The links were out there, but Boehner’s election lead me to the key (and the glue). He is a fellow named Barry Jackson, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy to the Senior Advisor (Karl Rove).
Barry’s bio sheds some light on how Boehner won:
From 1991 until accepting his presidential appointment, Barry served as chief of staff for Congressman John Boehner (R-OH). In addition to working for Representative Boehner, Barry served in a variety of positions on Capitol Hill. In 1994 Barry was the Director of the “Contract with America,” the campaign plan Republicans used to successfully recapture control of the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1995 to 1998, Barry also served as Executive Director of the House Republican Conference, helping to craft legislative and communications activity for Republican Representatives of the Congress.
Jackson is a key player on Rove’s team and a long-time Boehner man. I have no doubt that some well placed phone calls delivered the votes.
Ah, but there is more. Let’s connect some dots on the jump.
Barry Jackson is one of those background guys. Like Karl Rove before he became a household name. In the White House he is a key player on The Office of Strategic Initiatives which:
plans, develops, and coordinates a long-range strategy for achieving Presidential priorities. The office conducts research and assists in message development.
As the Washington Post describe the OSI back in 2001 (emphasis added):
Once a week, the dozen most senior White House staffers walk over to Room 208 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a brainstorming session. [snip]
The meeting is one piece of an elaborate and integrated strategic planning effort Rove has imposed on the White House. In addition to the Strategery Group, Rove and White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. have created a mid-level brainstorming group, dubbed the “Conspiracy of the Deputies,” and an Office of Strategic Initiatives to oversee the whole process. Rove has also assembled an orbit of acolytes in half a dozen White House offices and at the Republican National Committee with instructions to work on long-term strategic planning for Bush’s agenda. [snip]
To keep the discipline, many White House aides are assigned time horizons with their positions. The press office, for example, has a 24-to-48-hour time horizon. Communications advisers – those who set Bush’s message – have a two-to-three-week horizon. Rove operates in a six-to-eight-week horizon, officials say, and some, like Barry Jackson, who runs the strategic initiatives office, plan 90 to 180 days or more in advance.
Barry is one of those Rove acolytes.
Jackson is a graduate of the University of Iowa and was profiled in their Alumni Magazine describing his “Dream Job” (emphasis added):
“It is a dream job,” Jackson acknowledged. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, being able to serve in the White House is a great honor.” [snip]
Jackson began his position as Deputy Assistant to the President, Director of Office of Strategic Initiatives in March 2001. As a deputy assistant, he also holds a position on the president’s senior staff, a tradition that dates back to George Washington when officers were commissioned to serve him.
Jackson and his six co-workers in the Office of Strategic Initiatives blend policymaking and communications as they coordinate the planning and development of long-range strategies for achieving presidential priorities.
“Our primary mission is to collect information, sort it, organize it and get it out [to people working in the White House] so they have everything they need to make long-range decisions,” he explained. [snip]
Another aspect of the job is tracking the American public’s perception of the president’s point of view by studying such polls as USA Today’s and the Gallup Poll.
And the article goes on to describe his deep connection with John Boehner:
After graduating, he returned to his home state of Ohio to help with Rep. John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) campaign for Congress. Jackson eventually moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for Boehner in his chief campaign of staff from 1989 to 2001. He was the Chief of Staff for his Congressional office for four years, and, from 1995 to 1998, he was the executive director when Boehner was elected Chairman for the Republican Conference.
From early on Jackson was GOP policy player. He helped form and sell the Contract with America. He was the Executive Director of the House Republican Conference from 1995 to 1998. This means that he has been at the table for every GOP scam over the last 16 years. He, like Boehner, was present at the birth of the K Street Project and they were both present when Jack Abramoff was chosen to be the point of the GOP spear for the Party’s effort to control all Lobbying money in DC.
Back on April 17, 1996, the Hill published an article, Gallegly blasts GOP aides’ trip to Saipan amid charges of labor abuses in Pacific territory by Marcia Gelbart and Eamon Javers. The article dealt the chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on Native American and Insular Affairs and his anger at Congressional aides taking trips to Saipan without getting his approval.
Now this would have been at the very beginning of Jack Abramoff’s efforts to block legislation that would end sweatshops on the US territory of CNMI. Organizing junkets for the GOP elite was key to protecting the labor abuse on Saipan from justice.
I have not found the article online (so I am posting much of it), but Rep. John Boehner’s Chief of Staff, Barry Jackson, was one of the first to take a trip on Jack Abramoff’s dime (emphasis added):
Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on Native American and Insular Affairs, is furious that a group of seven House staffers, including five GOP leadership aides, took a five-day trip during the recess to the Pacific island of Saipan, a U.S. territory, without his knowledge.
After learning of the trip from a Washington Post article, Gallegly fired off a letter to Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas). [snip]
Gallegly’s subcommittee has jurisdiction over U.S. territories, but only one staffer who went on the trip, Mimi Simoneaux, works for a Resources Committee member, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.).
