Majority Forward “alone accounted for about $1 of every $3 in dark money spending in 2018.”
If the name “Majority Forward” sounds familiar, it shouldn’t—transparency is not the group’s style. But perhaps no organization had a bigger impact on securing, for the first time in years, the Democratic Party’s thin control of the U.S. Senate in 2021.
Majority Forward, the 501(c)(4) arm of the Democrats’ partisan Senate Majority PAC, is a “dark money” behemoth. You wouldn’t know it from the group’s nondescript website, but Majority Forward spent $515,000 backing Joe Biden in 2020 and pumped $1.7 million into the January special elections for U.S. Senate in Georgia to boost Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Their victories decided control of the Senate.
But Majority Forward’s main value to the left is serving as a pass-through to other political nonprofits. In 2019 alone, it poured out $39 million to groups engaged in voter registration and promoting vote by mail among the “New American Majority”—code for likely liberal voters, and according to countless pundits the key to future Democratic victories. The mega-donors of the Democracy Allianceconsider the New American Majority “central to progressive long-term success.”
Grants from Majority Forward to other political groups include $10 million to the Black Progressive Action Coalition, which spent over $4 million helping Joe Biden, Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, and Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia. The group also gave $14 million to America Votes, a self-described “hub” for coordinating the left’s get-out-the-vote operations hoping to paint America blue.
Then there is the $779,000 Majority Forward has funneled since 2017 to the Voter Participation Center (VPC), a little-known group run by a former Bill Clinton presidential campaign staffer, Page Gardner. VPC’s goal is to make vote by mail the norm for all future elections, effectively federalizing elections by placing the fate of our republic in the hands of everyone’s favorite government institution, the U.S. Postal Service.
In 2020 alone, VPC and its sister organization, the Center for Voter Information, mailed out 4.8 million vote-by-mail applications to voters nationwide and registered 1.5 million of them. They aren’t shy about targeting the New American Majority, which they define as “young people, people of color and unmarried women”—a group that gave more than 60 percent of its votes for Biden in 2020.
This has been Majority Forward’s strategy since at least 2016. In June, liberal Axios traced a $2.7 million grant from Majority Forward in 2018 to the Coalition for a Safe and Secure America (CSSA), which bankrolled ads “aimed at depressing Republican general election turnout in 2018” and painting then Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley of Missouri “as an anti-gun lefty.”
But the biggest recipient of pass-throughs from Majority Forward is its big brother. The Senate Majority PAC is a super political action committee (PAC), which means it’s legally allowed to spend unlimited sums in favor of political candidates, but cannot coordinate its spending with them (unlike traditional PACs).
And spend big it did—$230 million in 2020 (including the Georgia special elections), and all of it to elect Democrats and hurt Republicans running for U.S. Senate. Amazingly, just $59 million of that incredible sum resulted in a Democratic pick-up (in Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia). Another $35 million went to fending off Republican candidate John James in Michigan.
A staggering $51 million of the PAC’s revenues in 2020 came from Majority Forward. What’s more impressive is that Majority Forward’s revenues climbed from an already impressive $28 million in 2018 to over $76 million in 2019. (The group’s Form 990 filing for 2020 likely won’t be published until later this year.)
We know the left outspent the right in “dark money” in the 2018 midterms. Thank OpenSecrets, too, for noting that the historic $1 billion that outside groups spent in “dark money” in 2020 “largely boost[ed] Democrats,” especially Biden—who raked in six times more “dark money” contributions than President Donald Trump.
Given that Majority Forward “alone accounted for about $1 of every $3 in dark money spending in 2018,” as noted by the left-wing campaign finance “reform” group, Issue One, one thing becomes certain: The argument over which side of the aisle commands more “dark money” is over. Even NBC was forced to admit about the 2020 election: “Democrats used to rail against ‘dark money.’ Now they’re better at it than the GOP.”
Hayden Ludwig is a senior investigative researcher for the Capital Research Center. Victoria Ydens contributed to this report.
She stopped short of advising Feinstein to retire but painted a rosy picture of post-retirement life outside the toxic Washington echo chamber.
“If Sen. Feinstein were to call me today and asked my advice, I would say only you can decide this,” Boxer told the Times. “But from my perspective, I want you to know I’ve had very productive years away from the Senate doing good things. So put that into the equation.”
Feinstein is the oldest member of the U.S. Senate: She’ll be 91 when her latest six-year term ends in January 2025. There has been a growing campaign pushing for her retirement for the past few years.
In December 2020, she stepped down as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee amid volcanic criticism from her peers that she wasn’t harsh enough in her questioning of Justice Amy Coney Barrett during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
The anger escalated after the hearings when Feinstein hugged Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, then the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
If the Democrats were a serious political party aiming at power (instead of a job program for insiders), they would think about how Feinstein’s hug of Lindsey Graham hurt them with down ballot voters. pic.twitter.com/0sIaIIk884
Feinstein further enraged Democrats by thanking Graham for his “fairness” and for holding “one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in.”
In apparent retaliation for being civil to a Republican, anonymous Democrats snidely attacked Feinstein to The New Yorker, insisting the octogenarian was “seriously struggling.”
“They say her short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have,” The New Yorker reported in December. “They describe Feinstein as forgetting what she has said and getting upset when she can’t keep up.”
A bipartisan group of senators has revived an effort to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency from raiding auto racing shops and imposing heavy fines on enthusiasts who modify amateur race cars.
The “Recognizing Protection of Motorsports Act” would offer new legal protections for auto racers to modify their street vehicles exclusively for competition. Additionally, the legislation would let businesses resume producing, installing and marketing parts for these vehicles.
The legislation is spearheaded in the upper chamber by Sens. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican, and Jon Tester, Montana Democrat. A House companion bill by the same name was reintroduced in May.
The House and Senate bills, according to its authors, clarify that emissions-related changes to a street vehicle only intended for competition are legal under the Clean Air Act and should not be subject to EPA scrutiny.
“Folks in the motorsport community have always relied on the freedom to modify their vehicles to race and compete,” Mr. Tester said in a statement. “This legislation will codify that freedom into law by preventing unnecessary regulations on motorsport hobbyists, allowing amateurs and professionals alike to uphold tradition while still following the intent of the Clean Air Act.”
Mr. Burr agreed, calling amateur motorsports a “unique American pastime.”
“This bipartisan legislation provides certainty for folks who enjoy America’s long-held racing tradition, in the spirit Congress intended when it passed the Clean Air Act more than 50 years ago,” Mr. Burr said in a statement. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues on this common-sense legislation to protect the legacy of American motorsports for years to come.”
The Senate bill, when it was introduced in the last Congress, had 30 co-sponsors — 23 Republicans and seven Democrats. The current legislation includes co-sponsors Sens. Mark Kelly, Arizona Democrat; Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican; Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican; and Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, most of whom supported the bill when it was last proposed.
The House version, led by Reps. Patrick McHenry, North Carolina Republican, and Raul Ruiz, California Democrat, currently has 101 co-sponsors — 79 Republicans and 22 Democrats.
The RPM Act was first introduced in March 2016, after EPA officials first suggested making it illegal to alter street vehicles for the purpose of competition. The proposal was later withdrawn after then Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was questioned by lawmakers about it at a congressional hearing.
Despite its withdrawal, however, the EPA engaged in armed raids of auto modification shops around the country under its December 2020 National Compliance Initiative. The agency argues that under Title II of the Clean Air Act it is “authorized to set standards applicable to emissions from a variety of vehicles and engines.”
“Required emission controls often include filters and catalysts installed in the vehicle’s or engine’s exhaust system, as well as calibrations that manage fueling strategy and other operations in the engine itself,” the EPA declared.
“The CAA prohibits tampering with emissions controls, as well as manufacturing, selling and installing after-market devices intended to defeat those controls.”
As a result of the agency’s interpretation, high-performance auto shops catering to track racing vehicles were hit with heavy fines. The penalties, according to shop owners, could only be significantly reduced if they turned over information about their vendors and dealers.
Motorsports industry trade associations, including the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and the Performance Racing Industry (PRI), have long lobbied for legislative relief.
SEMA argues the $2 billion a year motorsports industry “involves tens of thousands of participants and vehicle owners each year” and the legislation “does not interfere with the EPA‘s authority to enforce against individuals who illegally install race parts on vehicles driven on public roads and highways.”
However, SEMA notes, the majority of the 1,300 racetracks around the country are used by converted vehicles that the EPA considers to be illegal.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), sometimes referred to as “Pocahontas,” has thrown her support behind a fellow Democrat with a similar history of education-related lies.
