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Says Sending Hackable Diebold Voting Machines Home With Pollworkers an 'Egregious Violation of Chain-of-Custody Precautions'
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2006 6:45am PT  

Warren Stewart, Director of Legislative Issues and Policy for VoteTrustUSA calls the Busby/Bilbray election into doubt in his article yesterday, headlined, "Vendor Failures and Lax Security Procedures Call Election Results Into Question In States Across The Country":

...In the most closely-watched election in the nation last week – the special election to fill Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunnigham’s vacant US House seat representing California’s 50th District – volunteer pollworkers were allowed to take Diebold voting machines home as much as two weeks before the election. That’s right – in spite of new "security procedures" issued by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson when he “conditionally” re-certified Diebold’s equipment for use in the state, these machines had “sleepovers” in pollworkers’ garages. Given this egregious violation of chain-of-custody precautions, its no wonder that the accuracy of the election has been called into question.

The fact that the official results are “plausible” in California’s special election is beside the point. In fact, if the corrupted results had been “plausible” in Pottawattamie County, there would have been no scrutiny and losing candidates would have been elected. After a publicly observed hand count of the ballots, voters can be reasonably confident in the results of elections in Pottawattmie County. Without a similar hand count of the California special election, voters have no reason to believe the official results are accurate.

Election officials should be held accountable for the voting technology they have advocated.
...
Having used millions in taxpayer dollars to buy unverifiable, error-prone equipment to count the votes in our elections from their friends at ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia, and Hart Intercivic, the burden is on the election officials to prove that those votes were counted correctly.

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Officials Confirm: Tainted Election Results Still Features Thousands of Uncounted Ballots, Unofficial Numbers, No Winner has Been Certified!
Now Why Would The Republicans Do That?
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2006 4:59pm PT  

In light of our recent reports that California's special run-off election to fill the seat of disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in the 50th congressional was carried out on voting machines tainted by massive security breaches --- having been sent home with poll workers in the weeks prior to the election in violation of several state and federal directives --- Republicans have rushed to swear in the "winner" Brian Bilbray in Washington D.C. this morning, despite the election results being unverified, ballots still being counted and the "winner" not even certified in the state.

The Associated Press, who ran a photo today of a "mock swearing-in ceremony" in House Speaker Dennis Haster's office, also ran a story, widely carried unquestioningly around the country, describing Bilbray's official first day in the U.S. House, as if the election results had been legitimized. They haven't been.

"Bilbray sworn in to replace Rep. Cunningham," says the headline accompanying a story written by AP's Erica Warner and picked up widely. The story gives no indication that the questionable results of the election have yet to be certified by the state of California.

AP's coverage has been published widely today by, amongst scores of others, USA Today and Washington Post.

And yet, four sources in the CA-50's San Diego County Registrar of Voters office, including the Registrar himself, Michael Haas, along with two officials in the CA Secretary of State's office have confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that there are thousands of votes still be counted in the closely watched race, which has yet to be officially certified by either the county or the state...

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

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Busby States Confidence in Machine Counted Results, Ignores Fact that Hackable Voting Machines Were Sent Home with Poll Workers Prior to Election and Thus are to be Considered Contaminated Until a Full Manual Hand Count Can Verify, Validate Reported Results
Confirms She Could Still Be Certified as Winner Despite Previous 'Concession'
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2006 10:32pm PT  

I've now heard from several high-level folks in the DNC's Voting Rights Institute who have expressed concern about the situation in the CA-50 race. I've been told they will be having more meetings to discuss the matter tomorrow, and will likely be contacting me soon for further information and/or details about the matter. They seemed to be very concerned about the information I've given them and as previously reported on the matter here at The BRAD BLOG.

I can only hope they do a better job paying attention to this, and the larger matter at stake here, than they did with their report supposedly looking into the problems with the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio. In that report, they stated they found "no evidence of fraud." Though when I drilled the now-former VRI Executive Director, Vincenty Frye about whether or not they actually investigated the many reports of fraud in that election and its recount, he admitted --- on air [MP3] --- that they did not.

In the meantime, it seems Francine Busby's campaign (who has still failed to return any of my calls) is now replying via Email to those who have questioned her position on the matter, and whether or not she plans to demand a 100% manual hand count of all the paper ballots and "paper trails" in the race now that it's been indisputedly shown that the secure chain of custody for the voting machines was irreparably violated when San Diego County officials sent the world's most easily-hacked voting machines home with poll workers days and weeks prior to last Tuesday's important special election run-off for the U.S. House seat vacated by the disgraced Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

Her emailed statement, as forwarded by Dr. Mike Byron --- a friend of Busby's and the 2004 Democratic nominee for the U.S. House in CA's 49th congressional district --- was posted earlier today in this BRAD BLOG comment. The statement illustrates a number of troubling issues. In particular, that Busby doesn't yet seem to have a grasp on what the actual concerns are about the tainted results, as currently reported, in her own election...

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

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Big Eddie Begins to Get It...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2006 4:45pm PT  

I was tipped off that callers to The Ed Schultz Show were misreporting my coverage of the tainted results as reported by the San Diego County Registrar from the Busby/Bilbray U.S. House special election in California's 50th congressional district last week. (All BRAD BLOG stories on the topic here.)

I was able to get through to Schultz' producer (thanks, Homey!) who was able to get me on the air with Big Ed to straighten out the record after a few minutes explaining it to Ed off air. After understanding what the hell is going on here, Schultz --- who has previously declined to deal with E-Voting issues in large part --- seemed to be ticked off when he learned that security for the Diebold voting machines used in the election was irreparably breached by sending the machines home with poll workers, in violation of California guidelines, prior to the very close and very important election.

He's called for an explanation from Schwarzenegger and wonders if Sen. Barbara Boxer has yet rung in on this (she hasn't, as far as we know --- though we have heard that there's been quite a bit of buzz today "inside" the DNC on the whole matter...More on that later if we're able to get confirmable, and therefore publishable, specifics.)

You can listen to the Schultz segment in full (about 13 minutes) here:

-- Brad discussing Busby/Bilbray on The Ed Schultz Show [MP3]...

P.S. Lou Dobbs just covered the issue of Electronic Vote Fraud concerns for the 6th straight day. We'll try and get up the video, or at least a transcript of today's report later tonight.

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Emery County's Bruce Funk is Stunned by San Diego County Procedures Allowing Diebold Voting Machines to be Sent Home with Poll Workers Prior to last Tuesday's Special Run-off Election for the U.S. House
23-Year County Clerk Who Allowed a Security Analysis Uncovering the Most Alarming Diebold Vulnerability to Date Sends a Letter to The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2006 1:32pm PT  

Bruce Funk, the 23-year Emery County, Utah county clerk who allowed computer security experts Harris Hursti and Security Innovation to examine the Diebold AccuVote TSx voting systems forced on him by the state last March --- which led to the discovery of a massive security vulnerability in all Diebold touch-screen systems, as originally broken by The BRAD BLOG, and subsequently followed up by New York Times, NEWSWEEK, NPR and many other MSM outlets --- writes in with his concerns about the results of last week's special election in San Diego between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham in CA's 50th U.S. House congressional district.

(All of our reports on that race, so far, in which San Diego county blatantly defied the CA Sec. of State's own security mitigation requirements, not to mention common sense, by sending the voting machines home with poll workers days and weeks prior to the election can be read here.)

As reported recently by the Salt Lake Tribune, since allowing the security examination in Utah, Funk has been pushed out of his job by state officials, in apparent collusion with Diebold officials. (My radio interview with Funk about all of this, from my recent Guest Host stint on the Peter B. Collins Show, is here.)

In the letter on the Busby/Bilbray matter, Funk writes...

