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Kimberlin-Rauhauser Axis Targets Romney Campaign Staffer Bill Murphy

Posted on | September 2, 2012 | 39 Comments

Brett Kimberlin could have been sentenced to 230 years in federal prison

Brett Kimberlin’s non-profit 501(c)4 Velvet Revolution is part of an apparent effort to destroy Mitt Romney’s online rapid-response team by targeting Bill Murphy, a young Internet operative who has helped improve the campaign’s social-media presence.

In an item posted Saturday on the Democratic Underground site, Velvet Revolution promoted an article accusing Murphy of “fraud” for his role earlier this year in the National Bloggers Club.

Formed in February at the annual “Blog Bash” during the Conservative Political Action Conference, the club honored Andrew Breitbart with one of its first awards and has helped defend bloggers targeted by Kimberlin’s lawsuits and other harassment. During last week’s Republican National Convention, the club co-sponsored a “Blog Bash” that featured former RNC chairman Haley Barbour and a guest list that included Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner, Amy Kremer of Tea Party Express, author Katie Pavlich and CNN contributor Dana Loesch.

Kimberlin, who spent 17 years in federal prison for his role in a weeklong bombing spree that terrorized an Indiapolis suburb, has gained renewed notoriety for his “lawfare” harassment of conservative bloggers. In May, Kimberlin and his associate Neal Rauhauser were among those identified by Patrick “Patterico” Frey as suspected of being involved in a “SWATting” hoax that sent police to Frey’s residence.

In June, 85 Republican members of Congress signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting an investigation of the use of “SWATting” as a political intimidation tactic:

Investigators have concluded that the majority of SWAT-ting cases utilize voice over Internet (VOIP) connections between the suspect’s computer and a distant telephone network, and then dialing 911. This enables the suspect to falsify their identifying information, such as their telephone number and address, and make it nearly impossible for emergency dispatchers to identify or track the true origin of the call, or even pin-point calls from VOIP connections.
Some of these calls involve embellished schemes, including armed suspects and hostages, and in some instances, the caller claims that he has just killed someone. Moreover, the caller knowingly uses the identifying information of another person, who is usually an adversary of the caller. This elaborate hoax is all done with the goal of having law enforcement swarm the home of the caller’s foe, which only incites fear in and tarnishes the reputation of an innocent person.
Even worse, SWAT-ting is quickly becoming a scare tactic used against political bloggers, essentially stifling those bloggers’ First Amendment rights. Just last month, a popular blogger in the state of Georgia, Erick Erickson, became the latest victim of SWAT-ting. During the Erickson’s family dinner, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Erickson’s home after receiving a 911 call reporting an accidental shooting that appeared to have come from Erickson’s address.

In 2010, Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution non-profit launched an “Indict Breitbart” campaign, accusing the Internet news entrepreneur of criminality. Breitbart fired back with a 3,600-word article by Mandy “Liberty Chick” Nagy that exposed Kimberlin’s criminal past as a major drug smuggler who became notorious as Indiana’s “Speedway Bomber.”

In 1981, Kimberlin was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison, but served only about a third of that sentence before his release in 2001. Within four years, Kimberlin had formed two non-profits — Velvet Revolution and the Justice Through Music Project — that have collected more than $2 million in donations, including contributions from the Tides Foundation, the Barbra Streisand Foundation and the Heinz Foundation.

Last year, Kimberlin’s online efforts were augmented by his alliance with Neal Rauhauser, a consultant to Democrat candidates who was a speaker at the 2010 Netroots Nation conference sponsored by the liberal Daily Kos site. Rauhauser has described his role as “solving problems in the social media work space for political campaigns and causes.” Several conservatives have begun to suspect that Kimberlin and Rauhauser are part of a Democrat-backed attempt to impede conservative New Media efforts in the 2012 election cycle, replicating in many ways the 2010 online harassment campaign against Tea Party activists that became notorious as “TwitterGate.”

Rauhauser has a habit of promoting farfetched conspiracy theories. When Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner was caught in a cybersex scandal last year, Rauhauser (writing at Daily Kos under his “Stranded Wind” alias) claimed that Weiner was the victim of an Oklahoma-based “Christian Infowar Militia.”

More recently, Rauhauser has accused Kimberlin’s critics of being part of elaborate conspiracies. In February, Rauhauser sent to law enforcement agencies a massive cache of documents with a summary article titled, “Breitbart’s ISR Cell?” That article alleged that Andrew Breitbart and others, including Frey, were part of an organized plot involving the security firm HBGary.

In June, Rauhauser sent a series of e-mails to a Republican congressional staffer asserting that the SWATting of conservative bloggers were part of a “complex fabrication from the Breitbart camp.” Rauhauser accused Breitbart.com contributor Brandon Darby of being the “true source” of the illegal fake 911 calls. Rauhauser subsequently forwarded those e-mails to some of Darby’s associates, along with a thousand-word document that outlined a bizarre conspiracy theory involving Darby as well as the GOP consulting firm Hynes Communications.

Raushauser’s mention of the firm, run by conservative New Media strategist Patrick Hynes, was apparently an effort to involve the Romney campaign in a smear against Darby and others on Rauhauser’s enemies list. This connect-the-dots tactic has now been extended to Murphy, who joined the Romney campaign in June after working for two months as a volunteer with the National Bloggers Club.

The article highlighted Saturday by Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution was written by Alex Brant-Zawadzki, a Huffington Post blogger and graduate student at the University of San Francisco. Brant-Zawadzki has frequently assailed the Tea Party movement as “neo-Nazis” and “teabaggers.”

Brant-Zawadzki’s article (“Romney Staffer Committing Charitable Fraud“) refers to the American Liberty Alliance, a Tea Party-oriented project launched by Eric Odom in 2009 that was subsequently dissolved, as well as the National Bloggers Club, as points of association between Murphy and Ali Akbar, a conservative New Media strategist who is president of the National Bloggers Club. Brant-Zawadzki’s claim that the club is a “fraud” appears to be based entirely on the fact that the non-profit has not yet filed its first report with the Internal Revenue Service. Yet as Akbar has explained, the club was only organized in February of this year, and has up to one full year to report its activities to the IRS.

Brant-Zawadski has multiple online connections to Neal Rauhauser, and his article about Murphy was based in part on research by Ron Brynaert, who accused Brant-Zawadski of “ripping me off.” Brynaert, along with Kimberlin and Rauhauser, was named by Frey as suspected of complicity in Frey’s July 2011 SWATTing.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!

 

 


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Comments

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Doesn’t that get the Secret Service involved?

  • John Stephens

    Unless someone tells them not to. That someone needs to think about the future, as I doubt President Romney is going to let it go as “just business”.

  • PaulLemmen

    Nice of you to cover-up Ali’s criminal past and his unrepentant behaviors. The NBC has up to a year to file their paperwork, however, EVERY charity MUST provide their EIN and copies of all filings as well as their IRS status to ANYONE who asks. This has not been done. No answer to me, to Ladd, to Jerry Wilson, to the Impolite Canadian, to the Liberal Grouch and many more. This is not the way to act if you have nothing to hide. Answer the questions, show the documents and that will shut everyone up.

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  • blofeld42

    I flipped through the DU comments. They mostly looked like sock puppet accounts.

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  • http://twitter.com/CryingWolfeBlog CryingWolfeBlog

    What a great post. All of the proof scrubbed out of the Daily Kos link. Nothing like being there when it happened..
    .

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    Liar. Liar. Pants on fire. I have never compared Tea Party members to neo-nazis, I reported that neo-nazis were attracted to the tea party. And I don’t think I ever called them teabaggers outside of ONE tweet. You’re a libelous discursive punk.

    NBC repeatedly calls itself a 501(c)3 but it is not. That is true. Whether or not mr. akbar “plans” to file.

  • LouAnnWatson

    can’t you get someone to put ethylene glycol in kimberlin’s apple juice? just tell him it’s organic.

  • LouAnnWatson

    one tweet makes you guilty

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    Actually, no. Or at least not guilty of “repeatedly” doing so, as RSM falsely and libelously claims. It was a mistake and I learned that and I went on to report dozens of stories on the tea party where I “repeatedly” tell ppl to take the tea party seriously.

    RSM thinks you’re such simple automatons that all he has to say is “teabaggers” and “Huffington Post” and that automatically discredits me. Hell, even I treat the tea party with more respect than that.

    You want to see my credentials? My Teadentials, as it were? Ask Deborah Johns. Ask Kelly Eustis. Ask Robin Stublen. Ask Paul Lemmen. I don’t attack you, I attack those who take advantage of you.

    He ALSO proves my point by acknowledging that NBC is not a non-profit – and apparently hasn’t even FILED yet.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    “credenTeals” might have been a better choice…

  • Wombat_socho

    I don’t think you understand how 501(c)(3)s work.

  • Wombat_socho

    Either way, writing for the PuffHo doesn’t exactly make you a reliable source on this side of the fence.

  • MrPaulRevere

    That DU thread was a real hoot, it didn’t take long before they starting going on about ‘Weinergate’, Brandon Darby and of the kooky ancillary rubbish they are obsessed with. Congrats Alex, you are their new hero.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    I don’t think you know how 501(c)3 is written out.

