US Senate Committee Questions McPhee Report

December 21, 2008

News today in the Marianas Variety is that the US Senate Committee on Natural Resources is questioning the validity of the McPhee-Conway economic report which was submitted as evidence in the Fitial lawsuit. As I have said since the report was released, there are serious questions regarding the use of federal funds to write an "economic report" for the purpose of backing a lawsuit against the federal government. Three cheers for the US Senate Committee on Natural Resources for probing this report that was clearly a waste of US tax dollars and raises ethical and legal concerns.

The Variety states:
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who chairs the Senate committee and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told McPhee to submit additional data and explanation about his economic report to the committee by Jan. 15, 2009.

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked the federal court to dismiss the governor’s lawsuit, describing it as based on “speculative and hypothetical” arguments.

In their joint letter to McPhee, the senators asked him if he knew that his economic report would be used in the lawsuit against the CNMI federalization law.

“Were any CNMI officials or representatives given a draft copy of this report before the final copy was released to the public? If so, were any changes made as a result of comments, corrections, or criticisms made by CNMI officials or representatives? If so, what were the changes?” the senators asked.

According to the report, the federalization of local immigration “could prove troublesome for the visitor industry, now the CNMI’s only driving force in the economy, because about 70 percent of its workers are non-U.S. citizens. The outlook for the CNMI economy is bleak.”

Bingaman and Murkowski specifically wanted to find out the methodology used in the economic report.

They also questioned the source of the CNMI population cited in the economic report which pegged it at 60,400.

The last U.S. Census on the islands was completed in 2000 when the population was over 69,000.

Bingaman and Murkowski also asked McPhee to “please provide an estimated number of [Freely Associated State] citizens currently employed in the CNMI and an estimate of those potentially available from the FAS as workers in the CNMI.”

The senators questioned the report’s conclusion that all foreign workers will be sent home to their countries of origin by 2014, which is the same argument made by the Fitial administration.

“This report is presented as an economic study but this non-economic assumption effectively undermines its conclusions. Please identify the political expert(s) who were consulted in reaching this assumption and detail their basis for making it,” the senators said.
When I read the report, before I even read the documents that the CNMI government submitted for the lawsuit that cited the report, I knew it was commissioned as a piece of propaganda meant to be used to back the futile Fitial lawsuit.

Funding for the economic study came from taxpayer's dollars via the Department of Interior's Insular Affairs Office that originally approved $75,000 for the study then threw in an additional $50,000 in 2008 for a total of $125,000. Someone should file an Open Government Act request to inspect all correspondence between McPhee and Associates and partner Dick Conway, and CNMI government officials during the months the report was written. Those officials should include Richard Pierce, Governor Fitial, Howard Willens, Deanne Siemer, and all those who submitted declarations in support of the lawsuit.

What economist would echo the CNMI's political agenda and unfounded arguments in an economic report written with federal funds? Only those who are allowing themselves to be manipulated and used to push that political agenda.

Read these previous posts for commentary on the flaws of the "report" and the background of McPhee with the CNMI government:

Some Thoughts on the Economic Report

Here is the Economic Report

CNMI Economic Report Based on Conflicting Data

Fitial vs US: Preliminary Injunction & Declarations of the Federalization Fighters

Burning Money

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The 'Federalization' of the CNMI will be a slow painful operation Wendy.

Do you really believe that the Feds are taking over labor and immigration to help the contract workers on Saipan? Do you really believe that they will grant citizenship to the Filipinos and their extended familia back in the province? The Feds want the contract workers out Wendy. Do you sit in total denial and just hope this isn't true? The US cannot absorb thousands of welfare participants. That's exactly what will happen. Oh, you've spoken with and know the new labor chief, so what? The Obama administration will do the right thing and take care of current US citizens first, period. Send the Filipinos back to their own country, and let the Philippines take care of them, not US taxpayers.

same old story said...

This group is the same sgroup from the Abramoff fiasco - Fitial, Tan, Willens, Siemers, Pierce, the Saipan chamber of commerce, the hotel organization, and of course the CNMI Congress.

wendy said...

Anonymous who said, Do you really believe that the Feds are taking over labor and immigration to help the contract workers on Saipan? If you read this blog you would know what I have said. The takeover may not help every worker who is presently on Saipan, but it will end corruption, nepotism and put in place a much better system than the one that exists now. If it does not help the workers who are presently on Saipan, then it will help those down the line.

The Feds want the contract workers out. That is an extremely ignorant statement. Where did you hear that? Oh, let me guess, you are repeating the propaganda Fitial and the federalization fighters are spreading.

If the CNMI government does not need the workers, they should go home and explore other opportunities. However, they are needed. Fitial claims that PL 110-229 will get rid of all the workers by 2014 and that is one premise of his lawsuit. False premise, I might add. He is fighting to keep them --still indentured and without rights--but to keep them.

The Filipino, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and other foreign workers in the CNMI were invited there to work. It was their sweat that built the CNMI. They are in the CNMI because they were recruited and they are working. Show some appreciation and respect.

Anonymous said...

US taxpayers cannot and should not be forced to absorb thousands of new welfare claims. No way, no how. Not gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, fairytale godmother, keep dreaming.

You talk about propaganda?

You...yes you...STOP the propaganda because you have obsessed yourself too much with your cause it has become a fairytale.

Look at what happened with the Pro-Federalization pushers? Yes, answer to them Wendy.

