Clinton Foundation reveals up to $26 million in additional Illegal payments

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger May 21 at 9:53 PM

The Clinton Foundation reported Thursday that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups.

The disclosure came as the foundation faced questions over whether it fully complied with a 2008 ethics agreement to reveal its donors and whether any of its funding sources present conflicts of interest for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins her presidential campaign.

The money was paid as fees for speeches by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Foundation officials said the funds were tallied internally as “revenue” rather than donations, which is why they had not been included in the public listings of its contributors published as part of the 2008 agreement.

According to the new information, the Clintons have delivered 97 speeches to benefit the charity since 2002. Colleges and universities sponsored more than two dozen of these speeches, along with U.S. and overseas corporations and at least one foreign government, Thailand.

The payments were disclosed late Thursday on the organization’s Web site, with speech payments listed in ranges rather than specific amounts. In total, the payments ranged between $12 million and $26.4 million.

The paid appearances included speeches by former president Bill Clinton to the Ni­ger­ian ThisDay newspaper group for at least $500,000 and to the Beijing Huaduo Enterprise Consulting Company Ltd., an investment holding company that specializes in the natural gas market, for at least $250,000. Citibank paid at least $250,000 for a speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The disclosures underscore how much the Clintons have leveraged their star power to draw more money not just for their personal enrichment but also for the benefit of their philanthropic work.

[Clintons have made more than $25 million for speaking since January 2014]

The foundation, which has raised $2 billion since Bill Clinton left the White House, has emerged as a political headache for Hillary Clinton amid recent controversies over donations. The foundation, along with the Clintons’ paid speaking careers, have provided additional avenues for foreign governments and other interests to gain entrée to one of America’s most prominent political families. Some Republicans have charged that Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as secretary of state, was in a position to reward foundation donors.

Thursday’s disclosure is one of a number of instances in recent weeks in which the foundation has acknowledged that it received funding from sources not disclosed on its Web site.

The ethics agreement was reached between the foundation and the Obama administration to provide additional transparency and avoid potential conflicts of interest with Hillary Clinton’s appointment as secretary of state.

The agreement placed restrictions on foreign government donations, for instance, but the foundation revealed in February that it had violated the limits at one point by taking $500,000 from Algeria.

Thursday’s release regarding speaking fees follows earlier disclosures showing how the lecture circuit has also made the Clintons personally wealthy.

Last week, Hillary Clinton disclosed that she and her husband made around $25 million since January 2014 from speeches; Bill Clinton also was paid more than $104 million from 2001 through 2012 by delivering speeches.

The Clintons reported that income on federally required personal financial disclosure forms filed by Hillary Clinton as a senator, secretary of state and now a declared presidential candidate.

But the new disclosure indicates that the former president has also spent considerable time speaking on the foundation’s behalf — 73 times since 2002.

Hillary Clinton has delivered 15 such speeches, including one address to Goldman Sachs and another to JPMorgan Chase. Chelsea Clinton, who has taken on an increasingly active role at the foundation, has collected fees for the charity from nine organizations.

The foundation did not provide dates for the speaking engagements.

Vincent Salamone, a spokesman for the Office of Government Ethics, said this week that speeches delivered by public officials or their spouses acting as an “agent” of a charitable group in which the payment is made directly to the organization need not be disclosed in financial filings of public officials.

Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said that analysis explains why the Clintons did not disclose the speeches while Hillary Clinton was a senator and then secretary of state.

While the Clinton Foundation has annually disclosed its donors since 2008, the foundation said Thursday that organizations that paid for Clinton speeches have not before been included in those lists because they were paying for a service and not making a tax-deductible donation.

Craig Minassian, a spokesman for the foundation, said the new release came as part of the foundation’s continuing commitment to transparency. Nonprofit groups are not required by law to release any information about their funders.

“In addition to the more than 300,000 donors who are all listed on our web site, posting these speeches is just another example of how our disclosure policies go above and beyond what’s required of charities,” he said in a statement.

“Like other global charities, the Clinton Foundation receives support from individuals and organizations across all sectors of society, backgrounds and ideologies because they know our programs are improving the lives of millions of people around the world,” he also said.

A foundation official indicated the speech dollars have been disclosed as revenue in annual tax filings to the IRS. The official indicated that the foundation will now update the public speech list four times a year, much as it has said it will do with other donors now that Clinton’s campaign has launched.

