Roger Stone: Pretty Reckless Is Going Straight To Hell Part Four

ROGER STONE:

PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX

PART SEVEN PART EIGHT PART NINE PART TEN

THE WELL DRESSED MAN PART FOUR: BALLOT SECURITY / GARDEN STATE / SUNSHINE STATE

Just as Roger Stone makes as little mention as possible of BMS&K, he says relatively little about his first election, that of Tom Kean to the governorship of New Jersey in 1980. This race isn’t even given mention in Labash’s piece, and it only gets a one-sentence nod in Toobin’s: “In 1981, Stone ran his first major campaign on his own, Tom Kean’s race for governor of New Jersey against the Democrat Jim Florio. Kean won in a recount.” In his memoir, Stone gives much space to the election, but his emphasis is on his attempts to get newly elected president Reagan to campaign for Kean, James Baker giving the go-ahead, and Stone working for Bush in Florida as a way of returning the long ago favor. The description of the actual election, which bluntly ignores the surrounding issues that Stone was very familiar with, is one that’s far too short: “Tom Kean was elected Governor by 1200 votes out of 2.2 million cast. Ronald Reagan helped put him over the top.”66 All accounts underserve the Kean-Florio race, which may well have been one of the most important elections of the past thirty years or so, and certainly continued to have an obvious impact on elections thirty years on.

The race would be between James Florio, a Democrat, versus Thomas Kean, a Republican, for governor of New Jersey. The best roadmap I’ve come across on what happened on election day is Republican Ballot Security Programs: Vote Protection or Minority Vote Suppression – or Both? A Report to the Center for Voting Rights & Protection by Chandler Davidson, Tanya Dunlap, Gale Kenny, and Benjamin Wise, specifically the section “CASE 1: The New Jersey Gubernatorial Election and the “National Ballot Security Task Force,” 1981 (page 55)”. The RNC would hire a man named John Kelly to enforce “ballot security”, a program to fight against voter fraud, and Kelly first did so by way of a process now known as voter caging. He mailed off hundreds of thousands of sample ballots to voters in black and latino neighborhoods, then compiled a list of those people whose ballots were returned as undeliverable, then allegedly tried to have them struck from the polls. An outdated address list was used, which meant that names were struck from rolls for the simple reason that people had moved from that address. The struck names were compiled into “challenge lists”, which could be used to challenge the right of someone on the list to cast a vote. The New Jersey Commissioners of Registration refused to accept the lists when they discovered that the address list used was outdated. The RNC insisted that they would continue to enforce a program of ballot security, without the lists67.

Kelly put together a group poll watchers, mainly off-duty police officers, who would be tasked with enforcing ballot security. They patrolled black and latino voting precincts, and they erected signs in those precincts which said the following:

WARNING
THIS AREA IS BEING PATROLLED BY THE
NATIONAL BALLOT
SECURITY TASK FORCE
IT IS A CRIME TO FALSIFY A BALLOT OR TO
VIOLATE ELECTION LAWS
1. IF YOU ARE REGISTERED YOU CANNOT VOTE
2. YOU MUST VOTE IN YOUR OWN NAME.
3. YOU MAY ONLY VOTE ONE TIME
$1,000 Reward for information
leading to arrest and conviction
of person violating New Jersey
election law. Call 800-402-4301.
HONEST VOTE 1981

(Kean election)

The ballot security who were off-duty police officers carried guns and radios. All ballot security officers had armbands which read “National Ballot Security Task Force.” Those who called the 1-800 number on the ballot security signs to find out who had funded the signs and the ballot security were told that “we don’t divulge our clients. We are an organization that works for an honest vote on Election Day.” A judge would eventually order the signs to be taken down at 4pm on voting day for being inherently political. A democratic councilman would report that the voter security task force was “like the Gestapo,” that would demand to see the voter registration books. The task force allegedly questioned voters, refused to allow some voters near the polls, tore down signs advertising democratic candidates, and prevented poll workers from assisting voters. The president of the NAACP in Trenton would say “I saw Gestapo armbands in my polling place, and I won’t tolerate seeing them here in the future.”68

By election night, two networks were calling Democrat Jim Florio the next state governor. Republican Tom Kean was ready to concede, until his campaign manager found that the vote had shifted, with Kean now leading Florio by 1677 votes, less than 1% of the votes cast. Neither man would concede, and then for twenty seven days the ballots were checked and recounted. When Essex County indicated that they were revising their figures, Tom Kean’s political consultant, Roger Stone, would say, “They’re stealing it – we’re just not going to stand for it, just to ‘find’ a precinct like that.” When told that the adjustment favored his client, Stone would say, “We just took a vote here and we think that’s O.K.’” Following the ballot security controversy, Jack Kelly would disappear from sight. Doubts would surface about his r´sumé; he’d said he’d gone to Fordham Law school and Notre Dame, and it became very uncertain whether he actually had. It would soon be discovered that he’d been arrested for impersonating a police officer, and that he’d lost a job after twice threatening people with a gun.69.

Four “street leaders” were alleged to have been in charge of ballot security, including Anthony Imperiale, the representative of Newark. When the allegations about ballot security were first made, Imperiale would call them “a prefabricated lie.” Furthermore, “I didn’t drop anyone off wearing armbands. If the Democrats are making charges that I knew about this, then tough crap on them. It’s the Democrats who have a reputation of stealing votes.”70 A day later, he would acknowledge that he was in charge of a ballot security program in Newark. However: who cares? “Who did it intimidate?” asked Imperiale. “No one but fraudulent voters in my opinion. This is sour grapes from Democrats. They don’t know how to take defeat.” With regard to his earlier denial, “I never denied it. It must have been a mistake.” When Imperiale was named in 1984 as a delegate for New Jersey for the Republican convention, mention would be made that he had once referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “Martin Luther Coon” and once preached armed white self-defense after the 1967 Newark riots71. The closest Roger Stone gets to talking about the ballot security scandal in his memoir is in his mention of Imperiale in the book’s introduction: “I saw Newark vigilante Tony Imperiale beat a black man caught selling drugs senseless.”72 In the profile by Matt Labash, Stone would refer to Malcolm X as his “brother under the skin.”73

For twenty seven days, just as in 2000, things were in stasis. When there was a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new hotel, both Kean and Florio showed up with scissors. Finally, it was over, and Kean was declared the winner. The DNC would file suit against the RNC, Civil Action No. 81-3876, over the ballot security program:

This is an action, arising chiefly from the activities of the defendants’ National Ballot Security Task Force, for declaratory and injunctive relief and damages against the defendants for their efforts to intimidate, threaten and coerce duly qualified black and Hispanic voters from voting and from urging and aiding other black and Hispanic duly qualified persons to vote in the State of New Jersey.

The RNC and DNC would reach a settlement agreement, which among other things would forbid anything like the ballot security group in a polling place.
Ballot security, however, would return again and again as an issue for Republicans74. In 1986, one RNC political director wrote to another RNC political director of the upcoming election in Louisiana and the possible impact of a ballot security program, “I know this race is really important to you. I would guess that this program will eliminate at least 60-80,000 folks from the rolls….If it’s a close race…which I’m assuming it is, this could keep the black vote down considerably.”75 The Republican National Committee would also turn in over sixty thousand voter names to the FBI, in an effort to investigate potential voter fraud. They had no evidence that the names had any involvement in wrongdoing, other than the fact that registered mail sent to their addresses was returned to sender76. In 2008, the RNC would appeal to have the 1982 consent decree modified or abolished. The judge who wrote the original decree was not persuaded, and rejected their arguments77. In 2008, after a long exile from visible political life, John Kelly headed up John McCain’s Catholic outreach78.

Jim Florio would eventually get elected as governor of New Jersey, then be defeated in his re-election bid by Christine Todd Whitman. Shortly after her victory, Whitman’s political consultant, Ed Rollins, who’d headed up Reagan’s 1980 and 1984 campaigns, would share how he pulled off this narrow, upset victory. The campaign had funneled half a million dollars in “walking around money” to keep the vote down in urban, heavily Democratic areas. “We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, ‘Do you have a special project?’ And they said, “We’ve already endorsed Florio,” Mr. Rollins said. “We said, ‘That’s fine. Don’t get up on the pulpit Sunday and say it’s your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio.’” They would also keep Democratic political workers away by paying them off. “We said to some of their key workers, ‘How much have they paid you to do your normal duty?’” he said. “Well, we’ll match it. Go home, sit and watch television.”79 Rollins would then turn around and say that he’d only been trolling, just tweaking James Carville, the consultant for Florio. What he’d said was “We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, ‘Do you have a special project?’”, when what he meant to say was that he’d tell a senior Whitman staffer, Lanna Hooks, “‘Lanna, go back to these people and continue the dialogue and tell them as far as we’re concerned we want to help them. Whatever their favorite charity may be, there are other ways of helping them besides state funding that Florio has, or what have you.’ But I didn’t authorize her to go commit resources and she, as an attorney, wouldn’t ask for that. All I did was give her some suggestions and I said ‘Tell them, if they don’t go up to the pulpit and preach against us on Sunday, we’d be way ahead of the game.’” There’s a difference. Not “Don’t get up on the pulpit Sunday and say it’s your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio”, but “Tell them, if they don’t go up to the pulpit and preach against us on Sunday, we’d be way ahead of the game.” His statements had not played out as Rollins expected. “My expectation was not that this was going to become a national story, because, obviously, if I thought it was going to be a national story, I would not have taken a gun and put it to my head and blown my career apart as I have done.”80

Just as the chemical weapons in Angola foreshadow what would take place in Iraq, the 1981 New Jersey governor’s election would foreshadow what would take place in Florida in 2000, where Stone achieved his greatest prominence. Voters in the Kean-Florio election would have their names struck because letters mailed to an outdated address list were returned. In Florida, where felons are not allowed to vote, strike lists were made up of names that were similar to any Florida felon’s, with distinguishing middle initials, Jrs. and Srs. ignored. Just as in New Jersey, these strike lists were overwhelmingly African American; the strike lists were ruled illegal and discarded before the New Jersey election, but they were kept in place for the presidential election in Florida. NAACP offices in the state were flooded with calls about people trying to vote and told they couldn’t because they were felons, though they weren’t, who tried to vote, but were told they weren’t on the rolls. “What happened that day – I can’t even put it in words anymore,” said Donna Brazile, Al Gore’s campaign manager. “It was the most painful, dehumanizing, demoralizing thing I’ve ever experienced in my years of organizing.” The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights would hear over thirty hours of testimony of election irregularities from over a hundred witnesses. Their report would make the case that the conduct of the election had violated the voting Rights Act of 196581. Stone, as already said, would refer to Malcolm X as his “brother under the skin.”

Stone’s chapter on his role in the re-count, “Recount 2000,” feels like an unfinished, abbreviated piece of work in every version I have of his memoir. It is spent almost entirely discussing his efforts to get James Baker to help him out with the Kean election, and that this was the reason for helping out in 2000, as a favor returned to Baker, and not out of any affection for the Bush family, who he despises. The conflict between the Bush and Gore campaigns at the time of the Brooks Brothers riot was fairly simple. The Gore campaign had been allowed to conduct a vote recount in four counties, including Miami-Dade. With the current vote totals before the recount favoring Bush by a slim margin, it was in the interests of the Bush campaign to halt any re-count, since any shift in Gore’s favor would create momentum for a wider recount, which might end with Gore winning the state and the election. A shift in Gore’s favor was exactly what was happening during the vote re-count in Miami-Dade when it was halted by a mob82.

Stone’s account of his role in things is given no space in the Labash profile. However, it is perhaps best stated in the Toobin piece:

On November 21, 2000, the Florida Supreme Court gave Gore an important victory by ruling that the deadline for recounts would be extended to November 26th. At that point, the top priority for the Gore forces was to get the recounts up and running, especially in Miami-Dade County, which is the most populous in the state. On the Republican side, according to Stone, “The whole idea behind what they were doing was that there had already been one recount of the votes, so we didn’t want another. The idea was to shut it down, stop the recount here in Miami.” By November 22nd, the recount process had begun, in a conference room on the eighteenth floor of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, a vast concrete office building on a forlorn plaza in downtown Miami.

The scene in front of the Clark center that morning was volatile-which was, of course, exactly how Stone wanted it. Several thousand mostly pro-Bush protesters had gathered on the sun-baked plaza to insist that the recount be shut down. Early that morning, Perez-Roura, of Radio Mambi, had sent Evilio Cepero, a local activist who sometimes worked for him as a reporter, to broadcast from the scene. Cepero urged Perez-Roura’s listeners to join the protest, addressed the growing crowd with a megaphone, and interviewed supporters, like the local members of Congress Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Many held signs that said “SORE/LOSERMAN.” Others chanted, “Remember Elián!”

“We set up a Winnebago trailer, right over here,” Stone said when we got out of the Jaguar and walked about a block away from the Clark center, on First Street. “I set up my command center there. I had walkie-talkies and cell phones, and I was in touch with our people in the building. Our whole idea was to shut the recount down. That was why we were there. We had the frequency to the Democrats’ walkie-talkies and were listening to their communications, but they were so disorganized that we didn’t learn much that was useful.”

A substantial contingent of young Republican Capitol Hill aides, along with such congressmen as John Sweeney, of New York, who had travelled to Miami, joined in the protest. Thanks to this delegation, the events at the Clark center have come to be known as the “Brooks Brothers riot,” but Stone disputes that characterization. “There was a Brooks Brothers contingent, but the crowd in front of the courthouse was largely Spanish,” he said. “Most of the people there were people that we drew to the scene.”

At one point on November 22nd, Stone said, he heard from an ally in the building that Gore supporters were trying to remove some ballots from the counting room. “One of my pimply-faced contacts said, ‘Two commissioners have taken two or three hundred ballots to the elevator,’ ” Stone said. “I said, ‘O.K., follow them. Half you guys go on the elevator and half go in the stairs.’ Everyone got sucked up in this. They were trying to keep the doors from being closed. Meanwhile, they were trying to take the rest of the ballots into a back room with no windows. I told our guys to stop them-don’t let them close the door! They are trying to keep the door from being closed. There was a lot of screaming and yelling.” (In fact, the Gore official in the elevator, Joe Geller, was carrying a single sample ballot.) The dual scenes of chaos-both inside and outside the building-prompted the recount officials to stop their work. The recount in Miami was never re-started, depriving Gore of his best chance to catch up in the over-all state tally.

Toobin makes clear that Stone’s account is not without discontents. Stone says the Brooks Brothers part of the riot, a group made up almost entirely of people outside of Miami, outside of Florida, who were Republican D.C. staffers flown in to cause a ruckus and stop a recount83, was just a small fraction, and a sizable majority were spanish speaking. This does not correspond with other observers. “There were two or three loud Cubans but most of the people I talked to were white, mostly men, from Oklahoma, Texas, mostly Southern states,” says Sunday Times correspondent Tom Rhodes. “They were talking on cellphones, probably to people nearby, telling them to get in there right away and bring as many people as they could.”84 In the room where the Florida operation was run, conservative journalist Paul Gigot would hear that a large group of Cuban-American activists were about to be unleashed. “One thousand local Cuban Republicans were on the way,” was what was said. One thousand local Cuban Republicans never showed up85. “How the Troops Were Mobilized for the Recount” by Dana Canedy and James Dao, has Republicans defending the mob against charges of the belligerence, without contesting who they were. “A group of out-of-state, paid political operatives came to south Florida in an attempt to stop county-wide recounts,” alleged a Democrat. “They crossed state lines and intimidated the counting in a federal election, which is a violation of the Voting Rights Act.” Emily Miller would reply, “This was not a threatening band of armed thugs.” Miller was a spokesperson for Tom DeLay, then the House majority whip. “They were idealistic, enthusiastic young Republicans who felt they were being shut out, that this was an unfair decision.” One of those in the Brooks Brothers riot was Tom Pyle, policy analyst for Tom DeLay86.

The most visible top level figure on the ground wasn’t Roger Stone, who is never mentioned in contemporary reports of the halting of the Miami-Dade count, but John Sweeney, a Republican representative from New York. When the vote counters decided to move to a room closer to the voting machines so as to speed up the count, Sweeney gave the order, “Shut it down,” according to Gigot, who was in the same room as Sweeney when the order was given. After that, the Brooks Brothers mob pounded the doors and windows of the tally room. “Stop the count. Stop the fraud.” Sweeney was giving these orders, according to eyewitnesses, in a room in the same building where the vote tally was taking place. Stone’s account is also disputed by Brad Blakeman. “I was the guy in charge of the trailer, and I coördinated the Brooks Brothers riot,” says Blakeman in the Toobin piece. “Roger did not have a role that I know of. His wife may have been on the radio, but I never saw or heard from him.” Stone scoffs at such doubts87.

We might see who the Bush Administration considered most valuable for their effort in Florida in 2000. Sweeney would get the nick “Congressman Kickass” from the chief executive, and would be given say over EPA, HUD, and Labor appointments, as well as his pick of the plum committee he wished to sit on, picking Appropriations over Ways & Means88. Sweeney would serve several terms in Congress before once again achieving public visibility by smashing his car into an electrical pole in 2006. He said it was because he was busy fiddling with the car’s CD player. The police did not give him a sobriety test. “Pol Versus Pole,” Michael Tomasky would waggishly report. Later in the year, police would get a 911 call from the Sweeney house. “Female caller stating her husband is knocking her around the house,” the dispatcher wrote. “Then she stated `Here it comes, are you ready?’ and disconnected the call.” Sweeney’s wife, Gayle, would say that he grabbed her around the neck and pushed her around the house. John Sweeney had scratches on his face. Sweeney would lose his seat that year to Kristin Gillibrand. Days before the election, the Sweeneys would deny the reports of the 911 call. Gayle Sweeney would say “I did not need to be protected from John…there were no injuries to me.” John Sweeney would blame Kristin Gillibrand: “In her desire for power, she has tried to ruin my marriage, slander my family.” A year later, Gayle Sweeney would say her statement was coerced by advisers trying to save her husband’s campaign. She said that in the incident where she called 911, she had been pushed into a filing cabinet89. In 2010, Sweeney would be jailed for thirty days over a DUI incident. In 2013, the FEC would file a warning letter asking why he’d failed to pay off his 2006 campaign debts, which totaled over $200 000 dollars90. The day after his election loss in 2006, Sweeney appeared on the cover of Success magazine91.

Brad Blakeman would end up in the Bush inner circle, as a deputy assistant to the President. He would later be placed in charge of Freedom’s Watch, a political action group with strong connections to the administration and hefty funding from Sheldon Adelson. They would buy heavy advertising in support of the surge in Iraq. “I know what I lost,” said a veteran with both legs missing in one of their ads. “I also know if we pull out now, everything I’ve given and sacrificed will mean nothing.” A soldier in another ad, also with both legs missing would say, “I would go back to Iraq if I could, it’s that important because if Iraq isn’t stable it will be a breeding ground for terrorists.” Freedom’s Watch was intended to be a conservative counterpoint to progressive groups like MoveOn.org. It was sued by Larry Klayman for copyright violation of his own group, Freedom Watch, and fell apart after a year due to internal squabbling92. In discussing his movie Recount, about the events in Florida, director Jay Roach would place heavy emphasis on Blakeman’s role. “He was, by his own account,” wrote Roach, “the man at least partly behind “Sore Loserman,” “Surrender Gorethy,” “The Gorinch Who Stole the Election,” and other demonstration characters and stunts that appeared at rallies outside the Florida Supreme Court and outside counting centers throughout the 36 days of the recount.”93

Roach would continue:

Blakeman also said he helped organize the edgier “Brooks Brothers Riot” from his roving RV office in Florida. As you see in the film, this protest took place outside the counting rooms in Miami-Dade County. By most accounts, the shouting and shoving and pounding of fists on the doors and windows succeeded in intimidating the canvassing board, who shut down the recount right after the protests, even though the board had approved the counting earlier.

Fascinatingly for me, Blakeman told us there was a very deliberate effort by the Republicans in Florida to “act more like Democrats,” and to take a page out of the book written by the left-wing protestors in the ’60s who used protests and street theater to inject turmoil and chaos into established political processes to make them look flawed, corrupt, or ridiculous (as with the Democratic Convention in 1968 or the attempts to levitate the Pentagon). Blakeman told us that the Republicans were certain that in 2000, the Democrats would “lie, cheat, and steal” to win the Florida recount. So, to “preserve the victory,” the Republicans this time had to pre-emptively take to the streets and make the recount seem messy, chaotic, and even dangerous to the country. The hope was to prevent the recount from flipping the victory to Gore, and if it did, to make the recount’s results seem illegitimate.

For Blakeman, this meant loud protests during the recounting; bull-horn disruptions that shut down speeches by people like Jesse Jackson and other Democrats during rallies; characters like “Cry-Baby Gore”; and catchy slogans and T-shirts at every possible public event. He told us that for him, what the Democrats and the Florida Supreme Court were trying to do was pure farce, so the only proper response was pure farce. He wanted people to connect hand-counting of votes with utter turmoil and dysfunction, and for him, the wackier the whole process seemed, the better.

In the movie Recount, the other supposed co-ordinator of the Brooks Brothers Riot is mentioned once, when James Baker says with a sinister undertone “Get me Roger Stone.” This quote is carried about like a totem by Stone, a blurb of endorsement at the beginning of his memoir. Stone never appears in the movie, though both Blakeman (played by Christopher Schmidt) and Sweeney (played by Tom Hillmann) do. Stone has been up front in his enjoyment of fame, often quoting Gore Vidal, “Never turn down an opportunity for sex or being on TV.” Stone most often appears on marginal stations, local networks, webcasts you’ve never heard of – “The Daily National”, Miami’s “The Fish Tank”, RT.com, Reason TV – while Blakeman is a mainstay of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News94. This is not to suggest Stone got nothing out of the debacle in Florida, or that he did nothing there, but his major project may have involved something other than the Brooks Brothers riot, an incident given little or no attention by the press, and entirely omitted from the Labash and Toobin profiles. I will write now of what he was involved in, and delay till the next section the interesting prize he may have got in return.

“Gore made the tragic mistake of only selecting recounts in certain counties,” writes Stone in his memoir. “where he thought he might gain votes instead of all counties.”95 Like I said, this chapter is obviously unfinished, with the end coming abruptly in the next sentence, like a diary entry from a sinking ship: “In fact, Gore would have gained from a statewide recount as African American enclaves in Northern and Central Florida had” It’s an interesting criticism for Stone to make given his work in Florida after the election, work which was witnessed and which carried his name, and rather than attempt an association, Stone tried for a disassociation.

“Republican Group Seeks To Unseat Three Justices” by the excellent Dexter Filkins conveys well what took place. The Florida Supreme Court had ruled against the Bush campaign twice, a 7-0 ruling to allow for a recount of the four counties, and later, a 4-3 ruling for a recount of all undervotes in the state. It was this decision that the federal supreme court would overrule, halting the vote count, and handing the election to Bush. The Filkins piece would note an event now entirely forgotten, the appearance of the Emergency Florida State Supreme Court Project, which sent out over three hundred thousand letters soliciting funds in an effort to unseat those Florida Supreme Court justices who’d been appointed by Democrats – Chief Justice Charles T. Wells, Leander J. Shaw Jr., Harry Lee Anstead – who had voted in unanimity in the first 7-0 decision on the four county recount. The committee had been set up prior to the vote, perhaps as a warning to the justices of the consequences of voting against the Bush campaign. It was headed up by Republican County Commissioner Mary McCarty. Though the Emergency Florida State Supreme Court Project will be the focus here, it should be noted that it was also joined by a second group, Balance the Bench, whose objective was to unseat Harry Anstead, who’d voted with three other justices for a recount of all undervotes. Balance the Bench was founded by Susan Johnson and a Tampa businessman named Sam Rashid96. Emergency Florida State Supreme Court Project was chaired, as said, by Mary McCarty, who ended up being fined by the Florida Election Committee for violating election laws with the political action group. McCarty, however, would insist they had got it wrong. “I didn’t do any of this except sign my name,” insisted McCarty. “This was basically some sort of a scam that was set up that I was used in. I was duped. My name was used, so I have to take the brunt of it.” McCarty insisted that she’d been played, played by someone named-97 Well, reader, who do you think it was?

From “Election Law: Supreme Plot” (archived) by Dan Christianson, from Daily Business Review, July 10, 2003:

During Mary McCarty’s 2-day hearing, the FEC’s lawyer argued that Roger Stone and Mary McCarty established the “Committee to Take Back Our Judiciary” to pressure the Florida State Supreme Court to rule in favor of then Texas Gov. George W. Bush in his ballot re-count battle with Al Gore. Mary McCarty testified that the Committee began to take shape 6 to 9 days after the Nov. 7th election. The Florida Supreme Court was first asked by Al Gore to order hand re-counts in the decisive Florida race on Nov. 15th.

“This was an attempt to let the Justices know, who were going to eventually decide the presidential election, that they were going to be watched,” Commission Assistant counsel Eric M. Lipman said in his opening arguments. “And it was an attempt to influence what they were going to do.”

According to Judge Hooper’s 36-page order, Roger Stone, through his Washington, D.C.-based firm, “Ikon Public Affairs”, was the real agent behind the campaign in late 2000 and 2001 to defeat the Florida Justices in the 2002 merit retention election. But who, if anyone, was paying Roger Stone and giving him orders remains unclear.

Mary McCarty’s lawbreaking, including findings that she certified the accuracy of a Campaign Treasurer’s report that was “incorrect, false, or incomplete,” accepted excessive contributions and displayed a “reckless disregard” for Florida State Election laws, stemmed from her Chairmanship of the now-defunct “Committee to Take Back Our Judiciary”.

The PAC, which began operating in late November 2000′, but wasn’t legally established until early January 2001, targeted Justices: Harry Lee Anstead, Charles T. Wells, and Justice Leander J. Shaw for defeat in the 2002 merit retention elections. Mary McCarty’s highly publicized “Mad as Hell” letter, mailed to as many as 350,000 conservatives in early December 2000′, sought to raise $4.5 million to unseat them.

Florida Election records show that hundreds of people responded to the solicitation letter, which raised a total of about $220,000. That sum included a mysterious $150,000 loan whose origin still hasn’t been determined.

As far as I can tell, the origin of the $150,000 loan has never been discovered. McCarty would, however, be able to give other details:

At her hearing, Mary McCarty testified she was drafted into the presidential re-count battle on the morning after the Nov. 7th Election meltdown in Florida. Top Republicans recruited her to oversee the ballot re-count in Palm Beach County, home of the notorious “butterfly ballot” that confused many voters.

“Members of the Bush-Cheney campaign ‘took up residence in my office’,” she said.

The re-count controversy landed before the Florida Supreme Court the week after the election when Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris, the Florida co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign, refused to grant the request of the Gore-Lieberman campaign for a re-count. On Nov. 21, the Florida State Supreme Court unanimously decided to give Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties more time to finish hand re-counts sought by Al Gore.

Mary McCarty testified that between Nov. 13 and Nov. 16, Roger Stone called her at her home. “He explained to me that people were very, very upset with the way the Florida Supreme Court was conducting itself, and that in Florida we have a merit retention system.”

A few weeks later, on Dec. 8th, the Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling, ordered the then-stalled re-count to resume and be extended Floridawide. Four days after that, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote in Bush v. Al Gore, effectively shut down the re-count, prompting Al Gore to concede the election to Bush.

Mary McCarty testified she previously had met Roger Stone at a campaign fund-raiser for Sen. Arlen Specter, Republican-Pa., and that they had worked together briefly when she considered running for Congress in the late 1990s. So, when Roger Stone told her he was forming a Committee “for the purposes of taking action against the Florida Supreme Court”, which is what Judge Hooper subsequently found, she decided to go along.

Dianne Thorne of Miami Beach, who became the Committee’s Treasurer, testified in a deposition that Roger Stone asked for her help in setting up the Committee’s clerical operation. Dianne Thorne said Roger Stone had contacted her because she used to date his son. The Committee listed as its business address a P.O. Box at a USA Pack & Post on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.

On Thanksgiving Day 2000, according to Mary McCarty’s testimony, Roger Stone faxed her the text of a fund-raising letter to which she’d agreed to lend her name. Later, Mary McCarty said, Roger Stone and his “Associates” arranged to file all the necessary paperwork to create the “Committee to Take Back Our Judiciary”. The FEC investigators found that the papers sent to the Florida Department of Elections to establish the Committee were sent from the Washington office of Ikon Public Affairs, according to documents in the FEC’s case file.

Mary McCarty testified that the original version of the fund-raising letter she was asked to review did not target specific 3 Florida Supreme Court justices. But, the final version that went out the first week of December did. She said she didn’t approve it, but acknowledged she didn’t object either. “I just decided that I would be held accountable for something that I agreed to get into,” she said. “And wherever it took me, I would just be the one to take the lumps.”

Mary McCarty’s “Dear Friend” letter was shrill. “Were you as outraged by the Florida Supreme Court’s efforts to highjack [sic] the presidency for Al Gore as I was?” the letter asked. “It was an outrageous, arrogant power-grab by a left-wing court which is stuck in the liberal 60s…We must raise at least $4.5 million by the ‘Vote No’ campaign to organize Florida voters to reject the retention of these three liberal Supreme Court justices.”

Everything, everything, related to the $150,000 loan was mysterious, and, as far as I can tell, remain unanswered mysteries to this day:

The direct mail fund-raising campaign cost $150,000. According to Judge Hooper, Roger Stone came up with the money that Committee campaign records later listed as a “loan” from an Alexandria, Va.-based firm called Creative Marketing. The mailing address reported by the Committee for Creative Marketing was the same as that of the Stone Group, a fund-raising and marketing firm owned by Roger Stone’s ex-wife, conservative Republican activist Ann Stone. Investigators could find no company by the name of Creative Marketing.

Mary McCarty said Roger Stone told her he and his partner, Craig Snyder, would be personally responsible for repaying the $150,000 that funded the “Dear Friend” mass mailing.

There were also questions about who the money went to. Judge Hooper found that Roger Stone “or his Organization” actually paid the $150,000 not to Creative Marketing but to a Virginia company called Unique Graphics and Design, which, according to Virginia State corporate records, had as its principals Ann Stone and Lora Lynn Jones. The Committee subsequently paid Unique Graphics an additional $50,000 in May 2001 for purposes that remain unclear.

Last November, Lora Lynn Jones testified in a deposition that it was Roger Stone who hired Unique Graphics for the Florida work, gave her “marching orders,” and was responsible for paying the tab for the fund-raising letter. Lora Jones said she asked for and received the entire $150,000 payment by wire, in advance, because Roger Stone had “burned” her once before on a job.

Neither Hooper nor the FEC determined why the Committee listed “Creative Marketing” rather than “Unique Graphics” as the recipient of the payments. In another anomaly, a Daily Business Review examination of Virginia State corporate records found that “Unique Graphics” was NOT a legal entity when the two payments of $150,000 and $50,000 were made and received. The company’s charter was terminated in 1994, and the firm was purged from the state’s records in 1999.

And despite state records showing that Ann Stone was a principal of “Unique Graphics”, Lora Jones said she was the sole owner and employee. She also said, however, that she was a longtime employee of the Stone Group.

Though there was the possibility that McCarty would be hit with a fine of $450 000 for her violations, she only got a $2000 penalty, $1000 for filing an incomplete financial report, $1000 for the $150,000 contribution, which was a little over the $500 contribution limit. She still had hefty legal bills of over $50,000, so she set up a legal defense fund, and asked for contributions. Florida Republican Party Chairman Sid Dinerstein would contribute $100 and try to solicit more through his mailing list. “From our perspective, she fought the good fight even though she didn’t cross her T’s and I’s properly,” said Dinerstein98. Two years later, in 2005, McCarty would have to pay a $3750 fine, after she admitted to the Florida Elections Commission that she accepted lobbyist contributions into her legal fund. She was facing re-election that year. “It’s old news and I think the lightness of the sanction is indicative of how minor and technical the offense was,” said Sid Dinerstein. “It’s really a non-issue. Mary’s got some great current issues that are going to work for her. I think she’s going to have a very easy re-election.” Dinerstein would continue: “She is virtually single-handedly responsible for getting Scripps settled from the commission, and the whole county is aware of it, and she will be rewarded for it as she should be.”99 Scripps was a local convention center. Four years later- Well, it’s kindof complicated:

FEDS CHRONICLE DECADE OF FRAUD IN MCCARTYS’ CASE

By TONY DORIS and JENNIFER SORENTRUE

Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

Friday, January 09, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH – For more than a decade, federal prosecutors said Friday, Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty and her husband profited from manipulating hundreds of millions of dollars worth of public business for their own gain.

Mary and Kevin McCarty’s behind-the-scenes machinations enabled them to sway lucrative bond deals with the county government, the school board, the county’s Housing Finance Authority and the city of Delray Beach, prosecutors said after filing charges against the fallen power couple.

The bond deals involved some of the county’s most important initiatives during the past decade. Among them were the development of The Scripps Research Institute, the county’s ill-fated convention center hotel project and the $100 million initiative to limit building in the Agricultural Reserve. Also implicated are bonds used for Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter and the Old School Square parking garage in Delray Beach.

To cover her tracks, Mary McCarty lied to investigators about gifts and favors she had received from developers and other firms doing business with the county, according to 57 pages of formal charges filed Friday in federal court.
The McCartys’ take from all these efforts, the feds say: at least $300,000.

Their likely penalties include years behind bars, the forfeiture of their ill-gotten gains, public disgrace and the loss of Mary McCarty’s state pension. Once declared felons, the two GOP stalwarts won’t even be allowed to vote.

