RECENT MESSAGES FROM ADAM
Message from Adam on Juneteenth 2020
Today is Juneteenth. A day that commemorates when the news of emancipation finally reached far-flung Texas and ended the scourge of American slavery.
Yet, we know that the promises of emancipation and the entire constitution remain unmet for too many of us even today. And I am so very proud of how our district has risen in constructive, righteous anger in our exercise, guaranteed by the First Amendment, of our right “peaceably to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
There is nothing more American than that, and we’ve seen it from across the entire district, from White Plains to Peekskill to Nyack.
I’m ready to continue this important work and I hope you are with me. I recently released my policy plan for meaningful reform.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you can find it here: https://bit.ly/SchleiferPoliceReformPlan
Message from Adam on the 4th Anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting
Four years ago, a gunman opened fire on LGBTQ+ community members — mostly Latinx, but from every background representing Orlando’s strength of diversity — celebrating Pride Month at Pulse Nightclub. 49 people never made it home that evening.
This cowardly and unspeakable act of violence still weighs heavily on many of us today. But, it also serves as a reminder of how hard we must continue to fight for meaningful gun legislation and against domestic terror.
If elected to Congress, I will take on the NRA and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; implement universal background checks; enact red flag laws; regulate “ghost guns”; hold manufacturers responsible for their contribution to gun violence; and, use Article I Section 4 of our Constitution so that Congress can redraw extremist, gerrymandered districts and create the kind of sensibility we need on common sense gun reform.
Finally, I’ll see that the federal government enforces to the fullest extent of the law the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act against anyone who commits a hate crime against another person for their sexual identity or orientation.
Today and everyday, let us make our country safer and freer for all people, no matter who they are and who they love.
Adam Schleifer: Response to Journal News Column
On June 4th, my opponents in this congressional race attacked us with a broadside against the “pharmaceutical” industry and demanded that our campaign immediately sign onto a pledge they drafted. The record of communications made clear they had collectively spent days concocting this coordinated attack and then asked us to sign onto a pledge with exactly one hour to respond. Before we could even examine the contents of their “pledge,” the Journal News published a story that we “won’t sign” a pledge while giving none of that background.
My father, Dr. Len Schleifer, co-founded Regeneron, a Westchester-based biotechnology company whose brilliant and hardworking scientists struggled for twenty-five years to develop treatments and life-saving cures to disease, before it ever saw any success as a company. After developing a cure for a form of blindness in 2012, they have become one of Westchester’s greatest success stories, turning basic science into lifesaving therapeutics and creating thousands of high-tech jobs for residents of Westchester and Rockland Counties. And while I am not a scientist nor an employee of Regeneron, I sure am proud of all the lives the amazing people at Regeneron have saved and the great work they have done. For those who do not know, they have already developed cures and treatments for Ebola, heart disease, cancer, asthma, and blindness, among other diseases. And right now, their great work and employees are working day in and out to find a vaccine and treatment to fight COVID-19. Indeed, the company is a leading candidate in the race for a cure for our current pandemic, and I hope even my opponents in this campaign are rooting for their success in that endeavor. I know millions of Americans are.
My opponents’ “pledge” was offered not on the merits of ensuring that any industry doesn’t have undue influence over a member of Congress, but as a cynical political ploy to attack our campaign as it gains momentum. If my opponents approached the question of how to ensure industry does not have influence over policymaking from a place of integrity, they would have announced their own divestment for financial interests they have in companies that build weapons of war and profit off of bombs; they would have sworn off the thousands of dollars they receive from corporate PACs and from family members representing coal and fracking companies and, ironically, “big pharma”; and they would have sworn off funding received from predatory payday lenders. None of this have they done.
As I have said multiple times at forums throughout this race, including the Westchester Young Democrats, if elected to Congress, I would put in place whatever measures necessary and appropriate, including a blind trust for holdings, to further demonstrate the fierce independence I have brought to every job I have ever had.
While my opponents play politics and talk the typical talk, I want to remind them that I am the only one in this race who’s actually walked the walk. As a former federal prosecutor and consumer protection regulator, I am the only person in this race to have protected our healthcare system by taking on abuse in the medical-malpractice insurance industry and by prosecuting Medicare fraud. And I am deeply committed to protecting Americans from price-gouging and other healthcare abuses. That is why I’ve pushed so vocally from the beginning for policies that protect and expand Obamacare to ensure that Americans who have insurance they like can keep it, and those who don’t have insurance have access to a public option; that out-of-pocket expenditures for prescription drugs are capped; that insurance companies are required to cover preventative care, fertility services, and other important treatments; and, that drug prices are controlled and realigned with preventative outcomes.
Let’s stop the games and focus on what the scientists and all the other hardworking folks in this district know really counts: getting real things done for real people.
Adam P. Schleifer is a former New York State banking, insurance, and consumer protection regulator and federal prosecutor; he is a candidate for Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District.
Message from Adam on Recent Journal News Story
Voters deserve better than political stunts. And that’s exactly what last week’s “pledge” to divest in pharmaceutical industry was.
In reality, this pledge didn’t go far enough as candidates shouldn’t cherry-pick which industries try to influence members of Congress. This pledge did not take into consideration the considerable donations from defense contractors, predatory pay-day lenders and more that our opponents in the race declined to mention.
Adam has built his career fighting for people protecting consumers and his commitment to fighting for others has never faltered.
Message from Adam on 76th Anniversary of D-Day
Seventy-six years ago today, 160,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. Four-thousand of those heroes lost their lives in that successful struggle to rescue Europe and the world from fascistic, murderous hatred.
