Thursday, December 13, 2018

Michael Cohen Pled Guilty to Something That Is Not a Crime


By Bradley A. Smith | National Review

Michael Cohen exits the United States Court house after his sentencing New York City, December 12, 2018. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The prosecutor is twisting campaign-finance law.

Donald Trump’s wayward counsel, Michael Cohen, was sentenced today as part of a plea bargain with the government. As part of that settlement, Cohen has admitted to criminal violations of federal campaign-finance law and has implicated President Trump in those violations. 


The press is ablaze with headlines trumpeting the president’s possible involvement in two felony campaign-finance violations. The source of these violations are Mr. Cohen’s arranging — allegedly at Trump’s direction — hush-money payments to women alleging long-ago affairs with the 2016 presidential candidate.

The Federal Election Campaign Act holds that an “expenditure” is any “purchase, payment, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money, or anything of value, for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office.” 

According to Cohen and the U.S. Attorney, the hush-money payments were, it appears, made in the hopes of preventing information from becoming public before the election, and hence were “for the purpose of influencing” the election. 

This means that, at a minimum, they had to be reported to the Federal Election Commission; further, if they were authorized by Mr. Trump, they would become, in the law’s parlance, “coordinated expenditures,” subject to limits on the amounts that could be spent. 

Since the lawful contribution limit is much lower than the payments made, and the payments were not reported, this looks like an open and shut case, right?

Well, no. Or at least not in the way some might presume. 

To the contrary, the law — following our common sense — tells us that the hush-money payments outlined by the U.S. Attorney are clearly not campaign expenditures. There is no violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

To reach the opposite conclusion, the U.S. Attorney is placing all his chips on the language “for the purpose of influencing an election.” 

Intuitively, however, we all know that such language cannot be read literally — if it were, virtually every political candidate of the past 45 years has been in near-constant violation. 

The candidate who thinks “I need to brush my teeth, shower, and put on a nice suit today in order to campaign effectively” is surely not required to report as campaign expenditures his purchases of toothpaste, soap, and clothing.

When he eats his Wheaties — breakfast of champions, and surely one cannot campaign on an empty stomach — his cereal and milk are not campaign expenses. 

When he drives to his office to start making phone calls to supporters, his gas is not a campaign expense.

So what does it mean to be “for the purpose of influencing an[] election”? 

To understand this, we read the statutory language in conjunction other parts of the statute. 

Here the key is the statute’s prohibition on diverting campaign funds to “personal use.” 

This is a crucial distinction, because one of the primary factors separating campaign funds from personal funds is that the former must be spent on the candidate’s campaign, while the latter can be used to buy expensive vacations, cars, watches, furs, and such. 

The law defines “personal use” as spending “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.” 

So a candidate may intend for good toothpaste and soap, a quality suit, and a healthy breakfast to positively influence his election, but none of those are campaign expenditures, because all of those purchases would typically be made irrespective of running for office. 

And even if the candidate might not have brushed his teeth quite so often or would have bought a cheaper suit absent the campaign, these purchases still address his underlying obligations of maintaining hygiene and dressing himself.

To use a more pertinent example, imagine a wealthy entrepreneur who decides to run for office. 

Like many men and women with substantial business activities, at any one time there are likely several lawsuits pending against him personally, or against those various businesses. 

The candidate calls in his company attorney: “I want all outstanding lawsuits against our various enterprises settled.” 

His lawyer protests that the suits are without merit — the company should clearly win at trial, and he should protect his reputation of not settling meritless lawsuits.

“I agree that these suits lack merit,” says our candidate, “but I don’t want them as a distraction during the campaign, and I don’t want to take the risk that the papers will use them to portray me as a heartless tycoon. Get them settled.”

The settlements in this hypothetical are made “for the purpose of influencing the election,” yet they are not “expenditures” under the Federal Election Campaign Act. 

Indeed, if they were, the candidate would have to pay for them with campaign funds. 

Thus, an unscrupulous but popular businessman could declare his candidacy, gather contributions from the public, use those contributions to settle various preexisting lawsuits, and then withdraw from the race. A nice trick!

But in fact, the contrary rule prevails, because the candidate’s obligation to resolve the business’s lawsuits exists “irrespective” of the campaign. 

Similarly, any payments made to women by Mr. Trump or his associates are independent of the campaign.

