Friday, July 29, 2011

Was Senator Barack Obama "close" to a Chicago nonprofit that's now under state & federal investigations? I've asked the White House.

UPDATE: On August 7, I received an e-mail from Deputy White House Press Secretary Jamie Smith informing me that she was checking on my inquiry (copied below) and would get back to me ASAP.

Last month, the Huffington Post published Save A Life Foundation Connection Delays (Gery Chico's) Appointment To State Board Of Ed by staff reporter Will Guzzardi that included:
(Chico) wasn't the only one to support SALF: politicians as formidable as Barack Obama and Arne Duncan were close to the group.
Arne Duncan & Carol Spizzirri, 9/2/06 (source)

Per my web page, for years Duncan was indeed close to SALF.

Reportedly he even called SALF founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri "one of my heroes."

Based on the information published last November in the San Diego Reader, you'd think Duncan, now US Secretary of Education, might have set the bar higher.
Spizzirri was a darling of politicians and bureaucrats, although it was a matter of record that she had been convicted twice for shoplifting.
...(It) wasn’t until November of 2006 that ABC 7 News in Chicago, in the first of several broadcasts, exposed more of Spizzirri’s untruthful statements. She had told the station that she was a registered nurse. But the station reported that the institution from which she had claimed to receive her nursing degree had never given her one. A hospital in which she had claimed to be a transplant nurse said she had been a patient care assistant, which is akin to a candy striper.
After the announcer challenged her on the assertion that the accident was a hit-and-run, she walked out of the interview.
Here's that exit scene - take note of the man who leads her off camera.

What about Barack Obama? Was he "close" to SALF, which is reportedly under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General and apparently also by at least one federal agency?

To my knowledge, such a claim is unsupported by the record.

In the HuffPo article, clicking the link attached to his name takes you to this web page from SALF's now-defunct site.

Not much here except some hype about a phone call between Spizzirri and US Senator Obama, and this:
While in the Illinois legislature together, Obama and current Illinois Senate President Emil Jones were always supportive of SALF’s efforts to train Illinois schoolchildren in life-sustaining skills for free.
That's true about Sen. Jones (now retired), who's been called Obama's political "godfather."

For example, on its 2004 & 2005 IRS filings, SALF identified Jones as being on their board.

But that's Senator Jones, not his pupil.

Without question, the most intriguing (and potentially damning) allegation originates from Annabel Melongo, a former SALF employee who since April 2010 has been imprisoned in Cook County Jail on a $300,000 bond.

Annabel Melongo

The charge? Two counts of eavesdropping.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez - who, as reported by the NY Times, has a history of abusive prosecutions using the same dubious law - alleges Melongo committed the heinous act of uploading recordings of two mundane phone calls she had with a court clerk to her now-defunct website.

Tax watchdogs and political opponents may also start adding up the megabucks the spendthrift Alvarez and her co-operative judges are costing county taxpayers in pursuit of such pointless prosecutions.

To the discredit of Chicago media, Melongo's story has gone unreported except by a few bloggers, one of whom received a July 6, 2010 letter in which she wrote:
In my subpoenas, there was no direct email between Obama and Carol Spizzirri. However there’s a manager, Vince Davis, who told employees, through an email, about Obama sponsoring a bill to fuel $10 million or so, I don’t recall the exact amount, to the organization. That was the only and first time I ever saw Obama’s name mentioned in the SALF saga. The email in question was sent in response to employees panicking in the wake of the November 16, 2006 ABC investigative report.
If that turns to be true, then it’s a big story in itself.
Indeed. But I've twice asked Melongo to provide me with a copy of the alleged e-mail and twice she's refused.

In an attempt to separate fact from rumor, this week I tried to obtain some answers.

Kori Schulman

On Monday I phoned the White House switchboard, identified myself as a blogger and was steered to a woman named Kori Schulman. We had a pleasant chat during which she explained that my inquiry didn't fall into her job responsibility, but she courteously offered to forward my e-mail to an appropriate staffer in the White House press office.

My e-mail's copied below. In a future post, I'll let you know what happens.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to ask Vince Davis for a copy of the alleged $10 million e-mail, here's his LinkedIn page.

Vince Davis

If Davis looks familiar, it may be because he's the guy who interrupted the ABC7 interview with Carol Spizzirri and escorted her off camera.

my 7/25/11 inquiry to the White House re: Barack Obama's relationship to the Save-A-Life Foundation

7/6/10 letter to blogger from inmate Annabel Melongo re: Save-A-Life Foundation, IL politicians, etc.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Any Illinois voters want to help me try to get answers from US Senator Dick Durbin? (An experiment in interactive journalism)

"When (Save-A-Life Foundation founder/president Carol Spizzirri) came in and sat down with me and told this story to me face to face, I was with her and decided I would do everything I could to help her" - Dick Durbin in a 1995 CNN interview (video posted below)

More recently, Senator Durbin's office seems to be doing everything it can to avoid telling the truth about his relationship with Spizzirri and her Chicago-area nonprofit that's now under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General and apparently by at least one federal agency.

In the interests of obtaining more information, I have an idea for an interesting, perhaps even fun, experiment.

It requires the participation of one or more registered Illinois voters. Here's the deal....

Earlier this month I reported that the senator's press secretary, Christina Mulka, provided a variety of false information to a Texas blogger about her boss's relationship with the Save-A-Life Foundation, a Chicago-area nonprofit now under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General.
After running that item, I e-mailed Ms. Mulka and asked her to confirm or deny two claims made by SALF, this one for a fundraiser....

...and this from a list of members of SALF's corporate board that was part of a year 2000 grant application for $50,000 that was submitted by SALF to an Illinois state agency (which approved the request):

I didn't receive a reply so a week later, I sent Ms. Mulka a follow-up that included:
According to this February 17, 2011 Huffington Post article by Will Guzzardi, SALF claimed former president of the Chicago Board of Education Gery Chico was on the board of their organization, but Mr. Chico denied the claim. Two days later I provided the information in Mr. Guzzardi's article to the CTB (the Illinois Attorney General's Charitaible Trust Bureau) in this letter.

Similarly, I'm trying to determine if the two claims published by SALF about Senator Durbin that I brought to your attention - that in year 2000 he was a member of SALF's Advisory Council and/or was Honorary Chairman of SALF's Annual Dinner Dance fund raising event - are accurate or not. Your answers could assist the CTB in their efforts to determine whether any irregularities have occurred.
No response to that either.

From Guzzardi's HuffPo article:
According to Maura Possley, the deputy press secretary for the Illinois Attorney General's Office, a nonprofit misrepresenting the makeup of its board of directors in an annual report would be perjury, a Class 3 felony.
Color me naive, but shouldn't a US senator want to assist an investigation by his home state?

But it's more than a lack of co-operation in this case.

Based on numerous inquiries I and others have sent to his office, Sen. Durbin doesn't seem interested in finding out if the nearly nine million in Illinois and federal tax dollars awarded to SALF did, in fact, provide in-class first aid training to "2 million children...many of them from the Chicago Public Schools" which is what SALF founder/president Carol Spizzirri told the Tribune a couple years ago.

Color me skeptical, but since the Chicago Schools apparently have no training records, isn't that claim iffy? A generation of students supposedly participated in the program, but there are no records?

As for Sen. Durbin's ten-year relationship with SALF, his press secretary may not be intentionally engaging in misdirection, but she's doing a boffo job of creating that impression.

For example, in an e-mail last year Ms. Mulka repeatedly indicated that Durbin's only contact with SALF was in 1995 and that: 
(He) never worked to appropriated (sic) funding for the organization.

A year later most of the loot he requested came through:

If you're the type who prefers to let sleeping dogs lie or doesn't care what happened to the millions of tax dollars awarded to SALF, no need read any further.

However, if you're not that type and may be up for a little experiment in participatory journalism, here's what I've got in mind.

Since Sen. Durbin won't answer me, maybe he'll answer a constituent.

If you're a registered voter in Illinois, just send this or a similar inquiry to him:
The Honorable Dick Durbin
United States Senate
711 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Durbin:

I'm a constituent who'd appreciate your answers to the following questions:

1) Were you ever a member of the Save-A-Life Foundation's Advisory Council? If so, during what years?

