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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 17, 2014 3:00am-4:01am PDT

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there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. so the "boston globe" ran a story this week revealing information that we are not supposed to know. it's information that the fbi at least does not want anyone to know. the globe this week reported the name of an fbi agent who was involved in a controversial fatal shooting about a year ago. we reported pretty extensively on that shooting over the course of that year, specifically on the fact that the fbi really only ever investigates itself when fbi agents shoot people. they only ever investigate themselves and they always, always exonerate themselves. in the last 151 times that an fbi agent has shot someone and
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the fbi has investigated that shooting, the fbi has found that shooting to be kosher and has exonerated itself 151 times out of 151 times. they almost always are the only ones to investigate their own shootings and they always find themselves to be justified every single time and so it was interesting and newsworthy when a local state prosecutor in florida decided to look into a shooting where an fbi agent killed someone in florida a little less than a year ago. it's very rare to have a law enforcement authority other than the fbi to look into a shooting by the fbi. here's the surprise. when that state prosecutor in florida looked into that shooting and released this report on what happened, that state prosecutor inadvertently released the name of the fbi agent who did that shooting. they weren't trying to. they were in fact trying hard not to residentiese lee lease t
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agent's name. this is how they explained it. they said the name. fbi agent was, quote, confirmed but unredacting the prosecutor's report. a process made simple because the blackout technique used to cover the names was faulty. before the globe ever published their story a vaguely con spir ra to recall website also found the fbi agent's name in this report and published it. because when that state prosecutor did the report that fbi agent's name was not properly blacked out. the website did it first, then the globe did it, today the globe was able to publish this editorial calling for the release of more information from that shooting. once they got the name of the fbi agent who pulled the trigger they were able to find out that that specific fbi agent has a troubling use of force record as a police officer from before the time the fbi hired him. in truth, that has raised some
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new, important questions about that fbi shooting and why that shooting was judged to be okay. and all of this has happened simply by the technological freak show of the fact that they were able to get his name out of a document where the author of that document thought that the name was redacted and it wasn't in there anymore, and that is fascinating it turns out about that particular story and that particular shooting and the fbi fengttivelily giving themselves carte blanche to shoot whoever they want without any oversight in this country. it is part of a bigger trend, a bigger stupid trend about redactions. redactions in general. a redacted document usually looks something like this. i think this -- it's hard to tell but i think this is from the david wildsteen's documents. i happen to have this laying around. this is generally what redacted documents look like. documents get released in a redacted form like this, sometimes by regular people, frequently by government
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agencies, sometimes by lawyers because for whatever reason you need to release some of the information in a given document but you don't want to release all of the information in that document. the people receiving that document, if they can effectively unredact it, if they can read what you tried to black out, that means you're not doing it right. and here's how a failure like that can happen. this is what happened this week. this is the 161 page report from the state prosecutor in florida. contained lots of redactions. this is about the fbi shooting but whoever redacted the documents in that office, whoever was clicking the mouse to hide the sensitive information they didn't want disclosed, they used two different methods to do it. one of the methods on the left, thick black lines over some linings of text. their other method you see on the right on the image in the report. they put the pink boxes over stuff to block out whatever was under those pink boxes.
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those pink boxes are problematic because instead of removing the material they're just covering it up. all the secret information is still there, it's just under the pink box. that means that if you have the right computer program, you can remove the box around see what's under there. you can take this supposedly redacted diagram of the room where that fbi shooting, took place and, look, one by one you can remove the pink boxes. oh, look, once they're gone, turns out that this diagram contained the fbi agent's name. it looks smudgy here, that's because we have blurred it out even though it has been reported by other media outlets but the name is clear. this is a common redaction mistake. hiding something is not the same as actually redacting it. from the same report, this is the purported confession the suspect had reportedly started to write before he was shot and killed by the fbi agent.
