Friday, March 9, 2012

Is Senator Richard Lugar Driven By Political Kickbacks? An Inside Look at How Washington Really Works From Tea Party Member Who Wonders if He Was Offered a Political Bribe

What is the “real” reason Senator Lugar supports earmarks?

By: Callum Dalgliesh

Friday, March 09, 2012

Senator Richard Lugar
Indiana Tea Party leaders accepted Senator Lugar’s invitation to meet with him on December13th, 2010.  They arrived a half hour early at the Marriott hotel in order to review their list of grievances and coordinate their efforts.  The senator’s assistant approached them as they walked in the lobby and spoke to each person by name even though he had never met them before.  He suggested, since they were already there, that they start the meeting early.  He told them that the Senator was upstairs in his room reading a newspaper and could meet with them at that time.

Senator Lugar directly answered each concern on their list, was direct, confident and articulate.  He was not argumentative and appeared sincere.  The meeting did not nullify the grievances or change anyone’s mind; but, it did dull some of the rough edges of their feelings toward that obviously eighty-year old man. 
I was not at the December meeting.  But, exactly one month later, on Thursday January 13, 2011, I received a call from Mr. Giacomo from Washington DC.  He stated that his employer, Mr. Grendel, was a staunch Republican and was interested in helping the Indiana Tea Party and wanted to get involved.  While we spoke pleasantries, I Google-searched Grendel’s name and quickly found that he controlled several companies and was very wealthy.  Mr. Giacomo asked if I would meet Mr. Grendel the following week near the Indianapolis International Airport and I agreed to do so.  A meeting was set for 11:00 A.M. on January 20th  at the Wyndham Hotel.  

I met Mr. Grendel in the bar area where we discussed political issues for the next two hours over his iced tea and my Coke.  His assistant, Gian Giacomo, sat a polite 20 feet away on a barstool drinking coffee.  The middle button of his oversized suit jacket was unbuttoned.  His eyes never left us.  Not even to check his cell phone.

Mr. Grendel started the conversation with political philosophy and, although I had my suspicions, I listened as he spoke for thirty minutes non-stop. He specifically addressed every issue on the grievance list that the Tea Party representatives had reviewed with Senator Lugar.
Mr. Grendel went down the list, apparently from memory, and discussed them all point by point except for one issue very important to the Indiana Tea Party: earmarks.  First he said that the START Treaty was no big deal because both sides cheat and therefore it wasn’t really an issue to have with the Senator.  He then went on to say that the DREAM Act was really an important first step towards immigration reform and that the country was in serious need of workers that would actually work.  He stated, to my disbelief, that our economy had tens of thousands of unfilled jobs and that we needed more workers to fill them.  He continued down the list we had reviewed with the Senator’s representative.  It was clear to me at this point that Mr. Grendel did not want to help the Tea Party. 

I waited for the other shoe to drop.
He next said that even he was a bit disappointed with Senator Lugar’s confirmation vote on Justices Sotamayor and Kagan.  He said ‘geez’ we were even confused on why he did that.  But he added, “nobody is going to agree with someone 100%”.  He said that the Senator had voted conservative over 80% of the time.   I thought that that might be true now; but, two years ago he was ranked voting conservative just over 50% of the time.

I sat and primarily listened during this entire time which lasted close to two hours.  Finally,                   
Mr. Grendel said that he invites influential people from around the country to his home and that this would be a great networking opportunity for “key” Tea Party leaders like me.  He said that I could be invited to this soiree, even bring some friends, and it would connect me to people such as Mitch McConnell and other important people.  I did not flinch and sat silently offended that he thought I could be bought by a party invite. 

Mr. Grendel was not deterred and pressed on.  He said that it would be a shame for the Senator to face a needless primary challenge when the potential challenges by Richard Mourdock and Mike Delph would not pose a credible challenge.  He said that it was extremely important that the Republicans win the senate in 2012, and not risk losing the senate seat in Indiana over minor differences between conservative Republicans.  It simply was not worth it.  He mentioned the Nevada and Delaware senate races in 2010.  Mr. Grendel went on to say that the governor’s race was important and that Mike Pence would be the likely candidate and it would be a shame to have a rift within the party.  He told me that it was hard enough to raise money and then to have to needlessly spend ten or twelve million dollars defending Lugar’s seat when it could be used elsewhere.  This would be foolish.
I suppose he saw the blank stare on my face and he came out with his next and probably final offer.  I noticed him looking over to Gian Giacomo, who adjusted (again) his jacket.

