TRAGIC FALLEN SOLDIER O'KEEFE'S ACCOMPLICE CONNECTS DOTS IN MANNER THAT MAKES EVERYONE LOOK AWKWARD!7:55 pm - 01/26/2010
There's a lot we still don't know about the four men implicated in the alleged attempt to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu's phones yesterday, but a little-known organization called the Pelican Institute appears to be key to the story.
Located at 400 Poydras St. in downtown New Orleans -- half a block from Landrieu's office at 500 Poydras St. -- Pelican describes itself as a state policy think tank dedicated to advancing "sound policies based on the principles of free enterprise, individual liberty, and limited government."
Another of the charged men, Robert Flanagan, works for Pelican, his attorney told the Times-Picayune. Flanagan allegedly dressed up a telephone repairman to infiltrate Landrieu's office.
What appears to be his LinkedIn profile says Flanagan was an intern for Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) in Washington last year. Fallin spokeswoman Kathryn Bruns tells TPM that Flanagan was a "helpful guy." He attended Rhodes College in Memphis.
The Wall Street Journal opinion page published a glowing profile of Pelican and its leader, Kevin Kane, in August 2008[.]
In yet another possible connection to the Landrieu case, Kane also blogs at Big Government, the Andrew Breitbart site.
Big Government is where O'Keefe's ACORN sting videos were posted, though Breitbart has said, "We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O'Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu's office."(source)
edit: Updating with Gawker story too since it covers more details
So who are the four geniuses who got arrested by the FBI yesterday for—apparently—trying to tap the phone of a sitting U.S. senator?
Robert Flanagan is the son of William Flanagan, the acting U.S. Attorney for the western district of Louisiana. Which makes it rather awkward that he was arrested in, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for, the eastern district of Louisiana. The elder Flanagan ascended to the gig just one week ago after his Bush-appointed boss left office; none other than Sen. Mary Landrieu has submitted recommendations for his replacement to the White House. UPDATE: And Obama has nominated Landrieu's recommendation, Stephanie Finley. But Sen. David Vitter has placed a hold on Finley's confirmation because he wants assurances from the White House that Jim Letten, the U.S. Attorney who will be overseeing Flanagan's prosecution, won't be replaced. In other words, Flanagan's dad only has a job because the job of the guy who's prosecuting his son is in potential jeopardy. Vitter wants Obama to re-nominate Letten, a step that Landrieu says is redundant seeing as how he already has the job. Louisiana politics.
Stan Dai appears to be a long-time conservative rabblerouser: A Stan Dai was the head of George Washington University's Conservative Student Union, and a GWU student by the same name was quoted in 2004 in support of some pro-life student activists engaging in political theater at a John Kerry campaign event. And a then-17-year-old named Stan Dai in Naperville, Ill., told a USA Today reporter covering a student anti-war protest in 2003: "The people who organize the anti-war movement annoy me." This picture is from the Facebook page of a Stan Dai who attended GWU and is friends with Joseph Basel, one of the other plumbers busted yesterday. UPDATE: Lindsay Beyerstein finds two delightful datapoints about Dai: He was the recipient of a scholarship from the conservative Phillips Foundation, which also awards the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship (he'd approve!), and he is an assistant director at Trinity Washington University's Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence, which trains people how to be spies.
SECOND UPDATE: Here's Dai discussing international terrorism and why emerging political leaders need to get "beyond the partisan" in a May 2008 interview conducted for the Junior Statesman Association, an organization that encourages high school students to get involved in politics.
[video at source]
A Joseph Basel is listed as one of 15 University of Minnesota-Morris College Republicans who attended George W. Bush's second inauguration in 2005 with the help of Sen. Mark Dayton, and there's a Joseph Basel on Facebook who attends the University of Minnesota-Morris and is friends with Stan Dai and James O'Keefe.(source)