Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #319 Bush League, Part III

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This broadcast highlights a number of aspects of the Bush administration, including information about the electoral coup of 2000. (Note that this program was recorded before 9/11.)

1. The program begins with discussion of the skewed media presentation of the “legitimacy” of Bush’s “win” in the Florida electoral vote count. An investigation by the New York Times found inconsistencies in the way that absentee ballots were processed. “On the morning after Election Day, George W. Bush held a lead of 1,784 votes in Florida, but to his campaign strategists, the margin felt perilously slim. They were right. Within a week, recounts would erode Bush’s unofficial lead to just 300 votes. With the presidency hanging on the outcome in Florida, the Bush team quickly grasped that their best hope of victory was the ballots still arriving from Florida voters living abroad. Over the next 18 days, the Republicans mounted a legal and public relations campaign to persuade canvassing boards in Bush strongholds to waive the state’s election laws when counting those ballots.” (“Absentee-Ballot Push Gave Bush Key: GOP Pressured Florida to Disregard Flaws, Study Shows” by David Barstow and Don Van Natta Jr. [New York Times]; San Jose Mercury News; 7/15/2001; p. 15A.)

2. The GOP strategy was apparently successful. “Their goal was simple: to count the maximum number of overseas ballots in counties won by Bush, particularly those with a high concentration of military voters, while seeking to disqualify overseas ballots in counties won by Vice President Al Gore. A six-month investigation by The New York Times of this chapter in the closest U.S. election shows that the Republican effort had a major impact. Under pressure from Republicans, Florida officials accepted hundreds of overseas absentee ballots that failed to comply with state election laws. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s]. In an analysis of the 2,490 ballots from Americans living abroad that were counted as legal votes after Election Day, the Times found 680 questionable votes. Although it is not known for whom the flawed ballots were cast, four out of five were accepted in counties carried by Bush, the Times found. Bush’s final margin was 537 votes.” (Idem.)

3. The Times described some of the irregularities. “The flawed votes included ballots without postmarks, ballots postmarked after the election, ballots without witness signatures, ballots mailed from within the United States and even ballots from people who voted twice. All would have been disqualified had the election laws been strictly enforced. . . .” (Idem.)

4. “The Times found that these overseas ballots-the only votes that could legally by received and counted after Election Day-were judged by different standards, depending on where they were counted. The unequal treatment is at odds with statements by Bush campaign leaders and by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris that rules should be applied uniformly and not changed in the middle of a contested election. It also apparently conflicts with the equal-protection guarantee the U.S. Supreme Court invoked in December when it halted a statewide manual recount and effectively handed Florida to Bush. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s].” (Idem.)

5. Key files were apparently erased in Florida, further obfuscating the investigation into what happened. “Five months ago, elections officials in Palm Beach County, Fla., turned their attention from last year’s controversial presidential balloting to the spring election for dozens of municipal offices. As they prepared for the new election, they wiped out computer files showing how each ballot was punched in the presidential election, removing that information from the public domain even as scholars and journalists continue to analyze the results of Florida’s presidential voting. The data is especially important because Palm Beach was one of the key counties in the five-week recount process that ultimately sent President Bush to the White House.” (“Files Erased in Florida, Damaging Election Review” by Geoff Dougherty; The Chicago Tribune; 8/1/2001; accessed at www.chicagotribune.com/templates/misc/printstory.jsp?slug=chi%2DO108010285aug01 .)

6. “The files were the only computerized record of the way the county’s tabulating machines registered each ballot last November. The punch card ballots themselves were not destroyed but cannot be accurately recounted because they have been extensively handled and possibly damaged since Election Day. The erasure is an unexpected blow to advocates of election reform because of the data’s historical value. By wiping out the records, the elections staff also may have violated Florida’s strict rules against destroying public records.” (Idem.)

