Gigliotti Responds to ‘Deconstructing’

Four States News - Essays & OpinionsMy response to “Deconstructing Claims about Ratcliffe” that was put forth by Brent Lawson. 5th place finisher out of 6 candidates in the Congressional primary Tx CD4.

First, let me start off by saying that each “Charge” was fact checked and verified before the they were put forth. Each is true and it opened the door for voters to do some checking on their own.

Charge 1 — “Raised in Chicago” This will be the only charge in the list that is clearly true and unadulterated. Ironically, the charge is made by a candidate that is a native New Yorker that has lived just over half of his life outside of Texas. I’d prefer a candidate with Texas roots, but being raised in New York is not a disqualification, and neither is being raised in Chicago. But scary things, like Al Capone and Barack Obama, come from there so we’re supposed to vote against things from Chicago (but not New York).

Response 1 — Chicago is a city and NY is a state. I came from western NY where I did farm work during the summers. Chicago has no farm land but it does have corruption to the Nth degree. The political machine is now working full time in Washington DC.

In addition, at 64 years old, I have lived in Texas for Longer than I lived in NY State. In fact, being born anywhere is not a choice. We are all born without any say in where it is that we are born. But living over 30 years in Texas was my choice. Even Texas natives spend the first 25-30 years growing up and not contributing much to the state.

Everyone of my 30 years in Texas have been productive years where I provided Jobs for the people of Texas.

Being from Chicago is just that and nothing more but it is true and we all know the reputation that being from that CITY brings with it.

Charge 2 — “Left Dept. of Justice to join the Ashcroft Group just months after a $52 Million Dollar, no bid Contract, was handed to them, from the same Dept. of Justice.” Ratcliffe never received a Presidential appointment to the U.S. Attorney position. He served as interim U.S. Attorney following the resignation of Matt Orwig. Upon Rebecca Gregory’s appointment to the position, Ratcliffe went to work in the private sector. The timing of the appointment of Rebecca Gregory had nothing to do with the award of the Zimmer Holdings monitoring contract to Ashcroft. This is a classic political attack intended to create doubts in the minds of voters. “A” happened, then “B” happened, so “B” must have been caused by “A”. It’s a logically nonsensical ploy, but it has proven to be an effective political tool.

Response 2 — Yes, the truth is exactly that. The $52 million dollar no bid contract that was handed to the Ashcroft Group by then US Attorney, Chris Christie, ended up in a Congressional hearing. Yes, that is the same Chris Christie who went on to be Governor of NJ.

Since the crony contract was handed to Ashcroft Group, the move from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the Ashcroft Group by Sutton and Ratcliffe was put on hold until the hearings ended.

Once they ended in early 2009, both Ratcliffe and Johnny Sutton who had both left the DOJ then on the same day they both joined the Ashcroft Group.

Folks, this indicates that the move was delayed until the so called, “coast was clear”. But on April 22, 2009, BOTH John Ratcliffe and Johnny Sutton moved over to the Ashcroft Group as Partners, not employees. At that time, there was about 5 months left in the big lucrative contract that was paying $895/hour for the lawyers fee.

****Question: why do we pay our DOJ lawyers to do what lawyers do but we farm out legal work to friends of US Attorneys? Would that $52 million dollars do more to cut our Tax bill and pay existing in house DOJ lawyers?

Think about this for a moment; the DOJ gave up the duty to use in house lawyers to accomplish the $52 million dollars of work—Until the same DOJ lawyers left for the Ashcroft Group to now suddenly do the same work that they could not do in house? That is clearly corruption and the revolving door to make money without honor or integrity.

The time line spells it out. The 2 DOJ in house lawyers went to the Ashcroft Lobbying group just after the Congressional hearings ended, to do the same work OUTSIDE the DOJ that they would have done INSIDE the DOJ. That reeks of corruption and self-interest.

In addition; Disclosed in SEC filings, the arrangement calls for Zimmer Holdings of Indiana to pay Ashcroft Group Consulting Services an average monthly fee between $1.5 million and $2.9 million. The figure includes a flat payment of $750,000 to the firm’s “senior leadership group,” individual legal and consulting services billed at up to $895 an hour, and as much as $250,000 a month for expenses including private airfare, lodging and meals. (private Jet Airfare?)

Keep in mind the names of the Lawyers involved: John Ashcroft, Chris Christie, Johnny Sutton and John Ratcliffe. More to come on these names.

In other words, this is about as corrupt as it can be, Ratcliffe included.

