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‘We can probably only fly you if you can risk arrest’

Bags of money

A left-wing organization that benefits from direct financial support from U.S. taxpayers is promising to use some of its income for the legal defense of activists protesting the GOP tax-reform bill.

Judicial Watch, the prominent Washington watchdog, said Tuesday it obtained records revealing the plan.

“The New York City-based group, Housing Works, describes itself as a ‘healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.’ Its mission is to end homelessness and AIDS through advocacy, lifesaving services and businesses that sustain the efforts,” Judicial Watch said.

It was just a few days ago that Housing Works organized a big demonstration in Washington, D.C., to protest the Republican tax overhaul. Judicial Watch said the group plans to return to the Capitol this week to try to keep the measure from passing.

But the Daily Caller found an internal email that shows Housing Works encouraged, possibly even required, illegal activity.

The group told supporters it could even reimburse them for airfare if they are willing to risk arrest.

“We will transport, house and feed you, and deal with all legal support,” read the email to supporters. “Caveat: if you are far away from DC and expensive to transport, we can probably only fly you if you can risk arrest.”

The group described its protests like this: “The Rs voted and fled the room, but were snagged by reporters in the hallway, surrounded by bird-doggers, and shamed for their disgraceful votes.”

Judicial Watch noted the GOP proposal would be the most sweeping tax reform in 30 years and undoubtedly is controversial.

“Americans from all walks of life and groups such as Housing Works have the right to express their opinion and rally supporters to make an impact,” Judicial Watch said. “But it’s outrageous for a group that receives millions of taxpayer dollars to, not only embolden law breakers, but offer to pay for their legal and transportation expenses.”

The Daily Caller pointed out that “organizers on either side of the aisle sometimes attempt to coordinate logistics for their teams, but the requirement that an individual need to risk arrest in the district in order to qualify for aid is unique, especially given the fact that hundreds of protesters are facing decades of prison time for violently protesting President Donald Trump’s inauguration.”

Judicial Watch noted the article didn’t mention that Housing Works “gets a lot of money from American taxpayers.”

“Since 2009 the group has received nearly $22 million, including $4.7 million in 2017 alone. The cash flows through the departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS). The biggest chunk of money comes from HUD, the notoriously corrupt and bloated federal agency embroiled in a multitude of scandals. Of the eight grants issued this year, only one – for $1 million from HUD – was issued before Donald Trump became president,” Judicial Watch said.

The watchdog warned that HUD “has long been a bastion of corruption under both Democrat and Republican administrations.”

Ronald Reagan’s HUD secretary, Samuel Pierce, was caught in a scandal that saw 16 people convicted. And Bill Clinton’s HUD secretary, Henry Cisneros, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about payments to a mistress.

“Under Barack Obama the agency was embroiled in countless scandals, including violating a federal ban on funding for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), allowing a director who simultaneously ran a leftwing nonprofit change agency policies to benefit her group and employees who went on personal shopping sprees with agency credit cards,” Judicial Watch said.



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