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big parts of that confession, the whole thing, was intended to be redacted. with two clicks of the mouse using normally grayed cheap office software, the whole thing is there for the whole world to see. there are lots of variations on that same bad redaction mistake. this is one of the most common ways to screw it up. let's say you thought it should be classified that all men are created equal. let's say you wanted to publish this document but you wanted to redablgt those words. a common way people think to do that is to cover up those words by blocking them out digitally. covering them up with a line that you turn black but, again, even though those words now have something sitting on top of them on this document in the form of that black line, that doesn't mean that the words themselves are not still on the page. if you want to see what the words are under the black line, select and copy the whole line, including the redacted part, copy it, paste it m a word
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document as text and tada, there it is, all including all men are created equally. that cut and paste redacted space isn't just for doofuses playing around with the getty'sburg agrees at home. that has resulted in the nation of brittain ghifg up information. "the new york times" accidentally revealing the name of an nsa agent. famously back in 2005 that exact same cut and paste mistake led the pentagon to release the names of agents accused of shooting people in iraq. in the same method they failed to redact secret information about the military's rules of engagement at a checkpoint near the baghdad airport. that rash of bad redactions prompted this helpful piece of
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advice on one good software blog. quote, if you close your eyes you don't actually disappear. sometimes it seems like anything that can be done by computer can be undone by computer as well. so, if you do really want to keep something secret, should we just go back to the old low tech scratching stuff out by hand method? it is true that that will avoid the problem. that was this, okay? it's true that avoids the computer problems, accidentally revealing computer secrets that are copied and pasted into a computer document. we have also learned that it is very easy to screw up the black it out by hand method as well. when news broke that the republican majority leader in the wisconsin state assembly was being charged with felony sexual assault, the redacted criminal complaint in that sexual assault case was made public by the police department in wisconsin. you see all the black lines,
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they're redactions. because of the connection to the high ranking political leader, that redangted complaint was not just posted by the local police department but it was posted online by wisconsin police department. the problem was even though it was blacked out by hand, you pretty easily could see right through whatever marker they used to try to conceal the information. the marker that they used was not dark enough. which meant that the document accidently revealed the names of witnesses, and the name of the alleged abuse victim who did not want to be named. you could see her name through the supposed redaction. that magic marker mistake in wisconsin also ended up roping in one of wisconsin's sitting united states senators. they not only disclosed the name of the alleged victims and they revealed that one. people informed was the u.s. senator himself, senator ron johnson. after first refusing to comment on that scandal, senator johnson
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after this redaction thing happened he finally had to admit that, yes, he had known about the allegations all this time while the a rejed perpetrator was rising through the ranks of the wisconsin republican party but he said the alleged slim not wanted him to say anything about it. all of that had to happen because the police department didn't buy a second sharpy. they didn't use a dark enough marker or go over it enough times to actually obscure the very sensitive information in that criminal complaint. you could read right through it, johnson's office, as in senator ron johnson. so there are two ways too look at this issue technologically. if you get your hands on some official document and you're trying to figure out what's been redacted, there are a whole bunch of ways to look for that because it turns out people are making lots of errors when you try to look for stuff. unreddacting a thing.
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on computer and hands we're terrible at it. if you turn it around the other technological lesson is if you do want to keep something secret, could not make one of these common mistakes. whistle blowers, local police officers, what is the gold standard for redaction? i'll tell you. i am not kidding. if you want to make sure nobody ever sees the information that you do not want them to have, invest in an exacto life. we asked the founder about tech dirt about redaction best practices, he told us that the exacto knife method wherein you do this, it means cut the information physically off the lines, shred or mince the secrets and then scan this remaining document and, viola, now you have a digital copy that literally cannot be unredacted
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because interests nothing under the blank space to unredact. it may seem time consuming and backward to do it this way, but imagine how good you will feel when you never accidentally reveal the name of an fbi agent who shot someone or secret military information about the iraq war or senator johnson knew. if you weren't trying to disclose that stuff, here's the way. turns out if you close your eyes, you don't actually disappear. it turns out there is a potential big change coming right now from an unexpected place. it's change coming from something that the states have legally been able to keep secret from all of us since the very beginning of this country and it may right now for an unexpected reason finally be about to change. it is something we are absolutely used to being kept secret from us. for centuries now and it may be about to change. that story is our big story now. you won't hear it anywhere else. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn.
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have you ever heard of something called the black hood law? these are halloween costume photos. even that is a goofy costume, maybe a little scary. maybe not so scary. black hood laws. refer to ancient practice of putting a black hood over the face of an executioner, a person whose job it is to chop off someone's head, carry out execution for the state. black hood laws are meant to
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ensure no one finds out the identity of the person literally or figuratively under the black hood. black hood laws prevent we the public from knowing who works as an executioner for the state. the laws make it illegal to disclose the name of anyone that works on an execution team. people involved in executions are doing a very sensitive government job. it may be hard to get anyone to do that job, if everybody knew who it was that did it. legally, constitutionally, the effort to keep secret those people's identities is in conflict with the right that the public has to be able to see and report on the way the government kills people. the public through the media has to be able to witness executions. they can't be secret. they're done in our name so there have to be reporters there to witness what happens and report it to the public. we have a long tradition in this
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country of having media witnesses at executions. you see reporters come out and do a readout of what they saw to other reporters and to the public. in idaho, the spokesman review newspaper recently dug up an official pass, signed by the local prison warden, local pass sent to the idaho statesman in 1909, essentially a permit, hall pass, to allow this reporter to cover an execution. this is your pass to get in and see the hanging. when states got shy about executions, when california tried to keep people from seeing lethal injections, the federal courts decided squarely in the media favor, capital punishment requires the media to be there as representatives of the public so the public knows if executions are fairly and humanely administered in the words of the court. so there are two competing long
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standing and fairly reasonable traditions and rights that executioners should have their privacy, don't get to know who they are, black hoods, but the public hat right to know and media has the right to witness what happens at executions. we get to know how the government kills people in our name. the conflict between those things in 2006, that was pushed to its limit in missouri, 2006 when the great st. louis post dispatch, one of the great all american papers, post dispatch published an expose' in the sunday paper, revealing the history of the lead executioner, the doctor who had devised the lethal injection system and supervised its use to kill more than 50 people. some prisoners in missouri sued over the way lethal injections were carried out. the state admitted in the lawsuit records of how much and which drugs were used on which
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prisoners and which executions, the state admitted its reported weren't terribly accurate. in the protests, the doctor running the executions had to be deposed in court. they called him dr. john doe, set him behind a screen so nobody could see him, but his testimony was amazing. the doctor admitted that he was dyslexic, sometimes confused the names of drugs, that he sometimes swapped numbers around, he said there was no actual written protocol for how the prisoners were executed in the state, but that he personally decided what to do, in part based on his reading the look on the prisoner's face. the judge responded by putting a halt to all executions in the state, issued a temporary moratorium. then jeremy kohler, reporter, was able to figure out who the doctor was, despite the screen, despite the john doe thing, despite the lengths the state
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went to to keep the doctor's name secret. when they figured out who he was, they were able to figure out that the state's main executioner had been sued for malpractice more than 20 times. he had been banned from several hospitals in the state. he had recently been publicly disciplined by missouri state medical board. was that outing the executioner violation of the long-standing black hood principle that the public job ought to be a secret one? or if the form of execution is a medical procedure, is the medical professional that oversees intravenous overdose killing of the prisoner, is that person part of a weapon? are they part and parcel of the execution itself? an interesting question. can we not really witness an excuse any more unless we know if the guy inserting the needle has ever done anything like that before? that groundbreaking story from st. louis dispatch came out in 2006. the next legislative term in 2007, missouri lawmakers
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strengthened the black hood law in a way that made it harder to discern identities of the state execution team, and would let that team seek damages if their names were exposed. after the law was passed in 2007, in 2008, the post dispatch again published another story, naming another member of the execution team. turns out from that reporting the nurse on the execution team was himself on probation, after plea bargaining down two felony charges, including one for stalking. when missouri wanted to send the nurse to help in the execution of timothy mcveigh, the nurse had to get permission from his own probation officer to cross state lines. so the press in missouri has been unafraid of the state trying to keep this stuff secret. you should subscribe to your local paper if you live in missouri. now, the state of missouri has gone not just one step further in this saga, they've gone one
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step weirder. the state of missouri decided membership of the execution team, where it is illegal to disclose names, membership of the execution team now includes the pharmacy where the state has its drugs made for its executions and also all employees of that pharmacy. this is a very weird variation en corporations are people. in this case, corporations are people who execute people, and they therefore have to be kept secret under the black hood with other more human members of the execution team. pharmacies are people, too. that adjustment in missouri state law, which happened a few months ago, occurred in response to difficulty missouri and other states are having getting their hands on lethal injection drugs now. the fact that those drugs are hard to come by forced states to turn to new unregulated sources to get their drugs. apparently state of missouri prefers to keep that secret. that change to keep secret
