Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Buck McKeon’s Congressional Déjà vu-- “My Account Was Hacked!”


Perhaps Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) doesn’t recall the outcome of former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s scandal when he falsely declared his Twitter account was hacked. Understandable, because McKeon has been very busy pestering the defense industry to donate money to his unqualified wife’s Assembly campaign. Yesterday, Roll Call tried to remind him of the result of the recent Weinder coverup in an editorial.
When in doubt, blame faceless hackers.

That’s what Bob Haueter, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Buck McKeon, apparently did last week when asked how a compromising strategy memo made it past the California Republican’s senior staff.

Last Thursday, Haueter was attending a meeting of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County and was asked about how an internal memo that laid out the office’s strategy for addressing the California Republican’s involvement in the latest Countrywide mortgage scandal got out.

“[Haueter] is telling people the Congressional email was hacked and that is how the memo leaked,” an HOH tipster tells us. “This explanation sounds a bit [ex-Rep.] Anthony Wiener-ish to me … .”

Weiner, a Democrat from New York, was caught up in a scandal last year when he claimed that his Twitter account was hacked and pictures of him were sent out. It was not, and he ultimately resigned.

“As we mentioned to you before when you first contacted our office about this issue, the memo you published was an internal staff memo that was never shared nor discussed with the Congressman, and therefore we won’t be commenting any further on this matter,” McKeon spokeswoman Alissa McCurley said when asked for comment about the hacking allegation.

McKeon is one of four Members referred to the House Ethics Committee to discern whether Countrywide provided preferential treatment to influential lawmakers through an exclusive loan program.

The memo included a reference to a California state Assembly race pitting former McKeon aide Scott Wilk against McKeon’s wife, Patricia.

According to the memo, McKeon’s strategy should include “thorough background checks into the relationships between Wilk, [Wilk’s political consultant, Jason Cable Roe], and their recent shady political connections.”

Another prong in the strategy included a note about McKeon’s home-state colleague, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), who also has been embroiled in the Countrywide scandal. “We need to make sure that Elton is made part of the conversation and [his] similar situation is known,” the memo states.

One would assume that hacking a congressional email account is a crime. So has McKeon filed a complaint with the Capitol Police or FBI? Déjà vu, all over again!

McKeon’s spokesperson, Alissa McCurley, commented to Roll Call that the document, “was an internal staff memo that was never shared or discussed with the Congressman.” So one of two circumstances exist, either McKeon’s staff functions independently and didn’t brief the Congressman on the scandal strategy, or she is

Nonetheless, McKeon’s statements refuse to address the importance of the cover up memo itself, which is now in the hands of the public. The memo went into detail on when to break the story, how to manipulate the local press, and how to divert attention to another Republican, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), who at the time was considering a primary run against McKeon in CA-25.

The campaign memo also suggested “Possible Tough Questions” drawn up from his government-paid communications director, Alissa McCurley, like “How could you not know?” The only way that could be a tough question is if he did know. That brings us to another point. The memo was, at least partly, created by McCurley and addressed to Bob Cochran, Chief of Staff, Bob Haueter, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Tony Marsh, a campaign consultant. All except Marsh are government employees. The crucial and possible criminal aspect of the cover up memo is that it calls to “conduct thorough background checks into the relationships between Wilk, Roe and their recent shady political connections.” Scott Wilk is McKeon’s former District Director and now a candidate for state assembly in AD-38, against-- you guessed it-- McKeon’s wife Patricia. So Buck McKeon is having federal employees investigate an Assembly candidate opponent of Mrs. McKeon.

We all know how the Anthony Weiner scandal ended, with a resignation. I doubt the country will be so lucky, but in November California voters have the opportunity to give McKeon his pink slip. The district is largely a swing district, going for Obama in 2008 and Meg Whitman (Governor) in 2010. With Congressional approvals at an all time low, and anti-incumbency fever sweeping the country, McKeon is in real trouble. It just so happens that Blue America candidate Dr. Lee Rogers (D) is running against McKeon and his campaign is really picking up steam.

We asked Lee what he thought of McKeon’s misappropriation of government employees for campaign business.

“This is the perfect example of why people don’t trust career politicians. McKeon clearly shows his arrogance and corruption. He’s using his position to enrich himself and his family members. There’s already a House Ethics investigation into his favored mortgage from Countrywide, but now I think his misuse of government staff should be added to the investigation.”

DWT has reported on McKeon’s Countrywide scandal, his insider trading, and his shady defense industry relationships as chair of the House Armed Services Committee. Please consider helping Blue America end McKeon’s reign of corruption by donating to Lee’s campaign here.

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