Brad,

After reading your articles on the Busby/Bilbray Election, I am in shock! The security vulnerabilities I know to be associated with the Diebold touch screen voting machine would makes this unimaginable. Utah (and Diebold themselves) accused me that by my allowing Black Box Voting security expert Harri Hursti having access to two machines in Emery County that I had jeopardized the elections for the entire state of Utah. The analysis was all, of course, supervised and video taped to document anything done by Mr. Hursti.

You just don't let these machines go outside established security procedures. Inappropriate access [to the Diebold touch-screen systems] for example; loading on a macro program can happen within minutes and will go undetected on the machine. You can access the machines as I recall even if the front doors are sealed. These security seals, that they talk about as the answer, will probably be taken off by these same poll workers and so who will even notice?

I would worry at every stage of the deployment of the machines even by those who might transport or set them up at polling locations.

I believe that people need to keep the security issues of these machines on the front burner and talk it up with everyone. My worry is that when we as people give up and get tired of the fight, then they have won. Corporate America needs to come clean about the vulnerabilities, clean them up, and let an independent group verify it. If these machines are so great why didn't they use them in the Iraq Elections?

I just can't believe San Diego would permit such a thing in such an important election. Or any election for that matter!

Bruce

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By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2006 5:57pm PT  

While I'm catching up and sifting through much incoming info on the already-tainted results of Tuesday's Busby/Bilbray special election for the U.S. House (CA-50), (BRAD BLOG coverage here, here, here and here, so far), Loyola University Professor/Ph.D. Ron Baiman has some analysis of numbers from Tuesday which he describes as something that "smells fishy in San Diego".

(UPDATE: I'd also like to point you to this comment by Jody Holder, in re: the security issues and requirements for Diebold machines as issued by CA's Sec. of State McPherson recently, and the apparent disregard and failure to properly implement those already-less-than-sufficient requirements. Holder, btw, is one of the plaintiffs in the recently filed suit against the state to stop the use and purchase of Diebold touch-screen systems in California. He's also an incredibly good researcher and analyst of this stuff.)

Also, please note the reported margin seems to be widening between Busby and Bilbray as absentee and provisionals are reportedly being counted, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters website. The intially reported 4,700 votes on Election Night has grown to some 6,100 votes at this hour.

Given Busby's concerted campaign, prior to the election, to encourage folks to vote by Absentee Ballot --- as the good Thom Hartmann was kind enough to tip me off to --- the increasing spread in the margin as absentees are tallied is certainly worth watching closely. Particularly with the odd absentee numbers reported that we covered last night.

I suppose prudence demands that I point out, yet again, that I've yet to report any of evidence of fraud in this race (at this time.) Nor have I said that Busby won the race, or that Bilbray --- or anybody --- stole the election.

I have, however, reported the irrefutable fact that the world's most easily-tamperable voting machines (Diebold's) were irreparably tainted by being sent home with poll workers days and weeks prior to the election, in violation of several clear warnings issued by CA's own Sec. of State, Bruce McPherson and the computer scientists at UC Berkeley that he commissioned to independently analyze the scores of known and now-admitted-by-Diebold vulnerabilities in their optical-scan and touch-screen voting systems.

That fact --- in and of itself --- is reason for a complete loss of confidence in the so-far reported results which are based on optically-scanned ballots and touch-screen machine-reported numbers and thus calls for a complete hand count of the paper ballots and "paper trails" before any credence should be given to the reported totals in such a close election with so many national ramifications.

It bears repeating to those who don't get this: The San Diego County Registrar of Voters office is paid with your tax dollars (yes, your federal tax dollars) to run an accurate election. The burden of proof that they have done so, and that the election results are accurate and verifiable lies with them. So far, they have offered no such evidence.

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[UPDATED 6/13/06: Registrar Office Claims Election Night Absentee Numbers Were Wrong...By some 30,000]
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2006 3:59pm PT  

I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for this. There always is.

