When Representative Marsha Blackburn (R—TN) was appointed chairwoman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives (a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee), she was given subpoena power to ensure that she would have access to all documentation pertinent to her Panel’s investigation. Rep. Blackburn’s team attempted to work amicably with organizations involved in the trafficking of aborted baby body parts by requesting that pertinent documents be surrendered to her office voluntarily. Scores of letters from Blackburn’s office yielded a dearth of necessary information, so Blackburn resorted, in late March, to exercising her subpoena power.
Now, StemExpress – the notorious middle-man company – has failed to comply with the subpoenas, and their reasons for neglecting to do so are laughable.
A dozen subpoenas were issued to the tissue procurement organization (TPO) middlemen between abortion mills and researchers. California-based StemExpress was, until recently, engaged in a lucrative partnership with a string of abortion mills – including many Planned Parenthood mills. During this partnership, StemExpress sent agents into abortion mills to harvest body parts or entire cadavers from babies who had just been killed in abortion. These parts and cadavers were packaged by the StemExpress agents and FedExed to the research facilities with which StemExpress had entered payment agreements. In turn, ample evidence (including on-camera statements by StemExpress founder and CEO, Cate Dyer) suggests that both StemExpress and the abortion mills profited significantly from the remuneration of researchers in exchange for the trafficked tissues.
To reach a definitive conclusion regarding the legality of the buying and selling actions of TPOs – especially StemExpress – Rep. Blackburn has subpoenaed a host of documents which would delineate everything from StemExpress’ organizational structure to banking and invoicing documents, and all communication records pertinent to any conversation about fetal tissue exchanges within the organization. If, as StemExpress insists, the organization has not broken the law, then responding to the subpoena would presumably be in the organization’s best interest. But respond to the subpoena they have not.
Why? StemExpress’ legal team has furnished two excuses for noncompliance, which Rep. Blackburn handily dismissed. First, StemExpress argues that the documents requested are “outside the scope” of the investigation. To which Rep. Blackburn says: try again. “Such an objection is wholly without merit,” she said, “and documents responsive to the subpoena must be produced forthwith.” In her letter to StemExpress, Blackburn explored the myriad reasons why her subpoena was not only constitutional, but also compelling and authoritative.
StemExpress’ other excuse? That harm may ensue from the “public” release of these materials. To which Blackburn responded: I’m not ‘the public.’ “[T]he Panel is not ‘the public,’” said Blackburn, “and as a legal matter, disclosure of these materials to the Panel does not implicate the stated concerns.”
Rep. Blackburn gave StemExpress until close-of-business on Thursday, May 12, to comply with the provision of the fourteen categories of information demanded by the subpoenas to StemExpress and outlined in her 15-page letter – including appendices – to StemExpress CEO, Cate Dyer, on April 28. “Failure to comply,” Blackburn concluded, “will leave the Panel with no choice but to pursue all means necessary to compel compliance.”
Watch the Select Investigative Panel question witnesses at their latest hearing on the Pricing of Fetal Tissue, here.