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By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2005 11:38am PT  

Clint Curtis is currently on Capitol Hill now meeting with Senate staffers.

We can report that he has already met this morning with staffers in the office of the following Democratic Senators: Debbie Sabatow (MI), Russell Feingold (WI), Barbara Boxer (CA), Barbara Mikulski (MD) and Barack Obama (IL).

Meetings are scheduled later today with the staffers of these additional Senate offices: Ted Kennedy (MA), Dick Durbin (IL), Patrick Leahy (VT), Ken Salazar (CO).

A source visting the Senate offices with Curtis tells us that so far the reception they've received from each office has been "very positive" and that "things are lit up like a Christmas tree here" with all of the Senate office phones ringing off the hook with callers urging Senators to stand up and object. Almost zero calls coming in advising the contrary as our source describes it.

At the time we talked with our source, the Democratic Senators were in "an issue meeting", and the source tells us that this issue --- the challenge to Electors tomorrow --- is described as "the major issue" being discussed.

There is no way, of course, to know the ultimate effect of all of this, but it is clear that your voices are being heard on Capitol Hill! Please continue to use the links and phone numbers we've made available in this item.

We'll continue to report on anything notable we hear that is happening on The Hill today.

Also, consider this a quick reminder that Curtis will be appearing on radio this evening with Fox News' Alan Colmes at 11pm. Details on that appearance, and a link to listen live is right here.

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Again. For More Testimony Before Members of Congress.
Part of several important events just announced this coming week!
By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2004 9:41pm PT  

According to a press release just out, several coalitions who are "working on a Constitutional Challenge to the electoral votes of Florida, Ohio and potentially other states" will be holding a forum on Wednesday, Jan 5th at the Captitol in D.C.

The forum, sponsored by groups such as The Coalition to ReDefeat Bush, the We Do Not Concede Coalition and others, will be led by outgoing U.S. Congressman Peter Deutsch (D-FL) who finishes his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives on the 3rd.

Featured guests to be questioned by Deutsch include Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org and Clint Curtis who some of you may have read something about recently at The BRAD BLOG.

From the press release...

For the benefit of Members of Congress considering supporting the challenge, Deutsch will be publicly questioning Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, who witnessed the unlawful disposal of original voter registreys [sic] that are required to be archived under Florida law. He will also question Clint Curtis, the Florida whistleblower who has testified that he was asked by Congressman Tom Feeney's [sic] to create the software necessary to modify the results of electronic voting machines.

"I am enormously pleased to be working with Peter Deutsch," said ReDefeatBush founder David Lytel, "because I am sure that he can explain what happened in Florida on election day with great clarity. Peter's intellect, integrity and his standing with his former colleagues make him the ideal person to help us with this," Lytel added.

As well, ReDefeatBush.com is sponsoring "two Rallies for the Republic" next week. One in Boston on Monday at 7:00 PM at Fanueil Hall. The other in San Francisco on Tuesday at the Herbst Theater at 7:00 PM.

Both rallies will feature Linda Byrket's extraordinary 24 minute film shot on Election Day in Columbus, OH. We've seen it, and it's worth the price of an airline ticket to Boston or San Francisco.

In lieu of that, however, you can --- and should --- watch this disturbing film online. Scroll down the right side of the linked page for plenty of viewing options.

We dare you to watch that film, and then explain to us why this Election should not be challenged, and the entire system REFORMED from top to bottom. (UPDATE: The filmmaker, Ms. Byrket, has just contacted me to say that if there's any problem downloading the film at the above link, you can also get at it via jeff04.com --- so please do!)

The groups --- great patriots all, in our humble opinion --- also announced that they will be placing a quarter page ad on Washington Post's Federal Page this Monday.

It's time to rock the vote.

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'The Oviedo Voice' Jumps Into the Fray!
Reports on 'Off Record' Interview with Congressman.
By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2004 1:36pm PT  

As mentioned on Wednesday, and following in the footsteps of The Seminole Chronicle before them, Tom Feeney's other hometown weekly newspaper has jumped into reporting on the emerging "FeeneyGate" scandal. The previously promised article in their Dec. 30th edition hit the stands yesterday.

While The Oviedo Voice --- the older of the two local newsweeklies --- has a website, we are told they are currently transitioning it and thus it is not being regularly updated. Given the national attention this story is now receiving, however, the editors of the paper have told The BRAD BLOG that they will make an attempt to get their full Feeney article online this coming Monday. We'll update this item to provide a link to it at that time.

For now, we've received a faxed copy of the story, and it represents mostly the "balanced coverage" the paper had promised in their previous week's teaser item.

While chosing to focus, for now, only on the initial Feeney-related allegations in her article (as opposed to the wider-reaching Yang Enterprises, Inc. and Florida Dept. of Transportation related charges), reporter Darla Kinney Scoles writes that her report would "only address those statements made regarding Mr. Feeney."

The result is a mostly even-handed story, though it fails to advance the story-to-date too terribly much.

We are told by the editors, however, that they "intend to continue reporting on this story over the next three to four weeks at least". Encouraging news. And we hope, in the process, that they will be able to investigate more of the specifics in those future pieces now that they've gotten the main meat and potatos of the story out of the way for their readers.

Aside from (note to our former best-friends at crosstown-rival Seminole Chronicle) the appreciated hat tip to The BRAD BLOG for the "over 50 pages" said to have been reviewed by Kinney Scoles in preparing her piece, the most notable point taken from the article is the fact that Feeney himself, who had contacted the paper to offer an interview on the matter, kept his promise, but would not allow the interview to be "on record"!

As reported by Kinney Scoles...

The Oviedo Voice was indeed contacted by Congressman Feeney last week and was able to speak with him concerning these allegations and to gain extensive background information on the long and often complicated story as it has thus far evolved.

What we were not able to do was to interview Feeney ?on record' as we had hoped.

Once again, Feeney continues his now-growing track record of, if not having anything to hide, sure as hell acting like someone who does!

Why did he chose to duck attempts to get comment weeks ago from Oviedo's Seminole Chronicle? Why did he decide to approach The Voice only after The Chronicle published their report on the matter? Why all the "off record" interviews and comments to reporters? Why the apparently coordinated threats of lawsuits against a small local newsweekly for merely reporting on public news of note to their local readers?

And perhaps most notably: Why no such legal threats by Feeney against the actual person, Clint Curtis, making the allegations which Feeney's attorneys have described as "outrageous" and "obviously false and defamatory"?

As all responsible news organizations say: We report, you decide.

A few other items of note from the Voice piece...

We appreciate that Kinney Scoles points out the very plausible reason for the lack --- so far --- of corroborating sources who have been willing to come forward (publicly, via affidavit or at least "on the record" anyway) to confirm some of the details of Curtis' claim that Feeney conspired to create "vote-rigging" software.

On that point, she astutely notes:

In Fairness: Not everyone is willing to give up his or her job, name, etc. for a cause. Perhaps they are also leery of Feeney's connections to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and their subpoena power, which could, in theory, provide him direct access to the names of those who would seek protection before testifying.

It would be nice if other members of the media would recognize that seemingly-obvious point before reporting on a surely-relevant aspect of the story, but doing so without bothering to look particularly closely at the matter.

A point which would be made particularly clear if such reporters actually took the time to examine some of the horrifying things that Curtis claims has happened to him over the years as a result of initially blowing the whistle with these allegations.

For Feeney's part, Kinney Scoles quotes Feeney staffer Shannon Conklin as saying "These claims are too ridiculous to answer. It is irresponsible for anyone to publish allegations without close investigation of all claims."

Such broadly dismissive boilerplate comments from both Feeney and his surrogates have, by now, become all too commonplace and accepted by many of the journalists who have been looking into these matters. Particularly in light of the very "close examination of all claims" that has occurred and continues to occur over these last nearly-four weeks by us and many others. Add to that the "close examination" of many of the related claims made previously in the matter against Feeney in a long series of articles by both The Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Orlando Sentinel back during 2001 and 2002 when the bulk of these charges were first brought to light.

Lastly, the article finishes on a by-now fairly obvious, though no-doubt disconcerting note for Feeney who might have hoped to put out the fire set ablaze in the past few weeks by giving an "off record" interview to a hopefully-friendly hometown paper:

As one source put it, ?We cannot say that where there is smoke there is fire. We do have to say that there is some smoke.? The Oviedo Voice continues to follow that smoke, as do other media outlets.

And with that we are pleased to add The Oviedo Voice to the growing list of news organizations who seem willing to place the public interest ahead of both fear and political cronyism.

At least for now.

AS IT IS SAID...DEVELOPING...

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2002 Article Revealed Evidence
2004 Threats of Legal Action by Feeney Use Commission Findings as Defense.
By Brad Friedman on 12/30/2004 2:43pm PT  

In a story yesterday, we alluded to "public documents and email which seemed to directly contradict statements made by Feeney" to the Florida Commission on Ethics which investigated some --- but not all --- of the serious charges Clint Curtis has recently made in a sworn affidavit and public testimony to members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee concerning Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL).

Some of the information we alluded to was based, in part, on an October 12, 2002 Daytona Beach News-Journal piece headlined "E-mails at odds with Feeney denials".

We'd seen the article some time ago, but as it was not publicly available other than via purchase at the The News-Journal Print Archives we hadn't linked to it specifically or discussed it in depth.

A linkable copy of that original 2002 article has now been found via The Wayback Machine (an Internet archive/cache site), which allows us to look in a bit more detail at the contradictory statements made by Feeney at the time to the Florida Commission on Ethics which was investigating charges against the then-House Speaker of the Florida Legislature.

Feeney, now a U.S. Congressman who sits on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and several of his surrogates have recently pointed, on a number of occassions, to the findings of that Commission citing their conclusions of "no probable cause" as his defense for the charges being made by Clint Curtis.

Those findings were alluded to in a threatening letter from Feeney's attorney to The Seminole Chronicle, who wrote a recent article on the matter; in another nearly-identical threatening letter to The Chronicle purported to be from a Yang Enterprise, Inc. (YEI) attorney; and again just today in an off-the-record interview by Feeney, which was used in an article published by The Oviedo Voice. (More on that article here hopefully later today).

As the findings of that commission seem to be the main, if not sole, defense that Feeney is using to answer to Curtis' charges that Feeney was involved in a "vote-rigging" conspiracy in 2000, it would seem that some of the contradicting information discovered in the 2002 News-Journal article (and there were a series of them) has become rather relevant again.

We've already pointed out that 6 of the 8 appointees to the commission were appointed to it by and/or had close ties to either Feeney himself or his one-time running mate Jeb Bush (Feeney was Bush's running mate during his first unsuccessful run for Florida Governor in 1994).

We also pointed out that --- in apparent contradiction to Florida state law --- the two people having filed the charges in the first place with the commission, Clint Curtis and his then-boss at the Florida Dept. of Transportion (FDOT) Mavis Georgalis, were never interviewed at all by the commission.

And as well, we pointed out that the commission wasn't even investigating the alleged "vote-rigging" conspiracy now being discussed amongst Curtis' charges.

But let's take a look at some of the specific troubling information that the News-Journal's Laura Zuckerman uncovered during her investigation into those Emails back in 2002.

