Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia Ann McKinney (born March 17, 1955) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Georgia. A Democrat, McKinney served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003, and returned in 2005, representing Georgia's fourth congressional district. The district includes most of DeKalb County, a largely suburban county east of Atlanta, as well as adjacent sections of Gwinnett County and Rockdale County.

In her 2006 bid for re-election, Ms. McKinney failed to secure a majority of the votes in the Democratic primary, forcing a runoff with Hank Johnson. In the runoff, McKinney lost, receiving 41 percent to Johnson's 59 percent, losing her Congressional seat for the second time.

McKinney was born in Atlanta, the daughter of Billy McKinney, one of Atlanta's first African-American law enforcement officers and a former Georgia State Representative, and Leola McKinney, a retired nurse. She currently lives in the Atlanta suburb of Stone Mountain. She is also a Roman Catholic, one of the few members of that faith to have electoral success in heavily Protestant Georgia.

She earned a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California, a Masters of Art in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and she is expected to complete a Ph.D. at University of California at Berkeley.

Her political career began in 1986 when her father, Billy McKinney, a representative in the Georgia House of Representatives, submitted his daughter's name as a write-in candidate for the Georgia state house. She received about 40 percent of the popular vote despite the fact that she lived in Jamaica at the time with then-husband Coy Grandison (with whom she had a son, Coy McKinney, now age 20). In 1988, McKinney ran for the same seat and won, making the McKinneys the first father and daughter to simultaneously serve in the Georgia state house.

McKinney immediately challenged House rules requiring women to wear dresses by wearing slacks. In 1991, she spoke out against the Persian Gulf War, causing many legislators to walk out in protest at her remarks.

In the 1992 election, McKinney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as the member of Congress from the newly-created 11th District, a 64 percent black-majority district stretching from Atlanta to Savannah. She was the first African-American woman to represent Georgia in the House. She was handily reelected in 1994.

In 1995 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Johnson that the 11th district was an unconstitutional gerrymander because the boundaries were discriminatory vis-a-vis race. McKinney's district was subsequently renumbered the 4th and redrawn to take in almost all of DeKalb County, prompting a response of outrage from McKinney. She asserted that it was a racially-discriminatory ruling, given the fact that the Supreme Court had previously ruled that Texas's 6th district, which is 91 percent white, was constitutional.

The new 4th, however, was no less Democratic than the 11th, and McKinney was reelected from this district in 1996, 1998 and 2000 with no substantive opposition. McKinney lost her seat in 2002 after losing the primary election. She regained her seat in 2004, when it was open due to Denise Majette's run for U.S. Senate. In 2006, she was opposed in the Democratic primary by Hank Johnson and John Coyne III. She led the July 18 primary, with Johnson coming in second, but the race continued to an August 8 runoff, because no candidate received 50 percent of the votes cast. McKinney lost the primary election runoff 59 percent to 41 percent to Johnson on August 8, 2006: Hank Johnson 41,178 59% Cynthia McKinney 28,832 41%.

Rep. Cynthia McKinney has been featured in a full-length motion picture titled "American Blackout," directed by Ian Inaba and produced by Anastasia King. A release date for the film, which chronicles McKinney's defeat in 2002 and comeback election in 2004, as well as voter irregularities in the Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 Presidental Eletions, has not yet been set. Yet the film was shown at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Prize. The film was awarded Best Documentary at the 2006 Cinequest Film Festival, held in San Jose, California.

On April 14, 2006, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was in Florida for the Sarasota Film Festival, where "American Blackout" was being shown in the competition for Best Documentary. During her visit she received the key to the city of Sarasota, FL and was doubly honored when the City named April 8th as “Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney Day” in Sarasota. McKinney was present for a screening of the film “American Blackout,” which documents her experiences of being defeated and re-elected.

On June 14, 2000, Rep. McKinney was honored when part of Memorial Drive, a major thoroughfare running through the Fourth Congressional District, was renamed "Cynthia McKinney Parkway." Memorial Drive leads from south Atlanta to the Confederate-inscribed Stone Mountain. With its giant carvings of Confederate heroes, Stone Mountain was the same site where the Georgia Ku Klux Klan met and organized back in the 1930's. More than two hundred supporters, public officials and community leaders gathered in ninety-degree weather to witness the re-dedication ceremony. Her father had previously been honored when a portion of Interstate 285 in Atlanta was dedicated as "Billy McKinney Parkway."