As ever, it underscores the need for verifiable elections, and begins to remind us that the folks who give a damn about this down there in San Diego County better damned well be keeping an eye on the chain of custody for those paper ballots and "paper trails" as they are being theoretically "counted" by the SD County Registrar of Voters.

According to this web page from the SD County's Registrar of Voters office, as of 5pm last night, the number of uncounted absentee and provisional ballots in the entire county of SD has decreased by 2,000 from the reported 68,500 that were announced as "still to be counted" on election night.

The number of votes in the now-questionable Busby/Bilbray U.S. House (CA-50) special election, however, has been increased by 8,000 votes.

Since the number of votes in the CA-50 race is a smaller subset of the total votes within SD County, one would think that if 2,000 absentee or provisionals were counted for the entire county, the number of votes in CA-50 might go up by a fraction of that number. Instead, they've gone up by 8,000, according to the county's website!

So far, I've been unable to get any comments from "quotable sources" at the Registrar's office on the reported updates. Very few in the office, apparently, are allowed to speak on record to the press for some reason.

As mentioned, no doubt there's a perfectly good explanation for all of this. Right? It's just that you and I may never know it. And, if we do, the election officials will likely never have to prove that their explanation --- or the veracity of their reported vote counts --- is valid. To anybody.

UPDATE 6/13/06: On Thursday afternoon, Cathy Glaser of the SD County Registrars office says she sent out the following notice on the heels of the above report. She's only just sent it to us today:

-----Original Message-----
From: Glaser, Cathy
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 5:50 PM
Subject: Election Results - Add on count

An add-on count was completed at 5 p.m. Thursday and posted to our website: www.sdvote.com
On the final report from election night, we estimated there were approx. 68,500 ballots left to be counted. That estimate was not accurate. It should have said approx. 95,000 left to be counted.

So - there were approx. 28,000 ballots added to the count today, and we are now estimating that approx. 66,500 remain.

More ballots will be added Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. - and then again Monday afternoon at 5 p.m.

Cathy Glaser
Campaign Services
San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office

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By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2006 8:54pm PT  

Given what we know about Diebold voting machines (both optical-scan and touch-screen), several folks have written to ask: "Are you sure they actually allowed poll workers to take these machines home with them" prior to the Busby/Bilbray U.S. House special election in CA-50th?

Yes. I'm sure. And yes, I confirmed it with someone in the media office at the San Diego County Registrar of Voting before I wrote my initial story on all of this. She asked me to keep her name off record, and so I'm doing so. Feel free to call and ask them yourself however: (858) 565-5800.

While you're talking to them (politely), ask how they intend to prove that the results of the Busby/Bilbray special election are accurate now that the chain of custody for the electronic voting machines --- which have been shown to be exceedingly prone to easy, passwordless tampering --- has been corrupted by sending them home for days and weeks at a time with voluneer poll workers. Also ask them how many absentee and provisional ballots there are in the race. Feel free to report your answers in comments here. If you can get any.

To help confirm the sleepovers of the easily hackable Diebold machines, here's a clip or two from a couple of emails I've received on all of this since posting my original story and this morning's follow up:

I volunteered to be a poll worker in the 49th. I took a short course on Sunday morning, loaded up the machine, and had it Sunday and all day and night Monday. I couldn't believe it! Folks, get in the polling places to watch for funny business.

Terry Olson

Enjoyed reading the Busby/Bilbray article on BradBlog and the questionable election equipment used, since I was working the election as an Assistant Precinct Inspector - Equipment. This is the person responsible for setting up and tearing down the Diebold Touch Screen Voting Stations. I understand that all but 7 CA counties will be using these systems as their main way of voting in November! I don't trust them, and the team that I trained with a week before the election didn't trust them either.

