We filed formal written reports of these crimes with the following parties, most of them acknowledged receipt of our reports and demands for compensation and reparation in writing. Many of these parties (but not all) were ordered not to respond to us because their supervisors were implicated in these crimes. To date, we still have not received any action, settlement offer, confirmation of law enforcement prosecution of the subjects or relief.


Dianne Feinstein - U.S. Senator (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by her office in writing)

Nancy Pelosi - U.S. Senator (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by her office in writing. Met with Melanie at her office)

Jared Huffman - U.S. Senator  (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by his office in writing)

Ken Alex - Jerry Brown’s Justice Department Lead (in-person and in writing)

Barack Obama - Per his White House email (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by his office in writing)

Eric Holder - U.S. Attorney General (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by his office in writing)

James Comey- FBI Director (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by his office in writing)

Department of Energy Inspector General's office  (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by their office in writing)

Steven Chu - Secretary of Energy (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by his office in writing)

Robert Gibbs - White House Press Secretary (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by his office in writing by multiple staff)

David Axelrod - White House Staff Lead (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by his office in writing)

Kamala Harris - California Attorney General (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by her office in writing)

Senator Barbara Boxer

California Secretary of State’s Office

California Crime Victims Board – vcgcb.ca.gov

Rahm Emanual - Chief Of Staff, White House (In-person meeting with his staff in Washington, DC)

David Johnson - West Coast Office FBI Director (In person to his office)

Patricia Rich - Agent , San Francisco FBI (In person via telephonic interview)

Duty Officer - San Francisco FBI Office (In-person, 13th Flr, 450 Golden Gate Ave)

United States Department of Justice – Obama Administration

FBI – Obama Administration and Trump Administration

SEC – Obama Administration and Trump Administration

CFTC – Obama Administration and Trump Administration

Secret Service – Obama Administration and Trump Administration

San Francisco Police Department - Case Number Provided by SFPD

U.S. Federal Courts - Via multiple case records submitted and filed on public record at www.pacer.gov

Robert Simon - Investigative Reporter, CBS News 60 Minutes

Carol Leonnig - Investigative Reporter - Washington Post

Inspector General - Social Security Administration (in-person and in writing)

Legal offices - The White House (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by his office in writing)

rburnson@bloomberg.net (Receipt Confirmed)

dglovin@bloomberg.net (Receipt Confirmed)

antitrust@ftc.gov (Receipt Confirmed)

Catherine McMullen - Office Of The Special Counsel <cmcmullen@osc.gov> (Multiple communications)

Tracy Biggs - Office Of The Special Counsel <TBiggs@osc.gov> (Multiple communications)

Leslie Gogen - Office Of The Special Counsel <lgogan@osc.gov> (Multiple communications)

The FEC (Multiple communications)

The office of The Special Counsel - Case Number Provided

Jackie Speier - Congresswoman (In-person meeting and communications with her staff. Written response from her that things are being investigated)

The European Union Investigations group including: margrethe-vestager-contact@ec.europa.eu,
edel.power@ec.europa.eu, mariann.jensen@ec.europa.eu, friedrich-wenzel.bulst@ec.europa.eu,
thomas.george@ec.europa.eu, mette.dyrskjot@ec.europa.eu, christina.holm-eiberg@ec.europa.eu (time-stamped and receipt acknowledged by their office in writing)

The Senate Judiciary Committee by phone at 202-224-5225

...and many other official parties and "official channels" who have done nothing but prevaricate cover-ups and stone-walling because prosecution of these crimes will cut-off their pieces of the taxpayer pig trough they feed at!

A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrongdoing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information. In a passive cover-up, information is simply not provided; in an active cover-up, deception is used.

The expression is usually applied to people in positions of authority who abuse power to avoid or silence criticism or to deflect guilt of wrongdoing. Perpetrators of a cover-up (initiators or their allies) may be responsible for a misdeed, a breach of trust or duty, or a crime.

While the terms are often used interchangeably, cover-up involves withholding incriminatory evidence, while whitewash involves releasing misleading evidence. See also misprision.

A cover-up involving multiple parties is a kind of conspiracy.

Modern usage

"An ostrich only thinks he 'covers up'."

When a scandal breaks, the discovery of an attempt to cover up the truth is often regarded as even more reprehensible than the original deeds.

The mildest case, not quite a cover-up, is simply to release news which could be embarrassing but is not important enough to guarantee attention, at a time when other news is dominating the headlines, or immediately before a holiday or weekend.

Initially a cover-up may require little effort; it will be carried out by those closely involved with the misdeed. Once some hint of the hidden matter starts to become known, the cover-up gradually draws all the top leadership, at least, of an organization into complicity in covering up a misdeed or even crime that may have originally been committed by a few of its members acting independently. This may be regarded as tacit approval of that behaviour.[citation needed]

It is likely that some cover-ups are successful, although by definition this cannot be confirmed. Many fail, however, as more and more people are drawn in and the possibility of exposure makes potential accomplices fearful of supporting the cover-up and as loose ends that may never normally have been noticed start to stand out. As it spreads, the cover-up itself creates yet more suspicious circumstances.

The original misdeed being covered may be relatively minor, such as the "third-rate burglary" which started the Watergate scandal, but the cover-up adds so many additional crimes (obstruction of justice, perjury, payoffs and bribes, in some cases suspicious suicides or outright murder) that the cover-up becomes much more serious than the original crime.

