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Fri

30

May

2008

Rove Protégé May Dig for Dirt on Obama
Friday, 30 May 2008 20:33
by Jason Leopold

Timothy Griffin, a central figure in the U.S. Attorney scandal and a protégé of Republican political guru Karl Rove, reportedly has been hired to dig up dirt on likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

FirstRead, a political Web site of NBC News, cited a Republican source as confirming that Griffin was being brought onboard by the Republican National Committee to handle opposition research on Obama.

Griffin hung up on me when I contacted him at his home and asked him to comment about the report. An RNC aide told me he could neither “confirm nor deny the report.”

Griffin’s return to the RNC as an opposition researcher – a post he held during the Bush-Cheney campaigns – would seem to mark a return to a “dirty tricks” style of campaigning that John McCain has vowed to avoid.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Griffin handled “oppo” on Al Gore and, according to several RNC staffers, hung a poster behind his desk that paraphrased a line from “Gladiator”: "On my command - unleash hell on Al."

In 2004, Griffin also performed opposition research for the Bush-Cheney campaign and participated in an apparent Republican scheme to trap voters who had possible errors in their registration forms, so-called “caging.”

A Rove favorite, Griffin then was installed as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas in 2006. His predecessor as U.S. Attorney, Bud Cummins, was one of nine federal prosecutors forced to resign in an unusual purge orchestrated by George W. Bush’s White House.

Griffin got the U.S. Attorney job via a little known provision slipped into the reauthorization of the Patriot Act in 2005, authorizing the Attorney General to appoint emergency U.S. Attorneys without Senate confirmation.

However, after congressional Democrats – and some Republicans – complained about politicization of the Justice Department, Griffin resigned rather than face a regular confirmation process.

Griffin also stepped down as details began to emerge about his role in “vote caging,” a controversial tactic that has been used to suppress the turnout of minorities by having their names purged from the rolls when they fail to respond to registered mail sent to their homes.

[Karl Rove] The Republican National Committee signed a consent decree in 1986 stating it would not engage in the practice after it was caught suppressing votes in 1981 and 1986.

Documents released last year implicated Griffin and other Republican operatives in a broad effort to "cage" votes during Election 2004 in battleground states, such as New Mexico, Nevada, Florida and Ohio.

E-mails among Ohio Republican Party official Michael Magan; Coddy Johnson, then national field director of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign; and Griffin showed that the men received documents that could justify widespread voter challenges if the Bush campaign needed to contest the election results.

Johnson referred to the documents as a "goldmine.” Like Griffin, Johnson worked at the White House as a political aide to Rove.

The documents were lists of registered voters who did not return address confirmation forms to the Ohio Board of Elections. The Republican operatives compared the list with lists of voters who requested absentee ballots.

"A bad registration card can be an accident or fraud. A bad card AND an Absentee Ballot request is a clear case of fraud," argued Bush-Cheney campaign staffer Robert Paduchik.

”I have already tasked our IT [information technology] person with creating a match list between the Board of Elections return mail list and the Absentee Ballot request list,” according to an e-mail from Christopher McInerney, a Griffin colleague and a RNC researcher.

However, McInerney cautioned about having “GOP fingerprints" on the challenges.

"I would think we are less worried about ‘fingerprints’ if we have decent evidence that fraudulent ballots are being cast,” responded GOP strategist Christopher Guith. “I think the intent is to take the Board of Elections' list and challenge absentee ballots? At that point, isn't it more important to stop absentee ballots that we have a high certainty of fraud than avoid the hit?"

Griffin responded, "I guess we have to make sure we have bodies. It seems like it always comes down to bodies. Why don't you ask your peeps in each state at issue if they have the resources to do this? Then, I might/can put some resources in the states that are lacking."

Last July, in a letter to the Justice Department, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, and Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, protested Republican use of these tactics.

"Caging is a reprehensible voter suppression tactic, and it may also violate federal law and the terms of applicable judicially enforceable consent decrees," the Whitehouse-Kenney letter read.

