Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wisconsin Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Plagiarized Large Portions Of Jobs Plan

From three previous Democratic campaigns.



Facebook- Burke for Wisconsin / Via Facebook: burkeforwisconsin


Large portions of Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke's jobs plan for Wisconsin appear to be plagiarized from the plans of three Democratic candidates who ran for governor in previous election cycles.


Burke's economic plan "Invest for Success" copies nearly-verbatim sections from the jobs plans of Ward Cammack, who ran for Tennessee governor in 2009 before withdrawing from the race, a 2008 plan from Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and John Gregg who ran for governor of Indiana in 2012 and lost to Mike Pence.


Gregg's plan is no longer online but BuzzFeed News accessed the text through an archiving service, while Cammack's plan is available here.


Markell's plan can be seen online here.


A spokesman for the Burke campaign told BuzzFeed News an expert who also worked on the other campaigns was responsible for the similar text.


"The core strategies outlined by Mary Burke in "Invest for Success" and her vision for how to create jobs and grow our economy are uniquely her own, informed by her time at Harvard Business School, through starting her own small business, serving as a top executive at Trek and leading the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. Throughout the development of the plan, Burke discussed her ideas with a variety of experts both in state and nationally. Among those experts was an individual who also worked with the Markel, Cammareck and Gregg campaigns which explains why in a few, isolated instances similar language from those plans is used to describe ideas that are widely accepted as best practices or are ideas which hold promise for Wisconsin."


Here's Cammack:



Requiring our land-grant institutions to make supporting small farms a priority. These institutions can provide a wide range of support to small farmers to help them to improve farm profitability. Research and new technologies have played a significant role to increase yields and reduce costs throughout the agricultural system. Many of these advances can be targeted to help small farmers who could and benefit greatly from having site-specific information to increase yields, and therefore, improve economic performance. We can make new advances in technology – GPS systems to guide farm machinery and reduce overlap, early pest detection, identification of soil nutrient deficiencies, detection of plant stress, use of yield monitoring equipment – all advances that can significantly help the small farmer.



And here's Burke:



These institutions can provide a wide range of support to a new generation of small farmers to help them to improve productivity and profitability. Research and new technologies have played a significant role to increase yields and reduce costs throughout the agricultural system. New technologies – like GPS systems to guide farm machinery and reduce overlap, early pest detection, identification of soil nutrient deficiencies, detection of plant stress, use of yield monitoring equipment – can significantly help farmers be more productive.



Here's Cammack:



Expanding intern programs to provide help to small farmers and also give students direct agricultural education and experience.



And here's Burke:



Expanding intern programs to provide help to small farmers and also give students direct agricultural education and experience.



Here's Cammack:



Helping farmers with succession planning by developing new programs that match new farmers with those retiring who have no successors interested in continuing the family farm.



And here's Burke:



Developing new programs that match new farmers with those retiring who have no successors interested in continuing the family farm.



Here's Cammack:



Supporting the development of public-private partnerships by working to match small farmers with business professionals to help farmers improve management, develop new markets plans and improve use of risk management tools and risk reduction strategies.



And here's Burke:



Supporting the development of public- private partnerships by working to match small farmers with business professionals to help farmers improve management, develop new markets plans and improve use of risk management tools and risk- reduction strategies.



Here's Gregg:



At the same time, small-and medium-sized businesses have been hiring new employees at a faster rate than large companies since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009.



And here's Burke:



And in the short-term, small-and medium-sized businesses have been hiring new employees at a faster rate than large companies since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009.



Here's Gregg:



Successful entrepreneurship requires a good idea and strong work ethic. But it also requires money to finance its development, and technical and management skills to prosper. In today's economic climate, many small business owners – especially first-time entrepreneurs — find it almost impossible to borrow the money they need to start or grow their business. . As Governor, I will create a Hoosier Capital Access Partners....



And here's Burke:



Successful entrepreneurship requires a good idea and a strong work ethic. But it also requires capital to finance its development, and technical and management skills to prosper. In today's economic climate, many small business owners especially first-time entrepreneurs – find it almost impossible to borrow the money they need to start or grow their business in Wisconsin. In spite of our world-class institutions of higher learning and research, some promising ventures to come out of Wisconsin seek greener pastures where they can find startup funding.



Here's Gregg:



The Small Business Innovation Research program is a highly competitive program that funds small businesses from all over the U.S. in conducting Research and Development (R&D) with the highest potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to advance their technological potential and to profit from its commercialization.



And here's Burke:



The Small Business Innovation Research program funds small businesses that undertake R&D on innovative technologies with high potential for commercialization. Through a highly competitive award program, SBIR selects small companies, often startups, to receive funding to propel their innovations into viable, profitable ventures.



Here's Gregg:



That means bringing greater speed and certainty to permitting decisions without gutting environmental and public safety protections;



(This same language is likewise found 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink's plan.)


And here's Burke:



Administration will bring greater speed and certainty to government permitting decisions without sacrificing environmental and public safety protections.



