TeaBuggerGate, Part One

You’ve no doubt heard that James O’Keefe, the guy who broke some laws secretly filming ACORN employees, got busted yesterday trying to film some buddies bugging Mary Landrieu’s office.

But I’m not as interested, for the moment, in O’Keefe as I am in his alleged accomplice, Robert Flanagan.

You see, Flanagan is the son of the acting US Attorney for Western LA, William Flanagan. Flanagan, Sr., had only been in charge for a week–since January 18, when Bush’s US Attorney for the district, Donald Washington, stepped down–when his son got busted on federal property elsewhere in the state.

But that’s not the only neat connection that Robert Flanagan has. Last year–from January to April–Flanagan, Jr., interned for Congresswoman Mary Fallin (R-OK). And Fallin is one of just 31 Representatives who co-sponsored a resolution honoring James O’Keefe and his ACORN-filming accomplice, Hannah Giles. (Fallin was joined on the resolution by such notables as Joe Barton, Louis Gohmert, Steve King, and Jean Schmidt.)

It’s all very cozy, apparently, in Republican corruption circles.

Oh, and speaking of corrupt Republicans, you might be interested in knowing that Obama’s nominee to be US Attorney for LA’s Western District, Stephanie Finley, the woman who will replace Flanagan, Sr., is being blocked by LA’s other Senator, David “Diapers” Vitter.  Why? Because he wants to make sure LA’s US Attorney for the Eastern District–the one who will be prosecuting Messrs. O’Keefe and Flanagan, now–stays in office for a while longer.

image_print
  1. emptywheel says:

    Here’s something I’d love some thought on. O’Keefe was not dressing up as a telephone guy. He was filming this on his cell phone.

    Why?

    Also, my bet for the next Dem Senator they catch being bugged? Kay Hagen. Just a hunch.

    • MadDog says:

      A couple of other important things to ponder:

      1. These clowns obviously a reason to bug Senator Landrieu, and I’m guessing that they had a reason to believe and/or know they could trap her in corruption deals. Louisiana and corruption go together like stink on shite. Louisianans laugh at a smalltime grifter like former Governor Rod Blagojevich in Illinois. This wasn’t any spur of the moment “boys will be boys” hijink. These clowns had a purpose.

      2. What bugging technology was used? Tapping into a PBX ain’t like the movies with a tape recorder and a couple of copper wires. Note the background of Dai in my comment # 10 above.

      How did these clowns, specifically Dai, know that their bugging technology would work on the specific manufacturer’s PBX? PBXs have been digital for decades now, so mucking around on one to bug a phone line can only be accomplished by computer technology, and administrator password access to the PBX/computer itself.

      For that matter, how did these clowns even know the specific manufacturer’s PBX in use at the Senator’s office?

      And based on that Nola.com article I referenced, it seems that Dai was the one “…with a listening device in a car blocks from the senator’s offices…” so I’m guessing Dai was both the “intelligence” and “technology” resource, if not more.

        • MadDog says:

          Could be, but that begs the question of how would this clown crew know which phone line was Senator Landrieu’s on the punchdown board?

          It’s been my experience (zillions of years wandering around in wiring and phone closets) that those things are not labeled with a big red sign saying “Here’s Senator Landrieu’s Phone Line”.

          Typically, the telecommunication folks have their own documentation of a punchdown board that resembles Egyptian hieroglyphics and requires both a Rosetta Stone and their secret handshake before you can make heads or tails of it.

          • shekissesfrogs says:

            They tried calling two phones with their cell phones. They were trying to locate/narrow down the correct wires probably.
            They were probably filming/gathering as much info as possible so they could come back and and hook up at bugs at another time.

          • emptywheel says:

            You know that might relate to the reason they were videotaping the bugging.

            If you want to prove that this bugging was the source of something, and not some other bugging, I mean.

            • MadDog says:

              Maybe, but then O’Keefe would have joined the rest of his clown crew in the wiring closet which from the FBI affidavit reads like it was just Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan acting as the telephone crew mimes.

              And if you’re still up EW, I point you to my comment at # 67 for your dot connection thoughts.

              Why else would Flanagan Junior be involved if he did not have inside info? Something that only he was privy to on the clown crew. Something via Flanagan Senior who was working on or knew about official targeting efforts against Senator Landrieu.

              These clowns had to have had a specific result they thought they would accomplish! They didn’t target Senator Landrieu as a “fishing expedition”.

    • Waccamaw says:

      Also, my bet for the next Dem Senator they catch being bugged? Kay Hagen. Just a hunch.

      Hmmmmm, interesting, that; given I live in hagen’s state. What have I missed that brought on such a “hunch”?

      • emptywheel says:

        I may be backing off my hunch. If this were connected to HCR, I’d think it likely that the Senators who thus far are cooperating, but on the bubble, might attract attention (so not Nelson, Lincoln, or Bayh, but yes on the other). And then Hagen is also in a state with a holdover USA. Now, I do expect some fishy business with HCR to break at some point in the next three years. But some folks in NOLA think this may have to do with Mary’s bro’s race for mayor.

  2. MadDog says:

    Just so you know, O’Keefe & Co. are summa cum laude graduates of the G. Gordon Libby School of Democratic Bugging.

    Shorter school motto: “If you’re caught bugging a Democrat, you pass!”

    • lawordisorder says:

      LOOOOOL

      “Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter”

      Who needs bugs when they know how to bang the “hammer” ,-)

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Attempted illegal surveillance of a federal office? If the Black Panthers, Vegans International, an opposition party, a newspaper or anyone but Blackwater and the FBI tried that, they would be looking at serious jail time.

    There’s no First Amendment or other exception for this sort of non-prank violation of federal law. Will Eric Holder’s people treat this with the seriousness it deserves or will they, at the WH’s request [obstruction?], dismiss this with an Orrin Hatch-like “boys will be boys”?

    • klynn says:

      Sounds like it was another spin on the, “Democrats do not protect the country,” or, “…look how vulnerable our public offices are in terms of being infiltrated when Dems are in charge.”

      I imagine the groups you named would be treated as terrorists.

      This better not get a “boys will be boys.” This is strike two.

    • FrankProbst says:

      Will Eric Holder’s people treat this with the seriousness it deserves or will they, at the WH’s request [obstruction?], dismiss this with an Orrin Hatch-like “boys will be boys”?

      I’m having a hard time seeing this being dismissed as a “boys will be boys” situation. Landrieu may be a contemptible hack, but she’s STILL a sitting US Senator, and these guys got busted by the FBI. The other 99 Senators are probably shitting their pants right now just imagining their last few phone calls being played for the general public. They’re going to want some reassurance on this, and if Holder isn’t going to move on a brazen crime against a vulnerable Democrat, they’re going to start worrying about what he’ll tolerate against the Republicans. My guess is that they’re all going to do at least six months in a federal prison.

        • MadDog says:

          I wouldn’t bet against it!

          Since Robert Flanagan is the the son of William Flanagan, the interim United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, I wonder if his inclusion in the clown crew was the reason for the targeting of Senator Landrieu.

          I’m wondering whether Flanagan Junior was privy to Flanagan Senior’s work as USA, and whether Flanagan Senior has been working on cases involving Senator Landrieu.

          I can’t think of any other reason for Flanagan Junior to be connected to this clown crew, can you?

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Obama’s lackadaisical pace at appointing key officers, notably including scores of US Attorney, is not sign of his pragmatism, of his middle-of-the-roadness, or a demonstration of his strategery at playing chess. It is incompetence and a stunning unwillingness to lead that allows prior corruption to stand and be legitimized.

  5. MadDog says:

    More from NOLA.com:

    ACORN ‘gotcha’ man arrested in attempt to tamper with Mary Landrieu’s office phones

    …An official close to the investigation said one of the four was arrested with a listening device in a car blocks from the senator’s offices. He spoke on condition of anonymity because that information was not included in official arresting documents…

    [snip]

    …According to the Phillips Foundation’s Web site, Dai was the editor-in-chief of the GW Patriot, an alternative conservative student newspaper, when he attended The George Washington University in 2006. According to information Dai posted in September 2007 on the university’s online alumni directory, he lived in Naperville, Ill., helped run a “Defense Deparment regional defense counterterrorism/irregular warfare program” and then became assistant director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University, which prepares undergraduates for careers in intelligence

    [snip]

    …O’Keefe spent most of the time in the men’s room off the jail’s lobby, then hustled to the cab when it arrived. As he ran into the back seat, he called out, “The truth shall set me free…”

    (My Bold)

      • MadDog says:

        I think Stan Dai’s background is going to shortly be under a microscope, and likely to leave a stink one can smell all the way to DC.

          • MadDog says:

            LOL!

            This cracked me up:

            In college, Stan Dai co-wrote a satirical work entitled The Penis Monologues, apparently a takeoff on the Vagina Monologues. Here’s a taste:

            My Angry Penis

            MY PENIS IS ANGRY!!!!!!! You want to know what happened to my penis? Joan happened to my penis! There I was, sleeping peacefully when Joan stormed in and dragged me out for “an educational program.” I thought was going to see Mr. Rogers! But nooooooo! It turned out to be the “Whine-gina Monologues!”

            I just can see Stan Dai, squirreled up in the basement of his parent’s home, sitting in front of his computer all day, eating Cheetos and spending each week’s Domino’s Pizza paycheck on those “bad” websites.

            • shekissesfrogs says:

              So he’s also in the proverbial closet too, and he’s got a thing for Mr. Rogers?
              Republican..

            • prostratedragon says:

              And then when he hits a review of The Vagina Monologues, his steeltrap mind snaps shut: “Hey! … That reminds me of something! …”

              On the Michael O’Keefe business, are we sure these are the same folks?

              Whether or not they are, I will note that one way bubbles are sometimes started in previously quiet real estate markets is by just the straw buyer technique described. Maybe a few phony sales are needed to jack up enough prices that they start being used as neighborhood comparables, but it often works, if the aim is to unload dead dogs, or to generate traffic for the helpful loan broker.

              • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                And then when he hits a review of The Vagina Monologues,

                O.M.G.
                Could someone puleeze alert TBogg?!
                God, we could get some fun out of this one ;-)))
                Not that we aren’t already, but…. you know, TBogg style…

                  • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                    Er, we’d have a field day. And I hope the Hon. Mayor of Snarkville would, also.
                    And jeebuz, after SCOTUS and the rest of last week, don’t we need it?
                    Mamma mia…

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Whoa, that link and its siblings do not show a pretty picture: it has ‘ideologues’ all over it, with interests in counter-terrorism and terrorism.
            And then there’s Gitchee’s info about real estate and… well, basically insurance fraud, even before Katrina.

            Seems strange that a couple of 20-somethings would cook up a scheme to bug a Senator’s office, even if they are ideologues.
            Bizarro.

            • Gitcheegumee says:

              Ya know, when the levees failed after Katrina, and the Ninth ward was obliterated, I said, mark my words, five years from now, it won’t look much different.

              They want the land.

              Its five years later.

              And it don’t look much different.

              And how long before eminent domain will be declared because of “blight”?

              • mattcarmody says:

                At the risk of sounding very conspiratorial, take a close look at Nick Begich’s book Angels Don’t Play This HAARP.

                Begich is the brother of Mark, Alaska’s newest senator and the son of Nick Sr. who died in the plane crash that also killed Wade Boggs, Cokie Roberts’s dad who at the time was the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives and who had served on the Warren Commission.

                HAARP technology which is based on the science developed by Tesla can be used to actually cause “natural” disasters such as floods, hurricanes, droughts, and can pinpoint where these events make landfall.

