The ranking Democrat investigating Planned Parenthood’s role in selling human organs from aborted babies needs to explain these huge conflicts of interest.
The top Democrat on a House committee examining Planned Parenthood’s baby organ trafficking is riddled with conflicts of interest, a new analysis shows. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL — handpicked for the committee by House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi — has a long history of running interference for abortionists and their allies. A history that includes plum consulting gigs for her felon husband and more than $89,000 in contributions to her campaign coffers.
Hours into the second hearing of the House Select Panel on Infant Lives on April 20, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-WI, directed witnesses to discuss a couple of pieces of evidence. One was a brochure — obtained at a national abortion conference — from a company that purchases fetal body parts. The other was from a website of a company that purchases fetal body parts, announcing financial benefits to clinics that provide fetal tissue. It is against federal law to financially benefit from the aborted baby organ trade. Some witnesses testified that the law has not been enforced in decades.
Republicans on the committee blacked out information identifying who made the marketing materials, following Democrats’ insistence that disclosing identities would be risky for those involved in the trafficking of fetal parts. Even so, Democrats spent much of their allotted time during the hearing complaining that the Republicans had protected the identity of those involved in the fetal body part trade.
The Democrats’ first witness was Fay Clayton, a senior partner of Robinson Curley & Clayton, a boutique Chicago law firm. Clayton is a strident abortion rights defender, having been the National Organization for Women’s lead counsel in that organization’s bid to use federal racketeering laws to silence and bankrupt the pro-life movement in the 1990s. Her statement to the committee referenced her work in 2000 for a fetal organ harvester who worked out of a Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinic in Kansas. Another fetal organ harvester working at the same clinic had been busted on undercover video, bragging about how much money he made from the fetal organ trade.
But as Clayton looked at the evidence, she began making conflicting statements. On the one hand, she said she assumed the documents Duffy wanted to discuss were faked. On the other, she said they didn’t mention anything about fetal tissue. Then she said she thought the documents distributed at an abortion conference promising financial profits to clinics were really talking about adult tissue. She said it was “clear it’s talking about adult tissue.”
Clayton’s claims were bizarre. The marketing material targeting abortion clinics explicitly mentioned fetal tissue and fetal DNA. A fellow witness on the panel interjected, noting the brochure specifically called for fetal tissue. Duffy wryly asked, “If this document is being sent out [at an] abortion conference, is your testimony that this is referring to adult tissue?”
Clayton said she didn’t know.
When Duffy asked his final question, “Has anyone on this panel made any contributions to anyone on this committee? Raise your hand,” the panel chairman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, cut him off for time.
Even without knowing the answer, it was an interesting question. The Democrats had two witnesses; the Republicans had three. Other than Clayton, the witnesses had clear perspectives. No one else had been willing to deny reality under questioning. So was Duffy suggesting something about Clayton?
Ah, Chicago Politics
Both Clayton and Schakowsky live in Evanston, Illinois, it turns out. Schakowsky, who has been in office since 1999, is married to Robert Creamer, a community organizer and national progressive organizer. His firm, Democracy Partners, runs progressive issue campaigns. More on that in a bit. For now we’ll note he was convicted of federal tax violations and bank fraud in 2005. He made a plea deal after being indicted on 16 counts of bank fraud in a check-kiting scheme that led banks to experience shortfalls of $2.3 million.
And sure enough, Clayton is a donor to Schakowsky. She’s given $6,100 to the congresswoman, according to Open Secrets. Her husband, Lowell Sachnoff, a big Democratic activist in his own right, has given another $4,250 to Schakowsky, according to Open Secrets.
And there’s more. Clayton and her husband hosted in their home a swanky fundraising party for Schakowsky’s husband as he headed off to the federal penitentiary.
Clayton is a partisan and major donor to Planned Parenthood, but she isn’t an inside-the-beltway lobbyist, throwing money at every politician in the country. Rather, she and her husband appear to be friends with the Schakowsky family, hosting fundraisers in their own home.
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