In 2002, McKinney was defeated in the Democratic primary by DeKalb County judge Denise Majette. Majette garnered 58% of the vote to McKinney's 42%.

McKinney protested the result in court, claiming that thousands of Republicans had participated in the Democratic primary to vote against McKinney in revenge for her anti-Bush administration views and allegations of possible voter fraud in Florida in the 2000 Presidential Election. Like twenty other states, Georgia operates an open primary; voters do not claim a political party when they register to vote, and may participate in whichever party's primary election they choose. Thus, relying on the Supreme Court's decision in California Democratic Party v. Jones, which had held that California's blanket primary violated the First Amendment (despite the fact that the Court explicitly differentiated - albeit in dicta - the blanket primary from the open primary in Jones), on McKinney's behalf, five voters claimed that the open primary system was unconstitutional, operating in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the associational right protected by the First Amendment, and various statutory rights protected by §2 of the Voting Rights Act. The district court dismissed the case, noting that the plaintiffs had presented no evidence in support of the Equal Protection and VRA claims, and lacked standing to bring the First Amendment claim. It interpreted the Supreme Court's Jones ruling to hold that the right to association involved in a dispute over a primary - and thus, standing to sue - belongs to a political party, not an individual voter. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this result (Osburn v. Cox, 369 F.3d 1283 (2004)) in May 2004, noting that not only were the plaintiffs' claims meritless, but the remedy they requested would likely be unconstitutional under the Supreme Court's decision in Tashjian v. Republican Party of Connecticut. On October 18, 2004, the Supreme Court brought an end to the litigation, denying certiorari without comment (Osburn v. Georgia, 04-217) (cert denied, 541 U.S. __).

# McKinney protested the result in court, claiming that Republicans in the mostly-Democratic district had participated in the Democratic primary to vote against McKinney in revenge for her anti-Bush administration views and implied voter fraud.

# McKinney's controversial statements regarding 9/11 may have possibly led to her primary defeat.

# Futhermore, McKinney's reported support of Palestinian causes and her condemnation of human rights abuses against Palestians by Israel also drew the ire of pro-Israel lobbying groups, who donated money to Majette during the primary. On the night before the primary election, McKinney's father stated on Atlanta television that "Jews have bought everyone... J-E-W-S" in the election, presumably referring to AIPAC involvement in orchestrating the "erase Cynthia" campaign. However, one authority has claimed that Majette's contributors were primarily individuals and PACs affiliated with big business and other special interests that surpassed that of the 'pro-Israel' groups."

# Others have argued that fabricated quotes that was circualated in Washington Post, National Public Radio other metropolitan dailies had a part in the defeat.

Cynthia McKinney wrote in CounterPunch on sep 13 2002 that Judge Joe Brown told them unequivocally that the so-called murder rifle was NOT the weapon that killed Dr. King .

Cynthia McKinney traveled widely as a public speaker during her term out of office.

Throughout 2003 and 2004, McKinney toured America and much of Europe speaking of her defeat, her opposition to the Iraq War, and the Bush administration. She made no secret that she wanted her old congressional seat back.

In a January 2004 issue of Jet magazine, McKinney said that the "white, rich Democratic boys club wanted her to stay in the back of the bus."

On September 9th, 2004, McKinney participated as a Commissioner in the The Citizens' Commission on 9-11. On Oct. 26, 2004, she was among 100 prominent Americans and 40 family members of those killed on 9/11 the signed the 9/11 Truth Movement statement calling for new investigations of what they perceived as unexplained aspects of the 9/11 events including allegations of failure of US intelligence to act on warnings of upcoming attacks, the breakdown of military air defense, and omissions and distortions in the official investigations.

Rep. Denise Majette declined to run for reelection to the House, opting instead to become a candidate to replace retiring Senator Zell Miller, a conservative Democrat. It is not known whether Majette's Senate run was related to the possibility of a rematch against McKinney. McKinney instantly became the favorite in the Democratic primary. Since it was taken for granted that whoever won the Democratic primary would be the district's next congressman, McKinney's opponents focused on clearing the field for a single candidate who could force her into a runoff election. They apparently hoped in the interim to drive up McKinney's negatives enough to make it easier to defeat her in the runoff.

