tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 27, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
better of the argument. not just substantively, but politically, and we're going to set it get pulled out. kay hymowitz and nancy giles, thank you. that is great. that is all for this evening. the rachel maddow somehhow star now. >> thank you for being with us. on friday we learned that david wildstein, the guy in the bridgeport shut down scan call dal, the guy who said got it and who apparently set the whole traffic jam in motion back in september in new jersey when he was a high level hire at the port authority, on friday we learned that the port authority had cut off david wildstein. they notified him on friday he would have to be paying for his own defense in the chris christie bridgegate scandal in new jersey. doesn't matter that mr.
wildstein was employed by the port authority. they say their bylaws prohibit them from paying david wildstein's legal bills while this matter is sorted out. that may mean that david wildstein may find himself on the hook for a ton of money in terms of his legal defense. but we learned that about him on friday. also on friday the port authority said they were still deciding whether they were going to do that same thing to bill baroney. the former republican state senator bill baroni, who is new jersey governor chris christie's top appointee to the port authority. he was david's boss there. they say there's no answer yet on if bill baroni is also on the hook for paying for his own legal defense. that question of whether or not bill baroni is going to be cast aside by the port authority the way the port authority has cast aside david wildstein turns out to be a super interesting question and a super interesting
problem overall for everybody else implicated not just in what happened on that bridge, but implicated in covering it up afterwards. bill baroni, as far as we know, did not arrange the shutting down of those lanes on that bridge and the gridlocking of ft. lee, new jersey, as far as we can tell. he's not the one who put that plan into motion the way david wildstein did. he's not the one that apparently called for it the way that somebody in chris christie's office did. bill baroni, though, is the one who tried to cover it up. in an impressively elaborate wait. it was bill baroni who spun this elaborate tale before we had seen the e-mail. it was bill baroni who showed up at the legislature with photographs and charts. he brought big photos that he drew on, expounding in great detail about the traffic study. he testified for more than two
hours about that traffic study that we now know did not exist. at one point an assemblyman asked if the legislature could see this traffic study that he seemed to know so much about. bill baroni told him no. the legislature couldn't see it. he couldn't provide data or numbers about the traffic study because the study was cut short. the traffic study was ruined. and that's why there was no documented proof that it existed. it was a whole elaborate story that was not true. luckily for bill baroni, i was not under oath when he was making those false statements to the new jersey legislature. but interestingly his whole attitude throughout his testimony was kind of in line with the way governor christie's aufls has handled this controversy in terms of the tone. mr. baroni throughout his testimony was pure offense. he made the case that ft. lee hadn't been the victim here of
some purposely caused traffic jam. ft. lee was the perpetrator. ft. lee was the problem. watch the point that he's making. it's very clear. watch this. >> so ft. lee global traffic enters the special entrance to the bridge here. that arrangement enables ft. lee residents to skip the general traffic backup at the george washington bridge. the result, 12 lanes, a quarter of those lanes are available to ft. lee local traffic. and that local traffic, and 75% of the lanes are for everybody else. while the port authority is very sensitive to the effect traffic has on our host municipalities. >> we at the port authority are super sensitive to the effect of traffic on our cities. we have nothing to be
embarrassed about with this traffic study. ft. lee is getting more than their fair share of access to the bridge for years now. so yes, we had a traffic study sho show how receivish ft. lee a is and how much they are hurting everybody else. that was totally made up. there was no traffic study. the whole thing was concocted as a coverup to disguise what we now know they were actually up to. and we know that bill baroni was in on it. he knew exactly what happened. down to the fact that emergency services were having trouble reaching someone who was having a heart attack. because of that traffic on the first morning of the shutdown. emergency workers were having a hard time getting to that emergency. we knew the mayor of ft. lee we trying to frantically get ahold of him to figure out what was going on in this town. he knew all that and still tried to advance the fake story designed to cover up what really happened. and so bill baroni got fired. i mean, he resigned. and now the question is, does he get ruined as well? is the port authority going to
