated in Apodaca, Nuevo León, about 130 miles south of the Texas border. An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have “people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.” Cartel informants tell law enforcement contacts that “they are only waiting for the order and the times to carry out a simultaneous attack in the different ports of entry or cities of the United States of America.”

The area where this week’s shootout originated is a 5.6-acre parcel just south of downtown Nuevo Laredo on Paseo Colon. The State Department predicts that by September the new U.S. Consulate compound, which broke ground in mid-2015 and will cost $155 million, should be completed. It will have multiple buildings, including an office structure, U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, support annex and other facilities for the consulate community. The primary function of consulates is helping and protecting Americans abroad.

by -

The Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooter is a Muslim convert who years before joining the U.S. Army took on an Islamic name (Aashiq Hammad), downloaded terrorist propaganda and recorded Islamic religious music online, according to public records dug up by the investigative news site of an award-winning, California journalist. This is pertinent information that the Obama administration apparently wants to keep quiet, bringing up memories of the Benghazi cover up, in which the president and his cohorts knowingly lied to conceal that Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S. Special Mission in Libya.

Information is slowly trickling out that links the Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooter to radical Islam while the official story from authorities is that the gunman is a mentally ill, Hispanic Army veteran named Esteban Santiago that became unhinged after a tour in Iraq. Only one mainstream media outlet mentions the possibility of Santiago’s “jihadist identity,” burying it in a piece about New York possibly being his initial target. A paragraph deep in the story mentions that investigators recovered Santiago’s computer from a pawn shop and the FBI is examining it to determine whether he created a “jihadist identity for himself using the name Aashiq Hammad…” The reset of the traditional mainstream media coverage promotes the government rhetoric that omits any ties to terrorism even though early on a photo surfaced of Santiago making an ISIS salute while wearing a keffiyeh, a Palestinian Arab scarf.

The public records uncovered in the days after the massacre suggest Santiago (Hammad) is a radical Islamic terrorist that’s seriously committed to Islam. Besides taking on a Muslim name, he recorded three Islamic religious songs, including the Muslim declaration faith (“there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”) known as the Shahada. He also posted a thread about downloading propaganda videos from Islamic terrorists on a weapons and explosives forum. The investigative news site that unearthed this disturbing information connected the dots between Santiago, who is of Puerto Rican descent, and Hammad, an identity he created in 2007.

This week a prominent Ft. Lauderdale businessman and longtime resident addressed a letter to the city’s mayor and commissioners blasting county and federal officials for covering up that “Aashiq Hammad, not Esteban Santiago, attacked our city and county.” The businessman, respected Ft. Lauderdale real estate entrepreneur Jim Morlock, specifically names Broward County’s elected sheriff Scott Israel, Florida senator Bill Nelson, the first to identify Santiago as the shooter on national television, and congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, ousted last summer as Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair over a scandalous plot to damage Bernie Sanders during the primary.

“Since when does a US Senator (Bill Nelson), not law enforcement, be the one to so quickly release this terrorist’s Hispanic name but nothing about his more relevant Islamic background?” the letter asks. Obama must have told Sen. Nelson to keep this from looking like a Muslim Terrorist attack during the last 12 days of his watch. Bad for his legacy.” Morlock goes on to state that it’s “better to portray this atrocity as white Hispanic Alaskan mental Iraq war vet gun violence.” The real estate entrepreneur proceeds to reveal that Santiago lives in walking distance to the only mosque in Alaska, was radicalized before he entered the military and was knowingly allowed to serve despite his Islamic sympathies thanks to “Obama’s PC military.”

The letter poses interesting questions, including why this Muslim terrorist chose Ft. Lauderdale out of all the nation’s airports and who Santiago knows in Broward county, which has a large and growing Islamic community. In 2015 Judicial Watch obtained records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) that show and Al Qaeda terrorist who helped plan several U.S. attacks lived in Broward County and graduated from the local community college with a degree in computer engineering. His name is Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, but he also had a Hispanic identity, Javier Robles, and for years he appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list. Back in 2012 Judicial Watch reported on a terrorist front group’s demands that Broward County public schools close twice a year to celebrate Islamic holy days, illustrating the influence that Muslims have in the region.

by -

Judicial Watch announced that a federal court judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to produce this week any “preservation requests” for emails sent to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Chief of Staff Christian Marrone, and General Counsel Stevan Bunnell. The order from U.S District Court Judge Randolph Moss came in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking agency records in the personal email accounts used by the four top Homeland Security officials (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:16-cv-00967)).   The court order, issued last week after a hearing, requires DHS to comply by January 12 (Thursday).

