Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cocktails & Popcorn: Arnold Reed, Attorney For John Conyers, Enters The Stage


Image result for happy girl eating popcorn
I have popcorn. Want some?
I wonder if the DOJ OIG Report is about to be declassified.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Perkins Coie Sucks.

#perkinscoiesucks

Marc Elias Of Perkins Coie Sucks & So Does The FEC

Learn more: BEVERLY TRAN: Marc Elias Of Perkins Coie Sucks & So Does The FEC http://beverlytran.blogspot.com/2017/10/marc-elias-of-perkins-coie-sucks-so.html#ixzz5Kiw2nDU6
Stop Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare 

Arnold Reed, 'lawyer on the side of the people'

When his beloved father fell ill, Arnold E. Reed didn't hesitate. He swapped the cloistered halls of law school for Chicago's south side, where his dad owned a barbershop. To keep the business going, Reed, who'd learned the craft from his father, spent the next few months cutting hair.

636664856462526737-2018-0509-bb-ArnoldReed3.jpg

Meanwhile, a classmate would mail Reed homework, and he studied when he could.
In the end, not only did the University of Iowa College of Law student graduate, he did so on time.

"I read the books and taught it to myself," said Reed, 54, whose Dad lived to see him graduate.

"Really, there was never a question that I would finish. Some things ought to be a given."

That kind of decisiveness, devotion and determination would mark his career as one of the state's pre-eminent trial lawyers, specializing in criminal, personal injury, civil litigation, medical malpractice and entertainment law, plus damage control for high-profile clients, such as now-retired Congressman John Conyers and Aretha Franklin. This year, he was cited by Michigan's Lawyers Weekly as one of 30 Leaders in the Law Class of 2018.

While the widely respected trade newspaper is mum on how it culls from a pool of nominees, its website says winners are honored for significant accomplishments in law practice; outstanding contributions to the practice of law in Michigan; seeking improvements to the legal community and their communities at large; and setting an example for other lawyers. In its current form, the award has existed for the last decade.

In many ways, it's an improbable achievement for the Southfield-based legal firebrand, known for dogged representation and an outsize courtroom presence.







Reed was the first in his family to graduate college, let alone law school. While his father operated the barbershop, his mother took two trains and a bus each way to a factory job to help support the family, which included Reed and his older brother.

At age 9, Reed saw someone gunned down on the street. While fleeing, the killer had looked right at Reed, too petrified to move. That’s when Reed decided he needed to be fearless, a mindset that defines his approach to law.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Deborah Thomas described Reed's courtroom manner as a cross between a bulldog and a chihuahua.

"I've watched him since he was a baby lawyer," Thomas said. "He is always prepared, and he will not let go. He is always focused, and he will work that case. He's also a good family man, and what you would like to see in the community and in the profession."

While his childhood community had its share of scofflaws, most of his neighbors were honest blue-collar types. Time and again, he’d see them falsely accused by police, or unable to retain proper representation. Reed decided that knowledge was power and he needed to get it.

In the sixth grade, he ran for class president — and lost. “That made me angry, so I started learning about the Constitution and how to impeach somebody,” said Reed, who is married to a lawyer, has a son in law school and a daughter pursuing graduate studies.

Reed received his undergraduate degree in journalism and political science from Indiana University in Bloomington. After law school at Iowa, he worked as chief law clerk for former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Conrad Mallet Jr., who remembers him as being the strongest member of his team.

"He would consistently present their work in a way that allowed for uncomplicated digestion of whatever argument they helped craft," said Mallet, now chief administrative officer for the Detroit Medical Center. "He's a very, very, very good lawyer."
Attorney Arnold Reed speaks about Congressman John Conyers' health and the latest accusations of sexual harassment in front of the congressman's home in Detroit. Daniel Mears, The Detroit News

That stint as a law clerk was followed by corporate work and a job in Detroit with the public defender's office. Because the fledgling lawyer couldn't convince his boss to give him a capital case, Reed, with no money to speak of, went out on his own, setting up a law practice in Detroit and winning his first multimillion-dollar verdict, in a police misconduct case, at just 29 years old.

Since then, the member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. has represented former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Conyers, Franklin and an upstart vocalist named R. Kelly in the mid-'90s.
Reed recalled meetings early on with the Queen of Soul, who he successfully represented about five years ago in a case involving misappropriation of her name and likeness.

