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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 21, 2017
Real News from the Land of Reality: 'BradCast' 10/20/17
And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
Trump's Reckless Disregard for Puerto Rican Lives is an Impeachable Offense
Ernest Canning makes the case for adding the President's woeful, deadly response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to the list...
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks'
(Will They Get It Right in 2018?):
'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that stop gun violence...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
Hurricane slams Ireland; Deadliest fire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up another week in American politics where words fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos': 'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By John Gideon on 1/12/2006 5:15pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Today has been a very busy day as you can see from the length of this list. It was announced that the lawsuit in New Mexico is being joined by 6 more plaintiffs and then the Governor announced that he wants to do away with all of the paperless DREs and move to optical-scan only. Boulder Co., Colorado decided to scrap their plans to purchase new voting machines because there is nothing out there that can be trusted to do as advertised. The Montgomery Co., PA lawsuit has been sent to state court. The DoJ has announced that they may be filing a suit against the state of New York for not complying with HAVA. And the Georgia House passed, in a heated floor debate, another voter ID bill. Those of you who have responded to the Action Alert from VoteTrustUSA have sent 15,242 emails to the EAC along with 1875 letters demanding the ITA be made to do their job....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Even While the Feds Own Inability to Meet HAVA Reqiurements Continues
EXCLUSIVE: Complete Letter from DoJ's Civil Rights Division to NY AG Elliot Spitzer
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2006 4:46pm PT  

Additional Reporting by John Gideon

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened in a letter to sue New York state over its failure to modernize its voting system in compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of the complete letter sent from Asst. Attorney General Wan J. Kim, of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division, to NY's Attorney General Elliot Spitzer and General Counsel Todd Valentine.

In the letter, Kim informs the state that he has received authorization to file "a lawsuit on behalf of the United States against the State of New York as well as the New York State Board of Elections, et al."

That, despite the Federal Government's own egregious failures to fully comply with HAVA requirments. The lawsuit against the "blue state" would be the first attempted action taken against any state by DoJ for failing to meet the requirements of HAVA since one of its major deadlines passed on January 1 of this year.

The complete letter from the DoJ is posted at the bottom of this article.

As reported by the New York Times today the DoJ has accused New York of being further behind than every other state in complying with new guidelines laid out by HAVA:

The state has yet to decide what kind of new voting machines it will certify, leaving many local elections boards in uncertainty as they try to modernize their voting systems in time for next fall's primary elections. The state missed the Jan. 1 deadline for creating a statewide database of registered voters, as required by the federal Help America Vote Act.

New York is behind all other states and territories in deciding how to spend its share of $2.3 billion in federal aid to modernize voting machines and other elections technology. So far the state has received $220 million to replace its 20,000 aging voting machines, train local election officials to use the new machines, and create the voter database. The money is unspent and collecting interest, officials say.

A Justice Department letter told state officials this week that it had authorized a lawsuit against New York for failing to comply with the law. The letter said that the department hoped to settle the matter by negotiating a court order with the state instead going to court, but that "we are prepared to file a complaint if the matter is not resolved expeditiously."

Wan J. Kim, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division, wrote in the letter that "it is clear that New York is not close to approaching full H.A.V.A. compliance and, in our view, is further behind in that regard than any other state in the country." A copy of the letter was given to The New York Times by someone who believes the state has been too slow to overhaul its system.

The question now, for Election Reform advocates, is whether Elliott Spitzer, the aggressive New York State Attorney General, will stand up to this threat and point out to the DoJ the extraordinarily lax execution of HAVA by the federal government themselves! Given the Feds' own lack of compliance of the disastrous "Election Reform" bill hastily created in the wake of the 2000 Florida Election Debacle, the ironies here are many. The legislation itself, as revealed in a recent BRAD BLOG exposé, was apparently financed by voting machine vendors such as Diebold, and other shady characters named in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

In a report titled Is HAVA Being Abused? Part II; Good for the Goose; Why Not for the Gander?, written by Ellen Theisen in 2005, the then Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org exmined the Feds' own failures in implementing the flawed bill, including George W. Bush's own apparent violation of the law...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Citing Bush Statement that Such Hearings are 'Good for Democracy', Ranking Minority Member of House Judiciary Extends Invitation
Former Deputy AG, Ardent Administration Defender, Architect of Torture Memos, John Yoo Also Called to Testify
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2006 12:51pm PT  

In response to George W. Bush's statement yesterday that hearings on the NSA program are "good for democracy," Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), on behalf of the minority members of the U.S. House Judiciary committee, has today sent invitations to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo to testify at planned hearings next Friday on the matter of warrentless NSA spying on United States citizens.