The controversial senator and failed presidential candidate this week endorsed Wisconsin lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes, who is running for Senate and is best known for lying about graduating from college. Warren is the highest-profile Democrat to weigh in on the Wisconsin Senate primary, which will determine who takes on incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) in 2022.
Nine months after his election as lieutenant governor in 2018, Barnes admitted to lying about his academic credentials. When the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interviewed him that year, Barnes said multiple times that he “finished” college in 2008. A subsequent profile stated that Barnes “graduated [from Alabama A&M University] with a degree in mass communications in 2008.”
Barnes made similar claims in interviews during the election with a variety of state media outlets. His campaign even promoted a Huntsville Times story headlined “Alabama A&M graduate becomes first black lieutenant governor of Wisconsin.”
It wasn’t until August 2019 that Barnes “voluntarily” disclosed his lie, telling a Madison newspaper that his claims to have graduated from college were false. “I had a class. I got an incomplete. I completed the coursework to get that incomplete resolved. It never got turned in,” Barnes said. “It’s a small technical thing.” He eventually finished his degree and received a diploma in May 2020.
If elected in 2022, Barnes will join an illustrious group of Democratic senators who have achieved political success despite their records of academic dishonesty. President Joe Biden, for example, has a long history of plagiarism. Warren, meanwhile, has falsely claimed to be an “American Indian” throughout her decades-long career as a law professor and was even touted as the “first woman of color” to teach at Harvard Law School. A DNA test revealed in 2018 that Warren was between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.
Warren also faced scrutiny for saying she was fired from her job as a public school teacher after she became pregnant. Investigative journalism cast considerable doubt on Warren’s account, though her failure in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary was largely due to her unlikable personality.
Most recently, Warren traveled to New Mexico for the wedding of Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, an actual Native American. Warren and other attendees were spotted violating the state’s indoor mask mandate, putting countless lives at risk.
Lawmakers are taking action on Facebook after a recent report revealed that the social media company is aware that its Instagram platform can be harmful to young girls’ mental health.
In a joint statement released Tuesday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said they are launching a bipartisan investigation into Facebook’s knowledge of the negative impact of the popular photo-sharing platform on teenage users.
“It is clear that Facebook is incapable of holding itself accountable,” the senators said in the statement. “The Wall Street Journal’s reporting reveals Facebook’s leadership to be focused on a growth-at-all-costs mindset that valued profits over the health and lives of children and teens.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has been keeping secret from the public its internal studies, which repeatedly found that Instagram users, particularly teenage girls, suffer from mental health and body image issues.
One internal presentation slide obtained by the Journal said that Instagram “makes body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.” Another slide read that teens “blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” according to the Journal.
There was also an internal study that examined whether there was a link between suicidal thoughts among teenagers and time spent on Instagram. The presentation slide reviewed by the Journal said that 13 percent of British and 6 percent of American users attribute their self-harming desire to Instagram usage.
Blumenthal and Blackburn, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, said they are “in touch with a Facebook whistleblower” and will be using “every resource at our disposal to investigate what Facebook knew and when they knew it.”
“The Wall Street Journal’s blockbuster reporting may only be the tip of the iceberg,” they said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Reps. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) on Wednesday renewed their demand that Facebook should abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram that can be used by children under the age of 13.
“As the internet—and social media specifically—becomes increasingly engrained in children and teens’ lives, we are deeply concerned that your company continues to fail in its obligation to protect young users and has yet to commit to halt its plans to launch new platforms targeting children and teens,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook has a record of dismissing mental health concerns from the public. In March, Zuckerberg told Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) at a congressional hearing that a study that connects social media to depression was “inconclusive.”
Instagram’s head of public policy, Karina Newton, wrote in a statement that The Wall Street Journal story had “focused on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light.”
“Issues like negative social comparison and anxiety exist in the world, so they’re going to exist on social media too,” Newton said. “That doesn’t change the fact that we take these findings seriously, and we set up a specific effort to respond to this research and change Instagram for the better.”
Elite USA gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman gave emotional testimony Wednesday about the FBI’s botched investigation into their allegations of sexual abuse against former team doctor Larry Nassar.
