Judicial Watch

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Judicial Watch identifies itself as an American conservative non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. It conducts education on ethics and morality in our nation's public life. Using public records, the Freedom of Information Act and litigation, investigates "misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities. "[1]

In assessing the role of such an organization, which describes itself as "nonpartisan", the challenge is to see if it is not only nonpartisan in terms of formal political parties, but is equally willing to investigate corruption by liberal or conservative politicians. Within the technical definition of nonpartisanship, it is possible to be quite ideologically driven, and, indeed, both major U.S. political parties are restructuring to find a new ideological equilibrium.

Affiliations

Judicial Watch is part of the Alliance Defense Fund alert network: "Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak Bible-defined through strategy, training, funding, and litigation."

It is a sponsor of the National Tea Party Convention; President Tom Fitton will address the meeting. The news release mentions that Sarah Palin will also speak.[2] This specific convention is a profit-making enterprise of Tennessee lawyer Judson Phillips. Palin will receive a $100,000 speaker fee. [3] Representatives Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn have withdrawn over concerns about the disposition of the proceeds.

Targets

Its homepage lists what it describes as issues of interest to the organization, as well as information on individual politicians; some issues are framed in terms of individuals.

  • Investigation of ACORN
  • Pelosi Air Force Scandal
  • Financial Crisis Investigation
  • Illegal Immigration
  • Political Corruption
  • Emoluments/Hillary Clinton
  • Joe the Plumber Lawsuit
  • Gardasil
  • Security & Prosperity Partnership

It does include one Republican in its list of the "10 most corrupt politicians of 2009":[4]

  1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut)
  2. Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada)
  3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts)
  4. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner
  5. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
  6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Illinois)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-Illinois):
  7. President Barack Obama (D)
  8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California)
  9. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania) and the rest of the PMA Seven
  10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York)

Financing

For the fiscal year ending in December 2007, Charity Navigator gives Judicial Watch its lowest zero-star rating for efficiency in not-for-profit organizations, "Performs far below industry standards and below nearly all charities in its Cause." Other watchdog organizations, such as OMB Watch and Project On Government Oversight received four stars. The most highly compensated employees are President Tom Fitton at $170,282 and Secretary/Treasurer Paul Orfanedes at $211,112.[5]

Investigations

It obtained, through the Freedom of Information Act, a 2001 report from the U.S. Department of Justice, "National Security Division's Counterespionage Section's Report on Significant Export Control Cases since September 2001". [6]

References