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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, February 8, 2016
'Progress' v. 'Revolution': Bernie and Hillary's Lively NH Debate: 'BradCast' 2/5/16
Coverage and analysis with KY civil rights attorney Joe Dunman and Crooks and Liars' Managing Editor Karoli Kuns...
Black Box Voting's Bev Harris on Iowa Caucus Mess, NH Concerns: 'BradCast' 2/4/16
ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
'Green News Report' 2/4/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems keep pushing climate action, Repubs keep ignoring it; FL mayors slam Rubio on sea level rise; CA AG files suit over massive gas leak; PLUS: FBI launches Flint probe...
Previous GNRs: 2/2/16 - 1/28/16 - Archives...
FL Mayors Slam Rubio on Climate Flip-Flop; Cruz Accused of 'Fraud' in IA: 'BradCast' 2/3/16
Rising ire, rising tides. Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL joins us...
What the Hell Just Happened in Iowa?!: 'BradCast' 2/2/16
Concerned about missing votes, coin tosses, videos suggesting fraud? Caucus expert Prof. David P. Redlawsk explains it all (and more) for you...and me...
'Green News Report' 2/2/16
Cruz promises to kill all energy subsidies; Rubio was for climate action, before against it; Crashing oil prices blow hole in NC budget; PLUS: Bad and good news in CA...
Sanders on the 'Edge'? Really, NY Times?: 'BradCast' 2/1/16
Jim Naureckas of FAIR on corporate media's false balance; Plus: More Dem debates; Trump's Iowa faux pas; Leaker Petraeus gets another pass...
Sunday Toons of the Hawkeye State Moment
Documenting the moments before the Iowa Caucuses via PDiddie's weekly collection of political toons...
Microsoft's App at the Iowa Caucuses: 'BradCast' 1/28/16
Also, the latest on the Oregon 'Patriot' standoff with independent journalist Arun Gupta...
'Green News Report' 1/28/16
Dems focus on climate, energy in IA; FL mayors smack Rubio on climate; Flint stuck with bad pipes, water; Poor bear brunt of pollution; PLUS: Victory for coal miners...
Ernie on Bernie: 'BradCast' 1/27/16
BRAD BLOG legal analyst turned Vets for Bernie advisor Ernest A. Canning on Sanders' electability and much more; PLUS: New OR standoff news, GOP/Dem debate controversies, listener calls!...
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...


GUEST: Author, journalist Ari Berman of The Nation
PLUS: More RW terrorism; More racism from Justice Scalia; U.N. climate conference in Paris turning out much better than expected...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2015 5:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more rightwing domestic terrorism in the U.S., more Scalia race-baiting, another rightwing challenge to minority voting rights heard by SCOTUS, and some potentially good news for the climate out of Paris. [Link to the full program follows below.]

First up today, another 'active shooter' situation plays out as we go to air. And, once again, the terrorist in question appears to be a rightwinger --- at least based on the 'Tea Party' flag on his pickup truck.

Next, we're joined by The Nation's Ari Berman, author of the recently published Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, to discuss Evenwell v. Abbott, the somewhat astonishing rightwing challenge to minority voting rights heard this week at the U.S. Supreme Court (for some reason).

Despite the "One person, one vote" principal having been seen by most as settled law for about 50 years in the U.S., the Court took up a challenge to that idea brought by the same man who successfully challenged the Voting Rights Act --- which SCOTUS subsequently gutted --- back in 2013. Now comes the idea out of Texas that each state's legislative districts should not be drawn with an approximately equal population in each, as they are now, but rather an equal portion of eligible voters in each Congressional and state house district.

Redrawing maps in this way --- and it would likely need to be done in all 50 states --- would lead not only to chaos, but it have the effect of seriously undercutting minority voting rights, as Berman explains on today's program.

If the plaintiffs in Evenwell are successful, he observes, "many people who are now counted would be excluded, because they are not eligible voters, such as those who are under 18, those who are not U.S. citizens, both documented and undocumented [and] prisoners who have lost the right the vote. All of those people will not be counted [when drawing up legislative maps]. So if you look at the math itself...that will mean that 55% of Latinos, 45% of Asian-Americans, and 30% of African-Americans will not be counted towards representation. And that's why this case is such an attack on minority voting representation."

Few, including Berman, saw such a challenge coming, though perhaps we should have. The case, he tells me, is "brought by the same people that challenged the Voting Rights Act, the same people that challenged affirmative action, and seemingly everything they bring --- particularly this one guy, Ed Blum and his Project on Fair Representation --- everything he brings seems to be heard by this Supreme Court. It's literally like he's sitting around thinking 'What's the next way I can try to attack voting rights? What's the next way I can attack racial equality?' And they keep thinking of more and more creative schemes. And it like they're just going through everything that was done in the 1960s and challenging it --- whether it's the Voting Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act or it's 'One person, one vote'. All of these landmark achievements that have been so successful are now under attack, and this is just the next iteration of this."

After spending months researching for his book, Give Us The Ballot, Berman observes the fight against voting rights today is a continuation of the same fight that has been waged since the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act half a century ago. "There has been a 50 year attempt to try to restrict voting rights. And one of the things that I've noticed is that there's always new ways thought up to try to roll voting rights back. And we've seen a dramatic escalation, I think, of a very old strategy...And they don't seem likely to stop anytime soon."