Many of both YEI and Feeney's current apparent strategies of denial, dismissal and multiple contradictory statements about the charges seems to have already been in full play even back in 2002, despite strong evidence which contradicted many of their public statements on the matter...

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

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Language in Certified Letter from YEI Attorneys VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL to Previous Threat Letter from Feeney Attorneys!
ALL-NEW CLAIM BY YEI ATTORNEY: A Former Employer Says Curtis is 'Pathological Liar'
By Brad Friedman on 12/29/2004 11:41am PT  

After receiving a faxed letter from Congressman Tom Feeney's (R-FL) attorneys last week threatening legal action, The Seminole Chronicle has now received a second such letter, this time from the attorneys of Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI).

The language in both letters to The Chronicle is remarkably similar, and in some cases, virtually identical suggesting a collusion between the two different parties in an attempt to silence the local weekly in Feeney's hometown from reporting on the growing "vote-rigging" scandal.

The certified letter, with the signature of Michael A. O'Quinn of "Fowler and O'Quinn, P.A.", (though confirmed by The BRAD BLOG to have in fact been signed in his name by his paralegal, Rebecca Saylor, who has told us that "Michael O'Quinn is currently on a boat in the Bahamas" and will not be back to work until January 3rd) asks Feeney's hometown newsweekly, to "place your liability insurance carrier on notice of YEI's intentions in this regard" and requests that they "forward to the undersigned promptly the name of said insurer, the policy number of said liability policy, and the coverage limits thereunder."

The YEI attorney, Michael O'Quinn is a large campaign contributor, along with Dr. and Mrs. Yang, to Feeney, and served as Feeney's law partner for many years until 2002. "Fowler and O'Quinn, P.A." was previously known as "Fowler, Barice, Feeney and O'Quinn, P.A."

This is the second legal threat to The Chronicle since they published their initial story on the sworn affidavit and sworn public testimony by software programmer Clint Curtis.

Curtis's affidavit and testimony charged that Feeney conspired with YEI to create a "vote-rigging software prototype" in 2000 when Curtis was employeed by the firm and Feeney was their corporate counsel and registered lobbyist even while he was a member of, and then Speaker of the Florida Legislature.

The BRAD BLOG originally broke the news of Curtis' affidavit on December 6th.

Both the Feeney attorney letter from John P. Horan, and the YEI attorney letter from Michael A. O'Quinn refer to the charges by Curtis as having been "fully investigated by the State of Florida Commission on Ethics" and state identically that "The Commission found that 'there was no probable cause' to believe the assertions and dismissed each complaint."

In our response to the original letter from the Feeney attorney, we pointed out that 6 of the 8 members of that "State of Florida Commission on Ethics" were appointed by and/or had close ties to either Tom Feeney or Feeney's former running-mate for Florida governor, Jeb Bush.

As we mentioned, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported in a series of articles on the matter in 2002 that the commission's investigation --- in apparent violation of state law --- never interviewed the original investigator of the claims or the two key witnesses making the claims (Clint Curtis and Mavis Georgalis) before releasing their findings of "no probable cause".

Also in apparent violation of state law, the commission did not bother to examine public documents and email which seemed to directly contradict statements made by Feeney, who was reported to have been interviewed by the commission.

It must also be pointed out that the scope of the "Florida Commission on Ethics" investigation into the charges against Feeney did not even include the "vote-rigging" charges being alleged by Curtis and upon which The Chronicle's story reported.

It was, however, the virtually identical language in both letters that immediately caught our eye, strongly suggesting the direct coordination of this latest legal strategy between Feeney and YEI in a joint and concert effort to suppress reporting of the growing scandal.

Given the years-long tenure of Feeney as YEI's corporate attorney and his personal relationship to his old law partners at his old law firm who still represent YEI, such an attempt to work in concert between the two parties is not difficult to imagine.

That, despite Feeney's recent claims to MSNBC that "his only connection to Yang Enterprises was as an attorney prior to 2002."

As we've previously noted, the 2004 "Tom Feeney for Congress" campaign headquarters are located, even today, inside the YEI Building at 1420 Alafaya Trail, Oviedo, Florida 32765.

"Tom Feeney for Congress" is in Suite 103, according to his official campaign website. YEI's corporate address is in Suite 200, according to their website.

Here is a side-by-side look at the virtually identical language in each of the letters sent over the past week to The Seminole Chronicle by attorneys claiming to represent the two different clients...

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

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Article from Feeney's 'Other Hometown Weekly' to Hit Mailboxes This Week!
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2004 1:24pm PT  

The Local Weekly Wars down in Oviedo, Florida look to be heating up with the older of the town's two weekly papers, The Oviedo Voice, entering the Tom Feeney (R-FL)/Yang Enterprises, Inc./Clint Curtis "Vote-Rigging" fray last week after The Seminole Chronicle's coverage (discussed here, and again when Feeney's attorneys threatened legal action here) the week before.

The story of Curtis' affidavit stating that U.S. Congressman Feeney, of Oviedo, allegedly conspired to create a "vote-rigging software prototype" in October of 2000 was first reported by The BRAD BLOG in early December.

In a front page splash, The Voice promised readers in their Dec. 23 issue: "Charges against Feeney answered in next issue".

They also take a couple of shots in the bargain at both The BRAD BLOG and/or their cross-town competition at The Chronicle even while making at least one sizeable factual error in the four graf splash.

First the error; They describe a meeting they had in their offices with Christopher Bollyn, a reporter for American Free Press. Bollyn, in their article, is described as being "a contributing writer for 'The Brad Blog'".