The Clintons have indicated that they donate significant personal funds to the foundation each year. The foundation official said that the couple have not considered speech revenue to be part of their personal charitable giving, and Fallon said they have never taken a deduction on their taxes for the fees.

There was one entity clearly associated with a foreign government that provided speaking fees, of $250,000 to $500,000 for a speech by Bill Clinton: The energy ministry in Thailand.

The U.S. Islamic World Forum also provided $250,000 to $500,000 to the foundation for a speech by Bill Clinton, according to the new disclosure. The event was organized in part by the Brookings Institution with support from the government of Qatar.

In addition, the list is studded with overseas corporations and foundations.

They included the South Korean energy and chemicals conglomerate Hanwha, which paid $500,000 to $1,000,000 for a speech by Bill Clinton.

China Real Estate Development Corp. paid the foundation between $250,000 and $500,000 for a speech by the former president. The Qatar First Investment Bank, now known as the Qatar First Bank, paid fees in a similar range. The bank is described by Persian Gulf financial press as specializing in high-net-worth clients.

The Telmex Foundation, founded by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, provided between $250,000 and $500,000 for a speech by Hillary Clinton.

The new data shows that a number of public education institutions paid the foundation for speeches by Bill, Hillary or Chelsea Clinton.

Those speeches drew backlash on some campuses, as universities paid hundreds of thousands to the Clinton charity at a time of rising tuitions and slashed university budgets.

After the academic sponsors, financial services and health-industry-related firms heavily populated the list of domestic sponsors.

‘It Sure Looks Like Some Ferguson Protestors Were Paid To Do So By Liberal Organize Missouri’

By Ed Driscoll | May 19, 2015 – 4:24 pm

‘It Sure Looks Like Some Ferguson Protestors Were Paid To Do So By Liberal Organize Missouri’

The riots in Ferguson were pure kabuki for the network cameras, employing tactics as old as the days of LBJ.

“Remember the protests (and riots) in Ferguson last summer? It looks like at least some of the protestors were told they would be paid to show up and now they’re upset the checks haven’t arrived yet,” Katie Pavlich writes at Townhall.“Weaselzippers has the full story and the screen shots showing “protestors” using the Twitter hashtag #cutthecheck in response to non-payment. Based on tweets, Organize Missouri is responsible for issuing payments:”

On May 14, protesters, upset with not being paid their promised checks for protesting, protested outside MORE, Missourians Organizing For Reform and Empowerment, an ACORN organization which had received funding through George Soros to fund the protests.

To understand how we got here, it’s worth flashing back a few decades. In 1970,Tom Wolfe’s publishers packaged his classic lengthy New York magazine “Radical Chic” article, on Leonard Bernstein allowing the Black Panthers to fundraise in his opulent Park Ave. duplex, as a double-feature with his lesser-known article “Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers,” which captured seething leftist protests on the other end of the wealth spectrum in San Francisco. While it lacks the star power of “Radical Chic,” “Mau-Mauing” offers several key insights into what made the Great Society years and their aftermath hell for millions of Americans, and possibly the first appearance in print of the phrase “community organizing,” our current president’s erstwhile former occupation:

It was a truly adventurous and experimental approach [Johnson-era bureaucrats] had. Instead of handing out alms, which never seemed to change anything, they would encourage the people in the ghettos to organize. They would help them become powerful enough to force the Establishment to give them what they needed. From the beginning the poverty program was aimed at helping ghetto people rise up against their oppressors. It was a scene in which the federal government came into the ghetto and said, “Here is some money and some field advisors. Now you organize your own pressure groups.” It was no accident that Huey Newton and Bobby Seale drew up the ten-point program of the Black Panther Party one night in the offices of the North Oakland Poverty Center.

To sell the poverty program, its backers had to give it the protective coloration of “jobs” and “education,” the Job Corps and Operation Head Start, things like that, things the country as a whole could accept. “Jobs” and “education” were things everybody could agree on. They were part of the free-enterprise ethic. They weren’t uncomfortable subjects like racism and the class structure—and giving the poor the money and the tools to fight City Hall. But from the first that was what the lion’s share of the poverty budget went into. It went into “community organizing,” which was the bureaucratic term for “power to the people,” the term for finding the real leaders of the ghetto and helping them organize the poor.

