(Editor’s Note: Interview Invitations were extended last week to HSUS CEO Mr. Wayne Pacelle and to Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Mr. Pacelle declined through his representative, and no response was forthcoming from Congressman Whitfield’s representative)
WASHINGTON, DC – There is a building outrage among Sound Horse advocates that there were NO Floor Votes on the PAST ACT in 2014 which would have eliminated the pads and chains used on Tennessee Walking Horses.
It is hard for the American People who backed the PAST ACT to understand why a Bill on the cusp of victory with 308 House supporters, 118 Republicans (satisfying the “Hastert Rule”), and 60 Senators didn’t make it.
Granted the Lickers put some money on certain individuals, but have no doubt, the PAST ACT was a winnable proposition if an all out effort had been mounted at the end – and it wasn’t.
Questions are now being asked why the two influential men entrusted with making the final push to victory – Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Mr. Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO – didn’t put it all on the line in November/December 2014 to see that Floor Votes on the Bill were allowed in the House and Senate.
Or to raise unholy Hell if they were not.
Instead all the PAST ACT supporters got was Deafening Silence when everything was in the balance.
The straw that broke the proverbial “camel’s back” of the PAST ACT appears to be this picture published on July 17, 2014, accompanied by an explosive in-depth investigative article by veteran Reporter R. G. Dunlop with the Kentucky Center For Investigative Reporting.
How a Congressman, His Wife and a Lobbyist Mixed Politics, Personal Finances
July 17, 2014
THE DECISION MADE BY MR. WAYNE PACELLE, HSUS CEO
The picture of Mr. Pacelle behind Congressman Ed Whitfield and his wife Constance “Connie” Whitfield (Mr. Pacelle’s employee) who answered directly to Mr. Pacelle apparently brought things to a head for Mr. Wayne Pacelle.
Until that time, there were whispers of a possible Congressional Ethics Inquiry, but only Congressman Ed Whitfield, his wife Connie, a few Whitfield staff members, and HSUS insiders knew the full extent and possible seriousness of the probe.
Mr. Pacelle knew that attorneys with the Office of Congressional Investigation had deposed Connie Harriman-Whitfield, and Whitfield Chief of Staff Cory Hicks and Press Secretary Marty Irby in late April 2014. He also knew that internal emails of HSUS employees including Ms. Connie Harriman Whitfield, Head Lobbyist Sara Amundson, Chief Program Officer Mike Makarian, Holly Hazard, Equine Protection VP Keith Dane, Mimi Brodi regarding the PAST ACT had been turned over to the OCE investigators.
Mr. Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO, looked at his picture with the Whitfields, and he immediately knew the huge problems this could potentially cause his organization. His concern was if national media, i. e. The New York Times, seized upon it, and started asking questions about the relationship of his employee Ms Connie Harriman-Whitfield lobbying her Congressman husband for the PAST ACT which Mr. Pacelle termed as his “Top Legislative Priority”, bad things were in store.
At this juncture, Mr. Pacelle made a business decision to not go all out for passage of the PAST ACT which would have involved his using political capital with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to put it on the Senate Calendar for a vote and be prepared to invoke Cloture to shut off debate and pass it.
Mr. Pacelle contemplated doing this in December 2013, if the PAST ACT could get 50 Senate co-sponsors and be approved by the Commerce Committee, that Cloture was the only thing that would work in the U. S. Senate and he figured he had enough “Ins” with Majority Leader Harry Reid to get it done.
On December 16, 2013, Wayne Pacelle wrote:
“If Commerce passes it, then Reid, if we give him enough time , can do a cloture vote on it. This would be our one cloture vote ask of him this Congress. We’ve got enough ins with him that we just might get it done.”
Through the efforts of the AAWHA and Sound Horse Advocates, the PAST ACT ended up with 60 Senators making it “filibuster-proof” on November 19, 2014, but Mr. Pacelle didn’t play the “Cloture Card” with Majority Leader Harry Reid in the lame duck session of Congress.
Bottom line, Mr. Pacelle knew that he could not allow the HSUS to be the center of a Congressional Ethics probe involving an HSUS employee answerable directly to him who was also the wife of a U.S. Congressman charged with lobbying her husband on bills the HSUS was supporting. This would adversely affect all the other legislative interests the HSUS has such as puppy mills, cock fighting, large scale hog and chicken farms, gestation crates, horse slaughter, etc., and most importantly, publicity on this could affect the HSUS’s funding sources.
Mr. Pacelle’s decision to pull back on going all out for the PAST ACT was apparently made on July 17, 2014, when he saw the picture, and envisioned the damage that could result to The Humane Society Of The United States.
This was confirmed when Mr. Pacelle was interviewed November 14, 2014, by The Tennessean reporter Mary Troyan in the following article.
In the article, Mr. Pacelle appears to have already turned the page on the PAST ACT for the lame duck session of Congress while the Democrats still had control of the Senate.
‘ETHICS CASE COMPLICATES HORSE SORING DEBATE”.