Mr. Grendel said that the ‘key’ Tea Party leaders (like me) were a valuable resource and there were many jobs available to them on senator’s and congressmen’s staff.  He did not specifically say Senator Lugar was making an offer, but I took this as an offer that he could deliver if I backed off the efforts contrary to his objectives.  I was convinced that he could deliver.
I did not respond to this “offer”; but, I did mention that the Tea Party was not at war with the GOP.  I said that we had more in common with the GOP than the Dems.  But, I said, “it is a shame that the GOP has so many RINO’s in it that vote with the Progressives and yet are accepted by Republicans solely because they had an “R” at the end of their name.”

The meeting then came to a rapid close, he pulled out his card and wrote his cell number on it.  Sliding it across the small table to me, he asked that I think over our conversation and call him in a few days. He concluded the meeting hastily, Mr. Giacomo slid off his bar stool, placed folding money on the bar,  and followed a few paces behind him.  Neither man looked back.

I have not spoken to either of them since that meeting.
I knew that I had just been served either an offer or a warning.  I had been asked by a multi-millionaire to a private meeting that lasted two hours.  He may have flown in on his private jet just to see me.  His purpose appeared to be to assess me and see if I could be easily bought off or intimidated.  Some rich men collect art and others collect exotic cars.  Perhaps Mr. Grendel collects politicians or maybe an ideologue. 

It wasn’t until a new friend helped us follow the money that we had a better idea about Mr. Grendel’s motives and perhaps knew why Senator Lugar supported earmarks.  He found that Mr. Grendel is a campaign contribution “bundler” for several congressional RINOs.

Indiana Senator Richard Lugar has publicly stated that he favors earmarks and has said that calls for banning congressional earmarks are "a bogus issue."  Conservative critics dub them a “gateway drug” to corruption and crony capitalism.  Also, when you look closely at the earmark co-sponsors from the opposite political party, it looks like a whole lot of political “logrolling” is going on.  This corruption also merits a deeper look.
Listed below are three of Senator Lugar’s earmark recipients and corresponding campaign contributions he received from those earmark recipients (or related parties).  Mr. Grendel (not his real name) is an executive with one of those organizations.

AmeriQual Foods Inc.

$3,440,000           High Pressure Pasteurization and Pressure Assisted Thermal Sterilization Project

$3,200,000           Military High Pressure Packaging Project

Campaign contributions: $22,150

Science Applications International Corp

(Reported Contractor Misconduct: 16 Instances)

$1,600,000           Joint Technology Insertion and Accelerated System

$1,600,000           High Power Fiber Laser (HPFL)-Based Pod

Campaign contributions: $7,000

Raytheon Co

$1,000,000           Distributed Common Ground System-Nay/AFATDS Interoperability

Campaign contributions: $4,000

I am convinced that the Indiana Tea Party, with its 30,000 members, can make a difference.  It is now flexing its strength and both political parties know it.  Our elected officials should belong to no person or group…they should serve their constituents.   Many business elites do not like the impending loss of their personal politicians and the corresponding reduction of crony capitalism.   

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Voters Challenge State Election Commission In court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Eric Bohnet, 317-750-8503

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Appeal Filed in Lugar Residency Case

Voters Challenge State Election Commission Ruling in Court

Two Indiana voters filed an appeal yesterday in Marion County Superior Court asking for review of the denial of their challenges to Richard Lugar’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate by the Indiana Election Commission. The appeal also seeks an injunction to prohibit election officials from printing ballots for the upcoming May 8 primary until the case is resolved. The challengers plan to ask for expedited consideration of their appeal by the courts.