And how could they find out the identity of these leaders of the people? Simple. In their righteous wrath they would rise up and confront you. It was a beautiful piece of circular reasoning. The real leaders of the ghetto will rise up and confront you … Therefore, when somebody rises up in the ghetto and confronts you, then you know he’s a leader of the people. So the poverty program not only encouraged mau-mauing it, it practically demanded it. Subconsciously, for administrators in the poverty establishment, public and private, confrontations became a ritual. That was the way the system worked. By 1968 it was standard operating procedure. To get a job in the post office, you filled out forms and took the civil-service exam. To get into the poverty scene, you did some mau-mauing. If you could make the flak catchers lose control of the muscles around their mouths, if you could bring fear into their faces, your application was approved.

And by 2014, Ferguson as a media event existed as pure kabuki for the network mini-cameras. (Never mind the innocent businesses looted and burned — the networks sure didn’t.) In August, NBC allowed Al Sharpton to jet out there to organize the protestors, which his network colleague Andrea Mitchell Orwellianly referred to as Sharpton being “on a peace mission.” The protestors which Sharpton had ginned up threw rocks as part of their “peace mission,” narrowly missing his network colleague Chris Hayes, who was on scene. Hayes took it all “unexpectedly” well — as  Larry O’Connor wrote at the Washington Free Beacon, “MSNBC Wouldn’t Be This Calm If Tea Party Protesters Threw Rocks at Their Hosts.” Camera crews working for MSNBC “endangered lives by shining its lights, spotlighting police officers in the crowd of Monday night’s violent racial protests,” the Daily Caller reported back then. CNN trotted out Spike Lee, last seen in 2012 attempting to publish the home address of George Zimmerman’s parents, who blurted on the air to Anderson Cooper, ”I just hope that things will really blow up if the people aren’t happy with the verdict of this upcoming trial.”

In November, the New York Times published Officer Darren Wilson’s home address. All of the television networks brought back stunning nighttime footage of the city being burned to the ground in a series of after-hours Nuremberg Rallies, to borrow a memorable phrase from the late Michael O’Donoghue, possibly to never recover economically, a protest that the Obama administration gave their tacit approval to. First noting all of the administration’s prior meddling in the affairs of local law enforcement to poison race relations, in the Daily Beast this past March, Ron Christie wrote that “the president has behaved horribly” during the events in Ferguson and their aftermath:

The circumstances under which [Michael] Brown lost his life are both heartbreaking and tragic—but not in the manner implied by the president. Rather than waiting for local authorities to complete their investigation, the president took sides—particularly with the “his family will never hold Michael in their arms again” line. The implication here is that a white police gunned down a young black man in a manner that was irresponsible and opaque.
The narrative thus set, Al Sharpton and the media descended upon Ferguson alongside outside agitators who marched with such slogans as “No Justice, No Peace” or “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” More unrest would follow when the grand jury elected not to indict the officer for the tragic shooting. Riots and looting would ensue—with breathless coverage in the media and little from the President of the United States and the Attorney General to quell the violence.

“On November 25, Obama said that the ‘grand jury made a decision yesterday that upset a lot of people.” frequent PJM contributor Hans von Spakovsky wrote late last year, adding:

Eric Holder’s announcement that DOJ will soon release guidelines banning racial profiling again gives the false impression that what happened in Ferguson was the result of racial profiling. In any event, the Bush administration alreadybanned racial and ethnic profiling in 2003 when the Civil Rights Division issued such guidance for all federal law enforcement officials. It said that “racial profiling is wrong and will not be tolerated.”

We should be more concerned about the violence, looting and arson in Ferguson, as well as the false narrative being pushed across the country that black Americans are routinely treated unfairly in the criminal justice system. The undermining of our faith in the criminal justice system by the president, the attorney general, and many others has long-term, negative consequences that will only deepen the racial divide.

And now we learn that a pro-Obama organization apparently paid for at least some of the protestors to swing into action. Call it a vast left-wing conspiracy, to coin a phrase.

But hey, give Mr. Obama and his allies credit — the left may be Potemkin Villages all the way down, but unlike Russia, they sure know how to dispose of them properly when they’re no longer needed.

