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Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of law, culture, technology, and politics. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site.

Colorado sheriff creates roadblock so private firm can demand DNA blood samples

I've been behind on Politech recently, but this story made me irritated 
enough to catch up on things.

The Gilpin County Sheriff's Office in Colorado, a rural area not that 
far west of Denver, recently set up a highway checkpoint where motorists 
were stopped and, at least in some cases, not allowed to leave until 
they gave breath, blood, and saliva samples for the benefit of a private 
research firm. A report by Ernie Hancock says the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration was involved as well.

A Denver Post article is here:
http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_6922089

More:
http://cw2.trb.com/news/kwgn-invasive-checkpoint,0,2092732.story
http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57733
http://freedomsphoenix.com/Discussion-Page.htm?InfoNo=024006

The Post says the private organization in question is the Pacific 
Institute for Research and Evaluation, or PIRE, in Calverton, MD. Their 
Web site seems to be down but can be viewed here:
http://web.archive.org/web/20050826173038/www.pire.org/

This seems to be a fine opportunity for Politech readers to let PIRE 
executives and Gilpin County supervisors know what they think about 
police abusing their authority at the demand of a private research firm.

Gilpin County email addresses:
rbaker@co.gilpin.co.us, scate@co.gilpin.co.us, pubcomment@co.gilpin.co.us
PIRE email addresses: langevin@pire.org, info@pire.org, mblackston@pire.org

The thoroughly-misnamed PIRE is a major DC government contractor (and in 
fact its offices are within walking distance of the Beltway). It 
specializes in funneling over $35 million of taxpayer money a year into 
its own coffers through law enforcement contracts of dubious utility, 
mostly dealing with drugs and alcohol, from sources including the U.S. 
Department of Justice. 100 percent of its budget appears to come from 
government contracts or grants.

Although PIRE pretends to be a "nonprofit" organization -- at least that 
label helps to collect those fat taxpayer-funded checks from the DOJ -- 
in reality it spends about $1.35 million a year on lobbyists. Not a bad 
30-fold return on investment. And its employees are paid six-figure 
salaries that would be handsome even by for-profit standards.*

PIRE seems to specialize in devising new and intrusive ways of 
government meddling in personal lives. One PIRE success story helps to 
coerce retailers to card octogenarians who dare to try to buy a bottle 
of Cabernet. ("This method of enforcement gives retailers the necessary 
incentive to comply with the state’s law regarding the sale of alcohol, 
given that their next customer could be part of a compliance check. The 
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) has developed a 
detailed document to assist in the development and implementation of 
compliance checks." See:
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/alcohol/dotpartners/chapter_5.htm

PIRE is an ardent supporter of the War On (Some Politically 
Unacceptable) Drugs, also known as an excellent way for Feds and 
contractors to fleece the public in a war that will never end, 
eviscerate the Fourth Amendment, and create a police state with 
perfectly legal no-knock raids. One PIRE researcher who focuses on 
"middle-school-based drug prevention programs" and has written a paper 
claiming anti-drug programs in schools actually work:
http://www.nida.nih.gov/Meetings/Prevention/PrevBios4.html

PIRE also supports higher taxes on alcohol and firmly opposes lowering 
the minimum drinking age to be akin to Europe or Canada (something that 
would probably do much to limit abuse). See:
http://www.higheredcenter.org/thisweek/tw010629.html
http://resources.prev.org/documents/BeerTaxesNewsRelease.pdf

I'm sure that PIRE will be delighted to hear from the members of the 
public that pay its executive salaries. And if course if they have 
apologized for the Colorado incident, and pledge never to rely on such 
underhanded tactics again, I'd be delighted to send along a response 
from them.

-Declan

* Robert Carpenter, PIRE's CEO, was paid $221,785 in 2005
Ted Langevin, a VP/CFO, was paid $200,760
Joel Grube, a PIRE research director, was paid $237,075
Ted Miller, a PIRE research director, was paid $192,444
Jan van der Eijk, IS director, was paid $194,532
Paul Gruenwald, a science director, was paid $212,437
Robert Saltz, an associate director, was paid $191,527
Genevive Ames, a staff director, was paid $183,770

I've put PIRE's 2005 990 form here so you can see for yourself:
http://politechbot.com/docs/pire.pacific.institute.research.evaluation.finances.092107.pdf

Posted by Declan McCullagh on Sep 21, 2007 in category privacy


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