Posted by: shannynmoore | March 16, 2009

Karl Rove, Sarah Palin & Tim Griffin walk into a bar…

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.  I just don’t think it’s funny.

I’m always curious why people come to Alaska. Born in Homer, I won the ovarian lottery, but my parent’s adventure to this great state is one that can entertain the crustiest of old timers.

“So, what brought you to Alaska?” is a question few dare ask a stranger in a bar, but it always manages to conjure interesting stories while sitting around a fire with friends. Strangers in Alaska bars, more often than not, have checkered pasts and damn near sneer at what they perceive as an intrusive question.

After receiving a curious email last week from a friend in New York, I am searching for the answer to that question for one such visitor. Granted, in a year, Alaska has four times as many visitors as we have citizens. Old bumper stickers asked, “If we call it ‘tourist season’ can we shoot ‘em?” The ‘visitor’ who captured my interest is Tim Griffin. In an interview last month published in a small Arkansas weekly, Mr. Griffin claimed to have come to Alaska “more than 20 times last year.”

Who is Tim Griffin? Why was he here? Prepare for less than savory answers.

From September 1995 to January 1997, Griffin worked with Special Prosecutor David Barrett in his investigation of Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of HUD. For two years after that, he was Senior Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Government Reform. During his time there, the committee was very active. They issued 1,052 dead-end subpoenas to probe alleged misconduct by the Clinton Administration and the Democratic Party.  The cost to taxpayers?  More than $35 million.

In September 1999, he became Deputy Research Director for the RNC – special ops for George W. Bush’s campaign. Griffin was a legal advisor working closely with Attorney Ben Ginsberg of Patton Boggs, LLP for the Bush-Cheney 2000 Florida Recount Team. In a BBC documentary, “Digging the Dirt”, Griffin stood next to a sign reading “ON MY COMMAND—UNLEASH HELL (ON AL),” and stated, “We think of ourselves as the creators of the ammunition in a war,” he said. “We make the bullets.”

From March 2001 through June 2002, he was Special Assistant to Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff. In 2004, Griffin was a key player and reunited with Attorney Ben Ginsberg in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry. Ginsberg resigned from his position with George W Bush’s re-election campaign after his Swift Boat involvement became public. Griffin began serving as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director, Office of Political Affairs at the White House in April 2005. His duty was “organizing and coordinating political support for the confirmation of Judge John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

For a year, beginning in September 2005, Tim Griffin was on military leave from the White House. He served as a prosecutor for Judge Advocate General (better known as JAG) and then went to Iraq. He claimed to have prosecuted 40 cases. Among those was a case allegedly against a soldier gone berserk on his commander. Griffin claimed he put the soldier in the clink for 25 years. The truth is, Griffin served only as assistant trial counsel to three cases that never went to trial. Apparently, Tim Griffin’s tall tales were training for those he might later tell in Alaska over a beer in some local bar.

In 2006, due to a little known provision in the USA PATRIOT Act, George W. Bush & Company fired a handful of US Attorneys and replaced them without Senate confirmation. In December 2006, US Attorney Bud Cummings was fired from his district in Northeast Arkansas and replaced with Tim Griffin. In February 2007, Paul McNaulty, Deputy Attorney General, testified Cummings was fired to make a place for Griffin at the urging of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers, further cementing Griffin’s cozy relationship with the Bush Administration.

On May 30, 2007, investigative journalist, BBC Correspondent and best selling author, Greg Palast, turned over 500 emails to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers. The emails were inadvertently sent to the wrong email address during the 2004 campaign. Those wrongly addressed emails revealed the caging of over 70,000 voters in Florida. The targets of registration scrubbing were Black soldiers and poor Black and Hispanic citizens. Disenfranchising voters based on race has been a felony since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Palast’s information had been published for nearly 2 years, but on the day it went to Washington, Tim Griffin resigned from his Rovian created job as US Attorney in Arkansas.

Except for short stints working for the presidential campaigns of Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, Tim Griffin was off the radar. Until, of course, he showed up in Alaska, which brings me back to my question: Why would Tim Griffin come to Alaska over 20 times last year?

Attached to my email was a news article from the Northwest Arkansas News Source dated February 22, 2009.

NWANews: What are you up to now?
Griffin: I have two businesses. Depending on the time of the year, I am about 50-50 law and public affairs. I have the Griffin Law Firm. I primarily represent businesses in federal litigation in Texas. My public affairs company, I provide communications advice, how to develop a message that makes sense whether for corporate clients or political ones.
NWANews: Can you name a client or two?
Griffin: I went to Alaska last year over 20 times. Worked on a ballot initiative, which we defeated soundly.
NWANews: What was that?
Griffin: It was related to mining industry.