2) Did you serve as the Honorary Chairman of the Save-A-Life Foundation's Annual Dinner Dance in year 2000?

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your reply.
Click here to e-mail him via Ms. Mulka or send it via the Senator's website.

Feel free to courtesy-copy me on your inquiry and let me know the response. I'll publish the results (or non-results) in a future item. Click here for my e-mail address.

Am I asking readers to do my work for me? You betcha. But only because I hit the stonewall.

I'm also interested in learning what happens with this message in a bottle I'm sending into cyberspace. I've never done anything like this and I don't know if any other blogger or reporter has.

Will it generate newsworthy results or bupkis? Dunno, but that uncertainty is one reason why I think it's fun and worth a try.

Also, don't all good citizens share the belief that our elected officials should be accountable? Here's a painless opportunity to see what happens when you try with one of the our nation's most prominent public servants.

Okay, that's enough from me.

Illinois, the ball's in your court.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dr. Pippin leads charge to protect Washington ferrets, but continues to turn a blind eye to notorious Heimlich atrocity experiments on AIDS, cancer, Lyme patients

Last month I reported how Dr. John J. Pippin helped protect ferrets at a Cincinnati Hospital, but ignores atrocity experiments on US and foreign nationals conducted by the nearby Heimlich Institute.

This week he and his deep-pockets animal rights organization redoubled their efforts in the Great Northwest:
Invasive ferret use in the University of Washington’s pediatrics residency program violates state law, says the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in a legal complaint filed July 14. PCRM’s complaint calls on the King County prosecuting attorney to halt the school’s live animal use because it violates Washington’s animal cruelty law.
...“The University of Washington’s use of ferrets is inhumane and violates Washington’s anticruelty statute,” says John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., PCRM director of academic affairs.
Dr. Pippin was lead signer of PCRM's pro-ferrett letter this week to the King County prosecutor.

But per the April 8, 2010 LA Weekly, when it comes to protecting human subjects, he and his organization can't be found:
In both its mission statement and its IRS filings, the Washington, D.C.–based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) says it is "strongly opposed to unethical human research."
But the group is throwing a private Hollywood Art of Compassion bash Sunday night to hand out a major award named after Dr. Henry Heimlich, who has been condemned by mainstream medical organizations around the world for his 20-year program of trying to cure cancer and AIDS by injecting people with malaria-infected blood.
...No one involved with the Heimlich Award will explain the contradiction between the PCRM's mission statement and the strange history of the man famous for inventing the Heimlich maneuver.
...Peter Heimlich says his father's malariotherapy research has been denounced as dangerous and irresponsible by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. In 2002 the WHO called malariotherapy "an example of clearly unscrupulous and opportune research." Five years later, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said: "It is scientifically unsound, and I think it would be ethically questionable...and it does have the fundamental potential of killing you."
..."I don't want to discuss the award, or my research," the 90-year-old Heimlich says today...Please contact Dr. Barnard."
Neal Barnard founded PCRM in 1985, and still serves as president of the nonprofit organization, which has a $7.5 million annual budget and 35 paid staff. Barnard frequently appears on TV and radio as an advocate for animal rights in medical research.
Barnard declined repeated requests for comment.
Heimlich has not denied reports in the Cincinnati Beacon, an Internet magazine, that he is trying to resume the so-called malariotherapy experiments....
A few years ago, when Dr. Pippin was presented with detailed information about the Heimlich atrocity experiments, he feigned ignorance and passed the buck to his boss, Dr. Barnard, who, per the LA Weekly, plays ostrich when it comes to the subject:

More about Dr. Pippin's career trajectory from a 2009 article:
A press release issued by Pippin's current employer, the organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, describes Pippin as a "board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, and nuclear cardiology. He has been on several medical school faculties, including Harvard Medical School and the Medical College of Virginia, where he was chosen Cardiology Professor of the Year three times. He has held many clinical, research, and administrative leadership positions, and was the director of cardiovascular medicine and medical imaging at Cooper Clinic in Dallas."

In 2004 he left his position at the Clinic so he could pursue animal activism full time.