Berman details how the questions from the Justices at Wednesday's oral arguments to suggest that we are likely looking at another 5 to 4 split decision from the Court...one way or another.

Also today: Justice Antonin Scalia, the Donald Trump of the Supreme Court, offers remarkably offensive comments about African-Americans; Rush Limbaugh's guest host testifies on climate change (sort of) in Ted Cruz' U.S. Senate Science Committee hearing; And the U.N. climate conference in Paris (COP21) comes down to the wire and may be set to produce an even better global agreement than almost anyone had predicted...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Brendan Fischer of WI's Center for Media and Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2015 5:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Wisconsin Supreme Court drops the next amazing shoe in the mindblowing case against the "John Doe" criminal probe into campaign improprieties by Gov. Scott Walker and his Koch Brothers-funded rightwing crony organizations during the 2012 recall elections in the state. (Audio link posted below.)

I'm joined once again by Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy today to discuss the unprecedented move by the state's high court that has, in effect, resulted in the firing of the Republican special investigator in charge of the probe looking at illegal campaign coordination between those powerful "dark money" groups and the controversial Republican Governor.

"The Wisconsin Supreme Court has a four justice majority," Fischer explains in recounting this remarkable, and under-reported turn of events. "And that four justice majority was elected to the bench with $10 million dollars in spending from the same groups under investigation. The same groups that Walker was accused of coordinating with. The same groups that were party to the case. And the same groups that would be affected by an adverse ruling by a decision that what they did was illegal."

"Despite these conflicts of interests, these justices declined to recuse. They shut down the investigation, rewrote the law to benefit their biggest donors, and then the Special Prosecutor asked the Court to reconsider its investigation."

In response to that Motion to Reconsider, Fischer tells me, the Court's bought and paid for majority went far beyond what anybody might have imagined they would do. "Not only did they dismiss the Motion to Reconsider, they rewrote their July decision to say, 'you as Special Prosecutor can no longer be involved in this case.' Which means that he would be unable to appeal up to the U.S. Supreme Court and challenge the conflicts of interest on the WI Supreme Court."

The result, as both Fischer and the Court's minority note, is that we are now in wholly unprecedented territory for this case in the Badger State and for illegal campaign finance and coordination in Wisconsin and, potentially, the rest of the nation as the Right has been paying close attention to this case and spending a lot of money for the results they now seem to have achieved.

Please listen to the full amazing interview below!

Also on today's BradCast: Corporate media finally begin to notice the mess they've helped foster in this country over the past decade (and more) and some good news, for a very welcome change, in our latest Green News Report as the UN climate summit in Paris (COP21) reaches crunch time...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Screenshots suggests disappearing 'Yes' votes on Election Night; OH Sec. of State's office offers us an explanation, downplays concerns
PLUS: Citizen calls for hand-count grows in Kentucky; And Fossil Fuel's very bad week...
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2015 5:15pm PT  

Did someone or something flip election results last week in Ohio's statewide ballot initiative Issue 3 to legalize marijuana? We try to get to the bottom of that question --- and many others --- on today's BradCast. (Audio is linked below.)

As initially reported by Ohio's Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, and later by Steve Rosenfeld, screenshots captured from several different media outlets on Election Night last week show what appear to be impossible results on both Issue 3 and on Issue 1, a ballot measure for redistricting reform in the Buckeye State.

For example, according to screenshots from Dayton's WHIO-TV website, as published in the Fitrakis, Wasserman and Rosenfeld articles, Issue 3 reportedly had 969,662 "Yes" votes with 39% of precincts reporting. But later in the night, with 45% of precincts, there were only 614,866 "Yes" votes on Issue 3. That's a seemingly impossible drop of more than 300,000 votes in the initiative that is said to have ultimately failed, according to the unverified election night results reported by the OH Sec. of State.

Similarly, screenshots of results on Issue 1, which ended up reportedly passing, saw "No" votes drop impossibly from 990,555 to 486,596 later in the evening.

What explains these numbers? I spoke to Matt McClellan, Communications Director for Ohio Sec. of State John Husted (R) earlier today. He says that WHIO and the other media outlets whose screenshots were cited by Fitrakis, Wasserman and Rosenfeld, were all Cox Media outlets and "the problem was on their end."

"Someone was manually entering data," McClellan told me. "When they noticed the mistake, they made a correction." He went on to say that the Secretary of State's website had no such discrepancies or irregularities throughout the evening. His office does not take their own screenshots throughout the night, so we can't confirm that either way, at the moment, though McClellan says the office "went back and double-checked to make sure" after the issue was initially reported.

In response to the Sec. of State office's assertions (we offer more detail on them during the show), Fitrakis shared pre-election tracking poll results with me, that suggest the marijuana initiative should have passed, rather than lost, by a 2 to 1 margin. "Tracking polls suggest more that [results] were flipped than not flipped," he told me today. Fitrakis was is skeptical of the explanation from Husted's office, while adding that if Cox is manually entering results on the fly on Election Night, "then they need to stop, because it's absurd."

