NEW YORK – Following confirmation by the National Archives that President Obama did not sign an executive order to implement the immigration policy he announced to the nation, Washington-based watchdog Judicial Watch has called for an investigation into whether the White House has engaged in a criminal conspiracy to spend taxpayer funds on unauthorized purposes.
“The fact that President Obama did not sign an executive order appears to involve a recognition by the White House that President Obama did not have the authority to make the changes in immigration law outlined in his Nov. 20 speech,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.
Fitton, in an interview with WND, argued executive orders are limited to facilitating the execution of laws, not altering or establishing law.
“Barack Obama did not issue an executive order because he does not have the authority to issue an executive order in this instance,” Fitton said.
He believes White House counsel concluded Obama lacked the authority to defer prosecutions under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, program and decided to implement the policy through a memorandum issued by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. The memo was never filed with the Federal Register for a period of public comment, as federal law requires agencies to do when making rules.
“Jeh Johnson did the bidding of his boss, engaging in a political act, not a legal act, that involves misappropriating public funds to open offices and hire employees to implement the directives of Johnson’s memorandum,” Fitton said.
Thursday, as WND reported, the National Archives and Records Administration, responsible for maintaining executive orders, said no executive order allowing millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. was ever signed or filed, confirming WND’s report Wednesday.
In addition, the office of Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott – who has filed a lawsuit against Obama’s immigration action – told WND it was aware there was no executive order signed by Obama implementing the actions outlined to the nation in his Nov. 20 speech.
Obama did sign two executive orders in Las Vegas the day after his speech. One was a presidential proclamation creating a White House Task Force on New Americans and the other a presidential memorandum instructing the secretaries of State and Homeland Security to consult with various governmental and non-governmental entities to reduce costs and improve service in issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
Fitton noted that according to Johnson’s memo, DHS will defer prosecution for three years and issue work authorization permits to qualified illegal immigrant parents of children who are U.S. citizens.
“I have long maintained there are potential criminal violations of law in the federal government taking money for one purpose and spending it for another,” Fitton commented.
He said the White House’s effort to suggest Obama had signed an executive order to implement his immigration plan had all the earmarks of a cover-up of a criminal conspiracy.
“The federal government cannot spend money to violate immigration laws,” Fitton said, pointing to the Anti-deficiency Act, which prohibits government from creating an obligation to pay money before funds have been authorized.
The penalties for violating that law are spelled out in 31 U.S. Code Section 1350.
“We can look at impeachment as a broad fight between the branches of government,” Fitton said. “But when you have executive branch officials taking actions outside of the law, there ought to be criminal consequences in addition to the constitutional checks that you have with impeachment. I’m saying that these recent executive branch actions on immigration are ripe for criminal inquiry.”
Fitton said Johnson “ought to be worried about going to jail for spending money he does not have the right to spend, including hiring employees to do things there’s no authorization for them to do, including issuing work permits to illegal immigrants.”
“This amounts to a brazen, in-your-face action by Johnson, and it’s all part of the ‘catch me if you can’ Obama presidency. The Three-card Monte game Obama played with the executive order is the kind of thing gangsters do when they say, ‘Let’s not meet here, let’s go outside and meet.’
“Not issuing the executive order has the appearance of fraud,” he said.
Fitton said Obama wants to get credit for ordering the immigration reform, “but when it comes down to brass tacks, there are no fingerprints.”
“Johnson may think issuing a DHS memo is smart, but what he’s really doing is rewriting immigration law like a commissar in the old Soviet system and trying to pass it off as nothing more than prosecutorial discretion. This is not representative government or regular agency rule-making.”
Fitton emphasized the need for a criminal investigation.
“If Washington is serious about the crisis the president has presented us, the Congress would be talking about criminal investigations for the executive branch spending this money without authorization,” he said.