Hansen Clarke to Challenge Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

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Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke, according to his facebook page, is gathering volunteers and gearing up to challenge Michigan Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the mother of scandal plagued former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. It is my contention that Mrs. Kilpatrick is in serious danger of losing her seat in the August Primary.

Mrs. Kilpatrick’s favorable ratings are in the toilet. According to the last poll taken in August,  her re-elect number is 27%, which is beyond toxic.   The recent headlines surrounding her son’s refusal to pay restitution to the city following the sex-scandal that drove him from office and the imminent joint indictment of her son and ex-husband, cannot possibly have helped matters.

The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is facing a formidable challenger.  Clarke, 52, a biracial brotha of East Indian and African American descent, is a gifted, low-key politician with a progressive record of achievement in the Michigan Legislature. Clarke sponsored legislation to impose a two-year moratorium on foreclosures that disproportionately plague black and brown communities.  Moreover, he introduced a bill to expand hate crimes laws to protect those targeted on the basis of sexual orientation or gender expression.   Clarke challenged Kwame for Mayor in 2005 and made a brief run for Governor this year before he ended his candidacy.  This is a race he can win.  If he goes forward and files, and has the field all to himself, the odds are heavily in his favor.

I’ll have more to say about this in a later post.

National Enquirer: John Edwards to be indicted

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Hat Tip: National Enquirer

The ultimate fall from grace,  a Federal grand jury is about to indict John Edwards, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

In another shocker, close sources say Edwards’ estranged wife Elizabeth could help send the former presidential candidate to jail!

Edwards, the disgraced two-time Presidential loser, is being investigated by the feds, including the FBI and IRS, for possible campaign violations related to paying his mistress Rielle Hunter.

Fired cop may challenge Kwame’s Mama

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Hat Tip: Robert Snell and Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News

DETROIT — Fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown, fresh from beating Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick during the police whistle-blower trial, is mulling a campaign for mayor or against the mayor’s mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.

Brown and one of his consultants confirmed today that polling will begin soon to gauge his support for a run at mayor next year or a campaign this year for the 13th District, which spreads from the Grosse Pointes to Downriver.

Brown insists it’s not personal and would only discuss his interest in taking on Cheeks Kilpatrick, 62. But his candidacy could turn what has traditionally been a campaign cakewalk for the six-term congresswoman into a bitter race with a subplot of the decorated deputy police chief against the mother of the man who ended his law enforcement career.

“I certainly don’t blame her for anything he’s done,” Brown said. “It’s really her record I want to run against, not him.”

Brown said he plans to seed the campaign with money from the $3 million share settlement he received last year when a Wayne County jury found that Kilpatrick ousted him for investigating the mayor and his security team.

Don’t talk about it, bruh, be about it.  

Playa Mayor and his Ho plead not guilty

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Hat Tip: BY DAVID ASHENFELTER AND JOE SWICKARD • DETROIT FREE PRESS

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty stood mute at their arraignments on charges of perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and misconduct today, and a magistrate entered not guilty pleas on their behalf.

They each were released on personal bonds of $75,000, and preliminary examinations for each were set for June 9.

Beatty’s attorneys asked Chief Magistrate Steve Lockhart whether she would be allowed to leave the state to visit her two children, who are in Chicago. Lockhart said yes, but she would have to receive advance permission for any other trips. Kilpatrick also will be allowed to leave the state without permission, but he must give advance notice of the time and his whereabouts.

During Beatty’s arraignment, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran raised a question about whether her lawyer, Mayer Morganroth of Southfield, has a conflict of interest because he also represents Kilpatrick and the city in a lawsuit over the death of stripper Tamara Greene, who was rumored to have danced at a rumored wild party at Manoogian mansion. “There is no conflict at this time,” Morganroth replied, adding that he didn’t see any in the future.

Moran also raised the issue that the entire 36th District Court bench might need to be disqualified from conducting the June 9 preliminary examination because one or two judges may be called as witnesses.

Secret Lovers Indicted

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Hat Tip: By DAVID ASHENFELTER and JOE SWICKARD • DETROIT FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former chief of staff Christine Beatty were charged today in a 12-county indictment with perjury, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office and conspiracy because of their conduct in last year’s police whistle-blower trial, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced.

Kilpatrick is charged with eight felonies and Beatty with seven. They are: perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office.

Worthy said the perjury charges accuse the two of lying during a whistle-blower lawsuit about the firing of Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown and about their romantic relationship.

Kilpatrick, 38, serving his seventh year in office, is the first Detroit mayor to face criminal charges while still in office. The perjury charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

“Lying cannot be tolerated, even if a judge and jury can see through it and doesn’t buy the line,” Worthy said at a packed news conference.

“Witnesses must give truthful testimony,” she added. “Oaths mean something.”

Right after Worthy’s announcement, the mayor’s office sent out a news release saying he and his attorney will hold a news conference at noon to respond. But at 12:45 p.m., they still had not appeared.

The mayor is expected to be arraigned at 5 p.m. today in 36th District Court in Detroit. It wasn’t clear when Beatty will turn herself in, but she must do so before 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Worthy declined to say whether she thinks the mayor should step down. Beatty resigned on Feb. 8.

During her news conference, Worthy said city lawyers had tried to erect barriers to her investigation, forcing prosecutors to go to court to try to obtain documents. She said investigators are still trying to obtain documents for the investigation, which will continue.

