Promises Made, Promises Broken

During the mid-term election campaign, a number of Democrats stated that it was time for new leadership in the Democrat party and that they would not support Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Well, guess what–yesterday The Western Journal posted an article with the following headline, “Democrats Nominate Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker.”

The article reports:

Nancy Pelosi has been nominated by House Democrats to lead them in the new Congress, but she still faces a showdown vote for House speaker when lawmakers convene in January.

Pelosi ran unopposed as the nominee for speaker in a closed-door Democratic caucus election Wednesday despite unrest from those clamoring for new leadership.

The California Democrat faces tougher math in January, when she’ll need 218 votes, the majority of the full House, to be elected speaker. House Democrats are taking control with at least a 233-vote majority, but some Democrats have pledged that they won’t back Pelosi for speaker.

Anyone ready to take bets? Actually Nancy Pelosi as speaker would be a good thing for Republicans–she is growing old and sometimes here statements indicate that. It truly is time for new leadership in both parties.

When Justice Takes A Vacation

No, this is not an article about either Paul Manafort or Michael Cohen. This is an article about former Democratic IT aide Imran Awan.

Yesterday The Daily Caller reported:

A federal judge declined to give jail time to former Democratic IT aide Imran Awan Tuesday, saying he has “suffered enough” at the hands of politicians “at the highest levels of government.” In addition, the Department of Justice said it did not find any evidence that supported criminal charges.

…Judge Tanya Chutkin gave Imran three months of supervised release. Imran’s attorney had hoped to avoid the supervision, indicating Imran wanted to go back to Pakistan: “By ending this today, you will allow Hina to build her family wherever she chooses and allow Imran to visit his father’s grave and secure his legacy,” the attorney said.

The lawyer, former Hillary Clinton aide Chris Gowen, said Imran was motivated by love for his father, who was dying in Virginia when Imran flew to Pakistan. Imran, he said, was in a “panic” to get money to urgently build a charity hospital, described in court as a “women’s shelter.” He described the urgent moves as “securing his father’s legacy.”

Well, I guess everyone is entitled to their version of the story.

The article continues:

The story is at odds with a 2009 Pakistani newspaper article, police reports and lawsuits in Pakistan, as well as interviews. Those allege Imran tried to cut others out of a fraud-plagued real estate deal and secure a massive inheritance in the form of a major real estate complex, known as a “colony.”

A dozen farmers accused Imran and his father of stealing their land and subdividing it to build the development. The 2009 article said that Imran used political “muscle” stemming from his job in Congress to attempt to frame his alleged victims. Later, Faisalabad Agricultural University faculty apparently paid for some of those plots, but said that they, too, were ripped off. Dr. Zafar Iqbal, a university professor and president of the faculty association, told TheDCNF that Imran and his father refused to turn over the deeds and that in January 2017, Imran cautioned them that he “has got powerful political connections.”

In addition to two separate groups of victims, the Awans had two partners in this land deal — Rashid Minhas and Shabbir Ahmed — both of whom were allegedly cut out of the partnership. Minhas said that when he went out of town, they seized his share of the proceeds. Ahmed’s widow, Bushra Bibi, said in the 2009 article that, immediately after a car crash killed both Ahmed and the Awans’ mother, Imran threatened her with “dire consequences” to force her to give up her share, and framed her brother-in-law. A support letter submitted by a former aide to Rep. Robert Wexler seemed to contradict the widow’s own statements, claiming “Imran would send money every month to the widow and children of the driver to help take care of them.”

As if that were not enough, let’s look at some of the past antics of Mr. Awan.

In July, The Daily Caller reported the following:

A secret memo marked “URGENT” detailed how the House Democratic Caucus’s server went “missing” soon after it became evidence in a cybersecurity probe. The secret memo also said more than “40 House offices may have been victims of IT security violations.”

In the memo, Congress’s top law enforcement official, Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, along with Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, wrote, “We have concluded that the employees [Democratic systems administrator Imran Awan and his family] are an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems and thereby members’ capacity to serve constituents.”

The July article in The Daily Caller might shed some light on what just happened:

Eighteen months after the evidence was recounted in the urgent memo, prosecution appears to have stalled for reasons not publicly explained. Imran is in court July 3 for a possible plea deal in the bank fraud case. Gohmert said the FBI has refused to accept evidence demonstrating alleged House misconduct, and some witnesses with first-hand knowledge say the bureau has not interviewed them.

