Passing the buck on Capitol Hill reaches new levels: Harry Truman is rolling over in his grave

by John Hnatio

I used to be a small businessman.  I live in Frederick, Maryland.  My congressional delegation consists of Senator Barbara Mikulsi, Senator Ben Cardin and Representative Chris Van Hollen.  I also used to work on Capitol Hill for Senator Pete Domenici, so I know a little more than the average Joe about what goes on up there on the Hill.

My saga begins way back in 2012, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) misappropriated my small company’s trade secrets, duplicated our commercial products and then gave them away to industry free of charge.

For over four years now, I have written letter after letter to my congressional delegation begging for help as the FDA destroyed my life and the lives of the people who worked for my company not to mention the local investors in my community who provided the capital to try and start up my business.

When I first contacted Senator Mikulski’s office, I was directed to a young case worker, Mr. Bart Kennedy, in her Baltimore Office.  Mr. Kennedy without taking any time to review the overwhelming documentation of wrongdoing in our case simply remarked, “We don’t get involved in legal matters.” When I asked Mr. Kennedy how this could be since congress writes the laws of the country things quickly became ugly.  I explained that I had no active court cases and that the matters I was reporting involved congressional oversight.  Needless to say, Senator Mikulski never lifted a finger to help her own constituent.  Instead of helping her constituent, Senator Mikulski chose to “pass the buck.”

Still having faith that someone in the system would care about the FDA forcing a small company out of business and destroying the lives of so many people, I wrote a letter to Senator Cardin asking for his help.  I was told after numerous calls to his office to “go away.”  I was informed that Senator Cardin would not help us since we had already contacted Senator Mikulski first.  Senator Cardin too chose to pass the buck.  Many months later, when we asked to meet with Senator Cardin, his Projects Director, Ms. Ann Jacobs, told us that, “He is way too busy to meet with you.”  We were told that our situation was not important enough to bother Senator Cardin.

Since our case involved the obstruction of justice by the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), we turned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to request a criminal investigation.  The only problem was that the FBI refused to act.  They simply refused to respond to our repeated pleas for help.  Finally, in a last ditch effort we turned to our local Congressman Chris Van Hollen for help.  We asked Congressman Van Hollen to help us get a reply to a letter we wrote to FBI Director Comey asking for an investigation.  We were referred to Ms. Lillian Cruz, a caseworker out of the Congressman’s Rockville office.

Weeks later, Mr. Mark Gavin, the head of the FBI’s Criminal Division, responded to Representative Van Hollen that the FDA and DHHS told the FBI that they engaged in no wrongdoing in our case.  The FBI simply ignored the overwhelming evidence provided them showing criminal misconduct by the DHHS and the FDA.  The FBI letter went on to say that it did not have the resources or inclination harryto investigate every complaint of intellectual property theft in America.

We were deeply offended by the FBI’s response.  We could not believe that they would let the fox declare his own innocence in the face of the massacre that they knew full-well occurred in the chicken coop.  In the end, we got a nice letter from Representative Van Hollen telling us that we must be disappointed but it was just our tough luck.  Representative Van Hollen like his colleagues in the Senate chose to “pass the buck.”  Our request to meet with Representative Van Hollen was rebuffed.

In 2013, we established the John Galt Program for Investigative Studies (JGPIS) to try and help small businesses from across the country who are facing unfair competition by the U.S. Government. JGPIS is a non-profit organization that provides its services free of charge to small business entrepreneurs who have had their lives destroyed by the U.S. Government.  We keep JGPIS running by public donations from concerned citizens like you and my small social security check that I contribute monthly to keep our little organization afloat.

We focus our very limited resources on exposing only the most egregious cases.  We conduct the most comprehensive investigations of their kind.  We know that there are literally thousands and thousands of cases out there so we look at each of our cases as the “poster children” of a much larger national crisis for small business.

On August 17, 2016, we wrote a letter to each member of our Maryland congressional delegation.  A copy of our letter is attached.  In our letter, we told them about three of the most egregious cases we have investigated thus far.  We did not ask for our delegation to attest the veracity of our allegations—rather to only endorse the possibility of unfair U.S. Government competition that is destroying the lives and families of American workers.  We asked them to join with us in recommending to the appropriate chairs of key committees in the House and the Senate that an investigation into unfair U.S. Government competition against small business be conducted by the General Accounting Office (GAO).  A copy of the letter is attached.

We also included with that letter a copy of a memorandum we sent to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (with copies to the House) describing how the U.S. intelligence community was conducting domestic intelligence activities against small business owners to steal their technology and drive them out of business in violation of Article I, Article II and Amendments IV and V of the Constitution.  We also met with the Senate Intelligence staff.  What was most interesting about their reaction to the irrefutable evidence we presented to them was their total lack of outrage.  They too “passed the buck” by referring the matter right back to the same people who committed the crimes in the first place to cover things up—the intelligence community inspector general who has done nothing.

By the way, a visit to each of the Maryland delegation’s websites and their press releases shows that all three politicians ran for office with promises to help small business grow and prosper in the State of Maryland.  Based on our experience the statements by the Maryland delegation that they support small business are untrue. For example, in the case of Senator Mikulski, she refused to even respond to our request.  When we asked for a meeting she simply ignored our repeated requests. In the case of Senator Cardin, when we asked for a meeting we were told that our concerns were not important enough to waste the Senator’s valuable time.  In the case of Representative Van Hollen, he too refused to meet with us and sign our letter asking for an investigation by the General Accounting Office (GAO).

What makes this kind of behavior so egregious is that we are supposed to live in a representative democracy where our elected officials serve to protect the interests of their constituents–whether the problems being brought to their attention are hard or easy, whether you are wealthy or poor and even in the face of their own partisan political discomfort.  If this representation does not happen, then none of us live in a democracy anymore.

John Hnatio is the principal investigator for the John Galt Program for Investigative Studies which is a division of the non-profit Institute for Complexity JHManagement (ICM).  John Hnatio worked for the federal government for 30 years prior to his retirement in 2004.  Since then Dr. Hnatio has been involved in small business start-ups and conducts his own philanthropic work to help small businesses that have become the victims of unfair U.S. Government competition.