A little humor for everyone while America votes in this historic election of 2008.
As most of America knows, Barack Obama is now poised to sweep to victory with at least 300 Electoral Votes, holding a massive eight point lead on average nationally over McCain at this late date. Several stories have bubbled up in the past few days, such as Obama’s comments on the coal industry, his alleged crude gesture towards McCain at a rally today and the identification of his Aunt as living in Boston, albeit without Obama’s knowledge according to his campaign. However, none of these stories seem to have the sheer force to push McCain up the giant electoral hill facing him tomorrow.
A late breaking story today could make the next 24 hours much more interesting as explosive allegations were published today in the American Spectator regarding Obama’s Aunt Zeituni Onyango (“Auntie Z”) confirming that the Obama Campaign and Mass. Governor Deval Patrick had knowledge of her illegal status and willful violation of the 2004 deportation order as early as 2007. If true, such actions by the Obama campaign and Patrick could constitute criminal acts according to Section 1324 under 8 U.S.C.A. 1324 (a)(1)(A)(iii) and (v).
The main source on for the published article regarding the Obama campaign’s knowledge of Auntie Z’s situation is an employee at AKP&D Message and Media, which is a political consulting firm employed by the Obama campaign. A secondary source for the fact that the Obama campaign was well aware of the status of Obama’s family members is an Obama campaign media aide. The gist of the allegations is that in early 2007, David Axelrod, the crack chief strategist for the Obama campaign, ordered a full investigation of all of Obama’s family members to prepare/defend against possible political attacks regarding Obama’s family during the campaign.
Obama’s position is that he had no knowledge of Auntie Z’s status as an illegal alien:
KATIE COURIC: you have an aunt who’s been living in this country apparently illegally, and your campaign says any and all appropriate laws should be followed. So would you support her being deported to Kenya?
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: If she has violated laws, then those laws have to be obeyed. We’re a nation of laws. And, obviously, that doesn’t lessen my concern for her. I haven’t been able to get in touch with her. But, I’m a strong believer that you obey the law.
According the main source at OBama’s political consulting firm, AKP&D Message and Media, here’s how Obama’s campaign came into knowledge of Auntie Z’s status and how it was dealt with:
Axelrod had actual knowledge of Auntie Z and all other relatives in early 2007, and decided to use Deval Patrick as a monitor over Auntie Z to make sure she stayed out of trouble and out of the media’s eye:
Back in early 2007, as Obama’s chief campaign strategist David Axelrod was organizing and planning the Obama campaign, he identified Obama’s unique family situation — a number of half-brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, some living overseas — as a potential problem, says an employee for Axelrod’s political consulting firm, and who has done work on the Obama campaign. “Given [Obama’s] father’s family history here and in Africa, David wanted the campaign to know who was who, where they lived, and what they were doing. No surprises. We knew she was here illegally. We knew her income levels, but I don’t think anyone from the campaign had had contact with her.”
Instead, according to the source, Axelrod reached out to his former client, Patrick, who had retained Axelrod’s firm for his run for governor. Onyango was living in a state-funded housing project, “so Patrick’s people could just as easily keep track of things, and could do it without drawing a ton of attention,” says the AKP&D Message and Media employee, who requested anonymity as he hopes to get a job in an Obama administration should the candidate win. “If we had Obama people around, the media would probably have found her much sooner. She was in [Obama’s] book, it wasn’t like she couldn’t be found.” Indeed, that is exactly how the London Times found her.
While the South Boston housing project is managed by the Boston Housing Authority, it is a state-funded facility, according to the BHA press office, and so it would not be uncommon for state housing officials to be on the grounds or in the area. “Patrick was the go-between, he’s trusted by David and Senator Obama,” says the aide.
An Obama campaign aide, the second source, at least partially confirms the AKP&D Message and Media employee’s account with respect to Axelrod’s knowledge of all Obama relatives:
Some Obama aides believe that Obama was briefed at least twice by Axelrod or campaign manager David Plouffe on the status of family members. “We tracked who was talking to the press, we kept in touch with some of these people,” says an Obama campaign media aide. “Anyone who thinks we didn’t doesn’t understand just how nervous we were about all of these people, particularly the members of [Obama’s] father’s family. Axelrod had everything covered.” The aide said she was never present for such a briefing, but “we all knew the candidate’s family was being taken care of, to protect their privacy and try to contain any damage.”