To this intuitively obvious fact — very few people would think paying hush money is a legitimate campaign expenditure — those eager to hang a charge on Mr. Trump typically respond that he made the payments when he did because of the looming election. 

That may be true, but note that the same is true of the entrepreneur, who instructs his counsel to settle the lawsuits pending against him. Further, note that in both cases, while the candidate has no legal obligation to pay at all, the events that give rise to the claim against him are unrelated to the campaign for office. 

Paying them may help the campaign, but the obligations exist “irrespective” of the run for office. Mr. Trump’s alleged decade-old affairs occurred long before he became a candidate for president and were not caused by his run for president.

Further clinching the case, in writing its implementing regulations for the statute, the Federal Election Commission specifically rejected a proposal that an expense could be considered a campaign expenditure if it were merely “primarily related to the candidate’s campaign.” 

This was done specifically to prevent candidates from claiming that things that benefitted them personally were done because they would also benefit the campaign. 

And with that in mind, it is worth noting Mr. Cohen’s sentencing statement, in which he writes that he “felt obligated to assist [Trump], on [Trump’s] instruction, to attempt to prevent Woman-1 and Woman-2 from disseminating narratives that would adversely affect the Campaign and cause personal embarrassment to Client-1 and his family.”

Certainly Mr. Trump had many valid, non-electoral reasons for trying to keep these allegations quiet, most notably family harmony, protecting family members (especially his young son, Baron), and preserving his future viability as a television personality in case he lost the election. 

Indeed, it is quite probable that many of those now baying for Trump’s scalp for illegal campaign contributions would be leading a charge to prosecute Trump for illegal “personal use” of campaign funds had he made the payments from his campaign treasury.

Finally, by ignoring these other parts of the statute and its implementing regulations (which carry the force of law), the prosecutors attempt to make the “for the purpose of influencing any election” language a subjective test that would, but for the plea bargain, be decided by a jury. 

But that is incorrect. The test is intended as an objective test of campaign-related expenditures.

Renting campaign office space, printing bumper stickers and yard signs, hiring campaign staff, paying for polling, and buying broadcast ads are all obligations that exist for the purpose of influencing an election. Paying hush money to silence allegations of decade-old affairs is not.

When faced with the vague, sweepingly broad “for the purpose of influencing any election” language, the Supreme Court has consistently restricted its reach to brightly defined rules. 

For example, in determining whether a public message was an “expenditure” made “for the purpose of influencing any election,” it has construed the later phrase to apply only to messages “expressly advocating” the election or defeat of a candidate, such as “vote for,” “vote against,” “defeat,” “re-elect,” and the like, or to other clearly defined messages that are the “functional equivalent” of that express advocacy.

In short, Michael Cohen is pleading guilty to something that isn’t a crime. Of course, people will do that when a zealous prosecutor is threatening them with decades in prison. But his admissions are not binding on President Trump, and Trump should fight these charges ferociously.

Many Americans have convinced themselves that Trump is a uniquely dangerous and bad man, such that any available tool should be used to expel him from office. But in that way lies the bigger threat to our democracy and rule of law.

In A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More’s future son-in-law, Roper, states that he would “cut down every law in England” if it would enable him to catch the devil. 

To which More responds:

"And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!"

We do ourselves no service by distorting and misapplying our campaign-finance laws in the hope of bagging Donald Trump.

Bradley A. Smith — Bradley A. Smith, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, is chairman of the Institute for Free Speech and a visiting fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton.

Comey Continues to Display His Lack of Credibility


By Victor Davis Hanson | Townhall


Fired former FBI Director James Comey is at it again.

Last week, Comey testified before members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. 

In a single appearance, Comey, on 245 separate occasions, while under oath, stonewalled questions with "I don't know," "I don't remember" or "I don't recall," according to a congressional interrogator, Rep. Jim Jordan. (R-Ohio).

If any private citizen tried Comey's gambit with federal IRS auditors or FBI investigators, he would likely be indicted for perjury or obstruction.

Why did Comey, the nation's former top-ranking federal investigator, avoid telling "the whole truth and nothing but the truth" while under oath?

The answer is, unfortunately, obvious. Comey has been called to testify before members of Congress on numerous occasions. He has written a long book and gone on an extensive book tour, and his paper trail is long.

He tweets almost daily and is often on television -- and in those venues never seems to admit to any memory lapse. And Comey has been at the center of every major scandal involving the 2016 election.

In other words, Comey is realizing that almost anything he might say will likely be at odds with something he has said, done or written prior -- and could potentially subject him to perjury charges.

So, Comey dodges and hedges.

Oddly, Comey has long posed as a modern-day Jeremiah. 

He thunders almost daily about the moral lapses of his perceived antagonists -- mostly Donald Trump, the Trump administration and the Republican Party that Comey left.

Comey has tweeted under the pseudonym "Reinhold Niebuhr" -- the celebrated 20th-century German-American theologian and ethicist. Comey apparently wishes to remind us of their similar moral insight.

Comey's memoir is grandly entitled "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership." He writes to remind readers of his sterling character, which has always guided his career. Most recently, the self-righteous Comey said that the interim attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, is not very bright.

What is odd about the professed ethics of the sanctimonious Comey is that his assertions are belied by his own often-unethical conduct.

The Justice Department's inspector general criticized Comey in a report for acting unprofessionally in his investigation of Hillary Clinton's illicit private email server, improperly assuming the role of both investigator and prosecutor.

Comey concluded, then opened, and then again concluded the Clinton email case at public press conferences in the midst of a presidential campaign. 

He drafted an exoneration of Clinton before he had even interviewed her or her top aides.

Comey's testimony about FBI leaks to the press is at odds with his sworn statements from his former deputy, Andrew McCabe.

Comey met with President Trump on several occasions and ensured him that he was not the subject of an FBI investigation -- amid mysterious leaks to the press that Trump was, in fact, part of the probe.

Speaking of leaks, Comey made sure that his memos about his meetings with President Trump were leaked to the press.

Comey said his bizarre behavior was designed to force the appointment of a special counsel, which resulted in the selection of Robert Mueller, a former FBI director and a longtime Comey acquaintance.

A number of high-ranking FBI officials during Comey's tenure have either been fired, forced to resign, retired or were reassigned -- in some cases resulting from accusations of improper conduct or bias.

McCabe was assigned by Comey to oversee the Clinton email scandal even though just months earlier, McCabe's wife had run for a seat in the Virginia state senate with the help of nearly $500,000 in campaign contributions from a political action committee associated with the Clintons.

Comey's FBI is largely responsible for the prominence -- and the leaking -- of the notorious dossier compiled by Christopher Steele. 

Yet Comey did not reveal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that requests for warrants to conduct surveillance on a member of the Trump administration were based on an unverified dossier. 

The court was never informed that the dossier was funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign. 

Nor was the court informed that Steele, a British citizen, had been dropped as an FBI source for leaking to the press. Comey also misled the court by presenting news stories as proof of alleged Trump-Russian collusion, even though those stories were based on the contents of the unverified Steele dossier.

There has been no explanation from Comey about why, when, where and how the FBI used an informant in hopes of gaining damaging information against Trump.

Comey's sanctimoniousness and misdeeds pose lots of questions. Is Comey a mere hypocrite? Or in guilt does he project his sins onto others? Or does he by design pose as a moralist to help insulate himself from future legal jeopardy?
Or all of the above?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Racial Preferences Aren’t Only an American Problem


By Jason L. Riley | The Wall Street Journal


Discriminatory programs tend to benefit the well-off instead of the poor. And they never seem to end.

The Paris protesters are getting all the attention, but France isn’t the only country where angry masses are taking to the streets to be heard.

The Journal reported Monday that an estimated 55,000 people gathered in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur last weekend to defend race-based policies that give preferential treatment to the majority Muslim Malay population


Defenders argue that ending racial preferences would “dilute decades of affirmative action policies introduced to help Malays catch up with the generally wealthier ethnic Chinese,” who comprise less than a quarter of the population.

Affirmative action in Malaysia began in the 1950s, after the British colonial administrators, who had welcomed laborers from China, departed. Since 1971, Malays have enjoyed preferential treatment over their Chinese compatriots in everything from schooling and housing to government jobs and access to capital. 

The government’s express goal was “racial balance,” and to that end Malay entrepreneurs were given preference in obtaining credit, licenses and government contracts. Developers offer Malays discounts on new homes, and shopping centers have even banned ethnic-Chinese-owned businesses to limit competition with Malay proprietors.


