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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

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Date: May 27, 2015
Guest: Jimmy Williams; Edith Childs; Mark Mravic; George Vecsey, Marq
Claxton, Jonathan Capehart, Brendan Keefe

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
tuning in.

Developing news tonight. Hillary Clinton back in South Carolina. It`s a
first political trip back to the state that hurt her 2008 campaign, where
she struggled with minority voters.

Just before the important South Carolina primary, she took criticism for
seemingly downplaying the role of activists in the civil rights movement.
Some suggested she gave more credit for civil rights victories to the
legislative success of former president Lyndon B. Johnson than to the
leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And Bill Clinton was forced to backtrack after calling then senator Obama`s
position on the Iraq war a, quote, "fairy tale." He said he was only
talking about the war, not Obama`s drive to be the first black president.
But the damage was done. Clinton lost to Obama by nearly 30 points in
South Carolina.

Today she was back in South Carolina, getting a warm reception, reaching
out to minority voters, and hosting a round table with minority small
business owners. Here is what she said about the meeting.


Kiki`s chicken and waffles, which I highly recommend. And I was meeting
with a group of African-American business women. And they were telling me
what they needed to keep growing and to build an even better future. It
sounded so much like the conversation I remember around my dinner table.
That`s what links us together past all of the other differences that
sometimes divide us.


SHARPTON: Joining me now are MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams and Hiram
college political science professor Jason Johnson. Thank you both for
being here tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, Rev.

SHARPTON: Jason, I remember that weight South Carolina primary very well.
In fact, president Clinton called my radio show to try to explain his
comments. What do you think Hillary Clinton needs to do differently in
2016 to reach out to minorities?

JASON JOHNSON, PROFESSOR, HIRAM COLLEGE: Well, she already did one thing.
She lost to Obama in 2008. So she doesn`t have to worry about this this
time. The biggest challenge for Hillary Clinton, since she doesn`t have a
lot of competition right now, she needs to get high turnout. The question
is not going to be whether or not African-Americans or women or Latinos
will vote for her, it will be can she get people to be excited about her in
a primary that may not be that competitive. If she can get over 50 percent
of the registered Democrats to turn out in a primary that she is going to
be coronated for, that`s a success.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, saying that, Jimmy, "Politico" is writing about
Hillary Clinton`s return to South Carolina and voter turnout, just as Jason
referred to. It says, quote," it isn`t a matter of getting people here to
like her. African-American voters in South Carolina seem to find her
likable enough. It`s the necessity of transforming benign resignation
about her candidacy into genuine Obama-like passion and massive turnout."

Can she get that turnout? How does she do that, Jimmy?

JIMMY WILLIAMS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. So that`s an excellent
question. And there are two ways she does it. First and foremost, she has
to show up in South Carolina continually, and she has to ask for their
votes. That`s the first thing.

And the second thing she has to do is think back to three or four weeks ago
when she gave that fantastic speech on criminal justice reform at Columbia
university in New York city. That in and of itself has created a heck of a
lot of buzz down in South Carolina. And amongst African-American
communities throughout this entire country who for the last 40 to 50 years
socio-economically have been for all intents and purposes kept down. And
she is talking about doing something important, which is taking small drug
offenders and saying, no you`re not going to prison for life, et cetera.
And that is smart. That is a very smart thing. That is, by the way,
something Rand Paul agrees with.

So specific prescriptive policies that will help minority communities. She
has to talk about it, come up with policy proposals, communicate those, and
say "and I want your vote." If she does that this time, she`ll win.

SHARPTON: Let me go address that because Jason, her first major policy
address as a candidate was wide ranging speech on criminal justice reform
and issues that impact the black community. Listen to this.


CLINTON: It`s time to end the era of mass incarceration. We need a true
national debate about how to reduce our prison population while keeping our
communities safe. You don`t have to look too far from this magnificent
hall to find children still living in poverty or trapped in failing
schools. Families who work hard but can`t afford the rising prices in
their neighborhoods, mothers and fathers who fear for their sons` safety
when they go off to school, or just to go buy a pack of skittles.


