Monday, May 10, 2010

HRC, LGBT Bar Advised

WH on Judicial Nonimees

Until last summer I had never heard the name Darcy Kemnitz, but after a gay Iraqi spoke at a fundraiser at the HRC building in Washington, an event sponsored in part by the National LGBT Bar Association, of which she is the director, I had reason to interact with her.

The gay Iraqi, Haider Hamza, made outlandish claims of American soldiers beheading Iraqis and showed the audience a photo of what he alleged was the scene after such an execution. The Washington Blade covered this story extensively, including when the claims were debunked by the U.S Army.

Kemnitz was a key lesbian DC player who vouched for Hamza, and in my dealings with her, she never answered my basic questions about how, or if, she had vetted his photo or any of his claims. She accused me of outing Hamza. To put it mildly, I was unimpressed with her in the defamation of U.S. soldiers.

And as head of the LGBT bar org, Kemnitz has been getting herself asked to the White House, a total of five times.

Four of those occasions were for meetings to advise the administration on judicial nominations, and once for a December 2009 holiday reception with the Obamas. Close to 700 people were also there and was surely tons of fun.

But those four briefings were vastly more intimate, and the logs report they were held with the associate director for public engagement, Kareem Dale. Two of Kemnitz's meetings with him are described as pertaining to judicial nominations, on December 11, 2009, twenty-two in attendance, and December 15, 2009, with 21 present.

The logs say Kemnitz was at the December 14, 2009, meeting with almost two-dozen other people with Dale, but it's described simply as a meeting, no other info made public. She was back with 23 others on January 28, 2010, and the description is blank. Most likely it was part of what appears to be a series of meetings with around two-dozen folks to chat about judicial candidates.

Joining her at all four meetings was HRC's on-staff legal adviser Brian Moulton.

Now I don't know if Elena Kagan's name came up at any of those meetings, or other briefings possibly held after January which will become transparent in future updates, or if potential Supreme Court nominees were discussed, and I'd sure welcome some info from Kemnitz and her bar association, and the HRC, about the agenda they pushed.

Radical notion: Gay Inc reps report back to the community after they schlepp to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for briefings, a movie night, meetings. This should be done so the gay Americans whom they claim to represent get real transparency about what the heck these reps are advancing when they lobby the administration.

While on the surface inviting gay legal folks to at least four, maybe more, briefings at the White House on anything to do with judicial nominations seems like a good thing.

But knowing of Kemnitz's incredible sloppiness over the gay Iraqi scandal, and fully cognizant of longstanding problems over HRC's inept advocacy on behalf of gay Americans for decades, I am frightened to think of the advice these Gay Inc folks are giving the Obama administration.

Kemnitz's FEC file shows she donated $2,000 to the DNC last June, plus she gave them $500 back in 2006.

The Kemnitz and Moulton names are the only gay names I recognize on the list of attendees at those briefings with Dale. Click here and here to read the lists of who's been at those meetings. I recognized no names from Lambda Legal on the lists, and have also searched for top folks from that org, but I can't find any proof in the logs that Kevin Cathcart and crew have been invited to sit down with administration advisers.

Did the National LGBT Bar Association and HRC issue a memo to the community about the meetings, and I missed it?

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