Cover-ups do not necessarily require the active manipulation of facts or circumstances. Arguably the most common form of cover-up is one of non-action. It is the conscious failure to release incriminating information by a third party. This "passive cover-up" is often justified by the motive of not wanting to embarrass the culprit or expose them to criminal prosecution or even the belief that the cover-up is justified by protecting the greater community from scandal. Yet, because of the passive cover-up, the misdeed often goes undiscovered and results in harm to others ensuing from its failure to be discovered. Real cover-ups are common enough, but any event which is not completely clear is likely to give rise to a thicket of conspiracy theories alleging covering up of sometimes the weirdest and most unlikely conspiracies.

"Snowjob" is an American and Canadian[1] colloquialism for a deception or a cover-up; for example, Helen Gahagan Douglas described the Nixon Administration as "the greatest snow job in history".[2]


Old Thirty Nine shaking hands with his good brother the Pope of Italy, or covering up versus sealing up the Bible, 1819 by George Cruikshank. ("39 articles" refers to the Church of England)

The following list is considered to be a typology[3] since those who engage in cover-ups tend to use many of the same methods of hiding the truth and defending themselves. This list was compiled from famous cover-ups such as Watergate Scandal, Iran-Contra Affair, My Lai Massacre, Pentagon Papers, the cover-up of corruption in New York City under Boss Tweed (William M. Tweed and Tammany Hall) in the late 1800s,[4] and the tobacco industry coverup of the health hazards of smoking.[5] The methods in actual cover-ups tend to follow the general order of the list below.

Initial response to allegation
  1. Flat denial
  2. Convince the media to bury the story
  3. Preemptively distribute false information
  4. Claim that the "problem" is minimal
  5. Claim faulty memory
  6. Claim the accusations are half-truths
  7. Claim the critic has no proof
  8. Attack the critic's motive
  9. Attack the critic's character
Withhold or tamper with evidence
  1. Prevent the discovery of evidence
  2. Destroy or alter the evidence
  3. Make discovery of evidence difficult
  4. Create misleading names of individuals and companies to hide funding
  5. Lie or commit perjury
  6. Block or delay investigations
  7. Issue restraining orders
  8. Claim executive privilege
Delayed response to allegation
  1. Deny a restricted definition of wrongdoing (e.g. torture)
  2. Limited hang out [6](i.e., confess to minor charges)
  3. Use biased evidence as a defense
  4. Claim that the critic's evidence is biased
  5. Select a biased blue ribbon commission or "independent" inquiry
Intimidate participants, witnesses or whistleblowers[7]
  1. Bribe or buy out the critic
  2. Generally intimidate the critic by following him or her, killing pets, etc.
  3. Blackmail: hire private investigators and threaten to reveal past wrongdoing ("dirt")
  4. Death threats of the critic or his or her family
  5. Threaten the critic with loss of job or future employment in industry
  6. Transfer the critic to an inferior job or location
  7. Intimidate the critic with lawsuits or SLAPP suits
  8. Murder; assassination
Publicity management
  1. Bribe the press
  2. Secretly plant stories in the press
  3. Retaliate against hostile media
  4. Threaten the press with loss of access
  5. Attack the motives of the press
  6. Place defensive advertisements
  7. Buy out the news source
Damage control
  1. Claim no knowledge of wrongdoing
  2. Scapegoats: blame an underling for unauthorized action
  3. Fire the person(s) in charge
Win court cases
  1. Hire the best lawyers
  2. Hire scientists and expert witnesses who will support your story
  3. Delay with legal maneuvers
  4. Influence or control the judges
Reward cover-up participants
  1. Hush money
  2. Little or no punishment
  3. Pardon or commute sentences
  4. Promote employees as a reward for cover-up
  5. Reemploy the employee after dust clears


Front page of the newspaper L’Aurore of Thursday 13 January 1898, with the famous open letter J'Accuse…! written by Émile Zola to the President of France about the Dreyfus Affair. The headline reads "I accuse! Letter to the President of the Republic". See J'accuse...!, the whole text on Wikisource

Alleged cover-ups

Conspiracies to cover up the facts of a number of prominent events have been alleged in the following cases:

See also




10 Cover-ups That Just Made Things Worse (as cover-ups always do)

It's easy to dismiss conspiracy theorists who claim that the 9/11 attacks were staged by the U.S. government or that Princess Diana was actually murdered. But just because some accusations are far-fetched, that doesn't mean that conspiracies don't ever happen.

To the contrary, history is filled with examples of real-life conspiracies. Recently, forensic scientists used a computerized tomography (CT) scan to examine the mummy of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses III, who died in 1155 B.C., and spotted a wide, deep wound in his throat, probably caused by a sharp blade. That confirmed what Egyptologists already had discovered by perusing ancient papyrus scrolls — that Ramesses had been the victim of a conspiracy by members of his harem, who murdered him in an attempt to seize power [source: ScienceDaily].

But it's also revealing that the conspirators against Ramesses didn't get away with their deed, apparently because they were overheard discussing their plot. Before long, they were arrested and eventually executed [source: Records of the Harem Conspiracy].

As former Nixon White House aide G. Gordon Liddy — a key figure in the notorious Watergate scandal and cover-up — noted, the big problem with conspiracies is that people can't keep their mouths shut [source: Shermer]. That tendency to blab may stem from a desire to take credit for an ingenious plot, but it also may have something to do with the stress of duplicity. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that secret-keeping exacted a physical toll on subjects, increasing the effort needed to perform tasks, and even making hills that they had to climb feel steeper.

So it's no wonder that the bad stuff gets out, eventually. Here are 10 examples of cover-ups that backfired.

10 - The Dreyfus Affair

In 1894, France's government and army already were struggling with a series of damaging scandals when a janitor discovered papers in the wastebasket of a German military attaché indicating a traitorous French officer was spying for the Germans. French military leaders quickly found what seemed like a perfect way to weasel out of the mess. They framed an obscure army officer, Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, as the traitor, possibly figuring that he made a good fall guy because he was Jewish. (Anti-Semitism, sadly, was rampant in 19th-century France). Despite his protestations of innocence, Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island in South America.

When the chief of military intelligence, Lt. Col. Georges Picquart, uncovered evidence that a Maj. Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy was the real spy, his superiors removed Picquart from his post. That's when Emile Zola, the famous French writer, published an expose, "J'Accuse," which irked the military so much, it had him indicted and convicted of libel, forcing him to flee the country.

But the public outcry stirred by Zola grew more intense after another army officer discovered that the conspirators had planted a forged document in the file with the authentic evidence to help convict Dreyfus. He finally got a new trial, and despite a confession from the forger, a military court convicted him again and sentenced him to 10 years' detention. The French premier finally stopped the absurdity by pardoning Dreyfus in 1899 [sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, Jewish Virtual Library].

The Dreyfus affair didn't totally eradicate anti-Semitism, but it marked the beginning of a new, more egalitarian French society [source: BBC News].

9 - The Teapot Dome Scandal

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall (2nd from left) shakes hands with American oil magnate Edward Doheny, flanked by their lawyers, after their acquittal during the Teapot Dome scandal. Fall was subsequently sentenced. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall (2nd from left) shakes hands with American oil magnate Edward Doheny, flanked by their lawyers, after their acquittal during the Teapot Dome scandal. Fall was subsequently sentenced. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

If you think politics is dirty and corrupt today, it's a good thing you weren't around in the 1920s. That's when the White House was occupied by Warren G. Harding, a charming but dim-witted fellow who privately admitted to friends that the job was beyond his abilities. While not personally dishonest, Harding — who once gambled away the White House china set in a card game — filled his administration with poker and golf buddies, many of whom turned out to be crooks.

Take Harding's Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall. He secretly allowed oil companies to tap the Teapot Dome oil reserve in Wyoming and the Elk Hills oil reserve in California in exchange for several hundred thousand dollars in bribes [source: Miller Center]. After the Wall Street Journal published a 1922 expose revealing that the oil had been sold without competitive bidding, a crusading senator from Wisconsin, Robert La Follette, arranged for the Senate Committee on Public Lands to investigate [source: U.S. Senate].

Harding's attorney-general, Harry Daugherty, who was getting heat for failing to investigate corruption, turned to then-FBI director William J. Burns. Burns sent one of his agents to ransack La Follette's office, to search for anything that might be used to blackmail the senator into silence [source: Jeffreys-Jones]. But that only convinced La Follette that he was on to something, and the investigation pressed on, exposing Fall's shady dealings. Eventually, Fall became the first U.S. cabinet secretary in history to go to prison.

8 - The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Of all of the breaches of medical ethics in history, it's hard to think of one more heinous than the "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male," which was conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), working with the Tuskegee Institute, from 1932 to 1972. Researchers initially recruited 600 men, including 399 who tested positive for syphilis [source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. This sexually transmitted bacterial disease can occur over decades and causes paralysis, blindness, dementia and damage to the brain, heart, bones and other organs and even death [source: CDC].

Researchers didn't tell the infected men that they had the disease or that the purpose of the study was to document how the disease destroyed their bodies. The men were only told they would receive free medical care for "bad blood," a vague term that didn't imply a specific medical condition. And even when penicillin, an effective treatment for syphilis, became available in 1947, the researchers didn't offer it to them [source: CDC]. Between 28 and 100 of the participants died from syphilis, but the death toll may have been higher, since they may have infected others unknowingly [source: Tuskegee Syphilis Legacy Committee].

In the mid-1960s, Pete Buxton, a government social worker came across internal government reports of the study, and protested to higher-ups that it was unethical. After several years of inaction, he handed over proof of the study's existence to a friend at the Associated Press. The resulting outcry forced PHS to shut down the study in 1972 [source: Beech].

But that wasn't the end of the repercussions. The following summer, the government settled a $10 million lawsuit brought by survivors and their families and provided them with lifetime medical care [source: CDC].

7 - The Tobacco Industry Denies Health Risks of Smoking

In 1950, a physician and epidemiologist, Dr. Ernst Wynder, published a landmark study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, pointing to cigarette smoking as a cause of lung cancer [source: Blakesbee]. In response, six major cigarette makers funded a massive research effort of their own — not so much to find out whether their product did indeed pose a risk, but to "blow smoke" in the public's face.

In January 1954, the Tobacco Institute Research Committee, which later changed its name to the Council for Tobacco Research, ran full-page ads in 400 newspapers claiming that "eminent doctors and research scientists have publicly questioned the claimed significance of these experiments" and asserting that although the industry believed that smoking wasn't hazardous to health, it pledged to assist "the research effort into all phases of tobacco use and health" [source: Boyle et al.].

