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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 20, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
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...


'Intellectual Property' of voting systems still owned by firm linked to Venezuelan President, despite press statement to the contrary
PLUS: The election official/e-voting company revolving 'oversight' door continues to turn...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2010 11:47am PT  

Canadian-based Dominion Voting Systems has quietly announced its second acquisition of a major U.S. voting machine company in as many months and, right out of the gate, they've lied about it. Not an auspicious beginning for the company which may now, virtually overnight, have become the dominant private e-voting machine company in this country.

In our recent breaking coverage detailing the SEC's fraud lawsuits filed against Diebold and a number of their top executives --- including their former Chief Financial Officer who, as we reported exclusively back in 2007, was the top earner from an apparent insider sell-off at the company just days before its stock would plummet from its all-time high on the announcement of spinning off their troubled election division to a "new" company renamed Premier --- we noted that Diebold/Premier's assets had recently been purchased by a small Canadian firm by the name of Dominion Voting. But Dominion hasn't stopped there.

Their purchase of Diebold/Premier's assets was actually made from ES&S, the world's largest voting machine company, who was forced to divest of the assets they'd purchased from Diebold (previously, the second largest voting machine company in the country) for $5 million last year, as part of an anti-trust suit settlement with the DoJ.

In our coverage, we noted the comment of Dominion CEO John Poulos who, in the company's press release [PDF] announcing the Diebold/Premier asset acquisition, stated ominously: "We are extremely pleased to conclude this transaction, which...will allow Dominion to expand its capabilities and operational footprint to every corner of the United States."

Indeed, the DoJ-scuttled ES&S merger with Diebold/Premier had been legally challenged since, among other reasons, the merger of the largest e-voting company with the country's second largest would have given a single company control of at least 70% of all votes cast in the nation.

What we had replaced for length, however, with the ellipses in Poulos' quote above, was this [emphasis added]: "We are extremely pleased to conclude this transaction, which will restore much-needed competition to the American voting systems market and will allow Dominion to expand its capabilities and operational footprint to every corner of the United States."

How much is Poulos actually interested in "restor[ing] much-needed competition" for "the American voting systems market"? Apparently not so much, as according to a company press release [PDF] quietly issued late in the afternoon on Friday, June 4th, Dominion has now also acquired what had previously been the third largest voting machine company in the U.S., Sequoia Voting Systems.

Not surprisingly, that late Friday announcement didn't say anything at all about "competition".

Worse, as The BRAD BLOG has confirmed, the new press release from Dominion simply lied about what the company has and hasn't purchased from Sequoia, a company which had lied themselves, for years, about the real ownership of its proprietary voting systems...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2010 4:05pm PT  

Remember the disingenuous snit fits that Rightwing con-man Andrew Breitbart and his Tea Bag Boyz were on about when the original reports broke of "a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans" by Republican dirty trickster James O'Keefe and his band of co-conspirators?

They were outraged --- outraged --- that the "liberal media" had included the word "wiretap" in their reports about the felony arrests of the operatives, since the FBI's arrest affidavit didn't specifically mention an attempt to wiretap or bug the phones in her office. In a desperate attempt to distract from the actual story and find some way to support their friends' charged with serious federal felonies, the Tea Bag Boyz demanded that a number of media outlets issue immediate retractions for the claim, and, of course, the "liberal media" outlets complied --- as instructed --- as usual.

The notion of calling the federal criminals "TeaBuggers" just drove Andy's boys --- particularly the shamelessly pseudonymous wingnut blogger & L.A. County Dep. District Attorney, Patrick "Patterico" Frey --- to embarrassingly self-righteous (and inaccurate) distraction!

The fact was, of course, that, at the time, we had no idea what O'Keefe and friends were actually trying to do in that office, and O'Keefe --- who already had a well-established, if entirely unreported, record of lying to the media and the public about his phony, highly-doctored and illegally-recorded ACORN videos --- then went on to offer a preposterous public statement to explain his New Orleans scheme.

But now that O'Keefe's superstar GOP attorney was successful in pleading his client's felony charges down to a misdemeanor --- to which he and his conspirators pled guilty yesterday before a federal magistrate --- lo and behold, the FBI has released its own account of the arrest and plea deal.

And whaddaya know? According to the FBI, O'Keefe did plan to secretly wiretap the proceedings by secretly recording the conversations of employees in a U.S. Senator's office...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2010 2:47pm PT  

One item we weren't able to cover in today's Green News Report, but which should be noted here, comes from today's Washington Post...

On Monday, BP said it spent $350 million in the first 20 days of the spill response, about $17.5 million a day. It has paid 295 of the 4,700 claims received, for a total of $3.5 million. By contrast, in the first quarter of the year, the London-based oil giant's profits averaged $93 million a day.

So that means, as Think Progress notes, so far the clean up costs for BP have amounted to a little less than four days of profits for them. "At $93 million a day in profits, BP makes $350 million in about 3.8 days."

It seems that recklessness for the fossil fuel industry remains a very safe business model for the time being.

In 1990, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, federal legislation was passed to make oil companies responsible for the cost of clean up from such disasters, and liable for up to (a paltry) $75 million in damages. While Congress is currently considering legislation to raise that cap from $75 million to $10 billion, there remains a question of whether or not such legislation would be retroactive to cover damages from the Gulf oil disaster or not.

If it does, as "the largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico," and one of "the world's five largest companies," according to WaPo, BP ought to be able to handle it.

Not that they ultimately will have to.

As both WaPo and TP remind us, thanks to a recent decision by the Bush Supreme Court, the "punitive damages against Exxon for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil-tanker spill were originally set at $5 billion in 1994 but were reduced on appeal. The company agreed last year to pay less than $1 billion, including interest."

It's good to be king a corporate "person".

CORRECTION: Currently proposed federal legislation would raise the cap on damages to $10 billion, not $5 billion as we originally wrote above. The article has been edited to correct that error. By the way, even at $10 billion, says Daphne Wysham at Huffington Post today, the damage to property and to the fishing and tourism industries, as well as others, could eventually far exceed even that much. As Wysham notes in concurrence with the above: "Crime pays for BP."

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By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2010 2:38pm PT  

House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has just issued a statement [posted in full below] calling on the FBI to fire those who broke the law by issuing improper letters from the FBI in order to receive access to thousands of Americans' phone records from 2003 through 2006 under the guise of "national security."

"I call upon FBI Director Mueller to take immediate action to punish those who violated the rules," Conyers says in the statement, "including firing them from the agency."

"Today's hearing showed that the FBI broke the law on telephone records privacy and the General Counsel's Office, headed by Valerie Caproni, sanctioned it and must face consequences," said Conyers. "In some cases agents sent letters with information known to be false."

His statement even quotes the former Republican chair of the Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), sharing the sentiment:

'I'm extremely disappointed that every time Congress has tried to plug potential civil rights and civil liberties violations in our counterterrorism activities, the FBI seems to have figured out a way to get around it.

In a related matter, late last month a federal judge found the Bush Administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program to be illegal. So this would be the second time in several weeks where the former administration was found to have violated the law and the U.S. Constitution in order to spy inappropriately and illegally on American citizens.

Will those Tea Baggers who claim to believe in the Constitution and the Rule of Law join the call for accountability yet? (Careful: It's a trick question, Tea Baggers, since the accountability would include members of the Bush Administration, and we realize your calls for "accountability" only go so far. On the other hand, if it's okay for Bush to have done it, we'll presume you don't mind if Obama spies on you either.)

Conyers' complete statement, issued late this afternoon, follows below...

