Late last week I was pleased to get an opportunity to interview Michelle Malkin about her newest best seller, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies. What follows is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation:
Alright, right off the bat, one of the most under-reported stories of 2008 was the Obama campaign’s decision to turn off address verification for underlying donors. Do you think that was done to make it easier to funnel illegal contributions to his campaign?
Well, it certainly helped enable that kind of fraud, John, and unfortunately we’re not going to see any movement on it. You haven’t seen a lot of Republican-pushing on that issue. And so, you know, in a way when you see tactics like the internet snitch brigade and the abuses that this White House is capable of on the internet it really should come as no surprise and there should have been a lot more resistance to it when they were doing it with the campaign donations a year ago.
Now here’s a quote from your book: “Unfortunately for many of Chicago’s poor Mrs. Obama didn’t depart until after she helped engineer a rather unprogressive and unkind plan to dump low-income patients with non-urgent complaints from the medical center.” Can you give people a relatively succinct explanation of that?
Yes, Michelle Obama used her six figure salaried position at the University of Chicago Medical Center, which was a result of her crony ties to Valerie Jarrett, to reward her other crony friends including David Axelrod, the master of Astroturf. The idea was to foist bad medicine on poor and minority patients at the University of Chicago Medical Center’s emergency room in order to clear more bed space for wealthier paying patients…
I think that the blogosphere did a fantastic job covering this story last year — and I give particular credit to David Catron at the American Thinker who highlighted what is essentially an illegal patient dumping scheme. It’s not just us crazy right wingers who pointed this out; it’s community activists; it’s Bobby Rush, the Democrat Congressman from Chicago — as well as an association of emergency physicians who pointed out that this very practice espoused by Michelle Obama, David Axelrod, and Valerie Jarrett was outlawed under the Reagan administration.
Can you give us a quick rundown of all of the Obama nominees and cabinet members that didn’t pay their taxes? Everyone was interested in that early on, but there were so many of them it was hard to keep track. With Obama moving closer to tax increases it seems a bit more relevant.
Right, of course, there were the most prominent ones — TurboTax cheat Tim Geithner who failed to pay taxes on illegal alien help and at the same time was collecting tax allowances from his employer, the International Monetary Fund, and had signed documents promising to pay those taxes and never did.
Then there is Tom Daschle who failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxes on a campaign contributor’s driver that was lent to him during all his years as Senate Minority Leader. That Information was accessible and available to the Obama vetters well in advance of his nomination.
There was Nancy Killefer who was going to be the accountability czar in charge of making sure that everyone else was following the rules who failed to make sure that all of her tax form I’s were dotted and t’s were crossed.
There was Hilda Solis whose husband failed to pay taxes on a business in southern California and I know I am probably forgetting many more — but that’s just a start, isn’t it?
It is, it is. One of the more intriguing tactics that Obama has used to circumvent the nomination process in Congress is simply to appoint lots and lots of unaccountable czars. How many czars are there and could you talk about two or three of the worst ones?
Well, there is a wonderful blogger at, oh I want to get this right, I believe it’s Teresa Monroe Hamilton, who has kept a very copious list of all the czars and by her count we’re up to 44 or 45 — and we have to be careful because most of them are what we perceive as the unaccountable czars — the ones who have circumvented the Senate’s advice and consent role and have no Congressional oversight or accountability whatsoever. They’ve been appointed by the President.
But there is a sprinkling of them in some of these unofficial counts that actually have gone through the confirmation process, but in a very cursory and rapid way. I can talk about John Holdren in a second there, who was one of them. But what I point out in the book and my chapter on czars is that the scope and the compromised quality of Obama’s czars is truly unprecedented compared to the czar here or there that you’ve seen in past administrations, whether it was the Drug Czar under Reagan, the Education Czar under Bush 1, or the Homeland Security Czar under Bush 2. In some cases, it’s arguable that, yes, we need a czar-like position when you’re dealing with very complex and sensitive matters across many agencies. One could have made that argument honestly and in good faith with the Homeland Security Czar, but with Obama there are so many of these superfluous czars who have been given oversight and puppet string power over confirmed secretaries who are already in place to oversee huge blocks of the economy or the domestic agenda.
Why do we need healthcare czar, Nancy DeParle, when we already have a confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary? And why do we need an urban czar, Adolfo Carrion, when we already have a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development? In the case of Adolfo Carrion, it’s particularly troubling because it seems very much in line with the way that past administrations have handed out ambassadorships, like candy, as a way to award crony political activists. Adolfo Carrion turned out the Latino vote for Obama in the Bronx and so this was a handy way to give him a reward for that.
But, he’s under investigation by local authorities for the kind of pay for play scandals the Republicans have been knocked out of office for — and there is no scrutiny of that. There is no accountability, other than the local newspapers; the New York Daily News has done a terrific job of exposing all of those relationships and the contracts that have been awarded by Carrion to these developers who have contributed money to his campaign.
But there are no questions about it, no Congressional hearings, there is no ethics probe, nothing. In the case of John Holdren, who is the science czar, the hearings were very superficial. There was only one question that dealt with his radical writings from the ’70s until very recently, musing openly about forced abortions and mass sterilizations. He has supported and praised colleagues who were prominent eugenicists. I think David Vitter was the only one who asked a very light question about it and then didn’t probe any further. I mean he really just scratched the surface.
