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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The wingnut flood of cash

Getting wingnut`cred

So where did the Schindler's get the money to fight their son-in-law?

Schiavo: case closed (Keith Olbermann)

Besides Mr. Wolfson, I was joined by an individual who gave us a glimmer into how Terry Schiavo’s parents have been able to survive literally millions of dollars’ worth of legal bills over the years they have fought their son-in-law.

Glenn McGee is the director of the New York Institute For Bioethics, and editor-in-chief of The American Journal Of Bioethics.

OLBERMANN: Do you know where this money is coming from? The Schindlers can't possibly have afforded this on their own, can they?

MCGEE: Well, Keith, my research group at Albany Medical College has been looking for the past couple of days into the question you just raised. Namely, if there were 30,000 persistent vegetative state patients around the country, how is it that this one case attracted so much attention and so much litigation?

And what we found is that on both sides of the aisle on this set of legal actions, there's been an enormous amount of money. Some of it's actually been money to support lawyers but most of it has been gifts from large law firms and lobbyists to enable multitasking firms, the kind of
thing we saw in the O.J. trial, on behalf, mostly, of the Schindlers.

OLBERMANN: Do you know where that money came from? Do you know how much it amounted to?

MCGEE: Well, we don't know exactly how much it amounted to. Because as I said most of is it what you would call in kind contribution by lawyers who, in essence, agree with the cause.

So for example, among the representatives of Michael Schiavo's side, the American Civil Liberties Union most recently, and a number of different lawyers who work for firms that specialize in this sort of thing.

But more interesting, the Schindlers have enlisted legal assistance that's amounted to millions of dollars at this point, mostly from national right to life associated groups.

OLBERMANN: Millions of dollars.

MCGEE: At least $20,000 for each filing. And on top of that, there's procedural funding and funding for each and every action that moves up through the system.

You have to remember, Keith, when a case gets to the 11th District Court, it's moved through at least 25 different judges. And appellate lawyers have examined constitutionality questions in teams of 20 and 30. Many of these lawyers billing as much as $500 or $600 an hour.

So how have the Schindler's repaid their supporters?

WASHINGTON The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.

"These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri," says a description of the list on the Web site of the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Schiavo's father. "These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia, and are pro-life in every sense of the word!"

Experts on privacy and law said the sale of the list was legal and even predictable. "I think it's amusing," said Robert Gellman, a privacy and information policy consultant. "I think it's absolutely classic America. Everything is for sale in America, every type of personal information about everybody."

Executives of Response Unlimited declined to comment. Gary McCullough, director of the Christian Communication Network and a spokesman for Schiavo's parents, confirmed that Schindler had agreed to let Response Unlimited rent out the list as part of a deal for the firm to send out an e-mail solicitation raising money on the family's behalf. The Schindlers have waged a lengthy legal battle against their son-in-law, Michael Schiavo, to prevent the removal of the feeding tube from their daughter, who doctors say is in a persistent vegetative state.

These are sleazy, controlling people who will stop at nothing to get their way.

They have benefitted from unprecedented contributions and have not uttered one word of thanks and only belatedly tried to control the freak show outside their daughter's hospice. I would be amazingly unsurprised if the Schindlers were sued by the families of other patients for that circus outside. I'm surprised no one got a TRO.

You know I want to sympathize with them, but at every turn, they do something even sleazier and more revolting. They should have stopped the children from being arrested. That hurt them. Badly. Then Mary Schindler's creepy appeal tonight to "have her daughter". She was a married woman. Not her property. Now, the sale of the list and the allegations of abuse. I think this will end up with someone suing someone. They just won't quit.

How sleazy are these people, why have they lost my sympathy in this horrible situation? Because they said nothing when people picketed Michael Schiavo's house when his kids and girlfriend are there. They have never once discouraged violence. And they have not even thanked the politioians for their support.

There is no restraint. Jeb Bush was about an hour from going to jail for them. He risked a shootout between the FDLE and the Pinellas County cops. Yet, no thanks for that intense effort on his part, as insane as it was. Just a demand he sign some paper.

Character in crisis always shines through. Michael Schiavo has not raised money, not appealed to anyone's emotions and has been through eight years of torture from his inlaws, who have done everything possible to malign him and his motives on the scantest evidence.

The sad part is that by throwing in with extremists they have no one to pull them from the brink, no one to make them see reality. At every turn, they have ramped up the tension and the acrimony. It's a sad situation, but they are making things as bad as they can be. It will be a stroke of luck if no one is killed in this mess.

posted by Steve @ 12:17:00 AM

12:17:00 AM

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