"The clinic wanted to put restrictions on things I could do on my own time to work against the use of animals, such as participating in demonstrations," he said.
From the Plano Texas Animal Rights Examiner:
TAP (Texans Exposing Petland) has shown up to protest Petland every Saturday since October, 2008. Dr. Pippin, MD, FACC (also founder of North Texas Animal Rights, or NTAR) was at the Saturday, April 10, 2010 protest to meet and encourage old and new members.
John J. Pippin MD holding "Stop puppy mills sign" at Plano, TX Petland store protest 4/10/10

John J. Pippin MD at San Francisco Petland store protest 10/10/09 (source)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Staten Island first aid columnist goofs, but the paper refuses to publish a correction; six months later, she sneaks in the correct information

There's a persistent myth in the world of first aid that slapping a choking victim on the back is dangerous. The rationale is that doing so supposedly drives food or another obstruction deeper into the airway.

A year after he introduced "the Heimlich maneuver" in 1974, my father began making this claim. He didn't have any evidence, but for the next 30 years, he kept saying it and the media kept reporting it.

Here's the first published example of which I'm aware, a feature by Irene Wright, who, according to, "was a reporter for 25 years with The Cincinnati Enquirer and the newspaper's first female bureau chief."

The efforts to circulate and codify this baloney by my father and a few cronies - one of whom was the US Surgeon General - were successful, at least for a couple of decades.

A few years ago, syndicated columnist Lenore Skenazy nicely summed up the history in a few paragraphs:
I grew up with the belief that back slaps were verboten - the First Aid equivalent of hitting a drowning man on the head with a cement life preserver. Nope, said American Red Cross spokeswoman Pamela King: Back slaps were always part of the protocol - in Europe.

Choke me with a foie gras sandwich. They were? Then how'd they get such a bad rap over here?

Their infamy seems to have been promoted by the guy whose name was not back slap. The guy whose name was (and still is - he's 87) Heimlich.

Back blows are "death blows," Heimlich declared as he lobbied for his own maneuver's acceptance 30 years ago. In 1985, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop endorsed this view, dubbing back slaps "hazardous." After that, only the Heimlich maneuver was considered kosher.
What most people don't realize, said Heimlich's son, Peter Heimlich, is that "Koop was an old friend of my father's and he did it as a buddy favor."
Needless to say, even after a wrong idea is righted, almost inevitably it will continue to find voice.

To wit, How much do you know about emergency first aid? by Gail Larkin, a January 31, 2011 first aid column in the Staten Island Advance that asked readers whether this question was true or false:

Her answer?

Based on my experience, the media doesn't enjoy running corrections, but when good journalists commit errors of fact, they fix 'em pronto.

Brian J. Laline
So I submitted a short corrections request to news editor Brian J. Laline in which I provided documentation from the American Red Cross and American Heart Association, both of which recommend backblows as an effective treatment for choking.

That seemed like sufficient evidence to make the point and I assumed he'd arrange for the paper to run a quick fix.

But you know the saying about what happens when you assume.

Instead of handling what should have been a simple editorial decision, Laline punted my e-mail to Ms. Larkin.

And here my troubles began.

Next came a string of defensive e-mails from Larkin filled with outdated and poorly-sourced information. That struck me as odd because she informed me that she's a paramedic. The first responders I've encountered in my work have unfailingly been sticklers for accuracy and keeping their skills up to date.

But I remained patient and polite and did my best to inform her of the facts, none of which appeared to register. In fact, Larkin seemed resistant to even wanting to understand. For example, in a February 3 e-mail she wrote:
(The) American Heart Association (AHA) continues to discourage instructors from teaching back blows.  
I knew this was false so I suggested she contact the AHA. I even provided her with contact information for Tagni McCrae, the organization's Communications Manager.

A week later, then again a week after that, I sent polite follow-up e-mails to Larkin asking if she'd contacted the AHA. I didn't receive a reply from her. Keep in mind that a month had passed since her column appeared.

It was evident that Larkin didn't intend to follow-through, so I did:

I then forwarded this to Larkin. She remained adamant. No correction was forthcoming.

Ever seen this bumper sticker?

Maybe it applies to me for spending so much of my time on this!

But I'd come this far, so to close the loop, I e-mailed all the details to editor Brian Laline and re-submitted my corrections request.

No response. (No surprise.)

