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  • bakana
    Link to the entire article

    Feature: 7/30/2004
    Bankrolling Beltway Badges

    Meet the Law Enforcement Alliance that violates the law with IRS impunity


    Kirk Watson cannot forget the first time he saw it. Watson, a former Austin mayor, was running as the Democratic nominee for state attorney general. Only about 10 days remained before the 2002 November election. His campaign was in full gear. On that Sunday, Watson planned to visit dozens of churches. It was early in the morning in a Dallas hotel room and the candidate was shaving with the television on in the background.

    He didnÆt see the initial visuals of the commercial as the screen scrolled past stirring images of surgeons saving lives and the state Capitol building. A somber voice intoned ôPersonal injury lawyers like Kirk Watson have made millions suing doctors, hospitals, and small businesses, hurting families and driving up the cost of healthcare. Greg Abbott is different.ö

    By this point Watson was standing before the television, holding his razor, his face still lathered. ôA respected Supreme Court Justice,ö the voiceover in the ad continued, ôGreg Abbott believes in common sense lawsuit reform and Greg Abbott supports the swift and aggressive prosecution of sexual predators and child pornographers. Greg Abbott has a plan for Texas. To learn more, log on now. [] Law Enforcement Alliance of America.ö
    Watson rapidly called his campaign manager, smearing the phone with shaving cream. He had only one question: Who in the world was the LEAA?

    ôWe have to find out,ö he told his campaign manager.

    Over the remaining 10 days leading up to the election, the mysterious group with the strong law-and-order moniker spent about $1.5 million for ads that ran in every major media market in Texas, gunning down Watson and lifting up the GOPÆs Abbott. (Ironically, it was Watson who had received an honorary commission in the Austin Police Department while Abbott sued and won millions on a lawsuit after a falling tree left him paralyzed.) While the Texas media buy in the Abbott-Watson race seems to have been the largest for any single state, the LEAA also spent millions for commercials against candidates in at least four other states in 2002. In some places, like Mississippi, the LEAA dropped more money on ads than all the candidates combined.

    And Watson is still waiting for an answer to his question. The former mayor notes that he, not Abbott, received the endorsement of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, which is the largest police group in the state. Two years later, he still wants to know who was behind the LEAA? Who funded the campaign against him and why?

    One agency tasked with policing groups like the LEAA is the Internal Revenue Service. But the IRS doesnÆt appear to be interested. It has designated the non-profit LEAA as ôa social welfare organization.ö
    Under this tax designation, the LEAA can legally ôeducateö voters about issues but, it cannot advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate.
    The IRS forbids such organizations from ôdirect or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.ö
    When big money is the key to demolishing political opponents, the biggest advantage that any ôsocial welfareö group like the LEAA enjoys is that it is legally allowed to keep all its donors, even the largest ones, hidden.

    Currently, the LEAA is under investigation by a Travis County grand jury as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into the 2002 campaign. Did the LEAA cross the line between ôeducationö and ôadvocacy?ö
    Did the LEAA serve as a key component in a coordinated GOP plan to skirt campaign finance laws and funnel prohibited corporate money into Texas politics?
    Was the author of that plan U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Sugar Land), whose principle objective was to redraw congressional lines so that more Republicans would be elected?

    Those who track campaign money believe that the LEAA represents a troubling trend. ôLEAA is one of a new breed of shadowy front groups that is willing to serve as a corporate money conduit and attack dog to benefit GOP candidates,ö says Craig McDonald of the public policy organization Texans for Public Justice. ôIts æissue adsÆ are a mere hoax.

    When GOP candidates need a political attack from a so-called law-and-order group, they appear to funnel money to the LEAA to carry it out. ô
    Last edited by bakana; 08-14-2004, 03:46 PM.

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  • bakana
    A couple of the latest "Embarassments"...

    It's a Feature, Not a Bug...

    Wrong Time for an E-Vote Glitch
    By Kim Zetter - 10:00 AM Aug. 12, 2004 PT

    It was simultaneously an uh-oh moment and an ah-ha moment.

    When Sequoia Voting Systems demonstrated its new paper-trail electronic voting system for state Senate staffers in California last week, the company representative got a surprise when the paper trail failed to record votes that testers cast on the machine.

    That was bad news for the voting company, whose paper-trail, touch-screen machine will be used for the first time next month in Nevada's state primary.

    The company advertises that its touch-screen machines provide "nothing less than 100 percent accuracy."

    GOP in Blackface ??

    The GOP Minstrel Show
    A white tycoon in blackface race-baits Teresa Heinz Kerry.
    By Timothy Noah - Aug. 12, 2004 2:26 PM PT

    A new radio ad paid for by a nonprofit called People of Color United takes Teresa Heinz Kerry to task for playing up her African heritage. (She was born and raised in Mozambique.) As Thomas B. Edsall reports in the Aug. 12 Washington Post, the ad copy includes the following:

    His wife says she's an African American. While technically true, I don't believe a white woman, raised in Africa, surrounded by servants, qualifies.

    What's interesting about this blacker-than-thou statement is that it's underwritten by a white man.
    People of Color United, although run by a black woman named Virginia Walden-Ford, got nearly half the money for its media buy from a Caucasian insurance tycoon named J. Patrick Rooney.
    Walden-Ford confirmed to the Post that Rooney gave the group $30,000 for a series of ads that are running in swing-state urban areas, and that the total ad buy thus far cost $70,000.
    Rooney, she said, was the group's biggest donor.
    All its funding information will eventually be public, but the law does not require People of Color United to file with the IRS before the ads go on the air.
    It will be interesting to learn whether a single person of color has written a check to People of Color United.

    I don't know about you, but when I hear a statement meant to inflame gratuitous resentment of white people, I prefer that it come from a black person.
    A white man who puts on blackface to call John Kerry's wife a fraudulent African-American is acting in so many kinds of bad faith that I scarcely know where to start. Why did he do it?

    The answer has nothing to do with the struggle for civil rights.
    Rooney is a medical-privatization pimp. His former company, Golden Rule Insurance Co., and its successor, Medical Savings Insurance Co., market private savings accounts of the type that Republicans are gradually using to displace health insurance provided by the government under Medicare and Medicaid (most recently in last year's Medicare prescription bill).
    In pursuit of this goal, Rooney, his family, and his employees have lavished more than $5 million on the GOP.
    Rooney's latest game, according to a recent story in Business Week, is to mau-mau hospitals into lowering rates for uninsured patients while simultaneously (and much more quietly) securing debt forgiveness for his company.
    Last edited by bakana; 08-14-2004, 03:45 PM.

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  • bakana
    Even if you Find a website with Palme's name on it And the information that she was a CIA Operative, unless the reporter can prove that it was his ONLY source, the person who talked committed a Felony.

    The fact that someone Else robbed the bank in the morning doesn't excuse the person who robs the same bank in the afternoon.

    BTW, You'd also have to Prove the website existed Before the story hit the papers and that it wasn't cobbled together afterwards as part of a "Fix".
    Not easy to prove. Weblogs and the like can easily be doctored.

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  • Radhil
    "That chick" was Valerie Plame. She was more than an analyst, she was an op. If she was just an analyst, there wouldn't be talk of prosecutions, and they wouldn't be jailing reporters (just this week) in an effort to shake lose the guilty gov't leaker.

    Which website was this, where she was already named an op before all this, complete with family bio? I certainly hadn't heard such a thing existed.

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  • Dr Maturin
    <<This is the second time that the White House has revealed someoneÆs name. Since the Bush Administration is one of the most leak proof in history this is suspicious.>>

    If you're talking about that chick, that is just a bunch of bologna. She was an analyst and her name was already accessible on a website, complete with family information.

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  • bakana
    This is the second time that the White House has revealed someoneÆs name.
    Large chunks of this also came from Tom Ridge's Homeland Security people.
    Either the Justice Dept or FBI may also have been involved in the leak.

    They were the ones who got the NY Police out there on the streetcorners with Fully Automatic Weapons.

    With so many people trying to get their names on the 6:00 News, there's lots of blame to go around.

    Headline Hounds. Their brains leaked out thru their nostrils while they were still in kindergarten...

    And, sure as Hell, no one working on King George's Election Campaign should have access to any sort of Top Secret info...

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  • Andrew_Swallow
    Originally posted by colonyearth
    Or the government's fault for giving out the name in the frst place. Believe me, the journalists only get what the government wants them to in such cases.
    Working form memory and second hand sources there used to be a classification something like TOP SECRET ROYAL. This was designed for hiding sources such as which message had been decoded and possibly agentÆs names. This may need re-introducing.

    It is far from impossible that no one in the White House needs to be on the Access List for this information. Congress may also wish to check to see if the heads of the CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, MI5 and MI6 need to know the real names.

    The reference to MI5 refers to the incident in Spychatcher when the Director General of MI5 (miss) uses his rank to find out a spy's name.

    This is the second time that the White House has revealed someoneÆs name. Since the Bush Administration is one of the most leak proof in history this is suspicious.

    The semi-official list of what the British Government considers secret is on the DA-Notice Website.

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  • Capt.Montoya
    The story of Churchill allowing Coventry to burn may be a myth...

    However, it still is a great anecdote about the moral dilemmas that leaders face at war.

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  • Dr Maturin
    <<Any terrorist watching the news and seeing the announcement that security had been tightened around their targets would immediately ask "Why? Who Talked?" and start changing their plans.>>

    Sounds like Sheridan's Coventry analogy in ITSoZ.

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  • bakana
    The Crime in this case is NOT the reporters story.

    The Crime was committed by the people who held the press conference and gave out the information.

    In practical terms, even the announcement that security was being stepped up was part of the crime.

    Any terrorist watching the news and seeing the announcement that security had been tightened around their targets would immediately ask "Why? Who Talked?" and start changing their plans.
    Paranoia is a necessary survival skill for a terrorist...

    As witnessed in another story, Las Vegas was also scouted, but no one said anything about it in the first go around of "Alerts".
    Which could have sent the terrorists driving west...

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  • Andrew_Swallow
    If this had happened in Britain we would have been able to arrest people for all 3 crimes.

    The journalists knew that the name was not in the press release so that it was not for publication.

    As for publishing information that they had been explicitly warned would get them into trouble, even if it came from a different source, the old saying applies if you do not want to do the time do not commit the crime.

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  • colonyearth
    Yes, but is it the journalists' fault for publishing a name they were given, and not told not to publish it? Or the government's fault for giving out the name in the frst place. Believe me, the journalists only get what the government wants them to in such cases.


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  • Andrew_Swallow
    Three things wrong here.

    1. The journalists should not have been told the name of the spy.

    2. They should not have published off the record information.

    3. The officials should not have known the spy's name. Since they are not running the agent they did not have a need to know his real name. Users of the information only need his codename. Frequently they only need to know that the information comes from "a usually reliable source".

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  • Dr Maturin
    <<Something about revealing Top Secret info ...>>

    Yeah, the Times' reputation has been lowered a few notches once again, and that's saying something, considering last year.

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  • bakana
    it's kinda hard to tell exactly which parts were gov't idiocy and which weren't.

    Yeah, but blowing an ongoing Intelligence operation is a Felony...

    Something about revealing Top Secret info ...

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