"She's a woman who tends to be formal with people she doesn't know or have a relationship with, so it was always, 'Ms. Franklin' and 'Attorney Reed.' After I won the case for her I said, 'Now can I call you Aretha?' She didn't say anything, so I took that to mean she was still 'Ms. Franklin,'" he said, chuckling.

As for Conyers, Reed represented him last year after the congressman became embroiled in allegations of sexual harassment. Conyers ultimately retired.

Reed remembers encountering Conyers years earlier after a particularly long community event. Reed had asked him why he devoted so much time and effort to so many causes when he could find more lucrative work elsewhere.

"He looked at me, smiled and said, 'Arnold, money has never been my motivating factor. I have the best job in the world. I can help people.' So when he needed my help, I answered the call."
Reed's legal battles often extend into the court of public opinion. For instance, he took a lot of heat for representing Kilpatrick in a case stemming from the former mayor's conviction for lying under oath about an affair with his chief of staff.

 "It took me aback a bit," he said of the criticism. "Everyone deserves a right to representation no matter the allegation. Also, I've been in this game over 25 years, and I'd be lying if I said I weren't ever discriminated against based on my color, because I have been.

"When I put my suit and tie on every day and I go out, there are some people who look at me like I'm Kilpatrick simply because I'm African-American. I have to explain to people that when I represent Kwame Kilpatrick, I represent you, I represent your son.

 "In any case, I have a social responsibility not to shy away from cases merely because of allegations."

Reed's brazen style, however, leaves some cold, said Solon Phillips, in-house counsel for Southfield Public Schools.

"I have a great deal of respect for his zeal and tenacity in terms of what he does for his clients, but he is aggressive, so I can see how he could rub people the wrong way," said Phillips, who has known Reed for about 15 years.

"In his younger years, for example, he would press opposing counsel when he saw them by asking them why they weren't working, asking them whether they were working as hard as he was.

 "If you're on the receiving end, I can see where he might make some folks uncomfortable."

 His high-profile client roster notwithstanding, Reed is a self-described "lawyer on the side of the people." Everyone, he says, deserves representation under the law.

"I'm always around rich and powerful individuals, but I know my upbringing," said Reed, who often rides to work on his motorcycle, the back of his leather jacket emblazoned with "Not Guilty."

The voracious reader prides himself on going all out for his clients, often spending days and nights with them. He leans on his journalism background to do his own investigative work and visualizes courtroom plans.

“The major thing is having belief in your cause,” Reed said. “If you don’t believe, you’re not going to convince 12 others.”

He has a fan in Donna Pope, for whom Reed won a $4.2 million judgment in an unlawful termination whistleblower case in 2009.

“He’s very thorough and very patient, very poised and convincing,” said Pope, who lives in western Michigan. “This was one of the hardest things I had to go through in life, and he made it manageable to survive it.”

Mary Chapman is a Detroit-based freelance writer.







Arnold E. Reed
Age: 54
Occupation: Owner, Arnold E. Reed and Associates, Southfield
Education: Bachelor's degree, Indiana University; Juris Doctorate, University of Iowa College of Law

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Obama & Holder: The National Democratic Redistricting Committee


Former President Barack Obama highlights the damaging effects of partisan and racial gerrymandering on our democracy and calls on Americans to get engaged in the 2018 mid-term elections as it is a critical year for redistricting and restoring fairness back to elections. 

 The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) is the centralized hub for executing a comprehensive redistricting strategy that shifts the redistricting power, creating fair districts where Democrats can compete. To learn more about what you can do to fight for fair maps alongside the NDRC, visit www.democraticredistricting.com.

(Those example districts were the 13th & 14th Congressional Districts of Michigan.)

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Friday, June 1, 2018

CONYERS Retired, Resigned Or Is It A Federal Investigation?: Michael Gilmore Wants A Special Election


He is going to do the dramatic Hollywood style ceremonial "filing of the complaint" on the courthouse steps.

I am excited to see the video and what he is going to do with it for his campaign, because you know he is going to use the federal litigation for his campaign.

Well, the days of the political drama have been, oh, let us just say, have been placed under the lens of the cyber community, so all eyes shall be watching this case, in real time.