I wouldn't be chewing this over on my blog except for the fact that a few days ago my trusty Google News sent me the latest by Gail Larkin, published Monday by the Advance. It's another "how much do you know?" column entitled Summer accident quiz that includes:

Is it just me or does this seem like a weaselly move? 
More importantly, it's unclear how refusing to correct an obvious error, then trying to clean up the record in a subsequent column, benefits readers.

Much more importantly, if the Advance is unwilling to publish a correction for such a minor yet unambiguous factual error like this one, how are the big goofs being handled?

Not my problem, hooray!     

Finally, I don't understand what Gail Larkin means by "if you are familiar with (backblows)" in her recent column. I mean, what kind of familiarization is required to slap someone on the back?

Based on my correspondence with her, it's Ms. Larkin who needs to familiarize herself with the subjects about which she's reporting.

7/23/11 UPDATE: On July 11, while reporting this story, I e-mailed editor Brian Laline and asked if the Advance had published a correction to Larkin's error. (I couldn't find one, but I wanted to verify.) Today I received a "deleted without being read" response from him. Seems like someone's not keeping up with their editorial responsibilities...or their correspondence!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Garrison Keillor mentions my whistleblowing efforts on "The Writer's Almanac"

I didn't come across this until today, from the June 1, 2011 Writer's Almanac, Garrison Keillor's popular poetry reading feature on public radio:

Minor correction. The first reported rescue involving the Heimlich maneuver did not take place in a restaurant, but at a campsite at Hood Canal, Washington (off Puget Sound), according to an article in the June 19, 1974 Seattle Post.

Back to the Writer's Almanac, do yourself a favor and don't miss Garrison Keillor reading Lunch Will Be Served by Eleanor Lerman, a cautionary message that begins:
Just when you think that you are
on the road to success and the
medications have calmed down
your wife, plus a big sale at
the foodstore means that you
can finally buy your cat a
decent meal - that's when
you get the news that it's time
to stare calamity in the face

And what a face: it comes
at you like a speeding pie

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Senator Dick Durbin's press secretary provided false information re: Durbin's longstanding relationship with tainted Save-A-Life Foundation including the failure to disclose his million dollar appropriations request for SALF

1995 CNN report about SALF. Durbin (1:45): "When (Carol Spizzirri) came in and sat down with me and told this story to me face to face, I was with her and decided I would do everything I could to help her."

In e-mails last year, US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin's press secretary Christina Mulka provided a variety of false information about her boss's relationship with the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), the embattled Chicago-area nonprofit under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General and apparently by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Perhaps most seriously, she failed to disclose a 1999 request by Sen. Durbin for a $1 million appropriation to SALF, funding that went through the following year.

In year 2000 applications for $50,000 in Illinois state funding, SALF claimed Durbin was a member of the organization's corporate Advisory Board.

That same year, Durbin was listed as Honorary Chairman for a SALF Dinner Dance fundraiser.

And according to an August 28, 2006 press release issued by Mayor Richard Daley's office, SALF partnered in a Chicago emergency preparedness program spearheaded by Durbin.

Three months later, SALF and its founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri were the subject of a scorching ABC I-Team expose.

Durbin isn't the only one in the shadows of SALF. Recently, Illinois newspapers reported that the pending appointment of Gery Chico, another prominent Illinois Democrat, to head the Illinois State Board of Education has stalled as a result of questions being asked about his ties to SALF.

And last month a Michigan educator asked US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to answer questions about a $174,000 contract Duncan arranged for SALF when he was Chicago Schools CEO.

Back to Senator Durbin, here's an e-mail exchange from last year between his press secretary and blogger Lee Cary of Little Elm, Texas (north of Dallas), who was asking about the senator's connection to SALF and Spizzirri. (Click here to view the originals.)
From: Mulka, Christina (Durbin)
To: Lee Cary []
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2010 12:51 PM
Subject: RE: media inquiry - SALF


Senator Durbin’s involvement was limited to the service he would provide for any Illinois constituent – he and his staff helped the founder navigate the bureaucracy in Washington. As you saw in the CNN video, Senator Durbin’s support was personal in nature and did not extend beyond having sympathy with Carol Spizzirri. Senator Durbin wrote no legislation on behalf of SALF and never worked to appropriated (sic) funding for the organization.
And, I hardly think that a video – that is 15 years old – of Senator Durbin expressing sympathy for a woman who lost her daughter in a tragic accident is evidence of long-term support.
Christina Mulka
Press Secretary
From: Lee Cary []
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2010 6:18 PM
To: Mulka, Christina (Durbin)
Subject: Re: media inquiry - SALF


Thanks for your prompt reply.