However, their efforts were unsuccessful, and five candidates entered the Democratic primary. As a result of the fragmented primary opposition, McKinney won just enough votes to avoid a runoff. This all but assured her return to Congress after a two-year absence. However, the House Democratic Caucus did not restore her seniority. If her seniority and her seat on the International Relations Committee had been restored by the House Democratic Caucus, McKinney would have been a senior Democrat. The seat of the Ranking Democrat on the International Relations Committee is currently held by the hawkishly pro-Israel Rep. Tom Lantos, who also chairs the Human Rights Caucus.

McKinney hosted the first delegation of Afro-Latinos from Central and South America and worked with the World Bank and the U.S. State Department to recognize Afro-Latinos. She stood with Aboriginals against Australian mining companies; and with the U'wa people of Colombia in their fight to save their sacred land from oil rigs.

Although speculation suggested that she was considering a run as the Green Party's nominee for the 2004 presidential election, McKinney declined in January 2004 to focus on regaining her congressional seat.

Initially, McKinney kept a low profile upon her return to Congress. However, on July 22, 2005, the first anniversary of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, McKinney held a well-attended congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to address outstanding issues regarding the September 11, 2001, attacks. The day-long briefing featured family members of victims, scholars, former intelligence officers and others who critiqued the 9/11 Commission account of 9/11 and its recommendations. The four morning panels purported to address flaws, omissions, and the lack of historical and political analysis in the commission's report. Three afternoon panels critiqued the commission's recommendations in the areas of foreign and domestic policy, and intelligence reform. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial maintained that the purpose of the event was to discuss whether or not the Bush administration was involved in the 9/11 attacks, expressing surprise that McKinney was once again taking on the issue which was widely believed to have been the one that cost her her House seat. The Journal-Constitution refused to publish McKinney's reply.

McKinney's interest in 9/11 relates specifically to what she expresses as her opposition to excessive government secrecy. She has submitted to Congress two versions of the same bill, the "MLK Records Act" (one in 2003, the other in 2005,) which, if signed into law, would release all currently sealed files concerning the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. These records were sealed in 1978 and are not due to be declassified until the year 2028. Likewise, the 9/11 Commission has sealed all the notes and transcripts of some 2,000 interviews, all the forensic evidence, and both classified and non-classified documents used in compiling its final report until January, 2009. Documents relating to the death of rapper Tupac Shakur, which McKinney has taken an active interest in, would be released under another bill introduced by Rep. McKinney. In a statement, McKinney explained her reason for the bill: "The public has the right to know because he was a well-known figure. There is intense public interest in the life and death of Tupac Shakur.” Critics assert she is merely pandering to her power base. Others point out that legislation demanding release of records is a more direct route than the tedious process and limited scope of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

McKinney has been an advocate for victims of Hurricane Katrina and a critic of the government's response. Over 100,000 evacuees from New Orleans and Mississippi have moved to the Atlanta area, and many have settled there.

Despite the Democratic Party leadership's call for a boycott, McKinney was an active participant in the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina. She sat as a guest along with only a few other Democrats. In questioning Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, McKinney referred to a news story in which the owners of a nursing home were charged with negligent homicide for abandoning 34 clients who died in the flood waters. McKinney asked Chertoff: "Mr. Secretary, if the nursing home owners are arrested for negligent homicide, why shouldn't you also be arrested for negligent homicide?"

During the Katrina crisis, thousands of fleeing evacuees were turned away by the Gretna Police when they attempted to cross the Crescent City Connection Bridge between New Orleans and Gretna, Louisiana. In retaliation, McKinney introduced a bill HR 4209, on November 2, 2005, that would temporarily deny federal assistance to the City of Gretna Police Department, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, and the Crescent City Connection Division Police Department, in the state of Louisiana.

The Congressional Black Caucus' Omnibus Bill (HR 4197) was introduced on November 2, 2005 to provide a comprehensive response to the Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Katrina. The second title of the bill was submitted by McKinney, and seeks a Comprehensive Environmental Sampling and Toxicity Assessment Plan, or CESTAP, to minimize harm to Gulf Coast residents from the toxic releases into the environment caused by the hurricane.

At the request of McKinney, the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, chaired by Thomas M. Davis held a previously unscheduled hearing titled "Voices Inside the Storm" on December 6, 2005.

More recently, Rep. McKinney along with Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), produced a "Katrina Legislative Summary," a chart summarizing House and Senate bills on Hurricane Katrina. On June 13, 2006, McKinney pointed out on the House Floor that only a dozen of the 176 Katrina bills identified on the chart had passed into law, leaving 163 bills stalled in committee.