While we spoke for the first time in our lives to Bollyn on Wednesday afternoon just last week --- several days after his meeting with The Voice, when he subsequently sent us some photographs taken during his investigation of issues related to this story in Florida (several of which we used with his permission in this blog item) --- we assure you that the royal "we" frequently used by The BRAD BLOG is but a quaint arcane literary affectation.

In other words, we, Brad Friedman, work alone and currently have no "contributing writers" on our staff --- of one --- other than ourselves...

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

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MSNBC's Prime-Time Star Continues to Fail To Get the Story Right.
Offers Some Explanation, But Ignores Most Troubling BRAD BLOG Charges.
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2004 4:38pm PT  

It's amazing how irresponsible some members of the so-called "Mainstream Media" can be. Even while they sniff at us lowly "bloggers" and "Internet-only news sites" for what many of them see as a lack of journalistic integrity, failing to provide proper context for stories and reporting information without properly vetting or confirming it first.

It's hard to argue with those criticisms towards many Internet blogs and news sites. But it's equally hard to stomach it when we've seen so many similar failings from the Mainstream Media themselves. And when they screw the pooch --- from their much larger media platforms --- the consequences can be much more disastrous.

Case in point, the now infamous failings of the New York Times' Judith Miller in her reporting running up to --- and arguably helping America towards --- the war in Iraq based on highly suspect or out and out misinformation. I don't wish to pile on there, but it's a case where the Mainstream Media failed to properly vet anonymous sources, give the appropriate context, and the results were, to say the least, somewhat disastrous for this country. That is just one such example, and an easy one to point to for context.

And then we have MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who, as we pointed out several days ago, ran a disastrously irresponsible piece on his MSNBC run "Bloggermann" site. So disastrous, in fact, that even a Countdown producer we spoke with about it refused to stand by the report above and beyond saying "This was Keith Olbermann's writing. He didn't work with me or anyone else on this."

As we reported, the most reprehensible failing in Olbermann's original quick hit piece on Clint Curtis (scroll down to item #4 at this link) was that he allowed an unnamed anonymous source, (described as "the attorney for the firm for whom Mr. Curtis worked") to suggest that Clint Curtis "has previously threatened the firm and its top officers, in writing, and that they were sufficiently concerned to file a police report as a result."

We pointed out in our reply to what amounted to little more than a smear piece by Olbermann that at the very least, since this anonymous attorney claimed there was a threat "in writing", that Olbermann should have reviewed that purported "writing" before passing on the information from an anonymous source. (By the way, that would have been at least the third response on these matters from either Yang Enterprises Inc. [YEI] or their Attorneys, but the first time they've bothered to mention a written threat and/or police report in re: Clint Curtis...make of that what you will).

Neither did Olbermann bother to even check with the Oveido Police Department --- where YEI is located --- to confirm if in fact such a report had been filed.

It probably now goes without saying, that Olbermann didn't bother to get comment from Curtis at all on any of the matters he reported on, though one would think that a responsible journalist would have at least attempted to do so before posting such scurrilous allegations.

Well today, Olbermann decided to comment again on his blog, to what he described as "a handful of e-mails" complaining about his coverage last week on this story. That comment is linked here (scroll down to the bulleted text).

Since I'm busy working on actual reporting of the rapidly moving events in this whole troubling story, I'll allow the bulk of his comments, sorry as they may be, to stand on their own. (See the red "Special Coverage" sidebar at right, for the key articles published by The BRAD BLOG on the Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Inc. matter so far.)

But two items are very noteworthy, and I'd be remiss if I did not point them out. With vigor...

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

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Intimidating Letter Faxed to Seminole Chronicle Charges Story on Feeney was 'False and Defamatory'
Feeney Attorney Uses Unrelated and Questionable 'Ethics Investigation' as Sole Basis for Claims
By Brad Friedman on 12/24/2004 6:24pm PT  

Congressman Tom Feeney's (R-FL) attorneys have sent a letter threatening the editors of Florida's Seminole Chronicle intimating possible legal action in light of the news report filed by Editor Alex Babcock last week concerning allegations made in a sworn affidavit [PDF] and in sworn public testimony before members of the U.S. House Judiciary committee by software programmer Clint Curtis.

The story of Curtis' allegations and affidavit was originally reported by The BRAD BLOG several weeks ago. Curtis has alleged, among other things, that Feeney conspired, in an October 2000 meeting, to have a "vote-rigging software prototype" built by Yang Enterprises, Inc. --- a company for which Feeney at the time served as corporate counsel and registered lobbyist even while he concurrently served as Legislator, and eventually Speaker of the Florida House. Feeney was the running mate to Jeb Bush during his first failed bid for Governor of Florida, and is now a U.S. Congressman from Florida's newly created 24th Congressional District. He also now sits on the U.S. House's Judiciary Committee.

The letter from John P. Horan of "Foley and Lardner, attorneys at law", was faxed to Babcock at the Seminole Chronicle office earlier this week. It alleges the newspaper's report "constitute[d] a serious departure from accepted journalism standards and a breach of the Chronicle's fair reporting privilege."

Horan goes on to accuse Babcock of reporting "in a sensational, reckless and unfair manner," and claims that "This conduct exceeds all known bounds of bias and constitutes a reckless disregard for the truth."

According to the letter, Horan's charges on behalf of Feeney, stem from his claim that "These assertions were fully investigated by the State of Florida Commission on Ethics which found that 'there was no probable cause' to believe the assertions and dismissed each complaint."

However, BRAD BLOG research into those ethics charges filed against Feeney, and their supposed "investigation", has revealed that the commission referred to, and the investigation itself, appear to have had serious flaws and conflicts of interest involved. Many of which were reported at the time of the commission's findings by a number of Florida newspapers.

For a start, six of the eight members of the "Commission on Ethics" which Horan's letter refers to, were appointed to the commission by and/or have direct ties to either Tom Feeney or his old running-mate and then Governor, Jeb Bush!

On October 17, 2002, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported on the "Commission on Ethics" findings that Horan uses as the only basis for criticism of the Seminole Chronicle's article.

The News-Journal reported on those findings by revealing that neither the investigator looking into the ethics complaint nor the two key witnesses in the case were ever even interviewed by the commission! Despite a state law that requires them to do so!

As well, public documents in the case --- including Email which directly contradicted statements made by Feeney to the commission during the "investigation" --- were similarly never investigated, also in apparent violation of state law, according to the paper.

From just one of several articles on this from the Daytona Beach News-Journal...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2004 1:00pm PT  

Failing to meet even the usually lax journalistic standards of most Internet bloggers, "self-styled investigative journalist" Keith Olbermann --- who also seems to have his very own prime-time show on a fairly major cable news outlet --- offers a swell Christmas gift for Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL) and his monied friends at Yang Enterprises, Inc.!

We have mentioned before our appreciation for Keith Olbermann's willingness, virtually alone in the Mainstream Media, to cover a fair amount of the "Election 2004 Irregularity" issues.

We have also pointed out in the past some of Olbermann's horribly embarrasing failures as a journalist in the course of those much-appreciated duties. Amongst them, criticizing another journalist for "distancing himself...from the purported original source of the information".

Olbermann was condescending at the time to "self-styled investigative journalist" Wayne Madsen's reporting. And though we've had at least a few words ourself about Madsen's work, we bothered to contact Madsen to see learn if Olbermann had actually spoken to him, or even attempted to, before levelling the above --- rather-ironic-in-retrospect - criticism of his work.

He hadn't.

And yesterday, Olbermann did it again! This time in a report that mattered! In a blog item filed "from an undisclosed location" (scroll down to Item #4 at the link), Olbermann finally mentioned the Clint Curtis "Whistleblower Affidavit" story as first reported here over two weeks ago.

In those two weeks, Olbermann hasn't mentioned a word about the stunning case which has rocked the vote from Talahassee to Capitol Hill to all corners of the blogosphere. That is, until he decided to botch a report on it from top to bottom yesterday. A report which violates the journalistic standards of even the laziest of Internet bloggers. Or at least this lazy one!

Amongst the most egregious errors and/or failures in Olbermann's "reporting" here was his failure (and that of anybody on his staff) to actually contact Clint Curtis to get his reply to some rather scurrilous charges that Olbermann decided to pass on to readers, as offered up by Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- the now U.S. Congressman, then Florida Speaker of the House --- who is at the center of this controversy.

Curtis alleges that Feeney asked Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) to create a "vote-rigging software prototype" for him in a 2000 meeting at the company when Curtis was a software designer with the firm.

Feeney was, at the time, the corporate counsel and a registered lobbyist for YEI even while he was serving as a member of the Florida Legislature.

Olbermann (or rather, one of his producers) seems to have gotten comment from Feeney on the matter. No small feat, as Feeney's office has rebuffed most attempts by journalists to get comment over the last two weeks about this growing scandal.

Olbermann explains...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2004 11:52am PT  

We have really been trying our best to help the mainstream media folks like Keith Olbermann at MSNBC, Kim Zetter at Wired Magazine and Adam Smith at The St. Petersburg Times.

All of them have passed on, without any supporting evidence, the charges by Yang Enterprises, Inc (YEI) attorney --- and former law partner of Tom Feeney --- Michael O'Quinn (of "Fowler & O'Quinn" nee "Fowler, Barice, Feeney & O'Quinn), that Clint Curtis was a "disgruntled employee".

Despite having demonstrated how Mr. Curtis seems to have been anything but disgruntled on several occasions here, having reported that he stayed on an extra six weeks at YEI after his resignation date at the request of the company's CEO and had even received a farewell party from the company when he finally did leave...apparently some of those "responsible mainstream media" reporters seem to think they needn't offer any context or supporting evidence when helping embattled parties to defend themselves against serious charges by simply slurring individuals without even the slightest shred of evidence or fact-checking!

In our final attempt (we hope) to answer once and for all to the unsupported "disgruntled employee" slur, we offer yet another exclusive piece of evidence that would seem to belie those charges.

And this time, it's a visual aid!...With cute cartoon animals! Perhaps that will be easier for such "reporters" to comprehend...

(Our promised complete reply to Olbermann's inexcusably irresponsible report filed yesterday on the Clint Curtis matter has now been published here.)

ReddIt this story!



Mainstream Media Boy Gets It Wrong...
Again.
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2004 12:53pm PT  

I've got some appointments and personal issues to deal with this morning/afternoon, so I cannot reply in full yet to Mr. Olbermann's take (scroll down to his Item #4) on the Clint Curtis case which he has finally discussed for the first time today.

I'll be updating this item later with a full reply, and additional hard evidence to demonstrate that he --- frankly --- got the story 100% wrong, unfortunately.

For the moment, however, please see RAW STORY's response to Olbermann's piece. They cover several of the most notable gaps and out-and-out errors in his report that, too sadly, seems to have been entirely based on what Feeney had to say (without presenting evidence to back up his charges) and that of Yang's attorney who are --- as Olbermann triumphantly and embarrasingly failed to note --- Feeney's old law partners and contributors.

More specifics...with new evidence...later...

(Where oh, were is the responsible mainstream media in 2004? What a pity. For America.)