In the letter to Gonzales, obtained by The BRAD BLOG, Conyers quotes from Bush's comments yesterday at a Town Hall Forum in Kentucky in apparent support of such hearings (full letters to both Gonzales and Yoo posted at bottom of this article):

I would note that, just this past Wednesday, the President stated his support for this type of congressional review of the National Security Agency program. He stated, “There will be a lot of hearings and talk about that, but that's good for democracy – just so long as the hearings, as they explore whether or not I have the prerogative to make the decision I made doesn't tell the enemy what we're doing.” The purpose of our inquiry is precisely that, to explore whether the President possesses the constitutional or statutory power to authorize the surveillance he did.

Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California, Berkley has been an ardent defender of the Bush Administration's unrestrained exercise of Executive power in secretly monitoring United States citizens via warrantless NSA wiretaps. He is also reportedly the architect, along with Gonzales, of several controversial Administration positions concerning their right to torture and the notion that prisoners of war in Afghanistan and elsewhere did not fall under the protections of the Geneva Convention.

The congressional hearings are scheduled for next Friday by Democratic members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

In a statement to The BRAD BLOG, Conyers discussed his strong belief in Congressional oversight of the Executive branch despite unwillingness of members of Bush's own party to do so.

"It is imperative that we do everything we can to investigate abuses by the Bush Administration, whether the Majority is willing to or not," he told us. "Last time we held hearings on the Downing Street Documents, we were forced to the basement, but that didn't stop our message and the message for more than 500,000 Americans from getting out."

Conyers and other Democrats held hearings last June on the so-called "Downing Street Documents", which revealed the Bush Administration had planned to use military power in Iraq long before they had admitted as much to either Congress or the American people.

Those hearings, carried live on CSPAN, were followed by Conyers' hand-delivery of more than 500,000 signatures from Americans, demanding answers about those top-secret British memos from the White House.

The Democrats have once again requested a Capital Building Hearing room from the Republicans, who control scheduling of such rooms. They have yet to hear back as to wether they will be granted one or not for next Friday's hearings.

Scheduled to testify at the hearings so far are: Bruce Fein, Associate Deputy Attorney General under Reagan, Jonathon Turley, Professor of law, George Washington Univ. Law School, Jeffrey H. Smith, former CIA General Counsel and Caroline Frederickson of the ACLU.

Smith, it was revealed by an ABC News report hours ago, has sent a 14-page memo to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence countering the notion that Bush had legal authority to order warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens. Smith avers that "it is not credible that the 2001 authorization to use force provides authority for the president to ignore the requirements of FISA."

That memo, not previously released with ABC's report, can be downloaded here [PDF].

The complete letters to Gonzales and Yoo follow...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




The Part of the Ney Corruption Story the MSM Hasn't Noticed Yet!
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2006 9:07pm PT  

Gonna keep this friendly link to the Bob Ney Exposé from Tuesday up on top until it gets the MSM notice that it deserves (or until I need to remove it for something else again). Read it! Then spread the word now!




DoJ Attempts to 'Gag Order' Him as They Have Sibel Edmonds
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2006 6:41pm PT  

As you may know by now, on last night's Nightline, whistleblower Russel Tice admitted to being one of the sources for the New York Times story on the NSA's warrantless wire-tapping of U.S. citizens, as admittedly approved time and again by George W. Bush. He was one of a dozen, apparently.

Tice clarified that the program in question was not simply one of the government "listening in on a few calls made to al-Qaeda," as many have tried to minimize it, but an enormous effort that resulted in "millions" of Americans having their conversations listened to in violation of the law and the Constitution. At least in Tice's opinion.

He added that "millions" of Americans have most likely been spied upon, as anyone that placed a call from the U.S. to another country has a good chance of having had the call monitored. This is not a "limited" program as Bush has been attempting to color it.

Tice has written a letter asking Congress to allow him to testify on the laws that he feels have been broken by the NSA, where, until recently, the rules were always made very clear at the agency that you don't spy on American citizens inside the country without a court order to do so first.