7. NBC has contributed to the efforts to obscure the true nature of the 2000 election. In the context of what follows, the role of John Ellis, George Bush’s cousin, as the editor of the political desk at Fox News. (See FTR#259.) “At issue in [NBC President Andrew] Lack’s case is sworn testimony at the February hearing into botched election night news coverage. In his testimony, Lack offered to turn over a copy of tapes-if they existed-that showed the newsroom actions of his corporate boss, General Electric Chairman Jack Welch. The rumor, Waxman told Lack was that Welch, a major contributor to the Republican Party, had ‘intervened’ in the network’s decision to call the race for George W. Bush. Waxman said he had heard Welch ‘cheered’ for Bush, ‘hissed’ Democratic candidate Al Gore. At one point, Waxman said Welch had allegedly asked someone on the decision desk: ‘What would I have to give you to call the race for Bush?'” (“NBC Balks at Sharing Election Night Tapes” by Megan Garvey; The Los Angeles Times; 8/8/2001; p. A5.)

8. Much of the broadcast deals with the Machiavellian Karl Rove, the Bush aide credited with much of W’s political success. In FTR#315, we examined the untimely and suspicious death of J.H. Hatfield, the author of Fortunate Son-a Bush biography that highlighted W’s drug abuse and, more importantly, the business connections between Bush and the Bin Laden family. The aforementioned FTR#248 is among the programs that highlights the Hatfield material on the Bush/Bin Laden family/Arbusto Energy connection. Karl Rove was alleged by the publisher of the paperback edition of Fortunate Son to be a source who funneled disinformation to Hatfield to discredit him. “The Eufaula Connection? That was Karl T. Rove. The other top Bush advisor was Clay Johnson. The Bush confidante source, was his minister, Mayfield. Now you know. Remember, you’ve got to swear now. . . .” J.H. Hatfield had just identified Karl T. Rove, the Bush campaign’s senior advisor to me personally as the primary source for the G.W. Bush cocaine arrest cocaine story. It took me that whole year to understand why Rove would do such a thing.” (“George W. Bush’s Brain? How Karl T. Rove Used Fortunate Son to Stick George W. Bush in the White House” by Sander Hicks; Online Journal; 5/23/2001; p. 3; accessed at www.onlinejournal.com/Media/Hicks052301/hicks052301.html; sourced from Softskull Press www.softskull.com/catalog/hatfield/fs karlrove.html .)

9. Hicks discusses the background to the stifled press about W’s drug abuse. “When the media stumbled upon the story that George W. Bush was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972, it was through an anonymous tip reported by a columnist at Salon.com (“Bush Up To His Arse In Allegations! Sharp-Toothed E-Mail, Killer Bees and Bags of Worms. Will This Hound Hunt?” by Amy Reiter.) Hatfield’s book was in final proofing stages when this hot story broke on August 25, 1999. The piece was the first to state that Bush had been arrested in the early ‘70’s, and that he ‘was ordered by a Texas judge to perform community service in exchange for expunging his record showing illicit drug use,’ according to the source. To make matters worse, that August, Bush went out on his own on the campaign trail and improvised on camera about his drug past. With his handlers out of town ghost-writing his ‘autobiography,’ he blurted out at a press conference that he hadn’t done drugs since 1974. The media crowed at the spectacle. For instance, USA Today gushed, ‘Bush has admitted something, but he refuses to say what.'” (Idem.)

10. Enter J.H. Hatfield and Karl Rove. “Hatfield, who long suspected something was awry in young Bush’s playboy days, went back to his Texas sources to corroborate this story through Clay Johnson and Karl Rove, his regular sources of information. According to Hatfield, Rove and Johnson explained the cocaine arrest on the phone, under condition of anonymity. Rove had earlier taken Hatfield on a fishing trip to Lake Eufaula, OK, to discuss Bush, so his pseudonym in the ‘Afterword’ became the cloak-and-daggeresque ‘The Eufaula Connection.” (Idem.)