“At every bend and turn, there have been attempts by the city through one lawyer or another to block aspects of our investigation,” Worthy said. “Some documents have been turned over, but we have been told that others have been destroyed or lost. We don’t know when or by whom.”

She said the investigation wasn’t about sex, but about destroying the lives and careers of three good cops.

“Gary Brown’s, Harold Nelthrope’s and Walter Harris’ lives and careers were forever changed,” Worthy said. “They were ruined financially and their reputations were completely destroyed because they chose to be dutiful police officers.”

She added: “Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people’s lives were ruined, the justice system severely mocked and the public trust trampled on.”

Worthy said she had discussed the investigation with U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy, but declined to say what they discussed. Murphy declined today to comment on Worthy’s statement. The FBI is monitoring the investigation, according to people familiar with the case.

She said her staff had reviewed more than 40,000 pages of documents and interviewed many witnesses. She said her investigation had led to other possible defendants whom she didn’t identify. Worthy said her team of prosecutors on the case includes Lisa Lindsey, Robert Moran, Athina Siringas, Robert Spada and Timothy Baughman.

Worthy’s investigation began after the Free Press uncovered text messages that showed a romantic relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty — a relationship both had denied under oath during a police whistle-blower lawsuit last summer. The pair also gave misleading testimony about the firing of Brown, the messages show.

Kilpatrick authorized a settlement in that case to pay the former officers $8.4 million.

Despite the false testimony, a Wayne County Circuit Court jury last September awarded Brown and Nelthrope $6.5 million in damages. Kilpatrick vowed to appeal, but on Oct. 17, abruptly decided to settle the case and a second police whistle-blower suit involving former mayoral bodyguard Walt Harris for $8.4 million – $9 million with legal costs.

Kilpatrick settled after the cops’ lawyer, Mike Stefani, informed the mayor’s lawyer that he had the incriminating text messages and would reveal them in court papers he planned to file to justify his request for legal fees in the whistle-blower case.

Although Kilpatrick apologized for his conduct in a televised appearance with his wife, Carlita, in late January, he has blamed the media for his troubles and rejected calls from the City Council, Attorney General Mike Cox and city union locals to resign.

Settlement documents the Free Press obtained last month through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the city show that – contrary to Kilpatrick’s claim that he decided to settle based on advice from friends, advisers and ordinary citizens – he made peace with the cops after discovering that Stefani had the text messages.

Although Kilpatrick’s lawyers settled the suit with one agreement on Oct. 17, they decided to split it into public and private settlements after the Free Press requested a copy.

The public agreement showed how much the former cops would be paid. The secret agreement, signed by Kilpatrick and Beatty, swore Brown, Nelthrope and Stefani to secrecy about the text messages under threat of forfeiting their settlement proceeds and legal fees.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. released the secret agreement last month after the Kilpatrick administration repeatedly denied its existence. Colombo released the agreement and other secret settlement records after the administration appealed unsuccessfully to the Michigan Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court, which rejected Kilpatrick’s claim that the documents weren’t public documents.

The City Council, which was kept in the dark about Kilpatrick’s reasons for settling the lawsuit and never saw the confidential side agreement, voted 7-1 last week to pass an advisory resolution calling for the mayor to resign. It also ordered an investigation of the episode and directed its auditor general to look into spending by the mayor’s office and the city Law Department.

Kilpatrick went on television with his wife in late January and apologized for his conduct, he insists there was no cover-up and has blamed the news media for most of his problems. He accused the Free Press of illegally obtaining the text messages – which the newspaper denies– and accusing the media of conducting a public lynching. He said the text messages and the settlement agreement that concealed them should never have been made public.

He also said the text messages were private even though he signed a policy directive in June 2000 advising city employees that all electronic communications should be considered public.

So far, Kilpatrick has refused to step down, saying he is on a divinely-inspired mission to help rebuild the city. But conviction of a felony would force him to resign.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I give you Atlantic Starr singing that old 80’s jam, Secret Lovers.

Spitzer resigns

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Hat Tip: New York Times, By DANNY HAKIM and ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century.

Mr. Spitzer, appearing somber and with his wife at his side, said his resignation is to be effective Monday, and that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would be sworn in to replace him.

David Paterson

“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Mr. Spitzer is the first governor of New York to resign from office since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced from office since William Sulzer was impeached and removed from his post in 1913 in a scandal over campaign contribution fraud.

In his brief statement at his headquarters in Manhattan, Mr. Spitzer thanked his family for offering support and compassion, and said he had spent the last several days atoning for his personal failings.

Mr. Spitzer ended his speech by saying he would leave politics, and then departed quickly without taking questions.

“As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family,” he said. “Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.”

Since issuing an initial apology on Monday, Mr. Spitzer had been holed up at his apartment at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street in Manhattan, where his aides said he had been engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as his wife was urging, to stay on.

Mr. Spitzer emerged finally at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with his wife by his side and got into a black S.U.V., which headed for his headquarters on Third Avenue as news helicopters followed above.

On Tuesday, as Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat, contemplated his next move, the New York political world remained in a suspended state, with cries — even from fellow Democrats — growing louder for him to step down.

In one of the last and desperate rounds of the end game, a top Spitzer administration official reached out to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff on Tuesday to see if the governor could avoid an impeachment vote. But the prospects were grim.

