Where the Ohio 2004 Election RICO Lawsuit is Going, Interview With Attorneys Arnebeck and Fitrakis


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Transcript below.

Transcript of the 7/17/2008 Velvet Revolution Interview with Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis

Velvet Revolution: Cliff and Bob just had a press conference, talking about the next steps you are going to take in litigation. It looks like you’re looking for discovery to understand the facts behind what happened in 2004 and make sure this doesn't happen in 2008.

Can you give us an idea of the kinds of people or the names of people that you intend to target?

Cliff Arnebeck: At the very top of the list is probably Mike Connell. For the same reason that Spoonamore is so valuable to us as a witness, Connell has a breadth of perspective in this stuff and when Connell, with his politics and his position, identifies triad and the Rapp family as an area, as a point of vulnerability –

VR Well, we're saying, if Connell makes the same observation --which we think he will because if you look at this objectively, it makes no sense.Here's a guy, he's a mathematician or an engineer or whatever; we anticipate he is going to say "Yeah, that looks odd."

So Connell’s an important witness and because we're talking about a conspiracy, one of the problems is you say 'where's the coordination, where's the communication?' -- Here's one individual who's been part of all the elements of the things that we think are problematic.

Bob Fitrakis: He's a high IQ Forest Gump. It's like everything important -- 2000 election Florida; 2004 Ohio; firewall in congression -- he happens to show up and be the builder of these [im]penetrable forces and also may know who has the key to get in.

VR: So he's at the scene of the crime... whether he's pulling the gun or not.

BF: Every single crime -- Well even more than that. He's the guy who wrote the gun.

VR: Now you mentioned KR [Karl Rove], who's been your interest in the deposition?

CA : The problem with a guy like KR everyone wants, here Bush has been identified as the architect, you're saying the corrupt elections, he's obviously someone you need to talk to. The problem is you don’t build the foundation of getting the evidence out about ‘Hey, this is obvious fraud’ to the point where, ‘If you don't appear, Mr. Rove, we're going to...the prosecutor's going to call.’ That’s the position we're really in. Mr. Rove is not going to step forward to help us put him in jail.

So we need to build the case on witnesses who will come forward to testify. That's why Connell’s important.

Then we need to go after some of the people that are proved [to be] clearly engaged in fraudulent conduct, which appears to be the Rapp family in 2000.

VR: What about, you mentioned Jack Abramoff, when I interviewed Alabalma Govenor Don Siegelman last week, he stated on camera that Abramoff and his henchman Mike Scanlon were the bagmen for Rove who... Is that why you were thinking or mentioning him?

CA: Mentioning Rove?

VR:No, mentioning Abramoff. In the press conference, you mentioned Abramoff was behind HAVA.

CA: Yeah, Abramoff and Grover Norquist. There are all these characters. You know what's interesting about some of these people? Well, first of all, Abramoff by virtue of the fact that he's willing to be more cooperative these days.

BF: Very small merry-go-round same basis, Connell, Abramoff, Bob Ney, Karl Rove keep coming around the Rapp family over and over again. And every place they go, what you find is illegal money laundering, the FBI, Justice Department launching investigations against Democrats. And even more interesting, since the [advent of the] electronic voting machines, what you find is tracking polls and exit polls that are predicting victories for Democrats -- as in Georgia in 2002, Ohio in 2004 -- that suddenly become unexpectedly flipped at the last second as if somebody had built a computer network and was essentially hacking the vote.

VR: Now I know you got into a little bit about Connell in this press conference -- and it wasn't really clear to me -- but it seemed like you were saying Connell had created the servers that were used to run the Ohio election results through Chattanooga TN, Smartech, and these are the same servers that house other GOP operations, including the email systems that Karl Rove and George Bush ...

BF: They're running through the .... ??
You have got to wonder why you get literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of sites, partisan websites, sites like GW.com -- ah, even more important, the voter vault, which is essentially everyone that's probably voted in America -- that's in real time, that's Republicans updated during the election. And you know sites that go running to the White House and they're on the same integrated servers in this secure old bank building -- the old pioneer bank building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You have to ask yourself why would the state of Ohio, at the last second, right when the unexpected vote flip comes, be outsourcing that in real time to Tennessee.

And why did Mr. Connell build such a system?

And I think the suggestion is that it might have been built in such a way that other people who have access to central tabulators know the vote count they need to win an election. because the exit polls are coming in all showing Kerry winning at 51:48. And then it's flipped, but it's flipped because these unexpected, unexplained results in these 14 Republican-dominated southwest counties. most of these that reported in later than in Cleveland and Columbus, both that still had people in line by court order in Franklin county until midnight.

So you've got, [which] hardly ever do, small rural areas report[ing] after the big cities where the polls are jammed and the polls are open by court order until midnight but historically this .. this is done by the wire services and other things. You need to know the exact vote you need to win. and they [Republicans] had a system in place.

...and that system was built by Mike Connell.

VR: Now, let me ask this because it was not clear to me in the press conference about the conflicts -- both actual and possible conflict of interest that Michael Connell is laboring under by handling George W. Bush's election campaign websites and, then, also Ken Blackwell’s election websites and on the other side the election results for the state of Ohio.

BF: ...and the firewall of the U.S. Congress...

VR: ...and two of them being highly-partisan and one of them being supposedly nonpartisan. Now you've also got Connell handling Jeb Bush's website down in Florida. and then shortly after the inauguration of George Bush, Connell gets the first private company awarded contract allowing his company behind the firewall of the U.S. Congress and then he takes over House Intelligence, House Ways and Means, House Judiciary, Rules and Ethics -- the most important committees in congress.

I'm just wondering if you could talk about this conflict?

CA: if you think about it, as a government official, or as an agent of government, one of your jobs is to protect whatever you're responsible for from fraudulent manipulation. and if you -- in wearing that hat as the fiduciary of the public trust -- you see, you see indications of possible corruption.

But the source of the possible corruption is from the partisan side of things where you have, you wear a partisan hat. The problem is: Are you being scrupulous? are you being …taking aggressive countermeasures as you would if you were completely independent? [But are you] when it's coming from a partisan, you know, when it’s coming from your friends?

And that is the conflict of interest. Even if you have the ethical caliber that you can wear both hats at the same time, it certainly creates an appearance problem.

And when you combine that with the fact that 2004 was stolen, it's clear, it's crystal clear and it's absolutely crystal clear that 2000 was stolen. so here are two stolen elections. and here's a guy wearing this government hat, and it sure looks like he was not protecting the system against data, uh, fraudulent data manipulation which should be part of his responsibility as the government, the agent of the government.

BF: when you take the most partisan IT man in the history of the US, every time an irregularity occurs, Florida 2000, 2004 Ohio, he's the guy who built the system.

Then you put him in charge of building the security and firewall for the U.S. Congress? Dealing with the most sensitive matters? All of the emails and communications of the party that he hates?

Uh, how can you do that? I mean, it's an invitation to spy.

It's an invitation to gather information in an information age.

Knowledge is power. He holds the secrets of the temple.

The most partisan IT man on earth [who] was at the scene of every crime is the [very] guy who's protecting the secrecy and security of the Democrats he despises.

That's what's wrong about it.

VR: Thank you very much, I look forward to seeing how this case proceeds.


This legal work in Ohio bears watching in the next few weeks. And as some primers to understand the tech minutia, there are these commentaries done by the various folks over on the old scoop site:


Links at the bottom assembled by Cho; added to this piece by GreyHawk, 7/21/2008 8:53 am EST.

No votes yet


but the diary that I crossposted yesterday day was linked by Crooks and Liars (Mike's Blog Roundup today) to my Blog and it looks like the ePM diaries I linked to had their reads get a bit bloated because of it. (Not huge numbers, but I looked at my click-throughs and it isn't insignificant by my tiny little local Blog's standards)

I know I could have linked directly to a Bloomberg story for one of the quotes, and I hope people didn't mind having to do an extra click, but I was hoping to draw in a few more readers here.

Is that ethical considering the fact that I would not have found the original articles were it not for Jimstaro's and Grey Hawks diaries?

Anyways, I am hoping equal numbers may have clicked through to the Booman Tribune, but those stories were a little more common knowledge.

BTW: Don't mean to hijack this thread Luaptifer. :)

as theirs.


Tho, in this case, I'm a tad biased.


I always provide a link to the place that provided me with the source, even if that means a second link to the source itself.

If someone else brought it to my attention, I try to ensure that someone gets credit. I think it's only fair -- plus, sometimes the bit that the blogger adds has a useful comment or insight to add.

I'd call it standard practice -- and consider it "best practices" toward proper accreditation and full disclosure.

I gave two quotes from here. One was the ABC article in Jimstaro's diary. I linked the article and stated the diary started as comment in that linked diary. BUT I also used your Bloomberg diary quote and only linked to your diary. They could go from your diary directly to the source. I consciously made that choice knowing that it might drive a little traffic here.

Considering these people were already doing one click (from C&L) to my diary, I wouldn't want to abuse their mouse clicker or their patience. It is not just an ethical question but a matter of pissing off readers. I had no negative comments so I can assume they weren't too pissed about it. Either that or they just didn't want to waste their time coming back to complain after clicking through?

I also linked to two Booman diaries in the same manner as Jimstaro's link. But, as I said, those particular diaries contained more common knowledge info.

I think this would make a good commentary for a discussion... any thoughts about reposting it as that?

I think you were wonderfully ethical.... one thing folks tend to forget is the "via" -- the "hattip" to the person or poster who first introduced you to the idea.... For example, I try to remember to provide a hattip and a link to the buzzflash posters when they alerted me to an important item... that way, they get the "buzz" etc. for having done the tip. I find that most often I am reading Fiore, Kladner, OrpRam and NewsSophisticate over there.

Because I fell like I have already abused Luaptifer's ePM turf enough with this discussion.

No mention of the access the GOP had to documents and communications of the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Was it related?

Infiltration of files seen as extensive

From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

Hard to prove, tho -- they'd need to access the log files...most of which are under GOP control via their special IT guy.

Only the local PC logs would be maintainable and recoverable for the Dems to check forensically, and hopefully they grabbed a copy of them -- they tend to get replaced or overwrite to maintain relative small sizes over time.

of the parties involved to the most partisan IT guy in the US only seemed to have developed after, and I interpret, as the result of, that event.

It was within a month or so after that story broke that Connell-Donatelli was incorporated.

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson