Meles cranks up lobbying machine to defeat H.R. 2003

URGENT! For Immediate Release
Mark-up Vote for H.R. 2003 Scheduled for July 31, 2007

The Coalition for HR 2003 is informed and believes that the House Foreign Affairs Committee will calendar H.R. 2003 for mark-up on Tuesday, July 31, 2007. We expect the bill will receive full support by committee members and recommended for passage by the Full House.

Special Alert

DLA Piper 

Zenawi has engaged his lobbying army of DLA Piper to defeat the bill. They are making calls and paying visits to members asking them not to support and vote for the bill.

DLA Piper has fully engaged their top guns to defeat the bill. See Ken Silverstein’s article in the recent issue of Harper’s Magazine, entitled “Lobbying firms blocking action against Ethiopia’s tyrant.”


We are also very much aware that some individuals who have lately been representing themselves as “shimagles” are indeed leading a secret lobbying campaign against the bill. We are fully aware of their efforts, and if they want to continue on their present course, we insist that they register as lobbyists for a foreign government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, 22 U.S.C. § 611 (c) (1).

Final Push

The Coalition for H.R. 2003 calls on all Ethiopian Americans in the United States to rise up once again and deliver victory in the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. We are up against the mighty lobbying firm of DLA Piper. If we don’t rise up now and show our support for H.R. 2003, they will use their enormous power to crush our efforts to defend human rights in our country.

Special message from Prof. Al Mariam

I thank the Coalition for H.R. 2003 for giving me the opportunity to say a few words on the challenges that we face in pushing through H.R. 2003 in the House of Representatives.

I am afraid that some of us may not be aware of the concerted and coordinated activities by Zenawi’s lobbyists and others to defeat H.R. 2003. Every single day, Zenawi’s lobbyists, official representatives and even some who claim to be “shimagles” are making phone calls and pounding the pavement in Congress to defeat H.R. 2003. There is a coordinated effort between the lobbying firm, the official representatives in the U.S. and certain “shimagles” and others to mount a covert and not-so-covert assault on our bill. We must stand up and defend our bill!

Zenawi’s new lobbying strategy is simple. He wants to convince Congress that he has changed overnight from a dictator to a democrat. He says: “I have released the political prisoners. I am going to be a good boy from now on. I will abide by the rule of law and all that good stuff. Just don’t slam me with H.R. 2003.”

His lobbyists are chanting the same thing all over Congress. “Sure, sure. Things are improving in Ethiopia. The political prisoners are released. More will be released. Zenawi is willing to observe human rights. He should be given a chance. The bill will hurt the Ethiopian people.” Blah, blah, blah. The unofficial lobbyists are trying to scam members of Congress by telling them that “Ethiopia is trying to solve its problems by using its elders and traditional methods of conflict resolution”. Blah, blah, blah.

But H.R. 2003 is not just about releasing political prisoners. It is about democratic reform and accountability, restoration of the democratic rights of the people, strengthening human rights and civic society organizations and human rights monitoring and reporting processes, increasing the independence of the judiciary, prosecution of human rights abusers, improving election procedures, removing press censorship and repeal of restrictive press laws and provision of various training programs for demcratic participation, and limiting U.S. security assistance to peacekeeping and counter-terrorism only, among others.

Fortunately, we have not only truth and justice on our side, but also the defenders of truth and justice: Donald Payne, Chris Smith, Tom Lantos, Mike Honda, Charlie Rangel and dozens of others.

We have a choice to make now: Let Zenawi buy his way out of H.R. 2003, or we stand up and stop him cold on the steps of Congress. The choice is ours, not his. 

Zenawi is certain, very certain, that he will defeat H.R. 2003 and win in the end, because he has millions to spend on lobbying. He thinks he can buy Congress. Have no doubts about this. He is sitting in his palace right now laughing at us: “They are not going to do a damn thing. All they do is moan and groan. They have never been able to do anything in all these years.” So, here we are. Is Zenawi right? “We can’t do a damn thing.” ???