Republicans had pledged to try to have Mr. Spitzer impeached and only 34 of the more than 100 Democrats in the Assembly would be needed for the matter to be referred to the Senate for an impeachment trial. It was clear during the discussions that 34 or more Democrats were almost certain to vote against the governor.

That outcome would have been a dire for the governor, because his top political rival, Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, leads the Senate, where a trial would have been held.

“An impeachment proceeding would force Democrats to either abandon him or defend him,” said one leading Democrat. “They would abandon him.”

Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, said Tuesday that Mr. Spitzer should do “what’s best for his family,” but stopped short of calling on the governor to step down. “It is now up to the governor to make a determination that’s best for his family. I pray for his children.” When asked what Mr. Silver thought was best for the Spitzer family, he did not respond.

Mr. Silver offered a few details of his conversation with Mr. Spitzer on Tuesday afternoon before the governor briefly spoke to the public. “I said to him then and I say it now, he’s got to take care of his family first and be concerned about them. I told him that we will carry on in the legislative process that moves the budget forward. We intend to pass our budget tomorrow. I hope the Senate will do the same.”

Mr. Paterson said on Tuesday that he had not heard from Mr. Spitzer since about noon on Monday, and did not know whether he would soon be sworn in as the state’s 55th governor.

“The governor called me yesterday,” said Mr. Paterson, who was driven to the Capitol on Tuesday and pondered going inside before deciding to avoid the swarm of journalists. “He said he didn’t resign for a number of reasons, and he didn’t go into the reasons, and that’s the last I’ve heard from him.”

Asked whether preparations for a transition were under way, the lieutenant governor said: “No one has talked to me about his resignation, and no one has talked to me about a transition.”

At a televised news conference on Wednesday morning, Mr. Bruno, the Senate majority leader who would become the lieutenant governor if Mr. Paterson replaces Mr. Spitzer, told reporters that he had not spoken with Mr. Spitzer or any of his top aides about the impending resignation.

“No one has contacted me officially,” he said. “We are following the reports as you are. But in the meantime, I am staying with our plan to pass a budget, talk to the speaker, and we’re going to go public in a real way on Monday.”

Mr. Bruno, a Republican who clashed frequently with Mr. Spitzer, said he was praying for the governor and his family and urged all New Yorkers to do so as well.

On Tuesday, Mr. Spitzer cut himself off from all but the most senior members of his staff. His lawyer, Michele Hirschman, was reaching out to federal prosecutors to try to strike a deal in hopes of avoiding charges.

Close aides to the governor suggested on Tuesday that the mood in the Spitzer home was tense, with the governor’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, recommending that he not step down, but they cautioned that the situation could change at any time.

The revelation of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with the high-end prostitution ring gripped the nation, and more than 70 reporters and photographers clustered outside the governor’s Upper East Side high-rise on Tuesday, separated from the building by a metal barricade erected by the police.

Three helicopters whirred overhead as tourists atop passing double-decker buses snapped pictures of the scene.

Mr. Spitzer’s patronage of the prostitution agency, Emperor’s Club V.I.P., came to light after prosecutors charged four people with operating the service. They said the governor was intercepted on a federal wiretap arranging payments and an encounter with a prostitute in a Washington hotel room last month. The affidavit referred to a Client 9 and did not identify Mr. Spitzer by name, but law enforcement officials said that Client 9 was the governor.

Investigators reviewing the scope of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes said on Tuesday that just in the past year he had had more than a half-dozen meetings with them and had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring, one law enforcement official said.

A person with knowledge of the service’s operations said that Mr. Spitzer had begun meeting with the prostitutes of the Emperor’s Club about eight months ago and had had encounters in Dallas as well as Washington.

A law enforcement official said Mr. Spitzer also had an encounter with a prostitute in Florida. On some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.

Paterson waits in the wings to become NY Governor

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Destroyed by hubris and drowning in a tsunami of hypocrisy, the political career and power so craved by Eliot Spitzer slips away into the ether never to be seen again. Into the den of lions steps David Paterson, New York State’s Lieutenant Governor and the first African American and first blind man to hold that position.

On the eve of his inauguration as New York State’s 55th Governor, David Paterson should consider the blueprint of his tri-state neighbor, M. Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut. Mrs. Rell was the longtime and longsuffering sidekick to the corrupt Republican megalomaniac, John Rowland, a three term governor. He went to prison having taken kickbacks from contractors doing business with the state.

Mrs. Rell moved quickly and decisively to distance herself from the former governor by endorsing an ethics package of reforms that banned campaign contributions from lobbyists and provided public financing for campaigns. Paterson, if he is smart, will do the same. Governor Spitzer championed limited ethics reform legislation. The crisis will allow Patterson to go much further.

Mrs. Rell established her integrity from the jump, and she gave excellent inaugural and state of the state addresses that branded her as an honest leader worthy of the people’s trust. Moreover, she extended her hand to the other party in a gesture of bipartisanship that won kudos from all. Her approval ratings are the highest on record for a Connecticut governor and she was re-elected in 2006 by a landslide majority.

Paterson, a former State Senator for two decades and Minority Leader of the New York State Senate, is no lightweight. A scion of a political family, his father, Basil Paterson, was a former New York Secretary of State and his son’s predecessor in the New York State Senate. He is well qualified to assume power. Nevertheless, it won’t stop his successor as Lt. Governor, Republican Joe Bruno and a host of others: Mike Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, and Andrew Cuomo from trying to knock over a blind man and take his throne.

The Republicans smell blood and are in a feeding frenzy as they consume the carcass of Eliot Spitzer like Sharks on chum. Once he is completely devoured, they’ll start in on Patterson. If Paterson doesn’t move decisively to assert his power and control, he’ll meet the same fate.

One way he could stake out some independence is by abandoning his support of Hillary Clinton. Surely he understands that if he wishes to seek re-election, he must do so with the unanimous support of African Americans. One way to reach blackfolks is by cutting the Empress of Triangulation loose in favor of the man who will be King.

As of this posting, word still hadn’t come from the Governor about a decision regarding resignation. Paterson should use my favorite Jamie Foxx line in “RAY.” Responding to his angry mistress who demanded that he leave his wife for her, Ray says, “You knew what it was before you got into it.” If Paterson still don’t get the answer he wants to hear, he should do as Ray did when a promoter tried to short him on his money: come across the table and whoop dat azz.

Man up. Issue a statement calling for him to resign and take what’s yours. He was man enough to leave the state in your hands to do his ho in peace, why can’t he leave for good, now?

Breaking: Gov. Spitzer expected to resign; African American to become NY Gov

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New York Lt. Gov. David Paterson

 

Hat Tip: MSNBC

NEW YORK – New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer told senior members of his administration that he was involved in a prostitution ring.

The governor met with his senior aides earlier Monday afternoon after cancelling scheduled events for Monday. The governor may be linked to the prostitution ring through cell phone records, sources told WNBC.com.

Spitzer is expected to make an announcement Monday afternoon.

Spitzer, 48, is married and has three daughters.

Last week, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed conspiracy charges against four people accusing them of running a prostitution ring that charged wealthy clients in Europe and the U.S. thousands of dollars for prostitutes.

The Web site of the Emperors Club VIP displays photographs of the prostitutes’ bodies, with their faces hidden, along with hourly rates depending on whether the prostitutes were rated with one diamond, the lowest ranking, or seven diamonds, the highest. The most highly ranked prostitutes cost $5,500 an hour, prosecutors said.

Spitzer has built his political legacy on rooting out corruption, including several headline-making battles with Wall Street while serving as attorney general. He stormed into the governor’s office in 2006 with a historic share of the vote, vowing to continue his no-nonsense approach to fixing one of the nation’s worst governments.

Time magazine had named him “Crusader of the Year” when he was attorney general and the tabloids proclaimed him “Eliot Ness.”

But his stint as governor has been marred by several problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear Spitzer’s main Republican nemesis.

Spitzer had been expected to testify to the state Public Integrity Commission he had created to answer for his role in the scandal, in which his aides are accused of misusing state police to compile travel records to embarrass Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno.

ADDENDUM: The Governor made a statement a few moments ago in which he did not utter the magic words. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”

“I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

Before the night is over, New York State might have an African American Governor. Fox News is reporting that the Governor will submit his resignation to the New York State Assembly tonight.

 

Mama’s Baby

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A staunch defender and promoter of her son’s political aspirations and his two campaigns for mayor of Detroit, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has some explaining to do now that Mama’s Baby has been revealed to be a liar, philanderer, and unquestionably corrupt.  Kwame, a scion of political family, was elected based on the credibility of his mother and that of his father, a former chief of staff to the Wayne County Executive and Mrs. Kilpatrick’s ex-husband. 

A lawyer and state representative, Mama’s Baby rose to become the Democratic Leader of the Michigan House of Representatives before he announced his candidacy for mayor at the age of 32, an effort backed by both of his parents.  

Today, Mama’s Baby  finds himself embroiled in scandal as a result of his retaliatory actions against members of the Detroit Police Department who either had first hand knowledge of, or responsibility for investigating the numerous and juicy allegations of marital infidelity and misconduct by the mayor and his security detail. He has decimated the City of Detroit’s reputation, plunged the city into the most controversial leadership crisis and power struggle in its history and destroyed his family’s good name.    

This afternoon, Detroit Councilman Kwame Kenyatta introduced a resolution calling for the Mayor to resign and directing its counsel to research city ordinances and procedures to force his removal if he chooses to ignore the call to step down. 

This sad turn of events is troubling on many levels.  First, it ends the trust and promise a younger generation of leadership.  Moreover, it seriously undermines the older generation that spawned and nurtured it.   I have no doubt that Kwame Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty will be prosecuted for perjury and convicted by a jury of their peers.  It’s time for all to acknowledge this reality before the city is undermined any further.  It is my contention that Congresswoman Kilpatrick and her colleague John Conyers, the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, if they haven’t already, must step forward as Detroit’s senior leaders and address this situation as the statespersons they claim to be.  

If you’re wondering why I also am calling for John Conyers to lead, it’s because his wife, political partner and eventual successor, Monica, sits on the City Council. If Kwame resigns, Mrs. Conyers will again become President of the City Council. John Conyers, a leader of the impeachment effort against Bush and Cheney, might need to look a little closer to home and help lead the effort against Kwame Kilpatrick-not because of his wife but because it’s the right thing to do. 

