Former president George W. Bush has been misinterpreted by many political observers as a “neo-moderate.” However, Bush’s phone calls to four wavering senators, in which he urged them to vote for Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, belies the actual reason behind his support for Kavanaugh. Serving as White House Staff Secretary for Bush from 2003 to 2006, Kavanaugh was part and parcel of theft of Ohio’s 20 electoral votes to Bush in 2004, which ensured Bush’s re-election and denied the presidency to Democratic candidate John Kerry. Bush’s phone calls to Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) were supplemented with an invitation for her to visit the Bush family at their Kennebunkport, Maine estate. Bush also phoned Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Out of the three, only Murkowski voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
While at the Bush White House, Kavanaugh worked alongside Bush presidential adviser Karl Rove and outside Republican interests to ensure that in 2004 it would be Ohio that would tip the scales to Bush, just as in 2000 it was massive election malfeasance in Florida that ensured Bush’s victory, denying the presidency to Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic candidate.
Kavanaugh and Rove closely coordinated their election fraud operations with two experienced Washington campaign advisers for Republican candidates, Rick Davis, who was John McCain’s campaign manager in his failed 2000 presidential bid, and Davis’s partner, Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Manafort was convicted of federal fraud charges but decided to cooperate as a witness for Justice Department special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation of criminality surrounding the Trump campaign.
Manafort and Davis teamed together on behalf of candidate Viktor Yanukovych in the 2004 presidential race in Ukraine. The pair formed Davis Manafort International LLC, incorporated in Delaware and headquartered Alexandria, Virginia. Richard Gates, Manafort’s deputy Trump campaign chair and Trump Transition Team official—who was also convicted in 2016 Trump campaign election malfeasance—joined Davis Manafort in 2006. In 2006, Davis Manafort International acquired as a client the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is believed to have been a major cog in the illegalities surrounding the Trump election victory in 2016. Another Davis Manafort client was Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who is currently living in Austria, but is the subject of a U.S. extradition request not, specifically, involving the Mueller investigation.
Yanukovych’s disputed victory resulted in the Orange Revolution that forced Yanukovych to abandon the presidency in favor of Viktor Yushchenko. Little noticed was Manafort’s and Davis’s work for Bush, Rove, and Kavanaugh in the 2004 election, one that was every bit as manipulated as the election in Ukraine. Kavanaugh was no stranger to disputed elections. Kavanaugh was also—along with Rove; Matt Schlapp, whose wife works as deputy director of Trump’s White House Communications Office, and GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone—one of the infamous “Brooks Brothers Brigade” members who descended upon Florida to demand a stop to the Florida Supreme Court-ordered hand recount of votes in the contested 2000 election. The Bush team of lawyers, dressed in corporate attire, organized the riot of paid GOP operatives at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in downtown Miami. The rioters attempted to break down the door of Miami-Dade county’s supervisor of elections. Stone, operating from an RV parked outside the government center, coordinated the mob’s efforts with Bush’s legal team, which included Kavanaugh, which was working in Tallahassee to oppose a Florida Supreme Court-ordered tri-county recount in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. A later unofficial recount of votes in Broward, Highlands, Hillsborough, Marion, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pasco and Pinellas counties showed that Gore won Florida and, thus, the 2000 presidential election.
Davis and Manafort were partners with two GOP information technology consultants, Jeff Averbeck, the owner of SmarTech Corporation of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Mike Connell, an Ohio-based operator of Bush campaign websites, including the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth 527 PAC site that spread falsehoods about Kerry’s Vietnam military service. SmarTech’s parent company is Airnet Group of Chattanooga, also owned by Averbeck. Both firms are located in the city’s old Pioneer Bank building in downtown Chattanooga.
Stephen Spoonamore, a computer security expert and IT adviser to the Bush 2004 and John McCain 2008 presidential campaigns, revealed that SmarTech was able to intercept and alter Ohio election returns in 2004 before they were made available on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.
