Friday, July 25, 2008

Is This Why Media Were Banned From That Karl Rove Dinner?

TN GOP flack Bill Hobbs needs to get his story straight about media access to the TN GOP’s Statesmen’s Dinner Saturday night. First he said it is a
"closed ticketed event and historically has not been open to the media."

Then, after prominent Republicans like Sen. Lamar Alexander criticized the move, Hobbs did a flip-flop:

GOP Opens Statesmen's Dinner To Reporters Who Buy Tickets and Wear Blindfolds

Turns out, the Tennessee Republican Party's annual Statesmen's Dinner sn't closed to the press after all. That's the news flash from party flack Bill Hobbs, whose email just popped into my inbox with a subject line asking "Fact Checker Off Today?"

"The event isn’t closed to the press," Hobbs writes. "Entrance requires a ticket. You could have known those things by contacting me before you typed."

To which, I replied, "I might call you more often if you’d call me back. So you’re saying if I buy a ticket, you’ll let me go in and report on what happens?"

"That has been our position all along," he shot back. "It is a ticketed event. People with tickets get in. But no recording devices allowed."

Oh, forget about that "closed" thing then. What an ass. Bill Hobbs is sure to have a long and successful career in the Republican Party.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that Rove himself put the kabosh on media attendance at the event. It seems there are allegations he has threatened a witness in a 2004 Ohio election fraud case currently being investigated by the Dept. of Justice. BradBlog has the goods:

Karl Rove has threatened a GOP high-tech guru and his wife, if he does not "'take the fall' for election fraud in Ohio," according to a letter sent this morning to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, by Ohio election attorney Cliff Arnebeck.

The email, posted in full below, details threats against Mike Connell of the Republican firm New Media Communications, which describes itself on its website as "a powerhouse in the field of Republican website development and Internet services" and having "played a strategic role in helping the GOP expand its technological supremacy."

Connell was described in a recent interview with the plaintiff's attorneys in Ohio as a "high IQ Forrest Gump" for his appearance "at the scene of every [GOP] crime" from Florida 2000 to Ohio 2004 to the RNC email system to the installation of the currently-used Congressional computer network firewall.

Connell and his firm are currently employed by the John McCain campaign, as well as the RNC and other Republican and so-called "faith-based" organizations.

In a phone call this afternoon, Arnebeck could not publicly reveal specific details of the information that triggered his concern about the threats to Connell. The message to the IT man from Rove is said to have been sent via a go-between in Ohio. That information led Arnebeck to contact Mukasey after he found the reports to be credible and troubling.

"If there's a credible threat, which I regard this to be," he told The BRAD BLOG, "I have a professional duty to report it."

Attempts to reach Connell for comment late this afternoon were not successful.

The disclosure from Arnebeck comes on the heels of a dramatic announcement last week, made at a Columbus press conference, announcing Arnebeck's motion to lift a stay on the long-standing King Lincoln Bronzwell v. Blackwell federal lawsuit, challenging voting rights violations in the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.

Not that our local media would ever ask about such things, since they probably don’t know about them, but it sure would be awkward if they did.

Anyway, follow the link to read the e-mail. It’s certainly troubling.

Then again, maybe Karl Rove is just scared that he’ll run into Sheryl Crow again.