It’s time for Mama’s Baby to resign and they have a moral obligation to make that happen.  If nothing happens it will confirm for me that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that her exalted position in the corridors of Washington power is illegitimate.   

Grandpa McCain’s chick on the side

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WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.

But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.

Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman’s client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)

Mr. McCain’s confidence in his ability to distinguish personal friendships from compromising connections was at the center of questions advisers raised about Ms. Iseman.

The lobbyist, a partner at the firm Alcalde & Fay, represented telecommunications companies for whom Mr. McCain’s commerce committee was pivotal. Her clients contributed tens of thousands of dollars to his campaigns.

Mr. Black said Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”

That February, Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman attended a small fund-raising dinner with several clients at the Miami-area home of a cruise-line executive and then flew back to Washington along with a campaign aide on the corporate jet of one of her clients, Paxson Communications. By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.

A former campaign adviser described being instructed to keep Ms. Iseman away from the senator at public events, while a Senate aide recalled plans to limit Ms. Iseman’s access to his offices.

In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others.

Separately, a top McCain aide met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator. John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, said in an e-mail message that he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about her.

“Our political messaging during that time period centered around taking on the special interests and placing the nation’s interests before either personal or special interest,” Mr. Weaver continued. “Ms. Iseman’s involvement in the campaign, it was felt by us, could undermine that effort.”

Mr. Weaver added that the brief conversation was only about “her conduct and what she allegedly had told people, which made its way back to us.” He declined to elaborate.

It is not clear what effect the warnings had; the associates said their concerns receded in the heat of the campaign.

Ms. Iseman acknowledged meeting with Mr. Weaver, but disputed his account.

“I never discussed with him alleged things I had ‘told people,’ that had made their way ‘back to’ him,” she wrote in an e-mail message. She said she never received special treatment from Mr. McCain’s office.

Mr. McCain said that the relationship was not romantic and that he never showed favoritism to Ms. Iseman or her clients. “I have never betrayed the public trust by doing anything like that,” he said. He made the statements in a call to Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, to complain about the paper’s inquiries.

The senator declined repeated interview requests, beginning in December. He also would not comment about the assertions that he had been confronted about Ms. Iseman, Mr. Black said Wednesday.

Mr. Davis and Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s top strategists in both of his presidential campaigns, disputed accounts from the former associates and aides and said they did not discuss Ms. Iseman with the senator or colleagues.

“I never had any good reason to think that the relationship was anything other than professional, a friendly professional relationship,” Mr. Salter said in an interview.

He and Mr. Davis also said Mr. McCain had frequently denied requests from Ms. Iseman and the companies she represented. In 2006, Mr. McCain sought to break up cable subscription packages, which some of her clients opposed. And his proposals for satellite distribution of local television programs fell short of her clients’ hopes.

The McCain aides said the senator sided with Ms. Iseman’s clients only when their positions hewed to his principles

A champion of deregulation, Mr. McCain wrote letters in 1998 and 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to uphold marketing agreements allowing a television company to control two stations in the same city, a crucial issue for Glencairn Ltd., one of Ms. Iseman’s clients. He introduced a bill to create tax incentives for minority ownership of stations; Ms. Iseman represented several businesses seeking such a program. And he twice tried to advance legislation that would permit a company to control television stations in overlapping markets, an important issue for Paxson.

In late 1999, Ms. Iseman asked Mr. McCain’s staff to send a letter to the commission to help Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, on another matter. Mr. Paxson was impatient for F.C.C. approval of a television deal, and Ms. Iseman acknowledged in an e-mail message to The Times that she had sent to Mr. McCain’s staff information for drafting a letter urging a swift decision.

Mr. McCain complied. He sent two letters to the commission, drawing a rare rebuke for interference from its chairman. In an embarrassing turn for the campaign, news reports invoked the Keating scandal, once again raising questions about intervening for a patron.

Mr. McCain’s aides released all of his letters to the F.C.C. to dispel accusations of favoritism, and aides said the campaign had properly accounted for four trips on the Paxson plane. But the campaign did not report the flight with Ms. Iseman. Mr. McCain’s advisers say he was not required to disclose the flight, but ethics lawyers dispute that.

Recalling the Paxson episode in his memoir, Mr. McCain said he was merely trying to push along a slow-moving bureaucracy, but added that he was not surprised by the criticism given his history.

“Any hint that I might have acted to reward a supporter,” he wrote, “would be taken as an egregious act of hypocrisy.”

Statement by McCain

Mr. McCain’s presidential campaign issued the following statement Wednesday night:

“It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

“Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.”

Kwame Apologizes

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Full text of Kilpatrick’s speech (Revised by Skeptical Brotha)

MR. KILPATRICK: Good evening, Detroit. I want to start tonight by offering an obligatory, disingenuous Clintonian apology, I’m sorry. To all of you stupid enough to have believed in what we’ve been doing here since 2002, to all of you stupid enough to have believed in me, in my leadership, to all of you stupid enough to have stuck with me through very difficult times, to all of you who prayed for me not to get caught screwing around on my wife, I’m sorry.

For the embarrassment and the disappointment, the events of the past few days have caused you, for what you as my supporters, many of you, have had to hear as you traveled around our city to beauty shops and barbershops, what you had to hear when you were in Church this past Sunday from people who know that you have supported me. For those of you who have not always been Kwame Kilpatrick supporters, but who lift up our city, who live in our city, who support this town in various ways, Again, I offer a disingenuous apology to each and every one of you individually and to the whole city.

