Written by Tom Fitton
This weeks news including: Obama Obfuscates on Fisker Bailout Deal — Again, Obama takes Preemptive Swipe at U.S. Supreme Court, Judicial Watch Blog Report Starts Media Brushfire over Stealth Amnesty
This week, the Obama Department of Treasury released an inspector general’s report showing that the controversial $535 million loan guarantee to the now bankrupt energy giant Solyndra was “rushed” through in about one day in March 2009 because the Department of Energy simply wanted to issue a press release. This bailout is riddled with scandal owing in part to the fact that the company’s chief backer is a big Obama campaign fundraiser.
All the more reason the Obama administration should be forthcoming with the American people concerning all of its other massive bailouts, including those handed out to so-called green energy companies. But that’s not happening.
This week, the Obama administration informed Judicial Watch that it refuses to release details regarding the milestones missed by Fisker under the terms of its $528.7 million bailout loan from the DOE.
Well that’s not entirely true. In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed February 14, 2012, by Judicial Watch, the DOE did release “in part” a Microsoft PowerPoint document. The problem is that all of the key details were blacked out! It is well worth the click to so see it for yourself. Here’s what we’re after with our FOIA request:
Any and all records identifying, describing or setting forth the milestones that have been missed by Fisker Automotive under the terms of its $528.7 million conditional loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The purpose of the Obama administration’s Fisker loan was to use your tax dollars to help the company manufacture its Karma and Nina electric vehicles. (This was a deal tied to the Obama administration takeover of General Motors.)
In response to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request, the DOE released three Microsoft PowerPoint slides entitled “Karma Milestones,” “Nina Milestones,” and “Funding Milestones,” respectively. On the Karma and Nina records, there are three categories of information, “original,” “status” and “revised.” On the page regarding funding, the three categories are labeled, “Original,” “$ Mils,” and “Status.” The DOE redacted all key details printed on these three records under these categories, citing Exemption 4 of FOIA law related to “trade secrets.”
The Obama administration’s response to this simple FOIA request is not only dishonest, it is insulting to the American people. How dare the Obama Department of Energy use nearly $200 million from the taxpayers and then tell them it’s none of their business whether these funds were put to good use! In fact, the Obama gang had to stop the taxpayer loan disbursements to Fisker because the company was failing to meet these milestones that the Obama administration is keeping secret! I suspect the information on these blacked out pages of records is embarrassing to the Obama administration. But embarrassment is not a valid reason for withholding records.
The Fisker scandal is a debacle for taxpayers and the Obama administration is in cover-up mode. And this is not the first time either.
Remember, our FOIA over Fisker’s missed milestones is just one component of a comprehensive Judicial Watch investigation into the Obama administration’s bailout of this failing automobile manufacturer.
On February 1, 2012, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain records of communications between Fisker and a number of entities including: The Obama White House, Congress, labor unions and the Government of Finland regarding the loan.
Why are we after these records? Because, although the Obama White House and DOE promoted the Fisker loan as a means to generate American jobs, the company (which has facilities in California and Delaware) was heavily criticized in 2011 for manufacturing cars in Finland.
At the time the loan was announced, Energy Secretary Steven Chu indicated the Fisker loan was “proof positive” that the Obama administration was “putting Americans back to work.” However, as reported by ABC News, Fisker came under fire in 2011 for assembling its first line of cars in Finland and for lengthy delays in producing the volume of cars bankrolled, in part, with the DOE loan.
Moreover, as reported by Politico, the company is now inundated with massive layoffs in its Delaware and California operations as it seeks additional government funding:
In another setback for President Obama’s clean energy loan programs, the recipient of more than a half-billion dollars in federal loans is laying off workers at their Delaware and California operations.
Delaware’s News Journal reports that Fisker Automotive, a California-based electric car start-up company, is laying off an undisclosed number of staff to try to reserve enough capital in order to qualify for more federal help from the Department of Energy, according to a Delaware state development official.
And then there’s Vice President Joe Biden’s role in all of this.