SHARPTON: So, Jason, she brought up that issue, the criminal justice
issue. She has been reaching out. She has reached out to many civil
rights leaders, including me that are involved in what is going on today.
But another reason she needs to address it, Jason, and Jimmy may not agree,
is because some of those policies started under president Bill Clinton.
And a lot of that mass incarceration, those laws started under her husband,
who has admitted that some of that has gone too far, and many of us were
pressing him then.

JOHNSON: Well, yes. I watched some of senator Clinton`s speech today when
she was talking to the businesswoman there. And it`s very interesting how
she sort of has this buffet thing of well, I like this about my husband`s
administration, but not this. And I like this about what Obama did and not

So she has to find a way to pick and choose what parts of the last two
democratic president she likes and then explain how she differs. And yes,
a lot of the mass incarceration, a lot of privatizations of prisons, a lot
of those things go back to her husband`s administration. So I think the
more she talks about these issue, criminal justice and race, not only does
that appeal to minority voters, that appeals to young people, period, and
they are essential to her wing.

SHARPTON: Also, Jimmy, she had a big focus today on minority women. I
want to play some more of her speech on that.


CLINTON: Take the issue of equal pay. I don`t think I`m letting you in on
a secret when I say too many women still earn less than men on the job and
women of color often make even less.


SHARPTON: That`s a very important issue and I think politically wise as
well as just morally correct, Jimmy.

WILLIAMS: Yes. But let me back up and tell you that I do agree with you
that what she did for all intents and purposes in that speech at Columbia
University was to refute a large part of her husband`s legacy on criminal
justice reform. Also by the way, vice president Biden was on the Judiciary
Committee and ushered many of those reforms. And I would love to know
where he is.

But on this issue, people pay, pay transparency, the minimum wage, what
people don`t know is around 13 percent of all small businesses in South
Carolina are on the other hand by African-Americans. They make up 38
percent of the population. And women, he sat at a panel of women today,
women minority small business owners. And actually she had this
conversation with them. It was fabulous. And this is what she is doing
throughout the country. The Republicans are going to pan this.

But here is the question. Which Republican candidate is actually sitting
down with small business owners of African-American persuasion and saying
to them tell me what you need? None of them. Hillary Clinton is doing it.
And that is why she will carry the African-American vote throughout this
country by a huge number.

SHARPTON: All right, now, I want both of you to stay with me, because I
have a special guest joining us. Edith Childs from Greenwood, South
Carolina made a big splash during the 2008 presidential campaign. She
coined the Obama campaign slogan "fired up, ready to go."



CROWD: Fire it up.


CROWD: Ready go.


CROWD: Fire it up.


CROWD: Ready go.


CROWD: Fire it up.


CROWD: Ready go.


CROWD: Fire it up.


CROWD: Ready go.


CROWD: Fire it up.


CROWD: Ready go.


SHARPTON: Now today, Edith Childs attended Hillary Clinton`s speech in
South Carolina, and she joins us on the phone now.

Thank you for being here, Ms. Childs.

much, Reverend Sharpton, for having me.

SHARPTON: Now, are you fired up and ready to go for Hillary Clinton in
2016? Let me get right to the point.

CHILDS: Get right to the point. I was fired up and ready to go for
President Obama. I can`t do the same thing for both of them. So I`ll give
her half of what I gave him.

SHARPTON: So you just warmed up a little bit. We won`t say you`re hot.
You`re warm.

CHILDS: I`m warm.

SHARPTON: All right.

Do you think other South Carolina Democrats are over what happened there in

CHILDS: I feel that they are. Because we were able to weather the storm
and get him elected. Not one time, but two times. And I think that we
have to say OK, we going to move on. Because better things are ahead. And
what we`re looking at now, from what she says today, and she looked like
she was really sincere in n what she was saying, OK. And I felt
comfortable with it. OK. And I think she can change things, not just for
African-American, but for all people.

SHARPTON: Now, so you were impressed today. You say you feel comfortable?

CHILDS: I feel comfortable.

SHARPTON: All right. Now, I understand you have a new slogan for Hillary
Clinton`s campaign?

CHILDS: Yes. But she hasn`t asked for it.

