Report on Congressional Delegation From the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

A delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) returned home from several days of bringing the issue of the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing to the U.S. Capitol. Deb Konechne of the CSFR, Anh Pham, who is facing a reactivation of her subpoena and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided, spent two days meeting with U.S. Representatives on the issue. The delegation asked each Congressperson to sponsor a “Dear Colleague” letter condemning the raids and grand jury subpoenas. In the two days, the delegation met with either the Congressional Representative’s staff or the Representative themselves from the following 16 offices: Tammy Baldwin (WI), John Conyers (MI), Danny Davis (IL), Keith Ellison (MN), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), Mike Honda (CA), Jesse Jackson (IL), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McDermott (WA), Jim McGovern (MA), Bobby Rush (IL), Linda Sanchez (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Maxine Waters (CA). The meetings were positive, with all the offices expressing genuine concern about the situation. In some cases, because of the outpouring of calls from around the country, the U.S. Representatives were aware that the delegation was in Washington D.C. and the offices made time on their schedules to meet with the delegation. This reinforces the continuing importance of the solidarity work taking place around the country.

Rep. Conyers (MI), chair of the Judiciary Committee, directed the Counsel of the Judiciary Committee to meet with the delegation. Also, Rep. Ellison (MN) and his Congressional staff met directly with the delegation for a significant amount of time. rep. Ellison sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week expressing concern over the situation and is continuing to work on options to support his constituents affected.  The delegation also received face-to-face meetings with Rep Gutierrez and Rep Davis from Chicago. Rep. Grijalva’s (AZ) office set up a meeting between the delegation and the Executive Director of the Progressive Caucus in the Congress of which rep. Grijalva is the chair. In addition, the office of Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Maxine Waters (CA) gave the delegation significant time and attention.

“It was clear that progressive Representatives of the Congress are very concerned about the FBI investigation. Overall, they were very thankful for our visit and for the information and analysis given to them The level of awareness about the raids and grand jury was varied, from little to full awareness, but the delegation certainly changed that. After the two days, our presence and purpose definitely created a stir in the halls of Congress. “The fact that we were able to interact with 16 legislative aides or Congress people themselves, during an extremely busy time of restructuring leadership in the Congress, exemplifies the attention this matter is receiving”, stated Joe Iosbaker. Though the delegation was pleased with the willingness of the U.S. Representatives’ offices to meet, it was difficult to get a commitment to take action on sponsoring a Dear Colleague Letter. Following up with the U.S. Representatives in the home District and asking them to send individual letters to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama that condemn or express grave concern about the grand jury and FBI raids is now needed. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression continues to demand an end to the Grand Jury witch-hunt and denounces the FBI raids on activists. The warrants and subpoenas clearly violate people’s First Amendment rights to freedom of association — in demanding materials like address books and information regarding “recruitment and indoctrination” to anti-war, solidarity, and other political organizations. This kind of sweeping investigation and grand jury witch-hunt is a dangerous precedent for all people of conscience.

Given the urgency with reactivated subpoenas, we need all concerned people to call on their U.S. Representatives and Senators to immediately send letters to President Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder condemning and/or expressing grave concern over the grand jury investigation and FBI raids of peace and justice activists.

— Committee to Stop FBI Repression

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