Bernie Sanders Super PAC Man out of jail, back in super PAC business

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Alleged fraudster Cary Lee Peterson created new groups days after release

The alleged fraudster behind a purportedly pro-Bernie Sanders super PAC that seemingly scammed “James Bond” actor Daniel Craig is out of jail and back in the political fundraising game.

Cary Lee Peterson — a self-described “congressional lobbyist and election campaign guru” who pleaded not guilty to securities fraud charges last month after the FBI arrested him in March — was released from federal custody on June 10 after posting a $200,000 secured bond.

Federal authorities released Peterson into the custody of his mother, who lives in Arizona. Court records show Peterson is currently subject to electronic monitoring and a daily curfew. Furthermore, Peterson was required to forfeit his passport — he regularly traveled abroad — and to resolve other, unrelated warrants for his arrest.

But Peterson first had other business. Within days of his release, he registered two new political groups with the Federal Election Commission: a political action committee called the Alliance Against Disabled Inmate Abuse and a super PAC called Democrats Socially United, which is backing Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to its nascent website, Democrats-United.org.

By law, super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited sums of money and spend that cash to advocate for or against political candidates. They may also operate without candidates’ permission and face few regulations on how they spend their funds. These factors have made super PACs attractive vehicles for professional political operatives — as well as less ideologically driven individuals hoping to profit off of popular candidates.

Peterson, who did not respond to questions related to this story, launched Ready for Bernie Sanders 2016 last year, which he later renamed Bet on Bernie. He settled on a third name — Americans Socially United — after regulators made him remove references to Sanders, per federal rules that allow committees to use a candidate’s name only if authorized by the candidate.

Americans Socially United’s most notable donor was actor Craig, who gave the super PAC $47,300 last July after donating the legal maximum of $2,700 to Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Craig, last year, told the Elisha Watch that he made the contribution in “in good faith” to support Sanders’ candidacy, apparently unaware of Peterson’s checkered past.

Then — and still today — Peterson has two warrants out for his arrest in Arizona, stemming from his failure to appear in court for misdemeanor cases against him. Furthermore, he was twice evicted from apartments in Texas. And two Texas courts ordered one of Peterson’s companies to pay creditors more than $200,000 for breaches of contract earlier this decade.

One of those creditors is Dow Jones & Co., which was issued a judgment of nearly $170,000 after Peterson’s company ECCO2 Corp. failed to pay for advertisements it took out in the Wall Street Journal.

Last year, Peterson told Elisha Watch that his past troubles were irrelevant to his current endeavors.

“You don’t need to look back on my past,” Peterson said. “I’m going out there trying to make a difference.”

In an email Monday, Peterson told Elisha Watch to “cease and desist all other activities prior to talking with me.”

To this day, it’s unclear how Peterson’s Americans Socially United super PAC spent the money it raised.

Its only real presence was online, where it operated several social media accounts and a bare-bones website that was reachable via several addresses, including BetonBernie.com, BetonBernie2016.com, PledgeSanders2016.com and SociallyUnited.org.

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Americans Socially United collected funds from an unknown number of donors — including some who told Elisha Watch they came across the super PAC’s website by mistake and gave money to the super PAC while believing they were donating to Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Americans Socially United also attracted attention from Sanders’ presidential campaign, which sent it a pair of cease-and-desist letters last year. In them, Sanders campaign lawyer Brad Deutsch argued that the group’s activities were “illegal” and “causing harmful confusion for supporters of Senator Sanders’ campaign.”

The only official campaign finance report Americans Socially United filed last year was riddled with abnormalities. And despite the FEC’s threats of “civil money penalties, an audit or legal enforcement action,” the super PAC still has not filed a mandatory campaign finance report that was due in January.

Americans Socially United is just one of eight political groups Peterson registered with the FEC last year.