The victory whose anniversary we fittingly pay tribute to today paved the way for one of my grandfathers to enter continental Europe and fight the Nazis as a United States Army Sergeant and codebreaker; it also helped saved the life of two other of my grandparents, both of whom were enslaved at that time in Nazi concentration camps, enduring unspeakable horrors and praying for liberation by the Allied Troops.
We should all feel immense gratitude for the sacrifices and struggles of the Greatest Generation. More important, we should take inspiration from the heroism they exhibited through those hardships, and redouble our efforts to make the promises of safety, prosperity, freedom, and justice a reality for every single American.
Opinion: LGBTQ+ New Yorkers Deserve More than Just Acceptance in Congress, They Deserve Solidarity
As published in Columbia Public Policy Review on June 1st, 2020
June marks the five-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case which pronounced that our constitution’s fundamental principles of equal protection and due process of law guarantee marriage equality (and all the important rights and opportunities that flow therefrom) to all persons, including those in our LGBTQ+ community. As we mark that historic milestone, we should note, in this season of presidential politics, that it has also been a mere eight years since the Democratic Party first included marriage equality in its national platform. So, let us not forget, nor take for granted, how far the arc has bent, and how far it still needs to bend, toward complete justice and equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
Twenty years ago, not a single state permitted same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell were the law of the land. When I was growing up, legal discrimination kept thousands in the shadows, forcing them to live with the fear that being open about their identity and the identities of their loved ones would invite not only social ostracization, but legal liability, economic devastation, and physical harm.
In this time of pandemic, it should also be emphasized that, when I was a young boy in New York City in the 1980s, a viral plague struck not only my city, but also my family. Years passed, it seemed, without sufficient mobilization and attention, until a young boy from Indiana and a global basketball icon in Los Angeles fell ill—America just couldn’t empathize with the scope of the HIV public-health disaster until the virus had a face that wasn’t part of the LGBTQ+ community.
As the grandson of Holocaust survivors and brother of a young man with special needs, I am especially attuned to the corrosive winds of discrimination and bigotry. But I am also heartened by how we all rally together to protest injustice and hate, as we saw in the recent Women’s Marches and in the counter-protests in Charlottesville.
Two recent events in Rockland County, NY have further emphasized that hopefulness to me, even though both followed on the heels of a violent criminal attack. First, in December, we saw a despicable act of antisemitic violence against Hannukah worshippers in Monsey, New York. Soon thereafter, however, the United States Department of Justice, which I had previously proudly served as a federal prosecutor, brought criminal charges against the perpetrator of that heinous crime. And what was the law under which those charges were brought? The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (HCPA).
In other words, a federal law passed in part to honor the tragic victim of a homophobic hate crime was being enforced to protect and vindicate the rights of victims of an antisemetic hate crime. What an apt application of Martin Luther King Jr.’s teaching that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Second, and just a few months later, a woman was senselessly and fatally stabbed in Spring Valley, New York during her shift at the desk of the Finkelstein Memorial Library. When I visited the makeshift memorial erected in her honor, I saw members of the African American, Haitian, and Hassidic communities of Spring Valley congregating in mourning, celebrating her life, and condemning that crime in solidarity. We are finally realizing that we are all part of the same broad fabric.
That’s why my support of the LGBTQ+ community is about more than just acceptance. It is about solidarity. That was the vision that I carried as a federal prosecutor and Assistant United States Attorney, where I prosecuted, among other crimes, crimes of sexual violence, predation, and blackmail. And that is the vision I will have as the congressperson for New York’s 17th Congressional District.
First, I will work to codify LGBTQ+ equality into law by passing the Equality Act, which will ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in sectors like employment, housing, credit. Today, half of LGBTQ+ people live in a state where it is legally permissible for an employer to fire, pass over for a promotion, or harass them without legal repercussions. In housing, one study found same-sex couples experienced discrimination in 27 percent of housing rental, sales, and financing tests. The Equality Act will not rid discrimination from our communities forever, but it will outlaw legal discrimination, and that is a helpful and necessary, though insufficient, start.
Second, I’ll foster a greater sense of inclusion and belonging among the LGBTQ+ community through federally-funded research and services that support their well-being. We will ensure our health-insurance system includes a strong and competitive public option, which provides essential health services while also pushing for all healthcare insurance plans to cover fertility services, which are especially vital for same-sex couples seeking to have biological children.
I’ll also vote for increased funding to curb bullying of LGBTQ+ students and support runaway and homeless LGBTQ+ youth, who are 120 percent more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. And, I’ll devote more research funding to the National Institute of Health to study HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment options, including current options like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), while ensuring that the pricing and payment mechanics for these vital treatments are accessible to all.
Finally, I’ll fight to rectify injustices that still persist. We will outlaw the gay panic defense, an insidious legal tactic that attempts to explain and excuse a defendant’s violent actions on the basis that they were provoked by an alleged and unwanted same-sex sexual advance. I will call on the President to lift the ban on transgender and transsexual individuals from serving in the military. And, I will ensure enforcement of existing hate-crime legislation, like the HCPA.
The trajectory of the movement to achieve full LGBTQ+ equality, inclusion, and justice is headed in the right direction, but we as a nation can do much more. That is why I am proud to be endorsed by Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a trailblazer, progressive changemaker, and tireless advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. And that is why I believe that twenty years from today we will be able to look back together with satisfaction on all that we will have accomplished together between now and then, with our children hardly able to believe we once lived in a time where the great American promise of equality and inclusion didn’t extend to each and every one of us.
