September 16, 2014

Bush Speechwriter is 2nd American to Claim Support For McConnell Not Induced

Former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Johns has come out as the second American to formerly declare his support for Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign was not induced.

In Johns' own words:
When a candidate hires an alleged 'bagman' in a bribery scandal, as McConnell's campaign clearly did in hiring Dimitri Kesari, it's a legitimate question to ask what they hired him to do? And when he doesn't answer, it's legitimate to ask those who are doing what McConnell wishes them to do,  if and how they were induced?

September 15, 2014

PHOTOS: Dimitri Kesari's attorney, Ron Paul's attorney, chilling with Paul last September

Dimitri Kesari's attorney is Jesse R. Binnall. former Congressman Ron Paul and Binnall:

The attorney for Paul's failed presidential campaign was David Warrington. Warrington and Paul:


Binnall and Warrington appear to have been photographed with Paul only moments apart at the September 2013 Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC), held in Chantilly, Virginia. Warrington was one of the conference speakers.

September 14, 2014

Ron Paul bribery scandal raises questions for Virginia's Corey Stewart

Lloyd's book cover
Tea Party activist Mark Lloyd endorsed Corey Stewart for Lt. Governor of Virginia, two days after Stewart's campaign made a $10,000 disbursement to Dimitri Kesari's Hyluss Corporation.  

Stewart, who makes his home on a former Virginia slave plantation known as Bel Aire, is the chairman of Virginia's Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

Kesari was identified by an indicted bribee, former Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson, as the "bagman" who delivered a check that served as security for the bribe which induced Sorenson to endorse former Congressman Ron Paul over Michele Bachmann in Iowa's 2012 Republican presidential primary.

Stewart gave Kesari a total of $16,800 in May 2013 disbursements, according to a campaign finance report filed with Virginia's Board of Elections. The total came in the form of three disbursements itemized as "machine rental and copies," "consulting, "and "consulting fee."

Payments from Stewart to Hyluss
Stewart's endorsement by Lloyd is a little tricky to find on the internet. Stewart had sent a tweet thanking Lloyd for his "kind words" on May 10, 2013, just two days after his initial payment to Kesari:
The shortened url in that tweet leads to Stewart's campaign website, where a news release headed "Setting the record straight on John Gray" appears to have been deleted:
Any doubt whether those "kind words" were an endorsement is put to rest from this tweet from John Scott, a law student at Liberty University School of Law and Southern Regional Vice Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation linking to the same (now disappeared) page:
Lloyd wrote a book about what inspired him to join the Tea Party, called "The Battle for Virginia's 5th District, How the Ancestral Spirit of Patrick Henry Inspired Me to Join the Tea Party." (It's available for Kindle for $1.99.) From his publisher's bio of him: 

"Mark Lloyd is the Chairman of the Lynchburg Tea Party. He also serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Federation, a collaborative effort of more than fifty tea parties throughout the State of Virginia. His articles on the Tea Party movement have been featured in The Hill."
The ancestral spirit may inspired Lloyd to join the Tea Party, but what spirits inspired him to support Stewart for Lt. Governor?

Side notes:

September 7, 2014

Mitch McConnell reports contributions from Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and why this may get Wayside Christian Mission excited

McConnell at March 30, 2014 fundraiser w/indigenous leaders.
According to their latest campaign finance report, Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign received a $2,600 campaign contribution from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on May 20, 2014.  If history repeats itself, Wayside Christian Mission may be getting pretty excited about this news, but first some background...

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians were the first tribe to be enlisted and subsequently exploited in what came to be known as the "Jack Abramoff Indian lobby scandal" according to a 357-page 2006 report to congress called “GIMME FIVE”— INVESTIGATION OF TRIBAL LOBBYING MATTERS.

September 6, 2014

Mitch McConnell's father-in-law off limits to columnist who believes he is dead

McConnell, Chao, and Chao - all living.
While James S. C. Chao did not provide a campaign bus to son-in-law Mitch McConnell's campaign at a reduced rate, he has invested thousands in his campaign. (And that doesn't count any dark money passing through superpacs.) Chao is the founder and president of Foremost Shipping, which owns and operates a fleet of fifteen of the world's largest ships, all flying Liberian flags to evade US taxes.

Nevertheless, the Courier-Journal's Al Cross has refused to address the role Chao plays in his son-in-law's campaign in comparison to role Jerry Lundergan plays in his daughters.

At first blush, I presumed Cross's omission of the comparison was sexist. After all, in this morning's column, he dropped the term "Daddy" twice:
"This potential legal problem could be cured by an invoice and a check, but a hard-nosed manager would have realized the need to avoid anything that could make Daddy an issue for a 35-year-old woman who hasn’t completed even one term in elective office." 
"But what about Daddy’s end? Will he send another invoice?"

September 4, 2014

Recap of Mitch McConnell's Bribery Scandal Updates

The Lexington-Herald's Sam Youngman has redeemed himself by laying out most of the facts known about the Benton-Kesari bribery scandal. Check it out here:
McConnell adviser: Campaign has no knowledge of subpoenas reportedly involving former manager.

Dimitri Kesari's brother Pavlov is also a subject of the investigation. A quick googling of his phone number, 202-271-7323, reveals he offered a $500 reward for his missing black lab Sugar in 2012
That's right, there was a $500 reward for Pavlov's dog. Think about it.

