Archive for cover-up

Judge: Florida redistricting a "mockery," illegally favors GOP

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redistricting

Florida (aka Flori-duh) Republicans just got a major smackdown from a circuit judge who ruled that their congressional redistricting map was illegal. North Carolina, are you paying attention?

The map is now invalid because it "violates constitutional provisions that require fair districts," per the Los Angeles Times. Or to put it another way, the GOP hoped to pull a fast one on Democratic voters and failed miserably. The plan is "invalid."

In Florida, the GOP controls the Legislature, and the judge said that they did that with "improper partisan intent" in 2012.

gerrymander definition

gerrymandering via Doonesbury

Oh, but it gets worse. Judge Lewis also said that those (ir)responsible tried to keep the whole thing a big secret. And you know what they say about cover-ups...

cover up 2 cover-up...where...

cover up worse than crime

In a scathing opinion, Leon County Circuit Judge Terry P. Lewis ruled in Tallahassee that the Legislature's Republican political consultants had "made a mockery" of the redistricting process, tainting it with "partisan intent."

Lewis said that the districts, drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature after the 2010 census, flouted voter-passed constitutional amendments intended to eliminate gerrymandering - that is, often-bizarre and irregular lines that make a district safe for one party or the other. [...]

Lewis noted that legislative leaders and political operatives had deleted emails and other documents outlining their redistricting efforts.

As the League of Women Voters of Florida president said, the ruling "exposed the conspiracy to influence and manipulate the Legislature into violating its constitutional duties."

Of course, Republicans will blame those pesky activist judges. Like the ones on the Supreme Court, GOP?

nice try no cigar

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Scott #Walker part of "criminal scheme;" prosecutor closing in on Chris #Christie

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Mr. Toast  criminal investigations

When it rains it pours in GOP ScandalLand! Today's episode includes some ominous news for both criminal (allegedly) Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and everyone's favorite entertainer, criminal (allegedly) Gov. Chris "Who moi?" Christie of New Jersey.

Where to begin? All my salivating is distracting me, but not enough to prevent bringing you the latest.

Let's start with Scott "Who Needs a Recall When We Have a Legal Case?" Walker. Politico has the scoop:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker participated in a “criminal scheme” to coordinate fundraising for Republicans trying to beat back efforts to recall him and state senators from office, local prosecutors argue in court documents released Thursday.

Walker, his chief of staff and others were involved in the coordination effort with “a number of national groups and prominent figures,” including Karl Rove, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz alleged.

“[T]he evidence shows an extensive coordination scheme that pervaded nearly every aspect of the campaign activities during the historic 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin Senate and Gubernatorial recall elections,” Schmitz wrote in a December motion, on behalf of five attorneys from some of the state’s most liberal counties, just now unsealed by an appellate court judge.

Ruh roh!

Scotty's in a neck-and-neck race for re-election, so this may very well complicate matters for him. And don't even get me started about his shrinking chances for a 2016 presidential run. Dems are ecstatic.

Moving on to Bridgegate and poor, put-upon Gov. "Heartbroken." This reporting comes via Esquire, where the sub-headline is "Indictments against four cronies are near certain, sources say. Only question is if David Samson, Christie's longtime crony, will flip."

naked nude man covers crotch ouch

Two sources with intimate knowledge of the case say Fishman’s pace is quickening -- he has empaneled a second grand jury, and the U.S. Justice Department has sent assistant prosecutors and FBI agents to work the case. [...]

Fishman’s challenge is to nail down specific criminal charges on several fronts -- the diversion of Port Authority money to fund New Jersey road and bridge projects; the four-day rush-hour closures of George Washington Bridge lanes in Ft. Lee; and a web of real-estate deals spun by David Samson, long a Christie crony, when he chaired the PA’s Board of Commissioners as Christie’s appointee. [...]

The question that truly matters is whether Fishman’s pursuit leads to the governor himself. Christie’s Port appointees -- not only Samson, but former PA Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and his oddball sidekick David Wildstein -- all face near-certain indictment and are being pressed to hand up Christie, as is the governor’s former chief counsel, Charlie McKenna... Fishman has cut no deals with anyone so far, and the looming indictments have encouraged Christie’s PA appointees to sing.

On source said that Samson "is toast." "They’ve got him cold... He got sloppy, arrogant, and greedy. Samson will want a deal."

GIF happy DancingSnoopy

Both articles are must-reads, and they're relatively short, so have at it.

What was that again about 2016? Methinks we may have a twofer here. With any luck, we can show both lying, arrogant, slimeball Republican governors the door.

buh bye by Kelly Kincaid

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TX GOP Rep. Steve Stockman investigated over campaign donations, cover-up

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steve stockman twitter bio

If a congressional staff member donates to their boss, it's a no-no. If two congressional staff members donated to their boss, Republican Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, then wouldn't that be a no-no-no-no?

magic 8 ball yes

Via The New York Times:

The House Ethics Committee is investigating accusations that a Republican lawmaker from Texas — who lost a recent bid for a United States Senate seat — took illegal contributions from two of his staff members and may have made false statements in an effort to cover it up. [...]

The staff members — Jason Posey, the director of special projects, and Thomas Dodd, a special assistant — admitted to contributing $7,500 each to Mr. Stockman’s campaign in February 2013, although they were first reported as having been made by Mr. Dodd’s mother and Mr. Posey’s father.

Stockman fired the two staff  members and returned the contributions. Stockman's lawyer said there was not so much as "a breath of unethical action by Congressman Stockman." Pshyeah. What's he going to say, "Hey! My client's guilty as sin! You must punish him now!"?