BTW, since I was trained a WEEK before the election, that means I got my two voting stations, 2 printers and cardboard privacy screen right after my training. All this equipment was sitting in my garage for nearly a week, but it was a rule that you couldn't leave the equipment at the poll site if you set up the night before. My neighbors were quite surprised when I showed them one of the touch screen systems from my garage. My Mom was also very surprised that the registrar of voters allowed us to take election equipment home with us.
...
Brian C Baer

And this from Pamela Smith, the Nationwide Coordinator for VerifiedVoting.org and Verified Voting Foundation, who's in San Diego County...

Yes, the machines had sleepovers. I was interviewed on our local news station about it prior to the election.

The procedure is that certain pollworkers are assigned equipment to take home with them upon receiving their training. They then bring it to the polling place on election morning early, and set up. Depending when they have training the machines could be at their homes for more than a week or two.
...
Best,
Pam

Pamela Smith, Nationwide Coordinator
VerifiedVoting.org and Verified Voting Foundation

UPDATE 6/9/06: I just noticed the following comment left on one of my original Busby/Bilbray article, from reader Patti Newton, who reports she had a similar experience as a San Diego County poll worker in Busby's district. Here's part of it:

I was an assistant precinct inspector in charge of equipment during this eleciton (I'm in the 50th). I had my two Diebold machines for seven full days before the election (I was dumbfounded). The chain of custody is abysmal. There is a seal on the machines (which are locked) but I am the one who sets up/breaks down the equipment and breaks the seal at the end of the day. The machines were reserved specifically for disabled voters but could have been used if a voter insisted on using it instead of the scanner. I registered zero votes and assume most if not all of the 1,646 precincts in the county had very little use but don't know for sure. I had no key to unlock the memory card but if I were motivated and had "friends" of like mind it would have been extremely easy.

The November election will use only the touchscreen machines (the scanners will not be used at all). I will encourage voters to look at the paper and make sure their votes are registered properly there but still, what's the guarantee?

I attended a breakfast with Francine and she said if the vote was close she would demand a recount. I'll follow your advice and give her office a call.

UPDATE: 6/9/06: New numbers reported from San Diego county...

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AP, ABC, et al Run Unverifiable Reports on Results of Tuesday's Special Election
There is NO BASIS for Confidence in the Reported Election Results. Period.
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2006 12:27pm PT  

ABC News is featuring this AP story on their website:

Republican Wins Bellwether House Race

Ex-GOP Congressman Wins California Race for Scandal-Rocked House Seat As 8 States Hold Votes

By ROBERT TANNER - The Associated Press

- A former Republican congressman narrowly beat his Democratic rival early Wednesday for the right to fill the House seat once held by jailed Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a race closely watched as a possible early barometer of next fall's vote.

Republican Brian Bilbray emerged victorious after a costly and contentious special election race against Democrat Francine Busby, a local school board member who ran against Cunningham in 2004.

Okay, AP. Prove it. I dare you. You can't.

Not without a 100% manual, hand-count of all the optically-scanned paper ballots and touch-screen "paper trails" from Tuesday's CA 50th Congressional district race for the U.S. House of representatives. And even then, depending on the margin of difference after the op-scan ballots are hand-counted, you will be unable to prove that the race was decided correctly if it should turn out the number of votes cast on touch-screen machines was more than the margin of difference after the op-scan ballots are actually counted (by hand!)

The deafening, dumbstruck silence after I posted my article yesterday, headlined 'Results of Close Busby/Bilbray U.S. House Special Election in Doubt!,' is deafening.

Yes, I know the headline is unsettling. As are the implications of the piece. I will hope, however, that most of you who know what I report at The BRAD BLOG also know that what I report, I source with independently verifiable information. So you don't need to trust me. And you shouldn't. No more than you should trust the words of San Diego County's Registrar of Voters.

The arguments presented in yesterday's article are airtight. The have been vetted by a number of election experts and computer scientists. So far, not a single human being has presented me with a flaw in my logic or contentions.

Mind you, I have never reported that any election was "stolen." Not even the 2000 Presidential (which wasn't stolen, as much as given away by the Supreme Court), nor the 2004 Presidential Election, which evidence shows would most likely have gone to Kerry had the votes actually been counted. But I have never claimed that election was "stolen" either, because we simply do not know. Until there is evidence, I do not report it as such.

I am not saying, in my article yesterday, that the Busby/Bilbray election was "stolen" either.

Nor have I charged there has been any fraud. This is (for now) about confidence in verifiable results in an American election. So far, there is no basis to have any.

Nor am I one of those who believes that legitimate elections can only be carried out on 100% hand-counted paper ballots.

This one, however, given the specific machines in use, which have been proven to be easilly tamperable and hackable, without a trace being left behind, (and admitted as such by even the company who makes them!) is a different matter. Add to that, security measures were completely compromised by sending the machines home with poll workers, in some cases, for weeks at a time, prior to the election and we've got a no confidence case on our hands.

The burden is now on elections officials --- who we pay to run accurate elections --- to prove the race was counted accurately. Let's see them do it.

I do not champion, nor traffic in, "conspiracy theories," as those of you who know my work likely already understand. What I reported in yesterday's story was not editorial or "conspiracy theory," but plain scientific fact, resting on an enormous body of peer-reviewed, undisputed, scientific evidence. The contention offered in the piece then is summarized thusly --- presuming the integrity of the chain of custody for the paper ballots and the "paper trails" is still demonstrably secured:

Unless every optically-scanned ballot is counted by hand --- and only if the resultant margin after that count is larger than the number of votes cast on the touch-screen systems --- can there be any confidence that the results of the U.S. House race for CA's 50th congressional district are accurate.

I challenge anybody to prove otherwise. Anybody. It cannot be done.

I welcome any and all questions about the logic or accuracy of my contentions. So far, I have received none.

If, after reading yesterday's article in full --- and asking any questions of me concerning the logic or evidence (I will try to keep an eye on comments left here) --- you still do not understand what's going on here, and what's at stake in your elections, then you are simply heading into November while whistling past democracy's graveyard.

That goes for you, AP. (And ABC, since you're running the article on your site and yet have failed to run extremely important stories on American election integrity issues which, unlike AP's story, are demonstrably provable and feature actual evidence.)

Do you both, AP and ABC, stand behind this report? If so, I dare you to prove the contentions made in your article are backed up with any verifiable evidence. You can't. And you won't. The contentions made in my article, however, certainly are. I feel it's my responsibility to be sure of that when I file a report. Why don't you?

Elections should be verifiable and provable. This one, at least as of now, is most decidely not.

UPDATE: SD County Poll workers write in about voting machine sleepovers...

UPDATE: 6/9/06: New numbers reported from San Diego county...

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Race to Replace Randy 'Duke' Cunningham in San Diego Was Run on Hackable Diebold Voting Machines, Kept Unsecured at Poll Worker Houses Overnight Before the Election!
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2006 1:57pm PT  

To be clear, at this hour, we have no evidence to show that Democrat Francine Busby --- running in yesterday's special run-off election in San Diego against Republican Brian Bilbray to replace the disgraced Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham for the U.S. House (CA-50) race --- actually won it.

Neither do we have evidence to believe that Bilbray actually won it.

We do, however, have copious and documented evidence to suggest there is no reason in the world to have any faith that Bilbray won the race.

The fact that the thin margin between the two at this hour (with "100% of the votes counted", according to the CA Sec. of State's website) is a mere 4,732 votes --- in a race where 125,882 votes were reportedly cast in a county with more than 355,000 voters registered --- is not even the largest question. Neither is the so-far unclear question of how the race will be affected by the 68,500 absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted in San Diego County according to the SD Registrar of Voters website at this hour.

The biggest concern about the race, by far, is that San Diego County uses two types of Diebold voting systems --- optical-scan and touch-screen --- both of which have not only proven to be disastrously unreliable in San Diego County and California in the past, but have also been demonstrated over the last six months to feature dozens of exceedingly well-documented and remarkable security vulnerabilities, making them extremely accessible to tampering. Especially if anyone has unsupervised physical access for more than a minute or two with them.

