Friday, May 04, 2012

RoboCon : Cross-border election shopping

A Republican operative convicted of perpetrating election phone fraud for the Republican National Committee told interviewer Stephen Maher that "fraudulent calls in the last Canadian election are likely an American import" and a "fairly sophisticated operation".

Allen Raymond wrote a book about his stint as a GOP dirty trickster called How to Rig an Election in which he explains the use of tactics like phone jamming political opponents - hey, did Elections Canada ever investigate the over 10,000 phone jamming calls used to disrupt the NDP's online leadership vote this year ? - as well as harassment live calls intended to discourage opponents from voting at all. 

Raymond says he was approached for the illegal phone work by an RNC field director he knew called Jim Tobin, a regional chairman of George Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.
The RNC spent years and millions of dollars defending Tobin through umpteen court cases and appeals to choke off the flow of election fraud charges at just Raymond. When Raymond realized he was going under the bus alone, he talked.

Today the Ottawa Citizen and the G&M both report Elections Canada has confirmed 'Pierre Poutine' launched his fraudulent robocalls from the Guelph Con campaign election office.
Stephen Maher explains on CTV here.

When RoboCon first broke, longtime ReformCon insider and national Con campaign manager Jenni Byrne allegedly dumped Guelph campaign staffer lone gunman Michael Sona from his Parliament Hill job after an anonymous SunNews leak implicated him in the election fraud.

McMaher today on "American imports" : 
Guelph campaign worker Chris Crawford told [Elections Canada] Mathews that, while in Burke's campaign office, he had heard Sona speaking to campaign manager Ken Morgan about "how Americans do politics." The conversation referred to calling non-supporters late at night, pretending to be Liberals, or calling electors to tell them their polling stations had moved.
This doesn't prove Sona is Pierre Poutine, any more than it proves Con Marty Burke’s deputy campaign manager Andrew Prescott aka Blogging Tory Christian Conservative who set up the 'legit' if unreported robocalls with RackNine on the same computer is Poutine, although Stephen Maher, as seen in CTV clip above, is leaning to Prescott. 
Lone Guelph gunman theory on the electoral grassy knoll still doesn't explain the calls to 200 other ridings Elections Canada is still investigating. 

More cross-border election shopping ... 

The article on Allen Raymond notes a Canadian connection, also pointed out at Creekside a year ago
Maher :
Tobin's boss at the time, RNC political director Terry Nelson, was linked to the 2011 Canadian Conservative campaign through Patrick Muttart, who worked for him at Mercury Public Affairs in Chicago. Muttart, a former senior strategist, worked as a messaging consultant for the Conservatives in the 2011 campaign until he was fired for his role in providing Sun News Network with a fake photo of Michael Ignatieff in an American military uniform.

Muttart had resigned as Steve's deputy chief of staff in 2009 to become a managing director of Mercury's new Canada/US practice, while also working the Con war room in the last two elections and helping set up the Fox News North/Sun News brand.
Wayback machine : During Elections Canada's investigation into the Cons Election 2006 "in-and-out" money laundering scheme, Muttart was named by the Con Party's media buyer Retail Media as "their main campaign contact" and "his chief contact with the Conservative party for advertising for the next federal election."
The Cons promptly denied it and Muttart declined to appear before the Ethics committee to explain.

And another :
Before proceeding with his phone shenanigans for the RNC, Allen Raymond first obtained legal advice from the Bush/Cheney campaign lawyer who was also counsel  for Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, the PAC set up to smear John Kerry's war record during his election run for president. The SBVFT media consultant on the attack ads also worked for a Terry Nelson firm before it was merged into Mercury Public Affairs. Rachel Maddow's takedown of Nelson here (scroll down to vid).

Meanwhile  Republican fluffers Front Porch Strategies' Canadian liaison and former campaign manager to Jason Kenney's parliamentary secretary Rick Dykstra, Jim Ross, has been hired as a "campaign analyst" by Manitoba Con Party leadership hopeful Brian Pallister.

Look, I realize cross-border election shopping is not exactly new or even news - in 2008 a campaign fundraiser was held for John McCain's presidential election bid was held in Calgary for the 80,000 Americans living there - but are we Canadian citizens or just North American election commodities?

Pogge nails the important quote from Maher's article on Allen Raymond who says :
"Voters are just a commodity when you're in this business," he said. "You're just trying to get enough to win. Are they people? Sure they are, but at the end of the day they're just part of the transaction."


West End Bob said...

That last Allen Raymond quote says it all, Alison.

disgusting . . . .

Cliff said...

They seem pantingly eager to make Sona a 'Rogue Trader' don't they?

The question is if this - forgive the vulgar but technically correct term as first coined during Watergate - ratfucker will be a willing, and presumably well compensated patsy, or will he turn on his masters when cornered with ratlike teeth?

This is the guy the right of opposition parliamentarians to subpoena witnesses was invented for!

Alison said...

Hi Cliff, good to hear from you.

Very eager to finger Sona, weren't they.
Also exceedingly odd that Con house organ SunNews scooped McMaher on Sona when McMaher had been researching RoboCon for weeks, don't you think?

Bob : Yeah. I fear we have lost control of our election process.

Ricky Larch said...

Alison, did you realize this... Michael Sona is the same Con staffer who tried to grab an advance vote ballot box at in 2011.

Ricky Larch said...


Love ya!

Anonymous said...

The smoking gun ...
"The logs showed that client 93, the Jones account, primarily used an IP that traced back to the proxy server, while client 45, the Prescott account, used the Rogers IP.

But in the two days before the election, both clients used both the proxy server IP and the Rogers IP, Mathews’ statement says, and on election day both accounts connected to RackNine from the Rogers IP within four minutes of each other."

Sixth Estate said...

Not that they would be the only people in Guelph to do so, but I'm pretty sure the Burke campaign listed Rogers as supplying communications services on their expenses list.

So there's that.

Sixth Estate said...

Above is for anonymous.

With respect to the original article, which is a great summary of the situation, do you suppose this falls under the government's increasingly rabid denunciation of "American influence" in tax-exempt Canadian NGOs? Or does the Conservative Party -- also a tax-exempt Canadian NGO -- have some sort of extra exemption, an exemption to its own criticism?

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