Tony Perkins / November 4, 2015

Mail Bonding? Richards Writes Ryan for Help

The House Speaker may have changed, but Planned Parenthood’s tactics have not. In an odd sort of congratulatory letter, President Cecile Richards reached out to Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) for the first time since his election. In hopes of veering him off his predecessor’s course, Richards spends four pages defending her organization’s baby parts-for-profits ring before asking the new speaker to call off his investigators.

The House Speaker may have changed, but Planned Parenthood’s tactics have not. In an odd sort of congratulatory letter, President Cecile Richards reached out to Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) for the first time since his election. In hopes of veering him off his predecessor’s course, Richards spends four pages defending her organization’s baby parts-for-profits ring before asking the new speaker to call off his investigators.

“Despite our cooperation to date,” Richards writes, “a number of the investigative practices undertaken by the committees raise concerns about the impartiality and integrity of their investigations.” After insisting she “has nothing to hide,” Richards went on to complain that at least one video was preemptively leaked to the public. Although some states have already cut ties with Planned Parenthood, Cecile claims her organization has done no wrong. Instead, she tries to turn the tables on the Center for Medical Progress, which has provided hours of compelling evidence that Planned Parenthood may be violating federal law with its sale of fetal tissue.

But if Cecile Richards was hoping for an easier road under Speaker Ryan, his comments prove that Planned Parenthood is in for anything but. In defense of his select committee on the scandal, Ryan was clear: “I don’t think Planned Parenthood should get a red cent from the taxpayer. I’ve always believed that, even before those disgusting videos came out. But I believe we need to do our oversight. We’re just beginning to start a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. That’s important. So the special committee on Planned Parenthood, I think, should be in the driver’s seat overseeing this process.”

Striking a firm tone, he reminded Richards and all of Planned Parenthood’s allies that conservatives will “push issues where we can push issues. We have to speak truth to power.” At FRC, we look forward to helping the new leadership team do exactly that.

The Unfair Facts of Fairfax

In Virginia’s Fairfax County, parents were already worried about what schools were teaching. Now they’re just as concerned about what they’re hiding. In a story that’s exploding across the state, locals have been outraged to learn that Fairfax’s school board is so intent on hiding the truth about its controversial transgender policy that it’s suing to keep the documents under wraps!

Judicial Watch broke the news [Monday], less than 24 hours before voters streamed into polling stations to pick the school board’s members for the next term. The cover-up, part of an ongoing battle with conservatives, goes back to early summer when Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any communications about the board’s radical “gender identity” policy — which it rushed through this spring over the objections of hundreds of angry parents.

Like so many “non-discrimination” measures marching through U.S. schools, Fairfax’s not only lets students and teachers use opposite sex bathrooms and locker rooms, but forces teachers to start incorporating “gender fluidity” curriculum in their classrooms. Furious, the Fairfax community jumped into action, vowing to repeal the policy and oust the 10 school board members responsible.

Meanwhile, Judicial Watch promised to get to the bottom of the county’s agenda with seven separate FOIA requests. After dragging their feet for more than five months, Fairfax officials finally turned over a handful of documents last week — less than seven days before the board’s election! But that’s not the worst of it. Last Friday, the board admitted that it had thousands of additional pages of information — but refused to share it!

“Judicial Watch tried to negotiate the release of most of the 2,000 pages of documents before Election Day,” the group explained, “but the very school board up for election [today] sued Judicial Watch this past Friday, an effort that [prevented] public access to records prior to the election. The Fairfax County School Board also hired an outside firm — at taxpayer expense — for the lawsuit.”

If it sounds outrageous, that’s because it is! The same taxpayers who deserve access to these records are now paying attorneys to keep them in the dark! At this point, that’s more of an indictment of the school board than anything the FOIA could have exposed. [Monday], in a joint statement, the seven candidates challenging for school board seats had plenty to say about the city’s stalling tactics. “Refusing to release information, rightfully requested by citizens, is the height of arrogance… The majority of the board has stopped listening to the community, and it’s time for them to go.”

For now, most people want to know: what is the Fairfax County School Board hiding? Any district that would go to these lengths — even filing a lawsuit in circuit court — to keep the lid on its communications must have a dark reason for doing so. Judicial Watch already exposed the fact that the board hired someone to implement the transgender policy before the vote even took place.

“Several emails and documents obtained by concerned parents … this week revealed that on the night of the vote, school administrators had already hired a consultant… In addition, school board members have been paying the consultant with taxpayer money without a written contract.” Then, calling it one of the “worst” sort of game-playing, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton blasted the board’s politicians. “[They] actually went to court to sue [us] in order to keep documents about its transgender policies from citizen requesters until after the election. This election-eve ploy is as abusive of transparency law as anything we have seen in D.C.”

No wonder locals want to clean house in Fairfax County. As in Houston, the message couldn’t be clearer: liberals can’t pass their radical policies on the merits. Instead, they have to cheat and abuse power to accomplish what most polling shows America never wanted in the first place!

This Land Is Your Land…

At the Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church in Houston, the billboard says, “We’re not a mega church — but a mighty church.” And this week’s news certainly suggests so. After two years of trying to bulldoze religious freedom, the city of Houston tried to do it literally in the name of “redevelopment.”

Toward the end of the summer, the local Housing Authority warned Pastor Roy Lee Kossie that his church property would be seized under eminent domain so that the city could build affordable apartments. With the help of Liberty Institute, the congregation of Latter Day Deliverance pushed back. Now, three months later, Houston has called off its legal battle with the inner-city church. “We are overjoyed that we can now continue to minister without fear of losing our property,” Bishop Kossie celebrated. “This is where the Lord called Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church to serve and this is where we can now stay.”

In a city with more than a checkered record against local churches, this is a tremendous victory for the neighborhood — especially a hurting one like the Fifth Ward. Hats off to our friends at Liberty Institute for pushing back against another one of the Houston government’s anti-faith agendas!

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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