Until 2000, McKinney served on the House International Relations Committee, where she was the highest-ranking Democrat on the Human Rights Subcommittee. McKinney felt that it was important that US policy reflect a deep respect for human rights, so she worked on legislation to stop conventional weapons transfers to governments which are undemocratic or fail to respect human rights. Her legislation to end the mining of coltan in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was mentioned in the United Nations Security Council's "Special Report on Ituri," January 2002-December 2003.

On November 18, 2005, McKinney was one of only 3 (out of 406) to vote for H.R. 571, introduced by House Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, on which McKinney sits. Hunter, a Republican, offered this resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq in place of John Murtha's H.J.Res. 73, which called for redeployment "at the earliest possible date." In her prepared statement, McKinney accused the Republicans of "trying to set a trap for the Democrats. A 'no' vote for this Resolution will obscure the fact that there is strong support for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq ... In voting for this bill, let me be perfectly clear that I am not saying the United States should exit Iraq without a plan. I agree with Mr. Murtha that security and stability in Iraq should be pursued through diplomacy. I simply want to vote yes to an orderly withdrawal from Iraq."

Rep. McKinney is a co-sponsor of Rep. John Conyers's H.R. 635, which would create a Select Committee to look into potential grounds for the impeachment of President Bush. On January 20th, 2006, she also signed a statement by the group The World Can't Wait called Drive Out the Bush Regime.

On December 19, 2005 HR 2077, a bill to establish the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area in Georgia and provide a management plan for the Area passed the House and was referred to the senate. The same bill had been introduced with near identical languaage as H.R. 2297. The bill was first introduced in 2001. Under the bill, the use of federal funds to acquire land or an interest in the land of the Area is prohibited.

More recently, McKinney sponsored H.R. 4279, which would rename the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building after Frank Church, and H.R.4968, "To provide for the expeditious disclosure of records relevant to the life and death of Tupac Amaru Shakur."

On the morning of March 29, 2006, McKinney entered the Longworth House Office Building's Southeast entrance and proceeded past the check point, walking around the metal detector. Members of Congress have identifying lapel pins and are not required to pass through metal detectors. The officers present failed to recognize her as a Member of Congress because she was not wearing the appropriate identification. She proceeded westward down the ground floor hallway, and about half way down the hallway was grabbed by United States Capitol Police officer Paul McKenna, who states that he had been calling after her "Ma'am, Ma'am!"

There is a history of incidents involving the United States Capitol Police officers' failure to recognize Rep. McKinney. In 1993, when a U.S. Capitol Police officer had failed to recognize Rep. McKinney at a House office building entryway and a disagreement ensued, a picture of Rep. McKinney was posted at House office building check points for all officers.

Another incident involved a complaint that White House security officials mistook Rep. McKinney's 23-year-old white aide for a Congresswoman and Rep. McKinney as the aide.

Officer McKenna did not arrest Rep. McKinney on the spot. Rather, he later filed a police report. The following is his exact statement, with C-1 referring to himself and S-1 to Rep. McKinney:

"On 3-29-06, at approximately 0855 hrs. C-1 while performing his official duties as United States Capitol Police Officer and in full uniform, stated that he was physically assaulted by S-1. S-1 struck C-1 in his chest with a closed fist."

The police report itself states that she struck him "with a closed fist," with no mention of a cell phone.

Since the altercation took place half way down the hall, the only thing the security cameras at the check point could have captured is Rep. McKinney walking past the metal detector and turning left down the hall and off camera, and the subsequent pursuit by Officer McKenna. Thus while initial media reports claimed that the altercation was captured on security camera, U.S. Capitol Police later clarified that it was not.

McKinney was criticized in the media for failing to wear her pin on the morning of March 29, 2006, with critics charging that her failure to do so led to the confrontation. Many other Members do not wear the pin, even after the whole McKinney-McKenna affair. A July 5, 2006 article in The Hill titled "Pinpoint: After McKinney, many lawmakers still dress without their congressional pins" noted "no discernable pattern" in the decision by Members of Congress regarding the wearing of the Congressional Pin. Notably, House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) went on record that he was "not a pin-wearing guy." Another Republican Member, Sherwood Boehlert (NY) explained his reason for not wearing a pin, stating "I know who I am." Democratic Member George Miller (CA) said "I've never worn one. I have enough trouble combing my hair in the morning."

