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Former Thad McCotter staffer: A Mark Grebner conspiracy cost my boss his job

by: Eric B.

Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 10:55:31 AM EST

From The Daily Caller, America's finest news source.

You’ve been the victim of unprecedented public corruption: Former U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter’s 2012 nominating petitions were sabotaged to knock him off the ballot and steal a congressional seat from you, the American people.


Finally, on August 13, 2012 — after two-and-one-half months of intense media attention and four days after the AG issued his report — Democratic political consultant Mark Grebner claimed to have the only “images” of all petitions “filed” by McCotter’s 2002-2012 campaigns.


Enough. It’s time Grebner came clean and revealed if he was willingly duped; and, if so, from whom and when he got these fake “images.”

We await, with bated breath, part two.

Eric B. :: Former Thad McCotter staffer: A Mark Grebner conspiracy cost my boss his job
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I realize I have a duty to say something.
But what?  I admit that I'm looking forward to Part II, and even hoping against all reason there will be a Part III, and IV, and ...

Normally, when people say crazy things about me, I try to stop them, for fear that my already colorful public persona will become confused by the spurious additions to my history.  But in this case, where I'm practically accused of unlawful sexual congress with Martians, I can't bring myself to act.

When Dennis Lennox tampered with my biography on Wikipedia, he was demonstrating a mix of insanity and malicious intent.  In this most recent exposition, if there's any cunning, it's certainly subordinated to the lunacy.

Anyway, I don't deny any of it.  Let the revelations continue...

So, Mark!
Is this some sort of new service you provide? ;-)

[ Parent ]
He lost me at the first sentence
Yep, absolutely, it was the goal of this "conspiracy" to "steal a Congressional seat"...

...and give it to Kerry Bentivolio.

I would think Daily Caller readers should be HAPPY with that outcome. The notoriously prickly iconoclast McCotter is out, replaced by a Paul-endorsed (Ron and Rand) Tea Partier already on his way to filling the wackadoodle shoes of ex-Rep. Allen West.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

I'm real slow today (or always), but what is this article actually alleging that Grebner did (or did not do)? Granted I read this while listening to a presentation but I just don't seem to follow. I didn't follow all of the details of the McCotter case, either, which may be why. Someone please enlighten me!

I can't really help you.
I skimmed the Daily Caller posting, and found that it mentioned my name several times, and included the words "conspiracy" and "mastermind".  But I couldn't really figure out the connections.

I left a response on the site, suggesting they be careful to wear tin-foil hats in the future, to prevent it happening again.

[ Parent ]
Would the Secretary of State or Clerk office stamp the first received nominating petition set, or every page of submitted petitions?

The evidence of the conspiracy as the author views it is the lack of a time-stamp on the petition sheet copies used as the exhibits of falsified petitions.

The first thought I had was that perhaps it is not the practice of those offices to time-stamp each individual page. Since you've likely seen more than your fair share of petition copies, I thought you'd have a logical rebuttal to that line of thinking.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
The practice of the Secretary of State...
... is to hire temps to do most of the work with petitions, and then to fail to supervise them very well.  The result is that they do different things each year.

Judging by the petition copies we turned over to the A.G., in 2002 McCotter's petitions were machine-numbered using a Bates numbering stamp.  In 2010, they were hand-numbered.  But in 2004, 2006, and 2008, they weren't numbered at all, as far as we can see.

If we compare the images of petitions filed by Pete Hoekstra in those same years, we get a totally different pattern.  We can't tell if the 2002 petitions were numbered - our copies were cropped.  In 2004 and 2006, Hoekstra's petitions were hand-numbered for the first few pages, but apparently after they counted sufficient valid signatures, the remaining pages weren't numbered at all.  In 2008 and 2010 (for governor) none of the pages were numbered at all.

In my experience, if it doesn't matter whether a function is performed, because nobody else's work depends on it, a bureaucracy will cease performing it consistently.  It's exactly the same as a gene for a characteristic that doesn't matter to an organism's survival: the trait becomes inconsistent and often non-functional.

But, so what?

So what, indeed -- but this fellow presumes that all forms are undoubtedly time-stamped and that the entire basis of the fraud allegations (and charges) are inaccurately stemming from forms that themselves were falsified only to embarrass and undermine the Congressman / his campaign.... and that you possess non-time stamped copies (the same as those produced after the fact from an abandoned campaign office) which are not the ones actually submitted for nomination.

The time-stamp question is a non sequitor, but not in his eyes.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Anybody who expects consistency from the Elections Bureau
...needs to watch them tackle some large one-time project, like handling a large initiative petition.

