Landmark's Letter on Former Civil Rights Commissioner Wilson

December 19, 2001

John Ashcroft
United States Attorney General
Department of Justice
Main Justice Building
10th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Roscoe Howard
United States Attorney
District of Columbia
555 4th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Re: United States Commission on Civil Rights: Former Commissioner Victoria Wilson

Dear Messrs. Ashcroft and Howard:

Ms. Victoria Wilson was appointed by President Bill Clinton to fill the unexpired term of United States Civil Rights commissioner Leon Higginbotham, who passed away before completing his term of office. That term ended on November 29, 2001.

Earlier this month, President George W. Bush appointed Peter N. Kirsanow to fill the vacant commissioner position. However, Ms. Wilson continues to assume the responsibilities of a commissioner. Moreover, Mary Frances Berry, the Commission's chairman, has been aiding and assisting Ms. Wilson’s efforts.

The conduct of Ms. Wilson and Ms. Berry raises serious questions under Title 18, Section 912 of the United States Code. It states, in relevant part:

"Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

As it is the position of the United States government that Ms. Wilson is attempting improperly to act as a commissioner, and that the president has the authority to appoint Mr. Kirsanow to the vacant commissioner position, it appears that Ms. Wilson’s behavior falls within the prohibited conduct of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 912. Moreover, it appears that Ms. Berry’s behavior in facilitating Ms. Wilson’s prohibited conduct raises similar and related legal questions.

Therefore, Landmark Legal Foundation formally requests that the United States Department of Justice take immediate steps to enforce federal law, including but not limited to determining whether Ms. Wilson is still "pretend[ing]" to be a commissioner "acting under the authority of the United States"; whether Ms. Wilson has received "any money, paper, document, or thing of value" as a result of her behavior; and whether Ms. Berry has assisted Ms. Wilson in her actions. Among other things, the Justice Department must determine whether Ms. Wilson has been incurring costs on behalf of the United States government since the period subsequent to November 29, 2001 – such as paychecks, compensation for expenses, and the use of government property, or if she has been receiving official documents as if she is a commissioner. The Justice Department must also determine the extent to which Ms. Berry is knowledgeable about or assisted Ms. Wilson in such conduct.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


Mark R. Levin

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