Connell also ran New Media Communications LLC and GovTech Solutions, both located in Akron, Ohio; and Integrated Web Strategy LLC, which acted as a pass-through to the Chamber of Commerce Institute of Legal Reform. Averbeck and SmarTech were also well-known to Chattanooga’s mayor in 2004, now-Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who had his eyes set on a U.S. Senate run. Corker’s vote for Kavanaugh was also predicated on what Bush and Kavanaugh knew about Averbeck’s work for Corker’s election campaigns in Tennessee. WMR’s sources revealed that Corker, as mayor, providing cover for the major GOP political dirty tricks operation being run from his city. In February 2007, Corker, Rove, and Bush were spotted together at Porker’s BBQ restaurant in Chattanooga. There were reports of a connection between SmarTech’s predecessor firm, ST3; another web service provider called Coptix, and Corker.
In the 2000 election, Averbeck’s SmarTech was tasked with high-tech spying on Al Gore’s Nashville presidential campaign headquarters. A three hour drive from Nashville, Chattanooga was considered by Karl Rove to be an excellent and friendly spot to keep a high-tech eye on the Gore campaign from within his home state. Kavanaugh reported to Rove during the 2000 and 2004 campaigns.
Manafort and Davis also established 3EDC, LLC, a firm dedicated to leveraging social media on the Internet on behalf of their candidates. Manafort and Davis worked closely with Connell and Averbeck, as well as Ohio’s corrupt GOP Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, on the Bush 2004 campaign.
In the 2004 election, Connell, Averbeck, Rove, and Kavanaugh also worked closely with Rebecca “Becki” Donatelli, the head of Campaign Solutions, LLC, a major Republican campaign consultancy. Donatelli’s husband is former Reagan administration official Frank Donatelli, a GOP PAC bundler. Another firm connected to Connell’s and Averbeck’s operations was Dynology Corporation of Vienna, Virginia. Dynology was founded in 1999 and has contracts with several U.S. defense and intelligence agencies.
Connell, Averbeck, and Kavanaugh may have been behind the installation of live streaming “black boxes” in the White House and the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building used to stream live video of torture sessions in Guantanamo, Cuba and Abu Ghraib to the Old Executive Office Building office of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief Counsel David Addington and into the West Wing of the White House. These torture sessions involved the raping of teenage male and female prisoners by guards; sodomizing prisoners with glow sticks, broom handles and flashlights; forcing male prisoners to engage in homosexual acts with one another; and forcing prisoners to roll around in human excrement.
A fire that broke out in an “electrical closet” in the Old Executive Office Building on December 19, 2007, near Cheney’s ceremonial office, contained the live streaming boxes used to videostream the torture sessions from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. SmartTech and Airnet have been in the live streaming video business since 2002. Kavanaugh, as deputy White House counsel and Staff Secretary, would have had input on the installation of the videostreaming capabilities, as well as Bush’s and Cheney’s prisoner torture policy.
In 2008, Connell agreed to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives probe of malfeasance surrounding the 2004 vote count in Ohio, however, he was killed in a suspicious crash of his private plane, as it was making its final approach to the Akron-Canton airport en route from College Park, Maryland. No mechanical problems with the aircraft were reported.
Mr. Bush, knowing full well that as much criminality surrounded his 2004 re-election as did Trump’s win in 2016, wanted, as much as Trump, to ensure that Kavanaugh was given a seat on the Supreme Court. It was a similar desire that saw Bush nominate Kavanaugh for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2006, which is, perhaps, the second-most important federal court in the country. As an Associate Supreme Court Justice, Kavanaugh is in a prime position to ensure that serious criminal charges are never brought against Bush or Trump, or both.
One of the reasons the Trump White House and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee resisted in pursuing the release of thousands of documents involving Kavanaugh’s time as both Bush Staff Secretary at the White House and deputy to Bush White House counsel Alberto Gonzales is the trove of information on Kavanaugh’s work with Rove, Manafort, Davis, Connell, and Averbeck on the 2004 election. Thanks to Freedom of Information lawsuits filed by Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), we may see some sunlight shone on what Trump and the Republicans clearly do not want anyone to see. Some of the requested documents may deal with Connell’s New Media Communications setting up hundreds of Republican web sites, including gwb43.com, used by Bush White House staffers, including Kavanaugh, to send politically-connected emails in violation of government policies on mixing official duties with political work.
Far from being a leading light of jurisprudence, Kavanaugh was and remains a highly-partisan dirty tricks operative, who operates more in the mold of Karl Rove and Roger Stone than of Warren Burger or Louis Brandeis.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).