SHARPTON: So you won`t give to it me on "Politics Nation"? You`re going
to wait for her to ask for it?

CHILDS: She doesn`t ask for it, then I`ll keep it.

SHARPTON: All right. You can`t blame a brother for trying.

Jason, how do you react to Ms. Childs` assessment?

JOHNSON: I love it. Can I just say the first campaign I ever ran out of
college was in South Carolina, and I feel like I`m back home.

Look, this what Hillary Clinton`s got to do. She`s got to be able to speak
to everybody under all circumstances. And faking a southern drawl when she
does a drive-through is not going to be enough. She`s got to speak to
people like Ms. Childs. She`s got to speak to the community on a regular
basis. I think that she can do that. I think that it`s not just speaking
to minority women there. She has been speaking at delta sigma theta. She
has been speaking at sororities around the country.

I think Hillary Clinton learned the lesson of 2008. I think she is going
to win over some people. She is going to get that slogan. She is going to
get that new catchphrase by time this campaign is over.

SHARPTON: I`m going to look for how warm Ms. Childs is will determine a
lot of where we see the forecast going. You can`t turn her on, you can`t
turn South Carolina out.

JOHNSON: Exactly.

CHILDS: Keep us on her radar screen whether she wants to or not.

SHARPTON: All right, all right. Ms. Childs, thank you so much. Jimmy
Williams, Jason Johnson. And especially to you, Ms. Edith Childs. Thank
you all for your time tonight.

JOHNSON: Thank you very much.

CHILDS: Thank you so much. And have a blessed evening.

SHARPTON: Bless you.

CHILDS: OK, bye-bye.

SHARPTON: Coming up, you got to hear what some on the right are saying
about the justice department and President Obama`s push for smart policing.

Also, a massive bribery and a corruption scandal rocks the world`s most
popular sport.

And an undercover report on how corporate lobbyists tried to influence
lawmakers. There is something they don`t want you to know about.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we do an interview with you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, no. You are not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you please turn the camera off?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we can`t turn the camera off. That`s one thing we
don`t do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Then I`d like to have you escorted out of the
building then.



SHARPTON: But first, another headline from Hillary Clinton`s event today.
Getting personal. Talking about how presidents get older in the White


CLINTON: I may not be the youngest candidate in this race. But have I won
big advantage. I`ve been coloring my hair for years. So you`re not going
see me turn white in the White House.



SHARPTON: And now to the recovery effort in Texas follow the catastrophic
flooding over the weekend. The death toll in Texas and Oklahoma has risen
to 23 with 10 more missing, most in Hays County, Texas, where officials are
still looking for nine people, including Laura McComb and her two young
children, who disappeared when their vacation house was swallowed by a
river. This afternoon, authorities announced they found the bed of
Michelle Sharper, a family friend of the McCombs. Michelle`s husband, son,
and parents are still missing following the floods. This afternoon, her
sister spoke to NBC news.


forward looking for them as long as I can maintain this. Because I know it
can`t last forever. That`s -- I mean, I think God has given us this will
because he wants us to keep looking.


SHARPTON: Meanwhile, as the searches and cleanup continue, parts of the
region still under flood warnings, threatened by more storms that could
bring dangerous amounts of rain to the area through the weekend. We`ll
continue to watch this story.


SHARPTON: Breaking news on the major corruption scandal, kicking one of
the world`s most popular sports. Most Americans know FIFA, soccer`s
governing body from its flagship event, the World Cup. The tournament
generates is billions of dollar, giving FIFA officials massive influence.

Tonight top FIFA officials are accused of taking bribes to decide where the
World Cup is. This morning, seven officials were arrested in Switzerland
with plans to extradite them to the U.S. Nine soccer officials in all,
plus five others face charges from the department of justice.


LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: They held important responsibilities
at every level, from building soccer fields for children in developing
countries to organizing the World Cup. Instead, they corrupted the
business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich


SHARPTON: The indictment spans 24 years and $150 - million in alleged
bribes. Charges include wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.
Corruption in the 2010 world cup selection process, and bribery in the 2011
FIFA presidential election.