11. Hicks discusses Rove’s reasons for selecting Hatfield. “Why choose Jim Hatfield? Hatfield had committed his 1987 crime in Dallas, where longtime Bush schoolmate and friend Clay Johnson was an associate. Johnson was friends with Hatfield’s employers Larry Burke and Kay Burrow. He would have heard about the violent workplace conspiracy that stemmed from an illicit affair Burke was having with Burrow. Burrow had tried to blackmail Burke, and Hatfield took the fall for the attempt he arranged on Burrow’s life at his boss Burke’s request.” (Idem.)

12. Next, Hicks highlights the alleged feeding of disinformation to Hatfield in order to further the discreditation project. “Rove and Johnson further ensured they could discredit Hatfield by feeding him flawed information. They altered key facts in the cocaine arrest story, and thus raised the burden of proof for future reporters. At one point, Hatfield was told that the arresting judge was a Republican, a falsehood which, although easily detected, served to damage Hatfield’s credibility. After St. Martin’s rushed the cocaine arrest story into the book as an ‘Afterword,’ suddenly the Dallas Morning News received the private, criminal record of J.H. Hatfield’s felony in Texas. The News published an article about Hatfield’s felonious past and it was all over for the Bush cocaine arrest story.” (Ibid.; pp. 3-4.)

13. “All in a day’s work” might very well sum up Hicks’ assessment of Rove’s machinations. What is to be pondered in this context is the fact of Hatfield’s untimely death. Like the late Senator Paul Wellstone, Hatfield had been targeted by Rove. As to whether Rove had anything to do with their deaths is anybody’s guess. “This style of disinformation follows the pattern set by all masters of public opinion of the 20th Century. Karl T. Rove is an avid history buff, and applies what he reads. In just two short months he surgically removed the media’s talk of the Bush drug arrest by feeding it to a biographer he knew had a felony conviction in his past. Hatfield broke the story, and then Rove broke Hatfield. The Bush Campaign’s friends at the Dallas Morning News broke a salacious, mesmerizing story about a car-bomb, a hit man, a boss, a felony conviction, and the mass media’s attention is focused en masse on Hatfield, who can’t take the heat, denies the allegations and flees town. St. Martin’s doesn’t know what’s going on, but suddenly they are getting threatened by Bush campaign lawyers who are ‘looking into’ suing them. St. Martin’s behavior becomes paranoid, they announce that they are pulling 88,000 copies of the book from stores. So much for America, so much for the Bill of Rights.” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

Discussion

3 comments for “FTR #319 Bush League, Part III”

  1. Remember this?

    August 31, 2004
    “Karl Rove?s Master Plan: A One-Party America,” for BuzzFlash.com by James Moore, Co-Author of “Bush’s Brain”

    A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
    by James C. Moore, Co-Author of “Bush’s Brain”

    While everyone analyzes and complains about his tactics, Karl Rove has his eyes on a grand strategy.

    The Swift Boat Veterans for Lies is but a tiny piece of a schematic Rove has been carrying in his head since his salad days in Texas. Bush’s Brain will die happy the day he achieves his two greatest goals. The first of these is to turn the U.S. into what is fundamentally a one-party system. Secondly, he wants the federal government to have so little money that it can do nothing to get in the way of business interests; nor will it be able to sustain any kind of socially progressive assistance for disadvantaged Americans.

    His desire to destroy the Democratic Party is not about fair play politics. Rove sees a country where there is only symbolic opposition and democracy is more of a “Potemkin Village” show than an actually tallying of votes and a discussion of issues. He and the Republicans believe they know what is best for America. They do not consider ideas from the left or the center. Those people are simply wrong to them.

    Of course, the irony is lost on Rove and his henchmen that a one-party nation, at the worst, turns us into something akin to a communist country or, as a minimum, the pseudo-democracy maintained for decades by Mexico.