pay for his legal defense in this matter? or is he going to get cut off the way that david wildstein got cut off? you can handle those bills yourself. and that turns out to be a really important matter going forward. when bill baroni tried to sell that cover story to the legislature, it was not just him touting that cover story pub libly. the same line that there was a traffic study and ft. lee wasn't the victim there. that traffic study because ft. lee had somehow been scamming all the rest of new jersey and so they had to have the lanes to the bridge shut off because they were doing a terrible thing with those lanes, that same story line, that fake cover story advanced by bill baroni as part of his coverup dance before the legislature, that same line was also advanced in public by new jersey governor chris christie himself. >> the fact is, i didn't even know ft. lee had three dedicated lanes until all of this stuff happened. i think we should review the entire policy. i don't know why they need three
lanes. i sat in traffic before i was governor at the george washington bridge. and the fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it, that kind of gets me sauced. >> so bill baroni is making the ft. lee wants special treatment argument, therefore covering up the story that disguises what they actually did to the bridge for some unknown political reason. governor christie is also making the ft. lee wants special treatment argument about the fake traffic cover story. and at the same time the line is also being advanced by a republican state senator in new jersey, a republican state senator named kevin o'toole. he represents district 40, which represents essex, passaic and burgen counties. and senator o'tool'toole said i
a farce and ft. lee is hurting new jersey with the special lanes. thank god they did get the lanes shut down for the traffic study. those lanes were so unfair. senator o'toole who said he based that on press reports. he said the only reason he had to appear before the assembly in the first place is out of touch democrats were trying to store political points against a, quote, ever popular governor. he said there was a veil of secrecy around ft. lee's sweetheart deal that finally came to an end with the long overdue traffic study. the traffic study that was a made up cover story that disguised what was going on in the bridge. interestingly, though, senator oh o'toole turns up in them. leading up to that resignation, he hints in the e-mails that he's been able to see that he
knows what's coming. that he knows he's going to have to go over the bridge scandal. he writes to chris christie's campaign manager that he had taken empty boxes to work, presumably to clear out his desk, when he got fired at the end of the day. on december 3rd, three days before he resigns, he e-mails the spokesman to tell him that they they need to talk soon and they need to talk in person. they set up a dinner for the following night. the day after that dinner, which is also the day before david wildstein resigns, he writes to the spokesman, thanking him for his advice and friendship, and then he said this. spoke with o'toole this morning. he will speak with you later today. and in the midst of that exchange, between some of the key players in this unfolding scandal, there's a line written by david wildstein, spoke with
o'toole and he will talk with you later today. senator o'toole put out the traffic study and said ft. lee didn't deserve the traffic lights. why did that happen? why did senator o'toole have to call the government's spokesman the day before david wildstein resigned? today the new jersey senate and committee combined their interests in the scandal. and republicans got to a point for republican legislatures to the special joint committee that's investigating the whole scandal. they chose three republicans from the new jersey assembly. these are the three republican members of the assembly that they chose. and from the state senate they chose one person. who did they choose? kevin o'toole. described in the press as a close ally of chris christie's. chris christie personally lobbied for him when picking the
minority leader, chris christie. also for the record, the senator who knowingly or not helped advance the fake cover story that was cooked up by one of the guys who has been fired as a result of this scandal. and who himself appears to turn up in the documents, spoke with o'toole this morning. he'll stalk with you later today. asked directly about why david wildstein contacted him at the time he was resigning, so far senator o'toole says he doesn't know. the newspaper asked him about it directly and he said, quote, i don't know what that means. as the legislature decides to revote on this, there's a question on whether the republicans would vote again to have the investigation go forward. the last time they voted for the investigation to go forward it was an unanimous vote. there was some question today as to whether republicans would stick it with or balk. it was unanimous again today in both the house and the senate.
which i should mention, rather undercuts claims by christie al lies like rudy giuliani that the investigation should be stopped because it's a partisan witch hunt. if every republican in the legislature votes for it, it can't really be a democratic witch huntd. that said, the one republican senator who new jersey republicans picked to be involved in this investigation is somebody who seems to have been more than an observer of what has happened thus far. after this dramatic unanimous vote today all the democrats and the republicans in the senate were unanimously voting for the investigation to continue after today's dramatic vote, there are three interesting questions that repain. number one, was the one republican senator on the committee investigating this thing actually involved in what happened in some way? and if so, how will the investigative committee handle that if it arises during their own investigation? awkward. number two, hoboken.