Read their opening statements before the Senate Judiciary Committee here:
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with this committee, and for bringing light to the crisis of abuse in amateur sports. Your commitment to ensuring the safety of gymnasts and all amateur athletes is appreciated, important, and necessary, to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Please bear with me. To be perfectly honest, I can imagine no place that I would be less comfortable right now than sitting here in front of you, sharing these comments.
My name is Simone Biles, and I am a gymnast who has trained at the levels of the sport. As an elite gymnast, I have had the honor to represent the United States of America in multiple international competitions, including world championships and the Olympic games. Over the course of my gymnastics career, I have won 25 World Championship medals and seven Olympic medals for Team USA. That record means so much to me, and I am proud of my representation of this nation through gymnastics.
I am also a survivor of sexual abuse, and I believe without a doubt, that the circumstances that led to my abuse and allowed it to continue are directly the result of the fact that the organizations created by Congress to oversee and protect me as an athlete, USA Gymnastics, and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, failed to do their jobs.
Nelson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” It is the power of that statement that compels and empowers me to be here in front of you today. I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during, and continuing to this day, in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse.
To be clear… Sorry. To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.
USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee knew that I was abused by their official team doctor, long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge.
In May of 2015, Rhonda Faehn, the former head of USA Gymnastics Women’s Program, was told by my friend and teammate, Maggie Nichols, that she suspected, I too, was a victim. I didn’t understand the magnitude of what all was happening until The Indianapolis Star published its article in the fall of 2016 entitled, Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Accused of Abuse.
Yet, while I was a member of the 2016 US Olympic team, neither USAG, USOPC, nor the FBI ever contacted me or my parents. While others had been informed and investigations were ongoing, I had been left to wonder why I was not told until after the Rio Games.
This is the largest case of sexual abuse in the history of American sport, and although there has been a fully independent investigation of the FBI’s handling of the case, neither USAG, nor USOPC, have ever been made the subject of the same level of scrutiny.
These are the entities entrusted with the protection of our sport and our athletes, and yet, it feels like questions of responsibility and organizational failures remain unanswered.
As you pursue the answers to those questions, I ask that your work be guided by the same question that Rachael Denhollander and many’s others have asked: “How much is a little girl worth?”
I sit before you today to raise my voice so that no little girl must endure what I, the athletes at this table, and the countless others who needlessly suffered under Nassar’s guise of medical treatment, which we continue to endure today.
We suffered and continue to suffer, because no one at FBI, USAG, or the USOPC did what was necessary to protect us. We have been failed, and we deserve answers.
Nassar is where he belongs, but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable. If they are not, I am convinced that this will continue to happen to others across Olympic sports.
In reviewing the OIG’s report, it truly feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us, and went out of its way to help protect USAG and USOPC. A message needs to be sent: if you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough.
I will close with one final thought. The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with all of us. As the lone competitor in the recent Tokyo Games, who is a survivor of this horror, I can ensure you that the impacts of this man’s abuse are not ever over or forgotten.
The announcement in the spring of 2020 that the Tokyo Games were to be postponed for a year, meant that I would be going to the gym, to training, to therapy, living daily among the reminders of this story for another 365 days.
As I have stated in the past, one thing that helped me push each and every day was the goal of not allowing this crisis to be ignored. I worked incredibly hard to make sure that my presence could maintain a connection between the failures and the competition at Tokyo 2020. That has proven to be an exceptionally difficult burden for me to carry, particularly when required to travel to Tokyo, without the support of any of my family.
I am a strong individual and I will persevere, but I never should’ve been left alone to suffer the abuse of Larry Nassar, And the only reason I did was because of the failures that lie at the heart of the abuse that you are now asked to investigate.
Again, I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with this committee today. I want to sincerely thank each of you for joining the survivors of this abuse to do what we all can to prevent anything like this from ever happening again. Thank you.
Good morning. Thank you Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Grassley, and Members of the Judiciary Committee for inviting me to speak today.
As most of you are probably aware, I was molested by the USA Gymnastics National Team, and Olympic Team doctor, Larry Nassar. In actuality, he turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor.
What I’m trying to bring to your attention is something incredibly disturbing and illegal. After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only the FBI did not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said.
After reading the Office of the Inspector General’s OIG report, I was shocked and deeply disappointed at this narrative they chose to fabricate, they chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester. Rather than protect not only me, but countless others.
