White House responds to Russian adoption petitions

By Joseph Marks

December 28, 2012

White House officials posted what is likely the fastest response to date to a We the People petition this week.

The petition, posted Dec. 21, urged the U.S. government to oppose then-pending legislation in the Russian parliament banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed the controversial bill Friday.

The response, posted less than seven full days after the petition was launched, stated White House officials share petitioners’ concerns about the bill and will “continue to raise these concerns with [the] Russian government.”

The response was attributed only to National Security Staff. Because the response is undated it’s unclear what day it was posted.

The Russian action was reportedly in response to the Magnitsky Act, a provision of broader legislation President Obama signed this month, which would freeze the assets of Russian human rights abusers. The provision was named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in prison after accusing government officials of fraud.

“Children should have every opportunity to grow up in loving families; their fate should not be linked to unrelated political considerations,” the We the People response said.

The petition received about 55,000 signatures in less than a week, more than double the 25,000 signatures required for a White House response.

Most petitions posted to the 16-month-old website, however, wait weeks or months for a government response after passing the threshold.

The Obama Administration has posted rapid responses to a handful of petitions on highly volatile subjects, including a recent video response from the president to several petitions seeking to reform gun control and mental health laws following the shooting 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.


By Joseph Marks

December 28, 2012

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