In truth, the industry's own scientists already knew there was a possible link to cancers; a 1953 survey of scientific literature by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco chemist Claude Teague, for example, concluded that "studies of clinical data tend to confirm" a link between heavy smoking and lung cancer. Yet they continued to try to cloud the issue. A 1972 industry memo described an ingenious strategy of "creating doubt about the health charge, without actually denying it" [source: Cummings, Brown and O'Connor].

Eventually, though, attorneys-general from 46 states in the U.S. joined in a massive lawsuit against the industry. The tobacco companies agreed in 1998 to pay out a staggering $10 billion annually – indefinitely – to make up for the damage they'd done, especially in health care costs [source: Public Health Law Center].

6 - The CIA Plot to Kill Castro

On Nov. 22, 1963, the nation was traumatized by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Two days later, a second shock followed, when suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was ambushed and shot to death by Jack Ruby while in police custody before he could be brought to trial. Kennedy's successor, President Lyndon Johnson, appointed a special commission, headed by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, to figure out what had happened. The Warren Commission's report, issued in September 1964, concluded that Oswald not only had fired the shot that killed Kennedy from a window in the Texas Book Depository, but also that he had acted alone — as had Ruby, his killer [source: Lewis].

But in the years that followed, skeptics attacked the massive Warren Commission report as an incomplete investigation. They were right. In 1967, an article by syndicated columnists Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson posed the theory that Kennedy had been killed not by a lone gunman, but in retaliation for U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plot to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro [source: Select Committee]. The CIA somehow had neglected to inform the commission of those plots, even though both Oswald and his killer Ruby had a number of conspicuous links to Cuba. For example, Oswald had attempted to contact the Cuban embassy in Mexico City at one point [source: Warren Commission Report].

Those and other omissions led a House committee to conclude in 1979 that Kennedy "was probably killed as a result of a conspiracy," though it could not determine who was involved [source: Select Committee]. The mystery continues to this day.

5 - Watergate

Watergate is the gold standard of botched cover-ups with disastrous consequences. In June 1972, police arrested five burglars at the Watergate hotel and office complex in Washington, where they were attempting to place listening bugs in the offices of the Democratic National Committee. It quickly became apparent that the burglars had links to President Richard Nixon — one of them, Bernard Barker, had a $25,000 check from Nixon's campaign in his bank account.

By October, an FBI investigation had determined that the break-in was part of a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage on behalf of Nixon — who, somehow, still managed to win re-election in a landslide. But as Congressional investigators started digging into the case in 1973, Nixon and his aides dug in their heels —even after former White House counsel John Dean revealed that he'd had 35 discussions with the president about the cover-up.

Nixon resisted turning over secret tapes of White House meetings, and even fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor that his administration had appointed to at least give the appearance of trying to clean house. Eventually, when Nixon turned over a crucial tape, it had a mysterious 18-and-a-half minute gap in it. At that point, despite his earlier protestations of "I am not a crook," nobody believed him. In July 1974, after the House of Representatives passed the first of three articles of impeachment against him, Nixon finally quit. His successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him, ensuring that he would avoid being the first U.S. president to go to prison [source: Washington Post].

4 - The Ford Pinto

Except for cigarettes and thalidomide, it's hard to think of a product with a worse reputation for safety than the Ford Pinto, introduced in the 1971 model year [source: Motavalli]. But even though the car sold well, Ford knew that it carried inside it a serious design problem. When the car had been deep into its development cycle, low-speed rear-end crash testing had revealed that the fuel tank's filler neck had a tendency to tear away and spill gasoline under the car. Additionally, the tank itself was easily punctured by bolts protruding from the differential and nearby brackets.

It would have cost an additional $11 per car to fix the problems, but Ford management decided to do nothing, figuring that it cost less to pay off Pinto owners whose cars caught on fire [source: Wojdyla]. Unfortunately for them, a dogged investigative reporter, Mark Dowie of Mother Jones magazine, was willing to sift through the mountain of paperwork in the U.S. Department of Transportation's file cabinets where the company had buried the problem. He unearthed a memo in which the company calculated that settling burn victim lawsuits would save the company $70 million over installing the parts in the Pintos [source: Motavalli].

After Dowie's expose was published, a jury in Orange County, Calif. awarded $125 million in damages to a man who'd been injured in a burning Pinto. Though the penalty was later reduced to $3 million, it was the beginning of the end for the car and the start of a public-relations disaster that took Ford years to get past [source: Wojdyla].

3 - Chernobyl

In April 1986, a crew at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine —then part of the Soviet Union — ran a seemingly routine test to see how long a reactor's turbines would continue to supply power to its circulating pumps in the event of a loss of electrical power. The reactor malfunctioned due to an inopportune power surge, and the fuel rods got stuck, overheating the water inside the reactor and causing a buildup of steam. The resulting explosions caused massive amounts of radioactive gases and debris to spew into the atmosphere for 10 days — the biggest such uncontrolled release in history not from a nuclear bomb.

Two workers died immediately from the explosion. Twenty-eight more, including six firemen who struggled to put out fires on one of the plant's rooftops, died later from radiation exposure, and winds carried the radiation far and wide across the Soviet Union and even to other European countries [source: World Nuclear Association]. But despite the magnitude of the disaster, Soviet officials didn't publicly admit that the accident had occurred until two days later, when Swedish officials sounded the alarm about increased levels of radiation drifting westward.