    But Karl doesn’t care. America is not important. Political victory is what matters, the control of power, and the economy. This isn’t conspiracy theory nonsense. He’s taking the steps. And they are working. During his interview with Brit Hume on Fox News last week, the network played a video clip of an interview with me and I said, “I truly believe that the policy and politics of Karl Rove are a threat to our republic.” The senior presidential advisor dismissed me as “a far left-winger who has been drinking too much swamp water.” Rove obviously doesn’t realize that 99 percent of America is to the left of him politically and the remaining one percent is likely holed up in a compound in Montana.

    ..

    They’re still at it:

    The Nation
    RNC’s Priebus Proposes to Rig Electoral College so Losing Republicans Can ‘Win’
    John Nichols on January 14, 2013 – 10:15 AM ET

    Fresh from claiming the GOP’s 2012 run was “a great campaign—a great nine-month campaign” that only went awry at the end, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus now wants to rig the Electoral College so that when Republicans lose they still might “win.”

    Specifically, Priebus is urging Republican governors and legislators to take up what was once a fringe scheme to change the rule for distribution of Electoral College votes. Under the Priebus plan, electoral votes from battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and other states that now regularly back Democrats for president would be allocated not to the statewide winner but to the winners of individual congressional districts.

    Because of gerrymandering by Republican governors and legislators, and the concentration of Democratic votes in urban areas and college towns, divvying up Electoral College votes based on congressional district wins would yield significantly better results for the GOP. In Wisconsin, where Democrat Barack Obama won in 2012 by a wider margin than he did nationally, the president would only have gotten half the electoral votes. In Pennsylvania, where Obama won easily, he would not have gotten the twenty electoral votes that he did; instead, under the Priebus plan, it would have been eight for Republican Mitt Romney, twelve for Barack Obama.

    Nationwide, Obama won a sweeping popular-vote victory—with an almost 5-million ballot margin that made him the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to take more than 51 percent of the vote in two elections. That translated to a very comfortable 322-206 win in the Electoral College.

    How would the 2012 results have changed if a Priebus plan had been in place? According to an analysis by Fair Vote-The Center for Voting and Democracy, the results would have been a dramatically closer and might even have yielded a Romney win.

    Under the most commonly proposed district plan (the statewide winner gets two votes with the rest divided by congressional district) Obama would have secured the narrowest possible win: 270-268. Under more aggressive plans (including one that awards electoral votes by district and then gives the two statewide votes to the candidate who won the most districts), Romney would have won 280-258.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 23, 2013, 11:08 am
  2. Awww. Saxby Chambliss is retiring from the Senate. So long Saxby. You should have no problem garnering the support you need for any future endeavors…assuming it involves a vote:

    Raw Story
    Allegations about 2002 Georgia election raise doubts on current voting
    Muriel Kane
    Published: Friday November 21, 2008

    As the state of Georgia prepares to conduct a runoff between incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss and his Democratic challenger, Jim Martin, old doubts about the election in which Chambliss took the Senate seat from Max Cleland six years ago are attracting fresh notice.

    Chambliss was the victor in the 2002 election by seven percentage points, despite polls which showed him trailing by five points just a week earlier. That unexpected turnaround, combined with the exclusive control over the voting machines by Diebold Election Systems, raised suspicions of electronic vote-tampering from the start.

    According to cyber-security expert Stephen Spoonamore, “If you look at the case of Saxby Chambliss, that’s ridiculous. The man was not elected. He lost that election by five points. Max Cleland won. They flipped the votes, clear as day.”

    Spoonamore has been speaking out since last summer about the problems with the 2002 election, drawing on his examination of a software patch which the president of Diebold’s election unit personally brought to Georgia to be installed prior to the voting.

    Spoonamore received the patch from Diebold whistleblower Chris Hood, who first came forward two years ago and spoke with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for an article in Rolling Stone.

    “We ran the election,” Hood told Kennedy. “We had 356 people that Diebold brought into the state. Diebold opened and closed the polls and tabulated the votes. Diebold convinced [Georgia Secretary of State Cathy] Cox that it would be best if the company ran everything due to the time constraints, and in the interest of a trouble-free election, she let us do it.”

