Koch Bros. Responsible for Verizon Data Mining?

by Ian Tuttle

Ladies and gentleman, get out your flow charts. You’re going to need them for this one.

The Center for Public Integrity reports:

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, who signed an order requiring Verizon to give the National Security Agency telephone records for tens of millions of American customers, attended an expense-paid judicial seminar sponsored by a libertarian think tank that featured lectures from a vocal proponent of executive branch powers.

Of the 109 seminars hosted between 2008 and 2012, CPI’s “investigation” shows that 54 were co-sponsored by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Sponsors paid for judges’ air fare, accommodations, and meals.

“It’s unclear which lectures Vinson attended during the ‘Terrorism, Civil Liberty, & National Security’ seminar,” CPI says. But that does not keep the “watchdog” organization from a tenuous exercise in dot-connecting. By CPI’s account, Judge Vinson signed off on the Verizon order because he attended a lecture on the Koch brothers’ dime.

Then again, that’s the top-notch investigatory work one might expect from an outlet financed by George Soros and Arianna Huffington.

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