does the committee have to stay tightly focused on the bridge scandal. is it possible that the other issues about sandy funding being tied to a private redevelopment in her town, can that be on the able as well as the investigation goes forward? we know the u.s. attorney and the fbi are investigating hoboken. could the investigations affect how the legislature can investigate that matter? number three, and perhaps most importantly, will governor christ christie's top staff and his appointees and his re-election campaign and his own office, the office of the governor of the state of new jersey, will all of those individuals and entities comply with the subpoenas that are now technically being reissued but t through this new committee of the legislature. those reams of documents and blackberries and iphones and i-pads and call records and instant message records and diaries and calendars that the subpoenas say all have to be handed over a week from today, on monday, the day after the the super bowl. will those be handed over?
are they going to do it? stay with us. [ male announcer ] this is kevin. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him, he's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. i was okay, but after lunch my knee started to hurt again. and now i've got to take more pills. ♪ yup. another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? ♪ for my pain, i want my aleve. ♪ [ male announcer ] look for the easy-open red arthritis cap. if you have a business idea, we have a personalized legal solution that's right for you. with easy step-by-step guidance, we're here to help you turn your dream into a reality. start your business today with legalzoom. we're here to help you turn your dream into a reality. so i tri we're here to help you turn your dream into a reality. ed depend so i and it made the difference between hearing about my daughter's gym meet, and being there. yeah! nailed it! unlike the bargain brand, depend gives you new fit-flex®,
[ daughter ] oh, wow. [ carmel ] swiffer wetjet. you guys should try this. it's so easy. oh, my. [ gasps ] i just washed this floor. if i didn't see it i wouldn't believe it. [ carmel ] it did my heart good to see you cleaning. [ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff. [ daughter ] oh, yeah. i have to read this to you and get your response to it because it was one of the most vicious little jabs in there. after following an article about the traffic jam, we have david wildstein who just resigned saying it will be a tough november for this little serbian. got a response to that? >> david wildstein deserves an ass kicking. okay. sorry. i said it. >> he said it. that was ft. lee mayor, for the record, is croatian. not serbian. he is going as the guest of new
jersey congressman. joining us now is kevin mccardell. mr. mccardell, thanks very much for being with us. appreciate your time. >> my pleasure, rachel. any time. >> first, let me just ask you about this development actually with the state of the union and the ft. lee mayor being invited to the state of the union by a new jersey democratic congressman who has been a real critic of chris christie's. should we see that as a pure political message here? >> that's how i see it. i'm not surprised he would make this this way at all. >> in terms of the investigation that's happening of this scandal at the legislature, i was perhaps naively surprised today when i saw that the republicans' pick for state senator to be on that committee is kevin o'toole. as far as i understand it, he's thought of as being as close an ally as the governor has in the legislature, and his name does
turn up in the subpoenaed e-mails and text messages that have been released so far already by the investigation. what's your take on this appointment? >> well, first off, you are absolutely correct that senator o'toole is a member of christie's circle. for his part the senator said he doesn't recall that conversation with david wildstein, and if he had one, it's not out of the norm for what he or officials in his office would do for members of the port authority. what he did remember is he definitely did not talk about the assemblies investigation into the bridgegate probe. that clearly was good enough for the senate republican leader otherwise he wontd have placed him on the committee. >> one of the other issues about senator o'toole just in doing a google search about his involvement in the issue, is he's one of the people who advanced the traffic study cover story. that is when bill baroni spun the tale about the traffic study, he tried to make it seem justified by saying that ft. lee was really getting one over on