On October 27, 2009, former Delaware Senator Biden announced during a press event that $359 million from the DOE loan would be used to re-open a closed General Motors (GM) manufacturing facility in Wilmington, Delaware which would serve as Fisker’s “primary global manufacturing facility.” Biden told the crowd of mostly UAW workers, who had previously worked at the plant when it was owned by General Motors, “imagine when this factory, when the floor we’re standing on right now is making 100,000 plug-in hybrid sedans, coupes and crossovers every single year.”
Given Joe Biden’s advanced knowledge of Fisker’s production plans, Judicial Watch has been separately investigating whether or not there was any quid pro quobetween Fisker and the Vice President related to the plant purchase in his home state.
The Obama administration would prefer you remain in the dark about all of the sordid wheeling and dealing that takes place with its bailouts…as well as the failure of these boondoggles to succeed and return any “investment” to the American taxpayer. Judicial Watch will continue to do its part to bring the bailout into the light of transparency and accountability.
I warned you last week of the plan by President Obama and his “gangster government” allies to undermine the rule of law by unfairly attacking the integrity of the Supreme Court. Sure enough, President Obama began an attack on the High Court this week that will go down in infamy in the histories of relations between the judicial and executive branches.
On Monday, Obama, purposely I believe, attacked the Supreme Court with the following remarks during press conference:
And I think it’s important, and I think the American people understand, and the I think the justices should understand, that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care. So there’s not only an economic element to this, and a legal element to this, but there’s a human element to this. And I hope that’s not forgotten in this political debate.
Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress. And I would like to remind conservative commentators that for years what we have heard is that the biggest problem is judicial activism and that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example and I’m pretty confident this court will recognize that and not take that step.
This is devious nonsense coming from Constitutional-Law-Professor-in-Chief.
First, the president says striking down Obamacare would be unprecedented. Not even the liberal Los Angeles Times is buying that one:
…it’s simply not true that it would be “unprecedented” for the court to overturn such a law. Since Marbury vs. Madison in 1803, the court has seen “judicial review” of laws as part of its responsibility, and over the years it has ruled many unconstitutional. That’s entirely appropriate.
Furthermore, the implication of the remark was that the number of votes in favor of a bill was somehow relevant to its constitutionality. It’s not. Otherwise, whichever party or point of view is in the majority would be free to tyrannize the minority.
(Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department is now arguing that the courts should throw out a federal marriage law passed by Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton, was forced by an appellate panel to submit a letter affirming the role of the courts in our constitutional system. The Court evidently was taken aback by Obama’s attack and wanted reassurance from the Justice Department that it wasn’t seeking to overturn Marbury vs. Madison.)
Regarding Obama’s comments about conservatives and “judicial activism,” apparently Obama does not have a full understanding of the term. Conservatives are completely opposed to efforts by judges to legislate from the bench – that is, create new laws or rights to satisfy their policy whims, or to appear “empathic” to one group or another. (That’s what Obama means when he asks the court to consider the “human element” of the decision, which he obviously prefers to the legal element.)
Creating laws is the business of the legislative branch, and when it’s done from the bench it is judicial activism pure and simple. However, most conservatives have no problem when judges strike down laws that violate the U.S. Constitution, especially a law that, if allowed, to stand, would obliterate any limits on the ability of the federal government to regulate our lives. (You can read our amicus curiae brief filed with the court here.)
Finally, regarding the President’s professed concerns about the power of this “unelected group of people,” The Washington Examiner nailed it on the head: “Obama’s attack on ‘an unelected group of people’ is pretty rich, considering that the only way his health care law plans to reduce health spending is by empowering 15 unelected bureaucrats to set wage and price controls for the entire health care industry.”
To say nothing of the numerous unelected czars the president has appointed who wield tremendous power but are not subject to a Senate vote, or congressional vetting and oversight.
Of course, conservatives understand that it is because judges are “unelected” that we must make sure that judges who are appointed to the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, understand that the role is not to ignore the rule of law by legislating from the bench.
