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.