Friday, July 25, 2003

Mugging the blind lady
What cost justice? In Mississippi, the going rate is currently $75,000. That's how much State Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, Jr. (Republican) and his ex-wife (ditto) are alleged to have taken for favorable court treatment from attorney Paul Minor. The 16-count indictment was handed down. Presumably, Diaz & Ex will be taking a televised perp walk real soon. Check out this outstanding example of Republican virtue here.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Get to know me!
California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa has turned California politics on its head by sponsoring a successful petition campaign that will force state voters to decide whether or not to recall Governor Gray Davis. Should the recall succeed, Issa stands ready to run to replace Davis. But this isn't the first time Issa has tried to five-finger something that isn't his. He has an arrest record for attempted auto theft by deception on at least two occasions...Wait for it...Wait for it...The irony in all of this is that Issa made millions by inventing and selling the Viper car alarm. That voice you hear telling you to back away from the car? That's Issa's. Cool, huh? Anyway, the man who would be Governor uses that bedrock Republican principle of taking responsibility for one's actions to explain his run-ins with the law -- it was his brother who was really the crook and it was all youthful hijinks by a kid who didn't know any better. The latter is a classic example of the Henry Hyde Defense since Issa was 27 years old at the time. Read all about it here.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Operators are standing by!
Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and State Auditor Patricia Awada (also a Republican) are in the hot seat over their financial ties to New Access Communications, a telemarketing company that recently paid a $222,000 fine to settle claims that it violated consumer protection laws in Washington, Oregon and Indiana. The company has been implicated in seven states for "slamming," the illegal practice of tricking consumers into changing their long distance telephone carrier without even knowing that that's what they are doing. At the time the complaints were filed, Pawlenty was one of three directors of New Access' parent company, NewTel Holdings. The Guv was also an investor in New Access. Awada owned Capitol Verification, a company that provided a service verifying that New Access' new customers actually wanted to change their carriers. The problem is that Capitol Verification, according to regulators, didn't always do a whole lot of verifying. Pawlenty, invoking the good old Republican theme of personal responsibility, says he wasn't...er...personally responsible for overseeing New Access while on NewTel's board.

Other Minnesotan Republican politicians caught up in this furball of a fraud include: Elam Baer, a Pawlenty crony and GOP operative; Victoria Grunseth, a GOP fundraiser; Timothy Commers, Pawlenty's campaign manager; and Jim Holmquist, former GOP fundraiser; Leon Oistad, former state Republican Party chairman; and former Minnesota Commerce commissioner Bert McKasy, all NewTel shareholders. Read the ugly truth here and here and even here.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Smoke signals
You would think that a group of people who have been constantly hosed by the powers that be for over 300 years might know a thing or two about fighting back. Well, you and I might think that, but it apparently never occurred to Rhode Island's Republican Gov. Don Carcieri. When Carcieri ordered the state police to shut down a tax-free smoke shop owned by the Narragansett tribe, a melee ensued between the cops and tribe members. Carcieri has since apologized for the Gestapo-like tactics...kinda. He also blamed the Narragansett for provoking the riot. Catch the whole sad tale here.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Don't mess with Texas Dems
A Texas district court judge has ruled that Texas law enforcement agencies have no legal right to arrest legislators in order to compel them to attend legislative sessions. The ruling was sparked by this spring's walk-out by Democratic legislators to protest a Republican-designed redistricting plan ordered by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). DeLay's orders to hunt down Democratic legislators and forcibly return them back to Austin sparked nationwide outrage over abuse of power. In one case, law enforcement officers searched a neo-natal care unit at a hospital where the newborn twin daughters of one of the missing legislators were struggling to live. You can revel in the details here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Ex-party chair for Virginia GOP sentenced for eavesdropping
Edmund A. Matricardi III, former head of Virginia's Republican Party, was sentenced to three years of probation and $5,000 in fines by a federal judge July 8. Matricardi had earlier been convicted of illegally listening to two calls between leaders of the commonwealth's Democratic Party as they discussed legal strategies for combatting a GOP-imposed redistricting plan. Get the whole sorry story here.

Adding insult to injury in this case was trial judge James R. Spencer, whose heart openly bled for the right-wing fanatic: "A number of things would have pushed it to jail time to send a message, but I tried to give Mr. Matricardi the individual treatment that he deserves." Thanks, yer honor. I'm sure the message you sent to Republicans everywhere will be heard loud and clear.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Why, oh why, no FBI?

U.S. Congressman Charles Taylor (R-NC) has been implicated in fraud committed at a bank he owns. Two of his business associates have confessed to their crimes and named Taylor as a co-conspirator. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, has yet to even schedule a preliminary interview with the Republican Congressman. Why is Taylor being given a free ride? Check out stories here and here.

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