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May 10, 2006


I seem to be on a "Part Two" kick today.

Please let me know whom I'm mixing. I should say, this has a lower threshold for inclusion than Josh Marhsall's Grand Old Docket. My goal is to collect the credible allegations to try and get a sense of the pattern.

Excellent work! I suspect we're going to have enough to fill a small stadium (or at least a country club) before this is over.

There are two things I'd really like to see emphasized as the corruption is publicized (especially the Pioneer/Ranger corruption:

1. The return on investment these guys got for their contributions, and how much more profitable and more reliable it was than their legitimate business dealings. (I think putting it in terms of ROI would get the attention of a lot of honest business people.)

2. How the GOP, by rewarding contributors with contracts and tax breaks worth much more than their contributions, is making you, the taxpayer, pay for their party. (And they claim they oppose public financing!)

I guess I should send this off to the DNC, too...

EW: You are onto something scary: the question is, is all this part of a grand plot/strategy, or just a confederacy of thieves.

I dunno, whenwego.

I don't think all 550 Pioneers and Rangers are part of a plot. Some of them just want access, and don't mind hitting up 50 rich friends to get it (geez, that sounds funny).

I think a lot of it has as much to do with an ethic of power the Republicans espouse. In general, they're not above cheating to get their way (thus, you have someone like Wyly, whose tax evasion hasn't been DIRECTLY connected to his funding of Republicans, but who is a certified shit in any case). And for a lot of these folks, there really is no daylight between a profitable business and their Republican goals (which is probably where the Barbour/Lanny Griffith funding of phone jamming comes down).

And I haven't even touched on the overwhelming majority of the donors here--the two largest groups are energy companies and lobbyists. For the former, paying for a President is something they've been doing since at least LBJ. For the latter, it's got to be easy to "bundle" the "donations" of a bunch of clients.

I just remember, though, looking at how much funding Kenny Boy had given Bush by late 1998. All his other donors (credit card companies mostly) made sense. But I couldn't figure out Enron (with which I was somewhat aware from back when I did some work in oil and gas). So I assumed there was a reason they were trying to buy a President. Boy was I right.

Bravo emptywheel. I've been waiting for someone to compile a list like this. From day one in 2000, I was convinced a criminal racket was put in place. I'm particularly interested in Pioneers and Rangers that have benefitted from Iraqi contracts. Keep digging.

Oh, I haven't even touched Iraq contracting (and I'm sure there's a whole lot more in the Katrina contracting). I debated whether to include Thomas Foley, who privatized Iraq's economy. Thing is, I haven't yet been able to find any evidence he broke the law or even steered his buddies to contracts. Which says there's more work to do here.

The whole GOP philosophy is against using government as a tool to influence or modify behavior (unless it is sexual behavior, in which case the hand can't be too heavy for them). They got control of government not to implement policies as such, but to create new business opportunities for their supporters. Some were through rigging or deregulating the markets (Enron), some were through making government contracts available to the clever and unscrupulous, and then there was war profiteering, Iraq, Katrina--the list is endless.

In other words, the GOP used gov't to reward constituencies and buy their loyalty. So did the Dems, but their constituents were mostly of modest means and appetities. The GOP's constituents have unlimited appetites, and so they are looting the whole country and stealing the future. Instead of Head Start we get Halliburton and media consolidation and tax cuts for the already very rich.

And, as you say, to keep the game going they needed to rake off a percentage and use it to finance campaigns and election shenanigans. Since I started reading "Illicit" I have been wondering just where all this money is really coming from, and whether we will ever be able to undo what the GOP has done in the last 10 years.

There's a good diary just up at kos about electoral corruption:

Larry David reads from Palast: Kerry won, now get over it...

...because they're putting '08 in their pocket. Republicans just seem to have that
winning spirit. They also have caging lists, felons of the future, rotting ballots,
snuffed canaries, and a lock on the votes of Kissinger-Americans and the undead.

RICO. Suave.

The trick is finding the one link underneath every single one of these felons, or at least a unifying field across a critical mass.

And then convince the DoJ to actually pursue RICO.

For example: Heritage Foundation begat TownHall.com; every one of the known payola recipients wrote for TownHall.com and/or Heritage. Ergo, a likely RICO organization...who else wrote for TownHall/Heritage and got a contract/payment from the Feds since Bush took office? That question hasn't been answered, could make RICO more likely if there are more.

Did that weenie Norquist ever trademark and incorporate "The K-Street Project"? There's another likely RICO organization -- and trademark/incorporation would only seal the deal for the feds that K-Street was an organization acting in concert versus loosely connected associates.

RICO. Suave.

Great work EW, keep it up.

And a well-fed, pasty bunch they are, too. Thanks EW and all--I keep coming over from DKos to waste time, and thought I'd say hello. I'll be back often!

EW: You'll have to update the status of Tom Noe Pioneer in the post. Looks like he's changing his plea to guilty.

My bet is he can add at least 10 more Pioneers to the list you have already compiled. The way things looked in the news today (lead investigator of Duke Cunningham bribery scandal saying we don't know the half of what was going on but will soon, the totally implausible Abramoff Secret Service logs, the President's detailed itinerary found in the garbage in Florida, a White House requested loophole in defense contract that shifts oversight if Iraq reconstruction to understaffed State Department IG's office) we might have all 530 Pioneer mug shots by election day 2006. They are all criminals with no shame or sense of decency (remember Barbara Bush's Katrina donation that was almost entirely earmarked for her other incompetent son, Neil the Pioneer?)

Too bad Fitz has impeccable integrity and will not go beyond his mandate as Special Prosecutor (as seen in the many filings that EW has analyzed for us here). He's one of the best RICO prosecutors out there.

sibel edmonds has a link up today to a Philip Giraldi tidbit on ATC, AIPAC, and arms smuggling, money laundering, bribes, etc. It's not terribly more informative than anything Edmonds herself has said, but it is a reminder that the wheels of corruption are as complicated and nested as the gears in a watch.

Coumpound F

I left Denny Hastert off this list--but was thinking of Edmonds.

And Lisa, yes, the Dukestir will net a few more (I left Joe Barton off, who I bet will be in the third round of GOP indictments). But the thing about the Ranger system is each scandal has one or two nodes, and the rest are just connected through that node. OH? Only two people. I think San Diego is good for two more, maybe. But TX and FL are the real gravy trains.

Makes sense to me.

If you start out planning to steal elections and plunder the treasury, all the prerequisite crimes start to seem small.

This is precisely what is going on-- the creation of a system where government outsources its activities to private firms that 1) avoid all oversight and 2) kick taxpayer money back to the Republican Party. This has been done for so long in so many other countries of the world that it is not rocket science. I'd venture to guess that is it how MOST long-governing parties in the world operate. And the Republicans believe that they are moral in doing this, because they believe that the New Deal and Great Society programs were, in their essence, government bribes/kickbacks to DEMOCRATIC voters.

All the "reduce the size of government" rhetoric for the last 30 years was ultimately pointed at this-- replacing what Conservatives believed to be a national Democratic patronage network with a national Republican one. The really pathetic people in this story are the conservative intellectuals who actually believed in small government-- they were the enablers of this massive historic scam. Suckers!

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