Ahead of Governor Bush's weekend in New Hampshire, he called in to NH Today radio bright and early this morning and said this of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails: "I don't quite get it. I'm a little confused by it."
That's funny, because according to an expert quoted in today's Wall Street Journal, Governor Bush "did exactly what Hillary did" in choosing what emails to disclose from his private account.
What's actually confusing is why Jeb continues to hold himself up as a paragon of transparency when he released just 250,000 of the over 3 million emails he apparently sent and received during his time as governor.
To: Interested Parties
From: Brad Woodhouse, President, American Bridge 21st Century
Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Re: 10 Questions For Jeb Bush And One For The Media
I have one question for the media. If y'all are going to spend every waking moment obsessing over the minutiae of Hillary Clinton's email habits, why shouldn't Jeb Bush -- whose usage of private emails and servers during his tenure as governor is strikingly similar to Clinton's -- be subject to the same scrutiny?
If anything, Governor Bush has more issues with his transparency than Secretary Clinton, and he's done far less to address them.
So here are ten questions he should answer:
- If Bush sent and received over 3 million emails as governor, as he has said himself, how are we to believe only 250,000 were public records?
- How did Jeb Bush decide which emails were public records and which staff members were in charge of that process?
- What key issues were discussed in the 90% of emails that remain unreleased? The 2000 recall? Terry Schaivo?
Last week, former Virginia Governor Republican Bob McDonnell became the first Virginia governor to be convicted of a felony, with a federal grand jury finding him guilty of 11 counts of corruption. Across the country, another GOP Governor, Scott Walker, faces questions stemming from an investigation into his own potentially felonious behavior, as highlighted by recent editorials in his hometown newspapers. Indeed, the most recent documents released in the John Doe investigation into Walker illustrate his alleged centrality to a criminal scheme to illegally coordinate campaign spending with an outside group, Wisconsin Club for Growth.
The New York Times editorial board last week pointed to a $700,000 contribution from a large mining company to Wisconsin Club for Growth, timed closely with Walker signing pro-mining legislation into law, as evidence that the Governor and his aides "brazenly violated state campaign finance regulations":
Newly released documents show that the mine operator, Gogebic Taconite, secretly gave $700,000 to a political group that was helping the governor win a 2012 recall election. Mr. Walker had urged big corporations to give unlimited amounts, without fear of public disclosure, and many companies that wanted favors from the state happily obliged. Once the recall failed, the favors began to flow, even at the expense of the state’s natural resources.
But perhaps even more damning for Walker are a pair of editorials from two of the local Wisconsin publications that have been tracking the investigation most doggedly, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the La Crosse Tribune. Both editorial boards not only offer strong rebukes for the Governor's scheme to raise money in support of his campaign during the 2012 recall election, but emphasize the importance of the John Doe investigation itself.
It isn't every day that the chief executive of a state admits that he expressly operates in a manner to skirt transparency laws. But that's exactly what Governor Corbett has done.
As the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported last week, Corbett has gone to incredible lengths to conduct business outside of the public eye:
"The governor said he rarely uses email because he knows reporters would file Right-To-Know requests to get them. Instead, he said, he uses the telephone. He said he needs the freedom to be able to express opinions that he may later want to change. Mr. Corbett said he deletes his emails about once a week."
That's a stunning concession and one that demonstrates contempt for the spirit of open democracy. As such, American Bridge is issuing a FOIA request for Governor Corbett's official phone records. The people of Pennsylvania deserve to know exactly what their governor has made such a concerted effort to conceal.
The report to exonerate Chris Christie in Bridgegate, for which he spent $1 million of New Jersey taxpayer dollars, dominated local news coverage in New Jersey yesterday. The general sentiment - we spent a million bucks for this? - comes as no surprise given Christie's taxpayer-funded attorneys did not even interview key players in the scandal, took the governor's claims at face value, and failed to release all of the evidence they reviewed for their report.