My story is one in which Special Agent in Charge Jay Abbott and his subordinates did not want you to hear. And it’s time that I tell you. In the summer of 2015, like I said, I was scheduled to speak to the FBI about my abuse with Larry Nassar over the phone. I was too sick to go meet with anyone in person. And talking about this abuse would give me PTSD for days. But I chose to speak about it to try and make a difference and protect others.
I remember sitting on my bedroom floor for nearly three hours as I told them what happened to me. I hadn’t even told my own mother about these facts. But I thought as uncomfortable and as hard as it was to tell my story. I was going to make a difference, and hopefully protecting others from the same abuse. I answered all of their questions honestly and clearly. And I disclosed all of my molestations I had endured by Nassar to them in extreme detail.
They told me to start from the beginning. I told them about the sport of gymnastics how you make the national team and how I came to meet Larry Nassar when I was 13 at a Texas camp.
I told him that the first thing Larry Nassar ever said to me was to change into shorts with no underwear because that would make it easier for him to work on me. And within minutes, he had his fingers in my vagina.
The FBI then immediately asked, Did he insert his fingers into your rectum? I said no, he never did. They asked if he used gloves. I said no, he never did. They asked if this treatment ever helped me. I said no. It never did. This treatment was 100 percent abuse and never gave me any relief.
I then told the FBI about Tokyo. The day he gave me a sleeping pill for the plane ride to then work on me later that night. That evening, I was naked, completely alone with him on top of me molesting me for hours. I told them I thought I was going to die that night. Because there was no way that he would let me go. But he did.
I told them I walked the halls of Tokyo hotel at 2 a.m. At only 15 years old, I began crying at the memory over the phone, and there was just dead silence. I was so shocked at the agent’s silence and disregard for my trauma. After that minute of silence he asked, is that all?
Those words in itself was one of the worst moments of this entire process for me, to have my abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me. Just to feel like my abuse was not enough. But the truth is my abuse was enough. And they wanted to cover it up.
USA Gymnastics in concert with the FBI and the Olympic Committee are working together to conceal that Larry Nassar was a predator. I then proceeded to tell them about London, and how he’d signed me up last on his sheet so he could molest me for hours twice a day.
I told him, I told them how he molested me right before I won my team gold medal. How he gave me presents, bought me caramel macchiatos and bread when I was hungry. I even sent them screenshots of Nassar’s last text to me, which was Michaela. I love how you see the world with rose-colored glasses. I hope you continue to do so.
This was very clear cookie-cutter pedophilia and abuse. And this is important because I told the FBI all of this, and they chose to falsify my report and to not only minimize my abuse, but silence me yet again. I thought given the severity of this situation, they would quickly for the sake of protecting other girls, but instead, it took them 14 months to report anything when Larry Nassar, in my opinion, should have been in jail that day.
The FBI, USOC and USAG sat idly by as dozens of girls and women continued to be molested by Larry Nassar.
According to the OIG report, about 14 months after I disclosed my abuse to the FBI. nearly a year and a half later, the FBI agent who interviewed me in 2015 decided to write down my statement, a statement that the OIG report determined to be materially false.
Let’s be honest, by not taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year. And this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue. What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer? They had legal legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing. If they’re not going to protect me.
I want to know who are they trying to protect? What’s even more upsetting to me is that we now we know that these FBI agents have committed an obvious crime. They falsified my statement, and that is illegal in itself. Yet no recourse has been taken against them. The Department of Justice refused to prosecute these individuals. Why? Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco couldn’t even bring herself to be here today. And it is the Department of Justice’s job to hold them accountable.
I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing. Because my abuse was enough, and we deserve justice. These individuals clearly violated policies and were negligent in executing their duties. And in doing so more girls were abused by Larry Nassar for over a year.
To not indict these agents is a disservice to me and my teammates. It is a disservice to the system which was built to protect all of us from abuse. It was a disservice to every victim who suffered needlessly at the hands of Larry Nassar after I spoke up. Why are public servants whose job is to protect getting away with this? This is not justice. Enough is enough.
Today, I ask you all to hear my voice. I ask you please do all that is in your power to ensure that these individuals are held responsible and accountable for ignoring my initial report for lying about my initial report and for covering up for a child molester.