Then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev waited an astonishing three weeks before even mentioning the accident publicly. He later claimed, somewhat implausibly, that the Kremlin had difficulty getting the full story, and "we realized the entire drama only later." But the rest of the world responded with such scathing criticism that Gorbachev felt compelled to lift information restrictions, not just about the disaster but other government misdeeds as well. That period of "glasnost," or openness, ultimately hastened the end of the Soviet regime itself a few years later [source: Associated Press].

2 - Pedophile Priests

In 1973, Massachusetts-based Roman Catholic priest James R. Porter, sent a disturbing letter to Pope Paul VI. Porter admitted that he had been sexually abusing children for years, and asked that he be relieved of his duties before he hurt anyone else. "I know in the past that I used to hide behind a Roman collar, thinking that it would be a shield for me," he said.

But Porter's personnel file, obtained in 1992 by the Boston Globe, revealed that Porter had considerable help covering up his crimes against roughly 100 young boys and girls. In the course of his 14-year career, Porter had been removed from his duties at least eight times by superiors because he had assaulted children, and sent to receive mental health treatment for pedophilia — only to be allowed to resume his work after they were satisfied that had been cured of his predatory predilections [source: Butterfield].

For decades, the Catholic hierachy — both in the U.S. and in other countries — engaged in a systematic effort to cover up crimes by its clergy. But when victims of priestly abuse finally began going public in the 1980s, widespread outrage led the truth to come out.

A study commissioned in the 2000s by church officials in the U.S. revealed that between 1950 and 2002, 4,392 priests had been accused of sexual abuse. Some, such as Porter, ultimately were convicted and sent to prison. But the church itself also paid dearly for the cover-up. By one estimate in the late 2000s, various U.S. archdioceses have paid out more than $3 billion to settle lawsuits by victims [sources: Chinnici, Boston Globe].

1 - Fleet Street Phone-Hacking

Nick Denton and British tabloid journalists don't exactly have a sterling reputation for ethics. But even so, the scandal about their hacking the phones of celebrities, politicians, sports stars and crime victims was a shock. The first revelations emerged in November 2005, when Clive Goodman, royal editor at the tabloid News of the World, wrote a story about a previously unrevealed knee injury suffered by Prince William. The Royal family quickly guessed that someone had hacked into the prince's mobile phone voicemail to get the scoop. Scotland Yard arrested Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator employed by the paper [source: BBC News].

The pair was sentenced to jail in 2007 after revealing that they'd obtained back-door codes used by network operators and used them to listen in on several hundred messages [source: BBC News].

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. In 2009, the Guardian, a rival newspaper, revealed that News of the World's parent company, News Group International, had paid out more than $1 million British pounds (about U.S. $1.5 million) to quietly settle lawsuits that might reveal the use of phone hacks and other data thefts to obtain inside information about important people [source: Davies]. In 2011, the Guardian further reported that police had discovered that the phones of more than 5,800 people — including celebrities such as actor Hugh Grant — had been hacked by Mulcaire [source: O'Carroll].

As a result of the scandal, international media baron Rupert Murdoch shut down News of the World in 2011 [source: Sky News] In 2012, he admitted that there had been a cover-up and publicly apologized, claiming that had he understood the depth of the misdeeds, he "would have torn the place apart" [source: Greene].
Author's Note: 10 Attempted Cover-ups That Just Made Things Worse

I have a certain fondness for revelations about cover-ups, because in the 1980s, I worked as a newspaper reporter. One of my big stories was a Sunday Magazine piece on the leak of a toxic cloud from a chemical plant in West Virginia. The company that owned the plant insisted that local residents had no reason to fear harm from the release. But that assurance wasn't so comforting to the residents. I discovered that there had been a long history of leaks from plants in the area, and that many residents suffered from diseases that they blamed on them.



    Associated Press. "Chernobyl cover-up a catalyst for 'glasnost.'" Nbcnews.com. April 24, 2006. (Feb. 26, 2013) http://www.nbcnews.com/id/12403612/#.USy7g6VOR8E
    BBC News. "Pair jailed over royal phone taps." Bbc.co.uk. Jan. 26, 2007. (Feb. 26, 2013) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6301243.stm
    BBC News. "The Dreyfus Affair: 100 Years On." July 11, 2006. (Feb. 27, 2013) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5166904.stm
    BBC News. "Royal phone-tap probe 'widened.'" August 9, 2006. (Feb. 26, 2013) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/5258918.stm
    Beech, Bettina. "Race and Research." American Public Health Association. 2004. (Feb. 25, 2013) http://books.google.com/books?id=tRzXJAFODuwC&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=jean+heller+buxton&source=bl&ots=uGfq91L3UC&sig=GwXyKTiXn_I80YQ0hVukC6xi2jk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fw0sUeKXJJK40gHF7YDIDg&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=jean%20heller%20buxton&f=false
    Blakesbee, Alton. "Scientists Link Cancer of Lung To Cigarettes." Associated Press. July 17, 1950. (Feb. 25, 2013) http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=2EgpAAAAIBAJ&sjid=V2gFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1083,1413672&dq=ernst+wynder&hl=en
    Boston Globe. "The Boston Area's First Predator Priest Case." (Feb. 26, 2013) http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/extras/porter_archive.htm
    Boyle, Peter et al. "Tobacco: Science, Policy and Public Health." Oxford University Press. 2010. (Feb. 25, 2013) http://books.google.com/books?id=OC3merCRJmMC&pg=PA80&dq=tobacco+industry+research+suppressed&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yhMsUcCGMO-00QGTsoDYBA&ved=0CGgQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=tobacco%20industry%20research%20suppressed&f=false
    Butterfield, Fox. "Paper Says Ex-Priest Admitted Sex Abuse to Pope." The New York Times. October 25, 1992. (Feb. 26, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/25/us/paper-says-ex-priest-admitted-sex-abuse-to-pope.html
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Syphilis—CDC Fact Sheet." Feb. 11, 2013. (Feb. 25, 2013) http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/STDFact-Syphilis.htm
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The Tuskegee Timeline." Cdc.gov. June 15, 2011. (Feb. 25, 2013) http://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm
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- The families of Eric Schmidt, Reed Hastings, and Sergey Brin

