Tuesday, February 26, 2008

W. Ben Barnes, The Texas Lottery and Don Siegelman

Posted by McCamy Taylor in General Discussion
Mon Feb 25th 2008, 08:28 PM

Sometimes, I think Karl Roves gets his ideas for how to smear his opponents by looking at the real crimes of the Bush family.

The charge that Alberto Gonzales’ Grand High Inquisitors created----making it a crime to re-appoint someone to a state board after he has donated money to a state lottery campaign---absolutely pales in comparison to what went on when George W. Bush was governor of Texas.

Remember Ben Barnes? The Democratic former Texas Speaker who helped W. evade the draft and get a spot in the Texas Air National Guard ahead of other men, back during the Vietnam War? That favor he did for the Bush family really paid off. Here is a link to the story from WorldNetDaily (so we are not talking the liberal media here):


What GTECH revealed in its 1997 10-K was that the company was under investigation in Texas because of allegations against one of its paid consultants, one Ben Barnes, who previously had been lieutenant governor of Texas. GTECH hired Barnes in 1991, before the company had the Texas Lottery contract, because Barnes claimed to have influence with then-governor of Texas, Ann Richards. For getting GTECH the Texas contract in 1992, Barnes received somewhere between 3.5 to 4 percent of GTECH's gross Texas Lottery revenue, a percentage that yielded Barnes somewhere in the range of $3 million a year.

The 1997 GTECH 10-K noted that the company was under investigation in Texas and its contract had been open to competitive bid. GTECH disclosed that Texas Lottery contract was then the company's largest contract, accounting for 16 percent of GTECH's total revenue in fiscal 1997. Losing this contract would materially hurt GTECH's operating income and depress its stock price as a consequence. GTECH ran for cover by terminating Ben Barnes contract and paying him $23 million to stay quiet.

Why did Barnes hold out until 1997? He was a Democrat with influence over Democrat Gov. Ann Richards, but what hold did he have on Republican Gov. George W. Bush?

You already know what he had over Bush, because I just told you. He knew that W. got into the National Guards—and avoided going to Vietnam with the riffraff to die—due to favoritism. However, as usual, the cover up was much worse than the crime.

Things went on the way they were until 1997 when someone noticed that everything about the Texas State Lottery was illegal, including its habit of hiring former state officials like Ben Barnes. A new executive director named Larry Littwin was brought in.

He decided to put the GTECH contract up for competitive bid. Mr. Littwin was ordered by the Texas Lottery Commission, including Harriet Miers, to stop his investigation. On Oct. 29, 1997, only five months after he had been hired, Mr. Littwin was fired by the Texas Lottery Commission, whose only state reason was that they had "lost confidence" in him.

Littwin sued and during the discovery phase, his attorney questioned Barnes and obtained testimony in which “he disclosed his alleged involvement with the Bush National Guard controversy and his political influence peddling for GTECH through the first two years of Bush's term as governor of Texas.”

Littwin was able to settle with GTECH in exchange for suppressing these incriminating documents. And the contract was re-awarded to GTECH.

Here is James Moore, at Huffington Post, on the same story (so left and right agree on this one):


Barnes had been hired by G-Tech, and had signed a lifetime contract giving him a percentage of revenues generated by the lottery. In the late 1960s, Barnes was also Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. As one of the two most influential people in the Texas legislature during those years, Barnes frequently took requests from people interested in getting their sons enlisted in the Texas National Guard. Enrollment in the Army or Air National Guard was considered a legitimate method for avoiding the draft, and not fighting in Vietnam. As a result, there were more than 100,000 young men on waiting lists around the country, hoping to get enrolled. Usually, they were drafted before the Guard called. Waiting lists were often up to five years long. A friend, or family member, who wanted to get George W. Bush into the National Guard, would have had to contact Barnes or someone on his staff.

So, obviously, if young W. got into the National Guard , he did it through Ben Barnes. When Republican Governor W. took over in Austin, there was no question that Barnes’ company, GTech would continue to manage the lucrative Texas State Lottery. In 1994 W. had sworn that no special influence was used to get him into the National Guard. He needed to keep Barnes happy to keep that story from being revealed to be the lie it was.

However, according to Moore, an anonymous letter made the rounds in Texas in 1997, including the federal attorney.

“Several months ago many of us felt that the Lottery Commission should re-bid the G-Tech contract when it came up for renewal,” the unsigned and undated letter said. “Leaders of the Republican Party strongly supported re-bidding and I believe the chair of the commission also wanted to re-bid. It is now time to disclose at least one reason why it was not re-bid. Governor Bush thru Reggie Bashur made a deal with Ben Barnes not to re-bid because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the ’94 campaign. During that campaign, Bush was asked if his father, then a member of Congress, had helped him get in the National Guard. Bush said no, he had not, but the fact is his dad called then Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes to ask for his help to get his son not just in the Guard, but to get one of the coveted pilot slots, which were extremely hard to get. At the time contacted General Rose at the Guard and took care of it. George Bush was placed ahead of thousands of young men, some of whom died in Vietnam.

Bashur was sent to talk to Barnes who agreed never to confirm the story and the Governor talked to the chair of the Lottery two days later and she then agreed to support letting G-Tech keep the contract without a bid. Too many people know this happened. Governor Bush knows his election campaign might have a different result if this story had been confirmed at the time.”

After the lawsuits were settled and the tell-tale depositions had been buried, Barnes issued a public statement saying that he did not do any favors for the Bush family. GTech bought out his interest in their company for $23million. And that was that. Or it would have been that. Except that in 2004, Ben Barnes told the whole truth for the first time to Dan Rather for a 60 Minutes II episode.


"I would describe it as preferential treatment. There were hundreds of names on the list of people wanting to get into the Air National Guard or the Army National Guard," he said. "I think that would have been a preference to anybody that didn't want to go to Vietnam or didn’t want to leave. We had a lot of young men that left and went to Canada in the '60s and fled this country. But those that could get in the Reserves, or those that could get in the National Guard - chances are they would not have to go to Vietnam."

Which is pretty amazing, after all the millions Barnes had made off the citizens of Texas by not saying it. Makes you wonder why he decided to go ahead and talk to Dan Rather in 2004. Barnes was giving up his chance to extort the Bush family forever, so he was losing a lot for no return. Unless someone told him to talk to 60 Minutes to make sure that the Bush AWOL story was run, Barnes being the star witness and all.

My own theory (as I have described before) is that Rove wanted the Bush AWOL story to run, because he planned to attack Rather and his team, in order to have them tied up during the days preceding and following the 2004 election. I believe that Sumner Redstone was party to this plan. Rove knew that the election results would provoke controversy, with the voter disenfranchisement in Ohio and Florida, and the likelihood of e-vote/exit poll discrepancies in Ohio high. The last thing that he wanted was the Rather investigative news team on the scene reporting on the stories as they happened. The fall of Dan Rather would also serve as a warning to other investigative reporters. Stick your nose into Bush family business, and it would get chopped off

Anyway, we have come full circle, now that 60 Minutes has reported on Karl Rove’s attempt to create a bogus lottery scandal in Alabama to take out a political enemy and stage a political coup. What Siegelman is accused of doing is nothing compared to the crimes of Governor George W. Bush, who allowed a firm to overcharge the state for its lottery work so that Ben Barnes would keep quiet about a secret that would jeopardize his political career and who, when the conspiracy was uncovered, participated in a cover up with the assistance of Harriet Miers. Siegelman is charged with letting someone keep a state board appointment after he donated money to a state lottery fund. Is that even a crime? Not according to CBS.


Is Don Siegelman in prison because he’s a criminal or because he belonged to the wrong political party in Alabama? Siegelman is the former governor of Alabama, and he was the most successful Democrat in that Republican state. But while he was governor, the U.S. Justice Department launched multiple investigations that went on year after year until, finally, a jury convicted Siegelman of bribery.

Now, many Democrats and Republicans have become suspicious of the Justice Department’s motivations. As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, 52 former state attorneys-general have asked Congress to investigate whether the prosecution of Siegelman was pursued not because of a crime but because of politics.

Memo to Karl Rove: People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.


I found another link here


The New York Sun has reported that Lawrence Littwin, a former executive director of the Lottery Commission, is eager to testify should the Senate subpoena him. Mr. Littwin claims that in 1997 Ms. Miers fired him after five months on the job because she was protecting GTECH, the controversial Rhode Island firm managing the lottery. GTECH had been mired in controversy for years, and in 1996 David Smith, its national sales director, was convicted in New Jersey in a kickback scheme involving a lobbyist.

Mr. Littwin has alleged that aides to then-Gov. Bush were worried that should GTECH lose its lottery contract, its top lobbyist, Mr. Barnes, would discuss efforts he claimed to have made to push a young George W. Bush to the top of the coveted waiting list for a pilot's slot in the Texas Air National Guard.

Littwin was precluded, by the terms of his lawsuit settlement, from discussing what he had learned about the sweetheart deal between Barnes, GTECH and Gov. Bush, but had the Harriet Miers nomination gone forward, he might have been called to testify about the role she played in covering up for W.

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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

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