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manufacturer and supplier the means where they kill people is the subject of a brand new lawsuit, filed by three largest papers in the state and the associated press and guardian newspaper, they're suing missouri on first amendment grounds, arguing news organizations have to be allowed access to information about missouri executions. with the way we kill people now, it includes information about the weapon used to do the killing, includes information about the drugs, specifically they're asking the state disclose the name, chemical composition, concentration, source, and quality of the drugs used to execute prisoners in missouri. there's already a fascinating legal precedent here that the press and by extension the public are able to know. we are allowed to witness what happens in an execution. also executioners are entitled to a certain degree of secrecy. we've already got this fascinating precedent in the conflict. in addition to the conflict,
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there's some urgency. two and a half weeks ago, we have a botched execution in oklahoma, a man they were killing, finally died of a heart attack, 45 minutes after the execution started and after they tried to call it off. there hasn't been another execution since then. but the next one scheduled is going to be in missouri, on wednesday, on a man with a rare condition affecting his blood vessels, using drugs produced and supplied by an unknown source. that execution is set for wednesday technically, one minute after midnight tuesday night. that's when the next execution in the country is supposed to happen, it is supposed to happen in missouri. the lawsuit was filed in missouri yesterday. joining us now, jeremy kohler, st. louis post dispatch that wrote the piece, that led the department of corrections to hire a new doctor to oversee executions and led them to strengthen the black hood law which mr. kohler and his newspaper promptly ignored. mr. kohler, thank you very much for being here.
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i appreciate your time tonight. >> thank you, rachel. >> this is a long saga, interesting one. i should ask you if i misstated any of the way that came to be or any of that time line? is that the way it happened? >> that's exactly how it happened. >> you did this reporting in 2006 that led you to release the name of the doctor involved in the executions. do you mind if i ask you how you figured out who he was? >> there are similarities to the segment you did earlier. there were just enough clues left in public record i was able to triangulate who the doctor was. i knew it was a general surgeon. i knew he was of a certain age. i knew, the big clue, i knew he had been disciplined by the state for failing to tell hospitals about malpractice cases, and once i took all of those factors, there was only one doctor in the state. i was able to take that name to a number of sources who confirmed it. >> did you have qualms, did the editors have qualms about
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releasing the name, not necessarily legally, obviously you knew what you were doing there, but in terms of this long standing principle that executioners tend to be guys under black hoods we don't tend to know who they are? >> right. well, the day it started was the day the judge actually put the moratorium on the death penalty. my editor said we have to do a profile of this guy. i agree. i went to the state and said can you set up an interview with the executioner. they said no, we're not going to do that. so it became a challenge for me to find out who the doctor was. we certainly did have some robust conversations in the newsroom about is it worth it to put this guy out there. as you said, he is doing a sensitive job, and we're not just going to reject the state's argument that he could be in danger if we named him, but in the end there were so many red flags with this guy, we had to put his name out there.
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ultimately we felt the same about the nurse later on. >> as we have moved into a way of executing prisoners that is -- i don't think it is a medical procedure, a medicalized procedure, there are medical personnel involved, there is an interesting question whether it is a qualitatively different thing to be a medical professional involved in something sensitive about this, calibrating the drugs, deciding drug combinations, inserting ivs, monitoring iv lines. if something is qualitatively different than someone that pulls the guillotine, the involvement in the execution process, i am starting to feel like we're in new legal territory in terms of whether or not medical professionals ought to be considered execution team members in the way we thought of them in the past. i don't know if you grappled with that at all. >> we have grappled with it. these people were putting themselves out against the grain of their profession. some were risking, working on
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executions are working on credentials being stripped from licensing boards and organizations, so we don't take it lightly when considering putting that story out there. >> the next execution in missouri, the first one since oklahoma, they won't disclose origin of the drugs. the prisoner scheduled to be killed has a rare medical condition, one thing for them to claim that, it is another to see the state twice change the planned drug protocol for execution because of his medical condition. his lawyer wants the execution videotaped to prove to the world what it was like when they killed him. seems like a lot is going on around this planned execution. do you have a sense whether it is likely to go ahead as planned? >> i don't try to guess on these things, the state had six in a row executed on a day they planned. there have been countless challenges the last couple
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months, they have been able to overcome those. i don't see a reason why they wouldn't be able to continue. the courts have essentially upheld that process. >> jeremy kohler, investigative reporter for post dispatch. this is landmark stuff when it happened. going back to the first amendment case, the landmark even brighter in hindsight. thank you for being here. skon kbrat two lagss for your work on this. >> thank you, rachel. >> lots to come. militarized spca units and one candidate for one state and one serving governor in another all mixed together. stay with us. america's newest real estate brand is all ready the brand of the year.
