NEW YORK – Perkins Coie, the Seattle-based law firm that has defended Barack Obama in lawsuits challenging the authenticity of his birth records, has emerged as the muscle for Federal Communications Commission threats against media that run advertising critical of Obamacare and of Democrats running for election in November 2014.
A letter on Perkins Coie stationery has surfaced addressed to an unnamed television “Station Manager” suggesting “for the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest,” an advertisement sponsored by the conservative Americans for Prosperity attacking Obamacare may be detrimental to the Senate campaign of Detroit Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and should be checked to determine if factual documentation can be provided for its claims, according to a report by Communities Digital News.
The advertisement shows a woman identified as Julie Boonstra of Dexter, Mich., who claims to be a cancer patient diagnosed five years ago with leukemia and has a 20 percent chance of surviving. She cannot afford to pay for the needed medications and medical treatment because her insurance was canceled because of Obamacare, the ad says.
In “Julie’s Story: It’s Time to Listen,” Boonstra articulates hard-hitting allegations that Peters’ decision to vote for Obamacare and “lies” told by President Obama that she could keep her current doctors and health insurance have supposedly put her health and her life in jeopardy.
The Communities Digital News report noted the Perkins Coie letter referenced an article published in the Washington Post on Feb. 20 by Glenn Kessler in his “The Fact Checker” blog titled “A hard-hitting anti-Obamacare ad makes a claim that doesn’t add up.” The article challenged Boonstra’s claims, pointing out Americans for Prosperity had confirmed Boonstra was able to find a plan, via Blue Cross Blue Shield, that had her doctor in its network.
Kessler also noted Boonstra was invited by her local member of Congress, Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., to attend President Obama’s State of the Union Address and that she participated in a Republican National Committee news conference that highlighted problems with Obamacare’s launch.
At the RNC news conference, Boonstra represented the following:
Hi. Five years ago I was diagnosed chronic myelogenous leukemia. At that time I found out that my health insurance plan was not adequate. So I enrolled in a new plan that fully covered me. So life has been hard fighting leukemia but my insurance needs were met. In October, I received a letter telling me that my insurance plan was being dissolved. I tried to get on the website several times, and every time it was a failure. For me that means without having insurance I cannot receive my oral chemotherapy that I need every day in order to survive. So I ended up enrolling in a private plan where I can at least get my chemotherapy but of course I’m paying a higher cost now as far as out of pocket costs and the coverage is just not the same. Thank you.
Kessler wrote that “the claim that the costs are now ‘unaffordable’ appeared odd because, under Obamacare, there is an out-of-pocket of $6,350 for covered expenses under an individual plan, after which the insurance plan pays 100 percent of covered benefits.’
“The Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Michigan that appear to match Boonstra’s plan, as described in local news reports, all have that limit,” he said.
Kessler further pointed out Boonstra told the Detroit News that her monthly payments were cut in half, from $1,100 a month to $571 a month, a savings of $529 a month that amount to a premium savings of $6,348 over the course of a year, just $2 less than the out-of-pocket maximum.
Levi Russell, a spokesman for AFP, told Kessler that he “would assume there is an OOP max, but this is the story of Julie, a real person suffering from blood cancer, not some neat and tidy White House PowerPoint about how the ACA is helping everyone.”
Russell further explained to Kessler that there is a possibility Boonstra’s specific chemotherapy medication will not be covered.
“Julie’s concerns about her new plan are ongoing and very personal. Since her out-of-pocket costs are so much higher now, her costs have quickly become unpredictable,” Russell added in his interview with Kessler.
“Rather than knowing exactly what she would have to pay every month, she now is facing a roller coaster of expenses that vary with her health. She said she feels like a surprise is around every corner, since she keeps being hit with new out-of-pocket costs every time she needs treatment, or a test, or even an office visit.”
Russell concluded his interview with Kessler by stressing: “Now her expenses are unpredictable, and that means unaffordable. It could be $600 one month, and three times that the next month. The reality of what she’s dealing with is much more involved and can’t be swept aside by saying ‘you have an OOP maximum, so quit complaining about your cancer.’”
Perkins Coie threatens broadcaster
The Perkins Coie letter to the station manager emphasized, “Ultimately, as the Washington Post concludes, ‘a fuller accounting is necessary if AFP is going to air ads like this.’ You have a duty to demand that AFP provide the factual support for its claims.”
The Perkins Coie letter then referenced two Supreme Court cases in a threatening manner: “Unlike federal candidates, independent political organizations like AFP do not have a ‘right to command the use of broadcast facilities.’ See CBS v. DNC, 412 U.S. 94, 113 (1973). Because you do not need to air this advertisement, your station bears responsibility for its content when you do grant access. See Felix v. Westinghouse Radio Stations, 186 F.2d 1,6 (3rd Cir. 1950), cert. denied, 314 U.S. 909 (1950).”
Continuing, the Perkins Coie letter next referenced two additional federal court cases, as follows: “Moreover, you have an obligation ‘to protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising. Licensee Responsibility With Respect to the Broadcast of False, Misleading, or Deceptive Advertising, 74 F.C.C.2d 623 (1961). Failure to prevent the airing of ‘false and misleading advertising’ may be ‘probative of an underlying abdication of licensee responsibility’ that can be cause for the loss of a station’s license. See Cosmopolitan Broad Corp. v. FCC, 581 F.2d 917, 927 (D.C. Cir. 1978).”
The letter concluded by listing two Perkins Coie attorneys as “Counsel to Peters for Michigan” and a telephone number: “Please contact us regarding any evidence that AFP is able to provide regarding its advertisement on your station as soon as possible. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”
Law firm defends Obama on birth certificate
Judith Corley, a partner in the Perkins Coie political law practice then assigned to handle President Obama’s personal legal matters, was the Washington, D.C., attorney assigned by the law firm to fly to Honolulu to pick up from Hawaii Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy the long-form birth certificate that President Obama released to the public in a White House press conference on April 27, 2011.
WND reported Fuddy was the only fatality among nine people aboard a plane that went down shortly after takeoff from the Hawaiian island of Molokai in December.
Robert Bauer, a senior partner in Perkins Coie, resigned suddenly as White House counsel on June 2, 2011. WND reported the move may have been designed to deflect attention away from the role he had played in defending Obama in eligibility legal challenges. He represented Obama in the cases both when he served as counsel to the Obama 2008 presidential campaign and as White House special counsel during Obama’s first term.
WND also reported Bauer was married to Anita Dunn, the White House communications director who came under attack after she charged Fox News was a propaganda arm of the Republican Party, “opinion journalism masquerading as news,” not a legitimate news agency.
Glenn Beck, on his Fox News show, showed video of Dunn telling high-school students in June 2009 that her two “favorite political philosophers” included communist Chinese leader Mao Zedong, whose draconian policies are blamed for the deaths of tens of millions of people.
See the video of Dunn:
Andrea Tantaros of Fox News reported Dunn resigned her position as White House communications director in an article that said though her title was communications director, “at times, ‘Fox News Basher’ seemed more appropriate as she seemingly and bizarrely began to publicly wage war on the network roughly a month ago.”