It’s been not yet two years since the federal government started a case against the small Christian nutrition ministry called Daniel Chapter One, and soon, shortly after the full penalties of being found guilty are scheduled to apply, the principals will be able to present their first defense to the charges.
So far, it seems, an investigator working for the Federal Trade Commission looked into Daniel Chapter One, a complaint counsel for the FTC worked up a case, FTC commissioners authorized the filing of a complaint, FTC lawyers prosecuted the complaint, the head of the FTC office of administrative judges decided in favor of the FTC and four sitting FTC commissioners affirmed the FTC judge’s opinion that the FTC charges had been proved.
The resulting “voluntary” order would have had Daniel Chapter One notify customers that the FTC didn’t approve customers reports of being helped by the nutritional supplements and direct them to the federal government for help.
Now, according to its attorneys, Daniel Chapter One has until April 1 to file a petition for review of the FTC order in a federal court, “the first opportunity that DCO will have to present its case.”
The dispute in the specific case stems from how the federal government demands studies of nutritional products such as vitamins be done before the products are advertised to consumers.
But the larger picture, according to advocates for Daniel Chapter One, is just exactly how much freedom still remains for Americans.
“In the Federalist Papers James Madison wrote that “[t]he accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointive, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
That’s from attorneys for Daniel Chapter One who responded to a series of written questions submitted by WND.
“Even before Madison, the English Parliament – in an act abolishing the Star Chamber – established in England in 1648 a system of justice administered by the courts instead of by the administrative agencies of the executive branch of the government,” they said.
That, the attorneys said, is a key part of the concept of due process of law.
But ignoring Madison’s warning, Congress in 1914 created the FTC and delegated to it “legislative, executive and judicial” power.
The statement from Herb Titus, a key constitutional expert working on the Daniel Chapter One case, said in this case, the FTC simply said that someone marketing dietary supplements must substantiate any health-related claim with “scientific evidence” – forcing the company to affirmatively prove its statements instead of defending any statements suspected of being incorrect.
Then the FTC “used its law-enforcing powers to decide, in its sole discretion, whether the scientific evidence relied upon by the marketer of such supplements is ‘relevant,’ ‘objective,’ and ‘accurate,’” he said.
In this case, the FTC simply took at his opinion the word of an oncologist who has not practiced medicine for many years and was unfamiliar with natural healing methods to condemn the DCO operation, he said.
Then the penalties arrived.
“The FTC’s January 29 order will go into effect before DCO has its day in court, unless the FTC commissioners – the same ones that initiated the charges and affirmed the FTC judge’s order against DCO – grant a stay,” Titus wrote.
The FTC did not respond to a request for comment.
The ministry has a radio program and an accompanying website to recommend natural remedies to health problems.
At the time, Jim Feijo, who with his wife set up the Rhode Island-based service that operates as a Christian ministry, said the dispute arose after officials in the Canadian health service contacted him and ordered him to shut down his operations. He declined to cooperate and Canadian officials apparently contacted the FTC and FDA to insist on their demands.
The products the program offers are natural substances and are alternatives to chemical and drug medications and information about the treatments comes from those who experienced different levels of help.
The case began in September 2008 when the FTC launched action against Daniel Chapter One and 10 others, alleging “deceptive practices.”
The ministry reportedly was the only group to resist.
“Feijo refused to be cowed into signing a consent agreement that would have meant that DCO could not offer its herbal and nutritional products as an alternative to government-approved Big Pharma drugs,” the attorneys said.
When the FRC demanded “evidence,” DCO offered documentation on its herbal products including scientific abstracts and studies, plus testimonials. Inadequate, and inadmissible, found the FTC judge.
Expert testimony was rebuffed on the word of an FTC-approved oncologist who works managing drug trials for pharmaceutical companies, Titus reported.
Also rejected were First Amendment claims of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
“Although the FTC purports to require marketers of dietary supplements and herbal and nutritional products not to make false or deceptive claims so as ‘to ensure that consumers get accurate information about dietary supplements so that they can make informed decisions,’ in reality, the FTC is a paternalistic body making such health-benefit choices for the American people, as it they were children of the state,” the response said.
Feijo said the situation has left “many people” harmed because of the resulting disruption in availability of herbal supplies. His wife, Tricia, said the fight has been exhausting and has cost the ministry a “fortune.”
Customers have been upset, she said.
“The DCO biomolecular nutritional powders have no equal, and there are children who depend on them for life, like a Missouri boy with cerebral palsy on a feeding tube whose medical doctor has prescribed the DCO product First Kings 17:6 as a ‘medical necessity’ because it is the only food that his body will accept. It is one of the products we were suddenly, temporarily out of,” she said.
Feijo earlier told WND if the government is successful in its current maneuver, there would be no limit to the dangers ordinary people could face. Grandmother’s cold remedy could be called a medical treatment and regulated and taxed, and anyone administering “treatments” such as water for dehydration could be determined to be practicing medicine, he suggested.
According to Titus, “It seems to be common practice for the FTC to psychoanalyze marketing advertisements to identify its overall ‘net impression,’ rather than to read the ad as it is written. Indeed, the FTC holds advertisers responsible ‘for the accuracy of claims suggested or implied by the ad.’ And if an ad is susceptible of more than one reasonable interpretation, the advertiser is ‘responsible for substantiating each interpretation,’” he said.
He noted in the Daniel Chapter One case, there was no evidence introduced that consumers actually were misled. In fact, the FTC judge rejected testimony from those who said they were not misled, he said.
Titus said until Daniel Chapter One is successful, “By design and effect, the FTC order seeks to put DCO out of engaging in any healing ministry.”