Here is why this matters. This is about more than sports. As attorney
General Lynch says, this impacts children. Many of them in developing
countries. The group`s decisions affect communities, city, and countries.
Protecting those communities from corruption is a matter of justice.

Joining me now is George Vecsey of "the New York Times." He is also the
author of "eight world cups: my journey through the beauty and dark side of
world soccer." And Mark Mravic from "Sports Illustrated." Thank you both
for being here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a pleasure.

SHARPTON: George, my take on this is these corruption charges, they`re
bigger than sports is my take on this. It impacts kids across the globe.
What is your take?

GEORGE VECSEY, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it certainly impacts kids. It
also impacts American multinationals. It impacts networks that sponsor it.
It impacts a lot of businesses that are sending a lot of money in the
direction of FIFA and the friends of FIFA. One of the things I learned
today that I was gratified to see in the indictment is the dummy
organizations, the intermediate organizations that were handling money from
corporations like the ones in America, and it never quite got to the
children of the world. So the money is going in envelopes to all these
middle people in these middle organizations. That`s not exactly soccer
balls bouncing around in Trinidad or Africa or Asia.

SHARPTON: Mark, the charges don`t touch the FIFA president. Many are
wondering how that is possible.

MARK MRAVIC, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Well, Sepp Blatter has been able to
insulate himself from scandal after scandal regarding the World Cup and
FIFA. And he seems to have insulated himself this time. But, you know,
the officials that have been implicated reach up almost to the level of
Sepp Blatter, who is the Swiss president of FIFA and who is up for

SHARPTON: Isn`t it this week, he is going to --

MRAVIC: Scheduled for this Friday. UEFA, which is the European federation
has asked for postponement now of that election. You know, any respectful
leader of an organization faced with this kind of scandal would step down.
But Sepp Blatter is just not that kind of guy.

SHARPTON: George, FIFA promotes itself as a socially responsible
organization. Here is a video it produced. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The game changes as it grows. So do FIFA`s
responsibilities. Its flagship event, the FIFA world cup provides the
finances to sustain FIFA`s wider mission, to develop the game, touch the
world, and build a better future. FIFA supports programs around the world
that are using football as a tool to tackle pressing social issues.


SHARPTON: Pressing social issues. That`s a stark contrast to what we see
today, George.

VECSEY: Well, I want to be fair to FIFA and say that it has moved the
world cup to places it never went before. I was at the world cup in South
Africa in 2010. It was a lovely event. The South Africans did terrific.
Bully for FIFA.

But on the other hand, when FIFA brags about doing things for young people,
they talk about places like Trinidad, where Jack Warner, the former
president of the regional association I understand is in jail this evening,
can`t make bail, or they won`t give him bail. He managed to get FIFA money
or regional money to build a stadium and a field for children. And by the
way, it happened to get built on land that was owned by the Warner family.
And the building was never registered with FIFA. So that stuff goes on all
over the world. Warner happened to be a master at it.

SHARPTON: So are they living up, Mark, to their own standards?

MRAVIC: I think at the highest level, they`re not. At the grassroots
level, FIFA, I mean, it controls the rules of the game. So if your kid is
playing ASO soccer, he is playing the rules that FIFA lays out for them.
But at the highest level when you`re talk about billions of dollars earned
by the world cup that are supposed to be spread out to the 209 countries in
FIFA to develop grassroots soccer and promote the game, no, that money is
being skimmed off the top by these corrupt officials.

SHARPTON: George, you know, your paper, "The New York Times" has a tough
piece out, writing, quote, "FIFA has been accused of running a kind of
strip mining operation, removing with its corporate partners much of the
profit and leaving the host countries with stadiums that are seldom used,
discarded stage sets for an international television audience."

Generally, what impact does FIFA have on the communities and cities where
it holds its tournaments?

VECSEY: None. None. I mean, they`ll put up banners, and they`ll hold
little things while the event is going on. But that`s local energy too in
Brazil or France or places where I`ve seen nice outdoor things. But when
FIFA leaves, it leaves behind stadiums. And Brazil has many stadiums.
South Korea, a fairly affluent or emerging country built stadiums for 2002
that never got used well again. So -- and of course you can say the same
thing about the Olympics. But I tell you from having covered both for
decades that FIFA makes the Olympics look like the boy scouts and the girl

SHARPTON: George Vecsey and Mark Mravic, thank you both for your time

VECSEY: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the justice department settles with the Cleveland
police department. Now some on the right are blaming the department of
justice and the president for violence. How does that make sense?