the state and had an unfair advantage by having the lanes. senator o'toole also advanced that line of reasoning in a press release that was sent out the same day of that testimony. is that something that all new jersey republicans were doing at that time and we shouldn't see it as unusual or did kevin o'toole go out on a limb there? >> i don't think he went out on a limb. that was before we had the subpoena documents and knew what we now know today. i can't put thoughts? senator o'toole's head or read his mind. he might have believed that there was in fact a traffic study. >> the terms of what happens next, the reams of documents. people's blackberries, the calendars, the call logs are all due a week from today in terms of people responding to the subpoena. anyone who got federal grand subpoenas will have to response by two days later. do you know anything to help us anticipate whether or not the subpoenas are going to be
complied with or whether or not anybody expects to fight them. >> well, i do. as of today at this moment, no one has requested an extension. so we expect them to be the legislatured subpoenas, those 20, we expected those on february 3rd and two days later are the subpoenas that the u.s. attorney, pall fishman has requested. and so it's really a little bit of all quiet on the western front until we find out if somebody asks for an extension or everybody complies. these are real deal subpoenas. they have to comply. they don't have a choice. >> kevin mccardle. it's great to have you here. i particularly like talking to a radio report about it. i respect your work immensely. thanks a lot. >> i really appreciate it. thank you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. try align. it's the number one ge recommended probiotic that helps maintain digestive balance. ♪ stay in the groove with align. aflac! got 'em. ♪ yeah, he's clean, boss. now listen to me, duck. i have an associate
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grand total of 11 votes. and technically that balances the state senate exactly. 20 democrats and 20 republicans. in virginia the tie breaking vote in the senate goat to the lieutenant governor who is now the newly elected democratic governor, ralph northum. that means that de facto control of the state senate has returned to the democratic party today by a grand total of 11 votes, which you should think about that next time you're weighing on election day whether or not it's worth it to go vote. hey kevin...still eating chalk for heartburn? yeah... try new alka seltzer fruit chews. they work fast on heartburn and taste awesome. these are good. told ya! i'm feeling better already. [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer fruits chews. enjoy the relief!
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♪ [ male announcer ] bob's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today his doctor has him on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. a few months after president obama was first sworn in as president, in may of 2009, he did something that almost never happens in american history. for the first time since it happened to general douglas mcarthur in 1951, the u.s. viflian leadership in may 2009 decided to relieve top wartime commander of his post. a review was done of the war in afghanistan and the overall strategy there and general david mckiernen who was the top u.s. commander in afghanistan was brought home. and then it happened again. general stanley mcchrystal was
recalled back to washington. the general's dismissal came less than two days after rolling stone magazine published michael hastings article about jen mcchrystal and his top staffers speaking disparingly about republican leadership. he was replaced in afghanistan by general david petraeus. and general petraeus did serve out his time in afghanistan without being relieved of command or just plain fired, but it was only about a year into his tenure on his next job, which was head of the cia, before he too resigned after he was caught out having an extramarital affair. it's not been a good run, really, for some of the top brass served as the top of america's longest war. the worst allegations of all, though, were against a less famous general. general jeffrey sinclair, who was deputy commander of the 82nd airborne as of last year when he was abruptly called home from afghanistan. he ultimately is facing a list of serious criminal charges. an eight-count criminal
indictment including charges of forcible sodomy. if convicted he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. his court-martial is expected to begin in six weeks before a jury of his peers, which in this case means a jury full of generals. but the "washington post" reports yet more today. that we didn't previously know before this reporting. apparently while they were investigating the allegations, the army turned up something else. last summer army prrosecutors were combing through the e-mail counts of jeffrey sinclair, a court-martial facing charges when they uncovered a raunchy exchange with to two other generals. it started in march of 2011 when a deputy held a meeting with a newly elected female member of the house. the then colonel give a summery to his superior officer, who was a major general, and also to general sinclair. quote, first, she is smoking hot.
