Wisconsin Style Witch Hunt Spreads to Nevada
All around the country law enforcement and governmental agencies are being accused of “political witch hunts”. In Wisconsin the stories are lining up and outlining proven political corruption against activist who are speaking out on issues. In an article by Fox News –
“Judge halts secret probe of Wisconsin conservative groups, in win for Walker.”
“The Defendants must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation,” wrote Randa, federal judge for the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.” Read the full story – http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/07/judge-halts-secret-probe-wisconsin-conservative-groups-in-win-for-walker/
Story after story about “secret” investigations against citizens who dare to speak out for or against political issues that hinder what the “powers that be” are working towards continue to stack up. It is reminiscent of the famous IRS scandal targeting conservative tea party groups. The continuation of abuse against conservatives by law enforcement and governmental agencies just keeps growing.
In Nevada conservative political activists have been intimidated, threatened, harassed and questioned by Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD) under the direction of Sherriff Joe Lombardo. Two have had personal property such as computers, cell phones, and papers seized. Conservative activist Rob Lauer was one of these who were terrorized when his home was surrounded by a fully armed SWAT team to seize a computer and a cell phone. LVMPD even went all the way to Virginia to conduct their “secret” investigation targeting conservative political consultant, Tony Dane, seizing his robo calling equipment, computers and cell phones, including those belonging to his wife and kids. His crime? Conducting political robo calls against Nevada Assemblyman Chris Edwards.
Still unknown is what Edwards official complaint stated that led to warrants being issued. To date the warrant affidavits remain sealed making it difficult for those targeted to defend themselves. “The government’s most recent innovation to frustrate challenge by defense counsel involves motions to seal search warrant affidavits. Although there is no statutory authority to do so, prosecutors have often persuaded judges to continue the secrecy of search warrant affidavits long after the warrants have been executed. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in many cases, courts have required nothing more than the prosecutor’s conclusory assertion that disclosure would imperil his or her investigation.” Read more: http://www.nacdl.org/CHAMPION/ARTICLES/96mar01.htm But interesting is that while the LVMPD moved to seal the warrant affidavits, they released selective information to the media. A story:
The story list quotes by those questioned that could have only been fed to the media by Lombardo’s office. – See http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/extortion-probe-focuses-nevada-gop-activist-s-home-virginia if the NV Sherriff can inform the media, certainly the same courtesy should be extended to those who are under investigation. People still have a right in this country to face their accuser don’t they? Transparent is the fact that keeping the warrant affidavits sealed at best squashes further free speech and at the very least keeps intimidation alive for those under investigation. Legal representation must first attempt to unseal the warrant affidavits to defend their clients. That process grows the length of time the LVMPD can keep the seized property. Activist believe this is a maneuver to further hinder political free speech. Their information, contacts, and equipment is unavailable and basically shuts their participation in Nevada political activity down. The Nevada Legislature only meets for 120 days every other year making the 120 days the most relevant and time sensitive for political activity. Both Lauer and Dane have been forced to hire legal representation at great cost just to clear their names. As long as LVMPD can keep the affidavits that were used to obtain warrants sealed the two are not able to defend themselves.
Imagine if SWAT surrounded your home, confiscated your personal property and told you were under investigation. When you ask on what grounds? They respond… the “investigation is ongoing” and they can’t say.
Much like in Wisconsin, Nevada media seems content to print one side of the story. In a series of articles published by “the Political Insider” Titled – Investigative Series: “Why Did the Media Remain Silent While Conservatives Were Being Attacked in Wisconsin?”
We find this explanation- “… knowledge of the harassing investigations was provided to journalists through “slanderous and selective leaks to sympathetic media.” In other words, the media had knowledge that Republicans were being targeted but were fully on board with what was happening.” Read more: http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/investigative-series-media-remain-silent-conservatives-attacked-wisconsin/
To complicate matters further, in reference to this investigation Sheriff Joe Lombardo made public statements on a local Nevada TV program that reported that “Lombardo said arrest will be made in political corruption probe involving hangers-on and some GOP lawmakers. Prob. After session.” (No explanation on who the “hangers on” are has been reported) A threat that is considered extortion according to Nevada revised statutes (NRS 205.320) especially since the Sheriff himself had spent preceding days testifying against some GOP bills in the Nevada Legislature. Not to mention this Fox News headline published February 4, 2015 “Vegas police probing extortion case allegedly targeting Nevada lawmaker” Who do you suppose the news outlet received the information from? The public comments by Lombardo, forced the Nevada Attorney General, Adam Laxalt, to release a statement declaring Lombardo’s statements out of bounds. http://crcpac.org/lombardo-is-now-backing-off-legislators/#more-222 In addition, former Assemblyman, Wes Duncan, on behalf of the Attorney General’s office made calls to lawmakers to let them know they would not be arrested but no mention if calls were made to any “hangers-on” whose identity has not been disclosed.
Could Lombardo find himself in the same position as indicted TX Governor Rick Perry? In that case an article published explained: “No one disputes that Perry is allowed to veto measures approved by the Legislature. But the left-leaning Texans for Public Justice government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint accusing the governor of coercion because he threatened to use his veto before actually doing so in an attempt to pressure Lehmberg to quit.” Read full story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/15/rick-perry-indicted-power_n_5683406.html
The people of Nevada don’t stand a chance if political corruption stems to all political offices including law enforcement. When and if elected officials have the ability to direct law enforcement to go after individuals exercising their first amendment rights on political issues, who can stop it? In Nevada’s history, no political corruption has ever been proven without the help of external law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. Nevada’s hope? Maybe the new Attorney General, Adam Laxalt. Then again, maybe not.