Call, Write, Visit Your members of Congress on behalf of Mother Ethiopia

I ask every Ethiopian American to call, write and visit their members of Congress and ask them to support H.R. 2003. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the questions are:

Can each one of us afford to give Mother Ethiopia 5 minutes out of our busy lives to make a telephone call to a member of Congress and plead on her behalf the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights?

Can each one of us spare 10 minutes to write a letter to a member of Congress and explain Mother Ethiopia’s pain and suffering and the plague that has been visited upon her children?

Can we spare a couple of hours to go to the district office of our member of Congress; or for those of us who live close to Washington D.C., can we spend  half a day in Congress and personally petition for relief of the suffering of Ethiopia’s children?

Let’s act NOW!

Let’s prove, No! Surprise Zenawi, that we can really work together to bring about positive transformations in Ethiopia. Let us show him that though we do not have millions to spend on lobbyists, we have hundreds of dedicated Ethiopians who will make up with patriotism and love of country what they lack in money.

My fellow Ethiopian Americans, awaken the giant within you. You have the power to do good, to be caring and compassionate towards your suffering brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. Use your power as a democratic citizen of the United States to fight evil. As Ghandi has taught, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” Let me add that strength does not come from spending millions on lobbyists. It comes from an unflagging and unfaltering commitment to a cause – our holy cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia.


Remember July 31, 2007!

God bless all of you!

Fax letter

Fax your letters, DO NOT MAIL.  It takes 2 weeks to deliver a letter to congress because of security inspections.

Office telephone and fax numbers are listed below. 

Copy and paste, and modify the letter below to fit your special situation. 

Documents can be FAXED during the day or at night.
They will be read whenever they are sent. If you do not have a fax machine, places use fax services available at places like Kinkos, Staples, Office Max and others. You can also ask friends who have faxes to send them for you.


We encourage you to immediately call, write, fax  and/or visit your Congressional Representatives’ district and/ Washington D.C. offices and URGE THEM TO CO-SPONSOR HR 2003

July…, 2007


The Honorable [Name of Member]
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Attention:  Foreign Affairs 

Dear Representative [name of member]:

I am writing to ask you to co-sponsor H.R. 2003 (“Ethiopia Freedom and Accountability Act of 2007). I also respectfully ask that following committee consideration, you vote to recommend the bill as amended do pass. 

(Personalize the letter in the next paragraph. Research the member’s legislative history  on Google or by going to their website. If you are in their congressional district mention that also. Mention your line of work, expertise, special things about yourself, if you want.)

Example: Over the years, I have been one of your greatest admirers in the area of human rights, and I very much aware of your leading role in promoting human rights through the Cuban Democracy Act. It gives me great pleasure to write to you on H.R. 2003, (Ethiopia Freedom and Accountability Act of 2007) as I am sure you will appreciate the gravity of the human rights situation in Ethiopia. I am presently … describe your work, responsibilities etc, briefly)
As you may recall, on June 26, 2007, the scheduled mark-up action on H.R. 2003 was delayed because the ruling regime in Ethiopia, through its official representatives, communicated to the Committee that mark-up action on the bill on that date will adversely affect the release of the prisoners of conscience held in Kality prison.  

I have learned that the Committee, in the face of such unprecedented challenge to its institutional integrity, nonetheless agreed to delay mark-up action for 2 weeks.

As you know, H.R. 2003 (Ethiopia Freedom and Accountability Act of 2007) is not merely about the release of political prisoners in Kality prison. It is fundamentally about reclaiming, revitalizing and advancing human rights as a central pillar of American foreign policy.

To that end, H.R. 2003 aims to institute accountability and democratic reforms in Ethiopia, aid in the restoration of the democratic rights of the people, strengthen human rights and civic society organizations, increase the independence of the judiciary, assist in bringing to justice human rights abusers are brought to justice, ensure fraud free-elections, and removing press censorship, among many others. Simply stated, it is a bill that aims to institutionalize the rule of law in Ethiopia.