For the record, our calls to try and confirm the OH SoS' claims with WHIO and/or Cox Media have not yet been returned. But, again, much more detail during the program.

As if all of that isn't enough of a mess, the citizen movement to demand a hand count of the questionable results of last week's Kentucky Governor's race continues to grow. A petition has been posted to Change.org asking KY SoS Allison Lundergan Grimes to carry out a hand count of paper ballots statewide. So far, more than 10,000 have signed on to the effort, as we discuss today as well.

Finally on today's show, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report on the fossil fuel industry's no good, very very bad week...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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PLUS: Big victory for courageous student protesters in Missouri...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2015 5:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the power of protest and organization.

We start at the University of Missouri after African-American players on the football team there used their power over the weekend to collectively and courageously support a student hunger strike in a protest to force university system President Tim Wolfe to resign amidst a series of racially charged incidents on the Columbia, MO campus. The leverage used by the players is another great reminder of how smart and courageous protest can succeed in making substantive change --- even against some of the world's most powerful entities. Go Tigers!

Speaking of which, my guest today is, once again, Douglas Hughes. You may recall him as the 61-year old Florida postal worker who landed his homemade gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in a dramatic protest last spring. He was our guest back in April, just days after the incident where he had hoped to bring attention to the desperate need for campaign finance reform.

He was, at the time, arrested and charged with six felonies that might have netted him more than 9 years in jail for his attempt to deliver an important letter to all 535 members of Congress. Now, he has struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors and joins us to discuss the deal, why he took it, the latest developments in his case, and whether he feels his protest was ultimately worth the extraordinarily high cost.

Hughes tells us today that he has "no regrets" for having "stomped on the dragon's tail", despite losing his job at the Post Office, facing enormous fines, jail time, and even the loss of his ability to vote as a "felon".

"I stomped on the dragon's tail and I knew it was going to turn around and come after me," Hughes tells me. "And it has, and I have no regrets."

He credits the flight with helping to broaden the discussion about the need for reform, and says, despite the extraordinary cost, he'd do it again "in a heartbeat" as he continues his call for a "voters rebellion" to help "get the money out of politics so everybody that's in Congress knows they've got to answer to us."

Though Hughes was reluctant to mention it, he has a GoFundMe page where folks can donate to his legal defense fund and other needs as he is now struggling to survive day-to-date until his Social Security finally kicks in. Please consider helping him out if you can!

Lastly, it's wingnut v. wingnut over at Fox "News"! So, bust out the popcorn!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2015 4:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, breaking news on President Obama's final Keystone XL pipeline decision and more fallout following the completely unverified results of Tuesday's Gubernatorial election in Kentucky. (Audio link to complete show is below.)

On Keystone: Obama finally rejects TransCanada's application to build the controversial tar sands pipeline from Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico. Our producer and green news expert Desi Doyen joins us to help separate fact from fiction on the long-awaited decision, and to offer long-overdue kudos to those citizens who organized, activated, advocated and otherwise successfully took on the most powerful interests in the history of civilization to block the project in the name of the environment.

On Kentucky: Several new developments following the completely unverified results of Tuesday's Gubernatorial election in Kentucky, where pre-election polls all predicted the opposite of the 'landslide' reported by the state's computer tabulators. Among those developments: A KY newspaper fires their well-respected pollster rather than bothering to find out if the polls were right and the results were wrong; Another reminder of why hand-marked paper ballots like those in KY are swell, but only if you bother to actually count them; We weather a few attacks from progressives who charge us with forwarding conspiracy theories and don't think we should bother to count ballots; And, new information out of Pima County (Tucson), AZ to remind us why citizen vigilance and oversight is needed to assure the survival of democracy.

Also today: The Koch Brothers tell MSNBC they are champions of the environment and MSNBC doesn't bother to correct them --- so, we do. Plus, a few other pieces of important news at week's end...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Karoli Kuns of CrooksAndLiars.com...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2015 5:21pm PT  

It is a primal scream of a BradCast today, following what happened --- once again --- on Election Day yesterday. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I've warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters. (Audio link to today's full show is below.)

That's exactly what happened in Kentucky on Tuesday, where Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway was leading by a fair margin (about 3 to 5 points) in almost every pre-election poll in his race for Governor, but then ended up being announced as the loser to 'Tea Party' Republican candidate Matt Bevin by a landslide (almost 9 points) --- according to the state's 100% unverified computer tabulation systems.

As detailed on today's program with my guest Karoli Kuns of Crooks And Liars, there are a number of reasons to question the reported results. Among them, as Kuns points out today at C&L, the Democrats running in the down ballot races --- for Secretary of State, Attorney General (Conway's current job) and even state Auditor --- each reportedly received tens of thousands more votes than Conway did at the top of the ticket!

Bev Harris, of BlackBoxVoting.org, who I spoke with earlier today, described the higher vote totals in the down ballot races as a "significant anomaly". She tells me that, at least until more records are requested and examined, the KY-Gov's race "has to be looked at as a questionable outcome, particularly because of the discrepancies in the down ballot races. More votes in those races and not at the top...that just doesn't happen."