Adam’s Comments To NAACP’s Peekskill Chapter Protest & Dialogue
250 years after the unrealized promise of the Declaration of Independence;
150 years after the end of slavery, “its badges,” and the amendments we passed in a failed attempt to move past our nation’s original sin;
50 years after MLK awoke our consciousness and moral imagination by helping all Americans see the “sweltering heat” of racial injustice:
We see today as clearly as ever that we have so much further to go to realize the unmet vision of our constitution.
Thank you to Peekskill’s NAACP Chapter for convening a thoughtful and uplifting protest and constructive dialog today. I was honored to participate.
Full Transcript of Comments:
Message from Adam on Memorial Day 2020
Nicole and I are so grateful for the brave men and women who have given their lives so that this great nation might live on. And as we honor all those who died for our republic, let’s rededicate ourselves to honoring and redeeming their sacrifice by doing all we can to further the ideals of freedom and justice for which they died.
Wishing everyone a happy and meaningful Memorial Day.
Opinion: Ending the Gun Violence Epidemic
The following op-ed by Adam Schleifer has been published in the Harvard Kennedy School Review on May 19, 2020.
Two deadly epidemics threaten the lives of Americans. Both have cost too many of us our loved ones, imposed relentless burdens on our healthcare professionals, and affected all communities, while disproportionately harming communities of color. The first is a global threat that originated in nature and will take all the scientific prowess and ingenuity we can muster to defeat: It is, of course, COVID-19. The second, uniquely American, is a problem of our own making, and can be dispatched with tools that have long stared us square in the face: gun violence.
The United States is an outlier among similarly wealthy, educated countries when it comes to gun violence. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the US gun homicide rate is 25 times that of other wealthy countries. Every year, about 38,000 people die from gun violence – or approximately 100 people per day – and nearly 2,900 of these are children and teens.
And from one vantage, COVID-19 has brought no respite; cities like Chicago and Philadelphia have experienced an uptick in shootings, further straining the cities’ resources and healthcare capacity. In the time between March 1 and April 19 of this year, we have actually seen a six percent increase in gun violence deaths relative to the same period last year. Thus, and notwithstanding the many commonsense policy solutions House Democrats have introduced, the Republican Party’s feckless intransigence on issues of gun safety is allowing an already tragic gun epidemic in our country to become even worse.
For me, this issue hits close to home. When I was a first-grade student in a New York City public school, a classmate brought what I assumed was a toy gun to class. First, he pointed it toward me, then he pressed it against me, teasing, “bang, you’re dead.” I soon learned this was no toy—it was a loaded handgun. Although I was lucky to escape my personal encounter with a gun at school, in my career as a federal prosecutor, I saw firsthand how destructive illegal gun possession and gun violence can be to communities. And I am proud to have helped take dozens of illegally possessed and illegal guns off of our streets and out of the hands of dangerous criminals.
Gun reform is part of why I am running for Congress. It has become an inescapable truth that more guns in our communities means more gun-related deaths. I understand the need for the federal government to end the senseless gun tragedies in our schools, movie theatres, and places of worship, and hold all those responsible for these tragedies accountable.
As a Congressman, one of my first acts will be to introduce my gun reform plan: “STOP” (Securing Threats and Ongoing Protection), which contains 5 key policies.
First, we must institute universal background checks for all those seeking to purchase a firearm. Current loopholes in federal law allow former criminals, domestic abusers, and people prohibited for mental health reasons to access guns from unlicensed sellers. With the support of more than 90 percent of Americans, implementing universal background checks is arguably the lowest hanging fruit of gun legislation.
Second, we must implement a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other weapons of war that have no place in our communities. In 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which made it “unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess” a semiautomatic assault weapon. The law expired a decade later, but in that time, research found a significant reduction in gun violence attributable to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Third, we must pass red-flag laws that permit authorities to remove guns from those who are not currently fit, due to mental illness or other instability, to possess those weapons safely. Today, 19 states have their own versions of red flag laws, including New York, which passed its legislation in 2019 under the leadership of Governor Cuomo. However, a state-by-state approach to passing red-flag laws is not sufficient. To be successful, it will require federal legislation that applies to all states equally.
Fourth, we must take steps to regulate so-called “ghost guns,” or guns made by individuals using kits or 3D printers. These guns are particularly dangerous because they are untraceable and anyone, including those prohibited from owning weapons, can make them with ease. Indeed, as a federal prosecutor, at times I was left powerless to prosecute the possession of dangerous assault weapons from those who made them at home. Neither the bullets nor their victims care whether a dangerous weapon was made in a bedroom or a factory located across state lines, so we must close this glaring loophole.
Finally, as Joe Biden has argued, we must hold gun manufacturers accountable for their contribution to the problem, and ensure they no longer are able to assemble life-destroying weapons with impunity. Current law protects manufacturers from being held civilly liable for their products, a protection that is unique to the gun industry. This protection must end.
As we rally to overcome COVID-19, we should feel empowered to flex the same muscles of pragmatic decisiveness to address the other grave threats to our wellbeing. Toward the top of that list is a threat entirely of our own making, one that we need no international partners to address: our own, uniquely-American scourge, the scourge of gun violence.
Opinion: My View — How We Can Reinvigorate Voting and Spur Democratic Participation
The following op-ed authored by Adam Schleifer was published in The River Journal on May 18, 2020.