The voting machines used in Tuesday's election were sent home with volunteer poll workers the night before the election, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office today. As well, The BRAD BLOG has received reports that in some cases, poll workers may have had the machines alone at their houses, unsupervised, for a week or even two prior to Tuesday's election....

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

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By David Edwards on 6/1/2006 9:14am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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

Earlier this week, during the trial of David Safavian, photos were released from one of the Abramoff-sponsored golf trips to Scotland. David Safavian is charged with lying to investigators about his relationship with Jack Abramoff.

The photos show Abramoff with some of his "Champions", a term he used to describe people in government who could provide information and assistance to Abramoff's clients. Champions were showered with gifts and trips like the golf trip seen in the released photos.

In the group photo above, Abramoff's Champions are shown prior to boarding the Gulf Stream jet. Neil Volz, pictured on the far left, was chief of staff to Bob Ney. He is considered a star witness for the prosecution. Standing next to Volz is Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. Congressman Bob Ney is 4th from the left. He is the short guy wearing the grey shirt. Jack Abramoff is on the far right.

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown. David Shuster explains the story behind the photos and the lengths to which Abramoff would go to provide favors for his Champions. Shuster also has an update on the status of the Safavian trial.

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An Exclusive BRAD BLOG Interview with a Democratic Congressional Candidate Who's Not Afraid to Stand up for America, Even if it Means Standing Up Against Another Democrat (and a very powerful one at that!)
By Jim Cirile on 5/31/2006 11:23am PT  

Guest Blogged by Jim Cirile

"No recounts? I mean, why bother even having elections? Bring in these electronic voting machines, hire a few people to flip the votes, outlaw recounts. You'd save a lot of money by outlawing elections!"

"We conducted a mock arrest at the Secretary of State's office. We went over with our 10-foot high arrest warrant for grand voting theft which we issued to McPherson for certifying those evil machines --- the TSx --- with a 30% failure rate and announcing the certification on a holiday weekend when nobody was paying attention."

-- Marcy Winograd, Candidate U.S. House of Representatives, CA 36th District

Marcy Winograd "was tired of our leaders not listening to us." So she decided to run against one of them --- Jane Harman, another Democrat --- who she felt wasn't listening.

You may not have heard of Winograd yet. But it's time you do.

Winograd hopes to represent California's 36th congressional district (West and Southwest Los Angeles). On June 6th she faces off in the California primary election against the powerful incumbent Harman --- a six-term Democratic U.S. Congresswoman who Winograd describes as a "Bush Democrat".

A 12-year board-certified teacher and activist, Winograd received the 2004 Los Angeles Democrat of the Year award. She's been making waves in the progressive community with her grassroots assault on the incredibly well-financed, pro-war Harman, who has a record of voting consistently with the Bush administration.

Drive around the west side of Los Angeles and you'll see plenty of signs for both Harman and Winograd on telephone poles --- but on people's lawns, you only see Winograd signs. She's making waves?and even Harman's beginning to listen.

Winograd is part of the Impeach Team --- three congressional candidates who have made impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney part of their platform.

She's also a staunch defender of election protection issues and has been fighting tooth and nail to prevent the hostile takeover of California's elections by the right. Unlike so many Democrats, she's unafraid to talk about issues of election integrity --- and she's got a plan in case there's any whiff of chicanery at the ballot box. Okay, so now she's got us listening too.

She recently gave The BRAD BLOG at least an hour of her time for an exclusive interview on everything that actually matters to America right now. We thought that was a refreshing change of pace for a Democrat. So we like her. A lot. And think you will too?

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

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New Charges Harken Back to February BRAD BLOG EXCLUSIVE with Details from FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds on Additional Hastert Bribery Allegations...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2006 8:44pm PT  

As controversy swirls again around House Speaker Dennis Hastert and whether he is or isn't under investigation by the DoJ on bribery related charges as ABC News is reporting (and standing by), now might be a good time to remind of you this earlier exclusive which The BRAD BLOG reported in February concerning FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' charges that Hastert may be involved with yet another bribery scandal.