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings smiling and applauding from his seat onstage
Reed Hastings is one of many high-powered hosts of the Buttigieg fundraising event scheduled on Monday.
Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images/Netflix

Representatives from Silicon Valley’s wealthiest families are raising money for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign in a show of Silicon Valley force not yet seen in the primary campaign so far, Recode has learned.

A host list circulated to prospective donors for an event on Monday morning in Palo Alto, California, features individuals with family ties to some of the most prominent people in Big Tech. Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings is listed as a co-host of the event, as is Nicole Shanahan, the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin; Wendy Schmidt, the wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt; and Michelle Sandberg, the sister of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, sources say.

The inclusion of these people on the list says nothing definitive about who Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg, or Eric Schmidt themselves will support in the 2020 race, of course. But the event’s host list is a reminder of Buttigieg’s ties to Silicon Valley, which are increasingly becoming front-and-center in the presidential campaign thanks to Elizabeth Warren, who is raising questions about Buttigieg’s relationships with major contributors.

At a time when Big Tech and elite donors are on the ropes in Democratic politics, Buttigieg is embracing both more than his rivals. How voters respond will be an indication of how much they care about candidates’ connections to Silicon Valley titans.

Buttigieg has been making inroads with tech donors throughout 2019. During his last trip to Silicon Valley in September, the Democratic candidate quietly had a private sit-down at Emerson Collective with billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, Recode has learned. Powell Jobs has met with other candidates as well.

A Buttigieg spokesperson said in a statement: “We are proud to have the support of more than 700,000 grassroots donors across the country who are helping power this campaign. The only thing people are promised at an event with Pete is that he will use that money to beat Donald Trump.”

The Palo Alto event is one of four Buttigieg fundraisers being hosted in the Bay Area beginning on Sunday evening. In Napa Valley, Buttigieg will be hosted by Katie Hall, an advisor to ultra-high-net-worth clients, for “An Evening in the Vineyards with Mayor Pete,” according to an invitation seen by Recode. In Woodside, Buttigieg will be hosted by Justin Rosenstein, the co-founder of Asana. This is notable because Rosenstein’s co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz, is one of the Democratic Party’s biggest mega-donors, though he is not expected to weigh in on the presidential primary.

To close out the trip in San Francisco, Buttigieg will be hosted by art gallery owner Jeffrey Fraenkel and Sabrina Buell, who belongs to a family famous for its political fundraising. In a sign of Buttigieg’s appeal, that event — which has only one asking price, the maximum individual contribution limit of $2,800 — is sold out, a rarity in presidential fundraising.

But it is the Palo Alto event that is likely to turn heads. The Brin, Schmidt, Hastings, and Sandberg families have a combined net worth of about $80 billion, according to estimates. These co-hosts are promised an “intimate meeting with Mayor Pete” at the coffee fundraiser in exchange for donating $2,800 apiece to his campaign, according to the invitation.

Hastings had been scheduled to host Buttigieg on a prior trip that was later canceled. The Netflix CEO is more politically active than other tech billionaires and has sunk millions of dollars into advocating for charter schools in California.

Shanahan, Brin’s wife, is a person being watched closely in the world of Silicon Valley philanthropy and politics. The couple got married earlier this year, and Shanahan has embarked on an ambitious effort to research reproductive aging by dedicating $100 million to a new group called the Bia Echo Foundation.

Schmidt’s wife, Wendy, has long been focused on the Schmidt Family Foundation, the philanthropic group backed by Eric Schmidt’s money from Google that is focused on efforts like ocean conservation and international leadership development.

Sandberg’s sister, Michelle, and her husband, Marc Bodnick, have backed Buttigieg for a while and have become top fundraisers for his campaign.

Their family members are being more circumspect. Brin and Sheryl Sandberg have not made any endorsements in the 2020 race, though Sandberg has long been one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific donors. Eric Schmidt, a power broker in Democratic politics during the Obama years, has also raised money for Joe Biden.

But at a moment when Buttigieg is coming under criticism from Warren, any ties to Big Tech will only accentuate her argument about his relationships to Silicon Valley. Warren, for her part, is doing no official fundraising events and has said she is returning contributions over $200 from Big Tech executives — though her rebuffs don’t seem to diminish her appeal for many of tech’s elite figures.

