In what could be one of the most interesting campaigns for the U.S. House in 2006, The BRAD BLOG can now reveal that computer programmer turned electronic vote-rigging software whistleblower Clint Curtis is officially planning a run for the U.S. Congressional seat in Florida's 24th District.
The 24th Congressional District seat is currently occupied by Rep. Tom Feeney, the very man who Curtis has alleged once asked him to create a vote-rigging software prototype program back when both men worked for the software firm Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) in Oviedo, Florida.
Curtis' startling allegations that then-State Senator Feeney had sought to have such a program built was first broken nationally by The BRAD BLOG in a story based on his sworn affidavit [PDF] which "rocked the vote from Tallahassee to Capitol Hill" when it was originally published in early December of 2004. Indeed, it was so popular that it took down our blog entirely for four straight days.
Since filing his original allegations, Curtis has given stunning sworn, video-taped testimony about the matter to members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in a public hearing, and later, successfully passed a polygraph test in regard to the charges.
Feeney, who was once Jeb Bush's running-mate during his first ill-fated run for Governor in 1994, was also the Speaker of the Florida Legislature who infamously promised to award Florida's electoral votes to George W. Bush during the 2000 Election Debacle --- no matter what the state Supreme Court would ultimately decide about the matter. He later went on to run for the U.S. Congress in 2002 in Florida's conservative 24th District, which is said to have been carved out expressly by Feeney for himself during his time in the statehouse.
Rep. Feeney now sits on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and continues to face charges of ethical transgressions concerning his conduct during his tenure as a U.S. Congressman where was recently reported to be Tom DeLay's #1 supporter. Said Feeney at a "Salute to Tom DeLay" last May, "Tom DeLay is the most effective leader the House has seen in 50 years."
Curtis, in preparing for a run his against Feeney, (who has been caught by The BRAD BLOG in more than a few "contradictions" over the time we've been covering this story,) has set up a campaign website to support his potential run at www.ClintCurtis.com where he is currently welcoming much-needed contributions and supporters.
In addition to the vote-rigging charges, Curtis also alleged that YEI employed an illegal Chinese alien involved in placing "wire-tapping" modules into software created by the company who had top-secret security contracts with NASA, the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT), amongst other clients. Feeney was both general counsel and registered lobbyist for YEI for years during that time, even while he was Speaker of Florida's Legislature, where he also faced ethics charges during his tenure.
One of the illegal aliens at YEI reported by Curtis to the Florida's Inspector General's office in 2001 as working at the company and said to have been placing the "wire-tapping" modules into software before it shipped, was arrested in 2004 after a four-year sting, and has pled guilty to charges related to espionage in attempting to illegally ship Hellfire anti-tank missile chips to China. Feeney himself just returned from yet another trip to Asia, this time touring China's space facility where he reportedly called for "more balanced relations" with the Communist nation.
Charges that Curtis had made concerning over-billing of YEI contracts with FDOT have also since been confirmed by the Florida Inspector General's office who finally completed their report on Curtis' case in early 2005.
Feeney, who claimed, as late as February of 2005 that he had ended his relationship with YEI once he reached the U.S. House in 2002, was revealed by The BRAD BLOG to have been the honoree at a private party/reception given by company owners --- and continuing large contributors to Feeney's campaign --- Dr. and Mrs. Yang in 2003. As well, Feeney's campaign headquarters for his 2004 campaign, during which he ran unopposed, was housed in YEI's main headquarters building in Oviedo. Feeney's campaign website still lists YEI's address --- 1420 Alafaya Trail --- as the place to contact his campaign.
Unlike Curtis, Feeney has not taken a polygraph test in relation to his denial of Curtis' charges.
Many of those denials have since been debunked by The BRAD BLOG.
As our coverage of the Clint Curtis story has been extensive over the last 14 months, we'll refer you to this Quick Summary of the main points in his extraordinary story, as well as this Index of Key Articles, for more details in the continuing saga. We promise there is more stunning revelations to be found there, including some startling details of the mysterious death of the original Florida Inspector General's investigator assigned to Curtis' case.
Beyond the Curtis-related allegations, Feeney has been described as one of the "13 Most Ethically Challenged Members of Congress" in light of his lobbyist and foreign-agent sponsored trips such as his Tom DeLay/Jack Abramoff golf junket to St. Andrews, Scotland (yes, he was right there along with them) and elsewhere. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo described Feeney just last month as a "bamboozler" for his attempts at playing both sides of the field concerning his vote on new rules which DeLay was pushing through the House Ethics Committee. When asked how he voted on the new rules, as attempted by DeLay, Feeney tried to avoid giving an answer to the media by saying there was no actual vote on the matter. Despite the fact that there was.
Feeney's history as a bamboozler seems to be becoming legendary.
Curtis, formerly a "life-long Republican," became a self-described "Conservative Democrat" after his various disturbing dealings with Feeney and friends. He will be making his first public announcement about his intentions to form an exploratory campaign at a local Democratic party gathering at the Cocoa Civic Center in Brevard County this Wednesday evening.
Before facing Feeney directly, however, Curtis will have to survive a primary race against Dr. Andy Michaud who has reportedly pledged to spend quite a bit of his own money in order to face one of the most effective fundraisers in Congress.
We also imagine Michaud will be seeing a sudden influx of financial support in the days ahead from the many supporters of Feeney who, we have a feeling, would rather not have to face Curtis in the General Election next November.
Therefore fundraising from across the nation, Curtis tells The BRAD BLOG as part of a "Campaign Q&A" with him which we will publish here tomorrow, will be key.
"As with most battles of good vs. evil, good can only win if it receives sufficient help," says Curtis. "If my campaign does not receive both unprecedented financial support as well as huge volunteer efforts, this could be a very difficult quest to fulfill."
Difficult indeed. Curtis who, unlike both Michaud and Feeney, has never participated in a political campaign before, will have his work cut out for him. But he's faced more daunting --- and terrifying --- fights in the past. His tireless years-long effort to hold accountable those who he sees as having committed wrong-doing against this country has not come at a small cost. But that struggle may serve him well in his "good vs. evil battle."
Curtis explains that he feels he has little choice at this point but to enter the battle, and in discussing it, he expresses a sentiment heard all too rarely from Democrats these days: "I am now convinced that fearing a loss is not a valid reason for never entering the fight."
And so the fight begins...