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in 44 of the 50 united states, the top law enforcement official is elected by the people. in tennessee it's the state supreme court that picks the ag. in maine, accountable to the state legislature. in four states, the attorney general is appointed by the state's governor. so when it is the actions of the governor that might attract attention of the top law enforcement officer in the state, what happens in those four states where the ag owes the governor for his or her job? hard question, right? turns out it is a live question. that story is next. kills weeds without harming innocent lawns. guaranteed.
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$449 a month for 24 months. see your lexus dealer. in a sleepy county in western new jersey, local prosecutors decided to prosecute the local county sheriff. a county of only 100,000 people. even in a county this small, they don't have all that many public officials. here in hunterdon county, the county prosecutor was indicting the sheriff. it was kind of a big deal for that county.
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they were also former members of an oddly militarized branch of the spca, had tear gas, night vision goggles, 65,000 rounds of ammunition including sniper ammunition for the sniper rifle they purchased. the spca, like the cat police. at the sheriff's office, they were making fake police badges, so their friends could look official. the guy who has one of the fake badges wasn't a member of the sheriff's department, but court records at the time show the employees let the guy ride, has let sheriff employees ride on his plane and know gave him a fake badge. see what this gets you into. one of the officers was fighting drunk driving, when he was hired, he crashed his suv into a guardrail, taken off running through the fields and forests from the police trying to catch him. and it is not totally out of the question for people in law enforcement to have a questionable incident like that in the background, but that was a real problem at this sheriff's
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office, because the sheriff apparently let at least one of her officers do his own background check when he was hired, which would have been extra convenient for the drunk driving crash, the guardrail, running through the field guy. it was nuts. so the local prosecutors brought the sheriff up on a variety of charges. indictment happened in may 2010, four years ago. then the state attorney general came in from trenton and stopped the prosecution. fired the local prosecutors that brought the case, the lead prosecutor says they took all of the case files and evidence back to the state capital and ended it. whether or not this is why, it turns out the sheriff getting prosecuted, turned out to be an important political ally of newly elected governor of the state. the guy with the fake badge turned out to be an important donor to the governor just elected, and the attorney general that came in to get rid of that case, was appointed by
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the governor. that story has always been creepy. today, the associated press obtained and published what appear to be notes at the time the prosecution was going on by one of the prosecutors involved in it. when the hunterdon county realized attorney general was come in and quash the prosecution, local prosecutors kept notes in the event it is necessary to explain my handling of the case, protect my reputation or my job. that prosecutor quit in protest, is suing the state. another prosecutor fired is also suing the state. the fight over what happened in hunterdon new jersey is on-going, fascinating, and an important reminder there is no independent attorney general office in new jersey. the attorney general is the senior law enforcement officer in the state, like in every
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state, but in new jersey, serves at the pleasure of the governor. only four states it is true, new jersey is one of them. usually doesn't make news and usually doesn't feel like it matters, until all of a sudden it feels like it matters. questions about potential criminal behavior are being asked about the attorney general's boss, about the governor and his administration. is the ag going to look into that? the ag the governor appointed? last year, published the beginning of a tough series of stories about one republican governor and one republican candidate for governor, charlie baker, leading republican candidate for governor in massachusetts, also works as an investment firm in massachusetts. in 2011, charlie baker made a $10,000 donation to new jersey state republican committee. seven months after that, charlie baker's investment firm got notified they were getting $25 million influx of funds from new jersey pension fund. new jersey had made the decision
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to invest a ton of money with charlie baker's firm, right after charlie baker gave a big donation to new jersey republican party. now, this has become a political issue for charlie baker as he runs for governor in massachusetts, he is having a hard time of it anyway. boston globe has been all over this story since it broke, charlie baker has been answering questions about it daily. it seems to be dogging him at this early point in his campaign. in new jersey, though, the real problem is that new jersey has a very clear, short strict easy to understand law that says your firm cannot get investments of new jersey pension money if you are giving political donations to people and parties in new jersey. charlie baker's defense so far is that he doesn't have anything to do with that firm, doesn't work for that investment firm in a way that should trigger the new jersey law. here is how charlie baker listed himself when he made the donation, listed himself as partner in the firm.
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if you're a partner in the firm, the law in new jersey is clear, you cannot give a donation and expect your firm to get any business from new jersey. after that reporting, including publishing this form, saying this looks illegal, charlie baker and his firm insisted even though he listed himself as partner, he does not mean that he is that kind of partner. the kind of partner that doesn't mean when we say partner. it is a whole different thing. when we say partner, we mean like buddy. you can see why charlie baker depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is with massachusetts press over this. this is not going well for him. what about the other side of the decision? what about the decision to award that multi-million dollar contract to mr. baker's firm after mr. baker made that donation? that shouldn't just be a question for mr. baker who gave the donation, it should be a question for new jersey, since new jersey is the one that gave the money. new jersey is where the law is so strict and so clear.
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look at the law. the division of investment shall not engage an investment management firm to provide investment management services for the benefit of the state or pension funds, shall terminate the contract of any investment management firm if within two years prior to such engagement or during term of such engagement, any payment to a political party covered by this policy has been made or paid by any investment management professional associated with such investment management firm. by which they mean someone that provides, quote, financial advisory or consultant services. that's how they define it in the lay. that law does not seem that complicated. commas are weird in legal language, other than that, not complicated. writing about this in fortune magazine, the finance editor there says there is a strong case new jersey's pay to play rules were violated here. if there were an independent top law enforcement officer in the state of new jersey, if there were an independent attorney
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general in new jersey, one might ask that person as an independent law enforcement official to look into it. right? new jersey doesn't have one of those people. so who do you go to to get an honest opinion on whether or not this is as illegal as it looks in the reporting, or as innocent as the christie administration and charlie baker insist it is. who do you go to for an independent law enforcement opinion. who will decide whether the law indeed is enforced on this matter? joining us now, statehouse reporter for new jersey "the record" paper. thank you for being here on a friday night. >> you're welcome. happy to be here. >> whose job is it to enforce new jersey's pay to play law? i don't even know who to ask. everybody i asked seems to be involved politically. >> in the case of this policy, department of treasury, which oversees the state investment council, which is the agency that managed new jersey's $76.7 billion pension fund. that's the agency that awarded
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this investment in late 2011. in fact, the number out there is 25 million. they bumped it down to 15 million. >> wanted to give more, the firm couldn't absorb it. >> it is the sixth fund of the firm that's been successful. it made new jersey's pension some money in this amount of time, and they softened it to 15 million. it would be department of treasury. >> if treasury is in effect the agency that made the decision to award the funds, how can they be expected to police the decision to award the funds? >> right. it is even a little -- there's another layer to it even. and you have to step back a second. a lot of pay to play in new jersey are politically connected law firms, engineering firms, accounting firms. the laws were written not necessarily with the sophisticated financial transactions in mind but netting the partners of a politically connected law firm getting lucrative contracts from state government. we have written about it. new jersey has had many pay to
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play scandals. the law requires the firms themself to disclose who among their ranks meets the definition of investment management professional and has made any contributions that potentially could be prohibited by the pay to play law. so there's a layer of self disclosure. then treasury would be policing itself against awarding an improper contract if that were the case. >> the treasury polices itself about awarding the contract, and the firm set to get $25 million from the state of new jersey is responsible for telling new jersey if it shouldn't? >> right. >> because -- >> so in this case, we press treasury on that specifically, and they have come back and said listen, they filled out the disclosure form, told us who the investment management were, he wasn't listed, his title maybe partner in marketing capacity,
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catalyst saying it is an error, that doesn't trigger pay to play law. >> insist rest row -- retroactively after they got the money. >> the amazing thing, the questions are interesting. it is amazing to see mr. baker and to lesser extent mr. christie twisting this issue and asserting their innocence. as somebody trying to report on this, the fact there is no next step, that there is no law enforcement authority to turn to on the subject who is not implicated on one side of it feels very open ended to me. do you feel like the legislature or anybody else may take it up in some way? >> that remains to be seen. another thing in the last few months, when frank lautenberg passed away, kiasu had been the attorney general. cory booker was elected.