“When a candidate brags about how beholden he feels to a group of wealthy investors, our democracy is in serious trouble,” Warren said of Buttigieg in a major speech on Thursday.

Warren has also succeeded in pressuring Buttigieg into committing to release the names of his fundraisers and to open up his events to the media. This quartet of fundraisers in Silicon Valley will be some of the first events to allow media access as part of an effort to show that what happens behind closed doors isn’t as mysterious as you’d think.

Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has secretly funneled tens of millions of dollars to try to rig elections

- Does the FEC know?

There’s a reason you haven’t heard of Mind the Gap: Its “raison d’être is stealth.”

A landscape photo of Stanford University, under an arch.

Members of Mind the Gap’s leadership team aren’t political operatives, they’re academics from Stanford University.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A secretive group led by Stanford University academics has unleashed millions of dollars in political spending from Silicon Valley and is now convincing some of its biggest donors to spend millions more to back Democrats in 2020.

Mind the Gap, a network formed less than two years ago, has been quietly routing millions of dollars to Democratic candidates and groups across the country in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles, emerging as a new power center in the Silicon Valley political scene. It’s just that so far, it has avoided public detection.

The group’s success is due in large part to how it speaks the language of Silicon Valley, donors and operatives say: In 2018, Mind the Gap pitched donors on a statistical model that tried to assess the precise impact of each additional dollar on the chance that Democrats would win the House of Representatives — as opposed to funding the easiest seats to flip. It’s an approach that one donor called the “Moneyball of politics.”

That supposed secret sauce has ushered in more than $20 million in new political spending from tech leaders and others who are grappling with how to best use their wealth in the age of Donald Trump, according to Mind the Gap’s claims in materials seen by Recode. And the group has proven to be yet another way for Silicon Valley donors to spread their influence across the US at a time when many in the Democratic Party want to see Big Tech’s power abated, rather than expanded.

Mind the Gap, whose efforts haven’t previously been reported, has recently petitioned some donors for at least $100,000 to supports its efforts. Backers include people like Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, San Francisco power broker Ron Conway, and a coterie of major Democratic donors from across Silicon Valley, including fundraiser Amy Rao.

Ron Conway walks across a field
SV Angel founder Ron Conway is one of many Silicon Valley titans backing Mind the Gap.
Scott Olson/Getty

There are many middlemen on the left who have tried to take advantage of Silicon Valley’s new political energy. But few are proving to be as unusual as Mind the Gap, in both its message and its personnel.

The group operates in a cone of secrecy, often exhorting its donors to keep their information secure. It has no website or presence on social media, and its leaders don’t mention their involvement in their professional biographies on sites like LinkedIn. That’s not by accident.

“The raison d’être is stealth,” one person with ties to the organization told Recode.

A core strategy of Mind the Gap has been to hide which candidates and groups it is backing until it’s too late, so to speak. Republicans closely watch Democratic donors to see which congressional races they are financing so that they can mobilize their own donors to restore fundraising parity in a particular congressional district. So Mind the Gap’s game plan has been to escape a bidding war by having its donors begin shoveling money behind Democrats only in the fall of an election season — sometimes all on the same day — before Republicans have the chance to notice that they are soon to be outspent by Democrats (and then try to catch up.)

That means Mind the Gap has been covert about which campaigns it is directing donors to support. In fact, some candidates who have been overwhelmed with donations from rich Silicon Valley types sometimes don’t even know they’re on the list, according to one donor who discussed the matter with a bewildered candidate.

What is also unusual is that Mind the Gap is led not by highly experienced political hands, but by academics with no professional backgrounds as fundraisers. The group’s leaders are a pair of Stanford law professors: Barbara Fried, who has no apparent campaign experience, and Paul Brest, the former president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Graham Gottlieb, a Stanford fellow who served in junior roles for former President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and in his White House, is its executive director.

Fried declined to answer specific questions from Recode about its efforts, past or present. But in a statement, she downplayed Mind the Gap as merely a “pro-bono donor advisor to people who are interested in evidence-driven decision making.”

“Most people have no idea whether their political contributions will actually make a difference,” Fried said. “Our aim is to evaluate the efficacy of different forms of political and civic engagement, and provide our conclusions free to individual, interested donors so they can make more educated decisions about where their money would be most effectively spent.”

Working with a well-regarded Democratic data (Election Manipulation firm, like SPLUNK) firm, Civis Analytics, and with early support from progressive mainstays like the AFL-CIO, Mind the Gap pitched donors in 2018 on a counterintuitive message to successfully take back the House: Don’t fund the congressional races that are the likeliest to flip. Those are already overfunded. Instead, fund the slightly less-likely-to-flip races (say, ones in which a Democrat might have a one-third chance of winning) and where each donor dollar is more likely to make a difference — an “efficient funding” model, as Mind the Gap’s leaders called it.

“Democrats face a serious funding-efficiency gap: We are on track to significantly overfund many of the races perceived to be the ‘most flippable,’ and at the same time, underfund races that could be won if we invested in them,” reads one Mind the Gap memo from summer 2018 that Recode obtained. “To put it another way, most donors invest based on the perceived winnability of a race, rather than the difference their investment in the race will make to the outcome.”

That kind of pitch is catnip to people in Silicon Valley, who like to pride themselves on data-driven thinking.