A Republic, if you can keep it—Benjamin Franklin
When Alexis de Tocqueville toured our young nation in 1831, American democratic participation was nothing short of revolutionary to his European eyes. He noted, “the people reign over the American political world as God rules over the universe.” And while it should be noted that, due to discriminatory restrictions in the franchise we thankfully recognize today as unjust, a far lower percentage of the total population actually voted then than they do today, it is also fair to say that if the people still reign as a god today, we’re an inattentive, absentee god, at best.
By international standards, our roughly 50 percent voter participation rate is weak. Perhaps that weakness is a historical legacy of voter suppression; perhaps it’s a sign that our government offers too few solutions to the problems that vex us; perhaps it’s both. Indeed, in the fifty-seven years since Martin Luther King Jr. uttered these worlds, we might ask whether much at all has changed:
We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
I believe, however, that the best way for us to ensure a person has something “for which to vote” is, first, to ensure that more people are incentivized and able to cast a vote that counts. Below, I offer a few observations and proposals to increase the scope of our democracy, which, I hope will also increase its depth and vigor. And, if elected to Congress in New York’s 17th District, I will work tirelessly to see these provisions written into law, so that nothing, not even a pandemic, can frustrate our democracy. The below ideas are not the only necessary or good ideas for improving the vigor of the democratic process, but they are a few that appear most achievable and least affected by the spate of recent Supreme Court precedents that have harmed our democratic process.
First, to get more people voting, we should offer a $50 refundable tax credit to everyone who votes in a federal election. That tax credit would be progressive, because the $50 would represent a greater proportional boost to working and middle class voters than to the wealthiest, while also addressing the economic burden that taking the time to vote imposes on hourly workers and those forced to extend childcare to get to the polls. I will proudly co-sponsor legislation for such a credit, which would force my Republican colleagues publicly to choose between their stated love of reducing our tax burden and their unstated but apparent love of suppressing voter turnout.
To further boost voter participation and turnout, we must also make Election Day a federal holiday, and join the more than 80 percent of other OECD countries that hold elections on weekends or national holidays. Additionally, we should provide more funding to states like New York to make voting registration automatic, giving voters the opportunity to “opt out” if they wish to unregister rather than the more cumbersome “opt-in” process we currently have. Republicans and other critics will argue that such laws will lead to voter fraud, but extensive research debunks that claim.
We should also institute early voting in as many jurisdictions as possible. By spreading out elections over periods of a week or more rather than just a single day, we permit people the flexibility they need to participate more fully, while reducing the risk of overcrowding that is not only inconvenient, but even dangerous in these times of public-health crisis. Such a process would also give more time for those with questions or difficulties affecting their registration and ballot-validity to pursue legal redress with judges and other legal officials.
We should also take bold steps to enhance the integrity of our elections. One way is by setting up independent redistricting commissions in each state to minimize the impact of partisan politics on how we draw state and congressional boundaries. Currently, eight states have commissions with primary authority over the redistricting lines. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that federal judges cannot oversee state gerrymandering will lead to election bias unless we take the map out of the hands of partisan state legislatures.
Lastly, we must abolish the Electoral College, either through a constitutional amendment or through the National Popular Vote Plan, which I’ve previously published an academic paper on. Such a plan would allow states to agree with one another to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote, so that the Electoral College would become functionally irrelevant. Such a change would do a lot to engage citizens in the vast majority of states (including California, Texas, and New York) that presidential candidates now safely ignore, while returning us to the basic principle that every person’s vote should count.
If we can begin to unclog the arteries of democracy in these and other ways, perhaps we can come nearer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s other vision: a society that offers good people something “for which to vote.”
Supporting Our Educators on National Teachers’ Day
On this National Teachers’ Day, I am grateful for all the educators who go above and beyond to educate and inspire our children, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted the school year for students and teachers alike, and requires teachers to educate our children while at the same time caring for their own.
The selflessness and passion our educators show day in and day out make them a strategic national resource. I will work every day in Congress to ensure that they are supported. To all the teachers out there, especially the ones serving in Rockland and Westchester Counties, know this: we see you, we hear you, and we appreciate all that you are doing during this unprecedented time.
News 12 Interview: Adam Schleifer Rejects Trump’s “Mail Tax”
In an interview with News 12, Adam Schleifer unveiled his plan to introduce legislation in the next Congress to embolden the USPS with the power to conduct basic financial services.
Adam, a Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th District, urged President Trump to reverse his pledge that any COVID-related relief funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) would be contingent on higher fees for residents and businesses in Rockland and Westchester Counties who send mail through the USPS. President Donald Trump declared Friday (4/24) that he would not approve any bailout for the USPS unless it significantly increases its prices. Schleifer argued that Trump was wrong to call USPS “a joke” on Friday.
The USPS has warned of its serious financial distress, but with the U.S. economy stalled during the COVID crisis, USPS reported a 30 percent decrease in volume. The service has requested $75 billion in cash, loans and grants to remain solvent.
As part of this declaration, Schleifer unveiled his plan to not only oppose Trump’s attempts to privatize USPS, but to strengthen a public Postal Service with basic banking powers. Schleifer noted that USPS used to take deposits from clients until 1966 and, in 1947, had nearly $3.4 billion in deposits. USPS became a popular deposit home for people who didn’t have confidence in banks in the early 20th century. Schleifer notes that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocated for the USPS to have banking powers when she won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. His plan would allow USPS to offer basic financial services, including cashing checks and giving USPS more flexibility in choosing what services it provides in order to grow as a stronger public entity, rather than wither and die under Trump’s call for a mail tax.
