Saturday, May 29, 2010
Influence Peddling? At the SecState's Office!? I'm shocked!
Take it away Garland!
III. THE TEXT BOOK CASE OF LOBBYIST INFLUENCE PEDDLING
To understand why former Secretary Handel would reverse a popular position and replace it with such a deceptive position, an informed citizen need only to follow the money. That money flowed from what may be the most powerful and strategically well placed lobbying form in Georgia. Here is the story:
In 2002, former SOS Cathy Cox signed a $54 million contract for Diebold voting equipment that did not have an independent audit trail of each vote cast as required by law. [O.C.G.A. 21-2-30(b) of the 2001 Georgia Election code] Kennesaw State’s former director of the Center for Election Systems, Ray Cobb, since admitted under oath in deposition that the voting machines have no audit trail that is independent. Sec. Cox’s office chose not to include the audit trail recommendation from the 21st Century Voting Commission report in the Request for Proposal. At least two other vendors at that time met the audit requirement but were not seriously considered. Secretary Cox entered into the agreement despite numerous warnings from governmental sources and the general public. Her former boss and former SOS, Lewis Massey, was the lobbyist for the voting machine vendor, Diebold Election Systems.
Lewis Massey then established Massey & Bowers in partnership with Bruce Bowers, son of Bette Rose Bowers and former gubernatorial candidate Michael Bowers. Massey & Bowers is the lobbying firm that represents the voting machine vendor. That vendor, Diebold, has since changed the name of its division to Premier Election Systems and sold the division to Electronic Systems & Software after intense national scrutiny and ridicule.
In 2006, then SOS Candidate, Karen Handel, eloquently explained the nationally recognized voting machine problems in her white paper entitled “Basics”. She was elected, in part, with non-partisan support after showing promise that she would help correct the problems. However, late in her campaign she acknowledged that she had received significant financial help from Michael Bowers. Once elected, she reversed her position on the voting machines and appointed former Massey & Bowers partner, Rob Simms, as her Deputy Secretary.
A simple review of campaign contributions for the last five years will reveal that the Bowers family members and other Massey & Bowers employees have contributed thousands of dollars toward the campaigns of Karen Handel. In fact, Rob Simms left his deputy position in the last few months of Karen Handel’s tenure to raise funds full time for her gubernatorial campaign. Therefore, Karen Handel had a vested interest that necessitated her reversal of position and forced her to make highly deceptive statements to protect the various business interests of the voting machine vendor lobbyist who had so heavily supported her campaigns. Likewise, Handel and her Inspector General, Shawn LaGrua, had a vested interest to ensure that elections investigations would not expose flaws in the voting machines that could further jeopardize the interests of the lobbyists.
Diebold strikes again. When will the citizens of Georgia strike back?
Posted by Shane Bruce at 6:03 AM