To summarize, according to the two sources quoted by American Spectator, the Obama campaign was well aware of Auntie Z’s immigration status and presence in America in early 2007. Furthermore, if true, the Obama’s campaign used Axelrod’s client and Obama’s ally, Patrick, to keep watch over Auntie Z until after the election. The allegations of the two sources is confirmed in part by Auntie Z’s quoted response to the British press before they broke the story:
“I can’t talk about it, I just pray for him, that’s all,” she said, adding: “After the 4th, I can talk to anyone.”
It is well within the realm of possibility that Auntie Z would have only known to refuse comment if she was told to say that, likely by the Obama campaign. The two sources, Obama’s political consultant’s employee and the Obama campaign media aide, bolster this likely occurrance. The importance to tomorrow’s election becomes whether or not such agreement between the Obama campaign and Patrick to “monitor” Auntie Z until the election is a vioation of federal immigration laws, namely 8 U.S.C.A. 1324(a)(1)(a)(iii) and (v), which prohibit as a felony:
(a) Criminal Penalties
(1)(a) Any person who…
(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;…
(v)(I) engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or
(II) aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts,
If the Obama campaign had knowledge of Auntie Z’s immigration status in early 2007, and then Axelrod worked with Patrick to suppress any uncovering of such status since then, there is an arguable violation of the statute above as such actions would each constitute an individual act which “conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien”, as spelled out in (iii) in the statute above. Any Obama campaign employees or Patrick staffers could be liable for conspiracy to commit violations of the Section 1324 and aiding and abetting violations of Section 1324 under subsection (v).
A review of case law regarding this matter tends to support the position that the Obama campaign’s activities, in conjunction with Mass. Governor Patrick, could have violated Section 1324. Indeed, the entire purpose of Axelrod’s alleged contacts with Patrick regarding Auntie Z was to suppress the public disclosure of Auntie Z’s illegal alien status and the lawful, immediate deportation under the 2004 Order. If true, the statements quoted in the American Spectator make out a prima facia case for a criminal indictment under Section 1324. As the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. v. Cantu, 557 F.2d 1173 (5th Cir. 1977) opines:
We agree with the conclusion in Lopez that section 1324 does not prohibit only smuggling-related activity, but also activity “tending substantially to facilitate an alien’s ‘remaining in the United States illegally.’ ” 521 F.2d at 441.
Jury instruction as to meaning of “shield.” Cantu requested that, in charging the jury concerning the meaning of “shield” as used in section 1324, the district judge include as a synonym the word “hide.” The judge declined to include “hide,” and Cantu contends that this refusal was error. Although “shield” and “hide” may in some contexts be synonymous, in the context of section 1324 they are not. Section 1324 forbids attempts “to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection.” Were “shield from detection” used synonymously with “hide” then “conceal” would be redundant. Therefore, the district judge did not err in omitting from his charge “hide” as a synonym for “shield from detection.”
If Axelrod coordinated with Patrick to keep watch over Auntie Z since early 2007, with knowledge of Auntie Z’s status as facing a deportation order, a prima facia case can be made under Section 1324 for a criminal indictment. Considering the seriousness of these allegations, CentristNet hopes that the mainstream media moves to ask these questions before America votes tomorrow. Moderate, centrist and independent voters will be on the edge of their seats to see what the Obama campaign and the mainstream media has to say about his interesting controversy.
The ultimate question is whether voters agree with Obama’s position that he had no knowledge of Auntie Z’s situation, or whether voters tend to distrust Obama’s position that he had no knowledge. Perhaps such issues will be irrelevant as Obama has promised not to speak wth the press until after the election. Regardless, the Auntie Z episode leaves many questions unanswered by the Obama campaign, and every centrist, independent moderate voter can only hope that the Obama campaign decides to provide information regarding their actions pertaining to Auntie Z prior to the election tomorrow.