he wrote to two generals who was his superior officers. second, he said, briefing went well. after a reply from jeffrey sinclair about con officialing the woman's hotness, he replied more than an hour later with an apology for his delay in responding. at this point i'm going to let you read what he wrote in the words of the "washington post." i'm not going to read that on tv. so the post learned of this e-mail through a freedom of information request. but the army redakted it so heavily when they responded that it wasn't clear at all what had happened. the whole point to get what you read on screen is because they got the unredakted more disgusting version of the e-mail from some other source, not from the army. that's what they published in the paper tart. there was an army investigation of what happened there with the congressman and the two generals he was reporting two. ultimately he became a brigadier general. although he was found to have
failed to kpem lair conduct by the inspector general. he still got his job. he still is a general and still works for the chief of staff. another in the air force was found by the inspector general to have brought discredit upon himself by repeatedly drinking vodka while on the job as an air force general. he today is still on the job, on active duty. and another one-star general in the army was suspended in may for having a quote physical altercation with his mistress. he was relieved of his position. in august he was found guilty of assaulting one of his mistresses and for committing adultery. today he's still a one-star general who works at the pentagon on active duty. he's a special assistant to the army's vice chief of staff. we have covered a lot of worrying reports on this show recently about misbehavior by generals. most of them recently having to do with the nation's troubled
nuclear weapons forces. they put the array on top level brass, famous and other wise with behavior problems and criminal problems and other problems is stunning reporting and very dismaying. in the most recent, hfs a political surprise when veterans got the short end of the stick. cuts to retirement pay and even to survivor benefits. part of the cuts have been reversed. part of them have not. we tend of the think of veterans as a political group with enough capital to never get the short end of the stick. but recent evidence is making it look like right now at least that's not the case. veterans are not getting what they're asking for and in some cases they're not getting what they have been promised. ahead of tomorrow's state of the union, pressuring in particular hard for today's young veterans
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pete sousa, the official white house photographer postd this photo of the president going over edits in state of the union address. because it's on instagram it's not a one-way communication. if you scroll down to the comments section, right up top you'll see paul rieckhoff saying veterans hope to hear him oppose the cuts. mr. president, please keep your promise. the president is expected to address military benefits in the state of the union tomorrow, plus a lot more. joining us now is paul reickhoff. he's going to be attending the state of the union tomorrow as a guest of senatkirsten gillibran new york. thank you for being here. >> my pleasure. >> what is the most important
thing about service members and their families in the state of the union? >> we want to hear the president stand with all the veterans group in america and every veteran and military family i've spoken to in the last few weeks and oppose these ridiculous retirement cuts. this has a real impact on the families. if you're a retired first class autoof the mearm, this is going to mean $85,000 you're going to lose. more importantly, this was a promise made with the veterans. when you sign up your retirement benefit is part of the deal. they got together and both agreed to the deal, and it's been outrageous for everybody outside of party lines. the pat has got to step out and say he's against these cuts and against any future cuts like it. what is next? is the g.i. bill next? are mental health benefits next? this is a very important line. veterans are pushing back hard. that's why we're going to be protesting on capitol hill tomorrow. >> paul, we keep hearing from
members of congress, particularly on the side that the cuts will be fixed. that it was basically a screw up. they never meant to do it. it was all being reversed. >> yeah, trust washington is what they're saying. to be clear some people didn't read the bill. the original budget didn't protect survivors, widows and disabled veterans. this is washington neglect or incompetence at the worst. the bottom line is they didn't protect the veterans. we need it to happen immediately. we can't hear that it's going to happen months from now or next year or don't worry about it. right now there are troops in afghanistan who are watching your program tw the retirement benefit cuts. that's outrageous. all americans should be standing up right now. sign a petition. call your congressman. this is an important point in american history for us to stand with our veterans and troops and say we're going to protect them and ensure the families are properly compensated and we have to honor the promises that we made. it starts now. >> paul, i have a question for you that is both strategic but i
recognize also kind of sensitive. it's about the "washington post" scoop on the front page about misbehavior and disciplinary problems and criminal investigations of generals and admirals. and that always happens to a certain degree. i mean, there's no -- no institution is immune from scandal even at the top. but at the top level a lot more than we have seen in a long time. do problems like that tw the top brass hurt the ability to advocate for service members. is that a distraction for advocating for the members? >> it doesn't help our image. the military is always held in high regard by people across political aisles and by the american public. so it doesn't help there. i hope it gives us an opportunity to show how the justice system can be swift and hold these people accountable and how we can make change. especially on military sexual assault an military sexual trauma. those cases of sexual harassment have been incredibly important for us to elevate, and that's