That Obama would seek to intimidate the Supreme Court as it considers an important constitutional question is yet one more example of his contempt for the rule of law. He seems more concerned about the political will to power and less about preserving and protecting the U.S. Constitution, as his oath of office requires.
As Obama abuses his office, Judicial Watch is responding with an investigation into any efforts to intimidate the Supreme Court. We suspect there’s more out there, and when we find it we will alert you.
From time to time, I’ve mentioned the work of our excellent blogger, Irene Garcia, a former Los Angeles Times reporter who tracks corruption news every day for Judicial Watch on our blog Corruption Chronicles. (Click here to check out Irene’s work.)
Well this week, on April 2nd to be exact, Irene started a bit of a media brush fire with a blog piece on the Obama administration’s stealth amnesty scheme. First, let’s take a look at what Irene reported in her blog entitled, “DHS to Grant Aliens ‘Unlawful Presence Waivers:’”
In its quest to implement stealth amnesty, the Obama Administration is working behind the scenes to halt the deportation of certain illegal immigrants by granting them “unlawful presence waivers.”
The new measure would apply to illegal aliens who are relatives of American citizens. Here is how it would work, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement posted in today’s Federal Register, the daily journal of the U.S. government; the agency will grant “unlawful presence waivers” to illegal aliens who can prove they have a relative that’s a U.S. citizen.
Currently such aliens must return to their native country and request a waiver of inadmissibility in an existing overseas immigrant visa process. In other words, they must enter the U.S. legally as thousands of foreigners do on a yearly basis. Besides the obvious security issues, changing this would be like rewarding bad behavior in a child. It doesn’t make sense.
Irene then properly characterized the policy as part of the Obama administration’s “bigger plan to blow off Congress,” as it attempts to enact amnesty absent any immigration reform passed by Congress.
Indeed, as I’ve pointed out many times in this space, the Obama administration is intent on granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants with or without approval by Congress — and despite stiff public opposition.
Granting these new “unlawful presence waivers” is just one amnesty tool. Another is the DHS policy of “selective deportation,” which means that immigration officials can simply use “prosecutorial discretion” to dismiss deportation proceedings against a wide variety of illegal aliens, even those convicted of serious crimes. (You can read more about the Obama administration’s stealth amnesty plan, including documents uncovered by Judicial Watch as part of its aggressive investigation of the scandal, here.)
The Drudge Report immediately seized upon Irene’s story, posting it to the site with the headline “Big Sis to Grant Illegal Aliens ‘Unlawful Presence Waivers,” along with a photo of Obama Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The Internet then took hold of the story and ran with it, as our critics at the leftist Media Matters noted.
And, it all started with your Judicial Watch.
Of course, the often overlooked component of the Obama amnesty plan is its impact on the 2012 elections. By granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, the Obama administration/campaign surely hopes to bring a massive group of dependable (and potentially illegal) voters to the polls in November 2012 to help re-elect the president.
This, combined with the Justice Department’s unwillingness to enforce elements of the National Voter Registration Act requiring states to keep clean voter rolls, is a threat to the integrity of the 2012 elections.
For this reason, and many others, JW launched its 2012 Election Integrity Project. Our investigation has found that many states have voter rolls that have more “voters” on the rolls than individuals eligible to vote. Evidently, some jurisdictions are not even bothering to remove dead people from the voter rolls. This is a recipe for voter fraud, so we’ve told election officials to clean up the rolls or we will file a lawsuit to force them to do so.
And speaking of election integrity, I’d like to let you know about a very important event that will take place April 27-28, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Our client True the Vote will be hosting a 2012 True the Vote Summit to “protect the virtue of our vote and the integrity of our elections.” I’m scheduled to be on-hand to talk about Judicial Watch’s election integrity work along with an impressive list of guest speakers. If you have the ability to make the trip, I highly recommend it. Here’s a link to the invitation. Hope to see you there.
I want to close this week with wishes for a wonderful Easter!
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.