Thursday, December 01, 2005

Statement on Imminent Execution of Kenneth Boyd, 1,000th U.S. Execution Since Death Penalty Was Restored in 1976

KENSINGTON, Md., Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The president of Throw Away The Key, an education and advocacy group that works to reduce violent crime, issued the following statement this evening regarding the imminent execution of Kenneth Boyd, who will be the 1,000th killer executed in the United States since the death penalty was restored in 1976. Michael Paranzino said:
"When Kenneth Boyd is executed tomorrow morning, let us pause and say a prayer for the 600,000 innocent men, women and children who have been brutally murdered across America in the time that 1,000 killers have faced justice. Let us also remember Julie Curry Boyd and her father Thomas Curry, who were murdered in cold blood by Kenneth Boyd.
"Boyd is typical of the killers executed under our modern death penalty system. He is clearly guilty, and killed two innocent people. Over the last 10 years, executed killers have been averaging just over two known murder victims each. Boyd is, then, among this worst of the worst.
"Finally, death penalty opponents often claim wrongfully that the death penalty is not a deterrent. But let Kenneth Boyd's execution be a loud and clear warning to every man out there who believes he has a right to kill his wife, ex-wife, girlfriend or ex-girlfriend if he feels spurned. The American people are fed up with women-killers, and American juries will bring you to justice. If you kill a woman in cold blood, you may end up in Boyd's place on that gurney.
"In a few days, it will be time for unrepentant four-time killer Stanley 'Tookie' Williams to face justice in California, and no protests by rich Hollywood stars are going to be able to protect that murderer. Williams refuses to inform on his fellow killers in the Crips gang he founded, because he cares more about protecting killers and thugs than saving the lives of the Black and Latino teens who are most often the victims of gang violence. We are confident California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will stand with the families of California and not side with a cold- hearted killer."
To learn more about the nonpartisan, nonprofit Throw Away The Key, visit their website at .
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Leaders Comment on House-Senate Leadership Retreat

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) released the following statement at the conclusion of their joint leadership retreat:
"The Republican leadership for both the U.S. House and Senate are deeply committed to restraining spending, reforming government so that it is more effective and efficient, and accomplishing this task by the end of this year. This leadership retreat allowed us to look at ways to achieve these goals and look forward to the future.
"Creating better lives for American families is our highest priority, and we are preparing an agenda that reflects that goal. We are improving national security in a way that will strengthen our armed forces and continue to provide our soldiers the tools they need to fight terrorism. We are focusing on economic security by creating the conditions businesses need to succeed so they can hire more workers, create more jobs and put more money in the pockets of American families. And, we are focusing on homeland security by improving border security and protecting the citizens who live and work in America's cities and towns. We believe these efforts combined will protect our citizens and allow American workers and families to prosper."
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Students to Boycott Slavery Banks; Press Conference and Rally in New York, Dec. 5

News Advisory:
On Monday, December 5, 2005, students, hip hop activists, and reparations organizations will hold a press conference and rally announcing the boycott campaign of JP Morgan Chase student loans.
Students are demanding a restitution settlement in the consolidated lawsuits pending against JP Morgan Chase for their role in the enslavement of Africans -– case number MDL 1491 in Chicago, Illinois, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Students will exercise their right to choose a student loan provider, and will avoid slavery banks like JP MorganChase, Wachovia, FleetBank, Bank of America, and Bank One.
WHAT: Rally and press conference
WHEN: Monday, December 5, 2005 at noon
WHERE: JP MorganChase Headquarters 270 Park Avenue, between 47th and 48th Streets New York, NY
Campaign Coordinator: The Restitution Study Group: 917-365- 3007 or website:
Lawsuit contact: 609-462-7979
Supporters/Participants: Artists & Activists United for Peace; Carl Mayer, Counsel for Plaintiffs; Louisiana Center Against Poverty; Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, Community Mayor of Harlem; National Reparations Convention; N’COBRA Clark-Atlanta University – Atlanta, GA; National Coalition for Reparations and Economic Wealth – Los Angeles, CA; New Future Foundation; Orlando Green, NY Co-Chair of National HipHop Political Convention; Divine Shabazz of Southern Connecticut State University
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

U.S. Army Officer Arrested in Case Involving Bribery, Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme in Al-Hillah, Iraq

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve was arrested on charges of conspiring to commit bribery, money laundering, possession of automatic weapons, theft, and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Coalition Provisional Authority -- South Central Region (CPA-SC) in Al-Hillah, Iraq, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today.
Michael Brian Wheeler, 47, of Amherst Junction, Wisconsin, was arrested on Nov. 30, 2005 and is currently in custody in Wisconsin. In 2003 and 2004, Wheeler, a civil affairs officer, was on active duty for the United States Army, attached to and serving the CPA-SC in Al-Hillah, Iraq, where he was responsible for developing and ordering contracts and contract solicitations on which the CPA expended funds in the reconstruction efforts of Iraq.
According to an affidavit filed at U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, beginning in 2003, certain CPA officials and a contractor conspired to rig the bids on contracts being awarded by the CPA-SC so that numerous contracts were awarded to the contractor's businesses. The affidavit alleges that Wheeler and his co-conspirators accepted money and gifts in return for using their official positions to award contracts to the contractor and his companies. The affidavit also alleges that CPA officials, including Wheeler, stole CPA funds and laundered that money, and smuggled some of the currency into the United States. According to the affidavit, Wheeler allegedly stole $100,000 in CPA funds which he used to buy equipment in Wisconsin.
Wheeler is also charged with numerous firearms charges, including conspiring to embezzle and possess numerous .45 caliber pistols, 5.56 and 7.76 caliber automatic machine guns, and several grenade launchers that were purchased with CPA-SC funds. According to the affidavit, Wheeler and his co-conspirators used CPA funds to purchase dozens of firearms and related military- grade hardware in North Carolina, which they then converted to their own personal use.
If convicted, Wheeler faces up to 30 years in prison, a three- year term of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
Wheeler is the third defendant to be charged in the Department of Justice's ongoing investigation into bribery, money laundering and fraud by U.S. government officials and contractors in Iraq. On Nov. 13, 2005, Philip Bloom, a U.S. citizen living in Romania and Iraq and the owner and operator of numerous construction and service companies doing business in Iraq, was arrested when he arrived at Newark International Airport. On Nov. 14, 2005, Robert J. Stein of Fayetteville, North Carolina, formerly the Comptroller and Funding Officer for the CPA-SC, was also arrested in connection with the investigation. Both Stein and Bloom remain in custody.
A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
These cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Mark Yost and Patrick Murphy of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, headed by Section Chief Richard Weber; and Trial Attorneys James A. Crowell IV and Ann C. Brickley of the Public Integrity Section, headed by Section Chief Noel L. Hillman of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division. These cases are being investigated by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

NLPC Asks Corporations to Stay Away from Jesse Jackson's Wall Street Conference; Ethics Group Cites Controversy, Anti-Semitism at Last Rainbow/PUSH Event

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, today sent the following letter to the chief executive officers of Ford Motor Company, Freddie Mac, GE, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, IBM, MetLife, Microsoft, New York Life, Raytheon, Time Warner, Toyota, Waste Management, and other companies:
We ask that you refrain from sponsoring the annual Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Conference scheduled to take place January 8-11, 2006 in New York City. Your company was identified by Rainbow/PUSH as a sponsor of last year's event.
The New York Stock Exchange ended its sponsorship and financial support for the same event in 2005 in apparent response to our requests.
You should be aware that corporate sponsors of another recent Jesse Jackson conference were subjected to controversy and embarrassment. At the Rainbow/PUSH & Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference that took place in Chicago on June 11-16, 2005, the following problems occurred:
1) Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan spoke at a luncheon sponsored by Toyota and other corporations. Toyota insists that that Farrakhan spoke "unbeknownst" to Toyota.
2) Toyota was listed on conference materials as a "Platinum Sponsor" but Toyota claims that it did not sponsor the conference and that its name and trademark was used without its knowledge or permission.
3) Another conference speaker, Harry Belafonte, made inflammatory and anti-Semitic statements. Belafonte called Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, a "powerful Jew" and a "liar," and complained that "only a Jew has a right to the word Holocaust."
A member of our staff was present and witnessed these events, which were also reported in the media. Many of your customers, shareholders, employees and business partners object to your bankrolling of Jesse Jackson and his organizations.
Jesse Jackson appears to be turning up the heat in anticipation of the conference. Reuters reported that on Tuesday Jesse Jackson said Wall Street has "a long way to go" in establishing parity for minorities.
"If you think about it, the struggle all began on Wall Street," Jackson told Reuters. "Wall Street was built as a commodity exchange and the commodity was Africans. Most blacks lived in the Wall Street area. At some point they moved them north to what is now Harlem, but it all began in what is now Wall Street."
NLPC promotes ethics in public life, and sponsors the Corporate Integrity Project.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Transcript of President's Remarks at Signing of HR 4145 to Place a Statue of Rosa Parks in the United States Capitol