                Very unsettling book when you consider how many natural disasters occur at serendipitous times in the news cycle to bury news that ruling elites would not want revealed.

                • prostratedragon says:

                  It was Hale Boggs, o.w. correctly identified afaik, who was lost in that small plane disappearance over Alaska.

                  (Also afaik, his body was never identified, and I’m not sure they ever found the wreckage.

                  Wade Boggs, still living, is a baseball Hall of Famer.)

    • marc5 says:

      Wow MadDog, thanks for that informative link.

      I heard this story on the radio at work, but no mention was made of the guy in the car with “surveillance equipment”. The “wiretapping” lede makes more sense now.

      As for the inside guy recording the fake phone guys, perhaps that was just an impulse thing, but who knows. I expect strings are being pulled furiously right now; favors called in, promises made, documents brandished. Perhaps some interesting connections will flicker briefly before the news cycle rolls past.

      Anyway. this is obviously bad news for Mary Landrieu, in fact my guess is she’ll be cast as the villain ASAP.

  6. cregan says:

    How you see filming corrupt and criminally oriented (at least from the orientation of their advice) individuals working for ACORN, even if there are some laws against it in some locations, is corrupt, I am not sure.

    I KNOW that if someone from Move On had filmed some worker for some right wing organization giving out criminally oriented advice, you would been advocating erecting a statue for them.

    Bugging someone’s office–no matter who– IS illegal and immoral and ought to be dealt with. Filming ACORN and catching them in the act is GREAT–even if there are some laws against it here and there.

    Unlike you, if I saw Move On film somebody at some Right to Life organization giving out crim advice, I’d think that was great, too.

    I wouldn’t be going around fretting about should they have filmed it or not.

    • freepatriot says:

      How you see filming corrupt and criminally oriented (at least from the orientation of their advice) individuals working for ACORN, even if there are some laws against it in some locations, is corrupt, I am not sure.

      I KNOW that if someone from Move On had filmed some worker for some right wing organization giving out criminally oriented advice, you would been advocating erecting a statue for them.

      Bugging someone’s office–no matter who– IS illegal and immoral and ought to be dealt with. Filming ACORN and catching them in the act is GREAT–even if there are some laws against it here and there.

      Unlike you, if I saw Move On film somebody at some Right to Life organization giving out crim advice, I’d think that was great, too.

      I wouldn’t be going around fretting about should they have filmed it or not.

      is THAT all ya got, ya fuckin troll ???

      some obscure rant about video ???

      how about some rock hard reality, to slap you upside your head:

      ever heard of The US Code ??? it’s REAL, and it has consequences

      Title 18, Chapter, Section 1001, I said, OOOOOPPPS, up, side your head

      TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 > § 1001

      § 1001. Statements or entries generally
      How Current is This?
      (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
      (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

      (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
      (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
      shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.
      If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.

      does that answer the first part: How I see filming corrupt and criminally oriented (at least from the orientation of their advice) individuals working for ACORN, creating false and misleading video tapes, even if there are some laws against it in some locations, is corrupt, I am not sure.

      now you should be sure

      would you like to have more fun investigating the US Code, to see how your pathetic heros are really up shit creek now ???

      I am not a lawyer, but I can find the right laws to put these idiots in jail for a LONG time

      TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 > § 1001 carries a five year prison term

      cap that with a conspiracy charge (I could look it up, or you can) and you’re lookin at about 30 months in a federal penitentiary

      thanks for playin, please play again

    • DWBartoo says:

      And third-rate TeaBuggers at that, Jkat.

      EW, quite the TeaBuggerGate Party you’re throwing.

      (They might no like it – but I do)

      ;~DW

  7. bgrothus says:

    The Teabuggers (love it, Marcy!) doing a poor job of trying to imitate the Yes Men. They don’t have their act together. And they don’t have the concept down, also.

  8. Hmmm says:

    It is odd. If the aim of the op was to plant surveillance gear, why did PimpyBoy risk videoing it — inviting discovery? Conversely, if the aim of the op was to get teabaggery YouTube video footage, why did they also try to plant surveillance gear — documenting a worse crime?

    It ain’t a twofer if each side of the op endangers the other.

    • PJEvans says:

      I’m wondering if they had a voice-over script ready to use. Loop in the dialogue before making copies for the media, and ….

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I’m thinking your hunch seems really, really astute.
        Were they trying to record some audio that they could later use as false ‘evidence’?
        Sinister.
        Was it only audio they were after? Or all digital info (emails, phone logs…)?
        Did they have a plan for someone to call and ‘entrap’ her, then record it — or remaster the audio…?
        Jeebuz…

        • PJEvans says:

          I’m thinking that they were going to try the Acorn thing again, but instead of recording what they were actually saying and the staffers’ responses, they’d just invent the entire dialogue and turn it into ‘we said/they said’. They’d be using the cell phone to do the video part.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            I’m thinking the very same thing that you are, along with what Gitchee has tossed into the pot — spiced up by Rayne: was this some kind of plan to offload someone else’s insurance and mortgage fraud scam onto ACORN?

            Because that’s the simplest way that I connect these seemingly corrosive, amoral dots.

            And what better Dem for a bunch of GOP ideologues to setup than a Dem Senator from Louisiana…?
            So how does Vitter get away from this stench?

            =====================
            Hideously, because I have never, ever done it, I can think through how one would create — imagining a New Media Creative SuperGOP Ideologue Identity — using SoundtrackPro (or hell, even iMovie!) to digitally chunk up phonemes of Landrieu’s own voice.

            (Time consuming and amoral, but technically quite feasible. I figure this is probably some kind of process used to make those bin Laden tapes. Just because tools allow people to do things doesn’t mean they’re okay to do. After it, technically, it would be simple to drive a car off a cliff. Idiocy.)