1. Are they guaranteed green cards?
2. Are they guaranteed US citizenship as you, Tina Sablan, Steve Woodruff, Rey Yana, and your Pro-Feds crew promised them in the outset?
3. Why must they, as poor as they already are, forced to pay you, Steve Woodruff, Rey Yana, and your Unity March organizers fees? Talk about forced servitude people.
4. Whatever happened to the promises of your Unity March? Wala na.....
5. Should we say you are now DIS-united because of your and your group's false promises to your personal benefit of fame, attention, and popularity for future political and/or job opportunities locally or nationally?
6. Where is the momentum that you, Tina, Woodruff, Yana, Sagana, Custodio, Ron Hodges, and pro-fed dreamers so-called built?
7. Why are the OCWs growingly apathetic and careless about your cause now?
8. Do they still believe in you, Tina, Hodges, and your screwed up crew?
9. Do you honestly believe in your and your group's hearts that the US is THE salvation to the CNMI's growing pains as a young democracy that had been forcibly spoonfed for decades as part of the typical US colonial conspiracy?
10. Are you implying that the US does NOT have problems of its own, thus we should welcome the US to federalize our labor and immigration because they are free of problems and are best to takeover instead of the CNMI?

Give me a break Fairytale Godmothers Wendy and Tina, Fairytale Godfathers Woodruff, Yana, Hodges, Sagana, Custodio, et al !!!!!

Can't you just leave the CNMI alone to handle its own local and internal self government affairs?

Have respect and earn it for that matter.

Stop imposing your colonial and colonized mentality on us islanders because we are tired already.

While we are not and are far from perfect, we are learning along the way and our problems are part of our growing pains as a growing island democracy.

Heck, the US took 200+ years to reach $7.25 minimum wage, 200+ and counting and still has NOT solved its illegal immigration problems, 200+ and still counting and still has NOT solved its continuing financial and government scandals that continue to this very day there in the states, etc., etc., etc.

So stop the non-sense from you and your group, stop the whining and complaining, and give us hope by offering honest and meaningful solutions as a person who TRULY cares about the CNMI from your planet and galaxy there in Florida.

Again, our growing pains are part of our learning as a growing island democracy...we are barely 30 years to date.

As a teacher you should impart knowledge and teach, not degrade and demean the CNMI as you have all done at the expense of people who continue to be disenfranchised more than ever instead of helping them thanks to you and your group's egotistical mania for fame, attention, and political opportunities.

wendy said...

Anonymous

The propaganda is coming from you and other federalization fighters.

You said :1. Are they guaranteed green cards?

No one ever guaranteed anyone green cards. Commiting to work for green cards and/or a pathway to citizenship is not a guarantee.


You said: 2. Are they guaranteed US citizenship as you, Tina Sablan, Steve Woodruff, Rey Yana, and your Pro-Feds crew promised them in the outset?

I cannot speak for the others, but I never promised anyone citizenship EVER. I promised to work for a pathway to citizenship. I continue to work for that goal.

You said: 3. Why must they, as poor as they already are, forced to pay you, Steve Woodruff, Rey Yana, and your Unity March organizers fees? Talk about forced servitude people.

I know nothing of fees. I have never taken fees. In fact, I spend my personal funds to fight for rights on behalf of the guest workers. I fund my trips to the CNMI and DC ,and use my personal time and money to prepare reports and testimony, and get the word out on the status of the workers and their situation.

You said: 4. Whatever happened to the promises of your Unity March? Wala na.....

The Unity March was not mine. It was a movement that had two main goals -to get rid of PL 15-108, which will happen when the federal policies take over, and to pass federalization -that happened last May.

You said: 5. Should we say you are now DIS-united because of your and your group's false promises to your personal benefit of fame, attention, and popularity for future political and/or job opportunities locally or nationally?

Who is DIS-unified? I do not belong to a group, I work alone. I support individuals and some groups who share the same vision and goals, but I work alone. The work I do is not about me, but is about the thousand of guest workers who deserve justice and rights. Local or national jobs? not interested.

You said: 6. Where is the momentum that you, Tina, Woodruff, Yana, Sagana, Custodio, Ron Hodges, and pro-fed dreamers so-called built?

I am pleased with the progress made in the last two years towards ensuring workers' rights.

You said: 7. Why are the OCWs growingly apathetic and careless about your cause now?

The OCWs, like other workers in the CNMI and US are struggling because of the depression and economy, which has nothing to do with the passage of PL 110-229 or the continuation of work to ensure a pathway to citizenship.

You said: 8. Do they still believe in you, Tina, Hodges, and your screwed up crew?

Again, who asked anyone to believe in me? My work is not about me, it is about ensuring justice,

You said: 9. Do you honestly believe in your and your group's hearts that the US is THE salvation to the CNMI's growing pains as a young democracy that had been forcibly spoonfed for decades as part of the typical US colonial conspiracy?

There is no colonialism in the CNMI. The CNMI people voted to become a part of the American family knowing they would have to adhere to federal laws. The CNMi is willing to take billions of dollars from taxpayers, but want to make their own rules? There is no colonial conspiracy.

You said: 10. Are you implying that the US does NOT have problems of its own, thus we should welcome the US to federalize our labor and immigration because they are free of problems and are best to takeover instead of the CNMI?

I never imply anything. I talk straight.

You said: Can't you just leave the CNMI alone to handle its own local and internal self government affairs?

No, not as long as there is injustice and human trafficking and flagrant and regular abuses- sorry, no.

The 30 year line is straight from Siemer's letter to Tina -a poor argument at best.

As a teacher, I teach every time I write a post or answer to nonsense, expose corruption, lies and injustice.

A coward can throw out garbage while hiding behind an anonymous name, but a sincere person signs his/her name.

CON in Conway, FEE in McPhee said...

The US taxpayers via DOI paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to prop up a stupid lawsuit. Good going guys.