    Hood has now repeated his doubts about the 2002 Georgia election, as well as about voting problems in Maryland in 2004, in an interview with former ABC News producer Rebecca Abrahams. “I have come to believe that these errors are now permanently embedded into the system,” Hood told Abrahams.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 25, 2013, 10:07 am
  3. Oh look at that: It turns out Donald Trump’s charity “accidentally” donated $25,000 to Florida’s right-wing Attorney General, Pam Bondi, back in 2013, when Bondi just happened to be investigating Trump University for fraud. And, shocker, Bondi decided not to pursue the investigation.

    Well, this donation happens to be a potentially illegal since charities are prohibited from aiding political candidates. But the Trump campaign has an explanation: it was all just a mistake. Actually a series of mistakes. You see, Bondi’s campaign fund was named “And Justice for All” and the Trump campaign actually intended to donate to another Kansas-based non-profit by the same name. Really! It was just a name mix up. Also, when listing this donation to the IRS, Trump’s office accidentally listed it as a donation to a Utah based group called “Justice for All”. Also totally a mistake. And in no way were these mistakes related to Bondi’s possible investigation of Trump University:

    The Washington Post
    Trump camp admits $25,000 charity donation to Florida AG was a mistake

    By David A. Fahrenthold and Rosalind S. Helderman
    March 22 at 10:52 AM

    Aides to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said this week that his charitable foundation made a mistake when it donated $25,000 to a political committee backing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a potential violation of federal rules prohibiting charities from aiding political candidates.

    The Donald J. Trump Foundation compounded the error by not listing its 2013 gift to the pro-Bondi group, And Justice for All, in its filings with the IRS that year, the aides said. But the charity listed a $25,000 donation to an unrelated group with a similar name, Justice for All. But that group, a Wichita-based nonprofit, said it never received any money from the foundation.

    Such an admission of error from the campaign is itself relatively unusual, because Trump has built his campaign on a distaste for apologies.

    Trump’s campaign spokeswoman and the treasurer of his foundation said they were unaware of the charity’s mistakes until Monday, when they were notified that a left-leaning watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the IRS.

    Both said there was no intent to deceive the IRS, and they blamed the problems on a series of clerical errors.

    “All these years, we had no idea anything happened,” said Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of the Trump Organization and the longtime treasurer of Trump’s foundation.

    Weisselberg said Trump’s accountants would contact the IRS on Tuesday to “straighten it out.”

    The donation to Bondi’s group by Trump’s foundation, a charity that the billionaire businessman created in the 1980s, was controversial because it came as Bondi was reviewing whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University, a real-estate-seminar business affiliated with the front-runner.

    Bondi, a Republican who was preparing for her 2014 reelection, never took action against Trump University.

    When questions arose at the time, the group and Trump defended the donation.

    The treasurer of the pro-Bondi And Justice for All, Nancy Watkins, told the Tampa Bay Times at the time that the group was “comfortable with the propriety of the contribution from the Trump Foundation.” Trump told the paper then that Bondi “is a fabulous representative of the people — Florida is lucky to have her.”<

    The foundation’s gift to Bondi gained renewed attention in recent days after Bondi endorsed Trump before this year’s Florida GOP primary, on March 15. Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, said that it had been unaware that Trump’s foundation made the erroneous political gift.

    “The campaign wasn’t in existence” when the 2013 donation was made, Hicks said. “The campaign had no knowledge of this.”

    IRS rules say that nonprofit foundations, like Trump’s, are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign.” If an organization is found to have violated that rule, the result could be a loss of nonprofit status. The penalty for sending false information to the IRS can be more severe.

    CREW, the watchdog group, was the first to note publicly that Trump’s foundation reported a donation to the Kansas-based Justice for All — and not to the pro-Bondi group with a similar name.

    A spokeswoman for the Kansas group, which trains antiabortion activists, confirmed to The Washington Post that it had not received the money.

    Jordan Libowitz, a CREW spokeswoman, said the IRS “needs to investigate and determine where the truth lies.”