McKinney admitted that she was not wearing her pin that morning, but opined that the police responsible for protecting lawmakers should recognize the 435 members of Congress on sight and claimed to have shown her Congressional identification badge. This basic fact of the incident was not disputed even in sympathetic news pieces. (see, e.g., A. Jabari, McKinney's Hair & Affair, in The Washington Post, 4/10/06).

Initially defiant, McKinney made a brief statement on her own behalf at Howard University on March 31: "Let me be clear: this whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman. I deeply regret this incident occurred, and I am certain that after a full review of the facts, I will be exonerated."

However, McKinney garnered little support even among fellow Democrats. Not one Congressional Democrat chose to join her at a news conference to discuss the situation at Howard University, although Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton sent a supportive statement to be read at the event. Initially stating on March 31st that "wouldn't make a big deal" out of the incident, Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) later said on April 5 that she found "it hard to see any set of facts that would justify striking a police officer," and McKinney's fellow Georgia Democrat, Rep. John Lewis, told McKinney that "she needs to lower the temperature and stop holding press conferences." Outside of Capitol Hill, the Sarasota Democratic Party withdrew from a rally at which McKinney was due to speak.

Rep. McKinney declined to discuss the details of the altercation in subsequent media interviews. She has not formally shared her side of the altercation with the public, including: 1) whether she had heard the officer calling after her, or if so, knew that she was the "Ma'am" being called; 2) whether she was aware that an officer of the law was grabbing her, and therefore, assuming she swung her arm in a retaliatory motion: 3) whether she was aware that she was striking an officer of the law; and also: 4) the amount of force behind the alleged blow. The basic facts of the event, aside from Rep. McKinney's failure to wear her pin, thus remain in dispute.

The story was picked up by many blogs and internet opinion sites with overwhelming rebuke for McKinney coming from conservatives, and even liberal-leaning sources offering negative portrayals of Rep. McKinney, as on the comedy show Saturday Night Live, which lampooned her repeatedly on their 4/8/06 show for "playing the race card." On April 3, former Wonkette editor Ana Marie Cox, interviewed on Joe Scarborough's MSNBC show Scarborough Country, said that "I worry that she [McKinney] makes us [Democrats] all look a little crazy." Within a few days of the first reports, McKinney had been variously described as a "crazy bitch", "race baiter", "freak", etc. Some columns even went so far as to analyze her hairstyle in a negative light and question the quick participation of Harry Belafonte, who is generally regarded as a political polarizing agent and also the recipient of frequent negative commentary due to his public statements.

Reacting to the sudden rise in stakes reflected by the potential for criminal indictment, McKinney's attorney, James Myart, spoke in a March 31 news conference, suggesting that the officer involved be criminally investigated for accosting ("inappropriately touching") the congresswoman. This charge was not taken seriously by most commentators and media outlets. Myart went on to say the case typified a pattern of police harassment of black Americans: "my belief is this is no different than that: 'they all look alike'. On April 25, 2006, CNN reported that one of Rep. McKinney's lawyers was no longer representing her, that lawyer being Myart. Recently retired U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer rejected Myart's charge in an interview with CNN:

"I've seen our officers stop white members and black members, Latinos, male and females . . . It's not an issue about what your race or gender is. It's an issue about making sure people who come into our building are recognized if they're not going through the magnetometer, and this officer at that moment didn't recognize her . . . It would have been real easy, as most members of Congress do, to say here's who I am or do you know who I am?"

While the reporting in the Media has widely interpreted Rep. McKinney's claims of being the victim of racial profiling as meaning that Capitol Police intentionally stopped her simply because she was black; she has never on record made this specific claim. She has repeatedly stressed that in her view the incident arose from the police failure to recognize her face, suggesting that in her view the above-mentioned pattern of incidents in which Capitol Police failed to recognize her as a Member of Congress had to do with a general tendency by police in the United States to engage in racial profiling of blacks, where blacks are stereotyped as more likely to commit crime than other groups in society, and therefore tend to handle blacks more roughly.

On April 6, 2006, after the grand jury was convened to investigate, the Associated Press reported that McKinney had expressed "sincere regret" for the altercation and offered an apology to the House. "There should not have been any physical contact in this incident," McKinney said in a one-minute statement on the House floor, surrounded by Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus. What McKinney called a "misunderstanding" on April 6, she had labeled "racial profiling" and "inappropriate touching" a day earlier. For nearly a week, she and her lawyers had insisted she had been assaulted and had done nothing wrong. Various commentators, including the Wall Street Journal questioned the sincerity of the apology, noting, inter alia, its careful wording, the lack of admission of culpability, and the absence of an apology specifically to the Capitol Police.