 

Most of all tonight, again, I want to make a disingenuous public apology to my entire family, and specifically to the four people I should love the most in this world.

 

First, I want to apologize to my sons, Jelani, Jalil and Jonas. For the first time in my life I had to have an adult conversation with my 12 year old twin sons about not using public cell phones to text message your mistress. It was without a doubt the hardest conversation that I’ve ever had in my entire life. Finally, and most importantly, I want to make a public apology to my wife Carlita, whose big booty and thighs I fell in love with when I was 19 years old.

Our marriage has not been perfect, the sex certainly hasn’t been lately-obviously, but overall it has been great. Now, I put her in a typical B.S. ghetto situation which many couples deal with in the privacy of their own homes, but in our case, I F’ed up and put our damn business in the street. I apologize to you, baby. At some point, perhaps we’ll have some great make-up nookie and put this tawdry spectacle behind us.

As many of you know, I’m a self-absorbed womanizer incapable of not whoring around and disrespecting God, my wife or my children, but I have to tell you I’ve felt more emotion in the last week than I have in the past 20 years. I’ve been truly hurting, I’ve been hurting because I know that many of you are hurting cause some of y’all still ain’t found a job since I laid you off. And most of all, I’ve been hurting because I know that my days of carousing America’s strip clubs on the city dime are numbered.

Over the past few years there’s been some speculation about who is in charge of the city. Make no mistake about it, since 2002 I have been in charge of mismanaging the city. There have been ups and downs, there have been hills and mountains and valleys, but through it all I remained in charge of the mismanaging the ship. I believe we built a team here that covers for my lack of focus and obvious deficiencies.

They’ve done a yeoman’s job pretending to care about the mission, focus and commitment that we must have to serve our citizens. We’ve done some amazing things, like concealing my $210,000 city credit card bill, the $25,000 lease the city paid for Carlita’s Navigator, and the hypocritical mass layoffs of city employees while I live like a King in Manoogian Mansion, but we have a lot of work left to do. Over the past few days there has also been a lot of speculation about me resigning from office.

Let me be clear tonight, Y’all will hafta send a swat team to get me outta Manoogian Mansion. We’ve got a lot of work to do and with your silent Negro acquiescence; I’m going to continue to mismanage this city into bankruptcy. I am truly blessed and grateful that my wife is beside me tonight, and she has some politically expedient remarks of her own to make.

CARLITA KILPATRICK: It is very difficult for me to talk to you at this moment, but I want to trick you fools into believing that what I am about to say is the heartfelt statement from a sympathetic and wronged woman.

Like all marriages, ours is not perfect. Like all men, he ain’t perfect, but through this shameless and cynical appeal to stupid God fearing Negroes, my husband and I will get through this. Yes, I’m pissed the fool got caught, I am hurt, and I will cut that heifer if she ever steps to my man again. But there is no question that I love living in Manoogian Mansion. With the help of our pastor and others, we have been going through the motions to look like we’re working through our mess.

Most sistahs who have problems in their marriage are able to throw a pot of hot grits on the Negro privately. Unfortunately, that option is not available to me-we can’t both be in jail. Our family has endured the most painful and intrusive week of our lives. Our most intimate issues have been laid out for all to see, for all to comment on, for all to dissect and analyze. This is the part where I pretend that this private matter is between me, my husband, and God. And pretend to be deeply committed to working through these issues together as a family.

As his wife, I know how feckless my husband is and his lack of commitment to better the City of Detroit. I don’t really care. However, I know full well that the bulk of you are as stupid as a box of rocks and that’s why I am asking the citizens of this city to be committed to him, and our family, and to the continued lavish subsidization of our lifestyle.

Allow our family the space and the privacy that is essential to anyone frontin’ as hard as we are. Lastly, I would like to thank each and every one of you for all of your fruitless prayers and your uplifting words. Thank you.

MR. KILPATRICK: In an obvious play for sympathy I don’t deserve and shouldn’t get, I would ask from this point forward that if you have to attack someone, attack me. I would ask that you don’t follow my wife; you don’t film my kids going to school. I ask you not to have helicopters flying around our home. I ask that you leave them alone. I am the mayor, I made the mistake, and I am accountable.

Because I could get could get locked up for what I’ve done, I am unable to discuss any of those issues at this time. But I do have one last piece of B.S I want to share with you tonight. Over the past week our marriage has been opened up for public view. This has been a situation where, yes, it’s been embarrassing, yes, it’s been painful, but through all of that, through the grace of God and a good PR expert, we’ve concocted this obviously self-serving public statement to bamboozle you.

We have committed to my political career, to making it better and stronger. Last week was the first weekend since I took office in January 2002 that I just put everything aside and focused on the growing firestorm unfolding on the pages of every newspaper in Michigan. I know people have been wanting to hang me from my toenails, but I needed some space to confer with public relations experts first and then claim that we’d had some much needed family time.

I want to thank the people of Detroit for their stupidity in allowing us time to come up with some slick, face-saving crap. We as a family needed to do that. I told my sons this past weekend to keep up with their women. If you get caught, you get up, you dust yourself off, and throw yourself on the mercy of gullible God fearing Negroes to keep your damn arse outta jail.