part of what senator gillibrand is taking on. i hope the president takes it on in the state of the union. at the end of the day our veterans have served well across the ranks. we hope people will see that and still stand with us and tell congress this week especially to keep your promise and don't cut our retirement benefits. be paul reikchoff, thank you for your time tonight and have a good time at the speech tomorrow, man. >> thank you, rachel. you too. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. [ male announcer ] we don't just certify our pre-owned vehicles. we inspect, analyze, and recondition each one, until it's nothing short of a genuine certified pre-owned mercedes-benz for the next new owner. [ car alarm chirps ] hurry in to your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for 1.99% financing during our certified pre-owned sales event through february 28th. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him,
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so the weather this weekend obviously was perfect if you live anywhere near palm springs, california. maybe you played some golf on the manicured desert greens, enjoyed a cool drink by the pool. january in palm springs means 75 degrees and sunny. you feel like a million bucks. or maybe you feel like several billion bucks. around this time every year the conservative activist billionaire brothers charles and
david coke get together with other very wealthy people around palm springs. they try to hold the seminars in as much secrecy as possible. this was outside the coke's desert summit in 2011, and that was an off year for politics. but that year people did find out in advance where they were going to and when they were going to be there, and there was sort of a welcome party in reverse for the cokes and thash rich allies that year. that was 2011 when the cokes and their friends were presumably planning their strategy for the next election cycle. the next election cycle, of course, was 2012. a few weeks ago the "washington post" tallied up all the money the cokes and their network raised for the 2012 election cycle. and by the post's accounting, it looks like something on the order of about $400 million just for the 2012 election torn down into a warrant of -- most with
seemingly related names and spread out across the country and good luck sorting it out. they found tax exempt groups and limited liability companies helping mask the sources of the company, much of which went to voter mobilization and to television ads attacking president obama and congressional democrats. the coke brothers helped fund in time for the 2012 election was a huge deal. at $400 million it was among the most megaof all the megamoney in that election. what they helped build for 2012 was very impressive on paper. but in real life it flopped. the cokes and the allies wanted mitt romney to become allies. in that effort they failed. they also tried to put the republicans back in control of the senate. and they failed. they tried to get more republicans in the house as well, and they failed at that, too. 2012 was such a disappointment that they delayed plans for the
2013 summit. again, they usually troop off to palm springs in january. after the 2012 election they pushed it back from january until april so they could have more time to try to figure out what to do. but still, they were yet done with the pain from that 2012 election cycle. in october, california officials announced that two groups they described as part of the coke brothers network had broken campaign finance rules in the way they shuffled money around. a huge last minute infusion of cash into two california ballot initiatives. one to gut union rights and one to shield the richest taxpayers for a tax hike. that cash infusion was found by the state of california to be illegal. one of the groups dumping money into the fights in california reportedly got a heap of cash from donors at the coke's palm spring summit in 2012. and in october those groups agreed to a record find, handed down by the state of california. for their part they insisted they had nothing to do with the scandal in california. they said they did not control
the particular outfits and did not give money districtly or indirectly to any nonprofit in that particular california election. but of course, they did still end up with their name in this aideline, and in this one. this is the "washington post" tempting to chart the election ma seen for 2012. one of the groups that got the wires crossed in california is right there in the middle of the web. for the coke brothers the news out of california presents a different and worrying kind of challenge. i mean, they can write impressive checks. they can get other rich people to write impressive checks. but what makes the the kochs genius, they create networks. and they create other networks. and in doing so they create a web of influence that seems decentralized. so when somebody does something that gets noticed, whether for good or bad, it's your call as
to whether or not you take credit for what they did or whether or not you tell everyone that you have no connection to them whatsoever. change the world. sway elections, but keep your hands clean. you don't have to answer questions about it. you don't have to face scrutiny have to face scrutiny as to your motives or anything else and it cuts down on those annoying protesters outside your swanky re ort meetings. if you are writing checks alongside the kochs you get to be far of this leviathan far reaching well funded nest of networks and no one ever has to know that about you unless you want them to. the "post" called it "a maze of groups that cloaks its donors." but again, in 2012 the maze of linked groups and money did not win them the 2012 election, and they had that problem in california with the network going sideways and getting busted by that state there. so what happens this year? what if the kochs try to sell in their desert retreat this year, which happened just this past weekend in palm springs? it was kind of fun watching the local press trying to figure out where the meeting was going to be held this year.