News reports variously suggested that the police officer as an individual or the capitol police as a whole were planning to file assault charges. On April 3, 2006, Assistant U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips announced that Capitol Police had referred the incident to his office for further investigation. On April 5, the Associated Press reported that the case might be referred to a federal grand jury. A sitting Grand Jury was subsequently presented with McKenna's charge of assault of a police oficer. Six witnesses were called by the U.S. Attorney's office.

On June 16, 2006, the grand jury declined to indict Rep. McKinney, returning a ruling of "ignoramus," meaning that the Grand Jury found insufficient grounds to proceed and chose to ignore the whole affair. Under 18 U.S.C. §111(a), McKinney faced a fine or not more than one year in jail if convicted of assaulting an "officer or employee of the United States".

Article I, section 6 of the United States Constitution prevents the arrest of a member of Congress "except [for] treason, felony and breach of the peace . . . during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same;" while this does not prevent the charge and arrest of a member of Congress for a crime committed during the session, it does preclude their arrest for such a crime for the duration of the session during which the crime was committed. This would have delayed criminal proceedings until Congress next adjourned; although the grand jury could have indicted McKinney while Congress was in session, that warrant could not have been served until Congress was adjourned.

It has been suggested that McKinney's allegations of racism and sexism were overplayed on her part and have had a boomerang effect. Rep. McKinney's supporters argue that the reporting of the incident presumed her guilty until proven innocent, that the her conservative opponents overplayed their hand by attacking her in such vicious terms (on March 31, right-wing radio host Neal Boortz said McKinney "looks like a "Ghetto slut").

Though not indicted for criminal charges or subjected to disciplinary action by the House, McKinney may face a civil suit. The president of the Fraternal Order of Police has advocated the filing of a civil suit by Officer McKenna.

In August of 2006, an anonymous interview with four African American Capitol Police officers conducted by Ian Inaba, the director of the film American Blackout featuring Rep. McKinney, was posted on the internet. In the film, the officers' images are in shadow and their voices disguised to protect their identity.

In the video the officers complain of being treated like second-class citizens on the force, which is one reason why they hired an attorney to demand action against the General Counsel, who was accused of using the N-word against a cab driver. Rep. McKinney had called for the General Counsel's termination. The officers suggest this is why McKinney was targeted. They challenge McKenna's story of being assaulted on several points: 1) "We are all are required to recognize Members of Congress. We go through member recognition programs." 2) White officers frequently challenge African American Members of Congress. "We don’t see them challenging white Members of Congress." 3) Prior to March 29th, a picture was "sent it out to all the details and give it to all the officers, saying 'Look, this is Congresswoman McKinney... This is how she looks so don’t stop her.', and [yet] she keeps getting stopped." 4) Cynthia McKinney was not even a new member of Congress, she was in her sixth term. 5) "If this woman, this black female who was not recognized at the time as a Member of Congress assaulted the officer, the officer should have arrested her on the spot. come back ....two days later and bring charges leads me to believe that this is…it’s internal..." 6) "...the General Counsel has the responsibility of advising his police officers who to prosecute. That General Counsel is still in office. That’s General Counsel John Caulfield. So here you have a Congresswoman who demanded, not requested, demanded the General Councilman’s termination now being [charged]." 7) "I had heard a white officer say... 'She come through this door, I’m gonna lock her up.' They were cheering about it like it’s a big trophy."

In the wake of the March 29th incident, Rep. McKinney was still very much "in the news" and her office invited the media to attend one of her monthly "District Days," where she spends one full day meeting with constituents to discuss issues of concern. At her April 23, 2006 "District Days" event, Rep. McKinney was being interviewed by WGCL's Renee Starzyk, who rather than asking questions about District Days as McKinney would have liked, repeatedly questioned her about the March 29th scuffle with a Capitol Police officer. Frustrated, McKinney stood up, and forgot she was still wearing the microphone. Her off screen comments were captured on tape. She was heard saying, "Oh crap, now you know what... they lied to Coz and Coz is a fool." She was referring to one of her aides, Coz Carson. McKinney realized the embarrassing mistake and returned on screen with the microphone, this time with instructions on what parts of the interview CBS 46 was allowed to use, "anything that is captured by your audio...that is captured while I'm not seated in this chair is off the record and is not permissible to be used... is that understood?" Her comments were aired on CBS and eventually across the nation: CNN video Link to video: McKinney Caught On-Air Blasting Aide.