Read more:

BREAKING: Stephanopoulos Gave $50K to Clinton Foundation, Hounded ‘Clinton Cash’ Author on Foundation

By Tim Graham | May 14, 2015 | 10:01 AM EDT

In the latest disclosure showing a dramatic conflict of interest, Politico’s Dylan Byers reports “ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos has given $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation in recent years, charitable contributions that he did not publicly disclose while reporting on the Clintons or their non-profit organization.”

In both 2013 and 2014, Stephanopoulos made a $25,000 donation. Byers noted the ethical lapse: “Stephanopoulos never disclosed this information to viewers, even when interviewing author Peter Schweizer last month about his book Clinton Cash, which alleges that donations to the Foundation may have influenced some of Hillary Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State.”

On April 26, Stephanopoulos aggressively questioned Schweizer as if he were there to throw every Clinton hardball at him, such as:

— “The Clintons do say it’s coincidence and as they say you have produced no evidence and I still haven’t heard any direct evidence and you just said you have no evidence that she intervened here.”

— “As you know, the Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence that there was any official action as secretary that supported the interest of donors. We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action. And an independent government ethics expert at the Sunlight Foundation Bill Allison wrote this. ‘There’s no smoking gun. No evidence that the changed policy based on donations to the foundation. No smoking gun.’ Is there a smoking gun?

It’s especially galling that Stephanopoulos dragged out financial-backer questions at Schweizer while he hid his own: “As you know, the Democrats have said this is indication of your partisan interest. They say you used to work for President Bush as a speech writer. You are funded by the Koch brothers. How do you respond to that?”

In a statement to Politico Stephanopoulos apologized:

“I made charitable donations to the Foundation in support of the work they’re doing on global AIDS prevention and deforestation, causes I care about deeply,” he said. “I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record. However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation. I apologize.”

ABC News said it was standing behind its star anchor in its own statement:

“As George has said, he made charitable donations to the Foundation to support a cause he cares about deeply and believed his contributions were a matter of public record,” the network’s statement read. “He should have taken the extra step to notify us and our viewers during the recent news reports about the Foundation. He’s admitted to an honest mistake and apologized for that omission. We stand behind him.”

But neither ABC nor Stephanopoulos seem to be contemplating that perhaps its star anchor is a little too close to the Clintons for any viewer to perceive their network as attempting to be impartial over the coming campaign.

This kind of failure to disclose is a recurring Stephanopoulos offense. As Brent Bozell reported ten years ago, George Stephanopoulos wasn’t quite complete when he claimed “full disclosure” before his Sunday interview with the old boss (the one that used to scream at him in “purple rages”) that he worked with him in the 1990s. In fact, the day before the interview, he moderated (for cash? or just a personal favor?) a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative confab in New York on “Religion, Politics, and Social Progress.”

– See more at:

Obama Blasphemes Jesus And Rebukes Him Saying That “Jesus Was Wrong” In front Of A Christian Audience

By on May 13, 2015 in Featured, General

By Walid Shoebat

The Right Scoop shared this story with me this morning regarding blasphemies coming out of the mouth of Obama. In front of a group of Christians at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Tuesday, Obama rebuked the words of Jesus in Matthew 26:11, saying that we shouldn’t ‘buy this idea’ the poor will always be with us:

“One of the things I’m always concerned about is cynicism. My chief of staff, Denis McDonough, we take walks around the South Lawn, usually when the weather is good. And a lot of it is policy talk, sometimes it’s just talk about values. And one of our favorite sayings is our job is to guard against cynicism, particularly in this town. And I think it’s important for us to guard against cynicism and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us and there’s nothing we can do, because there’s a lot we can do. The question is, do we have the political will, the communal will to do something about it.”

The Right Scoop later told us: “You know, one could make an interpretive argument that Jesus didn’t actually mean there would always be poor people on the earth. But that’s not what Obama did, not in the least. Rather, he went with the premise that Jesus was indeed saying that and then rebuked it”.

This was no accident. Just as Obama purposefully insulted Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast, he does it here again, directly rebuking the very words of our savior Jesus, God in the flesh.

Just as a reminder, here are the words of Jesus that Obama is rebuking from Matthew 26:11:

6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.

In Islam, Muslims view Jesus as a prophet of Allah (not as God in the flesh) and they believe the Bible is full of corruptions. So for those of you who still don’t believe Obama is a Muslim, do you need any more proof than a direct attack on Jesus of the Bible? Has he ever insulted Islam or attacked the words of the Koran?


