'Debategate' Indictment
March 6, 2001 1:27 PM   Subscribe

'Debategate' Indictment Dirty tricks from Dubya...?
posted by owillis (28 comments total)
Actually, that looks like she was trying to sneak some help to the Gore camp, and acted on her own. But hey, hire a group called "Maverick Media" and what do you expect?
posted by chino at 1:42 PM on March 6, 2001

The story says the Democrats who received the materials immediately turned them over to the authorities. Sure, I'll bet. After they made some photocopies, you know, just in case. Very shrewd. Take the stuff and turn the culprits in. (Note: I don't know for sure that's what they did, but does anybody seriously doubt it?)
posted by Potsy at 1:44 PM on March 6, 2001

Oops, the package included not just documents, but a video tape. Substitute "copies" instead of "photocopies" in my comment above.
posted by Potsy at 1:47 PM on March 6, 2001

So what are the options?
1) Lazzano mailed the materials on her own, to help Gore.
2) She mailed them at Mark McKinnon's request. McKinnon formerly consulted Democratic campaigns, and some hard-corp GOPers never trusted him. His motive could have been sympathy or to set Gore up.
3) GWB could have OK'd the setup.
4) Lazzano is telling the truth, and the mailing of Gap pants from the same post office two days before the package arrived in D.C. is an amazing coincidence.
5) The Democrats got the tape thru another source and tried to set up the Bush camp.

Much as I'd like to believe No. 3, or No. 2 with a set-up motive, I'm leaning toward option 1 or 2 with a helping-out motive.

Others may disagree, but I think Option 5 is the least likely. I give Tom Downey great credit for realizing the danger the
posted by darren at 1:50 PM on March 6, 2001

My God! They got to darren too!
posted by lileks at 1:55 PM on March 6, 2001

Damn you right wingers! You have gone too far! Release Darren immediatly!
posted by tiaka at 2:02 PM on March 6, 2001

Why is this a big deal if the losers got extra info? They still *lost*.

Someone explain to me what I'm missing here.
posted by mathowie at 2:21 PM on March 6, 2001

Someone explain to me what I'm missing here.

Mail fraud, false statements to the FBI and perjury are still crimes, even if they were committed for a cause that ultimately failed.

Option (1) is most likely, with (2) a not-so-close second. (3) is impossible because it makes no sense, (4) has already been proven to be untrue, and if it had been (5), it would have worked and we wouldn't be talking about it now. Nobody does dirty tricks like the Democratic Party. ;)
posted by aaron at 2:29 PM on March 6, 2001

Nobody does dirty tricks like the Democratic Party.


Sorry, had something stuck in my sinuses there, please excuse me.
posted by mathowie at 2:47 PM on March 6, 2001

Have we considered the fact that Lazzano might have sent the tapes because, well, they were probably pretty funny? Little Georgie learning the big words and all that.
posted by Doug at 2:54 PM on March 6, 2001

Bless you.

Oh wait.


Matt, I'm catching the same thing.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:59 PM on March 6, 2001


Yeah, but that was back in the good old days ::fond sigh::. The DNC isn't run by decent (if misguided) George McGovern types any more.

Iran-contra? Yeah, I agree: Lawrence Walsh pulled a real fast one against Weinberger and Bush, didn't he?
posted by aaron at 3:05 PM on March 6, 2001


posted by chaz at 3:06 PM on March 6, 2001

Potsy, because of his involvement, Downey recused himself from debate preparation (and up to that point he had been a key participant). If we're going to be throwing around unfounded assertions, (3) is very possible -- apologies to aaron -- because it was most effective at crippling Gore's debate team.

Call that the 3a interpretation. That is, the setup was in reverse.

Granted, that would be a convoluted and risky dirty trick worthy of, oh, I dunno, a Kurosawa film -- or the fevered fantasy interpretations of the Clinton years common to the VRWC -- so I immediately fail to give Bush that much credit (though I give him considerably more than Doug). He's just too transparent for that. I hope.

