HHS Sued for Records Detailing Grant to the National Council of La Raza

I’ve often referred to the “Chicago Way,” wherein politicians pay off special interests with taxpayer monies and favors in exchange for political support. And ever since Chicago’s own Barack Obama took office, we have seen an explosion in this type of corrupt arrangement.

Whether we’re talking about Obamacare favors for union bosses or illegal payments to ACORN and its spinoffs, the Obama administration knows how to take care of its “friends,” and that includes the crazies from “La Raza.”

On July 18, 2012, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking access to records detailing taxpayer-funded grants provided by the Centers for Disease Control to the National Council of La Raza (The National Council of “The Race”).

Here’s what we’re after per our FOIA request:

i. Any and all records regarding, concerning or related to the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program grants awarded to the National Council of La Raza between September 11, 2009 and September 20, 2011. This request includes, but is not limited to, the grant application, records regarding the disbursement of grant payments, records of communication regarding the awarding of the grant, and all records related to the management, evaluation, and oversight of the activities funded by the grant.

ii. Any and all records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any official, employee, or representative of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (including, but not limited to, Director Cecilia Muñoz) regarding, concerning, or related to any grants applied for by and/or awarded to the National Council of La Raza between January 20, 2009 and the present.

HHS acknowledged receiving our request on December 13, 2011, and was required by law to respond no later than January 26, 2012. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, HHS has failed to respond in accordance with FOIA law.

The fact that the National Council of La Raza openly advocates for illegal alien sanctuary policies, such as drivers’ licenses and discounted tuition for illegal aliens, is no secret. But what many people do not realize is that the organization has also been linked to the Mexican reconquista movement, which seeks to conquer the American Southwest and return it to Mexico.

Now, you won’t read about these ties on the NCLR website. The organization works very hard to distance itself from radical “Chicano” organizations so it can maintain powerful friends in both political parties.

But a few years ago, Judicial Watch investigated a radical Mexican separatist school in Los Angeles, California, called Academia Semillas Del Pueblo. (You can read our report here.) And who did we find pumping good money after bad into this failing school? The National Council of La Raza, and another radical organization called M.E.Ch.A., or Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán. (Taxpayers also paid the tab to the tune of $1.6 million per year.)

Unlike the NCLR, which attempts to hide its extremist agenda behind a false public façade, M.E.Ch.A. is brazen and unapologetic about its reconquista agenda. According to the organization’s statement of principles: "We are Chicanas and Chicanos of Aztlan reclaiming the land of our birth (Chicana/Chicano Nation). Aztlan belongs to indigenous people, who are sovereign and not subject to a foreign culture...We are a union of free pueblos forming a bronze (Chicana/Chicano) Nation.”

La Raza is well represented in the White House. Cecilia Muñoz previously served as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza. So she was, in effect, a lobbyist for illegal aliens and their Mexican separatist friends. Because her appointment would have violated Barack Obama’s lobbyist ban, the president granted Muñoz an “ethics waiver” so she could join his administration as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.  (Muñoz now serves as the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.)

According to a Judicial Watch investigation, federal funding for the National Council of La Raza nearly tripled from $4.1 million to $11 million in FY 2010, the year Muñoz joined the Obama administration.

This funding for NCLR and affiliates has come from a variety of Obama administration agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, The Department of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control through its “Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health” (REACH) program. (The stated mission of the REACH program is to “eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.”)

The Obama administration is clearly embarrassed by its association with this radical organization, as it should be. But embarrassment is not a sufficient reason, contrary to law, to withhold government records. This seems to be a story of a left-wing special interest group benefiting from White House connections at the expense of the taxpayers. And we aim to get to the bottom of it.

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch and author of The Corruption Chronicles, on sale now.


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