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

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GOP operative Caroline Hunter could face disbarment, according to first in series of investigative reports at RAW STORY
Related: Disgraced vote cager, Rove protégé Tim Griffin now running for Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2010 8:05am PT  

[Updated below with details on the second part of Jacobson's series, just posted at RAW STORY, in which he ties together Hunter's EAC appointment and dubious tenure, representing the RNC's nefarious "voter fraud" fraudster wing (which is to say, pretty much the entire RNC these days!) The second in the series offers important info and a good reminder of the names you'll be seeing again soon, singing the same old phony, discredited "voter fraud" songs once again as November nears, as sure as the sun rises in the East.]

Brad Jacobson has filed the first in a series of exclusives at RAW STORY concerning GOP operative and Bush-appointed FEC commissioner Caroline Hunter. [Disclosure: Jacobson has blogged at The BRAD BLOG in the past.] Here's the lede for his first excellent investigative report yesterday:

Caroline Hunter, a Bush-appointed Federal Election Commissioner who remains in office, provided misleading statements under oath in an effort to conceal Republican National Committee involvement in vote suppression activities during the 2004 presidential election, a Raw Story investigation has found.

Legal experts say Hunter's submission of such statements under oath is a serious ethical and professional breach which could warrant a bar review and potential disbarment. At the time, Hunter was serving as deputy counsel to the Republican National Committee.

The report goes on to detail how Hunter --- who, as The BRAD BLOG has highlighted over the years, had previously been allowed to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- deceptively misrepresented the facts, on behalf of the RNC, in a 2004 voter caging hearing in federal court.

Jacobson quotes election law experts, including two long-time former DoJ Voting Section attorneys, who argue that while the way she couched her sworn testimony may "shield her from perjury charges," the statements she gave may "still pose ethical problems that potentially could result in her disbarment."...

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

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Fake 'Big Government' foes Breitbart, O'Keefe apparently in favor of continuing tax-payer rip-offs...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2010 2:30pm PT  

We missed this one recently (as did the tax-payer "watchdogs" "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Government" for some odd reason):

Investigators looking into corruption involving reconstruction in Iraq say they have opened more than 50 new cases in six months by scrutinizing large cash transactions - involving banks, land deals, loan payments, casinos and even plastic surgery - made by some of the Americans involved in the nearly $150 billion program.

Some of the cases involve people who are suspected of having mailed tens of thousands of dollars to themselves from Iraq, or of having stuffed the money into duffel bags and suitcases when leaving the country, the federal investigators said. In other cases, millions of dollars were moved through wire transfers. Suspects then used cash to buy BMWs, Humvees and expensive jewelry, or to pay off enormous casino debts.

Some suspects also tried to conceal foreign bank accounts in Ghana, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Britain, the investigators said, while in other cases, cash was simply found stacked in home safes.

There have already been dozens of indictments and convictions for corruption since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But the new cases seem to confirm what investigators have long speculated: that the chaos, weak oversight and wide use of cash payments in the reconstruction program in Iraq allowed many more Americans who took bribes or stole money to get off scot-free.

But by all means, let's focus instead on ACORN, which helps some 400,000 low-income families in 75 cities with basic needs, because they've received an average of $3.5 million in federal dollars to help with their efforts for each of the last 15 years.

That's "million" (with an m), as opposed to the "billions" as still misreported by James O'Keefe and the other journalistic malpracticers at "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Government." Six months ago, in a still-uncorrected item at Breitbart's website --- their first one on the phony ACORN "pimp" hoax videos --- O'Keefe mis-reported that ACORN "receive[s] billions in tax money."

Oh, and in addition to the actual billions (with a b) that we may have been defrauded of via phony contracts in Iraq during the Bush regime, the same story linked above also notes:

A related investigation of rebuilding funds for Afghanistan began in February.

Now let's go do our moral duty and protect the tax-payers against "big government" corruption by taking down those those bastards at ACORN!

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By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2010 6:02pm PT  

The Department of Justice's Anti-trust division has determined that the purchase of Premier Election Solutions, Diebold Inc.'s recently renamed e-voting division, by Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), has resulted in a voting machine monopoly. The DoJ and nine states that have joined in a lawsuit are suing to require ES&S to divest of the assets gained in the bargain-basement priced purchase of Diebold's e-voting outfit last September.