FYI, for those who skipped actually reading the article, it's Lozano.
posted by dhartung at 3:09 PM on March 6, 2001

Can we please end the silliness of calling each new scandal-of-the-week "Foo-gate"? It was a little bit funny the first time somebody did it, but that was nearly twenty years ago, and it's just... stupid now.

posted by Mars Saxman at 3:16 PM on March 6, 2001

In their investigation, the FBI seized both Lozano's home and office computers. According to the indictment, files on those computers show Lozano surfed Internet directories to search for Downey's contact information.

Well, now, that's pretty damning for Lozano. If she had been working at anyone else's behest, she probably would have had all the information already. Sounds like a rogue operative to me.

If I recall correctly, Lozano also had a history in Texas Democratic consulting firms and may have found easy cover in Mark McKinnon's firm as a result. Perhaps she planned something like this all along.
posted by mikewas at 3:19 PM on March 6, 2001

Mars, it's hopeless. They even use the *gate suffix in other countries, e.g. the Philippines, Indonesia, and India. I am pleased, of course, that Richard Nixon has earned an appropriate enduring place in history, but it tends to cheapen the gravity of his offenses.

If I may take a moment ... ah .. I seem to be getting a bit of a chill ... ah ... myself ... ahhhh ... October Surprise! Sorry about that.
posted by dhartung at 3:27 PM on March 6, 2001

Can we please end the silliness [of -gate]?

It's too late. Dictionaries now consider -gate a legitimate suffix.

Judging from the interviews with former employers that came out last year, it appears that Lozano has long been a somewhat sneaky, underhanded person. My guess is she was just a typical Bush-hater who also had delusions of grandeur, believing that she could alter the course of history by giving Gore the ability to destroy Bush in the debates and thus win the election.

October Surprise!

Methinks you're getting a bad case of hypochondria there, Dan. It never happened. Newsweek determined it never happened. The New Republic, of all magazines, determined it never happened. A House of Representatives task force - in 1993, while under Democratic control - determined it never happened. To sum up, it never happened.
posted by aaron at 3:58 PM on March 6, 2001

You know, this was hardly news back when it *was* news. Why is it news now?
posted by rodii at 4:14 PM on March 6, 2001

If the tape of GWB practicing for the debates becomes part of trial evidence, that means it will be public record. Anyone can go to the courthouse and check it out (and possibly copy it). Look for RealVideo copies to flood the 'net after Lozano goes to trial!

dhartung, Downey's self-recusal was not mentioned in the story linked to, so I didn't know about it when I wrote my comment. That changes things somewhat, but I still have a hard time believing that they didn't keep copies of at least some of those materials. None of today's politicos, from either party, seem to have any scruples -- I doubt any of them would pass up such an opportunity, save for fear of getting caught. Can you imagine (without laughing) any Washington type actually saying, "Oh gee, we better turn this over to the proper authorities because it would be wrong to keep it"? If anything, it was probably more like "Ah shit, we can't keep this, if we get caught with it, it's our asses. See if we can stash a copy of it away somewhere first, though."

Yes, it's an "unfounded" accusation (or at least founded solely on cynicism), but I would not be surprised if it turned out to be true.
posted by Potsy at 6:04 PM on March 6, 2001

Wow, aaron. Interesting version of history you adhere to there. Bush and Weinberger had nothing to do with Iran-Contra? Everything must be much simpler in your world.

The point of all these scandal allergies is simply that most people believe — and rightfully so, I must add — that both major political parties are more corrupt than useful. Bought out by the rich, and willing to commit treason to gain power. Why defend them? What’s the point?
posted by capt.crackpipe at 6:18 PM on March 6, 2001

And for the record, the congressional subcommittee that investigated the October Surprise found inconclusive evidence to prosecute anyone, not neccessarily that a conspiracy didn’t happen. This is an important distinction considering the legal system’s technicalities regarding burden of proof. I’m sure you’re very conversant in that aspect of law if you’ve ever ridden the Clinton roller coaster.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 6:28 PM on March 6, 2001

Capt. Crackpipe: actually, the House task force didn't just find the evidence "inconclusive" - they found a total lack of credible evidence supporting the theory. That's a whole different ball of wax.
posted by mikewas at 8:07 AM on March 7, 2001

Well, Congress said “no credible evidence” but others disagreed. I certainly don’t lose any sleep over this conspiracy theory. Besides, I was correcting Aaron who represented Congress as saying the October Surprise “never happened.” Well, they didn’t really say that. They said they couldn’t find any evidence to support the theory.

More than likely it didn’t happen, but it’s difficult to proove that conclusively. Impossible to proove a negative and all that.

Anyway, why didn't anyone answer my other question?
posted by capt.crackpipe at 10:00 AM on March 7, 2001

When this story first broke, Karen Hughes essentially said it had to be the Gore campaign who stole the Bush stuff, that the FBI was helping the Gore staff and that anyone who accused Yvette Lozano of doing what she was recently indicted for doing was a racist.

And I can't believe I am saying this, but I agree with mikeas. I do not believe that the Bush camp knew what Lozano was doing in any way shape or form.

I also do not believe that the Dems would be so stupid as to keep copies of anything after reporting the incident to the FBI. That would give them everything to lose and nothing to gain, and therefore it makes no sense.
posted by terrapin at 12:19 PM on March 7, 2001

Thank goodness Bill Gates isn't in the whitehouse. We'd probably end up with Gatesgate.

posted by muppetboy at 12:25 PM on March 7, 2001

Karen Hughes essentially said it had to be the Gore campaign who stole the Bush stuff, that the FBI was helping the Gore staff and that anyone who accused Yvette Lozano of doing what she was recently indicted for doing was a racist.

Yep. It's called standing behind a beleagured colleague when there isn't (yet) any evidence that would undercut their credability enough to require distancing. Some people don't automatically cut people off when allegations are swirling. Kinda like all those dems and that guy, uh, what's his name again, Bill something?

IOW, what's your point, terrapin?
posted by Dreama at 12:34 PM on March 7, 2001


Maybe they could try 'changing the tone in Washington' and say "We'll let the FBI handle this and cooperate the best we can." But instead she accused the FBI of covering for the Gore campaign, and she played the race card.

So in case you didn't actually read the article, here are some quotes:

* Karen Hughes: "It's wrong and inappropriate for federal law enforcement officials out of Washington, presumably officials connected with the Clinton administration, to play politics with this, to try to implicate a young woman who is innocent, a young Hispanic woman who doesn't have enough money to afford a lawyer."

* Karen Hughes: "Someone in power in Washington, someone affiliated with law enforcement—perhaps the Justice Department—has leaked erroneous information implicating a young woman who is innocent. They alleged to the press that she was somehow sending a tape when actually she was sending a pair of pants to the Gap, and has shipping labels to prove that. People's lives are at stake here."

* "Hughes said that the leak of the inquiry into Lozano's activities 'causes us to have seriously questioned whether the FBI is being allowed to do its job and actually investigate whether someone in Washington is playing politics with this investigation.'"

* Bush media consultant Stuart Stevens: "actually saw some Democratic consultants late at night in an adjacent production facility. And he called the FBI and would like to talk with them about the information he has, and they have yet to talk with him."

* Karen Hughes: "Someone higher up, someone in power in Washington, leaked information ... saying that the FBI believed the suspect was someone who worked for the Bush campaign. And that's now been identified as an innocent young woman who is an employee of [McKinnon's firm] Maverick Media, who has actually been a baby sitter for Mark McKinnon for a number of years, who has offered to take a lie-detector test and who, again, was shipping a pair of pants to the Gap and has shipping labels to prove that."

But apparently this young woman may not have been so innocent. But Hughes was sooooo sure she knew everything.

I wasn't defending Clinton either, so don't put words in my mouth or try and spin things.

And since you couldn't figure it out by reading, my points are:

1) In my opinion neither campaign knew about the "plan."
2) In my opinion the woman acted alone.
3) Karen Hughes and the Bushies handled the situation poorly and spoke out of both sides of their mouths. One minute using their "change the tone in Washington" buzz phrase all the while placing blame everywhere rather than simply saying they don't know how it happened and they would assist the investigation anyway they could.

posted by terrapin at 1:15 PM on March 7, 2001

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