As part of the speaker series, Multicultural Mosaic Foundation (MMF) had the honor of hosting U. S. Attorney John F. Walsh on April 15, 2012. Attorney Walsh was nominated to the office in 2010 by President Barack Obama and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to serve in the District of Colorado, one of the 94 districts in the country. He is a graduate of Cherry Creek High School and Stanford University Law School.
Attorney Walsh thanked MMF for its efforts, and asserted that it is a heartening thing to build bridges between faiths in Colorado. His speech focused on informing the audience about the mission of his office and the outreach strategy initiated by President Obama in 2011 in order to combat radicalization of youth in the United States. Attorney Walsh pointed out that their outreach and dialogue efforts are consistent with MMF’s outreach to diverse communities living in Colorado. Accordingly, new communities have been coming to Colorado, and his office has an obligation in protecting them, especially the young people who can get radicalized through the internet. Their efforts include actively reaching out at every level to be supportive to the communities in addition to asking for advice from community members such as parents. They also assist on immigration issues, bullying, and transportation safety administration issues. The other type of outreach includes educating state and local law enforcement agencies.
With about 220 staff, overall, the Colorado office is considered a “large” U.S. Attorney’s Office nationally. Also, the office has one of the largest civil law divisions because of the large federal presence in the state. Among the responsibilities of the Attorney’s office are prosecuting civil and constitutional rights violations, hate crimes, terrorism, and espionage. Since Colorado is home to second largest concentration of defense contractors, counter espionage is one of their concerns. Counter terrorism such as right wing domestic terrorism, environmental terrorism, international terrorism are within their scope, and they work hand in hand with FBI, Homeland Security, and the local law enforcement. They also deal with securities fraud, ponzi schemes, and white collar crime that have been his specialization areas before his appointment to the office. Furthermore, anti-drug trafficking, Indian reservations, and the Supermax prison in Florence are part of their responsibilities.
Attorney Walsh added that every district is unique in that Colorado is completely different from, for example, New Mexico and Wyoming. He also answered questions on federal land use, reappointment of the U.S. Attorney, profiling, Indian reservations, and the conflict between state and local laws such as in the case of marijuana dispensaries in Colorado as the federal law prohibits marijuana use.
During his closing remarks, Attorney Walsh added that the ongoing dialogue with MMF will continue, and that they will be back visiting us as part of their outreach efforts. President Ismail Akbulut presented a traditional plate to the speaker. Mr. Akbulut also invited the audience to the upcoming book signing and the Dinner with Speaker event on May 12th with Jim Harrington on Wrestling with Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey.
More information on the U.S. Attorney’s office can be found in: