A lawyer suing President Obama over the backroom deals included in his plan to nationalize health care says this week’s summit among Democrats and Republicans was a “sham.”
Larry Klayman, a legal firebrand whose work fighting government corruption left both Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney on the defensive, has a lawsuit pending over the president’s secret meetings with Planned Parenthood and other lobbyists.
Klayman, who founded Judicial Watch and, more recently, Freedom Watch USA, has a case in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeking information from Obama under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires disclosure of records of meetings between the executive branch and outside industry lobbyists. It also requires access to meetings.
He said the contentious summit set up by Obama provided U.S. taxpayers with nothing.
“Yesterday’s health care summit between the Democrats and the Republicans was a total sham, with each political party covering up its backroom deals with health industry lobbyists,” he said today.
“As a result, the American people still have little understanding for the fraud that is being hoisted on them, at great expense during this severe economic recession,” he said.
“Freedom Watch’s lawsuit against the Obama administration to open up the story behind the backroom deals with lobbyists now takes on greater significance,” he continued.
“If health reform is to be considered and passed by Congress, the American taxpayer needs to understand how health care proposals came about. And, they also need to understand how much health care reform will cost them, during a period when financial resources are scarce and budget deficits are growing at great peril to our nation.
“I will not rest under the dark veil of secrecy is removed to this entire process, designed to enrich the friends of both political parties, at taxpayers expense,” he said.
Klayman, the only lawyer ever to have obtained a court ruling that a U.S. president committed a crime, has pursued cases against the Clintons, Cheney, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
He built a reputation that prompted writers for the NBC drama series “The West Wing” to create a character, “Harry Klaypool,” based on his work.
Klayman said his new lawsuit against the White House raises some of the same issues he raised during the early years of the Clinton administration, when his work contributed 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
Klayman said 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’s case 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’s 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 when the case was launched.
Klayman said he hand-delivered a letter to Obama under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and FACA seeking copies of all minutes and final decision documents.
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.
Klayman also recently released “WHORES: Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment.”
“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.”
“Congress has no authority to require every person to obtain insurance coverage and has no authority to fine employers who do not provide the coverage standards that are required in the bill,” he said at the time.
“In addition,” he warned, “the bill still requires citizens to pay a fine if they don’t maintain insurance for themselves and their families.”
Congress, he said, cannot simply regulate anything it wants. Instead, Congress’ authority has limits, such as taxing and spending and commerce.