Arizona’s prospective new top cop: when profit motives and the public interest collide

By Beau Hodai
September, 2013

Mark BrnovichIntro: the potential bid

A former Corrections Corporation of America “senior director of business development” and lobbyist is planning to run for the office of Arizona’s top law enforcement officer.

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On September 3, Arizona Department of Gaming Director Mark Brnovich sent a letter to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, declaring his intention to resign his post, effective September 20. In the months preceding this resignation, Brnovich stated serious consideration of a bid for the office of Arizona Attorney General. While Brnovich has yet to file any formal campaign/committee registration documents with the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State Division of Elections, the Capitol Times reported on September 4, that Brnovich had reserved the website address, “mark4ag.com,” on August 23.

Brnovich, a Republican, would likely be challenging incumbent Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne in the 2014 Republican primary election for the office. Over the past year Horne has been the subject of both federal and Maricopa County (home to Arizona’s urban center, the Phoenix metropolitan area) investigations into alleged campaign law violations, in that Horne allegedly coordinated with an independent expenditure committee in the creation of negative ads targeted at his Democrat opponent during the 2010 election.

While Brnovich may well be qualified for the office of Attorney General, having previously served as an assistant Arizona Attorney General under former Arizona Governor Jane Dee Hull, and having previously served as a deputy Maricopa County Attorney from August of 1991 to May of 1998, Brnovich is not without his own possible serious lapses in ethical judgement. According to statements of financial disclosure filed with the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State Division of Elections by Brnovich’s wife, former Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner and current Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Susan Brnovich, Mark Brnovich served as a “senior director of business development” for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) during the course of 2005, 2006 and 2007. As will be discussed, CCA was not Brnovich’s sole source of employment during this time– and Brnovich’s employment by/on behalf of CCA during 2007 in particular may be the source of a severe conflict of interest in the prospective Arizona Attorney General’s past. Continue reading

Posted in Corruption, Criminal Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jiffy Squid, Lobbying and Special Interests, Miscellaneous, Private Prison Industry, Public-private partnerships, U.S. Department of Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

DBA Press releases Anonymous/Lulzsec FBI records archive

DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) release FBI records pertaining to Anonymous “hacktivist” group Lulzsec. The heavily redacted records were released to DBA/CMD by the FBI on December 6, 2013, in response to a DBA/CMD AnonymousFreedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted on August 9, 2013.

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Some of the more salient points of released records include:

– FBI records that discuss “hacktivist” informant activity also reference Backtrace Security, a group that purports to be a spinoff of Anonymous, and that purports to take an adversarial stance to the political activities of both Anonymous and Lulzsec.

As stated in FBI records:

“By way of background, BrackTrace Security is a hacker group that spun off of Anonymous because they disagree with the current direction that Anonymous has taken. BackTrace Security does not believe in the political hacktivism activities that Anonymous has claimed responsibility for lately. One of the goals of Backtrace Security is to put an end to the current incarnation of Anonymous. Backtrace Security has also attempted to identify members of Lulzsec and shut down their operations.

“[REDACTED] has agreed to work with the writer [REDACTED THROUGH REMAINDER OF PARAGRAPH].”

Read more………..

Posted in Anonymous, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hacktivism, Hacktivists, Media matters, Public records, Source Materials Archive, Surveillance state | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Private Prison Archive

December 1, 2013

DBA Press releases records obtained from the office of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pertaining to private prison operators, private prison lobbyists.

Jaime Molera with Governor Jan Brewer at 2012 Republican National Convention. Source: Molera Alvarez (http://ma-firm.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/rnc.jpg)

Jaime Molera with Governor Jan Brewer at 2012 Republican National Convention. Source: Molera Alvarez (http://ma-firm.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/rnc.jpg)

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Key pieces of information contained in this records set include:

– ADC Director claimed knowledge of CCA’s role in driving prison privatization plan:

On July 14, 2009 Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) Director Charles Ryan wrote a letter to then-Brewer Chief of Staff Eileen Klein, stating that capitol staff, as well as Geo Group and Management and Training Company (MTC) lobbyists, had informed him that a massive private prison concession agreement for the operation of many of the state’s correctional facilities had been advanced by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and their chief lobbyist, Jaime Molera. The letter also details a heated exchange that had taken place between Ryan and CCA Vice President of State Partnership Relations Brad Regens when Ryan raised this issue with Regens.

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Records also contain a number of other Ryan communications pertaining to the prison privatization plan wherein Ryan voices various concerns and objections.

This initial concession agreement eventually resulted in the August 31, 2012 award of an Arizona state contract with CCA for inmates to be housed at the corporation’s Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona.

– CCA lobbyists work with the Governor’s Office and Legislature to shape the state budget, award contract:

Records show that both CCA lobbyists Jaime Molera and Kathryn Senseman (wife of former Brewer Communications Director and CCA lobbyist Paul Senseman) were engaged with the Governor’s office and the Arizona Legislature in drafting budgetary language that resulted in the 2012 CCA contract award. 

– CCA lobbyist handpicked Governor’s judicial appointee:

Records show that CCA lobbyist Jaime Molera essentially nominated Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods for appointment to the bench by the Governor. Woods, per Molera’s nomination, was subsequently appointed to the bench by Brewer in 2011. Woods’ law firm, Rusing and Lopez, PLLC (currently Rusing, Lopez and Lizardi), had worked closely with Molera and Molera’s lobby firm, Molera Alvarez Group, in a number of business ventures. Continue reading

Posted in Censorship, Conflicts of interest, Corruption, Criminal Justice, Jiffy Squid, Lobbying and Special Interests, Private Prison Industry, Public records, Public-private partnerships, Source Materials Archive | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

DHS I&A DSAC records illuminate aspects of federal public-private intelligence partnership: Wikileaks, Anonymous, Booz Allen Hamilton, career CIA officers at DHS domestic intelligence office

By Beau Hodai
November 18, 2013

DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) release records obtained from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis (DHS I&A) pertaining to the operations of the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC). These records were recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request originally filed with DHS I&A in August, 2012.

Among other things, these records disclose DHS I&A/DSAC private sector intelligence sharing concerning Wikileaks (a journalistic outfit) and ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous; Booz Allen Hamilton work on behalf of DHS I&A/DSAC; and aspects of private sector involvement (corporations such as Merck & Co.) in the workings of the U.S. intelligence community.Herb dog bw

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DSAC background

As previously reported by DBA/CMD (“Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street,” May 20, 2013), DSAC is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), DHS I&A and several of the nation’s leading corporate/financial interests– most of which are Fortune 100 corporations.

Some of these DSAC-member corporate/financial interests comprise the DSAC Leadership Board. The DSAC Leadership Board consists of 29 corporations and banks. Corporate/financial interests active in the DSAC Leadership Board include/have included: Bank of America, MasterCard, Citigroup, American Express, Barclays, RBS Citizens, 3M, Archer Daniels Midland, ConocoPhillips, Time Warner and Wal-Mart.

Along with DSAC chairpersons from the FBI and U.S. DHS I&A, DSAC is co-administered by a representative of these private sector interests (the chairman of the DSAC Leadership Board). During the time period covered by available records (2011 and 2012), pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Vice President of Global Security Grant Ashley served as the DSAC Leadership Board Chairman. Continue reading

Posted in Censorship, Conflicts of interest, Corruption, Domestic Surveillance, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fusion Centers, Homeland Security, Jiffy Squid, Lobbying and Special Interests, Media matters, Occupy Wall Street, Private Defense/Intelligence Industries, Public records, Public-private partnerships, Source Materials Archive, Surveillance state | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off