(Here is a link to a helpful Public Records Request toolkit [PDF] from Black Box Voting for those of you who may be interested in helping to try and obtain some transparency in this race, as we also discussed on today's program.)

There are many other reasons for supporters to question the reported results in the KY-Gov's race, as I detail during the show. Of course, the reported results could also be completely accurate. But, without public, human examination of the hand-marked paper ballots (which, thankfully, now actually exist across most of the state!) and other related records, we have yet another unverified, 100% faith-based election to leave supporters wondering if they really won or lost.

We've seen this before, of course. Too many times. We've seen malfunctioning paper ballot op-scan systems report losers as "winners" until a hand-count corrects the record. We've seen how easy it is for hackers to game election equipment. We've seen election insiders, even as recently as last week, breaking in to computerized central tabulators. And we've even seen high-ranking election officials in Kentucky (including County Clerks, Circuit Court Judges and School Superintendents!) convicted for decades of insider election fraud, including the manipulation of electronic voting systems.

We've seen both Democrats and Republicans alike fall victim to similarly anomalous and unverified results. And, while none of it bodes well for 2016 and beyond, neither does it bode well for those immediately and directly impacted by Tuesday's elections --- such as the 400,000 Kentuckyians who stand to lose health care under a new Republican Governor who has vowed to shut down the state's expansion of coverage under ObamaCare by the very popular if term-limited and outgoing Democratic Governor.

Also today: More election results from races around the country, from the attempt to legalize marijuana in Ohio, to campaign finance reform in Maine, to the recall of Koch Brothers-funded school board officials in Colorado...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Scott Greytak of Justice at Stake...
ALSO: E-Pollbooks failing on Election Day; Keystone XL finally dead (for now)...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2015 6:02pm PT  

It's Election Day on The BradCast, so, naturally, that means voter disenfranchisement throughout the country. Early reports today find e-pollbook systems failing at polling places in a number of states, which means voters are being turned away. (And, for some reason in Ohio(!) folks who were registered are finding they no longer are...for some reason.)

But, with more Election Day problems sure to come to light soon, we turn for the moment to the obscenity that has become judicial elections in the U.S. --- on a day that finds a record $15.8 million has been spent on today's Supreme Court election alone in Pennsylvania.

Scott Greytak of JusticeAtStake.org joins us to discuss his new report --- Bankrolling the Bench: The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2013-2014 (with Brennan Center for Justice and the National Institute on Money in State Politics) --- on the record amount of cash now being spent, "legally", to buy judges and state Supreme Court Justices via elections around the country. Millions of dollars now flow in to these contests from outside interests and political parties as well as lawyers and lobbyists.

"This is something that's, unfortunately, unique to America," Greytak explains. "It's really the United States and one other country in the world that decides to elect their judges." What began as "a populist impulse" about 100 years ago, "when folks were trying to break up big machine politics, trying to attack corruption," has now become a nightmare in the post-Citizens United age.

Judicial elections "which typically used to be pretty low-key affairs" are now being "targeted by politicians, legislators, or special interest groups that are hoping to shape the bench [or] targeted as sort of a referenda on big decisions that the court has heard or, more often, just opportunities for partisan groups to try and make political plays with these courts."

"It's deeply concerning," Greytak tells me. "Our data from this cycle found that about a third of all contributions to state Supreme Court judicial candidates came from lawyers and lobbyists. Another third came from business interests which, of course, are going to have cases that come in front of these courts, or have interests that come in front of these courts."

"When judges have to run for office, the folks who are closest to the courts, who know what's at stake, are often the lawyers and lobbyists who operate in them," he says. "So they turn and rely on the lawyers and lobbyists as a funding system. It becomes a reproducing cycle of conflicts of interests and this is what judicial elections has left us with."

With mostly Republican, but also Democratic groups spending millions in these races and using them as political bludgeons, jurists become vulnerable to offering rulings based on partisan interests rather than the rule of law. As discussed on today's program, what is happening in the state of Wisconsin right now has become a fantastic example of how judicial elections have become disastrous for those of us who believe in good government.

Finally today, big news in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen, as a hurricane heads to Yemen (of all places) and the Keystone XL pipeline is finally dead...for now anyway...thanks in no small part to unrelenting citizen activists and organizers who stood up to the most powerful corporate interests in the history of civilization!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser
ALSO: GOP in disarray, Dems in denial; Murdered elephants; Colbert v. vegetarians...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2015 3:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast...the Republican Party may appear to be falling apart on one level --- because it is (and we cover quite a bit of their various disasters in advance of tonight's Republican Presidential debate in Boulder, CO today) --- but on another level, the GOP still controls not just both chambers of the U.S. Congress, but also the vast majority of statehouses and Governor's mansions across the country.

So, while the Democrats' Presidential prospects may be encouraging for them, are they actually in denial about their real problems? And/or is there another way out of their current morass?

Ian Millhiser, journalist, Constitutional law expert and author of the new book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, joins us to discuss what may be the Democrats' best way out of the mess: The U.S. Supreme Court and as many as four vacancies that may occur on the bench during the next Presidency. "The Future Of The Democratic Party," he wrote recently, "Will Be Decided By The Supreme Court."

"A big reason why Democrats are so far underwater when it comes to state legislative races, when it comes to House races, is because of the Supreme Court," Millhiser tells me on today's show. "The Supreme Court has ordered the lower federal courts not to even look at partisan gerrymandering cases. They're not allowed to even consider them under existing Supreme Court doctrine."

Millhiser goes on to explain how the Court's recent rulings on voting rights have also made things far more difficult for Democrats. SCOTUS, he argues, "isn't enforcing the Constitution and at other times its mangling the Constitution."

"The situation Democrats find themselves in is due to a number of problems layered on top of each other, many of which are at the fault of the Supreme Court. Many of these problems could be solved if we had a Supreme Court that was prepared to give us fairer elections," he notes. With as many as four --- four --- seats potentially becoming vacant on the Court during the next Presidency, the party that controls the White House as of 2017 will have an enormous opportunity to affect what happens in this country for generations.

While both major parties often use the potential for Supreme Court vacancies to underscore the importance of controlling the White House, Millhiser explains the reasons --- and there are many --- why the 2016 election really is different from recent elections where that argument has been offered. "If the Supreme Court gets even more conservative," he warns, "then you're looking at an apocalypse for the Democratic Party."

Also today: Elephants murdered in Zimbabwe; GMO labeling hypocrisy; Colbert takes on vegetarians after bad news about smoke meats; And much more...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2015 5:28pm PT  

Last week at the Center for Media and Democracy, their general counsel Brendan Fischer warned "Darkness descends upon Wisconsin." Today, on The BradCast, Fischer joins me to explain the three new pieces of legislation being quickly rammed through the Republican-dominated state legislature in the Badger State, which, taken together, are set to serve an unprecedented blow to transparency, elections, and democracy. (Audio link to complete show follows below.)

Formerly, one of the most transparent states for election oversight and the ability to either prevent corruption or, at least, discover it and hold those accountable for it after it is found, WI is now set to become the very opposite unless something happens to prevent this full package of election reform bills from being enacted. Yes. Darkness descends upon Wisconsin and, frankly, the rest of the nation if these laws are all passed and signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R-Koch) expected.

One of the bills has already been adopted by the legislature and was hastily signed over the weekend by Walker. That one bars state prosecutors from investigating political corruption under the state's "John Doe" provisions. A WI John Doe investigation is akin to a grand jury process, but allows prosecutors to carry out criminal probes under the auspices of a state court. Such investigations in the past, for example, resulted in the conviction of six top aides and allies to Walker. A more recent John Doe probe into illegal campaign coordination between the Governor and his Koch Brothers-funded allies during the 2012 recall elections in WI, was shut down earlier this year by the same state Supreme Court justices elected and funded by those very same Koch Brothers-funded groups who stand to benefit from this entire package of "reform".

The other two bills were passed in the Assembly last week and are now pending in the state Senate. One replaces the state's non-partisan Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) --- the commission of retired judges convened to oversees state elections following a massive campaign finance scandal by both Dems and Republicans (uncovered by a John Doe probe!) back in 2007 --- with a new commission of partisan appointees modeled after (incredibly enough!) the entirely broken Federal Elections Commission!

Finally, saving the worst for last: The last of these three bills would allow unlimited undisclosed financing of political groups and campaigns in Wisconsin, as well as allow the millionaire and billionaire funders of those campaigns to remain completely secret to everyone but the candidate whose campaigns the funders would be supporting with unlimited cash payments!

"This is not something that voters in Wisconsin are calling for, neither Republicans nor Democrats," Fischer explains. "The only groups lobbying in favor of these three bills are the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity and other organizations with deep ties to Americans for Prosperity and Koch-tied groups. It's almost like a wish list of the Koch Brothers or other wealthy billionaires who want even more influence in elections."

"It's going to allow unlimited money from billionaires and corporations to political parties and legislative leaders. It's going to allow unlimited coordination between candidates and dark money groups," he tells me. "The implication of that is a candidate could form a non-profit group --- even have it operated out of its campaign headquarters --- and politicians can say to donors: 'Give to this dark money group I am working with. You can give as much as you want.' It can come from anywhere. It can come from Koch Industries corporate treasury. The money could even come from foreigners and the politician is going to know where the money is coming but the public will not."

And, of course, the existing non-partisan commission meant to oversee elections won't be able to block it (because they likely will not exist) and if there is anything left that is still illegal in such campaigns, state prosecutors will have much of their ability taken from them to be able to investigate it. It's a breathtaking set of reforms that, arguably, makes Walker's gutting of collective bargaining back in 2010 look like child's play. And all of this legislation and its provisions are being watched very closely by the GOP nationally, as this gutting of democracy is exactly what the party now hopes to see in every state, as well as at the federal level. Citizens United was not even the beginning of their scheming to undermine fairness and transparency in elections and campaigns.

Fischer goes on to note that, "with rightwing Republicans in control of a lot of state legislatures," similar "reform" is likely to be pushed forward elsewhere after it takes effect in WI, "even though it's not voters who are calling for it."

Please listen to today's program and pass it along to others! This matter needs a lot more national attention than it is currently receiving!