See for yourself here in American Bridge's new video: https://youtu.be/n9ybvAzq8ck
The press conference today and accompanying report supposedly exonerating Chris Christie of any wrongdoing in the Bridgegate scandal make quite a few leaps of faith when it comes to accepting Christie's self defense at face value, and leaves even more questions unanswered. Given that no original documents were released along with the report, and despite the $1 million price tag for New Jersey taxpayers of this investigation, we're left with few answers and only more questions about Chris Christie's involvement in this scandal. Here are our top five:
1) Attorney Randy Mastro asserted that Christie had no reason to remember discussions of bridge lane closings and resulting traffic with David Wildstein on September 11, 2013, but he also started that "people lie, documents don't." Why is Chris Christie any less likely to lie than David Wildstein?
2) Port Authority Chairman David Samson did not cooperate with this internal Bridgegate investigation. Will Chris Christie hold him accountable for refusing to follow Christie's own directive that members of his administration would cooperate?
3) Why were questions about the Christie/Samson meeting in August 2013 ignored by Attorney Randy Mastro? When asked, Mastro responded, “If you give me your name and number, I’ll get back to you.”
4) Christie attorney Randy Mastro claimed he examined Christie's phone logs and text messages, but he never discussed whether any messages from August and September 2013 were recovered. Does this mean there is evidence that Christie selectively deleted portions of his text message history?
5) When will the Christie administration publicly release all of the documentation they handed over to their attorneys for this sham investigation? Will the evidence provided for this investigation be turned over to the legislative committee investigating Bridegate?
Here's a new infographic/timeline illustrating the curious timing of Ken Cuccinelli's stock transactions in Star Scientific paired with his vacations/gifts from the company's scandal-ridden CEO, Jonnie Williams.
WASHINGTON -- American Bridge 21st Century today called on Virginia Attorney General to stop stonewalling and answer key questions regarding his handling of a case involving Star Scientific and its CEO. Cuccinelli has refused to answer repeated questions about whether he discussed an ongoing tax case with CEO Jonnie Williams.
5/14: "Cuccinelli’s PR people, both in the office and with the campaign, never would give a yes or no answer to our (much repeated) question about whether he and Williams had ever discussed the tax issue."
5/11: "Through their spokespeople, Bob McDonnell and Cuccinelli repeatedly declined to comment when asked whether they had ever discussed the tax liability with Star CEO Jonnie Williams, who gave McDonnell and Cuccinelli gifts ranging from $15,000 for the wedding of McDonnell’s daughter to the use by Cuccinelli of the Smith Mountain Lake home."
"Cuccinelli's stonewalling on very serious ethical issues is inexcusable," said American Bridge communications director Chris Harris. "It took Cuccinelli nearly two years and a boatload of bad headlines to finally admit that he had a conflict of interest in the ongoing case involving Star Scientific and his good friend Jonnie Williams. Now he's continuing to withhold key information from Virginia's taxpayers by repeatedly refusing to disclose whether he discussed the tax lawsuit with his buddy. What else is he hiding?"
As details continue to trickle out in what the Washington Post called “a rapidly thickening ethical morass,” American Bridge 21st Century released a new web ad today asking what else Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is hiding in the case of Star Scientific.
After finally admitting that his office had a conflict of interest in the prosecution of Star Scientific, the matter grew even more complicated for Cuccinelli when it came to light that he failed to disclose thousands of dollars in gifts from embattled Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams. Last Friday, his office recused itself from prosecuting embezzlement charges pursued by Cuccinelli against whistle-blower and former Executive Mansion chef Todd Schneider. Now, reports have surfaced that Governor and Mrs. McDonnell are under investigation by the FBI for their relationship with Williams.
Later today Cuccinelli's office is expected to defend his motion to recuse himself. Will Cuccinelli come out of hiding and argue the case himself, or stay in his bunker and continue to avoid facing Virginia voters?