At last week’s January 5 hearing, Obama Justice Department lawyers confirmed that nothing had been done to retrieve government records from Jeh Johnson or the other officials’ accounts.  According to the hearing transcript:

THE COURT: But you say to me there’s no reason to doubt that the agency will pursue the records and that they’ll be returned, but it’s been six months. Is there any evidence that anything has been done to retrieve those documents or records?

[Justice Department Lawyer Bailey] HEAPS: I think that the six months though, your Honor, refers to the time in a FOIA request which is independent of any obligations under the Federal Records Act. And I don’t think we would be in this position with respect to the FOIA case had a valid request been filed or submitted.

THE COURT: But put that aside for a second. I mean, the government has been on notice at least since May though that there’s reason to believe that there are e-mails that are residing on individuals’ private servers that are government records, right?

HEAPS: Your Honor, the first thing I would point out — and I think it’s important because we’re going back and forth between FOIA and the Federal Records Act, is we don’t have reason to believe — or let me be clear, we don’t know that there are federal records that are in the personal e-mail accounts.

THE COURT: So has anyone checked to see if there are? Has anyone asked a question, anything to try and figure that out?

HEAPS: I can’t represent one way or the other to that, your Honor.

Judge Moss’s order, issued shortly after the hearing, reads in part:

On or before 1/12/2017, the Government is to produce, under seal, for in-camera submission, the preservation requests that it sent to all four of the individuals; The Government is also to file a notice on the public record, on or before 1/12/2017, regarding the in-camera filing, and to indicate the individuals intentions with respect to abiding by the preservation requests.

The January 5 hearing came in response to a Motion for Preservation Order filed by Judicial Watch . In that filing Judicial Watch asked the court to issue a “preservation order” for the non-.gov emails of Johnson, Mayorkas and Bunnell because their departure from government service is anticipated upon the installation of the new administration and Homeland Security will no longer have any control over these individuals:

The records at issue are in the physical possession of three current agency officials and one former agency official. With the upcoming change in administrations on January 20, 2017, it is likely that the three officials currently in office (Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and General Counsel Stevan Bunnell) will leave government service.

Counsel for DHS has informed [Judicial Watch’s] counsel that DHS has “asked” these officials to preserve the agency records in their possession. DHS’ counsel declined to provide any evidence supporting this assertion. Because [Judicial Watch] does not know specifically what DHS asked its employees to do and what, if any, other steps DHS has taken to ensure preservation, Plaintiff is concerned DHS’s mere requests to its employees are insufficient. This will be particularly concerning once the officials possessing the emails leave government employment, as the agency will have no control over the actions of these officials.

***

A court order requiring preservation of these emails is particularly necessary now as DHS has suggested that these officials may have been acting without authorization by sending emails from these accounts…. As such, there is no assurance that these officials will abide by a “request” by the agency to preserve these emails, particularly after their employment ends.

An order requiring DHS to take steps to preserve the agency records at issue is consistent with an agency’s recordkeeping responsibilities to retain and manage government records subject to the Federal Records Act….If the agency officials are permitted to leave their employment while retaining agency records in their personal email accounts, it risks creating a situation comparable to that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In that instance, it is undisputed that only a portion of Secretary Clinton’s emails eventually were returned to the agency.

[Judicial Watch] respectfully requests expedited consideration of this motion in light of the likely imminent departure from government service of the three agency officials possessing agency records in their personal email accounts.

“The Obama gang is creating another email scandal with Jeh Johnson and the Department of Homeland Security,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We know there are likely government records on Jeh Johnson’s and other top DHS officials’ personal email accounts. That the Obama administration hasn’t lifted a finger to retrieve these public records is criminal.”

In June, Judicial Watch in a related case obtained 693 pages of Homeland Security records revealing that Secretary Jeh Johnson and 28 other agency officials used government computers to access personal web-based email accounts despite an agency-wide ban due to heightened security concerns.  The documents also reveal that Homeland Security officials misled Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) when Perry specifically asked whether personal accounts were being used for official government business.

The waivers were granted to Johnson and other senior staffers after Homeland Security’s Sensitive Systems Policy Directive 4300A was promulgated on April 30, 2014.   The Directive was issued after hackers breached the Office of Personnel Management computer system.  Directive 4300A states, “The use of Internet Webmail (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL) or other personal email accounts is not authorized over DHS furnished equipment or network connections.”

by -

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a records request with the California Legislature Joint Rules Committee seeking to examine legislative records regarding the state’s employment of former Obama U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.:

All contracts between the California Legislature and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. or Covington and Burling.

All communications between the California Legislature and former U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. or Covington and Burling about the Legislature’s retention of Holder and/or Covington and Burling.

On January 4, 2017, California legislative leaders announced that they have hired Holder to assist them in anticipated federal challenges to several state policies such as climate change and immigration.

In a statement, Kevin de Leon, California Senate President Pro Tempore said, “With the upcoming change in administrations, we expect that there will be extraordinary challenges for California in the uncertain times ahead.”  The California Attorney General, who represents the State’s interest in court, already has a budget of $190 million.

Holder was one of Obama’s longest-serving and most controversial Cabinet members.

On June 28, 2012, Holder became the first U.S. Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress on both civil and criminal grounds. The contempt charge came in connection with Holder’s refusal to turn over documents on Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama administration’s gunwalking scandal. Judicial Watch has since exposed numerous atrocities associated with this scandal.

Under Holder the Justice Department dismissed its voting rights case against the New Black Panther Party. The Justice Department originally filed its lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party following an incident that took place outside of a Philadelphia polling station on November 4, 2008. According to multiple witnesses, members of the New Black Panthers blocked access to polling stations, harassed voters and hurled racial epithets. A video of the incident, showing a member of the New Black Panther Party brandishing police-style baton weapon, was widely distributed on the Internet. In March 2011, Judicial Watch sued the Holder Justice Department for records detailing its contacts with NAACP about the dismissal of the lawsuit.

In 2013, the Justice Department was caught spying on The Associated Press by collecting months’ worth of phone records of reporters and editors. Fox News’ James Rosen was among those targeted by Holder’s Justice Department.

Holder left the Justice Department in 2015 to rejoin Covington & Burling.

“Judicial Watch’s records request is designed to expose how California state legislators are wasting tax dollars to take care of another corrupt politician – Eric Holder – under the guise of resisting the rule of law on immigration and other matters,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.  “His record at the Clinton and Obama Justice Departments demonstrates a willingness to bend the law in order to protect his political patrons.”

by -

Food-stamp recipients can use their taxpayer-funded benefit to order online from retailers like Amazon under a new Obama administration initiative that aims to facilitate the shopping experience for rural and urban residents. It marks the latest of many costly experiments by the administration to expand the fraud-infested program, which has seen a record-high number of beneficiaries under President Obama. To eliminate the welfare stigma, the administration renamed food stamps Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the rolls swelled to an astounding 46.5 million in 2016. This cost American taxpayers and eye-popping $70 billion, according to government figures.

It’s all part of the president’s longtime goal to eradicate what he and the First Lady call an epidemic of “food insecurity” among the nation’s low-income residents. Part of the problem is that this demographic has limited access to healthy food choices, the administration says, and the government must provide them with nutritional options. This is why taxpayers have been forced to dole out tens of millions of dollars to bring fruits and vegetables to the nation’s inner cities, coined “food deserts” by the administration because they lack healthy fare. The new online ordering program will help address this, according to the federal agency that runs the bloated food-stamp program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (USDA).

“Online purchasing is a potential lifeline for SNAP participants living in urban neighborhoods and rural communities where access to healthy food choices can be limited,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement announcing the new program this week. “We’re looking forward to being able to bring the benefits of the online market to low-income Americans participating in SNAP.” Besides Amazon, a few other online businesses have been approved by the feds to accept food stamps online, including Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, Safeway and ShopRite. The USDA acknowledges however, that “online payment presents technical and security challenges that will need to be examined and fully addressed…”

It’s the last thing that an out-of-control government program, long plagued with fraud corruption, needs. Under the Obama expansion SNAP has suffered a multitude of serious problems. Back in 2012 a federal investigation uncovered evidence that food-stamp recipients were using the benefit to buy drugs, weapons and other contraband from unscrupulous vendors. A year later Judicial Watch broke a story, based on testimony and other evidence provided by a whistleblower, about the U.S. government knowingly giving illegal immigrants food stamps for decades. That was followed by another disturbing scheme in which SNAP benefits were being sold online using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and ecommerce websites like Craigslist and eBay.

Earlier this year federal authorities in south Florida busted the largest food-stamp fraud operation in U.S. history. Twenty-two defendants in the largely black and Hispanic areas of Miami-Dade County known as Opa-Locka and Hialeah swindled the government out of $13 million by fraudulently trading food stamps for cash. The crooked vendors operated food and produce stands at a local flea market as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to eradicate “food deserts,” common in poor, minority communities where fresh, healthy food is tough to find or often unavailable. The feds say the business owners and their employees let food-stamp recipients use their welfare benefit to get cash in exchange for a cut of the money. They swiped the recipient’s SNAP card for an inflated amount, doled out cash and kept a percentage. In most instances the recipient didn’t actually get food, according to federal authorities.

by -

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton today made the following statement regarding the proposed change to House rules that would eliminate its Office of Congressional Ethics:

It is shameful that House Republicans are trying to destroy the Office of Congressional Ethics, the most significant ethics reform in Congress when it was established nearly a decade ago. This drive-by effort to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics, which provides appropriate independence and transparency to the House ethics process, is a poor way for the Republican majority to begin “draining the swamp.” The American people will see this latest push to undermine congressional ethics enforcement as shady and corrupt. The full House should seriously consider whether it wants to bear the brunt of public outrage and go through with the rule change this afternoon.

Background: Judicial Watch worked with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement to push for an independent body to help handle ethics investigations of House members. This effort led to the establishment of the Office of Congressional Ethics in 2008. Today’s proposed rule change by the House majority would eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics and create a new entity under the complete control of the House Ethics Committee that is less transparent and subject to severe restrictions on any investigations of allegations of misconduct by House members.

by -

Judicial Watch announced today that it has received new documents from both the Secret Service and the Air Force relating to Obama travel expenses, bringing the known total over the past eight years to $96,938,882.51. The reports contain information regarding Obama’s Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades, a political fundraising trip to San Diego, Michelle Obama’s annual Aspen ski trip, her trip to Morocco, a family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, as well as Hillary’s ride with Obama on Air Force One to North Carolina.

Judicial Watch filed two separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits for Secret Service costs related to Obama travel (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:15-cv-01983)) and (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:16-cv-00863)). The Secret Service is a component of the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Secret Service records reveal that Barack Obama’s April 22, 2015, Earth Day trip to give a global warming speech in the Florida Everglades cost taxpayers $145,752.36, which brings the total cost of the trip to at least $1,012,367.76.
  • The Secret Service records for Obama’s October 2015 fundraising travel to San Diego reveal expenses totaling $180,187.09. Including the U.S. Air Force expenses, the total cost of Obama’s San Diego trip was at least $2,181,655.99.
  • Michelle Obama’s February 2016 ski trip to Aspen with her daughters cost taxpayers a total of $222,875.58. The Secret Service expenses were $165,806.78.  Judicial Watch previously obtained records from the Air Force revealing that Michelle Obama’s weekend trip to Aspen, Colorado, last year cost American taxpayers $57,068.80 in travel expenses alone for the 7.4-hour round-trip flight.
  • Judicial Watch obtained records from the U.S. Air Force and the Secret Service revealing that Barack Obama’s trip to Cuba and Argentina in March 2016 cost taxpayers $7,146,015.18 in Secret Service and Air Force travel expenses.
  • Judicial Watch recently obtained Air Force records which reveal that the Obama’s August 2016 vacation to Martha’s Vineyard cost taxpayers $450,295 in flight expenses alone.
  • Judicial Watch also recently obtained records from the Air Force showing that in July 2016 taxpayers paid $360,236 for Hillary Clinton to accompany Obama on Air Force One for a campaign trip to North Carolina.

Also, in October 2016 Michele Obama joined Hillary Clinton in North Carolina for a rally reportedly to “encourage early voting in North Carolina.” Documents regarding this trip have been requested but have not yet been received. The First Lady typically flies in a C-32A so the 1.8 hour flight can safely be estimated to have cost taxpayers $28,522.80.

“The Obamas’ notorious abuse of presidential travel perks wasted military resources and stressed the Secret Service.  Judicial Watch estimates that the final costs of Obama’s unnecessary vacation and political travel will well exceed $100 million,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.  “President-elect Trump can immediately save taxpayers money by reforming presidential travel.”

by -

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a case that would require Secretary of State John Kerry to seek the help of the attorney general in recovering additional Hillary Clinton emails:

The courts seem to be fed up with the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce the rule of law on the Clinton emails. Today’s appeals court ruling rejects the Obama State Department’s excuses justifying its failure to ask the attorney general, as the law requires, to pursue the recovery of the Clinton emails. This ruling means that the Trump Justice Department will have to decide if it wants to finally enforce the rule of law and try to retrieve all the emails Clinton and her aides unlawfully took with them when they left the State Department.