“WASHINGTON ““ The debate on Capitol Hill over soring show horses, now entangled in an ethics investigation of a Kentucky congressman, will return with full force when the new Congress takes office in January.
The CEO of the Humane Society of the United States said Friday the ethics inquiry into Rep. Ed Whitfield, the lead House sponsor of anti-soring legislation, won’t affect his organization’s efforts to ban the practice used by some in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.”
Little did Wayne Pacelle know that the American People supporting the PAST ACT would persuade Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on November 19, 2014, to make the PAST ACT “filibuster proof:.
That was Mr. Pacelle’s cue to go into “High Gear” and get lame duck Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid to put the PAST ACT on the Senate Calendar for a Floor Vote, then invoke Cloture to pass it with about 70% of the U.S. Senate voting for it. It would have then gone to the House where Representative Blackburn’s committee hold would not apply, and the pressure would have been there, assuming Congressman Whitfield went “Full Bore” for the PAST ACT to be overwhelmingly passed by the House, and then signed into law by the President.
But Mr. Pacelle didn’t even crank up the bus.
Instead, Mr. Pacelle’s media folks came up with a hokey “spin job” consisting of a December 5, 2014, Friday afternoon letter, “Congressional Leaders Urged to Act on Legislation to Stop Horse Abuse” to Congressmen; and then a December 10, 2014 Press Statement, “Unidentified Senate Republican Hold Blocks Bill To Protect Horses”, blaming everything on an “Unidentified Republican Senator” who “Surprise Surprise” wasn’t going to vote for the PAST ACT.
This was hard to understand because the entire thrust of the PAST ACT was its BIPARTISAN support. And without solid Republican support, the Bill would not have come close to being in a position to pass. Mr. Pacelle is way smarter than this, but some of the folks working for him trying to make the Boss look good just made it worse.
At the end of the day, Mr. Pacelle simply wasn’t there when “The Horses” needed him the most.
And that is a crying shame.
THE DECISION MADE BY CONGRESSMAN ED WHITFIELD (R-KY)
The historic “WALK ON WASHINGTON” rally by the All American Walking Horse Alliance in front of the nation’s Capitol on June 18, 2014, was a marvelous success exceeding all expectations.
Congressman Whitfield spoke at the event.
The PAST ACT came out of “WOW” with momentum. Many Washington insiders, including institutions supporting the PAST ACT, doubted whether the grassroots All American Walking Horse Alliance of mostly determined women could pull it off and make a difference in bringing public attention to the plight of the abused Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse and call upon the United States Congress to #PASSTHEPASTACT.
Following “WOW”, the PAST ACT co-sponsors in the House reached 70% of the members.
Congressman Whitfield personally met with House Speaker John Boehner on or about July 31, 2014. At that time, Speaker Boehner apparently refused to allow Mr. Whitfield a Floor Vote on the PAST ACT. Congressman Whitfield issued a public statement on July 31, 2014 informing PAST ACT supporters that House Speaker Boehner “currently refuses” to allow a House Floor Vote.
No one outside of Whitfield and Boehner knows what happened at the meeting. Speaker Boehner appoints Congressman Whitfield to Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power. At that point in time the Republican party, already possessing the majority in the House, was poised to take control of the U. S. Senate. This would give the Grand Old Party total control of the legislative process. And Speaker Boehner knew Congressman Whitfield had the Ethics probe, then the blockbuster July 17, 2014 story.
What is known is July 31, 2014, was the last time the public heard directly from Congressman Whitfield on the PAST ACT. And strangely, Congressman Whitfield put in his statement that the time had expired on using the “Discharge Petition” to get the PAST ACT to the House Floor.
Why was that allowed to happen? It would have only taken 218 Representatives to do it. On August 7, 2014, Congressman Whitfield signed a letter along with 58 other Representatives calling upon USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to enforce the Horse Protection Act at the 2014 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. On August 21, 2014, Congressman Whitfield’s Press Secretary issued a Press Statement publicizing the letter.
In October 2014 Congressman Whitfield got on the bus to campaign through his Congressional District for PAST ACT antagonist Senator Mitch McConnell’s reelection.
The election was over on November 4, 2014.
The Office of Congressional Ethics findings were released on November 10, 2014.
Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) publicly announced on November 21, 2014, he was co-sponsoring the PAST ACT, satisfying the “Hastert Rule”, a majority of the majority of the Republicans.
Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said nary a word when this occurred.
Congressman Whitfield could have held a Press Conference and brought attention to the fact that Speaker Boehner was not putting the matter on the House Calendar for a vote, and made the case for the PAST ACT having satisfied the “Hastert Rule”.
Congressman Whitfield didn’t do any of this.
His silence was deafening.
And then Congressman Whitfield did not address the PAST ACT supporters when the time ran out on December 11, 2014.
(NOTE: A complete PAST ACT Time Line will be provided in Part Three – “WHY DIDN’T THE PAST ACT MAKE IT?”)
- DEC, 27, 2013 LETTER FROM SORE BIG LICKERS TO HOUSE ETHICS
|08/22/08||Date LOW sent 6/17/2009|