Republican hack gets 2 years for directing Super Pac fund$ for candidate

One of his regular appearances on Fox News

A former Republican political operative was sentenced Friday to two years in prison and another two years of probation in the first criminal case of illegal coordination between a campaign and a purportedly independent political ally.

The reason for “former”, of course, is that he got caught.

Tyler Harber, convicted in February, told the court he knew he was guilty when he created and helped arrange for the super Pac National Republican Victory Fund to buy $325,000 in ads to help Republican Chris Perkins’ 2012 House campaign. He received $9,100 for setting up the deal. He had pleaded guilty to one count of coordinated federal election contributions and one count of making false statements to the FBI…

Prosecutors said he used an alias and other means to deflect inquiries by a political party official. He also admitted that he told multiple lies when interviewed by the FBI.

Federal prosecutor said Harber’s guilty plea and sentencing was “an important step forward in the criminal enforcement of federal campaign finance laws.”

It’s also the only conviction for a crime as common as white bread. The laws were re-written by rightwing flunkies on the Supreme Court. Existing standards for the Federal Election Commission are so wimpy as to hardly exist.

Getting rid of the Citizens United decision is one of the many tasks Congressional conservatives consider unimportant. Not that they work very hard at anything an American citizen might consider dutiful.

The response from leading Republicans like, say, Jeb Bush, is a call to set aside that portion of the law that calls for separation from anonymous donors and candidates for elected office.

Tyler Harber’s PAC? The National Republican Party Victory PAC.

Obama has impromptu online town hall — crashes Reddit

President Obama chose the social news site Reddit for his latest direct-to-voters online town hall Wednesday afternoon…The Reddit forum, or subreddit, went live at four minutes after the hour–and within 15 minutes had more than 2000 comments.

Redditors, per regular forum etiquette, asked Obama to verify his identity, which he did using both a photo and a link to a tweet, signed “-bo,” signalling that he composed the message himself.

“Hey everybody – this is barack. Just finished a great rally in Charlottesville, and am looking forward to your questions. At the top, I do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with folks who are dealing with Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf, and to let them know that we are going to be coordinating with state and local officials to make sure that we give families everything they need to recover.”

The site struggled to keep up with the sudden deluge of traffic, with the forum alternately crashing and being placed under read-only constraints.

Once things got going, Obama answered questions about internet freedom, an issue unsurprisingly close to the hearts of Redditors.

“We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody – from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business…”

He railed against dark money and anonymous election donations:

“Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists.”

“Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”

Lots of questions and reasonably straight-arrow answers for someone sitting in the White House. Direct and to the point. I always reserve my criticism for specific issues when they are being covered.

I think he did a solid job. He answered to the protocols and standards of geek netizens. I heard about this about 15 minutes before it started and knew damned well he’d crash the servers. Something that Romney and Ryan probably couldn’t do even with “spontaneous” coordination with both the Tea Party and the NRA.

Read through the whole article and draw your own conclusions.

Champion lobbying crook says our politics are worse than ever

Jack Abramoff and Dickhead

Ethics reforms put in place since the influence-peddling scandal surrounding high-rolling lobbyist Jack Abramoff haven’t cleaned up the system “at all,” a now-free Abramoff says.

Abramoff served three and a half years in prison for conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion before his release last December. In an interview…he said the reforms imposed after his guilty plea have little effect while campaign finance remains untouched.

“You can’t take a congressman to lunch for $25 and buy him a hamburger or a steak or something like that,” he said. “But you can take him to a fund-raising lunch and not only buy him that steak, but give him $25,000 extra and call it a fund-raiser — and have all the same access and all the same interactions with that congressman…”

“There’s an arrogance on the part of lobbyists, and certainly there was on the part of me and my team, that no matter what they come up with, we’re smarter than them — we’ll just find another way through,” he said.

The high-flying Republican lobbyist pleaded guilty to a raft of federal corruption charges in 2006 and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors investigating Washington influence-peddling. He admitted illegally showering gifts on officials who provided favors for his clients in a probe that led to convictions or guilty pleas for 20 lobbyists and public officials — including Ohio GOP congressman Bob Ney and Stephen Griles, the Bush administration’s deputy interior secretary.

Between the two phony political parties – and a Supreme Court packed with rightwing political appointees – democratic processes in legislation and regulation continue to be removed as quickly as they were the day Newt Gingrich rolled out his contract on the American people in 1994.

Lobbyists still have greater access – legal and upright they say – than they did before that fateful time. The Supreme Court says “Corporations are people, too” and their dollars pour into political chamberpots like so much greenback diarrhea.

Abramoff was the champion of gaming the system designed by corrupt corporate ideologues, agreed to nowadays by both Democrats and Republicans. He ought to know how it works.