He also created groups called the American Friends for Micronesia, the Congressional Committee on Cuban Affairs, the Congressional Committee on Eurasian Affairs, the Congressional Committee on Law Enforcement and Public Safety, the Congressional Task Force on Human Trafficking, the Every Vote Counts Restoring America Super PAC and the Independent National Committee.

Despite their names, none are officially affiliated with Congress. And none have filed mandatory campaign finance disclosures.

Peterson also presents himself as associated with a law firm called Robert Peterson and Fields Associates, which offers services for political candidates, international affairs and public relations. The company is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, at an address provided through a firm that specializes in virtual office space.

Terry R. Fields, a California lawyer whose name is connected with Robert Peterson and Fields Associates in some listings, told Elisha Watch his name was being used by Peterson without his “consent, permission or involvement” and that he has “never, in any way, been his partner or his associate.”

Now, both the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have cases pending against Peterson related to business dealings he undertook in 2012 and 2013 while running a penny-stock company called RVPlus Inc.

According to one of the government’s complaints against him, Peterson “defrauded investors by issuing false filings and press releases touting its purportedly lucrative — but wholly fictitious — business deals.”

At the time, Peterson claimed his company had secured nearly $2 billion worth of deals with foreign governments for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including Haiti, Liberia and ministry of the environment for Katsina State in Nigeria.

In May, he pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him by the Department of Justice in federal court in New Jersey.

U.S. officials aren’t the only ones interested in Peterson.

Elisha Watch has also learned that law enforcement officials are investigating Peterson in the Pacific island nation of Micronesia, where he was trying to establish a medical marijuana program prior to his arrest in March.

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden-Sanders ticket: The fix is in?

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden-Sanders ticket: The fix is in?

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden-Sanders ticket: The fix is in?  In this bizarre election season, there may be a method to the Democrats’ madness: President Biden, Obama’s third term. America loves a story of redemption and resurrection.

The explanation for the strangeness of Election Year 2016 is so obvious, it’s hard now to see how we could miss it. The Democrat-Obama fix has been in from the very beginning.

Step One: Uncle Joe, our vice president Joseph Biden, publicly agonizes over whether to run for president. The death of his son, Delaware’s former attorney general, Beau Biden, understandably has rocked his emotional balance. He is a grieving father. The loyal vice president to President Obama needs time.

But time and elections wait for no man. Biden finally stops vacillating and announces that he just cannot do it. The campaign, coming at this sad time in his life, would be more than he could handle.

Step Two: Hillary to the rescue! Hillary Clinton prepares for the coronation she missed seven years ago. Her every waking moment and high-priced speeches have paved her way. With her Clinton cash and the presumed support of the Democrat Party, she has taken her pants-suit-first-woman-president case out to America.

Step Three: In a classic Machiavellian way, Democrats advance the cause of Crazy Bernie Sanders, the Socialist. Why? His far left views make Clinton’s far left views appear almost centrist. His candidacy provides the Democrats with a real choice: the moderate, experienced former secretary of state versus the old Vermont curmudgeon. The choice back then seemed obvious. Clinton would make mincemeat of Sanders.

Accident One: Unexpectedly, the curmudgeon catches fire, garnering the attention and heart of a fair amount of a country that yearns for real change. Even Democrats have grown tired of establishment politicians. Sanders was a breath of fresh air in a stultifying election, someone who clearly ticks off the entire establishment. On the right, Donald Trump came along to fill that role. But on the left, that man was Bernie Sanders. It might have worked had he not become so popular, drawing record-breaking crowds.

Accident Two: Also unexpectedly, Donald Trump—a man of the times, a businessman with a mouth, the anti-politician who’s all about business—catches fire. He talks trade, “Making America Great Again,” a chicken in every pot. He’s the new age politician who isn’t one. He gaffes, he quivers, he changes his mind six times. His red hair blows in the wind.

People love him. No, really love him. He is the change we all have been waiting for. He even has managed to widen the Republican tent. Crossover voters all over the country begin sharpening their Number 2 pencils to mark his name as the next president of the United States.