Read Adam Schleifer’s full plan to embolden the US Postal Service through basic financial service offering capabilities:
Opinion: US Should Decriminalize, Regulate and Tax Marijuana
Published as Expert Analysis on Law360.com.
By Adam Schleifer (April 27, 2020, 12:06 PM EDT)
Before COVID-19 turned our world upside down, legalization of marijuana was expected to be a centerpiece of New York’s 2020 budget legislation. Now, legalization — and the $300 million in estimated annual tax revenues that it will eventually bring — will have to wait.
This raises an important question: Why are we not talking more about federal legalization of marijuana, which could generate some $132 billion in tax revenue and 1 million new jobs?
If undertaken with appropriate health and safety oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, federal legalization would help address our vaping health crisis, which evidence suggests may be caused by grey-market THC pens adulterated with harmful additives.
Federally legalized, regulated, quality-controlled marijuana would also deprive pernicious international drug cartels of a major revenue source and help support the integrity of our borders.
The perniciousness of those cartels’ illegal operations cannot be understated. On Feb. 7, 1985, for example, drug-cartel thugs abducted U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in broad daylight just outside of the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico. As they also did with a pilot, Alfredo Zavala, who had helped Camarena investigate large Mexican marijuana plantations, these thugs dragged Camarena to a safe house, where they interrogated and tortured him to death.
These murderers were motivated by a pair of recent busts in which the DEA had helped seize many billions of dollars’ worth of marijuana from the cartel’s thriving Mexican military-industrial-cartel complex. Marijuana was big business in 1985; it remains so today.
I learned of those tragic crimes and their marijuana connection by investigating them as a federal prosecutor.
As I reconstructed the dark, cocaine-fueled life and times of the Guadalajara cartel and its corrupt allies and partners, I was surprised at the centrality of the American marijuana market to those dangerous cartels’ profits and power, cartels which remain a blight on and threat to civil society throughout the Americas.
More broadly, I was also struck by the flow of (1) Mexican panga boats that smuggle tons and tons of marijuana onto our shores; and (2) the slow burn of fraud, corruption and tax evasion endemic to the state-legal but federally illegal marijuana industry in its current form.
So, although states such as Colorado and California have served as helpful laboratories of democracy in our country’s experimentation with marijuana legalization, the results are in. We can do better; we must do more.
First, we must federally decriminalize the possession and licensed distribution of marijuana.
Although many may assume state decriminalization makes it legal to possess marijuana, the only thing standing between all marijuana businesses and end-users and federal criminal prosecution is a discretionary set of U.S. Department of Justice guidelines set forth in the Cole memorandum, and a current congressional budget rider denying funds to prosecution of state-legal marijuana activity — both of which are subject to change anytime. This uncertainty is anathema to the planning and certainty that rule of law and legitimate business activity both require.
And unlike physically addictive, dangerous and deadly drugs like methamphetamine, opioids and heroin, it is hard to see how continued devotion of federal criminal resources to the interdiction of marijuana accomplishes much beyond supporting a life-limiting one-way ratchet of criminal institutionalization of young people — particularly young people of color, upon whom the incidence of marijuana arrests and prosecutions has fallen unequally.
The criminal justice system has a salutary role in protecting society from the scourge of violence, property crimes and death posed by drug addiction and abuse, but it’s clear by now that marijuana use has little to do with that important mission.
Second, we should reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. While the 2018 Farm Bill circumvented certain limitations when it comes to hemp agriculture — a very important first step — marijuana’s listing within Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act belies pharmacological reality, stymies further scientific study, and makes use and development of marijuana-related therapeutics unnecessarily difficult.
Marijuana should either be removed from the schedules entirely or reclassified within a schedule that reflects its low or lower potential for abuse and physical addiction. And while rescheduling could be accomplished without legislation through administrative rulemaking, Congress should act directly and pass federal rescheduling (or unscheduling) legislation for the dual purposes of greater permanency and increased legitimacy.
Third, we should reform the tax code and related federal statutes affecting the financial treatment of marijuana, its proceeds and the access to credit it needs to function legitimately.
The tax code establishes unfair limitations on the ability of marijuana-related businesses to deduct routine expenses, which encourages accounting and tax fraud and makes it difficult for legitimate marijuana businesses to operate profitably and make accurate financial disclosures to potential investors and shareholders.
These limitations and others, which essentially deprive marijuana businesses of access to the interstate banking and credit system, create dangerous Wild West conditions in the marijuana industry.
Finally, we must amend the relevant international treaties and our obligations under them. It is an inconvenient truth that major reform of our federal marijuana framework would put us out of compliance with various treaty obligations. Rather than ignore this and further undermine our country’s once-proud status as a multilateralist force for public international law, we must work to amend these treaties and our obligations thereunder.
It’s high time our federal laws recognize the scientific, financial and policy realities of marijuana.
Adam P. Schleifer is a candidate for Congress in New York’s 17th congressional district. He previously worked as an an assistant U.S. attorney and as special associate counsel for the New York State Department of Financial Services.
The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
 https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2018/01/10/study-legal-marijuana-could-generate- more-than-132-billion-in-federal-tax-revenue-and-1-million-jobs/.
 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/vaping-illness-tracker- evali.html?searchResultPosition=10.
 https://www.aclu.org/report/report-war-marijuana-black-and-white?redirect=criminal-law- reform/war-marijuana-black-and-white.
 https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/hemp-production-and-2018-farm-bill- 07252019.
 https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2014/10/16/marijuana-legalization-poses-a-dilemma-for- international-drug-treaties/.
Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and in the spirit of writer Robert Macfarlane’s urging to be “good ancestors,” I’m proud to announce the exciting personal endorsement of nationally renowned climate-change and environmental-policy expert, Professor Michael B. Gerrard.
Gerrard, founder of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law through Columbia Law, is a prolific writer in environmental law and climate change, as well as a respected professor of environmental law, climate-change law, and energy regulation.
I am proud and humbled to have his support.
As I think about what it means to be a responsible steward of our planet, Earth Day provides an opportunity to recommit to the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge that my campaign proudly took in February.
This means that our campaign does not take contributions from oil, gas, or coal industry executives, lobbyists, and PACs. While this pledge continues to be a point of pride for my campaign, it is, of course, not nearly enough. Those ruining our planet and standing in the way of sustainable innovation will try to buy off every politician they can.
Throughout my career as a prosecutor, I’ve been proud to fight against anyone who puts profits ahead of the health of our children and our planet. The people of this district deserve a member of Congress they can be sure will prioritize protecting our environment and tackling our climate crisis.
As your member of Congress, I will fight for a progressive carbon tax that will permit clean, green technology to compete fairly and bring the innovations needed to save our planet and create great 21st-century jobs. Staying independent of the fossil fuel industry is the only way we’ll have a chance to restore respect for science and our EPA, and protect our environment for future generations.
For Earth Day, I’m asking you to stand up and show you’ll fight with me. If you believe that our clean air and water are something worth fighting for, then please join us today!
We need leaders in Washington who are committed to doing the hard work necessary to fix this crisis. I’m ready to be one of those leaders with you by my side.
Thank you for your support and happy #EarthDay,
Today, people around the world commemorate Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, to honor the memories of the six million Jewish men, women, and children who were murdered during the Holocaust. It’s an important and solemn day — a time for the Jewish community and allies to pledge that these heinous acts will never happen again.
This commemoration is also very personal for me. My grandfather was the only member of his family who survived the Holocaust. The Nazis enslaved him, but he risked his life and saved others by sabotaging Nazi weapons.
His bravery inspires everything I do, which is why we chose to highlight his story in our latest campaign ad.
Watch and share our powerful new campaign ad. I hope my grandfather’s story can inspire you the way it has inspired me for so many years.
Since 2016, hate has been on the rise in our country. We saw it in Monsey back in December when a domestic terrorist attacked an intimate Chanukah gathering. We see it today when the fear of COVID-19 turns into hateful and shameful attacks against our Asian American communities. When I’m in Congress, I pledge to always stand up to racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and all other forms of bigotry and hatred that threaten our communities.
On this solemn day, I hope we can all take a moment to honor the courage and fortitude of the millions of people persecuted and killed during the Holocaust. May their memory be a blessing that reminds us to come together to repair this world.
Wishing you and yours health and safety,
For Jews around the world, tonight is the first night of Passover, a holiday of transcendent deliverance and gratitude, which tells a story of ten plagues and celebrates a liberation from oppression and slavery. A central element of the Passover holiday is the traditional “Four Questions,” which, from the perspective of a child, ask, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” In this year of plague, in this season of social isolation, and in this, New York’s 17th Congressional District, we have already asked that same simple question many times as we navigate difficult departures from comfortable routines.
As with all difficult seasons, this too shall pass. And when it does, I am hopeful we will keep close the spirit of inclusion and the lessons of leadership and empowerment that we are learning each day.
Until then, I wish all those celebrating a happy holiday, and offer the words of my favorite writer, Primo Levi, a chemist and brilliant man of letters who survived Auschwitz and left a literary legacy that included the following Passover Poem:
Tell me: how is this night different
From all other nights?
How, tell me, is this Passover
Different from other Passovers?
Light the lamp, open the door wide
So the pilgrim can come in,
Gentile or Jew;
Under the rags perhaps the prophet is concealed.
Let him enter and sit down with us;
Let him listen, drink, sing and celebrate Passover;
Let him consume the bread of affliction,
The Paschal Lamb, sweet mortar and bitter herbs.
This is the night of differences
In which you lean your elbow on the table,
Since the forbidden becomes prescribed,
Evil is translated into good.
We will spend the night recounting
Far-off events full of wonder,
And because of all the wine
The mountains will skip like rams.
Tonight they exchange questions:
The wise, the godless, the simple-minded and the child.
And time reverses its course,
Today flowing back into yesterday,
Like a river enclosed at its mouth.
Each of us has been a slave in Egypt,
Soaked straw and clay with sweat,
And crossed the sea dry-footed.
You too, stranger.
This year in fear and shame,
Next year in virtue and in justice.
With you in spirit,
Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has endorsed Adam Schleifer for Congress.
Christine Quinn has spent decades fighting for the progressive causes we all care about and has been a tireless leader on marriage equality, LGBTQ rights, women’s reproductive health, homelessness, and standing up to hate crimes. We’re so grateful to have her on our growing list of amazing supporters!
“Adam Schleifer’s successful career in state and federal service and his passion for justice proves that he will be a powerful advocate for communities who need a stronger voice in government,” said Quinn. “There are a great number of well-qualified and capable candidates in this race, many who have unique qualities they could bring to Congress, but in Adam, we have someone who I know will be an aggressive advocate for the marginalized communities I care about the most. I have known him since he and his wife, Nicole, marched alongside me in the Brooklyn Gay Pride Parade almost a decade ago and I know Adam will be a tenacious and effective advocate for his district.”