The scheme of Mary McCarty and her husband, Kevin, involved, among other things, pressuring the city to award the bond work to Kevin’s firm, Bear Stearns – yes, that Bear Stearns. Two of her fellow county commissioners had also been convicted and sentenced to prison. On July 19, 2011, she entered Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas100. “Public trust is a sacred thing, and I violated that trust. And it’s something I’m ashamed of,” she would say in prison. “As I was conducting myself for all these years, I did what I thought was customary and correct,” McCarty would explain. “And if it wasn’t, I would rationalize that it was no big deal. I did a lot of minimizing.” McCarty now had $98,000 in fines that she had to pay off. She had expected to collect a $65,000 a year pension, but that was now gone with her felony conviction. She had expected to retire the year she went to prison. Now, she needed to find work when she got out. “I’m going to hope that there’s some courageous person out there who believes in second chances that’s willing to hire me and give me a second chance,” she said. “I know how government works, local government.”101 On March 25th, 2011, she entered a halfway house. While in prison, McCarty said she would try to get her civil rights restored so she could once again vote102.

ROGER STONE:

PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX

PART SEVEN PART EIGHT PART NINE PART TEN

FOOTNOTES

66 From Dirty Tricks:

67 From Republican Ballot Security Programs: Vote Protection or Minority Vote Suppression – or Both? A Report to the Center for Voting Rights & Protection (specific page 57) by Chandler Davidson, Tanya Dunlap, Gale Kenny, and Benjamin Wise:

The RNC spent between $75,000 and $80,000 on the New Jersey Ballot Security Program, mostly on the mailings. New Jersey law in 1981 allowed election supervisors to send out sample ballots to registered voters in the year of an election. If a sample ballot was returned by the postal service, the supervisor could re-send the sample ballot, this time marked “Please Forward” and requesting notification of any address change. If sample ballots in the second wave were not returned, these voters’ names could be placed on a “challenge list” and taken to election officials at the polls. In contrast, the New Jersey ballot security team, on its own, sent out postcards using outdated voter registration lists, and sent them only to precincts with a majority of black and Hispanic voters. The 45,000 returned mailings were converted immediately into challenge lists without sending a second mailing. However, two weeks before the election was to begin the New Jersey Commissioners of Registration refused to accept the lists when they discovered they had been compiled using outdated voter information. The RNC nonetheless announced they would continue their efforts to ensure ballot security in the state’s election, without the lists.

68 From Republican Ballot Security Programs: Vote Protection or Minority Vote Suppression – or Both? A Report to the Center for Voting Rights & Protection (specific page 57) by Chandler Davidson, Tanya Dunlap, Gale Kenny, and Benjamin Wise:

The RNC nonetheless announced they would continue their efforts to ensure ballot security in the state’s election, without the lists.

This was primarily done by placing poll-watchers on Election Day (November 3) at voting sites where, according to the chairman of the Republican Committee in Mercer County, “in the past there have been suspicions of voter fraud.” Some of the pollwatchers were lawyers; several others were off-duty police officers who carried guns and two-way radios. All of them wore armbands that read, “National Ballot Security Task Force.”

On the morning of Election Day Angelo J. Genova, a lawyer for the Democratic State Committee, charged that the Republican Party was waging a systematic campaign designed to prevent minorities from voting and sought a court order that the signs be removed. At midday Judge Daniel A. O’Donnell of the State Superior Court in Trenton ordered all the signs taken down, saying they were inherently “political” and didn’t specify who had paid for them. The signs were removed beginning at 4 p.m. on the same day.

One voter, Amy Hammond of Trenton, called the toll-free number repeatedly to ascertain who was in charge of the posters. She was told several times that “we don’t divulge our clients. We are an organization that works for an honest vote on Election Day. We’ve done it in other states. We did it in Indiana, we did Hawaii, we did California, we’ve worked in Nevada.” When Hammond responded that she saw “a guy walking around with a gun” at the polls, she was told that the man “might have been a plainclothes officer assigned there by the county sheriff or something.” A later call to directory assistance revealed that the phone number was registered under the RNC.

Apart from the established facts that the task force put up signs and that some wore armbands and had guns and radios, there were conflicting reports about the actions of the poll-watchers on Election Day. Democratic city councilman Anthony Carrino, from the North Ward of Newark, reported that the task force operated only in about half the precincts in the North Ward, primarily in minority districts. The task force, he maintained, was “like the Gestapo,” and would arrive at polls in groups and demand to examine voter registration books. Kenneth J. Guido, Jr., a lawyer for the DNC, claimed one voter “was physically pulled out of a polling place” by a member of the task force. There were allegations that the task force interrogated voters at the polls, refused to allow certain voters into the polls, removed signs advertising Democratic candidates, and even prevented poll workers from assisting voters. One voter said she did not vote because of the presence and actions of the task force. The president of the NAACP in Trenton claimed, “I saw Gestapo armbands in my polling place, and I won’t tolerate seeing them here in the future.”

69 From “G.O.P. Relieves Security Official In Jersey Voting” by Selwyn Raab:

John A. Kelly, the Republican National Committee official who was in charge of the party’s controversial National Ballot Security Task Force in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, was suspended from his duties yesterday.

Mark T. Braden, counsel to the committee, said in Union, N.J., that Mr. Kelly was “relieved of his duties” with pay until the committee had investigated apparent inaccuracies by Mr. Kelly in a biography he gave to the committee.

The inaccuracies were said to concern information that associated Mr. Kelly with a national police officers’ group and that said he had graduated from the School of Law at Fordham University and the University of Notre Dame.

From “Jersey Inquiry Is Planned On Vote Security Force” by Selwyn Raab:

Mr. Kelly, according to friends, grew up in the Stuyvesant Town section of Manhattan and had been active in Manhattan Republican Party politics.

In 1971, he was the first person in the city to register to vote under a law extending that right to 18-year-olds. Mr. Kelly was arrested in 1976 on charges of impersonating a police officer, but the charge was dismissed. In 1974, he was discharged as a Family Court officer in Manhattan after being charged with having twice threatened persons with a gun.

From “Jersey’s Ballots Impounded With Tiny Margin Wavering” by Richard J. Meislin:

When Mr. Kean began his news conference, a county-by-county canvass of the results showed his lead at 1,090 votes. By the time he finished less than an hour later, an error reported by Middlesex County had diminished his margin to 265.

That lead later grew to 1,158, after Essex County reported that it had failed to include the vote totals for one district and was revising its figures.

The County Clerk, Pat Drake, said, “The figures weren’t turned in last evening; I just got them this afternoon.” Essex County, which voted heavily for Mr. Florio, had reported that its returns were complete Tuesday night. When asked how the error had occurred, Mrs. Drake said, “I don’t know,” but added that she believed another election district was counted twice. The new precinct voted 404 to 23 in Mr. Florio’s favor, but the overall adjustment resulted in an additional edge for Mr. Kean.

When he first heard the news of the adjustment, Roger Stone, Mr. Kean’s political consultant, said, “They’re stealing it – we’re just not going to stand for it, just to ‘find’ a precinct like that. You get so numb, you don’t know whether to be exhilarated or depressed.” After learning that the change in the figures favored his candidate, however, Mr. Stone conferred with his colleagues and said: “We just took a vote here and we think that’s O.K.”

70 From “Imperiale Called A Chief In G.O.P. Poll ‘Security’” by Selwyn Raab:

NEWARK, Nov. 16- The Essex County Prosecutor said today that Assemblyman Anthony Imperiale had been identified as having been in charge of “street operations” for a Republican ballot-security task force in Newark on Election Day.

Mr. Imperiale had previously denied any involvement in the security program, which is being investigated by the Prosecutor, George L. Schneider, following complaints by Democratic Party officials that it intimidated voters in the gubernatorial election on Nov. 3.

Mr. Schneider said Mr. Imperiale’s role in the operation had been disclosed by John A. Kelly, who was the director of the National Ballot Security Task Force in New Jersey. Republican Party officials have said that the task force was created to prevent voting frauds and that no proof of any intimidation of legitimate voters has been presented.

On Nov. 6, Assemblyman Imperiale, a Republican who represents a district in Newark, denied in an interview with The New York Times that he or a security agency that he operates had been involved in the ballot-security program in Newark, He characterized assertions by Democratic Party leaders that he might be involved as “a prefabricated lie.” He insisted that he had had no foreknowledge of the program and had not seen signs put up by the task force warning against illegal voting.

“I’m a state legislator,” he added. “I don’t put up signs. I went to the polls as a legislator in my district, the way I always do. I didn’t drop anyone off wearing armbands. If the Democrats are making charges that I knew about this, then tough crap on them. It’s the Democrats who have a reputation of stealing votes.”

71 From “Imperale Admits G.O.P. ‘Security’ Role” by Selwyn Raab:

NEWARK, Nov. 17- Assemblyman Anthony Imperiale acknowledged today that he was in charge of a Republican ballot-security program in Newark on Election Day. But he said that charges of voter intimidation by Democratic Party leaders were “sour grapes.”

The statewide activities of the program, the National Ballot Security Task Force, in the close gubernatorial election Nov. 3 are under investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor’s office.

Mr. Imperiale, after questioning by the Prosecutor, George L. Schneider, told reporters he had assigned about 35 people on Election Day to guard polling places in Newark and to report to him any possible voting irregularities. The guards, he said, were instructed “not to approach any voters.”

“Who did it intimidate?” Mr. Imperiale said. “No one but fraudulent voters in my opinion. This is sour grapes from Democrats. They don’t know how to take defeat.”

On Nov. 6, Mr. Imperiale, in an interview with The New York Times, said a published report that he was involved in the task force was “a prefabricated lie.” Asked today about his earlier denial, Mr. Imperiale replied: “I never denied it. It must have been a mistake.”

From “Indelicate Delegate”, no credited writer, of The New York Times:

With no contest for their Presidential nomination this year, Republicans have been free to choose their national convention delegates with an eye to broadening President Reagan’s electoral support.

It is hard to see how New Jersey Republicans served that goal by awarding a seat to former State Assemblyman Anthony Imperiale.

Mr. Imperiale, who once publicly referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “Martin Luther Coon,” began his demagogic political career as a preacher of armed white self-defense following the 1967 Newark riots.

72 From Dirty Tricks:

73 From “Roger Stone, Political Animal” by Matt Labash:

I ask him how he feels about this in retrospect. He seems to feel pretty good–now that certain statutes of limitations are up. He cites one of Stone’s Rules, by way of Malcolm X, his “brother under the skin”: “By any means necessary.” “Reagan got the electoral votes in New York State, we saved the country,” Stone says with characteristic understatement. “[More] Carter would’ve been an unmitigated disaster.”

74 From “Civil Action No. 81-3876 Consent Order”, the crucial part of the consent decree is the following, which both the RNC and DNC must comply with:

(a) comply with all applicable state and federal laws protecting the rights of duly qualified citizens to vote for the candidate(s) of their choice;

(b) in the event that they produce or place any signs which are part of ballot security activities, cause said signs to disclose that they are authorized or sponsored by the party committees and any other committees participating with the party committees;

(c) refrain from giving any directions to or permitting their agents or employees to remove or deface any lawfully printed and placed campaign materials or signs;

(d) refrain from giving any directions to or permitting their employees to campaign within restricted polling areas or to interrogate prospective voters as to their qualifications to vote prior to their entry to a polling place;

(e) refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts where the racial or ethnic composition of such districts is a factor in the decision to conduct, or the actual conduct of, such activities there and where a purpose or significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting; and the conduct of such activities disproportionately in or directed toward districts that have a substantial proportion of racial or ethnic populations shall be considered relevant evidence of the existence of such a factor and purpose;

(f) refrain from having private personnel deputized as law enforcement personnel in connection with ballot security activities.

75 From “G.O.P. Memo Tells Of Black Vote Cut” by Martin Tolchin:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24- A Federal judge today released a memorandum in which a Republican official said the party’s program to pare the voting rolls in the name of “ballot integrity” “could keep the black vote down considerably” in a Louisiana Senate primary.

The memorandum, prepared by Kris Wolfe, a Middle Western regional director for the Republican National Committee, was sent to Lanny Griffith, the committee’s regional director for the South. It was obtained by the Democratic National Committee in a $10 million lawsuit against the Republican committee over the “ballot integrity” program.

Ms. Wolfe’s memorandum concerned the “ballot integrity” project in Louisiana, in a Senate primary race pitting Representative W. Henson Moore, a Republican, against Representative John B. Breaux, a Democrat. The memo was unsealed by Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise in Newark Federal District Court.

“I would guess that this program will eliminate at least 60-80,000 folks from the rolls,” Ms. Wolfe wrote. “If it’s a close race, which I’m assuming it is, this could keep the black vote down considerably.”

76 From “G.O.P. Turned 60,000 In To FBI” by Nicholas Horrock:

WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee turned over the names of more than 60,000 registered voters in Louisiana and Indiana to the FBI in an effort to get the government to investigate alleged voter fraud, the chairman said Thursday, despite the fact it had no evidence of wrongdoing by the voters.

In a meeting with reporters, Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., the chairman, acknowledged that the only indication that the RNC had that the people named might be involved in wrongdoing was that mail sent to addresses they had listed on voter documents had been returned by the National Postal Service.

He said that the report to the bureau was not made to elicit investigations of the individuals but to encourage a major voter-fraud inquiry by the federal agents.

77 From “The Ballot Cops” by Mariah Blake:

Meanwhile, the RNC has tried to get back into the ballot-­security game. In 2008, the party asked Dickinson Debevoise, the New Jersey federal judge who presided over the two 1980s cases, to abolish or modify the decades-old consent decree barring certain anti-voter fraud activities. The RNC argued that the ban had outlived its purpose, but Debevoise was not persuaded, and denied the RNC’s request. (The party appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which affirmed Debevoise’s ruling.) “Minority voters continue to overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates,” Debe­voise wrote in his 2009 decision. “As long as that is the case, the RNC and other Republican groups may be tempted to keep qualified minority voters from casting their ballots, especially in light of the razor-thin margin of victory by which many elections have been decided in recent years.”

78 From “Ghosts From the Past” by “The Prowler”:

CATHOLIC BACKREACH
As the White House and Republican National Committee officials begin to transition their political resources to help Sen. John McCain’s run for the presidency, both are looking at how best to support McCain’s campaign. As we reported last week, one focus is rebuilding Catholic outreach. According to RNC insiders, that has put the focus on current RNC outreach co-director John A. Kelly (he was appointed to the post, along with Leonard Leo, of the Federalist Society, by then-RNC director Ken Mehlman).

Since Kelly took over the job, however, the Republican Party has seen its support among Catholics nosedive, and Kelly’s own checkered past is raising questions about the RNC’s seriousness of rebuilding Catholic outreach.

Before becoming head of Catholic outreach, Kelly was better known as the John A. Kelly who back in the early 1980s had served as a low-level RNC aide who was removed from that job, according to the New York Times, for passing himself off as a White House employee of the then newly installed Reagan Administration.

Kelly was moved over to another job at the RNC, working on a ballot security task force for the 1981 New Jersey governor’s race that saw Tom Kean defeat James Florio. That outcome was tainted by Democrat charges that the RNC-backed task force intimidated voters in inner-city areas; a lawsuit was filed against the RNC, and the national party later signed a pledge in federal court promising not to allow such intimidation of Democrat voters again.

Kelly was suspended from his duties by the RNC after questions were raised about his resume, and whether he’d actually worked as a police officer, attended or graduated from Fordham Law School, or attended Notre Dame (he attended Holy Cross Junior College in South Bend, Indiana, graduating in 1972). He later resigned his RNC post.

His biography used for public appearances today says, “In the past, Kelly has been the White House Liaison to the Republican National Committee for political and personnel issues, a political aide to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.”

“Everyone deserves a second chance, but Catholic outreach is a disaster right now,” says a former senior Reagan Administration official who dealt with Kelly during his time at the RNC in the early 1980s. “Two thousand six was just a mess for us and 2008 isn’t looking any better.”

79 From “Whitman Funds Went to Curtail Black Turnout” by Richard L. Berke:

Christine Todd Whitman’s campaign made payments to black ministers and Democratic Party workers in exchange for promises not to rally votes for Gov. Jim Florio in the final stages of the New Jersey gubernatorial race, her campaign manager said today.

The manager, Edward J. Rollins, said the campaign funneled about $500,000 in such “walking around money” from the state Republican Party. Those efforts to depress the vote in urban, heavily Democratic areas, he said, were important in Mrs. Whitman’s narrow upset victory.

Speaking to reporters at a breakfast meeting, Mr. Rollins described the payments to ministers as contributions to their “favorite charities.”

“We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, ‘Do you have a special project?’ And they said, “We’ve already endorsed Florio,” Mr. Rollins said. “We said, ‘That’s fine. Don’t get up on the pulpit Sunday and say it’s your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio.’ “

Mr. Rollins said the campaign used a more direct approach to persuade some Democratic political workers to stay home on Election Day. “We said to some of their key workers, ‘How much have they paid you to do your normal duty?’ ” he said. “Well, we’ll match it. Go home, sit and watch television.”

Mr. Rollins said the payments were arranged at lower levels of the campaign. “Those were our community people who obviously knew what they needed to do and where they needed to do it,” he explained.

The actions that Mr. Rollins said were taken by the black ministers fly in the face of generations of activism in black churches. In many communities, black ministers have led drives to get voters registered and in urging them to vote, usually for Democrats.

Mr. Rollins, who volunteered the information at the breakfast this morning, seemed to be arguing, however, that his tactics were well within the hardball traditions of New Jersey politics, particularly in urban areas, where “street money” is often used to stimulate voting.

80 From “Rollins Says He Fabricated Payoff Tale to Irk Foes” by Jerry Gray:

At times expressing bewilderment and at other times turning morbidly plaintive, Edward J. Rollins Jr. spent nearly seven hours today explaining under oath the circumstances that he said led to his assertions about efforts to suppress the urban black vote in the recent governor’s race in New Jersey.

In a rambling soliloquy, Mr. Rollins said it was an effort to get in a dig at his rival political strategist in the race, James Carville, that ultimately led him to boast to Washington reporters about an elaborate election scheme that he now says is a lie.

Nevertheless, he described a strategy meeting several weeks before Election Day with a senior black official in Christine Todd Whitman’s campaign which — except for his insistence that he authorized no official campaign funds — bore a strong resemblance to the operations that he bragged about Nov. 9 and that he has since recanted.

Mr. Rollins said he did tell Lanna Hooks, a co-chairwoman of the Whitman campaign and one of the senior black officials in the Republican candidate’s camp, to “continue a dialogue” with black churches.

“I said, ‘Lanna, go back to these people and continue the dialogue and tell them as far as we’re concerned we want to help them. Whatever their favorite charity may be, there are other ways of helping them besides state funding that Florio has, or what have you.’ But I didn’t authorize her to go commit resources and she, as an attorney, wouldn’t ask for that. All I did was give her some suggestions and I said ‘Tell them, if they don’t go up to the pulpit and preach against us on Sunday, we’d be way ahead of the game.’ “

“My expectation was not that this was going to become a national story, because, obviously, if I thought it was going to be a national story, I would not have taken a gun and put it to my head and blown my career apart as I have done,” Mr. Rollins was quoted as saying in a transcript of his testimony that was provided, with his consent, by the Democratic National Committee.

81 Perhaps one of the best accounts of the disaster in Florida is “The Path To Florida” by David Margolick, Evgenia Peretz, and Michael Shnayerson:

Amid the media frenzy after the election, one story went untold-the one in the footnote that Scalia had asked Ginsburg to delete from her dissent. In fact, thousands of African-Americans in Florida had been stripped of their right to vote.

Adora Obi Nweze, the president of the Florida State Conference of the N.A.A.C.P., went to her polling place and was told she couldn’t vote because she had voted absentee-even though she hadn’t. Cathy Jackson of Broward, who’d been a registered voter since 1996, showed up at the polls and was told she was not on the rolls. After seeing a white woman casting an affidavit ballot, she asked if she could do the same. She was turned down. Donnise DeSouza of Miami was also told that she wasn’t on the rolls. She was moved to the “problem line”; soon thereafter, the polls closed, and she was sent home. Lavonna Lewis was on the rolls. But after waiting in line for hours, the polls closed. She was told to leave, while a white man was allowed to get in line, she says.

U.S. congresswoman Corrine Brown, who was followed into her polling place by a local television crew, was told her ballot had been sent to Washington, D.C., and so she couldn’t vote in Florida. Only after two and a half hours was she allowed to cast her ballot. Brown had registered thousands of students from 10 Florida colleges in the months prior to the election. “We put them on buses,” she says, “took them down to the supervisor’s office. Had them register. When it came time to vote, they were not on the rolls!” Wallace McDonald of Hillsborough County went to the polls and was told he couldn’t vote because he was a felon-even though he wasn’t. The phone lines at the N.A.A.C.P. offices were ringing off the hook with stories like these. “What happened that day-I can’t even put it in words anymore,” says Donna Brazile, Gore’s campaign manager, whose sister was asked for three forms of identification in Seminole County before she was allowed to vote. “It was the most painful, dehumanizing, demoralizing thing I’ve ever experienced in my years of organizing.”

In retrospect, the claims of disenfranchisement were hardly phony. In January and February 2001, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the highly divided, highly partisan government-appointed group formed in 1957, heard more than 30 hours of damning testimony from more than 100 witnesses. The report, which came out in June of that year, made a strong case that the election violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The commissioners duly passed their report up to newly installed attorney general Ashcroft. Little was done.

Throughout Florida, people – many of them black men, such as Willie Steen, a decorated Gulf War veteran – went to the polls and were informed that they couldn’t vote, because they were convicted felons – even though they weren’t.

“The poll worker looked at the computer and said that there was something about me being a felon,” says Steen, who showed up at his polling place in Hillsborough County, young son in tow. Florida is one of just seven states that deny former felons the right to vote, but Steen wasn’t a felon.

“I’ve never been arrested before in my life,” Steen told the woman. A neighbor on line behind him heard the whole exchange. Steen tried to hide his embarrassment and quietly pleaded with the poll worker, How could I have ended up on the list? She couldn’t give him an answer. As the line lengthened, she grew impatient. “She brushed me off and said, ‘Hey, get to the side,’” recalls Steen. The alleged felony, Steen later learned, took place between 1991 and 1993-when he was stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Steen wasn’t the only upstanding black citizen named Willie on the list. So was Willie Dixon, a Tampa youth leader and pastor, and Willie Whiting, a pastor in Tallahassee. In Jacksonville, Roosevelt Cobbs learned through the mail that he, too, was a felon, though he wasn’t. The same thing happened to Roosevelt Lawrence. Throughout the state, scores of innocent people found themselves on the purge list.

The story got little attention at the time. Only Greg Palast, a fringe, old-school investigator, complete with fedora, was on its trail. With a background in racketeering investigation for the government, Palast broke part of the story while the recount was still going on, but he did it in England, in The Observer. None of the mainstream media in the U.S. would touch it. “Stories of black people losing rights is passé, it’s not discussed, no one cares,” says Palast, whose reporting on the subject appears in his 2002 book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. “A black person accused of being a felon is always guilty.”

How the state ended up with the “felon list” in the first place has its roots in one of the uglier chapters in American history. In 1868, Florida, as a way of keeping former slaves away from the polls, put in its constitution that prisoners would permanently be denied the right to vote unless they were granted clemency by the governor. In those days, and for nearly a hundred years after, a black man looking at a white woman was cause for arrest. The felony clause was just one of many measures taken to keep blacks off the rolls, including literacy tests, poll taxes, and “grandfather clauses,” by which a man could vote only if his grandfather had. All these other methods were effectively ended. But the constitutional provision about former felons remained.

In Florida, there are an estimated 700,000 ex-felons, and 1 in 4 is a black male. Six years ago, Florida state representative Chris Smith, of Fort Lauderdale, sat outside a local Winn-Dixie grocery store trying to get people to register. “A lot of black men that looked like me, around my age, would just walk past me and say, ‘Felony,’ ‘Felony,’ and not even attempt to register to vote,” Smith recalls. Why so many? In the past few years the majority-Republican legislature has upgraded certain misdemeanors to felonies and also created dozens of new felonies that disproportionately affect the urban poor. Intercepting police communications with a ham radio is a felony. So is the cashing of two unemployment checks after the recipient has gotten a new job. State senator Frederica Wilson, like other black lawmakers in Florida, believes these felonies are “aimed at African-American people.”

From the start, there were questions about the felon list. “We were sent this purge list in August of 1998,” says Leon County elections supervisor Ion Sancho, moving feverishly through his cluttered office. “We started sending letters and contacting voters, [saying] that we had evidence that they were potential felons and that they contact us or they were going to be removed from the rolls. Boy, did that cause a firestorm.” One of those letters was sent to Sancho’s friend Rick Johnson, a civil-rights attorney, who was no felon. “Very few felons,” Sancho points out, “are members of the Florida bar.”

Sancho decided to get to the bottom of it. Early in 2000 he sat down with Emmett “Bucky” Mitchell, the Division of Elections’ assistant general counsel, and demanded to know why the list contained so many names of innocent people. “Bucky told me face-to-face that the Division of Elections was working on the problem,” recalls Sancho, “that it was the vendor’s [DBT's] problem, and that they were telling the vendor to correct it.”

James Lee, chief marketing officer of ChoicePoint, the company that acquired DBT in the spring of 2000, says that the state did just the opposite. “Between the 1998 run and the 1999 run, the office of elections relaxed the criteria from 80 percent to 70 percent name match,” says Lee. “Because after the first year they weren’t getting enough names.”

And so, equipped with a database of felons supplied by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (F.D.L.E.), DBT programmers crouched at their computers and started scooping up names, many of which were only partial matches, from the Florida voter rolls and various other databases. Middle initials didn’t need to be the same; suffixes, such as Jr. and Sr., were ignored. Willie D. Whiting Jr., pastor, was caught because Willie J. Whiting was a felon. First and middle names could be switched around: Deborah Ann, Ann Deborah-same thing. Nicknames were fine-Robert, Bob, Bobby. The spelling of the last name didn’t have to be exact, either. The only thing Willie Steen was guilty of was having a name similar to that of a felon named Willie O’Steen.

DBT project manager Marlene Thorogood expressed concern in a March 1999 e-mail to the Division of Elections that the new parameters might result in “false positives” (i.e., wrongly included people). Bucky Mitchell wrote back, explaining the state’s position: “Obviously, we want to capture more names that possibly aren’t matches and let the [elections] supervisors make a final determination rather than exclude certain matches altogether.” Guilty until proved innocent, in other words.

82 From “The Path To Florida” by David Margolick, Evgenia Peretz, and Michael Shnayerson:

In Miami-Dade that week, a manual recount of undervotes began to produce a striking number of new votes for Gore. There, as in Palm Beach and Broward, fractious Democratic and Republican lawyers were challenging every vote the canvassing board decided. In Miami-Dade, Kendall Coffey, tall and gaunt, was the Democrats’ eyes and ears. As the Gore votes accumulated, he recalls, “panic buttons were being pushed.”

On Wednesday, November 22, the canvassing board made an ill-fated decision to move the counting up from the 18th floor of the Clark Center, where a large number of partisan observers had been able to view it, to the more cloistered 19th floor. Angry shouts rang out, and so began the “Brooks Brothers riot.”

Several dozen people, ostensibly local citizens, began banging on the doors and windows of the room where the tallying was taking place, shouting, “Stop the count! Stop the fraud!” They tried to force themselves into the room and accosted the county Democratic Party chairman, accusing him of stealing a ballot. A subsequent report by The Washington Post would note that most of the rioters were Republican operatives, many of them congressional staffers.

Elections supervisor David Leahy would say that the decision to stop counting undervotes had nothing to do with the protest, only with the realization that the job could not be completed by the Florida Supreme Court’s deadline of November 26. Yet the board had seemed confident, earlier, that it could meet the deadline, and the decision to stop counting occurred within hours of the protest.

83 An overview of who was in the crowd is given in a documentary on the Florida vote and the re-count, Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election:

84 From “Miami’s rent-a-riot” by John Lantigua:

On the surface, it looked like the good people of Miami at their worst again. Last week’s melee at the county offices here – followed by the local canvassing board’s abrupt cancellation of a hand recount – had all the trademarks of Miami’s notorious tantrum politics. Screaming, shoving, fist-waving, intimidation, ties to Elian Gonzalez and even hints of good ol’ Cuban-American political corruption.

But the fact is that the fracas at Miami’s recount headquarters was engineered and carried out by Republican Party operatives imported from the heartland, far from South Florida. They might have reminded viewers of Elian’s Army – and might even have taken lessons from the Cubans – but, by all accounts, the city’s strident conservative exile community was very much in the minority. As one observer put it: “There were no guayaberas. This crowd looked tweedy. They were from out of town.”

Indeed, all on-the-scene reports coming out now indicate that the Miami protest was carried out by rent-a-rioters flown in by the Republican Party. GOP spokespeople have said that at least 750 Republican activists have been sent into South Florida from around the country to oppose the recount, with the party picking up the tab for a number of them. And last Wednesday, when a gaggle of protesters sprang into action in Miami, those efforts seem to have paid off.

London Sunday Times correspondent Tom Rhodes, who was present during the protest, says he overheard one GOP protester on a cellphone in the midst of that political mosh pit bragging that he had tipped off Bush campaign strategist Karl Rove about the rally. “I just told Rove,” Rhodes overheard. As with the presence of Ross and Pyle, the call demonstrated that these weren’t just protesters lured off the streets by the party, but connected, dyed-in-the-wool party operatives.

“There were two or three loud Cubans but most of the people I talked to were white, mostly men, from Oklahoma, Texas, mostly Southern states,” says Sunday Times correspondent Rhodes. “They were talking on cellphones, probably to people nearby, telling them to get in there right away and bring as many people as they could.”

85 From “Miami’s rent-a-riot” by John Lantigua:

The incident – the ugliest single set piece of the Election 2000 epic and possibly the most decisive one – was set in motion by one imported GOP operative: Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., who from an office in that same county building has led the Miami fight against the recount.

On hearing of the decision to move the vote tally, Sweeney uttered a three-word order to his troops: “Shut it down.” Those words were reported by Paul Gigot, who was in the room with GOP operatives, in his Wall Street Journal column Friday.

Within minutes, some two dozen GOP recount observers and other Bush supporters had begun pounding on the doors and windows of the county elections tallying room on the 19th floor of the building. They demanded to be admitted and chanted, “Stop the count. Stop the fraud.” Television cameras showed the protesters trying to force their way into the room.

According to Gigot, who was with Republican leaders at the protest, the GOP forces also threatened to unleash the vociferous Cuban-American community on the recount workers. “One thousand local Cuban Republicans were on the way,” they said. But they never seemed to materialize.

86 From “Contesting The Vote: The Demonstrators” by Dana Canedy With James Dao:

“A group of out-of-state, paid political operatives came to south Florida in an attempt to stop county-wide recounts,” said Representative Peter Deutsch, a Democrat from Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Deutsch plans to meet with top Justice Department officials to discuss the matter on Tuesday. “They crossed state lines and intimidated the counting in a federal election, which is a violation of the Voting Rights Act,” he said.

But the Republicans have said that the Democrats’ characterizations of the protests were distorted.

“This was not a threatening band of armed thugs,” said Emily Miller, a spokeswoman for Mr. DeLay. “They were idealistic, enthusiastic young Republicans who felt they were being shut out, that this was an unfair decision.”

87 From “The Dirty Trickster” by Jeffrey Toobin:

As is customary with Stone, there is some controversy about his precise role. “I was the guy in charge of the trailer, and I coördinated the Brooks Brothers riot,” Brad Blakeman, a lobbyist and political consultant who worked for Bush in Miami, told me. “Roger did not have a role that I know of. His wife may have been on the radio, but I never saw or heard from him.” Scoffing at Blakeman’s account, Stone asserts that he was in the trailer; he said that he had never heard of Blakeman. (Rule: “Lay low, play dumb, keep moving.”)

88 From “New York’s Bush Boys” by Wayne Barrett:

Also participating in these key appointments-as well as filling top patronage jobs in the regional offices of federal agencies like Housing and Urban Development, Health & Human Services, Labor, Environmental Protection, General Services, Transportation, and Interior-will be the leaders of the state’s GOP congressional delegation. While Orange County Congressman Ben Gilman is the senior member of that delegation and will wield significant clout, the congressman with the best connections to the White House is John Sweeney, whose sliver of a district extends from Hyde Park almost to the Canadian border.

The former executive director of the state party, the 45-year-old Sweeney endeared himself to the Bushes by coordinating much of the recount fight in Florida, orchestrating the demonstrations, for example, at the Miami-Dade canvassing board. Denounced on national television as a “thug” by Alan Dershowitz, the prominent Democratic attorney who represented the victims of the Palm Beach butterfly ballot, Sweeney told the Voice: “Pataki, [state GOP chairman] Bill Powers, and myself have pretty good ties with the Bush people and will serve as voices for the state.”

Sweeney is reportedly focused on EPA, HUD, and Labor appointments, having served as Labor commissioner under Pataki before winning his congressional seat in 1998. Though a junior member of the House, Sweeney was recently given his choice of plum committees, choosing Appropriations over Ways & Means. Another Powers ally, Buffalo Congressman Tom Reynolds, is also highly respected by the Bush team.

89 From “Pol vs. Pole” by Michael Tomasky:

John Sweeney, an upstate Republican congressman, became a national hero to his party when he led the infamous charge on the Miami-Dade elections commissioners by ordering the pro-Bush troops to “shut it down!” Sweeney’s directive inspired that hardened assemblage of GOP Capitol Hill staffers to bang on the election commission’s doors, intimidate the commissioners, and halt the recount.

But more recently, “Shut it down!” has taken on another meaning in Sweeney’s life, ever since the late-January night when his car rammed a utility pole on a rural upstate road. What Sweeney managed to shut down that night was power to the homes of several of his constituents and to the Willard Mountain ski resort, stranding skiers aloft on the chairlifts that relied on the juice that ran through the wires Sweeney’s 2001 Jeep Laredo managed to clip.

