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Election Fraud

Washington Post: By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines

As we’ve said before, voting machines are in fact hackable. They can be hacked by unsophisticated means, and if you add in Russian hackers who are by all intents and purposes, extremely sophisticated, these machines are probably very vulnerable to being hacked.

From The Washington Post:

Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network that led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the party’s convention began, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded.

The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation’s computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November — that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack.

If the intelligence community has indeed ascertained that Russia is to blame, our government needs to decide what to do in response. This is difficult because the attacks are politically partisan, but it is essential. If foreign governments learn that they can influence our elections with impunity, this opens the door for future manipulations, both document thefts and dumps like this one that we see and more subtle manipulations that we don’t see.

Retaliation is politically fraught and could have serious consequences, but this is an attack against our democracy. We need to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin in some way — politically, economically or in cyberspace — and make it clear that we will not tolerate this kind of interference by any government. Regardless of your political leanings this time, there’s no guarantee the next country that tries to manipulate our elections will share your preferred candidates.

Even more important, we need to secure our election systems before autumn. If Putin’s government has already used a cyberattack to attempt to help Trump win, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again — especially now that Trump is inviting the “help.”

Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with Internet voting. These systems are insecure and vulnerable to attack.

But while computer security experts like me have sounded the alarm for many years, states have largely ignored the threat, and the machine manufacturers have thrown up enough obfuscating babble that election officials are largely mollified.

We no longer have time for that. We must ignore the machine manufacturers’ spurious claims of security, create tiger teams to test the machines’ and systems’ resistance to attack, drastically increase their cyber-defenses and take them offline if we can’t guarantee their security online.

Longer term, we need to return to election systems that are secure from manipulation. This means voting machines with voter-verified paper audit trails, and no Internet voting. I know it’s slower and less convenient to stick to the old-fashioned way, but the security risks are simply too great.

There are other ways to attack our election system on the Internet besides hacking voting machines or changing vote tallies: deleting voter records, hijacking candidate or party websites, targeting and intimidating campaign workers or donors. There have already been multiple instances of political doxing — publishing personal information and documents about a person or organization — and we could easily see more of it in this election cycle. We need to take these risks much more seriously than before.

Government interference with foreign elections isn’t new, and in fact, that’s something the United States itself has repeatedly done in recent history. Using cyberattacks to influence elections is newer but has been done before, too — most notably in Latin America. Hacking of voting machines isn’t new, either. But what is new is a foreign government interfering with a U.S. national election on a large scale. Our democracy cannot tolerate it, and we as citizens cannot accept it.

Last April, the Obama administration issued an executive order outlining how we as a nation respond to cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure. While our election technology was not explicitly mentioned, our political process is certainly critical. And while they’re a hodgepodge of separate state-run systems, together their security affects every one of us. After everyone has voted, it is essential that both sides believe the election was fair and the results accurate. Otherwise, the election has no legitimacy.

Election security is now a national security issue; federal officials need to take the lead, and they need to do it quickly.

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Press Release: FBI And SEC Urged To Investigate Murdoch’s News Corp Under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Activists Demand Full Accountability as Phone Hacking Scandal Spreads Across The Atlantic

The government accountability group ProtectOurElections.org is urging the FBI and the SEC to launch parallel criminal and civil investigations into Rupert Murdoch's media empire in the United States for possible prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal in the United Kingdom.

The umbrella group, representing grassroots activists across the country, sent a letter today to both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Security and Exchange Commission asserting that the scandal overseas was in and of itself evidence of violation of the Act, because the company is headquartered in the United States, and urged both agencies to seek warrants to search the company's New York offices. It also pointed to evidence that phone hacking by News Corp journalists and editors may have spread across the Atlantic.

The letter, written by ProtectOurElections.org lawyer Kevin Zeese, described the extent of the phone hacking as "staggering" and pointed to recent revelations and admissions by News Corp executives that its employees have engaged in "widespread obstruction of justice, bribery and destruction of evidence." According to one British news report today, a private investigator in New York was approached by the company for help in tracking down the phone records of 9/11 victims so their voice mails could be illegally accessed.

"It is clear that News Corp has violated the [Foreign Corrupt Practices] Act on an industrial scale," the letter said. "Rupert Murdoch moved to the US and became an American citizen in 1985 in order to take advantage of our laws yet his company under his leadership has blatantly violated American law by bribing foreign officials in order to increase revenues.”

"And now we learn that News Corp executives deleted millions of incriminating emails and engaged in other conduct in order to obstruct investigation and cover up its criminal enterprise,” said Mr. Zeese. “It is unacceptable for any person or company, especially one who specifically moved here because of our laws, to violate those laws in a manner that gives them an unjust advantage over those who follow the law. We therefore are demanding that News Corp and all its guilty employees be prosecuted, fined and jailed to fullest extent allowed by law.”

The letter sets out the severe civil and criminal penalties available for violations of the Act. For example, corporations can be fined up to $25 million for each willful violation of the Act. Individuals can be sentenced to 20 years and a $5 million fine per violation. A corporation can be prohibited from conducting business with the U.S. Government, and individuals can be prohibited from serving as an officer or director of the company.