Let’s bring a little common sense into this. Mr. Awan had access to a large number of computers of Democrat House members. In some cases he had their passwords. He was aware of everything that went on in their computers and quite likely made copies of much of the information. Might there be some information people high up in our government are keeping from the American public? Is this another example of injustice in the Washington Swamp?

Nothing To See Here–Keep Moving

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the House Democratic Caucus’s server. It seems that the server went missing soon after it became evidence in a cybersecurity probe. Wow. What a coincidence. A newly obtained secret memo also said more than “40 House offices may have been victims of IT security violations.”

The article reports:

In the memo, Congress’s top law enforcement official, Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, along with Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, wrote, “We have concluded that the employees [Democratic systems administrator Imran Awan and his family] are an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems and thereby members’ capacity to serve constituents.”

The memo, addressed to the Committee on House Administration (CHA) and dated Feb. 3, 2017, was recently reviewed and transcribed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The letter bolsters TheDCNF’s previous reporting about the missing server and evidence of fraud on Capitol Hill.

It details how the caucus server, run by then-caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, was secretly copied by authorities after the House Inspector General (IG) identified suspicious activity on it, but the Awans’ physical access was not blocked.

…Rep. Louie Gohmert — a Texas Republican on the House Committee on the Judiciary who has done oversight work on the case — said the missing server contained copies of Congress members’ emails.

“They put 40 members of Congress’s data on one server … That server, with that serial number, has disappeared,” he said.

The article concludes:

A Democratic IT aide who alleged that Imran solicited a bribe from him told TheDCNF he believes members of Congress are playing dumb and covering the matter up. Wendy Anderson, a former chief of staff to New York Rep. Yvette Clarke, told House investigators that she suspected that her predecessor, Shelley Davis, was working with Abid on a theft scheme, but Clarke refused to fire Abid until outside investigators got involved, TheDCNF reported.

Eighteen months after the evidence was recounted in the urgent memo, prosecution appears to have stalled for reasons not publicly explained. Imran is in court July 3 for a possible plea deal in the bank fraud case. Gohmert said the FBI has refused to accept evidence demonstrating alleged House misconduct, and some witnesses with first-hand knowledge say the bureau has not interviewed them.a

I will admit that over the years of writing this blog I have become somewhat cynical–with that in mind, I am convinced that there is someone or some people walking around Washington that have a lot of pictures showing many of our Congressmen that the Congressmen do not want revealed. I suspect those pictures and information will eventually come out. My suspicion is based on a public, but unique, internet source that I will not name. It is possible that the July 3 court date could take an interesting turn. Stay tuned. This story is totally underreported by the mainstream media, but The Daily Caller has followed it from the beginning.

What Happened In Iowa?

Yesterday the Des Moines Register posted an editorial about the Democratic Caucus in Iowa. The editorial reminds us that because the results of the Caucus were so close, it would be a good idea to do an audit of those results.

The editorial also reminds us:

Second, too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.

The Sanders campaign is rechecking results on its own, going precinct by precinct, and is already finding inconsistencies, said Rania Batrice, a Sanders spokeswoman. The campaign seeks the math sheets or other paperwork that precinct chairs filled out and were supposed to return to the state party. They want to compare those documents to the results entered into a Microsoft app and sent to the party.

“Let’s compare notes. Let’s see if they match,” Batrice said Wednesday.

…So her path forward is clear: Work with all the campaigns to audit results. Break silly party tradition and release the raw vote totals. Provide a list of each precinct coin flip and its outcome, as well as other information sought by the Register. Be transparent.

And then call for a blue ribbon commission to study how to improve the caucuses, as the Republican Party of Iowa did after its own fiasco in 2012. Monday’s mess showed that it’s time for the Democrats to change, too.

The Iowa Caucus is really not the most important election on the primary circuit. However, it is the first election on the primary circuit. This is the first chance the voters have to actually voice their opinion. This is the chance the voters have to confirm or dispute what the pollsters are saying. It needs to be done right.

The editorial concludes:

Democrats should ask themselves: What do we want the Iowa caucus to be? How can we preserve its uniqueness while bringing more order? Does it become more like a straw poll or primary? How do we strike the balance between tradition and transparency?

We have time to consider these questions. First, however, we need answers to what happened Monday night. The future of the first-in-the-nation caucuses demands it.