Detroit, I am determined to avoid conviction. I am determined to continue to cling to power as Mayor of this city.

Together we have managed to do great things. We have laid off more Negroes, we have charged more for garbage pickup than ever. We have balanced our budget on the backs of the most vulnerable and wiped out a huge deficit.

I’ve been to strip clubs in 20 states on the city dime, and I am not stopping now.

Detroit, please continue to pray for our family, for our city and for our continued progress. God bless you, Detroit. I love you, and hopefully I won’t be indicted tomorrow.

 

Kwame’s Ho resigns; investigation ensues

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Hat Tip: Detroit Free Press 

Christine Beatty, 37, resigned her post as chief of staff to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick this morning, saying the text-message scandal engulfing the administration has left her unable to do her job effectively.Kilpatrick’s office had no comment on Beatty’s resignation, and the mayor still has not been seen in public today.

Beatty resigned five days after the Free Press reported in an exclusive investigation that she and the mayor had lied under oath in a whistleblower’s suit against the city. Text messages exchanged by the two and obtained by the Free Press contradict what they said on the witness stand about their relationship and about their decision to fire a police officer who was investigating possible wrongdoing by the mayor’s staff.

In her letter of resignation, submitted to the city this morning, Beatty said, “I’ve served the administration and Detroit citizens with diligence, strength and perseverence and I hope that my efforts will one day show through above all else.

“In spite of this, however, I believe that it is clear I can no longer effectively carry out the duties of chief of staff. Therefore, this letter serves as my resignation effective February 8, 2008, to allow for an orderly transition of my duties with the new chief of staff.

“I painfully regret the devastation that the recent reports have caused to the citizens of Detroit, to my coworkers, to the mayor’s family and to my family and friends.”

Kilpatrick’s spokesman James Canning said the mayor’s office “had no further comment at this time” on the resignation.

Beatty’s departure brings an end to more than a decade of working with and for Kilpatrick, her former Cass Tech High School classmate.

Their work together started when Kilpatrick ran for the state House in 1996 after his mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, decided to give up her seat to run for Congress.

When Kilpatrick gave his farewell speech to the House in December 2001 as he prepared to take office as mayor, he credited Beatty.

“I ran for this position at 25 years old, in 1996. I was just a young guy out there who couldn’t get any support. Nobody would support us. Everyone told us to pay our dues, that we’re not old enough, come back when you learn a little more and you have a little more money,” he said in that speech.

“I say us, because, I had a meeting and I asked for everyone that wanted to support me and endorse me to come to that meeting and two people showed up. Those two people were Christine Beatty and Derrick Miller. We ran a three person campaign with ten thousand dollars. We walked and knocked on every single door in our district and we worked as hard as we could. We didn’t get any of the endorsements, none of those big Democratic endorsements that you want. None from labor and none from the Congressional districts. We just knocked on doors and we ran a real grass-roots and focused campaign and by God, we won!”

After serving as a legislative aide to Kilpatrick, Beatty ran the day-to-day operations of his 2001 mayoral campaign. After Kilpatrick won, he named her chief of staff and she had an almost omnipresent role in the administration.

Until Kilpatrick named his first deputy mayor, Anthony Adams, in 2004, Beatty unofficially filled that role, stepping in to run the city when Kilpatrick left town.

Beatty had direct oversight of the departments of Human Resources, Labor Relations, Human Services, Health & Wellness Promotion and Senior Citizens and of the Mayor’s Office, Neighborhood City Halls, 311 Call Center and communications. She had a major role in Kilpatrick’s Next Detroit Neighborhood Initiative.

But Beatty also ran into trouble. She was accused of pulling rank when Detroit police pulled her over on a traffic violation, resulting in a lawsuit that is still pending.

Before Beatty’s resignation was announced, Canning said this morning that the mayor was not scheduled to issue a statement today. He has “nothing on his public calendar,” he said.

“When he has something to say, we’ll let you know.”  

 

Kwame Kilpatrick gets busted

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Hat Tip: Detroit Free Press, by Jim Schaefer and M.L. Elrick

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, lied about their relationship last summer during a police whistle-blower trial that has cost the cash-strapped city more than $9 million, according to records obtained by the Free Press.

The false testimony potentially exposes them to perjury charges.

Kwame Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty denied in August testimony that they had a sexual relationship. But a series of text messages shows they engaged in romantic banter as well as planned and recounted sexual liaisons.

The text messages are also at odds with the pair’s testimony that they did not fire Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown, who later sued, in 2003. Texts show Christine Beatty recalling the “decision we made to fire Gary Brown.”

The Kilpatrick-Christine Beatty relationship and Gary Brown’s dismissal are central to the whistle-blower suit filed by Brown and Harold Nelthrope.

The two former police officers accuse Kwame Kilpatrick of retaliating against them because of their roles in an internal investigation of the mayor’s security team — a probe that potentially could have exposed his affair with Beatty.
Christine Beatty, Kwame Kilpatrick

The newspaper examined nearly 14,000 text messages on Christine Beatty’s city-issued phone. The exchanges cover two months each in 2002-2003.

The text messages cover a range of issues, from the daily minutiae of city business to political gossip to the latest doings on American Idol. Kilpatrick, who is married, and Beatty, both 37, exchanged personal messages almost daily, including romantic notes like this one from October 3, 2002 …

Kilpatrick: “I’m madly in love with you.”
Beatty: “I hope you feel that way for a long time. In case you haven’t noticed, I am madly in love with you, too!”