These policies were supposed to sunset in 1991, but the country’s leaders have repeatedly extended them in exchange for political support. “Schemes favouring Malays were once deemed essential to improve the lot of Malaysia’s least wealthy racial group,” explains the Economist magazine, but “these days they are widely thought to help mostly the well-off within that group, while failing the poor and aggravating ethnic tensions.”

To anyone who has followed the affirmative-action debate in the U.S., a lot of this probably sounds familiar. 


Like their Malay counterparts, American proponents of racial double standards say they are necessary to help the underprivileged, even though the beneficiaries tend to be people who were already well-off to begin with. 

Liberal politicians defend color-conscious policies to win votes, and courts assure us the policies will not exist in perpetuity. “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary,” wrote Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in a 2003 Supreme Court decision.

As it has in Malaysia, affirmative action continues to stoke racial and ethnic tensions in the U.S., especially in education. Harvard is being sued for discrimination against Asian applicants. The plaintiffs say Asians are held to higher standards than other applicants to limit their numbers on campus.

Harvard insists that more Asians aren’t admitted because they aren’t as multidimensional as their non-Asian peers, an argument eerily similar to the one Ivy League schools once used to discriminate against Jews.

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio has angered the parents of white and Asian students by pushing for racial quotas at the city’s top public high schools.

Some 80% of black and Hispanic students in New York City’s traditional public schools perform below grade level in reading and math. Is it really any wonder that black and Hispanic students are underrepresented at elite schools that use an admission test? Unfortunately, the mayor and his supporters would rather scrap the test than focus on doing a better job of preparing kids to take it.

While the debate domestically often centers on the legality of affirmative action and whether it’s permitted under our constitution, a more practical concern is whether these policies actually work as intended—here in America or in other countries where they’ve been implemented. 

Malaysia’s racial preferences have been in place for more than 50 years, and the Malays still haven’t caught up to the ethnic Chinese, who outperform them in school and in the workforce

The gap has narrowed over the past half-century, but it remains significant, and attributing Malay progress to affirmative action is dubious. 

For one thing, Malays in neighboring Singapore, which has no affirmative action and where they are a minority, are better off economically than the Malays in Malaysia, who receive favorable treatment.

Similarly, affirmative-action programs in the U.S. are regularly given undeserved credit for expanding the size of the black middle class. 

The reality is that the most dramatic declines in black poverty preceded affirmative-action programs, which began in earnest in the 1970s. Black incomes doubled in the 1960s—before affirmative action


And blacks were entering middle-class professions at a much faster clip in the decades preceding affirmative action than they did in the decades following its implementation.




After the University of California system ended race-based admissions in 1996, more blacks enrolled and a higher percentage of them not only graduated but obtained degrees in the more challenging fields of engineering and science. 

Policies intended to help sometimes do the opposite, whether they are implemented in the U.S. or halfway around the world.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

McConnell Agrees to Take Up Trump-Backed Criminal Justice Reform Bill


By Lauretta Brown| Townhall


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Tuesday that he will take up a vote on bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation that is backed by President Trump.

"At the request of the president and following improvements to the legislation that has been secured by several members, the Senate will take up the recently revised criminal justice bill," McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.

The FIRST STEP Act joins a House-passed prison reform bill meant to reduce recidivism with four changes to sentencing laws. 

McConnell’s decision is a reversal from remarks he made at a Wall Street Journal event last week where he argued that the Senate may not have time to take up the “extremely controversial” legislation.

“It’s extremely divisive inside the Senate Republican Conference, in fact there are more members in my conference that are either against it or undecided than or for it,” he said at the time. “This is a one-week to 10-day bill and I’ve got two weeks.”

However, since then changes have been made to the bill to earn more GOP support and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and David Purdue (R-GA) have endorsed the measure.

McConnell also told the Senate Tuesday morning that they may have to work through Christmas.

"Members should now be prepared to work between Christmas and New Years, if necessary, to complete our work," he said during his floor speech.

"Unless we approach all this work in a highly collaborative, productive way and take real advantage of unanimous consent to expedite proceedings, it is virtually certain that the Senate will need to be in session between Christmas and New Years in order to complete this work," he emphasized.