Here's Gregg:



These are the steps I'll take as Governor:


• Establish a "Reshoring" Incentive. After decades of "offshoring" – the practice of moving American manufacturing to countries abroad in search of cheaper labor companies are beginning to realize that moving much of their manufacturing and supply operations away from their U.S. consumer base has hurt their ability to meet their customers' expectations. A recent survey of 287 manufacturing companies doing business internationally found that the majority of the respondents (61 percent) were currently considering "reshoring" – or shifting their manufacturing operations closer to their U.S. customers to provide better service, cut costs, and speed growth. Nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents reported facing issues with delivery time, operational planning, maintaining low inventories and competitive total cost, and general flexibility, as a result of offshoring their manufacturing and supply operations – and 46 percent have experienced product quality concerns. At the same time, soaring energy and transportation costs are also encouraging businesses to think about bringing production back home.



And here's Burke:



"Offshoring" (or "outsourcing") American manufacturing jobs to other localities where labor is cheaper has been the dismal trend for over thirty years. But today, many companies are beginning to realize that moving their manufacturing and supply operations overseas has hurt their ability to serve their customers. A recent survey of manufacturers with operations abroad found that well over half (61%) were considering "reshoring" – or "in-sourcing" – their manufacturing operations back to the U.S. to be closer to their customers, to provide better service, and to cut transportation costs. Nearly half of these manufacturers (49%) reported that overseas they experienced problems with delivery time, operations, planning, flexibility, and total cost – and 46% experienced quality control issues. Rising energy and fuel costs are also encouraging businesses to bring production home. But there is no lack of competition to attract these companies.



Here's Gregg:



Launching a GO Man Action


Team, a committee of economic development professionals that serves as a single point of contact for businesses considering locating or expanding in Indiana. The team will work with Indiana companies, out-of-state, and international businesses, on projects involving significant investment and job creation opportunities. ഠഠ Consolidating financial assistance for manufacturers. GO Man will streamline access to

financial assistance for manufacturing companies from state and other sources, with the ability to offer loans, loan guarantees, and equity financing, and make referrals to appropriate private investment groups, that are customized to the specific needs of companies seeking to relocate operations to Indiana, or grow their existing production capacity. Working with large Indiana manufacturers to identify their important out-of-state suppliers who could be relocated to the state lowering costs and increasing efficiency for our existing companies, and bringing new jobs to Indiana.



And here's Burke:



As Governor, I will launch a Wisconsin IN- Sourcing Initiative (WIN) that will specialize in recruiting (and retaining) manufacturers back from abroad by:


a. Launching a WIN Team, a committee of economic development professionals that serves as a single point of contact for businesses considering locating or expanding in Wisconsin. The team will work with manufacturing businesses – especially those with international production sites – to introduce them to the many advantages that Wisconsin can offer to meet their specific business needs.


b. Streamlining access to financial assistance for manufacturers.


The WIN Team will consolidate all available financial assistance for manufacturing companies from state and other sources, with the ability to offer loans, loan guarantees, and equity financing, and to make referrals to appropriate private investment groups to finance the relocation or expansion of operations to Wisconsin.


c. Working with manufacturers to identify their important suppliers who could also be relocated to the state – this will have the added benefit of making our state more attractive to manufacturers and also lowering costs and increasing efficiency for our existing companies – bringing even more new jobs to Wisconsin.





View Entire List ›




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Wendy Davis Won't Attend Texas LGBT Pride Celebrations

Campaign staffers will represent Davis at LGBT pride events this weekend instead.



AP Photo/The McAllen Monitor, Gabe Hernandez


Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor and a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, doesn't plan on attending upcoming LGBT pride celebrations, her campaign told BuzzFeed News.


Lone Star Q first reported on Monday that Davis' campaign had been mum on whether the candidate would make her first appearance at a pride event this weekend, or later at another event in October.


When pressed on the matter Thursday, Davis campaign communications director Zac Petkanas issued a statement boasting about the candidate's track record on LGBT equality, but said Davis would not be attending or participating in the pride events.


"While Senator Davis unfortunately cannot participate herself in this year's parades, her campaign staff is very proud to be representing her in the Pride events throughout the weekend," Petkanas said. "Senator Davis is a long-standing supporter and ally of the LGBT community. From co-authoring a nondiscrimination work ordinance while on the Fort Worth City Council that was later used as a blue print for all nondiscrimination ordinances across Texas to supporting same-sex marriage, Wendy Davis will be a governor who fights for all hardworking Texans regardless of who they are and who they love."


Austin's annual pride celebration will take place this Saturday, and Dallas will hold its own pride on Sept. 21. Fort Worth's pride parade will take place Oct. 4.


The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT rights group, endorsed Davis for Texas governor in January.


In 2010, then democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White marched in the Dallas pride parade, according to WFAA.




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Exclusive: Family Business At The National Security Agency

A powerful National Security Agency official involved in the controversial domestic surveillance program is married to an executive at a company that appears to be doing or seeking business with the agency. The executive also registered an intelligence business at the couple’s home. The NSA says it has a strict ethics policy.



Balefire9/Balefire9


A large government contracting firm that appears to be doing or seeking business with the National Security Agency employs the spouse of one of the most powerful officials at the agency, according to corporate records, press releases, and company websites. But the NSA has declined to address whether there is a potential conflict of interest or to disclose any information about contracts or the official's financial holdings.