The other staffers are: Kerry Knott , David Hobbs and Horace Cooper, all top aides to Armey; Barry Jackson, chief of staff to Republican Conference Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio); April Lassiter, chief communications and policy adviser to DeLay, and Matt Miller, chief of staff to Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.).
Gallegly is concerned that the governor of Saipan invited the staffers in order to make an end run around legislation pending in the House, which would impose immigration and labor standards on the Northern Mariana Islands. The commonwealth government paid for the trip, including air fare, hotel accommodations and island tours.
“I’m really disappointed” Gallegly said. “It is common courtesy around here that the chairman of the committee should know what’s going on in his own jurisdiction,” he added, noting that full committee Chairman Don Young (R- Alaska) was also unaware of the trip. [snip]
Congress is currently considering three bills that would address what observers say is the Northern Mariana Islands’ biggest problem: rampant labor abuses. The islands have been awash in allegations that foreigners are allowed to immigrate, and then forced into a life of virtual slavery in local sweatshops. Some of the more lurid accusations involve islanders forcing immigrants to work in strip clubs and prostitution rings.
Earlier this year, staffers on the full committee of jurisdiction, the Resources Committee, began planning a trip to Saipan to investigate the charges and allegations that the commonwealth government on the island was turning a blind eye. A Resources Committee staffer said, “We had a trip planned at the very beginning of the Congress, but the decision was made that it wasn’t necessary, part of the decision was made that it might be looked at as an unnecessary expenditure of funds.”
In the letter to Armey and DeLay, protesting the staffers’ trip, Gallegly described the “well-documented” worker abuse on the islands. “I am quite confident your staffers were not able to witness such abuse during this trip, as the local government of the Marianas has been openly hostile toward our proposed reforms,” he wrote. Gallegly said Monday that he had no response from either Armey or DeLay.
But Knott, a spokesman for the seven staffers, defended the trip. “It was clearly not a junket,” Knott said. “They’re dealing with serious issues in the Mariana Islands. They’re an unusual part of the United States. Their reason for inviting staffers is to educate more people on what they’re doing out there.” [snip]
Knott told the Pacific Daily News, a local paper in the Mariana Islands, that his report for Armey would support allowing the commonwealth to keep control of its immigration policy , the local government’s position.
Gallegly has visited Saipan once, several years ago for a few hours, but said there was no need to make the journey , 3,900 miles past Honolulu , to understand the issues. “I’m most interested in seeing what their motive was and what the carrot was to get them down there,” Gallegly said. “Saipan is only a rock out in the middle of the ocean, there’s only so many meetings you can hold.”
An itinerary provided by Knott indicates several meetings were held with local and federal officials, as well as historical tours, a bird cave tour and various dinners.
Knott noted that he and Hobbs played golf on two afternoons at the governor’s invitation and at their own expense.
Gallegly is still in Congress and one wonders whatever happen to the moral compass he displayed a decade ago. One wonders when he learned that DeLay, Armey, Boehner, Ginrich and the House Leadership were behind Abramoff and lobbying scams (or if he is still in denial).
So back in 1996, Barry Jackson made the Abramoff connection with at least one trip to Saipan. There may have been more. There have been reports that more than one hundred Congressmen and their aides made the trip with Jack between 1995 and 1999. I know that Abramoff’s billing records are in the hands of some media outlets. What I’m waiting for is the list of everybody who traveled with Jack. I’m sure there will be some surprises.
By the late 1990s, Barry’s patron, Rep. Boehner, has been replaced by JC Watts in a post 1998 election power struggle. That’s when Barry finds a new patron: Karl Rove.
Jackson’s White House bio includes this (emphasis added):
Prior to serving the Bush Administration, Barry was involved in the Bush-Cheney campaign in a variety of capacities. He spearheaded the campaign’s Barnstorm for Reform program, a program that involved Republican Governors from across the nation.
So, Barry helped to recreate Bush as a Reformer with Results after the lost in New Hampshire and had a role in the McCain takedown in South Carolina. His reward was a seat in Karl Rove’s inner circle.
Over the year’s Jackson has mostly kept to the shadows, but he did take the lead on pushing through the Medicare Part D Drug bill:
In the White House, aides to presidential adviser Karl Rove were worried. They were counting on AARP to help them enact a drug benefit that President Bush could champion in his re-election bid. Now it seemed that AARP was threatening to hang tough on key issues that the Republicans would have a hard time endorsing.
The conference committee was getting ready to work on a final bill. Democrats, largely excluded from the room, had been encouraged by AARP’s letter to the Hill, believing they had an ally in opposing GOP efforts to undermine traditional Medicare. After all, as everyone thought, AARP was, at least on Medicare, essentially a Democratic ally. And this view was encouraged by AARP CEO Bill Novelli, who intimated to Hill Democrats that he was with them on the drug bill.