The full text of the letter can be accessed HERE:

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Press Release: ProtectOurElections.org Formally Calls On DOJ And FBI To Investigate Justice Clarence Thomas And Virginia Thomas Dealings

New Financial Disclosure Form Raises More Troubling Questions

Washington, DC— In light of new financial disclosures provided Justice Clarence Thomas, ProtectOurElections.org today sent a letter  to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Public Integrity Section and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) urging that they investigate information recently revealed in Thomas’ 2010 Financial Disclosure Form.

ProtectOurElections.org has previously sent several letters to the FBI and DOJ alleging improper conduct by Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia. Those allegations are:

First, Justice Thomas falsified 20 years of judicial financial disclosure forms by denying that his wife had income sources; second, he engaged in judicial corruption by receiving $100,000 in support from Citizens United during his nomination and then ruling in favor of Citizens United in 2010 without disclosing that fact or disqualifying himself; and third, he apparently conspired with his wife in a form of "judicial insider trading" by providing her with information about the result of the Court's decision in Citizens United prior to its issuance, which she then used to launch a new company to take financial advantage of that decision to benefit her and her husband.

ProtectOurElections.org’s new letter asks for an investigation into the following questions:

  • Was Mrs. Thomas tipped off to the Citizens United decision before it was rendered?
  • Did Mrs. Thomas launch Liberty Central to take advantage of Citizens United and did she receive any income as a result of Citizens United?
  • What happened to the $550,000 raised by Mrs. Thomas for Liberty Central (which is listed on its 2009 IRS 990 form)?
  • Did Mrs. Thomas raise funds for Liberty Central after the Citizens United decision and if so how much and what was it used for?
  • Is Liberty Consulting engaged in consulting Supreme Court litigants or potential litigants?
  • Is Liberty Consulting engaged in lobbying and if so is Mrs. Thomas lobbying for litigants before the Supreme Court?
  • Is Liberty Consulting a legitimate company or a conduit to raise funds for the Thomas family?

On page 5 of the 2010 Financial Disclosure Form, under the heading “Investments and Trusts,” Justice Thomas lists “Liberty Consulting,” a lobbying and consulting firm founded by his wife to cater to the "tea party." It is unclear whether this disclosure refers to an investment in Liberty Consulting in 2010 or a return on an earlier investment.

Liberty Consulting was incorporated in Virginia on November 16, 2010 and launched a website, http://libertyinc.co/, on or about February 1, 2011. On February 8, 2011, ProtectOurElection.org staff went to the Liberty Consulting office “suite” in Burke, Virginia and discovered that it was a UPS Store mailbox with the same address as Liberty Central, a 501(c)(4) organization Virginia Thomas started on November 6, 2009.  Mrs. Thomas had supposedly resigned from Liberty Central on November 14, 2010 after questions were raised about her involvement in that organization, including conflicts of interest, such as a memo with Virginia Thomas' name on it that declared the Obama administration’s health-care legislation unconstitutional.

On February 8, 2011, ProtectOurElections.org posted a video on YouTube about the appearance of fraud and conflicts of interest from Mrs. Thomas’ involvement in Liberty Consulting and Liberty Central. Within a few days, the Liberty Consulting website was removed from the Internet, and no further information has been released to the press or public about the company. ProtectOurElections.org has provided the DOJ with screen shots of that website which showed Mrs. Thomas trumpeting her connection to Liberty Central and promising clients that she will “leverage her 30 years of experience as a Washington ‘insider’ to assist” her clients.

On page 2 of the 2010 Financial Disclosure Form, under “Spousal Non-Investment Income,” Justice Thomas reported that his wife received "salary and benefits" from both Liberty Consulting and Liberty Central in 2010.

In previous letters to the DOJ, ProtectOurElections.org asserted that the timing and facts surrounding Ms. Thomas’ involvement in Liberty Central give the appearance that the Thomases engaged in illegal “judicial insider trading” to enrich the Thomas family though the Citizens United decision.

Timeline:

Sept 9, 2009: Citizens United argued.

Nov 6, 2009: Virginia Thomas launches her new Liberty Central 501(c)(4) organization, which raises $550,000 in 2009.

Jan 21, 2010: Citizens United decided.

March 15, 2010: Virginia Thomas announces that Liberty Central would "accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court."

November 14, 2010: Liberty Central announces that Virginia Thomas would be leaving the organization.

November 16, 2010: Liberty Consulting incorporated in the state of Virginia.

February 4, 2011: Politico reports that Virginia Thomas had launched Liberty Consulting.

February 8, 2011: ProtectOurElections.org releases its expose of Liberty Consulting on YouTube.

February 12, 2011: Liberty Consulting website is deleted http://libertyinc.co/

February 23, 2011: ProtectOurElections.org files a formal bar complaint against Clarence Thomas requesting that he be disbarred on various grounds. 

ProtectOurElections.org’s new letter urges “the Department of Justice/FBI to investigate the issues … raised in all of our letters regarding Justice Thomas and apply ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ to his actions.”

DOWNLOAD PDF HERE: