Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NRA Spy Problem at the Brady Campaign, Now Tied to McCain Campaign

It would seem hard to believe that small government Republicans would decide that it’s ok to surveil groups they consider enemies to their ideological agenda. It would be much fairer fighting in the open marketplace of ideas. But to gain advantage by throwing out moral and ethical standards, and quit possibly participate in illegal activities, it runs counter the “family values” portrait they have painted for public consumption.

What I’ve noticed about my often hypocritical conservative counterparts, even though they may be very bad at running loathsome government, they do know how to sell snake oil. As a Party they have every dirty sales tactic in their arsenal. In fact, I would go as far as to say they are a “pure sales party.” Sadly, liberals make lousy sales people. I tried it myself in real estate, and not only did I advocate for the home buyer when representing the seller, but I never tried to “sell” them on a purchase. I even gave them a deal on the commission percentage. I lasted seven years.

Getting back to surveilling your enemy; The NRA decided to get a leg up on gun control advocates by knowing in advance, what their opponents were planning, and thus having a counter plan in place immediately. If that wasn’t bad enough, now we’re finding out that presidential contender John McCain has now been tied to the Brady Campaign spying allegations. And you thought Bush was bad. Here’s the story:

A Republican political operative considered part of the McCain campaign's "kitchen cabinet" oversaw a National Rifle Association lobbying campaign that allegedly hired a spy, Mary Lou Sapone, to infiltrate gun control groups, according to Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. James Jay Baker served as executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) in the late 1990s when it allegedly hired Mary Lou Sapone to pose as a gun control activist and funnel information back to the NRA. A McCain campaign spokesperson said Baker was only a "high level volunteer" for the campaign. Helmke said “Sapone was at every meeting possible and made you think she cared so much about the issues." Mother Jones reported that the NRA paid the now-defunct security firm that hired Sapone to snoop, Beckett Brown International (BBI), $80,000 in a 12-month period spanning 1999 and 2000.

What a pleasant rogue political party we have in the U.S. If you were freaking out over how much Bush did to shred the Constitution (what he called once "a God damn peice of paper), imagine McCain planting spies in opposition groups as the presumptive candidate for the president. Can you say “authoritarian rule?”

According to Jonathan Turley, nationally recognized legal scholar, there are a variety of possible civil charges that can be brought from trespass to privacy violations to contractual violations. Trespass can also be charged as a crime in some cases.

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