I have already made some indirect inquiries and found that a petiition drive by citizens of RI can be delivered to the legislature or whomever to register an opinion shared by a significant number of RI citizens, but was told that a petition cannot be used to recall an elected official.
Natch, I don't like Whitehouse's policies or political philosophy. But I think his vote at the national level AGAINST the bill to withhold Federal funds from ACORN is a valid basis, actually, for a "citizens' impeachment," if there were such a legal/political step available. After all, even our other Senator, Reed, voted for that bill.
Whitehouse was elected to represent the interests of the citizens of the State of RI. We pay our federal taxes. Those taxes are the funds which have been disbursed to ACORN, a NON PROFIT organization which does NOT pay taxes. By law they are supposed to be nonpartisan in order to qualify for the tax exemption they enjoy. That privilege or exception is CONDITIONAL on their avoidance of any involvement in partisan politics Not only is ACORN a criminal and corrupt organization, not only did they use extortion on bank officers around the nation to coerce them into giving the type of bad loans that magnified the subprime mortgage collapse which created the economic crisis, not only are they under investigation for all kinds of voter fraud during the election, not only have many of them been convicted of same, not only did the recent "sting" operation by 2 young investigative reporters reveal an ACORN policy of advising people to break the law, assisting people to evade income taxes, but they also unhesitatingly offered "creative advice" on how to get away with importing underaged young girls illegally into the US for the purpose of prostitution. This is our money the Federal Gov't has been giving to ACORN. Our hard earned money. Furthermore ACORN has been clearly partisan, working for many Democratic candidates and no Republicans, and they did canvassing and other work for the Obama campaign.
The Commerce Dept has cancelled whatever work or contracts or agreements they have with ACORN. The IRS has ceased paying ACORN. (Can you imagine? The IRS was giving stipends to ACORN to help them develop neighborhood assistance to people in filing their taxes and in answering simple questions about tax laws, filing procedures, etc that would presumably help increase tax revenues. Instead, ACORN has the NERVE to request money from the IRS for this, and then go out and tell people how to engage in illegal activities and tax evasion!!).
When the bill to stop any Federal funds to ACORN came up, it passed by an overwhelming majority in the Senate. There are, I'm sure you know, 100 senators. Only 7 voted against the bill. One of the "ACORN 7" was our local creep, Senator Whitehouse.
In fact, as I write, it occurs to me that a great slogan the Tea Parties nationwide should adopt is
IMPEACH THE ACORN 7
borrowing a technique used by the "new left" in the '60s and '70s to defend criminals on trial for domestic terrorism and other crimes. EG, "Free the Chicago 7" was their battle cry in one instance. I have a bit more to go here, with reasons why I t hink we should try to find a way to recall Whitehouse, but let me say in advance that many of them would probably apply in spades to a NATIONAL campaign to "impeach the ACORN 7." Here are the reasons in Whiteouse's case:
Aside from the obvious -- giving a bum the bum's rush he deserves, right out of the Senate -- if we could recall Whitehouse it would send a very chilling message to all the other legislators we oppose. So far they are afraid of our POTENTIAL power in the voting booths next year. We have protested, very powerfully, but have taken no direct political actions other than to protest. We have accomplished much. But I think our political opponents are hoping to weather this storm we're creating, figuring they can wait us out, and who knows what might happen in a year? They feel they have plenty of time to figure out a counter attack -- they are safe until the next election. That's what I think would be so great about an attempt to recall Whitehouse, an official such attempt, if indeed there is a means for so doing. It would catch our opponents off guard. It would send a new message that we know how to put our money where our mouths are, that we can ACT and WILL act on our opinions of various legislators who displease us. That we are ready to flex more muscles than just the ones in our larynxes and in our typing hands. Even if we did not succeed, EVERYONE KNOWS THAT RI IS ONE OF THE MOST SOLIDLY DEMOCRATIC STATES, IF NOT THE #1 MOST DEMOCRATIC STATE IN THE NATION. If we came ANYWHERE NEAR to success at recalling Whitehouse, I think it would send shivers up the spines of every Democrat in the national legislature. "If they can come that close in RHODE ISLAND of all the unlikeliest places, they'll have no trouble at all in most of the other states" is what they will think. It will scare the pants off 'em. I WOULD JUST LOVE TO SEE THIS HAPPEN.
i forgot to mention another argument against Whitehouse for his ACORN vote:
The fact that there are 60 Dems in the Senate and that only 7 senators voted to continue funding for ACORN means that EVEN THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF DEMS voted the "right" way. This puts Whitehouse in the EXTREMIST category. It also raises some very unsavory suspicions. We know that ACORN does lots of favors for candidates they like or those who back them. Why would Whitehouse take such an unpopular stance if there weren't something in it for him? This raises the STRONG SUSPICION that he is mixed in or collaborating or in some way benefitting from the existence and activities of this proven corrupt and criminal organization. Note that I did NOT say "proves" but merely "raises STRONG SUSPICIONS" in the mind of anyone who has a mind. And/or it could just be that Whitehouse -- like everyone else -- knows our President has close ties to ACORN and voted in order to curry the favorable opinion of his party's current leader. We need to advertise this reasoning to the citizens of RI.
We also should remember that there's a lot of virtue to striking before the iron gets cold. GIVEN THAT EVEN AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF CRAVEN DEMOCRATIC SENATORS FELT THE NEED TO DO THE RIGHT THING ON THE ACORN VOTE, I AM SURE THE SAME WOULD BE TRUE FOR THE LESS CRAVEN AND MORE HONEST AVERAGE RHODE ISLANDER. I'LL BET THAT IF WE COULD GET A PETITION GOING AND REACH EVERY RI VOTER, AND IF ITS LANGUAGE WAS PHRASED AND EXPLAINED TACTFULLY, WE COULD GET THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE CITIZENS OF OUR STATE TO SIGN AND SUPPORT IT. Those are big "ifs" requiring money and manpower, but I think it's important to know ahead of time that IF we could find potential sources of money and manpower, we would have a good argument to them that their contribution would NOT be a waste of money or effort, because the potential for a positive result IF DONE PROPERLY is most certainly there.
Again, I emphasize that it's only my opinion, but I am very convinced of it, that even though we are just "unimportant LIttle Rhody," a successul or even near-successful effort to recall Whitehouse the way Californians recalled their Governer Gray a few years back, would have consequences far beyond the wildest dreams of most tea-party-ers. For the reasons given above, I think that precisely BECAUSE we are only little Rhody, but the little Rhody that everyone knows is reliably "in the Dems pocket," that even near success at an endeavor which required active work and commitment to oust A DEMOCRAT and succeeded or came close would simply THROW THE FEAR OF GOD INTO EVERY DEMOCRAT IN WASHINGTON DC.
OK, that's my spiel except for my final question: Do any of you know whether or not there is some legal mechanism by which we can recall a senator we've elected? I'd find it hard to believe that there is NO mechanism or procedure available by which this can be done. They did it to the governor of CA. This is gov't of, by and for the people, and we are the people. If the Senate can impeach a member, when every single senator gets his power only because it is OUR power delegated to him BY US, then ultimately we, the people are the root repository of the power to impeach. It makes no sense to me that the voters, having voted a man to represent them, and who realize they've made an awful mistake, have no means whatsoever in law of correcting that mistake if they choose to do so. There has GOTto be some way to do it. I am not a lawyer or a politician, but presumably there are some lawyers and either politicians or people who know politicians amongst the members of this group. Do any of you know yourself, or know someone who might know, whether a recall procedure exists, and if so, what it entails?
I would like to hear opinions on this thought, but more importantly, information on how to follow thru on it from anyone who has such information.