Based on your response, my understanding is that the Senator is on the record that his last contact with the Save-A-Life Foundation was in 1995. If that information is incorrect, please get back to me by end of the day Tuesday, 8/3. If you require more time, please advise and I'll do my best to adjust to your schedule.

By the way, regarding Ms. Spizzirri and her organization, you may wish to watch this 11/16/06 ABC7 report by Chuck Goudie. Google for more.

From: Mulka, Christina (Durbin)
To: Lee Cary []

Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 2:23 PM
Subject: RE: media inquiry - SALF

Lee –

You have asked about a 15 year old contact between then-Congressman Durbin and a constituent; I explained he was sympathetic to her in the wake of terrible personal tragedy.

You have asked whether Sen. Durbin has provided support for her or her organization; I explained that other than being sympathetic on a personal level, he has not secured federal or private funds for her or her group, and did not introduce any legislation to assist SALF while he served in the House or the Senate.

You asked for an on-the-record statement from our office; we provided you with such a statement. In each case, I have responded as quickly as possible and to the best of my ability about an event that occurred more than a decade ago, and has not been an on-going issue for this office since.

And off-the-record: Given the ideological bent of your website, I will confess that I am suspicious of your motives. I think we will let our responses to your previous questions stand, and move on to other, more timely matters.

Christina Mulka
Press Secretary
Mulka's "ideological bent" comment is probably because, in a previous e-mail, Cary identified himself as a writer for the American Thinker, a hard-right online magazine.

And a quick aside to potential sources: The Sidebar doesn't publish off the record information. In this case I'm making an exception because last September the American Thinker published Mulka's e-mail in an article by Cary, including her off the record comment.

Regarding Mulka's on the record statements, this may be her biggest fail: an October 31, 1999 request for $1 million for SALF in a letter from Durbin to Sen. Arlen Specter, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education.

A year later, $921,000 came through via the CDC (which is under the aegis of HHS), which eventually awarded SALF a total of about $3.33 million.

Durbin's funding request letter (click here to download) contains what I consider to be these unsupportable claims:
This organization has trained 35,000 Cook County children since October, 1998, with the assistance of 150 firefighters, paramedics, and police officers as their instructors.
For example, although the Chicago Tribune reported in 2009 that "2 million children took the classes, many of them from the Chicago Public Schools," per my website, the Chicago Public Schools have been unable to produce any training records.

Therefore it's unclear where Durbin's claimed 35,000 Cook County children were trained and who the 150 instructors were. So where did he obtain the numbers?

During the reporting of this story, I posed that and other questions to Christina Mulka.

She repeatedly refused to participate in this report.

Per this suburban Chicago newspaper article, Durbin was involved with SALF since before February 1995.

The article contradicts this claim Mulka made to Cary:
You have asked about a 15 year old contact between then-Congressman Durbin and a constituent....
But according to the 1995 article:
Congressman Richard Durbin (D-Chicago) was an early supporter of Save A Life Foundation President and Founder Carol Spizzini's efforts. 