And Scott Walker is talking about gotchas. I guess where that lands him
tonight in tonight`s gotcha, ahead.


SHARPTON: Breaking news out of Nebraska tonight, where lawmakers have
voted to end the death penalty. This afternoon, Nebraska`s legislature
voted to override the Republican governor`s veto of the death penalty ban.
They passed this last week. Today`s vote makes Nebraska the 19th state to
end the death penalty. The vote was bipartisan, and a very important step,
especially in a red state. This is a political, moral, and religious
issue. And today these Nebraska lawmakers did the right thing.


SHARPTON: We`ve seen an odd response from some on the right to the Justice
Department`s plan to reform the Cleveland Police Department. The deal
says, Cleveland police can`t hit people in the face with guns or use force
just because people talk back, or tase people when they don`t have to. It
seems like common sense. Nothing controversial there. But not to the head
of the Republican Party.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The Justice Department takes steps to
make the local cops look guilty and promises them relief. I say if you
just sign on to what we want to do, we`ll make it look like you`re not
resisting change. And that is how the federal government is taking over
police department after police department all over this country. And the
danger here is that the Obama administration`s theory on policing is going
to lead -- look at Baltimore.


SHARPTON: The surge in violence in Baltimore is tragic. But what does
that have to do with involving the -- and improving the police department
in Cleveland? Absolutely nothing. But this is the kind of talk that we
are hearing. And it`s becoming a theme.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What we`re looking at in terms of this administration,
because what we are looking at in my judgment is an outright campaign
against law enforcement.

Obama`s 21st century transformation of the institution of policing. And
it`s been a disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Crime is going to go up. It`s going to happen in
Baltimore. It`s going to happen in Cleveland. It`s going to happen in New
York. It`s going to happen everywhere you point fingers at cops.


SHARPTON: Reforming police departments isn`t pointing fingers. It`s about
addressing abuses and rebuilding trust. That kind of reform will drive
down crime and help officers do their jobs more effectively. And it`s
irresponsible to blame violence on those working to make our police
departments better for all involved.

Joining me now is Marq Claxton from New York City police officer and
director of Black Law Enforcement Alliance. And Jonathan Capehart of "The
Washington Post." Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Marq, isn`t it important for the Justice Department to step in
and address issues in places like Cleveland?

CLAXTON: It`s absolutely important. It`s vital. And what is interesting
is much of what you`ve mentioned previously and what was in the Justice
Department recommendation list are things that basically reaffirm that
which is already on the books. So, both in the Police Department`s own
regulations themselves. But it`s vitally important that there be some
level of oversight on police agencies. We cannot allow any police agency
to operate independently of the law and of the federal government. We just
can`t allow that to happen. It doesn`t need to be a situation where we`re
federalizing police. But there must be some oversight and monitoring of
police actions.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, was there any question the Cleveland Police Department
needs to be reformed and the Justice Department needed to do it?

CAPEHART: Absolutely. Cleveland has been a city where there have been
many fatal, deadly interactions between the police and citizens, I mean,
look at, to Mayor Rice, look at the case that was -- where last week where
the police officer was found not guilty in that shooting incident with 127
bullets --


Yes, real case. So we`ve known for a long time that Cleveland has had a
problem and the Justice Department went in and looked at it. Look, the
Justice Department is that place of last resort when citizens and elected
officials who feel that a department, particularly a police department, has
gotten out of hand where a third party can come in and make them straighten
up. And if Cleveland doesn`t get its act together, then the Justice
Department has other tools in its pocket that it can use to push the
Cleveland Department, Police Department to make changes that are needed.

SHARPTON: You know, Marq, the Obama administration has a wide platform of
police reform. The Justice Department has investigated at least 20 police
departments, including Cleveland`s. The administration also just banned
the transfer of some military gear, like armored trucks to local police.
And it will provide $20 million in grants for police to buy body cameras.
How can critics call that a war on cops? Don`t these reforms help police?