H.R. 2003 is presently co-sponsored by Chairman Lantos, and eighty-three other members. I respectfully request your co-sponsorship because I take great pride in the fact that my representative from the great state of ___________ stood up to defend freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, where most of my relatives and friends still live. I also appreciate your help in expediting the mark-up of the bill by requesting that it be placed on the next calendar of the Committee.

I would like to thank you in advance for your help.

I will call your office in the next day to follow up on this letter.


Your Name

Give your address and telephone number where you can be reached




American Samoa
Eni Faleomavaega American Samoa 

Jeff Flake, 6th
202-225-2635  202-226-4386 

Gabrielle Giffords 8th
202-225-2542  202-225-0378

John Boozman 3rd
202-225-4301  202-225-5713 

Tom Lantos (Chair)  12th
202-225-3531      202-226-4183

Lynn Woolsey  6th
202-225-5161  202-225-5163

Jim Costa 20th    
202-225-3341  202-225-9308

Elton Gallegly 24th
202-225-5811  202-225-1100

Brad Sherman  27th   
202-225-5911  202-225-5879

Howard Berman 28th
202-225-4695  202-225-3196

Diane E. Watson 33rd    
202-225-7084  202-225-2422

Linda Sanchez 39th
202-225-6676  202-226-1012

Ed Royce 40th
202-225-4111  202-226-0335

Dana Rohrabacher 46th   
202-225-2415  202-225-0145


Tom Tancredo 6th
202-225-7882  202-226-4623


Gus M. Bilirakis  9th
202-225-5755  202-225-4085

Connie Mack  14th
202-225-2536  202-226-0439

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen  18th   
202-225-3931    202-225-5620

Robert Wexler 19th
202-225-3001  202-225-5974

Ron Klein  20th
202-225-3026  202-225-8398


David Scott 13th
202-225-2939  202-225-4628


Don Manzullo 16th    
202-225-5676  202-225-5284


Dan Burton  5th   
202-225-2276  202-225-0016

Mike Pence  6th    
202-225-3021  202-225-3382

Bill Delahunt 10th
202-225-3111  202-225-5658


Russ Carnahan 3rd
202-225-2671  202-225-7452


Jeff Fortenberry 1st
202-225-4806  202-225-5686

New Jersey
Christopher Smith 4th
202-225-3765  202-225-7768

Donald M. Payne 10th
202-225-3436  202-225-4160

Albio Sires 13th
202-225-7919  202-226-0792

New York

Gary L. Ackerman 5th   
202-225-2601  202-225-1589

Gregory W. Meeks 6th   
202-225-3461  202-226-4169

Joseph Crowley 7th
202-225-3965  202-225-1909

Eliot L. Engil  17th   
202-225-2474  202-225-5513

North Carolina 

Brad Miller 13th
202-225-3032  202-225-0181


Steve Chabot 1st
202-225-2216  202-225-3012

Purto Rico

Luis G. Fortuno Purto Rico  
202-225-2615  202-225-2154


David Wu 1st
202-225-0855  202-225-9497

South Carolina

Joe Wilson  2nd    
202-225-2452  202-225-2455

Gresham Barrett 3rd    
202-225-5301  202-225-3216

Bob Inglis  4th    
202-225-6030  202-226-1177


John Tanner  8th
202-225-4714  202-225-1765


Ted Poe  2nd    
202-225-6565  202-225-5547

Michael McCaul 10th   
202-225-2401  202-225-5955

Ron Paul  14th
202-225-2831  202-226-6553

Ruben Hinojosa 15th
202-225-2531  202-225-5688

Sheila Jackson Lee 18th
202-225-3816  202-225-3317


Jo Ann Davis  1st   
202-225-4261  202-225-4382


Adam Smith  9th   
202-225-8901  202-225-5893