THE TEARS OF A CLONE

Conyers Closes in on Karl and his Rove-bots …

By Greg Palast
Special to The BRAD BLOG

(Listen to the podcast of this article here)

Boo-hoo! I made Tim Griffin cry.

He cried. Then he lied.

You remember Tim. Karl Rove's right hand (right claw?) man. The GOP's ragin' cagin' man.

Griffin is the Rove-bot exposed by our BBC Newsnight investigations team as the man who gathered and sent out the infamous 'caging' lists to Republican state chairmen during the 2004 election.

gregclintoncaptioned.jpgCaging lists, BBC discovered, were used secretly as a basis to challenge the right to vote of thousands of citizens - including the homeless, students and soldiers sent overseas. The day after BBC broadcast that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, sought our evidence on Griffin, Tim resigned his post as US Attorney for Arkansas. That job was a little gift from Karl Rove who made room for his man Griffin by demanding the firing of US prosecutor Bud Cummins.

Last week, our cameras captured Griffin, all teary-eyed, in his humiliating kiss-off speech delivered in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas Bill Clinton School for Public Service where he moaned that, "public service isn't worth it."

True. In the old Jim Crow days in Arkansas, you could get yourself elected by blocking African-Americans. (The voters his caging game targeted are - quelle surprise! - disproportionately Black citizens.)Palast and Conyers Looking over the E-mails

But today, Griffin can't even get an unemployment check. When he resigned two weeks ago following our broadcast, the cover story was that the voter persecutor-turned-prosecutor had resigned to work for Presidential wannabe Fred Thompson. But when Thompson's staff was asked by a reporter why they would hire the 'cagin' man,' suddenly, the 'Law and Order' star decided associating with Griffin might take the shine off Thompson's badge, even if it is from the props department.

Griffin, instead of saying that public service "isn't worth it," should have said, "Crime doesn't pay." Because, according to experts such as law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 'caging,' when used to target Black voters' rights, is a go-to-prison crime.

By resigning, Tim may not avoid the hard questions about caging - or the hard time that might result. When I passed the first set of documents to Conyers (a real film noir moment, in a New York hotel room near midnight), the soft-spoken Congressman said that, resignation or not, "We aren't done with Mr. Griffin yet…"

Tears Not Truth

Back in Little Rock, when asked about caging, Rove's guy linked a few fibs to a few whoppers to some malefactious mendacity. That is, he lied.

"I didn't cage votes. I didn't cage mail," Griffin asserted.

At the risk of making you cry again, Tim, may I point you to an email dated August 26, 2004. It says, "Subject: Re: Caging." And it says, "From: Tim Griffin - Research/Communications" with the email tgriffin@rnchq.org. RNCHQ is the Republican National Committee Headquarters, is it not, Mr. Griffin? Now do you remember caging mail?

If that doesn't ring a bell, please note that at the bottom is this: "ATTACHMENT: Caging-1.xls". And that attachment was a list of voters.

In last week's pathetic farewell, Mr. Griffin averred that the accusation he was involved in caging voters, "Goes back to one guy - whose name I won't mention." (FYI, Mr. Griffin: My mother calls me, "Gregory.")

Yes, I first reported the story for BBC London - back in 2004 which, as Griffin correctly noted, it was ignored by my US press colleagues until, as Tim put it, "I became embroiled in the US Attorney thing." By 'the US Attorney thing,' I assume you are referring to your involvement in firing and smearing honest prosecutors and grabbing one of their salaries for yourself.

You say, Mr. Griffin, that the unmentionable reporter, "Made [it] up out of whole cloth." You flatter me, Mr. Griffin. We could not possibly be so creative at The Beeb as to construct the thousands of names of voters on your caging lists.

And by the way, we don't have just one of your "caging" emails, but scores of them.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for sending them to us - even if that was not your intent. You copied your caging missives to 'bdoster@georgewbush.org.' Mr. Doster was Chairman of the Florida Bush campaign - but that address was not his but John Wooden's pretending to be the Bush campaigners. Wooden then sent your notes to me.

Rove in Range

By the way, Mr. Griffin, if you want an explanation of 'caging voters,' just read an email dated February 5, 2007 by…Tim Griffin.

In that email, Griffin references the Bush campaigns mailing out thousands of letters. The letters returned ('caged') as undeliverable were used as the GOP's supposed evidence that these were "thousands of fraudulent voter registrations." These voters were subject to challenge. However, these caging lists of "fraudulent" addresses, like the 2000 "felon" lists which in fact contained no felons, contained no fraudulent voters. But that wouldn't necessarily save them from the massively successful Republican voter-challenge campaign.

