Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Louisiana Watergate: Landrieu Makes a Statement

Via Bayou Buzz, Senator Landrieu has issued a statement regarding the James O'Keefe arrest:

This is a very unusual situation and somewhat unsettling for me and my staff. The individuals responsible have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony. I am as interested as everyone else about their motives and purpose, which I hope will become clear as the investigation moves forward.

Additionally, the Louisiana Democratic Party has issued an odd statement in which they seem to implicate Senator David Vitter in some nefarious doings:

This is a Louisiana Watergate. Louisiana families are shocked and outraged that these men would break the law to carry out their political agenda with this Watergate-like break-in and attempted wiretapping. Given his ties to some of the players involved, Sen. Vitter should immediately denounce the actions of these four men and anyone who may have instigated, supported or assisted them. We call on U.S Attorney Jim Letten to conduct a thorough investigation and to prosecute any wrongdoers to the fullest extent of the law.

The "ties to some of the players involved" remains unspecified, however blogger Lindsay Beyerstein reports the following:

One of the four men arrested for allegedly trying to bug Mary Landrieu's office interned for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile. The following year, Robert Flanagan worked as a paid intern for Republican Rep. Mary Fallin of OK. His duties included "brief[ing] legislative staff on issues of national security and international relations." In the summer of 2008, Flanagan volunteered for Chris Gorman's campaign in Shreveport, LA.

The link to David Vitter remains unclear.

Politico points out that "There's no mention of wiretapping or "bugging" in the complaint or press release from the U.S. Attorney's office, and it isn't entirely clear what the foursome were up to." The affidavit only says that they were entering government offices under false pretenses. However, it also says that the four were entering "for the purpose of willfully and maliciously interfering with a telephone system operated and controlled by the United States of America." (PDF here).

That's pretty much the same thing as "bugging" and wiretapping to me.

If O'Keefe and friends are in fact guilty then they deserve to be punished as the law requires. That said, it doesn't negate the work O'Keefe did to expose ACORN for the fraudulent organization it is. ACORN was caught on tape attempting to help set up brothels and teenage prostitution rings, among other things. O'Keefe's guilt, or innocence, in this case does not absolve ACORN for their sins.

As they say, developing!


Red said...

I haven't heard or read anything yet about David Vitter being involved. I think that's just a red herring for something.

wws said...

This was an incredibly idiotic stunt, sounds like its from someone who hasn't figured out that real life is a whole lot more serious than the tv shows he's been watching. He's probably still at the age where he believes he's immortal and invincible, too.

On the other hand, the charges look to be a bit overblown. What they actually did was dress stupid and play around with the phones in a federal office without actually accomplishing anything. Difficult to prove what the intent was, so in the end I think a good lawyer will be able to plea them down.