In light of today's new story, it may well be worth taking a look back at that previous piece including a detailed statement from Edmonds wherein she calls on Hastert to "come clean" in regard to $500k in un-itemized campaign donations and his relationships with various Turkish interest groups.

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WaPo Reports Supreme Court Justice Tells Hapless, Desperate, Corrupt, 'Conservative' Congressman to Knock it Off...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2006 5:36pm PT  

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) has made such a jackass of himself, so frequently of late, in his desperate bid to save himself from a challenge to his U.S. House Seat in Florida's 24th district this fall, that we can't help but begin a new feature we'll call "Feeney Watch" for a while here at BRAD BLOG.

Feeney's emerging strategy: Act like he's an actual conservative again, distance himself from Bush for the first time ever, and otherwise do anything he can to get his name in the paper for anything other than the mounting corruption charges against and around him.

Here's his latest jackassery, for which he recieved a spanking from none other than his idol Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia --- from today's WaPo (We'll try to get caught up with some previous Feeney Foolishness in the days and week's ahead)...

Scalia Tells Congress to Mind Its Own Business

Justice Antonin Scalia rebuked fellow conservatives on Capitol Hill yesterday, saying they have gone too far in trying to prevent the Supreme Court from using foreign law in its constitutional rulings.
...
"It's none of your business," he said, referring to Congress. "No one is more opposed to the use of foreign law than I am, but I'm darned if I think it's up to Congress to direct the court how to make its decisions."
...
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who has co-sponsored a nonbinding resolution against the use of foreign law, said that Scalia's comments were "like being told your favorite baseball player disagrees with your approach to hitting."

Scalia's "brilliance," Feeney said, "has not convinced a majority of the court. He needs our help, even if he doesn't want it."

Feeney said that Scalia's remarks may have damaged chances for his resolution's passage, since they will probably be quoted by its opponents.

Of course, Feeney is running against vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis this year, whose story we originally broke here at BRAD BLOG in December of 2004. Curtis has alleged --- amongst other "Tom"-foolery --- that Feeney asked him to create a vote-rigging software prototype when they both worked for Yang Enterprises Inc. (YEI) in Florida in 2000. In addition to being YEI's general counsel and registered lobbyist, Feeney just also happened to be the Speaker of the FL House at the time.

No conflict of interest there, of course, just because YEI had millions of dollars in state contracts.

Speaking of millions of dollars, Feeney's got 'em, as he's one of the top-tier money-collectors in the Tom DeLay/Jack Abramoff Big-Buy GOP network.

Curtis, on the other hand, is raising his money the old fashioned way: By earning it. From regular old citizens. Please feel free to help him do so. He needs it!

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.
- Curtis is now running for U.S. Congress against Feeney.
To support or for more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com
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(And Reminds Us Why We Love Conyers!)
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2006 11:25pm PT  

John Conyers op/eds in tomorrow's WaPo on Impeachment. Or a lack thereof. Or otherwise responds to the strawman nonsense from the Republicans of late running on the notion that a vote for Dems this fall is a vote for impeachment of Bush by the incoming Judiciary Committee Chair, John Conyers.

While it may ultimately turn out to be a vote for impeachment, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will have only themselves to blame. Not John Conyers.

And, as one might expect, his response in WaPo to those sad charges and transparently desperate attempts to scare America, displays his usual grace, dignity and old-style statesmanship...in stark contrast to the nattering nabobs of fear-mongering that are today's disgraceful Congressional Republicans.

Not to give anything away, since we hope you'll read the whole thing, but the last line underscores why John Conyers is a hero for all times...

Most important, before we have another presidential election, I believe we need to pass laws protecting the integrity of our electoral system --- the very foundation of our democracy.

Bravo. And thank you, sir.

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