Wow! So Karl Rove’s right hand man and special assistant to George W. Bush, under Congressional investigation for felony vote caging, got on a plane “over 20 times last year” to work against Ballot Proposition 4, the Clean Water Initiative? That’s a pretty big gun to get on that many flights–even if they were first class seats. Tim Griffin basically spent 40 days from May to August on planes going back and forth between Anchorage and Little Rock!

Ballot Initiative 4 was an attempt to regulate water quality standards in Alaska. The Target: the proposed Pebble Mine-an open pit, sulfuric acid mine. The Mission: to protect the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run, the largest remaining wild salmon run in the world.

Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown was the Political Action Committee created by the mining industry. According to their reports, they paid Mercury Public Affairs of New York, $106,507.80. That payment included a website and all of Tim Griffin’s services and travel reimbursement. The average price for a ticket from Little Rock to Anchorage was about $1000 and takes at least 12 hours. Summer hotel rates are easily $200 a night. After expenses, Tim Griffin wasn’t taking a golden salary.

If I were sitting next to Tim Griffin at a bar, I’d have a lot of follow up questions to my initial inquiry of “So, what brought you to Alaska?” Like for instance:

1.) Who called you? With all of your White House and Karl Rove connections – WHO do you know in Alaska?
2.) Did you develop any relationships with Alaskans while working on the Bush-Cheney Florida Recount Team in 2000? Or the Swift Boat Smear Campaign for Truth against John Kerry? Or in any of your illegal electioneering activity? WHO do you know in Alaska?
3.) Why would you waste your vote-caging and election-fixing talent on a ballot initiative in Alaska? WHO do you know in Alaska?
4.) What else did you do up here? WHO do you know in Alaska?
5.) Did you get to meet Sarah Palin? She came out against the initiative in a massive multimedia campaign after an anonymous “journalist” asked her how she would vote on Ballot Prop 4! Were you that “journalist”? WHO do you know in Alaska?
6.) How many frequent flyer miles do you have? WHO do you know in Alaska?
7.) Why didn’t the opposition detect your presence? You’re kind of a big deal. WHO do you know in Alaska?
8.) With all of your credentials, you seem underpaid. Did you work for free or was some other kind of payment involved? WHO do you know in Alaska?
9.) When you were working as an “informal advisor” to Mike Huckabee, did you talk to Alaska Congressman Don Young, who chaired Huckabee’s exploratory campaign? WHO do you know in Alaska?
10.) After learning of your other “bed-mates,” I can see how you would ignore Anglo American’s environmental track record. Proven environmental terrorists who rape, pillage and plunder resources then leave the toxic clean-up to locals. But you’re not local. Again… WHO DO YOU KNOW IN ALASKA?

Oh, so many questions. Like I said…you get at least an hour’s worth of conversation when you ask, “So, what brought you to Alaska?” Unless the person in the bar is that stranger with a nefarious background…like Karl Rove Protégé, future felon vote-cager and election-fixer Tim Griffin. I wonder who he knows in Alaska. I wonder who picked up the bar tab.


Responses

  1. Hah! You finished it!

    Great job, gonna link to you now.

  2. I knew ballot prop 4 was fishy…

    I bet Griffin orchestrated Palin’s big, “Surprise” media campaign…

    Palin: “You betcha! I hate the clean water. I vote No On 4! Me and Todd…we. Also. We catch Red Salmon and Mine Copper…at the same time don’tcha know!? Nothing better then mined Copper River Red Salmon! ALSO!!!”

  3. Didn’t art hackney work with griffin on the swift boat character assasination campaign…he must have known his buddy was in town

  4. Great post I am sending the link to my relatives in Arkansas.

  5. oh Shannyn, this one really needs to be topmost at HuffPost! I’m going to recommend. EXcellent research.

    Prop 4 — wasn’t that the one where Palin said, ‘now I’m going to take off my governor’s hat and tell you what I think’ … ?? If that’s the one, it struck me as very, very odd.

    Anyway, if I’d been at that bar I’d have been tempted to slip Griffin a mickey.

  6. Wasn’t Don Young losing in the polls before the election and then won?

    Who do you know and what else did you do, that’s what I’d ask him!

    Great article

  7. great stuff – keep tracking these assholes.

  8. Guys like Griffin don’t work for free. Who was paying him, certainly not Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown.

    Since he was working for the pac he probably didn’t have to file reports with APOC; I’d love to know who financed his time and effort.

  9. Sorry, there should have been a question mark in there somewhere…

  10. SHANNYN! Great Piece! Great investigative work! Keep tracking this crap. My skin crawls knowing a Karl Rove Operative was in Alaska 20 times last summer….

