April 12, 2009 / by emptywheel


What’s in Feeney’s File on Rove?

In my post on the dead-enders doing Dallas, I briefly noted an exchange between Rove and a former Tom Feeney staffer. The eye-popping part was Rove’s admission that he has a file on Feeney’s perceived disloyalty to Bush.  But just as interesting was the staffer, Jason Roe’s reminder to Rove that Bush owed his presidency to Feeney, the speaker of the FL House of Representatives during the 2000 recount.

Roe walked over to the table, "I’m Jason Roe."

Rove: "Oh, the famous Jason Roe."

Roe: "I don’t know that I’m famous, but I’m Tom Feeney’s former chief of staff, and I’m offended by your comments on Fox about Tom. You guys wouldn’t be in the White House without Tom. And you made these really degrading comments about him that offended a lot of people."

(Sidenote: Tom Feeney was the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives during the whole Bush/Gore 2000 recount.)

Rove: "Well, I have a file on the things Tom Feeney said about George Bush."

Roe: "That says more about you than me that you kept a file on Tom Feeney. This guy was so restrained in his desire to criticize the president — even against this staff’s advice." 

Rove: "I have a file."

Along with a bunch of other people, I nagged Brad Friedman, who has covered allegations that Feeney contracted with asked a software company in 2004 to rig touchscreen voting machines, to comment on the Roe reference. Brad separated out Feeney’s known role in 2000…

But as to the "You guys wouldn’t be in the White House without Tom" line, we don’t have any hard evidence of anything newly nefarious in that, given what is already on the public record concerning Feeney’s helping hand to Bush during the FL 2000 democracy abortion.

Amidst the 36 day battle following Election Day 2000 in the Sunshine State, Feeney, who was then Speaker of the FL House and arguably the second most powerful politician in the state (after Dubya’s brother Jeb, who was Governor at the time), made it clear that he was prepared to pass legislation in the Republican Florida House to grant all of Florida’s electors to George W. Bush no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court ended up deciding. As the state’s Constitution grants the power to determine Presidential Electors to the legislature, and that power has been passed on by them to the voting electorate, Feeney was prepared to take that power back for his buddy Dubya (Feeney had previously run as Jeb’s running mate in his unsuccessful 1994 bid for the Governorship), and select Bush’s electors by government fiat, no matter what the courts had determined.

Sleazy? Of course. We’d expect no less from Feeney. But nefariously illegal? Not really. But that, we suspect, is what Roe was most likely referring to in his comments to Rove.

Feeney had other roles to play, of course, in the theft of Florida’s 2000 election, according to the whistleblower Curtis who spoke of "exclusion lists" and the use of armed police at polling places in minority areas which, he says, "Feeney used to brag about".

..from the allegations of voting machine hacking that came out in 2004…

In his now fairly well known allegations against Feeney, first broken here in December of 2004, Curtis had alleged that Feeney first asked the CEO of the company where they both worked (Yang Enterprises Inc. — Curtis as computer programmer, Feeney as general counsel and registered lobbyist, even as he was also speaker of the FL House) for what amounted to a touch-screen vote-rigging software prototype, in "late September or October of 2000", according to his sworn affidavit [PDF]. That would have been just a month or two before the 2000 FL election, and the short demonstration program that Curtis says he created for him, wouldn’t likely have been in time to use for that November’s election. Furthermore, though a version of the program could easily have been adapted for use on central tabulating computers (the main vote counters), the progam was allegedly meant for use on touch-screen voting systems, which FL hadn’t yet been using at the time.

After the 2000 race however — where paper ballots were allegedly gamed in Palm Beach County, according to the stunning on-camera testimony of 7 former company employees from Sequoia Voting Systems who’d produced the bulk of the state’s punch-card paper ballots (broadcast video here) — Florida moved quickly thereafter to touch-screen voting systems across much of the state.

Thanks, Brad, for laying that out. Click through to Brad’s post for a review of still-unexplained issues with the 2000 election. 

Now, if Jason Roe has any further revelations about how Feeney helped out Bush, I’d be happy to hear it. 

Update: corrected some inaccuracies. Curtis alleged that Feeney asked Yang Enterprises to do the vote-rigging software in 2000, though there is no indication it was or could have been used in 2000. 

Copyright © 2009 emptywheel. All rights reserved.
Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2009/04/12/whats-in-feeneys-file-on-rove/