The story goes as follows. On the night of January 23, Sweeney was driving away from Willard, where he’d passed the evening skiing. Just before 10 p.m., he lost control of his vehicle and hit the utility pole. He told police he was fidgeting with his CD player. He was not hurt. A woman who lives along the road, Donna English — who happens to be a local Republican councilwoman — came out to offer assistance. A state-police trooper arrived on the scene. Live electrical wires lay strewn across Vly Summit Road. A local volunteer-fire-department chief offered to send a crew to the site to direct traffic, a common enough procedure in rural areas. But the fire chief was told by the state police that no assistance was needed. Instead, it was left to English to direct traffic. For an hour and a half. Sweeney was not charged or ticketed, and power was restored in about eight hours’ time (the ski resort managed to get the people in the chairlift down sooner).

From “Congressman’s wife called police” (archived) by Brendan L. Lyons:

CLIFTON PARK — The wife of U.S. Rep. John Sweeney called police last December to complain her husband was “knocking her around” during a late-night argument at the couple’s home, according to a document obtained last week by the Times Union.

The emergency call to a police dispatcher triggered a visit to the couple’s residence by a state trooper from Clifton Park, who filed a domestic incident report after noting that the congressman had scratches on his face, the document states. No criminal charges were filed.

Gaia M. Sweeney, 36, told a trooper that her husband had grabbed her by the neck and was pushing her around the house, according to the document.

Sweeney’s wife, Gaia, placed the emergency call to a police dispatcher in Saratoga County at 12:55 a.m. on Dec. 2, according to the document.

“Female caller stating her husband is knocking her around the house,” a dispatcher wrote. “Then she stated `Here it comes, are you ready?’ and disconnected the call. Upon call-back, the husband stated no problem … asked the wife if she wanted to talk. Wife (caller) then got on the phone and stated that she’s fine and that she’s drunk. Caller sounded intoxicated. She advised that she was endangered for a moment, but everything is fine.”

From “Sweeney’s wife claims he abused her” (archived) by Kate Gurnett:

Gayle Sweeney, about to confront former U.S. Rep. John Sweeney in a divorce case, claims her husband was often verbally abusive and at times physically abused her during their marriage.

She now concedes that a statement she made on the eve of last fall’s election denying marital abuse was “coerced.”

Mrs. Sweeney, who is staying with friends at locations she wants to keep secret, approached the Times Union on Friday and asked to have her story told. She said she was fearful for her life.

Contacted Saturday, John Sweeney flatly denied any physical abuse of his wife.

At the time, the Times Union had obtained a State Police dispatch report confirming long-standing rumors of a domestic incident. The report indicated that Mrs. Sweeney had phoned State Police in December 2005 to report her husband was “knocking her around.”

In the subsequent news conference outside the home of GOP strategist Tom Slater, John and Gayle Sweeney called the report “a fake.”

Mrs. Sweeney defended her husband then. “I did not need to be protected from John…there were no injuries to me,” she declared at the time.

Sweeney blamed Gillibrand, saying she’d leaked bad information and “in her desire for power, she has tried to ruin my marriage, slander my family.”

In fact, Mrs. Sweeney said Friday, she had been injured in the altercation, to the point where her lips were swollen when Sweeney pushed her into a file cabinet. Political advisers wanted her to deny that there had been a violent incident that night, in a last-ditch attempt to save her husband’s campaign, she said.

90 From “FEC tells Sweeney to get his paperwork in order” by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist:

The Center for Public Integrity reported this morning that former U.S. Rep. John Sweeney has incurred the ire of the Federal Elections Commission – first for trying to close his long-dormant campaign account without settling nearly a quarter-million dollars in outstanding debt and, more recently, failing to file a required third-quarter disclosure report.

Sweeney’s campaign account, for which he is listed as the treasurer, has no cash but owes $223,000 to various vendors – including more than $22,000 to Success Magazine in Clifton Park and nearly $17,700 to X Press Info Solutions in Albany for printing, according to the FEC.

As one commenter notes below, Success Magazine rather memorably featured Sweeney on its cover just days after his defeat at the polls.

91 From “The Sweet Smell of John Sweeney”:

92 The rise all fall of Freedom’s Watch is described in two articles, “Big Coffers and a Rising Voice Lift a New Conservative Group” by Don Van Natta Jr. and “Great Expectations for a Conservative Group Seem All but Dashed” by Michael Luo. The filing for Klayman v. Freedom’s Watch, his suit for copyright infringement.

93 From “Recount Revisited (Part 2)”, a discussion between Recount director Jay Roach and Jonathan Chait; the excerpt is entirely Roach:

To respond to your comments, and to show that, although I love comedy, I did not need to inject much additional humor or absurdity to the actual history of this event, here’s a story about one experience from our direct research that ties into what you’re getting at:

Late in pre-production, Danny Strong and I went to Washington, D.C., and interviewed Brad Blakeman, a very charming, intelligent spinmeister in Florida depicted in the film. He was, by his own account, the man at least partly behind “Sore Loserman,” “Surrender Gorethy,” “The Gorinch Who Stole the Election,” and other demonstration characters and stunts that appeared at rallies outside the Florida Supreme Court and outside counting centers throughout the 36 days of the recount. (Tangentially, Blakeman recently started and ran Freedom’s Watch, a group funded by the right to match the left’s MoveOn.org.)

Blakeman also said he helped organize the edgier “Brooks Brothers Riot” from his roving RV office in Florida. As you see in the film, this protest took place outside the counting rooms in Miami-Dade County. By most accounts, the shouting and shoving and pounding of fists on the doors and windows succeeded in intimidating the canvassing board, who shut down the recount right after the protests, even though the board had approved the counting earlier.

Fascinatingly for me, Blakeman told us there was a very deliberate effort by the Republicans in Florida to “act more like Democrats,” and to take a page out of the book written by the left-wing protestors in the ’60s who used protests and street theater to inject turmoil and chaos into established political processes to make them look flawed, corrupt, or ridiculous (as with the Democratic Convention in 1968 or the attempts to levitate the Pentagon). Blakeman told us that the Republicans were certain that in 2000, the Democrats would “lie, cheat, and steal” to win the Florida recount. So, to “preserve the victory,” the Republicans this time had to pre-emptively take to the streets and make the recount seem messy, chaotic, and even dangerous to the country. The hope was to prevent the recount from flipping the victory to Gore, and if it did, to make the recount’s results seem illegitimate.

For Blakeman, this meant loud protests during the recounting; bull-horn disruptions that shut down speeches by people like Jesse Jackson and other Democrats during rallies; characters like “Cry-Baby Gore”; and catchy slogans and T-shirts at every possible public event. He told us that for him, what the Democrats and the Florida Supreme Court were trying to do was pure farce, so the only proper response was pure farce. He wanted people to connect hand-counting of votes with utter turmoil and dysfunction, and for him, the wackier the whole process seemed, the better.

Many of the reporters we spoke to described the streets of Tallahassee during the 36 days of the recount as being remarkably free of left-wing protestors. As the film portrays, evidently, the “establishment” Democrats felt an impartial recount process should be as free of political, partisan disruption as possible. Again, some have admired their restraint, and believed Al Gore, Warren Christopher, and Bill Daley were acting from high principles connected to higher forms of statesmanship. But in contrast to strategies like Blakeman’s, and because they lost, the Democrats’ approach has been described in most of the books and historical articles as weak, or at the very least, mismatched.

When we walked out of this interview with Blakeman, Danny and I were convinced the satirical tone already evident in his script was valid (along with its great drama and edge-of-the-seat suspense), and that history gave us room for even a little more looniness, seeing as it was an actual strategic element in the conflict.

94 Examples of Blakeman on TV: ” David Schuster Laughs Out Loud at GOP Pundit Brad Blakeman” (MSNBC), “The President is like a Vegas Bookie” (MSNBC), “Obama’s New Off-Shore Drilling Plan a Guise to Push for a Massive Climate Change Bill” (FOX), etc.

95 From Dirty Tricks:

96 From “New Group Seeks To Have Justices Voted Off Court” by Linda Kleindienst and Brad Hahn:

The Florida Supreme Court has a new antagonist on its back — put there by Republican Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty.

McCarty has launched a new statewide organization, The Committee to Take Back Our Judiciary, designed to persuade voters to oust Florida’s Supreme Court justices from the bench.

Justices are appointed by the governor, then must face voter approval every six years. No justice has ever been voted off the court, although some have been targeted by organized ouster campaigns.

McCarty sent a fund-raising letter to 350,000 Republican donors across the state this week, asking them to join the effort.

“The court is left-wing, partisan and actively hostile to mainstream ideas and principles. The court doesn’t interpret law — the court writes new laws based on liberal dogma,” McCarty wrote.

No active campaign is planned until closer to the election, she said, but now is the time to raise money because the court is in the spotlight. “Merit retention is something that should be earned, it’s not a gift,” McCarty said.

From “Florida Justice may have a tough campaign in 2002″ by Jackie Hallifax:

TALLAHASSEE – Florida voters have never removed a justice from the state Supreme Court. But Florida justices have never before played such a central role in a close presidential race.

In the aftermath of the historic, five-week legal struggle, conservatives long critical of liberal “judicial activism” have a new target: Justice Harry Lee Anstead, who faces voters in two years.

“The spotlight will be on him, I can guarantee it, no doubt about it,” said Republican John Thrasher, a former state House speaker.

Susan Johnson, a Winter Park Republican, voted for Bush and to retain the three justices. She said she got down to their names on the ballot and thought to herself, “I’m sure these guys are fine.”

Johnson said Wednesday she knows how wrong she was.

“This is an extremely liberal court. This is an extremely partisan court. This is an activist bench,” she said.

This week, Johnson formed an organization called Balance to the Bench with Tampa businessman Sam Rashid. The group wants to increase voters’ awareness of judges’ records – and remove Anstead.

“It seems out of balance to me that we have a conservative Legislature, a conservative governor and a conservative Cabinet but an extremely liberal court,” Johnson said.

97 From “Mccarty Could Face $450,000 In Fines” by Prashant Gopal:

Although she was the chairwoman for Take Back Our Judiciary from January to May 2001, McCarty said she never was involved in the group’s finances and didn’t handle any contributions.

McCarty said she didn’t intentionally do anything wrong and has filed a federal court challenge to stop the election commission from fining her.

“I didn’t do any of this except sign my name,” McCarty said of the political committee. “This was basically some sort of a scam that was set up that I was used in. I was duped. My name was used, so I have to take the brunt of it.”

98 From “Mccarty Implores Friends To Help With Legal Bills” by Prashant Gopal:

Now that her year-long battle with the Florida Elections Commission may be over, County Commissioner Mary McCarty is asking friends and donors to help pay her legal bills to the tune of $50,000.

The elections agency slapped McCarty with a $2,000 fine last week for her role as chairwoman of a group that tried to oust justices who sided with Democrat Al Gore during the 2000 presidential recount fight.

Republican Party Chairman Sid Dinerstein said he will contribute $100 to McCarty’s fund and will solicit more through the party’s mailing list.

“From our perspective, she fought the good fight even though she didn’t cross her T’s and I’s properly,” Dinerstein said. “Think of us as friends of Mary and she got caught in something where her legal expenses wound up to be quite extraordinary.”

99 From “Mccarty Oks Fine In Ethics Violation” by Anthony Man:

Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty has admitted she violated state law by accepting lobbyist contributions to a legal defense fund and agreed to pay a fine to settle the matter.

If the state Ethics Commission approves a proposed settlement signed by McCarty, her lawyer, and Linzie Bogan, an assistant attorney general who acts as a prosecutor before the commission, the commissioner will pay a $3,750 fine.

Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the county Republican Party, disagreed.

“It’s old news and I think the lightness of the sanction is indicative of how minor and technical the offense was,” he said. “It’s really a non-issue. Mary’s got some great current issues that are going to work for her. I think she’s going to have a very easy re-election.

“She is virtually single-handedly responsible for getting Scripps settled from the commission, and the whole county is aware of it, and she will be rewarded for it as she should be,” Dinerstein said.

100 “Mccarty Arrives At Federal Prison” by Brian Haas describes this event.

101 “Behind the razor wire with contrite Mary McCarty” by George Bennett:

“Public trust is a sacred thing, and I violated that trust. And it’s something I’m ashamed of.”

McCarty, 56, was a hard-charging, tough-talking force on the county commission and in local Republican circles for 18 years before resigning in 2009 and pleading guilty to a federal felony count of honest services fraud.

McCarty’s lawyer, in pleading for leniency before her 2009 sentencing, cited “growing concerns” about the honest services fraud law. But McCarty, asked if she thinks the 2010 Supreme Court ruling will affect her case, said, “I don’t think so, but I don’t know. I’ve kind of left it alone.

“It’s something I’m not really interested in pursuing,” she said.

“I did what I did. I’m paying the price for it. I’ve chosen to take responsibility and hope that people will forgive me.”

When she’s out of prison, McCarty’s sentence calls for three years of probation.

She said she will try to get her civil rights restored so she can vote. Asked if she’d ever run for office again, McCarty said: “No, no, no, no. No.”

“I’m going to hope that there’s some courageous person out there who believes in second chances that’s willing to hire me and give me a second chance,” she said.

“I know a lot of people, obviously. I know how government works, local government. I know a lot of resources. I have a great Rolodex. I’ve been known to be a hard worker.”

Whatever she ends up doing, McCarty said she’ll no longer have the “entitled” attitude that contributed to her downfall.

102 “Mary McCarty leaves Texas prison, enters local halfway house” by George Bennett describes this event.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Roger Stone: Pretty Reckless Is Going Straight To Hell Part Three

ROGER STONE:

PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX

PART SEVEN PART EIGHT PART NINE PART TEN

THE WELL DRESSED MAN PART THREE: WE RULE THE WORLD, OR: BONDAGE AND DOMINATION

Though NCPAC would collapse in the 1980s, and would disappear from memory, it wouldn’t disappear from relevance. Phantom groups which are heavily funded and could kick in the teeth of a candidate are now ubiquitous in elections, federal, state, and local. “A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean,” as stated by Dolan, is the grounding principle behind something like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and similar PACs and Super PACs. Rather than letting any associated dirt build up which would stigmatize and cripple the group in future political actions, as happened to NCPAC, now the group is employed during the election period and quickly thrown away, the trail leading to the central source of funding kept as obscure as possible. NCPAC had died, but Roger Stone had moved on long before Terry Dolan was cold in the ground, joining the supercolossus lobbying firm of Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly which also included partners Charlie Black, Paul Manafort, and Lee Atwater.

You would think there would be an extraordinary amount written about lobbying firms, especially one of the most powerful such firms of the 1980s. These, after all, are the entities which push, write, and re-write the legislation which cause rivers to be poisoned and allow your children to be shot dead in malls and schools. Yet anyone who looks into the subject will quickly discover how astonishingly little there is, especially relative to their breadth of influence and power. Black, another NCPAC veteran, and Manafort had both played key roles in the Reagan 1980 election. Lee Atwater would be the architect of the 1988 Bush election campaign, forever associated with the creation of his use of the Willie Horton ad to achieve victory. Peter G. Kelly was the sole democrat of the major partners, with past experience in various top positions of the democratic apparatus and the DNC40. There is perhaps only one in-depth article on mercenary lobby shops like this that was written at the time, one so memorably scathing that it was remembered two decades later. “There was a piece in Spy magazine many, many years ago in the 1980s,” said the excellent journalist Ken Silverstein, on an episode of “Democracy Now!” devoted to the tyrant in charge of Equatorial Guinea and his lobbyists, “which was called ‘Voices of the Damned,’ and it was about sort of the most unethical foreign lobbyists, and Charlie Black’s firm was rated the worst of the worst. I mean, you know, it had – Spy magazine used this sort of “bloody hand” ranking, and I think Charlie Black’s firm had “four bloody hand” ranking, which was the highest of any of the firms.”41 This piece was long out of public sight until Spy‘s back issues were uploaded to Google Books, and readers could finally have easy access to Art Levine’s infamous profile, the title not quite “Voices of the Damned”, but “Publicists of the Damned”.

BMS&K were one of several shops profiled in the article, and perhaps because their hands were bloodiest, they were given the regal place of the piece’s final paragraphs. To give the firm fair judgement, I give the full excerpt devoted to them here, from page 90 of “Publicists of the Damned”:

The well-compensated flacks at Black, Manafort stand at the pinnacle of organizational apologism. Name a corrupt despot, and Black, Manafort will name the account: Ferdinand Marcos, $900,000 a year; the now deposed Somalian dictatorship, $450,000; the drug-linked Bahamian government, $800,000. The firm’s involvement in the Bush and Reagan presidential campaigns allows it to promise – and sometimes deliver – special, executive-level rewards to its egregious clients. The partners, particularly Roger Stone, cultivate friendly relationships with reporters by generously supplying them with leaks and political gossip. And the schmoozing works. Once, when asked why he didn’t expose the corruptions of the governments Stone represents, a well-known political reporters said of Stone, “He’s too good a source.”

Sometimes Black, Manafort’s willingness to bend U.S. foreign policy to suit its needs is so great that it doesn’t mind running roughshod over the people its client supposedly represents. For $600,000 a year since 1985, the firm has represented Angola’s thuggish Jonas Savimbi, an alleged witch burner, and his guerilla group UNITA, helping promulgate his “freedom fighter” image and persuading Congress to approve more than $230 million in covert aid to Savimbi’s rebel forces. The cease-fire arranged in Angola last year threatens to reduce UNITA’s need for the heavy-duty lobbying that Black, Manafort has been providing. One former government official believes that the firm’s hawkish congressional lobbying for more military aid slowed down the process by which the cease-fire was achieved. “Black, Manafort played an important part in keeping the Angolan war going,” he says. It did so by forging a coalition of ultraconservative Republicans, anti-Castro Cuban Americans and moderate Democrats who wanted to appear tough on Communism. A conservative congressional aide sympathetic to UNITA charges, “Clearly, Savimbi wanted peace negotiations for a longer time than Black, Manafort wanted negotiations.” The lobbyists, he speculates made it clear to Savimbi that he would lose right-wing support in Congress if he made too many concessions to Angola’s Marxists. Another Republican staff member says of Black, Manafort, “Their view is, ‘To hell with the facts, fuck the world.’”

One of George Bush’s very first foreign-policy acts was to send a letter when he was president-elect to Savimbi in which he promised continued U.S. support for the rebels – this at a time when hopes for brokering a peace settlement were especially high. The letter was drafted by a member of UNITA’s public-relations team, ex-Black, Manafort vice-president Chris Lehman, a former National Security Council staff member who used his White House contacts to help get the military commitment renewed. In Washington, Lehman and Black, Manafort’s triumph was more awe-inspiring than Savimbi’s. As a rival lobbyist said in the National Journal, “How much value do you put on a letter like the one to Savimbi? Is it worth a million dollars? Of course it is!”

So the war lasted another two years and claimed a few thousand more lives! So what? What counts to a Washington lobbyist is the ability to deliver a tangible victory and spruce up his client’s image.

The efforts of BMS&K in support of Savimbi are one of the few places where some light has been shed, again thanks to Spy magazine and a now forgotten article on a now forgotten incident, “Fooled on the Hill: How some die-hard Cold Warriors and a Belgian con artist tried to change U.S. policy in Africa”, by David Aronson and David Kamp. I already wrote about this astonishing moment at great length in “Angola, Namibia, South Africa, and a Tea Party Leader”, but I return to it briefly here.

In December 1988, Angola’s neighbor, Namibia, was to gain its independence after long being a vassal state of South Africa, with its policy of segregation imposed on Namibia as well. This was done in conjunction with a peace agreement, where Cuba and South Africa agreed to withdraw their own military forces from Angola, forces which had kept that country’s civil war going. There was a problem, however: Namibia’s dominant party, SWAPO, was allies with the Soviet government. Jonas Savimbi, the anti-communist Angolan guerilla fighter was against this. Savimbi was funded and supplied by the United States and South Africa; with Naimbia no longer annexed by South Africa and governed by a party unfriendly to his interests, Savimbi could see how this would constrain his activities and those of UNITA. It should be noted that though Savimbi presented himself as an anti-communist, he was more accurately considered an opportunist, a man who eventually funded his operations through blood diamonds and was wanted for war crimes, killed in his last battle before he could be brought to trial.

A bill was moving through Congress, with passage assured, that would have helped fund UN supervision of the transition of Namibia to independence. In order to derail the independence of Namibia, the senator from North Carolina, Jesse Helms, put a stipulation into the bill where the funding for the UN supervision would be withheld if there were any evidence of the use of chemical weapons by Cubans in Angola. Thanks to the work of Jesse Helms and BMS&K, Bush would sign the bill with the rider. They were also helped out by Andries Holst, a German film-maker who claimed to have recorded the horrors of chemical weapon use in Angola, and Aubin Heynrickx, a toxicologist who would confirm use of such weapons in a published report. Both men were brought in to give their support of the bill’s qualifier by a network that included BSK&H, the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, and the conservative think tank the International Freedom Foundation (IFF). The IFF would later be revealed to be a foundation set up by a lobbyist who would end up in infinite disgrace, Jack Abramoff, funded almost entirely by the South African apartheid government to promote messages and policies in favor of the apartheid government. Holst would turn out to be an utter fraud. Heynrickx’s research would be described by other researchers as “a real joke”, and that any student who submitted equivalent work would be kicked out of school. One can see all this, without difficulty, as an ominous foreshadowing of the lead-up to the Iraq war. After the fall of Saddam, in the search for chemical weapons used in war crimes, Heynrickx would show up there as well. To hell with the facts, fuck the world42.

(Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Lee Atwater in 1985, photo by Harry Naltchayan, from “GOP trickster Roger Stone defects to Libertarian party” by “The Reliable Source” of the Post.)

Black had been a staff member for Helms, and Helms’ spokesman during this issue was Marc Thiessen, who would go on to work at BMS&K, then work as a speechwriter for president George W. Bush, after which he would publish a book defending the administration’s use of torture43. Though his allies would fight hard for continued U.S. funding for Savimbi, so that he might bring peace to Angola, the rebel leader would lose his American support. There would be elections which he would lose, and whose outcome he would contest, extending the Angolan civil war for nearly another decade. Thousands would die, Savimbi would sometimes burn women for being witches, and Angola would be left a blood-stained wreck, an oasis for guest workers who handled the country’s vast oil resources, and a miserable shanty town for everyone else44. The eyes of Roger Stone, I’ve already noted, are very blue, very unsmiling, and very cold.

BMS&K would survive this without difficulty – no one in America pays attention to a war in Africa – just as they would survive their brief appearance in the 1988 presidential campaign. A DEA report would note that the Bahamanian government of the time was most likely complicit in drug smuggling operations, and that it had hired BMS&K in order to improve its image with the Reagan administration. Critics of the Bahamian government, according to a memo sent from BMS&K to this same Bahamanian government, have been “sowing the seeds that the Government of the Bahamas is a nation for sale, inviting drug czars to use the banking system, that government officials are participating in the drug trafficking, that the Pindling Administration [Lynden Pindling, then head of the government of Bahamas] is about to collapse and much more.” The memo would go on to suggest that “personal relationships [the bolds are my own] between then Secretary of Defense [Caspar] Weinberger and then Attorney General [Ed] Meese could be used to redefine the priorities of the U.S. in its dealings with the Bahamas.”45 Meese, as you remember, is the attorney general who, during his confirmation hearings, couldn’t find the note referring to Roger Stone as a bagman.

The report would go on to make the following blunt criticism:

The role of the U.S. consultants raises troubling questions about conflicts of interest. Narcotics issues are indeed “national security issues.” The Subcommittee believes it is not in the interest of the United States to have former government officials, whether from the Congress or the Executive Branch, who held policy positions dealing with narcotics law enforcement, to use the knowledge they have obtained to work for a foreign government whose officials are implicated, either directly, or indirectly, in the drug trade.

“My staff will not have divided loyalties,” Michael Dukakis would say of the incident, “in a Dukakis White House, the staff will pledge allegiance to only one flag–Old Glory.”46 The attacks would have no effect in the campaign, in contrast to the Bush ads featuring a black rapist used to go after Dukakis as soft on crime. Those ads, as mentioned, were developed by Lee Atwater, occasional associate of BMS&K. One could have issue with the backdoor dealing of BMS&K even if one thought the war on drugs were ridiculous, perhaps especially because one thought it ridiculous. For here were a group of powerful men – Charlie Black, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Lee Atwater – helping to elect Reagan to two terms, and Bush to one term, by advertising a tough on drugs, tough on crime approach, which led to many in the United States sentenced in prison for drug possession as a result, and many civilians dying in Panama as an outcome of the invasion to retrieve drug trafficker Manuel Noreiga, all while cutting a deal with a state government to continue in its role in the drug trade while giving it the cover of reform. The very same people who were helping to elect an administration largely on the basis of one policy, getting “tough” on crime, were undercutting it according to their convenience. “I call it hypocrite #1,” says Roger Stone of Eliot Spitzer.

Charlie Black, Roger Stone, and Lee Atwater were probably the most prominent members of BMS&K, but equally interesting as all of them, though far less visible, was Paul Manafort, and he was to be found in a number of notable incidents, the first of which was direct involvement in another scandal that BMS&K would survive without difficulty. It involved the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Reagan administration, where an independent counsel report would eventually find “a pervasive pattern of criminal behavior” involving officials at the department, who had engaged in influence peddling and blatant favoritism, as well as consultants such as Paul Manafort who did business with the department. The problem lay with federal aid in terms of rent subsidies, mortgage relief, and tax credits picked up for low income housing developments without any competitive bidding, with the housing then flipped and the tax credits re-sold, without any benefit reaching those it was supposed to, only the developers and the consultants who had ins with the department47. One of the most prominent examples was the Seabrook development in New Jersey, where Manafort was directly involved in winning the HUD grant.

The low income housing complex called Seabrook was located in Upper Deerfield Township, New Jersey, and got a $43 million grant made up of rent subsidies and renovation, a grant that its county had never applied for. Nor did they think the rundown complex was worth rehabilitating. It was Victor Cruse, a former deputy housing commissioner of Connecticut, who made the request for low income housing aid. He then hired Paul Manafort, who used his connections at the department to make sure the request got fast tracked, without competitive bids. A small ad was placed in a local paper soliciting such bids, but it was worded so that only the Seabrook complex could qualify for the grant. “To read this ad,” said Charles Schumer, the representative of New York, “you might as well cut out all of the other language and put in this one line: ‘The fix is in.’” The complex was then bought up by CFM Development Corp., one of whose partners was Manafort. Two years after receiving the grant, including rent subsidies, rents had doubled on a complex without sign of repair or rehabilitation. Seabrook was an abyss of row upon row of cinder block barracks, with leaky roofs, exposed wiring, and shoddy construction. As part of the inquiry into the problems at HUD, Manafort would testify before congress. He would bristle at the idea that he’d been involved in influence peddling. “You might call it influence-peddling. I call it lobbying,” he said. “That’s a definitional debate.”48

In a separate incident, a Florida real estate developer, Jeffrey Auslander, would allege that a member of BMS&K would offer him hundreds of thousands of rent subsidies for the Palm Beach area. The giveaway was being made so that representative Paula Hawkins, a Republican senator from Florida, could take credit for the largesse. Charlie Black ran the campaign of Hawkins, and the BMS&K employee that Auslander allegedly spoke to was Russell Cartwright, a former aide to Hawkins. Cartwright, according to Auslander, was very explicit: “We’re trying to get these awards out before the election so Paula Hawkins can take credit for them.” The rent subsidies were approved and issued a day before the Senate election. “It’s a zany story,” Black said in response to these allegations. “This is all nonsense.”49 There was press attention over the intertwining of BMS&K and Hawkins after the discovery of her grant giveaway, but there had already been an unsettling story on the connection between the two during Hawkins’ re-election bid, “D.C.: Where Allies Work Both Sides Of The Corridors” by Ken Cummins. Charlie Black, the piece tells us, was directly managing the re-election campaign of Hawkins, while at the same time, Peter Kelly, the K of BMS&K, was managing the election campaign of Bob Graham, the Democrat going against Hawkins. “I am totally committed to winning the Senate back,” says Kelly. He was raising money in Florida, Louisiana and Vermont, in order to take back the Senate, the same three states where Black, Stone, and Manafort were raising money to keep the Senate in Republican hands50. BMS&K were involved in so many presidential campaigns in 1986, the year of Hawkins’ re-election, that a congressional aide would ask, “Why have primaries for the nomination? Why not have the candidates go over to Black, Manafort & Stone and argue it out?”51

That there was a massive scandal which involved the most wealthy taking advantage of subsidies intended for the most vulnerable and worst off didn’t matter. Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly would survive it. Around the time, there was intense bidding among the various lobby shops, BMS&K among them, for the clientship of Mobutu Sese Seko, the kleptocrat mass murderer head of Zaire (now the Congo, again). The competing shops would point out to their potential client that Black, Manafort had been deeply implicated in the housing scandal. “That only shows how important they are!” exclaimed a member of the Mobutu regime. BMS&K won Mobutu as a client. When Roger Stone’s sex scandal broke, one essay discussing it mentions the detail that Stone spent over eight thousand dollars in hair transplants. One could play a pleasant guessing game, of wondering who paid a bigger contribution for that gold clump on top of his head, the dead of Africa or the impoverished of New Jersey52. Shortly after the HUD scandal broke, Charlie Black would take over the Republican National Committee, when the then head, BMS&K associate Lee Atwater fell ill from cancer, and in a moment of mercy to us all, was extinguished from the earth. Of the HUD scandal that was then only part of the recent past, Black would say, “It’s over with; there’s nothing there.” A year after Bush was defeated in election, Black would take part in a Republican event, where he joked about Bill Clinton’s order to the military to admit homosexuals. Black said they’d have to change the Marine Corps lyrics, and add “Don we now our gay apparel.” Oliver North, ultraconservative, Iran-Contra bagman, and another guest at the event, joked about the White House operator not connecting him to the president until he broke into a hard lisp, “Excuthhhhhhhe me!” A senator at the event praised a local congressman’s military service: “Whichever war you were in, I know it was before the Clinton fags-in-the-foxhole.” He went on to mention that the 14th Street bridge, which links northern Virginia to D.C., could maybe be renamed the “Soul Brothers Causeway”, and that it was “the longest bridge in the world because it connects Virginia to Africa.”53 It was Jack Kemp who’d been picked by George H.W. Bush to oversee reforms of the scandal plagued HUD, and it was Kemp who was the vice president on the Republican ticket of 1996. The man overseeing the Republican convention, who coordinated the marionette motions of the candidates as they drowned in colored paper and hoopla was Paul Manafort54.

“If the only thing that is news is controversy, then you are right, there is not a lot of news at this convention,” Manafort would say, and there may not have been a lot of news or controversy at the convention, but there was plenty of things surrounding Manafort that had that potential, though they would only be brought to light much later. In 1993, he and another member of BMS&K, Riva Levinson, would tour Kashmir, the territory and area of long dispute between India and Pakistan. They would conduct interviews in the region by posing as journalists from CNN. Manafort and Levinson denied that they had done such a thing, though the Indian government did lodge a complaint against CNN and a regional journalists’ association passed a resolution condemning the duplicity of Manafort and Levinson55. The interviews were to be used to promote the objectives of a BMS&K client, the Kashmiri American Foundation, and it has only been due to an arrest, indictment, and guilty plea within the past few years that we’ve learned exactly who was behind this foundation.

The Kashmiri American Foundation was started in 1990 by Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai. Fai was born in 1949 in Kashmir, a year after India and Pakistan began fighting over the disputed territory. He became involved with the Jamaat-e-Islami, a local fundamentalist Islamic group before leaving Kashmir for the United States, never to return, his education paid for by the King Faisal Foundation. The criminal complaint against Fai states what took place next, according to a confidential informant, CW-2. “CW-2 told FBI agents that, in approximately 1989, CW-2 was aware of the candidates under consideration to operate the KAC,” where the KAC is the Kashmiri American Foundation, “and that the ISI selected Fai to do so because he had no overt ties to Pakistan.” The ISI is the acronym for the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, Pakistan’s military intelligence service, their equivalent to the CIA. The complaint continues: “CW-2 said that the ISI created the KAC to propagandize on behalf of the Government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir.” Kashmir, as said, is a disputed territory over which India and Pakistan have gone to war. The goal of “uniting Kashmir,” is the goal of unifying Pakistan with Kashmir. The complaint would describe the nature of the message of the KAC: “CW-2 estimated that, of the statements Fai makes, 80 percent are provided by the ISI for Fai to repeat and disseminate verbatim.” Only a fraction of the KAC’s message was Fai’s own: “The other 20 percent of the KAC’s messaging consists of Fai’s own ideas, which have been pre-approved by the ISI but not provided by them.”56 Finally, KAC was a very long-term project; from the criminal complaint “Case No. 1:11MJ558″ (page 7):

CW-2 further said that the ISI’s sponsorship and control of the KAC was secret, and that the ISI has been operating Fai for at least the past 25 years. CW-2 identified Fai’s primary supervisor within the ISI as Brigadier Javeed Aziz, who also goes by the nicknames “Rathore” and “Abdullah.” CW-2 also identified a photograph of Javeed Aziz Khan, a retired Brigadier General in the Pakistani Army, as Javeed Aziz, also known as (“aka”) “Rathore.”

ISI influence was not just an allegation of a confidential informant, but the overwhelming conclusion reached by the agent filing the complaint:

Contrary to Fai’s repeated representations to the DOJ and the FBI, the investigation has led me to conclude that Fai has acted at the direction and with the financial support of the Government of Pakistan for more than 20 years. Voluminous evidence independently establishes the essence of what the confidential witnesses told the FBI: that although Fai has some latitude to decide his day-to-day activities, the Government of Pakistan long has directed and funded his lobbying and public relations efforts in the United States.

