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Founder of Group That Secretly Filmed Planned Parenthood Takes the Fifth

Oct 15, 2015
Press Release

Founder of Group That Secretly Filmed Planned Parenthood Takes the Fifth

 

David Daleiden Refuses to Answer Questions About His Potentially Illegal Activities

  

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 15, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement regarding the decision by David Daleiden, the head of the Center for Medical Progress, to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions about his group’s potentially illegal three-year effort to unsuccessfully entrap Planned Parenthood:

“Mr. Daleiden has every right under the Constitution to avoid answering questions and incriminating himself, and I will not draw any adverse conclusions from his assertion.  However, the Republican policy under both Chairman Issa and Chairman Gowdy has been to force witnesses to appear in person in front of the committee even when these witnesses indicate elsewhere that they are asserting the Fifth.  It is unclear why Republicans refuse to call Mr. Daleiden to do so here.  The one thing that is clear is that Republicans have a double-standard in this investigation as they continue to attack and harass Planned Parenthood while giving Mr. Daleiden a pass.”

Daleiden selectively invoked his Fifth Amendment right rather than respond to certain document requests and interrogatories in a case in California.  Specifically: 

  • Daleiden invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to questions about his fake IDs:

REQUEST NO. 6:  The identification cards and/or driver’s licenses that YOU or any BIOMAX REPRESENTATIVE used to gain access to any NAF ANNUAL MEETING, and documents concerning the same.

OBJECTIONS AND RESPONSE:  … Defendant further objects that this Request seeks information and materials within the scope of the Fifth Amendment testimonial privilege, because the act of production would disclose testimonial information that could be used in a criminal prosecution or could lead to other evidence that might be so used.

  • Daleiden also invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to questions about the identities of other individuals who attended these events:

INTERROGATORY NO. 2:  IDENTIFY any PERSON acting at YOUR direction who attended any NAF ANNUAL MEETING.

OBJECTIONS AND RESPONSE:  Defendant objects that this Interrogatory seeks information within the scope of the Fifth Amendment testimonial privilege because responsive disclosures could be used in a criminal prosecution (including but not limited to a criminal prosecution for conspiracy) or could lead to other evidence that might be so used.

Daleiden stated that his responses were made “solely for the purposes of this civil action.”

The Republican position has been that witnesses must be compelled by subpoena to appear—in person—in order to assert their Fifth Amendment rights on the record before the Committee.  This was the position taken by Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy when he subpoenaed an IT employee during his investigation of Secretary Clinton’s email server, and it was the position of former Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa during his investigation of former IRS employee Lois Lerner.

Daleiden and his group may have engaged in a host of potentially illegal activities, including filing false documents with government agencies, falsely impersonating a legitimate business concern, soliciting charitable contributions under false pretenses, and secretly recording Planned Parenthood officials without their consent.

Yet, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz has refused multiple Democratic requests to invite Daleiden to testify before the Committee, while Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards voluntarily testified on September 29 and answered questions for nearly five hours.

On October 6, Committee Democrats sent a letter to Chairman Chaffetz, insisting that he answer 21 detailed interrogatories regarding his group’s actions.  To date, the Chairman has declined to send them.

In contrast, Chaffetz admitted on national television that the Committee has no evidence that Planned Parenthood has violated any laws.  Numerous state investigations have also cleared Planned Parenthood of allegations of wrongdoing. 

During a subsequent House Judiciary Committee hearing, the Chairman was even more emphatic, stating:  “Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend?  Yes. Was there any wrongdoing?  I didn’t find any.”

114th Congress