Follow the link for more, including how, since he's not running for re-election, it's doubtful that the investigation will go very far. That's because the Ethics Committee "will lose its jurisdiction in the case once he leaves office."

Business as usual.

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Matt Mowers, ex- #Christie aide, contradicts his boss on wooing mayor #Bridgegate

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bridgegate matt mowers chris christie

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Matt Mowers, had a thing or two to say about a thing or two about Bridgegate. Remember Bridgegate? The scandal that rocked Christie's thuggy, nasty little world? The scandal that is currently being pushed aside in favor of Benghazi and Brainghazi and ThisGhazi and ThatGhazi? Matt Mowers testified for seven-- count 'em, seven!-- hours in front of the the legislative committee investigating the lane closings.

Matt Mowers did something else, too: He contradicted his boss. Ruh-roh. Anyone else out there suddenly have the word "retribution" pop into their mind?

Rachel Maddow covered the story during her election coverage last night, and noted that Bridgegate is not getting much attention these days, despite the fact that things are heating up. Watch the video above for her interview with John Wisniewski, the New Jersey Dem who is leading the investigation.

The New York Times has more:

The administration of Gov. Chris Christie worked to cultivate Fort Lee’s mayor for at least a year and a half before lanes were closed at the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retribution, according to testimony from a former aide to the governor on Tuesday.

The description of the efforts to woo the mayor seemed to run contrary to the governor’s statement after the lane closings exploded into a scandal in January that Mayor Mark Sokolich had never been on his “radar screen.”

So why in the world did Team Christie put lives at risk by closing down the lanes to the bridge?

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Ex-Christie aide: Gov's self-exoneration chock full o' holes (ENTIRE VIDEO)

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Bridgegate Christina Renna ex-Christie aide testifies

Video h/t: BlueJersey.com

ADDED: Here is the entire testimony via NJTV News:

UPDATE:

Original post:

Talking Points Memo is reporting on the testimony of an ex-Christie aide, Christina Renna, given to the New Jersey legislative committee investigating Bridgegate. She worked in the governor's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) under both Bill Stepien and Bridget Kelly. Among her sworn statements were a few choice words about the slut-shaming gossip sheet whitewash in which Legal Team Christie cleared their client.

Here are a few of those words out of the very mouth of the very ex-Christie aide:

"'Mandatory directive' were not my words," Renna said. "If you notice, they are not in quotation marks. That was Gibson Dunn's words. That was their characterization. They are never words I would have used. I would never use 'mandatory directive,' except in one incident which we can circle back to. They were not my words." Weinberg asked Renna whether she had a chance to correct Gibson Dunn's characterization of her interview before it was released publicly. Renna replied that she had not been given the opportunity.

Christie's legal team had summarized it this way:

Renna believed Stepien kept track of mayors who were not in favor with IGA, but Renna was not privy to that process. But IGA staff would receive mandatory directives along the lines of “do not rush to return this mayor’s phone call.” Renna recalled an IGA staffer asking Renna, “Can we get a list of hands-off mayors?” Renna remembered responding, “You know we won’t get it, and it would change daily anyway.”

Randy M. Mastro, the Team Christie lawyer who led the internal "investigation" of Bridgegate, did say that his exoneration paper was his understanding, his recap, of the interviews he held. But if even an ex-Christie aide is poking holes in Mastro's findings, then it's further confirmation that the "report" was nothing more than a paper sieve. full of holesMore details at the link.

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Legislative committee investigating Bridgegate subpoenaed by NJ US attorney

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chris christie bridgegate port authority via Mad

Just when you thought all the Bridgegate news was ebbing a little, the Wall Street Journal revived the story. Watch out Team Christie, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney has his sights set on, yes, say it with me now, Bridgegate, despite the whitewash fantasy piece that was submitted by Chris Christie's lawyer.

Prosecutor Paul Fishman has subpoenaed documents from the New Jersey legislators that have been probing Bridgegate any which way they can. The records that the U.S. attorney’s office has summoned are due on May 2. And what Prosecutor Paul wants, Prosecutor Paul gets.

If I were in the Christie Circle of Scum, I'd be popping a Valium right about now.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

New Jersey U.S. attorney Paul Fishman has issued a subpoena to a legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge closures for its documents pertaining to the matter, a sign that prosecutors are continuing to delve into the issue.

The subpoena was issued by prosecutors for “any and all records” produced or obtained by the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation in the course of its work, according to a copy viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Oh to be a fly on Prosecutor Paul's computer screen.

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Investigation #3 for Team Christie: Manhattan district attorney is said to investigate Port Authority

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chris christie schultz i know nothing Manhattan district attorney

Watch out Chris Christie and Co., the Manhattan district attorney is now sniffing around, because apparently they too believe something stinks.

police dog sniffing around animated GIFYes, a third-- count 'em, three!-- team of "seasoned corruption investigators who are most likely focused in large measure on a different set of corruption allegations" is now looking into possible state crimes, as opposed to federal ones.

That's a whole lot of allegations and/or suspicion of corruption, and a whole lot of probes. Call me crazy, but it appears that prosecutors and lawmakers are convinced that something is rotten in Joisey.

Via the New York Times:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed documents from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey concerning a range of the troubled agency’s major construction projects, including several that have come under scrutiny as a result of the politically charged George Washington Bridge lane closings, a person with knowledge of the matter said Saturday. [...]

This new criminal inquiry opens what is in essence a third investigative front focused on the actions of Mr. Christie and his appointees...

ruh roh smallerIf I were Christie and his pals, I'd be just a tad nervous right now. And by "just a tad" I mean I'd be quaking in my sleazy little boots.

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