    “It appears they gave an illegal political donation, told the IRS they didn’t give a political donation, claimed it was made to a similarly named permissible group instead — and now they’re saying it’s an error?” Libowitz said.

    An IRS spokesman declined to comment, citing federal privacy laws that prohibit disclosure of information about any individual taxpayer.

    The explanation from Trump aides on Monday underscored the extent to which Trump’s foundation is managed largely by the same people who help run his business empire and make decisions about his personal funds.

    Weisselberg, the foundation’s treasurer, said the mistakes began with an accounts-payable clerk at the Trump Organization.

    The clerk received a request for payment, Weisselberg said, in the name of Bondi’s group, And Justice For All. Then, the clerk had to decide whether the check would come from Trump’s charity or his personal funds.

    The clerk had a standing order to consult a reference book, Weisselberg said.

    “In that book, it lists all the bona-fide charities, so we went to that book and in that book, sure enough, is And Justice for All,” Weisselberg said.

    That was a mistake, he said, but the clerk didn’t know it.

    The listing she’d found for And Justice For All was actually for another nonprofit with the same name, located in Utah. So the clerk, Weisselberg said, wrote a check for that name, drawn from the charitable foundation’s funds.

    If the clerk knew that the check was meant for a political group, Weisselberg said, “we would have taken it out of [Trump’s] own personal account.”

    “We had 99.9999 percent of them perfect, and this is the one,” he added.

    The clerk wrote the check, but it didn’t go to the Utah group. The And Justice for All organization in Utah, which helps poor people and those with disabilities navigate the legal system, told The Washington Post that the group received no funds from Trump.

    Weisselberg could not explain how the money got to Bondi’s group.

    “The check got cut, and after that, I don’t know exactly where it ended up,” he said.

    “It must have gone, I guess, to Pam Bondi,” Weisselberg said. “We spoke to our accountants, our tax attorneys in Washington, and they say these things happen all the time.”

    The next mistake, Weisselberg said, was made by Trump’s accounting firm.

    When compiling the foundation’s donations for 2013, they did not list a donation to either of the two groups called “And Justice For All.”

    Instead, they listed a $25,000 donation to “Justice For All,” in Kansas.

    “From what I’m told, they had a typographical mistake on the return. .?.?. Somehow, someone who typed up the return for that year, put Justice For All,” Weisselberg said.

    ““It appears they gave an illegal political donation, told the IRS they didn’t give a political donation, claimed it was made to a similarly named permissible group instead — and now they’re saying it’s an error?” Libowitz said.”
    That’s a good way to sum it up. But it’s worth noting that Trump’s 2013 donation is turning out to be a rather great investment. Not only did it probably help him dodge a Trump U investigation, but let’s keep in mind that, while Florida’s former Secretary of State Katherine Harris played a critical hyper-partisan role in the 2000 Florida recount, the state Attorney General also has a role to play in such circumstances. For instance, back in 2000, the Attorney General, Bob Butterworth, who also happened to be Al Gore’s state campaign manager, felt the need to intervene during the initial recount period. Why? Because, in Butterworth’s opinion, the opinions issued by Harris were so appalling that, “There was no way I could allow that legal opinion to go unchallenged, it was so clearly contrary to Florida law”:

    St. Petersburg Times, published November 15, 2000

    Butterworth opinion, call under fire

    By LUCY MORGAN

    TALLAHASSEE — A day after the nation voted for a new president, Attorney General Bob Butterworth stood beside Gov. Jeb Bush and said Florida’s integrity was at stake.

    On Tuesday, Butterworth’s own integrity was being questioned in the wake of a formal opinion he issued in the state’s ongoing elections crisis and a telephone call he made to elections officials in Volusia County last week.

    Butterworth, the state’s chief legal officer and the statewide manager of Vice President Al Gore’s campaign, said he was wearing his attorney general hat and not his campaign hat when he decided to get involved.