To begin, let us exam the reason why Michael is filing this lawsuit.

On second thought, that would be a waste of time so I am just going to identify his motivation to file the lawsuit in the title of the article, below.

He is filing to launch his campaign, and not for the greater good of society.

I say this because a congressional seat does not belong to a man nor is it an American title of nobility; it belongs to all people of the 13th Congressional District of Michigan, not just a targeted population of Detroit.

Can one use federal resources, in this case, the federal court, for a political campaign, particularly if the suit of law is for the seat you are attempting to sway to public to win?

This is a questionable way to kick off a political campaign.

This is also the part that where I defenestrate my reservations and remain consistent.

There is a formal process for a Member of Congress to resign and it is my belief that process was executed in a fraudulent manner.

The following is copy of the Congressional Letter of "retirement" of John Conyers, Jr. which was found published with media outlets.



That does not look like his signature to me and I should know.

How could he sign a letter dated December 5, 2017 and enter it into public record when it was reported that he was hospitalized, medically incapacitated, November 30, 2017 in Detroit?

Hmmmmm....

According to media reports, Conyers' "retirement" was lobbied by a non-governmental, unlicensed attorney, and other Members of Congress, despite the fact that Arnold Reed was retained to represent Mr. Conyers.

Hmmmmm....

Date of signature: December 5, 2017

Date of signature: July 7, 2007


Date of signature: November 18, 2017

Date of signature: December 16, 2016



Only one of these signatures from United States Congressional Letters, is the real signature of John Conyers, Jr.

Can you guess which one is his?


Mother Superior Augustine would have had a heart attack if she bared witness to the reading of this letter with just about every sentence commencing with first person pronoun, "I", giving me every indication that the Gentlelady Jackson Lee was in rather a pressurized bind by a few unsavory characters.

See, I know what Nancy Pelosi did last summer, and the summer before that, and so on, with Bitch Boy, which is another reason why I speculate the legality of the process, because Nancy has been terribly mean to my Sweetie for quite some time.

I challenge the veracity of Mr. Conyers' voting record and policy positions because people have been forging his signature on congressional letters, for a long time, which is why I did this.

Original signature of John Conyers, Jr.
I was quite shocked when I found out how much individuals were getting for his forged signatures on congressional letters.

Quintessentially, if there are relevent questions raised surrounding the legitimacy of the "retiring" of Mr. Conyers, perhaps, this is the real reason why there will be no special election, as there are multiple, ongoing federal investigations.

Maybe Michael could attempt to validate his racist theories in discovery, or he could just do a basic internet search.

It is just a jurisdictional issue that would immediately halt any state "retirement" process.

But, hey, what do I know?

Candidate says he'll sue Gov. Snyder to move up election for Conyers' seat

A candidate for the U.S. House seat vacated by former U.S. Rep John Conyers filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Snyder demanding that the election be moved up to an earlier date.

On Dec. 8, Gov. Snyder had announced that Conyers' congressional seat would remain empty until the regularly scheduled November election, leaving it vacant for nearly a year. What's more, political observers have pointed out that since the post will be listed twice — once in the August primary and again in the November general election ballots — the office could be held by two different people before January is out.

In short, the move would leave Detroiters without effective representation for 11 months — and perhaps even longer.

Michael Gilmore announced today that he intends to sue Gov. Snyder to move up the election for Conyer's vacant U.S. House seat. - PHOTO COURTESY MICHAEL GILMORE FOR U.S. HOUSE
Michael Gilmore
As the Associated Press noted earlier this month judging by a review of roughly 100 vacancies and successors listed on the House website for the last 20 years, it is unusual for a congressional district to stay vacant for so long. Eleven months would be the longest time a House seat stayed empty during that period.

Gov. Snyder had said his decision would both save money and give candidates ample time to campaign. But given his role in establishing Emergency Management in Michigan, this situation calls another lawsuit to mind — namely one filed by the Detroit Branch of the NAACP against Gov. Snyder that Emergency Management has violated the voting rights of the state's African Americans, effectively stripping representation away from residents in majority-minority cities and school districts. By some estimates, more than half of the state's blacks had their representatives overruled by Snyder-appointed viceroys.