And now, the Justice Department is attempting to "gag order" Tice under the same "state secrets" act that they've used to gag FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds, in turn, has helped found the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition to support patriotic Americans like Tice, herself, and about 50 others in similar situations --- from both political parties.

ABC covered the Tice story at their website (with a link to Tice's letter) here.

The video of Nightline's complete report and interview with Tice is available in full here:


-- Video in Streaming Flash format...
-- Video in Windows Media format...

NOTE: Folks like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and the other Administration apologists have been hard at work trying to conflate the cases of disclosure of classified information (Tice said he hasn't done any such thing, by the way) with that in the Valerie Plame case. Regular BRAD BLOG readers likely don't need this explained to them, but apparently O'Reilly and Rush and their trolling millions don't understand the difference in the two cases.

So to be clear --- Tice is reporting a crime being committed by a national security agency. Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, on the other hand, revealed classified material not to uncover a crime, but as a political weapon against someone they perceived as an opponent. Their crime was their revelation of the material itself. Period.

As James Risen, the author of the original Times piece pointed out recently to Jon Stewart (video available here from Crooks & Liars), the NSA matter is as "pure a case of whistleblowing" as one is likely to find, and the two different cases couldn't be more polar opposite to each other. No matter how much the wingnuts are trying to conflate the two.

Got it? Good! We'd rather not have to explain it again in the future. Though we have a feeling we'll have to anyway.




By John Gideon on 1/11/2006 5:32pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

While a dozen Northern California counties consider going vote-by-mail in order to get themselves out of the 'voting machines morass' Riverside Co. decides to pay over $6M to upgrade their present Sequoia voting machines to newer machines. These 'newer' machines are federally qualified to 1990 standards and do not meet HAVA mandates for accessibility. Those of you who have responded to the Action Alert from VoteTrustUSA have sent 15,097 emails to the EAC along with 1870 letters demanding the ITA be made to do their job....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Can Bob Ney be Far Behind?
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2006 4:49pm PT  

Well, we weren't going to run it at all, but now that DeLay is threatening to sue anybody who does, we guess we just can't help ourselves!

Campaign for America's Future launched a radio and tv ad campaign against the corrupt, indicted former House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and the corrupt, soon-to-be-indicted Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) yesterday.

Click here to check out both the 30-second DeLay video spot and the 60-second Ney audio spot.

For good measure, here's a graphic of the billboard now running above the east bound lanes of Rte. I-70 at exit 126 in Ney's home district back in Ohio.

We just couldn't help ourselves. So, sue us.




Powerful Republican Who Once Ran with Jeb Bush and Worked for a Company That Harbored Chinese Spies, Calls for a More 'Balanced' Relationship While Travelling Abroad
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2006 2:47pm PT  

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) continues to carry water for his Communist Chinese friends. Even while the media hasn't stopped for a moment to question Feeney's years-long effort at protecting a Florida software company which harbored and employed a convicted Chinese spy. The company, Yang Enterprises Inc. (YEI) continues to lie about that employment.

As an illegal alien in 2004, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, who worked for years for the company, plead guilty to charges related to three counts of attempting to send Hellfire Anti-Tank Missile chips illegally to China. Stunningly, Nee received only three-years probation and a $100 fine for the crime, even after admitting that he and a partner had sent such shipments "10 to 20 times over the past year" to China. The convictions were the result of a four-year sting effort by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Feeney himself worked as general counsel and registered lobbyist for YEI even while he was the powerful Speaker of the Florida Legislature back in 2000. The conflicts of interest there are mind-blowing. He now sits on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

The BRAD BLOG originally took notice of Feeney when we first broke explosive allegations about Feeney and YEI, as made by computer programmer Clint Curtis. Curtis, who first reported all of these matters to Florida's Inspector General back in 2001, alleged in a sworn affidavit [PDF] that Feeney had asked him to create a vote-rigging software prototype while they both worked for YEI. Curtis, who had been a Republican at the time, later gave video-taped testimony under oath to members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee of the allegations. He later passed a polygraph test confirming the veracity of his charges against Feeney and YEI.

As a report from Reuters today reveals, Feeney is currently in the Communist nation as part of a "congressional US-China Working Group", where he is advocating for a "more 'balanced' discussion about relations with China." A quote below, from Reuters' story, reports Feeney's support for expanding China's space program.

