Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Philip J. Berg
A prominent Pennsylvania Democrat has sued Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic National Committee and the Federal Election Commission, claiming that Obama is not a natural-born citizen and, therefore, is not eligible to be president of the United States.
Philip J. Berg, a former member of Pennsylvania’s Democratic State Committee and former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, filed the lawsuit this week in U.S District Court, asking the court to declare Obama ineligible for the presidency and to prevent him from running for the position.
However, a WND investigation has found that at least part of Berg’s lawsuit relies on discredited claims.
A separate motion was also filed seeking a temporary restraining order on Obama’s presidential campaign until Obama’s eligibility can be verified.
The lawsuit claims Barack Obama’s eligibility is questionable on several grounds, including the allegation that he was born in Kenya to parents unable to automatically grant him American citizenship, that his Hawaii “certification of life birth” is a forgery, that he was made a citizen of Indonesia as a child and that he retained foreign citizenship into adulthood without recording an oath of allegiance to regain any theoretical American citizenship.
In short, the suit claims Obama was not born an American citizen; lost any hypothetical American citizenship he had as a child (Editor’s note: This point is not supported by U.S. citizenship law); may not now be an American citizen and even if he is, may hold dual citizenships with other countries. If any, much less all, of these allegations are true, the suit claims, Obama cannot constitutionally serve as president.
Why would a Democrat do this to his party’s own candidate? And why right before the National Convention?
“Eighteen million Democratic Primary voters donated money, volunteered their time and energy, worked very hard and then not only supported Senator Clinton, but voted for her,” Berg stated in a press release about the suit. “All the efforts of supporters of legitimate citizens were for nothing because (Obama) lied and cheated his way into a fraudulent candidacy and cheated legitimately eligible natural born citizens from competing in a fair process.”
Berg explained in a radio interview with Roger Hedgecock of KOGO in San Diego that Internet reports had been persistent over the last several months that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery and that he may not be an eligible, natural-born citizen. After doing his own careful research, Berg explained, he came to the conclusion the reports were more fact than rumor and that he needed to act quickly, before the election process proceeded.
“I filed this action at this time,” said Berg in a press release, “to avoid the obvious problems that will occur when the Republican Party raises these issues after Obama is nominated.”
School record that lists “Barry Soetoro,” a.k.a. Barack Obama, as Indonesian citizen (AP photo)
However, FactChecker.org says it obtained Obama’s actual certification of live birth and that the document was indeed real. The site discredited some of the claims of Internet bloggers, such as that the certificate as viewed in a scanned copy released by Obama’s campaign lacked a raised seal. FactChecker.org also established that many of the alleged flaws in the document noted by bloggers were caused by the scanning of the document.
A separate WND investigation into Obama’s certification of live birth utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic. The investigation also revealed methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren’t originally there.
(Editor’s note: WND’s investigation into the certification of live birth did not include inspecting the actual document, but only asking experts to evaluate the online image. Those experts, therefore, could not “prove” the document’s authenticity. The experts told WND merely that many of the forgery claims made against the image were inconclusive or falsified, leaving them no evidence that would cast doubt on the image’s authenticity.)
The Berg lawsuit contends there is enough truth in the various reports to conclude, “Unfortunately, Obama is not a ‘natural born’ citizen.”
The suit alleges that while records exist of a “registry of birth” for Obama in Hawaii (filed four days after his claimed birthday), no records exist of his mother’s stay in any Hawaii hospital, suggesting she may have given birth elsewhere and filed the registration shortly thereafter on American soil.
“Obama’s grandmother on his father’s side, half brother and half sister claim Obama was born in Kenya,” the suit states. “Reports reflect Obama’s mother went to Kenya during her pregnancy; however, she was prevented from boarding a flight from Kenya to Hawaii at her late stage of pregnancy, which apparently was a normal restriction to avoid births during a flight. Stanley Ann Dunham (Obama) gave birth to Obama in Kenya, after which she flew to Hawaii and registered Obama’s birth.”
The claim could not be verified by WND inquiries to Hawaiian hospitals, since state law bars the hospitals from releasing medical records to the public.
Even if Obama produced authenticated proof of his birth in Hawaii, however, the suit claims that the U.S. Nationality Act of 1940 provided that minors lose their American citizenship when their parents expatriate. Since Obama’s mother married an Indonesian citizen and moved to Indonesia, the suit claims, she forfeited both her and Barack’s American citizenship.
However, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence Ann Dunham expatriated. Also, consulting citizenship experts contend that if Obama indeed obtained Indonesian citizenship, it simply would not have been recognized by the U.S., but the presidential candidate would retain his American citizenship.
Even after her divorce and return to the U.S., the suit says, “Obama’s mother failed to take the oath in order to regain her U.S. Citizenship. Therefore, Obama would not have been able to regain his U.S. Citizenship until he turned 18 years (and) after he took the oath of allegiance.”
“Since the oath of allegiance would have been entered in the records of the appropriate embassy, legation, consulate, court or the Attorney General, if Plaintiff is incorrect, then Obama should be able to produce in Court a certified copy of the proceedings, including a copy of the oath administered,” the suit states.
The lawsuit then claims an investigation has shown that in 1981, “Obama traveled to Pakistan using his Indonesian passport. At the time of travels to Indonesia, Obama was 20 years old. He was well aware he maintained his Indonesia citizenship, and failed to regain his United States citizenship. … Even if Obama maintained his United States Citizenship, which he failed to do, he also carries citizenships in Kenya and Indonesia. Obama has divided loyalties with foreign countries. Thus, Obama carries multiple citizenships and is ineligible to run for President of the United States.”
A WND investigation could not find any proof Obama used an Indonesian passport to travel to Pakistan. However, WND noted that Pakistan in 1981 was under military rule and that it was difficult for U.S. citizens to travel to the country without assistance – meaning, it would have been easier to enter Pakistan on an Indonesian passport.
Berg claims his lawsuit is necessary, not only to protect the Constitution, but also to protect the integrity of the Democratic Party.
“If the DNC officers and/or leaders had performed one ounce of due diligence, we would not find ourselves in this emergency predicament, one week away from making a person the nominee who has lost their citizenship,” said Berg in his press release. “The injunctive relief must be granted because failing to do so, (the DNC’s) inaction defrauds everyone who voted in the Democratic Primary.”