            • Rayne says:

              You know, I think this has little to do with ACORN; I think this was more about these morons being used by somebody else who knew which buttons to push. These guys are easily played and compromised, could be encouraged to go after Landrieu for reasons which in fact have nothing to do with the reasons these morons may have been told to go after her.

              Everybody and their brother knows Baby O’Keefe has it for ACORN, and that he may have some buttons to press when it comes to real estate, his dad, and the ever popular College Republican ethos (go after others before they go after you).

              Dai would have been easily manipulated by his over-eager desire to play mini-spy, as well as his need for acceptance in a culture which doesn’t tolerate non-whites.

              And then Baby Flanagan…need to dig more here to figure out what buttons got pressed with this kid. Why this kid?

              I’m wondering if they were encouraged to set up Landrieu to do something. Maybe like Pete Domenici did, only this time a friendly US Atty (Daddy Flanagan) busts her chops for asking about an investigation.

              • Gitcheegumee says:

                Has it been established that they hadn’t already been there and placed devices there before ..and maybe were going back to do some fine tuning?

                I haven’t had a chance to read the affadavit yet.

              • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                Well, last we heard it was all working out very well for them in Texas, so really… why bother checking on NOLA at all? Unless you’re mostly interested in oil and gas infrastructure, I suppose…

                What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.
                Barbara Bush, 2005

                Rayne, re: easily set up, yes. Ultimately, absolutely tragic for these 20-somethings and their families. Serious business.
                It’s the premeditation and preparation that really alarm me.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      sputtering here…. excuse me?!
      That sounds way, way creepy.

      And speaking of ‘creepy’, the NYT just hit an update on this teabuggery and something here is very, very weird.
      Along with the fact that one wonders whether Young Mr Flanagan can’t even imagine that any legal consequences could ever happen to him.
      Premeditated, and they seem to think they’re some kind of New Media Creativity Heros.
      Bizarro.

      But the thing about the Davos conference seems very, very creepy.

  9. MadDog says:

    The “spin” from Faux News:

    …No where in the media material provided by the Department of Justice is there an allegation that they were trying to wiretap the Senator’s phones, though there are reports a listening device was found in one of the suspect’s cars…

    …A source close to James told me “they were not attempting to wiretap the phones or anything like that,” and another source said “he would not want to do anything wrong.”

    But now he and the others face federal charges that could potentially bring ten years in prison if convicted, while the reason O’Keefe was allegedly recording remains unexplained.

    • FrankProbst says:

      If that’s the spin, they’re losing their touch. I doubt Faux News is going to go too far out on this–these bozos are in pretty deep shit right now, and odds are that one of them is going to flip.

      • MadDog says:

        If that’s the spin, they’re losing their touch…

        Never had much touch to begin with. *g*

        Though little is required for the adoring Repug and Teabagging masses.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        You’re actually making me feel better.
        I did some dumb things in my youth, but deliberately walk into someone’s office with technical equipment to bug something? You gotta be kidding me (!)
        I guess what disturbs is that this had to have required a fair amount of planning, apart from the brazenness.

        I think Landrieu’s a complete tool, but that’s entirely beside the point.
        Is the fact that Federal Marshals seem to have been involved in their arrest also a hopeful sign that someone will take this quite seriously?

        I mean, who on earth walks around asking to look at phone boxes?
        It’s the planning, the equipment and the malice that set off my alarm bells not that I’m any expert on such things, but wow this seems weird.

      • MadDog says:

        Chattahbox takes Faux News to the woodshed:

        Fox News Stunned by Arrest of Their Boy Wonder O’Keefe for Felony Bugging Charge

        …And O’Keefe’s head cheerleader, the conservative propaganda outlet Fox News is devastated at the news that their right-wing Boy Wonder has been busted by the FBI for trying to bug the office phones of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

        Today, when reporting on O’Keefe’s arrest, Fox News reporter Tim Vaughn declared that the story “needs a lot of context and a lot of looking into.” Oh yes it sure does…

        [snip]

        …When reporting the O’Keefe arrest to Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, Vaughn tried to make light of the story. And Smith suggested that O’Keefe was on the hunt for some ACORN type-wrongdoing on the part of Sen. Landrieu:

        “VAUGHN: [It’s a] very weird story that probably needs a lot of context and a lot of looking into, which is what we’re going to do here. I just wanted to get it on the record with it right now.

        SHEP SMITH: So, they’re saying basically, they’re in there — It sounds as if what they’re saying is, they’re looking for some ACORN hanky panky and they try to tap into Mary Landrieu’s telephone to get it.

        VAUGHN: That could be one way of looking at it, yes…”

        • FrankProbst says:

          See what I mean? That’s just not going to spin. You don’t get to illegally tap someone’s phone because you think they might say something naughty. (Unless, of course, you’re the government, and the target of the tap is NOT a member of Congress. And neither of those conditions were met here.)

    • cinnamonape says:

      The “complaint” merely uses the word “interfere”…which is a nice umbrella for a whole set of charges. But illegal wire-tapping “inteferes” with the intent of private conversations…i.e. confidentiality. It’s hard to think that they were simply trying to shut down a few phones…as a prank. When they complete their investigation I’m sure they find that the electronics they were carrying likely had FM pick-ups. The gear in the car (the receiver) would likely be a bit more easy to interpret.

      Could the videotaping be something that might show whoever hired them that they got the act done? Or maybe when they released the tape recordings of their intercepts if people claimed they were faked….they’d have the video as proof they made them (they could pixillate their own faces).

      • MadDog says:

        Yeah, I’m guessing the initial charges are merely placeholder charges, and that pending further work, these clowns are in for a really big surprise.

        On the videoing via cellphone, I still think that was for O’ Keefe’s personal criminal porn collection. *g*

        • FrankProbst says:

          Yeah, I’m guessing the initial charges are merely placeholder charges, and that pending further work, these clowns are in for a really big surprise.

