Last month, the Washington Free Beacon reported on New Jersey Democrat Representative Tom Malinowski’s role as a top lobbyist for Human Rights Watch when they were fighting against the 2006 Omnibus Crime Bill, which enhanced the national sex offender registry.
The topic came up in a recent debate against his Republican opponent, Tom Kean, Jr, who is fighting against him for the state’s District 7 seat. It was also the subject of a campaign ad pointing out how Malinowski “tried to make it easier for predators to hide in the shadows.” The ad mentioned that Malinowski’s two decades in Washington made him “dangerously radical.”
The Congressional Record shows that Human Rights Watch urged Congress to vote against the crime bill. One of the issues they cited were provisions that required sex offenders to be registered for life. Another aspect they found fault with was the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences as well as expanding the federal death penalty.
According to the group, there was “no legitimate community safety justification for the provisions in this legislation that require offenders to register for the rest of their lives, regardless of whether they have lived offense free for decades.”
They added that these requirements could open people up to retaliation and discrimination and would make it hard for them to get jobs and housing. Human Rights Watch issued a report the following year stating that sex offender laws “may do more harm than good.”
The group wrote: “Unfettered public access to online sex-offender registries with no ‘need-to-know’ restrictions exposes former offenders to the risk that individuals will act on this information in irresponsible and even unlawful ways,” adding that there was not a lot of evidence that community notification can prevent sexual violence.
Malinowski says he didn’t participate, even though his name was on the report
Malinowski has tried to distance himself from the matter, claiming that his name appeared on the report as a formality and that he played no role in the lobbying. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jennifer Daskal, who worked with him at Human Rights Watch, has said that she was the one who handled the crime bill and that he worked on foreign policy issues, saying “It was a long time ago, but I have no recollection of him being involved.”
However, as the group’s Washington director and chief advocate, many are finding that claim hard to believe.
Kean said: “He was the top lobbyist for the organization, and they advocate against protecting children, so either he was weak (or) he didn’t try to stop it.”
“The real question is how in the world can you work for an organization that advocated against protecting children,” he added.
Kean asked why Malinowski didn’t stop the group from pursuing this, adding that the organization recommended endangering children.
Not surprisingly, Malinowski has earned the endorsement of Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden, who praised him for his work on healthcare and taxes. In response, Malinowski said he was “humbled” by the endorsement. He served with Biden during the Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
Malinowski was the first among the New Jersey congressional delegation to endorse Biden in the Democratic Primary.
Sources for this article include: