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Big Dem Wins in Special Elections; CBO Finds GOP 'Healthcare' Still Deadly: 'BradCast' 5/24/17
Guest: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner...
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Previous GNRs: 5/18/17 - 5/16/17 - Archives...
The Surreal and Present Danger of Donald Trump: 'BradCast' 5/22/17
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'Green News Report' 5/18/17
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What is 'Obstruction of Justice'?:
'BradCast' 5/17/17
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School; Also... BREAKING: Special Counsel named to take over Trump/Russia probe...
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NC hurricane disaster relief denied; April 2017 second hottest on record; Tillerson signs climate change pact; PLUS: DoD warns again of climate's NatSec impacts...
Making Sense of (& Surviving) President 'Goldfish': 'BradCast' 5/15/17
Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Good voting news for NC, thousands turned away from WI polls in 2016...
Sunday Toons of the Moment:
'Comey on Both Sides'...
Everybody hates Comey! Except when they don't, as 'PDiddie' details, among other things, in his latest collections of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/11/17
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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Desperate Campaign Ad Features Corrupt Florida Congressman Hoping to Fool Voters
Real Story Available Here at The BRAD BLOG and in New Documentary Film...
By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2008 11:49am PT  


Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- cited for the third year in a row by a public interest watchdog as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" --- has finally decided to "apologize" for going on that $75,000 lobbyist-funded junket to play golf in Scotland in 2003, along with the disgraced, and convicted, Jack Abramoff. The "apology" comes in the form of a desperate, 30-second campaign ad (at left.)

Feeney is the last remaining member of Congress to have gone on one of those Abramoff-funded private jet trips to hit the links in St. Andrews. The other two, Tom Delay (R-TX), who went in 2001, and Bob Ney (R-OH), who went in 2002, have both left Congress in disgrace and under indictment.

You'll note that the ad --- in which Feeney never bothers to mention that he's a Republican --- ends, laughably, with: "Because public service is about being honest, even when you make a mistake."

That line might more appropriately, at least for Feeney, have been: "Public service is about admitting that you broke the law, five years after you took a huge favor from a corrupt lobbyist and were finally forced to admit it outloud in a desperate, last-ditch attempt, to save your Congressional meal ticket."

But he might have had trouble getting all of that into his :30 spot.

The ad also says, on screen: "Get the facts: Tom Feeney.com" Might we suggest if you really want the facts on Tom Feeney, one of the filthiest players remaining in Congress, that you see instead our special coverage page about him, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis. Curtis worked at the same company as Feeney, back when Feeney was both the powerful Speaker of the Florida House and a lobbyist for the software firm with millions of dollars in state contracts. The same company also employed undocumented Chinese aliens working on systems for NASA and others, even as Feeney has continued to protect that company to this day (he was also their one-time general counsel) and has housed his campaign headquarters in their building.

It was back then, when they both worked at Yang Enterprises in 2000, when Curtis alleges, via sworn affidavit, video-taped testimony to Congress, and lie-detector test, that Feeney asked him to create vote-rigging software for touch-screen voting machines.

A remarkable documentary film, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies, covering that story, and The BRAD BLOG's attempts to tell it over the last four years, has just been released. If you'd rather learn the facts in movie form, please check out that film! NOTE: It's terrifying and includes untold details on at least two grizzly deaths related to the Curtis/Feeney scandal.

Curtis himself eventually switched to the Democratic Party following the incident and, after Congress refused to take action on Feeney, he ran unsuccessfully against him in 2006. His attempts to do so again this year were derailed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which backed wealthy opponent Suzanne Kosmas in the primary. With polls showing the well-funded Kosmas in a tight race with Feeney, clearly, one of the dirtiest Republicans in America is now running very scared.

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



Holly Lowder Had Taken Up Residence With Contractor Who Provided Registration Roll Software to the State
Neither the Sec. of State, nor the Husband of the Election Chief Knew About the Relationship, Even as Other Such Relationships Have Been Encouraged by Federal Legislation...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2008 1:04pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

Last night we offered the quick skinny on the abrupt resignation of Colorado's state Election Director, Holly Lowder, just 60 days out from what promises to be one of the largest and most important --- and potentially closest --- elections in the state's history.

We summarized some of the dizzying background on the exceptionally embarrassing and dysfunctional state of certification, decertification and recertification of e-voting systems in the Centennial State over the last two years, under current Sec. of State, Republican Mike Coffman (who is overseeing his own election for the U.S. House this November), and in previous years under two former Republican SoS' (one of whom was promoted by George W. Bush to do the same lousy job of e-vote testing for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission).

We also suggested, based on information from sources in the states, that the old euphemism about "election officials being in bed with voting vendors" may well become more than just a euphemism when the full explanation for Lowder's sudden departure became known.

And today, as we'd hinted last night, some of that information has now become known...

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




Three Smart Editorials Today Calling the Bad Guys Out and Demanding Accountability! Finally!
UPDATED: One More Smart Editorial Today Added, Calls Tom Feeney 'Shameless'!
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2007 9:18am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Boulder, CO...

Must get off the grid today very shortly (and will be gone until after Labor Day), so not much time for comment here. Rather, I'll give you quick pointers to three superb editorials in today's papers as the voices of the good guys return to counter the charlatans and propagandists who've been dominating the media pages for far too long.

Please read on, for some heroic cries for accountability --- finally --- from the hopelessly compromised U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Election Officials in general, and Sequoia Voting Systems in particular, all found in the op/ed pages today from Coast-to-Coast!...

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




Italia Federici's 'Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy' Makes Like Thor Hearne's 'American Center for Voting Rights', Cutting and Running from Her Online Propaganda Site...
By Brad Friedman on 7/5/2007 11:23am PT  

Blogged by Brad from "Thor" Country (St. Louis, Missouri)...

"Emptywheel" at Next Hurray has the details on the latest Republican front group to go missing on the Internets in the time-honored cowardly tradition of George W. Bush's cut and run vote-suppression capo Thor Hearne of the "non-partisan" propaganda outlet, "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR).

At least the latest GOP scam outfit to see their website set to "This site is temporarily unavailable," Italia Federici's "Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy," (CREA) had the decency to include the name of their party in the group's name. As well, unlike Thor and his buddies, the group --- whose major funder was the now-jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff --- waited until its President, Federici, had pled guilty to obstruction and tax charges before giving up their website's ghost.

Thor, on the other hand, got out as soon as the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal began to shine a spotlight on the "Democratic voter fraud" scam he had been perpetrating for years on a gullible nation and a pliant corporate mainstream media. If we ever find out who funded Thor's tax-exempt ACVR scam to the tune of more than $1 million, we'll not be surprised to see Abramoff's finger prints all over it. Pointing even more directly towards the White House, we've got reason to believe that James A. Baker and friends were also likely on the inside of the hoax set up by the man who was Karl Rove's top election "legal" eagle and, by no coincidence, Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.'s general counsel.

With groups like ACVR and CREA, the GOP helped raise the art of "astroturfing" to new, unforgivable heights of cynicism and criminal fraud. The CMSM let 'em do it for years, as most of us looked the other way in disbelief that the folks who ran this country --- by hook and mostly crook --- would ever be so blatantly disingenuous. They were. We fell for it. And it'll likely take years to undo the damage.




'I always have acted with honesty and integrity,' Says Corrupt Florida Congressman, Alleged Vote-Rigging Conspirator...
UPDATE: Feeney Creates Own Blog, Welcomes Your Comments!
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2007 6:44pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from somewhere in Oklahoma (Shawnee...I think)

Need to keep moving, but saw this, and had to stop long enough to let you know about it. Just in case you wanted to send a little something...

WASHINGTON --- U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney established a legal defense fund this week to defray costs relating to an ongoing federal inquiry into his ties with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Department of Justice lawyers and our lawyers have been speaking. We will cooperate," said the Oviedo Republican, who denied Friday that he is the target of a federal probe.

When asked why he established the fund, Feeney said he was being cautious and that it would be used to "demonstrate conclusively that I always have acted with honesty and integrity."

Heheh...Irony becomes him.

If you're unfamiliar with the background for this story, a) Welcome to The BRAD BLOG!, b) See the Orlando Sentinel's article and c) See a few of the stories listed at the bottom of the page at: http://www.Bradblog.com/ClintCurtis for more details.

UPDATE 6/23/07: After years of sniffing at "blogs", Feeney has opened his own. And he welcomes your comments! Please give him our best regards, and be sure to give his readers a link to our Clint Curtis / Tom Feeney Special Coverage page!




And What His Press Spokesperson May Do in Her Free Time...
By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2007 8:56pm PT  

If anyone knows how to hit just the wrong note, time and again, it's our favorite corrupt Congressman from Florida's 24th district, who's still on the run from charges of Abramoff-related improprieties.

We're running the following item mostly for the Orlando Sentinel's hysterical comment on Tom Feeney's press spokeperson's name. But Feeney's choice of showing off multiple photos of his hot, sweaty bod on a press release concerning U.S. troops being killed in Iraq certainly caught our notice as well...

Feeney's on the run

If it smells fishy, it either has something to do with politics, or fish.

Or in this case, both.

Sporting shirts from a New Smyrna Beach favorite, J.B.'s Fish Camp, U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney last week led "The Anglers" in the annual ACLI Capital Challenge. The three-mile race in Washington features members of the media and leaders of our government hitting the pavement in the kind of race that takes physical, not fiscal, fitness.

Press secretary Pepper Pennington --- no, we don't know whether she picks pickled peppers -- tells us Team Feeney came in at just more than 21 minutes.

No word on what he smelled like. But we can show you what he looked like. See Team Feeney at www.house.gov/list/press...4-feeney/iraqveto.shtml.

NOTE: The URL in the Sentinel article was wrong. So for more hot, sweaty photos of Feeney --- who sure knows how to, gosh darn it, have a little fun with war --- you can check out his very tasteful Iraq Veto/Fish Restaurant Sponsored press release/photo spread right here.




The BRAD BLOG Kindly Corrects the Congressman's Omissions...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2007 1:21pm PT  

In today's Orlando Sentinel, Florida still-unindicted Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Abramoff) pens an op/ed --- titled "Let me clarify facts about trip" --- in which he speaks about some mysterious trip to Scotland with some unnamed lobbyist.

Since the omissions in the op/ed may not help to fully clarify the facts about his trip as Feeney has intended --- and as a public service to America and those Googling for more information on one of the House's most corrupt GOP congressmen concerning his business relationship with one of the GOP's most corrupt lobbyists --- The BRAD BLOG is happy to reprint Mr. Feeney's op/ed in full below, along with a few words he must have accidentally left out from his attempted clarification; Words such as "Jack Abramoff" and "golf".

So here is Mr. Feeney's complete Sentinel op/ed, as supplemented by our hopefully clarifying additions (in bold)...

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




St. Petersberg Times Editorializes That Corrupt Congressman 'Looks Complicit', Has 'Cloud Over His Head'
Orlando Sentinel Columnist Says 'Smart, Thorough, Careful' People Like Feeney Not Easily 'Duped'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2007 2:19pm PT  

St. Petersburg Times, which hasn't historically been an anti-Feeney paper, calls on him to come clean. Now.

When asked to explain the similarity [between the cost of his trip to play golf in Scotland with Abramoff and the amount which Abramoff's office told him to report, despite claims by Feeney that he didn't know Abramoff had paid for the trip] his press secretary would say only that: "Representative Feeney is anxious to discuss this matter further when the time is appropriate."

If the congressman believes his constituents and a public fed up with scandal can wait until "the time is appropriate, " he is mistaken. Eleven people now have been convicted in the Abramoff investigation, and Feeney is being labeled in court records as "Representative #3." He has said he was "duped and lied to, " but these records make his office look complicit.

Feeney's attorney may be urging him to keep quiet, but his legal tactic is at odds with his official responsibilities. He is a congressman with a cloud over his head, and the public is owed some answers.

While over at the Orlando Sentinel, Scott Maxwell --- who has historically been far too kind to Feeney in light of his storied transgressions --- is still being very kind. Even if he's finally beginning to show some doubts as of yesterday:

Tom Feeney is smart, thorough and careful.

Smart, thorough and careful people don't usually get duped --- which is essentially Feeney's defense in this whole mess.




Action on Policy, In Which Congress Had No Say, First Signs of Possible 'Quid Pro Quo' by Corrupt Florida Congressman
ALSO: Feeney's Golf Trip to Scotland Paid for Out of Lobbyist's 'Slush Fund,' Senate Documents Find...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2007 2:38am PT  

"Tom has never written a letter for Abramoff," Tom Feeney's former Chief of Staff, Jason Roe insisted in an email to the St. Petersburg Times last year. "There is no accusation of a quid pro quo. No quid pro quo exists," he claimed.

Looks like Anita Kumar --- who's been doing a bang up job on the latest Feeney news at the Times --- may have just found one...