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush at the signing of HR 4145 to place a statue of Rosa Parks in the United States Capitol:
Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
10:33 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Welcome. Please be seated. Thank you all for being here. Laura and I thank you for joining us on this special day.
Fifty years ago an African American woman named Rosa Parks helped set in motion a national movement for equality and freedom when she refused a bus driver's order to give her seat to a white man. The bill I'm about to sign calls for a statue of Rosa Parks to be placed in the Capitol's National Statuary Hall. (Applause.)
By placing her statue in the heart of the nation's Capitol, we commemorate her work for a more perfect union, and we commit ourselves to continue to struggle for justice for every American.
I'm honored the Secretary of State has joined us, as well as Secretary Alphonso Jackson. I want to thank the bill sponsors, Jesse Jackson, Jr. -- I see you brought some of your family with you. (Laughter.) Senator John Kerry, Senator Thad Cochran; Senator Dick Lugar joining us, as well.
I'm proud that Bruce Gordon is here. He's the President and CEO of the NAACP. Thanks for joining us, Bruce. I want to thank all the civil rights leaders who've joined us, as well. I particularly want to say thanks to Elaine Steele, Representative of the Rosa Parks Institute.
MS. STEELE: Right here.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Welcome. (Applause.) We've got a seat for you.
It's great to see Dr. Dorothy Height, as well. Welcome, Dr. Height. (Applause.) I want to thank all of Rosa Parks’ family who have joined us as well; you're kind to come.
Rosa Parks was a daughter of the South who worked as a seamstress at a department store in a Montgomery, Alabama. On December 1, 1955, she boarded a city bus. Under local and state law, African Americans had to give up their seats if any white people were standing. But after a lifetime of discrimination and a hard day's work, Rosa refused. As she would later say, "I wasn't tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day ... No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."
By refusing to give in, Rosa Parks showed that one candle can light the darkness. Like so many institutionalized evils, segregation ultimately depended on public accommodation. Like so many institutionalized evils, once the ugliness of these laws was held up to the light, they could not stand. Like so many institutionalized evils, these laws proved no match for the power of an awakened conscience -- and as a result, the cruelty and humiliation of the Jim Crow laws are now a thing of the past.
By refusing to give in, Rosa Parks helped inspire a nationwide effort for equal justice under the law. When she refused to yield her seat, Mrs. Parks was arrested, convicted of violating the segregation laws, and fined $10, plus $4 dollars in court fees. Her arrest sparked a boycott of the Montgomery bus lines by its black passengers, and the formation of a local association of African-Americans led by a young preacher named Martin Luther King, Junior. The boycott ended more than a year later, after the Supreme Court struck down segregation on buses. What had begun as a simple act of civil disobedience ended up galvanizing the modern movement for civil rights.
By refusing to give in, Rosa Parks called America back to its founding promise of equality and justice for everyone. When the police officer boarded the bus and told the seamstress that he had to arrest her, he explained that the law was the law. Rosa and the black ministers who defended her invoked the Constitution and pointed to a higher law. Our Declaration of Independence makes clear that the human right to dignity and equality is not a grant of government -- it is a gift from the Author of Life. (Applause.) And by holding our nation true to the words of its founding document, Rosa Parks helped her fellow African-Americans claim their God-given freedoms and made America a better place.
Eventually the civil rights movement would succeed in persuading Congress to pass more sweeping legislation that dealt with voting rights and discrimination in public places, and school segregation -- and the United States Congress should renew the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (Applause.)
Dr. King liked to say that our Civil Rights Act was written in the streets by the citizens who marched for justice and equality. And on this day we remember the great inspiration this movement drew from the quiet courage shown by an Alabama woman riding home on a Cleveland Avenue bus.
It is fitting that this American hero will now be honored with a monument inside the most visible symbol of American democracy. We hope that generations of Americans will remember what this brave woman did, and be inspired to add their own contributions to the unfolding story of American freedom for all.
And now it's my honor to sign the bill that will make Rosa Parks the first African American woman to be honored with a statue in our nation's Capitol. (Applause.)
(The bill was signed.) (Applause.)
END 10:40 A.M. EST
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Congressional Leaders Urge President Bush to Grant Quota Relief on China Pipe Imports

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) and U.S. makers of standard pipe today announced separate letters signed by 61 members of the U.S. House and 20 U.S. Senators were sent to President Bush urging him to grant quota relief on surging pipe imports from China.
A final report will be given to the President for his determination on the industry’s petition for relief, following the public hearing held Nov. 29 by an interagency staff at the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office in Washington. Under Section 421 of the U.S. trade law passed by Congress in 2000, the USTR reviews injury findings of the International Trade Commission (ITC) and forwards its recommendation by Dec. 15 to the President, who is due to make a decision by Dec. 30.
Section 421 was enacted by Congress as part of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to provide American manufacturers with a way to respond to import surges that result in market disruption. The standard pipe case is currently the only pending case going to the President on China imports.
The U.S. Senate letter states: "The Chinese government has refused to respect international trade obligations by continuing to manipulate its currency, violating intellectual property rights, and by providing domestic and export subsidies." It also adds, "In spite of massive surges of imports from China, which reached $22.7 billion in just the month of August 2005, no American industry or worker has yet received relief under this law."
The USW represents most of the 2,500 pipe workers employed at the affected companies who filed the petition: Allied Tube & Conduit Corp.; IPSCO Tubulars Inc.; Maruichi American Corp.; Maverick Tube Corp.; Sharon Tube Co.; Western Tube & Conduit Corp.; and Wheatland Tube Co. These companies operate plants in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Two plants in Oregon and Louisiana have recently been shutdown, plus several more plants are in danger of being closed. According to the industry, 400 workers have been laid off this year and annualized Chinese imports of standard pipe will reach 400,000 tons from a level of 10,000 tons in 2002.
The views of the ITC, including its remedy proposals and the ITC staff report are available on the ITC’s website:
Copies of the U.S. House and Senate signatory letters transmitted to the White House are available as pdf files by contacting Gary Hubbard, USW, 202-778-4384; or Tamara Browne, Schagrin Associates, 202-223-1700.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Consumer Group Calls on Calif. Insurance Commissioner Garamendi to Act Against Profiteering in PacifiCare/ UnitedHealth Merger

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today called upon Insurance Commissioner Garamendi to halt health insurer profiteering by using his power to stop the merger of HMO giants PacifiCare of California and UnitedHealth. Garamendi is holding a hearing today on health insurance industry profitability.
FTCR's Jamie Court and Carmen Balber wrote Garamendi: "This merger is a case study in Wall Street profiteering that will likely result in higher health care costs for all Californians and you have the power to stop it.... This is a time for more action, not more talk.
"Under the terms of the proposed merger, top executives will receive $445 million in bonuses. These bonuses could provide health care for 148,000 Californians for an entire year (based on an annual cost of $3,000 per person). Patients should not foot the bill for huge cash and stock payouts to health care executives.
"Also at risk is PacifiCare's $389 million in excess reserves -- built with patient premiums to more than 500 percent of state- required levels -- that UnitedHealth could remove from the state unless regulators require the funds remain. This excess reserve is sufficient to provide health care coverage for another 130,000 Californians for an entire year...
"If you are serious about curbing profiteering in the health care market, take a stand. Oppose the PacifiCare/ UnitedHealth merger until the company repudiates its excessive executive compensation and returns excessive profits to the public."
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is California's leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information, visit
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Op-Ed: Bible Curriculum Demonstrates Public Schools Are End Time Battleground