          On the videoing via cellphone, I still think that was for O’ Keefe’s personal criminal porn collection. *g*

          I agree. The affidavit looks like it could double as a search warrant. I suspect that the FBI is going to pile on quite a few more charges.

  10. shekissesfrogs says:

    Former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Donald Washington told Main Justice that he has met Flanagan, who he called a fine young man.

    The Times-Picayune reported that “Robert Flanagan’s attorney, J. Garrison Jordan, said he believes his client works for the Pelican Institute.”

  11. marc5 says:

    You know, those fake phone guys seem remarkably lame. I wonder if they weren’t removing something previously placed by more capable hands.

    • prostratedragon says:

      One of my favorite details from the Watergate burglary is that the crew were caught because they replaced some tape over the slam lock on the office door after the nightwatchman had removed the first tape they placed there when he made his first round.

      [… and we have done those things which we ought not to have done …]

  12. Gitcheegumee says:

    About twenty five years ago there was a NOLA politician by the last name of O’keefe that wound up in Federal Prison.

    I can’t remember his first name.

    But I wrote a couple of days ago about the Federal Judge who last week was recommended for impeachment by the House. Judge Porteous-he’s from Eastern district of NOLA.

  13. Jim White says:

    Looks like Flanagan likes to blog about Landrieu at Pelican Post. Here’s one from November, 2009, and here’s one from less than two weeks ago. The second one has a gem from Flanagan that he’d probably like to walk away from about now:

    Real personal responsibility requires individual people to take ownership of their actions.

  14. Gitcheegumee says:

    @#39

    I have NO idea if these people are related, BUT here IS a relative of the aforementioned inmate,former Louisiana State Senate President,Michael O’ Keefe,Sr.:

    Michael O’Keefe Jr. indicted

    By Martha Carr

    June 18, 2007,

    By Susan Finch

    Michael O’Keefe Jr., son of disgraced former state Sen. President Michael O’Keefe and owner of Citywide Mortgage Co., defrauded the federal government into guaranteeing nearly $600,000 in Citywide loans to unqualified borrowers involved in a “house flipping” scam, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Monday.

    Other lenders, attracted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guarantees, bought the loans from Citywide before the borrowers quit paying on the debts, leaving HUD holding the bag, the mid-May indictment said.

    O’Keefe is charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and violating mail fraud and other federal laws to launder money.

    If convicted of the five counts against him, O’Keefe could get as much as 45 years in prison and be ordered to pay millions of dollars in fines, though under sentencing guidelines used in federal court he would likely face a lesser punishment.

    Citywide is now located in Picayune, Miss. O’Keefe moved the business there after the company’s 3625 Canal St. headquarters were heavily flooded following Hurricane Katrina.

    O’Keefe’s father, Michael O’Keefe Sr., was convicted in 1999 of bilking a failed insurance company. He is scheduled to be released in 2016, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons(excerpt)

    link to follow

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      A little more info from this article.

      Pay careful attention to the dates,and locations involved in the scam:

      O’Keefe Jr. is the seventh person charged in the ongoing “house flipping” investigation. Five of the seven have pleaded guilty, including three who admitted they were recruited by real estate investor Calvin Davis to seek the HUD-backed loans to help him unload blighted property between Feb. 1, 2001 and January 2003.
      The way the scheme worked, according to court papers, was this: Davis bought dilapidated homes on the cheap, typically in the 7th, 8th and 9th wards, then recruited “straw buyers” who agreed to purchase them at inflated prices. For the scam to work, appraisals and loan applications had to be falsified. Prosecutors have said that appraiser Donald White took payments for inflating home values in his appraisals. White, who is cooperating with the government, has yet to be charged.

      According to the O’Keefe indictment, he falsified loan documents to hide Cochrane role in recruiting mortgage applicants and, as an underwriter, reviewing the accuracy of the information she had obtained from would-be borrowers. Acting in both roles violates HUD rules. The loans, which were backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, were eventually sold to third parties, after which the straw buyers defaulted, leaving it to taxpayers to pay them off. The straw buyers got a small share of profits Davis made by selling them the real estate.

      O’Keefe is alleged to have helped compile and approve fraudulent loan applications that included false information about the applicants’ taxes, credit and employment, as well as an appraisal that inflated the true value of the property being purchased.—————————-

      NOTE: The 9th ward is the section of New Orleans that was the hardest hit when the levees failed during Katrina.It is STILL a disaster zone,five years later.

      These phony HUD loans were done well before Katrina hit in 2005.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          Rayne- you are reading my mind about the ACORN issue.

          I had the occasion many years ago to be at a busioness luncheon where O’ Keef Sr. was the guest speaker-he was Senate President then. Superlative orator.
          Platinum tongued!

          I had commented yesterday, and earlier this afternoon on another EW thread ,in comments to wavepeac that I thought the ultimate goal of reverse redlining involved in these subprime mortgages was to actually obtain the land. And that’s before I found this piece about O’Keefe Sr.

          Landrieu’s father,Moon, was Mayor of NOLA for MANY years. It is really an internecine culture there.

          But let me reiterate, I do NOT know if these peple are related to the O’Keefe at issue in the Landrieu incident.

          • prostratedragon says:

            thought the ultimate goal of reverse redlining involved in these subprime mortgages was to actually obtain the land.

            It looks much like a land grab, doesn’t it? That plus a redistribution of income.