Fai, in part thanks to the support of BMS&K, would gain access to the highest levels of political power. He was a bipartisan donor, though he gave far more heavily to the Republicans than the Democrats, donating thousands to the Republican National Committee and Dan Burton, the Representative of Indiana who gained greatest prominence through his investigations of the Clinton administration. Burton would speak at KCA events, and in 2007, Fai was given the American Spirit Medal, the highest award from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, for being committed to conservative principles. The money donated by the KCA to Burton and the RNC came via straw donors, who were a front for the actual donor, the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI57. Another confidential informant, CW-1, relates in the complaint how money was transferred to Fai from the ISI, with the assistance of an accomplice of Fai, Zaheer Ahmad:

CW-1 said Ahmad told him he needed to get money to Fai in the United States, and that Fai would use it for the Kashmir cause and for lobbying. CW-1 said that he was present for a conversation between Ahmad and Ahmad’s accountant in which Ahmad’s accountant told Ahmad that he had received $50,000 from the ISI for Fai. CW-1 said that CW-1 agreed to help Ahmad deliver money to Fai. CW-1 said that, from his initial meeting with Fai until approximately 1998, he helped Ahmad transfer approximately $500,000 to Fai.

CW-l explained that, on two occasions, Ahmad told him how much money Ahmad needed to transfer to Fai. CW-1 then set aside that much cash from his own business in $50 and $100 bills in a brown paper bag, and notified Fai that the money was ready for pickup. Fai then picked up the cash at CW-1 ‘s office. At about the same time, Ahmad generally would wire transfer funds to CW-1 to cover the cash that CW-1 gave to Fai. Occasionally, Ahmad would hold cash or checks to give to CW-1 in Pakistan.

After the second of these transactions, Fai told CW-l that Fai preferred checks to cash because checks appeared more “legitimate” and “safe.” CW-1 then began to send money to Fai via a business acquaintance – - to whom I will refer as “Straw Donor A” – - who agreed to provide checks to Fai in return for CW-1′s cash. My investigation has revealed that Straw Donor A was operating numerous businesses and charities at this time, including a foundation.

CW-l showed me three entries from his personal digital assistant (“PDA”) which identified transactions in which he sent Straw Donor A money which had originated from Ahmad and was to be passed onto Fai. The first two transactions took place on or about May 8, 1997, and represented a sum of$250,000 sent from Ahmad to CW-1, who in tum passed $225,000 on to Straw Donor A for transmission to Fai. The third transaction took place on February 3, 1998, and was a $100,000 transfer to a Swiss bank account belonging to the aforementioned foundation, which Straw Donor A was to pass onto Fai.

In 2005, confidential informant CW-1 began providing information to the FBI about Fai. In 2007, the FBI questioned Fai. In 2010, the New York police pulled Fai over and found $35 000 dollars, all cash, in his car. On 2011, July 19, Fai was arrested for acting as an agent of a foreign principal without registering with the Attorney General. He would plead guilty to conspiracy and tax violations in connection with attempts to conceal the transfer of at least three and a half million dollars from the government of Pakistan to further his lobbying efforts. “Syed Fai today admitted his role in a decades-long scheme to conceal the fact that the government of Pakistan was secretly funding his efforts to influence U.S. policy on Kashmir,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “For the last 20 years, Mr. Fai secretly took millions of dollars from Pakistani intelligence and lied about it to the U.S. government,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “As a paid operative of ISI, he did the bidding of his handlers in Pakistan while he met with U.S. elected officials, funded high-profile conferences and promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”58

There is no indication that Fai ever revealed to anyone at BMS&K that ISI was funding his activities. Fai would send a message to his supervisor, “that, as part of a strategy to make it appear that the KAC was a Kashmiri organization run by Kashmiris and financed by Americans – - as agreed by Fai and Abdullah’s predecessors on March 20, 1990 – - no one from the Pakistani Embassy would ever contact the public relations firm.” Whether this “public relations firm” was BMS&K or a separate entity is not made clear in the criminal complaint or any of the stories about the case I have come across – the criminal complaint only refers to a “public relations firm” without naming it. However, this strange episode is made even more interesting when placed next to on-going revelations from last year, that have received almost no attention from the American press.

These revelations involved a french scandal called the Karachi affair, or as we would say in american, Karachigate. It involved the sale by France of Sawari II frigates to Saudi Arabia and Agosta submarines to Pakistan, with commissions from these sales illegally funding the French presidential campaign of Edouard Balladur in 1995. Two men acted as intermediaries to effect the sale, Abdul Rahman El Assir and Ziad Takieddine, and El Assir was good friends with Paul Manafort. The political consultant may end up serving as a crucial proof that these commissions were used as illegal election funds, based on transfers made for his services by Balladur, which involved conducting a poll and drawing up a road map for the campaign. Balladur would eventually decide not to use his services.

My own translation of the Paris Match article, “Un politologue américain au cœur de l’affaire Karachi” by François Labrouillère and David Le Bailly, that places Manafort at the center of things:

AN AMERICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT AT THE HEART OF THE KARACHI AFFAIR

It appears that Paul Manafort, very discretely, lent his services to the Edouard Balladur campaign in 1995. It was the ex-wife of Ziad Takieddine, the English Nicola Johnson, who, in December 2011, had revealed this. “Ziad had told me that Paul Manafort was giving counsel to the campaign of Balladur.” In reply to the question, who had compensated Manafort for his services, the ex-Mrs. Takieddine had replied, “I imagine El-Assir and Ziad. I think they were the ones who paid.” Ziad Zakkiedine and Abdul Rahman El-Assir are the two Lebanese intermediaries who skimmed tens of millions of euros in illegal commissions linked to arms contracts signed off by the Balladur government. Commissions which, according to the suspicions of the judges, went into financing the presidential campaign of Balladur.

After two years of inquiry, the judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke has identified in Switzerland numerous bank accounts intended to receive these commissions. At least tow of the accounts belong to Abdul Rahman El-Assir. Their investigation has also permitted them to find evidence of several payments to Paul Manafort, confirming the statements of his Takieddine’s ex-wife, Nicola Johnson. On September 22, 1994, El-Assir sent $35 000 to BMS&K, the consulting firm of Manafort. On November 16, 1994, another transfer, this time of $17 000 to BMS&K. On May 22 1995, El-Assir sent $52 000 to Tarrance Group, a group close to Manafort. On August 2nd, 1995, it was $125 017 that was sent to BMS&K. Finally, on August 15 1995, El-Assir paid $125 016 to Paul Manafort.

In total, between September 1994 and August 1995, the consultant and his associates pocketed close to $400 000 from the famous accounts where El-Assir kept the commissions from the Karachi affair. A connection is finally established between the commissions and the Balladur campaign. It has not escaped the police of the DNIF (Division National of Investigations Financial [this is my doing a direct translation fo the words that make up the non-english acronym]) that the period of payments to Manafort corresponds to the french presidential campaign in 1995. In the report, the justices write: “Given the payments made by El-Assir to Paul Manafort, one can legitimately find the thesis put forward by Mrs. Takieddine to be credible. In light of the professional life of El-Assir, it is a little shocking that he is making payments to an expert political consultant like Manafort given that in 1995, no American presidential election was taking place.” Contacted by Paris Match, representatives of Edouard Balladur made assurances that they had never done business with Paul Manafort.

On August 2, 2012, Manafort would give testimony to the inquiry. My own translation of the testimony from an article, “Karachi : nouveau boulet pour Balladur” by Violette Lazard, out of Libération:

Everything started, for him, in 1988. One of his friends introduced him to Abdul Rahman el-Assir, an intermediary in weapons sales who had been charged with closing contracts between France, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, along with Ziad Takieddine, for the Balladur government. Manafort and El-Assir struck up a friendship to the point that Manafort became godfather for el-Assir’s son, while Manafort invited el-Assir to the White House for the swearing in of George H.W. Bush in 1989.

El-Assir would recommend Manafort to his own clients, among them Edouard Balladur, in 1994. The spin doctor accepted, and did his first poll (today, evidence in the judges’ possession), then wrote up a road map on the strategy of the campaign. He explained that he had gone to France to present his work to Balladur’s campaign team. Who was in charge of translation at this conference? Ziad Takieddine himself, who Manafort said he met via El-Assir. Very well paid for his work – two payment transfers of $52 000 (39 000 euros) and $34 975 (26 000 euros) have been found – his strategy did not appear feasible. Manafort explained that he continued to send notes on current events dealing with Edouard Balladur, gave advice, and that he passed this information on through El-Assir and Takieddine. There. The collaboration ended there.

This testimony would conflict with the version of events of the Balladur campaign, whose members claimed not to know Manafort or to have received any counsel from him. It would also conflict with what El-Assir had said earlier, that the payments made to Manafort had nothing to do with the Balladur presidential campaign59. Given that BMS&K were involved in so many things, we have the possibly inevitable coincidence that Marafort is in Kashmir working on behalf of an entity secretly funded by Pakistani intelligence, the same year that he receives payments for political work that come out of sales of military hardware to Pakistan. To give some context, Manafort is in Kashmir making a movie to promote the goals of an ISI front in 1994; he would receive commissions that were skimmed partly from arms sales to Pakistan from 1994 through 1995; in 1996, Manafort would manage a Republican convention where the democratic candidate would be assailed, as usual, for being insufficiently pro-American.

The result of this funding scandal may have had a tragic end. Balladur would lose the election, and Jacques Chirac, upon assuming power, supposedly canceled the kickbacks top members of the Pakistani military were to receive for agreeing to the sales. In 2002, 11 French submarine engineers and four Pakistanis were killed in a bomb attack in Karachi. This may have been an al-Qaeda attack; or, it may have been a reprisal on the part of members of the Pakistani military upset about the halting of kickbacks. It remains an open investigation60.

Other prominent appearances of alumni of Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly alumni are rather rare. There is the death of R. Gregory Stevens, who in his obituary, “The Mystery of Hollywood’s Dead Republican” by David M. Halbfinger and Dennis McDougal, is bluntly described as “a political fixer manipulating elections in backrooms and palaces from Costa Rica to Croatia, Thailand to Togo, South Korea to the former Soviet Union.” He had shrapnel in his leg from either the Middle East or the Balkans, the autopsy would show a mysterious piece of metal in his skull, but he’d also done more conventional, down-home political work, on the 1988 Bush-Quayle campaign. The Bush campaigns of 1988 and 1992 emphasized traditional family values and the administration took a hard line on drugs, culminating in the war to extradite Manuel Noreiga; Stevens was a gay man who had a lifelong cocaine habit. Roger Stone appears in the obit as a now former BMS&K partner, and praises Stevens as a “very engaging, fun guy to talk to” and a “quintessential staff man, very thorough and focused.” It was cocaine and oxycodone that had overwhelmed Stevens’ already diseased heart on February 26, 2005, when he died in someone’s guest bedroom, and it was because that someone was the excellent writer and occasional galactic princess Carrie Fisher, that his death got a prominent place in the Times, and a few other papers61. We may, however, see in this obituary the nature of political amnesia, and the way it brushes past a distant scandal without noticing it. The lines are the following:

Mr. Stevens followed Mr. Lewis into the private sector as his assistant but returned to politics in the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1988. That led to a job as the White House’s liaison to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he helped find jobs for political appointees.

He spent three years at HUD, interrupted by a stint back in California at the state Republican party, where he worked on Pete Wilson’s 1990 gubernatorial campaign but made no secret of his desire to get back to Washington.

In 1992, Mr. Stevens, 30, went to work for the Republican lobbying powerhouse of Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly.

This, of course, is significant in the context of the HUD scandal which would touch BMS&K, especially the M. of the partners. The Times obituary makes the obvious point that the abbreviated coverage of Stevens’ death did not do his vivid and fascinating life justice, mentioning that “some newspapers confused him with another political consultant in Washington by the same name,” and this must be Gregory Stevens, also of BMS&K, who also serves as a connecting line between BMS&K and HUD.

Stevens shows up in “The Hud Scandal: A View From New Jersey” by David Hess. Pierce is Samuel Pierce, the head of HUD, Kean is Tom Kean, the governor of New Jersey, Courter was Jim Courter, the Republican candidate for governor who was trying to succeed Kean, Cruz is Victor Cruz, a former Connecticut housing official and developer, and the following excerpt explains how the grant for federal subsidies for Seabrook, the development that would later be bought by Manafort and Cruz, was brought to attention of public officials:

On Nov. 14, a Black, Manafort aide met with Deborah Gore Dean, Pierce’s executive assistant at HUD, who told the aide that she would need an application from the appropriate housing authority.

Another Black, Manafort employee, Greg Stevens, former chief of staff of New Jersey Gov. Kean and now a member of Courter’s campaign team, introduced Cruz to William Connolly, director of the state housing authority, who agreed to submit the application.

Stevens told state housing officials in 1986 that Seabrook funds had been set aside by HUD. Usually, states and major cities compete for HUD money and, once the money is in hand, seek developers for the projects.

Stevens said in a recent interview that he had not profited from the deal.

Riva Levinson, who would travel with Manafort to Kashmir, where they would allegedly pose as CNN journalists to film footage for possible use in a public relations campaign for the Kashmiri American Council, would also show up again in prominent shadows, a name unknown almost to everyone, but which stood out for the cognoscenti. “Ken Silverstein, can you talk to us about the role of Charlie Black, a chief adviser to John McCain, in terms of his role in Equatorial Guinea?” asked Juan Gonzalez when Silverstein was a guest on Democracy Now!, to talk about the corrupt dictatorship of the oil rich African nation. “Well, his firm had the account for Equatorial Guinea,” replied Silverstein on Black’s role. “I confess I don’t recall what Charlie Black’s own role was. I remember that there was a woman named Riva Levinson who did a lot of work on behalf of Equatorial Guinea” – well, not exactly on behalf of the country – “I think the client actually at the time was an oil company called Trident, which was subsequently bought up, but which had a big stake in Equatorial Guinea.” Then Riva Levinson moved on: “So she was lobbying for the oil companies there. And then Riva Levinson went on to lobby for Ahmed Chalabi, as it turned out, and the Iraqi National Congress.”62 The intersection of BMS&K – sorry, now it’s BKS&H – BKS&H and Chalabi is written about in few places, but it is described in commendable detail in Aram Roston’s The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi.

Levinson then was working for…who was she working for? “It’s very hard to keep track. There have been four or five different names of this firm, because the partners change all the time,” says Silverstein of the former Black, Stone, Manafort & Kelly, which Levinson worked for; Levinson also worked for its later incarnation, with different partners, Black Kelly Scruggs & Healy, though in both cases the Black and Kelly were the same. An entire chapter of The Man Who Pushed America to War, “BKSH: Representing Chalabi” (link goes to excerpted chapter in its entirety on Google Books), describes the relation between the lobbyists and Chalabi. At BMS&K, Levinson had worked the Savimbi and Angola accounts, and at BKS&H, she worked the account of Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress, the political organization which would serve as the conduit for much of the flawed and manufactured evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq, and which was originally intended to serve as the future government of the country after the war. “Riva would spend her weekend thinking about ‘How can I get press coverage for the INC next week?’” Black explained, “and then come in on Monday morning and schedule a speech or call reporters to get a speech covered or get Chalabi or the other leaders to get a message out.” The 200K to 300K that BSK&H received to promote the INC was paid not by the INC, but the State Department. The State Department wanted to promote the INC, but couldn’t fund it directly because it wasn’t a legal entity or incorporated anywhere, so it directly paid BSK&H for its work. This was also intended to keep Chalabi within the control of the State Department, though this was an attempt that was doomed to fail, with Chalabi saying and doing whatever he wanted. Given that they were lobbying for the interests of a foreign power, the Iraqi National Congress, BSK&H should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act – it was this lack of doing so on the part of Fai and the KCA, who were lobbying on behalf of the state of Pakistan, that is at the heart of Fai’s criminal complaint. However, since BSK&H were being paid by the U.S. government, with U.S. tax dollars, there was no need63. Chalabi would, of course, lobby for a war in Iraq, on the basis that the country had chemical weapons, an eerie reprise of what had already been attempted in Namibia, and this time it was successful.

The introduction to this piece spoke of Stone as two kinds of man, one who is very visible and audible when talking about cuff links, dinner jackets, or how much he hates the Bush family, and who suddenly disappears and says almost nothing about certain subjects, like the lobbying colossus of which he was the fourth horseman. I would think his time at Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly is easily the most fascinating part of his life, and yet this is barely touched on in the profiles by Toobin and Labash. “While Black, Manafort & Stone did work on behalf of blue-chip companies and boutique right-wing causes from the Contras to Angola’s UNITA rebels, what they really did was advise presidential candidates,” is what you get in Labash, and not much more. Toobin is also brief, letting us know only that BMS&K made their money “by charging blue-chip corporate clients such as Ronald Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. large fees to lobby their former campaign colleagues, many of whom had moved into senior posts in the new Administration. There were also less savory clients-Zaire’s Mobuto Sese Seko, Angola’s UNITA rebels, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.” I was truly eager to hear what Stone would say in his memoirs, but was even more disappointed. The only nod to the infamous firm is in the introduction, a summary even less detailed than Toobin’s: “I founded Black Manafort and Stone with friends and Reagan campaign colleagues Charlie Black and Paul Manafort, a firm that became a political / lobbying powerhouse representing Ferdinand Marcos and Jonas Savimbi and the Angolan Freedom Fighters, as well as a host of corporate giants.”64 That’s all, and nothing else. The messy details of Angola, Equitoreal Guinea, the Phillipines, or Zaire are given no mention. We perhaps have here a lesson, that the most interesting and important things are not what a man wants to talk about, but what he makes great effort to avoid talking about. “What I find interesting about Roger is how committed to the joke he is. He moons the establishment for the sheer pleasure of it, with no thought to whether it helps him,” says a friend of Stone’s in the Labash profile. What part of the joke, you wonder, is Angola, and what exactly are we laughing at? “There’s an ironic quality to all of it,” the friend says as well65. You see, BSK&H helped defend mass murderers, kleptocrats, and war criminals, but that’s okay, they were being ironic.

Stone would leave the publicity firm of warlords, blood stained miscreants, and thieving dirt bags in the mid nineties, but he would allow us this opportunity to engage in melodramatic suspense and say: his moment of greatest fame still lay ahead.

(On its initial posting, the links to The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi did not go directly to the relevant text on Google Books. On March 9th, these links were fixed.)

ROGER STONE:

PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX

PART SEVEN PART EIGHT PART NINE PART TEN

FOOTNOTES

40 Biographical information is taken from a Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly Public Affairs Company Prospectus, from the late eighties, before the election of George H. W. Bush. The prospectus at the link is in pdf format; for ease of re-transmission of this information, I’ve transcribed the bios:

IV. BIOGRAPHIES OF THE FIRM’S PRINCIPALS

Charles R. Black, Jr.

Mr. Black is a North Carolina attorney who has spent the past fifteen years based in Washington, D.C. He recently served as Senior Strategist to the Reagan/Bush ’84 Re-election Committee. In that role he supervised the 1984 Reagan/Bush campaign plan.

Mr. Black served as Political Director of the Republican National Committee under Chairman Bill Brock (currently the U.S. Secretary of Labor). As Political Director, he developed the strategy that was used in 1978 when Republicans scored a number of upset victories in the United States Senate races. He created the program that was successfully implemented in the 1978 and 1980 legislative races.

Charlie Black served as Political Director of the Reagan for President Committee in 1979 and 1980. Many believe his meticulous organization of the key primary states resulted in President Reagan’s nomination.

Mr. Black has managed or consulted on the campaigns of a number of incumbent members of the United States Senate. His service on Capitol Hill includes appointments with Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Jesse Helms and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.

Mr. Black continues to advise the Reagan White House politically on an informal basis.

Paul J. Manafort, Jr.

Mr. Manafort is an attorney who specializes in government and international affairs.

Mr. Manafort was named to the Senior Staff of the Reagan/Bush ’84 Committee as the Political Director for the 1984 GOP Convention in Dallas. Mr. Manafort has served on the Foreign Investment Advisory Committee for the Office of the Special Trade Representative and also served on the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

In 1979-80, Mr. Manafort was involved in the Reagan Transition and Presidential Campaign. He was Personnel Director in the Office of Executive Management for the Reagan Transition Government.

During the 1980 campaign, Mr. Manafort developed and managed the campaign strategy for the 15 southern states. In addition, he was Deputy Political Director for all Reagan political activities in all of those states which chose their delegates to the National Convention through conventions – approximately 18 states.

Mr. Manafort practiced law in Washington, D.C., with the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease. His specialties included representation before Administrative Agencies and Congressional Committees.

Prior to his practice, Mr. Manafort served as Deputy Director in the Presidential Personnel Office in the Ford White House.

During that time, Mr. Manafort worked very closely with the President Ford Committee. He was Deputy Delegate Coordinator to the Campaign Manager, James A. Baker, III.

In 1978, Mr. Manafort managed James Baker’s campaign for Attorney General of the State of Texas. Mr. Baker’s campaign for Attorney General of the State of Texas. Mr. Baker served as Chief of Staff to President Reagan from 1981 to 1984, and presently serves as Secretary of the Treasury.

Roger J. Stone, Jr.

Roger Stone served as Eastern Regional Campaign Director for the Reagan-Bush ’84 Committee.

In 1980, he served as Northeastern Regional Political Director for President Ronald Reagan and served on the Reagan staff from 1975 to 1976.

Mr. Stone also directed the campaigns of Governor Thomas Kean of New Jersey in 1981 and 1985.

He was a Member of the Executive Committee of the Republican National Committee from 1977 to 1979.

Mr. Stone served on the Capitol Hill staffs of Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Robert Steele (R-CT)

Nicholas A. Panuzio

A former Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and State Legislator, Mr. Panuzio has been on the Washington scene since 1974. After serving as Commissioner of Public Buildings for the General Services Administration for two years, he opened Panuzio Associates, a Government Relations consulting firm.

Mr. Panuzio is a former Chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, and served as a National Advisor on Urban Affairs for the President Committee. He served on the Republican National Committee Advisory Council on Effective Government. He is chairman of the Urban Affairs Advisory Committee for Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia.

Mr. Panuzio administered as the Chief Executive of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 4,400 employees and a budget of over $60 million. As Commissioner of Public Buildings for GSA, he was responsible for managing over 19,000 employees and an annual operating budget in excess of $1.5 billion.

Mr. Panuzio has an excellent working relationship with the National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors. He served as Chairman of the Community Development Committee and as a member of the Nominating Committee of the Conference.

During his term of office in Bridgeport he:

  • reorganized city government;
  • created the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation;
  • served as a member of the Board of the Council of Urban Economic Development
  • created a Senior Citizen Program;
  • served as a member of the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority; and
  • testified before the President’s Council on Inflation and was one of three Mayors to make final presentation.

He has a long history of working on Urban Policy and was one of twelve people selected by President Reagan to develop his Urban Policy prior to his inauguration.

Peter G. Kelly

Peter Kelly has served as National Treasurer (1979-1981) and National Finance Chairman (1981-1985) of the Democratic National Committee. He is currently National Finance Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and serves as Co-Chairman of Democratic Senate Keytree ’86, a major effort in behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Mr. Kelly is a principal in the Hartford, Connecticut law firm of Updike, Kelly and Spellacy, P.C. He is a member of the Bars of Connecticut, New York, and the District of Columbia.

In addition to his duties as a Democratic Party Officer, Mr. Kelly has served as Chairman of the Democratic Compliance Review Commission (1978-1980), as Co-Chairman of the 1980 Democratic National Convention Credentials Committee and Co-Chairman of the 1984 Democratic Convention Site Selection Committee (1983). He currently serves as a Director and Treasurer of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and as Chairman of the Center for Democracy, a bipartisan foundation affiliated with Boston University.

Mr. Kelly is a member of several civic boards in Connecticut and Washington D.C., including the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Living, and the Greater Hartford Leadership Program. He is Co-Chair of the National Conference of Christian and Jews, Director of the National Democratic Club and a member of the Board of Regents of Georgetown University.

James C. Healey

Mr. Healey, a veteran of twenty-two years on Capitol Hill, is a 1961 graduate of Georgetown University, holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government. From 1961 to 1962 he attended St. John’s University, New York.

Following his studies and active duty in the United States Army, Mr. Healey served on the staff of the House Committee on Public Works. In 1963, he joined the staff of the House Committee on Public Works. In 1963, he joined the staff of the Clerk of the House where he remained until 1970. During the years 1971 through 1977, Mr. Healey served as Administrative Assistant to Representative Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill) and in 1981, became Administrative Assistant to the Chief Deputy Majority Whip, House of Representatives.

Immediately prior to joining Black, Manafort and Stone, James Healey served for four years as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. He has also served in an unofficial capacity as a foreign affairs advisor to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and has accompanied the Speaker on all of his official visits abroad.

Mr. Healey is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Georgetown Alumni Association and is a past President of the Georgetown Alumni Club of Metropolitan Washington.

Russell S. Cartwright

Mr. Cartwright served as Projects Director to U.S. Senator Paula Hawkins (R-Florida) for five years before joining Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly.

As Projects Director, Mr. Cartwright was directly responsible for carrying out the Senator’s initiatives involving federal funds for Florida, for assisting Florida businesses bidding on federal contracts, and for overseeing all applications for federal funds from Florida city governments, corporations and organizations. In this capacity, Mr. Cartwright developed and implemented strategies for obtaining funds for major Florida transportation, airport, port, housing and municipal projects. He also assisted Florida businesses in identifying and utilizing federal programs for capital improvements, plant expansion, community economic development and trade development.

Immediately before joining Senator Hawkins, Mr. Cartwright worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and was Press Secretary for a New Hampshire Congressional candidate.

Mr. Cartwright first came to Washington in 1978 as Assistant to the Executive Director of the U.S. Senate Republican Conference under the leadership of U.S. Senator Bob Packwood (R-Oregon). At the Republican Conference, Mr. Cartwright assisted other Republican Senators in carrying out their press operations and he authored and placed Opinion-Editorial pieces for several Senators.

John Donaldson

Prior to joining Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, John Donaldson served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the Department of Treasury.

In that capacity, he was responsible for implementing the Department’s legislative program as relates to international legislation, international finance and trade activities. He was primarily responsible for dealing with the authorization appropriations for the International Monetary Fund, the International Development Association, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Interamerican Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.

Prior to joining the Department of Treasury, Mr. Donaldson served as the Congressional Liaison Director in the Office of the Secretary for Department of Commerce. He was the principle [sic] staff person responsible for the passage of the Export Trading Company Act of 1982. Additionally, he worked on special projects as related to trade and international tax matters.

Mr. Donaldson has also served in the private sector as the Political Action Coordinator for the Attorneys Congressional Campaign Trust and worked on Capitol Hill for Senator Bob Griffin.

Alvin Paul Drischler

Mr. Drischler, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, took his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University, where he specialized in American Foreign Policy. He has been actively engaged both as an analyst and a participant in Congressional affairs for ten years.

Mr. Drischler has served as Assistant for NATO Affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense and Research Associates at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He was the Director of Research for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Between 1975 and 1980, Mr. Drischler worked as Legislative Assistant, Director of Legislation, and Executive Assistant to Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada.

In 1981, Mr. Drischler joined the State Department as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs, a position which required him to act frequently as the Department of State’s principal legislative officer.

As the bill manager for President Reagan’s foreign assistance legislation, Mr. Drischler guided the foreign assistance bills through Congress, chaired an interagency task force on foreign assistance legislation and acted as the principal adviser on legislative matters having to do with foreign assistance for the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance.

Mr. Drischler is Senior Vice President at Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly.

Matthew C. Freedman

Before joining Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, Mr. Freedman served as Staff Director in the Office of Public Secretary, Department of State. In this position, he was responsible for developing the action plan and implementation methodologies to heighten public understanding of United States Government policy in Latin America.

Prior to this position, Mr. Freedman worked as the International Development Policy Advisor and Agency Coordinator for Narcotics and Terrorism Control at the Agency for International Development. Additionally, he played a significant role in allocation of budgetary resources to developing countries, in developing the conceptual framework for Lebanon’s reconstruction effort and Grenada’s economic assistance program. He also participated in developing the program strategy to carry out the Jackson Plan, Project Democracy, Caribbean Basin Initiative and Africa Initiative.

He drafted the Agency’s narcotics policy paper and was the official staff representative to the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (Kissinger Commission), the Secretary’s commission on Security and Economic Assistance (Carlucci Commission) and the President’s Task Force on International Private Enterprise.

Mr. Freedman has served in the Office of Management and Budget an the Department of State’s United States Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. He was a Ph.D. intern at the National Security Council and assisted in the Office of Public Liaison in 1976.

He holds a Master’s Degree with Honors in International Relations from Georgetown University and has studied at York University, England, the Hague Academy of International Law, the Netherlands, and received an undergraduate degree from Kenyon College. Mr. Freedman has traveled extensively worldwide and has published materials on a variety of issues.

Laurance W. Gay

Mr. Gay has served as a consultant and in top managerial positions in a number of United States Senate and House races in 1980, 1982 and 1984. He was Deputy Director for the Reagan for President Committee for the State of Connecticut in 1980. In 1984, Mr. Gay was Deputy Political Director for the Midwest for the Reagan-Bush Committee.

Mr. Gay has served as Field Producer of the “Small Business Report”, produced by American Pro-Video and Biznet of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to joining Black, Manafort, Stone & Atwater, Mr. Gay served as an expert consultant to the Director of Public Affairs to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was a member of the Under-Secretary’s Task Force to HUD on Enterprise Zones.

A native of Connecticut, Mr. Gay has extensive experience in sales, marketing, management and political consulting.

Jon Keyserling

Jon Keyserling, an attorney specializing in tax and business law, holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina and will receive a Master of Laws in Taxation in December, 1986 from Georgetown University. He also holds a B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia.

Before joining Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, Mr. Keyserling served as Tax Counsel to Congressman Robert Matsui (D-CA), an influential member of the House Ways and Means Committee, developing policy and analysis of national tax and trade issues addressed by the Committee. Most recently, Mr. Keyserling played a key role in the effort to overhaul the tax code which passed the House of Representatives.

Prior to that time, Mr. Keyserling was Executive Director of the Congressional Textile Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives. He served as chief liaison between Caucus members and the textile/apparel/fiber industry. In that capacity, he provided expertise to Members of Congress regarding international textile policy and monitoring all appropriate industry related negotiations.

Mr. Keyserling is a member of the American and District of Columbia Bar Associations and the Washington Textile Roundtable. He brings to the firm a vast knowledge of tax, business, and international trade legislation.

Christopher M. Lehman

Mr. Lehman recently joined the firm after ten years of service in the Executive and Legislative Branches of government.

He served in the White House from early 1983 until September 1985 as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and also as Senior Director for Legislative and Legal Affairs for the National Security Council. In that position, he provided counsel to the President and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on various national security issues and coordinated the legislative liaison effort of the White House and the Departments of State, Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency regarding national security matters.

Mr. Lehman served from 1981 to 1983 as the Director of the Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy at the Department of State. In that regard, he was the principal advisor on matters related to U.S. strategic doctrine, strategic weapons programs, and arms control issues.

Mr. Lehman served as an Associate staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1976 to 1981 working directly for Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. and, subsequently, for Senator John W. Warner.

Mr. Lehman has published widely on foreign policy and national defense issues and holds Masters Degrees in International Security Affairs and in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Mr. Lehman expects to receive a Ph.D. degree from the Fletcher School in 1986.

Riva Levinson

Riva Levinson coordinates public relations and news media activities for Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly. Before joining the firm, Ms. Levinson served as Associate Director of Communications for the Caribbean Council where she developed and implemented public affairs strategies to enhance U.S./Caribbean Basin relations and commerce. Ms. Levinson was personally responsible for orchestrating the First Anniversary Celebration for the Caribbean Basin Initiative.

Prior to this position, Ms. Levinson was an Account Executive with the public affairs firm of Miner and Fraser, Inc. At Miner and Fraser, Ms. Levinson directed projects on both international and domestic issues, with a special focus on Central and Latin America. Her work on improving U.S./Japan relations won her a Silver Anvil Award for excellence in international communications.

Ms. Levinson speaks fluent Spanish and holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics and International Affairs from Tufts University, with additional studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the School of Economics at the University of Barcelona.

R. Scott Pastrick

R. Scott Pastrick was the Assistant Finance Director of the Mondale-Ferraro Presidential Campaign and, previously, the staff director of a Post Office and Civil Service Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mr. Pastrick served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department for three years under the Carter Administration.

During his tenure at the Treasury Department, Mr. Pastrick developed and executed the legislative strategy which won support fo the Chrysler Corporation loan guarantee. After leaving the Treasury Department, Mr. Pastrick served as a legislative consultant to the Washington law firm of O’Connor and Hannan.

He has played an active role in the past three Democratic Presidential Campaigns, including service as a field consultant in 1976 and 1980.

Mr. Pastrick is a native of Indiana. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Wabash College, Indiana, with graduate studies at George Washington University and Indiana University School of Law.

Linda A. Pinegar

A native of North Carolina, Mrs. Pinegar has over ten years of experience in the political arena. Beginning her career as a citizen’s advocate, she later joined the staff of United States Senator Jesse Helms.

After leaving Capitol Hill, she represented the 500,000 member Retired Officers’ Association as Legislative Counsel and was the first civilian and only woman to ever serve on the professional staff. For the last five years, Mrs. Pinegar was associated with the Air Transport Association, representing the nation’s scheduled airlines as Director of Federal Legislation.

Mrs. Pinegar’s background has provided her with experience in a broad range of issues including transportation, defense, customs, immigration, trade, tourism and the environment. She has also been responsible for Defense, Treasury, Justice, and Commerce appropriations measures.

Some of Mrs. Pinegar’s specific legislative accomplishments include restoration of a $350 million subsidy for military families, which has remained unchallenged for ten years. She has succeeded in restoring multi-million dollar funding cuts in both the Immigration and Customs Service Budgets for each of the last five years. Mrs. Pinegar also secured a $500 million program for the modification of commercial aircraft to increase DOD airlift capability. This resulted in substantial cash outlays to several economically troubled airlines, dramatically improving their cash flow positions.