    Butterworth said he decided to issue his own legal opinion — despite the fact that Florida statutes direct the state Division of Elections to interpret elections law — after reading an opinion issued Monday by Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

    “I read it (Harris’ opinion) and was absolutely appalled,” Butterworth said Tuesday. “There was no way I could allow that legal opinion to go unchallenged, it was so clearly contrary to Florida law.”

    Butterworth admits he could have “taken a pass” on issuing the opinion, but insists he has the authority to issue opinions “on anything I want to.”

    Butterworth’s own Web site lists the situations in which he does issue opinions and notes that advisory opinions on elections law should be directed to the state Division of Elections.

    Republicans pointed out that Tuesday’s opinion from Butterworth was the first one issued on an election issue by the attorney general since at least the 1970s.

    “We are outraged,” said Jamie Wilson, executive director of the Florida Republican Party. “Butterworth was chairman of the Gore campaign. For him to attack Harris’ integrity is absolutely disgusting and disturbing.”

    The heat Butterworth is taking comes as Democrats continue to question the bias of Harris, a Republican who was a co-chairwoman of George W. Bush’s Florida campaign.

    Butterworth said Tuesday he resigned from the Gore campaign Thursday, two days after the election.

    Butterworth also defended the calls he made last week to elections officials in Volusia County who were trying to determine whether to order a manual recount.

    Circuit Judge Robert K. Rouse Jr., the chief administrative judge for Volusia County, says Butterworth called him Thursday and asked him to call in County Judge Michael R. McDermott, who is chairman of the county’s canvassing board.

    Rouse said he got McDermott in on the conference call and Butterworth began telling them they needed to do a manual recount. He said Butterworth also faxed him a copy of an April 28, 1999, letter written by a state elections official. That letter, addressed to Manatee County, requires an actual recount of the votes and not merely a review of computer tapes.

    Rouse said Butterworth was insisting that the votes be recounted ballot by ballot.

    When McDermott was advised that the attorney general was on the telephone, Rouse said McDermott immediately objected because Butterworth was chairman of Gore’s Florida campaign.

    Rouse said Butterworth told the judge he had resigned from the Gore campaign, but offered to leave the room when McDermott questioned the potential conflict of interest.

    After Butterworth left the conference call, Rouse said he continued talking to Butterworth’s assistants but McDermott said he felt any contact from the attorney general’s office was a problem.

    Later that day, Volusia election officials voted to do a complete manual recount.

    On Tuesday, McDermott confirmed Rouse’s account of the call and said he thought it was improper for Butterworth to call him because of his role in the Gore campaign.

    Rouse said he was curious about receiving a copy of a state elections directive from Butterworth instead of Harris, the state official who governs elections.

    Butterworth says he sent the letter to Rouse because he thought Volusia was not going to follow the law.

    “I was doing my job, the chief judge was doing his job,” Butterworth said.

    “Butterworth said he decided to issue his own legal opinion — despite the fact that Florida statutes direct the state Division of Elections to interpret elections law — after reading an opinion issued Monday by Secretary of State Katherine Harris.”
    Well, Trump definitely won’t have to worry about meddling a Florida Attorney General should a Florida recount once again haunt the nation, although that probably won’t be that much of an advantage to Trump during any such scenario since he presumably wouldn’t have to worry about a fellow GOPer’s support during a recount with or without that $25k donation. And with the GOP currently holding the Secretary of State’s office too, it’s not like any GOP presidential candidate is going to have Florida recount worries.

    It’s all mostly just a reminder that if Trump doesn’t lose big in Florida, he’ll probably win it. It’s also a reminder that Trump University probably isn’t a great investment for your future unless, of course, you’re planning on writing a best-selling book about your trials and tribulations after getting scammed by a billionaire. Trump U would be the perfect choice for that particular career path. Alas, Trump U is no more, so it might be too late for your Great American Novel which is too bad. Books about average Joes getting super scammed by billionaires are only getting more and more topical.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 22, 2016, 3:23 pm

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