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the acting attorney general has been in place. kevin odaud, the governor's chief of staff, was supposed to replace him. his name has come up as the bridge scandal unfolded. >> if he weren't in limbo, kevin odoud would be expected to enforce this against the guy that gave him the job. it is amazing to me. statehouse reporter for new jersey's "the record." it looks like a complicated story, i feel it is simple enough to understand it. thank you. >> you're welcome. >> lots more to come sclug ab important update of our top story last night. between 10 and 30 million people did descend on washington today, and we have the video to proffer it. it's going to blow your mind. that's next. stay with us. "hidden things." ok, why's that? well uhhh... surprise!!!
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we think of american presidential elections as big hairy deals. the logistics of making it possible for 240 million voting age adults in this country to get out to their polling place if they want to and cast their ballot. there are about 240 million people eligible to vote in this country. about 126 million people actually cast their ballots. the last time we elected a president. 120 million votes. that is a freaking huge number. and it is 1/5 the number of votes that were just cast in the elections in india.
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550 million votes in their election. and the results are going to cause a huge change in a country with a population of more than 1.2 billion people. the new prime minister of india, conservative, a hindu nationalist, india is a majority hindu country. there are sikhs, and other religious groups. when he was in charge in 2002 there was religious rioting between hindus and muslims that killed more than 1,000 people, mostly muslims. as a consequence of his behavior in office while the riots were happening the u.s. government decided to express its displeasure by banning him from obtaining a visa to enter the united states. that of course is a special kind of awkwardness now that he is about to be india's prime minister. india has a parliamentary system.
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his party won enough seats they can govern alone without coalition with any one. this massive election in the most populous democracy on the globe has produced a result people are calling the biggest turnover in power in india since the country became independent from britain in 1947. and that turn that we learned about today looks to be a turn to the right. stay with us. we have lots more ahead tonight. i'm sinora and this is my son, chris. i'm a messy person. i don't like cleaning. i love my son, but he never cleans up. always leaves a trail of crumbs behind. you're going to have a problem with getting a wife. uh, yeah, i guess. [ laughs ] this is ridiculous. christopher glenn! [ doorbell rings ] what is that? swiffer sweep & trap.
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>> we have an update on our top story from last night. operation american spring. get it, like the arab spring, but merican. operation american spring was planned as a massive protest in washington, d.c. the seat of obama communist kenyan power. there was a sister protest in bunkerville, nevada, home to let me tell you a thing i know about
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the negro rancher, cliven bundy. it was to remove from office, president obama, vice president biden, reid, and the leadership of congress by sheer force of bodies in washington they were going to get rid of the terrible government with the boot on the neck of all freedom loving americans. the organizers expected anywhere from 10 to 30 million people to join their cause in our nation's capital today. and today, there did appear to be slightly more than ten people. trying out in the bad weather to evict the federal government from washington today. in fact, somewhere between 10 people and 30 million people did show up. it was much closer to the lower end of the range they've spent time at the washington monument. went down to the mall. you know, impeach obama, don't tread on me, despite the resodding of the national mall it was not a crisis today at the national park service. the quote to "the washington times" probably best sums it up. quote, this is very
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disappointing." you know at least it rained. it would have been weird to have a beautiful spring day and have nobody show up. maybe next year they'll get their 30 million, you never know. or tomorrow. tomorrow, tomorrow, always a day away. keep faith. "weekends with alex witt" starts now. southern california remains a tinder box as thousands of firefighters look to get the upper hand on the wildfires. plus, heavy smoke posing new health scares this morning. the second leg. all eyes on derby winner, california chrome continuing its run for the triple crown. we'll go live to the preakness stakes in baltimore. hamming up it? don't miss my interview with don draper and his new role on the baseball diamond. brown versus the board of education 60 years after the landmark decision, have our nation's classrooms taken a step in the wrong direction? >> so today by some