The appellate ruling reverses a decision in which the District Court declared “moot” a Judicial Watch’s lawsuit challenging the failure of Secretary of State John Kerry to comply with the Federal Records Act (FRA) in seeking to recover the emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other high level State Department officials who used non-“state.gov” email accounts to conduct official business (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. John F. Kerry (No. 16-5015)). According to the FRA, if an agency head becomes aware of “any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal . . . or destruction of [agency] records,” he or she “shall notify the Archivist . . . and with the assistance of the Archivist shall initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of [those] records.”

An appellate panel found:

Appellants sought the only relief provided by the Federal Records Act—an enforcement action through the Attorney General. But nothing the Department did (either before or after those complaints were filed) gave appellants what they wanted. Instead of proceeding through the Attorney General, the Department asked the former Secretary to return her emails voluntarily and similarly requested that the FBI share any records it obtained. Even though those efforts bore some fruit, the Department has not explained why shaking the tree harder—e.g., by following the statutory mandate to seek action by the Attorney General—might not bear more still. It is therefore abundantly clear that, in terms of assuring government recovery of emails, appellants have not “been given everything [they] asked for.” Absent a showing that the requested enforcement action could not shake loose a few more emails, the case is not moot.

In May 2015 Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the State Department failed to take action following a letter to Kerry “notifying him of the unlawful removal of the Clinton emails and requesting that he initiate enforcement action pursuant to the FRA,” including working through the Attorney General to recover the emails. Judicial Watch’s lawsuit subsequently was consolidated with a later lawsuit by Cause of Action Institute. This ruling reverses a January 2016 decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissing the case and remands it.

by -

A few days after the Chicago City Council approved a $1.3 million legal defense fund to help illegal immigrants facing deportation, officials in Los Angeles unveiled their version with more than seven times the money. It appears to be a growing trend of using public funds to protect those who have violated federal law. The offenders are municipalities that have long offered illegal aliens sanctuary and an array of taxpayer-funded benefits.

Last week Chicago officials proudly announced their legal defense fund to help immigrants threatened with deportation. It was created to prepare for President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to deport thousands of illegal immigrants. One Chicago alderman admitted he probably has illegal aliens working in his city office. The lawmaker, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, said this in a local news report: “Donald Trump, we are sending you a message, you will not tear apart our families, we will stay together. We will defend and protect our communities.” The money to defend illegal immigrants for violating the nation’s federal statutes will come from Chicago property tax rebate funds.

An African-American alderman who represents Chicago’s South Side went along with the measure to help the city’s illegal immigrants, but made it clear that the struggling communities she represents should have priority. “I’d like to see the administration put the same amount of effort into creating a legal representation fund for all of those young black boys and black girls that are racially profiled in this city or are shot by the police unnecessarily or to support programs like CeaseFire to quell some of the violence in our community,” said Alderman Pat Dowell. “When the mayor talks about wanting to keep the immigrant communities safe, secure and supported, those are the same needs that other communities have. … To raise the immigrant communities’ issues to the forefront, I think is something we should do. But, I’d like to see the same attention to some needs we have in our community.”

A few days after Chicago’s announcement, another sanctuary city more than 1,700 miles away launched a $10 million fund to help illegal immigrants dodge justice. The local newspaper called it “the region’s boldest move yet as it prepares for an expected crackdown on illegal immigration by Donald Trump.” The L.A. city attorney, whose office prosecutes crimes and represents the city in litigation, said the money will ensure that there is “more fairness and more effectiveness in the immigration system,” which, of course, is a federal and not a state matter. L.A.’s mayor said the taxpayer dollars allocated to this cause will help the region’s “most vulnerable” immigrants. The money will come from the city’s general fund, which is used for services such as street repairs, fire and police protection.

Shortly after the city announced its fund, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors offered to kick in another $3 million to provide lawyers for illegal aliens that may face removal under the new administration. The board voted 4-1 in favor of contributing to the L.A. Justice Fund. The supervisor who voted against it, Kathryn Barger, said it’s irresponsible for the board to allocate funding for such a program. Several residents also spoke out at the meeting, according to news reports, that described it as a “heated” event. One resident said “illegal immigration is a crime, let’s be honest. We’re talking about spending millions of dollars protecting criminals from justice.” Another L.A. resident opposed to using tax dollars to help illegal aliens pointed out that “when you come across that border, and you don’t have the right to be here, you’re illegal. It’s the same as selling dope, shooting somebody. Illegal is illegal.”

TRENDING STORIES

video

Following President Elect Donald Trump’s press conference, documentary film maker Michael Moore appeared on MSNBC to say about Trump, “It was a masterful performance....