CLAXTON: Absolutely. And many of the criticisms are intellectually
dishonest and myopic and shortsighted really. And on some level the right
has now assumed certain talking points and making these false equivalents
or false parallels between the call for reform, the need for reform and
reform legislation with an increase in crime. It is absolutely just overly
simplistic. And law enforcement and policing doesn`t operate in that
manner. And those who spew those types of things are really not fully
knowledgeable about the comprehensive approach that is needed for effective
public service in law enforcement.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, Ferguson exposed how cities actually raise money by
locking people up for minor offenses, and then imposing stiff fines. But
now St. Louis County is receiving $150,000 grant to, quote, "develop a
multistep plan to improve the local justice system with the goal of
reducing unnecessary over-incarceration." The St. Louis police chief calls
it a positive that came out of tragedy. Isn`t this the kind of move
towards smart policing a positive step?

CAPEHART: Oh, absolutely. Look, the President talks all the time about
how there has been a rift between law enforcement and the communities they
are to serve. And particularly communities of color. When you do things
like what St. Louis is doing, what Cleveland is about to do, what other
jurisdictions have been doing to try to mend that rift, policing gets
better. Community relations get better. And communities get safer. You
know, when the right talks about how this is all President Obama`s fault,
and how this is all some grand strategy and some war on police officers, I
asked them to go and look at the speech given by FBI Director James Comey
and what he had to say about the relationship between law enforcement and
communities, particularly communities of color, and then report back to us
about whether there is some sort of race-specific war on police officers or
if there is a grownup thinking behind what needs to be done to improve the
relationship between law enforcement and communities, particularly
communities of color as expressed by the FBI director, the Attorney
General of the United States, and the President of the United States.

SHARPTON: When you see the President and you see the Attorney General and
Mr. Comey, the FBI director addressing these things head on, Marq, is there
be getting to be a cultural shift in policing in this country? You were a
police officer for years here in New York.

CLAXTON: Sure. It appears that there is beginning to be a cultural shift
in policing. But there has to be more of a commitment. Not all of the
commitment that you spoke about is significant and huge. I mean, but the
reality of it is that transforming police and reforming police is
evolutionary. It is a long-standing process and will take some time to
really enact significant and substantive changes that people will feel on
the street. But they are significant steps, and it`s necessary that the
federal government involve itself, not only implementation of different
policies, et cetera, through the Justice Department for individual police
agencies, but the need for additional legislation that will force Police
Departments to evolve into the 21st Century.

SHARPTON: You know, Jonathan, the President addressed this issue in
Camden, New Jersey, to focus on police success there. And their successes
at lowering crime while rebuilding trust. Look at this.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: And to be a police officer takes a
special kind of courage. And when you match courage with compassion, with
care and understanding of the community, like we`ve seen here in Camden,
some really outstanding things can begin to happen. Perhaps most
significant is that the police and residents are building trust. Building



SHARPTON: In Camden, Jonathan, violent crime is down about 20 percent.
And a murder rate has been cut in half since 2012. I mean, doesn`t it show
that policing reforms can really be good for safety?

CAPEHART: Oh, sure, absolutely. I mean those numbers speak for
themselves. In Camden, for a long time there was considered one of the
most dangerous places in the country. Particularly the most dangerous
place in the state of New Jersey. And so for those numbers to drop that
dramatically is a testament to what they`re doing right in Camden. And
there is no reason why what they`re doing in Camden and other large cities
where, you know, crime is low can`t be replicated in other jurisdictions
without all the criticism that seems to come with it.

SHARPTON: And those numbers happen as they did reforms and as trust was
built. Marq Claxton and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for your time

CLAXTON: Thank you.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the undercover report on how corporations literally help
write your laws. You want to see what the lobbyist said to the lawmaker in
the hotel bar.

Also, a gotcha for Scott Walker. Talking about women`s health rights.


SHARPTON: A dramatic undercover investigation is getting a lot of buzz on
line tonight. It`s about the organization ALEC, which helps connect
corporations, lobbyists and lawmakers. WXIA investigative reporter Brendan
Keefe went to one of those secret ALEC meetings. We`ll talk to him in a
minute. But first, here is part of his report.


show you what`s behind this closed door. A place where legislators and
corporate lobbyists have an equal vote. A place they don`t want you to

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You need to be credentialed.