Step Four: Because of Trump, the ground has shifted and the Democrats must walk carefully as they plot their return president. President Obama makes a carefully crafted video endorsing Hillary Clinton. At the same time, a government agency has begun labeling her email scandal a criminal investigation, turning up the heat and raising questions about her viability.

With the president’s very public early endorsement, he will be able to prove his own bona fides in her regard. He was on her side all along. No paw prints for what is about to happen.

Step Five: White House press secretary Josh Earnest refers to the probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email system as a possible “criminal investigation” moments after President Obama’s endorsement of her.

Suddenly, the visibility of Uncle Joe begins to ramp up. The president meets with Sanders presumably to urge him to step aside for Hillary.

But what if? What if instead, he’s offering him the vice presidency under a President Biden? What if he gives Sanders a hint to the final game: Hillary is indicted. And Joe Biden rides in on his white horse (no pun intended) to save the day and the Democrats’ bacon.

Step Six: The timing of this step is in question. Is Clinton indicted before the convention? Or during it? Clearly a Hollywood scriptwriter or even Peggy Noonan could help out here. Regardless, the Democratic convention will turn into a gigantic “Come to Jesus” reexamination of the goals and objectives and morals of the Democratic party. After much public beating of chests and wailing, the party leaders will declare themselves healed and march in Good Ole’ Joe to save the day.

Step Seven: Good Old Joe will give a barn burner of a speech at the Democratic Convention in which he humbly and with great regret for Hill’s demise, accepts his party’s nomination. But the crowning moment will be his announcement of his running mate: Bernie the Socialist.

Step Eight: Ding dong, the witch is dead!

The Democratic party is rising once again. Kindly Old Uncle Joe will provide such a contrast to the harsh and inexperienced-in-politics Donald Trump, the country will rally around him and his efforts.

Step Nine: President Biden will give us another Obama term. America loves a story of redemption and resurrection.

Donald Trump may need a lot of rich backers after all

Donald Trump may need a lot of rich backers after allEven if Donald Trump is “really rich”—as he reminds the world frequently—he doesn’t have nearly enough money to fund a general-election campaign, if he ends up being the Republican nominee for president.

Trump has made it this far mostly by self-funding his campaign, with help from donors who have sent in around $7.5 million in contributions of $2,700 or less. But that model won’t work in the fall if it’s Trump v. the Democratic nominee, most likely Hillary Clinton. “We’ll see an end to the self-funding if he becomes the nominee,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, who worked on the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign. “He’ll have to raise in excess of $1 billion.”

Republican donors have plenty of money to give, but Trump is in a tricky spot because he has sworn off super PACs, the groups able to raise unlimited amounts from wealthy contributors. Trump says donors writing six-, seven- or eight-figure checks “have corrupted our politics and politicians for far too long,” and has vowed not to accept big donations.

But he’s going to need a lot of money from somewhere. Trump has said he’ll spend up to $100 million of his own funds on the campaign, while insisting he’s worth around $10 billion and has at least $600 million in liquid assets, should he need cash in a hurry. Some analysts say Trump greatly overstates his wealth, and he’s not completely self-funding his campaign, given the prominent DONATE buttons on his web site. Whatever the size of Trump’s bank account, he’ll need outside money to compete in the general election if all he does is fulfill his pledge of spending $100 million.

In the 2012 presidential race, each side spent around $1 billion, including outlays by the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns, super PACs supporting each, and the Republican and Democratic national committees that did a lot of politicking on behalf of their candidates. Trump has run a very thrifty campaign so far, spending about $25 million through the end of January. But the general election will be far costlier, with Hillary Clinton’s campaign saying it could spend as much as $2 billion.