None of this is lost on candidate Michael Gilmore, who has announced his intention to sue the governor over the scheduling of this election:

"Gov. Snyder continues to treat residents of urban areas across the state as second-class citizens and is violating a laundry list of constitutional laws in doing so," Gilmore said in a statement released today. "By holding this congressional seat vacant for 11 months, he is denying minority residents of the 13th Congressional District the right to vote and the right to be represented in Congress. This is yet another attempt to further silence the voice of minorities in the state and disregard their views. From putting emergency managers only in minority school districts and city halls to signing off on the Flint water crisis for fiscal benefit, Gov. Snyder has historically cited cost-saving measures as his reason for denying civil and human rights to urban areas. Here, he is once again attempting to balance the state's budget on the backs of Black people, in the name of 'cost savings.'"
Gilmore says he will discuss his lawsuit against Gov. Snyder at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, at the Fort Street entrance of the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse, Detroit.



One man hoping to win an empty congressional seat is suing the governor for waiting until November to fill the seat. Most residents have a representative in Congress until the next election.

However, because Congressman John Conyers resigned in 2017, and Gov. Rick Snyder set an election to fill his seat starting in November, residents of the 13th congressional district will not have a representative in Congress for 11 months in 2018.

"Governor Snyder continues to treat residents of urban areas across the street as second class citizens," Michael Gilmore said. Governor Snyder has historically cited cost saving measures as his reason for denying civil rights and human rights to urban areas," he said.

The governor does believe setting the date for the special election in August and November on the same dates as the regular general election will save local taxpayers up to $2 million.

"Divide $2 million by the 658,000 residents, that totals roughly $3 per person," he said.
Gilmore calls this systemic discrimination in the 13th congressional district, which he says is composed of over 62 percent minority residents.

"He is once again attempting to balance the state's budgets on the backs of black people in the name of cost savings," he said.

Gilmore is also a candidate for this seat. Might his lawsuit be self-serving?

"I don't believe this is self-serving, in fact I'm actually quite ashamed that I'm the only one talking about it," he said. "Donald Trump has already begun to illuminate important social programs that we need in this area, and no one else is talking about it?"

Gilmore says that typically vacancies are filled within a few months and he has asked the federal court to make a quick ruling hopefully by the end of February. There's been no formal response from the governor's office. 


Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Awan Transfers $300,000 To Pakistan Under Grand Jury Indictment For Mortgage Fraud

Now, why would the FBI allow a $300,000 overseas wiretransfer to Pakistan from the federal credit union when he was under Grand Jury indictment GPS monitor order for federal credit union for mortgage fraud?

Hmmmm....

Me thinketh my #Superfans monitor the "Legal Geniuses" (trademark pending).


Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cummings and Nadler Seek Subpoenas for Trump Campaign Consultants Refusing to Deny Foreign Contacts During Election



Washington, D.C. (Dec. 14, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, sent a letter, below, asking their respective Chairmen, Reps. Trey Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte, to issue subpoenas for documents from two Trump Campaign data consultants—Cambridge Analytica and Giles-Parscale—after they refused to deny any communications with foreign actors during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“We understand that you declined to join the original request for documents from these companies, but this is a matter that directly affects our citizens and their exercise of their right to vote,” Cummings and Nadler wrote.  “We owe the American people robust and meaningful oversight of matters affecting the integrity of our electoral process.”

On October 26, 2017, Ranking Members Conyers and Cummings sent a letter to five data consultants—Cambridge Analytica, Giles-Parscale, Target Point, Deep Root, and Data Trust—requesting documents relating to their possible engagement with foreign actors such as WikiLeaks, communication with foreign governments, or the use of misappropriated data.

Cummings and Nadler disclosed today that three of these companies—TargetPointDeep Root, and Data Trust, below,—sent responses on the same day, using language that was nearly identical and apparently coordinated, denying any foreign contacts.

In contrast, a letter from Brad Parscale of Giles-Parscale notably failed to deny that his company had contacts  with or received information from foreign actors or governments during the 2016 campaign. 

Recent press accounts have reported that Donald Trump, Jr. emailed Parscale about his correspondence with WikiLeaks.