Charge 3 — “Used his position in the DOJ to punish East Texas employer Pilgrims Pride. Fined them $4.5 million. That comes to 180 full time, high paying, jobs that the 4th district could have had.” The crucial information left out of this charge is that these fines were penalties resulting from the hiring of hundreds of illegal aliens. The charge that a $4.5 million dollar fine cost hundreds of legal 4th district jobs is just silly. Pilgrim does about $8 billion a year in revenue and employs about 40,000 people. The fine was not significant to the company’s bottom line. These penalties, when coupled with the negative press the company received, encourage the hiring of more legal employees. This action by Ratcliffe is consistent with the type of immigration related enforcement activity that all of the primary challengers supported on the campaign trail. It’s the kind of action that earned Ratcliffe the endorsement of the Minuteman Project.

Response 3 — Of course he did. Ratcliffe bragged about imposing a penalty against Pilgrims Pride during his first week of Campaigning, but then removed the specifics about Pilgrim.

The truth of the matter is that Pilgrim did get the proper ID and papers from their employees but as it turned out they were Documents that were “rented” from legal immigrants. Pilgrim has no legal right to question their documents.

So yes, that amount of money is equal to 180 jobs at $25,000. And the fact that Pilgrim filed bankruptcy had more than this single event as the cause but clearly it all adds to the burden to stay profitable. Clearly they were already losing money and this pushed them over the top. This was just grand standing by an “Acting US Attorney”, Ratcliffe to get the attention of the president to actually appoint him as a full US Attorney. As it turned out, Ratcliffe was “rejected” by Bush.

Charge 4 “Law Partner is Johnny Sutton, famous for jailing 2 US Border Guards while granting immunity to Mexican Drug Smuggler.” I personally take issue with the actions of Sutton in this episode, but John Ratcliffe is not Johnny Sutton. None of us want to be held accountable for the actions of our coworkers. John Ratcliffe did not jail Ramos and Campean, or grant immunity to Adrete-Davila for testimony. This is just a political playbook 101 guilt by association charge.

Response 4 — True again. Johnny Sutton did jail 2 border guards while giving a Mexican Drug Smuggler immunity to come back to the US and testify against these border guards.

Sutton was not a “coworker” when they joined the Ashcroft Group, each as full partners in the firm. They didn’t just bump into each other on the way in the door on the same day. It was a conscious decision to team up together with each other and with the Ashcroft Group, only recently out of Congressional hearings. There is no innuendo here, just facts. I would never agree to be a “Partner” with a man like Sutton who was not interested in Justice but in punishing border guards who were doing their job. Sutton took the word of a Mexican Drug Dealer who said he did not have a gun and did not fire first at the US Agents. Really? He was carrying 800 pounds of marijuana in a van that he abandoned to run back across the border and we are to believe that he did not have a gun with him and the 800 pounds if pot? Really?

So yes, his law partner is Johnny Sutton and that is disgraceful that he made that decision with open eyes.

Charge 5 — “Ratcliffe is trying to buy the election.” All 5 of the primary challengers in this race spent what they could afford. As the candidate that probably spent the least, I could make the charge that any of the others was trying to buy the election. And it would still be nonsense. A campaign worker for one of the other candidates once said to me “If you had a race-car you’d use it too.” I’m not sure about the race-car thing, but I am reasonably confident that if the other candidates had more money to spend, they would have spent more to win the election.

Response 5 — Ratcliffe is trying to buy the election. Yes. Clearly he touted his fund raising prowess to the Dallas morning news as the main reason that he would be the only serious challenger.

Nothing was said about his love of country only his money as the main reason to take him seriously. Then he put $403,000 of his own money into the race. Now to be fair, I put as much as I could afford in to fund my campaign for the last 2 primary races. But I did not have the advantage of getting lawyer upon lawyer from all over the US, all with some connection with the Ashcroft group or Notre Dame connections to put in another $250-300k. So yes, he bought and paid for his 29% with money from everywhere but NE Texas.

His huge ad buys got him radio interview time and maybe even endorsements but it was all money related. Call it what you want but it was dollar driven. I still submit that he did buy his 29% which comes to about $45/ vote. I spent $10/ vote. Imagine what could have been.

