Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blitz on Washington, Part 3, Ted Yoho

Thursday March 13, 2013

     8:30 AM
          There's no line at the Cannon building!  (Most hearings start after nine or ten in the morning.)  Therefore, we glide through security into a hall that's like a cathedral, and look for Ted Yoho's address:  Room 517.  Representative Yoho comes from the district where my clinic was located, and is a newbie here, known as "a freshman"--therefore he has taken up residence in an office at the far end of a long corridor up some long flights of stairs and a lung-taxing hike from the front door.  ("Hey, are you running a race?" John Stacks says, practically running behind me.)
          There's a pecking order here, and Ted is near the bottom--but not for long, I suspect.
          Ted's staff made an appointment for me at the last minute, partly because other constituents had petitioned on my behalf, including Tom Hayes-Morrison, the radio talk-show host, and Roger Pennington, a local pharmacist.  "You have to listen to her story and help her," they said.  They supported his campaign and remain politically active in the Republican party.
          I take a brief look around the reception area, which has the feel of home, because there are scenes of Florida's hammocks and lakes, alongside Gator sports paraphernalia.
          Suddenly, Ted comes through his office door like a high-speed train.
          "Come on in!" he says.  "I hope you don't mind gators!"
          In the center of the conference table is the glistening head of what must have been a fourteen-foot alligator.  Ted moves it to the side.
          "Don't mind at all," I say.
          "Wow," says John Stacks, staring at the gaping mouth of this creature that goes back to the Cretaceous period.  They don't have alligators in Arkansas.
          Ted Yoho has a commanding presence.  He's as big as a linebacker, with a broad, toothy smile and a bear of a handshake.  He radiates energy, conviction, and forward motion, and seems to be looking for things to do and get done.  My first impression is "don't-mess-with-me," but it's offset immediately by the magnetism of his interest and focus.
           "Man, what a shame that you closed your office," he says.
           I introduce John Stacks as the man who made the youtube video--which Ted has already seen, and remembers.  "So you're the actual guy whose bottling plant was raided?"
          "Yes," John says.  "And I can tell you, the video doesn't make it look half as bad as it was."
          "No kidding," Ted says, shaking his head. 
          "That's what the raid was like at my clinic," I add.  "Except that two agents put guns to the heads of a patient and a medical assistant."
          "Geez," Ted says, shaking his head.
          "Tell me," John asked, "why was that necessary?"
          "Why was a raid necessary, in the first place, at any of our businesses?"
          "It's white-collar crime they're looking for, and they're having to look awfully hard," I say.  But a subpoena would have sufficed, not a million-dollar raid."
          "Is this happening to other people you know?" Ted asked.
          "It happened to Mickey Singer, some years back," I answered.
          Singer owned one of the most influential medical billing software companies in the country,  located just up the road from Gainesville, in Alachua.  He ended up settling with the government, as do so many business owners (like Gibson's Henry Jusckiewicz), in order to get his company back to work, and to avoid a costly trial.  But he was never convicted of anything.  He sold his business, after the raid, and gave up on the hard-work-will-pay-off success that is supposed to be the hallmark of America.
          "I've had a million hits on my youtube video," Stacks says.  "And a thousand people have contacted me, saying they were raided and traumatized in the same way."
          "It's an epidemic," I comment.  As a large-animal veterinarian, Ted knows about epidemics.  This one is like mad-cow disease.
          "Can you get some of those people to band together with you, in your petition to Congress?"
          "Well," John answers, pursing his lips with stoicism, then shrugging his shoulders in a gesture of vanquishment, "no one wants to come forward.  They think the government will retaliate, and they're probably right."
          "They're afraid," I say.
          That's when Ted rose up out of his chair like a beast from its lair.  I had to arch my neck to look up at him.
          "You can't be afraid," he bellowed.  "You simply can't be afraid!"  Ted's fist was in the air, ready to pummel the invisible enemy.
          "Can you help us?" I asked.
          "We can send some letters," he said, sitting down again.  He raised an index finger in the direction of his legislative director, Omar Raschid, who was sitting to his left, taking notes.
          "I know you're not on the judiciary committee," I said.  "But those are the people who need to hear from us.  We had a conference with Bob Goodlatte yesterday.  He said he wanted to have a House hearing on this matter.  He's the Chair of that committee.
          "The more congresspeople he hears from, the more likely it is we'll get a hearing."
          "Please send him a letter on my behalf," I said.
          "And on mine," added John.  "And for the other thousands of Americans who are being ruined by these raids."
          "Will do," answered Ted.  (It sounded like Will, Period, Do, Period.)
          "The intent of the FBI is to garner publicity, to set an example, to make its agents look like guardians of the people," John said.  "They sent out to do irreparable harm."
          "They haven't guarded me, or my patients, or my employees," I said sadly.
          We stood up to go, shaking hands all around.
          "Keep up the fight!" said Ted.  "Don't give up!"
          It felt like a pep rally, and he was on our side.  I left his office uplifted, and with a sense of purpose.  I seemed to have an ally.
          Ted is doing what we all hope our congressional representatives will do, and what they did way back when the Constitution was written.  He's bringing energy and conviction to his post.  He's listening to his constituents and acting as though he can do something.  He's going to do something for me, I believe.


  1. Doc, I was able to catch part of your radio interview yesterday. It was refreshing, as I did not hear the voice of defeat, but the voice of hope. Thank you for standing up for not just yourself, but for your employees, patients, and those who might be afraid to speak out in our country.
    For those of you who do not know me, I was Dr. Colasante's Nurse Practitioner for almost 7 years. I was working the morning of the raid. The day my Constitutional rights were violated, the day my life changed forever. I have only been able to watch a few minutes of the UTube reinactment of John Stacks business. It is too traumatizing to watch. What the FBI did that morning to the employees and the patients in our office was an act of terrorism. We were paralyzed at gun point by 35-40 agents, unable to make contact with the outside world. We were each subjected to individual interrogations by 2 armed FBI agents, with no representation. We were held hostage by them for 4-6 hours. I question, is this America...North of the free??...Thanks to people like Dr. C and John Stacks for being part of the home of the brave. I am a believer that something good can come out of something bad.

  2. I also believe that something good can happen. The FBI agents were "doing their job." It's hard to blame any one person, or even any ideology. These raids are symptoms of a system that needs to change. As a doctor, when I see a symptom, I look for what's wrong, and what can be done about it. Appealing to our congressional leaders is an important part of the "cure." They seemed to have no idea that raids like this are taking place, and they were appalled. With a little more effort, I think we can get them to act in a way that will protect our individual freedoms by stopping this abuse of judiciary power. Thanks for speaking up. Please write to your congresspeople.

  3. One of the first issues which needs to be, must be cured in our government is the complicity of all involved. It is meant to be gov. of the people by the people, though when most of those in gov. are holding hands in order to make a buck, Houston we have a problem. Obviously you and yours all know this, yet I can help putting it in words for hopefully more to see, as I believe the general population is almost moronic to what is happening in the USA. Maybe you all can help stop the idiocy.

  4. This statement:

    "two agents put guns to the heads of a patient and a medical assistant"

    when considered with this eye-witness video:

    seems a self-serving exaggeration, which unfortunately diminishes your credibility.

  5. This is the testimony of the medical assistant who was in an exam room drawing blood from a patient when two agents burst in and held a gun to their heads when the medical assistant didn't drop the phlebotomy needle right away. I did not witness the incident, but report it as the assistant told me, and I cannot think of any reason why she would have fabricated the story. But if you're a government agent who has an interest in discrediting me, and validating the government's "self-serving, exaggerated" raid on my clinic, then you won't believe that, will you?