Here's what folks are saying on Twitter, after the jump:

September 3, 2014

FBI interviewed Mitch McConnell / Rand Paul insider in June 2013

Jonathan Duke, an insider with both the Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul campaigns, was interviewed by the FBI on June 19, 2013. If a November 5, 2013 blog entry on Page One Kentucky is to be trusted at face value, Duke bragged to blogger Jake Payne that he was being interviewed by the FBI, and even texted Payne as he left the interview. 

Duke is a former State Director for the Republican National Committee, a hardcore supporter of Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Event Chair of Rand Paul's Victory Committee. 

On Page One Kentucky, Payne wrote:

"Guess which host on this list was interviewed by the FBI for communicating with the Progress Kentucky nitwits regarding the location of Mitch McConnell’s private campaign meeting on February 2"
As one of the "nitwits" Payne was referring to, I did not need either of his clues to identify his source. I knew who I communicated with that morning. Let's come back to that.

Because blogging is distinguished from journalism in that there are no rules, Payne offered his viewers two clues on his source's identity. Fascinatingly, the first clue identifies Duke as an "Event Chair" of Rand Paul's Victory Committee.

Payne's clue #1
The second clue suggests the FBI interview occurred on June 19, 2013, and that Duke, if these messages are indeed from him, intended to call Payne about twenty minutes after he left the interview. 

Payne's Clue #2
Okay, a little background is neccesary. I had tweeted @KyJDDuke on February 2, 2013 about the location of the McConnell HQ. Another source had told me when McConnell was launching his Louisville campaign HQ, but that source had not yet told me where the HQ was when I tweeted Duke. I tweeted Duke to see if I could trick him into revealing the location of the party. Hostile I know, but fun. Duke joked back about how it was "invitation only." (Like I didn't know that already.)

I wasn't the only the only Louisville 'journalist' who knew Duke was at McConnell's party. WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey, who later co-broke the story revealing my identity as David Corn's source for the secret recording, posted vocal support for Duke the same morning I made the recording:

Insider Louisville's Joe Sonka quoted Duke in an April 2013 LEO Weekly story about Charah, Inc. (I have also written about Charah, Inc. on this blog.)

When the FBI made arrangements to interview Duke in November, he jumped the shark, presuming the FBI wanted to talk to him about tweets, and so he tipped off Payne he was headed to meet with the FBI to talk about me and/or Progress Kentucky. Presumably after FBI left the interview, Payne added these lines to his blog entry:
"Spoiler alert: they didn’t know anything about Reilly."
"We plan to cover the mess quite a bit more in the weeks to come."
Payne's plans to "cover the mess never quite a bit more" never materialized. Duke went on support McConnell through the primary:
My first introduction to Duke was when he was working to ridiculing Ashley Judd by sexualizing her. Oh wait, I have a screenshot:

(This Tweet was deleted the first time I published it.)

Here's Duke's Linked In indicating his former role at Kentucky's RNC state director:

In the context of the breaking news that two former McConnell campaign operatives, Jesse Benton and Dimitri Kesari, are subjects in an FBI bribery investigation, Duke's interview probably was not about his tweets with me, but about Benton, Kesari, McConnell or Paul. Let that sink in.

The million dollar questions in the bribery scandal are of course, what did McConnell know, and when did he know it? But since McConnell's unlikely to entertain those questions, here are a few more: What did Duke know? Did he tell the FBI? Did he tell McConnell what the FBI asked him about? 

9/4/14 5:47 pm Update:
While Duke may be ignoring the dozens of tweets tagging him in relation to the McConnell campaign's bribery scandal, that's not to say his head is completely in the sand. He's watching, and like McConnell, hoping this all goes away. Not going to happen, bro.

September 2, 2014

Former Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac, not afraid Mitch McConnell

Those are just a few of her recent tweets. Compare with the zero times you've recently heard former Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson speak out against McConnell.

I saw Isaac moderate a 2009 Kentucky for Human Rights Panel, but I've never met her. If you're on twitter, give her some retweets, favorites and such.

September 1, 2014

Dimitri and Jolanda Kesari - two must-know actors in the outcome of Kentucky's senate race
(update 9/1/14: This post was updated to reflect it has been confirmed Dimitri Kasari still serves on the Hamilton, VA town council but was absent at June meeting.)

Hyllus, Dimitri Kesari's company, was paid by the McConnell campaign over $60,000 in 2013 to do unspecified work.

Kesari was Ron Paul's deputy national campaign director for 2012, and has been identified as the "bagman" who delivered bribes to former Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson. The purpose of those bribes, according to Sorenson, was for him to endorse presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul.

Kesari's wife, Jolanda, owns Designer Goldsmith's in Leesburg, Virginia, from which checks surfaced in the bribery scandal. So if you want to know if the Kesari's bribed anyone in Kentucky's US Senate race to endorse McConnell, you better bet these are two people who would know.

Scorned Louisville District Court Judge Reports Contribution from Elaine Chao

Screenshot from KREF 
Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao contributed a $1,000 to the 2014 re-election campaign of scorned Jefferson County District Court Judge Sandra McLaughlin, according to KREF reports. Chao's contribution came almost six months after McLaughlin was recorded telling an African American defendant that his Obama t-shirt "wasn't helping" his case. After dismissing the defendant from her courtroom, McLaughlin remarked, he was "he was lucky to get out of here alive."