Nonpartisan Endorsements, An Unsafe Embassy, and the Ideological Divide

By Billy Hallowell and Lyle Hickman





This week's Transparency Recap opens with a Corruption Chronicles blog entry entitled "'Nonpartisan' La Raza Council Endorses Obama." The National Council of La Raza was founded in 1968 in Washington D.C. as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. While the organization touts nonpartisan status, Judicial Watch (via its blog, the Corruption Chronicles) is charging partisan support for the presumed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. According to Corruption Chronicles:

". . . La Raza President Janet Murguia stood by as Los Angeles' renowned Chicano mayor (Antonio Villaraigosa) praised the Illinois senator during the group's annual convention in San Diego. A former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman, Villaraigosa assured the crowd of thousands that Obama is Latinos' best hope for reforming the nation's federal immigration policies."

Moving on, ABC News' The Blotter covers a warning issued by the United States embassy located in Baghdad, Iraq. According to The Blotter, "Weapons are continuing to be left unattended throughout the Embassy compound . . ." Unattended weaponry in an embassy is unacceptable, especially when considering the current situation in Iraq. The war makes the embassy a prime target of the Iraqi insurgents. According to The Blotter the U.S. embassy warns its employees and cohorts:

". . . Just to be clear, the embassy reminds employees:

-- Don't leave your gun unattended when using the embassy pool. "If using the Embassy Pool, you must designate a gear guard."
-- Don't leave guns unattended in vehicles, even if the vehicle is locked.
-- And don't carry your gun if you've been drinking. "No weapon will be carried while drinking alcoholic beverages."

Anyone caught violating the rules will have his or her weapons confiscated, the document warns, and a supervisor will have to sign a letter requesting that it be returned after the individual has "been counseled on proper weapons retention . . ."

In other news, Secrecy News penned a piece about the "Foreign Relations of the United States" -- a series that the State Department defines as ". . . [a presentation of] the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 350 individual volumes."

While one can easily see the importance of such an official historical account of U.S. activity, Secrecy News reports the following:

"The "Foreign Relations of the United States" (FRUS) series . . . remains unlikely to meet the legal requirement that it be published no later than 30 years after the events that it describes, an official advisory committee has told the Secretary of State."

Over on the Sunlight blogs, Ellen Miller covers the growing divide between Sen. Joe Lieberman and the Democratic Party. According to Miller,

"The Connecticut Independent's high-profile support for the Iraq War and a bellicose demeanor toward Iran, as well as his enthusiastic endorsement of and active campaigning for Sen. John McCain's presidential bid and his criticism of Sen. Barack Obama as the presumptive Democratic nominee, have all helped to put his relationship with the Democrats in quite the precarious spot."

The relationship is in such shambles that left-wing activists are petitioning for Lieberman to be stripped of his rank and removed from his Homeland Security chairmanship. Democrats are calling for these actions to be taken following the 2008 presidential election in November.

And in other news, former Arlington National Cemetery Public Affairs Director Gina Gray was allegedly fired for advocating for more media access to soldiers' funeral processions. After publicly disclosing the fact that ceremony officials are not allowing media access at funerals -- even after families agreed to said coverage -- Gray was fired. All Things Whistleblower poses an interesting thought regarding the next administration:

"With the images of funerals being so powerful, and thought of to raise the conscious level of the casualties of war, it will be very interesting to see how this issue is handled by the next presidential  administration."

In closing, OpenSecrets.org's Capital Eye is "Calling All Citizen Journalists." Check the contest out and you could potentially win $100!