          • wavpeac says:

            Sorry it took so long to get caught up on the threads here…you comments further up sent me on a chase to look up the info about when Homecomings financial (owned by GMAC) got involved after Katrina and became the “lender” to help those poor folks. At the time, I knew it meant that all that land was not going to stay in the hands of the people. I couldn’t find anything but the announcements that Homecomings would be offering millions in “special” financing. What I did find that fits in and was interesting…and I will post links if any one cares…but it seems that just a few of us are following this line of thought. What I did find was lots of complaints from Katrina “victims” who could not get their insurance checks. I ended up with the same problem when our basement flooded. What Homecomings (now GMAC) routinely did with insurance checks is to require a co sign on the checks. But instead of just signing these checks they would “hold them” indefinitely. This would cause people to be unable to fix their homes…at all. Their are multiple complaints of folks not being able to go home because of damages…leaving the houses vacant and not repaired.

            What Homecomings would do is require that you hire a contractor, pay the contractor out of your own pocket, have the contractor sign off and they would pay for repairs a third at a time. This is almost an impossible way to get things done. Especially if you can’t afford the contractor in the first place. My husband is an electrician and we live in a state where you can do your own repairs. He had half the basement fixed before we knew “the rules”. We had gotten some Christmas money and just fixed our basement, and began a remodel. Well, Homecomings would not allow us to have the money until we hired a contractor, despite his status as an electrician. It’s still a mess for us. The basement is fixed and better than before. But they will hold the check.

            I think in the context of Katrina, this behavior is very interesting. I think you are right..

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          Rayne, I strongly suggest you may want to take a look at some of this ADDITIONAL background on the disgraced State Senator Michael O’ Keefe,Sr..the father of Mike Jr.,the “house flipper”.

          February 2003 archives, part 2“Louisiana’s highest court has suspended a former law associate of a since-disbarred and imprisoned state senate president for her role in … , … “O’Keefe served in the state Senate from 1960-84, the last 12 years as president. …

          overlawyered.com/early-years/february-2003-archives-part-2/ – Cached

  15. Gitcheegumee says:

    @#47

    Michael O’Keefe Jr. indicted | Breaking News Updates New Orleans …Jun 18, 2007 … He is scheduled to be released in 2016, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons. … Do relatives of Louisiana politicians ever get a real job? …. far as race goes , being a stinking , no good , lying , [email protected]#& …

    blog.nola.com/times…/06/michael_okeefe_jr_indicted.html – Cached – Similar

    NOTE: It IS eerie that this involves subprime mortgages,isn’t it?

  16. Waccamaw says:

    These four people *did* *not* come up with this idea all by their own little selves……where’s the backing?

  17. Jim White says:

    Geez. They’re Rove wanna-bes. Looks like at least Basel and Dai both were active in College Republicans. When will Congress pass a resolution calling for College Republicans to be shut down?

  18. Gitcheegumee says:

    @#80-Jim White

    Um,,wasn’t that how Jack Abramoff started off,as a “College Republican”?

    And for further synchronicity, it was a tribe from Louisiana that exposed his corruption.

      • prostratedragon says:

        True story: had a brief sort of vision a few days ago in which he gasped and ran to hide his higher, tighter, and righter ass under a couch. It might not be this time, but sooner or later …

        Edit: And by the way, football fans, remember who was in the owner’s box Sunday?

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          No clue who was in the owner’s box on Sunday.
          But if you had a bunch of fraudulent mortgages and someone was coming to investigate, wouldn’t it just be ducky to make it look like all that fraud was ACORN’s fault, or just about anyone else’s fraud.
          And if you could smear a Dem Senator into the bargain, I suppose your little counterterrorist angry penis heart would feel proud, eh?

          The mind boggles…

  19. orionATL says:

    Earl of H @8

    Incompetent whitehouse operation?

    That’s the conclusion I’ve come to also.

    There are matters of consequence I can give prez obama credit
    For

    But the overall report card is D’s and F’s

    but with an A for super-shiney shoes, a big, toothy smile, and “extraordinary” self-confidence.

    The collective national welfare, on a number of issues, does not seem to be high on the prez’s priority list.

    • Jim White says:

      Working further back on O’Keefe’s Twitter feed, he tweeted on September 9, 2009 that it was “Less than 24 hours until release” and the first ACORN video was released the next day. The tweet before that one was a few days earlier and quoted Psalms:

      Their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

      He might have wanted to read what comes just before the passage he quoted:

      The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow,
      to cast down the poor and needy,
      and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

      I think he predicted his own downfall with his choice of Bible verse.

  20. Gitcheegumee says:

    Just an observation, but Landrieu’s office is in the Hale Boggs building.

    Interestingly enough, that is the late Hale Boggs, father of Cokie Roberts.

    Cokie’s brother is the Boggs in Patton Boggs.

    And ofcourse Patton Boggs is a huge ,well known firm.

    This is just some incidental info.

  21. FrankProbst says:

    From the Faux News article:

    Calls to the cell phone of the filmmaker, James O’Keefe, were not returned, but his lawyer, Michael Madigan defended his client’s character.

    “We don’t have any of the facts yet, but James O’Keefe, at heart, is a really good kid,” Madigan said in a statement to Fox News. “We are looking into this further and are awaiting hearing from James directly.”

    (No link–friends don’t let friends link to Faux News.)

    So this doofus is up against the Federal Marshals AND the FBI, and he hasn’t called his lawyer yet? I think he’s in both deep shit and deep denial.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Well, he can always claim to be a Blackwater contractor working for the CIA,and immune to prosecution. /S

  22. dSmith says:

    It’s interesting that this is a federal case. Because of conservatives getting tough on crime, Federal judges have very few discretionary powers in matters like plea-bargaining and sentencing. A criminal has to serve a lot more time in prison before parole is even a possibility.
    These guys are probably looking at hard time. If they weren’t alone in this they have every reason to sing loud and long.

  23. emptywheel says:

    Folks, just to clarify, we have no reason to believe the corrupt LA O’Keefes are the same as our filmographer O’Keefe, correct? In fact, I think O’Keefe is from somewhere like NJ.

  24. MadDog says:

    Time for me to count my sheep. I’m betting we will see far more depth made of this in the coming days!