In a forthcoming book, In Justice: Inside the Scandal that Rocked the Bush Administration, former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, one of the nine federal prosecutors fired, said Republican officials in his state were far less interested in election reforms and more intent on suppressing votes.

"But there was a more sinister reading to such urgent calls for reform, not to mention the Justice Department's strident insistence on harvesting a bumper crop of voter fraud prosecutions. That implication is summed up in a single word: ‘caging.’

"Not only did the [Bush] administration stoop to such seamy expedients to press its agenda in 2004," Iglesias wrote. "It had the full might and authority of the federal government and its prosecutorial powers to accomplish its ends."

The controversies over the prosecutor firings and the alleged “voter caging” led Griffin to resign from his post as acting U.S. Attorney rather than undergo a bruising confirmation hearings.

But the RNC appears to value Griffin’s political talents enough to bring him back onboard to look for derogatory information that might damage Barack Obama’s campaign.

Griffin is "one of the best political operatives in the country," a Republican source told NBC’s FirstRead.
 
Jason Leopold is the publisher of www.pubrecord.org
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John Ryskamp said:

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Obama's Impending Indictment
Evelyn Pringle has just completed her series on Obama at opednews.com. You should review the articles, and then review the discussion of 18 USC 1346 provided, in order to see for what activities Obama will be indicted. Obama's just an organized crime punk, a flunkey for the Rezko/General Mediterranean/Syrian mafia criminal enterprise. Rezko's just had another warrant issued for him for gambling fraud in Nevada. I think this is related to his other fraudulent debt--to GE--and is another reason Obama served as a front for the house thing, to shield Tony's assets. Obama was never interested in buying a house. It is a pure fraud play in which Obama, as always, played the front and the flunkey so Rezko could hide assets.

Won't it be hilarious to see the looks on the faces of Obama's STUPID and CORRUPT and IGNORANT supporters when this hyena is indicted along with Blagojevich.

But it tells us one thing: all Obama's supporters are just as corrupt as he is.

Titles of Pringle's articles:

Final Chapter - Curtain Time for Barack Obama Evelyn Pringle 05/22/2008 Curtain Time for Barack Obama - Part V Evelyn Pringle 05/18/2008
Curtain Time for Barack Obama - Part IV Evelyn Pringle 05/16/2008
Curtain Time for Barack Obama - Part III Evelyn Pringle 05/15/2008
Curtain Time for Barack Obama - Part II Evelyn Pringle 05/13/2008
Curtain Time For Barack Obama - Part I Evelyn Pringle 05/12/2008


Discussion of 18 USC 1346 from:

http://www.groom.com/_library/downloads/NAPPAArticle-Feb2006.pdf.