And now, it’s really thanks to the blogosphere and alternative media that we’re getting the kind of prolonged scrutiny that John Holdren deserved. At some point you do have to lay blame at the feet at Republicans for not doing more when they had a chance to — and, you know, I give credit to Republicans like Jack Kingston. He’s a Georgia Republican who put forth legislation to try and cut off appropriated funds to these offices.
But, it seems a little too late now. I mean the czars are out of the barn door and in the case of John Holdren we’re paying for his office, we’re paying for his staff, and we’re paying for his flack to stonewall bloggers, who do have questions about it.
It’s become increasingly clear that the Justice Department is putting politics first in their decisions. They allowed two Black Panthers to walk for voter intimidation. They decided not to go after Bill Richardson. They’re targeting CIA agents to provide cover for the President. Do you think under Barack Obama and Eric Holder there are two different standards of justice: one for Democrats and one for Republicans?
Yes, one for the friends and cronies of Obama and one for everyone else. I find Eric Holder to be one of the most menacing figures in Obama’s culture of corruption because we’re not just talking about run-of-the-mill cronyism and back-scratching and influence-pedaling. We’re talking about a culture of corruption that endangers national security and public safety — and once again I have to harken back to the nearly 20 Republicans who voted to confirm Eric Holder as our Attorney General, in charge of protecting the rule of law, when they knew for decades about this man’s crime-coddling actions and behavior in the Clinton Justice Department.
They knew about his role in the Marc Rich pardon and, in fact, it seemed to guarantee his role even further — because if you will recall during the confirmation hearing, the more that he admitted his errors and said he was sorry for making these huge lapses in ethical and legal judgment — the more he seemed to be rewarded by these Republicans who praised him for his listening skills and his ability to admit mistakes.
I’ve always joked about the old mantra in the Washington bureaucracy that when you screw up, you move up. He is a classic example of that. The New York Times just did a huge feature on him that I think ran today about his new efforts at increasing the civil rights budget and putting muscle behind the Justice Department’s civil rights’ initiative.
Yet, you have this huge gaping obstruction of justice and undermining of civil rights in the new Black Panther Party case — and there are House Republicans who are pushing the Justice Department, to their credit, including Frank Wolf, the Republican from Virginia who is trying to get answers about the politicization of the case — but, the DOJ continues to stonewall. They won’t let Frank Wolf meet with the trial team that handled the case and Holder and his minions will not disclose publicly which third parties might have meddled in the case. They won’t tell us what exactly changed between the time the Justice Department won the default judgments and the time they made this unprecedented decision to drop the charges against two of the thugs. They won’t tell us what the new information was; yet there in The New York Times article it says that they decided the dismissals based on “facts and law.” Facts and law that suit the Justice Department is all about expediency.
More than any other President in recent years Barack Obama has been a hand puppet at the unions. When they flex, he moves. Give people an idea of how much money and manpower the unions poured into the Democratic Party in 2008 to give people an idea of why he is so subservient to the unions.
It’s immense. Andy Stern bragged that the Service Employees International Union, the largest growing union in the 21st century, poured something like between $60 and $80 million worth of independent expenditures into Democrat campaign coffers and I believe that a third to half of that went directly to elect Barack Obama.
They sent out millions of the rank and file workers and officers to knock on doors, send out pamphlets, and work as foot soldiers for the Obama campaign. They take care of each other and in the chapter that I wrote on the SEIU, I describe extensively the scene when Barack Obama went to ask for the SEIU’s endorsement. It was a sea of purple shirts. He wore a purple tie and he recounted his long-time ties to the SEIU both nationally and locally.
I believe it was Local 80 that in Chicago…… that he forged these deep ties with — and the SEIU, of course, is joined at the hip with ACORN, you know, the welfare rights organization where Barack Obama essentially cut his teeth as a “community organizer.”
Well, that brings us to our last question. There is a tremendous amount of concern about ACORN being involved in election fraud and the census. How is Obama tied into ACORN and should people be concerned?
Oh, yes, absolutely they should. It is a rank example of coordinated corruption. As Kris Kobach, the former Bush official who is now running for Kansas Secretary of State put it a couple of months ago, ACORN is a criminal enterprise. That phrase needs to be repeated over and over and over again if we are to avoid mistakes of the past couple of election cycles. As I outlined in my chapter on ACORN, it’s not just the voter fraud. It is about the radical transformation of large swathes of both the political and economic landscape. It’s about the shakedowns. It’s about their role in helping perpetuate the subprime crisis. It’s about the criminal thuggery on the streets and breaking into homes illegally and trespassing in the name of “social justice.” If there is anything I want people to walk away from this book with, it’s a deep sense of just how large and formidable this enterprise is.
You know in D.C. after the election, there was all this cocktail chatter talk and idle musing about what the Republican Party needed to do to recapture power. The simpletons think it’s all just about rebranding themselves, joining the Obama bandwagon, and remaking the Republican Party into the Democrat Party. The difference is that the Republican Party does not have this machinery in place: the unions on their side, the public schools, all of these non-profit organizations — then taxpayers subsidize political outfits like ACORN to help guarantee them a majority in perpetuity.
Michelle, outstanding job as per usual.
Thanks, keep up the great work, John.
Thanks again to Michelle Malkin and make sure to check out her latest book, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies.