Declaration Alliance

Anti-Gay, Anti-Immigrant, Birther Groups Join Forces to File Mother of All Prop 8 Briefs

In reading through the amicus briefs submitted by anti-gay groups to the Supreme Court, we’ve been generally impressed by the relative restraint of their legal arguments compared to their day-to-day anti-gay tirades. But not so with the two briefs submitted last week by a hodgepodge coalition of conservative groups.

Citizens United’s National Committee for Family, Faith and Prayer filed two no-holds-barred amicus briefs last week, one in defense of Prop 8 [pdf] and one in defense of DOMA [pdf]. They were joined in both by the anti-immigrant groups Declaration Alliance and English First; WorldNetDaily affiliate the Western Center for Journalism; the Institute for Constitutional Values (founded by white supremacist ally Michael Peroutka, who also argues that the solution to school violence is to abolish schools); Gun Owners Foundation (the research wing of Gun Owners of America); the extremely and occasionally comically anti-gay Public Advocate; the birther group U.S. Justice Foundation; Protect Marriage Maryland and others. Far-right Virginia Del. Bob Marshall and Sen. Dick Black joined the DOMA brief. Both are signed by Michael Boos, general counsel of Citizens United, and by Herb Titus, an attorney with a sideline as a birther advocate.

So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the filings contain passages like this one, in the Prop 8 brief, arguing that laws against homosexuality affirm rather than deny the humanity of gay people:

Second, while the discrimination against Blacks in America denied them their rightful status as a member of the human race vis-à-vis their white counterparts, the discrimination against homosexuals affirmed their status as full and equal members of the human race. Indeed, the very definition of the “crime against nature,” was employed to emphasize that the sexual behavior condemned was contrary to the law of human nature. Homosexual behavior, then, while unnatural did not mean that those guilty of it were any less human.

Or this one from the DOMA brief arguing that gays and lesbians have not historically faced discrimination because some criminal sodomy laws also “extended to opposite sex unnatural couplings”:

As a class, homosexuals have not been discriminated against in the way that the court of appeals has so “easily” assumed. The appellate panel below concluded that “the most telling proof of animus and discrimination is that, for many years and in many states, homosexual conduct was criminal.” Yet historically, even the crime of sodomy was not so targeted. Rather, it was defined as “carnal copulation against the order of nature by man with man; or in the same unnatural manner with woman; or by man or woman in any manner with a beast.” Thus, the crime of sodomy was “known in the common law by the convertible and equivalent name [] of ‘crime against nature,” the offense not only extended to opposite sex unnatural couplings, but was one of several sexual offenses that fit under the broad category of “offenses against the public health, safety, comfort and morals.” Among these sexual offenses were bigamy, adultery, fornication, lewdness and illicit cohabitation, incest, miscegenation, and seduction, all of which could be committed by persons of the opposite sex. Rather than a narrow negative purpose, these laws reflect a perceived concern for the public health, safety, comfort, and morals of certain sexual behaviors.

Or that the groups oh-so-cleverly invoke the court’s Obamacare decision to argue that the extra taxes same-sex spouses pay under DOMA are an acceptable way of “deterring certain activities”:

Additionally, this Court has consistently ruled that Congress’s power to tax is not limited to the purpose of raising revenue. Thus, this Court found that it is permissible for Congress to adopt a taxing policy for the purpose of deterring certain activities by the levying of a tax on them, as well as for the purpose of collecting revenue. Therefore, according to precedent, it is a constitutionally permissible exercise of Congress to adopt a tax policy for the purpose of nurturing traditional marriage as the ideal family structure for raising children, just as this Court has recently observed, that it is perfectly permissible for Congress to impose a tax “to encourage people to quit smoking” or “to shape decisions about whether to buy health insurance.”…It is not for the courts to second-guess whether Congress should promote a traditional family policy in the exercise of its taxing powers.

But what is truly remarkable about the Citizens United coalition’s legal arguments is their eagerness to burn all bridges and declare everything they come across unconstitutional. While the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel, presumably trying to appeal to Justice Anthony Kennedy, hold their noses and accept Kennedy’s pro-gay rights opinions in Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans as law, Citizens United et al have no such scruples. Not only should Lawrence and Romer be overturned, this group argues, but so should Bolling v. Sharpe, the 1954 Brown v. Board companion case that desegregated the District of Columbia’s public schools. Bolling was the first decision in which the Supreme Court explicitly found an equal protection component in the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, thus setting the stage for six decades of prohibitions on discrimination by the federal government – all of which the coalition would like to see go.

But these groups don’t just go after decades of legal precedent. They also personally attack two judges who ruled against Prop 8 before it reached the Supreme Court, in particular district court judge Vaughn Walker, who is openly gay:

With the understanding of Judge Walker’s personal interest in the outcome of the case, it becomes much easier to understand his finding every fact for the plaintiffs and his willingness to impute ill will to the proponents of Proposition 8. For example, having in his personal life rejected 6,000 years of moral and religious teaching, we can see how Judge Walker could readily determine that California voters were motivated solely by “moral and religious views…that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples [and] these interests do not provide a rational basis for supporting Proposition 8.” The same is true for Judge Walker’s conclusion that supporters’ motivations were: “fear,” “unarticulated dislike,” not “rational,” based on “animus toward gays and lesbians,” “irrational,” “without reason,” and “born of animus.” Petitioners were entitled to have their case heard by an impartial judge – not one who was leading a secret life engaging in behaviors which he appeared to believe were being unfairly judged and criticized by the proponents of Proposition 8.

 

(Citations omitted in block quotes)
 

Klayman and Keyes Launch "Citizens' Grand Jury" To Indict Elena Kagan

Sometimes all you can do it point and laugh:

Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch, has announced new legal actions in the Elena Kagan scandal. "Prior to confirmation, Freedom Watch and Declaration Alliance filed a complaint before the Supreme Court, to have Elena Kagan disbarred for falsifying a report as Associate Counsel in the Clinton White House that resulted in the inhumane killing of very late term unborn infants. Her conspiracy to defraud the Supreme Court, in order to defy the expressed will of the American people banning partial birth abortion, made our nation needlessly complicit in these heinous acts. Kagan's actions rise to the level of criminality," Klayman said.

Freedom Watch and Declaration Alliance, with Kagan's reckless confirmation to the Supreme Court, will therefore also seek her impeachment. But this punishment is insufficient to right the wrongs of Justice Kagan's criminality.

...

[C]itizens have the unbridled right to empanel their own grand juries and present "True Bills" of indictment to a court, which is then required to commence a criminal proceeding. Our Founding Fathers presciently thereby created a "buffer" the people may rely upon for justice, when public officials, including judges, criminally violate the law.

"Here, Justice Elena Kagan not only falsified evidence, thereby obstructing justice, but her fraud resulted in the barbaric deaths of unborn late term infants, in a heinous manner the American people had properly legislated as unlawful. She should be indicted and tried in a court of law for her crimes. As the Obama Justice Department will not seek an indictment, it is left to ordinary Americans to seek justice. And, if after an indictment is obtained, the lower courts refuse to institute a criminal proceeding, then Freedom Watch and Declaration Alliance will appeal this case all the way to the same Supreme Court where Justice Kagan now sits.

The Declaration Alliance was founded by Alan Keyes in 1996.

Well-Funded Minuteman PAC Light on Contributions to Candidates

The Minuteman PAC, founded to provide direct support to anti-immigrant candidates in accord with the principles of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, appears to carry the same symptoms of financial mismanagement as the MCDC itself.

Last week we reported on the internal meltdown at MCDC, where some of the group’s officers and 15 of its state coordinators were fired en masse after requesting a meeting with MCDC President Chris Simcox. The dispute arose out of allegations that Simcox hadn’t raised as much money as he claimed and wasn’t spending it as he had promised, on things like “field equipment” or background checks. Instead, MCDC’s 2005 IRS filing revealed the bulk of the group’s budget went to unspecified “professional services.” In addition, Minuteman dissidents had questions about MCDC’s vaguely-defined relationship with Alan Keyes’ non-profit Declaration Alliance and various consulting businesses associated with Keyes.

A look at the most recent FEC filings of Minuteman PAC, which lists Simcox as its honorary chairman, shows that while the group raised over $300,000 in the first quarter of 2007, and spent more than $270,000, only $10,000 went toward a candidate running for office. As the Washington Times reports, 97 percent of the money the group raised went to “‘operating expenses,’ including advertising, fundraising and telemarketing to promote the Minuteman PAC.”

More Trouble with Minuteman Finances: Keyes Group Overseeing Vigilantes Suspended

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has been under scrutiny from The Washington Times and others recently for its finances – for example, the largest portion of its 2005 budget went to unspecified “professional services.” Times reporter Jerry Seper has written in the past about the close association of the Minutemen with a variety of consulting groups associated with Alan Keyes, who is also the head of the Declaration Alliance. The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps bills itself as “a project of” the Declaration Alliance, and MCDC president Chris Simcox has defended the ties as adding credibility to his group.

Now Seper reports in The Times that the Declaration Alliance and its associated Declaration Foundation are having their own credibility problems:

The Declaration Foundation … was fined $6,500 in August and prohibited by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Charitable Organizations from soliciting donations until it becomes "properly registered."  The Aug. 18 "agreement and order," signed by Declaration Foundation Executive Director Mary Parker Lewis, a top Minuteman adviser, acknowledged that the charity made false statements in seeking to solicit donations, failed to properly administer money it had collected, and withheld documents sought as part of an "investigative subpoena."

According to the bureau, the Declaration Foundation failed over a four-year period to submit audited financial statements, gave false information when it said it did not share revenue with other nonprofit or tax-exempt groups, and misstated the truth when it said none of its officers or employees was tied to any vendor providing services or goods.

The bureau said the Declaration Foundation improperly shared revenue with the Declaration Alliance, another tax-exempt charity founded by Mr. Keyes, which also has been active in overseeing the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC).

As more questions are raised about the financial management of the border vigilante group, it seemed telling that yesterday the Minutemen announced the creation of a new project – Minuteman attorneys:

[United States Justice Foundation] and MCDC have set up a joint project called the Minuteman Protection Program (MPP) to provide legal assistance to Minuteman members and insist on the enforcement of state, local, and federal laws relating to the illegal immigration issue.

"If you are an attorney, or if you know an attorney, wishing to help in these issues, please contact, or have them contact, us," the e-mail appeal says.

Alan Keyes speaking at Minuteman rally

An Extremely Odd Alliance

The Washington Times has been dogged in its attempts to find out how the Minutemen has handled its finances, as well as investigating the tight alliance it has formed with organizations run by Alan Keyes.  

The Times’ most recent report notes just how intertwined the Minutemen and Keyes have become

Last month, several Minutemen questioned what happened to donations collected since the group's first border vigil in Arizona in April 2005. They said they had no idea how much money had been received, how it had been spent or why it was being routed through a Virginia-based charity headed by conservative activist Alan Keyes. 

 

Last month, Mr. Simcox said $1.6 million in donations had been collected, although he had no documents to verify the claim. He said $1 million went directly to MCDC and $600,000 for a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border, all of it handled through the Herndon-based Declaration Alliance, founded and chaired by Mr. Keyes.    

Mr. Keyes has endorsed the Minuteman organization as programs of Declaration Alliance and the Declaration Foundation, another Virginia-based charitable organization he heads. He also accused critics of being "decidedly racist and anti-Semitic," saying they had been removed as members of the Minuteman organization.    

For a fee, American Caging manages money collected by nonprofit groups, their telemarketers and direct-response agencies. Caging firms give nonprofit organizations the ability to receive and disburse donations without having to hire a staff.   

In addition to MCDC, the firm's clients include Declaration Foundation, Declaration Alliance and the Declaration Alliance Political Action Committee. It also has handled funds for Mr. Keyes' unsuccessful political campaigns, including his failed 2004 senatorial race in Illinois, for which it was paid $30,530.    

American Caging also handles other clients aligned with MCDC, Mr. Keyes and the Alliance organizations, including Diener Consulting Inc., which serves as the Minuteman group's public-relations arm, as it did in Mr. Keyes' unsuccessful presidential and senatorial campaigns; and Renew America, a fundraising organization founded by Mr. Keyes that provides a link for donations to MCDC through Declaration Alliance. 

Other American Caging clients include Response Unlimited, which makes mailing lists -- including the MCDC membership -- available to conservative mailers and telemarketers and has an "exclusive contract" with Declaration Foundation; and RightMarch.com, which raised $500,000 for Mr. Keyes' 2004 senatorial campaign and helps raise Minuteman donations through a link on its Web page to Declaration Alliance.

The Declaration Alliance’s primary mission is to “protect and defend our God-given, inalienable rights, enshrined in principle in the Declaration of Independence, and codified in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights” while the Declaration Foundation is committed to “restoring the principles of the Declaration of Independence to their rightful place in American life.” 

Considering that, among the “abuses and usurpations” set out in the Declaration of Independence was King George III’s attempt to “prevent the population of these States [by] obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners” one has to wonder just how the Minutemen’s harassment and intimidation of immigrants fits into Keyes’ supposed reverence for the document. 

Or, for that matter, how the Minutemen’s belief that immigration will lead to “political, economic and social mayhem” meshes with the Declaration’s most famous principle:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Border Vigilantes Face Scrutiny Over Finances

Washington Times reporter Jerry Seper spent much of the past year covering the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and writing sympathetic articles on the anti-immigrant vigilante group, from "The Granny Brigade" to the Minuteman caravan. He even received the "2005 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration" from the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies, to whom the reporter joked that he had "blatantly ripped off many of your stories." Today, however, Seper offers two articles that show the Minutemen in a decidedly unflattering light. The first deals with questions about the Minutemen's finances:
A growing number of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps leaders and volunteers are questioning the whereabouts of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars in donations collected in the past 15 months, challenging the organization's leadership over financial accountability. Many of the group's most active members say they have no idea how much money has been collected as part of its effort to stop illegal entry -- primarily along the U.S.-Mexico border, what it has been spent on or why it has been funneled through a Virginia-based charity headed by conservative Alan Keyes. Several of the group's top lieutenants have either quit or are threatening to do so, saying requests to Minuteman President Chris Simcox for a financial accounting have been ignored.
Syndicate content

Declaration Alliance Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Wednesday 02/06/2013, 11:05am
In reading through the amicus briefs submitted by anti-gay groups to the Supreme Court, we’ve been generally impressed by the relative restraint of their legal arguments compared to their day-to-day anti-gay tirades. But not so with the two briefs submitted last week by a hodgepodge coalition of conservative groups. Citizens United’s National Committee for Family, Faith and Prayer filed two no-holds-barred amicus briefs last week, one in defense of Prop 8 [pdf] and one in defense of DOMA [pdf]. They were joined in both by the anti-immigrant groups Declaration Alliance and English... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/12/2010, 1:48pm
Sometimes all you can do it point and laugh: Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch, has announced new legal actions in the Elena Kagan scandal. "Prior to confirmation, Freedom Watch and Declaration Alliance filed a complaint before the Supreme Court, to have Elena Kagan disbarred for falsifying a report as Associate Counsel in the Clinton White House that resulted in the inhumane killing of very late term unborn infants. Her conspiracy to defraud the Supreme Court, in order to defy the expressed will of the American people banning partial birth abortion, made our... MORE >
, Friday 06/08/2007, 9:41am
The Minuteman PAC, founded to provide direct support to anti-immigrant candidates in accord with the principles of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, appears to carry the same symptoms of financial mismanagement as the MCDC itself. Last week we reported on the internal meltdown at MCDC, where some of the group’s officers and 15 of its state coordinators were fired en masse after requesting a meeting with MCDC President Chris Simcox. The dispute arose out of allegations that Simcox hadn’t raised as much money as he claimed and wasn’t spending it as he had... MORE >
, Tuesday 12/05/2006, 12:05pm
The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has been under scrutiny from The Washington Times and others recently for its finances – for example, the largest portion of its 2005 budget went to unspecified “professional services.” Times reporter Jerry Seper has written in the past about the close association of the Minutemen with a variety of consulting groups associated with Alan Keyes, who is also the head of the Declaration Alliance. The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps bills itself as “a project of” the Declaration Alliance, and MCDC president Chris... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/15/2006, 1:45pm
The Washington Times has been dogged in its attempts to find out how the Minutemen has handled its finances, as well as investigating the tight alliance it has formed with organizations run by Alan Keyes.   The Times’ most recent report notes just how intertwined the Minutemen and Keyes have become Last month, several Minutemen questioned what happened to donations collected since the group's first border vigil in Arizona in April 2005. They said they had no idea how much money had been received, how it had been spent or why it was being routed through a... MORE >
, Thursday 07/20/2006, 1:19pm
Washington Times reporter Jerry Seper spent much of the past year covering the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and writing sympathetic articles on the anti-immigrant vigilante group, from "The Granny Brigade" to the Minuteman caravan. He even received the "2005 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration" from the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies, to whom the reporter joked that he had "blatantly ripped off many of your stories." Today, however, Seper offers two articles that show the Minutemen in a decidedly unflattering light. The first deals with questions about... MORE >