The Pope Makes The Vatican A Seat For The Antichrist, Officially Recognizes “Palestine”, Showing That Jesus Really Isn’t His God

By Walid Shoebat and Theodore Shoebat

The Vatican has agreed to a new treaty with Palestinian representatives that refers to them as the State of Palestine, which the Associated Press is reporting as formal recognition of Palestine as a state. A Vatican spokesman told AP, “Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists.”

Vatican officials stressed that although the agreement was significant, it certainly did not constitute the Holy See’s first recognition of the State of Palestine. “We have recognized the State of Palestine ever since it was given recognition by the United Nations and it is already listed as the State of Palestine in our official yearbook,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.


And by this, it becomes clear that it is not God who proclaims Judea as Israel, but it is the world including terrorists that decides for God that Judea is now Palestine.

The treaty, which concerns the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestinian territory, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the State of Palestine. The agreement “aims to enhance the life and activities of the Catholic Church and its recognition at the judicial level,” said Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, the Vatican’s deputy foreign minister who led its six-person delegation in the talks.

Neither the Pope or his “foreign minister” are immune from God’s judgment in which Christ clearly proclaims, not on some minor occasion, but on the judgment of the nations:

“I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel. For they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.” (Joel 3:2)

Such a significant judgment includes all nations that support the division of Israel. “Land” here is land and “Israel” here is the people in their land, especially Israel’s very heart: Judea.

The biblical text is clear. In fact, it is so clear, that the Pope himself understands it well in which he had recognized this issue in 2013: “Pope Francis in his first Encyclical in November 2013 affirmed God’s everlasting covenant with the Jews: “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for ‘the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable’ (Rom 11:29).”

Fr. Cantalamessa, a renowned bible scholar and teacher, in his book The Mystery of Christmas explains  what is meant by “never been revoked”:

“We share with the Jews the biblical certainty that God gave them the country of Canaan forever (Genesis 17:8, Isaiah 43:5, Jeremiah 32:22, Ezekiel 36:24, Amos 9:14). We know that the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”

And Cardinal Schoenborn from Austria stated:

“Christians should rejoice in Jews’ return to Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.” He stressed “the doctrinal importance to Christians of not only recognizing Jews’ connection to the land, but also ensuring that Christian identification with the Jewish Bible not lead to a ‘usurpation’ of Jewish uniqueness. Only once in human history did God take a country as an inheritance and give it to His chosen people.”

While the Pope in one occasion speaks wisely and officially speaks unwisely, this only reveals a double minded man who on one occasion attempts to serve God and on the other he serves the god of this world, for it is of the spirit of Antichrist to “divide the land for gain” (Daniel 11).

Pope Francis has repeatedly said, “a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite.”

Well, neither can a Christian who believes in dividing the land be pro-Semite.

I do not write this to attack Catholics, but to warn them of the Antichrist spirit that has entered the Vatican. What is happening in the Vatican is actually a fulfillment of what Pope Leo XIII actually warned about, in 1846, that the Vatican will one day become the seat of Antichrist:

Rome will lose the faith and become the Seat of the Antichrist… the Church will be in eclipse.

Pope Leo XIII also wrote:

In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter… they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety…

Faithful Catholics are going to have to make the choice to trust a pope like Leo XIII or Francis.

The permeation of Antichrist within the Catholic Church is to no surprise, since the homosexual infiltration within the Roman Church is immense, as exposed the defense of a pedophile by Catholic priest Robert L. Kincl (AKA Fr. Bob Kincl).

Now, of course this does not mean that the Vatican is the Harlot of Babylon, but that it is harloting itself with the religion of the Antichrist. This idea that the Catholic Church is the Antichrist and the Harlot of Babylon is absurd.

As for Catholic critics regarding what I write here I say: choose ye between criticizing Leo or Francis, I am but a humble messenger.

I rest my case.

Walid Shoebat

Queers suing over flowers……….

Small business rights could crumble under Washington AG’s lawsuit against Christian florist

By   /   April 29, 2015

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s legal action against 70-year-old Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman could have far-reaching consequences for many small business owners and entrepreneurs—consequences that haven’t entered into the discussion yet.

Last month, a judge in Benton County, Wash. ruled in favor of Ferguson in his lawsuit against Stutzman, who refused to create floral arrangements for the gay wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed because of her Christian beliefs.