    And I can’t wait! *g*

    Toodles, all!

  25. Gitcheegumee says:

    In regard to the resolution by Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin mentioned in the thread story, out of a total of 31 signatures of sponsors ,8 out of 31 were from Texas.That’s almost 25%.

    In addition to being neighbors, Texas and Louisiana are the ground zero for the petro chemical industry and oil refineries of the US.

    Oklahoma, adjacent to Texas, had two signatures-but they are a heavy hitter in the oil business,too.

    Perhaps these states have received an influx of New Orleanians dispora. And possibly they don’t want their Republican voting base diluted or have redistricting done to accomodate new and probably Democrat voters- ACORN would be signig many of these folks up to vote. Latinos too.

    Or,as has been suggested, ACORN is perhaps a convenient ruse for a myriad of possibilities.

  26. GregB says:

    O’Keefe spent most of the time in the men’s room off the jail’s lobby, then hustled to the cab when it arrived. As he ran into the back seat, he called out, “The truth shall set me free…”

    I take it he’s being represented by former Senator Larry Craig.

    -G

  27. Gitcheegumee says:

    Though he’d held the same interim position in 2000-01.

    http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/82260077.html

    Jan 21, 2010

    President Barack Obama has nominated Stephanie Finley as U.S. Attorney for Louisiana’s Western District. Finley was one of two people recommended in July by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. . . .

    If confirmed by the Senate, Finley will replace former U.S. Attorney Donald Washington, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in September 2001.

    Washington announced his resignation Jan. 7. His last day in office was Monday.

    First Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Flanagan is serving as interim U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.

  28. Gitcheegumee says:

    January 21, 2010

    Vitter Comments on Nomination of Stephanie Finley

    (Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter issued the following statement today following President Obama’s nomination of Stephanie Finley as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana:

    “I congratulate Ms. Finley on her nomination. But I also again ask the president to directly address the need that Jim Letten continue to serve as U.S. attorney in the Eastern District to continue his vital prosecutions of political corruption,” said Vitter. “Both Senator Landrieu and I fully support this, as do Louisianians of all walks of life. Let’s confirm that he’ll be there and move forward with the president’s other nominations.”

    Note: This is Vitter’s website,liked from ew’s thread story at top of page.

    Now, in the link above at#126, the bold face statement says that Landrieu submitted Finley’s name .

    But in the Vitter statement he says that he and Landrieu support Letten and NOT Finley.

    This doesn’t make sense.Am I reading this wrong?

    Why would Landrieu submit Finley’s name,then join in with Vitter against the very woman she nominated?

    Is Vitter being less than truthful,or did Mary actually change her mind?

    • prostratedragon says:

      Finley got the nod for the Western District (where Flanagan Sr. is Acting USA). Her name was indeed put forward by Landrieu. The issue is the Eastern District, where Letten is the incumbent. Both Vitter and Landrieu have supported him (did some googling of news with Mary Landrieu and Letten), but only Vitter is making an issue with Pres. about whether he might choose someone else instead, having placed other holds on nominations.

      I think I’m too tired to link the ins and outs, as it’s kind of intricate, but most news on it seems recent, this month.

      In closing, a 63-second salute to that new-found apostle of the rights of the accused, Michelle Malkin, from O What a Lovely War:

      The Bells of Hell

  29. Gitcheegumee says:

    It should be noted that HUD -Housing and Urban Development for New Orleans is located in the same building as Mary Landrieu’s office-the Hale Boggs building .

    Contact HUD: Louisiana Hale Boggs Federal Building 500 Poydras Street, 9th Floor New Orleans, LA 70130. … Find the address of a HUD office near you.

    http://www.hud.gov/local/index.cfm?state=la&topic=offices – Cached – Similar

    The Pelican Institute is located at 400 Poydras Street,30th floor, NOLA 70130.

  30. cinnamonape says:

    Well that’s convenient. Even a low-powered FM signal from a wireless transmitter might be receivable one block away from a high point. Wonder which side of the buildings these offices face?

  31. Rayne says:

    Gitcheegumee (128) – wouldn’t that be funny if they were trying to wiretap HUD and got Landrieu instead…

    prostratedragon (129) – kind of makes one wonder whether Letten is investigating Vitter or Landrieu and they want him to finish “clean up.”

    emptywheel (118) – doesn’t not appear on the face of it that James O’Keefe is related to the LA O’Keefes, having reportedly graduated from a NJ high school. Family also apparently lives in NJ. Unfortunately don’t see any indication of birth location, nor whether father is related to anyone in LA.

  32. Gitcheegumee says:

    Mitch Landrieu for New Orleans MayorJan 24, 2010 … A lineup of legendary New Orleans musicians is taking the stage in support of Mitch Landrieu’s candidacy for Mayor of New Orleans. …
    http://www.mitchformayor.com/news/PressReleases – Cached

    NOTE: On December 8,2009 Mitch Landrieu,who is presently the Lt. Governor of Louisana announced his candidacy for Mayor of New Orleans.

    Mitch is Mary’s brother. Their father,Moon Landrieu had been Mayor of NOLA for many,many years.

    Should Landrieu win the Mayoral race,this will leave a vacancy in Baton Rouge. Jindal can ppoint an interim replacement who must be approved by the Legislature.

    The election is February 9,2010.

  33. Leen says:

    Haiti is so over. The MSM needs fresh fake blood to feed to the masses. Wiregate came just in time

    Last night on Hardball I counted the same clip played of O’keefe in his acrylic faux fur and the young woman swinging her ass to and fro 16 times in 10 minutes.

    Important to cover while ignoring the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan. Don’t want to show the American public any death and dying that they are responsible for. Forget covering any updates on those young Afghani boys who were taken out and allegedly shot by American soldiers. Don’t remind Americans of that.

