Congressman Issa: Preparing for the New McCarthy

Witch hunt

Witch hunt

New Orleans If, as it seems increasingly likely, the Republicans take over the House of Representatives in the coming week, it is not too early to prepare for the coming contentiousness and partisan, political baiting that will accompany the new McCarthyism in the House Investigations Committee when Congressman Darryl Issa (R-CA) takes over next year.  Be prepared for the Washington equivalent of the Salem witch trials and the McCarthy commie witch hunts.  I know I’m already talking to lawyers about strategy and advice, because I’ve read enough of Issa’s so-called investigations he released as minority reports over the last several years, to understand fully that these “investigations” are simply long press releases whose dearth of any factual basis makes them read like the bad fictions that they are.

One report built a castle in the air from the firm foundation that ACORN was a tax-exempt, 501c3 organization and therefore had violated a host of rules and regulations about filings and formalities deserving of total scorn, condemnation, and confiscation.  Of course ACORN was never a tax exempt, 501c3, yet that simple piece of research seems to have totally eluded the Issa and his so-called investigators in their rush to burn and torture the organization.

Another report that still sends shivers in the wake of many big and upstanding organizations seemed mainly focused on the fact that the legal department contracted with ACORN did the corporate filings out of the headquarters address of the corporation in New Orleans.  I’ve even been told by major unions with hundreds of thousands of members that they were uncomfortable doing business with any of the 300 odd corporations that Issa had listed in the report in a classic example of “guilt by association.”  For the life of me I’m uncertain where the “guilt” might have been regardless of the “association.”  What large enterprise doesn’t separately incorporate property holdings to segregate liabilities?  What housing operation doesn’t separately incorporate its various housing development properties and projects?  And, these were the bulk of the corporations and the filings, not that the facts would have mattered to Issa and the conspiracy theorists he employed as “investigators.”  If there were justice, once anointed he could start with Citi or Bank of America and sort through their thousands of corporate entities first, which might keep him busy for years as he looks for “criminal conspiracies.”

Given that so much of the hard core Republican base still believes that ACORN “stole” the election for Obama in 2008, maybe this will be his media strategy for an early headline ramp-up as he takes full command of the House Investigations Committee.  After all the Issa motto seems to be:  if we want to say it, it must be true, so who needs the facts anyway?

Have motto, then the sloppy methodology must follow.  How much of what is left of the progressive movement will he try to silence and chill with such antics?

People get ready!

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ACORN Defunding Bill Unconstitutional

Dallas             

Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Reform in New York which represented ACORN

Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Reform in New York which represented ACORN

Federal Judge Nina Gershon ruled unequivocally that the Congressional defunding restrictions on ACORN and all affiliated organizations were unconstitutional by breaching the U.S. Constitution’s prohibitions on Bills of Attainder and “ex post facto” laws.   Reading the decision this morning, I can say that are arguments are straightforward, clear, and well researched

            Judge Gershon eviscerates the sham attempts by the government to establish that their actions were not targeting ACORN by quoting from the the naked prejudicial attacks by Senators Kit Bond (R-Missouri) and Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska) and by carefully referencing the government’s admission that Congressman Darryl Issa (R-Ohio) and his own private office staff report on ACORN being a “criminal enterprise” was not commissioned by Congress, but were simply his own wild rantings, which she quotes in a footnote from one of his many press releases.  The decision is understated but devastating to the government’s weak hand.  Bill Quigley, our old friend from New Orleans who is now on leave from Loyola Law School and serving as legal director of the Center for Constitutional Reform in New York which represented ACORN, was quoted in an AP story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune saying he did not believe the government would appeal.  That may be wistful spinning, but it is clear that whether the government appeals or not, the appeal has no chance of success against the ironclad Gershon decision.  [Incidentally, Quigley was orginally contacted for help on this matter by longtime Louisiana ACORN director, Beth Butler, who set this defense in motion, but was abruptly and unjustly fired by current management inexplicably in mid-October, but that’s another kettle of fish.]

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