Recently she won Presidential and Cabinet Council approval of a plan to consolidate the inspection functions of the Immigration and Customs Services. Pending Congressional approval, the plan is expected to facilitate the flow of goods and travelers into the United States, save the taxpayers millions of dollars and alleviate costly delays for visitors and shippers alike.

Mrs. Pinegar has been recognized by The American Businesswomen’s Association, The U.S. Army, The Retired Officers’ Association and other national, state and local civic and political groups for contributions to the political process and the community.

Greg Stevens

Mr. Stevens has extensive experience in state and national politics and policymaking. Prior to joining Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, Mr. Stevens served as Chief of Staff to Governor Thomas Kean of New Jersey. In this capacity, Mr. Stevens played a major role in developing the successful tax reduction program, economic development program, and environmental safety program that propelled Governor Kean to a landslide reelection in November, 1985.

Mr. Stevens’ experience in politics and government has an emphasis in media and communications. He formerly served as the New Jersey State House correspondent for the Woodbridge News Tribune. He left journalism in 1976 to serve as a press secretary in the New Jersey campaign for President Gerald R. Ford. He is an experienced television and radio producer.

In addition to Governor Kean, Mr. Stevens has worked closely with a number of U.S. Representatives and Senators, including Senator William Cohen of Maine and Congresswoman Olympia Snowe.

Divina K. Westerfield

Ms. Westerfield joined Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly after a two-year tenure in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, she practiced international law in Riyadhh with the law firm of Salah Al-Hejailian, a major Middle Eastern firm with both European and American affiliations. She advised major businesses on the operational aspects of doing business in the Kingdom and, specifically, participated in banking, construction, and commercial activities.

Prior to moving to Riyadh, Ms. Westerfield worked as a legal representative for the Indiana State FmHA office on commercial bankruptcy cases and was instrumental in successfully initiating debarment cases against engineering firms.

As a student of Indiana University School of Law – Indianopolis, she clerked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Indiana, and a major Indianapolis law firm.

Aside from living in the Middle East, Ms. Westerfield also resided in Tokyo, Japan, where she studied language and political science at Waseda University. She received her undergraduate degree from DePauw University.

Ms. Westerfield is a member of the Indiana Bar and the American Bar Association.

41 From the transcript for “African Dictatorships and Double Standards: Where is the International Criticism Over US-Allied Equatorial Guinean Leader Teodoro Obiang?”, audio, video, and full transcript are at the link:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Ken Silverstein, can you talk to us about the role of Charlie Black, a chief adviser to John McCain, in terms of his role in Equatorial Guinea?

KEN SILVERSTEIN: Well, his firm had the account for Equatorial Guinea. I confess I don’t recall what Charlie Black’s own role was. I remember that there was a woman named Riva Levinson who did a lot of work on behalf of Equatorial Guinea, and she was affiliated with that firm, but I think the client actually at the time was an oil company called Trident, which was subsequently bought up, but which had a big stake in Equatorial Guinea. So she was lobbying for the oil companies there. And then Riva Levinson went on to lobby for Ahmed Chalabi, as it turned out, and the Iraqi National Congress.

But Charlie Black’s firm – Black, Manafort – it’s had various names over the years, but it has always represented some of the world’s worst dictators. It represented Mobutu in Zaire, Marcos in the Philippines, Jonas Savimbi in Angola, and it did represent at one point directly Equatorial Guinea, as well. There was a piece in Spy magazine many, many years ago in the 1980s, which was called “Voices of the Damned,” and it was about sort of the most unethical foreign lobbyists, and Charlie Black’s firm was rated the worst of the worst. I mean, you know, it had – Spy magazine used this sort of “bloody hand” ranking, and I think Charlie Black’s firm had “four bloody hand” ranking, which was the highest of any of the firms. I mean, and that included, you know – I mean, he outdid someone like Edward von Kloberg, who had represented Saddam Hussein and Ceausescu in Romania and a number of other really horrible regimes. So the fact that Black, Manafort still took the prize really says something.

42 The following is a transcript of “Fooled on the Hill: How some die-hard Cold Warriors and a Belgian con artist tried to change U.S. policy in Africa”, by David Aronson and David Kamp:

FOOLED ON THE HILL

How some die-hard Cold Warriors and a Belgian con artist tried to change U.S. policy in Africa

BY DAVID ARONSON AND DAVID KAMP

Judging from the scene in the stands, we could have been watching a brawl from the Turin-Liverpool match in the 1985 Cup of Champions, or a tilt-screen sequence from the old Batman series, or almost anything except a group of foreign dignitaries attending the inauguration last spring of the president of a new nation. But that’s what it was. On the playing field, with grace and dignity, Sam Nujoma, leader of the South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO), was being sworn in as independent Namibia’s first president. But up in the reviewing stand, elbows were flying like mad. One witness saw Angola’s president José Eduardo dos Santos, “pummeling somebody else’s security guard,” and James Baker, the U.S. secretary of State, eluding a haymaker coming from the direction of the president of Zaire. The Namibians, not yet accustomed to this ceremony, had not provided enough seats in their stadium to accommodate both the visiting dignitaries and their bodyguards; a mad scramble for space quickly devolved into an every-VIP-for-himself melee.

Baker avoided damage; had Senator Jesse Helms been in Baker’s shoes, the escape might not have been so complete. Four months earlier Helms and his right-wing allies had managed to put the United States in the position of disapproving Namibian independence by sneaking a rider to a budget bill through Congress. The rider authorized the president to halt U.S. funding for a United Nations team, called UNTAG, that was overseeing Namibia’s peaceful, carefully negotiated secession from South Africa. As we shall see, the basis of Helms’s legislative gambit was bogus, a fabrication that might have been revealed had Congress administered some rudimentary tests before enacting the bill into law. But no tests were administered, and four months later Jim Baker was in Windhoek, bobbing and weaving, trying to convey the message Hey, Namibia – nothing personal.

Helms, like most of Capitol Hill’s extreme conservatives, never wanted an independent Namibia, a country whose dominant party (SWAPO) is aligned with Moscow. Neither do Helms and his ilk hold much affection for Namibia’s friendly neighbor, Angola, whose Marxist government is backed by Cuba and is fighting a civil war against Jonas Savimbi’s U.S.-supported UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) guerillas. In December 1988, Angola, Cuba and South Africa signed an agreement in which Cuba promised to withdraw its troops from Angola by mid-1991 and South Africa agreed to allow Namibia’s independence. This deal was not universally approved; Duncan Sellars, chairman of the conservative International Freedom Foundation (IFF) in Washington, says that after the agreement was signed, right-wingers thought of it as “a sellout of [South Africa-controlled] Namibia and a sellout of UNITA.”

Helms and a platoon of right-wing operatives (the lobbyists at Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, who represent UNITA, and the think-tankers at the Heritage Foundation and the IFF) coalesced around a piece of legislation – the rider on the budget bill – that would have given President Bush an excuse for withholding Washington’s funding for the UN team in Namibia if any evidence was found that the Cubans were using chemical weapons to support their Marxist pals in Angola. In other words, the bill said that if the Commies misbehaved in Angola, we wouldn’t help pay for Namibia’s transition to independence.

The idea for the bill was born during a trip to Angola in March 1989 by Michael Johns, the Heritage Foundation’s policy analyst for African affairs. There he met Andries Holst, a West German who claimed to be filming a documentary about Cuba’s use of chemical weapons in Angola. Johns brought Holst to Washington, where the German filmmaker was introduced to Helms, State Department officials, lobbyists and other conservatives likely to be moved by his footage, which purported to show the horrors of chemical warfare.

For whatever reason, Holst did not impress, and Helms’s bill foundered. To salvage the effort, the IFF’s Duncan Sellars refocused attention on a scientific report Holst had commissioned from Aubin Heyndrickx, a toxicologist from the University for Ghent in Belgium, which substantiated Holst’s claims. In July, Sellars brought Heyndrickx to Washington to tour the same conservative network Holst had earlier traveled. The difference: Heyndrickx’s opinions carried the heft and credibility of science.

While Heyndrickx held forth, Helms rallied his allies on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to lash the rider to a vital appropriations bill and Black, Manafort’s lobbyists hit the Hill. And son of a gun, with the boost Heyndrickx provided, the plan worked: on November 21, George Bush put his signature on a bill containing the Cuban-chemical-warfare provision.

But what might look like a model of parliamentary maneuvering is more likely an instance of ultraconservative fraud. For as it turns out, Holst is an impostor with no serious journalistic or filmmaking credentials, and Heyndrickx, on whose reports the rider was entirely predicated, is a publicity-seeking showboat. Heyndrickx has visited war zones around the world – Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iran – in search of evidence of chemical warfare and has tended to find it or not depending on who was supplying his funding. He once argued that one of his clients, the Iranian Army, had not used chemical weapons against the Iraqis because “the gases are not in the Koran.”

Heyndrickx’s examination of Holst’s bomb fragments and environmental samples showed that chemical weapons were used. Other chemical-weapons experts – one is tempted to say real chemical-weapons experts – disagree. Finland’s Marjatta Rautio, who is perhaps the world’s preeminent expert in this field, examined Heyndrickx’s data and reports. “I don’t see the connection between the results and the conclusions,” she says. Julian Perry Robinson, senior researcher at the University of Sussex, doubts Heyndrickx’s descriptions of the victims’ medical conditions. And André De Leenheer, Heyndrickx’s overseer at Ghent, is frankly contemptuous. “I’ve been studying everything in detail that has been written,” De Leenheer says of Heyndrickx’s findings. “It’s a real joke.” De Leenheer says he would kick out any student who handed in a similar report.

Heyndrickx does have a champion or two in the scientific community, including Dr. Clair Paley, a British toxicology expert. And according to Duncan Sellars, “The Soviets said his clinical analysis was incredibly accurate…But it’s not a result of a chemical bomb per se; it’s a firebomb.” As it turns out, Sellars’s source for what the Soviets said about Heyndrickx is – Heyndrickx! But curiously, an account of the meeting between Heyndrickx and the Soviet scientists that appeared in Tass indicates that it was not Soviet scientists but – yes! – Heyndrickx himself who suggested that the residue came from a firebomb.

The question arises, how were Washington’s conservatives so sure that Heyndrickx’s work was scientifically sound? Riva Levinson, one of Black, Manafort’s people on the UNITA account, says she cannot personally vouch for the Heyndrickx report. “All I can tell you,” she says, “is that I am not a technical expert on this issue and that other people are, whom I listen to.” She referred us to Margaret Calhoun, a freelance lobbyist who worked for Black, Manafort and UNITA on the Hill last summer. Calhoun shares Levinson’s ignorance of science (“When you talk about chemical formulas, my eyes glaze over”) but says that she checked Heyndrickx out. “Duncan’s probably more of a technical expert in this,” she says. “You should talk to Duncan.”

We did. Sellars told us he had hired no one to check out Heyndrickx’s bomb-site samples but Heyndrickx himself had sent them to the State Department and other agencies. Helms’s aides at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee say that they too relied on the State Department’s analysis of Heyndrickx’s findings. So we asked the State Department whether it could vouch for the report. Gary Crocker, a State Department intelligence officer with expertise in chemical warfare, indicated that the department’s tests for evidence of chemical contamination in Heyndrickx’s samples were negative. In other words, this significant piece of legislation was passed with no credible substantiation whatsoever.

Like the lobbyists, UNITA can’t really say how or whether it confirmed Heyndrickx’s findings. Helder Mondabe, UNITA’s man in Washington, told us he had visited a “university of chemical warfare” in Switzerland to discuss Heyndrickx’s work, but he could not remember the name or location of the university. We called the military attaché to the Swiss embassy in Paris for help; he said that no such university exists, that no such studies are undertaken at any of the Swiss universities. When we called Mondabe a week later to see whether he’d remembered the name of the university, he said no, he still didn’t remember, and Hey, do you guys really have to mention the Swiss university in your article?

Duncan Sellars remains unfazed by his star witness’s impeached authority. “The questions raised have bee arguments attempting to attack his personal credibility,” he says stalwartly. Fortunately, the State Department has wised up. Is Heyndrickx a charlatan? “I have no doubt about that,” says Gary Crocker. “That’s for sure.” But a year ago the findings of an easily debunked professor were regarded as gospel by gullible policymakers, a mistake that could be rectified only by dispatching Jim Baker to Windhoek, just to show the Namibians that we were sorry we had been such soreheards about their independence.

The piece featuring Aubin Heyndrickx from the time of the Iraq war is the following, “In Iraq chemical arms trial, scientists face many burdens of proof”:

For 18 years, Dr. Aubin Heyndrickx has tended the sealed jars containing strands of hair and scraps of clothing he gathered from a dead woman’s body. Collected in Halabja, one of many Kurdish towns in northern Iraq that were attacked with chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein’s army in 1988, they have sat in a blue plastic drum in his lab ever since, waiting.

Now, as prosecutors prepare to try Saddam in Baghdad for genocide against the Kurds, Heyndrickx would like the material to be analyzed. “May I insist these proofs are mentioned at the trial?” the doctor asks.

He is one of a small group of doctors, scientists and Middle East experts who have studied chemical weapons use by Iraq against its Kurdish citizens in the 1980s. Now, they are dusting off evidence and attempting to collect new data in an effort to define the scope of a distant tragedy that is only now to come under scrutiny in court.

Near the very end is a brief reference to his maverick quality:

Because of the lack of hard data and the imprecise testing there is some disagreement about how many people were affected and what chemical compounds were used.

Heyndrickx, somewhat of a maverick in the field, believes that the Iraqi Army also used cyanide and biological toxins, although most other scientists disagree.

Still, he was one of the few Western experts on the ground in Halabja just after the attack, and the samples in his lab – particularly the clothing – could still provide valuable clues if they were properly sealed and stored, Hay said.

43 From the profile for Marc Thiessen at the American Enterprise Institute; I boldface his experience at BMS&K:

Experience

  • Columnist, Washington Post, 2010-present
  • Cofounder, Oval Office Writers, 2009-present
  • Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, 2009-2010
  • Senior Speechwriter, Deputy Director of Speechwriting, Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush, the White House, 2004-2009
  • Chief Speechwriter for Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Department of Defense, 2001-2004
  • Spokesman and Senior Policy Adviser to Senator Jesse Helms, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1995-2001
  • Press Secretary, Huffington for Senate Campaign, 1994
  • Assistant to the President, Empower America, 1993-94
  • Researcher and Deputy Communication Director, Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, 1989-93

44 “Welcome to the World’s Richest Poor Country” by John Kampfner conveys well what Angola is like now:

Aihameselle Mingas beckons me inside his house. He wants to show me his new architect-designed kitchen, with its floor-to-ceiling fridge, and its architect-designed sitting room with its Italian furnishings. Each room has a plasma home-entertainment screen. “Come see the marble. It’s from Brazil,” he says.

I have seen conspicuous consumption in London, Moscow, New York, and Paris, but never a contrast such as this. Outside the high walls of Aihameselle’s house stand two dilapidated tower blocks. The holes in the road resemble lunar craters. Dozens of bored youths stand around, their eyes blank. And the stench. The shit is, literally, floating down the street.

Luanda was built for less than half a million folk. The war drove the population up to four million people, fleeing as the two sides – the communist government backed by the Soviet Union and Cuba, and the rebel UNITA forces supported by America and apartheid South Africa – fought out one of the most vicious conflicts of the Cold War. That is why you have such fast urbanisation. That is why everywhere you look, you see shanties, shacks in fetid and treeless slums that stretch for miles to the horizon. That is why the city suffers power cuts, why traffic doesn’t move and why sanitation has collapsed. When it rains, the polluted Bengo river overflows; the water merges with the garbage-strewn banks, producing yet another bout of cholera.

By night, people party – hard, until dawn. Then, before they return home (drivers have been sleeping in the car park), they gather for one last time to eat fish soup. A popular night-time venue for drink and watching bands play Kuduro music, is Miami. This is a younger, more local and hipper crowd, a far cry from the sad middle-aged men I see at another place down the road, accompanied by their catorzinagas, 14-year-old escorts.

For the rest, life consists of eking out a miserable existence, working on construction sites, if you are lucky, or hawking anything you can find. Life expectancy is 42. Angola has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Three quarters of the population earn less than a dollar a day – the UN definition of absolute poverty. Some 50 per cent of people have no access to clean water; 24 percent of children under 14 are forced to work.

45 A transcript of the “Drugs, Law Enforcement, and Foreign Policy” report dealing with BMS&K and the Bahamas, page 16 in the pdf document:

BAHAMAS SEEKS TO INFLUENCE U.S. POLICYMAKERS

In 1985, the increased public attention to the role of the Bahamas as a base for drug smuggling led that government to seek the advice of a U.S. public relations firm. The firm, Black, Manafort, and Stone, submitted a memorandum to the Bahamian officials suggesting that it could sell the United States government on the importance of the Bahamas to U.S. security. In that memorandum, Black, Manafort suggested that public attention be focused on the demand side of the drug issue, thus diverting attention from the narcotics-related problems on the islands. The Black-Manafort principal assigned to the matter, Matthew Freedman was a former senior State Department official who had handled narcotics issues.

Shortly after the 1984 U.S. election, Black-Manafort advised the Bahamian government that “perception by ‘Official’ Washington will frequently drive the realities which will affect…policy decisions. In this regard, the Government of the Bahamas is operating in a negatively charged atmosphere.”

According to Black-Manafort, the Department of State and the Department of Defense wished to maintain a “solid relationship” with the Pindling Administration, but the DEA and the Department of the Treasury were “active critics.” According to the memorandum, political critics of the Pindling government had been “sowing the seeds that the Government of the Bahamas is a nation for sale, inviting drug czars to use the banking system, that government officials are participating in the drug trafficking, that the Pindling Administration is about to collapse and much more.”

Black-Manafort advised the Bahamian government that it needed to lobby both the Executive and Congressional branches of the United States government, beginning with the National Security Council to mobilize political support for the Bahamas and to focus the Departments of Defense and State so as to “affect Treasury and Justice policy.” The memo went on to suggest that the personal relationships between then Secretary of Defense Weinberger and then Attorney General Meese could be used to redefine the priorities of the U.S. in its dealings with the Bahamas. Black-Manafort was to charge the Bahamas $800,000 per year for representing them on these matters, and the firm was ultimately retained by the Bahamian government.

In addition, a former coordinator of the South Florida Drug Task Force, Admiral Daniel Murphy, who participated in the previously mentioned meeting with Prime Minister Pindling testified that he solicited the Bahamas as a client for his consulting firm, Gray and Company. He was unsuccessful.

The role of the U.S. consultants raises troubling questions about conflicts of interest. Narcotics issues are indeed “national security issues.” The Subcommittee believes it is not in the interest of the United States to have former government officials, whether from the Congress or the Executive Branch, who held policy positions dealing with narcotics law enforcement, to use the knowledge they have obtained to work for a foreign government whose officials are implicated, either directly, or indirectly, in the drug trade.

BAHAMIAN “COOPERATION”

Shortly after the Bahamian government retained U.S. public relations consultants, it suddenly began cooperating on some drug issues on the advice of its consultants. For instance, the government allowed the installation of an aerostat radar, set up joint air and naval operations and allowed U.S. authorities to enter Bahamian territory in hot pursuit of drug traffickers. Yet the cooperation remained far from complete. For example, the government continued to allow foreign nationals arrested for drug smuggling to leave the country after posting bail, and continued to make it difficult for U.S. authorities to participate in the destruction of seized drugs.

The Bahamian willingness to cooperate with interdiction efforts has created a pro-Bahamian constituency in interdiction-related agencies such as the Customs Service. But the increased level of interdiction cooperation has neither cut the amount of cocaine coming into the United States from the Bahamas, nor has it led to the destruction of the major smuggling organizations. Indeed, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-U.S. Affairs Richard Holwill noted, “…notwithstanding the cooperation, there has been an increase in trafficking.” The Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters and the Administrator of the DEA acknowledged that the Bahamas remains a significant transshipment point.

46 From “Dukakis Steps Up Attack on Bush Camp-Bahamas Ties” by Bob Drogin:

Firing another broadside Saturday, Democratic presidential nominee Michael S. Dukakis stepped up charges that Vice President George Bush relies on top advisers who were “paid agents” of Bahamanian officials suspected of drug profiteering.

Dukakis tried to turn the tables on Republicans who he said had questioned his patriotism in recent weeks.

“My staff will not have divided loyalties,” the Massachusetts governor said. “In a Dukakis White House, the staff will pledge allegiance to only one flag–Old Glory.”

47 Articles that provide a good overview of the HUD scandal include “Areas Most in Need May Be Real HUD Scandal Victims” by Ronald J. Ostrow And William J. Eaton, “HUD Aides Said to Make Millions From $61,000″ by William J. Eaton, “Rents Doubled After Project Got Big Subsidy” by William J. Eaton, “The Hud Scandal: A View From New Jersey” by David Hess and S.A. Paolantino, and “Long Inquiry on Abuse in the Housing Department Is Completed” by Michael Janofsky.

48 From “The Hud Scandal: A View From New Jersey” by David Hess and S.A. Paolantino:

WASHINGTON – In the summer of 1987, the leaders of Upper Deerfield Township, N.J., got quite a surprise.

They learned that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had approved a $43 million grant for the renovation and rent subsidy of 326 housing units in a rundown, 43-year-old apartment complex that had once sheltered agricultural workers in a subdivision called Seabrook.

Since the community, in Cumberland County about 60 miles south of Philadelphia, had neither applied for the project through the state housing authority nor even thought the complex was worth rehabilitating, local officials were mystified.

The Seabrook project will cost taxpayers about $31 million in rent subsidies to low-income tenants over 15 years. And it will generate generous tax credits for the developers who are participating in it.

Seabrook is the brainchild of Victor Cruz, former deputy commissioner of housing in Connecticut, and Paul Manafort, a partner in the high-powered Washington lobbying firm of Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly. Black, Manafort worked in the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George Bush and since 1987 has been advising Rep. Jim Courter, who won the Republican gubernatorial primary in New Jersey on June 6.

For its services in obtaining HUD approval for Seabrook, the firm received a $326,000 fee from the developers.

In September 1986, Manafort testified, Cruz heard about the Seabrook apartments from another developer and determined that it was probably eligible for consideration as a “mod-rehab” project. The problem, Cruz knew, was how to persuade HUD to select the Seabrook project from among the hundreds of applications from other communities seeking low-income housing aid.

Cruz then reached the well-connected Manafort, offered to go into partnership with him on the project and hired Black, Manafort to intervene with HUD, Manafort testified.

On Nov. 14, a Black, Manafort aide met with Deborah Gore Dean, Pierce’s executive assistant at HUD, who told the aide that she would need an application from the appropriate housing authority.

Another Black, Manafort employee, Greg Stevens, former chief of staff of New Jersey Gov. Kean and now a member of Courter’s campaign team, introduced Cruz to William Connolly, director of the state housing authority, who agreed to submit the application.

Stevens told state housing officials in 1986 that Seabrook funds had been set aside by HUD. Usually, states and major cities compete for HUD money and, once the money is in hand, seek developers for the projects.

The state housing authority advertised in a small local paper inviting bids for the rehabilitation contract on the Seabrook project, but it was so worded, according to subcommittee Chairman Tom Lantos (D., Calif.), that only the Cruz-Manafort plan would qualify.

Rep. Charles E. Schumer (D., N.Y.) chimed in: “To read this ad, you might as well cut out all of the other language and put in this one line: ‘The fix is in.’ ”

From “Rents Doubled After Project Got Big Subsidy” by William J. Eaton:

Paul J. Manafort, a former campaign adviser to President Bush who is now a partner in a high-powered lobbying firm, acknowledged in testimony Monday that he has never visited the development, which earned his company a fee of $326,000 for getting Department of Housing and Urban Development approval of the subsidies in 1987.

Manafort, who is also a 20% owner of the development company for the Seabrook units, said that federal tax credits from the project, which constitute an additional form of subsidy, already have been sold to investors for $3.3 million.

Yet the promised rehabilitation is still not finished, and the project still does not have a single permanent occupancy permit from municipal authorities, Manafort and his partner, Victor Cruse, acknowledged.

Under HUD’s moderate rehabilitation program, rent subsidies totaling $31 million will continue for 15 years.

“We played by the rules,” Manafort said in defense of himself and his consulting firm, Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, and the way it obtained funding for the Seabrook development with the aid of Deborah Gore Dean, once a top assistant to former HUD Secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr.

However, Lantos challenged Manafort’s insistence that the $4.4 million put into the Seabrook development by the investors represented a sizable risk.

“There was a sweetheart deal with Debbie Dean that was implemented and stands implemented,” Lantos contended. “Nothing could be less risky than this.”

Manafort, who acknowledged that the political clout of his firm had helped get the HUD money for the project that he later joined others in buying, dissented when Weiss termed his operations influence-peddling.

“You might call it influence-peddling. I call it lobbying,” he said. “That’s a definitional debate.”

49 From “Developer tells of deal at H.U.D.” by Philip Shenon:

A Florida housing developer says he will tell Congress that an influential Washington lobbying firm with close ties to the national Republican Party boasted of its ability to obtain Federal housing grants to win support for the 1986 re-election campaign of Senator Paula Hawkins of Florida.

The developer, Jeffrey H. Auslander, is to testify before a House subcommittee next month about his dealings with the lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly.

The House panel, the Government Operations Subcommittee on Employment and Housing, is investigating political manipulation of Federal housing programs during the Reagan Administration. Charles Black, a partner at Black, Manafort, ran the campaign of Senator Hawkins, a Republican, which ended with her defeat in November 1986.

Mr. Auslander said the employee, Russell Cartwright, a former Senate aide to Mrs. Hawkins, ”came right out and said, ‘We’re trying to get these awards out before the election so Paula Hawkins can take credit for them.’ ”

Mr. Auslander said he had agreed to the deal, which entailed his paying a fee to Black, Manafort. The rent subsidies for the area were later approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. H.U.D. documents show that rent subsidies for rehabilitation of 91 low-income apartments in West Palm Beach were issued on Nov. 3, 1986, the day before the Senate election. Mr. Auslander received some of them.

Mr. Black, speaking on behalf of Mr. Cartwright and the firm, said Mr. Auslander’s account was mistaken. ”It’s a zany story,” Mr. Black said in an interview, asserting that Black, Manafort ”never did anything” at H.U.D. in seeking support for Mrs. Hawkins’s re-election campaign. ”This is all nonsense,” he said of Mr. Auslander’s allegations. Long Ties to G.O.P. Black, Manafort has long-standing ties to the Republican Party. Lee Atwater, the Republican national chairman, who was the manager of George Bush’s 1988 Presidential campaign, has been associated with the firm for years, and a number of partners worked in close advisory roles to the Bush campaign.

50 From “D.C.: Where Allies Work Both Sides Of The Corridors” by Ken Cummins:

The appearance of former national Democratic finance chairman Peter Kelly at last Tuesday`s $1,000-a-head Georgetown fund-raiser for Gov. Bob Graham`s Senate campaign seemed more than a bit unusual.

Kelly is the newest partner in Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, the Washington political consulting firm whose senior partners, all staunch conservative Republicans, want to keep Graham as far away from the Senate as possible. Charlie Black, one of the firm`s three founders, is managing the re-election campaign of Sen. Paula Hawkins, the GOP incumbent Graham hopes to replace.

But the situation gets even more complicated upon closer inspection. Kelly is raising money for Graham and 19 other Democrats in Senate races across the country this year because “I am totally committed to winning the Senate back.” He says, “it`s in the cards” that Graham will be in the Senate next January.

Black is just as committed to keeping the Senate under Republican control. He and partners Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater are managing Republican Senate campaigns in Florida, Louisiana and Vermont to help keep a Senate Republican majority for at least two more years. In all three states, Kelly is raising money on the other side in hopes of destroying his patners` dream.

51 From “Roger Stone, Political Animal” by Matt Labash:

While Black, Manafort & Stone did work on behalf of blue-chip companies and boutique right-wing causes from the Contras to Angola’s UNITA rebels, what they really did was advise presidential candidates. They worked on so many campaigns that in 1986 (when Stone was working with Jack Kemp), a congressional aide remarked to a Time reporter, “Why have primaries for the nomination? Why not have the candidates go over to Black, Manafort & Stone and argue it out?”

52 From “Publicists of the Damned”, specific page 55:

As it turns out, Black, Manafort’s underhandedness was actually an attractive selling point to the Zairians. During the intense pitching for Mobutu’s account, several rival lobbying firms pointed out that Black, Manafort was embroiled in the HUD scandal and had admitted to receiving $326,000 in consulting fees in connection with a dubious housing project. But the accompanying wave of hostile press and congressional denunciations didn’t deter the Zairians one whit. “That only shows how important they are!”

From “Sex on the Hill: the US scandal that still pays off” by Rupert Cornwell:

Mr Stone holds up his hands in studied outrage, at the work of some “sick, disgruntled person” out to smear him, while Mr Dole, desperate to preserve at least his “character” edge over the President, has swiftly and completely severed his links – whatever they were in the first place – with Mr Stone. That, however, is where the damage is likely to end. Like Dick Morris, Roger Stone, a body-building fanatic who has spent $8,000 (pounds 5,000) on hair transplants, revels in infamy. Back in 1985, the New Republic ran a profile on him entitled “State-Of-The-Art Sleazeball,” and its delighted subject sent copies to all his friends. Now he’s on the Internet. Can a book contract be far behind? More pertinently, should anyone be surprised?

53 From “G.O.P. Speakers at Dinner In Virginia Irk Minorities” by B. Drummond Ayres Jr.:

Mr. North, whose role in the Iran-contra affair led to his dismissal from President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council staff, is considering a run for Senate in the state. At the banquet, he and Mr. Black, a former national chairman of the Republican Party, cracked jokes in after-dinner remarks that made light of President Clinton’s order to the military to admit homosexuals. Both confirmed they had told the jokes after an article appeared in The Washington Post today, but they insisted their remarks were aimed at Mr. Clinton, not at homosexuals.

Mr. Black said at one point that Mr. Clinton had wanted to include the words, “Don we now our gay apparel,” in the Marine Corps hymn.

“It was all done in good humor, not to offend,” Mr. Black said today when asked about his speech and other remarks made at the banquet. “I deeply regret any event that would allow the party to be seen as intolerant because that’s not a fair portrayal of the event.”

Mr. North’s remarks included a line about how he had repeatedly tried to place a telephone call to Mr. Clinton but could not get through until he lisped to the operator, “Excuse me!”

The banquet joke that had racial overtones was told by a state Senator from Northern Virginia, Warren E. Barry. He began his remarks with a comment about “the Clinton fags-in-the-foxhole” policy and then began to joke about how Mr. Parris, when he was in Congress, seemed to be constantly at odds with the officials of the District of Columbia, who are mostly black.

He recalled that Mr. Parris had once called a bridge leading from Washington to Virginia “the longest bridge in the world because it connects Virginia to Africa.” He went on, with a laugh, to say Mr. Parris sought to rename the bridge “Soul Brothers Causeway.”

54 From “Convention Boss Gives GOP a Lift From the Wings” by James Rainey:

Paul J. Manafort Jr.–a longtime Washington lawyer, lobbyist and campaign strategist–is the man credited by many with keeping Republicans on point and on time at a national convention that is generally agreed to be the most tightly managed ever.

Manafort’s cool manner and exquisitely fitted suits mirror the careful tailoring that Republicans say has boosted presidential nominee Bob Dole’s popularity. Journalists, however, complain that the same man has left them bereft of news and drama.

An example of Jack Kemp taking over HUD and dealing with the mess that Paul Manafort was partly involved in is “Kemp to Cancel HUD Program Tied to Abuse” by Douglas Jehl:

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp on Thursday announced his intention to cancel a loan-guarantee program whose benefits have gone in substantial measure to clients of politically well-connected consultants.

Among the consultants listed by HUD are two former high-ranking officials of the department and the wife of a former staff member of Ronald Reagan’s White House.

The program, designed to insure private loans obtained by small companies that sought to develop unused land for housing and commercial activities, had become “riddled with abuse,” the department said.

Of the 58 developers who had obtained loan insurance under the program since 1977, 25 have since defaulted, HUD said. It estimated the cost to the government at $90 million.

In a prepared statement, the department said that Kemp was canceling the program because of “the enormity of the losses incurred, high patterns of abuse and the failure of the program to benefit the needy.” It is known as the Title X Land Development Mortgage Insurance Program.

55 From “Public-Relations Ethics Questioned as Some Agents Pose as Journalists” by Jim Drinkard:

WASHINGTON – Late last year, two lobbyists from a top Washington firm teamed with a camera crew to get interviews in India’s volatile Kashmir region. The Indian government says they were posing as journalists with Cable News Network.

The two, Paul Manafort and Riva Levinson, arrived in India on tourist visas that gave no hint they were working for the Kashmiri American Foundation, a group New Delhi views as a front for rival Pakistan.

Manafort and Levinson, of the firm Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, deny they posed as CNN reporters, and a colleague said their footage was never used.

But the Indian government publicly protested and formally notified CNN’s Atlanta headquarters. Network officials say they have no reason to doubt the episode occurred, and a regional journalists’ association passed a resolution deploring it.

56 From the criminal complaint “Case No. 1:11MJ558″ (page 6):

15. Another confidential witness(CW-2) has provided information to the FBI over a long period and proved reliable. CW-2 has known Fai and officials of the Government of Pakistan for years. Last year, CW-2 told FBI agents that, in approximately 1989, CW-2 was aware of the candidates under consideration to operate the KAC and that the lSI selected Fai to do so because he had no overt ties to Pakistan. CW-2 said that the lSI created the KAC to propagandize on behalf of the Government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir. CW-2 estimated that, of the statements Fai makes, 80 percent are provided by the lSI for Fai to repeat and disseminate verbatim. The other 20 percent of the KAC’s messaging consists of Fai’s own ideas, which have been pre-approved by the lSI but not provided by them.

57 From “The Man Behind Pakistan Spy Agency’s Plot to Influence Washington” by Kim Barker, Habiba Nosheen, and Raheel Khursheed:

Fai’s most significant relationship was with Dan Burton. In 2004, Fai testified in front of Burton’s subcommittee hearing [26] on human rights abuses in Kashmir. Burton introduced him personally, saying, “I’ve known Dr. Fai for a long time.”

In 2007, Fai was given the American Spirit Medal, the highest award from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, for being committed to conservative principles.

58 From “The Man Behind Pakistan Spy Agency’s Plot to Influence Washington” by Kim Barker, Habiba Nosheen, and Raheel Khursheed:

The FBI first questioned Fai in 2007 but seemed to step up its scrutiny in 2010.

That March, the Justice Department sent Fai a letter, telling him that the Indian press had reported that he was a Pakistani agent, and if so, he needed to register with the department as a foreign agent. Fai responded after several weeks, denying he was an agent of
Pakistan.

Three months later, New York police pulled Fai over and found $35,000 in cash in his car. Fai claimed the money was from a man
identified by the FBI as “Straw Donor B.”

59 From “Karachi : nouveau boulet pour Balladur” by Violette Lazard (my translation):

Even El-Assir could not remember anything when interrogated by the justices in November, 2012.

“I insist on the fact that my payments to Paul Manafort, to his family, and to the firm of Davs-Manafort [the justices estimate approximately $380 000 were sent to Manafort from the accounts of El-Assir between September 1994 and August 1995], had nothing to do with the political campaign of Edouard Balladur.” Only Ziad Takieddine, now in prison for two months, remembers things the way Manafort does.

60 From “Briton in divorce with French arms broker husband could hold key to ‘Karachi affair’” by Henry Samuel:

Mr Takieddine acknowledges receiving payment from a sale of frigates to Saudi Arabia, a contract authorised in 1994 by Mr Sarkozy. Documents obtained by Mediapart suggest he received €91 million between 1997 and 1998. France also signed a deal that year to sell three submarines to Pakistan. Several witnesses have told the magistrates that Mr Takieddine was imposed by the Balladur camp as an intermediary. He denies any role.

In May 2002, 11 French submarine engineers and four Pakistanis were killed in a bomb attack in Karachi, blamed on al-Qaeda terrorists. But a separate investigation is under way into whether it was a revenge attack by disgruntled officials for the non-payment of sweeteners.

61 From “The Mystery of Hollywood’s Dead Republican” by David M. Halbfinger and Dennis McDougal:

On the morning of Saturday, Feb. 26, a day before the Academy Awards, the actress Carrie Fisher woke up in her Beverly Hills home next to the lifeless body of a gay Republican political operative named R. Gregory Stevens.

Thus ended one of the more improbable friendships that Hollywood and Washington have known – and a globe-trotting, adventurous, but ultimately debilitating existence that might be fodder for a Tinseltown thriller, if it only had a satisfying resolution.

Before its abrupt end, Mr. Stevens’s journey had taken him from the beaches of San Clemente, Calif., and the slopes of Sun Valley, Idaho, all the way up the Republican ranks to a job in the first Bush White House at age 26. And it launched him on a jet-setting career as a political fixer manipulating elections in backrooms and palaces from Costa Rica to Croatia, Thailand to Togo, South Korea to the former Soviet Union.

Along the way, he survived disease in Africa and shrapnel in a leg in either the Middle East or the Balkans, depending on whom you believe, and he somehow acquired a mysterious piece of metal – this an autopsy confirmed – in the back of his skull.

His life ceased, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s report, when the cocaine and the prescription narcotic oxycodone in Mr. Stevens’s system overwhelmed his already enlarged and diseased heart. Ms. Fisher, upon hearing from a doctor friend of the coroner’s conclusions, sounded comforted to learn that toxicology levels indicated Mr. Stevens might not have been noticeably high when he arrived in Los Angeles. “I would’ve seen it if he was on a lot of drugs,” she said on Tuesday. “I know what that looks like. That’s the thing that killed me: I thought, how did I miss this?”

His taste for cocaine – acquired at age 18, his brother Grant, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, told investigators – may have had something to do with those troubles.

62 From “African Dictatorships and Double Standards Transcript”:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Ken Silverstein, can you talk to us about the role of Charlie Black, a chief adviser to John McCain, in terms of his role in Equatorial Guinea?

KEN SILVERSTEIN: Well, his firm had the account for Equatorial Guinea. I confess I don’t recall what Charlie Black’s own role was. I remember that there was a woman named Riva Levinson who did a lot of work on behalf of Equatorial Guinea, and she was affiliated with that firm, but I think the client actually at the time was an oil company called Trident, which was subsequently bought up, but which had a big stake in Equatorial Guinea. So she was lobbying for the oil companies there. And then Riva Levinson went on to lobby for Ahmed Chalabi, as it turned out, and the Iraqi National Congress.

But Charlie Black’s firm – Black, Manafort – it’s had various names over the years, but it has always represented some of the world’s worst dictators. It represented Mobutu in Zaire, Marcos in the Philippines, Jonas Savimbi in Angola, and it did represent at one point directly Equatorial Guinea, as well. There was a piece in Spy magazine many, many years ago in the 1980s, which was called “Voices of the Damned,” and it was about sort of the most unethical foreign lobbyists, and Charlie Black’s firm was rated the worst of the worst. I mean, you know, it had – Spy magazine used this sort of “bloody hand” ranking, and I think Charlie Black’s firm had “four bloody hand” ranking, which was the highest of any of the firms. I mean, and that included, you know – I mean, he outdid someone like Edward von Kloberg, who had represented Saddam Hussein and Ceausescu in Romania and a number of other really horrible regimes. So the fact that Black, Manafort still took the prize really says something.

Von Kloberg was another lobbyist of the damned, who would end up committing suicide by jumping from a castle. Two profiles of him after his death are “Fall of the House Of von Kloberg” and “Edward von Kloberg III, Lobbyist for Many Dictators, Dies at 63″.

63 FromThe Man Who Pushed America to War, “BKSH: Representing Chalabi” (link goes to quoted section, this is the link to the full excerpted chapter):

Normally, before campaigning on behalf of a foreign interest (which, after all, was what Chalabi was), the agent would register under the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act. That’s required whenever someone represents a foreign interest in a “political or quasi-political” way. Examples include groups that at times had been allied with Chalabi, like Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Barzani’s Kurdish Democratic Party. But since BKSH was paid by U.S. taxpayer funds through the State Department, it never registered as a foreign agent. Since it was not technically a “lobbbyist” for Chalabi either, even though it was a lobbying firm, it never registered at Capitol Hill either, which would be the norm for a lobbyist. Although the transaction was not classified or secret, journalists, legislators, and the American public weren’t told about it.

64 From “Roger Stone, Political Animal” by Matt Labash:

In the 1980s, Stone and his old friends Charles Black and Paul Manafort hung out their shingle–later to be joined by other skilled knife-fighters like the late Lee Atwater. Stone was often rivals with Atwater, though he affectionately cites his rules: “‘Lie low, play dumb, and keep moving.’ As opposed to mine, which are ‘Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.’ Often called the Three Corollaries.”

While Black, Manafort & Stone did work on behalf of blue-chip companies and boutique right-wing causes from the Contras to Angola’s UNITA rebels, what they really did was advise presidential candidates. They worked on so many campaigns that in 1986 (when Stone was working with Jack Kemp), a congressional aide remarked to a Time reporter, “Why have primaries for the nomination? Why not have the candidates go over to Black, Manafort & Stone and argue it out?”

From “The Dirty Trickster” by Jeffrey Toobin:

Stone did not enter the government after Reagan won the election. Instead, he started a political-consulting and lobbying firm with several co-workers from the campaign. The name of the operation went through several iterations, but it was perhaps best known as Black, Manafort, Stone & Atwater, the latter being Lee Atwater, who had worked briefly in the Reagan White House’s political office. The partners made their money by charging blue-chip corporate clients such as Ronald Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. large fees to lobby their former campaign colleagues, many of whom had moved into senior posts in the new Administration. There were also less savory clients-Zaire’s Mobuto Sese Seko, Angola’s UNITA rebels, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. Stone and his wife at the time, Ann, became famous for their lavish life style, which included a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and tailor-made clothes. They threw raucous parties for no reason or for almost no reason, like Calvin Coolidge’s birthday.

From Dirty Tricks:

65 From “Roger Stone, Political Animal” by Matt Labash:

One of Stone’s friends, who’s known him professionally for a decade, tells me: “What I find interesting about Roger is how committed to the joke he is. He moons the establishment for the sheer pleasure of it, with no thought to whether it helps him. Obviously most of the time it doesn’t and maybe he cares–I’ll bet he has mixed feelings–but he doesn’t stop. Notice how he’s willfully, self-consciously downmarket: Trump, Sharpton, the dyed hair and horseshoe pinky ring. There’s an ironic quality to all of it.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Roger Stone: Pretty Reckless Is Going Straight To Hell Part Two

ROGER STONE:

PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX

PART SEVEN PART EIGHT PART NINE PART TEN

THE WELL DRESSED MAN PART TWO: HYPOCRISIES

After the apocalypse of Watergate, Stone had two noteworthy jobs. He would work as a driver for Bob Dole, who, he tells us, was “angry and horny”. More importantly, he would join the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC), a group made up of veterans of Barry Goldwater’s failed presidential campaign, which would score electoral wins by flooding a race with negative advertising that could not be tied to the candidate that it was intended to help out. “Groups like ours,” said Terry Dolan, a founding member of NCPAC and its most important player, “are potentially very dangerous to the political process. We could be a menace, yes. Ten independent expenditure groups, for example, could amass this great amount of money and defeat the point of accountability in politics. We could say whatever we want about an opponent of a Senator Smith and the senator wouldn’t have to say anything. A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean.”21 They would help Ron Paul win his first election in Texas; they would take down John Culver of Iowa, George McGovern of South Dakota, Frank Church of Idaho, and Birch Bayh of of Indiana. It was not about ideology, it was about you winning and the other guy losing. “We want people to hate Birch Bayh without even knowing why,” explained Dolan22.

NCPAC would help score all these victories, as well as the big one, the Republican win of the presidency in 1980. It was for its activities in the presidential election that the FEC would reprimand NCPAC for not disclosing the names of some of those who donated over $200 to the political committee, and for not explaining how it paid off some of its debts23. It would sue NCPAC for exceeding the spending limits of independent expenditures for its activities in the 1984 election, and the case went to the Supreme Court. NCPAC won, on the basis that such limits were limits on its freedom of speech24. NCPAC would soon collapse, due to newer conservative political PACs competing for donor dollars, a dwelling on bygone issues like the Panama Canal, the foulness of its name now being used against any candidate that relied on their services, and the death of its most crucial member. Terry Dolan was a devout Catholic, the best man at Stone’s first wedding, and a gay man who kept his orientation hidden from almost all of the world, and who died of AIDS in 198725. Anthony Dolan, a brother who was a speechwriter for Reagan and who would go on to serve two terms in the Bush administration, was furious when the Washington Post‘s obit mentioned that his brother died of AIDS, and in a follow-up piece, “The Cautious Closet of the Gay Conservative” by Elizabeth Castor, that Terry Dolan was gay, though he denied both details of his life. Anthony Dolan would go on to spend $5000 to buy a two page ad in the Washington Times to counter what he saw as a cruel lie. “The Post’s story, as it stands, was a fraud upon the public,” argued the two pager. “The greatest and most malicious falsehood in this story was its entire thrust, its basis: the claim that my brother lived and died a homosexual,” the ad text claimed. “The truth – which I believe the Post editors did not want to print or even hear about because it destroyed the pro-gay bias they sought to promote through this story – was my brother’s deep religious conversion and his complete and total rejection of homosexuality as immoral.”26

“Those of us who were close to him,” writes Stone in his memoir, “knew that he had generally avoided gay bashing as part of the New Right agenda and his libertarian sensibilities really favored maximum personal freedom and privacy rights.”27 This was a point open to question. I occasionally read recent pieces by Christopher Hitchens and find them empty and repellent; when I read “The Hate That Dare Not Speak its Name”, however, I am reminded again of why his reputation is so formidable, and why I once enjoyed his work so much. I am tempted to transcribe the whole thing, but I give only delicate excerpts, including one that gives brief mention of Roger Stone:

On 22 May 1985 Anthony Dolan, the President’s chief speechwriter, took two full pages, at $2,800 each, in the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times. He devoted this space to a long, confused diatribe about homosexuality in American politics and journalism. At certain points in his essay, he posed as the very model of tolerance and fair-mindedness, insisting that he did not ‘countenance unfair discrimination or unkindness shown toward homosexuals.’ At other points, he reverted to the traditional conservative style, saying that ‘homosexual intrigue’ in the newsroom of the Washington Post was so intense that ‘poor Ben Bradlee has no one on whom he dares turn his back.’ Referring to a recent feature story in the Post, Dolan added: ‘Only if the story was vital to some issue of critical importance to the public should a man who had been dead for many months be dragged from his grave.’ The purport of Dolan’s article was the insistence, unusual for a family values conservative, that homosexuality is a private grief and nobody’s business except that of the immediate family. The readers of the loyalist Washington Times are confused enough as it is these days. Why, they may have had time to ask, does the President’s principal scriptwriter go on so much about the fags? And, having decided to do so, why does he seem to be of two minds about them? Two reasons suggest themselves for Dolan’s perturbation. The first is the recent death of his brother, Terry. The second is the existence – still awaiting honest acknowledgement – of a gay coterie among Ronald Reagan’s bizarre network of lucre, guns, and Contras.

Terry Dolan was gay, and he died of AIDS. He died after a short but intense lifetime of ultra-conservative guerilla theatre, during which he co-founded the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC) and helped to create the alliance between the Goldwater right and the blue-collar fundamentalists. It was Dolan’s complicated life and AIDS-related death that, after considerable hesitation, the Post had featured. Carl ‘Spitz’ Channell is gay, and was one of Terry Dolan’s political and personal protégés. Together they organized and raised funds for many ‘negative campaigns’ against liberal incumbents in Congress; and together they crafted a many pieces of venomous right-wing direct mail.

Is the homosexuality of Dolan and Channell of the least consequence? It isn’t, I suppose, if you can overlook the following:

  • Channell gave a ‘sizable contribution’ to Bert Hurlbut, a man whose name I have not made up. Hurlbut is one of those people cast in life as a ‘Texas businessman’. In addition to being a Contra fancier, he runs what he calls an ‘organization to oppose the homosexual expansion’. It was to this organization that Channell made his contribution. Hurlbut’s plainspoken view is that ‘if AIDS had not come along to more or less do it for us, we would have been really in the middle of a vigorous opposition to what the homosexuals were doing to the moral structure of the country.’ Thus did Channell put flowers on his friend Terry’s grave.
  • Terry Dolan founded NCPAC with Charles Black and Roger Stone. In the 1984 Texas Senate race, Black was a consultant to Phil Gramm<s successful run against Lloyd Doggett. As Black put it, 'Doggett got the endorsement of the big gay PAC in San Antonio. That wasn't unusual, but then we got on to the fact that the gays had a male strip show at some bar and Doggett takes that money. That became a matter of his judgement, so we rolled it out there.'

It’s one thing to be gay. But Terry Dolan belonged, as Channell does, to that special group of closet homosexuals who delight in joining the gay-bashing pack.

I interrupt this excerpt to note a significant detail in what follows; the Morton Blackwell who gives lavish endorsement to a virulently homophobic book, is the same Blackwell who was involved in the hiring of Sedan Chair II, aka Michael McMinoway, to work as a mole in various Democratic campaigns.

Their friends and relatives often help to keep up this unpleasing pretence. Anthony Dolan we have already met, claiming special exemption from publicity for his brother. His sister, Maiselle Shortley, worked at the White House for Morton Blackwell, special assistant to the President for public liaison. Blackwell gave lavish endorsement to a book called The Homosexual Network, offered by the Conservative Book Club. Its author, Father Enrique Rueda, says ‘homosexuality is a manifestation of the sinful condition that affects mankind and each man, and homosexual behavior is gravely sinful by the very nature of reality.’

Even in his purchased essay, Dolan sought to deflect blame for the publicity on to ‘a certain former Congressman and a deeply committed partisan of homosexuality.’ He was referring to Robert Bauman, the Maryland extremist whose career came to a sudden end seven years ago in the Chesapeake Bar in downtown DC, when he was busted by the FBI he had once so much adored for solicitng young male hustlers. No individual in politics had fought against homosexuality – his own and other people’s – as strenuously as he did. And while Bauman flourished – as chair of Young Americans for Freedom, as one of the leading Reagan-team gadflies in the House, and as the darling of the New Right – Washington was his. Once he was caught, no conservative would take his phone calls. Bauman’s most recent offense, in the eyes of Anthony Dolan, was to have helped organize (Bauman denies this) a memorial service for Terry.

Why does the right torture itself about homosexuality? The flagellation is partly a consequence of the overlap between extreme conservatives and the more traditional wing of the Roman Catholic Church. Then there is the self-protection – honesty means loss of power, so gays on the right toe the line and gay-bash. Bauman tells of sabotaging a Maryland fair-housing bill because it prohibited discrimination against homosexuals. And Terry Dolan mailed out a NCPAC fund-raising letter (he did object to it, later) that said: ‘Our nation’s moral fiber is being weakened by the growing homosexual movement.’

The issue of hypocrisy is there in Dolan’s life, as well as Stone’s28. Roger Stone deals with this thorny issue by insisting the thorns aren’t there. I repeat again what is written in his memoir: Dolan, Stone wrote, “generally avoided gay bashing” (the italics are mine), “his libertarian sensibilities really favored maximum personal freedom and privacy rights.” When an organization you helped found and in which you are the prime mover sends out a fund-raising letter with the virulent statement “Our nation’s moral fiber is being weakened by the growing homosexual movement,” that claim is seemingly destroyed.

Stone’s argument for why his own outré sexual activities should have continued to be veiled from the public is to demand a similar veil for similar reasons – though he seemingly worked for family values politicians, he wasn’t in the family values business. “When that whole thing hit the fan in 1996 [his own sex scandal], the reason I gave a blanket denial was that my grandparents were still alive,” he would say. “I’m not guilty of hypocrisy. I’m a libertarian and a libertine.”29 He would continue this line in his memoir. “Since I am not a public office holder or a candidate for public office,” he writes, “I don’t think my personal sexual conduct is anyone’s business. In view of the fact that I have never advocated a “family values” strategy for my candidates there is no hypocrisy on my part.”30 As opposed to Eliot Spitzer, the governor he claims to have helped oust, who he insistently accuses of hypocrisy. “This is someone who pushed for tougher penalties for men who go to prostitutes at the same time that he was patronizing them,” Stone would say on Fox Business, the channel nobody watches, “I call it hypocrite #1.” There were some people who simply weren’t in a position to render judgement: “I don’t get why this guy has the moral authority to comment on any subject”31

We might revisit the details of Stone’s disgrace for reasons of enlightenment and titillation. During the summer of 1996, when Bob Dole was running against Bill Clinton for the presidency, the National Enquirer broke the story that Stone and his second wife, a beautiful raven haired daughter of a Cuban exile who’d once served in the Castro government32, placed ads in Florida swingers’ magazines and on websites, that they were a “Hot, insatiable lady and her handsome body builder husband” who were looking for “3some/4some action.” Since this was 1996, the Enquirer had to include this helpful piece of information: “A website is a place on the internet where computer users who pay a fee can post any pictures and text they want. Then anyone who visits the Internet can access the website.”33

A later Enquirer piece on Hollywood S & M club The Vault would give an overview of its past celebrity guests. As was to be expected, Madonna, that whore, was there. She showed up in a long list of glitterati anecdotes, such as: Roseanne telling one of her bodyguards, “Go get a whip and crack that guy on the butt with it”; revealing that a Brady Bunch cast member and her drag queen friends “watched a scene involving a guy in a cage. Someone had a monkey and [the Brady Bunch cast member] stayed for a while because she was concerned about the monkey”; it eventually gave mention to the Stones. “Roger and Nikki [Nydia Stone] were our customers for a long time,” said one of the club’s managers. “They were heavy duty swingers and ran ads on the Internet and in many sex publications. They were heavy players.”34 Neither Enquirer story had the reporter actually at a swingers club while the Stones were there. For that, you had to go back to a piece by Scott Barancik, published in the Washington City Paper in December 1995, months before the Enquirer story broke, “D.C. Swings!: Couples meet for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and blowjobs at a Washington restaurant”. This piece would be mentioned by David Carr after the Enquirer story was published and Stone fired from the Dole campaign, in “The Post Buries a Bombshell”.

“Bombshell” would begin by asking why, if Clinton’s sexual foibles were worthy of public scrutiny, the Post decided not to run a story from a woman claiming to be Dole’s mistress during his first marriage. It would go on to mention that while Roger Stone was busy claiming that the Enquirer swinger story was a result of fraud and mistaken identity, he had shown up with his wife at a club called The Edge for its “Dungeon Night” dance, a mostly gay event involving circle jerks and blowjobs. The Stones only looked on. “We danced. We went home. Big deal,” Stone would say, when asked about the event. “Bombshell” would then mention that a buff couple who show up at the D.C. club Capitol Couples in “D.C. Swings!” were Roger and Nydia Stone as well. No couple by those names appear in “D.C. Swings!”, but there is Jack, handsome and fit in leather pants, and Ariel, exquisitely squeezed into a black dress, the uncrowned royalty of the club, who look on the lumpen, middle aged open minded mass with disapproval. “I met Roger and Nikki there on an evening that ended up in an orgy,” a Capitol Couples patron in the Enquirer piece says. “Nikki was pretty and looked very fit. She had on a wild black dress that showed plenty of her breasts. He wore leather pants.” The patron added that they made it plain “they thought there were slim pickings available, like the crowd wasn’t up to their standard.” Jack has icy, smileless blue eyes, and the eyes of Roger Stone are very blue, very icy, and very smileless. Jack sees an attractive white woman. “She’s probably slept with every black man here,” Jack shares with the writer, and the writer continues, “apparently that’s some kind of problem for him.” The woman ends up giving a blowjob to the dreadlocked DJ. Jack introduces the writer to Harlan, a smiling congressional lobbyist. Harlan gropes one woman while his wife has a deep kiss with another one. Ariel watches the porno on the club’s large screen TV, and gives discerning commentary. “Well,” she says, “you can tell this woman’s never taken it in the behind.” Jack and Ariel leave, and most of the erotic energy of the club leaves as well35.

That we have the names of Jack and Ariel in this story instead of Roger and Nikki is perhaps explained by Carr in “Bombshell”. The Enquirer would ask Barancik to confirm that the photos they had matched the couple he’d met at the club. Though Barancik was unable to make the confirmation, his name would leak out anyway, and he was wrongly thought to be the source of the Enquirer story by the Stones. Barancik would be threatened with legal action by Stones’ then lawyer, Larry Klayman, the man who would file endless lawsuits against the Clinton administration. Barancik would retain his own lawyer and sign an affidavit saying that he wasn’t the source for the Enquirer revelations. Roger Stone would wave the affidavit on “Good Morning America” as a demonstration that the whole story was a hoax36. Years later, he would admit that the story was true. “I issued stout denials of the contents of the article,” he writes in his memoir, “largely because all four of my old-school grandparents were still alive and couldn’t have handled the truth.” And, of course, a sex scandal involving him was of no relevance, anyway: “In view of the fact that I have never advocated a “family values” strategy for my candidates there is no hypocrisy on my part.” A direct quote from the original Enquirer story: “Ironically, Stone ‘is one of the advisers who’ve urged Dole and other Republican politicians to emphasize family values and integrity,’ a Washington insider revealed.” “He is honest about his dishonesty,” claims Matt Labash about Stone37. Are you so sure about that?

Stone and NCPAC would help to elect, then re-elect the Reagan administration, and, just as he did in Watergate, Stone makes a brief cameo in the confirmation hearings of the Reagan attorney general, Edwin Meese. The hearings were difficult ones, uncovering various entanglements, such as Meese not disclosing a $15,000 interest free loan to the committee, and Stone’s name arose during one of the difficult moments. Apparently, somehow, Meese had gotten hold of internal documents from within the Carter campaign outlining voter strategy. From “Senator wants Meese name withdrawn”:

WASHINGTON (UPI) – At least one senator is urging Edwin Meese to ask President Reagan to withdraw his nomination as attorney general, and others say there still are “significant questions” about Meese’s financial dealings.

Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, Meese’s leading critic on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday revelations that Meese did not disclose a $15,000 interest-free loan as required by law demonstrate the White House counselor “does not meet the criteria of integrity” needed to be the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

The $15,000 loan revealed Wednesday was made to Meese’s wife, Ursula, by Edwin Thomas, Meese’s friend. Shortly after that, Thomas got a job as Meese’s aide on Reagan’s staff. He has since been appointed by Reagan to another federal job.

Other members of the committee, which has been conducting Meese’s confirmation hearings, said they also were concerned about Meese’s finances, an Army promotion and memos from President Carter’s 1980 re-election campaign found in Meese’s files.

Later Wednesday, Metzenbaum released another set of documents showing Meese may have contradicted himself in statements to House investigators about whether he recalls receiving a 1980 Carter campaign memo outlining black voter strategy.

While investigators in a November 1983 report said Meese “recalls the memo,” he said last month in a sworn affidavit, “I do not recall seeing it in 1980.”

The documents show Meese repeatedly told House investigators “I do not recall” and “I do not know the source” when confronted with at least 16 documents found in his files containing tips or documents from the Carter camp. Meese was chief of staff of Reagan’s 1980 campaign.

The new documents, among other things, also disclose that a memo of a 1980 phone message to Meese from political consultant Roger Stone was found by House investigators last year in Meese’s files but now is missing.

Stone is Northeast regional political director for the 1984 Reagan-Bush campaign, the same post he held on Reagan’s 1980 campaign.

Another piece, “Meese Assistant Unable To Find Requested Data”, by Stuart Taylor Jr. would elaborate on the note:

WASHINGTON, March 14- An aide to Edwin Meese 3d, the Presidential counselor, has said that he cannot find a document requested by Congressional investigators, according to materials made public today by a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The missing document from Mr. Meese’s 1980 Reagan campaign files consisted of a handwritten note stating: “Roger Stone bagman for paid informant in McGovern campaign, kept his mouth shut so they can’t touch him, a Congressional investigator said in a statement released today. The investigator said the note also indicated that Mr. Stone had called Mr. Meese “on 5/ 29 and 6/4.”

Mr. Stone, identified in a Senate report as a minor figure in the Watergate scandal, when he 19 years old, was a political director for the Eastern region in the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign and is serving in a somewhat similar position in the President’s current campaign.

It was not clear from the materials released today who wrote the note, what the writer meant by the “bagman” reference, or whether Mr. Meese spoke to Mr. Stone.

A Congressional investigator, James F. Wiggins of the General Accounting Office, said he had read the missing document and transcribed it verbatim Nov. 18, while he was going through hundreds of documents in Mr. Meese’s 1980 campaign files.

Another G.A.O. investigator, Francis M. Doyal, said he had later asked John Richardson, a Meese aide, for a copy of the document and information about who wrote it and what it meant, but that “Mr. Richardson has informed me that he has been unable to locate the note.”

According to the Senate Watergate Committee’s report in 1974, Mr. Stone worked in the 1972 Nixon re-election campaign in an operation called “Sedan Chair II,” arranging to pay an infiltrator to gather information from Democratic campaign organizations and perform political pranks.

Mr. Stone said today that the document apparently referred to a telephone call he had placed to Mr. Meese in 1980, but that “I’m as baffled about this as anyone else” and that he had “no idea” what the note meant. He said he knew nothing about any effort to infiltrate the Carter campaign.

In an interview earlier this year, Mr. Stone said he had done nothing illegal in the Watergate affair.

In his written statement about the missing Roger Stone document, Mr. Wiggins said he had found it “in a collection of loose notes and messages” in files identified as those of Mr. Meese from the 1980 campaign, which he inspected in the Old Executive Office Building under an agreement between the subcommittee and Mr. Meese.

Mr. Doyal said in a separate statement that he had also looked at the document. He said that “in an interview with Mr. Meese on November 21, 1983 he agreed to find the note and determine, if possible, who had written the note and what it meant.” But he said that after repeated inquiries about the matter and three conversations with Mr. Richardson, the Meese aide “has informed me that he has been unable to locate the note.”

Mr. Doyal went on to say that he had discussed the matter with Mr. Stone, who “stated that it is quite possible that he called Mr. Meese as the telephone messages would indicate.”

He went on to say: “Stone also stated that he had in fact been involved in what has become known as ‘Watergate’ and did wire money to an informant. Mr. Stone stated that he was 19 years of age at the time. Additionally, Mr. Stone stated that the note was the most negative statement of his role that he has ever heard. He stated that he would not have described himself that way and does not know who might do so.”

According to testimony cited in the Watergate report, Mr. Stone, while a young worker in Mr. Nixon’s 1972 campaign, agreed to pay $1,500 a month to one Michael W. McMinoway in 1972 to “infiltrate the Democratic organizations.”

Mr. McMinoway reported to Mr. Stone regularly while working in and spying on the organizations of George McGovern, Edmund Muskie and Hubert H. Humphrey during the primary elections, the report said.

Meese and Stone do not intersect simply in this issue of political intrigue, but on political attitudes towards sexual license. Stone incessantly describes himself as a “libertarian and a libertine,” a libertarian and a libertine who also helped put Reagan and Meese into power. It was under Meese that the justice department created the National Obscenity Enforcement Unit, which attempted to impose small town morality on the entire nation, through Project Wormwood and Project Postporn. Wormwood went after Southern California’s hardcore porn industry by having justice agents order porn videos to be delivered to dummy addresses in conservative communities in places like Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and those who delivered the films were then indicted for interstate transportation of obscene material. “We always used to worry about being extorted by the mob,” said one producer, “Then all of a sudden it was the federal government hitting us up for money.” Postporn was a similar project, going after mail-order companies of sexually explicit materials, including The Joy of Sex, by ordering the material from various locations in the United States, then burying the mail order company with multiple prosecutions. The idea was not to secure a conviction, but to make the cost of defense so expensive as to force the company to close.

However, some refused to go along with the game, and showed more spine than Roger Stone ever did in his life. Philip Harvey, one distributor who was targeted, was to have his warehouse raided. Local FBI agents refused to take part, and instead postal inspectors had to be brought in, more than a few of whom were reluctant to be pulled into this mess. Harvey refused to be pushed down. “There comes a point in life,” said Harvey, “when you simply have to say enough is enough.” He would go to trial. One of the pieces of evidence was a video with an orgy scene featuring porn star Vanessa Del Rio. We have here another tangent with Stone’s life. “After entering the sexual underground through the nexis of politics,” the political consultant shares with us in his memoir, “I went down on Vanessa Del Rio and fucked porn star Nina Hartley.” Half of the jurors were born-again Christians, and one was a minister’s son. Philip Harvey would be found not guilty38.

Wormwood was a failure. Postporn was a failure. Edwin Meese would end resigning from his position as Attorney General in disgrace, over issues of improper influence. A company named Wedtech may have used bribes and pay-offs to obtain government loans and contracts, and some of those bribes and pay-offs were intertwined with Meese. Due to government rules encouraging minority ownership of small business, and Wedtech falling under these auspices, the company was able to make non-competitive bids on contracts, which made it easier to pull off its graft. Five days before the celebration of the first Martin Luther King, Jr. day, Meese would attack affirmative action, saying that King would have been opposed to it because of his vision of a color-blind society39. What you did or said in one moment had no consequence or connection with what you did or said in the next moment. Again, this is Stone in his memoir: “In view of the fact that I have never advocated a “family values” strategy for my candidates there is no hypocrisy on my part.” Here, again, is a sentence from the Enquirer exposé that broke his sex scandal: “Ironically, Stone ‘is one of the advisers who’ve urged Dole and other Republican politicians to emphasize family values and integrity,’ a Washington insider revealed.”

(Originally, the “Senator wants Meese name withdrawn” linked to the Adirondack Enterprise; on April 18th 2014, I discovered that this link was broken, and it was linked to the Logansport Pharos-Tribune edition of the story at the newspapers.com archive.)

ROGER STONE:

PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX

PART SEVEN PART EIGHT PART NINE PART TEN

FOOTNOTES

21 From “The Legacy of Terry Dolan: A Demented Political Process Dominated By Corporate Cash” by Bill Berkowitz:

Before he flamed out, Terry Dolan’s fingerprints were all over the formative years of what was then called The New Right. As co-founder – in 1975 — and chairman of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC), he was one of the pioneers of direct mail solicitations, the modern political attack ad, and independent expenditure groups.

“Groups like ours,” Dolan presciently explained to the Washington Post in 1980, “are potentially very dangerous to the political process. We could be a menace, yes. Ten independent expenditure groups, for example, could amass this great amount of money and defeat the point of accountability in politics. We could say whatever we want about an opponent of a Senator Smith and the senator wouldn’t have to say anything. A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean.” Dolan later back-peddled by saying that he wasn’t describing NCPAC’s tactics so much as he was talking about a hypothetical situation.

The quote about Dole being angry and horny from Dirty Tricks:

22 From “NCPAC’s Waterloo” by Chuck Lane:

Before 1980, a “hit list” was something only rival Mafia families worried about. But when the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC) adapted the concept to U.S. Senate races by targeting liberal Democrats for an onslaught of negative media advertising, “hit list” joined the American political lexicon for good. And the committee’s sharpshooters hit their marks with stunning accuracy– NCPAC-backed conservatives handily defeated progressive stalwarts like George McGovern, Frank Church and Birch Bayh. The chilling words of NCPAC chief Terry Dolan–”we want people to hate Birch Bayh without even knowing why”–conveyed an unmistakable message to jittery liberals: the age of political mind control had arrived.