    Show that swinging ass 16 times.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Respectfully disagree.
      I’ve not seen last night’s news, but I think the idea of 4 people (of whatever party) deliberately posing as telecom employees in order to mess with communication equipment, and quite likely also intending to create some kind of deceptive online video, is serious business.
      It may not be ‘blood and guts’, but you can’t have a political system function with this kind of thing happening.

      In addition, look at their interest in ‘counter-terrorism’. Honestly, do they think that a US Senator is somehow ‘an enemy’? A legitimate ‘target’ of their activities?

      I don’t know how the news covered it, but this is something the media should not ignore.

      To those who clarified that THIS O’Keefe has no verifiable family ties to Gitchee’s LA O’Keefe, thanks.
      What a puzzlement…

  34. Gitcheegumee says:

    It is interesting to review the staff at Pelican Institute, in particular Jeb Bruneau.

    He is the son of Pepe Bruneau who was a Louisiana Legislator for 31 years,before retiring.

    Pepe was an Independent when he ran years ago,but then became a Republican in the early ’80’s.

    His son,Jeb, ran unsucessfully to replace his father’s vacated seat.

    Pepe has quite an interesting Wiki.

    Jeb is listed as a rep for a national beverage distributor headquartered out of the New Orleans area.

  35. Gitcheegumee says:

    JackRiddler’s Journal – Stan Dai apparently a CIA Junior Commissar …1 post – Last post: yesterday

    Stan Dai spoke about torture and terrorism at a CIA event in Langley, VA last June, according this event program I found online. …

    journals.democraticunderground.com/JackRiddler/634

  36. pendog says:

    Look a little deeper at the Pelican Institute, all of the adjunct fellows are from The Reason Foundation and Mercatus , who do you suppose funds these groups?…Koch Industries, Inc. How many operations does Georgia-Pacific ( Koch Industries) have in LA.? Don’t forget Koch also operates the strategic oil reserves of the US.
    In addition who has funded Americans for Prosperity… David Koch.
    pendog

  37. Gitcheegumee says:

    Dubai Ports to sell U.S operations to AIG unit— December 12,2006
    Original deal sparked furor after Congress raised national-security concerns

    WASHINGTON – Dubai Ports World, the company whose planned takeover of major U.S. port operations ignited a political firestorm earlier this year, has agreed to sell those operations to AIG Global Investment Group.

    The company announced the deal Monday. The U.S. operations at six major U.S. seaports in New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans and Tampa, Fla., were valued at about $700 million, but DP World did not disclose the sales price.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16153101 /

    NOTE: This deal came down in 2006,one year after Katrina(But it began earlier,in 2005.)

    It is interesting that two years later,AIG had to be bailed out-

    They went broke in the two years ?

    I would be curious if some of the argument about AIG seeking national security status for their troublesome emails have anything to do with details info regarding this port deal with the Saudis three years ago.

    We still don’t know the sale price-or if there was an actual cash transaction at all,do we?

  38. Gitcheegumee says:

    @#152

    Thanks for the informative reply.

    I am VERY interested in your links about Homecomings becoming a part of GMAC-especially the exact year.

    You see,GMAC was headed by one of Bernie Madoff’s associates-Ezra Merkin.

    (IF the comments get closed on this thread by the time you see this, please leave a follow up on another,working thread in the future.)

  39. wavpeac says:

    In 2006, Cerberus appointed partner, J. Ezra Merkin as nonexecutive Chairman.[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GMAC

    I can’t find anything that gives the month. It appears he was associated with the company before he become the nonexecutive chairman. It’s interesting to read the article. Merkin was associated with this company Homecomings, GMAC and Cerberus prior to 2006, as a “partner”. Cerberus is the hedge fund company that Quayle and Rumsfeldt were involved with that later became GMAC.

    Here’s a link to a complaint dated 2007…complaint about Homecomings (owned by cerberus and GMAC and headed by Merkin at the time) regarding their insurance check. There are many others just like this one…and my experience was similar. http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/homecomings-financial-c31659.html

  40. wavpeac says:

    n July of 2008 our loan was sold to MGC from GMAC (aweful should not be in the house business) which had our loan from Homecomings Financial (aweful company). We were able to ge our loan completely caught up through MGC and were back on the right track that was until they sold it back to GMAC in Jan 09. Jan 09 payment made on Dec 31 2008 and for Feb 09 GMAC said we owed like $1200.00 per month on $60,000.00 loan, ridiculous I know right. So I sent P/I payment for feb 09 and not the other $ they were asking for and then our loan was behind once again, GMAC would not work with us on a Loan Mod and denied us even though my husband and I make @78,000.00 per year. We can afford the note at 11/12%. Anyhow, loan sold back to MGC with no payments since Feb 09 and they send us a statement saying we need to pay almost $1200.00 month, CAN NOT AFFORD THIS. You see GMAC and Homecomings Financial forced placed insurance because they were always charging us these outrageous monthly fees we could not afford insurance (flood/homeowners). But here’s the best part, we still have not seen the insurance proceeds from the damage from hurricane katrina. We have been paying for the repairs out of our own pocket. We would love to apply these proceeds to what we owe since Feb 09 but NO ONE seems to know where they are at, one good thing is that we have proof from Homecomings and GMAC that this money exists. Cannot afford an attorney will probably end up loosing our home.

    http://mgc-mortgage.pissedconsumer.com/mgc-mortgage-loser-company-of-the-year-20090610149840/2.html

  41. wavpeac says:

    This from the wikipedia link above.

    On March 23, 2006, GM announced that it completed the sale of a 78% interest in GMAC Commercial Holding, its commercial real estate subsidiary, for $1.5 billion in cash to a private investment group including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Five Mile Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. The deal includes the payoff of all intracompany debt owed to GMAC, bringing the total value of the deal to $9 billion. The new entity, in which GMAC owns a 21% interest, is known as Capmark Financial Group, Inc.