Tuesday, March 16, 2010

COPA Campaign for JFK Act Oversight

COPA SPRING OFFENSIVE – Pro-active Strategies and Tactics will be employed in a campaign for Congressional oversight of the JFK Act and enactment of the MLK Act.

When the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) closed up shop nearly ten years ago, we thought that oversight hearings of the JFK Act would be forthcoming, a sort of After Action Report, as required by law, but it never happened and won't happen unless a concerted effort is made to make it happen.

Once JFK Act oversight hearings are held, and new sworn testimony is taken, then the dominos will begin to fall, and it will become easier to accomplish other goals, such as the convening of a Special Federal Grand Jury to determine if anyone can be indicted for crimes related to the assassination, and order a proper forensic autopsy of the victims.

The Congressional Oversight Hearings appear to be the easiest of things desired, but it has proved elusive. After years with no interest by the Republicans, who decided not to exercise their oversight responsibilities at all when they controlled the leadership, the Democrats are now equally busy with their own agendas on what issues they intend to hold public hearings on.

There are others who are quietly trying to persuade Congress to hold JFK Act oversight hearings, and acting privately through correspondence and behind closed doors, but we are the most outspoken and broadest coalition of people interested in and intent on getting Congressional oversight of the JFK Act.

So far, we have agreed, per Bill Simpich's suggestion, that we do something different every month – and build up some momentum and pubic support for Congressional hearings and oversight of the JFK Act. Towards this end we have laid out the following:

January – 18 Monday, Martin Luther King Birthday – and national "day of service," in which we will ask everybody to lobby their representatives and the Congressmen on the House Oversight Committee to hold the JFK Oversight Hearings.

Surprisingly, Senator John Kerry (D. Mass.), in a story out of Boston, endorsed the MLK Act and the release of the MLK assassination records (See: Story link).

Feburary – There's a COPA event in New York City to commemorate the assassination of Malcolm X, which was addressed by COPA director John Judge and others.

This week – March – 14 – 20 – is Sunshine Week - not only in Washington DC – but everywhere – when Open and Transparent Government issues are discussed and the media pays attention, sometimes.

COPA meeting Wednesday 9 am - 12 noon - Stewart Mott House Conference Room, 122 Maryland Ave. (Join Us)

Thursday - 2 p.m. House Oversight and Government Reform Sub-Committee on Information Policy, NARA and Census Meeing on Freedom of Information Act Issues - Room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building. (Attend this meeting if you can, or watch in steamed on the Sub-committee's web site).

April – MLK assassination remembered with a focus on the release of the MLK records of the HSCA and other government agencies, and the passage of the MLK Act.

May – 7 Days in LeMay – Scheduled whenever the House Oversight Committee holds JFK Act Hearings, and if they are not scheduled, we take out ads calling for them and hold our own Mock Hearings.

May 15 – JFK's Birthday. He would be 93 years old.

June – 4 RFK's assassination remembered.

June 10 Annual COPA memorial at JFK monument at American University, when we honor JFK's life, his peaceful policies and why he was killed. We will ask Jim Douglas, author of "JFK & the Unspeakable" to be guest speaker, since his Dallas COPA speech in November was so inspiring. The American University history professor who is co-authoring Oliver Stone's TV series on Hidden History will also be invited.

We hope it inspires you to help us achieve are very achievable goals.

If we don't have JFK Act Oversight Hearings in this Congress (before January) we will never get them, or they will be too late.

Congress goes into summer recess in July and August and return in September-December. It can be done, but the battle plan must be laid out firmly and followed, and we need a regiment – not an army – a regiment will do, to follow through, foot soldiers on the ground in Washington, especially Capitol Hill, hitting up every Congressman on the Committee and Subcommittee personally.

List Congressmen targeted to be contacted and invited to meeting and given briefing.

1) Rep. Ed Towns (D. New York) Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee

2) Rep. William Lacy Clay (D. St. Louis, Missoui), Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Information Policy, NARA and Census.

3) Rep. D. Kucinich (D. Ohio) Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Justice, and member of the Committee, who does TV show with Towns on oversight issues.

4) Senator John Kerry (D. Mass.), has endorsed the MLK Act and needs to be briefed on necessary preliminary hearings on MLK Act and oversight hearings of JFK Act.

5) Your Representative will listen to you and reflect the need for JFK Act oversight hearings to these committee and subcommittee chairman or other members of the committee (See: List of House Oversight Committee ) who they work with on other issues.

If any of these Congressmen represent you, please contact them and ask them to support oversight of the JFK Act.


Jurisdiction includes public information and records laws such as the Freedom of Information Act, the Presidential Records Act, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Census Bureau, and the National Archives and Records Administration.

William Lacy Clay, Chairman
Paul Kanjorski
Carolyn Maloney
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Danny Davis
Steve Driehaus
Diane Watson

Patrick McHenry, Ranking Member
Lynn Westmoreland, Vice Ranking Member
John Mica
Jason Chaffetz



Chairman, Edolphus Towns, New York
Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, Pennsylvania
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio
Rep. John F. Tierney, Massachusetts
Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay, Missouri
Rep. Diane E. Watson, California
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Massachusetts
Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Virginia
Rep. Mike Quigley, Illinois
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia
Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Rhode Island
Rep. Danny Davis, Illinois
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland
Rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas
Rep. Paul W. Hodes, New Hampshire
Rep. Christopher S. Murphy, Connecticut
Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont
Rep. Bill Foster, Illinois
Rep. Jackie Speier, California
Rep. Steve Driehaus, Ohio
Rep. Judy Chu, California


Rep. Darrell Issa, California, Ranking Minority Member
Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana
Rep. John L. Mica, Florida
Rep. Mark E. Souder, Indiana
Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., Tennessee
Rep. Michael Turner, Ohio
Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland, Georgia
Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, North Carolina
Rep. Brian Bilbray, California
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio
Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah
Rep. Aaron Schock, Illinois
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri


Bill Kelly said...

To: The Honorable William Lacy Clay, Jr. United States House of Representatives 2418 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-2501

March 16, 2010

Dear Congressman Clay,

Having lived in nearby St. Louis County, until a recent move, for over 25 years, I know that I speak for thousands of your constituents and millions of Americans when I say that trust in government has reached an all time low.

It is essential to the health of our democracy that our trust in our leaders and our institutions be restored. One step toward restoring this trust would be for Congress to insure that laws it has enacted are enforced. Where the rule of law has been ignored, Congress is entrusted to demand accountability. In disregard of Congress and the JFK Act of 1992, relevant official records continue to be withheld from the public, while other relevant official records have been destroyed! For this reason I think it is of the utmost importance that public oversight hearings on the JFK Act be convened.

I thank you for your help in this important matter.

Michael J. Griffin

Bill Kelly said...

Note from COPA Director John Judge


Here is a set of talking points
regarding the need for oversight hearings on the JFK Assassination Records Act as well as the need to pass the Martin Luther King, Jr. Records Act and implement recent open government directives and executive orders from the Obama administration that cover related records. Upcoming meetings this week include:

Lunch for lobbying group, March 18 1:00 pm Rayburn Building, Cafeteria, Basement level

Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and NARA hearing on implementation of the Freedom of Information Act
Thursday, March 19, 2:00 pm
Rayburn Building, Room 2154

Meeting with staff of Subcommittee
Friday, March 19, 10:00 am
Rayburn Building, Room 2157

Hope you can be there with us.


Why we need oversight hearings:

* The JFK Records Collection Act (Public Law No. 102-526) mandated oversight hearings following termination of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) to implement ongoing release of records by all agencies and to review the effectiveness of the Review Board process. Section 5 (g) PERIODIC REVIEW OF POSTPONED
(1) All postponed or redacted records shall be reviewed periodically by the originating agency and the Archivist consistent with the recommendations of the Review Board
under section 9(c)(3)(B). Section 7 (l) OVERSIGHT -- (1) The
Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate shall have continuing oversight jurisdiction with respect to the official conduct of the Review Board and the disposition of postponedrecords after termination of the Review Board; and shall have access to any records held or created by the Review Board.

Bill Kelly said...


Just a note to say thanks for your efforts, travel and participation in the events of Sunshine Week and your lobbying work on the JFK Assassination Records Act oversight hearings and the proposed Martin Luther King, Jr. Records Act. Our presentations were heard and well received on these topics by committee staffers and House Members. I will follow through on the Senate side and with additional House contacts. I will also be sending the attached talking points and a contact list of Subcommittee on Information Policy Members to all the COPA contacts to encourage local representative lobbying and meetings in support of hearings. I am glad I was able to assist and facilitate some productive Congressional meetings. Bill Kelly made the room available at the Mott House and will stay in touch with you as well I am sure.
John Judge for COPA

-- John Judge
Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA)
PO Box 772
Washington, DC 20044

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