The story fails, of course, to mention Feeney's personal relationship to NASA, which is based in his home state of Florida. As well, NASA is a client of YEI's and, as far as we know, Feeney's wife still works for the space agency, as do many of YEI's employees.

Here's some earlier BRAD BLOG reporting, which links to several of our stories exposing the corrupt congressman's dubious connections to Chinese spying and his activities on behalf of the company, which has apparently been harboring at least one such spy for many years.

And here's the quote from the Reuters story [emphasis added]:

On Tuesday, a U.S. senator on a separate visit to Beijing, Max Baucus, said resentment in Congress about China's $200 billion trade surplus with the United States may prompt lawmakers to pass legislation threatening to punish China unless Beijing revalues the yuan and so makes Chinese exports more expensive.

The other three visiting congressman are members of a congressional U.S.-China Working Group, which advocates more "balanced" discussion about relations with China.

[Mark] Kirk [(R-IL)] said during their six-day visit in Beijing that began on Monday that China's repeated promises to post an intellectual property ombudsman in Washington to take complaints from U.S. businesses, as well as to spend $250 million on legitimate software for government offices.

Tom Feeney, a Republican congressman from Florida, said the lawmakers also discussed expanded cooperation in space, including a proposal for China to engineer the entry docks of its manned spacecraft so they could dock with U.S. and Russian craft, allowing for cooperation in space rescues.

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.



By John Gideon on 1/10/2006 5:54pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Surprise! I was able to find someone to help me out and to put together articles for DVN so we will continue chugging along for the time being. There is rumor from good sources that the DoJ has decided to take action against the state of New York for non-compliance to the Help America Vote Act. Those of you who have responded to the Action Alert from VoteTrustUSA have sent 14,747 emails to the EAC along with 1840 letters demanding the ITA be made to do their job....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Refuses to Answer Question or Comment on 'Judicial Activism' of Supreme Court in the Landmark Case...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2006 3:17pm PT  


Video in Streaming Flash format
Video in Windows Media format




The Dots Connect Between Abramoff, Ohio 2004 Election Smokescreen and Ney's Former Staffer Revealed to be on Diebold's Payroll While Working for White House Law Firm
All the While as HAVA --- America's 'Election Reform' Bill --- is Used for Political Payoff in the Bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2006 11:21am PT  

There's been a great deal of speculation over the last several days, particularly in the light of Jack Abramoff's recent guilty pleas, concerning the connection of Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) to Election Fraud in Ohio, vis a vis his stewardship and authoring of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) back in 2001 and 2002. The heavy-handed tactics he has taken since, in order to keep the flawed act from being changed in any way over the years, along with going to great lengths to keep the nation's eyes off of massive electile dysfunction in Ohio and elsewhere since 2004, may finally get the attention it all properly deserves.

Both Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon have directly informed prosecutors of Ney's alleged wrong-doing in regard to money and gifts given to Ney, in apparent exchange for support on various legislation and even personal business deals. Ney, who chairs the important U.S. House Administration Committee, has been fingered, and now subpoenaed, for accepting illegal trips, gratuities and other apparent quid pro quo deals with Abramoff's former firms, partners, friends and groups who had paid both him and Scanlon as lobbyists.

His direct connection to the HAVA Election Reform bill passed in the wake of the 2000 Florida Election Debacle, and his various extraordinary efforts to specifically block amendments to the bill and to smokescreen attempted investigations into his home state's conduct during the 2004 Election Debacle, has been less widely reported. Until now.

While Common Cause quietly reported in December of 2004 that Diebold --- the much-beleagured-of-late American Voting Machine company --- paid as much as $275,000 to Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig for lobbying work, The BRAD BLOG has now found additional details that begin to shed new light on Ney's personal connections to Diebold lobbyists.

Such personal connections include those with Ney's former chief of staff turned lobbyist, David DiStefano, who has been working on behalf of Diebold, Inc. and at least one other Voting Machine Company as a registered lobbyist in the House going back to at least 2001. One of DiStefano's online bios crows about his having "an insider's edge to hard-to-reach political officials." That "insider's edge" has proven to have been a very worthwhile investment for the Voting Machine Companies who'd purchased access into Ney's political office.