The merger with Diebold/Premier, ES&S's second largest competitor, had given ES&S, a private corporation which already controlled some 50% of U.S. elections with its electronic voting systems, a full 70% control of the votes cast in this country. The acquisition had been opposed by election integrity organizations, Hart Intercivic (a much smaller Austin-based competitor), the New York Times' editorial board, and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, and was being investigated by 14 different states along with the DoJ's anti-trust division...

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

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Also, Maxim's feature on Death of Mike Connell also online...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2010 1:02pm PT  

[Ed note: This blog item was originally published on 2/6/2010. I'm re-dating it to today, to let you know that my full Hustler article, sans graphics, has now been posted online at the LarryFlynt.com site.. Edmonds has now named names, but the media won't investigate. Why would that be? I look at the possibilities in my article. --- As well, the Mike Connell feature story in February's Maxim, mentioned below, is also now posted online. -BF]

You're welcome. My 2000+ word article on former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is now featured in the March 2010 edition of Hustler. Sorry, she's wearing all her clothes. Go buy it anyway.

The article brings the story of Edmonds, who was twice-gagged by the Bush Administration's outrageous use/abuse of the "States Secrets Privilege," fully up to date following her naming of names, finally, under oath, in remarkable testimony last summer. (Some of those names: Hastert, Burton, Blunt, Lantos, Schakowsky, Wolfowitz, Perle, Grossman, etc.)

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2010 6:16am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

While I've always had the utmost respect for Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger, I must admit that the first time I watched his video, "Obama is a corporate marketing creation," I thought that, in implying that the President was some type of CIA-connected Manchurian Candidate, Pilger was a bit over the top.

In 1983 Obama went to work for "Business International Corporation," which, according to Pilger, had "a long history of providing cover for the CIA and infiltrating unions on the left." Though Pilger conceded that there "might be nothing sinister" in that, he cited Obama's failure to identify Business International by name or what he did there in Dreams of My Father. The President simply said he worked at “a consulting house to multinational corporations.” Coupling this with a litany of examples which place Obama on the wrong side of Empire and the corporate divide, Pilger implied the connection was not coincidental, then concluded his remarks by quoting Chris Hedges:

President Obama does one thing and brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they make you feel.

Perhaps it's an accumulation of all that has transpired this past year; perhaps it's the striking revelations that emerged during an extraordinary Feb. 2, 2010, broadcast of Democracy Now, especially as it pertains to torture (video below), but I now can't help feeling like Claire Kubik, the sharp attorney played by Ashley Judd in High Crimes who starts out vigorously defending her husband Tom (Jim Cazviel) against charges he murdered innocent civilians in a covert military operation. She's convinced the man she married has been wrongfully accused; convinced of his innocence until, almost when it's too late, she learns the man she thought she knew so well was a murderous sociopath.

Who is this guy whose election so many so happily celebrated on a brisk November evening that now seems so long ago?...

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

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Justice slowly returns after the reign of John 'Minorities Die First' Tanner, and under a new Administration
The BRAD BLOG is happy to have played an important role...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2010 11:29am PT  

While criticism of Obama and Democrats is as easy as it is appropriate (as well as frequently engaged in here), their failures on the marquee items --- Afghanistan, health care, torture accountability, etc., ya know, the items Fox "News" and the other wingnuts like to talk about --- tend to obscure the very real differences between the current administration and the former one across a broader, and much less sexy (by cable news standards), level. That's just one of the reasons I reject the far too lazy "Democrats are just the same as Republicans" knee-jerkisms.

While on the big ticket items, as noted above, there is far less difference in real world results than all of us would like, but below the radar, in executive departments and policies, the difference has been, at times, and in some areas, like night and day.

Desi Doyen and I have made this point on a number of occasions in our Green News Reports --- most recently in last Thursday's edition, highlighting new, important and aggressive policy changes and initiatives at the EPA, federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Dept. of Interior.

Now, some important changes at the DoJ's Civil Rights Division, and of particular note to long time readers of The BRAD BLOG, its Voting Rights Division, are beginning to show real change and significantly for the better, whether you hear about it on Fox and CNN and MSNBC or not.

Adam Serwer of The American Prospect highlighted some of that positive change late last week on the heels of an upheaval at the DoJ's Voting Rights Division over which The BRAD BLOG played a very direct and significant role in 2007....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2009 11:15am PT  

Straight-party ticket voters have long been getting screwed by touch-screen voting systems, whether they knew it or not, in election after election, as the systems have failed in various ways in states around the country for years.

But, for a modicum of good news on that front, finally, last week a panel of federal judges in Dallas County, TX, have responded to a lawsuit from the Texas Democratic Party --- who finally bothered to notice the problem --- by halting the use of such systems until corrective action of some sort can be taken. As the Dallas Morning News reported the county's E&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems have now been decertified for the moment, leading the chair of the Texas Democratic Party to declare a "victory," even as he went on to demonstrate he still seems somewhat unaware of the overall problems of voting at all on such systems...

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

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Anti-trust probes also said underway in 14 states...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2009 6:41pm PT  

On Thursday we reported that Florida's AG office was investigating the recent acquisition of Diebold's voting machine unit by its larger/largest "competitor," ES&S, for possible violations of anti-trust statutes in the state. Today, the New York Post reports that the U.S. Dept. of Justice is also actively investigating the same thing --- along with 14 states in total --- and may "file a suit to unwind the deal" next month...

The Department of Justice could vote down an already-completed merger of the two biggest makers of voting machines.

The Justice Department, Florida and 13 other states have opened investigations into the September marriage between Election Systems & Software and Diebold's Premier Election Solutions, which played a controversial role in the 2004 presidential election, according to a source with direct knowledge of the process.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is planning to hold hearings on the matter next month, the source said.

Even though the merger gave ES&S a whopping 70 percent of the voting-machine market share, the $5 million deal was too small to require government approval.

Now, the Justice Department is looking into the matter and next month could file a suit to unwind the deal, the source said.

Though the Post story seems to be based on a single, unnamed "source," they also note that "A Diebold spokesman confirmed the Ohio ATM maker was cooperating with a Justice Department investigation."

And while there are other "Justice Department investigation[s]" that Diebold is also cooperating with --- as The BRAD BLOG noted early this year, when the company's Chief Financial Officer was forced to stop down: "[Diebold has been] been facing a class-action securities fraud lawsuit from shareholders since 2005; under SEC investigation since 2006; and under DoJ investigation since 2007; and admitted overstating '07 earnings in early 2008" --- Reuters coverage of the story offers more direct confirmation of the DoJ probe of this particular matter. "Diebold spokesman Michael Jacobsen said in an email that the company was cooperating with the Justice Department review of the sale," they report tonight.

BlackBoxVoting.org's Bev Harris deserves much credit here, both for helping to get the anti-trust ball moving when the merger was first announced in September, as we reported at the time, but also for providing the DoJ a great deal of information, statistics, financial and legal analysis demonstrating the monopolistic nature of the sale, and the harm it presents to our already in-tatters system of election in the U.S.. See BBV's additional coverage here.

* * *

We realize its Christmas in a horrible economy and spare dollars are few and far between. Nonetheless, if you can afford to share a few of them with us here at year's end, your generosity will be as appreciated as it is truly needed. The BRAD BLOG covers your electoral system fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here... And thank you in advance!

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Former AL Governor says same people working on his case even after Obama took office...
By Rebecca Abrahams on 12/18/2009 11:20am PT  

Guest Blogged by Rebecca M. Abrahams

Two weeks ago Washington Post reported that U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan named federal prosecutor Henry Schuelke to investigate whether gross prosecutorial misconduct tainted the government's case against now-former Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. At issue, whether prosecutors withheld critical evidence from the defense or whether the case was improperly handled under pressure to meet deadlines.

