Thursday, July 22, 2010

Goddard Cohort in RTA Debacle Appointed Senior Advisor at the U.S. Attorney's Office

Ironically, Evan's Appointment Became Official Days After Missing Poll Tape Story Broke

As John Brakey, founder of Audit AZ puts it, "What are we going to do? Have John Evans investigate John Evans? He worked for Goddard during the first cover up and the second one, too."

It's been suggested by those protecting Gubernatorial Candidate Terry Goddard that critics of the RTA election debacle should file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney for Arizona. Election Integrity Activists believe this position is naive and those seeking remedy in this matter should have a grasp of the thorny roadblocks presented in bringing to justice individuals who are high up on the state's power structure. The U.S. Attorney for Arizona is Dennis K. Burke, whose senior adviser is now John Evans. Evan's previous job was Assistant to Arizona's Attorney General Terry Goddard and he was a key player in the questionable RTA investigation.

Burke is quoted in his press release:

"'John Evans has had a distinguished career as a prosecutor and as a key member of the law enforcement community,' said Burke. 'He brings a wealth of legal and trial experience to the office and he will play a critical role in Southwest border issues and strategies. I look forward to working with him to address the border problems and their complexities.' "

The press release further states:

"Evans will work closely with U.S. Attorney, Dennis K. Burke, and will advise him on a variety issues, including crimes occurring on Arizona’s border with Mexico such as alien smuggling and drug related crime, violent crime, financial and fraud crimes, weapons offenses, civil rights, and public corruption."

Election integrity groups are concerned about the potential influence Evans may have should further action need to be taken over Terry Goddard, since the U.S. Attorney for Arizona is the next step in seeking justice in this matter.

The following excerpt of a letter from Bill Risner to Terry Goddard demonstrates Evan's peculiar behavior when it came to investigating the RTA election debacle:

Dear Mr. Goddard:

I sent you a short letter on July 9th, 2008, together with Mr. Zbigniew Osmolski’s Affidavit. I will be out of the County from July 15 through the end of the month. Accompanying this letter are various materials that may help you to better understand the nature of the allegations and more fully understand the past investigation by your office staff.

At the beginning of the database lawsuit, the Pima County Democratic Party, and I personally, had confidence in your Office’s integrity. Additionally, I was sensitive to political currents. That is why I informally told Jim Walsh what we were finding out in our lawsuit against the Pima County Board of Supervisors. It was a “heads up” conversation relating to him that we were acquiring evidence suggestive of criminal activity but not enough in my opinion at that point for your office to open an investigation and none was requested.

Later, attorneys for the Board of Supervisors forcefully suggested that I was obligated to make a criminal complaint if I believed crimes had occurred. At that point, I made an appointment with John Evans of your Office who agreed to open an investigation. The “suspects” were listed on your office form as the “Pima County Election Division.”

The Pima County Democratic Party offered technical expertise. Your office chose not to accept our technical expertise and we did not complain then nor do we complain now about that decision as your office can investigate in the manner that you choose.

I subsequently had a conversation with Mr. Evans in which I asked him what our role was in the investigation. He said it was a “one way street in which he could not give me information but he could receive information from us.” I then gave him the names of two witnesses including Robbie Evans, Jr., who for four years was the computer assistant to Bryan Crane. I explained that Mr. Evans, Jr. would testify that Mr. Crane regularly printed unofficial tallies or summary reports of actual votes before election day. Your Office investigators chose not to interview that witness, even though they knew his testimony would contradict Mr. Cranes’ prior testimony. Instead your investigators accepted Mr. Crane’s fourth different under oath story without comparison with the prior explanations nor did they question any contradictory witnesses.

During a subsequent conversation with Mr. Evans, I learned that your offices’ report from iBeta would be provided to the suspects, but a copy would not be provided to the Democratic Party, although Mr. Evans concluded the report would be a public record, he said he would require us to retain a copy from the County suspects. I have attached several of the letters that I subsequently sent to John Evans.

I am sure you are now aware that your office joined with the suspects in a joint study, permitted the suspects to direct the investigation and gave them a copy of the investigative report before conducting any interviews. Before commenting on the iBeta report, I would like to review the background of the decision to proceed in that manner. Mr. Evans had initially contacted Michael Shamos, a nationally known voting systems expert at Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Evans and Mr. Shamos’ e-mails are attached. Mr. Shamos immediately recommended the ballots themselves be examined as he said: “Ultimately the proof of the pudding is in the ballots.” “My
suggestion would be to re-tabulate from the original records.8 This should tell us very quickly whether the GEMS results were fudged. What is the difficulty with this approach?” Indeed!
Mr. Evans response was:

“As for the white wash, I would agree with you but the
party to the civil law suit that discovered this problem
is very much on board. They want the data base to be
looked at and they have approved the scope of the project.
The most vocal local naysayers have bought into this process.”

Mr. Evans was completely wrong. We had not “bought into this process.” He insisted on this process. Nevertheless, Michael Duniho, on behalf of the Democratic Party, strongly suggested that the ballots he examined. Mr. Duniho recalls a heated exchange with Mr. Evans.

Our deference to your office’s integrity at that point should not be characterized as being “on board” Mr. Evans’ flawed process.

Mr. Evans’ e-mail also contained this important reference to the “issue to be investigated.”

“Regarding your questions, the initial issue is about the
absentee ballots that were run before the joint summary
report. The next question is whether after the summary
report there was a flip of the fields. So the accuracy of
the absentee ballots is questioned and the accuracy of
the subsequent ballots may be an issue.”

The evidence to resolve that key question was already available to the Attorney General. A.R.S. § 16-445 required Pima County to send “at least ten days before the date of the “RTA election” a copy of the ballot layout. In other words, the position of how the computer would read “yes” and “no” votes was on file. If the computer had later been instructed to read those votes reversed or “flipped” so that “no” votes would count as “yes” votes the computer data could easily have been compared with the data on file with the Secretary of State.

In other words, the entire purpose of that data was for it to be examined in a fraud investigation by the Attorney General. Your office did conduct a fraud investigation where that evidence would have provided the answer, but it was neither used nor requested by your office.

Furthermore, your office actively attempted to obstruct the Democratic Party’s attempt to find that evidence, when the Democratic Party scheduled a deposition of the Secretary of State’s office. Your office filed a Motion for a Protective Order asking the trial court judge to prevent us from learning the whereabouts of that evidence. We ultimately prevailed over your office’s objection and learned it had been mailed back to Pima County where Brad Nelson personally handed the critical evidence to Bryan Crane, and it has not been seen since. The Arizona State Election Director, Joseph Kanefield, testified that the Secretary of State’s office was aware of the criminal investigation having been informed by your office.

The full letter with footnotes is available here.

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