hint, look for the hotel where all the rooms are booked and suddenly the restaurant is inexplicably off limits. politico.com broke the news on friday about the kochs' pitch this year. "this year the companys' close allies are rolling out a new more integrate add proech to politics. that includes wading into republican primaries for the first time to ensure their ideal candidates end up on the ticket and also centralizing control of their network to limit headache-inducing freelancing by affiliated operatives." so the kochs are reportedly selling more influence over which candidates are running and more control over the network. all the non-profits with the hard to follow anonymous-sounding names that have been freelancing out there, right? more control. and good on politico for being able to report that out in advance of the meetings this weekend. because we know how secret they like to keep this stuff. i've got to say, though, when that story broke i always wonder now, every time i see somebody report something new on the koch brothers and particularly on what the koch brothers fund, i
wonder if they are getting buried under a ton of lawyer papers every time they report this stuff too. or whether the kochs just do that to us. >> we will not stop reporting on the political actions and the consequences of the political actions of rich and powerful men, even if they send angry letters every time we do it. i will not read scripts provided to me by everyone else. i do not play requests. i will happily make correction when's we get things wrong. we do it on the show all the time. but i will not renounce or retract reporting that is true, even if the subjects of that reporting don't like it. being a political actor means being subject to political scrutiny. if you don't want to be known for it, don't do it. >> so a few weeks ago we reported on this show about forced drug testing for people on welfare in the state of florida. it's a rick scott policy in that state. it has not been going well in that state. and that's of wider political interest for two reasons. one is that florida governor rick scott's running for
re-election and he's making that policy part of his re-election effort. even as a federal judge has just struck down that policy as unconstitutional. also, though, the second reason. that story may not just be about florida anymore. between the time that the forced drug testing thing got signed into law in florida and the time that the federal judge first struck it down, a florida group called the foundation for government accountability started marketing that forced drug testing law around the country, trying to talk other states into doing it as well. they went to public hearings in georgia to share the good news about florida's terrible policy. they went to a national meeting of the group alic in arizona to market florida's terrible policy to state legislators from all over the country. so we reported that a few weeks ago. the problems with that forced drug testing policy had as a policy in florida, its problems legally in florida, and the efforts of this koch brothers-affiliated group, the foundation for government accountability, to nevertheless try to sell this very bad policy nationwide. the koch brothers responded by
telling us that they had nothing to do with the florida foundation for government accountability, they rejected any effort to link them with what that group does and with the policies that that group promotes. the koch brothers say they have nothing to do with the issue of drug testing for welfare benefits, nothing to do with that florida law, and nothing to do with this florida group, the foundation for government accountability. "an attorney for koch industries says koch foundations have no connection to the foundation for government accountability. a spokesman for the koch company says, koch has not contributed to the foundation for government accountability. we have had no involvement whatsoever with the foundation for government accountability or the florida law." no involvement with the foundation for government accountability whatsoever. they do not want to be associated with the work of this group. or the policies this group supports. they do not want to be tied to them. they do not want you to hear forced drug testing in florida and think about the conservative networks that have been spawned by the koch brothers. here's the thing. this is the website for the
institute for humane studies. the institute for humane studies is a non-profit. they list charles g. koch of koch industries as their chairman. and one thing this koch-chaired non-profit has done is offer the charles g. koch summer fellows program. the koch summer fellowship is a paid public policy internship "at the state level the fellowship strengthens the institutional capacity of market-oriented think tanks." you and i 3450i9 not get invited to the kochs' fund-raising party in the desert. we don't get to watch them building their network. but every so often we get a glimpse of the kochs' network itself building. >> next -- and this is my personal favorite because it's the one i direct, is the koch summer fellow program. and the koch summer fellow program is run by the institute for humane studies, and here are the basics. and obviously, i can go into a lot more detail in the q & a