Also on today's program: Death and destruction over the weekend from Oklahoma to British Columbia to Pakistan and Afghanistan, even as Mexico and the U.S. may have dodged a bullet, of sorts, after the most powerful hurricane on record barreled ashore as a Category 5 storm.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUESTS: Fracking expert and Mahoning County, OH voter Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer; Columbia County, NY Election Commish Virginia Martin...
PLUS: A few words on the continuing GOP 'Benghazi Investigation' circus...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2015 5:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, first a rant about the nonsense that is the Benghazi "investigation", and then on to a real investigation concerning an anti-fracking initiative on the ballot in Mahoning County, OH, questions about the results reported by the county's electronic tabulators, and an election official or two who are caught on tape going kinda nuts when asked about it.

To talk about our latest example of "Election Officials Behaving Badly", I'm joined on today's show by Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, the voter who asked a simple question at a recent Mahoning County, Ohio Board of Elections meeting, before the officials accused him of accusing them of a crime in response!

And, since the Mahoning County election officials --- the ones caught on tape responding so outrageously to Beiersdorfer's reasonable request for a hand-count --- failed to reply to our multiple requests to join us on the show, we are joined instead by Virginia Martin of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections to comment on all of this. (Our invitation remains open to Mahoning County election officials David Betras (D) and Mark Munroe (R) if they'd like to respond to today's program.)

Beiersdorfer is a geology professor, fracking expert and supporter of the ProtectYoungstown.org anti-fracking initiative. As you'll here, at the meeting of the Elections Board, he politely asked for a hand-count of paper ballots regarding the ballot initiative, after a post-election poll appeared to offer contradictory results to those reported by the unverified computer optical-scan tabulation systems used in the county. (An electronic tabulation system, I'll note, which has failed in election after election elsewhere.) In response, Betras freaks out and charges that Beiersdorfer has accused him of "rigging an election".

"You just basically accused this board of elections of election fraud!," Betras, a Democratic, snaps in outraged response, as caught on tape. "I find it highly offensive you’d accuse me of a crime!" His fellow election commissioner, Munroe, a Republican, takes similar offense.

All of that, simply because a voter wished to oversee the results of an election to confirm that computer-reported results were accurate --- in a town with a history of election problems and where some of the same election officials reportedly spent some $30,000 of tax-payer money in a failed effort to keep the initiative off the ballot in the first place (before being overruled by the state Supreme Court.)

"I certainly wasn't accusing anyone of a crime," Beiersdorfer tells me today (and as the tape confirms). "I just pointed out the discrepancy and I asked for a public, open, transparent hand-count of the ballots. I was a little bit surprised at how he reacted to that --- and basically attacked me."

Unfortunately, it's not an isolated case. We've seen similar responses from election officials elsewhere. Martin, the Democratic co-chair of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections --- one of the few counties in the nation to publicly hand-count every paper ballot before certifying any election (my recent interview with Martin and her Republican co-chair on that specific topic is here) --- explains on today's show: "We election officials often find ourselves in the crosshairs. There's always somebody in the public who's not happy about something that's transpired at the Board of Elections. There's a winner and there's a loser, so we often are in a position of having to defend ourselves. I can understand why they would be very sensitive."

But, she adds, that type of concern simply doesn't come up in her county, given that the public is invited to oversee the hand-count of paper ballots for every election. As an election official, she insists on hand-counts, she says, because: "I wasn't comfortable with trusting what the computer said, because I know computers can make mistakes. I know that computers can be programmed incorrectly --- inadvertently. I also know they can be manipulated, they can be tampered with. I personally can't know how a computer counts anything, because I don't get to see that. So how am I going to know that the result is correct?"

I think it's a fascinating show today --- as this is a problem that occurs more and more, as election officials and electronic voting and tabulation systems make it far more difficult for the citizenry to oversee their own elections --- but you'll be the judge. Give it a listen below!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

[You can watch the complete, exclusive Mahoning County, OH video from which we played audio clips today, here. And the full video of Pima County, AZ Election Supervisor Brad Nelson caught on tape similarly freaking out back 2007, which we played a bit of as well today, can be seen here.]

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GUEST: Alex Doukas of Oil Change International...
PLUS: More 'voter fraud' fraud in KS; Webb drops out; Several huge green news stories...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2015 5:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we examine the huge news out of Canada last night as the Liberal Party and its leader Justin Trudeau swept into power and Stephen Harper's Conservative Party government was sent packing.

We speak about the big development with Canadian Alex Doukas of Oil Change International, who explains the election results first in broad terms, specifically for those of us in the U.S. who may not have even realized Canada was holding a major election this week!

Doukas describes the results as "a referendum on Stephen Harper's leadership" as much or more than a "vote of confidence" for the Liberal Party. "Canada's sliding back into recession now, in contrast to a lot of other G7 economies," he tells me. That's "partly a result of the knock-on effects of a low oil price, [and Harper's] nearly single-minded promotion of Canada's oil and gas industry at the expense of other sectors."

"Harper really bet the farm on oil and gas in his policy approach, and he lost that bet," he says. "And, unfortunately, that bad bet is now hurting Canadians."

We discuss what Trudeau's stunning win may mean for the future of energy and climate related issues in Canada, including the Keystone XL pipeline project, Canada's commitment to an international climate treaty, their reliance on a fossil fuel economy and their relationship with the U.S..