In a 2002 interview on Pacifica Radio McKinney questioned the Bush administration's possible prior knowledge of the September 11, 2001 attacks:

We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11... Those engaged in unusual stock trades immediately before September 11 knew enough to make millions of dollars from United and American airlines, certain insurance and brokerage firms' stocks. What did the Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?

— "Flashpoints" with Dennis Bernstein, KFPA Pacifica Radio

These remarks provoked criticism, and many Democrats distanced themselves from McKinney's statements. On April 12, 2002, McKinney issued a statement saying that "I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal this to be the case."

In a controversial remark, McKinney said that on September 13, 2002, Judge Joe Brown had stated unequivocally that the purported murder rifle was not the weapon that killed Dr. Martin Luther King.

On October 12, 2001 (approximately the one-month anniversary of the September 11 attacks), McKinney sent a letter to Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal that was highly critical of the way Israel responds to terrorist attacks, and not at all critical of the terrorist attacks upon Israel. McKinny's supporters say the letter was appropriate; her critics describe it as "fawning" and "disgraceful."

During the 2000 presidential campaign, McKinney wrote that "Al Gore's Negro tolerance level has never been too high. I've never known him to have more than one black person around him at any given time." The Gore campaign pointed out however that his campaign manager was black.

Ms. McKinney finished first in the July 18, 2006 Primary Election, edging Hank Johnson 47.1% to 44.4%. McKinney lost the primary election runoff 59 percent to 41 percent to Johnson on August 8, 2006: Hank Johnson 41,178 59% Cynthia McKinney 28,832 41%.

Hank Johnson portrayed himself as a reasonable, Democratic alternative to McKinney. On December 21, 2005, he commented during the initial press conference announcing his campaign for Congress that "The Fourth District faces serious problems of traffic and transportation, public safety, healthcare and education. I'm a nuts-and-bolts public servant. My record speaks for itself. I am committed to getting results for those that made me their County Commissioner. I will bring that same approach to representing the District in the 110th Congress." Johnson wants to be seen as able to get along with people. Johnson told a reporter for USA Today, "I'm going to be an effective legislator," he says. "I'm not going to be a divisive one."

The primary election runoff became a fairly negative campaign. McKinney criticized Johnson from receiving $16,000 of donations from Republicans. Johnson responded that he is a "lifelong Democrat" and that the money McKinney has criticized is small compared to the $130,000 in donations he took in before the primary vote. Johnson pointed out that McKinney has received large donations from out of state donors from New York and Los Angeles and most of his support has come from in the district.

Johnson also raised questions about McKinney's controversial confrontation with a U.S. Capitol police officer. During the second debate on August 5, 2006, Johnson pointed to the Capitol Hill incident as an example of what he has called McKinney's embarrassing leadership in office. Johnson also raised questions about McKinney missing votes in Congress. He specifically asked about when she missed a vote to extend the National Voting Rights Act of 1965: "If the Voting Rights Act is not important enough for you to show up, then what is important enough for you to show up?" A reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution commented upon the presence of Johnson and McKinney in the second debate and he believed Johnson showed confidence and knowledge of the issues and that McKinney "seemed rattled and frustrated at times." And that she "refused to directly answer some questions from the panel."

Based upon historical results in Georgia runoff elections, many experts in Georgia politics believed that Johnson was the favorite to win the runoff election. University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock stated that McKinney would probably lose because historically most incumbents forced into a runoff in Georgia do. "There is blood in the water and the sharks are circling," Bullock concluded. Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University in Atlanta, expressed a similar sentiment, "An incumbent who is forced into a runoff is a serious sign of weakness. Johnson’s vote will go up, he’ll raise a lot of money, and the momentum has gone over to Johnson.

In the primary election, McKinney raised more money for the campaign than Johnson. McKinney reported $282,000 in total receipts in comparison to the $170,000 that Johnson reported. After the primary, Johnson doubled his contributions, raising nearly three times that of McKinney.

During her concession speech, McKinney praised leaders in Cuba and Venezuela and blamed the media and electronic voting machines for her defeat.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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