KEEFE (on camera): We are credentialed. We`re Georgia media. Are there
legislators in there? Are there legislators in there? We are Georgia
credentialed media.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Please step over here.

KEEFE: What? There is Georgia legislators here. Are laws being made in

KEEFE (voice-over): This isn`t the state capitol. It`s a hotel in
Savannah where lawmakers are wined and dined as members of the American
Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

(on camera): What is ALEC?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s really a corporate bill mill. I mean, they`re
cranking out legislation, putting it into the hands of legislator who go
back and file.

KEEFE (voice-over): ALEC bills come complete with blanks where legislators
need only fill in their state name, like the asbestos claims priorities
act. This Georgia law that now prevents many asbestos victims from suing
corporations matches the ALEC bill clause after clause often word for word.

(on camera): This is money from corporations to legislators, but it`s
being filtered through ALEC, and they get a tax write-off?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, ALEC is a 501-C3 organization, charitable
education and purposes.

KEEFE (voice-over): Donations are 100 percent tax deductible, and fund
education efforts for legislators. Who is doing the educating? Inside
that closed door committee room in Savannah we couldn`t show you, we saw
the lobbyist for the cell phone industry seated across from Georgia State
Rep Ben Harmon right before we were pulled out.

(on camera): We`re credentialed to observe legislators here in Georgia
wherever they meet to discuss laws. He is calling for backup.

(voice-over): ALEC staffers had four off duty sheriff`s deputies standing
by while we talked with the group`s director of communications. Can we do
an interview with you?


KEEFE (on camera): Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If you please turn the camera off.

KEEFE: No, we can`t turn the camera off. You know, that`s one thing we
don`t do.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Okay. Well, then I would like to have you escorted out
of the building.

KEEFE: Okay. I`m a guest on this hotel. And I`m actually staying here.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You are saying at this hotel?

KEEFE: Yes. So, here is the question. If Georgia legislators are meeting
here, we`re credentialed right here to see Georgia legislators making laws.
Are they discussing things that could become law here?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Georgia legislators are here participating in
discussions where they`re learning from legislators and others.

KEEFE: So, why can`t the people who elected them see the process?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a private meeting.

KEEFE: A private meeting paid for by whom?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: By our members and donors.

KEEFE: Our lobbyist, correct?


KEEFE: Are you here for this conference too?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m a lobbyist.

KEEFE (voice-over): We met two lobbyists and a state representative from
New England in the hotel bar the night before and recorded our

(on camera): Do you have to pay your own way?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, on a trip like this I`m a state (bleep) state
chair of ALEC.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And I look for financial supports.

KEEFE: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Lobbyists and the like.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: To send awes couple thousand bucks every so often. That
gives me money to help those folks with. Now on the other hand --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We pay more to be here. So it helps support them.


KEEFE: I see. So the lobbyist fees to come to the event actually help
subsidize the legislator coming here.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are lobbyist, correct?

KEEFE: No. They`re not lobbyists. The ones that we recorded in the bar
last night aren`t lobbyists?

(voice-over): He signals to the sheriff`s deputies.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`re going to ask you to leave.

KEEFE (on camera): All right. I`m a guest of the hotel, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Not for long. Not for long.

KEEFE: I`m a paying guest for this hotel.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`ll take care of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Go to your room and get your things.

KEEFE: Did we violate some law or something? I mean, are we violating a
law here?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Don`t say nothing.


SHARPTON: We reached out to ALEC for comment on this story. So far we
have not received a response. Now let`s bring in the WXIA reporter you
just saw, Brendan Keefe. Thank you for being here, Brendan.

KEEFE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: So did you expect to see that much resistance at the resort?

KEEFE: Actually, we did. You know, first and foremost, investigative
journalism is alive and well in America, and it`s alive and well here at 11
Alive in that connect. You know, my team, Katie Beck, Shawn Hoeder, the 11
Alive Investigators, our slogan is holding the powerful accountable. So,
we knew we were going have trouble getting in there. We knew that if we
accepted their credentials, we would accept the restrictions on recording
there. So, what we did is we went in to show the people laws being
discussed between lobbyists and legislators in a close door back room, that
fabled back room we`ve always heard of. And we knew we were going to get
some resistance. We didn`t know that six police officers would be there on
the payroll to stop us from getting in.

SHARPTON: What do lawmakers legally have to report about their travel to
these meetings?

KEEFE: In Georgia, nothing, Rev. In Georgia, they don`t have to report
any of this on any ethics filings, campaign filings, even the lobbyists
don`t have to report this. In fact, there were lobbyists in that room in
Georgia lobbying Georgia legislators who didn`t even have to register as
lobbyists because the money was going through ALEC, which is a 501C-3
charity. We the people can`t see in that room. But we the people are
subsidizing all of this because they get a tax write-off, the corporations,
and then they turn around and subsidize the trips for the lobbyists to go
there or the legislators to go there. So, there is really a direct line
between both the legislation and the money, and we`re not allowed to see
it. It`s really about transparency.

SHARPTON: As of 2013, 38 percent of Georgia state lawmakers were members
of ALEC. How widespread is ALEC`s influence right now?

KEEFE: Well, we`ve tracked dozens of bills in the Georgia legislature. We
just happened to pick the asbestos bill, which is law here, which we
tracked to a back room at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The idea that
there is a law right now where I`m sitting in Atlanta, Georgia that governs
all Georgians and it was born in a casino back room where the people
weren`t allowed to see it. Some Georgia legislators proudly announce that
they`re members of ALEC. They`ve even passed legislation patting each
other on the back for being members of the organization. There is nothing
wrong with lobbying. It just has to be transparent. And in Georgia they
don`t even have to tell us when we file an opens records request because
the lawmakers have exempted themselves from the law that is supposed to
make Georgia government more transparent.

SHARPTON: Brendan Keefe, great reporting. Thank you for your time

KEEFE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, an uplifting story from Chicago, and a Police
Department building bridges with the community with a daddy-daughter dance.


SHARPTON: You can tell Governor Scott Walker is getting pretty good at his
whole running for president thing. Because he is starting to attack the


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Well, I think a little bit of it is the
media is a gotcha. Some do it, at least.


SHARPTON: Did he say got you? His example, criticism he took over state-
mandated ultra sounds for women seeking legal abortions.


WALKER: We signed a law that requires an ultrasound, which the thing about
that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea. Most
people I talk to whether they`re pro-life or not, I find people all the
time who get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids`
ultrasound and how excited they are. Such a lovely thing. I think about -
- my sons are 19 and 20. We`ll still have their first ultrasound pictures.
It`s just a cool thing out there.


SHARPTON: Did he really just say it`s just a cool thing? There is no
medically necessary reason for a woman to have an ultrasound before
terminating a pregnancy. So why sign the law?


WALKER: We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information
that more people if they saw that unborn child would make a decision to
protect and keep the life of that unborn child.


SHARPTON: Oh, so he thought he could guilt women into not having a medical
procedure that is perfectly within their rights.


WALKER: Well, I think a little bit of it is the media as a gotcha.


SHARPTON: He is very wrong on women`s rights. But he is right about one
thing. We gotcha.


SHARPTON: I close tonight with a story out of Chicago that shows policing
is about more than just patrolling the streets. It`s about being a part of
the community. Last Friday dozens of girls from the community came out to
the Police Department`s first ever daddy-daughter dance. It was a huge
success. Fathers and daughters danced the night away. But girls without
fathers weren`t left out. Police officers stepped up and volunteered to
escort each girl without a father for the entire evening.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We want to, you know, give that positive role model for
our young people.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thirteen-year-old Brejay Payne was one of the girls
paired with the police officer.

thing because some people don`t really associate with their fathers. So,
once you come out and dress up and dance, it`s kind of a nice day.

to find out that the police are nothing but people, we just happen to have
uniforms on.


SHARPTON: Community and police need each other. They need to be able to
work together. They need to know each other and build that trust. And
dances like this is a step in that direction.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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