"Hopefully," he tells me, "with a new government in power, we'll start to see recognition of the value of economic diversification and a recognition that oil and gas is not the future for Canada, but that clean energy is really a huge opportunity for Canadians."

Doukas goes on to offer extraordinary clarity on all of the above and also offers a thought or two on the Conservative Party's newly implemented vote suppression techniques they seem to have picked up recently: "The Conservatives in Canada were learning lessons around voter disenfranchisement from GOP politicians south of the border. So, thanks for that." You're welcome, Canada!

Also today: More on KS Sec. of State Kris Kobach's outrageous voter suppression; Jim Webb drops out of the 2016 Democratic Presidential race; And much more sea change in today's Green News Report with Desi Doyen...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Congressman charges oil company's 'affirmative campaign against science of climate change' echoes conspiracy case against Big Tobacco...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2015 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) joins me to explain the letter [PDF] he sent late last week, with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), to Attorney General Loretta Lynch seeking an investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution of ExxonMobil.

In light of internal company documents recently unearthed and published by Inside Climate News and by the Los Angeles Times revealing that Exxon knew about the "potentially catastrophic" dangers of global warming as early as 1977 and their subsequent funding of the climate change denial industry in an attempt to obscure their own science, Lieu tells me he believes that a conspiracy case, akin to the one brought against Big Tobacco, would now be appropriate against the world's largest oil producer.

"In the case of [Big] tobacco," Lieu explains on today's program, "it's having knowledge that your product had a tendency to cause harm in people, and then denying that was the case, and affirmatively selling your product in the face of that knowledge."

He believes Exxon's actions are very similar and likely to trigger the broad "conspiracy statute" known as RICO, as successfully brought against the tobacco industry in the largest such prosecution ever.

"It wasn't just that Exxon remained silent and didn't share [what their scientists had confirmed]. They took affirmative steps to campaign against the science of climate change. They funded organizations that obscured the science behind climate change. Their top executives would make statements to say that climate change either isn't happening or 'these are just models that we don't know much about and things are very uncertain'," Lieu tells me. "And keep in mind, they internally took actions to take advantage of global warming," by changing their business strategy in the Arctic where drilling would become easier thanks to the melting caused by the use of their product.

"So this is beyond hypocrisy," he says. "An investigation is warranted into what Exxon knew, when they knew it, and what they said about it."

[My recent interview with Neela Banerjee, co-author of Inside Climate News' blockbuster investigative report, is posted here.]

Also on today's program: New polls are out in the wake of last week's Democratic debate in Las Vegas suggesting that things may be changing for both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, though not necessarily as the corporate media had predicted; Alabama's Republican Governor attempts to roll back the closure of drivers license offices that threaten to further disenfranchise African-American voters in the state; And Jeb Bush throws his own brother under the bus on voting rights, in hopes of winning the 2016 Republican nomination...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Artist, author and former felon Anthony Papa on criminal justice reform and his '15 years to life' for a first-time, non-violent drug crime...
ALSO: More climate dots connected; Trump, Jeb & Dubya; Arrest of a Fox 'News' fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2015 5:38pm PT  

We cover a lot of ground, yet again, on today's BradCast.

First: More climate change dots connected out here in California, as another freeway is shut down (the third in the last couple of months) thanks to yet another extreme weather disaster.

Next: As Donald Trump correctly notes that George W. Bush did not "keep us safe" either before or after 9/11, Jeb tries again to come to his brother's defense and fails almost as much as his own campaign is now floundering.

Then: With federal sentencing reform for non-violent drug offenders about to result in freedom for 6,000 federal inmates (and another 40,000 likely in the near future), we are joined today by artist and author Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Papa (self-portrait seen above in today's BradCast logo) shares his amazing story about how he was sentenced to "15 years to life" for a first-time, non-violent, drug-related crime under New York's "tough on crime", "war on drugs" policies of the 80s. He served 12 years of hard time --- for delivering 4 ounces of cocaine in exchange for $500 --- before he was finally granted clemency by the Governor.

He follows his first book, 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom up with his latest, An Open Letter to Men and Women Returning Home in the Age of Reform, just released on Kindle today.

Papa was lucky enough to earn three degrees while serving 12 years in prison, where he also discovered he knows how to paint. He now serves as Artist in Residence at Drug Policy Alliance and has had his work exhibited at the Whitney Museum. On today's show, in addition to his personal story, he shared his optimistic thoughts on criminal justice reform ("mandatory minimum sentencing became the poison that literally broke the system"), some words of advice to those about to be released ("these men and women coming home into a society that is not ready for them, can be a problem"), and his opinions on the outrage of restrictions on voting placed on both current and former felons.

"The greatest thing for me being in prison, was my discovery for me of my political awareness," he tells me. But, after his release, he learned he would still not be able to vote for another five years, even though he had served his time under laws passed by officials he should have been able to vote against. "Before I went to prison, I didn't even bother to vote. I was a regular Joe. When I came out, discovering I couldn't vote was very painful for me. So it took five years, but when the time came, I cast that vote. I felt like I was whole again. It was a wonderful feeling."

