During Wednesday’s House subcommittee tech hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) questioned Amazon’s usage of the radical Southern Poverty Law Center to deem eligible charities for donations, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he would look to alternative options.
Gaetz layed out a list of charities that focus on Christian and Jewish causes as charities unjustly labeled as “extremists” by the SPLC — to which Bezos said he accepts Gaetz’s criticism and “would like a better source if I can get it.”
One of the groups unjustly labeled as a hate group by the SPLC is the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group focused on defending religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and free speech. Their cases have included defending Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker sued for sticking to his religious beliefs.
Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom Jeremy Tedesco spoke to SaraACarter.com about the SPLC and Bezos’ potential switch.
“The SPLC actively lobbies corporations to harm and economically discriminate against groups and people they don’t like,” Tedesco said. “Amazon needs to stop being an active participant in a system that’s ultimately bad for everyone.”
ADF is labeled as an “extremist group” for using “‘religious liberty’ legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion,” according to the SPLC’s site.
ADF regularly defends mistreated groups and individuals — from nuns being forced to fund abortion to female athletes having their locker rooms infiltrated by males in the name of social justice.
Due to this label as an extremist group, Amazon does not allow customers to select ADF as a recipient of their charitable donations through Amazon Smile — a portion of the site that lets customers donate 0.5% of their purchases to different charities and organizations.
Gaetz asked the billionaire CEO why groups like Catholic Family News and the American Family Association are also excluded — the radical group also once designated world renowned brain surgeon and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson an extremist.
“I’m just wondering why you would place your confidence in a group that seems to be so out of step and seems to take mainstream Christian doctrine and label it as hate,” Gaetz said to Bezos during a Wednesday House subcommittee hearing virtually attended by Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and others.
“I would like suggestions on better or additional sources,” Bezos answered. Gaetz responded saying he should “divorce” with the SPLC.
ADF’s Tedesco noted people on the left and right have said the center is “completely discredited” and that “we welcome Bezos’ recognition that this is a bad system.”
He referenced a petition by the National Center for Public Policy Research calling on Amazon to end their usage of SPLC’s opinionated conclusions.
“There is so much power in the hands of a few companies like Amazon and there is a ground swell for them to end partnerships with far left groups,” he said. “Something that exists to smear and stop people who disagree with their views is something they can’t do for much longer.”
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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