"I received a letter stating, "I am not a resident of your district, but I would like to speak with you in Washington." The chances of me responding to that letter are normally slim and none
(sic) but I was so moved by her story," Durbin stated.
Later that year, Durbin told CNN reporter Lisa Price (timestamp 1:45 in the video at the top of this item):
I've found the very best legislation in Washington DC comes from those personal, human, and family experiences. When (Carol Spizzirri) came in and sat down with me and told this story to me face to face, I was with her and decided I would do everything I could to help her.
During that face to face meeting, presumably Spizzirri failed to mention these personal, human, and family experiences reported last year by Don Bauder in the San Diego Reader:
(Carol) Spizzirri was a darling of politicians and bureaucrats, although it was a matter of record that she had been convicted twice for shoplifting. Save-A-Life began raking in money from government grants. 
...But it wasn’t until November of 2006 that ABC 7 News in Chicago, in the first of several broadcasts, exposed more of Spizzirri’s untruthful statements. She had told the station that she was a registered nurse. But the station reported that the institution from which she had claimed to receive her nursing degree had never given her one. A hospital in which she had claimed to be a transplant nurse said she had been a patient care assistant, which is akin to a candy striper.
...(Spizzirri's daughter) Christina filed for an order of protection against her mother. A neighbor who lives four houses away was willing to be Christina’s primary caretaker. The complaint stated that Spizzirri had struck Christina “on several occasions and threatened her on many occasions.” The order of protection, granted the same month, barred Spizzirri from seeing her daughter at several locations such as school and work. Christina “fears her mother will attempt to harass her or retaliate,” said the complaint.
From a 1997 article in the Grayslake (IL) Review:
Grayslake's Carol Spizzirri could be spending a lot more time in Washington D.C. this summer...
Spizzirri could do a lot in Washington in addition to using the legislative support she's received from Senator Dick Durbin, but for the time being Spizzirri is concentrating on this part of the country.
In Washington a Durbin legislative aide, Melissa Merz, said the senator has been working on setting national certification standards.
"We have worked with Carol for two years," Merz said. "We will continue to work with her to determine what form this federal legislation will take. Senator Durbin has not introduced legislation yet, but we are working with the U.S. Department of Transportaion and the Illinois Secretary of State's office," she said.
Here's another problematic document, a page from two year 2000 grant applications submitted by SALF for $50,000 in Illinois state funding from the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs that listed SALF's board and executive associates:

Other names on the document (click here to view) include IL Secretary of State Jesse White, former Illinois first lady Lura Lynn Ryan (who died last week), John Wayne Gacy's attorney Sam Amirante, the late Peter Safar MD (who developed CPR), my father, and other notables.

How about this?

In addition to Durbin, Ryan, Wood, and Topinka (who apparently sent Happy Birthday greetings to Spizzirri about a week ago), the 2000 SALF Dinner Dance Committee includes a long list of luminaries including Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan and former Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine.

Three years later at SALF's annual conference, the relationship with Durbin's still in good standing :

Three years later, here's SALF participating in a City of Chicago program for which Durbin arranged the funding:

A few months after the press release (click here to download a copy), ABC7 Chicago aired an I-Team story by reporter Chuck Goudie that included:
One of Illinois' highest profile charities teaches the Heimlich maneuver to children while maneuvering the truth to get money from government and big business.

It's called the Save-A-Life Foundation and is known across Illinois as an organization that teaches schoolchildren how to respond in emergencies. For the past few years, Save-A-Life has received millions of dollars in government funds and corporate donations. An ABC7 I-Team investigation has uncovered a series of misleading claims and deceptive credentials that raise doubts about Save-A-Life's integrity, funding and training.
Weeks ago I extended to Christina Mulka (and to Sen. Durbin's chief of staff Pat Souders) multiple opportunities to address the false information she provided to Lee Cary. I even graciously offered her this escape route:
(When) you provided the statements to Mr. Cary, you may not have consulted Senator Durbin beforehand and therefore were not in command of the facts...In order to avoid further inaccuracies, this is to request that you share with Senator Durbin the e-mails you sent to Mr. Cary on July 30 and August 2 last year. In the event that you or the senator wishes to revise those statements, please respond by next Monday, June 20. If you require more time, please advise before then and I'll accommodate your schedule.
Below are my final attempts and her last response.

Mulka also declined to answer these questions I previously submitted:
Does Senator Durbin agree or disagree that the Inspector General of HHS should initiate an investigation into the funding SALF received from the CDC?
A former SALF employee has stated that Senator Durbin visited SALF's Schiller Park offices in approximately January 2006. Has Senator Durbin ever visited SALF's offices? If so, on what date(s) and for what purpose(s)?
10/9/11 UPDATE: From the Federal Register, I just found this notation about the appropriation Sen. Durbin helped arrange:
Assistance for this project will be provided only to the Save a Life Foundation. FY 2001 Federal appropriations specifically directs CDC to award funds to the Save a Life Foundation. No other applications are solicited.