PS -- Here are 2 similar things we might do if, for some reason, the recall idea proves impossible or too difficult to be practicable:
1. Gio, the head of the state Repub party, recently told the voluntary RIGOP advisory group that the National party feels most money allocated to RI is wasted becuz the Dems have such a lock on the state. Why not ask Gio if this would fly: Tell the national bigwigs that we have a way to "make lemonade from our lemon." That PRECISELY BECAUSE our state is such a slavishly Dem one, CAN WE AFFORD TO MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY WE HAVE TO SHAKE THE WORLD OF THE DEMS by showing them that even in solidly, sealed-in-cement, democratic RI, we have managed to recall a Dem Senator for VOTING THE DEM WAY??? They're no fools. They know the impact this would have on all the Dems, if taken-for-granted RI turns out to be the upstart who does what they all assume is impossible. Gio could tell them that THE VERY REASON EVEN THE RNC HAS NO ENTHUSIASM FOR SPENDING IN RI, IS EXACTLY THE REASON THEY SHOULD SPEND ON THIS PARTICULAR IDEA. Their own reluctance is proof of the world's complacency about RI being in the Dems pocket. And we KNOW that on the ACORN issue, we've got 'em cold, that it is NOT a pipe-dream but actually a HIGH PROBABILITY that we could get tons of signatures or support from HUGE numbers (relatively !!!) of RI'ers for a recall of Whitehouse IF we had proper funding and professional (legal/political) advisors or assistance. If the recall itself is not feasible, then this same argument would apply for my second off the cuff idea below:
2. If the recall is a no-go, then we could just get a petition drive going, hopefully convince the RNC to fund it lavishly for the reasons above, -- ie that in this case all the hackneyed reasons NOT to spend in RI become precisely reversed -- and we get oodles of signatures on a petition calling for Whitehouse's resignation on the grounds of his having BETRAYED THE VOTERS OF RI, breached his promise to protect our interests by attempting to siphon our tax money into a criminal organization against even the majority vote of his own party's senators. OR, instead of a petition calling for his resignation, we actually WRITE UP OUR OWN "ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT" -- ie, as "political theater" we simply take the law into our own hands, we are the people after all, and we will not attempt to BREAK any law, just to create our own procedure for involving ourselves in the political process which BELONGS TO US after all, we the people. Remember, "impeach" does not mean removal from office; it means an "accusation." Bill Clinton was impeached. The impeachment was not successful, ie it did not succeed in removing him from office. And when people speak historically of Presidents who were the objects of attempted impeachments that failed, they are actually using the language imprecisely and incorrectly. Presidents who had to go thru the impeachment process and were not removed from office WERE impeached, they WERE accused of behavior deserving dismissal from office, but the Senate's impeachment proceedings found that the impeachment's claims were insufficient to justify the President's removal. From the Merriam Webster dictionary, to impeach means:
to bring an accusation against b : to charge with a crime or misdemeanor; specifically : to charge (a public official) before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office
So I am floating this idea: a petition signed by RI'ers saying they support the "ARticles of Impeachment" against Sen Whitehouse, and we draw up or have someone knowledgeable draw up such a document, and when we get a huge number of signatures, we send a delegation to DC, and barge into Whitehouse's office there in DC, after having notified FOX news, the Gateway Pundit, Brietbart, Human Events, National Review, etc etc etc of the exact date and time of our arrival there, or we just make an apptmt for our group with Whitehouse and press release that an event of GENUINELY HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE is about to occur at that meeting. Then, either we havea petitiion demanding his resignation, which we throw on his desk and say that we are his bosses and have come to fire him on behalf of THE PEOPLE. That THE PEOPLE made a mistake and demand his resignation for breach of promise to represent our interests by defying even the overwhelming majority of his own party and voting to throw our hard earned money paid in taxes during these hard times, to take that money and give it to a proven corrupt and criminal organization; that while we have no proof, this action creates the APPEARANCE that he is inovolved in the corruption and criminality or in some way benefits from it, and RI"ers do not want their own image stained by his image, we expect him to be above reproach, that he has brought calumny onto the reputation of our state, a nd that we d emand his resignation, that the citizens, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF RI demand it, that at the most benevolent suspicion cast on him by his behavior is that he is currying the favor of the national HQ and national leaders of his party by his vote, which would mean that he has ABUSED his office to further his own career at the expense of the interests of his constituents. We make the appropriate statement before "serving" him with Rhode Island Voters' DEMAND that he resign, OR with The People Of Rhode Island's Articles of Impeachment, saying "we impeach you for breach of your duty and promise to us, on the basis of which you coaxed our votes fraudulently with the intent of using the power we conferred on you to serve your own personal advancement rather than the interests of the sovereign citizens of the state of RI" etc etc.
These would be fall back measures, a kind of "political theater," but I think a fairly powerful bit of theater with at least some significant substance, in the event that a recall proves unfeasible or unpracticable. Just a thought off the top of my head, a post script. My hope is that we can get the RNC or some private citizens with means to help fund a recall effort, to which I'm sure many of us would donate at least a bit of our time.