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Christic Institute Suit

September 23, 1988

Instead of exposing the Christic Institute's misuse and abuse of our legal system (specifically the Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, statutes) and its willful and reckless disregard for the facts, Kathleen Hendrix paints a glowing portrait of the institute and its general counsel, Daniel Sheehan ("On to Victory," Sept. 12).

First, Hendrix mentions (only once) that the suit, in which Sheehan argued there was a "secret team" running drugs and controlling U.S. foreign policy for the past 30 years, was thrown out of court because of insufficient evidence. According to U.S. District Court Judge (James Lawrence) King, there was no basis in fact for any of the Christic allegations.

Second, Hendrix leaves the false impression that the Christics somehow won a "victory" in the Karen Silkwood case against Kerr-McGee. In that case, Sheehan promised to provide reporters with proof that Karen Silkwood was killed because she discovered an international plot to smuggle bomb-grade material out of nuclear fuel plants around the country. Sheehan did not produce a single witness to that effect and offered no proof. And although the company settled the 10-year-old lawsuit in 1986 for $1.38 million, it never admitted the charges, which remain unproved.

Third, while pursuing its fairy-tale lawsuit, the Christic Institute violated IRS provisions set down in the Internal Revenue Code governing the tax-exempt status of organizations formed to provide legal representation in the public interest. It has engaged in blatant political propaganda, attempted to influence legislation, intervened in a political campaign in opposition to a particular candidate, disrupted the judicial system and violated legal canons of ethics.

I, along with 19 of my colleagues, have therefore asked the IRS to pull the plug on the Christic Institute's tax-exempt status.

The real story of the Christic case is how a poorly written law (RICO), originally designed to enable prosecutors to go after organized crime (such as the Mafia), was used by left-wing conspiracy nuts to pursue their political objectives.

REP. ROBERT K. DORNAN

(R-Garden Grove)

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