In closing, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the United States Senate, a very powerful institution that from the very beginning has fought for us rather than against us. Thank you, and I welcome any questions
Chair Durbin, Ranking Member Grassley and distinguished members of the Judiciary Committee. Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today, and I want to personally thank you for your commitments to prioritizing athlete safety and holding accountable those responsible for athlete safety.
I was named as Gymnast 2 in the Office of Inspector General’s report and previously identified as Athlete A by USA Gymnastics. I want everyone to know that this did not happen to Gymnast 2 or to Athlete A. It happened to me, Maggie Nichols.
I first started gymnastics when I was three and since I was a child, I always had the dream of competing for my country in the World Championships and Olympic Games. I was an elite-level gymnast by the age of 13, and by the time I was 14, I made the National Team.
I traveled internationally for four (4) years attending competitions and in 2015 competed at the World Championships representing our country, where I won a Gold medal. My Olympic dreams ended in the summer of 2015, when my coach and I reported Larry Nassar’s abuse to USAG leadership. I went on to compete at the University of Oklahoma, where I was named First Team All-American in the all-around and all four events, and was a Two-Time National Champion.
I reported my abuse to USA Gymnastics over six years ago, and still, my family and I have received few answers, and have even more questions, about how this was allowed to occur and why dozens of other little girls and women at Michigan State had to be abused after I reported.
In sacrificing my childhood for the chance to compete for the United States, I am haunted by the fact that even after I reported my abuse, so many women and girls had to needlessly suffer at the hands of Larry Nassar. USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI have all betrayed me and those who were abused by Larry Nassar after I reported.
The cover-up of my abuse, and the FBI’s failure to interview me for more than a year after my complaint, are well documented in the OIG report. After I reported my abuse to USA Gymnastics, my family and I were told by their former President Steve Penny, to keep quiet and not say anything that could hurt the FBI investigation.
We now know there was no real FBI investigation occurring. While my complaints languished with the FBI, Larry Nassar continued to abuse women and girls. During this time, the FBI issued no search warrants, and made no arrests. From the day I reported my molestation by Nassar, I was treated differently by USAG.
Not only did the FBI fail to conduct a thorough investigation, but they also knew that USAG and the USOPC created a false narrative where Larry Nassar was allowed to retire with his reputation intact and return to Michigan State University, thus, allowing dozens of little girls to be molested.
As the Inspector General’s Report details, during this same period, FBI agents did not properly document evidence, failed to report to proper authorities, and the Special Agent in charge was seeking to become the new director of security for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee; a job opportunity raised by Steve Penny. Afterwards, FBI agents in charge of the investigation, lied to OIG investigators about what had occurred.
This conduct by these FBI agents, including the Special Agent In-Charge, who are held in high regard and expected to protect the public, is unacceptable, disgusting and shameful.
This committee produced a report in 2019 titled The Courage of Survivors-A Call to Action. It found that “the U.S. Olympic Committee and USAG, the National Governing Body designated by USOC to administer amateur gymnastics failed to adequately respond to credible allegations against Nassar.”
Similarly, the OIG report found that senior FBI officials lied to the Inspector General, engaged in serious conflicts of interest, and tried to cover up of one of the biggest child sexual abuse scandal in the history of amateur sports. Both reports uncovered serious and possibly criminal misconduct by those at the highest level of the Olympic Committee, our sport, and the FBI.
Despite these findings of serious and criminal misconduct throughout the FBI, USAG and USOPC, no accountability has occurred. An important question remains, perhaps the most important question: why?
Why would the FBI agents lie to OIG investigators? Why would the FBI not properly document evidence that was received? Why would an FBI agent be interested in the USAG presidency? These questions remain unanswered, and the survivors of Larry Nassar have a right to know why their well-being was placed in jeopardy by these individuals who chose not to do their jobs.
To-date, no one from the FBI, the USOPC or USAG has faced federal charges, other than Larry Nassar. For many hundreds of survivors of Larry Nassar, this hearing is one of our last opportunities to get justice.
We ask that you do what is in your power to ensure those that engaged in wrongdoing are held accountable under the law.
I want to begin by thanking the Judiciary Committee, including Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley, for their commitment to seeking the truth for the hundreds, if not thousands who were systematically abused by Larry Nassar, and for this Committee’s diligence to demand accountability regarding Federal Law enforcement’s misconduct.
