Congressional Democratic candidate Scott Wallace financed legal representation for several Guantanamo Bay detainees "just after 9/11," according to an executive at the group Wallace supported.
Wallace, a liberal millionaire who’s running in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District against Republican incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, contributed to the Center for Constitutional Rights’ attempts to represent alleged terrorists which led to the release of 17 Guantanamo detainees in 2008, according to a Fox News report.
"Just after 9/11 many were afraid of the work the Center was doing," Vince Warren, the Center for Constitutional Rights’ executive director, told Haverford Magazine in 2009.
"And yet H. Scott Wallace ’73 of the Wallace Global Fund, stepped up and helped," Warren added, referencing the non-for-profit foundation initially founded by Wallace's grandfather, Progressive Party founder Henry A. Wallace.
The center’s efforts were crucial in negotiating with the Supreme Court to rule in 2009 that prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have a constitutional right to habeas corpus.
The court’s decision led to the release of 17 Uyghur Muslims who had been imprisoned at Guantanamo for almost seven years. The men were declared dangerous but not enemy combatants by the Department of Justice, which protested the ruling at the time.
"Everyone knows that these men are innocent of any crimes," Warren said. "They need to be released, and, pending further hearings, they finally will be."
Wallace also gave $3 million to Democracy Now!, a progressive media organization that provided a platform for convicted Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal numerous times. The company gave grants to Democracy Now! each year from 2003 until 2016, according to Wallace Global Fund’s public records.
"We now know why the nonpartisan Cook Political Report calls Scott Wallace a ‘badly flawed candidate,’" said Team Fitzpatrick spokesperson Haley Bova in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. "We are literally at a loss for words at the new information that is coming out on a daily basis about Scott Wallace. First we learn of Wallace’s funding and support for an organization that repeatedly gave a national platform to a cop-killer, while Wallace is running against a career law enforcement officer and FBI Agent in Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. Now we learn of Wallace’s funding and support for legal representation of terrorists, while he’s running against a former Operation Iraqi Freedom al-Qaeda interrogator in Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. You just can’t make this stuff up. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we now learn that Wallace has a history opposing laws that protect victims of sexual abuse, according to op-eds and interviews dating back to the 1990s."
"In all of our years we have never encountered anyone as extreme and dangerous as Scott Wallace. The fact that the Fraternal Order of Police Presidents and Community Law Enforcement leaders lashed out against Wallace yesterday didn’t come a moment too soon. This man is uniquely unfit to serve in Congress and poses an existential threat to our community."
Republicans are trying to turn Wallace’s wealth against him in the upcoming midterm elections. His net worth is estimated to be between $127 million and $309 million, according to his financial disclosure statement, which would make him the third-richest member of Congress if he were a member today.
Wallace, who is mostly self-funding his campaign, said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer that he’s "putting a significant amount of my own assets into this because this is the most important thing I can imagine doing for America at this point in my life — this is a very expensive district to run in, but it is crucial in the Democrats’ efforts to retake the House."
GOP members have pinpointed some of the donations made by Wallace's family foundation to anti-Israel groups in the past. In 2009, the Wallace Global Fund gave $25,000 to anti-war organization Code Pink, which endorsed BDS earlier that year. The fund gave another $50,000 the following two years to Jewish Voice for Peace, an American Jewish group that is known to be pro-BDS. In 2011, the foundation gave $150,000 to Haymarket Books, a far-left publishing company that posted a manifesto later that year titled "BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights."
The newly redrawn district would have given Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton a 2 percentage point victory in 2016 had it existed as now drawn. Still, according to a Monmouth University Poll released this month, Fitzpatrick holds a seven-point lead over Wallace among all potential voters.
Wallace’s spokesperson did not return request for comment.