UPDATE: A few previously-scheduled personal issues, and this concept known as FACT-CHECKING have delayed my response here to Mr. Olbermann's completely irresponsible piece today in regards to Clint Curtis.

Therefore, it will be tomorrow before I issue what will be a rather direct response to several of Olbermann's inexcusable failings. Along with some additional never-before-seen evidence that I'm confident you will enjoy!

Just one minor point that I can't wait any longer to mention...Apparently neither Olbermann, nor anyone on his staff ever actually spoke to Clint Curtis before filing his report!

That's right! Before posting his item repeating what Feeney had told him (or, actually, his producers) Olbermann never bothered to get a reply from Curtis in regards to Feeney's comments! Or a reply to the comments he gave from Yang (YEI) or their attorneys (who as I've noted too many times...ARE THE FORMER LAW PARTNERS OF TOM FEENEY!)

Much much more on all of that tomorrow.

But for now, please read this rather brilliant bit of satire as sent in by an Emailer (who's name I'm withholding until he offers permission to give it!) Enjoy...

Bloggerman - Keith Olbermann is on vacation again. From a secure and undisclosed location, Keith has followed up on the reported burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington DC.

Mr. Olbermann Reports - "I've been hiding out on vacation again, but I felt that a minor story might develop into a major one, so I did some followup work on the break-in at the DNC. Turns out I was wrong. No story there. Here's what happened.

First of all, I wasn't there. I asked a very reliable reporter to interview the key players and sort out the wheat from the chaff. Here's what he found.

Five men were caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee by Frank Wills, the security guard at the Watergate Building. One of the men was James W. McCord, Jr. who was identified as the chief of security for The Committee to Reelect the President. At first, it looked pretty suspicious that the chief of security of the CRP, someone apparently close to the President, would be involved in an act of political espionage.

So we asked the President's secretary, Ron Zieglar, about it. Mr. Zieglar assured us that Mr. McCord had no connection whatsoever with the President and that the break-in was not politically motivated.

In order to complete our due diligence as investigative reporters, we contacted John Mitchell, the chief law enforcement official of the nation. Mr. Mitchell confirmed Mr. Zieglar's statement that the burglars had no connection whatsoever with the President or the CRP.

It turned out that there really was no burglary at all. It was an accidental break-in. The five men found at the DNC headquarters had been locked out of their own offices, and, by mistake, had accidentally picked the lock at the DNC.

After talking to Bob Haldeman, the President's chief of staff, we found out that Mr. Wills (the Watergate Security guard) was really a disgruntled former employee of the Committee to Reelect the President. Mr.Wills had been let go from his position several weeks earlier. Mr. Wills had threatened the head of the CRP just after his termination for an as yet unknown offense (rumored to be indecent exposure). Mr. Haldeman stated that its possible that Mr. Wills himself had changed the locks at the CRP, locking the men out of their offices and indirectly causing the break-in at the DNC.

Mr. Haldeman's story helped us locate some logical disconnects in Mr. Wills story. Apparently the same break-in had occurred 3 weeks before, due to the same causes. If Mr. Wills had knowingly locked the men out of their offices before and had knowingly done it a second time, then Mr. Wills might have tacitly committed a felony.

At the end of our interview with Mr. Haldeman, he politely mentioned that any news organization considering this story should check with their legal counsel first.

For Mr. Mitchell's part, he willingly answered 7 questions (although these questions could only be general, not specific questions). In keeping with the general nature of the questions, it was clear that Mr. Mitchell was generally right. When it came right down to it, Mr. Mitchell is the Attorney General (and head of the CRP), and Mr. Wills is not. Case closed.

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, not vacation can deter yours truly from following up on the smallest story.

Happy Holidays! (imagine me throwing a wad of paper at your computer screen)!"

ReddIt this story!



More in the Continuing Saga of the Clint Curtis, Tom Feeney (R-FL), Yang Enterprises
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2004 5:06pm PT  

While the bulk of the mainstream media seems to be sitting on their hands, the Internet-only news organization RAW STORY is actually making calls, confirming info, and advancing the story as the very model of what investigative journalism used to look like in this country.

To that end, RAW STORY followed up today on an article published by The BRAD BLOG last week, in which we issued a point-by-point reply to the "full statement" of Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) in regards to the explosive Clint Curtis charges we broke here two weeks ago.

Those charges concerned, amongst other things, the allegation that Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) asked Curtis to create "vote-rigging software" back in a 2000 meeting at YEI where Curtis worked at the time. Feeney was then their corporate attorney and registered lobbyist, as well as a Florida state legislator who would shortly thereafter become Speaker of the Florida Legislature.

In RAW STORY's piece this morning, editor John Byrne was able to get a short reply from a YEI Vice-President concerning the evidence we posted refuting the companies claim that Hai Lin Nee (a/k/a Henry Nee) "has never been an employee of YEI." Nee had plead guilty in October of this year to espionage charges concerning the shipment of Hellfire Anti-Tank Missiles parts to China, and was named by Curtis in his affidavit [PDF] as being an "illegal-alien" working for YEI and having added "wiretapping routines" to software that YEI was contracted to create for NASA and other companies.

In our reply to that, we published several "Weekly Time Reports" (received via Public Records Requests) submitted by YEI to the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT). The time cards with YEI stationery were signed by Nee and indicated that he worked as a "Consultant" for the company as many as 60 hours a week on the "Electronic Document Management System" contract (EDMS) that YEI had with FDOT.

Yang, when told of the timecards, denied that Nee was ever employed there.

"He was never an employee," Yang Vice President Lowell Weaver said by telephone Monday. "Henry Nee was not a consultant either."