I also want to express my gratitude to the other brave survivors here today, my friends and teammates, for sharing their stories and continuing to press for justice and reform. Over the past few years, it has become painfully clear how a survivors healing is affected by the handling of their abuse, and it disgusts me that we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over six years later.
In 2015 it was known that a least six National Team athletes had been abused by Nassar. There was even a video of one athlete’s abuse. Given our abusers unfettered access to children, stopping him should have been a priority.
Instead the following occurred: The FBI failed to interview pertinent parties in a timely manner. It took over 14 months for the FBI to contact me despite my multiple requests to be interviewed.
The records established that Steve Penny, FBI agent Jay Abbott and their subordinates worked to conceal Nassar’s crimes. Steve Penny arranged with the FBI to conduct my interview at the Olympic Training Center where I was under the control and observation of USAG and USOPC.
The day of my interview Steve Penny flew to the Olympic Training Center and he made sure that I was aware he was there. I felt pressured by the FBI to consent to Nassar’s plea deal. The agent diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel my criminal case wasn’t worth pursuing.
Special agent in charge of investigating Nassar met Steve Penny for beers to discuss job opportunities in the Olympic movement. Another FBI agent worked with Steve Penny to determine jurisdiction without interviewing the survivors. I’ve watched multiple high ranking officials at USAG, USOPC, and the FBI, resign or retire without explanation of how they may have contributed to the problem, some of whom were publicly thanked for their service and rewarded with severance or bonus money.
My reports of abuse were not only buried by USAG, USOPC but they were also mishandled by Federal Law enforcement officers who failed to follow their most basic duties.
The FBI and others within both USAG and USOPC knew that Nassar molested children and did nothing to restrict his access. Steve Penny and any USAG employee could have walked a few steps to file a report with the Indiana Child Protective Services, since they shared the same building. Instead they quietly allowed Nassar to slip out the side door, knowingly allowing him to continue his “work” at MSU, Sparrow Hospital, a USAG club and even to run for school board.
Nassar found more than 100 new victims to molest. It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter.
Why did none of these organizations warn anyone? USAG and USOPC have a long history of enabling abuse by turning a blind eye. Both organizations knew of Nassar’s abuse long before it became public. Although you wouldn’t know that by reading their press releases which would have you and their corporate sponsors believe athlete safety comes first.
We have called for a fully independent factual investigation for years now, because I and these women who sit before you now know firsthand these organizations and their public statements are not to be trusted. They claim they want accountability but then seek to restrict which staff can be interviewed, which documents can be examined, and claim attorney-client privilege over and over again. The so-called investigations these organizations orchestrated were not designed to provide the answers we so critically need.
Why are we left to guess why USAG and USOPC deliberately ignored reported abuse? Was it to protect the value of its sponsorships? The LA28 bid? Their own jobs? To avoid criminal liability? Perhaps, but why must we speculate when the facts are obtainable and the stakes are so high?
Why would duly sworn Federal Law enforcement officers ignore reports of abuse by a doctor across state lines and country borders? For a future job opportunity? Or were there additional incentives and pressures? Why must we speculate when the facts are obtainable and the stakes are so high?
Just as it is naive to assume the problem rests only with Nassar, it is unrealistic to think we can grasp the full extent of culpability without understanding how and why USAG and USOPC chose to ignore abuse for decades and why the interplay among these three organizations led the FBI to willingly disregard our reports of abuse.
Without knowing who knew what when, we cannot identify all enablers or determine whether they still are in positions of power. We just can’t fix a problem we don’t understand—and we can’t understand the problem unless and until we have all the facts.
If we don’t do all we can to get these facts the problems we are here to address will persist and we are deluding ourselves if we think other children will be spared the institutionalized tolerance and normalization of abuse that I, and so many, had to endure.
I thank you for your time, your commitment and your genuine concern for those survivors who relied on the FBI to do the right thing. I welcome any questions and comments and will answer them to the best of my ability.
Attorneys representing the Daily Caller News Foundation and Judicial Watch took to court Wednesday arguing for access to records and communications about a treasure trove of documents related to President Joe Biden’s time as Senator housed at the University of Delaware.