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is an Op- Ed by Bill Wilson, KIN senior analyst:
Bible Curriculum Demonstrates Public Schools Are End Time Battleground
By Bill Wilson, KIN senior analyst
Some say it's the start of teaching a one world religion, others say it's a harmless elective for high school students, but beginning next year, public schools will be offered a Bible curriculum developed under the influence of people who believe the needs of the citizenry should be subservient to the state, and whose standards are endorsed by such liberal organizations as the National Education Association and the National Association of Evangelicals.
According to the Supreme Court, the public schools cannot endorse religion by teaching it, but the Bible can be taught as a literary or historic curriculum as an elective. And the conservative National Council on Bible Curriculum In Public Schools has been offering a King James Based-based curriculum, used in some 1,100 high schools in 37 states.
The National Council on Bible Curriculum, however, is now challenged by The Bible Literacy Project, who will offer a textbook-based curriculum in schools next year. Its standards are endorsed by the National Education Association, and the liberal National Association of Evangelicals. These standards were developed in part by Charles Haynes, who once worked for Americans United for Separation of Church and State and was on the advisory board of The Pluralism Project, comprised also of people like Wicca priestess Margot Adler. Haynes and others involved with the project are "communitarians", who believe individual needs and rights are secondary to the interests of the state.
Dr. Dennis Cuddy, a former Education Department official and currently a commentator on education issues, reviewed both curriculums. He describes the Bible Literacy Project's textbook as the liberal's answer to the Bible-based approach of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. He said the Bible Literacy Project's textbook could lead children to believe that parts of the Bible are mythology and cause them to question whether God is good. He said there are problems he has with the Bible Literacy Projects program that he does not have with that of the Council's.
First, Cuddy says, the BLP's textbook does not have a complete curriculum; second, he believes there are factual errors in the presentation of the Bible; and he strongly believes that the BLP's textbook does not teach the Bible as the inerrant word of God.
Sheila Weber, Vice President of Communications for the Bible Literacy Project, says the curriculum was developed with a broad based of ecumenical support. She said the textbook encourages children to read their own Bible and to use the Bible as a source. Weber said, "So we've built our textbook to satisfy the standards needed for public schools."
In the past generation since the Supreme Court erroneously ruled against prayer in public schools, there has been a precipitous decline in the moral culture within the schools and the children of America. Gang violence, teen pregnancy, abortion, drug abuse and homosexuality have permeated society, often originating in the public school system. America has seen the impact of the secular humanist manifesto and its resulting attack on "God and Country." There are so many, even those who proclaim Christianity, who have bought in to the concept that children should be taught at an early age about sex, drugs and violence so they are able to do these things "responsibly."
What has been lacking, however, for nearly a generation is the companion textbook that would teach children the best way to live their lives, drug free and happy without the threat of unwanted pregnancy, the hate of gang violence, or the abomination of homosexuality-the Bible. The Bible, the very first textbook for the public school system under Thomas Jefferson, has been absent from school under a virtual ban until recent court systems clarifying that the "Good Book" can be taught as an elective from a historic and literary perspective.
You have heard the saying, "the devil is in the details.' Such is the case with this public school Bible curriculum. The Bible Literacy Project does not use a Bible, but rather a textbook to teach the Bible. It calls into question whether God is good and it appears to be the liberal answer to getting god back into the public schools-a forerunner to a one-world religion being taught here in the United States to our children. Jesus said in Luke 21:8, "Take heed that you not be deceived, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draws near; therefore, do not go after them." These are days of great deception. Stay close to Christ that you may discern the times.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Family Television Awards Honor Nine for Family Friendly Programming; Awards Ceremony to Air on The WB Network, Dec. 11

News Advisory:
The Seventh Annual Family Television Awards was held on November 30 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills and recognized honorees in nine categories for their contributions to outstanding family entertainment. The show will be televised on The WB Network on Sunday, December 11 from 8 p.m to 9 p.m. Reba McEntire of The WB hit series Reba is the host.
The Family Television Awards are the only awards recognizing outstanding programming for family viewing. The awards are given by the members of the Family Friendly Programming Forum and selected by the members of the Association of National Advertisers. The 40-plus major national advertisers that participate in the Forum are taking positive steps to increase family friendly programming choices on primetime television. Their mission is to support and promote the development of "family friendly" television across all programming genres between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m., when adults and children are most likely to watch television together.
2005 Family Television Award honorees include:
Drama: "Lost" (ABC)
Comedy: "King of Queens" (CBS)
Reality: "Amazing Race" (CBS)
Reality Host: Ty Pennington ("Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," ABC)
Best New Series: "Everybody Hates Chris" (UPN)
Actor: Jim Belushi ("According to Jim," ABC)
Actress: Reba McEntire ("Reba," The WB)
Movie: "The Wool Cap" (TNT)
Lifetime Achievement: "7th Heaven" (The WB)
"Family Friendly Programming is appropriate in theme, content and language for adults and children," said Kaki Hinton, co-chair of the Family Friendly Programming Forum, vice president, Advertising Services Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. "The programming has cross generational appeal, depicts real life situations and resolves issues responsibly."
"The Family Friendly Programming Forum will continue to advocate and raise the visibility of family friendly television shows with networks, writers and producers," said Dawn Jacobs, co-chair of the Family Friendly Programming Forum and vice president advertising, Johnson & Johnson. "The viewing public deserves nothing less."
The Family Television Awards Show is being produced by dick clark productions for the seventh consecutive year. Executive Producer is Barry Adelman. Michael Richards is Supervising Producer. Chris Donovan is the Director.
Stars appearing on the Awards program on December 11th include: Reba McEntire (Reba); Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives); Jim Belushi and Larry Joe Campbell (According to Jim); Randy Jackson, Ruben Studdard (American Idol); Rose McGowan and Kaley Cuoco (Charmed); Ty Pennington (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition); Jane Seymour; Chris Rock; Frankie Muniz, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan (Malcolm in the Middle); George Lopez, Constance Marie, Belita Moreno and Valente Rodriguez (George Lopez); Freddie Prinze, Jr. (Freddie); William H. Macy; Keke Palmer (The Wool Cap); Jerry Stiller (King of Queens); Stephen Collins; Catherine Hicks; Tyler Hoechlin; Beverley Mitchell; Mackenzie Rosman; George Stults (7th Heaven); Tyler James Williams; Tichina Arnold; Terry Crew; Imani Hakim; Vincent Martella; Tequan Richmond (Everybody Hates Chris); Joyce and Uchenna Abu (Amazing Race); Jo Frost (Supernanny); Melissa Peterman (Reba); Kiele Sanchez and Laura Breckinridge (Related); Jennie Garth (What I Like About You); Emilie deRavin, Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly, Dominic Monaghan, Harold Perrineau (Lost) and Danica McKellar.
Additional information about the Family Television Awards and other initiatives of the Family Friendly Programming Forum can be found at
The Family Friendly Programming Forum comprises the following companies: AllState Insurance Company, American Family Insurance, BellSouth Corporation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Domino’s Pizza, Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, FedEx Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Mills, Inc., General Motors Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline, H&R Block Inc., Hershey Foods Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, IBM Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, Inc., Liberty Mutual Group, Lowe's Companies Inc., Masterfoods USA, McCormick & Company, Inc., McDonald's Corporation, Merck & Co. Inc., Nestle USA, Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., PepsiCo, Inc., Pfizer Inc. Schering-Plough Corporation, Sears, Roebuck and Co., Sprint Communications, State Farm Automobile Mutual Insurance Companies, The Coca-Cola Company, The Gillette Company, The Home Depot, Inc., The J.M. Smucker Company, The Procter & Gamble Company, Tyson Foods, Inc., Unilever United States, Inc., Verizon Communications, Wachovia Corporation, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Welch Foods, Inc., Wendy's International, Inc.
The WB is a sharply focused broadcast network targeted to 12- 34 year olds, a highly desired demographic for advertisers. The network has achieved great success reaching this group through the consistent development and marketing of quality scripted series currently on its schedule including "7th Heaven," "Smallville," "Gilmore Girls," "Charmed," "Everwood," "One Tree Hill" and "Reba." Launched in January 1995, The WB Television Network broadcasts 29 weekly hours of programming on over 200 affiliated stations covering more than 92 percent of the country.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Announces North Carolina Joins National Sex Offender Public Registry Web Site

To: National Desk, Legal Reporter
Contact: Sheila Jerusalem of U.S. Department of Justice, 202-307-0703; Web:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today announced the addition of North Carolina to the National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) website, which provides real-time access to public sex offender data nationwide with a single Internet search. The Department of Justice-sponsored website allows parents and concerned citizens to search existing public state and territory sex offender registries beyond their own states.
The Department of Justice announced the activation of a national registry website on July 20 and initially linked 22 states to the site. With today's announcement, the registry connects 39 states, the District of Columbia and a territory to the site. Remaining states and territories are expected to be linked by the end of the year. The list of the states and territories currently available through NSOPR follows.
"The Department of Justice is committed to working with our state and local partners to keep our communities safe from sexual predators," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "The silent sex offender can be just as dangerous as notorious neighborhood gang members, and because of this we must keep parents and communities informed and engaged. Sharing information with concerned citizens and parents is an integral part of our strategy to protect communities from these predators who wish to harm the most vulnerable among us."
The NSOPR provides an opportunity for all states and territories to participate in an unprecedented public safety resource by sharing comprehensive, free-of-charge public sex offender data with citizens nationwide. With a single query from any web-capable computer, NSOPR searches public state and territory sex offender registries to deliver matched results based on a name, state, county, city/town or Zip code. The site is located at .
The technology for NSOPR is both time and cost-effective. Web services and DOJ's Global Justice eXtensible Markup Language (XML) common computer language establish a link between existing state and territory public sex offender registries. The link allows data from different hardware and software systems to be recognized and shown through the national search site.
With more than 500,000 registered sex offenders nationwide, access to public registry information nationwide is essential for citizens to help identify sex offenders beyond their own streets or neighborhoods.
States/Territories Linked to the National Sex Offender Public Registry:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at: .
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Three Former Terrorists to Speak at Princeton University

On Thursday, Dec. 8, three former terrorists will speak at the McCosh 50 Lecture Theatre on the campus of Princeton University, at 7:30 p.m. Parking for the public is available in Lot 10 near the theatre.
The speakers will discuss the terrorist mindset. A question and answer session will follow.
For more information, contact Keith Davies at 720-935-2826 or

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Snowe: Treasury Report Ignores and Excuses Appalling Chinese Trade Tactics

To: National and Business desks
Contact: Chris Chichester of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 202-228-5843
WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, responded to the biannual report to Congress released by the Treasury Department that once again failed to designate China as a currency manipulator:
"The Treasury Department continues to ignore and excuse the Chinese government's appalling disregard for fair trade practices by manipulating its currency, which harms small business owners in Maine and across our nation. Congress has endured this do- nothing policy for too long.
"Despite overwhelming evidence that the Chinese government deliberately manipulates its currency at the expense of American manufacturing jobs, the Treasury Department has once again failed to take action. Congress must confront this pattern of indifference and force the Chinese government to honor its international trade obligations by going much further in its reforms to bring it into compliance."
In May, Senator Snowe introduced "The Fair Currency Practices Act of 2005" (S. 984), legislation to force nations to live up to their international obligations and stop undervaluing their currencies. It has three key provisions. The first would alter the criteria by which the Treasury Department is required to enter into negotiations with foreign countries that it labels as currency manipulators. The second would further clarify the working definition of manipulation under the Exchange Rates and International Economic Policy Coordination Act of 1998. Finally, the Fair Currency Practices Act would instruct Treasury to undertake an extensive examination of China's trade surplus, with particular attention paid to China's suspect trade data, and report on its findings.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

National Archives to Release Online Materials Relating to Samuel Alito

To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor
Contact: National Archives, 202-501-5526
News Advisory:
WHAT: The National Archives at College Park will release 31 documents totaling 336 pages from Record Group 60, Records of the Department of Justice, Files of Charles Cooper and Files of the Attorney General, Edwin Meese III.
These records, consisting of memoranda and other documents, were located in various folders in the files of Cooper and Meese during the processing of FOIA requests by the National Archives.
WHERE: The records will be posted on the National Archives web site at:
WHEN: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 11 a.m. (EST)
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Study Rates 22 Widely Used Comprehensive School Reform Models

To: National Desk, Education Editor and Reporter
Contact: Larry McQuillan, 202-403-5119; Louise Kennelly, 202-403-5817
WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A new guide using strict scientific criteria to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of 22 widely adopted comprehensive elementary school reform models rates 15 as "limited" to "moderately strong" in demonstrating positive effects on student achievement.
The American Institutes for Research (AIR) report was produced by AIR's Comprehensive School Reform Quality (CSRQ) Center, a multi-year project funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The CSRQ Center Report on Elementary School CSR Models builds on AIR's pioneering work in conducting consumer-friendly research reviews, including An Educators' Guide to Schoolwide Reform issued in 1999, and its current work for the What Works Clearinghouse.
"Our purpose in providing ratings is not to pick winners and losers but rather to clarify options for decision-makers," said Steve Fleischman, a managing director for AIR who oversaw the study. "This report is being issued in the hopes that the information and analysis it provides contributes to making research relevant in improving education."
Collectively, the reform models reviewed serve thousands of mostly high-poverty, low-performing schools nationwide. The review includes such well known models as Success for All, Accelerated Schools, Core Knowledge, America's Choice, Direct Instruction, School Renaissance, and the School Development Program.
AIR researchers conducted extensive reviews of about 800 studies and other publicly available information to rate the models in five categories of quality and effectiveness, including their ability to improve student achievement and to provide support to schools that allowed the model to be fully implemented. The CSRQ Center review framework was developed in consultation with an Advisory Group composed of leading education experts and researchers, and is closely aligned with the requirement for scientifically based evidence that is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Of the 22 reform models examined, Direct Instruction (Full Immersion Model), based in Eugene, Ore., and Success for All, located in Baltimore, Md., received a "moderately strong" rating in "Category 1: Evidence of Positive Effects on Student Achievement."
Five models met the standards for the "moderate" rating in Category 1: Accelerated Schools PLUS, in Storrs, Conn.; America's Choice School Design, based in Washington, D.C.; Core Knowledge, located in Charlottesville, Va.; School Renaissance in Madison, Wis.; and the School Development Project, based in New Haven, Conn. Models receiving a "moderate" rating may still show notable evidence of positive outcomes, but this evidence not as strong as those models receiving a "moderately strong" or "very strong" rating.
Eight models earned a "limited" rating in Category 1: ATLAS Communities and Co-nect, both in Cambridge, Mass.; Different Ways of Knowing, located in Santa Monica, Calif.; Integrated Thematic Instruction, based in Covington, Wash,; Literacy Collaborative, from Columbus, Ohio; National Writing Project, in Berkeley, Calif.; Modern Red Schoolhouse, based in Nashville, Tenn.; and Ventures Initiative Focus System, located in New York, N.Y. The "limited" rating indicates that while the CSRQ Center found some evidence of positive effects on student achievement, much more rigorous research and evidence needs to be presented on the model to fully support its effectiveness.
Seven CSR models received a "zero" rating in Category 1: Breakthrough to Literacy, from Coralville, Iowa; Comprehensive Early Literacy Learning, in Redlands, Calif.; Community for Learning, based in Philadelphia, Pa.; Coalition of Essential Schools, located in Oakland, Calif.; Expeditionary Learning, based in Garrison, N.Y.; First Steps, in Salem, Mass.; and Onward to Excellence II, located in Portland, Ore. A rating of "zero" means that evidence was found to provide a rating for this category, but none was of sufficient quality to be counted as reliable evidence.
None of the 22 models earned a "no" or "negative" rating, which indicate that a model has no evidence available for review, or strong evidence demonstrating negative effects in a given category or subcategory, respectively.
Consumers can visit the CSRQ Center's website ( to download the entire report, individual model profiles, or to search the online database to perform side- by-side comparisons of the models reviewed by the CSRQ Center. The report is also available on the AIR website,
About CSRQ Center
The Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center (CSRQ Center, is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, through a Comprehensive School Reform Quality Initiative Grant (S222B030012), and is operated by the American Institutes for Research (AIR,
About AIR
The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research on important social issues and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Dick Armey, FreedomWorks Op-Ed Featured in Wall Street Journal; Former House Majority Leader Calls for GOP to Return to Core Principles

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Wall Street Journal today published an op-ed by Dick Armey, the former U.S. House Majority Leader and current chairman of FreedomWorks. The piece captures the frustration currently felt by the conservative base, and offers a program for restoring governance by focusing on a return to core limited government principles. FreedomWorks is a grassroots advocacy organization with over 700,000 members nationwide.
Excerpts from "It's My Party..." by Dick Armey:
"Our base rightly expects Republicans to govern by the principles -- lower taxes, less government and more freedom -- that got them elected. Today, with Republicans controlling both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, there is a widening credibility gap between their political rhetoric and their public policies."
"To succeed in the future, the Republican Party must get back to basics. We need, in effect, another Republican takeover of Congress, reaffirming a commitment to less government, lower taxes and more freedom. As in 1994, this revolution will be driven by the young Turks of the party -- the brave backbenchers more inspired by Reagan than the possibility of a glowing editorial on the pages of the New York Times. Indeed, this is already happening."
"(T)he Republican Congress must reestablish its credibility as the party of spending restraint and fiscal responsibility. Likewise, the Republican Congress must make the most important elements of the Bush tax cuts permanent, particularly repeal of the death tax, lower income tax rates and dividend tax relief. These proposals deserve substantial credit for the current strength of the American economy. Success would represent real steps toward our ultimate goal of tax reform and a simple, fair and flat income tax."
"None of this will be easy. The good news for Republicans willing to do this heavy lifting is that the "ideas" of the left are bankrupt. Notice that the brightest liberal politicians, like Hillary Clinton, always move toward our policy ground as they prepare to run for national office."
For the full story, please pick up today's Wall Street Journal. To schedule an interview with Dick Armey, please call Chris Kinnan at 202-236-5615.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

NOW to Argue Two Key Abortion Cases Before Supreme Court Nov. 30

To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor
Contact: Lisa Bennett of the National Organization for Women, 202-628-8669, ext. 123; 202-641-1906 (cell)
News Advisory:

On Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 10 a.m., Scheidler et al. v. National Organization for Women et al. and Operation Rescue et al. v. National Organization for Women et al. will be argued before the Supreme Court. These cases relate to stopping illegal violence directed against women's health clinics, abortion providers and their patients. The Bush administration's Department of Justice has chosen to oppose NOW and support the positions of Joseph Scheidler and Operation Rescue.
NOW initiated this case nearly 20 years ago in an effort to stop anti-abortion extremists from continuing to plan and organize violence at women's health clinics. The self-described "pro-life Mafia" planned to end abortion by closing every clinic that provided abortion services. Over the past 19 years, the violence has included invasions, violent blockades, arson, chemical attacks and bombings of women's health care clinics, assaults on patients, death threats and shootings of health care workers and administrators, including the murder of eight abortion providers.
Who: Kim Gandy, NOW president; Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority President and president of NOW when the case was filed in 1986, and other feminist activists
What: Supreme Court arguments in Scheidler v. NOW and Operation Rescue v. NOW
When: Wednesday, Nov. 30
9 am demonstration begins
10 am arguments begin
Where: U.S. Supreme Court, Washington D.C.
This is the third time the Supreme Court will be considering this class action case filed by NOW on behalf of all women who could potentially be patients of the approximately 2,000 health care clinics and by two named clinics representing the class of clinics themselves.
Respondents' briefs and amicus briefs in this case, including an amicus brief signed by 47 members of Congress in support of the respondents, explain in detail the issues before the Supreme Court, a history of the illegal violence, bombings and murders and other background. The briefs, a detailed timeline and background can be found online at .
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Monday, November 28, 2005

Remarks by the President on Border Security and Immigration Reform

To: National Desk
Contact: White House Press Office, 202-456-2580
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush on border security and immigration reform:
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona
2:40 P.M. MST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Thank you for the warm welcome. It is such a pleasure to be back in Arizona, and it's great to be here in Tucson. The last time I was here I think there was probably about a 50-degree temperature differential. (Laughter.) It's an honor to stand here with the men and women of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. (Applause.) As well, to be here with the men and women of the Customs and Border Protection Agency, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, as well. (Applause.)
Securing our border is essential to securing the homeland. And I want to thank all of those who are working around the clock to defend our border, to enforce our laws, and to uphold the values of the United States of America. America is grateful to those who are on the front lines of enforcing the border. (Applause.)
I appreciate so very much the Governor joining us today. Governor, thank you for being here. I'm honored you are here. I appreciate Senator John McCain joining us today. Senator. (Applause.) As well as Senator John Kyl. (Applause.) I appreciate three members of the congressional delegation from Arizona -- Congressman Shadegg, Flake and Franks -- for joining us, as well. (Applause.) Two members of my Cabinet are here with us, the Attorney General of the United States, Al Gonzales -- (applause) -- and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Mike Chertoff. (Applause.)
I want to thank the United States Attorney from the District of Arizona, Paul Charlton, for joining us today. I appreciate David Aguilar, who is the Chief of the Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security; Mike Nicely, who is the Chief Patrol Agent, Tucson Sector; Ron Colburn, Chief Patrol Agent, Yuma Sector; Martin Vaughan, Director of Air Operations. But most of all, I want to thank those who wear the uniform for doing such a fine job. Thank you all. (Applause.) Finally, I want to thank General Schmidt for welcoming me today. He's the Commander of the 12th Air Force, U.S. Southern Command, based right here at this base. (Applause.)
I have a solemn duty, and so do the members of the United States Congress, to protect our nation, our Constitution, and our laws. Our border and immigration security officers devote themselves to those same missions every single day.
America has always been a compassionate nation that values the newcomer and takes great pride in our immigrant heritage; yet we're also a nation built on the rule of law, and those who enter the country illegally violate the law. The American people should not have to choose between a welcoming society and a lawful society. We can have both at the same time. And to keep the promise of America, we will enforce the laws of our country. (Applause.)
As a former governor, I know that enforcing the law and the border is especially important to the communities along the border. Illegal immigration puts pressure on our schools and hospitals -- I understand that. I understand it strains the resources needed for law enforcement and emergency services. And the vicious human strugglers -- smugglers and gangs that bring illegal immigrants across the border also bring crime to our neighborhoods and danger to the highways. Illegal immigration is a serious challenge. And our responsibility is clear: We are going to protect the border. (Applause.)
Since I've taken office we've increased funding for border security by 60 percent. Our border agents have used that funding to apprehend and send home more than 4.5 million people coming into our country illegally, including more than 350,000 with criminal records. Our Customs and Border Protection agents can be proud of the work that you're doing. You're taking control of this border. And we have more work to do, and that's what I want to talk to you about today. We're going to build on the progress we have made.
We have a comprehensive strategy to reform our immigration system. We're going to secure the border by catching those who enter illegally, and hardening the border to prevent illegal crossings. We're going to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws within our country. And together with Congress, we're going to create a temporary worker program that will take pressure off the border, bring workers from out of the shadows, and reject amnesty. (Applause.)
Our strategy for comprehensive immigration reforms begins by securing the border. Now, let me talk to you about a three-part plan. The first part of the plan is to promptly return every illegal entrant we catch at the border, with no exceptions. More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants we catch are from Mexico, and most of them are escorted back across the border within 24 hours.
To prevent them from trying to cross again, we've launched an interesting program, an innovative approach called interior repatriation. Under this program, many Mexicans caught at the border illegally are flown back to Mexico and then bused to their hometowns in the interior part of the country. By returning these illegal immigrants to their home towns far from the border, we make it more difficult for them to attempt to cross again. Interior repatriation is showing promise in breaking the cycle of illegal immigration.
In a pilot program focused on the west Arizona desert, nearly 35,000 illegal immigrants were returned to Mexico through interior repatriation. Last year only about 8 percent of them were caught trying to cross the border again, a much lower rate than we find among illegal immigrants who are escorted directly across the border.
We're going to expand interior repatriation. We want to make it clear that when people violate immigration laws, they're going to be sent home, and they need to stay at home. (Applause.)
We face a different set of challenges with non-Mexicans that we -- who we catch crossing the border illegally. When non- Mexican illegal immigrants are apprehended, they are initially detained. The problem is that our detention facilities don't have enough beds. And so, about four of every five non-Mexican illegal immigrants we catch are released in society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrives, about 75 percent of those released don't show up to the court. As a result, last year, only 30,000 of the 160,000 non-Mexicans caught coming across our southwest border were sent home.
This practice of catch and release has been the government's policy for decades. It is an unwise policy and we're going to end it. (Applause.) To help end catch and release, we need to increase the capacity in our detention facilities. Last month at the White House I signed legislation supported by the members of the Arizona delegation that will increase the number of beds in our detention facilities. We're also working to process illegal immigrants through the system more quickly, so we can return them home faster and free up bed space for others.
One of the most effective tools we have in this effort is a process called expedited removal. Under expedited removal, non- Mexicans are detained and placed into streamlined proceedings. It allows us to deport them at an average of 32 days, almost three times faster than usual. In other words, we're cutting through the bureaucracy. Last year we used expedited removal to deport more than 20,000 non-Mexicans caught entering this country illegally between Tucson and Laredo. This program is so successful that the Secretary has expanded it all up and down the border. This is a straightforward idea. It says, when an illegal immigrant knows they'll be caught and sent home, they're less likely to come to the country. That's the message we're trying to send with expedited removal.
We're also pursuing other common-sense steps to accelerate the deportation process. We're pressing foreign governments to take their citizens back promptly. We're streamlining the paperwork and we're increasing the number of flights carrying illegal immigrants home. We recently tested the effectiveness of these steps with Brazilian illegal immigrants caught along the Rio Grande Valley of the Texas border. The effort was called Operation Texas Hold 'Em. (Laughter.) It delivered impressive results. Thanks to our actions, Brazilian illegal immigration dropped by 90 percent in the Rio Grande Valley, and by 60 -- 50 percent across the border as a whole.
With all these steps, we're delivering justice more effectively, and we're changing the policy from catch and release to the policy of catch and return.
The second part of our plan is to strengthen border -- to strengthen border enforcement is to correct weak and unnecessary provisions in our immigration laws. Under current law, the federal government is required to release people caught crossing our border illegally if their home countries do not take them back in a set period of time. That law doesn't work when it comes time to enforcing the border and it needs to be changed. Those we we're forced to release have included murderers, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals. This undermines our border security. It undermines the work these good folks are doing. And the United States Congress needs to pass legislation to end these senseless rules. (Applause.)
We need to address the cycle of endless litigation that clogs our immigration courts and delays justice for immigrants. Some federal courts are now burdened with more than six times as many immigration appeals as they had just a few years ago. A panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declared that illegal immigrants have a right to relitigate before an immigration court as many times as they want. This decision obviously would encourage illegal immigrants who have been deported to sneak back into the country and to re-argue their case. Congress needs to put an end to this cycle of needless litigation and deliver reforms necessary to help us secure this border. (Applause.)
The third part of our plan to strengthen border enforcement is to stop people from crossing the border illegally in the first place. And we're increasing manpower. We're increasing technology and infrastructure across this border. We're integrating these resources in ways we have never done before.
Since 2001, we've hired 1,900 new Border Patrol agents. I just signed a bill last month that will enable us to add another thousand Border Patrol agents. When we complete these hires, we will have enlarged the Border Patrol by about 3,000 agents from 9,500 the year I took office to 12,500 next year. This is an increase of more than 30 percent, and most of the new agents will be assigned right here in the state of Arizona. (Applause.)
And to help the agents, we're deploying technologies. Listen, technology can help an individual agent have broader reach and more effectiveness. When agents can take advantage of cutting- edge equipment like overhead surveillance drones and infrared cameras, they can do a better job for all of us.
In Tucson, agents on the ground are directing unmanned aerial technology in the sky, and they're acting rapidly on illegal immigration or illegal activities they may see from the drones. In the months since these unmanned flights began, agents have intercepted a lot of drugs on the border that otherwise -- and people -- that otherwise might have made it through.
The legislation I signed last month provides $139 million to further upgrade the technology and bring a more unified, systematic approach to border enforcement. Again, I want to thank the members of the Congress. (Applause.)
In some places, the most effective way to secure the border is to construct physical barriers to entry. The legislation I signed last month includes $70 million to install and improve protective infrastructure across this border. In rural areas, we're funding the construction of new patrol roads to give our agents better access to the border, and new vehicle barriers to keep illegal immigrants from driving across the border.
In urban areas, we're expanding fencing to shut down access to human smuggling corridors. Secretary Chertoff recently used authority granted by the Congress to order the completion of a 14-mile barrier near San Diego that had been held up because of lawsuits. By overcoming endless litigation to finish this vital project we're helping our border agents do their job, and making people who live close to the border more secure.
Our actions to integrate manpower, technology and infrastructure are getting results. And one of the best examples of success is the Arizona Border Control Initiative, which the government launched in 2004. In the first year of this initiative -- now, listen to this, listen how hard these people are working here -- agents in Arizona apprehended nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants, a 42-percent increase over the previous year. We've captured a half-million pounds of marijuana, prosecuted more than 400 people suspected of human smuggling, and seized more than $7 million in cash. You've got some good folks here working hard to do their job, and I appreciate it very much. (Applause.)
As we work to secure the border, comprehensive immigration reform also requires us to improve enforcement of our laws in the interior of the country. Catching and deporting illegal immigrants along the border is only part of the responsibility. America's immigration laws apply across all of America, and we will enforce those laws throughout our land. Better interior enforcement begins with better work site enforcement. American businesses have an obligation to abide by the law, and our government has the responsibility to help them do so. (Applause.)
Enforcing our immigration laws in the interior of the country requires a sustained commitment of resources. Since I took office, we've increased funding for immigration enforcement by 44 percent. We've increased the number of immigration and customs investigators by 14 percent since 2001. And those good folks who are working hard, too. Last year, the -- this year, federal agents completed what they called Operation Rollback. It's the largest work site enforcement case in American history. This operation resulted in the arrest of hundreds of illegal immigrants, criminal convictions against a dozen employers, and a multi-million dollar payment from one of America's largest corporations.
Our skilled immigration security officers are also going against some of the most dangerous people in our society -- smugglers, terrorists, gang members and human traffickers. In Arizona, we have prosecuted more than 2,300 smugglers bringing drugs, guns and illegal immigrants across the border. As a part of Operation Community Shield, federal agents have arrested nearly 1,400 gang members who were here illegally, including hundreds of members of the violent Latin American gangs like MS- 13.
Since the Department of Homeland Security was created, agents have apprehended nearly 27,000 illegal immigrant fugitives. Thanks to our determined personnel, society is safer. But we've got more work to do. The legislation I signed last month more than doubled the resources dedicated to interior enforcement. We understand that border security and interior enforcement go hand in hand. (Applause.) We will increase the number of immigration enforcement agents and criminal investigators.
We're confronting the problem of document fraud, as well. When illegal workers try to pass off sophisticated forgeries as employment documents, even the most diligent businesses find it difficult to tell what's real and what's fake. Business owners shouldn't have to act like detectives to verify the legal status of their workers. So my administration has expanded a program called Basic Pilot. This program gives businesses access to an automated system that rapidly screens the employment eligibility of new hire against federal records. Basic Pilot was available in only six states fives years ago; now this program is available nationwide. We'll continue to work to stop document fraud, to make it easier for America's businesses to comply with our immigration laws. (Applause.)
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Congress Visits Calif. to Examine Funding for National Parks; NPCA Highlights Concerns About Marijuana Trafficking, Staffing Shortages

To: National Desk
Contact: Casey McDonald of the National Parks Conservation Association, 202-454-3371 ext. 113 or
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) testified today about the critical funding needs of California’s 23 national parks, putting special focus on the funds needed to combat illegal marijuana cultivation in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
"California’s national parks sustain our long-standing, unbroken connection to the land and our history and provide a rich legacy that we are obligated to leave unimpaired for future generations," testified NPCA Board of Trustees Chair Gene Sykes. "How sad it would be to squander our American birthright by failing to address the budgetary woes that threaten national parks in California and across the nation."
In 2004, more than 44,000 marijuana plants were eradicated within Sequoia National Park. The clean up that followed cost the National Park Service approximately $50,000. These funds might have been otherwise spent on visitor education and maintaining and preserving the park’s many trails and historical sites. In addition, the hard-to-find crops are protected by armed guards and pose a threat to ranger and visitor safety.
Staffing shortages in California’s desert parks, Mojave, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley, have opened the door to vandals, illegal dumping of hazardous materials, and artifact and animal poaching. Death Valley has only 15 protection rangers, down from 23 a few years ago, to patrol 3.4 million acres, an area roughly the size of Connecticut. Ideally, Joshua Tree staffs 20 protection rangers to monitor its 794,000 acres -– they currently have ten. Mojave National Preserve currently has a staff of six rangers to patrol 1.6 million acres.
According to NPCA’s 2005 report, Faded Glory: Top 10 Reasons to Reinvest in America’s National Park Heritage, America’s national parks are short $600 million annually which has resulted in severe staff shortages, decreased visitor services, and a lack of funds available to perform necessary maintenance and preservation of park trails, structures, and historical sites. New legislation in Congress can help to address the parks’ funding shortfall.
The bipartisan National Park Centennial Act, which has support from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), several members of California’s House delegation and other park champions like Senator John McCain (R-AZ), seeks to increase funding for the maintenance and natural and cultural preservation needs of the parks through 2016—the 100th anniversary of the park system’s creation. The legislation provides new funding for the parks in part from a voluntary check-off on federal income tax returns; Congress agrees to make up any difference needed to ensure that the job gets done. In a nationwide poll, three in five likely voters said they would donate to the parks via a voluntary check- off.
Today’s hearing, held in San Francisco by Government Reform, Criminal Justice Subcommittee Chairman Mark Souder (R-IN), is the sixth in a series of congressional field hearings held over two years to examine the funding needs of America’s national parks. The hearings are the first focused effort by Congress in decades to examine park-funding issues in-depth, and to identify solutions to meet the challenges.
NPCA’s Faded Glory report is available online at View NPCA’s written testimony online at
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

AJC Praises Agreement of Israeli, Palestinian Relief Societies

To: National and International Desk
Contact: Kenneth Bandler of the American Jewish Committee, 212-891-6771 or; Web:
NEW YORK, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The American Jewish Committee welcomed today's agreement, signed in Geneva, between Magen David Adom and the Palestinian Red Crescent.
"This is a further boost to Israeli-Palestinian relations, which we trust will enhance still further the likelihood of Magen David Adom gaining formal international recognition," said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris.
The Israeli-Palestinian agreement comes one week before a Diplomatic Conference in Geneva that is expected to adopt a third humanitarian relief emblem, in the shape of a crystal, for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. If adopted, the Israeli Red Shield of David could be placed in the middle of the crystal.
"The crystal is a creative solution," said Harris. "Those nations driven by political considerations should drop their opposition to the MDA's full membership in the Federation, and join with the majority in adopting the third emblem for the universal, impartial, non-political movement."
For more than 56 years, Israel's humanitarian emblem, the Red Shield of David, has been the only symbol rejected by the Federation. "Israel's national relief society understandably refused to operate under the banner of the cross or of the crescent, choosing instead the ancient symbol of the Jewish people," said Harris.
AJC praised the Swiss government for taking the initiative to mediate today's Israeli-Palestinian agreement, as well as to invite all States party to the Geneva Conventions to gather in Geneva for a Diplomatic Conference to consider the third emblem.
AJC has been in the forefront of international advocacy on behalf of MDA's admission to the Federation. In 1999, AJC launched a letter writing and ad campaign to bring attention to the anomaly of excluding MDA, and has since raised the issue regularly with the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as with governments around the world. In recent weeks, AJC sent letters to the ambassadors of countries around the world encouraging their participation in the December 5 conference and urging their support for the new emblem.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

DNC: Bush Crosses the Line on Border Security; After Five Years of Failed Leadership, More of the Same

To: National Desk
Contact: Karen Finney or Luis Miranda, 202-863-8148, both of Democratic National Committee Press Office
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement on President Bushs campaign-style event today in Tucson and his failed policies on immigration:
"President Bush's campaign-style event today in Tucson comes after five years of failed leadership that has weakened America's border security, and allowed the extremist anti-immigrant wing of the Republican Party to dominate the critical debate on immigration reform.
"To keep America safe, Democrats know we must have secure borders and an orderly flow of immigration, but scapegoating immigrants, as the Republican Party has done for political gain, is simply wrong. Voters resoundingly rejected the politics of polarization and Karl Rove's divisive tactics only a few weeks ago in elections all across the country. The message was clear: together, America can do better.
"President Bush's recent pronouncement that his ultimate goal was to expel every single undocumented immigrant from the country is not just a surrender to the far right, it's an irresponsible policy that does little to make America safer. Democrats are committed to comprehensive immigration reform that protects our borders, and provides cities and states the resources to keep our communities safe. A realistic approach must also protect American workers and their wages, while offering immigrants who have earned it the opportunities and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Democrats will never abdicate the responsibility for a real immigration policy and its enforcement to vigilantes, or exploit people's fears for political gain. We demand the same of the President and the Republican Party."
See below for a new fact sheet on Bush's failed immigration policy:
President Bush promised to address immigration when he came to office five years ago, but since then he has not succeeded in passing any kind of immigration reform. His proposals have been fatally flawed and Republicans have not offered a comprehensive reform agenda. Instead, Republican policies amount to xenophobic, piecemeal, proposals that fail to address the most serious issues. Republican immigration policies have failed the American people.
Administration Officials Skipped First Senate Immigration Hearing. Eighteen months after President Bush first called on Congress to enact immigration reform that includes a temporary-worker plan for foreigners, two top officials of his administration were no-shows for the Senate's first major hearing on the issue. No detailed explanation was given as to why Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff did not testify as scheduled, except that "they were not ready yet." (Arizona Republic, 7/25/05)
Bush Abandoned His Immigration Reform Partner; Mexican Experts Say Republicans Embarking On Anti-Immigrant Campaign Without Precedent. Mexican President Vicente Fox and President Bush began a close relationship after they took office, Fox in December 2000 and Bush a month later. They vowed to enrich ties and work on legalizing or giving amnesty to at least 4 million Mexicans and other undocumented workers in the United States. But a chill followed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Bush didn't push an immigration accord. "This is an anti-immigration campaign without precedent. It's Mexico against Republicans, (California Gov. Arnold) Schwarzenegger, the Minutemen in Arizona, Bush's entire Cabinet," said Primitivo Rodriguez, a Mexican political scientist who specializes in immigration. Mexican community leaders have advocated going on strike to prove that U.S. employers couldn't survive without cheap Mexican labor. (Knight Ridder, 7/28/05)
Agent Who Foiled Bombing Couldn't Get Funding for a "Sniffer" Dog. Diana Dean, the US Customs agent who disrupted Ahmed Ressam's plan to car bomb LAX, told reporters that officials above her in the Customs Service would not authorize funding for a "sniffer" dog because her station at Port Angeles, Washington, did not get enough traffic. The funding was not allocated despite the fact that an Al Qaeda operative had already once tried to drive a car full of explosives through that checkpoint. (Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 7/20/03)
Bush's Guestworker Program Would Virtually Guarantee Deportation for Millions. Bush's guestworker plan would force any undocumented immigrant who registered to return home if their employment ends or they are not renewed in the program after three years. The Bush plan also would not create any new way to put undocumented workers on the path to legal residency. (White House Press Briefing, 1/7/04; National Council of La Raza, 1/7/03; New York Times, 1/8/03)
Bush Would Leave Millions of Workers Stuck in Current System Where Residency Is Nearly Impossible. The Bush immigration plan would not provide any new means of putting immigrants who currently are living, working and paying taxes in the United States on a path to legal residency. Immigrants currently working in the US would have to apply under the current green card lottery, in which there are only 5,000 available for unskilled workers, and only 140,000 total available for all employment-based immigration. (White House Press Briefing, 1/7/04; New York Times, 1/8/03)
Bush's Call for More Green Cards Still Would Not Help Undocumented Immigrants in the US Today. Bush's call for increasing the number of green cards available would likely be of little help to current undocumented workers. With only 140,000 employment-based green cards, it is unlikely that any increase would supply enough for the majority of the 8 million undocumented immigrants. (AP, 1/7/04; White House Background Briefing, 1/6/04)
Bush Plan Ignores Family Sponsored Immigration Backlogs and 245(i). Bush's plan keeps families apart by not dealing with the tremendous backlog that family sponsored immigrants face and not addressing 245(i) or cutting the current ban on re-entry. Backlogs faced by siblings of US citizens currently range from 12 to 21 years, and other family sponsored categories have similar waits. The plan does not address reinstating 245(i), which allowed qualified immigrants to gain legal status without returning home, or cutting the current 3 year, 5 year, or permanent reentry bans imposed on those who came to the US illegally. (White House Press Briefing, 1/7/04; American Immigration Lawyers Association,; National Immigration Forum, REPUBLICAN IMMIGRATION POLICIES INEFFECTIVE
Republican Immigration Bill Would Attempt To Deport 11 Million Immigrants, Many Who Have Lived Here For Years. Sens. Kyl and Cornyn's proposed immigration bill would require the estimated 10.3 million to 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States to submit themselves to "mandatory departure" back to their home country before they could apply to return legally to the United States. Sen. John McCain, who is sponsoring a competing bi-partisan bill with Sen. Kennedy, called the plan a "fantasy" saying, "to think that they're going to come out of the shadows and say, 'Send me back to Guatemala; I've been living in Phoenix for 50 years,' borders on fantasy." Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a think tank, said "only the McCain-Kennedy approach comes close to being practical." (Arizona Republic, 7/25/05)
Bush Waits Four Years After 9/11 to Deal with OTMs. When OTMs, or "Other Than Mexicans" as the Border Patrol classifies them, are captured they are given a court summons and told to return in three months. On the other hand, Mexicans are immediately deported. A full 85 percent of "OTMs" don't show up for their court dates. According to the Border Patrol, some 465,000 OTMs have taken advantage of this "catch and release" policy to settle here in the US. President Bush recently signed a measure to begin addressing the issue "in part, by adding Border Patrol agents and new technology along the border. It will also create more beds at detention facilities and expedite the removal of illegal immigrants caught in the country." (Christian Science Monitor, 7/26/05; Washington Post, 10/11/05)
Real ID Act Makes It Much More Difficult To Get A Drivers License. The Real ID Act was slipped into a financing bill for Iraq earlier this year. Under the new law, states must verify the authenticity of four pieces of identification from every license applicant, establish a data bank and issue a tamper-proof card. No state has to adopt the federal rules, but their driver's licenses and other state-issued ID cards wouldn't be recognized by federal-regulated operations such as airlines. The legislation also authorizes completion of a section of border fence near San Diego and tightens restrictions on asylum seekers. (Winston-Salem Journal, 7/25/05; Washington Times, 7/21/05)
Real ID Act Passes Unfunded Mandates Down To States. States claim that the new federal mandates could cost them up to $1 billion a year. Congress is proposing to contribute only $100 million toward the costs. "It would have been nice if they had consulted with the states," said Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia. Hall calls the new law a "massive, unfunded federal mandate." Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a Democrat, is threatening to sue the federal government. Montana legislators voted to ignore the law before it even passed. (Winston-Salem Journal, 7/25/05)
NCLR Said Real ID Act Does Nothing To Increase National Security And Undermines Public Safety. The "REAL ID Act" would result in an increased number of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the roads, persons fleeing persecution from receiving humanitarian relief in the U.S., and additional fences along U.S. borders. "It is irresponsible for the House of Representatives to move forward on this ineffective and ill-conceived legislation," stated Janet Murguia, NCLR President and CEO. "If these provisions had been in place on September 11, 2001, they would not have stopped the terrorists from carrying out their attacks. The 'REAL ID Act' does nothing to enhance national security and it undermines public safety." (NCLR Release, 2/10/05)
Chief Border Protection Official Wants To Form Border Patrol Inspired By Minuteman Project. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner said that Border Patrol officials were investigating whether the agency should form its own civilian force. Bonner said the idea was inspired by the Minuteman Project. "It is actually as a result of seeing that there is the possibility in local border communities, and maybe even beyond, of having citizens that would be willing to volunteer to help the Border Patrol," Bonner said. (Los Angeles Times, 7/21/05)
-- LULAC Condemned "Minuteman" Vigilantism, Say They Spread Xenophobia. At a meeting of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the organization collectively condemned groups such as the "Minuteman Project" which seek to do the job of law enforcement officials. Paul Martinez, president of Las Cruces Council 120 of the League of United Latin American Citizens said, "These people do not represent the majority of New Mexicans," he said. "They claim to be helping law enforcement and say they are patriots. What they are doing is raising tensions, spreading hate and xenophobia." (Las Cruces Sun-News, 6/12/05)
-- Bonner's Revelation Came Only Months After He Called Such Civilian Patrols Dangerous. "The Border Patrol does this every day, and they are qualified and very well-trained to handle the situation," Bonner said in February 2005, pointing out that the Minutemen planned to carry firearms. "Ordinary Americans are not. So there's a danger that not just illegal migrants might get hurt, but that American citizens might get hurt in this situation." (Associated Press, 7/21/05)
Democrats Believe Our Immigration Laws Must Reflect Our Core Values of Family Unity, Fundamental Fairness and Economic Opportunity. Democrats will continue fighting to extend Section 245(i), provide due process reforms, ensure refugee protection, and provide for earned legalization. Democrats will also work to give states flexibility in determining who receives in-state tuition and student assistance, and amend current immigration law to allow these students to become permanent residents. Democrats are working to ensure that as the new Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) subsumes the functions of the INS, the quality of services provided to immigrants and refugees is improved and the integrity of the naturalization process continues to be a priority.
Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Kerry Questions Administration's Continued Reliance on Flawed Small Business Data System

