By Opio Sokoni, MSCJ, JD
The Florida/Georgia Star
On August 27, 1997, the agricultural secretary under Clinton, Mike Espy, was indicted on charges that he received gifts improperly. Espy was then working to ensure that the black farmers received a huge amount of money they were due because of the racism within that department. The Department of Agriculture gave money and assistance to white famers while refusing black farmers the same relief. Many black farms were shut down and run out of business. Racists whites within government had no pity for these hurting black farmers – generation after generation.
Secretary Mike Espy was run out of his position as zealous prosecutors went after his family and friends to include threatening his mother. The feeling was that the Clintons backed away from Espy as he went through this ordeal. Espy, who was accused of accepting airfare, sports tickets and lodging, refused to plea out his case and on December 2, 1998 he was acquitted of all 30 criminal charges. More than 70 witnesses and $20 million spent by Donald Smaltz prosecuting this case. Five of the jurors thought the case should have never been brought. One juror stated, “This was the weakest, most bogus thing I ever saw. I can’t believe Mr. Smaltz ever brought this to trial.”
The great Congressional Representative Shirley Chisholm, a Brooklyn Democrat who became the first woman to seek the Presidential nomination of a major party, was also the target of a racist Federal investigation. She, like Corrine Brown was outspoken. Chisholm stated, “They’re just fishing expeditions,” She added, “It’s because of who I am in America—unbought and unbossed.” This and other types of racism and sexism made her retire in the mid-1970s.
Some may remember when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comrade and SNCC leader Congressman John Lewis was the victim of a racist investigation. In the political world, the word “conservative” is a pretty sounding substitute for the word “racist.” It was a conservative group that filed the ethics complaint against U.S. Rep. John Lewis, alleging that he improperly hired his top aide. The “conservative” group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (aka FACT) filed the complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. This may sound like a familiar strategy because local Councilwoman Kim Daniels is the victim of an investigation because of complaints filed against her by LGBTQ activist David Vandygriff. Those complaints are pending. The group FACT had gone after John Lewis before. That racist group was angered by Lewis’ leadership during the 26-hour gun control sit-in on the House floor.
Let’s now talk about the ever-outspoken Congresswoman Maxine Waters. She was recently in the news because Fox News commentator talked about her hair looking like a James Brown wig. Not too many years ago, the House Ethics Committee formally ended its investigation of her – stating its unanimous decision to drop the case. They concluded that Waters did not break any rules. These types of investigations usually come during elections or that the targeted person about to do something big – such as taking over a major committee. In Maxine’s case, dropping that investigation cleared her to become the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee in Congress. The investigation was summed up in an over 100-page report, took three years and costed us the taxpayer a $1 million legal bill.
Corrine Brown was indicted 30 days before the election which she ended up losing to a candidate from Tallahassee (Lawson) that was supported by Republicans and racist Reagan Democrats. It was indicated by those going after Corrine that she would not win her election. All one should do in look at the various entities that are going after Brown to see the conflict of interest that exists – without oversight. Integrity is lacking just like in the cases mentioned above.