US Attorney General Eric Holder, in a stunning move, threw out the government's corruption case against Stevens last April and issued the following statement:

After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial.

Holder also relocated attorneys who worked on the case including William H. Welch II, who ran the Department's public integrity unit.

WaPo failed to report that William Welch is currently under criminal contempt of court for his role in the case against Stevens. Welch was also involved in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Siegelman was convicted of bribery in 2006 and served nine months in prison before his release was ordered pending appeal.

Despite Welch's pending legal issues, his name continues to be listed on recent filings in Siegelman's case. Siegelman finds this "quite curious as he's been hot after my prosecution for a good long time now."

Aside from alleged governmental misconduct in the Siegelman case, there are paramount legal issues that have been recognized by 91 former State Attorneys General and a group of First Amendment law professors across the country. And yet, while the DOJ is making a point to review Republican cases, not one case against a Democrat has been completely overturned and, as Siegelman told me in a recent interview, he believes very little has changed at the department, other than the names "at the top"...

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

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Demon coupling will result in company counting 92% of Sunshine State votes, at least 70% nation wide...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2009 4:05pm PT  

From the Herald/Times [emphasis added]....

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is conducting an anti-trust investigation of a voting-machine company merger that would create a near-monopoly over the levers of democracy in Florida and much of the United States.

McCollum's office has issued at least six subpoenas covering every major voting-machine company as part of a civil investigation of Election Systems & Software's $5 million acquisition of Diebold Inc.'s elections division --- a merger that would give a private company too much power over the machines used to cast votes, voting-rights groups say.

``Our office engaged in this issue because anti-competitive behavior can seriously harm consumers,'' McCollum said in a written statement. ``Competitive behavior encourages the best products be available to consumers, including technology, particularly in a market as sensitive as the voting systems market.''

Under the state's 1980 anti-trust law, McCollum could persuade a court to levy fines against ES&S or prevent the company from operating in Florida. By next year, the company is expected to be the exclusive provider of voting machines and services in 65 of the 67 counties in Florida, the nation's most important swing state.

That means, under the acquisition announced Sept. 2, ES&S will provide election services to 92 percent of Florida's 11.2 million voters.

More broadly, ES&S's purchase of the competitor company gives it control of the voting machines in nearly 70 percent of the nation's precincts, according to a federal lawsuit in Delaware filed by a rival company, Hart Intercivic. The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting its own inquiry.

ES&S, of course, told the Herald/Times that their acquisition of Diebold "will result in better products and services for all customers and voters alike." And, if you believe that, we've got an unhackable voting machine to sell you....

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG emailer JM]

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Powerful Democratic donor, attorney from Mississippi, others, said to have been targeted for political prosecution by the Bush Administration's Dept. of Justice...
By Emily Levy on 12/11/2009 5:17pm PT  

Guest blogged by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us
[UPDATED by Brad Friedman, 12/12/09, 12:02pm PT]

The federal bribery convictions of Paul Minor, an influential Democratic donor and attorney from Mississippi, and several others have been overturned by the Fifth Circuit of Appeals. Critics of the Bush Administration's Dept. of Justice have long charged that Minor's prosecution, along with those of many other powerful Democrats, such as former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, were politically motivated and directly manipulated by Bush political operative Karl Rove.

Earlier this year, Velvet Revolution's RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com campaign called on the Obama Administration's Dept. of Justice to review all such prosecutions by their predecessors, and to vacate any that are found to have been politically motivated. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR]

The Jackson Free Press has the details on the court's finding overturning the "bribery" counts of Minor and a number of former judges found guilty in the same trial, after improper instructions were found to have been given to the jury by trial Judge Henry Wingate who also sat on Minor's motion to be released during the appeal, even as his wife was dying from terminal cancer...

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

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