Shutterstock Image

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit against a Christian florist could have strong implications for rights of small business owners.

Ferguson said that Stutzman’s refusal to create floral arrangements for a gay wedding violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act, which states, “Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.”

Ferguson also referenced Washington’s Civil Rights Act, which has been amended to include discrimination against sexual orientation, among many other things.

The Civil Rights Act says that discrimination includes, but is not limited to: denial of employment, discrimination in real estate transactions, credit, insurance, or HMO services, and denial of the right to use public accommodations and amusements.  It forbids discriminatory blacklists and boycotts.

The law says nothing about flowers.

Stutzman’s Arlene’s Flowers is one of several florist shops in Benton County.  Stutzman, who has been running her flower shop for 40 years, states that the couple, who had been long-time customers, initially asked her to recommend other local florists, after she turned down their wedding.  She complied with their request and recommended three other floral shops.

Ingersoll and Freed are now following Ferguson’s lead, suing Stutzman for refusing to create floral art for their wedding, even after first asking for her recommendations.

Their attorney told Stutzman, “Your refusal to sell flowers to Mr. Ingersoll and Mr. Freed has hurt them very deeply.” They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Will these lawsuits, coupled with the broad language of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act and Civil Rights Act, start an avalanche of lawsuits against risk-takers who had the ambition to create a business using their own personality and talent—but who refuse to dismiss their own personal judgment and beliefs?

As he wields the power of his office, Ferguson’s lawsuit shows his dangerous ignorance of standard business practices for those who provide personal services.

Unlike retail businesses, it is standard practice for many service providers to have a potential client go through a series of interviews and submit documents before a decision is made to accept the client’s business.  Small business owners need to be especially cautious and diligent throughout this process, and the decisions are often determined by evaluating “red flags,” based on the entrepreneur’s own judgment and experiences.

A poorly chosen client can have a devastating impact on a small business.  Businesses that provide wedding services, for example, tend to be especially stringent during this review process, because wedding jitters can quickly turn molehills into mountains.

Could the outcome of this lawsuit turn this established business process into an illegal act?  Will business owners be forced to risk their livelihood every time a decision hurts someone’s feelings?

Many consumers cherish the personal touch of a small local business, and are happy to pay for the unique talent of someone like florist Barronelle Stutzman—just like Ingersoll and Freed had been.  They estimated that they had spent thousands of dollars at Stutzman’s business over the years.

If Stutzman had been a crummy florist, she wouldn’t be in the mess she’s in today.

The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf ridiculed the meaning behind the work of artisans like Stutzman:

This whole debate strikes me as faintly absurd. Since when does supplying a cake or flowers to an event signify one’s endorsement of its contents? (I’d happily bake a cake for the NSA holiday party next year if the gig pays enough.)

Yet many creative producers like Stutzman believe that they aren’t just cranking out widgets for a faceless economy.

Do these business owners have the right to believe that their work gives meaning to their lives, according to Ferguson’s interpretation of the law?  Do their feelings count too, as Ingersoll’s and Freed’s feelings clearly do?  Even when elitists like Friedersdorf scoff at the idea—does a baker or florist have the right to believe that they put a little piece of their soul into everything they create?

Stutzman’s Bible contains Ecclesiastes 5:19, which says that rejoicing in your work, and finding meaning in your work, is a gift from God.  Unlike Friedersdorf, Stutzman’s Bible doesn’t specify the type of work necessary to meet the criteria.

Does Ferguson’s opinion supersede Stutzman’s freedom to believe that her work is meaningful, and an expression of her faith? Does Stutzman still have a First Amendment right to follow the dictates of her faith, which includes finding her work to be meaningful?

An organization called the Alliance Defending Freedom recently filed a notice of appeal to the Washington state Supreme Court on behalf of Stutzman and her shop for the “personal and professional ruin” caused by Ferguson’s action. Stutzman is now faced with a fine of $1,001 by the state, in addition to the costs that will come from her customers’ lawsuit. A judge ruled that her assets, such as her business, bank accounts, home, and personal possessions, could be subject to seizure.

If both the Ferguson and the Ingersoll/Freed lawsuits against a small town business owner like Stutzman are successful, then the door may be open for anyone whose “feelings have been deeply hurt” to undermine the fabric of our market economy.

This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.