In addition, Cambridge Analytica refused to respond at all and thus did not deny that the company had contacts and communications with foreign actors or received any stolen or misappropriated data. 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange confirmed that Cambridge Analytica approached WikiLeaks during the campaign to coordinate the release of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. 

Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytics, also confirmed this outreach.

“Because the first three companies have asserted unequivocally that none of their employees had contacts with any foreign agents during the presidential campaign, we are willing to delay any further inquiry unless or until evidence to the contrary emerges,” Cummings and Nadler wrote.  “However, neither Giles Parscale nor Cambridge Analytica have denied these contacts.  We therefore request that our committees issue subpoenas to these companies to compel the production of the information they are withholding from Congress.”

If the Chairmen decline to issue these subpoenas, then Cummings and Nadler request they place this matter on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled business meeting so Committee Members may vote on motions to subpoena these documents.





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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Statement of Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler for the Hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation”





Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Welcome to the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Rosenstein. 

For the better part of a year, my colleagues and I have implored this Committee to conduct real oversight of the Department of Justice. 

On January 24, 2017, we wrote to Chairman Goodlatte insisting that “the Committee hold hearings on President Trump’s conflicts of interest, at home and abroad.”  Citing to experts across the political spectrum, we showed that “[t]he Administration’s attempts to address its ongoing conflicts of interest are, so far, wholly inadequate.”  Six weeks later, Attorney General Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation—but we have not held a single hearing on the question of conflicts of interest.

On March 8, we wrote again to the Chairman, encouraging him to call hearings on “Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election.”  Again, no such hearings were ever held.

In fact, this Committee—which during the Obama Administration held half a dozen hearings around Operation Fast & Furious, received testimony from FBI Director James Comey three times in 13 months, and detailed staff and resources to a Benghazi investigation that cost the public almost $8 million—this Committee, from Inauguration Day until four weeks ago, was largely silent in terms of oversight.

We haven’t lifted a finger on election security.  Attorney General Sessions told us on November 14 that he has done nothingto secure the next election from threats at home and abroad. 

We have not once discussed the President’s abuse of the pardon power.  While the hurricane bore down on Houston, President Trump sidelined the Office of the Pardon Attorney to pardon a serial human rights abuser who bragged about running a concentration camp in Arizona. 

And we have not held a single hearing on allegations of obstruction of justice at the White House—not for lack of evidence, but because, in the Chairman’s words, “there is a special counsel in place examining the issue,” and “several other congressional committees are looking into the matter,” and the Committee “does not have the time” to conduct this critical oversight.  I ask my colleagues to keep those excuses in mind.

Now, with the year coming to a close, with the leadership of the Department of Justice finally before us, what do my Republican colleagues want to discuss?  Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Let me repeat that:  With all of these unresolved issues left on our docket, a week before we adjourn for the calendar year, the Majority’s highest oversight priority is Hillary Clinton’s emails and a few related text messages.

As we saw in our recent hearings with the Department of Justice and the FBI, my Republican colleagues seem singularly focused on their call for a second special counsel—and, failing that, on the need to investigate the investigators ourselves.

The White House has now joined the call by House Republicans for a new special counsel to investigate the FBI.  The President’s private lawyers have done the same.  I understand the instinct to want to change the subject after the Flynn and Manafort indictments—but this request is grossly misguided, for a number of reasons.

First, it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the special counsel regulations work.  

Some criminal investigations pose a conflict of interest to the Department of Justice.  The Russia investigation is such a case—because of the Attorney General’s ongoing recusal and because Department leadership assisted in the removal of Director Comey, among other reasons.  In cases like these, the Attorney General may use a special counsel to manage the investigation outside of the ordinary chain of command. 

But the key here is the criminal investigation.  That’s what special counsel does.  The Department cannot simply assign a special counsel to look at things that bother the White House.  There has to be enough evidence to have predicated a criminal investigation in the first place.  Then, and only then, if the facts warrant, can a special counsel be assigned to the case.

So far, there has been no credible factual or legal claim that anybody at the Department of Justice violated any law by deciding not to bring charges against Hillary Clinton or by attempting to meet with Fusion GPS.  In other words, there is no investigation to which the Department could even assign a new special counsel. 

Second, the list of grievances raised by the Majority for review by a new special counsel also seems wildly off the mark.