To: National Desk, Business Reporter
Contact: Catherine Scott of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 202-224-8496
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the head of the Small Business Administration (SBA) asking him to outline what steps the agency would take to ensure the accuracy of a new system for tracking federal subcontracting data. The accuracy of the new system has been questioned by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) on two separate occasions.
Earlier this month, the Administration announced the new Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSRS) to report on small business subcontracts, which is based on a system that faces questions about the reliability of its data.
"If we are going to keep our commitment to America's small businesses, we need accurate information about subcontracting. Building on a system that has been proven to be flawed just doesn't make any sense. It's a waste of taxpayer dollars and effort. The administration should focus on fixing the existing problems instead of making a clearly broken system even bigger," said Kerry, top Democrat on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
In today's letter, Kerry pointed to a letter from the GAO that questioned the accuracy of the system currently used to track prime contracts, the Federal Procurement Data System Next Generation (FPDS-NG). Just two weeks ago, Kerry sent a separate letter to the Administration outlining several key issues with the FPDS-NG, but instead of addressing his concerns, the Administration is pushing the new subcontracting data system, which relies on FPDS-NG.
"Small firms need a strong advocate who will ensure they are receiving their share of Federal prime contracts as well as subcontracts. To ensure the sustainable growth of these small businesses and to save the federal government money by increasing competition, the SBA must play a more aggressive role in its oversight of small business contracting," Kerry said.
Kerry promised to continue his efforts to ensure small businesses receive their fair share of federal contracts. The federal government has a statutory 23-percent goal for federal prime contracts, which are contracts made directly between the federal government and a private business. Kerry has raised questions about accuracy of data collected on prime contracts and subcontracts awarded to small businesses. Last year, the Small Business Administration was found to be including large companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others as "small businesses" for purposes of inflating the contracting data compiled by FPDS-NG.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Pelosi Statement on Resignation of Congressman Cunningham

To: National Desk
Contact: Brendan Daly or Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616, both of the Office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in response to announcement this afternoon by Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) that he would resign from the House of Representatives after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax charges:
"Mr. Cunningham accepted a bribe to perform an official act - an egregious action that strikes at the very heart of our democracy and dishonors the people he has been elected to represent; it is only proper that he resign.
"This offense is just the latest example of the culture of corruption that pervades the Republican-controlled Congress, which ignores the needs of the American people to serve wealthy special interests and their cronies. The Republican Congress has the wrong priorities; it is time to restore a high ethical standard to the Congress."
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

U.S. Rep. Randall 'Duke' Cunningham Pleads Guilty to Receiving Millions in Bribes

To: National Desk, Political Reporter
Contact: Sanjay Bhandari, 619-557-7042 or Jason A. Forge, 619-557-7463 or Phillip L.B. Halpern, 619-557-5165; all of the U.S. Department of Justice
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- United States Attorney Carol C. Lam announced that Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham pled guilty today to conspiring to commit Bribery, Honest Services Fraud, and Tax Evasion, as well as Tax Evasion involving more than $1 million of unreported income, pursuant to a plea agreement in United States District Court in San Diego before the Honorable Larry A. Burns. In pleading guilty, Mr. Cunningham, who represents the 50th Congressional District in San Diego, admitted that he received at least $2.4 million in bribes.
These bribes were paid to Cunningham by several coconspirators through a variety of methods, including checks totaling over $1 million, cash, rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees, boat repairs, moving costs, and vacation expenses. The bribery, fraud, and tax evasion conspiracy described in the Information included the purchase of Cunningham's home in Del Mar, Calif., at an artificially inflated price by a defense contractor; the subsequent payoff of the mortgage on Cunningham's new, multi-million dollar home in Rancho Santa Fe by another defense contractor; a $200,000 down payment by a third coconspirator to enable Cunningham to purchase a condominium in Arlington, Va.; the payment of the capital gains tax by the purchaser of Cunningham's Del Mar home; the purchase and maintenance by a defense contractor of a yacht (the "Duke-Stir") and a Rolls Royce for Cunningham; as well as payments by a defense contractor for a graduation party for Cunningham's daughter, jewelry, home furnishings, and travel and hotel expenses. Cunningham failed to disclose any of the benefits on his Financial Disclosure Statements to the U.S. House of Representatives or on his federal tax return.
Mr. Cunningham further admitted that in return for these bribes he used his public office and took other official action to influence the appropriations of funds and the execution of government contracts in ways that would benefit two of the coconspirators, who were the majority owners of defense contracting companies.
United States Attorney Carol C. Lam stated, "The citizens who elected Mr. Cunningham assumed that he would do his best for them. Instead, he did the worst thing an elected official can do -- he enriched himself through his position, and violated the trust of those who put him there."
According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sanjay Bhandari, Jason A. Forge and Phillip L.B. Halpern, who prosecuted the case, Mr. Cunningham agreed in his plea agreement to forfeit his entire interest in the following property: (1) Cunningham's Rancho Santa Fe residence; (2) over $1.8 million in United States currency; and (3) more than a dozen pieces of antiques, furniture, and Persian- style rugs.
Special Agent-in-Charge Daniel R. Dzwilewski commented, "This is an unfortunate event, in that a ranking member of Congress violated the public's trust and engaged in self-enrichment. It is disappointing that Mr. Cunningham exercised a blatant disregard for the rule of law. Corruption involving public officials undermines the peoples' trust and confidence in government. It cannot, and will not, be tolerated. Public Corruption is the number one priority of the FBI's Criminal Investigation Division."
Kenneth J. Hines, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent-in- Charge for San Diego stated, "Congressman Cunningham attempted to conceal his public corruption by failing to report to the Internal Revenue Service his illicit receipt of cash, checks, antiques, cars, and boats which totaled over $2 million. The American public deserves to know that Government officials will be held accountable for their actions. No one is above the law."
Rick Gwin, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Western Field Office, stated, "Investigating Bribery and Corruption are top priorities for the DCIS. Bribery of a U.S. Congressional official is one of the most serious compromises of the Department of Defense procurement process, and the DCIS will continue to vigorously investigate all allegations of these crimes."
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), and Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), with the assistance of prosecutors and federal agents in Washington, D.C., Eastern District of Virginia, and the Eastern District of New York.
Mr. Cunningham's sentencing is set for February 27, 2006, at 9:30 a.m., before Judge Larry A. Burns.
Age: 63
Rancho Santa Fe, California
Background: Cunningham was first elected to Congress in 1990. In 2004, he was reelected to serve his eighth term representing California's 50th Congressional District.
COUNT 1 Conspiracy to commit Bribery, Honest Services Fraud, and Tax Evasion, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which is punishable by 5 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
COUNT 2 Tax Evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201, which is punishable by 5 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division
Defense Criminal Investigative Service
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/