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A legal firebrand whose work fighting corruption left both Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney on the defensive today took on Barack Obama, suing the president for secret meetings with Planned Parenthood and other lobbyists on his plans to nationalize health care.
Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and, more recently, Freedom Watch USA, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The law requires disclosure of records of meetings between the executive branch and outside industry lobbyists. It also requires access to meetings.
Klayman raised the same issues during the early years of the Clinton administration, contributing to the demise of the health care proposal championed by Hillary Clinton.
The lawsuit charges that in Obama’s “haste to socialize medicine in the United States, and increase
government control generally,” he has “violated his commitment
“It is widely known that President Obama and his surrogates have been holding behind closed door meetings with health care industry lobbyists, cutting deals to win passage of his health care legislation,” Klayman said.
Klayman contends the president’s conduct falls within the scope of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which “requires the president to come clean on why he has caved in to the pharmaceutical industry, preventing the importation of prescription drugs that would lower prices for consumers, why he has become the lackey of Planned Parenthood in championing government financed abortions, and why the AMA (American Medical Association) and AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) are now his great friends.”
Klayman said after his return he was stunned by the level of corruption in the nation’s capital, telling CNN’s Lou Dobbs, “I’ve never seen it like this.”
Klayman’s new case targets “the particulars behind the secret deals the White House has been cutting with private health care concerns, such as the AMA, Pharma, Planned Parenthood, AARP, and other lobbyists seeking to feed at the trough of the government.”
“Freedom Watch will not rest until the American people know all the facts about this historic and ill advised health care legislation, which most Americans – be they conservative, middle of the road or liberal – think we cannot afford and do not want as it is written,” he said.
Klayman said he hand-delivered just days ago a letter to Obama under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and FACA seeking copies of all minutes and final decision documents.
His letter was accepted at the White House only after he was badgered and belittled by uniformed police officers, he said.
“Egregiously, upon hand delivering the letter to the Secret Service, agents of the president, the undersigned chairman and general counsel of Freedom Watch was illegally detained … at the front gate of The White House, while he was on the sidewalk (he had never entered The White House grounds), questioned for over an hour in below freezing temperatures, and berated, harassed and threatened by two of the president’s Uniformed Secret Service agents for his public advocacy and he was investigated; that is, these two Uniformed Secret Service agents violated the exercise of First Amendment freedom of speech rights,” Klayman said..
“Fortunately, after over an hour of interrogation, false
imprisonment, and violation of his civil rights, a very professional female line Secret Service
agent appeared and in an appropriate and very respectful and kind manner set the undersigned
free,” he said.
Klayman’s letter said, “It has been widely reported and it is independently known that you and your agents and representatives have been communicating and meeting with, in secret and behind ‘closed doors,’ lobbyists from the private pharmaceutical industry (i.e. Pharma), Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American Medical Association (AMA) and other private interests, cutting deals to attempt to assure passage of your proposed health care legislation.
Klayman said the conduct “falls squarely within the scope of the Federal Advisory Committee Act,” because “these nontransparent communications and meetings with lobbyists and nongovernmental persons and groups constitute a de facto advisory committee under the letter and intent of the law.”
Noting that Obama’s plans would involve “one seventh of the nation’s GDP,” Klayman said he was demanding “on behalf of the American people … that you allow us to participate in any such communications and meetings and that you turn over all documentations, such as minutes and notes of and concerning all meetings and other records, immediately.
“Simply put, the public has the right to know what you promised to private special interests before the proposal legislation becomes law,” he said.
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
“Larry Klayman made a name for himself investigating backroom deals in the Clinton and Bush administrations, like Bubba’s Chinagate fundraising scandal and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force meetings. Now it’s president Obama’s turn to face Klayman and his latest public-interest group, Freedom Watch,” the column said.
Klayman said his stories of government corruption were not embraced by mainstream publishers. HarperCollins originally had agreed to publish his book – a nonpartisan view of why the current political climate is so unscrupulous – but shelved it because it was considered “too hot to handle,” he said.
“I have never engaged in the services of a prostitute, but I have encountered a lot of whores in my career – people and interests that will sell out their nation, if not their family, for money, power and fame,” writes Klayman. “Unfortunately, such people exist at the highest level of all three branches of government, as well as in the media.”
Piero Rivolta, publisher of New Chapter, an internationally-known businessman and author, said he took on the book because he believes freedom is not only a right but a duty.
“In these trying times, we need to encourage candid and creative thought for the good of the nation,” he said. “I believe that ‘WHORES’ is the kind of cutting-edge book that will wake people up, provoke important thought and dialogue.”
Eric Kampmann, president of Midpoint Trade Books, the national distributor for “WHORES,” said Klayman’s expose of corruption comes at just the right time, with confidence in Washington plummeting.