23 From “MUR (Matters Under Review) 1294#page=6″, “MUR (Matters Under Review) 1294 (specific page 6)”:

This matter was initiated by the Federal Election Commission (hereinafter “the Commission”), pursuant to information ascertained in the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, and after having found probable cause to believe the National Conservative Political Action Committee (“Respondent” or “the Committee”) violated:

1. 2 U.S.C. § 434 (b)(3)(A) by failing to disclose the identification of persons whose contributions to the Committee exceeded an aggregate of $200 within the calendar year;

2. 2 U.S.C. § 434 (b)(8) by failing to disclose the circumstances and conditions under which debts were extinguished for less than their reported amounts; and

3. 2 U.S.C. § 434 (b)(1) by failing to properly disclose the amount of cash on hand for calendar years 1979 and 1980.

NOW THEREFORE, the Commission and Respondent, having duly entered into conciliation pursuant to 2 U.S.C. § 437g (a)(4)(A)(i) do hereby agree as follows:

I. The Commission has jurisdiction over the Respondent and the subject matter of this proceeding.

II. Respondent has had a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate that no action should be taken in this matter.

24 This would be FEC v. NCPAC.

25 From “The Legacy of Terry Dolan: A Demented Political Process Dominated By Corporate Cash” by Bill Berkowitz:

Before the Super PAC fundraising groups, before Karl Rove, before Frank Luntz’s linguistic somersaults, before the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, before Fox News, and even before the closeted Senator Larry Craig’s wandering bathroom leg and Ted Haggard’s drug and sex scandal, there was John Terrence “Terry” Dolan.

Twenty-five years ago, Dolan died of AIDS. If you don’t recognize the name, that’s probably because you probably weren’t sniffing around the entrails of the Republican Party’s political machine during the late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s.

26 The excerpts from the Washington Post ad are taken from an article of the time, “Speechwriter Attacks Washington Post” by The Associated Press. Details such as the $5000 paid for the ad are from “Reagan speechwriter attacks Post story” by Donald M. Rothberg. That Anthony Dolan served two terms in the Bush administration can be gleaned from his editorial on the experience in the Wall Street Journal, “A Decade of Trial”. That this Anthony R. Dolan is the same Anthony Dolan that is the brother of Terry Dolan can be gleaned from the editorial’s credit, which identifies him as Reagan’s former chief speechwriter, the same title he holds in “Reagan speechwriter attacks Post story”.¸

27 From Dirty Tricks:

28 Christopher Hitchens was the only one to note the hypocrisy of Dolan; And the Band Played on by Randy Shilts features two appearances by Dolan:

As Larry Kramer shrugged on his heavy winter coat and stalked out of the agency chief’s home in Bethesda, he wondered when the deception would end. Just days before, he had met one of the nation’s most influential closet cases at a cocktail party in Washington. Larry immediately recognized Terry Dolan when he arrived at the party. The millions Dolan raised for his National Conservative Political Action Committee had been almost solely responsible for electing the New Right senators who tipped the balance of Senate power to Republicans in 1980. And in the 1980 presidential race, he had raised $10 million for Ronald Reagan. Dolan’s brother was now a White House speech writer.

The advertising that the committe sponsored sometimes chastised Democrats for coddling homosexuals. Terry Dolan, however, was fresh from an affair with a staff epidemiologist from the New York City Health Department, Larry knew, and was thoroughly enjoying the gay life his political fund-raising sought to squash. With characteristic reserve, Larry threw a drink in Dolan’s face.

“How dare you come here?” Larry screamed. “You take the best from our world and then do all those hateful things against us. You should be ashamed.

The second appearance:

[Journalist] Larry Bush was wading through a crowd of gay Republicans who had sponsored a party for the eve of the Republican National Convention when he recognized Terry Dolan across the room. Dolan was the New Right fund-raising genius whose National Conservative Political Action Committee had raised over $10 million for Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign.

Publicly, Dolan distanced himself from the gay rights movement. Privately, Bush knew, Dolan took advantage of the more comfortable gay life-style that the movement had created. Dolan regularly appeared in Washington gay bars, and he vacationed at the gay Russian River resort area north of San Francisco. Bush couldn’t resist goading Dolan about the Reagan administration’s miserable response to the AIDS epidemic.

“We’ve been able to stop a lot of negative things,” Dolan answered. “It’s a real horror show, some of the things that have been suggested.”

“Are we talking quarantine?” Bush asked, alluding to the rumors that the administration might seek to intern everyone harboring AIDS antibodies.

Dolan got nervous.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss any of the details,” he said.

“Are we talking tattoos?”

“I can’t talk about it,” Dolan said and then he excused himself.

29 From Toobin’s “Dirty Trickster”:

Stone served as a senior consultant to Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign for President, but that assignment ended in a characteristic conflagration. The National Enquirer, in a story headlined “Top Dole Aide Caught in Group-Sex Ring,” reported that the Stones had apparently run personal ads in a magazine called Local Swing Fever and on a Web site that had been set up with Nydia’s credit card. “Hot, insatiable lady and her handsome body builder husband, experienced swingers, seek similar couples or exceptional muscular . . . single men,” the ad on the Web site stated. The ads sought athletes and military men, while discouraging overweight candidates, and included photographs of the Stones. At the time, Stone claimed that he had been set up by a “very sick individual,” but he was forced to resign from Dole’s campaign. Stone acknowledged to me that the ads were authentic. “When that whole thing hit the fan in 1996, the reason I gave a blanket denial was that my grandparents were still alive,” he said. “I’m not guilty of hypocrisy. I’m a libertarian and a libertine.”

30 From Dirty Tricks:

31 From the opening of “Premiere Episode of Follow the Money: Bolling Targets Eliot Spitzer! “ (youtube link):

BOLLING
The FBI received a tip from my next guest, let’s bring in Republican political consultant Roger Stone, featured in the Eliot Spitzer documentary, Client 9. Thanks for joining us, sir. So you say that you were informed by a prostitute that she was also selling services to none other than the former governor of New York, at the time the governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer. Is that right?

STONE
Well, first of all let’s go back to your list. Eliot Spitzer is someone who broke federal money laundering laws by concealing his payments to call girls; who transported the prostitute across five state lines to have sex with her, which, in 2009 in New York state, a Supreme Court justice, a Republican, went to prison for; this is the chief law enforcement officer of the state of New York who tipped off his favorite brothel ahead of a federal bust; this is someone who pushed for tougher penalties for men who go to prostitutes at the same time that he was patronizing them. I call it hypocrite #1. In this particular case, yes. I learned about his foibles from a woman in Miami who was a prostitute, who was a call girl, who said she had narrowly missed an opportunity to do business with him as it were. I don’t know what they’re thinking over at CNN, but I don’t get why this guy has the moral authority to comment on any subject.

32 A possible picture of Nydia Bertran, at the age of eleven as part of a goodwill mission to the United States on the part of the newly installed Castro government.

The picture’s caption:

WAP-022519-2/25/59-WASHINGTON: Pony Tail hair styles are displayed by Captain Rafael Ochoa, of the Cuban rebel army and Nydia Bertran, 11, a daughter of a Cuban Embassy Employe [sic] at the embassy 2/25. Ochoa is one of 10 Cuban army men who are in this country to try to win back American tourism to their country, now that peace has returned. The beard and long hair are symbols of the revolution among rebel leader Fidel Castro’s men.

33 A scan of the original Enquirer piece:

Roger Stone National Enquirer

A transcript from the Enquirer piece:

TOP DOLE AIDE CAUGHT IN SEX RING

by David Wright and Melinda Chait

While Bob Dole campaigns on the “moral crisis in America” issue, one of his top advisers has been caught in a sleazy scandal – he and his wife frequent a group-sex club and post notices on the Internet and in swingers’ magazines seeking others to join them in orgies!

An ENQUIRER investigation has ripped the lid off the raunchy lifestyle of Roger Stone, a political strategist who has also worked in high positions for Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Bush.

Stone, 43, has an office at the Dole for President Campaign Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and helped convince Dole to choose Jack Kemp as his running mate.

Ironically, Stone “is one of the advisers who’ve urged Dole and other Republican politicians to emphasize family values and integrity,” a Washington insider revealed.

But Stone and his ex-model wife Nydia, known as Nikki, have a secret life that’s suffering its own moral crisis:

  • THEY POSTED an ad on their Internet “website” – which features a revealing picture of Nikki – inviting couples or single men to join them for sex.
  • THE SAME PICTURE appears in a notice in a Florida swingers’ magazine, which describes the Stones as a “hot, athletic, attractive couple.”
  • THE COUPLE solicit sex partners in as many as 70 swingers’ magazines across the country.
  • NIKKI invited men in uniform to take part in sex games with her and Roger during the Republican convention in San Diego.
  • STONE and his 49-year-old wife have visited a sex club where an orgy unfolded around them.

Stone has denied that he and his wife posted the Internet ads, claiming they’re the work of a person once close to Nikki. The ENQUIRER has confirmed that bills for the website were sent to the Stones’ home and paid for by Nikki’s credit card!

A website is a place on the internet where computer users who pay a fee can post any pictures and text they want. Then anyone who visits the Internet can access the website.

The Stones’ website invited visitors who were interested in group sex to respond to “BebeDD” – Nikki’s computer “screen name” – at a post office box in Washington, D.C.

The website was placed in operation last March and has been accessed thousands of times, our investigation reveals

In addition, numerous other postings were sent by BebeDD to an Internet message board called “sex.swingers.”

One posting says “Super hot babe needs real men…in San Diego. Will be visiting with my husband…and want men for 3-some action.”

Another reads: “Super hot babe with 40-24-36 body has a special weakness for in-shape guys in uniform Marines, Navy, Army, Coast Guard, all military.”

The postings also invite people to visit BebeDD’s website to view her photo.

That same photo turns up in “South Florida Direct Contact Swingers,” an adult publication in South Florida, along with an ad that reads in part: “Hot, former model seeks exceptional, in shape, muscular…studs for threesomes with herself and attractive body builder husband.”

And one couple took them up on their offer. “My girlfriend and I met with Roger and Nikki Stone after responding to their ad in a swingers’ magazine,” a swinger disclosed.

“They told us: ‘We participate in group sex all the time. It is our game to meet a couple or a single – there is no difference to us. If we need to fly somewhere to meet a couple we will.’

“‘Then Stone and his wife asked us to have sex with them. Roger told us: ‘We are turned on. We would like to play with you.’ “It was all very civilized over a nice dinner.”

The swinger provided a Miami phone number that Stone had given him. When The ENQUIRER called that number a man answered and volunteered that he was Nikki’s cousin, and that Nikki and Roger often stay at this home.

What’s more, late last year Stone and his wife were spotted at Capitol Couples, a Washington club that bills itself as a place for “duos desirous of other couples.”

“I met Roger and Nikki there on an evening that ended up in an orgy,” said a club patron.

“There were about 75 to 100 people gathered. A very hard-core porno movie was showing on a screen above them. Suddenly zippers were dropping all over the place.

“Nikki was pretty and looked very fit. She had on a wild black dress that showed plenty of her breasts. He wore leather pants.

“They made it clear they were swingers. She was very open about sex, while he couldn’t take his eyes off what was happening in the room.

“But they also made it plain they thought there were slim pickings available, like the crowd wasn’t up to their standard. They finally left without ever joining in any of the sexual activities.”

In an exclusive ENQUIRER interview from his posh Washington home, Stone – who’s been married to Nikki for five years – denied he has visited swingers’ clubs. And he blamed the internet postings on a person once close to Nikki who’s out to get the couple.

“Nikki was a hand and face model for seven years so there’s an enormous amount of photographic material of her,” he said.

The Republican bigwig did confirm that the post office box listed on the website is his, but claims that the person he blames obtained that post office box number.

And he said the message board postings were also the work of a “very sick individual.”

But the Washington mover [and] shaker admits he made no [attempt?] to contact the police regarding [the] postings because he said he [did not] think they could do anything [about] the problem.

Stone’s attorney Edward [Fitz]patrick told The ENQUI[RER], “The Stones are not respon[sible] for advertisements and pos[tings] on the Internet. Somebody [] to get just what we’re go[] now.”

But a spokesman for the [Inter]net service that handles the [Be]beDD website confirmed that [bills] for the site were sent to [Stone's] home address.

Stone’s attorney Fitzp[atrick] said: “Whoever put the website

Here is the text from Roger and Nikki Stone’s website. Language inappropriate for a family publication has been blacked out:

BebeDD is a knockout!

Seeks 3some/4some action

Hot, insatiable lady and her handsome body builder husband, experienced swingers, seek similar couples or exceptional muscular ——- single men.

BebeDD is outrageously attractive with a 40DD-24-36 figure, violet eyes and a voracious sexual appetite. Rock is 6 ft. 195 muscular build; lean ——-

We travel coast to coast and can [meet in] DC, Miami, NY City, LA or San Die[go].

We are fit, educated, clean, [hip,] discrete, drug-free, sincere, friend[ly,] and tested negative. We expect the [same.]

We are not interested in ext[ensive] correspondence, computer chat o[r people] who are unsure. No smokers, [fatties, or] phonies please.

We are 100% real and ready for [action.]

Send photos and phone to: ([number] deleted)

Remember, No photo = No Response

34 From “REVEALED! THE STARS’ SECRET SEX CLUB”:

Madonna: “She was a regular,” says Marini. “When she first came in in ’92, The Vault was not celebrity-oriented. She would come in dressed low-key, wearing a baseball hat and sweats. Nobody paid attention to her. She was an observer and her viewing preference seemed to be homosexual acts – guys getting it on with guys and girls getting it on with girls. If it was men doing it to each other, she preferred young guys, particularly Latin men.

“Once, two mistresses were whipping a guy and they turned to her while she watched and asked if she desired to make a request. She did – and the women started getting it on together while stepping on the man as they performed.

“When she got the idea to publish her book ‘SEX,’ Madonna arranged a shoot at The Vault and used a guy named Lucifer, our head of security, in many of the photos.

“Right after the book was released, she did a video at The Vault for a song called ‘Erotica.’ Then she mentioned the club during an appearance on ‘The Arsenio Hall Show,’ and business exploded for us. From that point on it was a celebrity madhouse.”

Roseanne: The famous sitcom star was another celeb who was tossed out of the club, Marini says. “Roseanne popped up on a Thursday night with two bodyguards and her behavior was atrocious,” he recalls. “She was loud and obnoxious. There were a couple of scenes going on and Roseanne was mocking everybody and making off-color remarks.

“She was telling her bodyguards things like, ‘Go get a whip and crack that guy on the butt with it.’ Some patrons like to observe these scenes only, others like to participate, but Roseanne was just interfering. We decided not to tolerate any more and eventually bounced her out.”

“Brady Bunch’s” Susan Olsen: “She came in at 3:30 in the morning with two drag queen friends,” Marini says. “They watched a scene involving a guy in a cage. Someone had a monkey and she stayed for a while because she was concerned about the monkey. Then they left.”

Big time political strategist Roger Stone and his wife Nikki: The former Bob Dole adviser and his wife were swingers and The Vault was a favorite haunt.

“Roger and Nikki were our customers for a long time,” Marini says. “They were heavy duty swingers and ran ads on the Internet and in many sex publications. They were heavy players.”

Roger was one of the top advisers who urged Dole and other Republican politicians to emphasize family values and integrity.

“Regardless of his status in politics, Roger never came to the club in disguise,” Marini recalls. “He looked like a Ken doll. He was tall, blond, handsome and muscular and his wife was curvaceous and very sexy. She would wear leather bras and tantalizing outfits and he would wear collars, chaps and a leather vest with no shirt underneath.”

Then in 1996, an ENQUIRER investigation revealed that Roger and his wife frequented group sex clubs and engaged in group sex orgies. In two blockbuster articles, we published evidence, including a shocking ad the couple had placed in a swingers’ magazine soliciting lovers for group sex, a handwritten note arranging a sexual encounter, and revealing photos from sex magazines of Roger and Nikki barechested.

Hours after The ENQUIRER story hit the stands, it was picked up by dailies around the country – and Dole’s campaign ended its association with Roger Stone.

35 From “The Post Buries a Bombshell”:

Is Bob Dole’s alleged mistress news? The leadership at the Washington Post doesn’t think so. Investigative reporter Charles Babcock recently wrote a story based on an interview with a woman who said she was Dole’s mistress back during his first marriage. After a lot of discussion, the Post decided to sit on the story. The leadership at the paper apparently figured that because Dole hadn’t touched the forbidden third rail of President Clinton’s conflicted sexual history or come close to the incumbent in the polls, there was no point in besmirching Dole’s years of public service just as he is on his way out the door.

Given his protests, it was a surprise to hear that Roger and darling Nikki showed up on Oct. 12 at a local bar called The Edge for its “Dungeon Dance,” a festive, mostly gay event that included a roomful of S&M hardware along with ambient circle jerks and blowjobs. It’s a hip scene if you swing that way. A person in attendance said the Stones did not participate in any of the public sexual activity, merely chatting and dancing for a while before they left.

The Post’s Reliable Source got wind of the Stones’ night on the town and called Stone on it. “We danced. We went home. Big deal,” he responded.

From “D.C. Swings!” by Scott Barancik:

After circling the room, we finally mark a spot, grin fleetingly at the neighboring couples, and sit. It’s 20 minutes before Karyn, realizing that her white companion is riven with performance anxiety, bolts from her seat and introduces herself to a woman whose outfit she admires. Minutes later, she waves at me to come join her and Ariel, who is exquisitely squeezed into a black dress about six inches short of her circumference.

We’re joined by Ariel’s husband, Jack. Handsome and fit in black leather pants, he scans the room with icy, smileless blue eyes, like a panther on the prowl. The couple live in the District, but they prefer to swing in Southern California or Florida, where body-consciousness and the hot sun make for better-looking couples. Still, they’ve belonged to Capitol Couples for years, including when it was anchored in a restaurant just a garter’s toss from the White House.

Jack points out an attractive young white woman in an impossibly short skirt. “She’s probably slept with every black man here,” he tells me-apparently that’s some kind of problem for him. Separately, Ariel makes a similar comment to Karyn. Later, I spot the same young woman in the dreadlocked DJ’s booth. She slowly lowers herself toward the floor until her head sinks below his waistline, out of our sight. A giant smile breaks over his face.

Ariel’s attention wanders to the video screen, where an actress is parting her rear for the camera. “Well,” she says good-naturedly, gauging the actress’s degree of pucker, “you can tell this woman’s never taken it in the behind.” A moment later, as I watch Ariel watch the video, I have an epiphany: I’ve seen her come-hither photo posted on a local adult electronic bulletin board.

36 From “The Post Buries a Bombshell”:

Stone employed other, less subtle measures to keep the lid on. One of the sources for the Enquirer was Scott Barancik, a local writer who free-lances for Washington City Paper. Barancik did a story about Capitol Couples for City Paper last year, in which he met a buff couple who introduced themselves as Roger and Nikki. On Sept. 9, the Enquirer called Barancik and offered him $1,000 to compare a photo they had with his memory of the couple he had met at the club. Barancik told the Enquirer that he could not say with certainty that its picture matched the man he had met at Capitol Couples. When the story ran, his name leaked, and he was promptly threatened with legal action by Stone’s lawyer, Larry Klayman, in part because the Stones erroneously believed Barancik was the original source of the story. Barancik retained a lawyer and agreed to sign an affidavit saying that he had not positively identified Stone for the Enquirer in exchange for a written agreement not to sue him. Stone immediately began parading the affidavit-including an appearance on Good Morning America-to suggest that the whole story was a hoax.

37 From Dirty Tricks:

38 All of the points about the woefully unreported National Obscenity Enforcement Unit, and their Projects Postporn and Wormwood come from Eric Schlosser’s invaluable Reefer Madness. I include here a large excerpt of the relevant text because skeptics may think that I might have finessed the facts into fantasy, that this could not have taken place. Yet it did:

The Supreme Court’s ruling on obscenity in 1973, which gave local communities the power to enforce their own standards of decency, had originally been intended to protect conservative districts from the looser morality of liberal ones. The National Obscenity Enforcement Unit tried to use the ruling to achieve a very different aim, attempting to impose the morality of conservative towns on the rest of the nation. The unit commissioned studies to discover where juries in the United States were most likely to vote for obscenity convictions – and then it sought the indictment of national distributors, under federal law, in those districts. H. Robert Showers, the head of the unit, was a former assistant U.S. attorney from North Carolina. He thought Playboy fit the legal definition of obscenity, hoped to rid the nation of soft-core porn, as well as hard-core material, and often signed his official correspondence “Yours Truly in Christ.”

With Project Wormwood, the Reagan Justice Department targeted Southern California’s major producers of hard-core videos. Instead of indicting them in California, where juries were unlikely to convict them, the government sent federal agents from Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Florida to a porn industry convention, posing as video store owners. These agents sought out hard-core producers and solicited their products. When hard-core videos arrived by mail at the phony stores in conservative communities – such as Tallahassee, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Aberdeen, Mobile, and Birmingham, Alabama – federal prosecutors indicted the California porn companies for interstate transportation of obscene material. Dozens of hard-core producers and distributors were indicted in this way. Wormwood failed, however, to destroy the adult film industry. Through plea bargains and the intervention of sympathetic federal judges, most of the defendants received short sentences and/or large fines. “We always used to worry about being extorted by the mob,” one hard-core producer told me, while discussing Wormwood, “Then all of a sudden it was the federal government hitting us up for money.”

Project Postporn was aimed at mail-order companies that sold sexually explicit material. The basic strategy was outlined by a CDL attorney in 1983, then described at greater length two years later by Brent Ward, one of Utah’s U.S. attorneys, in a memo to Attorney General Meese. Ward argued that mail-order companies should be hit with “multiple prosecutions (either simultaneous or successive) in all levels of government in may locations.” He thought that a single company should face as many as thirty-five different criminal prosecutions at once, all over the United States. The idea, as later adopted by the Justice Department, was not to secure a conviction through an obscenity trial, but to mount so many prosecutions at once that a mail-order company would be forced out of business simply by the cost of mounting a defense. The federal government had almost unlimited resources for such a fight; mail-order companies did not. The U.S. Attorney’s Manual permitted such multiple-district prosecutions only in unusual situations, but it discouraged the strategy because of its “unfairness” to the defendant. At the direction of Assistant Attorney General William Weld, the Justice Department later rewrote its manual and “encouraged” multiple prosecutions in obscenity cases.

On May 29, 1986, Philip Harvey’s warehouse in North Carolina was raided by approximately thirty federal and state law enforcement agents, including at least one federal agent from Utah. PHE’s employees were kept in the building all day for questioning, and their personal belongings were searched. Harvey was caught completely by surprise. Members of the Christian Action League of North Carolina had been ordering Adam & Eve catalogues for years and then complaining to federal officials. But the FBI had investigated Harvey’s company in 1984 and had determined that nothing it sold was obscene. Indeed, local FBI agents refused to participate in the raid on Harvey’s warehouse. U.S. postal inspectors were recruited instead, some of them joining the investigation with reluctance.

When Harvey’s attorneys, John Mintz and Wade Smith (a former FBI administrator), met with federal prosecutors from Utah and North Carolina to explore a possible plea bargain, they were told that as part of any deal, Harvey would have to stop selling hard-core and soft-core videos. He would have to stop selling books like The Joy of Sex. Although financially secure and engaged in meaningful, nonprofit work, Harvey wouldn’t accept that sort of deal. He refused to be bullied by the government. “There comes a point in life,” Harvey later recalled, “when you simply have to say enough is enough.”

Carl Fox, the district attorney in Orange County, North Carolina, thought that prosecuting Philip Harvey for obscenity would be a waste of time and taxpayer money. But George Hunt, the district attorney in neighboring Alamance County, disagreed and indicted Harvey on eight counts of disseminating obscene material under state law. Federal prosecutors assisted Hunt’s prosecution. If Hunt could prove that Harvey’s merchandise violated the community standards of his own state, obscenity convictions might be easier to obtain elsewhere. In March, 1987, Harvey went on trial in Alamance County. Half of the jurors were born-again Christians, and one was a minister’s son. The prosecution showed hard-core videos in the courtroom, including a lengthy orgy scene that featured porn star Vanessa Del Rio. Harvey’s attorney argued that this material appealed to a healthy, not a prurient, interest in sex. He introduced no evidence in Harvey’s defense. The jury deliberated for five minutes an then found Harvey not guilty on all counts. “It just seems like the government is trying too hard to regulate what we look at,” Robert West, the foreman of the jury, told the Greensboro News and Record. Support from the local community gave Harvey a tremendous boost, but his troubles were far from over. “We must regain momentum after the Adam & Eve verdict,” one U.S. attorney in North Carolina wrote to his staff, “and come with as many indictments as possible.”

From Dirty Tricks:

39 From “The Roots of Ed Meese” by Kate Coleman:

In 1981, in a speech before the California Peace Officers Assn., he called the American Civil Liberties Union a “criminals’ lobby.” At Christmas time in 1983, he said he had seen no “authoritative” evidence of a serious hunger problem in America, and that some people go to soup kitchens “because the food is free, and that’s easier than paying for it.” This year, five days before Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday was first celebrated as a federal holiday, Meese invoked the slain civil-rights leader’s name in attacking affirmative action. King, said Meese, would have opposed affirmative action as a violation of his ideal “colorblind” society.

Articles on the Wedtech scandal are “Prosecutor to Probe Meese Links to Wedtech Scandal” by Associated Press and “Wedtech Scandal Gets Messier and Messier” by Clifford D. May. A contemporary editorial on Meese’s resignation is “In Resigning As Attorney General, Edwin Meese Did Nation A Favor”.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Roger Stone: Pretty Reckless Is Going Straight To Hell Part One

(Originally, this was to be part of a profile of Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein; like so many of my areas of interest, more and more toxins filled this needle, till it cried out, “Release me!” and demanded a space of its own. The Rothstein profile will come later, soon. Everyone who writes about Roger Stone in any kind of depth is indebted to the work of Wayne Barrett, and I am as well. Anyone who wonders what journalism must be like in the future must look to what Wayne Barrett has done in the past. The post title is a smudged borrowing of Taylor Momsen’s band and their tour name.)

ROGER STONE:

PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX

PART SEVEN PART EIGHT PART NINE PART TEN

The Nixon Administration was characterized by, among other things, fragmentation. What the Nixon men thought was unconnected to what they said. What they said was unconnected to what they did. What they did or said they were doing at one moment was unconnected to what they did or said they were doing the next moment. And when they were driven from office, they left behind them not one but several unconnected records of themselves.

–Johnathan Schell, The Time of Illusion

THE WELL DRESSED MAN: AN INTRODUCTION

He was a very visible man, and a very invisible man. Where most of the political class wore office casual, he sported suits with ties and pocket squares – ties and pocket squares, by the way, should never match. It was one more piece of fashion advice he was happy to give out, sometimes in an occasional column in the Daily Caller: “There are a few things a true gentleman cannot live without. The black silk knitted square-bottom tie is just such an indispensable item.”1 The clothes added a note of sinister formality to his sinister informality. When his occasional client and occasional friend, Donald Trump, was on the Tonight Show, then host Jay Leno spotted him in his gangster pin stripes. “Hey Donald,” said Leno, “you brought your bookie.”2 He had a tattoo of Nixon on his back, and at one time he thought of putting another tat above it, Olde English script that said “Republican Gangsta”3.

Roger Stone – political consultant, bon vivant, sleazemeister, bottom feeder, scumbag – may well represent, or once represented, an obvious and necessary step, political sleaze as a spectacle to be observed, like fire breathing and bear baiting, rather than for political purpose itself. He is something like Kim Kardashian, who plays the various parts that the entertainment industrial complex might demand of an actress, such as posing nude and constantly appearing on TV, without the inconvenience of acting in-between. He reminds you of a point made in Chuck Klosterman’s piece, “What Happens When People Stop Being Polite”, an essay about the MTV series “The Real World”, that the show is a success because it transforms malleable personalities into archetypes4. There are far more important, more powerful political consultants who cut a less interesting, less vivid profile than Stone’s. He does not present a malleable character so much as an archetype of sleaze, something as consistent in texture as an oil slick. His physical presence embodies his sensibility, just as a cartoon succinctly does, a cajoling muscle bound body bursting through an expensive suit, with a wiseacre head poking out of the carapace, sporting a nasty grin and synthetic hair. “I’m here. Who needs to be spun?” Stone would announce to writer Matt Labash in 2000, when Donald Trump would bait the world with the possibility of running for president. “The naked cynicism at the heart of it,” Labash would write, led him to an epiphany: “I like Roger Stone.” The query, “Who needs to be spun?” was made on the Trump tour bus, A Touch of Class, all of which added a fitting note to the moment, just as fitting as “who wants a blowjob?” called out from a gold plated jacuzzi5.

This uber-sleaziness, the strip clubs, the dirty tricks, the sexual swinging, is what comes through in two of the three pieces written about Stone at the height of his public prominence, both by fine writers, “The Dirty Trickster” by Jeffrey Toobin, and “Roger Stone, Political Animal” by Labash. The third member of this trinity, “State of the Art Sleazeball” by Jacob Weisberg, is a ghost, impossible now to find on the web, and it perhaps is the most crucial. “Trickster” and “Animal” are both linked on Stone’s site, and “Animal” is even hosted on there. Stone would even name Labash his favorite working journalist6. “Animal” is from 2007, “Trickster” from 2008, and “Sleazeball” from 1985, and I can only wonder at what was in there, because though it was written nearly thirty years ago, something in it discomforted and bothered Stone in a way that the later profiles did not. When Weisberg (now the head of the Slate Group, the publisher of Slate) would hire Stone’s nemesis Eliot Spitzer for a column, Stone would have this to say, nearly twenty five years later, in “Eliot Spitzer At Slate”:

That Spitzer would be hired by Slate Editor Jacob Weisberg only figures. Weisberg has little regard for facts, having written the first major hit-piece on me for the New Republic some 30 years ago and having failed to kill the king. The piece was both intellectually and factually dishonest. The hit-job was on orders of then – New Republic Editor Michael Kinsley who’s sexual advances I must have spurned as we were friendly prior to this unprovoked attack on me (although I have no memory of having done so.)

Weisberg and Spitzer. Scum attracts scum.

Nearly thirty years later, when Weisberg would review Gabriel Sherman’s The Loudest Voice in the Room, Stone would tweet: “@JacobWeisberg? is that talentless little prick still around?”7

As said, I can only speculate at what might be in the Weisberg piece, but I think it points to the problem of separating sleazy spectacle from sleazy substance, that the sleaze becomes viewed as only spectacle, as only for show. We are shown the dirt on the fingers, without bothering to look at the dirt under the fingernails. The spectacle distorts what is actually there, much as it might in other places. Though she might appear as nude as Kim Kardashian, an actress may well have phenomenal talent. The cruelties of the “The Real World” star may be a distortion, an exaggeration that might be dismissed – but those same star’s cruelties in, as they say, the real world, are very real and very cruel. These are the invisible parts of the very visible Roger Stone, the parts not talked about in the Toobin and Labash pieces. Though I am a fragile and delicate insect, and the hide of Roger Stone is very rough and thick, perhaps something in what follows will sting something like “State of the Art Sleazeball”. I should emphasize that this piece is the result of my own dangerous curiosity, and not because any of my advances have been spurned by Stone. I don’t think I find him very attractive or charming; to my mind, he resembles a dish of french fries that have been cooked a little too long, and with far too much oil.

THE WELL DRESSED MAN PART ONE: THE TIME OF ILLUSION / BREAKING IN

The major co-ordinates of Stone’s life are well-known and given mention even in the briefest of bios: worked on CREEP (Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President), was in brief exile during Watergate, worked the northeast for Reagan’s election and re-election, helped get Tom Kean elected Republican governor of New Jersey by a razor thin margin, became a member of uberlobbyist firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, worked on the 1996 Dole campaign until the National Enquirer published a long piece on ads he and his wife had placed on a swinger website looking for sex partners, another brief exile, the organizer of the 2000 Brooks Brothers riot, where a group of republican operatives stopped a Miami Dade vote count that was going in Gore’s favor, then a consultant on various sundry candidates, including Al Sharpton, Tom Golisano and Larry Klayman. He was very publicly fired by one of his clients, New York Senate head Joe Bruno, after a phone call was made to the father of then governor, Eliot Spitzer, a phone call full of threat, venom, and rage, which sounded uncannily like Stone. This was another well known x-y point, as was what followed, with Stone claiming to be the source for the FBI of Spitzer’s hook-ups with prostitutes. Stone would work as a consultant for Kristin Davis when she tried for the libertarian candidate for governor, and Davis was a madam who claimed that Spitzer had been one of her clients. Through it all, he often worked as a consultant for Donald Trump, though he was briefly put outside the friendzone after the Spitzer phone call. “Roger is a stone-cold loser,” Trump would tell Toobin for his profile. “What he did was ridiculous and stupid. I lost respect for Eliot Spitzer when he didn’t sue Roger Stone for doing that to his father, who is a wonderful man.”8 His second to last major moment was to dramatically leave the Republican party and work for libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. His last was to publish The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, which argues that the Texas veep used very old school means to make it into the executive suite.

