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Will the "October Surprise" Be a November "Do Over"? Is Karl Rove Using the "Resources of the Federal Government" to Buy Votes?

Reported by Marie Therese - October 30, 2006 -

According to a June 5, 2006 story in Business Week, several Democrats asked the Treasury Department to investigate a possible Venezuelan connection to a 100-year-old American voting machine company called Sequoia Voting Systems, located in Oakland, California. At the time Sequoia felt the need to issue a press release rebutting what they called "misinformation" that was circulating about the fact that they had been purchased in May 2005 by a Venezuelan company called Smartmatic. The sale was reviewed and approved by all pertinent governmental agencies. Republicans at the time took little or no notice of the Democrats' concerns.

Now, in a serendipitous bit of timing, with poll after poll showing that the GOP candidates are out of favor with the American electorate, yesterday [10-29-06] The New York Times decided to run a new version of the story, dredging up the old charges against Sequoia.

This morning [10-30-06] FOX & Friends rehashed the Times report for its viewers. However, it seems that the Republicans have seen the error of their ways and now find merit in the charges originally brought by Democrats Carolyn Maloney of New York and Edward Burke, a Chicago Alderman.

According to the Business Week article, Sequoia's machines are used in California, Illinois and 18 other states.

My question is this.

If the Bush administration was so worried about this "serious" issue, why did it wait until nine days before a national election to express its concern to the public at large?

Does this mean that on November 8th, if the Republicans don't like the results of the Congressional elections, they will demand a "do over" in 20 states, based on alleged "new" information about a corrupt Venezuelan connection?

Additionally, the FOX & Friends hosts reported on a story in Sunday's Los Angeles Times that claims that Karl Rove has an 11th-hour strategy for this last week of the campaign cycle, consisting of three parts:

1. Re-energize conservatives who are sitting on the fence.

2. Step up the much-vaunted Republican get-out-the-vote machine.

3. Put the resources of the federal government to use for political gain.

The Times article reported on a recent closed-door meeting between Congressman Tom Reynolds' office and a strategist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The meeting was held hard on the heels of Reynolds' appearance before the House Ethics Committee to answer questions about his role in the Mark Foley affair. Just prior to the meeting Reynolds district had experienced a major snowstorm. Shortly after meeting, FEMA announced that it had declared it a disaster area, eligible to receive millions of dollars in disaster relief aid, money that many Americans might view as "resources of the federal government."

The L. A. Times quoted White House spokeswoman Dana Perino as saying "The stars were aligned. It was a coincidence."

Rove has denied having anything to do with the timing of the FEMA announcement.

You may remember that Rep.Tom Reynolds' poll number dropped precipitously after it was revealed that his office knew about now-disgraced Congressman Mark Foley's inappropriate contacts with male Congressional pages. The announcement of the FEMA decision resulted in a slight uptick in his numbers.

One wonders how many other at-risk Republicans will suddenly find their districts enriched with federal money in the next nine days?

What makes me particularly angry is that my hard-earned DEMOCRAT tax dollars are part of the "federal resources" Mr. Rove apparently feels he can give away to help REPUBLICAN candidates win next Tuesday!