What will Trump do? Here are three scenarios:

Embrace super PACs. It would be a flip-flop if he did, but maybe that won’t matter. “He could just change his mind, like he does with everything else,” says Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “It hasn’t hurt him so far.” And Trump could benefit from super PAC money while still keeping his distance from such groups. Though they’re often aligned with a particular campaign, super PACs must, officially, be independent, and they’re not even supposed to coordinate with a candidate. Democrat Bernie Sanders denounces super PACs, yet there’s at least one that campaigns on his behalf, without his approval. Trump could claim the same hands-off arrangement, saying he can’t control what other people do with their money.

In 2012, Romney hauled in about $316 million from big donors, most of it coming through super PACs. Obama raised $423 million from big donors. That money is crucial for funding attack ads, robocalls, mailings and other types of electioneering. Would the GOP’s moneyed donors pony up for Trump, who has smashed china in just about every chamber of the GOP establishment? “He can attract good GOP fundraisers,” says Fred Malek, a longtime Republican power broker. “They may not be wildly enthusiastic about Trump as a candidate, but there’s a desire to win and a fear the country has gone dramatically off track.”

Accept public funding from the government. Though it has fallen out of favor, the government still offers public funding—financed by the $3 donation taxpayers can make voluntarily when they fill out their tax forms—to presidential candidates in the general election who agree not to accept donations from other sources. The last presidential candidate to do this was John McCain in 2008, with Obama and Romney both deciding in 2012 to forego public funding because they figured they could raise more from donors (which they did). Still, this could be a shrewd tactic for Trump. The maximum amount of public funding available this year is $96 million. Trump so far has only spent about $18 million of the $100 million in personal funds he pledged to spend, so if he took the $96 million for the general election, to a large extent he’d be using public funds instead of his own. His campaignb wouldn’t be able to raise money from ordinary donors, but nothing would prohibit super PACs and the Republican National Committee from campaigning on Trump’s behalf. So he still might have hundreds of millions of dollars at his disposal, which Trump might be able to stretch pretty far, given his talent for generating free media coverage. .

Accepting public funding could accentuate Trump’s populist appeal and toss a curve ball to his Democratic competitor. “He’d have a real leg up on Clinton if he went the public funding route,” says O’Connell. Clinton is already battling the perception that she’s too cozy with Wall Street banks, and she’s got a well-funded super PAC that’s sure to get fatter as Election Day nears. Trump, by contrast, could portray himself as the champion of the $3 donor if he plays it right.

Continue to go it alone. Trump could reject all of these ideas and continue to run a thrifty campaign, mostly on his own dime, that’s heavily dependent on free exposure. For one thing, the conventional wisdom on the amount of funding needed to win the presidency might be wrong. “I don’t think you need a billion,” says Malek. “A lot of it gets wasted. At the end of the day you’re throwing money at some long shot states.” Trump already eschews the pricey consultants, sprawling ground operation and other trappings of traditional campaigns, so it’s not like he would have to downsize.

Trump might also turn out to be the first presidential candidate to replace conventional campaigning with vigorous social media activity. Social networks were a factor in 2012, but more people are on Twitter and Facebook now, plus Trump has pioneered a new tactic: Make provocative statements on Twitter that help him gain free airtime to explain what he meant to say (and anything else that’s on his mind). “Trump may be proving that a lot of the old truisms of politics are wrong,” says Kondik. Trump said recently, for instance, that he’ll counter attack ads run on radio and TV stations in Florida by responding on Facebook and Twitter. Commercials cost thousands of dollars to produce. An account on Facebook or Twitter is free. Whether Trump succeeds may depend not on how much he spends, but on how little.

TECH AND GOVERNMENT ELITE MEET, PLOT TO TAKE DOWN TRUMP - Billionaires, Republicans and tech leaders desperate to derail Donald Trump

TECH AND GOVERNMENT ELITE MEET, PLOT TO TAKE DOWN TRUMP – Billionaires, Republicans and tech leaders desperate to derail Donald Trump

TECH AND GOVERNMENT ELITE MEET, PLOT TO TAKE DOWN TRUMP - Billionaires, Republicans and tech leaders desperate to derail Donald Trump

 

According to AppleInsider, technology leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, and government insiders met over the weekend at the American Enterprise Institute’s annual World Forum held at Sea Island, Georgia to plot the downfall of popular Republican presidential candidate and frontrunner Donald Trump.