It is perhaps thanks to the last event, that I was gifted with a small discovery during my research for this piece. It was after reading Lawrence Wright’s insightful memoir, In the New World: Growing Up with America from the Sixties to the Eighties, that I learned of the deep shame that many Texans, and many from Dallas, felt years after the Kennedy assassination, that they were seen as complicit in the murder. Whatever mixture of feelings the state might have towards Johnson, to accuse a Texan who ascended to the highest office in the country of brutal murder was perhaps something verboten, an intolerable spit in the face. I say this because someone, whether for this vengeance, or because someone didn’t get paid, or another motive – perhaps Stone himself in a misguided attempt at self-promotion – placed draft copies of Stone’s memoirs (as well as a book called Stone’s Rules, a compendium of wisdom that perhaps thankfully avoids the witticism of Roger’s Rules) on a very public, very legal document sharing site. There are no markers or insignia on the documents that you would expect from a hacker, and the documents in the uploaded group were exclusively Stone’s, not a mash of stuff from a publisher. These memoir drafts sound very much like Stone’s voice, and they appear to be too thorough, too full of obscure details known only to Stone or a Stone aficionado, to be a forgery – if it is a forgery, it is one that corresponds in every way to the details Stone has presented so far of his life, and with the minute details of recent political history. There is, I think, a very important and practical reason for giving light to selected parts of the book: given that Stone has accused a man, Lyndon Baines Johnson, of contract murder in one book, there are portions of this book that can be used to refute the charges.

This memoir is both interesting and a disappointment. Stone gives us, once again, the salacious details he thinks we want, or that he feels comfortable giving us, rather than the truly squalid fascinating guts of the matter. “The first and last time I ever snorted cocaine was off a women’s ass in a downstairs bathroom stall at Studio 54,” is one detail we’re supposedly dying to hear9. Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlin endorses Nixon in exchange for “all the white pussy he can eat.” The campaign hires prostitutes, but many working girls refuse, because Chamberlin is so sizable it’ll be painful. Stone closes the anecdote with a quote from Nixon, “A political mistake is like a fart – sometimes you just have to step away from it.”10 After Watergate, Stone is in charge of the various regional directors for Reagan’s 1976 try for the Republican nomination, and he fucks the girl who’s in charge of the southwest. A few days later, he finds it incredibly painful when he urinates. He and the southwest director argue over who gave the other gonorrhea. They’re stuck with each other as bedmates while Reagan loses the nomination to Ford11. He bangs a Nixon secretary who got rolled by just about everybody in the Nixon White House. A deputy of vice president Spiro Agnew “had allegedly bent her over the hood of his sports car and banged her in the office parking garage.”12 Dirty tricks of the bedroom kind, it is made clear, are intertwined with dirty tricks of the political kind; a Nixon deputy lets Stone know that he might be of use for “after hours work,” the body politic kind, and Stone gives us the vital detail: “I had an immediate erection.”13

It’s this sort of anecdote that gets Stone labeled as colorful, and though I’m not unreceptive to them, they really aren’t the most interesting things he could be writing about. I went through his book looking to see what he had to say about areas I’ll try and give some space to here, such as his time at Nixon’s CREEP (a collection of very dirty tricksters), the election of Tom Kean, the candidacy of Al Sharpton, his time at Black, Manafort, Stone – especially his time at Black, Manafort, Stone – the political dirtiness over the bedroom dirtiness, and came away more than a little disappointed. You feel like you’re dealing with someone who hacked into a top movie studio executive’s computer and bragged about the nude selfies he bagged when all you want to see is the studio’s real dirty business, their second set of books. There is one passage, however, which really gives up the goods, and I quote it here:

I don’t think Stone ever says what policy he is for in this memoir, and he might well consider a focus on policy a distraction. There is only winning and losing an election, and five methods for achieving a victory recur again and again in races that Stone is involved with, four methods that create a mirror maze of confusion, misdirection, and elimination. The first is through association, by having a candidate receive an endorsement from a person or group who potential supporters of the candidate are predisposed to view as an opponent, or through association with something unquestionably malevolent made via protesters, pamphlets, or other means funded by Stone’s campaign but without any fingerprints. The second is by having a group, funded by allied interests, oppose a candidate or policy due to some larger moral principle that everyone can agree on – the issue is not candidate A versus B, but opposition to crime, gambling, or child abuse. The third is the smear, saying your opponent is corrupt, weak, racist, a rapist, a murderer, a pedophile, always helpfully done not through you, the opponent on which this tar might stick, but through a phantom proxy. This last is used very, very often by Stone. The fourth, and one of the most effective, is through fragmentation of the vote. There is, say, overwhelming support for candidate A, who will raise the minimum wage, versus candidate B, who won’t. You split this overwhelming vote by funding another candidate, who wants to raise the minimum wage even higher, and who chastises candidate A for compromising their principles and being beholden to business interests for not asking for a higher wage. Through a vote split, candidate B, the one who says he believes the condition of workers must be improved, but not through easy sounding solutions like a higher minimum wage, scores a victory. At the same time, you make great efforts to keep the votes for your own candidate or issue from being fragmented. The fifth is vote suppression, of black and latino voters, who tend to poll democrat. The first four have been employed in elections that Stone has been involved in, with Stone often taking credit. The fifth has been employed alongside Stone’s efforts, though perhaps without the collusion of Stone.

All three were used in the first major race that Stone was involved in, the 1972 presidential election. When he was ten years old, Stone remembered he had a tarot card reading where he was told he would meet a leader who would change his life, and Stone would later say this leader could be only one man, a man he would become enraptured by, make into his idol, and whose face he would ink into the skin on his back14. In 1972, he would help to get this life changing leader, Richard Nixon, re-elected. Every method, except voter suppression, were put to use by Nixon and the Nixon group Stone worked for, CREEP, the Committee to Re-elect the President.

The repellent ugliness of most of these tactics has been forgotten, and so I’m grateful to Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland for recording them. Black protesters suddenly showed up in front of the hotel room of democratic candidate Edmund Muskie, calling him racist for having said that a Democratic ticket with a black running mate couldn’t get elected. An ad suddenly appeared in a Miami Beach Jewish newspaper: “Muskie, Why Won’t You Consider a Jew as a Vice President?” Muskie hadn’t excluded the possibility. Flyers appeared in Jewish neighborhoods: “Remember the Warsaw Ghetto…Vote Right on March 14.” Muskie was of Polish descent15. A letter was sent to a New Hampshire paper, filled with outrage at what happened when Muskie had been asked how he could understand the problems of minorities given the lack of minorities in Maine, Muskie’s home state. A Muskie aide had supposedly replied that they did have minorities in Maine, the very same minority that was there in New Hampshire: “Not blacks, but we have Canucks.” Muskie had supposedly laughed16. The next day, Muskie’s wife was indicted in an editorial in the same paper of telling dirty jokes to reporters, and having two cocktails before dinner. Something in all this broke Muskie, and when the candidate defended his wife in front of television cameras, he began to weep17. Muskie’s tears destroyed his candidacy. Muskie was a target, but all the Democratic candidates were targets. Two hundred dollars was donated to Pete McCloskey by the Young Socialist Alliance, the receipt for the donation helpfully sent to a right-wing news editor. A mole, code named Sedan Chair II, was hired to go inside the Herbert Humphrey campaign and relay strategic information18.

It would eventually be established with certainty that the man who’d written the “Canucks” letter, the man who’d hired the black protesters in front of Muskie’s hotel room, was Donald Segretti, who handled a secret, separate black ops campaign team for CREEP. The man who’d actually sent the letter to McCloskey, who’d hired the Sedan Chair II mole, was a nineteen year old operative named Roger Stone. It was because of this that he makes a brief appearance in the Watergate testimony.

From “Hearings before the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities of the United States Senate June 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14, 1973″ (page 499 on pdf and the actual document). Reisner is Robert Reisner, former administrative assistant to Jeb Magruder, the head of CREEP; Thompson is Fred Dalton Thompson, occasional senator, occasional actor, and one-time candidate for the president, in 2008:

MR. THOMPSON
Did the receipts – do you recall any names of, or any amounts to individuals who were receiving money from Mr. Porter’s safe?

MR. REISNER
Well, I can remember that there were, in addition to Mr. Liddy – now, Mr. Liddy was – it was Mr. Porter that indicated to me that Mr. Liddy was receiving money. There was an individual who was referred to by a code name and that ode name was “Sedan Chair” and that that individual was-

MR. THOMPSON
Sedan Chair? Two words?

MR. REISNER
Yes. I believe it was actually “Sedan Chair 2.”

MR. THOMPSON
Was there a Sedan Chair 1?

MR. REISNER
I do not know. I do not know. Perhaps there was. There was also an individual who worked for Mr. Porter named Roger Stone, who I believe received money. And there may have been other individuals.

But to my recollection, which is a little bit vague on this, there was not a regular disbursement, with those exceptions.

MR. THOMPSON
Who was Sedan Chair?

MR. REISNER
I do not know. I know that – well, I mean, I have sort of a general circumstantial understanding of who I think Sedan Chair was.

MR. THOMPSON
Tell us about it.

MR. REISNER
I will come as close as I can.

MR. THOMPSON
Tell us about it.

MR. REISNER
Subsequent to that, after I learned that there was such an individual, I think I was more alert to the name and I did see a memo in April, I believe, or perhaps May, that purported to be a report from another campaign committee. I believe it was the Humphrey committee. I do not know for a fact who Sedan Chair was. It could have been someone who just simply had his disagreement with the Humphrey committee and wished to report on some of their activities.

MR. THOMPSON
It was someone in the Humphrey committee, from what you can tell?

MR. REISNER
From what I can tell, I mean it purported to be.

Stone would elaborate in his own memoir:

Sedan Chair II was Michael W. McMinoway, and he would testify before the Watergate Committee that he worked as a campaign spy between February until July 1972 within three Democratic campaigns, Muskie in Wisconsin, Humphrey in Pennsylvania and California, and McGovern at the Democratic National Convention. He would be contacted by a man named Jason Rainier, who said he represented a group of concerned citizens, and he would pay him $1,500 a month for undercover work. Jason Rainier would turn out to be Roger Stone – incidentally, there is a twitter handle Jason Rainier (jrainier88), most of whose tweets are re-tweets of Stone’s. Another incidentally is that McMinoway would say in his testimony that two women who met with a McGovern delegate were prostitutes, though despite Stone’s claims, he made no mention of such activity in connection to Humphrey. He offered no proof as to why he believed the women with the McGovern delegate were prostitutes19.

There were methods of misdirection, and there was also use of the most powerful method, vote fragmentation. Edmund Muskie was the candidate considered to be the most formidable opponent against Nixon, and so focus was given to weaken and destroy the candidate in order that Nixon might face someone he might easily beat, George McGovern, in the general election. In his memoir, Stone gives an account of his attempt to split Muskie’s catholic vote by bringing a conservative catholic democrat into the race, Los Angeles mayor Sam Yorty:

Were George Wallace, the segregationist governor, to run on a third party ticket in 1972, he would end up splitting votes with Nixon, possibly throwing the election to the democrats. If Wallace hadn’t been running in the general in 1968, thought Nixon, he would have had a landslide. It would be very helpful if Wallace were to instead run for the democratic nomination, avoiding a vote split among republicans and creating further discord among the democrats. This very thing took place, not through the influence of Stone, Segretti, or CREEP, but perhaps a far more powerful man than any of them. In the summer of 1971, Wallace was on a flight from Key Biscayne to Alabama with other southern governors and president Nixon. Though Wallace had stolen a landslide from Nixon in ’68, had perhaps nearly taken away the whole enchilada from him, Wallace and Nixon were very friendly when the plane touched down. A few days later, Wallace would tell an associate, “I’m tired of those kooks in the third-party business. I’m thinking of going back into the Democratic Party.” Wallace had a brother, and that brother had tax fraud problems that a grand jury was investigating. A few months after his plane meeting with Nixon, the grand jury was dissolved. Later the same year, the Justice Department announced that Alabama’s civil rights enforcement plan is “a much better plan than many states.”

John Mitchell would give ten thousand dollars to a disaffected Wallace supporter who, through a group called Committee Against Forced Busing, would deploy members of the American Nazi party to convince members of the party Wallace ran with in ’68, the American Independent Party, to change their registration to democrat, supposedly so they could vote for Wallace in the California Democratic primary, but for the actual purpose of getting American Independent Party registration down enough to keep the party off the general election ballot. In January, 1972, Dan Rather asked Nixon about the threat of a Wallace candidacy, and Nixon gave a strange reply. Nixon grinned that Wallace wasn’t a problem for the Republicans, he was a problem for the Democrats. It was a strange reply because Wallace hadn’t yet announced his candidacy as a Democrat20.

All the subterfuge of CREEP would be revealed with Watergate and the collapse of the Nixon presidency. The same secretly funded sabotage operation against democratic candidates involving Segretti and Stone was part of a larger secret sabotage operation against all enemies of the White House. The same funds that kept the dirty tricks of CREEP going also went to hire the plumbers who were trying to locate the source of White House leaks and stop them. The plumbers would go after Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon papers, and break into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. This is made clear in an article of the time, “FBI Finds Nixon Aides Sabotaged Democrats” by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, now part of the e-book The Original Watergate Stories:

FBI agents have established that the Watergate bugging incident stemmed from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of President Nixon’s re-election and directed by officials of the White House and the Committee for the Re-election of the President.

The activities, according to information in FBI and Department of Justice files, were aimed at all the major Democratic presidential contenders and – since 1971 – represented a basic strategy of the Nixon re-election effort.

During their Watergate investigation, federal agents established that hundreds of thousands of dollars in Nixon campaign contributions had been set aside to pay for an extensive undercover campaign aimed at discrediting individual Democratic presidential candidates and disrupting their campaigns.

“Intelligence work” is normal during a campaign and is said to be carried out by both political parties. But federal investigators said what they uncovered being done by the Nixon forces is unprecedented in scope and intensity.

They said it included:

Following members of Democratic candidates’ families and assembling dossiers on their personal lives; forging letters and distributing them under the candidates’ letterheads; leaking false and manufactured items to the press; throwing campaign schedules into disarray; seizing confidential campaign files; and investigating the lives of dozens of Democratic campaign workers.

In addition, investigators said the activities included planting provocateurs in the ranks of organizations expected to demonstrate at the Republican and Democratic conventions; and investigating potential donors to the Nixon campaign before their contributions were solicited.

Law enforcement sources said that probably the best example of the sabotage was the fabrication by a White House aide – of a celebrated letter to the editor alleging that Sen. Edmund S. Muskie (D-Maine) condoned a racial slur on Americans of French-Canadian descent as “Canucks.”

The letter was published in the Manchester Union Leader Feb 24, less than two weeks before the New Hampshire primary. It in part triggered Muskie’s politically damaging “crying speech” in front of the newspaper’s office.

The investigators said that a major purpose of the sub rosa activities was to create so much confusion, suspicion and dissension that the Democrats would be incapable of uniting after choosing a presidential nominee.

The FBI’s investigation of the Watergate established that virtually all the acts against the Democrats were financed by a secret, fluctuating $350,000-$700,000 campaign fund that was controlled by former Attorney General John N. Mitchell while he headed the Justice Department. Later, when he served as President Nixon’s campaign manager, Mitchell shared control of the fund with others. The money was kept in a safe in the office of the President’s chief fundraiser, former Secretary of Commerce Maurice Stans.

I have not given any mention of Stone’s origins, that he is part Italian part Hungarian, that his father was a driller and his mother a schoolteacher, that he grew up in rural Westchester County, because I don’t think they are of much relevance or importance. Watergate, with all the treachery, secrecy, and cruel tricks associated with that name, is the true birthplace of Roger Stone. The scandal made him a brief exile, but it did not destroy him. He had only begun his work.

(Originally, this piece described Jacob Weisberg as the editor of Slate; this was corrected to his being the head of the Slate Group on March 4th, 2014.)

ROGER STONE:

PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX

PART SEVEN PART EIGHT PART NINE PART TEN

FOOTNOTES

1 From “The beauty of the indispensable black knitted tie”:

There are a few things a true gentleman cannot live without. The black silk knitted square-bottom tie is just such an indispensable item. No true gentlemen would be without one. They can be twisted, pulled, knotted and will perform for decades if not forever. Such a tie has saved my life on numerous occasions.

2 From “Chump on the Stump” by Matt Labash:

That night, we follow Trump to a taping of the Jay Leno show in Burbank. As Trump cools his heels in the dressing room before the show, Leno pops in for a visit, and sees Stone in his Bugsy Siegel rig. “Hey Donald,” cracks Leno, “you brought your bookie.” We journalists are briefly permitted into the studio to watch the pre-show festivities. Warm-up comic Bob Perlow plies the crowd with stale jokes and show tunes. Then, spotting Melania in the audience, he insists she come up to the stage, where she is asked to dance seductively while throwing souvenir t-shirts into the audience. Tonight Show staffers claim this is a pre-game tradition, but one suspects they invented it as an excuse to watch Melania gyrate.

3 From the blog Brief Wit, this is from part two of Ross Gottesman’s interview with Stone, “Roger & Me”:

BW: Did the tattoo hurt?

RS: It hurt like a son of a bitch. But I was drunk. I was in California on vacation and I was thinking about it. It took four hours. The worst pain was at the very end, when they did all the shading. But the [second and] real reason I did it? Because it pisses liberals off.

BW: It doesn’t piss me off. I think it’s hilarious.

RS: I’ve been thinking about [what's next]. There are two possibilities. I’m either going to put Reagan’s head right here [on my lower left ab]. You ever see those tattoos where it looks like he’s ripping through your skin and sticking his head out? Or, I am going to put [above Nixon] on my shoulders in Olde English: “Republican Gangsta.”

4 From “What Happens When People Stop Being Polite” by Chuck Klosterman, from Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs:

It’s been noted that one of the keys to Alfred Hitchcock’s success as a filmmaker was that he didn’t draw characters as much as he drew character types; this is how he normalized the cinematic experience. It’s the same way with The Real World. The show succeeds because it edits malleable personalities into flat, twenty-something archetypes. What interests me is the way those archetypes so quickly became the normal way for people of my generation to behave.

5 From “Roger Stone, Political Animal” by Matt Labash:

But the moment that has most stuck with me came after reporters had just watched Trump dispense invaluable life tips at a Tony Robbins seminar (“Get even. When somebody screws you, screw ‘em back–but a lot harder”). Stone mounted the bus, which in Trumpian fashion was named “A Touch of Class,” and announced, “I’m here. Who needs to be spun?”

It was a throwaway line, not even one of the serially quotable Stone’s best, but the naked cynicism at the heart of it might be why his fans in the press corps over the years have called him things like “a state of the art sleaze-ball,” “an extreme rightwing sleazeball,” and the “boastful black prince of Republican sleaze” (the sleaze theme is popular). Color me contrarian, but I will say something I don’t believe another Washington reporter has ever admitted publicly: I like Roger Stone.

6 From “The FishbowlDC Interview With Roger Stone” by Betsy Rothstein:

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Matt Labash, Weekly Standard, no one does it like him.

7 The tweet:

8 From “The Dirty Trickster” by Jeffrey Toobin:

Over the years, Stone’s relationships with colleagues and clients have been so combustible that his value as a messenger has been compromised. Stone worked for Donald Trump as an occasional lobbyist and as an adviser when Trump considered running for President in 2000. “Roger is a stone-cold loser,” Trump told me. “He always tries taking credit for things he never did.” Like Nixon, Stone is also a great hater-of, among others, the Clintons, Karl Rove, and Spitzer.

“They caught Roger red-handed lying,” Donald Trump said. “What he did was ridiculous and stupid. I lost respect for Eliot Spitzer when he didn’t sue Roger Stone for doing that to his father, who is a wonderful man.”

9 From Dirty Tricks:

10 From Dirty Tricks:

11 From Dirty Tricks:

12 From Dirty Tricks:

13 From Dirty Tricks:

14 From “The FishbowlDC Interview With Roger Stone” by Betsy Rothstein:

Have you ever had a tarot card reading? Yes. My mother, part Hungarian and very superstitious paid for it – 10 years old – told me I would meet a leader who would change my life (Nixon).

15 From Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland:

The Man from Maine [Edmund Muskie] kept on running into bad luck. Opponents seemed to know what the campaign had planned before some staff did. A stink bomb went off in one of his offices; a mysterious press release went out in Florida that the Muskie campaign was illegally using government-owned typewriters. Ten black picketers paced back and forth on the sidewalk in front of his hotel in Tampa calling him a racist for a comment, back in September, that a Democratic ticket with a black running mate would have a hard time getting elected. An ad appeared in the February 8 issue of a Miami Beach Jewish newspaper: “Muskie, Why Won’t You Consider a Jew as a Vice President?” (Muskie hadn’t said a word on the subject.) Flyers referring to Muskie’s Polish heritage began appearing in Jewish neighborhoods: “Remember the Warsaw Ghetto…Vote Right on March 14.” A memo by his pollster recommending he hold hearings on property taxes in Los Angeles to “take advantage of free TV time” before announcing for the California primary somehow made it to Evans and Novak.

16 From Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland:

The polling in New Hampshire was projecting two-thirds of the vote for Muskie. But cracks in his composure started showing in the face of questions like “Senator, if you get only sixty percent of the vote in New Hampshire, will you consider that a defeat?” He lost more composure in the face of sabotage: false scheduling information kept getting out to the public. Then William Loeb of the Manchester Union Leader, always eager to destroy a liberal, reproduced on his February 24 front page a handwritten, semiliterate letter from someone named Paul Morrison, who said he had met Muskie in Florida and asked how he could understand the problems of black people given the few minorities in Maine. A Muskie aide, the letter related, responded that they did have minorities in Maine: “Not blacks, but we have Canucks”-at which Muskie was reported to have laughed appreciatively.

Canucks, also prevalent in New Hampshire, were French Canadians. Muskie thought of them, evidently, as New England’s niggers.

17 From Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland:

The next day a lacerating front-page editorial in the Union Leader relayed a Newsweek gossip item that feisty Jane Muskie had challenged the press bus to a round of dirty jokes, and preferred not one but two cocktails before dinner.

Muskie had had enough. He arranged for a flatbed truck to serve as his stage for a speech in front of the Union Leader’s redbrick headquarters. At breakfast in their guesthouse in China, Haldeman related to the president what happened next. Snow was streaming down and Muskie was bundled in an overcoat as he picked up a handheld microphone, cameras rolling, determined to prove who was tough:

“By attacking me, and by attacking my wife, he’s proven himself a gutless coward. It’s fortunate for him that he’s not on this platform beside me…”

He paused, looked down; he seemed choked up. Perhaps it was a snowflake lodged in his eye, but Dan Rather on CBS, for one, reported he “began to weep.” David Broder put it in his lead that he said it with “[t]ears streaming down his cheeks.” It became a major news story.

18 From Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland:

Jeb Magruder’s team’s chief operative, Herbert Porter, was the White House scheduling director. One of Porter’s masterpieces was hiring a young aide, Roger Stone, to contribute $200 to Pete McCloskey in the name of the militant homosexual group the Gay Liberation Front and forward the receipt to William Loeb (though Stone, ashamed of any imprecations against his masculinity, chickened out and made the contribution from the Young Socialist Alliance instead).

19 From “GOP’s Campaign Spy Worked Three Camps” by Lawrence Meyer:

Michael W. McMinoway, a political spy for all seasons, told the Senate select Watergate committee yesterday how he provided information for pay on Democratic candidates to the Nixon re-election committee but also provided other Democrats with inside information on the candidates for whom he was working.

In the period that he worked as a spy – from February until July 1972 – McMinoway worked for the Muskie campaign in Wisconsin, the Humphrey campaigns in Pennsylvania and California and for McGovern at the Democratic National Convention.

McMinoway said he was contacted in February by a friend, Martin Blackwell [sic] of Washington, who asked him if he was interested in working in the campaign. When he said he was, McMinoway testified, he was contacted by a man identifying himself as Jason Rainier, later identified as Roger Stone, an employee of the Nixon re-election committee. Stone, McMinoway said, told him that he represented a group of “concerned citizens” interested in the 1972 election.

After agreeing to a salary of $1,500 per month, McMinoway said, he began working for the Muskie campaign in Milwaukee. At the same time, McMinoway told the committee, he contacted the McGovern campaign in Milwaukee.

On one occasion, McMinoway testified, a delegate to the convention visited McGovern campaign manager Gary Hart in the Doral Hotel and then left with two women whom McMinoway described as prostitutes.

Under later questioning by committee vice chairman Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. (R-Tenn.), McMinoway conceded that he did not know if the women were in fact prostitutes and could not say whether the delegate’s visit to Hart had any relationship to his departure with the women. “He could have met them coming in or going out,” McMinoway said.

20 From Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland:

The most important caper sprang from the president: getting George Wallace to run as a Democrat.

“I don’t want him in,” he had told Mitchell and Haldeman in February of 1971. “We should work this out.” What he didn’t want was Wallace in the general election. If Nixon had won all the antiliberal votes that went to Wallace in 1968, he would have won a punishing landslide instead of a squeaker. He wanted Wallace in the primaries-to divide the Democrats.

It’s hard to reconstruct exactly the steps that led George Wallace to his January announcement in Tallahassee that he was running for the Democratic nomination. He had been on a flight with several other Southern governors and the president from Key Biscayne to Alabama in the summer of 1971; Wallace and Richard Nixon looked suspiciously buddy-buddy after the plane touched down. A few days later Wallace drawled casually to his chief field operator Tom Turnipseed, to Turnipseed’s surprise, “I’m tired of those kooks in the third-party business. I’m thinking of going back into the Democratic Party.” Three months later, Evans and Novak noticed, the grand jury investigating tax-fraud charges against Wallace’s brother Gerald was mysteriously dissolved. Then in November 1971 the Justice Department’s civil rights division announced, suddenly and improbably, that Alabama’s civil rights enforcement plan “is a much better plan than many states’.”

On January 2, 1972, when Dan Rather asked the president whether George Wallace’s apparent preparations for another presidential campaign were “a threat to holding this country together,” Nixon responded with a hint of a grin that Wallace “is not our problem”-he was the Democrats’. That was a gaffe; George Wallace had not yet announced he was running as a Democrat. The press, fortuitously, didn’t notice this-nor another phase of the operation unfolding out in California. John Mitchell funneled $10,000 to a disillusioned Wallace supporter, working under a cover group called the Committee Against Forced Busing, who deployed American Nazi Party members to canvass members of Wallace’s old American Independent Party to convince them to change their registration to Democrat, ostensibly so they could vote for Wallace in the California Democratic primary-but actually to make sure the AIP voter rolls fell below the number that would allow them to run Wallace on the general election ballot.

Wallace would screw the Democrats, Nixon hoped. But he wouldn’t be in the race long enough to screw him.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

Always when I write an epitaph, I feel a misgiving, that the epitaph writer is placing focus on themselves rather than the mourned. What I write here, however, is only an expression of selfish feeling: I wanted more. Like just about everyone, I first saw Hoffman in one of his early, very small roles, for me it was Hard Eight, and like those others, I immediately thought, who is that? The movie is not about him at all, he is entirely a tangential character, with nothing to do with the story outside the scene, but he creates an enviable electricity that others work so hard at and fail. That he would go on to achieve prominence, an Oscar, starring roles, the whole shebang, does not now feel like a fortuity, but an inevitability; you re-watch those early roles and think, even the mole rats of Hollywood must pick up the radiation here. Of his life outside his work, I am ignorant and entirely indifferent. I am not animated by fandom or faux intimacy. I have an animus towards idolatry, “The Ten Ways Actress X Is The Greatest,” which reduces you only to a worshipper. I write this out of the selfish urge of a member of the audience where the magician performs one astonishing trick after another, only to collapse to the ground halfway through the show. We live in an age of hoaxes, where every photo is shopped, every article is an advertisement, every agent is a double, and I briefly wish for that now, that this is one more worldwide illusion, and we’ve been taken in, the dead man is actually alive. I want to make unreal the obituaries of the man who managed to make everything real. Who is that? That’s Philip Seymour Hoffman. That the apostrophe must now be read as a was, rather than an is, contains a vast emptiness, of things that would wow me, but won’t be.

Tagged

Avi Buffalo – “Where’s Your Dirty Mind?”

In lieu of new content, I post this. I’ll try and be more productive this year, and hope to finally get around to writing about two Brian De Palma movies very dear to my heart, Blow Out and Body Double. Right now, I’m in the middle of working on one of those political / crime stories which fascinate me so much, and that I’ll try to have done by the end of the week soon. Whether or not you celebrate the made-up non-holiday #wayback #wednesday, here is one of my favorite songs of the past, from a band from whom I hope we will one day hear more:

Tagged

David Bowie – “Who Can I Be Now?”

Always a good question to ask at the start of a new year.

Tagged

A Great Holiday Story from Jim Steranko

From his twitter feed. His website is Prevuemag.

I moved away from home before Christmas when I was 17, taking some clothes, a towel, eating utensils, two dishes,1 and a measuring cup from which to drink2. The cheap, furnished, one-room apartment I found had a worn-out, hideously-green linoleum floor with an eye-torturing pattern;3 I had to stand in the doorway to open the refrigerator4. I had nothing and was nothing. A girlfriend occasionally brought some food. Someone gave me an old radio5. I spent most of a year in the room—which had a bed, a standing wardrobe, and no chairs—6 or in movie theaters, which I broke into and would hide out in until darkness fell. I created another identity for myself7. I feared being outdoors during daylight; there were at least three former associates in the city who would kill me on sight8.

I made furtive trips to the YMCA, where I continued to lift weights and box. One day, across the street, a building was demolished9. In the rubble, I found a solid, plain wooden door, which I hauled back to the apartment, along with two big strap hinges10. Later that week, I found a chest of drawers in a trash pile on the street and appropriated it, too11.By sawing off a third of the door and attaching it with the hinges to the furniture top, I made a drawing board12. I sat on a beat-up bar stool someone had thrown out, even though I couldn’t put my legs under the table13. Bricks elevated the board and a discarded lamp I found on the street illuminated it14. In the isolation of the bleak, little room, I began sharpening my drawing skills. Charles Dickens eat yur heart out!15

Weeks merged into a Kafkaesque mirage of pathetic daydreams & nightmares, where it was difficult to tell where one began & the other ended16. Christmas promised to be particularly desolate. I wanted to get my girlfriend a present, something she least expected: a fur coat17. I found one in a store window priced at $150, which might as well have been $150,00018. I hardly had two nickels to rub together. Some days, all I had to eat was a head of lettuce or a quarter jar of peanut butter19. I drank soda that I cut with tap water to make it last longer. I made tomato soup with ketchup and hot water. Some days, there was nothing20. I needed to look deep into my bag of tricks to survive and score the fur jacket. I found both21.

I borrowed $100 from an acquaintence, which I exchanged at a bank for four new $20s and 20 $1s22. Then, I talked a local printer into giving me a few sheets of blank Strathmore 20-pound bond typing paper (with obvious rag content),23 and began by placing them for a day in a solution of weak coffee to mitigate their brightness24. Meanwhile, the four new $20s were soaked in a saucer of tap water, then split along their edges, lengthwise, with a razor blade25 (each bill is made from three pieces of paper). The result was four fronts and four backs. Four $1 bills were also split26. The coffee treatment gave the bond paper the texture and background color of real greenbacks, and, when they were dry,27 I drew, with pen and India ink, four $20 fronts on one of the sheets28. Matching the minute engraving was difficult and mistakes were not acceptable. It took time and patience, which I had in excess29.

The next step was to paste the four drawn $20 fronts to four real $20 backs30. Then, the four real $20 fronts were pasted to four real $1 backs. Finally, the four real $20 backs were pasted to four $1 fronts31. After they were assembled, I’d wrinkle them, dump them in a bag with some dirt and gravel,32 then put the bag in a laundry clothes dryer to tumble around for 20 minutes33. When the bills were retrieved and straightened, they were almost indistinguishable from the real thing—hand-drawn fronts and backs included34.

That’s when my passing strategy kicked in35.

I took the bogus roll into the busiest department stores during high weekend customer traffic and spotted the youngest cashiers36. I’d buy something for about $25 and offer two drawn $20 with real backs37. I’d get $15 in change, then take the item to customer service for a refund38. The result was $40 in real money. Another pass at a different store netted me $80 authentic39.

Next, I repeated the process with the $20 fronts pasted to $1 backs, being careful to hand the bills to cashiers in face-up position–40 the same way they’re usually stacked in the register41. I counted on them not being turned over in the rush. They weren’t42. Finally, I’d pass the real $20 backs with the $1 fronts back side up to the most harried and inexperienced cashiers,43 those just hired for the Christmas rush44. (Sometimes, l’d buy a $22 item and pay for it with a counterfeit $20, plus two real ones on top.) No bills were ever questioned.45 My $88 investment netted $240 in real cash46 Repaying the $100 loan left me with $140 plus an additional $16–the singles which were not split—for a total of $156,47 just enough to buy the coat and a super-special card for the girl who stood by me during my darkest period48. She loved the coat, the card–and, last but not least, me, too!<<49

1 From iamsteranko:

2 From iamsteranko:

3 From iamsteranko:

4 From iamsteranko:

5 From iamsteranko:

6 From iamsteranko:

7 From iamsteranko:

8 From iamsteranko:

9 From iamsteranko:

10 From iamsteranko:

11 From iamsteranko:

12 From iamsteranko:

13 From iamsteranko:

14 From iamsteranko:

15 From iamsteranko:

16 From iamsteranko:

17 From iamsteranko:

18 From iamsteranko:

19 From iamsteranko:

20 From iamsteranko:

21 From iamsteranko:

22 From iamsteranko:

23 From iamsteranko:

24 From iamsteranko:

25 From iamsteranko:

26 From iamsteranko:

27 From iamsteranko:

28 From iamsteranko:

29 From iamsteranko:

30 From iamsteranko:

31 From iamsteranko:

32 From iamsteranko:

33 From iamsteranko:

34 From iamsteranko:

35 From iamsteranko:

36 From iamsteranko:

37 From iamsteranko:

38 From iamsteranko:

39 From iamsteranko:

40 From iamsteranko:

41 From iamsteranko:

42 From iamsteranko:

43 From iamsteranko:

44 From iamsteranko:

45 From iamsteranko:

46 From iamsteranko:

47 From iamsteranko:

48 From iamsteranko:

49 From iamsteranko:

Tagged ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 82 other followers