Weaver added that Yang had never paid Nee for any services. He declined to comment further and did not say that the timecards weren't real, deferring comment to Yang's attorney, who is on vacation until Jan. 2.

We also posted several emails in our article replying to YEI's "full statement" --- including one from Nee himself, and another from the CEO's exective secretary, Mike Cohen --- which indicated that Nee, did in fact work at YEI in apparent contradiction to both the "full statement" on the YEI website, and the comments above from Weaver.

Additionally, RAW STORY was able to contact Tom Yowell, the Special Agent assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Orlando Florida, concerning his email to Clint Curtis indicating that YEI was "under investigation by another Division of the FBI."

Yowell confirmed to RAW STORY that he did in fact send that email to Curtis on Nov. 22nd, 2004 as The BRAD BLOG first reported.

But then Yowell seemed to do a bit of interesting backtracking on the matter...

Reached this afternoon, Yowell told RAW STORY that he had indeed sent the email, but said he was less certain about an investigation.

"It turns out that I'm not even sure it's the same company," he said. He stated that he would call another FBI office which might be able to furnish more information.

In their "full statement", YEI had claimed they were "not under investigation by the FBI". Which Yowell's email to Curtis would seem to dispute.

Why a Special Agent for the FBI Joint Terorrism Task Force would tell a concerned citizen one thing via Email after he reported a number of activities concerning YEI and then begin backtracking only after the information became public knowledge is a question that we will continue to look into as this remarkable story continues to develop...

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2004 11:48pm PT  

In the "Tom Feeney - In his own words" section of his official U.S. House of Representatives website page, Mr. Feeney (R-FL) reposts an Op-Ed he penned for the Orlando Sentinel --- apparently not ironically --- entitled "FLORIDA GETS IT RIGHT ON ELECTIONS".

The Op-Ed was published --- apparently not ironically --- on April 1, 2004 (April Fools Day).

In the piece, Mr. Feeney offers some well-informed opinions of the "unnecessary and devisive", "destructive lawsuits" challenging Florida's voting system by "vocal naysayers, who for partisan reasons are doing their best to portray the Sunshine State's voting technologies in a negative light."

The entire piece is certainly worth a read in full! If only for so many such --- apparently not ironic --- turns of phrase!

But there were two --- not ironic at all --- passages which, for some reason, leapt out at us this evening [emphasis added]:

Florida is a national leader in election reform. Much of the credit goes to state legislators who helped position Florida to make the necessary changes in the state's voting processes and technologies. That commitment has paid off, despite the criticisms and insults from partisan leaders who are ill-informed and have made every attempt to derail voter confidence and undermine our entire elections process.

What Mr. Feeney modestly fails to note in that paragraph is that he --- as Speaker of the Florida state legislature in 2000 (where he remained until joining the U.S. House in 2002) --- was himself, apparently, one of those "state legislators who helped position Florida to make the necessary changes in the state's voting processes and technologies." At least as Clint Curtis would tell us.

But aside from that, Mr. Feeney's right! That commitment has paid off!

Though for all of Mr. Feeney's hard work in changing "the state's voting processes and technologies" it seems that he may be the "ill-informed" one on some of these matters. Just look what he had to say in the same --- apparently not ironic --- Op-Ed in regards to voter-verified paper trails [emphasis once again added]:

As time goes on, I expect that Florida will continue to improve its voting systems and processes --- particularly as technology continues to evolve. But the argument that printers should be attached to touch-screen voting machines in the counties that use them is unrealistic as of today. Such companion technology does not currently exist, and in all likelihood will not exist by the November election.

Well, that's odd...And not at all ironic! And it may even be news to the entire state of Nevada!

Perhaps Mr. Feeney missed this information posted on the website of his good friends at the Sequoia Voting Systems corporation:

State of Nevada to Utilize Sequoia Voter Verifiable Paper Record Printers Throughout the State in 2004 Primary and General Election

WASHINGTON, DC - Sequoia Voting Systems today announced it has successfully passed federal testing of the VeriVote ? printer upgrade to the company's popular AVC Edge touch screen voting system. The printer, which allows voters to view a paper copy of their electronic ballot before leaving the polling place, will be used throughout the State of Nevada for their September 7, 2004 Primary Election and the November 2, 2004 Presidential General Election.

As a completely unrelated and not-ironic-at-all side note, Mr. Feeney has still refused to return the phone calls of many reporters seeking comment from the Congressman in the two full weeks since The BRAD BLOG began reporting on allegations that he sought to create "vote-rigging software" from Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) --- in his hometown of Oviedo, FL --- back in 2000 where he served as corporate counsel and registered lobbyist while concurrently serving as Speaker of the Florida Legislature. (See our "Special Coverage" sidebar at right for more info.)

On that point, Mr. Feeney may deserve the benefit of the doubt, however. We cannot know for certain, after all, if his office has "the companion technology" necessary to return such phone calls.

As such, any expectation that he or his staff would be able to use such "evolving technology" --- such as the telephone --- in order to do so, might well be "unrealistic as of today".

ReddIt this story!



Including --- for the first time --- the FULL Video of Clint Curtis' Sworn Testimony!
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2004 1:41pm PT  

Where's the media? They're right here...and they're paying attention to reporting by The BRAD BLOG. I urge you to count no chickens in regards to coverage by major media on this story, friends. It's a rather explosive story, and the big boy media folks need to cross all their t's and dot all their i's before letting loose with these charges!

Of course, feel free to let them know about it! And ask them to cover it!

Until those media big big boys jump in however (and there's at least one very big big boy that I hear has been sniffing around this story!) take note of a few of the other recent Clint Curtis media appearances in one form or another...

