Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Jerry McNerney joins Pete McCloskey: "It's time for Richard Pombo to come clean on the Mariana Islands and Jack Abramoff"

"Jerry McNerney joins Pete McCloskey: "It's time for Richard Pombo to come clean on the Mariana Islands and Jack Abramoff"
Pleasanton, CA -- Jerry McNerney joined Pete McCloskey today in calling on Congressman Richard Pombo to answer questions about his knowledge of deplorable factory conditions in the Northern Mariana Islands (a territory of the United States) as well as Jack Abramoff's lobbying of Pombo to block anti-sweatshop Mariana Islands legislation in Congress.

On Monday, McCloskey raised the issue of Pombo's "willful inaction" to address the forced abortions, forced prostitution and exploitation of young women from China, the Philippines and Thailand to sew clothing that is labeled "Made in the USA" but is produced under employment practices illegal in the mainland United States.

Jerry McNerney praised McCloskey, running against Pombo in the June 6th Republican primary, and questioned Pombo's judgment.

"Pete McCloskey is absolutely right in courageously calling out Richard Pombo for his immoral neglect of basic human rights in a U.S. territory," said McNerney. "It is deplorable that Congressman Pombo -- after touring the Marianas and viewing the garment factories --would not do everything in his considerable power to extend basic U.S. labor, immigration and customs laws to workers in the Marianas Islands."

"The result of this human exploitation is shocking: Forced abortions and forced prostitution," said McNerney. "Somehow, I don't think Pombo's constituents -- especially those with strong anti-abortion views -- want a Congressman whose actions directly contribute to forced abortions and forced prostitution."

McNerney also called on Pombo to reveal details regarding Jack Abramoff's lobbying against legislation that would apply American labor laws to the Marianas. "Where Jack Abramoff went, Richard was never far behind. To distance himself from Abramoff, Pombo should come clean now and immediately endorse the bill proposed by Congressman George Miller to extend U.S. labor laws to the Marianas Islands," said McNerney.

McNerney also expressed support for McCloskey's request for the press to immediately pose the following questions to Congressman Pombo:

"1. When did you first become aware of the forced abortions, prostitution and exploitation of young women from the Philippines, China and other Pacific Rim nations in the Marianas Islands?"

"2. Why have you done nothing to investigate and address the Marianas' problems with forced abortions as described to the Senate by Secretary of Interior Babbitt in 1998?"

"3. Have you ever discussed the Marianas situation with any of the men (Jack Abramoff, Neil Volz and Tony Rudy) who have now pled guilty of bribing or conspiring to bribe Members of Congress?"

"4. Were you ever asked by Mr. Abramoff or former majority leader Tom DeLay to hold up or block the passage of any legislation which would apply US labor and immigration laws to the Marianas? Have you ever assisted in helping to secure "earmarks" for any project in the Marianas?"

"5. Have you ever discussed the Marianas or Indian gaming issues with Kevin Ring?"

"6. Can you explain why you have declined to hold investigative hearings about Jack Abramoff's lobbying efforts with respect to Indian gaming or the forced abortions, prostitution and exploitation of women in the Marianas?"

7. Do you feel that your constituents are entitled to full and fair answers to the foregoing questions, particularly prior to an election in which you seek to retain your seat in Congress?

"8. Why did you vote for the rule excluding from a "yes" or "no" vote on the Shays Amendment providing for an independent House ethics agency?"

About Jerry McNerney: Jerry, a resident of Pleasanton is a nationally recognized expert in wind energy engineering and works as an energy consultant. He is also the head of an energy startup.

Paid for by McNerney for Congress" (source: press release)


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