Other texts contain sexual content, like this April 8, 2003, exchange:

Beatty: “And, did you miss me, sexually?”
Kilpatrick: “Hell yeah! You couldn’t tell. I want some more.”

The city has tried since 2004 to keep the text messages under wraps.  It fought in court to keep them from being provided to the legal team for the former cops and went to court this month in an effort to kill a subpeona issued in a Free Press suit to learn more about the settlement.

If Kilpatrick and Beatty are found to have committed perjury, they could face up to 15 years in prison under state law.

National Enquirer report: John Edwards has a love child

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The National Enquirer is reporting as fact the juicy tidbit that  Presidential candidate John Edwards, aka”the Breck Girl,” has allegedly gotten a campaign staffer knocked up with his love child.  The struggling presidential contender might do well to be perceived as a Clintonesque rogue and alpha male so that folks would get off the dime nationally and support him. Of course, straight-laced Iowans might feel differently about him if faced with the nauseating prospect of more Oval Office hanky panky.   If Clinton fatigue means anything, it means folks are tired of the Clinton style soap opera, Bush style B.S., and just want some damn competence. If Mrs. Edwards comments publicly and alludes to not being a Tammy Wynette stand by your man patsy and to a vast right-wing conspiracy, then we’ll know what’s up. 

Craig bows to the inevitable and will resign

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photo by Buddy Stone courtesy of Flickr

Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men’s room, Republican officials said Friday.

Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective Sept. 30, four state GOP officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Word of the resignation came four days after the disclosure that Craig had pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge arising out of his June 11 arrest during a lewd-conduct investigation at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The three-term Republican senator had maintained that he did nothing wrong except for making the guilty plea without consulting a lawyer. But he found almost no support among Republicans in his home state or Washington.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter appeared Friday to have already settled on a successor: Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, according to several Republicans familiar with internal deliberations.

Craig’s spokesman, Dan Whiting, had said earlier that the senator would announce his career plans Saturday. The spokesman would not say whether Craig intended to resign.

Craig has been out of public view since Tuesday, when he declared defiantly at a Boise news conference: “I am not gay. I never have been gay.” But Republican sources in Idaho said he spent Friday making calls to top party officials, including the governor, gauging their support.

There has been virtually none publicly.

Asked Friday at the White House if the senator should resign, President Bush said nothing and walked off stage.

Republican officeholders and party leaders maintained a steady drumbeat of actions and words aimed at persuading Craig to vacate his Senate seat.

GOP lawmakers, hoping to get the embarrassment to the party behind them quickly, stripped Craig of leadership posts on Wednesday, one day after they called for an investigation of Craig’s actions by the Senate Ethics Committee. Craig complied with the request.

With his wife, Suzanne, at his side, Craig said he had kept the incident from aides, friends and family and later pleaded guilty “in hopes of making it go away.”

Craig, 62, has represented Idaho in Congress for more than a quarter-century and was up for re-election next year.

Republican officeholders and party leaders wanted Craig to give up his seat in the Senate as soon as possible. Their preference, according to several officials, was for a successor to be selected and ready to take the oath of office when the Senate returns from its summer vacation next week.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called Craig’s conduct “unforgivable” and acknowledged that many in the rank and file thought Craig should resign.

Republicans, worried about the scandal’s effect on next year’s election, suffered a further setback Friday when veteran Virginia Sen. John Warner announced he will retire rather than seek a sixth term. Democrats captured Virginia’s other Senate seat from the GOP in the 2006 election and have sought to line up former Gov. Mark Warner to run if the seat became open.

The contest for control of the next Senate was already tilted against Republicans, who must defend 22 of 34 seats on the ballot next year, before the Craig scandal and Warner’s announcement.

With a GOP candidate other than Craig, Republicans would stand a much better chance of keeping his Idaho seat in 2008. Idaho is one of the nation’s most reliably Republican states. The GOP controls the statehouse and all four seats in Congress, and Bush carried the state in 2004 with 68 percent of the vote.

Risch, the lieutenant governor, served for seven months as governor last year after former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne was named interior secretary. Risch had said earlier he was interested in Craig’s Senate seat if Craig did not seek re-election in 2008.

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, also had been mentioned as a possible replacement for Craig, but the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because Craig has not resigned, said Otter would choose Risch.

Mark Warbis, a spokesman for Otter, said the governor would not comment until he hears from Craig.

Craig served in the House before winning his first Senate term in 1990 and compiled a strongly conservative voting record.

On Thursday, the Minneapolis airport authorities released a tape recording of Craig’s interrogation minutes after he encountered a plainclothes officer in an adjacent stall in an airport restroom.

Craig and airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia disagreed about virtually everything that had occurred — including whether there was a piece of paper on the floor of the stall and the meaning of the senator’s hand gestures.

Craig denied that he had used foot and hand gestures to signal interest in a sexual encounter.

“I’m not gay. I don’t do these kinds of things,” Craig told the officer. “You shouldn’t be out to entrap people.”

Karsnia accused Craig of lying and grew exasperated with his denials.

“Embarrassing, embarrassing. No wonder why we’re going down the tubes,” Karsnia said