Attorneys representing the Daily Caller News Foundation and Judicial Watch took to court Wednesday arguing for access to records and communications about a treasure trove of documents related to President Joe Biden’s time as Senator housed at the University of Delaware.
The organizations were appealing a January decision by the Superior Court of Delaware which denied them access under the Delaware Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) to the gift agreement between the university and Biden when he donated his Senate records as well as communications between the university and Biden and his representatives about the release of his Senate records.
The university said it will only make the documents public two years after Biden retires from public life. Oral arguments Wednesday centered on whether documents stored in publicly-funded institutions like universities could be accessed through a FOIA request.
“How the University of Delaware is storing, maintaining, processing, and releasing President Biden’s Senate records is of concern to the citizens of Delaware and all Americans,” President of Judicial Watch Tom Fitton said in a statement to the DCNF. “During today’s hearing, it seemed as though the Delaware Supreme Court is skeptical of the unusual secrecy in the handling of these records by the University.”
“Shelf space has value, utilities have value, real estate has value,” Green said Wednesday, pointing to the 4,000 cubic feet necessary to house more than 30 years worth of documents.
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 10: U.S. President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn after he returned to the White House August 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden has returned to Washington after he spent a long weekend in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Green argued that the only evidence the University of Delaware submitted proving no public funds were used to house the documents are unsworn statements by university officials rather than affidavits, which he argued are insufficient. He also argued the Delaware Superior Court’s ruling unfairly shifted the burden of proof to the plaintiffs, maintaining that the university, as the custodian of the public documents, had to show that public funds were not used to house Biden’s records.
“The University of Delaware’s argument that a public university housing public records is not subject to public disclosure requirements would be comical if all this weren’t so serious,” Daily Caller News Foundation President Neil Patel said in a statement. “We are hopeful that the court will not allow this attempt to hide President Biden’s rightfully public information to stand.”
Bill Manning, the attorney representing the University of Delaware, argued Wednesday that whether or not state funds were used to house the documents is irrelevant. He maintained that if all documents housed at state expense were accessible under FOIA, that would mean that any and all documents housed in publicly-funded universities could be accessed by the public.
The records may contain information related to Tara Reade, a woman who accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Reade said that information related to the incident could be stored at the university.
The DCNF and Judicial Watch had each filed FOIA requests for the records in April 2020, arguing that the records should be publicly available as their housing was paid for with public funds. The university denied the request, stating that “[t]here have been no expenditures of public funds regarding or related to the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Senatorial papers.”
Both the DCNF and Judicial Watch filed petitions in Delaware’s Office of the Attorney General to determine whether the university’s decision violated FOIA, but the attorney general denied both petitions, siding with the university’s position that the records were not related to the expenditure of state funds.
The organizations then filed a joint appeal of the attorney general’s decision, arguing that the housing of Biden’s Senate records at the University of Delaware must have been paid for by public funds and pointing out that the university receives roughly $120 million in state funds each year. However, the ruling was upheld by the Superior Court of Delaware in January.
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Biden can’t afford to lose a single Democratic vote as he seeks to ram the bill through the evenly divided Senate using special budget reconciliation rules.
Sinema (D-Ariz.) met privately with Biden on Wednesday morning and Manchin (D-WV) is expected to arrive to the Oval Office later in the day.
Manchin said this month that Democrats should “hit the pause button,” and Sinema’s office recently said she “will not support a budget reconciliation bill that costs $3.5 trillion.”
All Republicans are expected to oppose the package, which they argue would move the US closer to a European-style welfare state and balloon the national debt.
The bill would hike some corporate and income tax rates to create new initiatives to subsidize parenthood, education and health care, as well as fund new housing and environmental programs.
Biden is seeking a legislative accomplishment in the mold of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, which included Medicare and Medicaid, and FDR’s New Deal, which established Social Security.
The massive, $3.5 trillion bill would make community college free and would create universal free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds. It would cap child care expenses for most workers at 7 percent of income and subsidize 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
It also would extend a temporarily expanded tax credit for parents — from $2,000 per year to $3,000, or $3,600 for children under age 6.
The budget reconciliation bill can pass with a simple majority in the Senate, where both parties hold 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris breaks ties.
But complicating the political maneuvering, House Democrats still need to pass a narrower, $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that already passed the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and left-wing House members have sought to use that bill as leverage to force centrists into backing the larger bill.