Barry Jackson, deputy assistant to the president, got on the phone to Chris Hansen, AARP’s associate executive director in charge of policy, to determine if AARP was, in fact, planning to stand tough on issues many Democrats were adamant about.
It was not. After talking with Novelli and Lisa Davis, the group’s communications director, Hansen sent Jackson a reassuring e-mail, obtained by The American Prospect and made public here for the first time. The e-mail indicated that AARP was really willing to settle key issues very easily.
And he was a lead on the failed effort to privatize Social Security:
In late February, deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, National Economics Council director Al Hubbard, and Barry Jackson, a special assistant to the president who is handling Social Security reform, met with administration-friendly lobbyists for a “rah-rah” cheerleading session on Social Security privatization. According to The Hill, representatives from COMPASS as well as the conservative 60 Plus Association, America’s Community Bankers, the National Retail Federation, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Business Roundtable heard the trio reiterate George W. Bush’s commitment to “reform” Social Security.
And one of the front groups in the effort was United Seniors Association. And according to a Public Citizen report Jack Abramoff was a member of the USA Board:
The New York Times called USA board member Jack Abramoff “one of the most influential – and, at $500 an hour, best compensated – lobbyists in Washington.” The Republican Party has long relied on his fundraising prowess, and can continue to do so, as he recently boasted that he would raise $5 million and personally give $250,000 this election cycle.
And Jack’s United Seniors Association Board membership was mentioned in this March 2003 profile in The Hill:
Abramoff represents a wide range of clients, including several American Indian tribes. He also serves on the boards of many conservative organizations, including Americans for Tax Reform and the United Seniors Association.
And this old Diary by Hunter used a Raw Story article to make the connection to the National Center for Public Policy Research, Abramoff, DeLay, travel and Social Security Privitization:
A think tank which raised money by targeting elderly Americans with Social Security scare letters paid for more than $130,000 in travel expenses for the House Republican leader, his wife and his staff, RAW STORY has learned. [snip]
On Saturday, the National Journal reported that DeLay may have violated House ethics rules when a top lobbyist shelled out an additional $13,000 for DeLay’s stay at the London Four Seasons hotel during that same trip. House rules stipulate that members or members’ employees cannot accept payment from a registered lobbyist to cover travel costs.
The lobbyist in question? Jack Abramoff, an NCPPR director. Abramoff is also on the board of USA Next, a pro-privatization Social Security group
Now USA Next and the United Seniors Association are the same organization. Another good Diary on the subject was USANext in the news by dmsilev. It had more details about the Abramoff connection to Social Security Privatization (it sources a Chicago Tribune article that no longer seems to be up):
USA Next’s powerful connections, however, extend beyond contributors. In fiscal year 2003, other records show, USA Next mistakenly filed with the IRS a list of its top five contractors. The top contractor for that tax year, earning more than $1.3 million, was a firm whose founder is also a principal in another firm with strong ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). [snip]
And United Seniors has packed its board with prominent Republican consultants over the years. Board members include Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist under investigation by the Justice Department and Congress who also has links to DeLay. [snip]
In the next two years, just as Congress and the White House worked out details for a prescription drug benefit for Medicare, United Seniors received $24.8 million from a single source, records show. A redacted copy of the tax filing obscures the name of the donor, other than the first letter, “P,” in 2003. A $20.1 million donation was reported in 2002 from a single source, but that donor’s name is completely blacked out. [snip]
United Seniors has shown lethal capacity. But its most notorious effort–an ad that showed two photos, one of two men kissing and the other of a soldier, with the not-so-subtle message that AARP supported the gay couple and not the soldier–may also be one that costs it dearly.
The couple in the photo recently sued USA Next and a subcontractor for $25 million, alleging defamation. Jarvis said his only regret is that his subcontractor didn’t get a proper commercial release of the couple’s photo. [snip]
A spokesman for Abramoff’s law firm said “he performed all duties expected of him as a board member” and did not “facilitate funding” for United Seniors or “issue consulting agreements to any of his clients or business associates.”
“He was leaving the board when I came over,” Jarvis said. (Their tenure overlapped by nearly 18 months, records indicate.) “To be honest, he was not active.
Oh, I think Jack was very active. He was, after all, running the GOP slush fund that bankrolled so many dirty tricks.
And these efforts were coordinated out of the Office of Strategic Initiatives.
Add the Barry Jackson/Abramoff/Rove link to the Abramoff/Rove/Susan Ralston link and a very hard link between Jack and the White House takes shape.
It may be time to ask if Jack Abramoff EVER attended a meeting of the Office of Strategic Initiatives or had ANY communications with ANY member of that team.
No wonder the White House is stonewalling this.
Jackson connects Jack to their strategic Planning.
And he also makes the Boehner/Abramoff/Rove connection.
This link needs more details.
I invite you to pile on.
Barry Jackson deserves his moment in the sun. He’s been lurking in the shadows way too long.
Let’s give him some attention
Cross posted at Daily Kos.