    Edward:

    Art Hackney and Tim Griffin DID work together on the swiftboating of John Kerry. But Hackney couldn’t have been working with Griffin to defeat Ballot Prop 4, he was, and still is, I think, working for the Renewable Resources Coalition-they sponsored the initiative! Art worked to PASS ballot prop 4! Make no mistake; Art’s an Asshole, but he’s the good guy’s asshole! Although, I saw him at Don Young’s Pig Roast last summer…Giant Jerk!

  11. Wow! Well done as usual. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Bad Sarah would be pallin’ around with Rovites.

  12. Oh Contraire Martha!

    You got it right about Art Hackney-he is a giant Asshole with a capital “A”! I bet Art Hackney is the guy that brought Tim Griffin to Alaska. I wouldn’t put it past Hackney to be a double agent and work both sides of the initiative!

    AND funny how Don Young was way behind Ethan in the polls, and then Don pulls that biggest political upset in history out of his hat? A 13 point turnaround from the Polls to the vote tally??? Maybe Griffin was multitasking; rigging the August Clean Water Initiative AND screwing with the November election too…

  13. oiviegh!..the arrogant nature of the elitist Alaskan fiew..the word is that the core samples at pebbile mine are high in continent..yea! but at the sake of the natural surroundings?

  14. Great work Shannyn ! Now that you have pulled this thread loose for all to see, hopefully you will get some help in further unravelment.
    I wish we had 1000 Moore like you.

    PS: the woman at tonights meeting who said she never posts, just posted.

  15. Great Work Shannyn! Thank-you!

  16. Excellent post Shannyn! Good sleuthing and ITA that is beyond scary as to what this critter was up to! At least all the progressive blogs up there are also posting your info, so maybe that will help shed some sunlight now that the word is out and everyone is digging around.

  17. Shannyn – thank you.

    I’m in the great state of OHIO – the state that rigged the election for BUSH in 2004.

    We made Florida look like child’s play.

    Then Sec. of State Ken Blackwell (Bush’s Campaign Chairman) used Diebold voting machines to flip votes.

    Ohio’s Diebold spread fast and furious across the nation as Congress stalled their investigation into Ohio’s election fraud. Diebold has rigged elections for numerous Republicans and anti-environment and anti-civil rights propositions. California has banned Diebold. (HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy”).

    Voting Fraud will be revealed as the Crime of the Century.

    I know you reported on Diebold and are aware that they have helped Alaska join the ranks of Ohio and Florida in rigging US elections.

    Didn’t Palin win her 2006 election on Diebold? Do you have an invalid governor?

    Google: Palin CNP Diebold

    After Diebold became tainted, Rove used a computer software guru to flip votes. His name was Mike McConnell. He died in a single engine plane crash in Ohio just after the election of Barack Obama.

    He was prepared to testify against Rove on massive voting fraud.

  18. Excellent information to RUN with…

  19. WOW! It just keeps coming. There is so much cloak and dagger BS.

    I am so relieved we have President Obama.

    Can you imagine the alternative. Horrifying!

    Thanks Shannyn.

  20. On behalf of the environmental community in Arkansas, I thank you for this fine piece of reporting. Here it is a year later and the story’s smell is just as bad as when you first discovered it. When Sara Palin showed up in Arkansas last week and lavished praise on only one of the gaggle of conservative candidates springing up in our state, I thought it worthy of finding a connection. The candidate she endorsed was Tim Griffin, who is running for Congress. To confirm that he was Karl Rove’s fair haired boy, I googled Rove Griffin Palin and landed smack dab in the middle of your terrific piece. Not one to keep neat thing to myself, I shared it with a prominent independent Arkansas reporter, who in turn gave it to two others. Each did a bit of additional checking so that their information was shared with readers of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and The Arkansas Times. Thanks again for doing the hard work to relate this saga!

  21. Shannyn,

    Thank you so much for your reporting. Unfortunately, many voters in the 2nd District of Arkansas, of which I reside, do not know much about Tim Griffin, who is the Republican candidate for Congress. His opponent, Joyce Elliot, would become the first African-American ever to be elected to Congress in Arkansas if she wins. I hope that this information is disseminated throughout the 2nd district so that Arkansans can open a new chapter in state politics and finally close the door behind the incompetent Bush administration.

  22. I am in district 2 of Arkansas and I cannot believe so many people are supporting tim griffin when i volunteer and go canvassing. I’m passing this on. I hate the fact that people vote for him because he is a Republican and they want to clean up Congress and fight government corruption. I wish people would just do their research before voting!


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