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CREW's First Annual Turkey Awards

"In truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on." --Ben Franklin

Melanie Sloan, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

We all know the bald eagle is America's national bird, but many people forget Ben Franklin lobbied for a different choice; Franklin preferred the turkey.

"In truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

Had Franklin gotten his wish, the modern American Thanksgiving table might look far different than it does today, as would the English language. We certainly wouldn’t be calling people of questionable morals "turkeys."

But Franklin lost the argument, and as a result there are plenty of turkeys in Washington D.C. these days. So, we figured we’d highlight some of the best of the worst with CREW’s first ever Turkey Awards!

First Place: The Federal Elections Commission

The FEC gets our Turkey Award for not taking action this election season, despite watching millions of dollars funneled into political advertisements. Coporations and shadowy fly-by-night organizations spent vast amounts of money this year without disclosing their donors.

Second Place: The House Ethics Committee

Just last week the House Ethics Committee found one of our Most Corrupt - Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) - guilty of 11 ethics violations. But did the committee miss the fact that there are 18 members of the House on the list coming back in January for the 112th Congress?

Tie for Third Place: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

Why on earth are two of the most corrupt members of the Senate not only currently sitting in office, but returning to Washington next year? Sen. Vitter will be returning to Congress despite a checkered past that includes soliciting prostitutes and misusing taxpayer funds to assist a staffer convicted of crimes. Meanwhile, Sen. Ensign has a closet full of skeletons, and is under investigation by the Department of Justice.

It’s because of supporters like you that CREW has been able to hunt down corrupt turkeys of all forms in Washington, as well as unmask those trying to influence elections with corporate cash. We need your help to tell the new Congress, loud and clear, that a stronger ethics process is vital. You can continue to help us build a better Washington by supporting CREW.

Thank you for all of your help this year,

Melanie Sloan
Executive Director
CREW

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Sen. Coburn to US Dept of Education: Investigate For-Profit Education Regulations

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  • Senator Coburn’s request for an investigation validates concerns CREW has been voicing for months about the apparent unfairness of the regulatory process Education has used and the impropriety of investors who seek to influence Education’s regulations to benefit their own financial interests.
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  • Get Me Out of Here: Dispatches From the For-Profit College
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Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW)

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Yesterday (Nov 17) Senator Tom Coburn, citing specifically to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request CREW has made, asked the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education to investigate actions of Education officials who appear to have leaked proposed regulations governing the for-profit education industry to parties supporting the administration’s position and to investors who stand to gain from the proposed regulations.

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CREW is seeking records of these communications between Education officials and outside interested parties, a request to which Education has yet to respond. Senator Coburn’s request for an investigation validates concerns CREW has been voicing for months about the apparent unfairness of the regulatory process Education has used and the impropriety of investors who seek to influence Education’s regulations to benefit their own financial interests.

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Related:

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Click here to view CREW's original FOIA request from July 23, 2010.

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Click here to read Sen. Coburn's letter to the U.S. Dept. of Education from November 18, 2010.

Get Me Out of Here: Dispatches From the For-Profit College, radicalteacherblogeditor, Radical Teacher
When you first come to this school (Keiser University) they’ll have you believe that this is a quality institution, only concerned with providing a top notch education to every student. Once you’re here for a while though (you realize) this school’s primary concern above all else is making a profit. Keiser University is a business first and foremost.

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Arizona Legalizes Racial Profiling


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Arizona's new immigration legislation - requiring law enforcement officers to stop everyone whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is an undocumented immigrant and arrest them if they fail to produce their papers - demeans us all by effectively legalizing racial profiling.

Marjorie Cohn, Jurist

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

The conservative “states’ rights” mantra sweeping our country has led to one of the most egregious wrongs in recent U.S. history. New legislation in Arizona requires law enforcement officers to stop everyone whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is an undocumented immigrant and arrest them if they fail to produce their papers. What constitutes “reasonable suspicion”? When asked what an undocumented person looks like, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed SB 1070 into law last week, said, “I don’t know what an undocumented person looks like.” The bill does not prohibit police from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to stop. It is unlikely that officers will detain Irish or German immigrants to check their documents. This law unconstitutionally criminalizes “walking while brown” in Arizona.

Former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods explained to Brewer that SB 1070 would vest too much discretion in the state police and lead to racial profiling and expensive legal fees for the state. But the governor evidently succumbed to racist pressure as she faces a reelection campaign. Woods said, “[Brewer] really felt that the majority of Arizonans fall on the side of, ‘Let’s solve the problem and not worry about the Constitution.’” The polls Brewer apparently relied on, however, employed questionable methodology and were conducted before heavy media coverage of the controversial legislation. No Democrats and all but one Republican Arizona legislator voted for SB 1070.

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Groups Condemn Merger of Criminal Justice & Immigration Systems

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  • The day after cities begin process to opt-out from Secure Communities, 500+ groups demand President Obama end Police/Ice Collaborations
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  • Lawless Courts
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B. Loewe, National Day Laborers Organizing Network/Common Dreams

Citing systemic problems within both the immigration and criminal justice systems, 500 groups from across the country, including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) today delivered a letter to President Obama demanding that he end the merger of immigration enforcement with criminal justice. The three‐page letter expressed concerns and presented proof that the Obama administration’s increased reliance on local law enforcement to arrest, detain, and deport immigrants has exacerbated existing problems in the criminal justice system.

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According to Pablo Alvarado, executive director of NDLON, “The letter we deliver today is a clear statement that the Arizona-like policies the president is intent on nationalizing must be stopped. How large must the chorus of denunciations grow before the president joins us in a sensible immigration policy that legalizes instead of criminalizes the millions who are here contributing to our country?”

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Related:

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Lawless Courts, Jacqueline Stevens, The Nation

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  • The country's 238 adjudicators in fifty-nine immigration courts rule on everything from asylum applications to whether a marijuana conviction warrants deportation. Many, especially the good ones, are burned out from their share of the massive annual caseload: 390,000 cases were initiated across the country in 2009. The laws, regulations and infrastructure are inadequate to the high stakes of prolonged incarceration or banishment.
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  • Access To Justice In U.S. At Third-World Levels
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