If you actually go to the room where they process the petitions, you'll see the work is performed by dozens of barely-employable temps, who are not only unsupervised, but who can't find anybody to answer the questions that arise.  So the temps answer the questions among themselves, with scary results.

The Election Bureau's permanent staff is down to single digits.  When they process large volumes of petitions (this summer, the total was 500,000 sheets which had to be individually handled in a period of three weeks) supervision of the temp workers is stretched so thin as to be absent.

The result is sometimes that things slip through that would have been instantly spotted by a competent and thoughtful worker, if one had been on the scene.

[ Parent ]
Ottenwess, Allman & Taweel, PLC
Never has the labyrinth of federal, state and local laws been more pervasive or complex. At Ottenwess, Allman & Taweel, PLC, our team is unsurpassed in providing our clients the counsel they need to successfully navigate these treacherous legal shores.

We provide government relations advice and representation to all sectors, serving a diverse clientele from small businesses and professional practices to major corporations and medical systems, in Michigan and nationwide.

Our accomplished lawyers hold significant positions with state and local entities, including retired U.S. Representative Thaddeus G. McCotter, a former member of the U.S. House leadership and an attorney who has been elected to and served in federal, state and municipal offices. Our managing partner, David Ottenwess, similarly can provide expertise in government relations. Partner Christopher Allman possesses extensive experience meeting the legal needs of healthcare providers, including regulatory matters from CMS and HIPAA compliance to licensing and accreditation.

Kudos to Thaddeus for landing a job in the private sector -- finally, he can take that unused law degree out of the shrink wrap!

Too bad he didn't consult Ottenwess, Allman & Taweel last year to navigate "the labyrinth" of rules regarding petition gathering and submission.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
Shrink Wrap
Getting that open will take time...

[ Parent ]
McCotter Law Firm Bio
The Honorable Thaddeus G. McCotter served southeast Michigan as a United States Representative from 2003-2012. Universally, if often grudgingly, acknowledged as one of the smartest, most interesting members of Congress (granted, it's a low bar), McCotter was twice elected by his colleagues to serve in leadership as the Chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee - at the time, the 4th highest ranking position in the GOP caucus. McCotter also variously served on the Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Small Business, Budget and Joint Economic Committees.

Prior to his Congressional tenure, McCotter who never lost an election, was elected to and served as a Republican Party Chair, Schoolcraft Community College Trustee, Wayne County Commissioner and State Senator. Few, if any, Michiganders possess his breadth of knowledge and experience regarding policy and politics.

The Gen X, guitar playing Rock-n-Roller McCotter (47 years old), has a national following of fans due to countless TV and radio appearances, most notably Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, The Dennis Miller Show, and View from the Capitol with Katherine Amenta. McCotter has also authored the book "Seize Freedom! American Truths & Renewal in a Chaotic Age", has written for a ream of publications and blogs, and has composed the song American Faith, which was used to raise funds for the late Andrew Breitbart's children.

An all-state football player at Detroit Catholic Central High School, McCotter graduated 1st in his class summa cum laude with honors from the University of Detroit, and then earned his law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law. A bar-admitted attorney by profession, McCotter is of counsel at the Detroit law firm of Ottenwess, Allman and Taweel, and he lives in southeast Michigan with his wife Rita and their three children.

Ottenwess and McCotter
Ottenwess is the author of the article and apparently McCotter's new law partner. Something tells me McCotter actually wrote it.

My reading was that Ottenwess is Thad's new boss
He's the first-named senior partner, after all; whether he truly served as Thad's "advisor" all these years is a question for someone else -- I've been following McCotter since he was first elected to the House, and this is the first time I've heard that name.

As for the authorship...there weren't enough "two-dollar words," overly-complicated sentences and obscure references for it to have been all Thad's work.

And up until this article appeared, I'd thought McCotter preferred to never speak of this ever again -- certainly not on a right-wing blog with even less journalistic integrity than Drudge.

Tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories filled with inaccuracies, innuendoes and easily-disproven accusations are NOT the way he'll ever restore his reputation.

Of course, if Thad didn't write it, then that makes this Ottenwess fellow seem -- crazy. If that's how he approaches a legal brief, then he's NOT someone I'd ever want to represent me in court or walk me through a regulatory labyrinth, that's for damn sure.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
Could Be
Somewhere else it says that Ottenwess is also the managing partner.  Thad certainly would have stuffed the article with Two Dollar Words and obscure references to classic literature.

[ Parent ]

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