This article provides brief guidance as to the manner in which courts have interpreted 18 U.S.C. § 1346, which generally provides that for purposes of federal mail and wire fraud statutes (18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343, respectively), a “scheme or artifice to defraud” includes a “scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right to honest services.” Specifically, this article examines the manner in which courts have interpreted the broad language of § 1346 in circumstances that do not involve the explicit bribery of public officials. I. Background 18 U.S.C. § 1346 was enacted in 1988, for purposes of reversing the Supreme Court’s decision in McNally v. U.S.,483 U.S. 350 (1987). In McNally, the Supreme Court overruled a long line of lower court decisions by holding that the federal mail and wire fraud statutes did not encompass schemes to defraud citizens of an intangible right to honest government service from pubic officers. Id. at 355. By enacting 18 U.S.C. § 1346, Congress restored “honest services” within the ambit of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes, meaning that a scheme to deprive the public of “honest services” by a public official could be punished as mail or wire fraud (assuming, of course, that such an instrumentality was used as part of the scheme or artifice). II. Judicial Interpretations of the “Honest Services” Fraud A. General Parameters of the Statute Not surprisingly, the majority of cases that have analyzed the “honest services” fraud set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 1346 have involved the bribery of public officials, where the charge under § 1346 is in addition to other charges. However, there have been numerous prosecutions under § 1346 against public officials (and those who have corrupted public officials) for transactions that do not involve outright bribery, but which nonetheless involve the provision of cash or gifts to a public official in exchange for the public official’s exercise of power on behalf of the individual or entity providing the gratuity. Courts have recognized that the term “honest services,” as used in § 1346, is incredibly broad, but the statute has survived repeated challenges asserting that it is unconstitutionally vague, with courts resorting to a “common sense” usage of the phrase “honest services.” In rejecting a constitutional void-for-vagueness challenge to the statute’s wording, one court opined that “[c]oncrete parameters outlining the duty of honest services should not be necessary. . . . The concept of the duty of honest services sufficiently conveys warning of the proscribed conduct when measured in terms of common understanding and practice.” U.S. v. ReBrook, 837 F. Supp. 162, 171 (S.D. W. Va. 1993), aff’d. 58 F.3d 961 (4 th Cir. 1995). Another court demonstrated little patience for the defendant’s void-for-vagueness challenge in the context of a kickback scheme, holding that “t should be plain to ordinary people that offering and accepting large sums of money in exchange for a city councilman’s vote is a type of conduct proscribed by the language of § 1346.” U.S. v. Paradies, 98 F.3d 1266, 1283 (11 th Cir. 1996). Nonetheless, courts have refused to allow § 1346 to be used as a “catch-all” that subjects every unethical or illegal act to federal mail and wire fraud prosecution. See, e.g., U.S. v. Bloom, 149 F.3d 649, 654-56 (7 th Cir. 199smilies/cool.gif (noting, inter alia, that “not every breach of fiduciary duty works a criminal fraud”); U.S. v. Welch, 327 F.3d 1081, 1107 (10 th Cir. 2003) (”the right to honest services is not violated by every breach of contract, breach of duty, conflict of interest, or misstatement made in the course of dealing”). Recognizing the difficulty of interpreting the undefined phrase “honest services,” courts have attempted to establish general criteria that must be satisfied to successfully assert an “honest services” fraud claim. One of the leading circuits interpreting the scope of the honest services fraud is the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that: First, . . . honest services convictions of public officials typically involve serious corruption, such as embezzlement of public funds, bribery of public officials, or the failure of public decision-makers to disclose conflicts of interest. Second, . . . the broad scope of the mail fraud statute . . . does not encompass every instance of official misconduct that results in the official’s personal gain. Third, and most importantly, . . . the government must not merely indicate wrongdoing by a public official, but must also demonstrate that the wrongdoing at issue is intended to prevent or call into question the proper or impartial performance of the public servant’s official duties. U.S. v. Czubinski, 106 F.3d 1069, 1076 (1 st Cir. 1997) (emphasis added) (internal citations and quotations omitted), (discussing the First Circuit’s prior decision in U.S. v. Sawyer, 85 F.3d 713, 724 (1996). The Seventh Circuit has held that “[m]isuse of office (more broadly, misuse of position) for private gain is the line that separates run of the mill violations of state law fiduciary duty . . . from federal crime.” U.S. v. Bloom, 149 F.3d 649, 655 (7 th Cir. 199smilies/cool.gif. The court went on to note that “in almost all of the intangible rights cases decided . . . (before McNally or since § 1346), the defendant used his office for private gain, as by accepting a bribe in exchange for official action[,]” but also noted that “ecret conversion of information received in a fiduciary capacity is a form of fraud against the owner of that information.” Id. Accordingly, the Seventh Circuit summarized its test for an honest services fraud as follows: “[a]n employee deprives his employer of his honest services only if he misuses his position (or the information he obtained in it) for personal gain” (emphasis added). Id. at 656-57. ——————————————————
 
May 30, 2008
Votes: +0

bemused said:

0
...
Hey John,

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are an idiot than to open it and remove all doubt."
 
May 31, 2008
Votes: +0

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