_________________

IN OTHER NEWS 

Chuck And Nancy Had An Oval Office Meeting With Trump…It Turned Out Poorly

By Matt Vespa |Townhall


We were going to trash Time for its choice for person(s) of the year, but we have to talk about President Trump’s taking on Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over border security. 

The exchange nearly lasted 20 minutes, but it’s pure gold. After a prolonged back-and-forth, it’s pretty clear that Chuck and Nancy are going to have to play hardball if they don’t want to get outmaneuvered by the president. 

Trump was adamant that he would shut down the government if he doesn’t get a bill that adequately secures the border, saying he would shut it down, and not blame Chuck; Schumer shut down the government earlier this year for illegal aliens and failed. He tried to get concessions for DACA—and it blew up in the Left’s faces.

The liberal media has decided to award themselves person(s) of the year. They describe themselves as the guardians, despite their serial failure to cover the Trump White House accurately. 

They trip, they fall, they get bashed, and then say that such criticism is an attack on American republicanism. It’s not. It’s just Trump calling you out for being total garbage in your reporting and dishing out straight up fake news.

Often, the media is the cause of their flogging.

Oh, and Jamal Khashoggi, who is one of the people named, who was allegedly murdered by Saudi intelligence agents, isn’t Walter Cronkite; he was an anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist columnist. The point is, he wasn’t a saint—and his death wouldn’t have been weaponized the way it has been if Obama were in office.

Katie discussed the not-so-new news that the Women’s March is a bastion of anti-Semitism and all over straight trash. All of the key people are Louis Farrakhan disciples, so the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
  
As for Storm’s smorgasbord, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is about to bring a revised criminal justice reform bill to the floor. Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry says we didn’t land on the moon; NASA has invited him out to tour the lunar lab and examine moon rocks. 

Also, did you know that if asylum seekers don’t show up for court, no arrest warrant is issued, unlike Americans who skip court dates? 

Again, not really earth-shattering news, but a group of GOP senators is trying to get the WALL bill passed that would allow for such warrants to be issued against illegal aliens skipping court. 


__________________________


'Total Victory': Judge Orders Stormy Daniels To Pay Trump's $293,000 Legal Tab

By Matt Vespa | Townhall


It’s a win for Trump. The defamation lawsuit filed against Donald Trump by Michael Avenatti on behalf of Stormy Daniels has been tossed—and a judge is ordering her to pay nearly the president’s $294,000 legal tab. 

Daniels recently told the Daily Beast that the defamation suit filed by Avenatti was done against her wishes

The suit claimed that Trump has defamed the adult entertainment actress on his Twitter account. Well, regardless of the circumstances, it’s time to pay up, Stormy.

Here are details:

A federal judge in California has ordered porn star Stormy Daniels to pay President Donald Trump more than $292,000 in his attorneys' fees and another $1,000 in sanctions in connection with her dismissed defamation suit against Trump.

Trump's lawyer Charles Harder said that the fees that Daniels was ordered to pay amount to 75 percent of Trump's legal feels in the case. And he said the sanctions are for Daniels having filed a "meritless" defamation action against Trump.

But Harder had asked U.S. District Judge S. James Otero earlier this month for almost $800,000 in attorneys' fees and penalties in the case.

"The court's order, along with the court's prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels' defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case," Harder said Tuesday.

[...]


Together We Win: A Plea to Congress to Pass the First Step Act


By Dr. Bernice A. King

In 1963, while incarcerated in Birmingham, my father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., challenged the conscience of America when he penned these words:


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

My father wanted us to understand our interrelatedness in addressing social inequalities that infringe on human being’s ability to live a life of dignity.

We are closing 2018 with an opportunity to take a monumental “FIRST STEP” towards assisting and empowering the least of these in America. 

In the hands of our chosen servant leaders of Congress is the FIRST STEP for Criminal Justice Reform Act that begins to address some serious flaws in America’s criminal justice system.

 
For too long, disenfranchised populations have suffered in a punitive prison system that offers no viable pathways to reentering society.  Today, over two million Americans are incarcerated in a system that does not offer the resources to bring out their intellectual and creative genius.

Invariably, the world at large is impacted. Families are fractured. Children are missing out on relationships with their parents. Furthermore, the average annual cost to incarcerate prisoners is over $32,000. Prisons are draining financial resources that can be used to invest in improving families and communities.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts the FIRST STEP Act would reduce the federal prison population by nearly 20% over the next decade.

The FIRST STEP Act can launch a better way to America’s criminal justice reform. While many have asserted that this bill is not comprehensive enough, to which I also agree, we must also understand that the road to progress is paved with incremental steps.

Over 60 years ago, America’s Civil Rights Movement perfectly illustrated how small legislative steps – when multiplied – paved the way to the monumental progress we have achieved in equal housing, diversity in education, wages disparities, and more.

In 1948, President Truman’s Executive Order ending segregation in the military paved the way for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, effectively ending racial segregation in public schools.

Photo: Republican President Dwight Eisenhower (4th from Left), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (2nd from Left) and other Civil Rights leaders. Getty Images.

In 1957, President Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Act to protect voter rights gave activists in the 1965 Selma March the legislative support needed to protest voter suppression, and prompted the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Each small legislative step inspired America to become a better version of itself.

Today’s FIRST STEP Act is a meaningful start for prison reform. We must not prolong justice in this hour.

The FIRST STEP Act would provide federal judges the discretion to augment sentencing guidelines when the mandatory minimum is too harsh for some criminal offenses.

The FIRST STEP Act introduces a mentor program between incarcerated youth and volunteers from faith-based or community organizations.

Additionally, The FIRST STEP Act will retroactively reform unfair sentencing disparities that affected 2,600 federal prisoners convicted of crack offenses before 2010.

My mother, Coretta Scott King, said, “Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”

Photo: The family of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Getty Image.

My parents understood that justice and equality achieved in one generation can be threatened in the next. Thus, they embraced every small victory. Incremental progress served as a foundation for progress well beyond their lifetime.

We find ourselves in a climate of fear – where reaching across political party aisles in Congress could cause severe backlash that is akin to political suicide.

But there comes a time when the cry for humanity stirs so deeply that even fear must adhere to its cry. 

When faced with political fears, my father said, “Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right.”

Some naysayers proclaim Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will never bring this bill up for a vote, and discount his compassion for Civil Rights causes.


However, in my research I learned that Senator McConnell has advocated for Civil Rights.

As a law student in the 1960s he was present for the signing of the Voting Rights Bill, and was on the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 during my father’s “I Have a Dream” speech.


He was so inspired that he began writing editorials advocating for others to support Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.

There is more to Senator McConnell than the Kavanaugh hearings...

Growing up his parents were involved in the National Urban League, so I know he understands the importance of liberty and justice for all. In 2015, Senator McConnell broke rank with other Senators and provided a pivotal vote in favor of Loretta Lynch to become the first African American woman as an Attorney General.

Our country has experienced many divisive dark days, but God’s hand has guided us through it all. The bipartisan efforts behind this bill can begin to restore hope in America for many who lost faith in Congress’ ability to ever work together again.

I implore Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the FIRST STEP Act to a vote before the close of this session.

I am hopeful for America because in order to form a more perfect union, Politicians from diverse ideologies have come together and put differences aside to craft legislation that puts humanity above all else.

This bill gives thousands in American prisons a road to rehabilitation, redemption and reconciliation.

This bill shows America has compassion for the disenfranchised and marginalized and it stops the inhumane treatment of shackling women who give birth in prison.

I believe our leaders will answer the call to conscience and do the right thing for humanity and ensure the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness for ALL Americans.

American politics has been weighed down by a “win at all costs” mentality. We must come together for this – WIN – at all costs. The FIRST STEP Act is critical for America’s progress.

If you believe in prayer – PRAY. If you believe in America’s declaration of liberty and justice for ALL – Support this bill.

America has been at its best when we have come together, and voted together for the good of humanity! In the words of my father, “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.  This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” 

Join me and encourage Congress to not let political division distract, deter or destroy this opportunity to serve humanity.  This bill represents Hope – Unity – Redemption.

This year the King Center commemorated 50 years since my father’s assassination with a theme “Together We Win with Love for Humanity.” 

What better way to close this year and honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy than to see political lines vanish in support of the compassion and humanity within the FIRST STEP Act.

Let’s move America forward! I ask members of Congress to Honor My Father’s Legacy by showing the world we can come together…because Together We Win… With Love for Humanity! 


Dr. Bernice A. King is the CEO of 
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.