Additional Information on Jan Schakowsky

* In 2000, Schakowsky served on the welcoming committee for the Chicago Memorial Service in honor of Richard Criley, a long-time Communist Party USA activist and a leader of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights.

* Schakowsky has long been a close political ally of fellow Congressional Progressive Caucus member Nancy Pelosi and was an early backer of the latter’s successful bid to become House Minority Leader in 2002. Pelosi rewarded Schakowsky with an appointment to the powerful position of Chief Deputy Minority Whip and a seat on the Democratic Steering Committee (which allocates committee assignments to House Democrats).

* In 2002 Schakowsky joined 44 other members of Congress, all but two of whom were Democrats, in signing a letter addressed to Secretary of State Colin Powell. The letter alleged that the Colombian government had committed human rights violations in its war against the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), a guerrilla terrorist outfit that served as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party and enjoyed the backing of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Published worldwide and used as propaganda by pro-FARC activists, the letter made no mention of the thousands of murders and atrocities FARC had committed. It further exhorted Powell “to take our concerns into account when determining whether to approve additional military aid for Colombia this year.”

* At ACORN‘s 2002 national convention, Schakowsky charged that, for the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in Congress, “everybody comes before the people.” For instance, she stated that the Republicans’ drive to repeal the estate tax was evidence of their putting “rich dead people before poor people.” Schakowsky added that Congress should eliminate any talk of tax cuts for the wealthy until every American had an affordable place to live and was earning “a living wage.”

* On September 23, 2003, Schakowsky was a presenter at the Institute for Policy Studies‘ 27th annual Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Human Rights Awards, named in honor of the socialist Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier and his assistant, Ronni Moffitt, both of whom were assassinated in a 1976 car bombing.

* In 2003 Schakowsky condemned the influence that “private power” had gained over the media. She joined Global Exchange founder Medea Benjaminat a “Take Back America” conference — organized by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Campaign for America’s Future — to propose tight government limits on the consolidation of broadcasters such as Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News Channel, and other enterprises.

* Schakowsky was one of 27 Members of Congress to co-sponsor H. Res. 333, which Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced on April 24, 2007. This bill set forth articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney, for having “purposely manipulated the intelligence process” to “deceive” American citizens and Congress alike “about a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, to justify the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against Iraq in a manner damaging to U.S. national security interests.” To view a list of all the co-sponsors, click here.

* In 2008 Schakowsky made a $1,000 contribution to Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign. She also has made political donations to Bernie SandersTom Udall, and EMILY’S List.

* On September 17, 2009, the House of Representatives voted by a 345-75 margin to defund the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN. Schakowsky was one of the 75 Members of Congress (all Democrats) who cast their ballots in support of ACORN. Among the others were: Tammy BaldwinCorrine BrownMichael CapuanoAndre CarsonJames Clyburn,Keith EllisonSam FarrChaka FattahBob FilnerRaúl GrijalvaMaurice HincheyJesse Jackson Jr.Sheila Jackson-LeeDennis KucinichBarbara LeeJohn LewisJim McDermottJames McGovernJim MoranJerrold NadlerCharles RangelBobby RushJan SchakowskyJose SerranoPete StarkBennie ThompsonNydia VelazquezMaxine WatersDiane Watson,Henry Waxman, and Lynn Woolsey.

* On October 26, 2009, Schakowsky spoke alongside fellow congressmen Bob Filner and Jared Polis at J Street‘s annual conference.

* At a League of Women Voters forum in October 2010, a reporter askedSchakowsky, “Where in the Constitution does it give Congress the authority to mandate that I purchase health insurance?” Visibly annoyed, the congresswoman said she had to leave. When the reporter pressed for an answer, Schakowsky said:

“I don’t see where it is in the Constitution that it says that we could build a national highway system. I don’t see where it says that we can do civil rights legislation. I siont see where it says Medicare and Social Security … If we can do Medicare, if we can do Medicaid, I would say that its pretty well established that the United States of America can address healthcare.”

Then Schakowsky walked away. At the same forum, a reporter asked Schakowsky, “Who are the Democratic Socialists of America, and what is democratic socialism?” She repled by smiling, turning away from the reporter, and walking away as she said, “I’m out of here.”

* In November 2010, Schakowsky and 15 other congressional Democrats met—either personally or through their respective staffers—with three supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack (FRSO/FB). Those FRSO/FB supporters, representing the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, expressed their condemnation of “the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing.” It was reported that Schakowsky and her 15 colleagues in Congress expressed “genuine concern” about the situation. For a list of all the Democrats who met with FRSO/FB supporters, click here.

* On April 24, 2011, Schakowsky addressed the funeral service of Communist Party USA member Frank Lumpkin, whose ashes were interred next to the famous Haymarket Memorial in nearby Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois.

* In a September 2011 radio interview in Chicago, Schakowsky was asked to answer the question: “Of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think I deserve to keep?” After some evasion, she replied: “I’ll put it this way, you don’t deserve to keep all of it. It’s not a question of deserving, because what government is, is those things that we decide to do together.” The host persisted in asking her to be specific, but Schakowsky would go no farther than to say: “I pay at a 35% tax rate, happy to do it.”

* Schakowsky paid tribute to labor leader and Communist Party USA activist Bea Lumpkin at a special 2012 luncheon sponsored by the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans

* In early 2013, Schakowsky was one of dozens of prominent leftists who urged President Barack Obama to award, posthumously, the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the late Fred Ross Sr., a Saul Alinsky-trained radical who mentored both Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. To view a list of others who also exhorted Obama to honor Ross, click here.

* Schakowsky, along with Representatives Alan Grayson and Barbara Lee, was scheduled to meet on November 19, 2013 with Abdul Rahman Naimi, president and founder the Geneva-based human-rights NGO Al Karama, to discuss U.S. drone policy. Ultimately, Naimi was unable to attend the meeting because of visa issues. The following month, the U.S. Treasury Department designated him as a global terrorist and al Qaeda financier.

* Schakowsky has occasionally been a guest speaker at Netroots Nation‘s annual conferences. To view a list of other notables who have spoken at these events, click here.

* Schakowsky has spoken numerous times at the “Take Back America,” “America’s Future Now,” and “Take Back the American Dream” conferences organized by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Campaign for America’s Future.

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