FULL VIDEO TESTIMONY...

ON RADIO...

  • Live on Sunday! Curtis was on the Mark Levine radio show for an hour today. Levine is on an "inside the beltway" D.C. station (WAGE AM-1200), but he also streams live via the web. UPDATE: The archive of today's broadcast is now available here! Listen up!
  • Curtis was on the Ed Schultz radio show broadcast nationwide on Thursday, but unfortunately I failed to capture the interview while I was finishing up my response to YEI's "full statement" on the Curtis charges. I've contacted the producers of the show and am hoping to get the audio to post or link to here soon.
  • Audio from Curtis' radio appearances on Air America Radio and the Thom Hartman program during Week 1 of this scandal, are linked this previous item.

IN PRINT...

  • Feeney's hometown paper, The Seminole Chronicle covered the story very smartly yesterday. We spoke about it in detail, and linked to it right here...
  • Bob Fitrakis, the excellent investigative journalist and Senior Editor of Columbus' Free Press who has been doing so much good work on the entire Ohio mess, covered Curtis' testimony to the Judiciary Committee members in Ohio last Monday, in an article on the hearings right here. Fitrakis describes Curtis' testimony as "riveting". (The Free Press website seems to be "down" as of this posting, let's hope it gets back up in good order soon, and has not come under the same type of DDos hack-attacks that The BRAD BLOG suffered when we first began reporting on Election Irregularaties after Nov. 2nd! Given the tremendous coverage that FP has been offering, however, it wouldn't surprise me a bit.)
  • Adam Smith covered the Curtis story in The St. Petersburg Times last Sunday. But while including a response from YEI's "outside general counsel", Michael A. O'Quinn, on the matter, Smith failed to note that O'Quinn was Feeney's old lawpartner for years in Florida and that there was no evidence for O'Quinn's "disgruntled employee" charge which was later dropped in YEI's full statement. Smith is a decent columnist, but dropped the ball on that matter! Smith can be politely informed about this important oversight at adam@sptimes.com

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA...

  • Curtis is scheduled to interview with the great German investigative journal Der Speigel shortly. Marc Pitzke is covering the story for the magazine. We'll let you know when that article appears, and if an English translation being made available.
  • TV Asahi (a CNN affiliate from Japan) is working up a piece on Curtis for their "Hodo Station" program. Interesting that Japan may beat the US to a TV story on Curtis! Though perhaps their story may make CNN take notice of it!

As I hinted earlier, however, there is at least one major TV network news operation looking into this story. I don't want to say too much about who that is, as I don't wish to spook things for the moment, and as well, I've not yet been personally able to confirm it with the producers. But I've now heard about it from several different reliable sources.

As always, more info on all of the above as it becomes appropriate to publish here, soon!

[Originally published at BRAD BLOG TOO while The BRAD BLOG server was down.
Comments left by readers on the original article can be read at the above link.]
ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2004 2:12pm PT  

Alex Babcock, editor and reporter at Florida's Seminole Chronicle has just filed a tremendously good story on the explosive Clint Curtis allegations which we originally broke here last week!

Finally! A smart and thorough print media account of this extraordinary story! And in Tom Feeney's hometown paper no less!

And as if that isn't good news enough, unlike previous coverage in both Wired Magazine and The St. Petersburg Times, Babcock does not allow the "outside general counsel" to Yang Enterprises, Inc (YEI) to skate on their scurrilous charges made against Curtis several days ago!

As we mentioned in several previous stories on this, YEI's attorney Michael A. O'Quinn of "Fowler and O'Quinn P.A." had made a general statement over the weekend smearing Curtis as "a disgruntled former employee" and claiming that his "allegations are categorically false."

What both Wired and St. Petersburg Times failed to point out in covering O'Quinn's statement was that O'Quinn --- as well as being a campaign contributor to Feeney along with Dr. and Mrs. Yang --- is also Feeney's former law partner from as late as 2002 when the firm was known as "Fowler, Barice, Feeney and O'Quinn P.A."!

Babcock does not make the same mistake, and responsibly offers some context for Feeney's long-term association with O'Quinn as his former law partner.

While Babcock was unable to pin down O'Quinn in regards to any supporting evidence for the "disgruntled former employee" charge --- one that so far seems to have zero basis in reality, and which was notably dropped from YEI's "formal statement" on the matter issued last Tuesday --- Babcock does somewhat speak to O'Quinn's all-new suggestion that Curtis is "motivated by money".

He points out that Curtis has stated, as also confirmed in an interview with RAW STORY, that he has no interest in the $200,000 reward being offered by Justice Through Music for evidence of vote fraud in 2004.

In regard to Hai Lin Nee (a/k/a Henry Nee) who Curtis has charged with adding "wiretapping routines" to software that YEI built for NASA and other projects --- and who was indicted and plead guilty to espionage charges earlier this year --- Babcock notes that YEI "said that the man named by Curtis as the recipient of NASA-related information has never worked for the company."

Babcock did not note, and the information may have come too late to meet his deadline, our report yesterday which revealed "Weekly Time Reports" and several emails indicating that Nee did, in fact, work for the company.

We hope Babcock will follow up soon in that regard, as well as continue to report on this topic. To that end, I'd hope that you folks would send a quick email to the paper thanking them for their coverage, and encouraging Babcock --- and Michelle Yoffee-Beard who also contributed to the story --- to continue to report on this very troubling story! (The same, by the way, is true for any of the reporters who prove courageous enough to get the truth out there on this issue!)

You can email Alex Babcock via this link.

[Originally published at BRAD BLOG TOO while The BRAD BLOG server was down.
Comments left by readers on the original article can be read at the above link.]
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