During the appearance he made in Arkansas last week, Griffin said he'd never heard of 'caging.' "I had to look it up," he said. Griffin discovered that "caging" is "a direct mail term."

I don't doubt Griffin's ignorance. Griffin's just a good ol' boy, a former military lawyer, who wouldn't know direct mail terminology from a hole in the ground. Until he went to work for the RNC.

So where did Tim get this direct mail term he used in his emails? Well, before Karl Rove signed on with George W. Bush, he owned Karl Rove & Co ….a direct mail firm. Rove made millions making up lists of voters, doing more 'caging' than a zoo-keeper.

Am I saying caging-expert Rove had something to do with the allegedly illegal caging games of his boy Griffin? Does a bear…?

Mr. Griffin wouldn't answer BBC's requests for comment. So I suggested to an Arkansas local, Luther Lowe, a former army reservist and himself a victim of a challenge to his vote, that at the Little Rock send-off for Griffin, he ask the fallen US Attorney about Rove's involvement in caging. Lowe did so, politely. Griffin wove, ducked, blathered and blubbered. But wouldn't answer.

Maybe a subpoena would encourage a Griffin response. And a grant of immunity from the Conyers committee. That's Rove's nightmare. Because unless Griffin joins Alberto Gonzales in Club Amnesia, Griffin has a lot to tell us about Mr. Rove and targeting Black voters.

Will he? It's not Conyers' style to hunt down Rove. The congressman is not, despite what Republicans say, a partisan hit man. He is, however, one tenacious legislator who told me he would like his committee, "to follow where the evidence leads."

But that's not necessarily going to happen. Conyers told me he sees the evidence in the prosecutor firing investigation leading to the much bigger, nastier issue of voter suppression - in simpler terms, fixing elections.

Unfortunately, many on his committee from both parties see the hearings as limited to the single issue of the firing of prosecutors. They want to scrutinize the elephant's trunk but refuse to acknowledge it's attached to an elephant: election rigging. Racially poisoned, direct-mail driven, computer implemented election rigging.

But Conyers may get there yet, to the issue of elections manipulation. I didn't get that from the Chairman (too circumspect to let his future intensions slip out). I got it from the Big Bubba. When I ran into Ol' Silver Eyes himself at an Air America soiree, Bill Clinton (man, he's gotten thin!) told me, "When we really get going on these prosecutor hearings, when we really dig deep, we're going to get right to the issue of voter suppression."

But what do you mean "we," Bill? Conyers is dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has an abiding concern and painful experience with illegal vote suppression of all types: caging, purging, challenging, lynching. But whether Conyers can convince his committee, mostly members of the Congressional White Caucus, to "dig deep" on vote suppression, is an open question.

In the meantime, Conyers has convinced his committee to drop subpoenas on Harriett Miers (the lady tight with Griffin, Rove and, notably, George W. Bush) and Sara Taylor, Rove's Gal Friday. Conyers, methodically, determinedly, is circling in on Rove, "Bush's Brain," a man known to surrender the corpses of his allies in place of his own (eh, Mr. Libby?). No wonder Griffin's in tears.

So here's a hanky, Mr. Griffin. This unnamable reporter would rather you save your tears for Randall Prausa. The African-American soldier was on active military duty when he ended up on one of your caging lists, what you term a suspected 'fraudulent' voter subject to GOP challenge because he was not home to get his fraudulent, 'Welcome, voter,' letter from the GOP.

Can you guess, Mr. Griffin, why Prausa wasn't at home? Well, unlike Messrs. Rove and Bush, Prausa was serving his country overseas.

And that's what caging is all about. If you're Black, you get shipped to Baghdad and you lose your vote. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Griffin. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Rove.

===

The confidential Griffin e-mail, "Subject: Re: Caging," is reproduced in Greg Palast's New York Times bestseller, ARMED MADHOUSE: Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Available at www.GregPalast.com

Also: Catch the film of Randi Rhodes and Greg Palast on "Bush's and Giuliani's favorite vultures," the men with connections to the Bush Administration who have siphoned off the money meant for Africa's poorest. Video online here.

Tags: Audio Reports, PodcastsAudio Reports PodcastsAudio Reports, Podcasts

Originally by Greg Palast from Greg Palast on June 15, 2007, 2:52pm

Donate


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe


  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
    • @RFK Jr. 2008 -

      I like some of the things for which RFK, Jr., has stood up. He's right that the elections were stolen. He's helping to expose that with Greg Palast. (Too bad Greg's an atheist)

      He is right to help the poor get heating oil (from Hugo Chavez's Venezuela), although oil isn't the way to go.

      I do understand that changing heating-oil systems is costly but it must be done.

      He is still mistaken though that the secular system holds any hope.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Tom Usher