session. it's a paid internship program which pairs you with opportunities throughout the entire country. so we work with state policy network, and one of the advantages that we have there is many of the state groups aren't able to pay internships. they only have unpaid internships. and so through the koch summer fellow program we actually provide a stipend for the summer. so it's an opportunity to work with a group and get paid for it. >> that was a nice-sounding lady from the koch-chaired institute for humane studies talking to students from a koch-funded organization last year. she's talking about sending koch fellows to the state policy network, which is a group of think tanks which includes the foundation for government accountability. that group in florida that the kochs say they have nothing to do with. state policy network says it is very excited about these liberty-loving interns who get a stipend, housing assistance, and travel scholarships as part of their koch fellowship. in full disclosure i should tell you that a lot of corporations
also give money to the state policy network including our corporate owners at comcast. but not all of them send interns to these groups as charles koch fellows. >> you can use, like, the koch summer fellow program if you go to our website, we've got what we call the host search. and it's a listing of all of the organizations that we work with. >> that's how the koch fellows people tell you to find out where you can work if you get one of these paid koch fellowships. you go to the koch fellows host search page. you can search it by policy interest or by region. and oh, hey, look, that group that the koch brothers say they and their foundations have absolutely no involvement with whatsoever. the foundation for government accountability. that group in florida that has been pushing that drug test the poor law. look, there they are. same guys. same guys the kochs say neither they nor their foundations have anything to do with. anyone who reports out new information on the political activities of the koch brothers, particularly on what they fund and who they're linked to, tends to get acquainted with their teams of lawyers and spokesmen
very quickly. they challenged our original report this month about the foundation for government accountability and them being a koch-affiliated group. we stand by our report. then we asked them about this other very bright link between the koch brothers and the florida group they want to say they're not affiliated with whatsoever. we asked them about this other link. and they said essentially, hey, quit changing the subject. spokesman telling us, "rather than admit you are wrong about that florida group you are shifting the focus to a new line of flawed reasoning that isn't relevant to your previous coverage." but the koch network is the whole point of the previous coverage and all the coverage we've ever done of these guys. again, the kochs say they have nothing to do with drug testing for welfare benefits or with the florida law but the group that is promoting that florida policy around the country is affiliated with the koch brothers and benefits from being part of their network of conservative political groups. and that matters. and reporting it despite their threats matters. the new politico reporting on the kochs' otherwise secret plans is that the kochs, whose
operation already rivals the republican party, they are now reshaping their operation in ways that could end up reshaping the party itself, starting with raising as many millions of dollars as possible this weekend in palm springs. the koch brothers are spending and organizing the spending of more money than almost anyone in history to influence american politics. they also fight vociferously to limit real reporting on how much they spend, how they spend it, and what the impact that spending has on our polity. they want to influence american politics. and they are influencing american politics. but they do not want on known for what it is that they do. and at one level this is one small fight about one group pushing one laughably terrible policy from florida. but this is also about how american politics works now. and whether it stays in the light or whether it is allowed to go underground. because how they are working their side of politics now is millions and millions and millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars that are
intentionally made difficult to trace, funneled to networks that build networks that you can disown when you want to if you want to. does that intentionally opaque political activity get reported on now, or doesn't it? they have tried to make it as hard as possible for that reporting to get done. i say we do it anyway. it's our country too, even if we don't get invited to your billionaires party in palm springs every january. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. a newspaper that endorsed governor chris christie's re-election now says he should resign as the head of the republican governors association. >> the scandal surrounding new jersey governor chris christie moves into its next phase. >> new jersey lawmakers will take a new step -- >> they're going to authorize the creation -- >> to form a joint committee. >> of the super committee. >> to consolidate those two separate investigations. >> to investigate the infamous traffic problems for fort lee. >> the committee is bipartisan. >> it's