WASHINGTON - Rep. Tom Feeney insists he never helped convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but in 2003 Feeney was among several lawmakers who wrote to the Energy Department opposing changes to a federal program that also were being fought by an Abramoff client.
...
Five months later, Abramoff treated a small group of people, including Feeney, to a luxury golf trip to Scotland that began with a trans-Atlantic flight on a private jet and featured twice-daily golf at world-famous locales.
...
It's unclear why Feeney, an Orlando area Republican, took a position on the rule change in the Energy Star program [that rates consumer products for energy efficiency].
...
Congress had no say in the decision but a letter obtained by the Times shows that 10 Republican members, including Feeney, urged the department not to change certain criteria.

Among the other members who signed the letter was California Rep. John Doolittle, whose Virginia home was raided recently by FBI agents investigating fundraising by his wife as part of the Abramoff case.

In a related item, which we didn't get to pick up late last week, Feeney's golf junket to Scotland with Abramoff --- or as he called it, a "fact-finding trip" --- was paid for out of an Abramoff slush fund, according to documents obtained by Senate investigators as reported by the Sun-Sentinel...

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




Got That?
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2007 5:39pm PT  

Good lord. The Abramoff scandal now seems to be rotting from inside of the DoJ itself. As if it needed any help.

This from McClatchy late this afternoon (via TPM):

WASHINGTON - A senior Justice Department official has resigned after coming under scrutiny in the Department’s expanding investigation of convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to a Justice Department official with knowledge of the case.

Making the situation more awkward for the embattled Department, the official, Robert E. Coughlin II, was deputy chief of staff for the criminal division, which is overseeing the Department’s probe of Abramoff.

He stepped down effective April 6 as investigators in Coughlin’s own division ratcheted up their investigation of lobbyist Kevin Ring, Coughlin’s long-time friend and a key associate of Abramoff.

When contacted at his home in Washington, Coughlin said he resigned voluntarily because he was relocating to Texas. “I was not asked to resign,” he said in an interview with McClatchy Newspapers. “It’s important to me that it's made clear that I left voluntarily.”

He said he couldn’t comment on the Abramoff investigation, nor on whether he has a job lined up in Texas. He referred all other questions to friend Michael Horowitz.

Horowitz, a criminal defense attorney and former Justice Department official and public corruption prosecutor, did not respond to questions, including about whether he is representing Coughlin.

Get your brain around all of that if ya can, as we head into the weekend with the wheels continuing to come off this thing, with a new shoe dropping, it seems, every hour or so of late.

And if you're having trouble keeping score --- at least in the Abramoff game --- McClatchy summarizes our story so far this way:

Coughlin appears to be the first Justice Department official to come under scrutiny in the wide-ranging probe that has implicated a veteran congressman, a deputy Cabinet secretary, a White House aide and eight others.

To which we'll add: So far.

It's gonna get much worse before it gets anything close to better.




New Revelation Appears to Counter Corrupt Congressman's Denial That He Was Aware of the Lobbyist's Funding of Overseas Junket...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2007 12:48pm PT  

Rep. Tom Feeney's (R-FL) office followed the specific instructions of Jack Abramoff's office in reporting the precise cost of his golf junket to Scotland with the disgraced lobbyist as $5,643, instead of the $20,000 the trip actually cost, according to an email obtained by the St. Petersberg Times.

The brief email is posted at the bottom of this article.

Feeney, the corrupt, once-powerful GOP congressman and very close friend of the Bush Family, has denied for years that he knew the lobbyist had paid for the trip, but the email from Abramoff's assistant seems to suggest otherwise, according to the Times Anita Kumar:

The e-mail from Holly Bowers, Abramoff's then-assistant, instructs recipients to say a conservative think tank, the National Center for Public Policy Research, paid for the trip at a cost of $5,643 per person.

In reality, the extravagant trip that began with a trans-Atlantic flight on a private jet and featured twice-daily golf at world-famous locales cost about $160,000, or $20,000 per person for each of the eight attendees.

Feeney, 48, an Orlando-area Republican who has been contacted by the FBI as part of the Abramoff investigation, reported precisely the details supplied by Abramoff's office in his congressional travel report on the Scotland trip.

The email fails to list thousands of dollars in greens fees incurred by the Scotland contingent's twice-a-day rounds of golf at the legendary Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the world's oldest and most exclusive courses. Feeney now claims he paid those greens fees himself...