    Sorry. Cheap shot. Seriously though, you may be right. Enlighten me. We can make this a teachable moment.

  • Wombat_socho

    Get stuffed. I do this sort of thing for a living, so I’m not about to dish out free advice to rude strangers on the internet.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    Yes, yes, I know. BELIEVE me I know. But a platform is a platform. It’s not like I picked Huffington Post over the Washington Post.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    I hope not. For their sake.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    Hey now. I’m not… strange. 8-)

  • http://profiles.google.com/dianna.deeley Dianna Deeley

    It’s a 501(c)3 if it applied for and was awarded that status. NBC has – yes, indeed – a whole year to file its first 990-PF.

    You can’t say NBC is not a 501(c)3. You may clamor for an interim report, but until May 15, 2013, NBC is in the clear.

    Sorry.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    With all due respect – I can say National Bloggers Club is not a 501(c)3 because the IRS says National Bloggers Club is not a 501(c)3

    (updated Aug 13)
    http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    If nothing else, I DISTINGUISH neo-Nazis FROM the Tea Party.

    Notice how I say they wanted to “INFILTRATE” it? To infiltrate is to furlatively gain access to something with insidious intent. As in, something you are NOT a part of.

    I never say, or even imply, that Tea party members are neo-Nazis.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/alex-brantzawadzki/tea-party-militants-nazis_b_437605.html

  • Wombat_socho

    As our Japanese comrades say, “Yes, but also, no.”
    You should take the time to read the relevant IRS pubs and avoid further beclowning yourself.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dianna.deeley Dianna Deeley

    I’m sorry, but you’re relying upon Publication 78. That will not be updated for months, probably not until the end of September, at best, and even that will be behind, in the first place (I am a nonprofit worker); in the second, applicants are not listed, and I’ve never – in all the years I’ve been verifying nonprofit status – found the IRS’ charitable division to be particularly pleased to hand information out.

    If you have someone who would actually answer “Has an application been submitted?” I’d love to meet that person. I know people who have asked about their own applications and been told they could not have it until a determination was made.

    You may want more transparency. I certainly don’t fault that desire. But you’re far premature to be screaming “FRAUD!”

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    But you neglect to posit how many ‘neo-nazis’ have managed to infiltrate the Huffington Post, which would probably be a rather easier and more remunerative target.

    Cheers

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  • http://twitter.com/mcolr Becca Lower

    This reminds me of the attempted (and failed) attack: “Mitt Romney has a bank account in exotic, foreign banks.” You take something that’s perfectly legal and legitimate, but phrase it in a way that sounds sinister. Then you use that false narrative as a cudgel to beat the target with.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    You are absolutely right. But it is my understanding that several people have contacted the IRS to ask that very question, and each has been told that there is no EIN that corresponds to anyone involved in National Bloggers Club.

    In March NBC referred to itself as a 501(c)3 – status pending.

    You can see when IRS records were last updated. It’s been six months. Nada.

    If you see a man punch someone, you know that man is guilty of battery. If you see a man steal a woman’s purse, you know he’s guilty of theft. I see an organization calling itself a non-profit and 501(c)3 (status pending) even though it has yet to be awarded non-profit status and doesn’t appear to have filed anything with the IRS – who have said they’re starting an investigation into this – then I personally feel it’s safe and fair to say that organization is committing charitable fraud.

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  • JeffS

    An excellent article, Stacy! The fact that the BK-NR cooperative is stepping into the electoral fray is not surprising, but is important to publicize.

    And it’s important because cockroaches hate the light.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dianna.deeley Dianna Deeley

    No, it’s not. I’ve seen organizations with issued letters from the IRS who were not listed. And the answer you received is the answer organizations (which have, indeed, submitted applications) receive.

    Thanks for playing.

  • Ragnar Danneskjold

    And Bain has 12 major offices worldwide, as I recall, serving businesses in dozens and dozens of countries. It would be absurd if the responsible principals “did not” have foreign bank accounts in addition to their American accounts.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki Alex Brant-Zawadzki

    “Too easily overlooked is the fact that the majority of the Tea Party movement are everyday Americans. We hear terms like racists, militants, rednecks, birthers, deathers and secessionists applied to the movement; meanwhile television cameras focus on incendiary signs, offensive images, and the occasional semi-automatic weapon. But most are decent, hardworking, practical folk who believe their country is collapsing around them. They are the kind of people who can’t afford to take a day off work or fly to DC for a last-minute rally. And they are the people to whom the left ought to pay attention.”
    - alex brant-zawadzki
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brantzawadzki/lets-get-serious-about-te_b_501756.html

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