The group set out to raise $10 million in the 2018 election cycle by convincing as many as 400 donors to give $2,700 each (the legal maximum) to as many as 20 different congressional candidates, according to the same memo. Mind the Gap’s fundraising drive ended up doubling those figures.

“It felt like a silver bullet, and that’s how they marketed it,” the person affiliated with Mind the Gap told Recode, characterizing the group’s thinking as: “We have figured out a way to game the system.”

Wealthy people from tech attracted by the vernacular of risk and return flocked to the group, packing donor briefings at ritzy spots in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood and sharing the endorsement list with their friends across the tech industry. Those donors then flooded Democratic challengers like Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico and Lauren Underwood in Illinois with as much as $640,000 in high-dollar donations. Mind the Gap “infused into their campaigns almost overnight” an average of more than $500,000 each, according to a separate, year-in-review memo distributed to donors last month and obtained by Recode.

Some of these candidates had as little as $65,000 on hand before Mind the Gap arrived.

By the end of the election cycle, Mind the Gap had convinced 800 people to support its efforts and funneled $11 million to Democratic candidates, according to Mind the Gap’s internal figures seen by Recode, and another $9 million to Democratic groups. Ten of its 20 candidates, such as Torres Small and Rose, won their races.

Lauren Underwood at a victory party surrounded by crowds
Mind the Gap donors contributed $597,000 to Lauren Underwood, who won a tough congressional race in Illinois in 2018.
Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

“They are incredibly grateful to you all, and many attribute their victory (rightly or wrongly) to MTG’s efforts,“ the group told its donors in one memo.

Now, in advance of what’s expected to be the most expensive presidential race ever, Mind the Gap is trying to bring that same thinking to the 2020 election, soliciting donors to sink millions of dollars into a trio of groups focused on voter registration and preparing to recommend more candidates later this year.

“Anything could happen between now and next November to change the picture significantly. But we have no control over most of the things that will happen,” the group told donors in its year-end memo last month. “As ever, the question for us is, what can we influence, and where will money make the biggest difference?”

Elite arrogant asshole dynasties send their kids to Stanford University.

Stanford puts the kids in asshole frat houses to train them to get away with rape and run monopolies.

When they graduate they either go up the hill to Sandhill Road and start a venture capital clone operation or they get their frat friends on Sandhill Road to racketeer-fund their start-up or political campaign using money scammed from your parents pension funds.

They only work with their frat buddies and insiders in a tribal old boys club manner.

They steal all the technology and markets they want because they control all of the tech lawyers and politicians via bribes and revolving doors.

Stanford bosses keep all of this covered-up and covertly fund political camapigns to grease the wheels of political corruption.

They then sexually extort some Standford interns in Rosewood Hotel rooms, get the most 'trophy wife' ones pregnant, and start the cycle all over again.



Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth rose by $27.3 BILLION in 2019

FACEBOOK boss Mark Zuckerberg's personal wealth rose by a mind-boggling $27.3 BILLION in 2019, says a report.

The giant leap comes despite hostility from both users and lawmakers over the social media firm's integrity, and handling of user data.

 In the money: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is ridiculously wealthy
In the money: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is ridiculously wealthyCredit: AFP or licensors

Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates was also a money-spinner in 2019, raking in $22.7billion, reports Fortune.

It said that 172 billionaires in the US on the latest Bloomberg ranking "added $500billion" in personal wealth.

The report comes two months after Facebook Inc reported a spike in users in lucrative markets, and its third straight rise in quarterly sales growth.

Zuckerberg, who started Facebook from his Harvard Uni dorm room, had expected "a very tough year".

But, Associated Press reported in October that Facebook reported solid third-quarter results, showing steady growth in its user base.

Facebook ended the quarter with 2.45billion monthly users, up eight per cent from a year earlier.


It also said that about 2.8billion people use at least one of its services — Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram — at least once a month.

Debra Aho Williamson, an eMarketer analyst, said: “Advertisers continue to support Facebook, despite the many controversies swirling around the company, and the user base also continues to expand around the world.

“Facebook has a lot of challenges it must deal with, but increasing its revenue and user count isn’t one of them.”

Away from the impressive stats, it continues to face regulatory threats and criticism over its power and negative effects on society.

Facebook is standing by its criticised decision to not fact-check political ads, with Zuckerberg insisting it's because the company doesn't want to stymie free speech.

The company, based in Menlo Park, California, has had a rough couple of years and is under growing regulatory scrutiny around the world.

In America, it faces several government investigations for alleged anti-competitive behaviour, including probes by the Federal Trade Commission and 46 state attorneys general.

 Advertisers continue to support Facebook, despite the many controversies swirling around the firm
Advertisers continue to support Facebook, despite the many controversies swirling around the firmCredit: Reuters
 100 cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg were placed outside the US Capitol in Washington DC last year
100 cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg were placed outside the US Capitol in Washington DC last yearCredit: AFP or licensors
Mark Zuckerberg told ‘Zuck Bucks’ will help terrorists and drug lords – and warns he won’t ban deadly Facebook fake news


#Hillary has long depended on #Google for both money & votes. Her largest donor in 2016 was Alphabet/Google. Her Chief Technology Officer during the campaign was Stephanie Hannon, a former Google exec. And then there’s #EricSchmidt, longtime head of Google – the guy in the pic: pic.twitter.com/dSV8wOPwAH