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




UPI/Washington Times Headline Blames Abramoff for Misreported Cost of Feeney's Trip...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2007 8:11pm PT  

Given this morning's Fox "News"/AP switcheroo, here's a bit of headline bait-and-switch that's at least as nifty from UPI and Washington Times tonight (both owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church):

The same headline/article is currently on UPI's website as well.

What next, Mark Foley as a "Democrat"? Oh, wait, never mind...Been there, done that.




Former Chief of Staff Jason Roe 'Abruptly Resigns' From Romney Campaign as Abramoff Said to be 'Talking so Much He Doesn't Have Time to Eat'
Heat Continues to Build as Everyone Starts Singing in the FBI Investigation of Corrupt Florida Congressman...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2007 12:36pm PT  

Signs indicate things are getting worse, and quickly, for one of Congress' most corrupt members, Rep. Tom Feeney, a once-powerful Florida Republican whose extensive career of documented lies, political favors, and routine partisan smear-mongering The BRAD BLOG has covered in great detail over the last two and a half years.

Yesterday, Feeney was fingered as "Representative #3" in recent court filings related to the guilty plea of Republican Congressional Aide Mark Zachares, who admitted receiving some $40,000 in cash and gifts from Jack Abramoff. A day earlier, it was revealed that the FBI had recently interviewed Feeney and requested documents related to his 2003 golf junket to St. Andrews, Scotland with Zachares and the disgraced GOP lobbyist.

Today, court documents reveal that the cost of the 2003 trip was closer to $20,000 per person instead of the $5,643 Feeney claimed when he "paid back" that amount in January of this year, after the House Ethics Committee found him to be in violation of House Rules prohibiting lobbyist-paid travel.

Further news reports indicate much more trouble may be ahead for the beleaguered Congressman, as Abramoff is said to be chattering away to federal investigators --- "so much he doesn't have time to eat," according to one news report --- in hopes of reducing a prison sentence he's currently facing in relation to conspiracy fraud charges to which he's already plead guilty in Florida.

But if that weren't indication enough that Feeney may be in big trouble, it's also now being reported this morning that his former Chief of Staff, Jason Roe --- who, along with his wife, Patricia, has also been the target of corruption allegations --- abruptly resigned from his new position as Deputy Campaign Manager for Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Amusingly, the reason he cited for the resignation was "familial obligations."

Those "familial obligations" might include the fact that Patricia reportedly received some $50,000 from the Feeney campaign for fundraising duties, before becoming Chief of Staff for Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) --- whose wife's office was raided last week by Federal investigators leading to his resignation this week from all Congressional Committees.

Further, in what TMP's Josh Marshall aptly described last night as "a classic scandal harmonic convergence," the case against Renzi, which included federal wiretaps prior to last year's November election, also has direct implications in the the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal.

And all of the "familial" wives are involved as well.

Following all of this? You may need to take notes. We'll try to make it easy for you...

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




Noose May Finally be Tightening for the Corrupt Florida Congressman
BRAD BLOG HELPS FBI: Lists a Few More Feeney Matters They May Wish to Inquire About...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2007 1:11pm PT  

Orlando Sentinel has some fresh details and Politico has some observations on the papers filed yesterday by the FBI concerning the guilty plea by Mark Zachares in the Abramoff affair, as we discussed yesterday in our item covering the FBI interview of the corrupt Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL).

In addition to what looks like trouble in the case for at least two other GOP Congressmen, it looks like Feeney is being fingered as "Representative #3" in yesterday's filing...

1) Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who went to St. Andrews in Scotland with Abramoff in August 2003, finally made the case as "Representative #3." This is not good news for Feeney, and the FBI is reportedly looking into his dealings with Abramoff, according to the St. Petesburg Times. At the direction of the House ethics committee, Feeney has already agreed to pay a fine of $5,643 for improperly reporting the trip.

That can't be seen as good news for Feeney who, we'll remind readers, is a very close friend of the Bush family, having run (unsuccessfully) as Jeb's Lieutenant Governor during his first run in Florida in '98, serving as point man in the FL House during the 2000 Election Debacle (when he promised to give the state's Electors to GWB no matter what the Supreme Court ended up deciding), and much, much more.

We'll also remind readers that the imprisoned Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) was once designated as "Representative #1" before being indicted in the Abramoff affair himself....