For example, there is nothing unlawful about Director Comey’s sitting down to draft an early statement about the Clinton investigation—nor would it have been unethical to outline his conclusions before the investigation was over, if the clear weight of the evidence pointed in one direction.

Nor is there anything wrong with FBI agents expressing their private political views via private text message, as Peter Strzok and Lisa Page appear to have done in the 375 text messages we received last night.  In fact, Department regulations expressly permit that sort of communication.

I have reviewed those text messages, and I am left with two thoughts. 

First, Peter Strzok did not say anything about Donald Trump that the majority of Americans weren’t also thinking at the same time.  And second, in a testament to his integrity and situational awareness, when the Office of the Inspector General made Mr. Mueller aware of these exchanges, he immediately removed Mr. Strzok from his team.

To the extent that we are now engaged in oversight of political bias at the FBI, this Committee should examine evidence of a coordinated effort by some agents involved in the Clinton investigation to change the course of the campaign in favor of President Trump by leaking sensitive information to the public, and by threatening to leak additional information about new emails after the investigation was closed.

On Monday, Ranking Member Cummings and I sent a letter to the Department asking for additional materials related to these leaks, as well as to claims that these efforts may have been coordinated with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and other senior figures in the Trump campaign.

Third, the President’s call for an investigation of the investigation is, at best, wildly dangerous to our democratic institutions.

On the one hand, the President’s old “lock her up” cheer seems quaint after a couple of guilty pleas by Trump associates.

On the other, as former Attorney General Michael Mukasey—no fan of Hillary Clinton—has said: the President’s continued threats to prosecute his political opponents is “something we don’t do here.”  If the President were to carry out his threat, “it would be like a banana republic.”

Finally, and most important, this investigation into the investigation cannot credibly be a priority for this Committee at this time.

I understand the instinct to want to give cover to the President.  I am fearful that the Majority’s effort to turn the tables on the Special Counsel will get louder and more frantic as the walls close in around the President.  But this Committee has a job to do.

President Trump has engaged in a persistent and dangerous effort to discredit both the free press and the Department of Justice.  These are the agencies and institutions under our jurisdiction.  Every minute that that our Majority wastes on covering for President Trump is a minute lost on finding a solution for the Dreamers, or curbing a vicious spike in hate crimes, or preventing dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms, or stopping the President from further damaging the constitutional order.

I hope my colleagues will use today’s hearing as an opportunity to find their way back to the true work of the House Judiciary Committee.  I thank the Chairman, and yield back the balance of my time.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

NADLER PRAISES BIPARTISAN BILL TO PROTECT RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED INSTITUTIONS



Washington, D.C.—This evening, the House passed H.R. 1730, the “Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act,”  by a vote of 402-2.  This bill would extend protections under current federal law for “religious real property.”  Currently, Section 247 of the Federal Criminal Code prohibits both the damaging of religious property because of the property’s religious character and the intentional obstruction — by force or threats of force — of anyone’s exercise of religious beliefs. 

H.R. 1730 would clarify that threats of force against religious property are included in this prohibition.  Additionally, the measure would provide that the damaging or obstructing of such property that results in damages exceeding $5,000 constitutes a felony punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment.  Finally, the bill would clarify that real property covered by the statute includes property leased by a non-profit, religiously-affiliated organization.

The importance of this legislation is underscored by the recent upsurge in bomb threats, hate crimes, and vandalism committed against communities of faith.  For instance, more than 150 bomb threats were made against Jewish Community Centers in the first quarter of this year alone.  And, there has been an alarming surge in the number of threats, vandalism, and arson committed against mosques over the past year.

In response to House passage of this bill, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) stated,

“Recently, our country has been experiencing a surge in hate crimes – including those committed against communities of faith. In 2016, the hate crimes statistics released by the FBI indicate that anti-Semitic hate crimes increased 20% from the prior year. 

“Our country was founded on the principles of religious liberty, and while we may disagree with the religious practices of others, it is never acceptable to use physical obstruction, force, or threats of force to deny others the right to worship. 

“I believe it is not only appropriate but necessary for Congress to strengthen our laws against these types of acts so that no American has to choose between their faith and their safety. And I am pleased that this important bill, which was adopted by the Judiciary Committee, has now been passed by the House of Representatives.”
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