In addition to Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page, Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk, and Napster creator Sean Parker were in attendance at the secretive confab, along with government insiders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and a number of Republican senators. Republican strategist and former dirty trickster Karl Rove was also reportedly in attendance.

Influential members of the private sector were present as well, including billionaire Philip Anschutz and The New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger.

Paraphrasing Karl Marx’s communist manifesto, leading neocon and Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Bill Kristol emailed from the meeting that a “specter was haunting the World Forum—the specter of Donald Trump.”

“There was much unhappiness about his emergence, a good deal of talk, some of it insightful and thoughtful, about why he’s done so well, and many expressions of hope that he would be defeated,” Kristol wrote.

In December Kristol said if Trump becomes the nominee, neocons and Republicans opposed to him will form a third party. “If the operatives I talked with are right, Trump running as a Republican could well face a third-party run—from the Republicans themselves,” wrote Jeff Greenfield.
Republican leaders have discussed the possibility of changing RNC rules to unbind delegates at the convention before the first round of balloting in order to undermine Trump. Others have mulled the idea of launching a negative ad campaign against him.

Apple’s opposition to the New York businessman is likely related to his assertion that the tech company should face a boycott because it has thus far refused to unlock a pair of iPhones the FBI claims are linked to the San Bernardino shootings.

According to sources present at the Sea Island meeting Apple CEO Cook locked horns with Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton over the encryption issue. Cotton serves on the Senate Committee on Armed Services and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“Cotton was pretty harsh on Cook,” a source told the technology website. “Everyone was a little uncomfortable about how hostile Cotton was.”

On Super Tuesday eve, Donald Trump gets his best poll numbers yet

On Super Tuesday eve, Donald Trump gets his best poll numbers yet

On Super Tuesday eve, Donald Trump gets his best poll numbers yetOn Feb. 29, 2012, Mitt Romney finally retook the lead in Real Clear Politics’ average of polling of the Republican nomination contest that year for the final time. Months of ups and downs, and — four years ago Monday — Romney finally had a clear path to the nomination. In the 2004 Democratic and 2008 Democratic and Republican contests as well, the person leading on Feb. 29 in the polling average went on to win his party’s nomination.

Even without the new CNN/ORC poll released on Monday, the 2016 field’s leading candidates are clearly identifiable: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

But the new poll also moves Trump and Clinton further away from the people they’re leading. On the Democratic side, Clinton’s once-shaky lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont looks much firmer, even before her blow-out victory in South Carolina on Saturday. But on the Republican side, the shift since January has been truly amazing.

Remember: In the middle of January, when CNN/ORC last polled, the GOP survey included . It included Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. When those candidates dropped out, their support had to go somewhere, and the establishment has been banking on it going to anyone but Trump.

Trump leads at 49 percent — his highest numbers in any poll tracked by Real Clear Politics this cycle. The number suggests that the theory that he had a ceiling of support — that he could never get to 50 percent — was … flawed. With Tuesday’s numerous contests looming, Trump has the support of about half of his party, in a field with five candidates.

And that consolidation theory is revealed as a consolation theory. As we noted over the weekend, if Ohio Gov. John Kasich were to drop out and every single one of his supporters were to migrate to Sen. Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida would go from trailing by 33 to trailing by 27.

Looking deeper into the polls, we see two shifts from what we thought we knew about the race. First, Trump’s no longer just the candidate preferred by poorer, less-educated voters (though that was always a bit overplayed). His strength among college graduates has spiked since January. Second, you can see very clearly how he’s eaten into Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s base of support among evangelicals and tea party supporters.