The Other McCain

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‘MalaysiaGate’ Update: Still More Questions Than Answers (So Far)

Posted on | March 3, 2013 | 9 Comments

Since I raised questions about progressive blogger/consultant Jerome Armstrong’s role in MalaysiaGate, a few sources have started to supply helpful information and background. Frankly, I was shocked when former Raw Story editor Ron Brynaert — certainly no ally of the Right, nor previously a friend to me — started Tweeting to me his own research into Armstrong’s activities.

Credit where credit is due, however, so I must thank Brynaert for his finds, including a photo from Jerome Armstrong’s Photostream showing Armstrong, conservative Josh Trevino and two journalists (British and German, I believe) meeting with a former top Malaysian government official during a June 2008 visit to Malaysia. (If it’s been deleted, don’t worry: Screencapped it already)

Armstrong’s Twitter account has been silent since Thursday, and his site was offline last time I checked. Meanwhile, Brynaert pointed out, it appears that Armstrong tried to scrub from MyDD a July 2008 post he wrote called “Crazy Times in Malaysia.” Ah, but the cache is still online and, even if Jerome could find some way to delete the cache, too late — screencapped that, too.

My plan had been to do a whole new article about all this, but then the phone started ringing with sources wanting to discuss the story, so the full article will have to wait until tomorrow. However . . .

It appears that, while Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed focused her Friday article on the nearly $400,000 that was reported to the Justice Department by conservative blogger/consultant Josh Trevino (in compliance with the Foreign Agent Registration Act), Trevino’s slice of the Malaysia P.R. action may have been substantially less than half the pie.

In other words, Trevino appears to have been a subcontractor to consultant David All, who was in turn paid by the D.C.-based firm APCO Worldwide. A source familar with online consulting practices — but with no specific direct knowledge of David All’s operation — guessed that if Trevino got about $400,000, All’s contract with APCO Worldwide was probably worth at least $2 million.

“Money trickles down,” this source said.

And here’s the big thing: There is reason to believe that Jerome Armstrong was involved with David All’s Malaysia P.R. operation before Trevino was brought in. When I shared that information with my online consulting source, he immediately speculated that Armstrong’s cut of the action must have been larger than the amount paid to Trevino. “That’s just how this s–t works,” my source said, i.e., the second guy brought in on the deal would normally be paid more than the third guy in.

But that’s just speculation, and so far neither David All nor Jerome Armstrong have said anything about what they were paid in the Malaysia P.R. deal. The only reason we know the details of Josh Trevino’s involvement is that Trevino filed his F.A.R.A. compliance form with the Justice Department and, so far as I’ve been able to learn, neither All nor Armstrong have filed a F.A.R.A. report.

For background, here is Rosie Gray’s Friday article at BuzzFeed, and here is Ben Smith’s 2011 Politico article that named Jerome Armstrong as a participant. Nobody has yet accused anyone involved of breaking any law, so “MalaysiaGate” may not technically be what you would call a full-blown scandal. However, another source — not involved in the story, and not a consultant — said the ethical issues “give me the heeby-jeebies.”

Yeah, me, too. And if I had $389,724.70, maybe I could buy something to cure the heeby-jeebies.

Maybe “Vis Numar” can afford the cure, eh?



9 Responses to “‘MalaysiaGate’ Update: Still More Questions Than Answers (So Far)”

  1. BeccaJLower
    March 3rd, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

    RT @smitty_one_each: TOM ‘MalaysiaGate’ Update: Still More Questions Than Answers (So Far) #TCOT

  2. SMJanicze2
    March 3rd, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

    RT @smitty_one_each: TOM ‘MalaysiaGate’ Update: Still More Questions Than Answers (So Far) #TCOT

  3. Dan Levitan
    March 4th, 2013 @ 12:50 am

    So….does this mean Trevino did something wrong, or is it All and Armstrong that are the ones who did it wrong?

  4. jsn2
    March 4th, 2013 @ 5:14 am

    This story is a great insigit into how consultants/journalists scam the public with their bought and paid for opinions, but it won’t go anywhere even if Armstrong, Vas Numar, Swami Jerome, whatever he calls himself these days, never registered as a foreign agent.Tempest in a teapot is all this will be because the players are minor figures and leftists are involved in the deception. For the most part, the liberal press will ignore liberal blogger blood in the water.

  5. Bob Belvedere
    March 4th, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    Thank you, Stacy, for keeping on this story.

    Also: a belated ‘Thank You’ for inclusion in your latest round of HEADLINES.

  6. Monkeys Model
    March 4th, 2013 @ 10:31 am

    This story has legs.

  7. Katie Scarlet
    March 4th, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    I think it’s an equal opportunity cooties fest. The amount of money involved is unbelievable.

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