Charge 6 — “It is obvious that Jody does not know about or have concerns about the solid connections that Ratcliffe has to a top 10 Lobbying firm, The Ashcroft Group.” This is the only charge in the list that doesn’t come from the campaign brochure. The charge was made on-line in response to Texas State Representative Jodie Laubenberg’s endorsement of John Ratcliffe in the runoff. In the age of “Google” charges like this are pretty easy to debunk. There may be some politically nuanced way to twist The Ashcroft Group into a “top 10 Lobbying firm”, but it would be a real stretch. The Ashcroft Group employs one lobbyist (who isn’t John Ratcliffe) and reported less than $200,000 in lobbying activity in 2013 (according to opensecrets.org). They wouldn’t rank among the top 100 lobbying firms. Just for perspective, Texas Instruments (the company I work for) employed 4 full time, and 10 contract lobbyists and had over $1.7 million in 2013 lobbying activity. TI is not a top 10 lobbying firm, and neither is The Ashcroft Group. I’m not a lobbyist, and neither is John Ratcliffe.

Response 6 — There are only 2 ways to answer this first part. Jody either knew or she did not know about all of the above. If she did, then she is no better than John Ratcliffe or his firm or his partners. If she knows and still endorsed Ratcliffe then she has lost the moral high ground.

On the other hand, I assumed that she did and does not know about all these serious connections and the facts around Ratcliffe and his group.

Take your pick of one but I gave Jody the benefit of the doubt and said that she did not know all these troubling facts.

As for the Lobbying Group that was asserted by me, well from the Ashcroft’s own web site this is what they said on April 22, 2009 when Ratcliffe joined the firm as a partner,

This week we reported that former Attorney General John Ashcroft would found a new law firm.

Today the move is official. Ashcroft and a group of former federal prosecutors will form the firm, which will carry different names in different cities. The firm will be associated with Ashcroft’s lobbying firm, The Ashcroft Group.

Former Texas US attorneys Johnny Sutton and John Ratcliffe will work as Ashcroft Sutton & Ratcliffe. Their focus will be corporate compliance, corporate representation, strategic planning and risk management.

I don’t think it can be any more clear than that. The Ashcroft Group has only 1 registered lobbyist on their payroll. She is not a partner but a fully registered lobbyist to meet the law.

Both Ratcliffe and Sutton are Named partners in the Ashcroft Group (the lobbying firm). And in the legal/law firm lingo a “Partner” is part owner of the firm. They have an equity interest in the firm and the profits.

As for being a top 10 lobbying firm; the Ashcroft firm not only got paid a fee for their work, they took “equity interests” in 8 of their lobbying clients companies. That would keep the dollar income down while building value and equity in the company.

There is no mystery in this whole situation. The Ashcroft Group not only took taxpayer dollars when they took the “No Bid Contract” handed to them from the DOJ by Chris Christie but then actual DOJ attorneys left the DOJ to join in on the money train.

This folks is Government Corruption and insider deals at its worse.

Let me point out one new fact that was discovered while researching this corrupt mess that grew out of our own DOJ.

Chris Christie, the former underling of John Ashcroft’s DOJ but now Governor of NJ, had hurricane Sandy destruction to fix. There was money put in a “Relief Bill” to pay for damaged property and infrastructure. So hold this thought while I add in the Ashcroft group.

The Ashcroft is the listed Lobbying firm for the Rockefeller Fund, a non profit that was building a new project in NJ. The Rockefeller Fund project was not in any way damaged during the hurricane.

I think you already know what happened and why Chris Christie is being investigated again. Yes, as you might expect, Chris Christie, a former DOJ crony of Ashcroft and fellow US Attorney to Ratcliffe and Sutton, handed the Rockefeller Fund a gift of $6,000,000 dollars from the Sandy Relief money (tax dollars) as a grant.

Again for review, the Ashcroft group is the Lobbying firm that the Rockefeller Fund hired.

Then these insider DOJ cronies, Christie and the Ashcroft Group, arranged to hand six million dollars to their client as a grant, which is a gift from the tax payers.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Remember the names: Ashcroft, Christie, Sutton, Ratcliffe, all birds of a feather.

The bottom line is that this whole group and their actions are borderline illegal and clearly corrupt.

From Ashcroft lobbying group to Chris Christie to Johnny Sutton to Ratcliffe.

All these association are clearly a problem and all the voters deserve to know these things.

“Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.”

I would suggest to anyone reading this to do your own due diligence and satisfy yourself as to the veracity and truth.

Then vote your best choice.

NOW you know why I am endorsing Ralph Hall over John Ratcliffe.

I will never sit down and shut up for anyone.

God bless America and God bless Texas

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