Finally today: Wayne Simmons, the "former CIA operative" regularly featured on Fox "News" for more than a decade, where he has been cited by wingnuts time and again on everything from Benghazi to torture to ISIS and their "19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States" (which don't exist), turns out to have never worked for the CIA at all and has now been arrested on federal fraud charges.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: Michael Collins of Drug Policy Alliance
PLUS: GOP now coming apart at the seams...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2015 4:43pm PT  

I'm back after a few days off for today's BradCast! My huge thanks to Radio Or Not's Nicole Sandler for guest-hosting over the past several days and affording Desi and me a bit of much-needed down time.

Of course, as soon as we stood down, everything blew up in Congress and everywhere else. So, I touch on a few of those points --- particularly the Republican Party coming apart at the seams, as we now see in their inability to find a House Speaker or even a Presidential candidate for that matter --- on today's program.

Then, it's on to the continuing fight for the right to vote across the country. We've got some troubling news out of Kansas, where their Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R) is attempting to justify his voter suppression with new prosecutions. And then we've got some very good news out of California, where voter registration will now be automatic and could lead to as many as 6.6 million new voters in the Golden State.

At the same time, Fox "News" is now offering a huge lie about the state's new law, as advanced on air today by Judge Andrew Napolitano.

After offering his (rather remarkable) opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court "wrongly" found voting to be "a fundamental right," Napolitano asserted the lie that "once it said that, states like California decided to allow people to vote who aren't qualified by law to vote because of the fundamental aspect." The former Judge then added to his lie by claiming that "an illegal alien in California...can vote in local, state, and federal elections in California and those votes count," simply by obtaining a drivers license under the new Motor Voter Law signed over the weekend by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

In response to Napolitano, we obtained a statement via email from Dean Logan, the Los Angeles County Register-Recorder/County Clerk, describing the outrageous assertion as categorically "false". "The new Motor Voter law only applies to those identified by DMV records as meeting the eligibility requirements to be registered to vote --- including citizenship," Logan says in his statement this afternoon, as read on air. "The law specifically mandates that distinction and the adoption of regulations to ensure against registration of non-eligible persons. The contention that the law automatically places non-citizens on the voter rolls is false."

Since airtime, the office of CA Sec. of State Alex Padilla (D) has also responded to our query and confirms that the new law "expressly prohibits" voter registration for non-citizens. Of course, Fox couldn't be bothered to find out and accurately inform their viewers.

Next, we are joined by Michael Collins of the Drug Policy Alliance to discuss the federal Bureau of Prisons' long overdue reform to sentencing guidelines that will result in some 6,000 inmates being freed within days, and perhaps a total of 46,000 thereafter. Collins explains how the changes came about and notes: "The Sentencing Commission definitely deserves to be applauded for what it's doing. But, at the same time, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the overall prison population."

"Drug offenses and the hysteria around drugs in the 80s and 90s, where laws were introduced, mandatory minimum sentencing was introduced, and we saw the prison population grow through the roof," requires reform that only Congress can provide. But, as dysfunctional as Collins acknowledges Congress to be, he says, on this issue, there is actually very real, bipartisan momentum in favor of reform in both chambers.

"There is a strong, bi-partisan movement for criminal justice reform and for sentencing reform," he tells me. "Republicans, Democrats, liberals, Tea Partiers, hard-core conservatives, old-school law and orders --- you name it --- there's this broad bi-partisan momentum to do something on criminal justice reform."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with an opportunity to call out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for his remarkable display of hypocrisy in the wake of historic flooding in his home state.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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State Rep's admission of plot to oust African-American U.S. Congresswoman comes on eve of landmark Supreme Court hearing...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/9/2015 9:05am PT  

It is rather remarkable what one can learn when the presumed private remarks uttered by Republicans and their oligarchic benefactors are captured on secretly recorded audio and videotapes.

Four years ago, Brad Friedman revealed the secretly recorded audiotapes from a Koch Brothers Summer Seminar that captured Charles Koch's "mother of all wars" remark and David Koch's introduction in which he described keynote speaker, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as his "kind of guy." This was followed by a bombshell in the form of a secretly recorded video that captured Mitt Romney's "46%" remark that the GOP Presidential nominee erroneously believed would be heard only by a group of well-heeled donors.

Now comes a new, secretly recorded audiotape, published by Politico and, subsequently included as part of an in-depth analysis provided by News One. The audio captures Florida Republican state Rep. Janet Adkins at a meeting with the North Florida GOP, plotting to dilute minority representation at the polls by deliberately redrawing Florida's 5th Congressional District so as to include some 18 prisons, disproportionately populated by African-Americans who are ineligible to vote.

Adkins, who is white, described the scheme as the "perfect storm." She explained that if the district was redrawn in this way it would enable Florida Republicans to oust the 12-term, African-American incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown. "You draw [the district] in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote," Adkins is heard explaining on the recording, after making sure that all the reporters had left the room. (When interviewed by News One, Brown noted that, in addition to the prison populations, there are approximately 6,000 felons living in the newly proposed district whose voting rights have not been restored by the state.)

The secretly recorded audio arrives at a very propitious moment...

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




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