The spouse, for years, has also had an intelligence technology company incorporated at the couple's suburban residence in Maryland.


The NSA official, Teresa H. Shea, is director of the Signals Intelligence Directorate, which means she oversees electronic eavesdropping for intelligence purposes. She's held that crucial position since 2010. SIGINT, as it is called, is the bread and butter of NSA espionage operations, and it includes intercepting and decoding phone calls, whether cellular or landline; radio communications; and internet traffic. Shea's directorate was involved in the controversial domestic surveillance program, much of which was revealed by Edward Snowden.


As for Shea's husband, James, he is currently a vice president at DRS Signal Solutions, part of DRS Technologies, a major American defense contracting company owned by the Italian defense giant Finmeccanica. On his LinkedIn page, he boasts of his "core focus" in "SIGINT systems," and cites his employer, DRS, for its work in "signals intelligence, cyber, and commercial test and measurement applications."


According to Maryland state records, James Shea is also the current resident agent of a company called Telic Networks, which he founded in 2007. The firm is registered at the couple's home in Ellicott City, Maryland. On his LinkedIn page, Shea states that he was president of Telic until 2010. Telic's rudimentary website describes its expertise in SIGINT, maintaining that the firm's personnel have a history of developing innovative hardware and software solutions for difficult SIGINT and ELINT [electronic intelligence] problems." Telic's incorporation records say it is a "government and commercial contracting and consulting" company.


SIGINT is an exclusive club because it is a very sensitive form of intelligence. As one former intelligence official, who spoke to BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity, explained, Shea's directorate "has the national authority" for signals intelligence conducted by the United States government.


It is impossible to determine what work DRS, which employs James Shea, might do for the agency that his wife helps run or how much federal money is at stake. Unlike most other federal agencies, the NSA isn't required to disclose its contracts, and both DRS and the NSA declined to answer questions about whether the company contracts with the agency.


Still, there's strong evidence that DRS either works with the NSA or is bidding to do so. According to its own website, DRS is seeking 15 workers for a potential SIGINT-related contract at Fort Meade, Maryland, which is the headquarters of the NSA. "Contingent on contract award," the listing says, DRS will need engineers, managers, and administrators for "providing SIGINT technical expertise" and "support in areas of SIGINT technical fields."


"Obviously, that's for the NSA," said James Bamford, an author and expert on the agency, when told of the DRS job listings.


Because the NSA controls SIGINT, the agency is the biggest potential customer for any company in the business. DRS sees itself as a major player in the field: Just last week it held its "37th annual DRS SIGINT Technology Expo," which the company bills as "a leading annual event for professionals in the Signals Intelligence community."


NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines did not answer specific written questions about Teresa Shea, DRS, or Telic, and she did not respond to a request to interview Shea. Instead, she emailed a statement to BuzzFeed News in which she said that "the agency takes Federal ethics laws quite seriously, and has implemented a robust financial disclosure program to ensure that the agency not only complies with the regulations, but also aids employees in identifying possible conflicts of interest before they become a problem." She wrote, "The agency and our employees work together to identify and mitigate potential conflicts and to remedy any actual conflicts that may arise."


As for DRS, it also declined to comment on any business it might have with the NSA — but an email strongly suggests the company communicates closely with the agency. "I understand you have a statement from the NSA," wrote company spokesman Michael Mount, "and based on that we do not have anything additional to add."


Telic Networks has a telephone number listed on its website, and on Monday, James Shea answered the phone. "Jim Shea!" he said. But after he was told what the call was about, he said, "I'm in the middle of a meeting right now. I'll try giving you a call later." He didn't answer subsequent calls.


In spite of her power, Teresa Shea's name might be an arcane bureaucratic tidbit, were it not for the fact that Snowden exposed the NSA's domestic surveillance program. Called "bulk metadata analysis" in the technical jargon of the agency, the program collects data on Americans, including the phone numbers dialed and the length of time of every phone call. The metadata program does not routinely record actual conversations, but a huge amount of information can be learned by knowing when and with whom a person communicates.


After the NSA's practice was disclosed, Shea, as SIGINT director, defended the procedure in court declarations, insisting that the agency "stores and analyzes this information under carefully controlled circumstances."


The former intelligence official says the potential ethical issue involving Shea and her husband seems fairly clear. Even if Teresa Shea's husband isn't directly involved in bidding for contracts, he says, "the perception of abuse is still there. Even if she's recusing herself she's still running SIGINT, she's approved the program."


In June, to learn more about if there was a potential for a perceived or actual conflict of interest, BuzzFeed News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Teresa Shea's public financial disclosure forms from the NSA. Those forms might reveal what the SIGINT director's relationship is with the SIGINT company incorporated at her home. Earlier this summer the NSA turned down the request, citing a 1959 law that protects agency information from disclosure.


Scott Amey, the general counsel of the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, objected to such blanket secrecy: "We don't know how many contracts DRS has, whether they have contracts, what they are for. We're kind of in the dark, and that's not how we want our government to operate."




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