Christine Quinn is the Vice Chair of the New York State Democratic Committee and the former Speaker of the New York City Council. As City Council speaker, she was New York City’s second most powerful public servant and the first female and first openly gay person to hold the role. She is a leading progressive voice on issues of homelessness, LGBTQ equality, women’s reproductive health, and affordable housing.
“Christine Quinn has spent decades fighting for the progressive causes we all care about and has been a tireless leader on marriage equality, LGBTQ rights, women’s reproductive health, homelessness, and standing up to hate crimes. I am humbled by her endorsement, and I am committed to emulating her example in fighting for everyone’s right to pursue their own version of the American Dream.”
Quinn’s announcement today is the latest in a series of high-profile endorsements for Schleifer, who just last week received the support of U.S Senator Chris Dodd and U.S. Representative Steve Israel. He was also endorsed by three prominent Democrats in northern Westchester: Vivian McKenzie, Peekskill Councilwoman and Deputy Mayor, Drew Claxton, former Deputy Mayor of Peekskill, and Ossining Deputy Mayor Rika Levin.
A former-Assistant United States Attorney, Schleifer prosecuted major federal crimes including major financial frauds, illegal gun possession, environmental crimes, sexual violence and intimidation, and child pornography.
Prior to serving in the Justice Department, Adam served as a Special Associate Counsel for the New York State Department of Financial Services, where he helped lead consumer-protection enforcement efforts against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders who were targeting minorities, veterans, and low-income New Yorkers, and took on fraud and abuse in the health insurance and financial markets. Schleifer’s successful efforts to root out unfair practices in New York and nationwide contributed to fairness, transparency, and efficiency in New York’s banking and insurance markets.
Schleifer, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.
We continue to struggle harder and suffer more each day from a pandemic unprecedented in our lifetimes. Each day feels like a week, and this past week has felt like a month. While time dilates, the world seems to shrink, physically, socially, and economically. Nevertheless, there is cause for hope. We are realizing, although we may be physically apart, we’re also all a part of the same broad fabric. And we are discovering insights into pragmatic policy leadership that will help us both overcome COVID-19 and also repair our broken world in so many other ways. As this pandemic brings hardship, it also presents opportunities for growth.
New Yorkers have witnessed an object lesson in leadership by Gov.Andrew Cuomo this past week. Our state has taken thoughtful, swift action but remained agile enough to react as facts clarified or changed. This is the essence of good leadership in times of crisis, and the basis of good policy in all others.
Meanwhile, throughout Westchester and Rockland Counties, hardworking government and nonprofit heroes have worked tirelessly to protect and empower the most vulnerable in our communities. Their cohesive efforts, which we should all do our best to support however we are able, also set an example for us to live by going forward.
We are airing our first television ad today, and I couldn’t be more proud of the message we’re sending.
I talk about my brother, David, who has special needs, and the way our family journey with him has inspired me to empower others and ensure everyone gets a fair opportunity to pursue their American Dream.
Today is International Women’s Day. I hope we soon see a day when the question, “are you a feminist,” is as odd (and its answer as obvious) as the question, “are you a humanist”; when a “yes” answer to both will be so clear that the questions are confusing.
We will know that day has arrived when we see a woman as the President of the United States, and when it’s unthinkable to elect anyone who boasts “grabbing” women by their genitals; when heroes like Malala Yousafzai aren’t shot merely for insisting upon every child’s right to an education; when all women reap the same reward as men do for the same work; and when a woman’s reproductive privacy and freedom isn’t under assault.
As a federal prosecutor, I worked to advance this cause by taking on crimes of sexual violence and exploitation, and by standing up for victims of those crimes. And throughout a career as a public servant, I have been blessed to work with and under women who served as partners, mentors, and exemplars of dedicated excellence in public service. These women inspire me, as do the talented, driven, inspirational women in my own family, including my wife, Nicole; my mother, Harriet; and my Aunt and Sister-in-Law, both of whom have dedicated their careers as OB-GYNs to the cause of women’s reproductive health and informed choice.
Guided by these role models, and with your support, I look forward to continuing the cause for equality and women’s rights in Congress. To further mark today, let’s also take in the words of Rachel Carson, who did as much as anyone to inspire the environmental movement, which we need now more than ever:
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for . . . destruction.”
Today, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, those of us who, in Primo Levi’s beautiful words, now live “safe [i]n . . . warm houses,”(1) are called to commemorate and reflect upon that great tragedy whose abatement began exactly 75 years ago today.
As Levi observed, “we are often asked … whether Auschwitz will return: whether … other slaughters will take place, unilateral, systematic, mechanized, willed, at a governmental level, perpetrated upon innocent and defenseless populations and legitimized by the doctrine of contempt.” The answer Levi offered in 1986, remains true today: “These factors can occur again and are already recurring in various parts of the world.”
So on this 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, that temple of inhumanity and murder, let us recommit ourselves to permanent vigilance against the doctrines of deranged hate and acts of violence perpetrated by the strongest against the weakest.
As many of you know, my grandparents were Holocaust survivors who came to America as refugees seeking safety, equality, and a fair opportunity to pursue the American Dream. Their story of bravery, hope, and perseverance inspires everything that I do. And in the face of the recent, troubling omens of anti-Semitic and other hate that we’ve seen, their example continues to affirm my commitment to bringing more light and warmth into the world.
Wherever we see deranged doctrines of hate weaponized — whether in chemical attacks in Syria; internment of a million or more Uyghurs in China; or violent acts of domestic terrorism perpetrated against the Jewish community in Monsey, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and elsewhere — we must honor the memory of the Holocaust and its victims by standing up to that hate and working to repair this broken world.
Thank you for joining me on this journey,
I’ve been talking a lot these past few months about my commitment to protecting every person’s opportunity to pursue their unique version of the American Dream. Today, I want to share more with you about my life and the people who inspired and continue to inspire me in that commitment.
In this video, you will meet three of my inspirations: my grandfather, Rubin Partel, a Holocaust survivor who risked his life to save others and rebuilt a life and a family in this great country; my mother, Harriet Schleifer, who has fought tirelessly to make sure everyone gets a fair shake; and my brother, David Schleifer, a very special young man with special needs who taught me how to be an advocate from the age of five. You’ll see how their courage and determination has been a constant inspiration in my life.
From their example, I learned to stand up for others, taking on predatory payday and subprime auto lenders as a consumer-protection regulator for the New York State Department of Financial Services and then taking down bullies, fraudsters, and cheats as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. In both roles, I was honored to stand up for the vulnerable and ensure that every person gets their fair opportunity to pursue their dreams.
From the threats of gun violence and the recent shadow of antisemitic hate and domestic terror; to the planetary danger of climate change; to the need to ensure that everyone has access to quality affordable healthcare; to the erosion of our institutions wrought by the Bully and Fraudster-in-Chief in the White House, we have our work cut out for us. My family’s example, along with my pragmatic, creative, bipartisan work on both the state and federal level imbue me with the faith that we can meet these challenges and repair the world.
That is the legacy of Congresswoman Nita Lowey. That is the opportunity we hope to protect and expand on behalf of the hardworking people of Westchester and Rockland. And that is the message we’re hoping you’ll help us share.
I’m so grateful to have you with me on this journey,
As a former federal prosecutor and a New York State consumer-protection regulator, I devoted myself to taking on bullies, fraudsters, and cheats, who thought the rules didn’t apply to them. I did this because I believe that no one should be permitted to stand in the way of anyone’s right to fulfill their potential and pursue their unique version of the American Dream.
I know crime and corruption when I see it, and I am proud to see our representatives stand up to the Fraudster in Chief in the White House.
Our Founding Fathers understood that if “men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But “the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”
One of those “auxiliary precautions” was the power and duty of impeachment. Our Constitution vested in the House of Representatives the power and duty to impeach “Officers of the United States” who betray the public trust and misuse the power of their office in corrupt pursuit of personal gain.
By impeaching President Donald Trump last night, the House of Representatives satisfied its solemn obligation. Perhaps no one in our Country’s history has tried so hard as President Trump to corrupt our constitutional republic. His efforts to condition congressional aid to Ukraine upon Ukraine’s investigation of President Trump’s political rival is but one impeachable example of his craven corruption.
While I hope that the Senate now rises to their constitutional duty to conduct a fair trial, I know we cannot rest and rely upon that hope. We need leaders in Congress who will continue to stand up to bullies, fraudsters, and cheats.I hope you will join me in that effort and contribute today.
Adam P. Schleifer
Just a few weeks ago, we mourned the loss of life after two domestic terrorists gunned down six innocent people in a Kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Last Sunday night, I was honored to stand with Chabad of Armonk, Chappaqua, and Pleasantville, and bless and light the chanukiah in front of the New Castle Community Center. There, I addressed the recent, troubling omens of anti-Semitic hate, and affirmed that we would stand proud and undeterred, committed to bringing more light and warmth into the world.
Not one week later, yet another hateful act of violent, anti-Semitic terror has been perpetrated, this time within our district, in Monsey. The perpetrator, who invaded a Rabbi’s home during an intimate Chanukah celebration, attacked those inside with a knife before others prevented the attack from reaching the next-door synagogue.
I am heartened to see Governor Cuomo, our other State and local leaders, and our first responders standing strong with and protecting our Jewish community.
We should also note that federal laws exist to combat precisely this kind of hate crime. For example, The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, 18 U.S.C. § 249, established stiff federal penalties for those who perpetrate the kinds of hateful, terroristic violence committed last night in Monsey. Under that law, an attempt to kill on the basis of victims’ race or religion is punishable by a lifetime term of federal imprisonment. As a former federal prosecutor, I know that our federal criminal laws and our Department of Justice can offer excellent deterrents to and retributions for the kinds of violence that we are now seeing with troublingly increasing frequency. I hope we will see the use of these formidable tools to meet and defeat these threats to our safety and civil rights.
My grandparents survived the Holocaust; their families were murdered for the crime of being Jewish. We must stand with the victims of this hateful attack and redouble our shared commitment to repairing the world and combatting all forms of hate and terror wherever we encounter them.
Tuesday was a very sad day. We had yet another reminder that hate knows no borders, and that antisemitism, domestic terrorism, and gun violence threaten from all corners. Two assailants, at least one of which was affiliated with a recognized antisemitic hate group, gunned down six innocent people in a Kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey. Brave police officers risked their lives to stop the cowardly perpetrators of this hateful act of terror, and one heroic officer, Detective Joe Seals, a 15-year law enforcement veteran and a father of five, gave his life.
My grandparents survived the Holocaust. Their parents, siblings, grandparents were murdered for the crime of being Jewish. America took them in. We cannot backslide on America’s promise. We must keep our lamp lifted to the oppressed, and shine our light on the darkest corners of hate that attempt to encroach upon our freedom and the free exercise of our faith. We must continue our vigilance against antisemitism and antisemitic violence, along with all other hate and forms of domestic terror.
I fought hard as a federal prosecutor to protect Americans from the scourge of gun-related and other forms of violence and oppression, and I will do the same in Congress.
Adam P. Schleifer