According to Eric C. Bohnet, attorney for the voters, "The Constitution requires that Senators be inhabitants of the states that elect them. But Sen. Lugar sold his last Indiana residence almost 35 years ago, and still votes from that old address for his voting registration because he doesn't have anywhere in this state to call home. He's become an inhabitant of Virginia, and thus ineligible to be elected to the Senate from Indiana. Voters need the issue resolved before the primary to ensure that Republicans choose a candidate who is eligible to be elected and avoid another 'Charlie White' scenario."

The statute in question, Indiana Code 3-8-1-7, states:

A candidate for the office of United States Senator must have the qualifications provided in Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States.

The U.S. Constitution requires, in relevant part, that a Senator must be an “inhabitant” of their state.

There was no dispute at the Election Commission hearing on the matter that Richard Lugar sold his residence in Indiana in 1977 and moved to Virginia. Since then, he has maintained no physical residence in the State of Indiana.

Senator Lugar’s attorneys and the Commission relied heavily on Sen. Lugar's stated intent to someday return to Indiana, and letters from the Indiana Attorney General stating that Senator Lugar could continue voting in Indiana without an actual residence here. These letters should provide a good defense against allegations of vote fraud, but they do not affect the federal constitutional law that determines qualifications for the United States Senate.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Attempts by Lugar Supporters to Silence Greg Wright Fails; Are there more skeletons waiting to come out of the Senator's closet?

CFE Greg Wright
Fighter pilots know they're over a target when they start taking flak, and it's much the same way in politics.  If the political flak that Greg Wright has encountered recently is any indication, he must be over a mighty big target.  

An unknown source, presumably from Senator Richard Lugar's political camp, recently filed an ethics complaint with the ACFE against Wright, claiming he violated policies of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. 

"Mr. Wright took it upon himself to conduct an investigation of Richard and Charlene Lugar to determine whether they own the property listed on their Indiana absentee ballots," read a portion of the complaint, which went on to allege that Wright's "investigation of Mr. and Mrs. Lugar's property ownership was wholly motivated by his personal political agenda."

The complaint was reviewed and immediately tossed out after it was determined that Wright did not breach the code of ethical conduct in any way, but was the real purpose behind the filing of such a complaint to intimidate Wright into stopping his investigatory activities before he uncovered even more damaging information?    

Wright, a Certified Fraud Examiner, recently produced documents proving that Senator Richard Lugar hasn't been a resident of Indiana for over 30 years, resulting in a nationwide media firestorm and plummeting approval ratings for the longtime Senator.  According to the Weekly Standard, Lugar's approval rating has recently fallen below 40% (See this link for details).
Senator Richard Lugar

Since the news of Lugar's residency problems has been public for several weeks, why file a complaint now?  Could it be that Lugar and his followers are aware of the fact that Wright has been receiving "tips" from anonymous sources that could lead to more politically-threatening information? 

Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all.  It's clear that filing a bogus ethics complaint with the ACFE is a desperate attempt to silence Lugar's critics and to cut the flow of information from its source.

Thankfully, Wright is not intimidated by this sophomoric attempt to silence a private citizen.  Members of the Tea Party have referred to Wright as "brave," considering the suspicious untimely death of Andrew Breitbart, another patriot who was adept at uncovering political corruption.

Another noteworthy point of interest is the fact that Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, the Indy blogger with a rather large ego and attitude to match,  knew about the ethics complaint before Wright was ever notified, which leaves one to wonder to what extent he is involved in the failed attempt to silence and intimidate a private citizen.  It's no secret that Abdul is a shill for many in the Republican establishment to the point that many have questioned his ethics over the years.  The complaint contained email copies only sent to a Lugar senior advisor giving him an opportunity to provide contrary evidence.

Maybe Abdul has wandered from his earlier self-proclaimed Conservative and Libertarian beliefs to a left of center position. When Abdul asked Wright to comment on the anonymous complaint, he did not print any of his responses. Why?

Wright said that he has not expressed an opinion regarding Senator Lugar's guilt or innocence of voter fraud. He said, "The Daily Caller, Associated Press and others contacted me, not vice versa, and I agreed to provide them with copies of documents. They arrive at their own conclusions."

Sit back and relax, folks.  If the paranoia in the Lugar camp is any indication, perhaps the rumors about Swiss bank accounts and political corruption are true.  If so, I can't think of a better person to dig up the facts than Greg Wright.