Congressional lobbying records reveal that Diebold, Inc. has paid at least $180,000 to DiStefano and eventually his partner, Roy C. Coffee, to lobby for the "Help America Vote Act" and other "Election Reform Issues" in Congress since 2003. Another Electronic Voting Machine Company, AccuPoll, Inc., also paid DiStefano some $70,000 to lobby for HAVA on their behalf in 2002, although that relationship was apparently terminated once the legislation was passed by Congress.

In turn, Ney's former employee DiStefano and Coffee themselves have given nearly $20,000 to Bob Ney's campaigns dating back to 2002.

The connections of DiStefano and Coffee don't stop at Congress, however. Both lobbyists now work out of the new Washington office of the Texas-based law firm of Lock, Liddell & Sapp LLP --- the firm of George W. Bush's White House Counsel Harriet Miers. And Coffee, himself, had previously worked as a senior aide to then-Governor Bush back in Texas.

In addition to lobbying in favor of Electronic Voting, DiStefano and Coffee were also paid thousands to lobby Ney on behalf of an obscure firm by the name of FN Aviation, which later became known as FAZ Aviation. FN/FAZ Aviation, the Columbus Dispatch reported last December, paid for Ney's 2003 trip to England. On that trip, Ney met at a casino with FN Aviation's director, Nigel Winfield, a three-time convicted felon, and Fouad al-Zayat, the Syrian-born head of FN Aviation. Zayat, as reported by NBC News, is known as "one of London's biggest gamblers."

As has also been reported by NBC and others, the apparently once-very lucky Ney reported winning some $34,000 a few months later at that same London casino, after an initial $100 bet "on two hands of a three-card game of chance," according to his spokesperson Brian Walsh. Ney, who coincidentally carried at least $30,000 in credit card debt in 2002, was fortunate to be able to report that the debt was paid off in full by the end of 2003.

The dots begin converging, however, in regard to both large campaign contributions and lobbying done by Ney's former chief of staff, DiStefano along with Coffee on behalf of both FN/FAZ Aviation and Diebold, Inc.

Ney was one of the original authors and lead co-sponsors of HAVA, and a fierce defender of both the act and the effort to keep further legislation from moving forward in Congress that would mandate Voter Verified Paper Ballots for electronic voting machines made by Diebold and other e-voting vendors.

In 2004, prior to the Presidential Election, Ney went so far as to send a "Dear Colleague" letter signed along with the other HAVA co-sponsors, to members of congress urging them not to amend the original legislation. He argued at the time that paper records on such machines would somehow disenfranchise disabled voters, who had been cleverly afforded a special provision in the bill which mandated at least one disabled-accessable device in every voting precinct in the country. That device, of course, would be a paperless touch-screen electronic voting machine, like the ones made by Diebold, which, legislators, vendors and lobbyists would later proffer, were required to meet provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Ney had also personally gone out of his way to keep Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" (HR 550), which would mandate paper records for all votes cast, from ever seeing the light of day in the House Administration Committee. That, despite Holt's bill having now nearly 160 bi-partisan co-sponsors. Ney has succeeded brilliantly at squashing Holt's bill, first proposed as HR 2239 back in 2003, as it continues to both gain co-sponsors and gather dust as the powerful Republican committee chair still refuses to allow it even to be brought up for hearings.

The American Prospect's Art Levine broke a superb exposé last May concerning Ney's alleged payoffs from a number of the Indian tribes that now-disgraced, once-uber-lobbyist Abramoff was representing in exchange for promises to support their hope for new gambling legislation back in 2002.

"Just met with Ney!!! We're f'ing gold!!!! He's going to do Tigua," wrote Abramoff to Scanlon in an Email, after Ney reportedly promised to add the Tribe's hoped-for legislation to HAVA while the bill was still pending.

Ney then told the tribes --- who had been instructed by Abramoff and Scanlon to give tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign and to pay for a $100,000 trip to play golf at St. Andrews in Scotland --- that he was working with the Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Chris Dodd, to add gambling language in HAVA that would be favorable to the tribes.

In reality, Dodd had rejected the idea early on in no uncertain terms, as Levine reports, but that didn't keep Ney from spinning tales to the tribal groups. He told them on several occassions, at least once personally, that things were moving smartly forward as he kept accepting more cash and gifts from them along the way.

Finally, when the HAVA legislation was passed, and the promised language was nowhere to be found, Ney informed the tribes that Dodd had reneged on the deal at the last minute.

That was, of course, not true, since Dodd had rejected the plan months earlier.

But as the spotlight of corruption has finally begun to shine bright and clear in the Mainstream Media onto Ney, renewed interest in his support and authorship of HAVA itself --- along with the connections between that legislation, chicanery in Ohio's Election, Abramoff and several other GOP operative and lobbying firms' merry band of pay-for-players --- are helping to bubble up towards the surface a few previously overlooked, but very important, details that may finally now receive the attention they always deserved from the Mainstream Media...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By David Edwards on 1/10/2006 8:03am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Fresh from the holiday break, Stephen Colbert uses his classic sarcastic style to highlight the corruption scandal that has erupted around Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Stephen Colbert: "There is no story here."



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By David Edwards on 1/10/2006 6:43am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

On Saturday, January 7th, American journalist Jill Carroll was kidnapped in Iraq. At the same time, her translator was also killed. Associate Press, Reuters, AFP and UPI almost immediately reported the story. Editor & Publisher compiled one of the most complete reports within hours of the kidnapping.

According to Samir Najim, a guard at al-Dulaimi's office, three armed men in a red Opel four-sedan intercepted the journalist's car and shot the translator before taking her in their car and driving away. The kidnapping took place about 100 yards from al-Dulaimi's office.

UPI, however, adds this somewhat conflicting detail: "They said the driver of the bus in which the journalist and translator were riding managed to escape the incident when he fled and sought the help of a police patrol that happened to be in the same area at the time."

While the BBC provided some details of the kidnapping during their broadcasts, American network and cable news outlets virtually blacked out the news. Jane Hamsher finds a possible explanation from comments in a Kos thread:

The first 24-48 hours are critical, and American news organizations tend to not want publicity, at least during that period. It can make it much more dangerous for her and difficult to secure her release.

European news organizations often approach this issue differently, however, and will make an annoucement earlier, especially if they feel that the nationality of the reporter is likely to decrease the threat to his or her life. That is not the case here.

Yesterday afternoon, AP released additional details including the name of the kidnapped journalist. Jill Carroll had recently lost her job at a newspaper and decided to follow her dream of covering conflicts in the Middle East. While in Iraq, Jill Carroll had done freelance work for The Christian Science Monitor, AJR, U.S. News & World Report and other foreign outlets.

Organizations like Reporters Without Borders have become increasingly concerned with the number of journalists killed in Iraq. 76 reporters and media staff are known to have been killed since the beginning of the Iraq war. In comparison, 63 reporters were killed within the 33 year Vietnam conflict. Some reports even suggest that the U.S. Military has targeted journalist in Iraq. Secret memos leaked in the U.K. suggest that President Bush wanted to bomb the headquarters of the Al Jazeera news network. In fact, Al Jazeera pulled all journalists out of Iraq after their Baghdad studio was "accidentally" hit by U.S. missles.

This morning, 3 days after the kidnapping was originally reported, CNN finally reported details of the Jill Carroll kidnapping.


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CNN Continues to do the Bidding of the Republican Party
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2006 7:42pm PT  

Watch Wolf Blitzer fall off his chair.

David Edwards posted the complete video here earlier today, but in case you didn't watch it, or didn't watch it all the way to the end, it's worth reviewing now. If only for the last moment when Blitzer finally runs out of clues...entirely...

Here's the transcript of those last few moments courtesy of Past Peak:

BLITZER: Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, who's now pleaded guilty to bribery charges among other charges, a Republican lobbyist in Washington — should the Democrats who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back?

DEAN: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff. Not one. Not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican, every person under investigation is a Republican, every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money, and we've looked through all those FEC reports to make sure that's true.

BLITZER: [Stammering] But through various Abramoff-related organizations, and outfits, a bunch of Democrats did take money that presumably originated with Jack Abramoff.

DEAN: That's not true either. There's no evidence for that either, there's no evidence...

BLITZER: What about Senator, what about, what about, what about Senator Byron Dorgan?

DEAN: Senator Byron Dorgan and some others took money from Indian tribes. They're not agents of Jack Abramoff. There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth, and they have misled the American people, and now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.

BLITZER: [Long pause, apparently getting direction in his earpiece] [Sigh] Unfortunately, we, uh, Mr. Chairman, we've got to leave it right there.

Any questions?




By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2006 1:50pm PT  




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