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




Congressional Aide On 2003 Scotland Golf Junket with Both Men, Pleads Guilty, Is Cooperating With Feds
Corrupt Congressman Has Reportedly Spent $23k on Legal Fees So Far This Year...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2007 6:29pm PT  

Holy cow. When it rains it pours. Someone get us an umbrella. Quick.

Two related stories collide to suggest some possibly very bad news for our friend, the notoriously corrupt Tom Feeney (R-FL).

First this just in today from the St. Petersberg Times...:

FBI asks Tom Feeney about trip with Abramoff

Feeney's office said the congressman is cooperating voluntarily.

WASHINGTON - The FBI has asked U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney for information about his dealings with Jack Abramoff as part of its ongoing investigation into the lobbyist convicted of defrauding clients.

FBI agent Kevin Luebke refused to say whether Feeney, a Republican from the Orlando area, is under federal investigation.

Federal agents also have asked the St. Petersburg Times for an email sent to the newspaper by Feeney's office describing a golfing trip the congressman took with Abramoff to Scotland in 2003.
...
"Rep. Feeney considers this an embarrassing episode in his 17-year career as an elected official and an expensive lesson for him as a public servant," according to [a statement released by Feeney's office].
...
The FBI contacted the Times last week to ask for the February 2006 email that Feeney's then chief of staff Jason Roe wrote to the newspaper in response to a series of questions about interactions between Feeney and Abramoff. The Times has referred the FBI's request to its attorney.
...
Feeney, 48, who spent a decade in the Florida Legislature where he was speaker of the House, has paid $23,000 in legal fees this year - more than any other expense - according to his latest campaign finance reports.

"Rep. Feeney anticipates voluntarily cooperating with the Justice Department in any further investigation of this trip and looks forward to promptly resolving this matter," according to Feeney's statement.
...
"Any assertion that this office knew Abramoff paid for the Scotland trip is a g--d----- lie," Roe wrote in the email being sought by the FBI. The email was quoted in a newspaper article last year.
...
"Tom has never written a letter for Abramoff. Abramoff has never been in our office. Abramoff has never asked anything of us," Roe wrote in the email. "There is no accusation of a quid pro quo. No quid pro quo exists."

More details in the full story on what we've been reporting for years --- in what seemed like a vaccuum until now --- on Feeney's golf junkets with Abramoff to St. Andrews, Scotland. (See this May 2006 story for example: "Feeney/St. Andrews/Abramoff and Ney/HAVA/Abramoff Connections Still Flying Beneath the Radar")

There were three Congressmen who went on those trips. The first two, Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Bob Ney (R-OH), have both been forced out of Congress in the bargain and are respectively under indictment or in jail. Only Feeney, so far, has escaped both notice and legal accountability.

That may be about to change, however, with today's news that Mark Zachares, an aide to Rep. Don Young (R-AK), will plead guilty tomorrow to accepting some $30,000 worth of goods from Abramoff, with a promise of a job down the line in an interesting scheme that could also reveal something about what Feeney might have been discussing in some fashion with Abramoff.

As AP is reporting tonight:

From June 2002 through November 2004, Zachares worked for the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, providing Abramoff contact information for prospective businesses that would be affected by the creation of the Homeland Security Department, the court papers stated.

The two men worked out a "two-year plan" in which Abramoff would build a homeland security lobbying practice that Zachares ultimately would join.

Feeney has insisted that there was never a deal for anything between him and Abramoff, unlike with DeLay and Ney. However, the notion of long term plans, such as the deal Abramoff was working on with Zachares, has never been discussed in relation to Feeney.

And as luck would have it, Zachares was on that trip with Feeney and Abramoff in 2003 and is cooperating with the feds --- all of which could spell out very bad news indeed for Feeney.

We've been covering the corrupt Congressman in great detail for years in relation to allegations by Florida computer programmer Clint Curtis that Feeney asked him to create a vote-rigging software prototype when they worked together at a software firm in 2000, while Feeney was serving as a registered lobbyist for the company even while he was Speaker of the Florida House. We originally broke that story in December 2004. A summary version is here.

Let's hope Curtis saved those "Clint Curtis for Congress" signs. He may need them again sooner than he might have thought.

As you can imagine, we'll be watching this one closely. And likely with no small amount of elan...

UPDATE 4/24/07: Feeney fingered as "Representative #3" in FBI filings. Details...

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis eventually ended up running for U.S. Congress against Feeney in 2006.
For more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com



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